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´╗┐Title: The Fortunes of Nigel
Author: Scott, Walter, Sir, 1771-1832
Language: English
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THE FORTUNES OF NIGEL

By Sir Walter Scott



A Tale Which Holdeth Children From Play & Old Men From The Chimney
Corner --Sir Philip Sidney



INTRODUCTION

  But why should lordlings all our praise engross?
  Rise, honest man, and sing the Man of Ross.

                                        Pope

Having, in the tale of the Heart of Mid-Lothian, succeeded in some
degree in awakening an interest in behalf of one devoid of those
accomplishments which belong to a heroine almost by right, I was next
tempted to choose a hero upon the same unpromising plan; and as worth of
character, goodness of heart, and rectitude of principle, were necessary
to one who laid no claim to high birth, romantic sensibility, or any of
the usual accomplishments of those who strut through the pages of this
sort of composition, I made free with the name of a person who has left
the most magnificent proofs of his benevolence and charity that the
capital of Scotland has to display.

To the Scottish reader little more need be said than that the man
alluded to is George Heriot. But for those south of the Tweed, it may
be necessary to add, that the person so named was a wealthy citizen of
Edinburgh, and the King's goldsmith, who followed James to the English
capital, and was so successful in his profession, as to die, in 1624,
extremely wealthy for that period. He had no children; and after making
a full provision for such relations as might have claims upon him, he
left the residue of his fortune to establish an hospital, in which the
sons of Edinburgh freemen are gratuitously brought up and educated for
the station to which their talents may recommend them, and are finally
enabled to enter life under respectable auspices. The hospital in which
this charity is maintained is a noble quadrangle of the Gothic order,
and as ornamental to the city as a building, as the manner in which the
youths are provided for and educated, renders it useful to the community
as an institution. To the honour of those who have the management, (the
Magistrates and Clergy of Edinburgh), the funds of the Hospital have
increased so much under their care, that it now supports and educates
one hundred and thirty youths annually, many of whom have done honour to
their country in different situations.

The founder of such a charity as this may be reasonably supposed to have
walked through life with a steady pace, and an observant eye, neglecting
no opportunity of assisting those who were not possessed of the
experience necessary for their own guidance. In supposing his
efforts directed to the benefit of a young nobleman, misguided by the
aristocratic haughtiness of his own time, and the prevailing tone
of selfish luxury which seems more peculiar to ours, as well as the
seductions of pleasure which are predominant in all, some amusement,
or even some advantage, might, I thought, be derived from the manner in
which I might bring the exertions of this civic Mentor to bear in his
pupil's behalf. I am, I own, no great believer in the moral utility
to be derived from fictitious compositions; yet, if in any case a word
spoken in season may be of advantage to a young person, it must surely
be when it calls upon him to attend to the voice of principle and
self-denial, instead of that of precipitate passion. I could not,
indeed, hope or expect to represent my prudent and benevolent citizen
in a point of view so interesting as that of the peasant girl, who
nobly sacrificed her family affections to the integrity of her moral
character. Still however, something I hoped might be done not altogether
unworthy the fame which George Heriot has secured by the lasting
benefits he has bestowed on his country.

It appeared likely, that out of this simple plot I might weave something
attractive; because the reign of James I., in which George Heriot
flourished, gave unbounded scope to invention in the fable, while at the
same time it afforded greater variety and discrimination of character
than could, with historical consistency, have been introduced, if the
scene had been laid a century earlier. Lady Mary Wortley Montague has
said, with equal truth and taste, that the most romantic region of every
country is that where the mountains unite themselves with the plains or
lowlands. For similiar reasons, it may be in like manner said, that the
most picturesque period of history is that when the ancient rough and
wild manners of a barbarous age are just becoming innovated upon, and
contrasted, by the illumination of increased or revived learning, and
the instructions of renewed or reformed religion. The strong contrast
gradually subduing them, affords the lights and shadows necessary to
give effect to a fictitious narrative; and while such a period entitles
the author to introduce incidents of a marvellous and improbable
character, as arising out of the turbulent independence and ferocity,
belonging to old habits of violence, still influencing the manners of
a people who had been so lately in a barbarous state; yet, on the other
hand, the characters and sentiments of many of the actors may, with
the utmost probability, be described with great variety of shading and
delineation, which belongs to the newer and more improved period, of
which the world has but lately received the light.

The reign of James I. of England possessed this advantage in a peculiar
degree. Some beams of chivalry, although its planet had been for some
time set, continued to animate and gild the horizon, and although
probably no one acted precisely on its Quixotic dictates, men and women
still talked the chivalrous language of Sir Philip Sydney's Arcadia; and
the ceremonial of the tilt-yard was yet exhibited, though it now only
flourished as a Place de Carrousel. Here and there a high-spirited
Knight of the Bath, witness the too scrupulous Lord Herbert of Cherbury,
was found devoted enough to the vows he had taken, to imagine himself
obliged to compel, by the sword's-point, a fellow-knight or squire
to restore the top-knot of ribbon which he had stolen from a fair
damsel;[Footnote: See Lord Herbert of Cherbury's Memoirs.] but yet,
while men were taking each other's lives on such punctilios of honour,
the hour was already arrived when Bacon was about to teach the world
that they were no longer to reason from authority to fact, but to
establish truth by advancing from fact to fact, till they fixed an
indisputable authority, not from hypothesis, but from experiment.

The state of society in the reign of James I. was also strangely
disturbed, and the license of a part of the community was perpetually
giving rise to acts of blood and violence. The bravo of the Queen's day,
of whom Shakspeare has given us so many varieties, as Bardolph, Nym,
Pistol, Peto, and the other companions of Falstaff, men who had their
humours, or their particular turn of extravaganza, had, since the
commencement of the Low Country wars, given way to a race of sworders,
who used the rapier and dagger, instead of the far less dangerous sword
and buckler; so that a historian says on this subject, "that private
quarrels were nourished, but especially between the Scots and English;
and duels in every street maintained; divers sects and peculiar titles
passed unpunished and unregarded, as the sect of the Roaring Boys,
Bonaventors, Bravadors, Quarterors, and such like, being persons
prodigal, and of great expense, who, having run themselves into debt,
were constrained to run next into factions, to defend themselves
from danger of the law. These received countenance from divers of the
nobility; and the citizens, through lasciviousness consuming their
estates, it was like that the number [of these desperadoes] would rather
increase than diminish; and under these pretences they entered into many
desperate enterprizes, and scarce any durst walk in the street after
nine at night."[Footnote: history of the First Fourteen Years of King
James's Reign. See Somers's Tracts, edited by Scott, vol. ii. p.266.]

The same authority assures us farther, that "ancient gentlemen, who had
left their inheritance whole and well furnished with goods and chattels
(having thereupon kept good houses) unto their sons, lived to see part
consumed in riot and excess, and the rest in possibility to be utterly
lost; the holy state of matrimony made but a May-game, by which divers
families had been subverted; brothel houses much frequented, and even
great persons, prostituting their bodies to the intent to satisfy their
lusts, consumed their substance in lascivious appetites. And of
all sorts, such knights and gentlemen, as either through pride or
prodigality--had consumed their substance, repairing to the city, and to
the intent to consume their virtue also, lived dissolute lives; many
of their ladies and daughters, to the intent to maintain themselves
according to their dignity, prostituting their bodies in shameful
manner. Ale-houses, dicing-houses, taverns, and places of iniquity,
beyond manner abounding in most places."

Nor is it only in the pages of a puritanical, perhaps a satirical
writer, that we find so shocking and disgusting a picture of the
coarseness of the beginning of the seventeenth century. On the contrary,
in all the comedies of the age, the principal character for gaiety and
wit is a young heir, who has totally altered the establishment of
the father to whom he has succeeded, and, to use the old simile, who
resembles a fountain, which plays off in idleness and extravagance
the wealth which its careful parents painfully had assembled in hidden
reservoirs.

And yet, while that spirit of general extravagance seemed at work over
a whole kingdom, another and very different sort of men were gradually
forming the staid and resolved characters, which afterwards displayed
themselves during the civil wars, and powerfully regulated and affected
the character of the whole English nation, until, rushing from one
extreme to another, they sunk in a gloomy fanaticism the splendid traces
of the reviving fine arts.

From the quotations which I have produced, the selfish and disgusting
conduct of Lord Dalgarno will not perhaps appear overstrained; nor will
the scenes in Whitefriars and places of similar resort seem too highly
coloured. This indeed is far from being the case. It was in James I.'s
reign that vice first appeared affecting the better classes in its
gross and undisguised depravity. The entertainments and amusements of
Elizabeth's time had an air of that decent restraint which became the
court of a maiden sovereign; and, in that earlier period, to use the
words of Burke, vice lost half its evil by being deprived of all its
grossness. In James's reign, on the contrary, the coarsest pleasures
were publicly and unlimitedly indulged, since, according to Sir John
Harrington, the men wallowed in beastly delights; and even ladies
abandoned their delicacy and rolled about in intoxication. After a
ludicrous account of a mask, in which the actors had got drunk, and
behaved themselves accordingly, he adds, "I have much marvelled at these
strange pageantries, and they do bring to my recollection what passed of
this sort in our Queen's days, in which I was sometimes an assistant and
partaker: but never did I see such lack of good order and sobriety as I
have now done. The gunpowder fright is got out of all our heads, and we
are going on hereabout as if the devil was contriving every man should
blow up himself by wild riot, excess, and devastation of time and
temperance. The great ladies do go well masqued; and indeed, it be the
only show of their modesty to conceal their countenance, but alack, they
meet with such countenance to uphold their strange doings, that I marvel
not at aught that happens."[Footnote: Harrington's Nugae Antique, vol.
ii. p. 352. For the gross debauchery of the period, too much encouraged
by the example of the monarch, who was, in other respects, neither
without talent nor a good-natured disposition, see Winwood's Memorials,
Howell's Letters, and other Memorials of the time; but particularly,
consult the Private Letters and Correspondence of Steenie, _alias_
Buckingham, with his reverend Dad and Gossip, King James, which abound
with the grossest as well as the most childish language. The learned Mr.
D'Israeli, in an attempt to vindicate the character of James, has
only succeeded in obtaining for himself the character of a skilful and
ingenious advocate, without much advantage to his royal client]

Such being the state of the court, coarse sensuality brought along with
it its ordinary companion, a brutal degree of undisguised selfishness,
destructive alike of philanthropy and good breeding; both of which, in
their several spheres, depend upon the regard paid by each individual
to the interest as well as the feelings of others. It is in such a time
that the heartless and shameless man of wealth and power may, like the
supposed Lord Dalgarno, brazen out the shame of his villainies, and
affect to triumph in their consequences, so long as they were personally
advantageous to his own pleasures or profit.

Alsatia is elsewhere explained as a cant name for Whitefriars, which,
possessing certain privileges of sanctuary, became for that reason a
nest of those mischievous characters who were generally obnoxious to the
law. These privileges were derived from its having been an establishment
of the Carmelites, or White Friars, founded says Stow, in his Survey
of London, by Sir Patrick Grey, in 1241. Edward I. gave them a plot of
ground in Fleet Street, to build their church upon. The edifice then
erected was rebuilt by Courtney, Earl of Devonshire, in the reign of
Edward. In the time of the Reformation the place retained its immunities
as a sanctuary, and James I. confirmed and added to them by a charter
in 1608. Shadwell was the first author who made some literary use of
Whitefriars, in his play of the Squire of Alsatia, which turns upon the
plot of the Adelphi of Terence.

In this old play, two men of fortune, brothers, educate two young men,
(sons to the one and nephews to the other,) each under his own separate
system of rigour and indulgence. The elder of the subjects of this
experiment, who has been very rigidly brought up, falls at once into
all the vices of the town, is debauched by the cheats and bullies of
Whitefriars, and, in a word, becomes the Squire of Alsatia. The poet
gives, as the natural and congenial inhabitants of the place, such
characters as the reader will find in the note. [Footnote: "Cheatly, a
rascal, who by reason of debts dares not stir out of Whitefriars, but
there inveigles young heirs of entail, and helps them to goods and money
upon great disadvantages, is bound for them, and shares with them till
he undoes them. A lewd, impudent, debauched fellow, very expert in the
cant about town.

"Shamwell, cousin to the Belfords, who, being ruined by Cheatly, is made
a decoy-duck for others, not daring to stir out of Alsatia, where he
lives. Is bound with Cheatly for heirs, and lives upon them a dissolute
debauched life.

"Captain Hackum, a blockheaded bully of Alsatia, a cowardly, impudent,
blustering fellow, formerly a sergeant in Flanders, who has run from his
colours, and retreated into Whitefriars for a very small debt, where by
the Alsatians he is dubb'd a captain, marries one that lets lodgings,
sells cherry-brandy, and is a bawd.

"Scrapeall a hypocritical, repeating, praying, psalm-singing, precise
fellow, pretending to great piety; a godly knave, who joins with
Cheatly, and supplies young heirs with goods, and money."--Dramatis
Personae to the Squire of Alsatia, SHADWELL'S Works, vol. iv.] The play,
as we learn from the dedication to the Earl of Dorset and Middlesex, was
successful above the author's expectations, "no comedy these many years
having filled the theatre so long together. And I had the great honour,"
continues Shadwell, "to find so many friends, that the house was never
so full since it was built as upon the third day of this play, and vast
numbers went away that could not be admitted." [Footnote: Dedication to
the Squire of Alsatia, Shadwell's Works, vol. iv.] From the Squire of
Alsatia the author derived some few hints, and learned the footing
on which the bullies and thieves of the Sanctuary stood with their
neighbours, the fiery young students of the Temple, of which some
intimation is given in the dramatic piece.

Such are the materials to which the author stands indebted for the
composition of the Fortunes of Nigel, a novel, which may be perhaps one
of those that are more amusing on a second perusal, than when read a
first time for the sake of the story, the incidents of which are few and
meagre.

The Introductory Epistle is written, in Lucio's phrase, "according
to the trick," and would never have appeared had the writer meditated
making his avowal of the work. As it is the privilege of a masque or
incognito to speak in a feigned voice and assumed character, the author
attempted, while in disguise, some liberties of the same sort; and while
he continues to plead upon the various excuses which the introduction
contains, the present acknowledgment must serve as an apology for a
species of "hoity toity, whisky frisky" pertness of manner, which, in
his avowed character, the author should have considered as a departure
from the rules of civility and good taste.


ABBOTSFORD.

1st July, 1831.



INTRODUCTORY EPISTLE

CAPTAIN CLUTTERBUCK TO THE REVEREND DR. DRYASDUST

DEAR SIR,

I readily accept of, and reply to the civilities with which you have
been pleased to honour me in your obliging letter, and entirely agree
with your quotation, of _"Quam bonum et quam jucundum!"_ We may indeed
esteem ourselves as come of the same family, or, according to our
country proverb, as being all one man's bairns; and there needed no
apology on your part, reverend and dear sir, for demanding of me any
information which I may be able to supply respecting the subject of your
curiosity. The interview which you allude to took place in the course
of last winter, and is so deeply imprinted on my recollection, that it
requires no effort to collect all its most minute details.

You are aware that the share which I had in introducing the Romance,
called THE MONASTERY, to public notice, has given me a sort of character
in the literature of our Scottish metropolis. I no longer stand in
the outer shop of our bibliopolists, bargaining for the objects of my
curiosity with an unrespective shop-lad, hustled among boys who come to
buy Corderies and copy-books, and servant girls cheapening a pennyworth
of paper, but am cordially welcomed by the bibliopolist himself, with,
"Pray, walk into the back-shop, Captain. Boy, get a chair for Captain
Clutterbuck. There is the newspaper, Captain--to-day's paper;" or, "Here
is the last new work--there is a folder, make free with the leaves;"
or, "Put it in your pocket and carry it home;" or, "We will make a
bookseller of you, sir, and you shall have it at trade price." Or,
perhaps if it is the worthy trader's own publication, his liberality
may even extend itself to--"Never mind booking such a trifle to
_you_, sir--it is an over-copy. Pray, mention the work to your reading
friends." I say nothing of the snug well-selected literary party
arranged round a turbot, leg of five-year-old mutton, or some such gear,
or of the circulation of a quiet bottle of Robert Cockburn's choicest
black--nay, perhaps, of his new ones. All these are comforts reserved
to such as are freemen of the corporation of letters, and I have the
advantage of enjoying them in perfection. But all things change under
the sun; and it is with no ordinary feelings of regret, that, in my
annual visits to the metropolis, I now miss the social and warm-hearted
welcome of the quick-witted and kindly friend who first introduced me to
the public; who had more original wit than would have set up a dozen of
professed sayers of good things, and more racy humour than would have
made the fortune of as many more. To this great deprivation has been
added, I trust for a time only, the loss of another bibliopolical
friend, whose vigorous intellect, and liberal ideas, have not only
rendered his native country the mart of her own literature, but
established there a Court of Letters, which must command respect, even
from those most inclined to dissent from many of its canons. The effect
of these changes, operated in a great measure by the strong sense and
sagacious calculations of an individual, who knew how to avail himself,
to an unhoped-for extent, of the various kinds of talent which his
country produced, will probably appear more clearly to the generation
which shall follow the present.

I entered the shop at the Cross, to enquire after the health of my
worthy friend, and learned with satisfaction, that his residence in the
south had abated the rigour of the symptoms of his disorder. Availing
myself, then, of the privileges to which I have alluded, I strolled
onward in that labyrinth of small dark rooms, or _crypts_, to speak our
own antiquarian language, which form the extensive back-settlements of
that celebrated publishing-house. Yet, as I proceeded from one obscure
recess to another, filled, some of them with old volumes, some with such
as, from the equality of their rank on the shelves, I suspected to be
the less saleable modern books of the concern, I could not help feeling
a holy horror creep upon me, when I thought of the risk of intruding on
some ecstatic bard giving vent to his poetical fury; or it might be,
on the yet more formidable privacy of a band of critics, in the act of
worrying the game which they had just run down. In such a supposed case,
I felt by anticipation the horrors of the Highland seers, whom their
gift of deuteroscopy compels to witness things unmeet for mortal eye;
and who, to use the expression of Collins,

     ----"heartless, oft, like moody madness, stare,
     To see the phantom train their secret work prepare."

Still, however, the irresistible impulse of an undefined curiosity
drove me on through this succession of darksome chambers, till, like the
jeweller of Delhi in the house of the magician Bennaskar, I at length
reached a vaulted room, dedicated to secrecy and silence, and beheld,
seated by a lamp, and employed in reading a. blotted _revise_,
[Footnote: The uninitiated must be informed, that a second proof-sheet
is so called.] the person, or perhaps I should rather say the Eidolon,
or representative Vision of the AUTHOR OF WAVERLEY! You will not be
surprised at the filial instinct which enabled me at once to acknowledge
the features borne by this venerable apparition, and that I at once
bended the knee, with the classical salutation of, _Salve, magne
parens!_ The vision, however, cut me short, by pointing to a seat,
intimating at the same time, that my presence was not expected, and that
he had something to say to me.

I sat down with humble obedience, and endeavoured to note the features
of him with whom I now found myself so unexpectedly in society. But on
this point I can give your reverence no satisfaction; for, besides the
obscurity of the apartment, and the fluttered state of my own nerves, I
seemed to myself overwhelmed by a sense of filial awe, which prevented
my noting and recording what it is probable the personage before me
might most desire to have concealed. Indeed, his figure was so closely
veiled and wimpled, either with a mantle, morning-gown, or some such
loose garb, that the verses of Spenser might well have been applied--

    "Yet, certes, by her face and physnomy,
     Whether she man or woman only were,
     That could not any creature well descry."

I must, however, go on as I have begun, to apply the masculine gender;
for, notwithstanding very ingenious reasons, and indeed something like
positive evidence, have been offered to prove the Author of Waverley to
be two ladies of talent, I must abide by the general opinion, that he is
of the rougher sex. There are in his writings too many things

    "Quae maribus sola tribuuntur,"

to permit me to entertain any doubt on that subject. I will proceed, in
the manner of dialogue, to repeat as nearly as I can what passed betwixt
us, only observing, that in the course of the conversation, my timidity
imperceptibly gave way under the familiarity of his address; and that,
in the concluding part of our dialogue, I perhaps argued with fully as
much confidence as was beseeming.

_Author of Waverley._ I was willing to see you, Captain Clutterbuck,
being the person of my family whom I have most regard for, since the
death of Jedediah Cleishbotham; and I am afraid I may have done you some
wrong, in assigning to you The Monastery as a portion of my effects. I
have some thoughts of making it up to you, by naming you godfather
to this yet unborn babe--(he indicated the proof-sheet with his
finger)--But first, touching The Monastery--How says the world--you are
abroad and can learn?

_Captain Clutterbuck._ Hem! hem!--The enquiry is delicate--I have not
heard any complaints from the Publishers.

_Author._ That is the principal matter; but yet an indifferent work is
sometimes towed on by those which have left harbour before it, with the
breeze in their poop.--What say the Critics?

_Captain._ There is a general--feeling--that the White Lady is no
favourite.

_Author._ I think she is a failure myself; but rather in execution than
conception. Could I have evoked an _esprit follet_, at the same time
fantastic and interesting, capricious and kind; a sort of wildfire of
the elements, bound by no fixed laws, or motives of action; faithful and
fond, yet teazing and uncertain----

_Captain._ If you will pardon the interruption, sir, I think you are
describing a pretty woman.

_Author._ On my word, I believe I am. I must invest my elementary
spirits with a little human flesh and blood--they are too fine-drawn for
the present taste of the public.

_Captain._ They object, too, that the object of your Nixie ought to
have been more uniformly noble--Her ducking the priest was no Naiad-like
amusement.

_Author._ Ah! they ought to allow for the capriccios of what is, after
all, but a better sort of goblin. The bath into which Ariel, the most
delicate creation of Shakspeare's imagination, seduces our jolly friend
Trinculo, was not of amber or rose-water. But no one shall find me
rowing against the stream. I care not who knows it--I write for general
amusement; and, though I never will aim at popularity by what I think
unworthy means, I will not, on the other hand, be pertinacious in the
defence of my own errors against the voice of the public.

_Captain._ You abandon, then, in the present work--(looking, in my turn,
towards the proof-sheet)--the mystic, and the magical, and the whole
system of signs, wonders, and omens? There are no dreams, or presages,
or obscure allusions to future events?

_Author._ Not a Cock-lane scratch, my son--not one bounce on the drum of
Tedworth--not so much as the poor tick of a solitary death-watch in
the wainscot. All is clear and above board--a Scots metaphysician might
believe every word of it.

_Captain._ And the story is, I hope, natural and probable; commencing
strikingly, proceeding naturally, ending happily--like the course of a
famed river, which gushes from the mouth of some obscure and romantic
grotto--then gliding on, never pausing, never precipitating its course,
visiting, as it were, by natural instinct, whatever worthy subjects of
interest are presented by the country through which it passes--widening
and deepening in interest as it flows on; and at length arriving at
the final catastrophe as at some mighty haven, where ships of all kinds
strike sail and yard?

_Author._ Hey! hey! what the deuce is all this? Why,'tis Ercles' vein,
and it would require some one much more like Hercules than I, to produce
a story which should gush, and glide, and never pause, and visit, and
widen, and deepen, and all the rest on't. I should be chin-deep in the
grave, man, before I had done with my task; and, in the meanwhile, all
the quirks and quiddities which I might have devised for my reader's
amusement, would lie rotting in my gizzard, like Sancho's suppressed
witticisms, when he was under his master's displeasure.--There never was
a novel written on this plan while the world stood.

_Captain._ Pardon me--Tom Jones.

_Author._ True, and perhaps Amelia also. Fielding had high notions of
the dignity of an art which he may be considered as having founded. He
challenges a comparison between the Novel and the Epic. Smollett, Le
Sage, and others, emancipating themselves from the strictness of
the rules he has laid down, have written rather a history of the
miscellaneous adventures which befall an individual in the course of
life, than the plot of a regular and connected epopeia, where every step
brings us a point nearer to the final catastrophe. These great masters
have been satisfied if they amused the reader upon the road; though the
conclusion only arrived because the tale must have an end--just as the
traveller alights at the inn, because it is evening.

_Captain._ A very commodious mode of travelling, for the author at
least. In short, sir, you are of opinion with Bayes--"What the devil
does the plot signify, except to bring in fine things?"

_Author._ Grant that I were so, and that I should write with sense and
spirit a few scenes unlaboured and loosely put together, but which had
sufficient interest in them to amuse in one corner the pain of body; in
another, to relieve anxiety of mind; in a third place, to unwrinkle a
brow bent with the furrows of daily toil; in another, to fill the place
of bad thoughts, or to suggest better; in yet another, to induce an
idler to study the history of his country; in all, save where the
perusal interrupted the discharge of serious duties, to furnish harmless
amusement,--might not the author of such a work, however inartificially
executed, plead for his errors and negligences the excuse of the slave,
who, about to be punished for having spread the false report of a
victory, saved himself by exclaiming--"Am I to blame, O Athenians, who
have given you one happy day?"

_Captain._ Will your goodness permit me to mention an anecdote of my
excellent grandmother?

_Author._ I see little she can have to do with the subject, Captain
Clutterbuck.

_Captain._ It may come into our dialogue on Bayes's plan.--The sagacious
old lady--rest her soul!--was a good friend to the church, and could
never hear a minister maligned by evil tongues, without taking his
part warmly. There was one fixed point, however, at which she always
abandoned the cause of her reverend _protege_--it was so soon as
she learned he had preached a regular sermon against slanderers and
backbiters.

_Author._ And what is that to the purpose?

_Captain._ Only that I have heard engineers say, that one may betray the
weak point to the enemy, by too much ostentation of fortifying it.

_Author._ And, once more I pray, what is that to the purpose?

_Captain._ Nay, then, without farther metaphor, I am afraid this new
production, in which your generosity seems willing to give me some
concern, will stand much in need of apology, since you think proper to
begin your defence before the case is on trial.-The story is hastily
huddled up, I will venture a pint of claret.

_Author._ A pint of port, I suppose you mean?

_Captain._ I say of claret--good claret of the Monastery. Ah, sir, would
you but take the advice of your friends, and try to deserve at least
one-half of the public favour you have met with, we might all drink
Tokay!

_Author._ I care not what I drink, so the liquor be wholesome.

_Captain._ Care for your reputation, then,--for your fame.

_Author._ My fame?--I will answer you as a very ingenious, able, and
experienced friend, being counsel for the notorious Jem MacCoul, replied
to the opposite side of the bar, when they laid weight on his client's
refusing to answer certain queries, which they said any man who had a
regard for his reputation would not hesitate to reply to. "My client,"
said he-by the way, Jem was standing behind him at the time, and a rich
scene it was-"is so unfortunate as to have no regard for his reputation;
and I should deal very uncandidly with the Court, should I say he had
any that was worth his attention."-I am, though from very different
reasons, in Jem's happy state of indifference. Let fame follow those who
have a substantial shape. A shadow-and an impersonal author is nothing
better-can cast no shade.

_Captain._ You are not now, perhaps, so impersonal as here-tofore. These
Letters to the Member for the University of Oxford--_Author._ Show the
wit, genius, and delicacy of the author, which I heartily wish to see
engaged on a subject of more importance; and show, besides, that the
preservation of my character of _incongnito_ has engaged early talent in
the discussion of a curious question of evidence. But a cause, however
ingeniously pleaded, is not therefore gained. You may remember, the
neatly-wrought chain of circumstantial evidence, so artificially brought
forward to prove Sir Philip Francis's title to the Letters of Junius,
seemed at first irrefragable; yet the influence of the reasoning has
passed away, and Junius, in the general opinion, is as much unknown as
ever. But on this subject I will not be soothed or provoked into saying
one word more. To say who I am not, would be one step towards saying
who I am; and as I desire not, any more than a certain justice of peace
mentioned by Shenstone, the noise or report such things make in the
world, I shall continue to be silent on a subject, which, in my opinion,
is very undeserving the noise that has been made about it, and still
more unworthy of the serious employment of such ingenuity as has been
displayed by the young letter-writer.

_Captain._ But allowing, my dear sir, that you care not for your
personal reputation, or for that of any literary person upon whose
shoulders your faults may be visited, allow me to say, that common
gratitude to the public, which has received you so kindly, and to the
critics, who have treated you so leniently, ought to induce you to
bestow more pains on your story.

_Author._ I do entreat you, my son, as Dr. Johnson would have said,
"free your mind from cant." For the critics, they have their business,
and I mine; as the nursery proverb goes--

"The children in Holland take pleasure in making What the children in
England take pleasure in breaking."

I am their humble jackal, too busy in providing food for them, to have
time for considering whether they swallow or reject it.--To the public,
I stand pretty nearly in the relation of the postman who leaves a packet
at the door of an individual. If it contains pleasing intelligence, a
billet from a mistress, a letter from an absent son, a remittance from
a correspondent supposed to be bankrupt,--the letter is acceptably
welcome, and read and re-read, folded up, filed, and safely deposited in
the bureau. If the contents are disagreeable, if it comes from a dun or
from a bore, the correspondent is cursed, the letter is thrown into the
fire, and the expense of postage is heartily regretted; while all the
time the bearer of the dispatches is, in either case, as little thought
on as the snow of last Christmas. The utmost extent of kindness between
the author and the public which can really exist, is, that the world are
disposed to be somewhat indulgent to the succeeding works of an original
favourite, were it but on account of the habit which the public mind has
acquired; while the author very naturally thinks well of _their_ taste,
who have so liberally applauded _his_ productions. But I deny there is
any call for gratitude, properly so called, either on one side or the
other.

_Captain._ Respect to yourself, then, ought to teach caution.

_Author._ Ay, if caution could augment the chance of my success. But,
to confess to you the truth, the works and passages in which I have
succeeded, have uniformly been written with the greatest rapidity; and
when I have seen some of these placed in opposition with others, and
commended as more highly finished, I could appeal to pen and standish,
that the parts in which I have come feebly off, were by much the more
laboured. Besides, I doubt the beneficial effect of too much delay, both
on account of the author and the public. A man should strike while the
iron is hot, and hoist sail while the wind is fair. If a successful
author keep not the stage, another instantly takes his ground. If
a writer lie by for ten years ere he produces a second work, he is
superseded by others; or, if the age is so poor of genius that this does
not happen, his own reputation becomes his greatest obstacle. The public
will expect the new work to be ten times better than its predecessor;
the author will expect it should be ten times more popular, and 'tis a
hundred to ten that both are disappointed.

_Captain_. This may justify a certain degree of rapidity in publication,
but not that which is proverbially said to be no speed. You should take
time at least to arrange your story.

_Author_. That is a sore point with me, my son. Believe me, I have not
been fool enough to neglect ordinary precautions. I have repeatedly laid
down my future work to scale, divided it into volumes and chapters,
and endeavoured to construct a story which I meant should evolve itself
gradually and strikingly, maintain suspense, and stimulate curiosity;
and which, finally, should terminate in a striking catastrophe. But I
think there is a demon who seats himself on the feather of my pen when I
begin to write, and leads it astray from the purpose. Characters expand
under my hand; incidents are multiplied; the story lingers, while the
materials increase; my regular mansion turns out a Gothic anomaly, and
the work is closed long before I have attained the point I proposed.

_Captain_. Resolution and determined forbearance might remedy that evil.

_Author_. Alas! my dear sir, you do not know the force of paternal
affection. When I light on such a character as Bailie Jarvie, or
Dalgetty, my imagination brightens, and my conception becomes clearer
at every step which I take in his company, although it leads me many
a weary mile away from the regular road, and forces me leap hedge and
ditch to get back into the route again. If I resist the temptation,
as you advise me, my thoughts become prosy, flat, and dull; I write
painfully to myself, and under a consciousness of flagging which makes
me flag still more; the sunshine with which fancy had invested the
incidents, departs from them, and leaves every thing dull and gloomy.
I am no more the same author I was in my better mood, than the dog in a
wheel, condemned to go round and round for hours, is like the same
dog merrily chasing his own tail, and gambolling in all the frolic of
unrestrained freedom. In short, sir, on such occasions, I think I am
bewitched.

_Captain_. Nay, sir, if you plead sorcery, there is no more to be
said--he must needs go whom the devil drives. And this, I suppose, sir,
is the reason why you do not make the theatrical attempt to which you
have been so often urged?

_Author_. It may pass for one good reason for not writing a play, that
I cannot form a plot. But the truth is, that the idea adopted by too
favourable judges, of my having some aptitude for that department of
poetry, has been much founded on those scraps of old plays, which,
being taken from a source inaccessible to collectors, they have hastily
considered the offspring of my mother-wit. Now, the manner in which I
became possessed of these fragments is so extraordinary, that I cannot
help telling it to you.

You must know, that, some twenty years since, I went down to visit an
old friend in Worcestershire, who had served with me in the----Dragoons.

_Captain._ Then you _have_ served, sir?

_Author._ I have--or I have not, which signifies the same thing--Captain
is a good travelling name.--I found my friend's house unexpectedly
crowded with guests, and, as usual, was condemned--the mansion being
an old one--to the _haunted apartment._ I have, as a great modern said,
seen too many ghosts to believe in them, so betook myself seriously
to my repose, lulled by the wind rustling among the lime-trees, the
branches of which chequered the moonlight which fell on the floor
through the diamonded casement, when, behold, a darker shadow interposed
itself, and I beheld visibly on the floor of the apartment--

_Captain._ The White Lady of Avenel, I suppose?--You have told the very
story before.

_Author._ No--I beheld a female form, with mob-cap, bib, and apron,
sleeves tucked up to the elbow, a dredging-box in the one hand, and in
the other a sauce-ladle. I concluded, of course, that it was my friend's
cook-maid walking in her sleep; and as I knew he had a value for Sally,
who could toss a pancake with any girl in the country, I got up
to conduct her safely to the door. But as I approached her, she
said,--"Hold, sir! I am not what you take me for;"--words which seemed
so opposite to the circumstances, that I should not have much minded
them, had it not been for the peculiarly hollow sound in which they were
uttered.--"Know, then," she said, in the same unearthly accents, "that
I am the spirit of Betty Barnes."--"Who hanged herself for love of the
stage-coachman," thought I; "this is a proper spot of work!"--"Of that
unhappy Elizabeth or Betty Barnes, long cook-maid to Mr. Warburton, the
painful collector, but ah! the too careless custodier, of the largest
collection of ancient plays ever known--of most of which the titles only
are left to gladden the Prolegomena of the Variorum Shakspeare. Yes,
stranger, it was these ill-fated hands That consigned to grease and
conflagration the scores of small quartos, which, did they now exist,
would drive the whole Roxburghe Club out of their senses--it was these
unhappy pickers and stealers that singed fat fowls and wiped dirty
trenchers with the lost works of Beaumont and Fletcher, Massinger,
Jonson, Webster--what shall I say?--even of Shakspeare himself!"

Like every dramatic antiquary, my ardent curiosity after some play named
in the Book of the Master of Revels, had often been checked by finding
the object of my research numbered amongst the holocaust of victims
which this unhappy woman had sacrificed to the God of Good Cheer. It is
no wonder then, that, like the Hermit of Parnell,

      "I broke the bands of fear, and madly cried,
       'You careless jade!'--But scarce the words began,
       When Betty brandish'd high her saucing-pan."

"Beware," she said, "you do not, by your ill-timed anger, cut off the
opportunity I yet have to indemnify the world for the errors of my
ignorance. In yonder coal-hole, not used for many a year, repose the few
greasy and blackened fragments of the elder Drama which were not totally
destroyed. Do thou then"--Why, what do you stare at, Captain? By my
soul, it is true; as my friend Major Longbow says, "What should I tell
you a lie for?"

_Captain._ Lie, sir! Nay, Heaven forbid I should apply the word to a
person so veracious. You are only inclined to chase your tail a little
this morning, that's all. Had you not better reserve this legend to form
an introduction to "Three Recovered Dramas," or so?

_Author._ You are quite right--habit's a strange thing, my son. I had
forgot whom I was speaking to. Yes, Plays for the closet, not for the
stage--

_Captain._ Right, and so you are sure to be acted; for the managers,
while thousands of volunteers are desirous of serving them, are
wonderfully partial to pressed men.

_Author._ I am a living witness, having been, like a second Laberius,
made a dramatist whether I would or not. I believe my muse would be
_Terry_-fied into treading the stage, even if I should write a sermon.

_Captain._ Truly, if you did, I am afraid folks might make a farce
of it; and, therefore, should you change your style, I still advise a
volume of dramas like Lord Byron's.

_Author._ No, his lordship is a cut above me--I won't run my horse
against his, if I can help myself. But there is my friend Allan has
written just such a play as I might write myself, in a very sunny day,
and with one of Bramah's extra-patent pens. I cannot make neat work
without such appurtenances.

_Captain._ Do you mean Allan Ramsay?

_Author._ No, nor Barbara Allan either. I mean Allan Cunningham, who
has just published his tragedy of Sir Marmaduke Maxwell, full of
merry-making and murdering, kissing and cutting of throats, and passages
which lead to nothing, and which are very pretty passages for all
that. Not a glimpse of probability is there about the plot, but so much
animation in particular passages, and such a vein of poetry through the
whole, as I dearly wish I could infuse into my Culinary Remains, should
I ever be tempted to publish them. With a popular impress, people would
read and admire the beauties of Allan--as it is, they may perhaps only
note his defects--or, what is worse, not note him at all.--But
never mind them, honest Allan; you are a credit to Caledonia for all
that.--There are some lyrical effusions of his, too, which you would do
well to read, Captain. "It's hame, and it's hame," is equal to Burns.

_Captain._ I will take the hint. The club at Kennaquhair are turned
fastidious since Catalan! visited the Abbey. My "Poortith Cauld" has
been received both poorly and coldly, and "the Banks of Bonnie Doon"
have been positively coughed down--_Tempora mutantur._

_Author._ They cannot stand still, they will change with all of us. What
then?

                 "A man's a man for a' that."

But the hour of parting approaches.

_Captain._ You are determined to proceed then in your own system?
Are you aware that an unworthy motive may be assigned for this rapid
succession of publication? You will be supposed to work merely for the
lucre of gain.

_Author._ Supposing that I did permit the great advantages which must
be derived from success in literature, to join with other motives in
inducing me to come more frequently before the public,--that emolument
is the voluntary tax which the public pays for a certain species of
literary amusement--it is extorted from no one, and paid, I presume,
by those only who can afford it, and who receive gratification in
proportion to the expense. If the capital sum which these volumes have
put into circulation be a very large one, has it contributed to my
indulgences only? or can I not say to hundreds, from honest Duncan the
paper-manufacturer, to the most snivelling of the printer's devils,
"Didst thou not share? Hadst thou not fifteen pence?" I profess I think
our Modern Athens much obliged to me for having established such an
extensive manufacture; and when universal suffrage comes in fashion,
I intend to stand for a seat in the House on the interest of all the
unwashed artificers connected with literature.

_Captain._ This would be called the language of a calico-manufacturer.

_Author._ Cant again, my dear son--there is lime in this sack,
too--nothing but sophistication in this world! I do say it, in spite of
Adam Smith and his followers, that a successful author is a productive
labourer, and that his works constitute as effectual a part of the
public wealth, as that which is created by any other manufacture. If a
new commodity, having an actually intrinsic and commercial value, be
the result of the operation, why are the author's bales of books to be
esteemed a less profitable part of the public stock than the goods of
any other manufacturer? I speak with reference to the diffusion of the
wealth arising to the public, and the degree of industry which even such
a trifling work as the present must stimulate and reward, before the
volumes leave the publisher's shop. Without me it could not exist,
and to this extent I am a benefactor to the country. As for my own
emolument, it is won by my toil, and I account myself answerable to
Heaven only for the mode in which I expend it. The candid may hope it is
not all dedicated to selfish purposes; and, without much pretensions to
merit in him who disburses it, a part may "wander, heaven-directed, to
the poor."

_Captain._ Yet it is generally held base to write from the mere motives
of gain.

_Author._ It would be base to do so exclusively, or even to make it a
principal motive for literary exertion. Nay, I will venture to say,
that no work of imagination, proceeding from the mere consideration of
a certain sum of copy-money, ever did, or ever will, succeed. So the
lawyer who pleads, the soldier who fights, the physician who prescribes,
the clergyman--if such there be--who preaches, without any zeal for his
profession, or without any sense of its dignity, and merely on account
of the fee, pay, or stipend, degrade themselves to the rank of sordid
mechanics. Accordingly, in the case of two of the learned faculties
at least, their services are considered as unappreciable, and are
acknowledged, not by any exact estimate of the services rendered, but by
a _honorarium,_ or voluntary acknowledgment. But let a client or patient
make the experiment of omitting this little ceremony of the honorarium,
which is _cense_ to be a thing entirely out of consideration between
them, and mark how the learned gentleman will look upon his case. Cant
set apart, it is the same thing with literary emolument. No man of
sense, in any rank of life, is, or ought to be, above accepting a just
recompense for his time, and a reasonable share of the capital which
owes its very existence to his exertions. When Czar Peter wrought in the
trenches, he took the pay of a common soldier; and nobles, statesmen,
and divines, the most distinguished of their time, have not scorned to
square accounts with their bookseller.

_Captain. (Sings._)

    "O if it were a mean thing,
       The gentles would not use it;
     And if it were ungodly,
       The clergy would refuse it."

_Author._ You say well. But no man of honour, genius, or spirit, would
make the mere love of gain, the chief, far less the only, purpose of his
labours. For myself, I am not displeased to find the game a winning one;
yet while I pleased the public, I should probably continue it merely for
the pleasure of playing; for I have felt as strongly as most folks that
love of composition, which is perhaps the strongest of all instincts,
driving the author to the pen, the painter to the pallet, often without
either the chance of fame or the prospect of reward. Perhaps I have said
too much of this. I might, perhaps, with as much truth as most people,
exculpate myself from the charge of being either of a greedy or
mercenary disposition; but I am not, therefore, hypocrite enough to
disclaim the ordinary motives, on account of which the whole world
around me is toiling unremittingly, to the sacrifice of ease, comfort,
health, and life. I do not affect the disinterestedness of that
ingenious association of gentlemen mentioned by Goldsmith, who sold
their magazine for sixpence a-piece, merely for their own amusement.

_Captain._ I have but one thing more to hint.--The world say you will
run yourself out.

_Author._ The world say true: and what then? When they dance no longer,
I will no longer pipe; and I shall not want flappers enough to remind me
of the apoplexy.

_Captain._ And what will become of us then, your poor family? We shall
fall into contempt and oblivion.

_Author._ Like many a poor fellow, already overwhelmed with the number
of his family, I cannot help going on to increase it--"'Tis my vocation,
Hal."--Such of you as deserve oblivion--perhaps the whole of you--may be
consigned to it. At any rate, you have been read in your day, which is
more than can be said of some of your contemporaries, of less fortune
and more merit. They cannot say but that you _had_ the crown. It is
always something to have engaged the public attention for seven years.
Had I only written Waverley, I should have long since been, according to
the established phrase, "the ingenious author of a novel much admired
at the time." I believe, on my soul, that the reputation of Waverley
is sustained very much by the praises of those, who may be inclined to
prefer that tale to its successors.

_Captain._ You are willing, then, to barter future reputation for
present popularity?

_Author. Meliora spero._ Horace himself expected not to survive in all
his works--I may hope to live in some of mine;--_non omnis moriar._ It
is some consolation to reflect, that the best authors in all countries
have been the most voluminous; and it has often happened, that those
who have been best received in their own time, have also continued to
be acceptable to posterity. I do not think so ill of the present
generation, as to suppose that its present favour necessarily infers
future condemnation.

_Captain._ Were all to act on such principles, the public would be
inundated.

_Author_ Once more, my dear son, beware of cant. You speak as if the
public were obliged to read books merely because they are printed--your
friends the booksellers would thank you to make the proposition good.
The most serious grievance attending such inundations as you talk of,
is, that they make rags dear. The multiplicity of publications does the
present age no harm, and may greatly advantage that which is to succeed
us.

_Captain._ I do not see how that is to happen.

_Author._ The complaints in the time of Elizabeth and James, of
the alarming fertility of the press, were as loud as they are at
present--yet look at the shore over which the inundation of that age
flowed, and it resembles now the Rich Strand of the Faery Queen--

     ----"Besrrew'd all with rich array,
     Of pearl and precious stones of great assay;
     And all the gravel mix'd with golden ore."

Believe me, that even in the most neglected works of the present age,
the next may discover treasures.

_Captain._ Some books will defy all alchemy.

_Author._ They will be but few in number; since, as for the writers, who
are possessed of no merit at all, unless indeed they publish their
works at their own expense, like Sir Richard Blackmore, their power of
annoying the public will be soon limited by the difficulty of finding
undertaking booksellers.

_Captain._ You are incorrigible. Are there no bounds to your audacity?

_Author._ There are the sacred and eternal boundaries of honour and
virtue. My course is like the enchanted chamber of Britomart--

    "Where as she look'd about, she did behold
     How over that same door was likewise writ,
     _Be Bold--Be Bold,_ and everywhere _Be Bold._
     Whereat she mused, and could not construe it;
     At last she spied at that room's upper end
     Another iron door, on which was writ--
     BE NOT TOO BOLD."

_Captain._ Well, you must take the risk of proceeding on your own
principles.

_Author._ Do you act on yours, and take care you do not stay idling here
till the dinner hour is over.--I will add this work to your patrimony,
_valeat quantum._

Here our dialogue terminated; for a little sooty-faced Apollyon from
the Canongate came to demand the proof-sheet on the part of Mr.
M'Corkindale; and I heard Mr. C. rebuking Mr. F. in another compartment
of the same labyrinth I have described, for suffering any one to
penetrate so far into the _penetralia_ of their temple.

I leave it to you to form your own opinion concerning the import of this
dialogue, and I cannot but believe I shall meet the wishes of our common
parent in prefixing this letter to the work which it concerns.

I am, reverend and dear Sir,

Very sincerely and affectionately

Yours,



THE FORTUNES OF NIGEL

  _Knifegrinder._ Story? Lord bless you! I have none to tell, sir.
                               _Poetry of the Antijacobin._



CHAPTER I


  Now Scot and English are agreed,
  And Saunders hastes to cross the Tweed,
  Where, such the splendours that attend him,
  His very mother scarce had kend him.
  His metamorphosis behold,
  From Glasgow frieze to cloth of gold;
  His back-sword, with the iron hilt,
  To rapier, fairly hatch'd and gilt;
  Was ever seen a gallant braver!
  His very bonnet's grown a beaver.
                  _The Reformation._

The long-continued hostilities which had for centuries separated the
south and the north divisions of the Island of Britain, had been happily
terminated by the succession of the pacific James I. to the English
Crown. But although the united crown of England and Scotland was worn
by the same individual, it required a long lapse of time, and the
succession of more than one generation, ere the inveterate national
prejudices which had so long existed betwixt the sister kingdoms were
removed, and the subjects of either side of the Tweed brought to regard
those upon the opposite bank as friends and as brethren.

These prejudices were, of course, most inveterate during the reign of
King James. The English subjects accused him of partiality to those of
his ancient kingdom; while the Scots, with equal injustice, charged
him with having forgotten the land of his nativity, and with neglecting
those early friends to whose allegiance he had been so much indebted.

The temper of the king, peaceable even to timidity, inclined him
perpetually to interfere as mediator between the contending factions,
whose brawls disturbed the Court. But, notwithstanding all his
precautions, historians have recorded many instances, where the mutual
hatred of two nations, who, after being enemies for a thousand years,
had been so very recently united, broke forth with a fury which menaced
a general convulsion; and, spreading from the highest to the lowest
classes, as it occasioned debates in council and parliament, factions in
the court, and duels among the gentry, was no less productive of riots
and brawls amongst the lower orders.

While these heart-burnings were at the highest, there flourished in the
city of London an ingenious but whimsical and self opinioned mechanic,
much devoted to abstract studies, David Ramsay by name, who, whether
recommended by his great skill in his profession, as the courtiers
alleged, or, as was murmured among the neighbours, by his birthplace, in
the good town of Dalkeith, near Edinburgh, held in James's household the
post of maker of watches and horologes to his Majesty. He scorned
not, however, to keep open shop within Temple Bar, a few yards to the
eastward of Saint Dunstan's Church.

The shop of a London tradesman at that time, as it may be supposed, was
something very different from those we now see in the same locality. The
goods were exposed to sale in cases, only defended from the weather by
a covering of canvass, and the whole resembled the stalls and booths now
erected for the temporary accommodation of dealers at a country fair,
rather than the established emporium of a respectable citizen. But most
of the shopkeepers of note, and David Ramsay amongst others, had their
booth connected with a small apartment which opened backward from it,
and bore the same resemblance to the front shop that Robinson Crusoe's
cavern did to the tent which he erected before it.

To this Master Ramsay was often accustomed to retreat to the labour of
his abstruse calculations; for he aimed at improvements and discoveries
in his own art, and sometimes pushed his researches, like Napier, and
other mathematicians of the period, into abstract science. When thus
engaged, he left the outer posts of his commercial establishment to be
maintained by two stout-bodied and strong-voiced apprentices, who kept
up the cry of, "What d'ye lack? what d'ye lack?" accompanied with the
appropriate recommendations of the articles in which they dealt.

This direct and personal application for custom to those who chanced to
pass by, is now, we believe, limited to Monmouth Street, (if it
still exists even in that repository of ancient garments,) under the
guardianship of the scattered remnant of Israel. But at the time we
are speaking of, it was practised alike by Jew and Gentile, and served,
instead of all our present newspaper puffs and advertisements, to
solicit the attention of the public in general, and of friends in
particular, to the unrivalled excellence of the goods, which they
offered to sale upon such easy terms, that it might fairly appear that
the venders had rather a view to the general service of the public, than
to their own particular advantage.

The verbal proclaimers of the excellence of their commodities, had this
advantage over those who, in the present day, use the public papers for
the same purpose, that they could in many cases adapt their address to
the peculiar appearance and apparent taste of the passengers. [This, as
we have said, was also the case in Monmouth Street in our remembrance.
We have ourselves been reminded of the deficiencies of our femoral
habiliments, and exhorted upon that score to fit ourselves more
beseemingly; but this is a digression.] This direct and personal mode of
invitation to customers became, however, a dangerous temptation to the
young wags who were employed in the task of solicitation during
the absence of the principal person interested in the traffic; and,
confiding in their numbers and civic union, the 'prentices of London
were often seduced into taking liberties with the passengers, and
exercising their wit at the expense of those whom they had no hopes of
converting into customers by their eloquence. If this were resented by
any act of violence, the inmates of each shop were ready to pour forth
in succour; and in the words of an old song which Dr. Johnson was used
to hum,--

    "Up then rose the 'prentices all,
     Living in London, both proper and tall."

Desperate riots often arose on such occasions, especially when the
Templars, or other youths connected with the aristocracy, were insulted,
or conceived themselves to be so. Upon such occasions, bare steel was
frequently opposed to the clubs of the citizens, and death sometimes
ensued on both sides. The tardy and inefficient police of the time
had no other resource than by the Alderman of the ward calling out the
householders, and putting a stop to the strife by overpowering numbers,
as the Capulets and Montagues are separated upon the stage.

At the period when such was the universal custom of the most
respectable, as well as the most inconsiderable, shopkeepers in London,
David Ramsay, on the evening to which we solicit the attention of
the reader, retiring to more abstruse and private labours, left
the administration of his outer shop, or booth, to the aforesaid
sharp-witted, active, able-bodied, and well-voiced apprentices, namely,
Jenkin Vincent and Frank Tunstall.

Vincent had been educated at the excellent foundation of Christ's Church
Hospital, and was bred, therefore, as well as born, a Londoner, with
all the acuteness, address, and audacity which belong peculiarly to
the youth of a metropolis. He was now about twenty years old, short in
stature, but remarkably strong made, eminent for his feats upon holidays
at foot-ball, and other gymnastic exercises; scarce rivalled in
the broad-sword play, though hitherto only exercised in the form of
single-stick. He knew every lane, blind alley, and sequestered court of
the ward, better than his catechism; was alike active in his master's
affairs, and in his own adventures of fun and mischief; and so managed
matters, that the credit he acquired by the former bore him out, or at
least served for his apology, when the latter propensity led him into
scrapes, of which, however, it is but fair to state, that they had
hitherto inferred nothing mean or discreditable. Some aberrations there
were, which David Ramsay, his master, endeavoured to reduce to regular
order when he discovered them, and others which he winked at--supposing
them to answer the purpose of the escapement of a watch, which disposes
of a certain quantity of the extra power of that mechanical impulse
which puts the whole in motion.

The physiognomy of Jin Vin--by which abbreviation he was familiarly
known through the ward--corresponded with the sketch we have given
of his character. His head, upon which his 'prentice's flat cap was
generally flung in a careless and oblique fashion, was closely covered
with thick hair of raven black, which curled naturally and closely, and
would have grown to great length, but for the modest custom enjoined by
his state in life and strictly enforced by his master, which compelled
him to keep it short-cropped,--not unreluctantly, as he looked with
envy on the flowing ringlets, in which the courtiers, and aristocratic
students of the neighbouring Temple, began to indulge themselves, as
marks of superiority and of gentility.

Vincent's eyes were deep set in his head, of a strong vivid black, full
of fire, roguery, and intelligence, and conveying a humorous expression,
even while he was uttering the usual small-talk of his trade, as if
he ridiculed those who were disposed to give any weight to his
commonplaces. He had address enough, however, to add little touches of
his own, which gave a turn of drollery even to this ordinary routine of
the booth; and the alacrity of his manner--his ready and obvious wish
to oblige--his intelligence and civility, when he thought civility
necessary, made him a universal favourite with his master's customers.

His features were far from regular, for his nose was flattish, his mouth
tending to the larger size, and his complexion inclining to be more dark
than was then thought consistent with masculine beauty. But, in despite
of his having always breathed the air of a crowded city, his complexion
had the ruddy and manly expression of redundant health; his turned-up
nose gave an air of spirit and raillery to what he said, and seconded
the laugh of his eyes; and his wide mouth was garnished with a pair of
well-formed and well-coloured lips, which, when he laughed, disclosed a
range of teeth strong and well set, and as white as the very pearl. Such
was the elder apprentice of David Ramsay, Memory's Monitor, watchmaker,
and constructor of horologes, to his Most Sacred Majesty James I.

Jenkin's companion was the younger apprentice, though, perhaps, he might
be the elder of the two in years. At any rate, he was of a much more
staid and composed temper. Francis Tunstall was of that ancient and
proud descent who claimed the style of the "unstained;" because, amid
the various chances of the long and bloody wars of the Roses, they had,
with undeviating faith, followed the House of Lancaster, to which they
had originally attached themselves. The meanest sprig of such a tree
attached importance to the root from which it derived itself; and
Tunstall was supposed to nourish in secret a proportion of that family
pride, which had exhorted tears from his widowed and almost indigent
mother, when she saw herself obliged to consign him to a line of
life inferior, as her prejudices suggested, to the course held by his
progenitors. Yet, with all this aristocratic prejudice, his master found
the well-born youth more docile, regular, and strictly attentive to
his duty, than his far more active and alert comrade. Tunstall also
gratified his master by the particular attention which he seemed
disposed to bestow on the abstract principles of science connected with
the trade which he was bound to study, the limits of which were daily
enlarged with the increase of mathematical science.

Vincent beat his companion beyond the distance-post, in every thing like
the practical adaptation of thorough practice, in the dexterity of
hand necessary to execute the mechanical branches of the art, and
doubled-distanced him in all respecting the commercial affairs of the
shop. Still David Ramsay was wont to say, that if Vincent knew how to do
a thing the better of the two, Tunstall was much better acquainted with
the principles on which it ought to be done; and he sometimes objected
to the latter, that he knew critical excellence too well ever to be
satisfied with practical mediocrity.

The disposition of Tunstall was shy, as well as studious; and, though
perfectly civil and obliging, he never seemed to feel himself in his
place while he went through the duties of the shop. He was tall
and handsome, with fair hair, and well-formed limbs, good features,
well-opened light-blue eyes, a straight Grecian nose, and a countenance
which expressed both good-humour and intelligence, but qualified by a
gravity unsuitable to his years, and which almost amounted to dejection.
He lived on the best of terms with his companion, and readily stood by
him whenever he was engaged in any of the frequent skirmishes, which, as
we have already observed, often disturbed the city of London about this
period. But though Tunstall was allowed to understand quarter-staff (the
weapon of the North country) in a superior degree, and though he was
naturally both strong and active, his interference in such affrays
seemed always matter of necessity; and, as he never voluntarily joined
either their brawls or their sports, he held a far lower place in the
opinion of the youth of the ward than his hearty and active friend Jin
Vin. Nay, had it not been for the interest made for his comrade, by the
intercession of Vincent, Tunstall would have stood some chance of being
altogether excluded from the society of his contemporaries of the same
condition, who called him, in scorn, the Cavaliero Cuddy, and the Gentle
Tunstall.

On the other hand, the lad himself, deprived of the fresh air in which
he had been brought up, and foregoing the exercise to which he had
formerly been accustomed, while the inhabitant of his native mansion,
lost gradually the freshness of his complexion, and, without showing any
formal symptoms of disease, grew more thin and pale as he grew older,
and at length exhibited the appearance of indifferent health, without
any thing of the habits and complaints of an invalid, excepting a
disposition to avoid society, and to spend his leisure time in private
study, rather than mingle in the sports of his companions, or even
resort to the theatres, then the general rendezvous of his class; where,
according to high authority, they fought for half-bitten apples, cracked
nuts, and filled the upper gallery with their clamours.

Such were the two youths who called David Ramsay master; and with both
of whom he used to fret from morning till night, as their peculiarities
interfered with his own, or with the quiet and beneficial course of his
traffic.

Upon the whole, however, the youths were attached to their master, and
he, a good-natured, though an absent and whimsical man, was scarce
less so to them; and when a little warmed with wine at an occasional
junketing, he used to boast, in his northern dialect, of his "twa bonnie
lads, and the looks that the court ladies threw at them, when visiting
his shop in their caroches, when on a frolic into the city." But David
Ramsay never failed, at the same time, to draw up his own tall,
thin, lathy skeleton, extend his lean jaws into an alarming grin, and
indicate, by a nod of his yard-long visage, and a twinkle of his little
grey eye, that there might be more faces in Fleet Street worth looking
at than those of Frank and Jenkin. His old neighbour, Widow Simmons, the
sempstress, who had served, in her day, the very tip-top revellers of
the Temple, with ruffs, cuffs, and bands, distinguished more deeply
the sort of attention paid by the females of quality, who so regularly
visited David Ramsay's shop, to its inmates. "The boy Frank," she
admitted, "used to attract the attention of the young ladies, as having
something gentle and downcast in his looks; but then he could not better
himself, for the poor youth had not a word to throw at a dog. Now Jin
Vin was so full of his jibes and jeers, and so willing, and so ready,
and so serviceable, and so mannerly all the while, with a step that
sprung like a buck's in Epping Forest, and his eye that twinkled as
black as a gipsy's, that no woman who knew the world would make a
comparison betwixt the lads. As for poor neighbour Ramsay himself, the
man," she said, "was a civil neighbour, and a learned man, doubtless,
and might be a rich man if he had common sense to back his learning; and
doubtless, for a Scot, neighbour Ramsay was nothing of a bad man, but
he was so constantly grimed with smoke, gilded with brass filings,
and smeared with lamp-black and oil, that Dame Simmons judged it would
require his whole shopful of watches to induce any feasible woman to
touch the said neighbour Ramsay with any thing save a pair of tongs."

A still higher authority, Dame Ursula, wife to Benjamin Suddlechop, the
barber, was of exactly the same opinion.

Such were, in natural qualities and public estimation, the two youths,
who, in a fine April day, having first rendered their dutiful service
and attendance on the table of their master and his daughter, at their
dinner at one o'clock,--Such, O ye lads of London, was the severe
discipline undergone by your predecessors!--and having regaled
themselves upon the fragments, in company with two female domestics, one
a cook, and maid of all work, the other called Mistress Margaret's maid,
now relieved their master in the duty of the outward shop; and agreeably
to the established custom, were soliciting, by their entreaties and
recommendations of their master's manufacture, the attention and
encouragement of the passengers.

In this species of service it may be easily supposed that Jenkin Vincent
left his more reserved and bashful comrade far in the background. The
latter could only articulate with difficulty, and as an act of duty
which he was rather ashamed of discharging, the established words
of form--"What d'ye lack?--What d'ye lack?--Clocks--watches--barnacles?
--What d'ye lack?--Watches--clocks--barnacles?--What d'ye lack, sir? What
d'ye lack, madam?--Barnacles--watches--clocks?"

But this dull and dry iteration, however varied by diversity of verbal
arrangement, sounded flat when mingled with the rich and recommendatory
oratory of the bold-faced, deep-mouthed, and ready-witted Jenkin
Vincent.--"What d'ye lack, noble sir?--What d'ye lack, beauteous madam?"
he said, in a tone at once bold and soothing, which often was so applied
as both to gratify the persons addressed, and to excite a smile from
other hearers.--"God bless your reverence," to a beneficed clergyman;
"the Greek and Hebrew have harmed your reverence's eyes--Buy a pair of
David Ramsay's barnacles. The King--God bless his Sacred Majesty!--never
reads Hebrew or Greek without them."

"Are you well avised of that?" said a fat parson from the Vale of
Evesham. "Nay, if the Head of the Church wears them,--God bless his
Sacred Majesty!--I will try what they can do for me; for I have not
been able to distinguish one Hebrew letter from another, since--I cannot
remember the time--when I had a bad fever. Choose me a pair of his
most Sacred Majesty's own wearing, my good youth."

"This is a pair, and please your reverence," said Jenkin, producing a
pair of spectacles which he touched with an air of great deference and
respect, "which his most blessed Majesty placed this day three weeks on
his own blessed nose; and would have kept them for his own sacred use,
but that the setting being, as your reverence sees, of the purest jet,
was, as his Sacred Majesty was pleased to say, fitter for a bishop than
for a secular prince."

"His Sacred Majesty the King," said the worthy divine, "was ever a very
Daniel in his judgment. Give me the barnacles, my good youth, and who
can say what nose they may bestride in two years hence?--our reverend
brother of Gloucester waxes in years." He then pulled out his purse,
paid for the spectacles, and left the shop with even a more important
step than that which had paused to enter it.

"For shame," said Tunstall to his companion; "these glasses will never
suit one of his years."

"You are a fool, Frank," said Vincent, in reply; "had the good doctor
wished glasses to read with, he would have tried them before buying.
He does not want to look through them himself, and these will serve
the purpose of being looked at by other folks, as well as the best
magnifiers in the shop.--What d'ye lack?" he cried, resuming his
solicitations. "Mirrors for your toilette, my pretty madam; your
head-gear is something awry--pity, since it is so well fancied." The
woman stopped and bought a mirror.--"What d'ye lack?--a watch, Master
Sergeant--a watch that will go as long as a lawsuit, as steady and true
as your own eloquence?"

"Hold your peace, sir," answered the Knight of the Coif, who was
disturbed by Vin's address whilst in deep consultation with an eminent
attorney; "hold your peace! You are the loudest-tongued varlet betwixt
the Devil's Tavern and Guildhall."

"A watch," reiterated the undaunted Jenkin, "that shall not lose
thirteen minutes in a thirteen years' lawsuit.--He's out of hearing--A
watch with four wheels and a bar-movement--a watch that shall tell you,
Master Poet, how long the patience of the audience will endure your next
piece at the Black Bull." The bard laughed, and fumbled in the pocket of
his slops till he chased into a corner, and fairly caught, a small piece
of coin.

"Here is a tester to cherish thy wit, good boy," he said.

"Gramercy," said Vin; "at the next play of yours I will bring down a
set of roaring boys, that shall make all the critics in the pit, and the
gallants on the stage, civil, or else the curtain shall smoke for it."

"Now, that I call mean," said Tunstall, "to take the poor rhymer's
money, who has so little left behind."

"You are an owl, once again," said Vincent; "if he has nothing left to
buy cheese and radishes, he will only dine a day the sooner with some
patron or some player, for that is his fate five days out of the seven.
It is unnatural that a poet should pay for his own pot of beer; I will
drink his tester for him, to save him from such shame; and when his
third night comes round, he shall have penniworths for his coin, I
promise you.--But here comes another-guess customer. Look at that
strange fellow--see how he gapes at every shop, as if he would swallow
the wares.--O! Saint Dunstan has caught his eye; pray God he swallow not
the images. See how he stands astonished, as old Adam and Eve ply
their ding-dong! Come, Frank, thou art a scholar; construe me that same
fellow, with his blue cap with a cock's feather in it, to show he's of
gentle blood, God wot--his grey eyes, his yellow hair, his sword with a
ton of iron in the handle--his grey thread-bare cloak--his step like a
Frenchman--his look like a Spaniard--a book at his girdle, and a broad
dudgeon-dagger on the other side, to show him half-pedant, half-bully.
How call you that pageant, Frank?"

"A raw Scotsman," said Tunstall; "just come up, I suppose, to help the
rest of his countrymen to gnaw old England's bones; a palmerworm, I
reckon, to devour what the locust has spared."

"Even so, Frank," answered Vincent; "just as the poet sings sweetly,--

    'In Scotland he was born and bred,
     And, though a beggar, must be fed.'"

"Hush!" said Tunstall, "remember our master."

"Pshaw!" answered his mercurial companion; "he knows on which side
his bread is buttered, and I warrant you has not lived so long among
Englishmen, and by Englishmen, to quarrel with us for bearing an English
mind. But see, our Scot has done gazing at St. Dunstan's, and comes our
way. By this light, a proper lad and a sturdy, in spite of freckles and
sun-burning.--He comes nearer still, I will have at him."

"And, if you do," said his comrade, "you may get a broken head--he looks
not as if he would carry coals."

"A fig for your threat," said Vincent, and instantly addressed the
stranger. "Buy a watch, most noble northern Thane--buy a watch, to count
the hours of plenty since the blessed moment you left Berwick behind
you.--Buy barnacles, to see the English gold lies ready for your
gripe.--Buy what you will, you shall have credit for three days; for,
were your pockets as bare as Father Fergus's, you are a Scot in London,
and you will be stocked in that time." The stranger looked sternly
at the waggish apprentice, and seemed to grasp his cudgel in rather a
menacing fashion. "Buy physic," said the undaunted Vincent, "if you will
buy neither time nor light--physic for a proud stomach, sir;--there is a
'pothecary's shop on the other side of the way."

Here the probationary disciple of Galen, who stood at his master's door
in his flat cap and canvass sleeves, with a large wooden pestle in his
hand, took up the ball which was flung to him by Jenkin, with, "What
d'ye lack, sir?--Buy a choice Caledonian salve, _Flos sulphvr. cum
butyro quant. suff._"

"To be taken after a gentle rubbing-down with an English oaken towel,"
said Vincent.

The bonny Scot had given full scope to the play of this small artillery
of city wit, by halting his stately pace, and viewing grimly, first the
one assailant, and then the other, as if menacing either repartee or
more violent revenge. But phlegm or prudence got the better of his
indignation, and tossing his head as one who valued not the raillery to
which he had been exposed, he walked down Fleet Street, pursued by the
horse-laugh of his tormentors.

"The Scot will not fight till he see his own blood," said Tunstall, whom
his north of England extraction had made familiar with all manner of
proverbs against those who lay yet farther north than himself.

"Faith, I know not," said Jenkin; "he looks dangerous, that
fellow--he will hit some one over the noddle before he goes
far.--Hark!--hark!--they are rising."

Accordingly, the well-known cry of,
"'Prentices--'prentices--Clubs--clubs!" now rang along Fleet Street; and
Jenkin, snatching up his weapon, which lay beneath the counter ready
at the slightest notice, and calling to Tunstall to take his bat and
follow, leaped over the hatch-door which protected the outer-shop, and
ran as fast as he could towards the affray, echoing the cry as he ran,
and elbowing, or shoving aside, whoever stood in his way. His comrade,
first calling to his master to give an eye to the shop, followed
Jenkin's example, and ran after him as fast as he could, but with more
attention to the safety and convenience of others; while old David
Ramsay, with hands and eyes uplifted, a green apron before him, and a
glass which he had been polishing thrust into his bosom, came forth
to look after the safety of his goods and chattels, knowing, by old
experience, that, when the cry of "Clubs" once arose, he would have
little aid on the part of his apprentices.



CHAPTER II


  This, sir, is one among the Seignory,
  Has wealth at will, and will to use his wealth,
  And wit to increase it. Marry, his worst folly
  Lies in a thriftless sort of charity,
  That goes a-gadding sometimes after objects,
  Which wise men will not see when thrust upon them.
                             _The Old Couple._

The ancient gentleman bustled about his shop, in pettish displeasure
at being summoned hither so hastily, to the interruption of his more
abstract studies; and, unwilling to renounce the train of calculation
which he had put in progress, he mingled whimsically with the fragments
of the arithmetical operation, his oratory to the passengers, and angry
reflections on his idle apprentices. "What d'ye lack, sir? Madam,
what d'ye lack--clocks for hall or table--night-watches--day
watches?--_Locking wheel being 48--the power of retort 8--the striking
pins are 48_--What d'ye lack, honoured sir?--_The quotient--the
multiplicand_--That the knaves should have gone out this blessed
minute!--_the acceleration being at the rate of 5 minutes, 55 seconds,
53 thirds, 59 fourths_--I will switch them both when they come back--I
will, by the bones of the immortal Napier!"

Here the vexed philosopher was interrupted by the entrance of a grave
citizen of a most respectable appearance, who, saluting him familiarly
by the name of "Davie, my old acquaintance," demanded what had put him
so much out of sorts, and gave him at the same time a cordial grasp of
his hand.

The stranger's dress was, though grave, rather richer than usual. His
paned hose were of black velvet, lined with purple silk, which garniture
appeared at the slashes. His doublet was of purple cloth, and his
short cloak of black velvet, to correspond with his hose; and both were
adorned with a great number of small silver buttons richly wrought in
filigree. A triple chain of gold hung round his neck; and, in place of
a sword or dagger, he wore at his belt an ordinary knife for the purpose
of the table, with a small silver case, which appeared to contain
writing materials. He might have seemed some secretary or clerk engaged
in the service of the public, only that his low, flat, and unadorned
cap, and his well-blacked, shining shoes, indicated that he belonged to
the city. He was a well-made man, about the middle size, and seemed in
firm health, though advanced in years. His looks expressed sagacity and
good-humour: and the air of respectability which his dress announced,
was well supported by his clear eye, ruddy cheek, and grey hair. He used
the Scottish idiom in his first address, but in such a manner that it
could hardly be distinguished whether he was passing upon his friend a
sort of jocose mockery, or whether it was his own native dialect, for
his ordinary discourse had little provincialism.

In answer to the queries of his respectable friend, Ramsay groaned
heavily, answering by echoing back the question, "What ails me, Master
George? Why, every thing ails me! I profess to you that a man may
as well live in Fairyland as in the Ward of Farringdon-Without. My
apprentices are turned into mere goblins--they appear and disappear like
spunkies, and have no more regularity in them than a watch without a
scapement. If there is a ball to be tossed up, or a bullock to be driven
mad, or a quean to be ducked for scolding, or a head to be broken,
Jenkin is sure to be at the one end or the other of it, and then
away skips Francis Tunstall for company. I think the prize-fighters,
bear-leaders, and mountebanks, are in a league against me, my dear
friend, and that they pass my house ten times for any other in the city.
Here's an Italian fellow come over, too, that they call Punchinello;
and, altogether----"

"Well," interrupted Master George, "but what is all this to the present
case?"

"Why," replied Ramsay, "here has been a cry of thieves or murder, (I
hope that will prove the least of it amongst these English pock-pudding
swine!) and I have been interrupted in the deepest calculation ever
mortal man plunged into, Master George."

"What, man!" replied Master George, "you must take patience--You are a
man that deals in time, and can make it go fast and slow at pleasure;
you, of all the world, have least reason to complain, if a little of it
be lost now and then.--But here come your boys, and bringing in a slain
man betwixt them, I think--here has been serious mischief, I am afraid."

"The more mischief the better sport," said the crabbed old
watchmaker. "I am blithe, though, that it's neither of the twa loons
themselves.--What are ye bringing a corpse here for, ye fause villains?"
he added, addressing the two apprentices, who, at the head of a
considerable mob of their own class, some of whom bore evident marks of
a recent fray, were carrying the body betwixt them.

"He is not dead yet, sir," answered Tunstall.

"Carry him into the apothecary's, then," replied his master. "D'ye
think I can set a man's life in motion again, as if he were a clock or a
timepiece?"

"For godsake, old friend," said his acquaintance, "let us have him here
at the nearest--he seems only in a swoon."

"A swoon?" said Ramsay, "and what business had he to swoon in the
streets? Only, if it will oblige my friend Master George, I would take
in all the dead men in St. Dunstan's parish. Call Sam Porter to look
after the shop." So saying, the stunned man, being the identical
Scotsman who had passed a short time before amidst the jeers of the
apprentices, was carried into the back shop of the artist, and there
placed in an armed chair till the apothecary from over the way came to
his assistance. This gentleman, as sometimes happens to those of the
learned professions, had rather more lore than knowledge, and began to
talk of the sinciput and occiput, and cerebrum and cerebellum, until he
exhausted David Ramsay's brief stock of patience.

"Bell-um! bell-ell-um!" he repeated, with great indignation; "What
signify all the bells in London, if you do not put a plaster on the
child's crown?"

Master George, with better-directed zeal, asked the apothecary whether
bleeding might not be useful; when, after humming and hawing for a
moment, and being unable, upon the spur of the occasion, to suggest any
thing else, the man of pharmacy observed, that it would, at all events,
relieve the brain or cerebrum, in case there was a tendency to the
depositation of any extravasated blood, to operate as a pressure upon
that delicate organ.

Fortunately he was adequate to performing this operation; and, being
powerfully aided by Jenkin Vincent (who was learned in all cases of
broken heads) with plenty of cold water, and a little vinegar, applied
according to the scientific method practised by the bottle-holders in a
modern ring, the man began to raise himself on his chair, draw his cloak
tightly around him, and look about like one who struggles to recover
sense and recollection.

"He had better lie down on the bed in the little back closet," said Mr.
Ramsay's visitor, who seemed perfectly familiar with the accommodations
which the house afforded.

"He is welcome to my share of the truckle," said Jenkin,--for in
the said back closet were the two apprentices accommodated in one
truckle-bed,--"I can sleep under the counter."

"So can I," said Tunstall, "and the poor fellow can have the bed all
night."

"Sleep," said the apothecary, "is, in the opinion of Galen,
a restorative and febrifuge, and is most naturally taken in a
truckle-bed."

"Where a better cannot be come by,"--said Master George; "but these are
two honest lads, to give up their beds so willingly. Come, off with his
cloak, and let us bear him to his couch--I will send for Dr. Irving, the
king's chirurgeon--he does not live far off, and that shall be my share
of the Samaritan's duty, neighbour Ramsay."

"Well, sir," said the apothecary, "it is at your pleasure to send for
other advice, and I shall not object to consult with Dr. Irving or any
other medical person of skill, neither to continue to furnish such drugs
as may be needful from my pharmacopeia. However, whatever Dr. Irving,
who, I think, hath had his degrees in Edinburgh, or Dr. Any-one-beside,
be he Scottish or English, may say to the contrary, sleep, taken
timeously, is a febrifuge, or sedative, and also a restorative."

He muttered a few more learned words, and concluded by informing
Ramsay's friend in English far more intelligible than his Latin, that he
would look to him as his paymaster, for medicines, care, and attendance,
furnished, or to be furnished, to this party unknown.

Master George only replied by desiring him to send his bill for what he
had already to charge, and to give himself no farther trouble unless he
heard from him. The pharmacopolist, who, from discoveries made by the
cloak falling a little aside, had no great opinion of the faculty of
this chance patient to make reimbursement, had no sooner seen his case
espoused by a substantial citizen, than he showed some reluctance to
quit possession of it, and it needed a short and stern hint from Master
George, which, with all his good-humour, he was capable of expressing
when occasion required, to send to his own dwelling this Esculapius of
Temple Bar.

When they were rid of Mr. Raredrench, the charitable efforts of Jenkin
and Francis, to divest the patient of his long grey cloak, were firmly
resisted on his own part.--"My life suner--my life suner," he muttered
in indistinct murmurs. In these efforts to retain his upper garment,
which was too tender to resist much handling, it gave way at length with
a loud rent, which almost threw the patient into a second syncope,
and he sat before them in his under garments, the looped and repaired
wretchedness of which moved at once pity and laughter, and had certainly
been the cause of his unwillingness to resign the mantle, which, like
the virtue of charity, served to cover so many imperfections.

The man himself cast his eyes on his poverty-struck garb, and seemed so
much ashamed of the disclosure, that, muttering between his teeth, that
he would be too late for his appointment, he made an effort to rise and
leave the shop, which was easily prevented by Jenkin Vincent and his
comrade, who, at the nod of Master George, laid hold of and detained him
in his chair.

The patient next looked round him for a moment, and then said faintly,
in his broad northern language--"What sort of usage ca' ye this,
gentlemen, to a stranger a sojourner in your town? Ye hae broken my
head--ye hae riven my cloak, and now ye are for restraining my personal
liberty! They were wiser than me," he said, after a moment's pause,
"that counselled me to wear my warst claithing in the streets of
London; and, if I could have got ony things warse than these mean
garments,"--("which would have been very difficult," said Jin Vin, in a
whisper to his companion,)--"they would have been e'en ower gude for the
grips o' men sae little acquented with the laws of honest civility."

"To say the truth," said Jenkin, unable to forbear any longer, although
the discipline of the times prescribed to those in his situation a
degree of respectful distance and humility in the presence of parents,
masters, or seniors, of which the present age has no idea--"to say the
truth, the good gentleman's clothes look as if they would not brook much
handling."

"Hold your peace, young man," said Master George, with a tone of
authority; "never mock the stranger or the poor--the black ox has not
trod on your foot yet--you know not what lands you may travel in, or
what clothes you may wear, before you die."

Vincent held down his head and stood rebuked, but the stranger did not
accept the apology which was made for him.

"I _am_ a stranger, sir," said he, "that is certain; though methinks,
that, being such, I have been somewhat familiarly treated in this town
of yours; but, as for my being poor, I think I need not be charged with
poverty, till I seek siller of somebody."

"The dear country all over," said Master George, in a whisper, to David
Ramsay, "pride and poverty."

But David had taken out his tablets and silver pen, and, deeply immersed
in calculations, in which he rambled over all the terms of arithmetic,
from the simple unit to millions, billions, and trillions, neither heard
nor answered the observation of his friend, who, seeing his abstraction,
turned again to the Scot.

"I fancy now, Jockey, if a stranger were to offer you a noble, you would
chuck it back at his head?"

"Not if I could do him honest service for it, sir," said the Scot; "I
am willing to do what I may to be useful, though I come of an honourable
house, and may be said to be in a sort indifferently weel provided for."

"Ay!" said the interrogator, "and what house may claim the honour of
your descent?"

"An ancient coat belongs to it, as the play says," whispered Vincent to
his companion.

"Come, Jockey, out with it," continued Master George, observing that the
Scot, as usual with his countrymen, when asked a blunt, straightforward
question, took a little time before answering it.

"I am no more Jockey, sir, than you are John," said the stranger, as if
offended at being addressed by a name, which at that time was used, as
Sawney now is, for a general appellative of the Scottish nation. "My
name, if you must know it, is Richie Moniplies; and I come of the old
and honourable house of Castle Collop, weel kend at the West-Port of
Edinburgh."

"What is that you call the West-Port?" proceeded the interrogator.

"Why, an it like your honour," said Richie, who now, having recovered
his senses sufficiently to observe the respectable exterior of Master
George, threw more civility into his manner than at first, "the
West-Port is a gate of our city, as yonder brick arches at Whitehall
form the entrance of the king's palace here, only that the West-Port is
of stonern work, and mair decorated with architecture and the policy of
bigging."

"Nouns, man, the Whitehall gateways were planned by the great Holbein,"
answered Master George; "I suspect your accident has jumbled your
brains, my good friend. I suppose you will tell me next, you have
at Edinburgh as fine a navigable river as the Thames, with all its
shipping?"

"The Thames!" exclaimed Richie, in a tone of ineffable contempt--"God
bless your honour's judgment, we have at Edinburgh the Water-of-Leith
and the Nor-loch!"

"And the Pow-Burn, and the Quarry-holes, and the Gusedub, ye fause
loon!" answered Master George, speaking Scotch with a strong and natural
emphasis; "it is such land-loupers as you, that, with your falset and
fair fashions, bring reproach on our whole country."

"God forgie me, sir," said Richie, much surprised at finding the
supposed southron converted into a native Scot, "I took your honour for
an Englisher! But I hope there was naething wrang in standing up for
ane's ain country's credit in a strange land, where all men cry her
down?"

"Do you call it for your country's credit, to show that she has a lying,
puffing rascal, for one of her children?" said Master George. "But come,
man, never look grave on it,--as you have found a countryman, so you
have found a friend, if you deserve one--and especially if you answer me
truly."

"I see nae gude it wad do me to speak ought else but truth," said the
worthy North Briton.

"Well, then--to begin," said Master George, "I suspect you are a son of
old Mungo Moniplies, the flesher, at the West-Port."

"Your honour is a witch, I think," said Richie, grinning.

"And how dared you, sir, to uphold him for a noble?"

"I dinna ken, sir," said Richie, scratching his head; "I hear muckle
of an Earl of Warwick in these southern parts,--Guy, I think his name
was,--and he has great reputation here for slaying dun cows, and boars,
and such like; and I am sure my father has killed more cows and boars,
not to mention bulls, calves, sheep, ewes, lambs, and pigs, than the
haill Baronage of England."

"Go to! you are a shrewd knave," said Master George; "charm your tongue,
and take care of saucy answers. Your father was an honest burgher, and
the deacon of his craft: I am sorry to see his son in so poor a coat."

"Indifferent, sir," said Richie Moniplies, looking down on his
garments--"very indifferent; but it is the wonted livery of poor
burghers' sons in our country--one of Luckie Want's bestowing upon
us--rest us patient! The king's leaving Scotland has taken all custom
frae Edinburgh; and there is hay made at the Cross, and a dainty crop
of fouats in the Grass-market. There is as much grass grows where my
father's stall stood, as might have been a good bite for the beasts he
was used to kill."

"It is even too true," said Master George; "and while we make fortunes
here, our old neighbours and their families are starving at home. This
should be thought upon oftener.--And how came you by that broken head,
Richie?--tell me honestly."

"Troth, sir, I'se no lee about the matter," answered Moniplies. "I was
coming along the street here, and ilk ane was at me with their jests and
roguery. So I thought to mysell, ye are ower mony for me to mell with;
but let me catch ye in Barford's Park, or at the fit of the Vennel, I
could gar some of ye sing another sang. Sae ae auld hirpling deevil of
a potter behoved just to step in my way and offer me a pig, as he
said, just to put my Scotch ointment in, and I gave him a push, as but
natural, and the tottering deevil coupit ower amang his ain pigs, and
damaged a score of them. And then the reird raise, and hadna these twa
gentlemen helped me out of it, murdered I suld hae been, without remeid.
And as it was, just when they got haud of my arm to have me out of the
fray, I got the lick that donnerit me from a left-handed lighterman."

Master George looked to the apprentices as if to demand the truth of
this story.

"It is just as he says, sir," replied Jenkin; "only I heard nothing
about pigs.--The people said he had broke some crockery, and that--I beg
pardon, sir--nobody could thrive within the kenning of a Scot."

"Well, no matter what they said, you were an honest fellow to help the
weaker side.--And you, sirrah," continued Master George, addressing his
countryman, "will call at my house to-morrow morning, agreeable to this
direction."

"I will wait upon your honour," said the Scot, bowing very low; "that
is, if my honourable master will permit me."

"Thy master?" said George,--"Hast thou any other master save Want, whose
livery you say you wear?"

"Troth, in one sense, if it please your honour, I serve twa masters,"
said Richie; "for both my master and me are slaves to that same beldam,
whom we thought to show our heels to by coming off from Scotland. So
that you see, sir, I hold in a sort of black ward tenure, as we call it
in our country, being the servant of a servant."

"And what is your master's name?" said Master George; and observing that
Richie hesitated, he added, "Nay, do not tell me, if it is a secret."

"A secret that there is little use in keeping," said Richie; "only ye
ken that our northern stomachs are ower proud to call in witnesses to
our distress. No that my master is in mair than present pinch, sir," he
added, looking towards the two English apprentices, "having a large sum
in the Royal Treasury--that is," he continued, in a whisper to Master
George,--"the king is owing him a lot of siller; but it's ill getting at
it, it's like.--My master is the young Lord Glenvarloch."

Master George testified surprise at the name.--"_You_ one of the young
Lord Glenvarloch's followers, and in such a condition?"

"Troth, and I am all the followers he has, for the present that is; and
blithe wad I be if he were muckle better aff than I am, though I were to
bide as I am."

"I have seen his father with four gentlemen and ten lackeys at his
heels," said Master George, "rustling in their laces and velvets. Well,
this is a changeful world, but there is a better beyond it.--The good
old house of Glenvarloch, that stood by king and country five hundred
years!"

"Your honour may say a thousand," said the follower.

"I will say what I know to be true, friend," said the citizen, "and not
a word more.--You seem well recovered now--can you walk?"

"Bravely, sir," said Richie; "it was but a bit dover. I was bred at the
West-Port, and my cantle will stand a clour wad bring a stot down."

"Where does your master lodge?"

"We pit up, an it like your honour," replied the Scot, "in a sma' house
at the fit of ane of the wynds that gang down to the water-side, with
a decent man, John Christie, a ship-chandler, as they ca't. His father
came from Dundee. I wotna the name of the wynd, but it's right anent the
mickle kirk yonder; and your honour will mind, that we pass only by our
family-name of simple Mr. Nigel Olifaunt, as keeping ourselves retired
for the present, though in Scotland we be called the Lord Nigel."

"It is wisely done of your master," said the citizen. "I will find
out your lodgings, though your direction be none of the clearest."
So saying, and slipping a piece of money at the same time into Richie
Moniplies's hand, he bade him hasten home, and get into no more affrays.

"I will take care of that now, sir," said Richie, with a look of
importance, "having a charge about me. And so, wussing ye a' weel, with
special thanks to these twa young gentlemen----"

"I am no gentleman," said Jenkin, flinging his cap on his head; "I am
a tight London 'prentice, and hope to be a freeman one day. Frank may
write himself gentleman, if he will."

"I _was_ a gentleman once," said Tunstall, "and I hope I have done
nothing to lose the name of one."

"Weel, weel, as ye list," said Richie Moniplies; "but I am mickle
beholden to ye baith--and I am not a hair the less like to bear it in
mind that I say but little about it just now.--Gude-night to you, my
kind countryman." So saying, he thrust out of the sleeve of his ragged
doublet a long bony hand and arm, on which the muscles rose like
whip-cord. Master George shook it heartily, while Jenkin and Frank
exchanged sly looks with each other.

Richie Moniplies would next have addressed his thanks to the master of
the shop, but seeing him, as he afterwards said, "scribbling on his
bit bookie, as if he were demented," he contented his politeness
with "giving him a hat," touching, that is, his bonnet, in token of
salutation, and so left the shop.

"Now, there goes Scotch Jockey, with all his bad and good about him,"
said Master George to Master David, who suspended, though unwillingly,
the calculations with which he was engaged, and keeping his pen within
an inch of the tablets, gazed on his friend with great lack-lustre eyes,
which expressed any thing rather than intelligence or interest in the
discourse addressed to him.--"That fellow," proceeded Master George,
without heeding his friend's state of abstraction, "shows, with great
liveliness of colouring, how our Scotch pride and poverty make liars
and braggarts of us; and yet the knave, whose every third word to an
Englishman is a boastful lie, will, I warrant you, be a true and tender
friend and follower to his master, and has perhaps parted with his
mantle to him in the cold blast, although he himself walked _in cuerpo,_
as the Don says.--Strange! that courage and fidelity--for I will warrant
that the knave is stout--should have no better companion than this
swaggering braggadocio humour.--But you mark me not, friend Davie."

"I do--I do, most heedfully," said Davie.--"For, as the sun goeth round
the dial-plate in twenty-four hours, add, for the moon, fifty minutes
and a half----"

"You are in the seventh heavens, man," said his companion.

"I crave your pardon," replied Davie.--"Let the wheel A go round in
twenty-four hours--I have it--and the wheel B in twenty-four hours,
fifty minutes and a half--fifty-seven being to fifty-four, as fifty-nine
to twenty-four hours, fifty minutes and a half, or very nearly,--I crave
your forgiveness, Master George, and heartily wish you good-even."

"Good-even?" said Master George; "why, you have not wished me good-day
yet. Come, old friend, lay by these tablets, or you will crack the inner
machinery of _your_ skull, as our friend yonder has got the outer-case
of his damaged.--Good-night, quotha! I mean not to part with you so
easily. I came to get my four hours' nunchion from you, man, besides a
tune on the lute from my god-daughter, Mrs. Marget."

"Good faith! I was abstracted, Master George--but you know me. Whenever
I get amongst the wheels," said Mr. Ramsay, "why, 'tis----"

"Lucky that you deal in small ones," said his friend; as, awakened from
his reveries and calculations, Ramsay led the way up a little back-stair
to the first storey, occupied by his daughter and his little household.

The apprentices resumed their places in the front-shop, and relieved
Sam Porter; when Jenkin said to Tunstall--"Didst see, Frank, how the old
goldsmith cottoned in with his beggarly countryman? When would one
of his wealth have shaken hands so courteously with a poor
Englishman?--Well, I'll say that for the best of the Scots, that they
will go over head and ears to serve a countryman, when they will not
wet a nail of their finger to save a Southron, as they call us, from
drowning. And yet Master George is but half-bred Scot neither in that
respect; for I have known him do many a kind thing to the English too."

"But hark ye, Jenkin," said Tunstall, "I think you are but half-bred
English yourself. How came you to strike on the Scotsman's side after
all?"

"Why, you did so, too," answered Vincent.

"Ay, because I saw you begin; and, besides, it is no Cumberland fashion
to fall fifty upon one," replied Tunstall.

"And no Christ Church fashion neither," said Jenkin. "Fair play and Old
England for ever!--Besides, to tell you a secret, his voice had a twang
in it--in the dialect I mean--reminded me of a little tongue, which I
think sweeter--sweeter than the last toll of St. Dunstan's will sound,
on the day that I am shot of my indentures--Ha!--you guess who I mean,
Frank?"

"Not I, indeed," answered Tunstall.--"Scotch Janet, I suppose, the
laundress."


"Off with Janet in her own bucking-basket!--No, no, no!--You blind
buzzard,--do you not know I mean pretty Mrs. Marget?"

"Umph!" answered Tunstall, dryly.

A flash of anger, not unmingled with suspicion, shot from Jenkin's keen
black eyes.

"Umph!--and what signifies umph? I am not the first 'prentice has
married his master's daughter, I suppose?"

"They kept their own secret, I fancy," said Tunstall, "at least till
they were out of their time."

"I tell you what it is, Frank," answered Jenkin, sharply, "that may
be the fashion of you gentlefolks, that are taught from your biggin to
carry two faces under the same hood, but it shall never be mine."

"There are the stairs, then," said Tunstall, coolly; "go up and ask Mrs.
Marget of our master just now, and see what sort of a face he will wear
under _his_ hood."

"No, I wonnot," answered Jenkin; "I am not such a fool as that neither.
But I will take my own time; and all the Counts in Cumberland shall not
cut my comb, and this is that which you may depend upon."

Francis made no reply; and they resumed their usual attention to the
business of the shop, and their usual solicitations to the passengers.



CHAPTER III


_Bobadil._ I pray you, possess no gallant of your acquaintance with a
knowledge of my lodging. _Master Matthew._ Who, I, sir?--Lord, sir! _Ben
Jonson._

The next morning found Nigel Olifaunt, the young Lord of Glenvarloch,
seated, sad and solitary, in his little apartment, in the mansion
of John Christie, the ship-chandler; which that honest tradesman, in
gratitude perhaps to the profession from which he derived his chief
support, appeared to have constructed as nearly as possible upon the
plan of a ship's cabin.

It was situated near to Paul's Wharf, at the end of one of those
intricate and narrow lanes, which, until that part of the city was swept
away by the Great Fire in 1666, constituted an extraordinary labyrinth
of small, dark, damp, and unwholesome streets and alleys, in one corner
or other of which the plague was then as surely found lurking, as in the
obscure corners of Constantinople in our own time. But John Christie's
house looked out upon the river, and had the advantage, therefore,
of free air, impregnated, however, with the odoriferous fumes of the
articles in which the ship-chandler dealt, with the odour of pitch, and
the natural scent of the ooze and sludge left by the reflux of the tide.

Upon the whole, except that his dwelling did not float with the
flood-tide, and become stranded with the ebb, the young lord was nearly
as comfortably accommodated as he was while on board the little trading
brig from the long town of Kirkaldy, in Fife, by which he had come a
passenger to London. He received, however, every attention which could
be paid him by his honest landlord, John Christie; for Richie Moniplies
had not thought it necessary to preserve his master's _incognito_ so
completely, but that the honest ship-chandler could form a guess that
his guest's quality was superior to his appearance.

As for Dame Nelly, his wife, a round, buxom, laughter-loving dame,
with black eyes, a tight well-laced bodice, a green apron, and a red
petticoat edged with a slight silver lace, and judiciously shortened so
as to show that a short heel, and a tight clean ankle, rested upon her
well-burnished shoe,--she, of course, felt interest in a young man, who,
besides being very handsome, good-humoured, and easily satisfied with
the accommodations her house afforded, was evidently of a rank, as well
as manners, highly superior to the skippers (or Captains, as they called
themselves) of merchant vessels, who were the usual tenants of the
apartments which she let to hire; and at whose departure she was sure to
find her well-scrubbed floor soiled with the relics of tobacco, (which,
spite of King James's Counterblast, was then forcing itself into use,)
and her best curtains impregnated with the odour of Geneva and strong
waters, to Dame Nelly's great indignation; for, as she truly said, the
smell of the shop and warehouse was bad enough without these additions.

But all Mr. Olifaunt's habits were regular and cleanly, and his address,
though frank and simple, showed so much of the courtier and gentleman,
as formed a strong contrast with the loud halloo, coarse jests, and
boisterous impatience of her maritime inmates. Dame Nelly saw that her
guest was melancholy also, notwithstanding his efforts to seem contented
and cheerful; and, in short, she took that sort of interest in him,
without being herself aware of the extent, which an unscrupulous gallant
might have been tempted to improve to the prejudice of honest John,
who was at least a score of years older than his helpmate. Olifaunt,
however, had not only other matters to think of, but would have regarded
such an intrigue, had the idea ever occurred to him, as an abominable
and ungrateful encroachment upon the laws of hospitality, his religion
having been by his late father formed upon the strict principles of the
national faith, and his morality upon those of the nicest honour. He
had not escaped the predominant weakness of his country, an overweening
sense of the pride of birth, and a disposition to value the worth and
consequence of others according to the number and the fame of their
deceased ancestors; but this pride of family was well subdued, and
in general almost entirely concealed, by his good sense and general
courtesy.

Such as we have described him, Nigel Olifaunt, or rather the young
Lord Glenvarloch, was, when our narrative takes him up, under great
perplexity respecting the fate of his trusty and only follower, Richard
Moniplies, who had been dispatched by his young master, early the
preceding morning, as far as the court at Westminster, but had not yet
returned. His evening adventures the reader is already acquainted with,
and so far knows more of Richie than did his master, who had not heard
of him for twenty-four hours.

Dame Nelly Christie, in the meantime, regarded her guest with some
anxiety, and a great desire to comfort him, if possible. She placed on
the breakfast-table a noble piece of cold powdered beef, with its usual
guards of turnip and carrot, recommended her mustard as coming direct
from her cousin at Tewkesbury, and spiced the toast with her own
hands--and with her own hands, also, drew a jug of stout and nappy ale,
all of which were elements of the substantial breakfast of the period.

When she saw that her guest's anxiety prevented him from doing justice
to the good cheer which she set before him, she commenced her career
of verbal consolation with the usual volubility of those women in her
station, who, conscious of good looks, good intentions, and good lungs,
entertain no fear either of wearying themselves or of fatiguing their
auditors.

"Now, what the good year! are we to send you down to Scotland as thin
as you came up?--I am sure it would be contrary to the course of nature.
There was my goodman's father, old Sandie Christie, I have heard he was
an atomy when he came up from the North, and I am sure he died, Saint
Barnaby was ten years, at twenty stone weight. I was a bare-headed girl
at the time, and lived in the neighbourhood, though I had little thought
of marrying John then, who had a score of years the better of me--but he
is a thriving man and a kind husband--and his father, as I was saying,
died as fat as a church-warden. Well, sir, but I hope I have not
offended you for my little joke--and I hope the ale is to your honour's
liking,--and the beef--and the mustard?"

"All excellent--all too good," answered Olifaunt; "you have every thing
so clean and tidy, dame, that I shall not know how to live when I go
back to my own country--if ever I go back there."

This was added as it seemed involuntarily, and with a deep sigh.

"I warrant your honour go back again if you like it," said the dame:
"unless you think rather of taking a pretty well-dowered English lady,
as some of your countryfolk have done. I assure you, some of the best of
the city have married Scotsmen. There was Lady Trebleplumb, Sir Thomas
Trebleplumb the great Turkey merchant's widow, married Sir Awley
Macauley, whom your honour knows, doubtless; and pretty Mistress
Doublefee, old Sergeant Doublefee's daughter, jumped out of window,
and was married at May-fair to a Scotsman with a hard name; and old
Pitchpost the timber merchant's daughters did little better, for they
married two Irishmen; and when folks jeer me about having a Scotsman
for lodger, meaning your honour, I tell them they are afraid of their
daughters and their mistresses; and sure I have a right to stand up for
the Scots, since John Christie is half a Scotsman, and a thriving man,
and a good husband, though there is a score of years between us; and so
I would have your honour cast care away, and mend your breakfast with a
morsel and a draught."

"At a word, my kind hostess, I cannot," said Olifaunt; "I am anxious
about this knave of mine, who has been so long absent in this dangerous
town of yours."

It may be noticed in passing that Dame Nelly's ordinary mode of
consolation was to disprove the existence of any cause for distress; and
she is said to have carried this so far as to comfort a neighbour, who
had lost her husband, with the assurance that the dear defunct would be
better to-morrow, which perhaps might not have proved an appropriate,
even if it had been a possible, mode of relief.

On this occasion she denied stoutly that Richie had been absent
altogether twenty hours; and as for people being killed in the streets
of London, to be sure two men had been found in Tower-ditch last week,
but that was far to the east, and the other poor man that had his throat
cut in the fields, had met his mishap near by Islington; and he that was
stabbed by the young Templar in a drunken frolic, by Saint Clement's
in the Strand, was an Irishman. All which evidence she produced to show
that none of these casualties had occurred in a case exactly parallel
with that of Richie, a Scotsman, and on his return from Westminster.

"My better comfort is, my good dame," answered Olifaunt, "that the lad
is no brawler or quarreller, unless strongly urged, and that he has
nothing valuable about him to any one but me."

"Your honour speaks very well," retorted the inexhaustible hostess, who
protracted her task of taking away, and putting to rights, in order
that she might prolong her gossip. "I'll uphold Master Moniplies to be
neither reveller nor brawler, for if he liked such things, he might
be visiting and junketing with the young folks about here in the
neighbourhood, and he never dreams of it; and when I asked the young
man to go as far as my gossip's, Dame Drinkwater, to taste a glass of
aniseed, and a bit of the groaning cheese,--for Dame Drinkwater has had
twins, as I told your honour, sir,--and I meant it quite civilly to the
young man, but he chose to sit and keep house with John Christie; and
I dare say there is a score of years between them, for your honour's
servant looks scarce much older than I am. I wonder what they could have
to say to each other. I asked John Christie, but he bid me go to sleep."

"If he comes not soon," said his master, "I will thank you to tell me
what magistrate I can address myself to; for besides my anxiety for the
poor fellow's safety, he has papers of importance about him."

"O! your honour may be assured he will be back in a quarter of an hour,"
said Dame Nelly; "he is not the lad to stay out twenty-four hours at a
stretch. And for the papers, I am sure your honour will pardon him for
just giving me a peep at the corner, as I was giving him a small cup,
not so large as my thimble, of distilled waters, to fortify his stomach
against the damps, and it was directed to the King's Most Excellent
Majesty; and so doubtless his Majesty has kept Richie out of civility to
consider of your honour's letter, and send back a fitting reply."

Dame Nelly here hit by chance on a more available topic of consolation
than those she had hitherto touched upon; for the youthful lord had
himself some vague hopes that his messenger might have been delayed at
Court until a fitting and favourable answer should be dispatched back to
him. Inexperienced, however, in public affairs as he certainly was,
it required only a moment's consideration to convince him of the
improbability of an expectation so contrary to all he had heard of
etiquette, as well as the dilatory proceedings in a court suit, and he
answered the good-natured hostess with a sigh, that he doubted whether
the king would even look on the paper addressed to him, far less take it
into his immediate consideration.

"Now, out upon you for a faint-hearted gentleman!" said the good
dame; "and why should he not do as much for us as our gracious Queen
Elizabeth? Many people say this and that about a queen and a king, but
I think a king comes more natural to us English folks; and this good
gentleman goes as often down by water to Greenwich, and employs as many
of the barge-men and water-men of all kinds; and maintains, in his royal
grace, John Taylor, the water-poet, who keeps both a sculler and a pair
of oars. And he has made a comely Court at Whitehall, just by the river;
and since the king is so good a friend to the Thames, I cannot see,
if it please your honour, why all his subjects, and your honour in
specialty, should not have satisfaction by his hands."

"True, dame--true,--let us hope for the best; but I must take my cloak
and rapier, and pray your husband in courtesy to teach me the way to a
magistrate."

"Sure, sir," said the prompt dame, "I can do that as well as he, who has
been a slow man of his tongue all his life, though I will give him his
due for being a loving husband, and a man as well to pass in the world
as any betwixt us and the top of the lane. And so there is the sitting
alderman, that is always at the Guildhall, which is close by Paul's, and
so I warrant you he puts all to rights in the city that wisdom can mend;
and for the rest there is no help but patience. But I wish I were as
sure of forty pounds as I am that the young man will come back safe and
sound."

Olifaunt, in great and anxious doubt of what the good dame so strongly
averred, flung his cloak on one shoulder, and was about to belt on his
rapier, when first the voice of Richie Moniplies on the stair, and
then that faithful emissary's appearance in the chamber, put the matter
beyond question. Dame Nelly, after congratulating Moniplies on his
return, and paying several compliments to her own sagacity for having
foretold it, was at length pleased to leave the apartment. The truth
was, that, besides some instinctive feelings of good breeding which
combated her curiosity, she saw there was no chance of Richie's
proceeding in his narrative while she was in the room, and she therefore
retreated, trusting that her own address would get the secret out of one
or other of the young men, when she should have either by himself.

"Now, in Heaven's name, what is the matter?" said Nigel
Olifaunt.--"Where have you been, or what have you been about? You look
as pale as death. There is blood on your hand, and your clothes are
torn. What barns-breaking have you been at? You have been drunk,
Richard, and fighting."

"Fighting I have been," said Richard, "in a small way; but for being
drunk, that's a job ill to manage in this town, without money to come
by liquor; and as for barns-breaking, the deil a thing's broken but my
head. It's not made of iron, I wot, nor my claithes of chenzie-mail; so
a club smashed the tane, and a claught damaged the tither. Some misleard
rascals abused my country, but I think I cleared the causey of them.
However, the haill hive was ower mony for me at last, and I got this
eclipse on the crown, and then I was carried, beyond my kenning, to
a sma' booth at the Temple Port, whare they sell the whirligigs and
mony-go-rounds that measure out time as a man wad measure a tartan
web; and then they bled me, wold I nold I, and were reasonably civil,
especially an auld country-man of ours, of whom more hereafter."

"And at what o'clock might this be?" said Nigel.

"The twa iron carles yonder, at the kirk beside the Port, were just
banging out sax o' the clock."

"And why came you not home as soon as you recovered?" said Nigel.

"In troth, my lord, every _why_ has its _wherefore_, and this has a gude
ane," answered his follower. "To come hame, I behoved to ken whare hame
was; now, I had clean tint the name of the wynd, and the mair I asked,
the mair the folk leugh, and the farther they sent me wrang; sae I gave
it up till God should send daylight to help me; and as I saw mysell near
a kirk at the lang run, I e'en crap in to take up my night's quarters in
the kirkyard."

"In the churchyard?" said Nigel--"But I need not ask what drove you to
such a pinch."

"It wasna sae much the want o' siller, my Lord Nigel," said Richie,
with an air of mysterious importance, "for I was no sae absolute without
means, of whilk mair anon; but I thought I wad never ware a saxpence
sterling on ane of their saucy chamberlains at a hostelry, sae lang as
I could sleep fresh and fine in a fair, dry, spring night. Mony a time,
when I hae come hame ower late, and faund the West-Port steekit, and the
waiter ill-willy, I have garr'd the sexton of Saint Cuthbert's calf-ward
serve me for my quarters. But then there are dainty green graffs in
Saint Cuthbert's kirkyard, whare ane may sleep as if they were in a
down-bed, till they hear the lavrock singing up in the air as high as
the Castle; whereas, and behold, these London kirkyards are causeyed
with through-stanes, panged hard and fast thegither; and my cloak being
something threadbare, made but a thin mattress, so I was fain to give
up my bed before every limb about me was crippled. Dead folks may sleep
yonder sound enow, but deil haet else."

"And what became of you next?" said his master.

"I just took to a canny bulkhead, as they ca' them here; that is, the
boards on the tap of their bits of outshots of stalls and booths,
and there I sleepit as sound as if I was in a castle. Not but I was
disturbed with some of the night-walking queans and swaggering billies,
but when they found there was nothing to be got by me but a slash of my
Andrew Ferrara, they bid me good-night for a beggarly Scot; and I was
e'en weel pleased to be sae cheap rid of them. And in the morning, I cam
daikering here, but sad wark I had to find the way, for I had been
east as far as the place they ca' Mile-End, though it is mair like
sax-mile-end."

"Well, Richie," answered Nigel, "I am glad all this has ended so
well--go get something to eat. I am sure you need it."

"In troth do I, sir," replied Moniplies; "but, with your lordship's
leave--"

"Forget the lordship for the present, Richie, as I have often told you
before."

"Faith," replied Richie, "I could weel forget that your honour was a
lord, but then I behoved to forget that I am a lord's man, and that's
not so easy. But, however," he added, assisting his description with the
thumb and the two forefingers of his right hand, thrust out after the
fashion of a bird's claw, while the little finger and ring-finger were
closed upon the palm, "to the Court I went, and my friend that promised
me a sight of his Majesty's most gracious presence, was as gude as
his word, and carried me into the back offices, where I got the best
breakfast I have had since we came here, and it did me gude for the rest
of the day; for as to what I have eaten in this accursed town, it is aye
sauced with the disquieting thought that it maun be paid for. After a',
there was but beef banes and fat brose; but king's cauff, your honour
kens, is better than ither folk's corn; at ony rate, it was a' in free
awmous.--But I see," he added, stopping short, "that your honour waxes
impatient."

"By no means, Richie," said the young nobleman, with an air of
resignation, for he well knew his domestic would not mend his pace for
goading; "you have suffered enough in the embassy to have a right to
tell the story in your own way. Only let me pray for the name of the
friend who was to introduce you into the king's presence. You were very
mysterious on the subject, when you undertook, through his means, to
have the Supplication put into his Majesty's own hands, since those
sent heretofore, I have every reason to think, went no farther than his
secretary's."

"Weel, my lord," said Richie, "I did not tell you his name and quality
at first, because I thought you would be affronted at the like of him
having to do in your lordship's affairs. But mony a man climbs up in
Court by waur help. It was just Laurie Linklater, one of the yeomen of
the kitchen, that was my father's apprentice lang syne."

"A yeoman in the kitchen--a scullion!" exclaimed Lord Nigel, pacing the
room in displeasure.

"But consider, sir," said Richie, composedly, "that a' your great
friends hung back, and shunned to own you, or to advocate your petition;
and then, though I am sure I wish Laurie a higher office, for your
lordship's sake and for mine, and specially for his ain sake, being a
friendly lad, yet your lordship must consider, that a scullion, if a
yeoman of the king's most royal kitchen may be called a scullion, may
weel rank with a master-cook elsewhere; being that king's cauff, as I
said before, is better than--"

"You are right, and I was wrong," said the young nobleman. "I have no
choice of means of making my case known, so that they be honest."

"Laurie is as honest a lad as ever lifted a ladle," said Richie; "not
but what I dare to say he can lick his fingers like other folk, and
reason good. But, in fine, for I see your honour is waxing impatient, he
brought me to the palace, where a' was astir for the king going out to
hunt or hawk on Blackheath, I think they ca'd it. And there was a horse
stood with all the quarries about it, a bonny grey as ever was foaled;
and the saddle and the stirrups, and the curb and bit, o' burning gowd,
or silver gilded at least; and down, sir, came the king, with all his
nobles, dressed out in his hunting-suit of green, doubly laced, and laid
down with gowd. I minded the very face o' him, though it was lang since
I saw him. But my certie, lad, thought I, times are changed since ye
came fleeing down the back stairs of auld Holyrood House, in grit fear,
having your breeks in your hand without time to put them on, and Frank
Stewart, the wild Earl of Bothwell, hard at your haunches; and if auld
Lord Glenvarloch hadna cast his mantle about his arm, and taken bluidy
wounds mair than ane in your behalf, you wald not have craw'd sae
crouse this day; and so saying, I could not but think your lordship's
Sifflication could not be less than most acceptable; and so I banged
in among the crowd of lords. Laurie thought me mad, and held me by the
cloak-lap till the cloth rave in his hand; and so I banged in right
before the king just as he mounted, and crammed the Sifflication into
his hand, and he opened it like in amaze; and just as he saw the first
line, I was minded to make a reverence, and I had the ill luck to hit
his jaud o' a beast on the nose with my hat, and scaur the creature,
and she swarved aside, and the king, that sits na mickle better than a
draff-pock on the saddle, was like to have gotten a clean coup, and that
might have cost my craig a raxing-and he flung down the paper amang the
beast's feet, and cried, 'Away wi' the fause loon that brought it!' And
they grippit me, and cried treason; and I thought of the Ruthvens that
were dirked in their ain house, for, it may be, as small a forfeit.
However, they spak only of scourging me, and had me away to the porter's
lodge to try the tawse on my back, and I was crying mercy as loud as
I could; and the king, when he had righted himself on the saddle, and
gathered his breath, cried to do me nae harm; for, said he, he is ane
of our ain Norland stots, I ken by the rowt of him,--and they a'
laughed and rowted loud eneugh. And then he said, 'Gie him a copy of
the Proclamation, and let him go down to the North by the next light
collier, before waur come o't.' So they let me go, and rode out, a
sniggering, laughing, and rounding in ilk ither's lugs. A sair life I
had wi' Laurie Linklater; for he said it wad be the ruin of him. And
then, when I told him it was in your matter, he said if he had known
before he would have risked a scauding for you, because he minded
the brave old lord, your father. And then he showed how I suld have
done,--and that I suld have held up my hand to my brow, as if the
grandeur of the king and his horse-graith thegither had casten the
glaiks in my een, and mair jackanape tricks I suld hae played, instead
of offering the Sifflication, he said, as if I had been bringing guts to
a bear." [Footnote: I am certain this prudential advice is not original
on Mr. Linklater's part, but I am not at present able to produce my
authority. I think it amounted to this, that James flung down a petition
presented by some supplicant who paid no compliments to his horse,
and expressed no admiration at the splendour of his furniture, saying,
"Shall a king cumber himself about the petition of a beggar, while
the beggar disregards the king's splendour?" It is, I think, Sir John
Harrington who recommends, as a sure mode to the king's favour, to
praise the paces of the royal palfrey.]

'For,' said he, 'Richie, the king is a weel-natured and just man of
his ain kindly nature, but he has a wheen maggots that maun be cannily
guided; and then, Richie,' says he, in a very laigh tone, 'I would tell
it to nane but a wise man like yoursell, but the king has them about him
wad corrupt an angel from heaven; but I could have gi'en you avisement
how to have guided him, but now it's like after meat mustard.'--'Aweel,
aweel, Laurie,' said I, 'it may be as you say', but since I am clear of
the tawse and the porter's lodge, sifflicate wha like, deil hae Richie
Moniplies if he come sifflicating here again.'--And so away I came, and
I wasna far by the Temple Port, or Bar, or whatever they ca' it, when I
met with the misadventure that I tauld you of before."

"Well, my honest Richie," said Lord Nigel, "your attempt was well meant,
and not so ill conducted, I think, as to have deserved so bad an issue;
but go to your beef and mustard, and we'll talk of the rest afterwards."

"There is nae mair to be spoken, sir," said his follower, "except that
I met ane very honest, fair-spoken, weel-put-on gentleman, or rather
burgher, as I think, that was in the whigmaleery man's back-shop; and
when he learned wha I was, behold he was a kindly Scot himsell, and,
what is more, a town's-bairn o' the gude town, and he behoved to compel
me to take this Portugal piece, to drink, forsooth--my certie, thought
I, we ken better, for we will eat it--and he spoke of paying your
lordship a visit."

"You did not tell him where I lived, you knave?" said the Lord Nigel,
angrily. "'Sdeath! I shall have every clownish burgher from Edinburgh
come to gaze on my distress, and pay a shilling for having seen the
motion of the Poor Noble!"

"Tell him where you lived?" said Richie, evading the question; "How
could I tell him what I kendna mysell? If I had minded the name of the
wynd, I need not have slept in the kirkyard yestreen."

"See, then, that you give no one notice of our lodging," said the young
nobleman; "those with whom I have business I can meet at Paul's, or in
the Court of Requests."

"This is steeking the stable-door when the steed is stolen," thought
Richie to himself; "but I must put him on another pin."

So thinking, he asked the young lord what was in the Proclamation which
he still held folded in his hand; "for, having little time to spell at
it," said he, "your lordship well knows I ken nought about it but the
grand blazon at the tap--the lion has gotten a claught of our auld
Scottish shield now, but it was as weel upheld when it had a unicorn on
ilk side of it."

Lord Nigel read the Proclamation, and he coloured deep with shame and
indignation as he read; for the purport was, to his injured feelings,
like the pouring of ardent spirits upon a recent wound.

"What deil's in the paper, my lord?" said Richie, unable to suppress his
curiosity as he observed his master change colour; "I wadna ask such a
thing, only the Proclamation is not a private thing, but is meant for a'
men's hearing."

"It is indeed meant for all men's hearing," replied Lord Nigel, "and it
proclaims the shame of our country, and the ingratitude of our Prince."

"Now the Lord preserve us! and to publish it in London, too!" ejaculated
Moniplies.

"Hark ye, Richard," said Nigel Olifaunt, "in this paper the Lords of the
Council set forth, that, 'in consideration of the resort of idle persons
of low condition forth from his Majesty's kingdom of Scotland to his
English Court--filling the same with their suits and supplications,
and dishonouring the royal presence with their base, poor, and beggarly
persons, to the disgrace of their country in the estimation of the
English; these are to prohibit the skippers, masters of vessels
and others, in every part of Scotland, from bringing such miserable
creatures up to Court under pain of fine and impisonment."'

"I marle the skipper took us on board," said Richie.

"Then you need not marvel how you are to get back again," said Lord
Nigel, "for here is a clause which says, that such idle suitors are to
be transported back to Scotland at his Majesty's expense, and punished
for their audacity with stripes, stocking, or incarceration, according
to their demerits--that is to say, I suppose, according to the degree of
their poverty, for I see no other demerit specified."

"This will scarcely," said Richie, "square with our old proverb--

     A King's face
     Should give grace--

But what says the paper farther, my lord?"

"O, only a small clause which especially concerns us, making some still
heavier denunciations against those suitors who shall be so bold as to
approach the Court, under pretext of seeking payment of old debts due
to them by the king, which, the paper states, is, of all species of
importunity, that which is most odious to his Majesty."

"The king has neighbours in that matter," said Richie; "but it is not
every one that can shift off that sort of cattle so easily as he does."

Their conversation was here interrupted by a knocking at the door.
Olifaunt looked out at the window, and saw an elderly respectable person
whom he knew not. Richie also peeped, and recognised, but, recognising,
chose not to acknowledge, his friend of the preceding evening. Afraid
that his share in the visit might be detected, he made his escape out
of the apartment under pretext of going to his breakfast; and left their
landlady the task of ushering Master George into Lord Nigel's apartment,
which she performed with much courtesy.



CHAPTER IV


  Ay, sir, the clouted shoe hath oft times craft in't,
  As says the rustic proverb; and your citizen,
  In's grogram suit, gold chain, and well-black'd shoes,
  Bears under his flat cap ofttimes a brain
  Wiser than burns beneath the cap and feather,
  Or seethes within the statesman's velvet nightcap.
                               _Read me my Riddle._

The young Scottish nobleman received the citizen with distant
politeness, expressing that sort of reserve by which those of the higher
ranks are sometimes willing to make a plebeian sensible that he is an
intruder. But Master George seemed neither displeased nor disconcerted.
He assumed the chair, which, in deference to his respectable appearance,
Lord Nigel offered to him, and said, after a moment's pause, during
which he had looked attentively at the young man, with respect not
unmingled with emotion--"You will forgive me for this rudeness, my
lord; but I was endeavouring to trace in your youthful countenance the
features of my good old lord, your excellent father."

There was a moment's pause ere young Glenvarloch replied, still with
a reserved manner,--"I have been reckoned like my father, sir; and am
happy to see any one that respects his memory. But the business which
calls me to this city is of a hasty as well as a private nature, and--"

"I understand the hint, my lord," said Master George, "and would not
be guilty of long detaining you from business, or more agreeable
conversation. My errand is almost done when I have said that my name is
George Heriot, warmly befriended, and introduced into the employment
of the Royal Family of Scotland, more than twenty years since, by your
excellent father; and that, learning from a follower of yours that your
lordship was in this city in prosecution of some business of importance,
it is my duty,--it is my pleasure,--to wait on the son of my respected
patron; and, as I am somewhat known both at the Court, and in the city,
to offer him such aid in the furthering of his affairs as my credit and
experience may be able to afford."

"I have no doubt of either, Master Heriot," said Lord Nigel, "and I
thank you heartily for the good-will with which you have placed them at
a stranger's disposal; but my business at Court is done and ended, and
I intend to leave London and, indeed, the island, for foreign travel
and military service. I may add, that the suddenness of my departure
occasions my having little time at my disposal."

Master Heriot did not take the hint, but sat fast, with an embarrassed
countenance however, like one who had something to say that he knew not
exactly how to make effectual. At length he said, with a dubious smile,
"You are fortunate, my lord, in having so soon dispatched your business
at Court. Your talking landlady informs me you have been but a fortnight
in this city. It is usually months and years ere the Court and a suitor
shake hands and part."

"My business," said Lord Nigel, with a brevity which was intended to
stop further discussion, "was summarily dispatched."

Still Master Heriot remained seated, and there was a cordial good-humour
added to the reverence of his appearance, which rendered it impossible
for Lord Nigel to be more explicit in requesting his absence.

"Your lordship has not yet had time," said the citizen, still attempting
to sustain the conversation, "to visit the places of amusement,--the
playhouses, and other places to which youth resort. But I see in your
lordship's hand one of the new-invented plots of the piece, [Footnote:
Meaning, probably, playbills.] which they hand about of late--May I ask
what play?"

"Oh! a well-known piece," said Lord Nigel, impatiently throwing down
the Proclamation, which he had hitherto been twisting to and fro in
his hand,--"an excellent and well-approved piece--_A New Way to Pay Old
Debts._"

Master Heriot stooped down, saying, "Ah! my old acquaintance, Philip
Massinger;" but, having opened the paper and seen the purport, he looked
at Lord Nigel with surprise, saying, "I trust your lordship does not
think this prohibition can extend either to _your_ person or your
claims?"

"I should scarce have thought so myself," said the young nobleman; "but
so it proves. His Majesty, to close this discourse at once, has been
pleased to send me this Proclamation, in answer to a respectful
Supplication for the repayment of large loans advanced by my father for
the service of the State, in the king's utmost emergencies."

"It is impossible!" said the citizen--"it is absolutely impossible!--If
the king could forget what was due to your father's memory, still
he would not have wished--would not, I may say, have dared--to be so
flagrantly unjust to the memory of such a man as your father, who, dead
in the body, will long live in the memory of the Scottish people."

"I should have been of your opinion," answered Lord Nigel, in the same
tone as before; "but there is no fighting with facts."

"What was the tenor of this Supplication?" said Heriot; "or by whom was
it presented? Something strange there must have been in the contents, or
else--"

"You may see my original draught," said the young lord, taking it out
of a small travelling strong-box; "the technical part is by my lawyer in
Scotland, a skilful and sensible man; the rest is my own, drawn, I hope,
with due deference and modesty."

Master Heriot hastly cast his eye over the draught. "Nothing," he said,
"can be more well-tempered and respectful. Is it possible the king can
have treated this petition with contempt?"

"He threw it down on the pavement," said the Lord of Glenvarloch, "and
sent me for answer that Proclamation, in which he classes me with the
paupers and mendicants from Scotland, who disgrace his Court in the eyes
of the proud English--that is all. Had not my father stood by him with
heart, sword, and fortune, he might never have seen the Court of England
himself."

"But by whom was this Supplication presented, my lord?" said Heriot;
"for the distaste taken at the messenger will sometimes extend itself to
the message."

"By my servant," said the Lord Nigel; "by the man you saw, and, I think,
were kind to."

"By your servant, my lord?" said the citizen; "he seems a shrewd fellow,
and doubtless a faithful; but surely--"

"You would say," said Lord Nigel, "he is no fit messenger to a king's
presence?--Surely he is not; but what could I do? Every attempt I had
made to lay my case before the king had miscarried, and my petitions
got no farther than the budgets of clerks and secretaries; this fellow
pretended he had a friend in the household that would bring him to the
king's presence,--and so--"

"I understand," said Heriot; "but, my lord, why should you not, in
right of your rank and birth, have appeared at Court, and required an
audience, which could not have been denied to you?"

The young lord blushed a little, and looked at his dress, which was very
plain; and, though in perfect good order, had the appearance of having
seen service.

"I know not why I should be ashamed of speaking the truth," he said,
after a momentary hesitation,--"I had no dress suitable for appearing
at Court. I am determined to incur no expenses which I cannot discharge;
and I think you, sir, would not advise me to stand at the palace-door,
in person, and deliver my petition, along with those who are in very
deed pleading their necessity, and begging an alms."

"That had been, indeed, unseemly," said the citizen; "but yet, my lord,
my mind runs strangely that there must be some mistake.--Can I speak
with your domestic?"

"I see little good it can do," answered the young lord, "but the
interest you take in my misfortunes seems sincere, and therefore----"
He stamped on the floor, and in a few seconds afterwards Moniplies
appeared, wiping from his beard and mustaches the crumbs of bread,
and the froth of the ale-pot, which plainly showed how he had been
employed.--"Will your lordship grant permission," said Heriot, "that I
ask your groom a few questions?"

"His lordship's page, Master George," answered Moniplies, with a nod of
acknowledgment, "if you are minded to speak according to the letter."

"Hold your saucy tongue," said his master, "and reply distinctly to the
questions you are to be asked."

"And _truly,_ if it like your pageship," said the citizen, "for you may
remember I have a gift to discover falset."

"Weel, weel, weel," replied the domestic, somewhat embarrassed, in spite
of his effrontery--"though I think that the sort of truth that serves my
master, may weel serve ony ane else."

"Pages lie to their masters by right of custom," said the citizen; "and
you write yourself in that band, though I think you be among the oldest
of such springalds; but to me you must speak truth, if you would not
have it end in the whipping-post."

"And that's e'en a bad resting-place," said the well-grown page; "so
come away with your questions, Master George."

"Well, then," demanded the citizen, "I am given to understand that you
yesterday presented to his Majesty's hand a Supplication, or petition,
from this honourable lord, your master."

"Troth, there's nae gainsaying that, sir," replied Moniplies; "there
were enow to see it besides me."

"And you pretend that his Majesty flung it from him with contempt?" said
the citizen. "Take heed, for I have means of knowing the truth; and you
were better up to the neck in the Nor-Loch, which you like so well, than
tell a leasing where his Majesty's name is concerned."

"There is nae occasion for leasing-making about the matter," answered
Moniplies, firmly; "his Majesty e'en flung it frae him as if it had
dirtied his fingers."

"You hear, sir," said Olifaunt, addressing Heriot.

"Hush!" said the sagacious citizen; "this fellow is not ill named--he
has more plies than one in his cloak. Stay, fellow," for Moniplies,
muttering somewhat about finishing his breakfast, was beginning to
shamble towards the door, "answer me this farther question--When you
gave your master's petition to his Majesty, gave you nothing with it?"

"Ou, what should I give wi' it, ye ken, Master George?"

"That is what I desire and insist to know," replied his interrogator.

"Weel, then--I am not free to say, that maybe I might not just slip
into the king's hand a wee bit Sifflication of mine ain, along with my
lord's--just to save his Majesty trouble--and that he might consider
them baith at ance."

"A supplication of your own, you varlet!" said his master.

"Ou dear, ay, my lord," said Richie--"puir bodies hae their bits of
sifflications as weel as their betters."

"And pray, what might your worshipful petition import?" said Master
Heriot.--"Nay, for Heaven's sake, my lord, keep your patience, or we
shall never learn the truth of this strange matter.--Speak out, sirrah,
and I will stand your friend with my lord."

"It's a lang story to tell--but the upshot is, that it's a scrape of an
auld accompt due to my father's yestate by her Majesty the king's maist
gracious mother, when she lived in the Castle, and had sundry providings
and furnishings forth of our booth, whilk nae doubt was an honour to
my father to supply, and whilk, doubtless, it will be a credit to his
Majesty to satisfy, as it will be grit convenience to me to receive the
saam."

"What string of impertinence is this?" said his master.

"Every word as true as e'er John Knox spoke," said Richie; "here's the
bit double of the Sifflication."

Master George took a crumpled paper from the fellow's hand, and said,
muttering betwixt his teeth--"'Humbly showeth--um--um--his Majesty's
maist gracious mother--um--um--justly addebted and owing the sum of
fifteen merks--the compt whereof followeth--Twelve nowte's feet for
jellies--ane lamb, being Christmas--ane roasted capin in grease for
the privy chalmer, when my Lord of Bothwell suppit with her Grace.'--I
think, my lord, you can hardly be surprised that the king gave this
petition a brisk reception; and I conclude, Master Page, that you took
care to present your own Supplication before your master's?"

"Troth did I not," answered Moniplies. "I thought to have given my
lord's first, as was reason gude; and besides that, it wad have redd the
gate for my ain little bill. But what wi' the dirdum an' confusion, an'
the loupin here and there of the skeigh brute of a horse, I believe I
crammed them baith into his hand cheek-by-jowl, and maybe my ain was
bunemost; and say there was aught wrang, I am sure I had a' the fright
and a' the risk--"

"And shall have all the beating, you rascal knave," said Nigel; "am I to
be insulted and dishonoured by your pragmatical insolence, in blending
your base concerns with mine?"

"Nay, nay, nay, my lord," said the good-humoured citizen, interposing,
"I have been the means of bringing the fellow's blunder to light--allow
me interest enough with your lordship to be bail for his bones. You
have cause to be angry, but still I think the knave mistook more out of
conceit than of purpose; and I judge you will have the better service of
him another time, if you overlook this fault--Get you gone, sirrah--I'll
make your peace."

"Na, na," said Moniplies, keeping his ground firmly, "if he likes to
strike a lad that has followed him for pure love, for I think there has
been little servant's fee between us, a' the way frae Scotland, just
let my lord be doing, and see the credit he will get by it--and I would
rather (mony thanks to you though, Master George) stand by a lick of his
baton, than it suld e'er be said a stranger came between us."

"Go, then," said his master, "and get out of my sight."

"Aweel I wot that is sune done," said Moniplies, retiring slowly; "I did
not come without I had been ca'd for--and I wad have been away half an
hour since with my gude will, only Maister George keepit me to answer
his interrogation, forsooth, and that has made a' this stir."

And so he made his grumbling exit, with the tone much rather of one who
has sustained an injury, than who has done wrong.

"There never was a man so plagued as I am with a malapert knave!--The
fellow is shrewd, and I have found him faithful--I believe he loves me,
too, and he has given proofs of it--but then he is so uplifted in his
own conceit, so self-willed, and so self-opinioned, that he seems to
become the master and I the man; and whatever blunder he commits, he is
sure to make as loud complaints, as if the whole error lay with me, and
in no degree with himself."

"Cherish him, and maintain him, nevertheless," said the citizen;
"for believe my grey hairs, that affection and fidelity are now rarer
qualities in a servitor, than when the world was younger. Yet, trust
him, my good lord, with no commission above his birth or breeding, for
you see yourself how it may chance to fall."

"It is but too evident, Master Heriot," said the young nobleman; "and I
am sorry I have done injustice to my sovereign, and your master. But I
am, like a true Scotsman, wise behind hand--the mistake has happened--my
Supplication has been refused, and my only resource is to employ the
rest of my means to carry Moniplies and myself to some counter-scarp,
and die in the battle-front like my ancestors."

"It were better to live and serve your country like your noble father,
my lord," replied Master George. "Nay, nay, never look down or shake
your head--the king has not refused your Supplication, for he has not
seen it--you ask but justice, and that his place obliges him to give to
his subjects--ay, my lord, and I will say that his natural temper doth
in this hold bias with his duty."

"I were well pleased to think so, and yet----" said Nigel Olifaunt,--"I
speak not of my own wrongs, but my country hath many that are
unredressed."

"My lord," said Master Heriot, "I speak of my royal master, not only
with the respect due from a subject--the gratitude to be paid by a
favoured servant, but also with the frankness of a free and loyal
Scotsman. The king is himself well disposed to hold the scales of
justice even; but there are those around him who can throw without
detection their own selfish wishes and base interests into the scale.
You are already a sufferer by this, and without your knowing it."

"I am surprised, Master Heriot," said the young lord, "to hear you, upon
so short an acquaintance, talk as if you were familiarly acquainted with
my affairs."

"My lord," replied the goldsmith, "the nature of my employment affords
me direct access to the interior of the palace; I am well known to be no
meddler in intrigues or party affairs, so that no favourite has as yet
endeavoured to shut against me the door of the royal closet; on the
contrary, I have stood well with each while he was in power, and I have
not shared the fall of any. But I cannot be thus connected with the
Court, without hearing, even against my will, what wheels are in motion,
and how they are checked or forwarded. Of course, when I choose to seek
such intelligence, I know the sources in which it is to be traced. I
have told you why I was interested in your lordship's fortunes. It was
last night only that I knew you were in this city, yet I have been
able, in coming hither this morning, to gain for you some information
respecting the impediments to your suit."

"Sir, I am obliged by your zeal, however little it may be merited,"
answered Nigel, still with some reserve; "yet I hardly know how I have
deserved this interest."

"First let me satisfy you that it is real," said the citizen; "I blame
you not for being unwilling to credit the fair professions of a stranger
in my inferior class of society, when you have met so little friendship
from relations, and those of your own rank, bound to have assisted
you by so many ties. But mark the cause. There is a mortgage over your
father's extensive estate, to the amount of 40,000 merks, due ostensibly
to Peregrine Peterson, the Conservator of Scottish Privileges at
Campvere."

"I know nothing of a mortgage," said the young lord; "but there is
a wadset for such a sum, which, if unredeemed, will occasion the
forfeiture of my whole paternal estate, for a sum not above a fourth
of its value--and it is for that very reason that I press the king's
government for a settlement of the debts due to my father, that I may be
able to redeem my land from this rapacious creditor."

"A wadset in Scotland," said Heriot, "is the same with a mortgage
on this side of the Tweed; but you are not acquainted with your real
creditor. The Conservator Peterson only lends his name to shroud no less
a man than the Lord Chancellor of Scotland, who hopes, under cover
of this debt, to gain possession of the estate himself, or perhaps to
gratify a yet more powerful third party. He will probably suffer
his creature Peterson to take possession, and when the odium of the
transaction shall be forgotten, the property and lordship of Glenvarloch
will be conveyed to the great man by his obsequious instrument, under
cover of a sale, or some similar device."

"Can this be possible?" said Lord Nigel; "the Chancellor wept when I
took leave of him--called me his cousin--even his son--furnished me with
letters, and, though I asked him for no pecuniary assistance, excused
himself unnecessarily for not pressing it on me, alleging the expenses
of his rank and his large family. No, I cannot believe a nobleman would
carry deceit so far."

"I am not, it is true, of noble blood," said the citizen; "but once more
I bid you look on my grey hairs, and think what can be my interest in
dishonouring them with falsehood in affairs in which I have no interest,
save as they regard the son of my benefactor. Reflect also, have you had
any advantage from the Lord Chancellor's letters?"

"None," said Nigel Olifaunt, "except cold deeds and fair words. I have
thought for some time, their only object was to get rid of me--one
yesterday pressed money on me when I talked of going abroad, in order
that I might not want the means of exiling myself."

"Right," said Heriot; "rather than you fled not, they would themselves
furnish wings for you to fly withal."

"I will to him this instant," said the incensed youth, "and tell him my
mind of his baseness."

"Under your favour," said Heriot, detaining him, "you shall not do so.
By a quarrel you would become the ruin of me your informer; and though
I would venture half my shop to do your lordship a service, I think you
would hardly wish me to come by damage, when it can be of no service to
you."

The word _shop_ sounded harshly in the ear of the young nobleman, who
replied hastily--"Damage, sir?--so far am I from wishing you to incur
damage, that I would to Heaven you would cease your fruitless offers of
serving one whom there is no chance of ultimately assisting!"

"Leave me alone for that," said the citizen: "you have now erred as far
on the bow-hand. Permit me to take this Supplication--I will have it
suitably engrossed, and take my own time (and it shall be an early one)
for placing it, with more prudence, I trust, than that used by your
follower, in the king's hand--I will almost answer for his taking up the
matter as you would have him--but should he fail to do so, even then I
will not give up the good cause."

"Sir," said the young nobleman, "your speech is so friendly, and my own
state so helpless, that I know not how to refuse your kind proffer, even
while I blush to accept it at the hands of a stranger."

"We are, I trust, no longer such," said the goldsmith; "and for my
guerdon, when my mediation proves successful, and your fortunes are
re-established, you shall order your first cupboard of plate from George
Heriot."

"You would have a bad paymaster, Master Heriot," said Lord Nigel.

"I do not fear that," replied the goldsmith; "and I am glad to see you
smile, my lord--methinks it makes you look still more like the good old
lord your father; and it emboldens me, besides, to bring out a small
request--that you would take a homely dinner with me to-morrow. I lodge
hard by in Lombard Street. For the cheer, my lord, a mess of white
broth, a fat capon well larded, a dish of beef collops for auld
Scotland's sake, and it may be a cup of right old wine, that was
barrelled before Scotland and England were one nation--Then for company,
one or two of our own loving countrymen--and maybe my housewife may find
out a bonny Scots lass or so."

"I would accept your courtesy, Master Heriot," said Nigel, "but I hear
the city ladies of London like to see a man gallant--I would not like to
let down a Scottish nobleman in their ideas, as doubtless you have said
the best of our poor country, and I rather lack the means of bravery for
the present."

"My lord, your frankness leads me a step farther," said Master George.
"I--I owed your father some monies; and--nay, if your lordship looks at
me so fixedly, I shall never tell my story--and, to speak plainly, for
I never could carry a lie well through in my life--it is most fitting,
that, to solicit this matter properly, your lordship should go to
Court in a manner beseeming your quality. I am a goldsmith, and live
by lending money as well as by selling plate. I am ambitious to put an
hundred pounds to be at interest in your hands, till your affairs are
settled."

"And if they are never favourably settled?" said Nigel.

"Then, my lord," returned the citizen, "the miscarriage of such a sum
will be of little consequence to me, compared with other subjects of
regret."

"Master Heriot," said the Lord Nigel, "your favour is generously
offered, and shall be frankly accepted. I must presume that you see your
way through this business, though I hardly do; for I think you would be
grieved to add any fresh burden to me, by persuading me to incur debts
which I am not likely to discharge. I will therefore take your
money, under the hope and trust that you will enable me to repay you
punctually."

"I will convince you, my lord," said the goldsmith, "that I mean to deal
with you as a creditor from whom I expect payment; and therefore, you
shall, with your own good pleasure, sign an acknowledgment for these
monies, and an obligation to content and repay me."

He then took from his girdle his writing materials, and, writing a few
lines to the purport he expressed, pulled out a small bag of gold from
a side-pouch under his cloak, and, observing that it should contain an
hundred pounds, proceeded to tell out the contents very methodically
upon the table. Nigel Olifaunt could not help intimating that this was
an unnecessary ceremonial, and that he would take the bag of gold on the
word of his obliging creditor; but this was repugnant to the old man's
forms of transacting business.

"Bear with me," he said, "my good lord,--we citizens are a wary and
thrifty generation; and I should lose my good name for ever within
the toll of Paul's, were I to grant quittance, or take acknowledgment,
without bringing the money to actual tale. I think it be right now--and,
body of me," he said, looking out at the window, "yonder come my boys
with my mule; for I must Westward Hoe. Put your monies aside, my lord;
it is not well to be seen with such goldfinches chirping about one in
the lodgings of London. I think the lock of your casket be indifferent
good; if not, I can serve you at an easy rate with one that has held
thousands;--it was the good old Sir Faithful Frugal's;--his spendthrift
son sold the shell when he had eaten the kernel--and there is the end of
a city-fortune."

"I hope yours will make a better termination, Master Heriot," said the
Lord Nigel.

"I hope it will, my lord," said the old man, with a smile; "but," to use
honest John Bunyan's phrase--'therewithal the water stood in his eyes,'
"it has pleased God to try me with the loss of two children; and for one
adopted shild who ives--Ah! woe is me! and well-a-day!--But I am patient
and thankful; and for the wealth God has sent me, it shall not want
inheritors while there are orphan lads in Auld Reekie.--I wish you
good-morrow, my lord."

"One orphan has cause to thank you already," said Nigel, as he attended
him to the door of his chamber, where, resisting further escort, the old
citizen made his escape.

As, in going downstairs, he passed the shop where Dame Christie stood
becking, he made civil inquiries after her husband. The dame of course
regretted his absence; but he was down, she said, at Deptford, to settle
with a Dutch ship-master.

"Our way of business, sir," she said, "takes him much from home, and my
husband must be the slave of every tarry jacket that wants but a pound
of oakum."

"All business must be minded, dame," said the goldsmith. "Make my
remembrances--George Heriot, of Lombard Street's remembrances--to your
goodman. I have dealt with him--he is just and punctual--true to time
and engagements;--be kind to your noble guest, and see he wants nothing.
Though it be his pleasure at present to lie private and retired, there
be those that care for him, and I have a charge to see him supplied; so
that you may let me know by your husband, my good dame, how my lord is,
and whether he wants aught."

"And so he _is_ a real lord after all?" said the good dame. "I am sure I
always thought he looked like one. But why does he not go to Parliament,
then?"

"He will, dame," answered Heriot, "to the Parliament of Scotland, which
is his own country."

"Oh! he is but a Scots lord, then," said the good dame; "and that's the
thing makes him ashamed to take the title, as they say."

"Let him not hear _you_ say so, dame," replied the citizen.

"Who, I, sir?" answered she; "no such matter in my thought, sir. Scot
or English, he is at any rate a likely man, and a civil man; and rather
than he should want any thing, I would wait upon him myself, and come as
far as Lombard Street to wait upon your worship too."

"Let your husband come to me, good dame," said the goldsmith, who,
with all his experience and worth, was somewhat of a formalist and
disciplinarian. "The proverb says, 'House goes mad when women gad;' and
let his lordship's own man wait upon his master in his chamber--it is
more seemly. God give ye good-morrow."

"Good-morrow to your worship," said the dame, somewhat coldly; and, so
soon as the adviser was out of hearing, was ungracious enough to mutter,
in contempt of his council, "Marry quep of your advice, for an old
Scotch tinsmith, as you are! My husband is as wise, and very near as
old, as yourself; and if I please him, it is well enough; and though he
is not just so rich just now as some folks, yet I hope to see him ride
upon his moyle, with a foot-cloth, and have his two blue-coats after
him, as well as they do."



CHAPTER V


Wherefore come ye not to court? Certain 'tis the rarest sport; There
are silks and jewels glistening, Prattling fools and wise men listening,
Bullies among brave men justling, Beggars amongst nobles bustling;
Low-breath'd talkers, minion lispers, Cutting honest throats by
whispers; Wherefore come ye not to court? Skelton swears 'tis glorious
sport. _Skelton Skeltonizeth._

It was not entirely out of parade that the benevolent citizen was
mounted and attended in that manner, which, as the reader has been
informed, excited a gentle degree of spleen on the part of Dame
Christie, which, to do her justice, vanished in the little soliloquy
which we have recorded. The good man, besides the natural desire to
maintain the exterior of a man of worship, was at present bound to
Whitehall in order to exhibit a piece of valuable workmanship to King
James, which he deemed his Majesty might be pleased to view, or even to
purchase. He himself was therefore mounted upon his caparisoned mule,
that he might the better make his way through the narrow, dirty, and
crowded streets; and while one of his attendants carried under his arm
the piece of plate, wrapped up in red baize, the other two gave an
eye to its safety; for such was then the state of the police of the
metropolis, that men were often assaulted in the public street for the
sake of revenge or of plunder; and those who apprehended being beset,
usually endeavoured, if their estate admitted such expense, to secure
themselves by the attendance of armed followers. And this custom, which
was at first limited to the nobility and gentry, extended by degrees to
those citizens of consideration, who, being understood to travel with
a charge, as it was called, might otherwise have been selected as safe
subjects of plunder by the street-robber.

As Master George Heriot paced forth westward with this gallant
attendance, he paused at the shop door of his countryman and friend, the
ancient horologer, and having caused Tunstall, who was in attendance, to
adjust his watch by the real time, he desired to speak with his master;
in consequence of which summons, the old Time-meter came forth from his
den, his face like a bronze bust, darkened with dust, and glistening
here and there with copper filings, and his senses so bemused in the
intensity of calculation, that he gazed on his friend the goldsmith for
a minute before he seemed perfectly to comprehend who he was, and
heard him express his invitation to David Ramsay, and pretty Mistress
Margaret, his daughter, to dine with him next day at noon, to meet with
a noble young countrymen, without returning any answer.

"I'll make thee speak, with a murrain to thee," muttered Heriot to
himself; and suddenly changing his tone, he said aloud,--"I pray you,
neighbour David, when are you and I to have a settlement for the bullion
wherewith I supplied you to mount yonder hall-clock at Theobald's, and
that other whirligig that you made for the Duke of Buckingham? I have
had the Spanish house to satisfy for the ingots, and I must needs put
you in mind that you have been eight months behind-hand."

There is something so sharp and _aigre_ in the demand of a peremptory
dun, that no human tympanum, however inaccessible to other tones, can
resist the application. David Ramsay started at once from his reverie,
and answered in a pettish tone, "Wow, George, man, what needs aw this
din about sax score o' pounds? Aw the world kens I can answer aw claims
on me, and you proffered yourself fair time, till his maist gracious
Majesty and the noble Duke suld make settled accompts wi' me; and ye
may ken, by your ain experience, that I canna gang rowting like an
unmannered Highland stot to their doors, as ye come to mine."

Heriot laughed, and replied, "Well, David, I see a demand of money is
like a bucket of water about your ears, and makes you a man of the world
at once. And now, friend, will you tell me, like a Christian man, if you
will dine with me to-morrow at noon, and bring pretty Mistress Margaret,
my god-daughter, with you, to meet with our noble young countryman, the
Lord of Glenvarloch?"

"The young Lord of Glenvarloch!" said the old mechanist; "wi' aw my
heart, and blithe I will be to see him again. We have not met these
forty years--he was twa years before me at the humanity classes--he is a
sweet youth."

"That was his father--his father--his father!--you old dotard
Dot-and-carry-one that you are," answered the goldsmith. "A sweet youth
he would have been by this time, had he lived, worthy nobleman! This is
his son, the Lord Nigel."

"His son!" said Ramsay; "maybe he will want something of a chronometer,
or watch--few gallants care to be without them now-a-days."

"He may buy half your stock-in-trade, if ever he comes to his own, for
what I know," said his friend; "but, David, remember your bond, and
use me not as you did when my housewife had the sheep's-head and the
cock-a-leeky boiling for you as late as two of the clock afternoon."

"She had the more credit by her cookery," answered David, now fully
awake; "a sheep's-head over-boiled, were poison, according to our
saying."

"Well," answered Master George, "but as there will be no sheep's-head
to-morrow, it may chance you to spoil a dinner which a proverb
cannot mend. It may be you may forgather with your friend, Sir Mungo
Malagrowther, for I purpose to ask his worship; so, be sure and bide
tryste, Davie."

"That will I--I will be true as a chronometer," said Ramsay.

"I will not trust you, though," replied Heriot.--"Hear you, Jenkin boy,
tell Scots Janet to tell pretty Mistress Margaret, my god-child, she
must put her father in remembrance to put on his best doublet to-morrow,
and to bring him to Lombard Street at noon. Tell her they are to meet a
brave young Scots lord."

Jenkin coughed that sort of dry short cough uttered by those who are
either charged with errands which they do not like, or hear opinions to
which they must not enter a dissent.

"Umph!" repeated Master George--who, as we have already noticed, was
something of a martinet in domestic discipline--"what does _umph_ mean?
Will you do mine errand or not, sirrah?"

"Sure, Master George Heriot," said the apprentice, touching his cap,
"I only meant, that Mistress Margaret was not likely to forget such an
invitation."

"Why, no," said Master George; "she is a dutiful girl to her god-father,
though I sometimes call her a jill-flirt.--And, hark ye, Jenkin, you and
your comrade had best come with your clubs, to see your master and her
safely home; but first shut shop, and loose the bull-dog, and let the
porter stay in the fore-shop till your return. I will send two of my
knaves with you; for I hear these wild youngsters of the Temple are
broken out worse and lighter than ever."

"We can keep their steel in order with good handbats," said Jenkin; "and
never trouble your servants for the matter."

"Or, if need be," said Tunstall, "we have swords as well as the
Templars."

"Fie upon it--fie upon it, young man," said the citizen;--"An apprentice
with a sword!--Marry, heaven forefend! I would as soon see him in a hat
and feather."

"Well, sir," said Jenkin--"we will find arms fitting to our station, and
will defend our master and his daughter, if we should tear up the very
stones of the pavement."

"There spoke a London 'prentice bold," said the citizen; "and, for your
comfort, my lads, you shall crush a cup of wine to the health of the
Fathers of the City. I have my eye on both of you--you are thriving
lads, each in his own way.--God be wi' you, Davie. Forget not to-morrow
at noon." And, so saying, he again turned his mule's head westward, and
crossed Temple Bar, at that slow and decent amble, which at once became
his rank and civic importance, and put his pedestrian followers to no
inconvenience to keep up with him.

At the Temple gate he again paused, dismounted, and sought his way into
one of the small booths occupied by scriveners in the neighbourhood. A
young man, with lank smooth hair combed straight to his ears, and then
cropped short, rose, with a cringing reverence, pulled off a slouched
hat, which he would upon no signal replace on his head, and answered
with much demonstration of reverence, to the goldsmith's question of,
"How goes business, Andrew?"--"Aw the better for your worship's kind
countenance and maintenance."

"Get a large sheet of paper, man, and make a new pen, with a sharp neb,
and fine hair-stroke. Do not slit the quill up too high, it's a wastrife
course in your trade, Andrew--they that do not mind corn-pickles, never
come to forpits. I have known a learned man write a thousand pages with
one quill." [Footnote: A biblical commentary by Gill, which (if the
author's memory serves him) occupies between five and six hundred
printed quarto pages, and must therefore have filled more pages of
manuscript than the number mentioned in the text, has this quatrain at
the end of the volume--

    "With one good pen I wrote this book,
       Made of a grey goose quill;
     A pen it was when it I took,
       And a pen I leave it still."]

"Ah! sir," said the lad, who listened to the goldsmith, though
instructing him in his own trade, with an air of veneration and
acquiescence, "how sune ony puir creature like mysell may rise in the
world, wi' the instruction of such a man as your worship!"

"My instructions are few, Andrew, soon told, and not hard to practise.
Be honest--be industrious--be frugal--and you will soon win wealth and
worship.--Here, copy me this Supplication in your best and most formal
hand. I will wait by you till it is done."

The youth lifted not his eye from the paper, and laid not the pen from
his hand, until the task was finished to his employer's satisfaction.
The citizen then gave the young scrivener an angel; and bidding him, on
his life, be secret in all business intrusted to him, again mounted his
mule, and rode on westward along the Strand.

It may be worth while to remind our readers, that the Temple Bar which
Heriot passed, was not the arched screen, or gateway, of the present
day; but an open railing, or palisade, which, at night, and in times of
alarm, was closed with a barricade of posts and chains. The Strand also,
along which he rode, was not, as now, a continued street, although
it was beginning already to assume that character. It still might be
considered as an open road, along the south side of which stood various
houses and hotels belonging to the nobility, having gardens behind them
down to the water-side, with stairs to the river, for the convenience
of taking boat; which mansions have bequeathed the names of their lordly
owners to many of the streets leading from the Strand to the Thames. The
north side of the Strand was also a long line of houses, behind which,
as in Saint Martin's Lane, and other points, buildings, were rapidly
arising; but Covent Garden was still a garden, in the literal sense
of the word, or at least but beginning to be studded with irregular
buildings. All that was passing around, however, marked the rapid
increase of a capital which had long enjoyed peace, wealth, and a
regular government. Houses were rising in every direction; and the
shrewd eye of our citizen already saw the period not distant, which
should convert the nearly open highway on which he travelled, into a
connected and regular street, uniting the Court and the town with the
city of London.

He next passed Charing Cross, which was no longer the pleasant solitary
village at which the judges were wont to breakfast on their way to
Westminster Hall, but began to resemble the artery through which, to
use Johnson's expression "pours the full tide of London population." The
buildings were rapidly increasing, yet certainly gave not even a faint
idea of its present appearance.

At last Whitehall received our traveller, who passed under one of
the beautiful gates designed by Holbein, and composed of tesselated
brick-work, being the same to which Moniplies had profanely likened the
West-Port of Edinburgh, and entered the ample precincts of the palace of
Whitehall, now full of all the confusion attending improvement. It was
just at the time when James,--little suspecting that he was employed in
constructing a palace, from the window of which his only son was to pass
in order that he might die upon a scaffold before it,--was busied in
removing the ancient and ruinous buildings of De Burgh, Henry VIII., and
Queen Elizabeth, to make way for the superb architecture on which Inigo
Jones exerted all his genius. The king, ignorant of futurity, was now
engaged in pressing on his work; and, for that purpose, still maintained
his royal apartments at Whitehall, amidst the rubbish of old buildings,
and the various confusion attending the erection of the new pile, which
formed at present a labyrinth not easily traversed.

The goldsmith to the Royal Household, and who, if fame spoke true,
oftentimes acted as their banker,--for these professions were not as
yet separated from each other,--was a person of too much importance to
receive the slightest interruption from sentinel or porter; and, leaving
his mule and two of his followers in the outer-court, he gently knocked
at a postern-gate of the building, and was presently admitted, while the
most trusty of his attendants followed him closely, with the piece
of plate under his arm. This man also he left behind him in an
ante-room,--where three or four pages in the royal livery, but
untrussed, unbuttoned, and dressed more carelessly than the place, and
nearness to a king's person, seemed to admit, were playing at dice and
draughts, or stretched upon benches, and slumbering with half-shut eyes.
A corresponding gallery, which opened from the ante-room, was occupied
by two gentlemen-ushers of the chamber, who gave each a smile of
recognition as the wealthy goldsmith entered.

No word was spoken on either side; but one of the ushers looked first
to Heriot, and then to a little door half-covered by the tapestry, which
seemed to say, as plain as a look could, "Lies your business that way?"
The citizen nodded; and the court-attendant, moving on tiptoe, and with
as much caution as if the floor had been paved with eggs, advanced to
the door, opened it gently, and spoke a few words in a low tone. The
broad Scottish accent of King James was heard in reply,--"Admit him
instanter, Maxwell. Have you hairboured sae lang at the Court, and not
learned, that gold and silver are ever welcome?"

The usher signed to Heriot to advance, and the honest citizen was
presently introduced into the cabinet of the Sovereign.

The scene of confusion amid which he found the king seated, was no bad
picture of the state and quality of James's own mind. There was much
that was rich and costly in cabinet pictures and valuable ornaments;
but they were arranged in a slovenly manner, covered with dust, and lost
half their value, or at least their effect, from the manner in which
they were presented to the eye. The table was loaded with huge folios,
amongst which lay light books of jest and ribaldry; and, amongst notes
of unmercifully long orations, and essays on king-craft, were mingled
miserable roundels and ballads by the Royal 'Prentice, as he styled
himself, in the art of poetry, and schemes for the general pacification
of Europe, with a list of the names of the king's hounds, and remedies
against canine madness.

The king's dress was of green velvet, quilted so full as to be
dagger-proof--which gave him the appearance of clumsy and ungainly
protuberance; while its being buttoned awry, communicated to his figure
an air of distortion. Over his green doublet he wore a sad-coloured
nightgown, out of the pocket of which peeped his hunting-horn. His
high-crowned grey hat lay on the floor, covered with dust, but encircled
by a carcanet of large balas rubies; and he wore a blue velvet nightcap,
in the front of which was placed the plume of a heron, which had been
struck down by a favourite hawk in some critical moment of the flight,
in remembrance of which the king wore this highly honoured feather.

But such inconsistencies in dress and appointments were mere outward
types of those which existed in the royal character, rendering it a
subject of doubt amongst his contemporaries, and bequeathing it as a
problem to future historians. He was deeply learned, without possessing
useful knowledge; sagacious in many individual cases, without having
real wisdom; fond of his power, and desirous to maintain and augment it,
yet willing to resign the direction of that, and of himself, to the most
unworthy favourites; a big and bold asserter of his rights in words, yet
one who tamely saw them trampled on in deeds; a lover of negotiations,
in which he was always outwitted; and one who feared war, where
conquest might have been easy. He was fond of his dignity, while he was
perpetually degrading it by undue familiarity; capable of much public
labour, yet often neglecting it for the meanest amusement; a wit, though
a pedant; and a scholar, though fond of the conversation of the ignorant
and uneducated. Even his timidity of temper was not uniform; and there
were moments of his life, and those critical, in which he showed the
spirit of his ancestors. He was laborious in trifles, and a trifler
where serious labour was required; devout in his sentiments, and yet
too often profane in his language; just and beneficent by nature, he yet
gave way to the iniquities and oppression of others. He was penurious
respecting money which he had to give from his own hand, yet
inconsiderately and unboundedly profuse of that which he did not see.
In a word, those good qualities which displayed themselves in particular
cases and occasions, were not of a nature sufficiently firm and
comprehensive to regulate his general conduct; and, showing themselves
as they occasionally did, only entitled James to the character bestowed
on him by Sully--that he was the wisest fool in Christendom.

That the fortunes of this monarch might be as little of apiece as his
character, he, certainly the least able of the Stewarts, succeeded
peaceably to that kingdom, against the power of which his predecessors
had, with so much difficulty, defended his native throne; and, lastly,
although his reign appeared calculated to ensure to Great Britain that
lasting tranquillity and internal peace which so much suited the king's
disposition, yet, during that very reign, were sown those seeds of
dissension, which, like the teeth of the fabulous dragon, had their
harvest in a bloody and universal civil war.

Such was the monarch, who, saluting Heriot by the name of Jingling
Geordie, (for it was his well-known custom to give nicknames to all
those with whom he was on terms of familiarity,) inquired what new
clatter-traps he had brought with him, to cheat his lawful and native
Prince out of his siller.

"God forbid, my liege," said the citizen, "that I should have any such
disloyal purpose. I did but bring a piece of plate to show to your most
gracious Majesty, which, both for the subject and for the workmanship,
I were loath to put into the hands of any subject until I knew your
Majesty's pleasure anent it."

"Body o' me, man, let's see it, Heriot; though, by my saul, Steenie's
service o' plate was sae dear a bargain, I had 'maist pawned my word
as a Royal King, to keep my ain gold and silver in future, and let you,
Geordie, keep yours."

"Respecting the Duke of Buckingham's plate," said the goldsmith, "your
Majesty was pleased to direct that no expense should be spared, and--"

"What signifies what I desired, man? when a wise man is with fules and
bairns, he maun e'en play at the chucks. But you should have had mair
sense and consideration than to gie Babie Charles and Steenie their ain
gate; they wad hae floored the very rooms wi' silver, and I wonder they
didna."

George Heriot bowed, and said no more. He knew his master too well to
vindicate himself otherwise than by a distant allusion to his order; and
James, with whom economy was only a transient and momentary twinge of
conscience, became immediately afterwards desirous to see the piece of
plate which the goldsmith proposed to exhibit, and dispatched Maxwell
to bring it to his presence. In the meantime he demanded of the citizen
whence he had procured it.

"From Italy, may it please your Majesty," replied Heriot.

"It has naething in it tending to papistrie?" said the king, looking
graver than his wont.

"Surely not, please your Majesty," said Heriot; "I were not wise to
bring any thing to your presence that had the mark of the beast."

"You would be the mair beast yourself to do so," said the king; "it is
weel kend that I wrestled wi' Dagon in my youth, and smote him on the
groundsill of his own temple; a gude evidence that I should be in time
called, however unworthy, the Defender of the Faith.--But here comes
Maxwell, bending under his burden, like the Golden Ass of Apuleius."

Heriot hastened to relieve the usher, and to place the embossed salver,
for such it was, and of extraordinary dimensions, in a light favourable
for his Majesty's viewing the sculpture.

"Saul of my body, man," said the king, "it is a curious piece, and, as
I think, fit for a king's chalmer; and the subject, as you say, Master
George, vera adequate and beseeming--being, as I see, the judgment of
Solomon--a prince in whose paths it weel becomes a' leeving monarchs to
walk with emulation."

"But whose footsteps," said Maxwell, "only one of them--if a subject may
say so much--hath ever overtaken."

"Haud your tongue for a fause fleeching loon!" said the king, but with
a smile on his face that showed the flattery had done its part. "Look
at the bonny piece of workmanship, and haud your clavering tongue.--And
whase handiwork may it be, Geordie?"

"It was wrought, sir," replied the goldsmith, "by the famous Florentine,
Benvenuto Cellini, and designed for Francis the First of France; but I
hope it will find a fitter master."

"Francis of France!" said the king; "send Solomon, King of the Jews, to
Francis of France!--Body of me, man, it would have kythed Cellini mad,
had he never done ony thing else out of the gate. Francis!--why, he
was a fighting fule, man,--a mere fighting fule,--got himsell ta'en at
Pavia, like our ain David at Durham lang syne;--if they could hae sent
him Solomon's wit, and love of peace, and godliness, they wad hae dune
him a better turn. But Solomon should sit in other gate company than
Francis of France."

"I trust that such will be his good fortune," said Heriot.

"It is a curious and very artificial sculpture," said the king, in
continuation; "but yet, methinks, the carnifex, or executioner there,
is brandishing his gully ower near the king's face, seeing he is within
reach of his weapon. I think less wisdom than Solomon's wad have taught
him that there was danger in edge-tools, and that he wad have bidden the
smaik either sheath his shabble, or stand farther back."

George Heriot endeavoured to alleviate this objection, by assuring the
king that the vicinity betwixt Solomon and the executioner was nearer in
appearance than in reality, and that the perspective should be allowed
for.

"Gang to the deil wi' your prospective, man," said the king; "there
canna be a waur prospective for a lawful king, wha wishes to reign in
luve, and die in peace and honour, than to have naked swords flashing in
his een. I am accounted as brave as maist folks; and yet I profess to
ye I could never look on a bare blade without blinking and winking. But
a'thegither it is a brave piece;--and what is the price of it, man?"

The goldsmith replied by observing, that it was not his own property,
but that of a distressed countryman.

"Whilk you mean to mak your excuse for asking the double of its worth,
I warrant?" answered the king. "I ken the tricks of you burrows-town
merchants, man."

"I have no hopes of baffling your Majesty's sagacity," said Heriot; "the
piece is really what I say, and the price a hundred and fifty pounds
sterling, if it pleases your Majesty to make present payment."

"A hundred and fifty punds, man! and as mony witches and warlocks to
raise them!" said the irritated Monarch. "My saul, Jingling Geordie, ye
are minded that your purse shall jingle to a bonny tune!--How am I to
tell you down a hundred and fifty punds for what will not weigh as many
merks? and ye ken that my very household servitors, and the officers of
my mouth, are sax months in arrear!"

The goldsmith stood his ground against all this objurgation, being what
he was well accustomed to, and only answered, that, if his Majesty liked
the piece, and desired to possess it, the price could be easily settled.
It was true that the party required the money, but he, George Heriot,
would advance it on his Majesty's account, if such were his pleasure,
and wait his royal conveniency for payment, for that and other matters;
the money, meanwhile, lying at the ordinary usage.

"By my honour," said James, "and that is speaking like an honest and
reasonable tradesman. We maun get another subsidy frae the Commons, and
that will make ae compting of it. Awa wi' it, Maxwell--awa wi' it,
and let it be set where Steenie and Babie Charles shall see it as they
return from Richmond.--And now that we are secret, my good auld friend
Geordie, I do truly opine, that speaking of Solomon and ourselves, the
haill wisdom in the country left Scotland, when we took our travels to
the Southland here."

George Heriot was courtier enough to say, that "the wise naturally
follow the wisest, as stags follow their leader."

"Troth, I think there is something in what thou sayest," said James;
"for we ourselves, and those of our Court and household, as thou
thyself, for example, are allowed by the English, for as self-opinioned
as they are, to pass for reasonable good wits; but the brains of those
we have left behind are all astir, and run clean hirdie-girdie, like sae
mony warlocks and witches on the Devil's Sabbath e'en."

"I am sorry to hear this, my liege," said Heriot. "May it please your
Grace to say what our countrymen have done to deserve such a character?"

"They are become frantic, man--clean brain-crazed," answered the king.
"I cannot keep them out of the Court by all the proclamations that the
heralds roar themselves hoarse with. Yesterday, nae farther gane,
just as we were mounted, and about to ride forth, in rushed a thorough
Edinburgh gutterblood--a ragged rascal, every dud upon whose back was
bidding good-day to the other, with a coat and hat that would have
served a pease-bogle, and without havings or reverence, thrusts into our
hands, like a sturdy beggar, some Supplication about debts owing by our
gracious mother, and siclike trash; whereat the horse spangs on end,
and, but for our admirable sitting, wherein we have been thought to
excel maist sovereign princes, as well as subjects, in Europe, I promise
you we would have been laid endlang on the causeway."

"Your Majesty," said Heriot, "is their common father, and therefore they
are the bolder to press into your gracious presence."

"I ken I am _pater patriae_ well enough," said James; "but one would
think they had a mind to squeeze my puddings out, that they may divide
the inheritance, Ud's death, Geordie, there is not a loon among them can
deliver a Supplication, as it suld be done in the face of majesty."

"I would I knew the most fitting and beseeming mode to do so,"
said Heriot, "were it but to instruct our poor countrymen in better
fashions."

"By my halidome," said the king, "ye are a ceevileezed fellow, Geordie,
and I carena if I fling awa as much time as may teach ye. And, first,
see you, sir--ye shall approach the presence of majesty thus,--shadowing
your eyes with your hand, to testify that you are in the presence of
the Vice-gerent of Heaven.--Vera weel, George, that is done in a comely
manner.--Then, sir, ye sail kneel, and make as if ye would kiss the
hem of our garment, the latch of our shoe, or such like.--Very weel
enacted--whilk we, as being willing to be debonair and pleasing towards
our lieges, prevent thus,--and motion to you to rise;--whilk, having
a boon to ask, as yet you obey not, but, gliding your hand into your
pouch, bring forth your Supplication, and place it reverentially in our
open palm." The goldsmith, who had complied with great accuracy with all
the prescribed points of the ceremonial, here completed it, to James's
no small astonishment, by placing in his hand the petition of the Lord
of Glenvarloch. "What means this, ye fause loon?" said he, reddening and
sputtering; "hae I been teaching you the manual exercise, that ye suld
present your piece at our ain royal body?--Now, by this light, I had as
lief that ye had bended a real pistolet against me, and yet this hae
ye done in my very cabinet, where nought suld enter but at my ain
pleasure."

"I trust your Majesty," said Heriot, as he continued to kneel, "will
forgive my exercising the lesson you condescended to give me in the
behalf of a friend?"

"Of a friend!" said the king; "so much the waur--so much the waur, I
tell you. If it had been something to do _yoursell_ good there would
have been some sense in it, and some chance that you wad not have
come back on me in a hurry; but a man may have a hundred friends, and
petitions for every ane of them, ilk ane after other."

"Your Majesty, I trust," said Heriot, "will judge me by former
experience, and will not suspect me of such presumption."

"I kenna," said the placable monarch; "the world goes daft, I
think--_sed semel insanivimus omnes_--thou art my old and faithful
servant, that is the truth; and, were't any thing for thy own behoof,
man, thou shouldst not ask twice. But, troth, Steenie loves me so
dearly, that he cares not that any one should ask favours of me but
himself.--Maxwell," (for the usher had re-entered after having carried
off the plate,) "get into the ante-chamber wi' your lang lugs.--In
conscience, Geordie, I think as that thou hast been mine ain auld
fiduciary, and wert my goldsmith when I might say with the Ethnic
poet--_Non mea renidet in domo lacunar_--for, faith, they had pillaged
my mither's auld house sae, that beechen bickers, and treen trenchers,
and latten platters, were whiles the best at our board, and glad we were
of something to put on them, without quarrelling with the metal of the
dishes. D'ye mind, for thou wert in maist of our complots, how we were
fain to send sax of the Blue-banders to harry the Lady of Loganhouse's
dowcot and poultry-yard, and what an awfu' plaint the poor dame made
against Jock of Milch, and the thieves of Annandale, wha were as
sackless of the deed as I am of the sin of murder?"

"It was the better for Jock," said Heriot; "for, if I remember weel, it
saved him from a strapping up at Dumfries, which he had weel deserved
for other misdeeds."

"Ay, man, mind ye that?" said the king; "but he had other virtues, for
he was a tight huntsman, moreover, that Jock of Milch, and could hollow
to a hound till all the woods rang again. But he came to an Annandale
end at the last, for Lord Torthorwald run his lance out through
him.--Cocksnails, man, when I think of those wild passages, in my
conscience, I am not sure but we lived merrier in auld Holyrood in
those shifting days, than now when we are dwelling at heck and manger.
_Cantabit vacuus_--we had but little to care for."

"And if your Majesty please to remember," said the goldsmith, "the awful
task we had to gather silver-vessail and gold-work enough to make some
show before the Spanish Ambassador."

"Vera true," said the king, now in a full tide of gossip, "and I mind
not the name of the right leal lord that helped us with every unce he
had in his house, that his native Prince might have some credit in the
eyes of them that had the Indies at their beck."

"I think, if your Majesty," said the citizen, "will cast your eye on the
paper in your hand, you will recollect his name."

"Ay!" said the king, "say ye sae, man?--Lord Glenvarloch, that was his
name indeed--_Justus et tenax propositi_--A just man, but as obstinate
as a baited bull. He stood whiles against us, that Lord Randal Olifaunt
of Glenvarloch, but he was a loving and a leal subject in the main. But
this supplicator maun be his son--Randal has been long gone where king
and lord must go, Geordie, as weel as the like of you--and what does his
son want with us?"

"The settlement," answered the citizen, "of a large debt due by your
Majesty's treasury, for money advanced to your Majesty in great State
emergency, about the time of the Raid of Ruthven."

"I mind the thing weel," said King James--"Od's death, man, I was just
out of the clutches of the Master of Glamis and his complices, and there
was never siller mair welcome to a born prince,--the mair the shame and
pity that crowned king should need sic a petty sum. But what need he dun
us for it, man, like a baxter at the breaking? We aught him the siller,
and will pay him wi' our convenience, or make it otherwise up to him,
whilk is enow between prince and subject--We are not _in meditatione
fugae,_ man, to be arrested thus peremptorily."

"Alas! an it please your Majesty," said the goldsmith, shaking his head,
"it is the poor young nobleman's extreme necessity, and not his will,
that makes him importunate; for he must have money, and that briefly,
to discharge a debt due to Peregrine Peterson, Conservator of the
Privileges at Campvere, or his haill hereditary barony and estate of
Glenvarloch will be evicted in virtue of an unredeemed wadset."

"How say ye, man--how say ye?" exclaimed the king, impatiently; "the
carle of a Conservator, the son of a Low-Dutch skipper, evict the auld
estate and lordship of the house of Olifaunt?--God's bread, man,
that maun not be--we maun suspend the diligence by writ of favour, or
otherwise."

"I doubt that may hardly be," answered the citizen, "if it please your
Majesty; your learned counsel in the law of Scotland advise, that there
is no remeid but in paying the money."

"Ud's fish," said the king, "let him keep haud by the strong hand
against the carle, until we can take some order about his affairs."

"Alas!" insisted the goldsmith, "if it like your Majesty, your own
pacific government, and your doing of equal justice to all men, has made
main force a kittle line to walk by, unless just within the bounds of
the Highlands."

"Well--weel--weel, man," said the perplexed monarch, whose ideas of
justice, expedience, and convenience, became on such occasions strangely
embroiled; "just it is we should pay our debts, that the young man may
pay his; and he must be paid, and _in verbo regis_ he shall be paid--but
how to come by the siller, man, is a difficult chapter--ye maun try the
city, Geordie."

"To say the truth," answered Heriot, "please your gracious Majesty,
what betwixt loans and benevolences, and subsidies, the city is at this
present----"

"Donna tell me of what the city is," said King James; "our Exchequer is
as dry as Dean Giles's discourses on the penitentiary psalms--_Ex nihilo
nihil fit_--It's ill taking the breeks aff a wild Highlandman--they that
come to me for siller, should tell me how to come by it--the city ye
maun try, Heriot; and donna think to be called Jingling Geordie for
nothing--and _in verbo regis_ I will pay the lad if you get me the
loan--I wonnot haggle on the terms; and, between you and me, Geordie, we
will redeem the brave auld estate of Glenvarloch.--But wherefore comes
not the young lord to Court, Heriot--is he comely--is he presentable in
the presence?"

"No one can be more so," said George Heriot; "but----"

"Ay, I understand ye," said his Majesty--"I understand ye--_Res angusta
domi_--puir lad-puir lad!--and his father a right true leal Scots heart,
though stiff in some opinions. Hark ye, Heriot, let the lad have twa
hundred pounds to fit him out. And, here--here"--(taking the carcanet
of rubies from his old hat)--"ye have had these in pledge before for a
larger sum, ye auld Levite that ye are. Keep them in gage, till I gie ye
back the siller out of the next subsidy."

"If it please your Majesty to give me such directions in writing," said
the cautious citizen.

"The deil is in your nicety, George," said the king; "ye are as preceese
as a Puritan in form, and a mere Nullifidian in the marrow of the
matter. May not a king's word serve ye for advancing your pitiful twa
hundred pounds?"

"But not for detaining the crown jewels," said George Heriot.

And the king, who from long experience was inured to dealing
with suspicious creditors, wrote an order upon George Heriot, his
well-beloved goldsmith and jeweller, for the sum of two hundred pounds,
to be paid presently to Nigel Olifaunt, Lord of Glenvarloch, to be
imputed as so much debts due to him by the crown; and authorizing
the retention of a carcanet of balas rubies, with a great diamond,
as described in a Catalogue of his Majesty's Jewels, to remain in
possession of the said George Heriot, advancer of the said sum, and
so forth, until he was lawfully contented and paid thereof. By another
rescript, his Majesty gave the said George Heriot directions to deal
with some of the monied men, upon equitable terms, for a sum of money
for his Majesty's present use, not to be under 50,000 merks, but as much
more as could conveniently be procured.

"And has he ony lair, this Lord Nigel of ours?" said the king.

George Heriot could not exactly answer this question; but believed "the
young lord had studied abroad."

"He shall have our own advice," said the king, "how to carry on his
studies to maist advantage; and it may be we will have him come to
Court, and study with Steenie and Babie Charles. And, now we think on't,
away--away, George--for the bairns will be coming hame presently, and we
would not as yet they kend of this matter we have been treating anent.
_Propera fedem,_ O Geordie. Clap your mule between your boughs, and
god-den with you."

Thus ended the conference betwixt the gentle King Jamie and his
benevolent jeweller and goldsmith.



CHAPTER VI


  O I do know him--tis the mouldy lemon
  Which our court wits will wet their lips withal,
  When they would sauce their honied conversation
  With somewhat sharper flavour--Marry sir,
  That virtue's wellnigh left him--all the juice
  That was so sharp and poignant, is squeezed out,
  While the poor rind, although as sour as ever,
  Must season soon the draff we give our grunters,
  For two legg'd things are weary on't.
                     _The Chamberlain--A Comedy_

The good company invited by the hospitable citizen assembled at his
house in Lombard Street at the "hollow and hungry hour" of noon, to
partake of that meal which divides the day, being about the time when
modern persons of fashion, turning themselves upon their pillow, begin
to think, not without a great many doubts and much hesitation, that
they will by and by commence it. Thither came the young Nigel, arrayed
plainly, but in a dress, nevertheless, more suitable to his age and
quality than he had formerly worn, accompanied by his servant Moniplies,
whose outside also was considerably improved. His solemn and stern
features glared forth from under a blue velvet bonnet, fantastically
placed sideways on his head--he had a sound and tough coat of English
blue broad-cloth, which, unlike his former vestment, would have
stood the tug of all the apprentices in Fleet Street. The buckler and
broadsword he wore as the arms of his condition, and a neat silver
badge, bearing his lord's arms, announced that he was an appendage of
aristocracy. He sat down in the good citizen's buttery, not a little
pleased to find his attendance upon the table in the hall was likely to
be rewarded with his share of a meal such as he had seldom partaken of.

Mr. David Ramsay, that profound and ingenious mechanic, was safely
conducted to Lombard Street, according to promise, well washed, brushed,
and cleaned, from the soot of the furnace and the forge. His daughter,
who came with him, was about twenty years old, very pretty, very
demure, yet with lively black eyes, that ever and anon contradicted the
expression of sobriety, to which silence, reserve, a plain velvet hood,
and a cambric ruff, had condemned Mistress Marget, as the daughter of a
quiet citizen.

There were also two citizens and merchants of London, men ample in
cloak, and many-linked golden chain, well to pass in the world, and
experienced in their craft of merchandise, but who require no particular
description. There was an elderly clergyman also, in his gown and
cassock, a decent venerable man, partaking in his manners of the
plainness of the citizens amongst whom he had his cure.

These may be dismissed with brief notice; but not so Sir Mungo
Malagrowther, of Girnigo Castle, who claims a little more attention, as
an original character of the time in which he flourished.

That good knight knocked at Master Heriot's door just as the clock began
to strike twelve, and was seated in his chair ere the last stroke
had chimed. This gave the knight an excellent opportunity of making
sarcastic observations on all who came later than himself, not to
mention a few rubs at the expense of those who had been so superfluous
as to appear earlier.

Having little or no property save his bare designation, Sir Mungo had
been early attached to Court in the capacity of whipping-boy, as the
office was then called, to King James the Sixth, and, with his Majesty,
trained to all polite learning by his celebrated preceptor, George
Buchanan. The office of whipping-boy doomed its unfortunate occupant to
undergo all the corporeal punishment which the Lord's Anointed, whose
proper person was of course sacred, might chance to incur, in the course
of travelling through his grammar and prosody. Under the stern rule,
indeed, of George Buchanan, who did not approve of the vicarious mode
of punishment, James bore the penance of his own faults, and Mungo
Malagrowther enjoyed a sinecure; but James's other pedagogue, Master
Patrick Young, went more ceremoniously to work, and appalled the very
soul of the youthful king by the floggings which he bestowed on the
whipping-boy, when the royal task was not suitably performed. And be
it told to Sir Mungo's praise, that there were points about him in the
highest respect suited to his official situation. He had even in youth a
naturally irregular and grotesque set of features, which, when distorted
by fear, pain, and anger, looked like one of the whimsical faces which
present themselves in a Gothic cornice. His voice also was high-pitched
and querulous, so that, when smarting under Master Peter Young's
unsparing inflictions, the expression of his grotesque physiognomy, and
the superhuman yells which he uttered, were well suited to produce all
the effects on the Monarch who deserved the lash, that could possibly be
produced by seeing another and an innocent individual suffering for his
delict.

Sir Mungo Malagrowther, for such he became, thus got an early footing
at Court, which another would have improved and maintained. But, when he
grew too big to be whipped, he had no other means of rendering himself
acceptable. A bitter, caustic, and backbiting humour, a malicious wit,
and an envy of others more prosperous than the possessor of such amiable
qualities, have not, indeed, always been found obstacles to a courtier's
rise; but then they must be amalgamated with a degree of selfish cunning
and prudence, of which Sir Mungo had no share. His satire ran riot, his
envy could not conceal itself, and it was not long after his majority
till he had as many quarrels upon his hands as would have required a
cat's nine lives to answer. In one of these rencontres he received,
perhaps we should say fortunately, a wound, which served him as an
excuse for answering no invitations of the kind in future. Sir Rullion
Rattray, of Ranagullion, cut off, in mortal combat, three of the fingers
of his right hand, so that Sir Mungo never could hold sword again. At
a later period, having written some satirical verses upon the Lady
Cockpen, he received so severe a chastisement from some persons employed
for the purpose, that he was found half dead on the spot where they had
thus dealt with him, and one of his thighs having been broken, and ill
set, gave him a hitch in his gait, with which he hobbled to his grave.
The lameness of his leg and hand, besides that they added considerably
to the grotesque appearance of this original, procured him in future
a personal immunity from the more dangerous consequences of his own
humour; and he gradually grew old in the service of the Court, in safety
of life and limb, though without either making friends or attaining
preferment. Sometimes, indeed, the king was amused with his caustic
sallies, but he had never art enough to improve the favourable
opportunity; and his enemies (who were, for that matter, the whole
Court) always found means to throw him out of favour again. The
celebrated Archie Armstrong offered Sir Mungo, in his generosity, a
skirt of his own fool's coat, proposing thereby to communicate to him
the privileges and immunities of a professed jester--"For," said the man
of motley, "Sir Mungo, as he goes on just now, gets no more for a good
jest than just the king's pardon for having made it."

Even in London, the golden shower which fell around him did not moisten
the blighted fortunes of Sir Mungo Malagrowther. He grew old, deaf,
and peevish--lost even the spirit which had formerly animated his
strictures--and was barely endured by James, who, though himself nearly
as far stricken in years, retained, to an unusual and even an absurd
degree, the desire to be surrounded by young people.

Sir Mungo, thus fallen into the yellow leaf of years and fortune, showed
his emaciated form and faded embroidery at Court as seldom as his duty
permitted; and spent his time in indulging his food for satire in the
public walks, and in the aisles of Saint Paul's, which were then the
general resort of newsmongers and characters of all descriptions,
associating himself chiefly with such of his countrymen as he accounted
of inferior birth and rank to himself. In this manner, hating and
contemning commerce, and those who pursued it, he nevertheless lived a
good deal among the Scottish artists and merchants, who had followed
the Court to London. To these he could show his cynicism without much
offence; for some submitted to his jeers and ill-humour in deference
to his birth and knighthood, which in those days conferred high
privileges--and others, of more sense, pitied and endured the old man,
unhappy alike in his fortunes and his temper.

Amongst the latter was George Heriot, who, though his habits and
education induced him to carry aristocratical feelings to a degree which
would now be thought extravagant, had too much spirit and good sense to
permit himself to be intruded upon to an unauthorized excess, or used
with the slightest improper freedom, by such a person as Sir Mungo, to
whom he was, nevertheless, not only respectfully civil, but essentially
kind, and even generous.

Accordingly, this appeared from the manner in which Sir Mungo
Malagrowther conducted himself upon entering the apartment. He paid
his respects to Master Heriot, and a decent, elderly, somewhat
severe-looking female, in a coif, who, by the name of Aunt Judith, did
the honours of his house and table, with little or no portion of the
supercilious acidity, which his singular physiognomy assumed when he
made his bow successively to David Ramsay and the two sober citizens.
He thrust himself into the conversation of the latter, to observe he
had heard in Paul's, that the bankrupt concern of Pindivide, a great
merchant,--who, as he expressed it, had given the crows a pudding, and
on whom he knew, from the same authority, each of the honest citizens
has some unsettled claim,--was like to prove a total loss--"stock and
block, ship and cargo, keel and rigging, all lost, now and for ever."

The two citizens grinned at each other; but, too prudent to make their
private affairs the subject of public discussion, drew their heads
together, and evaded farther conversation by speaking in a whisper.

The old Scots knight next attacked the watchmaker with the same
disrespectful familiarity.--"Davie," he said,--"Davie, ye donnard auld
idiot, have ye no gane mad yet, with applying your mathematical science,
as ye call it, to the book of Apocalypse? I expected to have heard ye
make out the sign of the beast, as clear as a tout on a bawbee whistle."

"Why, Sir Mungo," said the mechanist, after making an effort to recall
to his recollection what had been said to him, and by whom, "it may be,
that ye are nearer the mark than ye are yoursell aware of; for, taking
the ten horns o' the beast, ye may easily estimate by your digitals--"

"My digits! you d--d auld, rusty, good-for-nothing time-piece!"
exclaimed Sir Mungo, while, betwixt jest and earnest, he laid on his
hilt his hand, or rather his claw, (for Sir Rullion's broadsword
has abridged it into that form,)--"D'ye mean to upbraid me with my
mutilation?"

Master Heriot interfered. "I cannot persuade our friend David," he said,
"that scriptural prophecies are intended to remain in obscurity, until
their unexpected accomplishment shall make, as in former days, that
fulfilled which was written. But you must not exert your knightly valour
on him for all that."

"By my saul, and it would be throwing it away," said Sir Mungo,
laughing. "I would as soon set out, with hound and horn, to hunt
a sturdied sheep; for he is in a doze again, and up to the chin in
numerals, quotients, and dividends.--Mistress Margaret, my pretty
honey," for the beauty of the young citizen made even Sir Mungo
Malagrowther's grim features relax themselves a little, "is your father
always as entertaining as he seems just now?"

Mistress Margaret simpered, bridled, looked to either side, then
straight before her; and, having assumed all the airs of bashful
embarrassment and timidity which were necessary, as she thought, to
cover a certain shrewd readiness which really belonged to her character,
at length replied: "That indeed her father was very thoughtful, but she
had heard that he took the habit of mind from her grandfather."

"Your grandfather!" said Sir Mungo,--after doubting if he had heard her
aright,--"Said she her grandfather! The lassie is distraught!--I ken
nae wench on this side of Temple Bar that is derived from so distant a
relation."

"She has got a godfather, however, Sir Mungo," said George Heriot, again
interfering; "and I hope you will allow him interest enough with you, to
request you will not put his pretty godchild to so deep a blush."

"The better--the better," said Sir Mungo. "It is a credit to her, that,
bred and born within the sound of Bow-bell, she can blush for any thing;
and, by my saul, Master George," he continued, chucking the irritated
and reluctant damsel under the chin, "she is bonny enough to make amends
for her lack of ancestry--at least, in such a region as Cheapside,
where, d'ye mind me, the kettle cannot call the porridge-pot--"

The damsel blushed, but not so angrily as before. Master George Heriot
hastened to interrupt the conclusion of Sir Mungo's homely proverb, by
introducing him personally to Lord Nigel.

Sir Mungo could not at first understand what his host said,--"Bread of
Heaven, wha say ye, man?"

Upon the name of Nigel Olifaunt, Lord Glenvarloch, being again hollowed
into his ear, he drew up, and, regarding his entertainer with some
austerity, rebuked him for not making persons of quality acquainted with
each other, that they might exchange courtesies before they mingled with
other folks. He then made as handsome and courtly a congee to his new
acquaintance as a man maimed in foot and hand could do; and, observing
he had known my lord, his father, bid him welcome to London, and hoped
he should see him at Court.

Nigel in an instant comprehended, as well from Sir Mungo's manner, as
from a strict compression of their entertainer's lips, which intimated
the suppression of a desire to laugh, that he was dealing with an
original of no ordinary description, and accordingly, returned his
courtesy with suitable punctiliousness. Sir Mungo, in the meanwhile,
gazed on him with much earnestness; and, as the contemplation of natural
advantages was as odious to him as that of wealth, or other adventitious
benefits, he had no sooner completely perused the handsome form and good
features of the young lord, than like one of the comforters of the man
of Uz, he drew close up to him, to enlarge on the former grandeur of the
Lords of Glenvarloch, and the regret with which he had heard, that their
representative was not likely to possess the domains of his ancestry.
Anon, he enlarged upon the beauties of the principal mansion of
Glenvarloch--the commanding site of the old castle--the noble expanse
of the lake, stocked with wildfowl for hawking--the commanding screen of
forest, terminating in a mountain-ridge abounding with deer--and all the
other advantages of that fine and ancient barony, till Nigel, in spite
of every effort to the contrary, was unwillingly obliged to sigh.

Sir Mungo, skilful in discerning when the withers of those he conversed
with were wrung, observed that his new acquaintance winced, and would
willingly have pressed the discussion; but the cook's impatient knock
upon the dresser with the haft of his dudgeon-knife, now gave a signal
loud enough to be heard from the top of the house to the bottom,
summoning, at the same time, the serving-men to place the dinner upon
the table, and the guests to partake of it.

Sir Mungo, who was an admirer of good cheer,--a taste which, by the
way, might have some weight in reconciling his dignity to these city
visits,--was tolled off by the sound, and left Nigel and the other
guests in peace, until his anxiety to arrange himself in his due place
of pre-eminence at the genial board was duly gratified. Here, seated on
the left hand of Aunt Judith, he beheld Nigel occupy the station of yet
higher honour on the right, dividing that matron from pretty Mistress
Margaret; but he saw this with the more patience, that there stood
betwixt him and the young lord a superb larded capon.

The dinner proceeded according to the form of the times. All was
excellent of the kind; and, besides the Scottish cheer promised, the
board displayed beef and pudding, the statutory dainties of Old England.
A small cupboard of plate, very choicely and beautifully wrought, did
not escape the compliments of some of the company, and an oblique
sneer from Sir Mungo, as intimating the owner's excellence in his own
mechanical craft.

"I am not ashamed of the workmanship, Sir Mungo," said the honest
citizen. "They say, a good cook knows how to lick his own fingers; and,
methinks, it were unseemly that I, who have furnished half the cupboards
in broad Britain, should have my own covered with paltry pewter."

The blessing of the clergyman now left the guests at liberty to attack
what was placed before them; and the meal went forward with great
decorum, until Aunt Judith, in farther recommendation of the capon,
assured her company that it was of a celebrated breed of poultry, which
she had herself brought from Scotland.

"Then, like some of his countrymen, madam," said the pitiless Sir Mungo,
not without a glance towards his landlord, "he has been well larded in
England."

"There are some others of his countrymen," answered Master Heriot,
"to whom all the lard in England has not been able to render that good
office."

Sir Mungo sneered and reddened, the rest of the company laughed; and the
satirist, who had his reasons for not coming to extremity with Master
George, was silent for the rest of the dinner.

The dishes were exchanged for confections, and wine of the highest
quality and flavour; and Nigel saw the entertainments of the wealthiest
burgomasters, which he had witnessed abroad, fairly outshone by the
hospitality of a London citizen. Yet there was nothing ostentatious, or
which seemed inconsistent with the degree of an opulent burgher.

While the collation proceeded, Nigel, according to the good-breeding of
the time, addressed his discourse principally to Mrs. Judith, whom he
found to be a woman of a strong Scottish understanding, more inclined
towards the Puritans than was her brother George, (for in that relation
she stood to him, though he always called her aunt,) attached to him in
the strongest degree, and sedulously attentive to all his comforts. As
the conversation of this good dame was neither lively nor fascinating,
the young lord naturally addressed himself next to the old horologer's
very pretty daughter, who sat upon his left hand. From her, however,
there was no extracting any reply beyond the measure of a monosyllable;
and when the young gallant had said the best and most complaisant things
which his courtesy supplied, the smile that mantled upon her pretty
mouth was so slight and evanescent, as scarce to be discernible.

Nigel was beginning to tire of his company, for the old citizens were
speaking with his host of commercial matters in language to him totally
unintelligible, when Sir Mungo Malagrowther suddenly summoned their
attention.

That amiable personage had for some time withdrawn from the company into
the recess of a projecting window, so formed and placed as to command
a view of the door of the house, and of the street. This situation was
probably preferred by Sir Mungo on account of the number of objects
which the streets of a metropolis usually offer, of a kind congenial
to the thoughts of a splenetic man. What he had hitherto seen passing
there, was probably of little consequence; but now a trampling of horse
was heard without, and the knight suddenly exclaimed,--"By my faith,
Master George, you had better go look to shop; for here comes Knighton,
the Duke of Buckingham's groom, and two fellows after him, as if he were
my Lord Duke himself."

"My cash-keeper is below," said Heriot, without disturbing himself,
"and he will let me know if his Grace's commands require my immediate
attention."

"Umph!--cash-keeper?" muttered Sir Mungo to himself; "he would have had
an easy office when I first kend ye.--But," said he, speaking aloud,
"will you not come to the window, at least? for Knighton has trundled a
piece of silver-plate into your house--ha! ha! ha!--trundled it upon its
edge, as a callan' would drive a hoop. I cannot help laughing--ha! ha!
ha!--at the fellow's impudence."

"I believe you could not help laughing," said George Heriot, rising up
and leaving the room, "if your best friend lay dying."

"Bitter that, my lord--ha?" said Sir Mungo, addressing Nigel. "Our
friend is not a goldsmith for nothing--he hath no leaden wit. But I will
go down, and see what comes on't."

Heriot, as he descended the stairs, met his cash-keeper coming up, with
some concern in his face.--"Why, how now, Roberts," said the goldsmith,
"what means all this, man?"

"It is Knighton, Master Heriot, from the Court--Knighton, the Duke's
man. He brought back the salver you carried to Whitehall, flung it into
the entrance as if it had been an old pewter platter, and bade me tell
you the king would have none of your trumpery."

"Ay, indeed," said George Heriot--"None of my trumpery!--Come hither
into the compting-room, Roberts.--Sir Mungo," he added, bowing to the
knight, who had joined, and was preparing to follow them, "I pray your
forgiveness for an instant."

In virtue of this prohibition, Sir Mungo, who, as well as the rest of
the company, had overheard what passed betwixt George Heriot and his
cash-keeper, saw himself condemned to wait in the outer business-room,
where he would have endeavoured to slake his eager curiosity by
questioning Knighton; but that emissary of greatness, after having added
to the uncivil message of his master some rudeness of his own, had again
scampered westward, with his satellites at his heels.

In the meanwhile, the name of the Duke of Buckingham, the omnipotent
favourite both of the king and the Prince of Wales, had struck some
anxiety into the party which remained in the great parlour. He was more
feared than beloved, and, if not absolutely of a tyrannical disposition,
was accounted haughty, violent, and vindictive. It pressed on Nigel's
heart, that he himself, though he could not conceive how, nor why,
might be the original cause of the resentment of the Duke against his
benefactor. The others made their comments in whispers, until the sounds
reached Ramsay, who had not heard a word of what had previously passed,
but, plunged in those studies with which he connected every other
incident and event, took up only the catchword, and replied,--"The
Duke--the Duke of Buckingham--George Villiers--ay--I have spoke with
Lambe about him."

"Our Lord and our Lady! Now, how can you say so, father?" said his
daughter, who had shrewdness enough to see that her father was touching
upon dangerous ground.

"Why, ay, child," answered Ramsay; "the stars do but incline, they
cannot compel. But well you wot, it is commonly said of his Grace, by
those who have the skill to cast nativities, that there was a notable
conjunction of Mars and Saturn--the apparent or true time of which,
reducing the calculations of Eichstadius made for the latitude of
Oranienburgh, to that of London, gives seven hours, fifty-five minutes,
and forty-one seconds----"

"Hold your peace, old soothsayer," said Heriot, who at that instant
entered the room with a calm and steady countenance; "your calculations
are true and undeniable when they regard brass and wire, and mechanical
force; but future events are at the pleasure of Him who bears the hearts
of kings in his hands."

"Ay, but, George," answered the watchmaker, "there was a concurrence
of signs at this gentleman's birth, which showed his course would be
a strange one. Long has it been said of him, he was born at the very
meeting of night and day, and under crossing and contending influences
that may affect both us and him.

    'Full moon and high sea,
     Great man shalt thou be;
     Red dawning, stormy sky,
     Bloody death shalt thou die.'"

"It is not good to speak of such things," said Heriot, "especially of
the great; stone walls have ears, and a bird of the air shall carry the
matter."

Several of the guests seemed to be of their host's opinion. The two
merchants took brief leave, as if under consciousness that something
was wrong. Mistress Margaret, her body-guard of 'prentices being in
readiness, plucked her father by the sleeve, and, rescuing him from a
brown study, (whether referring to the wheels of Time, or to that of
Fortune, is uncertain,) wished good-night to her friend Mrs. Judith, and
received her godfather's blessing, who, at the same time, put upon
her slender finger a ring of much taste and some value; for he seldom
suffered her to leave him without some token of his affection. Thus
honourably dismissed, and accompanied by her escort, she set forth on
her return to Fleet Street.

Sir Mungo had bid adieu to Master Heriot as he came out from the back
compting-room, but such was the interest which he took in the affairs
of his friend, that, when Master George went upstairs, he could not
help walking into that sanctum sanctorum, to see how Master Roberts was
employed. The knight found the cash-keeper busy in making extracts from
those huge brass-clasped leathern-bound manuscript folios, which are
the pride and trust of dealers, and the dread of customers whose year of
grace is out. The good knight leant his elbows on the desk, and said to
the functionary in a condoling tone of voice,--"What! you have lost a
good customer, I fear, Master Roberts, and are busied in making out his
bill of charges?"

Now, it chanced that Roberts, like Sir Mungo himself, was a little deaf,
and, like Sir Mungo, knew also how to make the most of it; so that he
answered at cross purposes,--"I humbly crave your pardon, Sir Mungo, for
not having sent in your bill of charge sooner, but my master bade me not
disturb you. I will bring the items together in a moment." So saying, he
began to turn over the leaves of his book of fate, murmuring, "Repairing
ane silver seal-new clasp to his chain of office--ane over-gilt brooch
to his hat, being a Saint Andrew's cross, with thistles--a copper gilt
pair of spurs,--this to Daniel Driver, we not dealing in the article."

He would have proceeded; but Sir Mungo, not prepared to endure the
recital of the catalogue of his own petty debts, and still less
willing to satisfy them on the spot, wished the bookkeeper, cavalierly,
good-night, and left the house without farther ceremony. The clerk
looked after him with a civil city sneer, and immediately resumed the
more serious labours which Sir Mungo's intrusion had interrupted.



CHAPTER VII


  Things needful we have thought on; but the thing
  Of all most needful--that which Scripture terms,
  As if alone it merited regard,
  The ONE thing needful--that's yet unconsider'd.
                       _The Chamberlain._

When the rest of the company had taken their departure from Master
Heriot's house, the young Lord of Glenvarloch also offered to take
leave; but his host detained him for a few minutes, until all were gone
excepting the clergyman.

"My lord," then said the worthy citizen, "we have had our permitted hour
of honest and hospitable pastime, and now I would fain delay you for
another and graver purpose, as it is our custom, when we have the
benefit of good Mr. Windsor's company, that he reads the prayers of the
church for the evening before we separate. Your excellent father, my
lord, would not have departed before family worship--I hope the same
from your lordship."

"With pleasure, sir," answered Nigel; "and you add in the invitation an
additional obligation to those with which you have loaded me. When young
men forget what is their duty, they owe deep thanks to the friend who
will remind them of it."

While they talked together in this manner, the serving-men had removed
the folding-tables, brought forward a portable reading-desk, and placed
chairs and hassocks for their master, their mistress, and the noble
stranger. Another low chair, or rather a sort of stool, was placed close
beside that of Master Heriot; and though the circumstance was trivial,
Nigel was induced to notice it, because, when about to occupy that
seat, he was prevented by a sign from the old gentleman, and motioned
to another of somewhat more elevation. The clergyman took his station
behind the reading-desk. The domestics, a numerous family both of clerks
and servants, including Moniplies, attended, with great gravity, and
were accommodated with benches.

The household were all seated, and, externally at least, composed
to devout attention, when a low knock was heard at the door of the
apartment; Mrs. Judith looked anxiously at her brother, as if desiring
to know his pleasure. He nodded his head gravely, and looked to the
door. Mrs. Judith immediately crossed the chamber, opened the door, and
led into the apartment a beautiful creature, whose sudden and singular
appearance might have made her almost pass for an apparition. She
was deadly pale-there was not the least shade of vital red to enliven
features, which were exquisitely formed, and might, but for that
circumstance, have been termed transcendently beautiful. Her long black
hair fell down over her shoulders and down her back, combed smoothly and
regularly, but without the least appearance of decoration or ornament,
which looked very singular at a period when head-gear, as it was called,
of one sort or other, was generally used by all ranks. Her dress was of
white, of the simplest fashion, and hiding all her person excepting
the throat, face, and hands. Her form was rather beneath than above the
middle size, but so justly proportioned and elegantly made, that
the spectator's attention was entirely withdrawn from her size. In
contradiction of the extreme plainness of all the rest of her attire,
she wore a necklace which a duchess might have envied, so large and
lustrous were the brilliants of which it was composed; and around her
waist a zone of rubies of scarce inferior value.

When this singular figure entered the apartment, she cast her eyes on
Nigel, and paused, as if uncertain whether to advance or retreat. The
glance which she took of him seemed to be one rather of uncertainty and
hesitation, than of bashfulness or timidity. Aunt Judith took her by the
hand, and led her slowly forward--her dark eyes, however, continued to
be fixed on Nigel, with an expression of melancholy by which he felt
strangely affected. Even when she was seated on the vacant stool, which
was placed there probably for her accommodation, she again looked on him
more than once with the same pensive, lingering, and anxious expression,
but without either shyness or embarrassment, not even so much as to call
the slightest degree of complexion into her cheek.

So soon as this singular female had taken up the prayer-book, which
was laid upon her cushion, she seemed immersed in devotional duty; and
although Nigel's attention to the service was so much disturbed by this
extraordinary apparition, that he looked towards her repeatedly in
the course of the service, he could never observe that her eyes or her
thoughts strayed so much as a single moment from the task in which she
was engaged. Nigel himself was less attentive, for the appearance of
this lady seemed so extraordinary, that, strictly as he had been bred up
by his father to pay the most reverential attention during performance
of divine service, his thoughts in spite of himself were disturbed by
her presence, and he earnestly wished the prayers were ended, that
his curiosity might obtain some gratification. When the service was
concluded, and each had remained, according to the decent and edifying
practice of the church, concentrated in mental devotion for a short
space, the mysterious visitant arose ere any other person stirred; and
Nigel remarked that none of the domestics left their places, oreven
moved, until she had first kneeled on one knee to Heriot, who seemed to
bless her with his hand laid on her head, and a melancholy solemnity of
look and action. She then bended her body, but without kneeling, to Mrs.
Judith, and having performed these two acts of reverence, she left the
room; yet just in the act of her departure, she once more turned her
penetrating eyes on Nigel with a fixed look, which compelled him to turn
his own aside. When he looked towards her again, he saw only the skirt
of her white mantle as she left the apartment.

The domestics then rose and dispersed themselves--wine, and fruit, and
spices, were offered to Lord Nigel and to the clergyman, and the latter
took his leave. The young lord would fain have accompanied him, in hope
to get some explanation of the apparition which he had beheld, but
he was stopped by his host, who requested to speak with him in his
compting-room.

"I hope, my lord," said the citizen, "that your preparations for
attending Court are in such forwardness that you can go thither the day
after to-morrow. It is, perhaps, the last day, for some time, that his
Majesty will hold open Court for all who have pretensions by birth,
rank, or office to attend upon him. On the subsequent day he goes
to Theobald's, where he is so much occupied with hunting and other
pleasures, that he cares not to be intruded on."

"I shall be in all outward readiness to pay my duty," said the young
nobleman, "yet I have little heart to do it. The friends from whom I
ought to have found encouragement and protection, have proved cold and
false--I certainly will not trouble _them_ for their countenance on
this occasion--and yet I must confess my childish unwillingness to enter
quite alone upon so new a scene."

"It is bold of a mechanic like me to make such an offer to a nobleman,"
said Heriot; "but I must attend at Court to-morrow. I can accompany
you as far as the presence-chamber, from my privilege as being of the
household. I can facilitate your entrance, should you find difficulty,
and I can point out the proper manner and time of approaching the king.
But I do not know," he added, smiling, "whether these little advantages
will not be overbalanced by the incongruity of a nobleman receiving them
from the hands of an old smith."

"From the hands rather of the only friend I have found in London," said
Nigel, offering his hand.

"Nay, if you think of the matter in that way," replied the honest
citizen, "there is no more to be said--I will come for you to-morrow,
with a barge proper to the occasion.--But remember, my good young lord,
that I do not, like some men of my degree, wish to take opportunity to
step beyond it, and associate with my superiors in rank, and therefore
do not fear to mortify my presumption, by suffering me to keep my
distance in the presence, and where it is fitting for both of us to
separate; and for what remains, most truly happy shall I be in proving
of service to the son of my ancient patron."

The style of conversation led so far from the point which had interested
the young nobleman's curiosity, that there was no returning to it that
night. He therefore exchanged thanks and greetings with George Heriot,
and took his leave, promising to be equipped and in readiness to embark
with him on the second successive morning at ten o'clock.

The generation of linkboys, celebrated by Count Anthony Hamilton, as
peculiar to London, had already, in the reign of James I., begun their
functions, and the service of one of them with his smoky torch, had
been secured to light the young Scottish lord and his follower to their
lodgings, which, though better acquainted than formerly with the city,
they might in the dark have run some danger of missing. This gave the
ingenious Mr. Moniplies an opportunity of gathering close up to his
master, after he had gone through the form of slipping his left arm into
the handles of his buckler, and loosening his broadsword in the sheath,
that he might be ready for whatever should befall.

"If it were not for the wine and the good cheer which we have had in
yonder old man's house, my lord," said this sapient follower, "and that
I ken him by report to be a just living man in many respects, and a real
Edinburgh gutterblood, I should have been well pleased to have seen how
his feet were shaped, and whether he had not a cloven cloot under the
braw roses and cordovan shoon of his."

"Why, you rascal," answered Nigel, "you have been too kindly treated,
and now that you have filled your ravenous stomach, you are railing on
the good gentleman that relieved you."

"Under favour, no, my lord," said Moniplies,--"I would only like to see
something mair about him. I have eaten his meat, it is true--more shame
that the like of him should have meat to give, when your lordship and
me could scarce have gotten, on our own account, brose and a bear
bannock--I have drunk his wine, too."

"I see you have," replied his master, "a great deal more than you should
have done."

"Under your patience, my lord," said Moniplies, "you are pleased to say
that, because I crushed a quart with that jolly boy Jenkin, as they
call the 'prentice boy, and that was out of mere acknowledgment for his
former kindness--I own that I, moreover, sung the good old song of Elsie
Marley, so as they never heard it chanted in their lives----"

And withal (as John Bunyan says) as they went on their way, he sung--

    "O, do ye ken Elsie Marley, honey--
     The wife that sells the barley, honey?
     For Elsie Marley's grown sae fine,
     She winna get up to feed the swine.--
         O, do ye ken----"

Here in mid career was the songster interrupted by the stern gripe
of his master, who threatened to baton him to death if he brought the
city-watch upon them by his ill-timed melody.

"I crave pardon, my lord--I humbly crave pardon--only when I think of
that Jen Win, as they call him, I can hardly help humming--'O, do ye
ken'--But I crave your honour's pardon, and will be totally dumb, if you
command me so."

"No, sirrah!" said Nigel, "talk on, for I well know you would say and
suffer more under pretence of holding your peace, than when you get an
unbridled license. How is it, then? What have you to say against Master
Heriot?"

It seems more than probable, that in permitting this license, the young
lord hoped his attendant would stumble upon the subject of the young
lady who had appeared at prayers in a manner so mysterious. But whether
this was the case, or whether he merely desired that Moniplies should
utter, in a subdued and under tone of voice, those spirits which might
otherwise have vented themselves in obstreperous song, it is certain he
permitted his attendant to proceed with his story in his own way.

"And therefore," said the orator, availing himself of his immunity, "I
would like to ken what sort of carle this Maister Heriot is. He hath
supplied your lordship with wealth of gold, as I can understand; and if
he has, I make it for certain he hath had his ain end in it, according
to the fashion of the world. Now, had your lordship your own good
lands at your guiding, doubtless this person, with most of his
craft--goldsmiths they call themselves--I say usurers--wad be glad to
exchange so many pounds of African dust, by whilk I understand gold,
against so many fair acres, and hundreds of acres, of broad Scottish
land."

"But you know I have no land," said the young lord, "at least none that
can be affected by any debt which I can at present become obliged for--I
think you need not have reminded me of that."

"True, my lord, most true; and, as your lordship says, open to the
meanest capacity, without any unnecessary expositions. Now, therefore,
my lord, unless Maister George Heriot has something mair to allege as
a motive for his liberality, vera different from the possession of your
estate--and moreover, as he could gain little by the capture of your
body, wherefore should it not be your soul that he is in pursuit of?"

"My soul, you rascal!" said the young lord; "what good should my soul do
him?"

"What do I ken about that?" said Moniplies; "they go about roaring and
seeking whom they may devour--doubtless, they like the food that they
rage so much about--and, my lord, they say," added Moniplies, drawing up
still closer to his master's side, "they say that Master Heriot has one
spirit in his house already."

"How, or what do you mean?" said Nigel; "I will break your head, you
drunken knave, if you palter with me any longer."

"Drunken?" answered his trusty adherent, "and is this the story?--why,
how could I but drink your lordship's health on my bare knees, when
Master Jenkin began it to me?--hang them that would not--I would have
cut the impudent knave's hams with my broadsword, that should make
scruple of it, and so have made him kneel when he should have found it
difficult to rise again. But touching the spirit," he proceeded, finding
that his master made no answer to his valorous tirade, "your lordship
has seen her with your own eyes."

"I saw no spirit," said Glenvarloch, but yet breathing thick as one who
expects some singular disclosure, "what mean you by a spirit?"

"You saw a young lady come in to prayers, that spoke not a word to
any one, only made becks and bows to the old gentleman and lady of the
house--ken ye wha she is?"

"No, indeed," answered Nigel; "some relation of the family, I suppose."

"Deil a bit--deil a bit," answered Moniplies, hastily, "not a
blood-drop's kin to them, if she had a drop of blood in her body--I tell
you but what all human beings allege to be truth, that swell within hue
and cry of Lombard Street--that lady, or quean, or whatever you choose
to call her, has been dead in the body these many a year, though she
haunts them, as we have seen, even at their very devotions."

"You will allow her to be a good spirit at least," said Nigel Olifaunt,
"since she chooses such a time to visit her friends?"

"For that I kenna, my lord," answered the superstitious follower; "I ken
no spirit that would have faced the right down hammer-blow of Mess John
Knox, whom my father stood by in his very warst days, bating a chance
time when the Court, which my father supplied with butcher-meat, was
against him. But yon divine has another airt from powerful
Master Rollock, and Mess David Black, of North Leith, and sic
like.--Alack-a-day! wha can ken, if it please your lordship, whether
sic prayers as the Southron read out of their auld blethering black
mess-book there, may not be as powerful to invite fiends, as a right
red-het prayer warm fraw the heart, may be powerful to drive them away,
even as the Evil Spirit was driven by he smell of the fish's liver from
the bridal-chamber of Sara, the daughter of Raguel? As to whilk story,
nevertheless, I make scruple to say whether it be truth or not, better
men than I am having doubted on that matter."

"Well, well, well," said his master, impatiently, "we are now near home,
and I have permitted you to speak of this matter for once, that we may
have an end to your prying folly, and your idiotical superstitions, for
ever. For whom do you, or your absurd authors or informers, take this
lady?"

"I can sae naething preceesely as to that," answered Moniplies;
"certain it is her body died and was laid in the grave many a day since,
notwithstanding she still wanders on earth, and chiefly amongst Maister
Heriot's family, though she hath been seen in other places by them that
well knew her. But who she is, I will not warrant to say, or how she
becomes attached, like a Highland Brownie, to some peculiar family.
They say she has a row of apartments of her own, ante-room, parlour, and
bedroom; but deil a bed she sleeps in but her own coffin, and the walls,
doors, and windows are so chinked up, as to prevent the least blink of
daylight from entering; and then she dwells by torchlight--"

"To what purpose, if she be a spirit?" said Nigel Olifaunt.

"How can I tell your lordship?" answered his attendant. "I thank God I
know nothing of her likings, or mislikings--only her coffin is there;
and I leave your lordship to guess what a live person has to do with a
coffin. As little as a ghost with a lantern, I trow."

"What reason," repeated Nigel, "can a creature, so young and so
beautiful, have already habitually to contemplate her bed of last-long
rest?"

"In troth, I kenna, my lord," answered Moniplies; "but there is the
coffin, as they told me who have seen it: it is made of heben-wood, with
silver nails, and lined all through with three-piled damask, might serve
a princess to rest in."

"Singular," said Nigel, whose brain, like that of most active young
spirits, was easily caught by the singular and the romantic; "does she
not eat with the family?"

"Who!--she!"--exclaimed Moniplies, as if surprised at the question;
"they would need a lang spoon would sup with her, I trow. Always there
is something put for her into the Tower, as they call it, whilk is a
whigmaleery of a whirling-box, that turns round half on the tae side o'
the wa', half on the tother."

"I have seen the contrivance in foreign nunneries," said the Lord of
Glenvarloch. "And is it thus she receives her food?"

"They tell me something is put in ilka day, for fashion's sake," replied
the attendant; "but it's no to be supposed she would consume it, ony
mair than the images of Bel and the Dragon consumed the dainty vivers
that were placed before them. There are stout yeomen and chamber-queans
in the house, enow to play the part of Lick-it-up-a', as well as the
threescore and ten priests of Bel, besides their wives and children."

"And she is never seen in the family but when the hour of prayer
arrives?" said the master.

"Never, that I hear of," replied the servant.

"It is singular," said Nigel Olifaunt, musing. "Were it not for the
ornaments which she wears, and still more for her attendance upon the
service of the Protestant Church, I should know what to think, and
should believe her either a Catholic votaress, who, for some cogent
reason, was allowed to make her cell here in London, or some unhappy
Popish devotee, who was in the course of undergoing a dreadful penance.
As it is, I know not what to deem of it."

His reverie was interrupted by the linkboy knocking at the door of
honest John Christie, whose wife came forth with "quips, and becks, and
wreathed smiles," to welcome her honoured guest on his return to his
apartment.



CHAPTER VIII


  Ay! mark the matron well--and laugh not, Harry,
  At her old steeple-hat and velvet guard--
  I've call'd her like the ear of Dionysius;
  I mean that ear-form'd vault, built o'er his dungeon,
  To catch the groans and discontented murmurs
  Of his poor bondsmen--Even so doth Martha
  Drink up, for her own purpose, all that passes,
  Or is supposed to pass, in this wide city--
  She can retail it too, if that her profit
  Shall call on her to do so; and retail it
  For your advantage, so that you can make
  Your profit jump with hers.
                            The Conspiracy.

We must now introduce to the reader's acquaintance another character,
busy and important far beyond her ostensible situation in society--in
a word, Dame Ursula Suddlechop, wife of Benjamin Suddlechop, the most
renowned barber in all Fleet Street. This dame had her own particular
merits, the principal part of which was (if her own report could be
trusted) an infinite desire to be of service to her fellow-creatures.
Leaving to her thin half-starved partner the boast of having the most
dexterous snap with his fingers of any shaver in London, and the care
of a shop where starved apprentices flayed the faces of those who
were boobies enough to trust them, the dame drove a separate and more
lucrative trade, which yet had so many odd turns and windings, that it
seemed in many respects to contradict itself.

Its highest and most important duties were of a very secret and
confidential nature, and Dame Ursula Suddlechop was never known to
betray any transaction intrusted to her, unless she had either been
indifferently paid for her service, or that some one found it convenient
to give her a double douceur to make her disgorge the secret; and
these contingencies happened in so few cases, that her character for
trustiness remained as unimpeached as that for honesty and benevolence.

In fact, she was a most admirable matron, and could be useful to the
impassioned and the frail in the rise, progress, and consequences of
their passion. She could contrive an interview for lovers who could show
proper reasons for meeting privately; she could relieve the frail fair
one of the burden of a guilty passion, and perhaps establish the hopeful
offspring of unlicensed love as the heir of some family whose love was
lawful, but where an heir had not followed the union. More than this she
could do, and had been concerned in deeper and dearer secrets. She had
been a pupil of Mrs. Turner, and learned from her the secret of making
the yellow starch, and, it may be, two or three other secrets of more
consequence, though perhaps none that went to the criminal extent of
those whereof her mistress was accused. But all that was deep and dark
in her real character was covered by the show of outward mirth and
good-humour, the hearty laugh and buxom jest with which the dame knew
well how to conciliate the elder part of her neighbours, and the many
petty arts by which she could recommend herself to the younger, those
especially of her own sex.

Dame Ursula was, in appearance, scarce past forty, and her full, but
not overgrown form, and still comely features, although her person was
plumped out, and her face somewhat coloured by good cheer, had a joyous
expression of gaiety and good-humour, which set off the remains of
beauty in the wane. Marriages, births, and christenings were seldom
thought to be performed with sufficient ceremony, for a considerable
distance round her abode, unless Dame Ursley, as they called her, was
present. She could contrive all sorts of pastimes, games, and jests,
which might amuse the large companies which the hospitality of our
ancestors assembled together on such occasions, so that her presence was
literally considered as indispensable in the families of all citizens of
ordinary rank, at such joyous periods. So much also was she supposed to
know of life and its labyrinths, that she was the willing confidant
of half the loving couples in the vicinity, most of whom used to
communicate their secrets to, and receive their counsel from, Dame
Ursley. The rich rewarded her services with rings, owches, or gold
pieces, which she liked still better; and she very generously gave
her assistance to the poor, on the same mixed principles as young
practitioners in medicine assist them, partly from compassion, and
partly to keep her hand in use.

Dame Ursley's reputation in the city was the greater that her practice
had extended beyond Temple Bar, and that she had acquaintances, nay,
patrons and patronesses, among the quality, whose rank, as their members
were much fewer, and the prospect of approaching the courtly sphere much
more difficult, bore a degree of consequence unknown to the present day,
when the toe of the citizen presses so close on the courtier's heel.
Dame Ursley maintained her intercourse with this superior rank of
customers, partly by driving a small trade in perfumes, essences,
pomades, head-gears from France, dishes or ornaments from China, then
already beginning to be fashionable; not to mention drugs of various
descriptions, chiefly for the use of the ladies, and partly by other
services, more or less connected with the esoteric branches of her
profession heretofore alluded to.

Possessing such and so many various modes of thriving, Dame Ursley
was nevertheless so poor, that she might probably have mended her own
circumstances, as well as her husband's, if she had renounced them all,
and set herself quietly down to the care of her own household, and to
assist Benjamin in the concerns of his trade. But Ursula was luxurious
and genial in her habits, and could no more have endured the stinted
economy of Benjamin's board, than she could have reconciled herself to
the bald chat of his conversation.

It was on the evening of the day on which Lord Nigel Olifaunt dined with
the wealthy goldsmith, that we must introduce Ursula Suddlechop upon
the stage. She had that morning made a long tour to Westminster, was
fatigued, and had assumed a certain large elbow-chair, rendered smooth
by frequent use, placed on one side of her chimney, in which there was
lit a small but bright fire. Here she observed, betwixt sleeping and
waking, the simmering of a pot of well-spiced ale, on the brown surface
of which bobbed a small crab-apple, sufficiently roasted, while a little
mulatto girl watched, still more attentively, the process of dressing
a veal sweetbread, in a silver stewpan which occupied the other side
of the chimney. With these viands, doubtless, Dame Ursula proposed
concluding the well spent day, of which she reckoned the labour over,
and the rest at her own command. She was deceived, however; for just
as the ale, or, to speak technically, the lamb's-wool, was fitted for
drinking, and the little dingy maiden intimated that the sweetbread was
ready to be eaten, the thin cracked voice of Benjamin was heard from the
bottom of the stairs.

"Why, Dame Ursley--why, wife, I say--why, dame--why, love, you are
wanted more than a strop for a blunt razor--why, dame--"

"I would some one would draw a razor across thy windpipe, thou bawling
ass!" said the dame to herself, in the first moment of irritation
against her clamorous helpmate; and then called aloud,--"Why, what is
the matter, Master Suddlechop? I am just going to slip into bed; I have
been daggled to and fro the whole day."

"Nay, sweetheart, it is not me," said the patient Benjamin, "but the
Scots laundry-maid from neighbour Ramsay's, who must speak with you
incontinent."

At the word sweetheart, Dame Ursley cast a wistful look at the mess
which was stewed to a second in the stewpan, and then replied, with
a sigh,--"Bid Scots Jenny come up, Master Suddlechop. I shall be very
happy to hear what she has to say;" then added in a lower tone, "and I
hope she will go to the devil in the flame of a tar-barrel, like many a
Scots witch before her!"

The Scots laundress entered accordingly, and having heard nothing of the
last kind wish of Dame Suddlechop, made her reverence with considerable
respect, and said, her young mistress had returned home unwell, and
wished to see her neighbour, Dame Ursley, directly.

"And why will it not do to-morrow, Jenny, my good woman?" said Dame
Ursley; "for I have been as far as Whitehall to-day already, and I am
well-nigh worn off my feet, my good woman."

"Aweel!" answered Jenny, with great composure, "and if that sae be sae,
I maun take the langer tramp mysell, and maun gae down the waterside for
auld Mother Redcap, at the Hungerford Stairs, that deals in comforting
young creatures, e'en as you do yoursell, hinny; for ane o' ye the bairn
maun see before she sleeps, and that's a' that I ken on't."

So saying, the old emissary, without farther entreaty, turned on her
heel, and was about to retreat, when Dame Ursley exclaimed,--"No, no--if
the sweet child, your mistress, has any necessary occasion for good
advice and kind tendance, you need not go to Mother Redcap, Janet. She
may do very well for skippers' wives, chandlers' daughters, and such
like; but nobody shall wait on pretty Mistress Margaret, the daughter of
his most Sacred Majesty's horologer, excepting and saving myself. And
so I will but take my chopins and my cloak, and put on my muffler,
and cross the street to neighbour Ramsay's in an instant. But tell me
yourself, good Jenny, are you not something tired of your young lady's
frolics and change of mind twenty times a-day?"

"In troth, not I," said the patient drudge, "unless it may be when she
is a wee fashious about washing her laces; but I have been her
keeper since she was a bairn, neighbour Suddlechop, and that makes a
difference."

"Ay," said Dame Ursley, still busied putting on additional defences
against the night air; "and you know for certain that she has two
hundred pounds a-year in good land, at her own free disposal?"

"Left by her grandmother, heaven rest her soul!" said the Scotswoman;
"and to a daintier lassie she could not have bequeathed it."

"Very true, very true, mistress; for, with all her little whims, I have
always said Mistress Margaret Ramsay was the prettiest girl in the ward;
and, Jenny, I warrant the poor child has had no supper?"

Jenny could not say but it was the case, for, her master being out, the
twa 'prentice lads had gone out after shutting shop, to fetch them home,
and she and the other maid had gone out to Sandy MacGivan's, to see a
friend frae Scotland.

"As was very natural, Mrs. Janet," said Dame Ursley, who found her
interest in assenting to all sorts of propositions from all sorts of
persons.

"And so the fire went out, too,"--said Jenny.

"Which was the most natural of the whole," said Dame Suddlechop; "and
so, to cut the matter short, Jenny, I'll carry over the little bit of
supper that I was going to eat. For dinner I have tasted none, and it
may be my young pretty Mistress Marget will eat a morsel with me; for
it is mere emptiness, Mistress Jenny, that often puts these fancies
of illness into young folk's heads." So saying, she put the silver
posset-cup with the ale into Jenny's hands and assuming her mantle with
the alacrity of one determined to sacrifice inclination to duty, she
hid the stewpan under its folds, and commanded Wilsa, the little mulatto
girl, to light them across the street.

"Whither away, so late?" said the barber, whom they passed seated with
his starveling boys round a mess of stockfish and parsnips, in the shop
below.

"If I were to tell you, Gaffer," said the dame, with most contemptuous
coolness, "I do not think you could do my errand, so I will e'en keep it
to myself." Benjamin was too much accustomed to his wife's independent
mode of conduct, to pursue his inquiry farther; nor did the dame tarry
for farther question, but marched out at the door, telling the eldest of
the boys "to sit up till her return, and look to the house the whilst."

The night was dark and rainy, and although the distance betwixt the two
shops was short, it allowed Dame Ursley leisure enough, while she strode
along with high-tucked petticoats, to embitter it by the following
grumbling reflections--"I wonder what I have done, that I must needs
trudge at every old beldam's bidding, and every young minx's maggot!
I have been marched from Temple Bar to Whitechapel, on the matter of a
pinmaker's wife having pricked her fingers--marry, her husband that made
the weapon might have salved the wound.--And here is this fantastic ape,
pretty Mistress Marget, forsooth--such a beauty as I could make of a
Dutch doll, and as fantastic, and humorous, and conceited, as if she
were a duchess. I have seen her in the same day as changeful as a
marmozet and as stubborn as a mule. I should like to know whether
her little conceited noddle, or her father's old crazy calculating
jolter-pate, breeds most whimsies. But then there's that two hundred
pounds a-year in dirty land, and the father is held a close chuff,
though a fanciful--he is our landlord besides, and she has begged a
late day from him for our rent; so, God help me, I must be
comfortable--besides, the little capricious devil is my only key to get
at Master George Heriot's secret, and it concerns my character to find
that out; and so, ANDIAMOS, as the lingua franca hath it."

Thus pondering, she moved forward with hasty strides until she arrived
at the watchmaker's habitation. The attendant admitted them by means of
a pass-key. Onward glided Dame Ursula, now in glimmer and now in gloom,
not like the lovely Lady Cristabelle through Gothic sculpture and
ancient armour, but creeping and stumbling amongst relics of old
machines, and models of new inventions in various branches of
mechanics with which wrecks of useless ingenuity, either in a broken
or half-finished shape, the apartment of the fanciful though ingenious
mechanist was continually lumbered.

At length they attained, by a very narrow staircase, pretty Mistress
Margaret's apartment, where she, the cynosure of the eyes of every bold
young bachelor in Fleet Street, sat in a posture which hovered between
the discontented and the disconsolate. For her pretty back and shoulders
were rounded into a curve, her round and dimpled chin reposed in the
hollow of her little palm, while the fingers were folded over her mouth;
her elbow rested on a table, and her eyes seemed fixed upon the dying
charcoal, which was expiring in a small grate. She scarce turned her
head when Dame Ursula entered, and when the presence of that estimable
matron was more precisely announced in words by the old Scotswoman,
Mistress Margaret, without changing her posture, muttered some sort of
answer that was wholly unintelligible.

"Go your ways down to the kitchen with Wilsa, good Mistress Jenny," said
Dame Ursula, who was used to all sorts of freaks, on the part of her
patients or clients, whichever they might be termed; "put the stewpan
and the porringer by the fireside, and go down below--I must speak to my
pretty love, Mistress Margaret, by myself--and there is not a bachelor
betwixt this and Bow but will envy me the privilege."

The attendants retired as directed, and Dame Ursula, having availed
herself of the embers of charcoal, to place her stewpan to the best
advantage, drew herself as close as she could to her patient, and began
in a low, soothing, and confidential tone of voice, to inquire what
ailed her pretty flower of neighbours.

"Nothing, dame," said Margaret somewhat pettishly, and changing her
posture so as rather to turn her back upon the kind inquirer.

"Nothing, lady-bird!" answered Dame Suddlechop; "and do you use to send
for your friends out of bed at this hour for nothing?"

"It was not I who sent for you, dame," replied the malecontent maiden.

"And who was it, then?" said Ursula; "for if I had not been sent for, I
had not been here at this time of night, I promise you!"

"It was the old Scotch fool Jenny, who did it out of her own head, I
suppose," said Margaret; "for she has been stunning me these two hours
about you and Mother Redcap."

"Me and Mother Redcap!" said Dame Ursula, "an old fool indeed, that
couples folk up so.--But come, come, my sweet little neighbour, Jenny
is no such fool after all; she knows young folks want more and better
advice than her own, and she knows, too, where to find it for them; so
you must take heart of grace, my pretty maiden, and tell me what you are
moping about, and then let Dame Ursula alone for finding out a cure."

"Nay, an ye be so wise, Mother Ursula," replied the girl, "you may guess
what I ail without my telling you."

"Ay, ay, child," answered the complaisant matron, "no one can play
better than I at the good old game of What is my thought like? Now I'll
warrant that little head of yours is running on a new head-tire, a foot
higher than those our city dames wear--or you are all for a trip
to Islington or Ware, and your father is cross and will not
consent--or----"

"Or you are an old fool, Dame Suddlechop," said Margaret, peevishly,
"and must needs trouble yourself about matters you know nothing of."

"Fool as much as you will, mistress," said Dame Ursula, offended in her
turn, "but not so very many years older than yourself, mistress."

"Oh! we are angry, are we?" said the beauty; "and pray, Madam Ursula,
how come you, that are not so many years older than me, to talk about
such nonsense to me, who am so many years younger, and who yet have too
much sense to care about head-gears and Islington?"

"Well, well, young mistress," said the sage counsellor, rising, "I
perceive I can be of no use here; and methinks, since you know your own
matters so much better than other people do, you might dispense with
disturbing folks at midnight to ask their advice."

"Why, now you are angry, mother," said Margaret, detaining her; "this
comes of your coming out at eventide without eating your supper--I
never heard you utter a cross word after you had finished your little
morsel.--Here, Janet, a trencher and salt for Dame Ursula;--and what
have you in that porringer, dame?--Filthy clammy ale, as I would
live--Let Janet fling it out of the window, or keep it for my father's
morning draught; and she shall bring you the pottle of sack that was set
ready for him--good man, he will never find out the difference, for ale
will wash down his dusty calculations quite as well as wine."

"Truly, sweetheart, I am of your opinion," said Dame Ursula, whose
temporary displeasure vanished at once before these preparations for
good cheer; and so, settling herself on the great easy-chair, with
a three-legged table before her, she began to dispatch, with good
appetite, the little delicate dish which she had prepared for herself.
She did not, however, fail in the duties of civility, and earnestly, but
in vain, pressed Mistress Margaret to partake her dainties. The damsel
declined the invitation.

"At least pledge me in a glass of sack," said Dame Ursula; "I have heard
my grandame say, that before the gospellers came in, the old Catholic
father confessors and their penitents always had a cup of sack together
before confession; and you are my penitent."

"I shall drink no sack, I am sure," said Margaret; "and I told you
before, that if you cannot find out what ails me, I shall never have the
heart to tell it."

So saying, she turned away from Dame Ursula once more, and resumed her
musing posture, with her hand on her elbow, and her back, at least one
shoulder, turned towards her confidant.

"Nay, then," said Dame Ursula, "I must exert my skill in good
earnest.--You must give me this pretty hand, and I will tell you by
palmistry, as well as any gipsy of them all, what foot it is you halt
upon."

"As if I halted on any foot at all," said Margaret, something
scornfully, but yielding her left hand to Ursula, and continuing at the
same time her averted position.

"I see brave lines here," said Ursula, "and not ill to read
neither--pleasure and wealth, and merry nights and late mornings to my
Beauty, and such an equipage as shall shake Whitehall. O, have I touched
you there?--and smile you now, my pretty one?--for why should not he be
Lord Mayor, and go to Court in his gilded caroch, as others have done
before him?"

"Lord Mayor? pshaw!" replied Margaret.

"And why pshaw at my Lord Mayor, sweetheart? or perhaps you pshaw at my
prophecy; but there is a cross in every one's line of life as well as
in yours, darling. And what though I see a 'prentice's flat cap in this
pretty palm, yet there is a sparking black eye under it, hath not its
match in the Ward of Farringdon-Without."

"Whom do you mean, dame?" said Margaret coldly.

"Whom should I mean," said Dame Ursula, "but the prince of 'prentices,
and king of good company, Jenkin Vincent?"

"Out, woman--Jenkin Vincent?--a clown--a Cockney!" exclaimed the
indignant damsel.

"Ay, sets the wind in that quarter, Beauty!" quoth the dame; "why, it
has changed something since we spoke together last, for then I would
have sworn it blew fairer for poor Jin Vin; and the poor lad dotes on
you too, and would rather see your eyes than the first glimpse of the
sun on the great holiday on May-day."

"I would my eyes had the power of the sun to blind his, then," said
Margaret, "to teach the drudge his place."

"Nay," said Dame Ursula, "there be some who say that Frank Tunstall
is as proper a lad as Jin Vin, and of surety he is third cousin to
a knighthood, and come of a good house; and so mayhap you may be for
northward ho!"

"Maybe I may"--answered Margaret, "but not with my father's 'prentice--I
thank you, Dame Ursula."

"Nay, then, the devil may guess your thoughts for me," said Dame Ursula;
"this comes of trying to shoe a filly that is eternally wincing and
shifting ground!"

"Hear me, then," said Margaret, "and mind what I say.--This day I dined
abroad--"

"I can tell you where," answered her counsellor,--"with your godfather
the rich goldsmith--ay, you see I know something--nay, I could tell you,
as I would, with whom, too."

"Indeed!" said Margaret, turning suddenly round with an accent of strong
surprise, and colouring up to the eyes.

"With old Sir Mungo Malagrowther," said the oracular dame,--"he was
trimmed in my Benjamin's shop in his way to the city."

"Pshaw! the frightful old mouldy skeleton!" said the damsel.

"Indeed you say true, my dear," replied the confidant,--"it is a shame
to him to be out of Saint Pancras's charnel-house, for I know no
other place he is fit for, the foul-mouthed old railer. He said to my
husband--"

"Somewhat which signifies nothing to our purpose, I dare say,"
interrupted Margaret. "I must speak, then.--There dined with us a
nobleman--"

"A nobleman! the maiden's mad!" said Dame Ursula.

"There dined with us, I say," continued Margaret, without regarding the
interruption, "a nobleman--a Scottish nobleman."

"Now Our Lady keep her!" said the confidant, "she is quite
frantic!--heard ever any one of a watchmaker's daughter falling in love
with a nobleman--and a Scots nobleman, to make the matter complete,
who are all as proud as Lucifer, and as poor as Job?--A Scots nobleman,
quotha? I had lief you told me of a Jew pedlar. I would have you think
how all this is to end, pretty one, before you jump in the dark."

"That is nothing to you, Ursula--it is your assistance," said Mistress
Margaret, "and not your advice, that I am desirous to have, and you know
I can make it worth your while."

"O, it is not for the sake of lucre, Mistress Margaret," answered
the obliging dame; "but truly I would have you listen to some
advice--bethink you of your own condition."

"My father's calling is mechanical," said Margaret, "but our blood is
not so. I have heard my father say that we are descended, at a distance
indeed, from the great Earls of Dalwolsey." [Footnote: The head of the
ancient and distinguished house of Ramsay, and to whom, as their chief,
the individuals of that name look as their origin and source of gentry.
Allan Ramsay, the pastoral poet, in the same manner, makes

    "Dalhousie of an auld descent,
     My chief, my stoup, my ornament."]

"Ay, ay," said Dame Ursula; "even so--I never knew a Scot of you but was
descended, as ye call it, from some great house or other; and a piteous
descent it often is--and as for the distance you speak of, it is so
great as to put you out of sight of each other. Yet do not toss your
pretty head so scornfully, but tell me the name of this lordly northern
gallant, and we will try what can be done in the matter."

"It is Lord Glenvarloch, whom they call Lord Nigel Olifaunt," said
Margaret in a low voice, and turning away to hide her blushes.

"Marry, Heaven forefend!" exclaimed Dame Suddlechop; "this is the very
devil, and something worse!"

"How mean you?" said the damsel, surprised at the vivacity of her
exclamation.

"Why, know ye not," said the dame, "what powerful enemies he has at
Court? know ye not--But blisters on my tongue, it runs too fast for my
wit--enough to say, that you had better make your bridal-bed under a
falling house, than think of young Glenvarloch."

"He IS unfortunate then?" said Margaret; "I knew it--I divined it--there
was sorrow in his voice when he said even what was gay--there was a
touch of misfortune in his melancholy smile--he had not thus clung to my
thoughts had I seen him in all the mid-day glare of prosperity."

"Romances have cracked her brain!" said Dame Ursula; "she is a castaway
girl--utterly distraught--loves a Scots lord--and likes him the better
for being unfortunate! Well, mistress, I am sorry this is a matter I
cannot aid you in--it goes against my conscience, and it is an affair
above my condition, and beyond my management;--but I will keep your
counsel."

"You will not be so base as to desert me, after having drawn my secret
from me?" said Margaret, indignantly; "if you do, I know how to have my
revenge; and if you do not, I will reward you well. Remember the house
your husband dwells in is my father's property."

"I remember it but too well, Mistress Margaret," said Ursula, after
a moment's reflection, "and I would serve you in any thing in my
condition; but to meddle with such high matters--I shall never forget
poor Mistress Turner, my honoured patroness, peace be with her!--she had
the ill-luck to meddle in the matter of Somerset and Overbury, and so
the great earl and his lady slipt their necks out of the collar, and
left her and some half-dozen others to suffer in their stead. I shall
never forget the sight of her standing on the scaffold with the ruff
round her pretty neck, all done up with the yellow starch which I had so
often helped her to make, and that was so soon to give place to a rough
hempen cord. Such a sight, sweetheart, will make one loath to meddle
with matters that are too hot or heavy for their handling."

"Out, you fool!" answered Mistress Margaret; "am I one to speak to you
about such criminal practices as that wretch died for? All I desire of
you is, to get me precise knowledge of what affair brings this young
nobleman to Court."

"And when you have his secret," said Ursula, "what will it avail you,
sweetheart?--and yet I would do your errand, if you could do as much for
me."

"And what is it you would have of me?" said Mistress Margaret.

"What you have been angry with me for asking before," answered Dame
Ursula. "I want to have some light about the story of your godfather's
ghost, that is only seen at prayers."

"Not for the world," said Mistress Margaret, "will I be a spy on my kind
godfather's secrets--No, Ursula--that I will never pry into, which he
desires to keep hidden. But thou knowest that I have a fortune, of my
own, which must at no distant day come under my own management--think of
some other recompense."

"Ay, that I well know," said the counsellor--"it is that two hundred
per year, with your father's indulgence, that makes you so wilful,
sweetheart."

"It may be so,"--said Margaret Ramsay; "meanwhile, do you serve me
truly, and here is a ring of value in pledge, that when my fortune is in
my own hand, I will redeem the token with fifty broad pieces of gold."

"Fifty broad pieces of gold!" repeated the dame; "and this ring,
which is a right fair one, in token you fail not of your word!--Well,
sweetheart, if I must put my throat in peril, I am sure I cannot risk it
for a friend more generous than you; and I would not think of more than
the pleasure of serving you, only Benjamin gets more idle every day, and
our family----"

"Say no more of it," said Margaret; "we understand each other. And now,
tell me what you know of this young man's affairs, which made you so
unwilling to meddle with them?"

"Of that I can say no great matter as yet," answered Dame Ursula; "only
I know, the most powerful among his own countrymen are against him, and
also the most powerful at the Court here. But I will learn more of it;
for it will be a dim print that I will not read for your sake, pretty
Mistress Margaret. Know you where this gallant dwells?"

"I heard by accident," said Margaret, as if ashamed of the minute
particularity of her memory upon such an occasion,--"he lodges,
I think--at one Christie's--if I mistake not--at Paul's Wharf--a
ship-chandler's."

"A proper lodging for a young baron!--Well, but cheer you up, Mistress
Margaret--If he has come up a caterpillar, like some of his countrymen,
he may cast his slough like them, and come out a butterfly.--So I drink
good-night, and sweet dreams to you, in another parting cup of sack;
and you shall hear tidings of me within four-and-twenty hours. And, once
more, I commend you to your pillow, my pearl of pearls, and Marguerite
of Marguerites!"

So saying, she kissed the reluctant cheek of her young friend, or
patroness, and took her departure with the light and stealthy pace of
one accustomed to accommodate her footsteps to the purposes of dispatch
and secrecy.

Margaret Ramsay looked after her for some time, in anxious silence. "I
did ill," she at length murmured, "to let her wring this out of me; but
she is artful, bold and serviceable--and I think faithful--or, if not,
she will be true at least to her interest, and that I can command. I
would I had not spoken, however--I have begun a hopeless work. For what
has he said to me, to warrant my meddling in his fortunes?--Nothing but
words of the most ordinary import--mere table-talk, and terms of course.
Yet who knows"--she said, and then broke off, looking at the glass the
while, which, as it reflected back a face of great beauty, probably
suggested to her mind a more favourable conclusion of the sentence than
she cared to trust her tongue withal.



CHAPTER IX


  So pitiful a thing is suitor's state!
  Most miserable man, whom wicked fate
  Hath brought to Court to sue, for _had I wist_,
  That few have found, and many a one hath miss'd!
  Full little knowest thou, that hast not tried,
  What hell it is, in sueing long to bide:
  To lose good days that might be better spent;
  To waste long nights in pensive discontent;
  To speed to-day, to be put back to-morrow;
  To feed on hope, to pine with fear and sorrow;
  To have thy Prince's grace, yet want her Peers';
  To have thy asking, yet wait many years;
  To fret thy soul with crosses and with cares--
  To eat thy heart through comfortless despairs.
  To fawn, to crouch, to wait, to ride, to run,
  To spend, to give, to want, to be undone.
                          _Mother Hubbard's Tale._

On the morning of the day on which George Heriot had prepared to escort
the young Lord of Glenvarloch to the Court at Whitehall, it may be
reasonably supposed, that the young man, whose fortunes were likely to
depend on this cast, felt himself more than usually anxious. He rose
early, made his toilette with uncommon care, and, being enabled, by the
generosity of his more plebeian countryman, to set out a very handsome
person to the best advantage, he obtained a momentary approbation from
himself as he glanced at the mirror, and a loud and distinct plaudit
from his landlady, who declared at once, that, in her judgment, he would
take the wind out of the sail of every gallant in the presence--so much
had she been able to enrich her discourse with the metaphors of those
with whom her husband dealt.

At the appointed hour, the barge of Master George Heriot arrived,
handsomely manned and appointed, having a tilt, with his own cipher, and
the arms of his company, painted thereupon.

The young Lord of Glenvarloch received the friend, who had evinced such
disinterested attachment, with the kind courtesy which well became him.

Master Heriot then made him acquainted with the bounty of his sovereign;
which he paid over to his young friend, declining what he had himself
formerly advanced to him. Nigel felt all the gratitude which the
citizen's disinterested friendship had deserved, and was not wanting in
expressing it suitably.

Yet, as the young and high-born nobleman embarked to go to the
presence of his prince, under the patronage of one whose best, or most
distinguished qualification, was his being an eminent member of the
Goldsmiths' Incorporation, he felt a little surprised, if not abashed,
at his own situation; and Richie Moniplies, as he stepped over
the gangway to take his place forward in the boat, could not help
muttering,--"It was a changed day betwixt Master Heriot and his honest
father in the Kraemes;--but, doubtless, there was a difference between
clinking on gold and silver, and clattering upon pewter."

On they glided, by the assistance of the oars of four stout watermen,
along the Thames, which then served for the principal high-road betwixt
London and Westminster; for few ventured on horseback through the narrow
and crowded streets of the city, and coaches were then a luxury reserved
only for the higher nobility, and to which no citizen, whatever was his
wealth, presumed to aspire. The beauty of the banks, especially on the
northern side, where the gardens of the nobility descended from their
hotels, in many places, down to the water's edge, was pointed out to
Nigel by his kind conductor, and was pointed out in vain. The mind of
the young Lord of Glenvarloch was filled with anticipations, not the
most pleasant, concerning the manner in which he was likely to be
received by that monarch, in whose behalf his family had been nearly
reduced to ruin; and he was, with the usual mental anxiety of those
in such a situation, framing imaginary questions from the king, and
over-toiling his spirit in devising answers to them.

His conductor saw the labour of Nigel's mind, and avoided increasing it
by farther conversation; so that, when he had explained to him briefly
the ceremonies observed at Court on such occasions of presentation, the
rest of their voyage was performed in silence.

They landed at Whitehall Stairs, and entered the Palace after announcing
their names,--the guards paying to Lord Glenvarloch the respect and
honours due to his rank.

The young man's heart beat high and thick within him as he came into the
royal apartments. His education abroad, conducted, as it had been, on
a narrow and limited scale, had given him but imperfect ideas of the
grandeur of a Court; and the philosophical reflections which taught him
to set ceremonial and exterior splendour at defiance, proved, like other
maxims of mere philosophy, ineffectual, at the moment they were weighed
against the impression naturally made on the mind of an inexperienced
youth, by the unusual magnificence of the scene. The splendid apartments
through which they passed, the rich apparel of the grooms, guards, and
 apartments, had something in it, trifling and commonplace as it might
appear to practised courtiers, embarrassing, and even alarming, to one,
who went through these forms for the first time, and who was doubtful
what sort of reception was to accompany his first appearance before his
sovereign.

Heriot, in anxious attention to save his young friend from any momentary
awkwardness, had taken care to give the necessary password to the
warders, grooms of the chambers, ushers, or by whatever name they were
designated; so they passed on without interruption.

In this manner they passed several ante-rooms, filled chiefly with
guards, attendants of the Court, and their acquaintances, male and
female, who, dressed in their best apparel, and with eyes rounded by
eager curiosity to make the most of their opportunity, stood, with
beseeming modesty, ranked against the wall, in a manner which indicated
that they were spectators, not performers, in the courtly exhibition.

Through these exterior apartments Lord Glenvarloch and his city friend
advanced into a large and splendid withdrawing-room, communicating with
the presence-chamber, into which ante-room were admitted those only who,
from birth, their posts in the state or household, or by the particular
grant of the kings, had right to attend the Court, as men entitled to
pay their respects to their sovereign.

Amid this favoured and selected company, Nigel observed Sir Mungo
Malagrowther, who, avoided and discountenanced by those who knew how
low he stood in Court interest and favour, was but too happy in the
opportunity of hooking himself upon a person of Lord Glenvarloch's rank,
who was, as yet, so inexperienced as to feel it difficult to shake off
an intruder.

The knight forthwith framed his grim features to a ghastly smile, and,
after a preliminary and patronising nod to George Heriot, accompanied
with an aristocratic wave of the hand, which intimated at once
superiority and protection, he laid aside altogether the honest citizen,
to whom he owed many a dinner, to attach himself exclusively to the
young lord, although he suspected he might be occasionally in the
predicament of needing one as much as himself. And even the notice
of this original, singular and unamiable as he was, was not entirely
indifferent to Lord Glenvarloch, since the absolute and somewhat
constrained silence of his good friend Heriot, which left him at liberty
to retire painfully to his own agitating reflections, was now relieved;
while, on the other hand, he could not help feeling interest in the
sharp and sarcastic information poured upon him by an observant, though
discontented courtier, to whom a patient auditor, and he a man of
title and rank, was as much a prize, as his acute and communicative
disposition rendered him an entertaining companion to Nigel Olifaunt.
Heriot, in the meantime, neglected by Sir Mungo, and avoiding every
attempt by which the grateful politeness of Lord Glenvarloch strove to
bring him into the conversation, stood by, with a kind of half smile on
his countenance; but whether excited by Sir Mungo's wit, or arising at
his expense, did not exactly appear.

In the meantime, the trio occupied a nook of the ante-room, next to
the door of the presence-chamber, which was not yet thrown open, when
Maxwell, with his rod of office, came bustling into the apartment, where
most men, excepting those of high rank, made way for him. He stopped
beside the party in which we are interested, looked for a moment at
the young Scots nobleman, then made a slight obeisance to Heriot, and
lastly, addressing Sir Mungo Malagrowther, began a hurried complaint
to him of the misbehaviour of the gentlemen-pensioners and warders, who
suffered all sort of citizens, suitors, and scriveners, to sneak into
the outer apartments, without either respect or decency.--"The English,"
he said, "were scandalised, for such a thing durst not be attempted in
the queen's days. In her time, there was then the court-yard for the
mobility, and the apartments for the nobility; and it reflects on your
place, Sir Mungo," he added, "belonging to the household as you do, that
such things should not be better ordered."

Here Sir Mungo, afflicted, as was frequently the case on such occasions,
with one of his usual fits of deafness, answered, "It was no wonder
the mobility used freedoms, when those whom they saw in office were so
little better in blood and havings than themselves."

"You are right, sir--quite right," said Maxwell, putting his hand on the
tarnished embroidery on the old knight's sleeve,--"when such fellows see
men in office dressed in cast-off suits, like paltry stage-players, it
is no wonder the Court is thronged with intruders."

"Were you lauding the taste of my embroidery, Maister Maxwell?" answered
the knight, who apparently interpreted the deputy-chamberlain's meaning
rather from his action than his words;--"it is of an ancient and liberal
pattern, having been made by your mother's father, auld James Stitchell,
a master-fashioner of honest repute, in Merlin's Wynd, whom I made
a point to employ, as I am now happy to remember, seeing your father
thought fit to intermarry with sic a person's daughter."

Maxwell looked stern; but, conscious there was nothing to be got of Sir
Mungo in the way of amends, and that prosecuting the quarrel with
such an adversary would only render him ridiculous, and make public
a mis-alliance of which he had no reason to be proud, he covered his
resentment with a sneer; and, expressing his regret that Sir Mungo was
become too deaf to understand or attend to what was said to him,
walked on, and planted himself beside the folding-doors of
the presence-chamber, at which he was to perform the duty of
deputy-chamberlain, or usher, so soon as they should be opened.

"The door of the presence is about to open," said the goldsmith, in a
whisper, to his young friend; "my condition permits me to go no farther
with you. Fail not to present yourself boldly, according to your birth,
and offer your Supplication; which the king will not refuse to accept,
and, as I hope, to consider favourably."

As he spoke, the door of the presence-chamber opened accordingly, and,
as is usual on such occasions, the courtiers began to advance towards
it, and to enter in a slow, but continuous and uninterrupted stream.

As Nigel presented himself in his turn at the entrance, and mentioned
his name and title, Maxwell seemed to hesitate. "You are not known
to any one," he said. "It is my duty to suffer no one to pass to the
presence, my lord, whose face is unknown to me, unless upon the word of
a responsible person."

"I came with Master George Heriot," said Nigel, in some embarrassment at
this unexpected interruption.

"Master Heriot's name will pass current for much gold and silver, my
lord," replied Maxwell, with a civil sneer, "but not for birth and
rank. I am compelled by my office to be peremptory.--The entrance is
impeded--I am much concerned to say it--your lordship must stand back."

"What is the matter?" said an old Scottish nobleman, who had been
speaking with George Heriot, after he had separated from Nigel, and
who now came forward, observing the altercation betwixt the latter and
Maxwell.

"It is only Master Deputy-Chamberlain Maxwell," said Sir Mungo
Malagrowther, "expressing his joy to see Lord Glenvarloch at Court,
whose father gave him his office--at least I think he is speaking to
that purport--for your lordship kens my imperfection." A subdued laugh,
such as the situation permitted, passed round amongst those who heard
this specimen of Sir Mungo's sarcastic temper. But the old nobleman
stepped still more forward, saying,--"What!--the son of my gallant
old opponent, Ochtred Olifaunt--I will introduce him to the presence
myself."

So saying, he took Nigel by the arm, without farther ceremony, and was
about to lead him forward, when Maxwell, still keeping his rod across
the door, said, but with hesitation and embarrassment--"My lord, this
gentleman is not known, and I have orders to be scrupulous."

"Tutti--taiti, man," said the old lord, "I will be answerable he is his
father's son, from the cut of his eyebrow--and thou, Maxwell, knewest
his father well enough to have spared thy scruples. Let us pass, man."
So saying, he put aside the deputy-chamberlain's rod, and entered the
presence-room, still holding the young nobleman by the arm.

"Why, I must know you, man," he said; "I must know you. I knew your
father well, man, and I have broke a lance and crossed a blade with him;
and it is to my credit that I am living to brag of it. He was king's-man
and I was queen's-man during the Douglas wars--young fellows both,
that feared neither fire nor steel; and we had some old feudal quarrels
besides, that had come down from father to son, with our seal-rings,
two-harided broad-swords, and plate-coats, and the crests on our
burgonets."

"Too loud, my Lord of Huntinglen," whispered a gentleman of the
chamber,--"The King!--the King!"

The old earl (for such he proved) took the hint, and was silent;
and James, advancing from a side-door, received in succession the
compliments of strangers, while a little group of favourite courtiers,
or officers of the household, stood around him, to whom he addressed
himself from time to time. Some more pains had been bestowed on his
toilette than upon the occasion when we first presented the monarch to
our readers; but there was a natural awkwardness about his figure which
prevented his clothes from sitting handsomely, and the prudence or
timidity of his disposition had made him adopt the custom already
noticed, of wearing a dress so thickly quilted as might withstand the
stroke of a dagger, which added an ungainly stiffness to his whole
appearance, contrasting oddly with the frivolous, ungraceful, and
fidgeting motions with which he accompanied his conversation. And yet,
though the king's deportment was very undignified, he had a manner so
kind, familiar, and good-humoured, was so little apt to veil over or
conceal his own foibles, and had so much indulgence and sympathy for
those of others, that his address, joined to his learning, and a
certain proportion of shrewd mother-wit, failed not to make a favourable
impression on those who approached his person.

When the Earl of Huntinglen had presented Nigel to his sovereign, a
ceremony which the good peer took upon himself, the king received the
young lord very graciously, and observed to his introducer, that he
"was fain to see them twa stand side by side; for I trow, my Lord
Huntinglen," continued he, "your ancestors, ay, and e'en your lordship's
self and this lad's father, have stood front to front at the sword's
point, and that is a worse posture."

"Until your Majesty," said Lord Huntinglen, "made Lord Ochtred and me
cross palms, upon the memorable day when your Majesty feasted all the
nobles that were at feud together, and made them join hands in your
presence--"

"I mind it weel," said the king; "I mind it weel--it was a blessed day,
being the nineteen of September, of all days in the year--and it was a
blithe sport to see how some of the carles girned as they clapped loofs
together. By my saul, I thought some of them, mair special the Hieland
chiels, wad have broken out in our own presence; but we caused them to
march hand in hand to the Cross, ourselves leading the way, and there
drink a blithe cup of kindness with ilk other, to the stanching of feud,
and perpetuation of amity. Auld John Anderson was Provost that year--the
carle grat for joy, and the bailies and councillors danced bare-headed
in our presence like five-year-auld colts, for very triumph."

"It was indeed a happy day," said Lord Huntinglen, "and will not be
forgotten in the history of your Majesty's reign."

"I would not that it were, my lord," replied the monarch--"I would not
that it were pretermitted in our annals. Ay, ay--BEATI PACIFICI. My
English lieges here may weel make much of me, for I would have them
to know, they have gotten the only peaceable man that ever came of my
family. If James with the Fiery Face had come amongst you," he said,
looking round him, "or my great grandsire, of Flodden memory!"

"We should have sent him back to the north again," whispered one English
nobleman.

"At least," said another, in the same inaudible tone, "we should have
had a MAN to our sovereign, though he were but a Scotsman."

"And now, my young springald," said the king to Lord Glenvarloch, "where
have you been spending your calf-time?"

"At Leyden, of late, may it please your Majesty," answered Lord Nigel.

"Aha! a scholar," said the king; "and, by my saul, a modest and
ingenuous youth, that hath not forgotten how to blush, like most of our
travelled Monsieurs. We will treat him conformably."

Then drawing himself up, coughing slightly, and looking around him with
the conscious importance of superior learning, while all the courtiers
who understood, or understood not, Latin, pressed eagerly forward to
listen, the sapient monarch prosecuted his inquiries as follows:--

"Hem! hem! _salve bis, quaterque salve, glenvarlochides noster!
Nuperumne ab lugduno batavorum britanniam rediisti?_"

The young nobleman replied, bowing low--

"_Imo, rex augustissime--biennium fere apud lugdunenses Moratus sum._"

James proceeded--

"_Biennium dicis? Bene, bene, optume factum est--non uno Die, quod
dicunt,--intelligisti, domine glenvarlochiensis?_ Aha!"

Nigel replied by a reverent bow, and the king, turning to those behind
him, said--

"_Adolescens quidem ingenui vultus ingenuique pudoris._" Then resumed
his learned queries. "_Et quid hodie lugdunenses loquuntur--vossius
vester nihilne novi scripsit?--nihil certe, quod doleo, typis recenter
editit_."

"_Valet quidem vossius, rex benevole._" replied Nigel, "_ast senex
veneratissimus annum agit, ni fallor, septuagesimum._"

"_Virum, mehercle, vix tam grandaevum crediderim_," replied the
monarch. "_et vorstius iste?--arminii improbi successor aeque ac
sectator--herosne adhuc, ut cum homero loquar_, [ZOOS ESTI KAI EPI THONI
DERKOV]?" text in Greek

Nigel, by good fortune, remembered that Vorstius, the divine last
mentioned in his Majesty's queries about the state of Dutch literature,
had been engaged in a personal controversy with James, in which the
king had taken so deep an interest, as at length to hint in his public
correspondence with the United States, that they would do well to apply
the secular arm to stop the progress of heresy by violent measures
against the Professor's person--a demand which their Mighty
Mightinesses' principles of universal toleration induced them to elude,
though with some difficulty. Knowing all this, Lord Glenvarloch, though
a courtier of only five minutes' standing, had address enough to reply--

"_Vivum quidem, haud diu est, hominem videbam--vigere autem quis dicat
qui sub fulminibus eloquentiae tuae, rex magne, jamdudum pronus jacet,
et prostratus?_"

[Footnote: Lest any lady or gentleman should suspect there is aught of
mystery concealed under the sentences printed in Italics, they will be
pleased to understand that they contain only a few commonplace Latin
phrases, relating to the state of letters in Holland, which neither
deserve, nor would endure, a literal translation.]

This last tribute to his polemical powers completed James's happiness,
which the triumph of exhibiting his erudition had already raised to a
considerable height.

He rubbed his hands, snapped his fingers, fidgeted, chuckled,
exclaimed--"_Euge! Belle! Optime!_" and turning to the Bishops of Exeter
and Oxford, who stood behind him, he said.--"Ye see, my lords, no bad
specimen of our Scottish Latinity, with which language we would all our
subjects of England were as well embued as this, and other youths of
honourable birth, in our auld kingdom; also, we keep the genuine and
Roman pronunciation, like other learned nations on the continent, sae
that we hold communing with any scholar in the universe, who can but
speak the Latin tongue; whereas ye, our learned subjects of England,
have introduced into your universities, otherwise most learned, a
fashion of pronouncing like unto the 'nippit foot and clippit foot' of
the bride in the fairy tale, whilk manner of speech, (take it not amiss
that I be round with you) can be understood by no nation on earth saving
yourselves; whereby Latin, _quoad anglos_, ceaseth to be _communis
lingua_, the general dragoman, or interpreter, between all the wise men
of the earth."

The Bishop of Exeter bowed, as in acquiescence to the royal censure;
but he of Oxford stood upright, as mindful over what subjects his see
extended, and as being equally willing to become food for fagots in
defence of the Latinity of the university, as for any article of his
religious creed.

The king, without awaiting an answer from either prelate, proceeded to
question Lord Nigel, but in the vernacular tongue,--"Weel, my likely
Alumnus of the Muses, and what make you so far from the north?"

"To pay my homage to your Majesty," said the young nobleman, kneeling on
one knee, "and to lay before you," he added, "this my humble and dutiful
Supplication."

The presenting of a pistol would certainly have startled King James
more, but could (setting apart the fright) hardly have been more
unpleasing to his indolent disposition.

"And is it even so, man?" said he; "and can no single man, were it but
for the rarity of the case, ever come up frae Scotland, excepting EX
PROPOSITO--on set purpose, to see what he can make out of his loving
sovereign? It is but three days syne that we had weel nigh lost our
life, and put three kingdoms into dule-weeds, from the over haste of a
clumsy-handed peasant, to thrust a packet into our hand, and now we are
beset by the like impediment in our very Court. To our Secretary with
that gear, my lord--to our Secretary with that gear."

"I have already offered my humble Supplication to your Majesty's
Secretary of State," said Lord Glenvarloch--"but it seems----"

"That he would not receive it, I warrant?" said the king, interrupting
him; "bu my saul, our Secretary kens that point of king-craft, called
refusing, better than we do, and will look at nothing but what he
likes himsell--I think I wad make a better Secretary to him than he to
me.--Weel, my lord, you are welcome to London; and, as ye seem an acute
and learned youth, I advise ye to turn your neb northward as soon as ye
like, and settle yoursell for a while at Saint Andrews, and we will be
right glad to hear that you prosper in your studies.--_Incumbite Remis
Fortiter._"

While the king spoke thus, he held the petition of the young lord
carelessly, like one who only delayed till the supplicant's back was
turned, to throw it away, or at least lay it aside to be no more looked
at. The petitioner, who read this in his cold and indifferent looks, and
in the manner in which he twisted and crumpled together the paper,
arose with a bitter sense of anger and disappointment, made a profound
obeisance, and was about to retire hastily. But Lord Huntinglen, who
stood by him, checked his intention by an almost imperceptible touch
upon the skirt of his cloak, and Nigel, taking the hint, retreated
only a few steps from the royal presence, and then made a pause. In
the meantime, Lord Huntinglen kneeled before James, in his turn, and
said--"May it please your Majesty to remember, that upon one certain
occasion you did promise to grant me a boon every year of your sacred
life?"

"I mind it weel, man," answered James, "I mind it weel, and good reason
why--it was when you unclasped the fause traitor Ruthven's fangs
from about our royal throat, and drove your dirk into him like a true
subject. We did then, as you remind us, (whilk was unnecessary,) being
partly beside ourselves with joy at our liberation, promise we would
grant you a free boon every year; whilk promise, on our coming
to menseful possession of our royal faculties, we did confirm,
_restrictive_ always and _conditionaliter_, that your lordship's demand
should be such as we, in our royal discretion, should think reasonable."

"Even so, gracious sovereign," said the old earl, "and may I yet
farther crave to know if I have ever exceeded the bounds of your royal
benevolence?"

"By my word, man, no!'" said the king; "I cannot remember you have asked
much for yourself, if it be not a dog or a hawk, or a buck out of our
park at Theobald's, or such like. But to what serves this preface?"

"To the boon to which I am now to ask of your Grace," said Lord
Huntinglen; "which is, that your Majesty would be pleased, on the
instant, to look at the placet of Lord Glenvarloch, and do upon it
what your own just and royal nature shall think meet and just, without
reference to your Secretary or any other of your Council."

"By my saul, my lord, this is strange," said the king; "ye are pleading
for the son of your enemy!"

"Of one who WAS my enemy till your Majesty made him my friend," answered
Lord Huntinglen.

"Weel spoken, my lord!" said the king; "and with, a true Christian
spirit. And, respecting the Supplication of this young man, I partly
guess where the matter lies; and in plain troth I had promised to George
Heriot to be good to the lad--But then, here the shoe pinches. Steenie
and Babie Charles cannot abide him--neither can your own son, my lord;
and so, methinks, he had better go down to Scotland before he comes
toill luck by them."

"My son, an it please your Majesty, so far as he is concerned, shall not
direct my doings," said the earl, "nor any wild-headed young man of them
all."

"Why, neither shall they mine," replied the monarch; "by my father's
saul, none of them all shall play Rex with me--I will do what I will,
and what I ought, like a free king."

"Your Majesty will then grant me my boon?" said the Lord Huntinglen.

"Ay, marry will I--marry will I," said the king; "but follow me this
way, man, where we may be more private."

He led Lord Huntinglen with rather a hurried step through the courtiers,
all of whom gazed earnestly on this unwonted scene, as is the fashion of
all Courts on similar occasions. The king passed into a little cabinet,
and bade, in the first moment, Lord Huntinglen lock or bar the door; but
countermanded his direction in the next, saying,--"No, no, no--bread o'
life, man, I am a free king--will do what I will and what I should--I am
_justus et tenax propositi_, man--nevertheless, keep by the door, Lord
Huntinglen, in case Steenie should come in with his mad humour."

"O my poor master!" groaned the Earl of Huntinglen. "When you were in
your own cold country, you had warmer blood in your veins."

The king hastily looked over the petition or memorial, every now and
then glancing his eye towards the door, and then sinking it hastily
on the paper, ashamed that Lord Huntinglen, whom he respected, should
suspect him of timidity.

"To grant the truth," he said, after he had finished his hasty perusal,
"this is a hard case; and harder than it was represented to me, though I
had some inkling of it before. And so the lad only wants payment of the
siller due from us, in order to reclaim his paternal estate? But then,
Huntinglen, the lad will have other debts--and why burden himsell with
sae mony acres of barren woodland? let the land gang, man, let the land
gang; Steenie has the promise of it from our Scottish Chancellor--it is
the best hunting-ground in Scotland--and Babie Charles and Steenie want
to kill a buck there this next year--they maun hae the land--they maun
hae the land; and our debt shall be paid to the young man plack and
bawbee, and he may have the spending of it at our Court; or if he has
such an eard hunger, wouns! man, we'll stuff his stomach with English
land, which is worth twice as much, ay, ten times as much, as these
accursed hills and heughs, and mosses and muirs, that he is sae keen
after."

All this while the poor king ambled up and down the apartment in a
piteous state of uncertainty, which was made more ridiculous by his
shambling circular mode of managing his legs, and his ungainly fashion
on such occasions of fiddling with the bunches of ribbons which fastened
the lower part of his dress.

Lord Huntinglen listened with great composure, and answered, "An it
please your Majesty, there was an answer yielded by Naboth when
Ahab coveted his vineyard--' The Lord forbid that I should give the
inheritance of my fathers unto thee.'"

"Ey, my lord--ey, my lord!" ejaculated James, while all the colour
mounted both to his cheek and nose; "I hope ye mean not to teach me
divinity? Ye need not fear, my lord, that I will shun to do justice to
every man; and, since your lordship will give me no help to take up
this in a more peaceful manner--whilk, methinks, would be better for the
young man, as I said before,--why--since it maun be so--'sdeath, I am
a free king, man, and he shall have his money and redeem his land, and
make a kirk and a miln of it, an he will." So saying, he hastily wrote
an order on the Scottish Exchequer for the sum in question, and then
added, "How they are to pay it, I see not; but I warrant he will find
money on the order among the goldsmiths, who can find it for every one
but me.--And now you see, my Lord of Huntinglen, that I am neither an
untrue man, to deny you the boon whilk I became bound for, nor an Ahab,
to covet Naboth's vineyard; nor a mere nose-of-wax, to be twisted this
way and that, by favourites and counsellors at their pleasure. I think
you will grant now that I am none of those?"

"You are my own native and noble prince," said Huntinglen, as he knelt
to kiss the royal hand--"just and generous, whenever you listen to the
workings of your own heart."

"Ay, ay," said the king, laughing good-naturedly, as he raised his
faithful servant from the ground, "that is what ye all say when I do any
thing to please ye. There--there, take the sign-manual, and away with
you and this young fellow. I wonder Steenie and Babie Charles have not
broken in on us before now."

Lord Huntinglen hastened from the cabinet, foreseeing a scene at which
he was unwilling to be present, but which sometimes occurred when James
roused himself so far as to exert his own free will, of which he boasted
so much, in spite of that of his imperious favourite Steenie, as he
called the Duke of Buckingham, from a supposed resemblance betwixt
his very handsome countenance, and that with which the Italian artists
represented the protomartyr Stephen. In fact, the haughty favourite,
who had the unusual good fortune to stand as high in the opinion of the
heir-apparent as of the existing monarch, had considerably diminished in
his respect towards the latter; and it was apparent, to the more
shrewd courtiers, that James endured his domination rather from habit,
timidity, and a dread of encountering his stormy passions, than from any
heartfelt continuation of regard towards him, whose greatness had been
the work of his own hands. To save himself the pain of seeing what was
likely to take place on the duke's return, and to preserve the king from
the additional humiliation which the presence of such a witness must
have occasioned, the earl left the cabinet as speedily as possible,
having first carefully pocketed the important sign-manual.

No sooner had he entered the presence-room, than he hastily sought Lord
Glenvarloch, who had withdrawn into the embrasure of one of the windows,
from the general gaze of men who seemed disposed only to afford him the
notice which arises from surprise and curiosity, and, taking him by
the arm, without speaking, led him out of the presence-chamber into the
first ante-room. Here they found the worthy goldsmith, who approached
them with looks of curiosity, which were checked by the old lord, who
said hastily, "All is well.--Is your barge in waiting?" Heriot answered
in the affirmative. "Then," said Lord Huntinglen, "you shall give me a
cast in it, as the watermen say; and I, in requital, will give you both
your dinner; for we must have some conversation together."

They both followed the earl without speaking, and were in the second
ante-room when the important annunciation of the ushers, and the hasty
murmur with which all made ample way as the company repeated to each
other,--"The Duke--the Duke!" made them aware of the approach of the
omnipotent favourite.

He entered, that unhappy minion of Court favour, sumptuously dressed
in the picturesque attire which will live for ever on the canvas of
Vandyke, and which marks so well the proud age, when aristocracy, though
undermined and nodding to its fall, still, by external show and profuse
expense, endeavoured to assert its paramount superiority over the
inferior orders. The handsome and commanding countenance, stately form,
and graceful action and manners of the Duke of Buckingham, made him
become that picturesque dress beyond any man of his time. At present,
however, his countenance seemed discomposed, his dress a little
more disordered than became the place, his step hasty, and his voice
imperative.

All marked the angry spot upon his brow, and bore back so suddenly
to make way for him, that the Earl of Huntinglen, who affected no
extraordinary haste on the occasion, with his companions, who could not,
if they would, have decently left him, remained as it were by themselves
in the middle of the room, and in the very path of the angry favourite.
He touched his cap sternly as he looked on Huntinglen, but unbonneted
to Heriot, and sunk his beaver, with its shadowy plume, as low as the
floor, with a profound air of mock respect. In returning his greeting,
which he did simply and unaffectedly, the citizen only said,--"Too much
courtesy, my lord duke, is often the reverse of kindness."

"I grieve you should think so, Master Heriot," answered the duke; "I
only meant, by my homage, to claim your protection, sir--your patronage.
You are become, I understand, a solicitor of suits--a promoter--an
undertaker--a fautor of court suitors of merit and quality, who chance
to be pennyless. I trust your bags will bear you out in your new boast."

"They will bear me the farther, my lord duke," answered the goldsmith,
"that my boast is but small."

"O, you do yourself less than justice, my good Master Heriot,"
continued the duke, in the same tone of irony; "you have a marvellous
court-faction, to be the son of an Edinburgh tinker. Have the goodness
to prefer me to the knowledge of the high-born nobleman who is honoured
and advantaged by your patronage."

"That shall be my task," said Lord Huntinglen, with emphasis. "My
lord duke, I desire you to know Nigel Olifaunt, Lord Glenvarloch,
representative of one of the most ancient and powerful baronial houses
in Scotland.--Lord Glenvarloch, I present you to his Grace the Duke of
Buckingham, representative of Sir George Villiers, Knight of Brookesby,
in the county of Leicester."

The duke coloured still more high as he bowed to Lord Glenvarloch
scornfully, a courtesy which the other returned haughtily, and with
restrained indignation. "We know each other, then," said the duke, after
a moment's pause; and as if he had seen something in the young nobleman
which merited more serious notice than the bitter raillery with which he
had commenced--"we know each other--and you know me, my lord, for your
enemy."

"I thank you for your plainness, my lord duke," replied Nigel; "an open
enemy is better than a hollow friend."

"For you, my Lord Huntinglen," said the duke, "methinks you have but now
overstepped the limits of the indulgence permitted to you, as the father
of the prince's friend, and my own."

"By my word, my lord duke," replied the earl, "it is easy for any one
to outstep boundaries, of the existence of which he was not aware. It is
neither to secure my protection nor approbation, that my son keeps such
exalted company."

"O, my lord, we know you, and indulge you," said the duke; "you are one
of those who presume for a life-long upon the merit of one good action."

"In faith, my lord, and if it be so," said the old earl, "I have at
least the advantage of such as presume more than I do, without having
done any action of merit whatever. But I mean not to quarrel with you,
my lord--we can neither be friends nor enemies--you have your path, and
I have mine."

Buckingham only replied by throwing on his bonnet, and shaking its lofty
plume with a careless and scornful toss of the head. They parted thus;
the duke walking onwards through the apartments, and the others leaving
the Palace and repairing to Whitehall Stairs, where they embarked on
board the barge of the citizen.



CHAPTER X


  Bid not thy fortune troll upon the wheels
  Of yonder dancing cubes of mottled bone;
  And drown it not, like Egypt's royal harlot,
  Dissolving her rich pearl in the brimm'd wine-cup.
  These are the arts, Lothario, which shrink acres
  Into brief yards--bring sterling pounds to farthings,
  Credit to infamy; and the poor gull,
  Who might have lived an honour'd, easy life,
  To ruin, and an unregarded grave.
              _The Changes._

When they were fairly embarked on the Thames, the earl took from his
pocket the Supplication, and, pointing out to George Heriot the royal
warrant indorsed thereon, asked him, if it were in due and regular form?
The worthy citizen hastily read it over, thrust forth his hand as if to
congratulate the Lord Glenvarloch, then checked himself, pulled out
his barnacles, (a present from old David Ramsay,) and again perused
the warrant with the most business-like and critical attention. "It
is strictly correct and formal," he said, looking to the Earl of
Huntinglen; "and I sincerely rejoice at it."

"I doubt nothing of its formality," said the earl; "the king understands
business well, and, if he does not practise it often, it is only because
indolence obscures parts which are naturally well qualified for the
discharge of affairs. But what is next to be done for our young friend,
Master Heriot? You know how I am circumstanced. Scottish lords living at
the English Court have seldom command of money; yet, unless a sum can be
presently raised on this warrant, matters standing as you hastily
hinted to me, the mortgage, wadset, or whatever it is called, will be
foreclosed."

"It is true," said Heriot, in some embarrassment; "there is a large sum
wanted in redemption--yet, if it is not raised, there will be an expiry
of the legal, as our lawyers call it, and the estate will be evicted."

"My noble--my worthy friends, who have taken up my cause so
undeservedly, so unexpectedly," said Nigel, "do not let me be a burden
on your kindness. You have already done too much where nothing was
merited."

"Peace, man, peace," said Lord Huntinglen, "and let old Heriot and I
puzzle this scent out. He is about to open--hark to him!"

"My lord," said the citizen, "the Duke of Buckingham sneers at our city
money-bags; yet they can sometimes open, to prop a falling and a noble
house."

"We know they can," said Lord Huntinglen--"mind not Buckingham, he is a
Peg-a-Ramsay--and now for the remedy."

"I partly hinted to Lord Glenvarloch already," said Heriot, "that the
redemption money might be advanced upon such a warrant as the present,
and I will engage my credit that it can. But then, in order to secure
the lender, he must come in the shoes of the creditor to whom he
advances payment."

"Come in his shoes!" replied the earl; "why, what have boots or shoes to
do with this matter, my good friend?"

"It is a law phrase, my lord. My experience has made me pick up a few of
them," said Heriot.

"Ay, and of better things along with them, Master George," replied Lord
Huntinglen; "but what means it?"

"Simply this," resumed the citizen; "that the lender of this money will
transact with the holder of the mortgage, or wadset, over the estate of
Glenvarloch, and obtain from him such a conveyance to his right as
shall leave the lands pledged for the debt, in case the warrant upon
the Scottish Exchequer should prove unproductive. I fear, in this
uncertainty of public credit, that without some such counter security,
it will be very difficult to find so large a sum."

"Ho la!" said the Earl of Huntinglen, "halt there! a thought
strikes me.--What if the new creditor should admire the estate as a
hunting-field, as much as my Lord Grace of Buckingham seems to do, and
should wish to kill a buck there in the summer season? It seems to
me, that on your plan, Master George, our new friend will be as well
entitled to block Lord Glenvarloch out of his inheritance as the present
holder of the mortgage."

The citizen laughed. "I will engage," he said, "that the keenest
sportsman to whom I may apply on this occasion, shall not have a
thought beyond the Lord Mayor's Easter-Hunt, in Epping Forest. But your
lordship's caution is reasonable. The creditor must be bound to allow
Lord Glenvarloch sufficient time to redeem his estate by means of
the royal warrant, and must wave in his favour the right of instant
foreclosure, which may be, I should think, the more easily managed, as
the right of redemption must be exercised in his own name."

"But where shall we find a person in London fit to draw the necessary
writings?" said the earl. "If my old friend Sir John Skene of Halyards
had lived, we should have had his advice; but time presses, and--"

"I know," said Heriot, "an orphan lad, a scrivener, that dwells by
Temple Bar; he can draw deeds both after the English and Scottish
fashion, and I have trusted him often in matters of weight and of
importance. I will send one of my serving-men for him, and the mutual
deeds may be executed in your lordship's presence; for, as things stand,
there should be no delay." His lordship readily assented; and, as they
now landed upon the private stairs leading down to the river from the
gardens of the handsome hotel which he inhabited, the messenger was
dispatched without loss of time.

Nigel, who had sat almost stupefied while these zealous friends
volunteered for him in arranging the measures by which his fortune was
to be disembarrassed, now made another eager attempt to force upon
them his broken expressions of thanks and gratitude. But he was again
silenced by Lord Huntinglen, who declared he would not hear a word on
that topic, and proposed instead, that they should take a turn in the
pleached alley, or sit upon the stone bench which overlooked the Thames,
until his son's arrival should give the signal for dinner.

"I desire to introduce Dalgarno and Lord Glenvarloch to each other," he
said, "as two who will be near neighbours, and I trust will be more kind
ones than their fathers were formerly. There is but three Scots miles
betwixt the castles, and the turrets of the one are visible from the
battlements of the other."

The old earl was silent for a moment, and appeared to muse upon the
recollections which the vicinity of the castles had summoned up.

"Does Lord Dalgarno follow the Court to Newmarket next week?" said
Heriot, by way of removing the conversation.

"He proposes so, I think," answered Lord Huntinglen, relapsed into
his reverie for a minute or two, and then addressed Nigel somewhat
abruptly--

"My young friend, when you attain possession of your inheritance, as I
hope you soon will, I trust you will not add one to the idle followers
of the Court, but reside on your patrimonial estate, cherish your
ancient tenants, relieve and assist your poor kinsmen, protect the poor
against subaltern oppression, and do what our fathers used to do, with
fewer lights and with less means than we have."

"And yet the advice to keep the country," said Heriot, "comes from an
ancient and constant ornament of the Court."

"From an old courtier, indeed," said the earl, "and the first of my
family that could so write himself--my grey beard falls on a cambric
ruff and a silken doublet--my father's descended upon a buff coat and
a breast-plate. I would not that those days of battle returned; but I
should love well to make the oaks of my old forest of Dalgarno ring once
more with halloo, and horn, and hound, and to have the old stone-arched
hall return the hearty shout of my vassals and tenants, as the bicker
and the quaigh walked their rounds amongst them. I should like to see
the broad Tay once more before I die--not even the Thames can match it,
in my mind."

"Surely, my lord," said the citizen, "all this might be easily done--it
costs but a moment's resolution, and the journey of some brief days, and
you will be where you desire to be--what is there to prevent you?"

"Habits, Master George, habits," replied the earl, "which to young men
are like threads of silk, so lightly are they worn, so soon broken; but
which hang on our old limbs as if time had stiffened them into gyves of
iron. To go to Scotland for a brief space were but labour in vain; and
when I think of abiding there, I cannot bring myself to leave my old
master, to whom I fancy myself sometimes useful, and whose weal and
woe I have shared for so many years. But Dalgarno shall be a Scottish
noble."

"Has he visited the North?" said Heriot.

"He was there last year and made such a report of the country, that the
prince has expressed a longing to see it."

"Lord Dalgarno is in high grace with his Highness and the Duke of
Buckingham?" observed the goldsmith.

"He is so," answered the earl,--"I pray it may be for the advantage of
them all. The prince is just and equitable in his sentiments, though
cold and stately in his manners, and very obstinate in his most trifling
purposes; and the duke, noble and gallant, and generous and open, is
fiery, ambitious, and impetuous. Dalgarno has none of these faults,
and such as he may have of his own, may perchance be corrected by the
society in which he moves.--See, here he comes."

Lord Dalgarno accordingly advanced from the farther end of the alley to
the bench on which his father and his guests were seated, so that Nigel
had full leisure to peruse his countenance and figure. He was dressed
point-device, and almost to extremity, in the splendid fashion of the
time, which suited well with his age, probably about five-and-twenty,
with a noble form and fine countenance, in which last could easily be
traced the manly features of his father, but softened by a more
habitual air of assiduous courtesy than the stubborn old earl had ever
condescended to assume towards the world in general. In other respects,
his address was gallant, free, and unencumbered either by pride or
ceremony--far remote certainly from the charge either of haughty
coldness or forward impetuosity; and so far his father had justly freed
him from the marked faults which he ascribed to the manners of the
prince and his favourite Buckingham.

While the old earl presented his young acquaintance Lord Glenvarloch to
his son, as one whom he would have him love and honour, Nigel marked the
countenance of Lord Dalgarno closely, to see if he could detect aught
of that secret dislike which the king had, in one of his broken
expostulations, seemed to intimate, as arising from a clashing of
interests betwixt his new friend and the great Buckingham. But nothing
of this was visible; on the contrary, Lord Dalgarno received his new
acquaintance with the open frankness and courtesy which makes conquest
at once, when addressed to the feelings of an ingenuous young man.

It need hardly be told that his open and friendly address met equally
ready and cheerful acceptation from Nigel Olifaunt. For many months, and
while a youth not much above two-and-twenty, he had been restrained by
circumstances from the conversation of his equals. When, on his father's
sudden death, he left the Low Countries for Scotland, he had found
himself involved, to all appearance inextricably, with the details
of the law, all of which threatened to end in the alienation of the
patrimony which should support his hereditary rank. His term of sincere
mourning, joined to injured pride, and the swelling of the heart under
unexpected and undeserved misfortune, together with the uncertainty
attending the issue of his affairs, had induced the young Lord of
Glenvarloch to live, while in Scotland, in a very private and reserved
manner. How he had passed his time in London, the reader is acquainted
with. But this melancholy and secluded course of life was neither
agreeable to his age nor to his temper, which was genial and sociable.
He hailed, therefore, with sincere pleasure, the approaches which a
young man of his own age and rank made towards him; and when he had
exchanged with Lord Dalgarno some of those words and signals by which,
as surely as by those of freemasonry, young people recognise a mutual
wish to be agreeable to each other, it seemed as if the two noblemen had
been acquainted for some time.

Just as this tacit intercourse had been established, one of Lord
Huntinglen's attendants came down the alley, marshalling onwards a
man dressed in black buckram, who followed him with tolerable speed,
considering that, according to his sense of reverence and propriety, he
kept his body bent and parallel to the horizon from the moment that he
came in sight of the company to which he was about to be presented.

"Who is this, you cuckoldy knave," said the old lord, who had retained
the keen appetite and impatience of a Scottish baron even during a long
alienation from his native country; "and why does John Cook, with a
murrain to him, keep back dinner?"

"I believe we are ourselves responsible for this person's intrusion,"
said George Heriot; "this is the scrivener whom we desired to see.--Look
up, man, and see us in the face as an honest man should, instead of
beating thy noddle charged against us thus, like a battering-ram."

The scrivener did look up accordingly, with the action of an automaton
which suddenly obeys the impulse of a pressed spring. But, strange to
tell, not even the haste he had made to attend his patron's mandate,
a business, as Master Heriot's message expressed, of weight and
importance--nay not even the state of depression in which, out of sheer
humility, doubtless, he had his head stooped to the earth, from the
moment he had trod the demesnes of the Earl of Huntinglen, had called
any colour into his countenance. The drops stood on his brow from haste
and toil, but his cheek was still pale and tallow-coloured as before;
nay, what seemed stranger, his very hair, when he raised his head, hung
down on either cheek as straight and sleek and undisturbed as it was
when we first introduced him to our readers, seated at his quiet and
humble desk.

Lord Dalgarno could not forbear a stifled laugh at the ridiculous and
puritanical figure which presented itself like a starved anatomy to the
company, and whispered at the same time into Lord Glenvarloch's ear--

     "The devil damn thee black, thou cream-faced loon,
      Where got'st thou that goose-look?"

Nigel was too little acquainted with the English stage to understand a
quotation which had already grown matter of common allusion in London.
Lord Dalgarno saw that he was not understood, and continued, "That
fellow, by his visage, should either be a saint, or a most hypocritical
rogue--and such is my excellent opinion of human nature, that I always
suspect the worst. But they seem deep in business. Will you take a
turn with me in the garden, my lord, or will you remain a member of the
serious conclave?"

"With you, my lord, most willingly," said Nigel; and they were turning
away accordingly, when George Heriot, with the formality belonging
to his station, observed, that, "as their business concerned Lord
Glenvarloch, he had better remain, to make himself master of it, and
witness to it."

"My presence is utterly needless, my good lord;-and, my best friend,
Master Heriot," said the young nobleman, "I shall understand nothing
the better for cumbering you with my ignorance in these matters; and can
only say at the end, as I now say at the beginning, that I dare not take
the helm out of the hand of the kind pilots who have already guided
my course within sight of a fair and unhoped-for haven. Whatever you
recommend to me as fitting, I shall sign and seal; and the import of the
deeds I shall better learn by a brief explanation from Master Heriot, if
he will bestow so much trouble in my behalf, than by a thousand learned
words and law terms from this person of skill."

"He is right," said Lord Huntinglen; "our young friend is right, in
confiding these matters to you and me, Master George Heriot--he has not
misplaced his confidence."

Master George Heriot cast a long look after the two young noblemen, who
had now walked down the alley arm-in-arm, and at length said, "He hath
not, indeed, misplaced his confidence, as your lordship well and truly
says--but, nevertheless, he is not in the right path; for it behoves
every man to become acquainted with his own affairs, so soon as he hath
any that are worth attending to."

When he had made this observation, they applied themselves, with the
scrivener, to look into various papers, and to direct in what manner
writings should be drawn, which might at once afford sufficient security
to those who were to advance the money, and at the same time preserve
the right of the young nobleman to redeem the family estate, provided he
should obtain the means of doing so, by the expected reimbursement from
the Scottish Exchequer, or otherwise. It is needless to enter into those
details. But it is not unimportant to mention, as an illustration of
character, that Heriot went into the most minute legal details with a
precision which showed that experience had made him master even of the
intricacies of Scottish conveyancing; and that the Earl of Huntinglen,
though far less acquainted with technical detail, suffered no step of
the business to pass over, until he had attained a general but distinct
idea of its import and its propriety.

They seemed to be admirably seconded in their benevolent intentions
towards the young Lord Glenvarloch, by the skill and eager zeal of the
scrivener, whom Heriot had introduced to this piece of business, the
most important which Andrew had ever transacted in his life, and the
particulars of which were moreover agitated in his presence between an
actual earl, and one whose wealth and character might entitle him to be
an alderman of his ward, if not to be lord mayor, in his turn.

While they were thus in eager conversation on business, the good earl
even forgetting the calls of his appetite, and the delay of dinner, in
his anxiety to see that the scrivener received proper instructions, and
that all was rightly weighed and considered, before dismissing him to
engross the necessary deeds, the two young men walked together on the
terrace which overhung the river, and talked on the topics which Lord
Dalgarno, the elder, and the more experienced, thought most likely to
interest his new friend.

These naturally regarded the pleasures attending a Court life; and Lord
Dalgarno expressed much surprise at understanding that Nigel proposed an
instant return to Scotland.

"You are jesting with me," he said. "All the Court rings--it is needless
to mince it--with the extraordinary success of your suit--against the
highest interest, it is said, now influencing the horizon at Whitehall.
Men think of you--talk of you--fix their eyes on you--ask each other,
who is this young Scottish lord, who has stepped so far in a single day?
They augur, in whispers to each other, how high and how far you may push
your fortune--and all that you design to make of it, is, to return to
Scotland, eat raw oatmeal cakes, baked upon a peat-fire, have your hand
shaken by every loon of a blue-bonnet who chooses to dub you cousin,
though your relationship comes by Noah; drink Scots twopenny ale,
eat half-starved red-deer venison, when you can kill it, ride upon a
galloway, and be called my right honourable and maist worthy lord!"

"There is no great gaiety in the prospect before me, I confess," said
Lord Glenvarloch, "even if your father and good Master Heriot should
succeed in putting my affairs on some footing of plausible hope. And yet
I trust to do something for my vassals as my ancestors before me, and to
teach my children, as I have myself been taught, to make some personal
sacrifices, if they be necessary, in order to maintain with dignity the
situation in which they are placed by Providence."

Lord Dalgarno, after having once or twice stifled his laughter during
this speech, at length broke out into a fit of mirth, so hearty and
so resistless, that, angry as he was, the call of sympathy swept Nigel
along with him, and despite of himself, he could not forbear to join
in a burst of laughter, which he thought not only causeless, but almost
impertinent.

He soon recollected himself, however, and said, in a tone qualified to
allay Lord Dalgarno's extreme mirth: "This is all well, my lord; but how
am I to understand your merriment?" Lord Dalgarno only answered him with
redoubled peals of laughter, and at length held by Lord Glenvarloch's
cloak, as if to prevent his falling down on the ground, in the extremity
of his convulsion.

At length, while Nigel stood half abashed, half angry, at becoming thus
the subject of his new acquaintance's ridicule, and was only restrained
from expressing his resentment against the son, by a sense of the
obligations he owed the father, Lord Dalgarno recovered himself, and
spoke in a half-broken voice, his eyes still running with tears: "I
crave your pardon, my dear Lord Glenvarloch--ten thousand times do I
crave your pardon. But that last picture of rural dignity, accompanied
by your grave and angry surprise at my laughing at what would have made
any court-bred hound laugh, that had but so much as bayed the moon once
from the court-yard at Whitehall, totally overcame me. Why, my liefest
and dearest lord, you, a young and handsome fellow, with high birth, a
title, and the name of an estate, so well received by the king at your
first starting, as makes your further progress scarce matter of doubt,
if you know how to improve it--for the king has already said you are a
'braw lad, and well studied in the more humane letters'--you, too, whom
all the women, and the very marked beauties of the Court, desire to see,
because you came from Leyden, were born in Scotland, and have gained a
hard-contested suit in England--you, I say, with a person like a prince,
an eye of fire, and a wit as quick, to think of throwing your cards on
the table when the game is in your very hand, running back to the
frozen north, and marrying--let me see--a tall, stalking, blue-eyed,
fair-skinned bony wench, with eighteen quarters in her scutcheon, a sort
of Lot's wife, newly descended from her pedestal, and with her to shut
yourself up in your tapestried chamber! Uh, gad!--Swouns, I shall never
survive the idea!"

It is seldom that youth, however high-minded, is able, from mere
strength of character and principle, to support itself against the force
of ridicule. Half angry, half mortified, and, to say truth, half ashamed
of his more manly and better purpose, Nigel was unable, and flattered
himself it was unnecessary, to play the part of a rigid moral patriot,
in presence of a young man whose current fluency of language, as well as
his experience in the highest circles of society, gave him, in spite of
Nigel's better and firmer thoughts, a temporary ascendency over him. He
sought, therefore, to compromise the matter, and avoid farther debate,
by frankly owning, that, if to return to his own country were not his
choice, it was at least a matter of necessity. "His affairs," he said,
"were unsettled, his income precarious."

"And where is he whose affairs are settled, or whose income is less than
precarious, that is to be found in attendance on the Court?" said Lord
Dalgarno; "all are either losing or winning. Those who have wealth, come
hither to get rid of it, while the happy gallants, who, like you and I,
dear Glenvarloch, have little or none, have every chance to be sharers
in their spoils."

"I have no ambition of that sort," said Nigel, "and if I had, I must
tell you plainly, Lord Dalgarno, I have not the means to do so. I can
scarce as yet call the suit I wear my own; I owe it, and I do riot blush
to say so, to the friendship of yonder good man."

"I will not laugh again, if I can help it," said Lord Dalgarno.
"But, Lord! that you should have gone to a wealthy goldsmith for your
habit--why, I could have brought you to an honest, confiding tailor,
who should have furnished you with half-a-dozen, merely for love of the
little word, 'lordship,' which you place before your name;--and then
your goldsmith, if he be really a friendly goldsmith, should have
equipped you with such a purse of fair rose-nobles as would have bought
you thrice as many suits, or done better things for you."

"I do not understand these fashions, my lord," said Nigel, his
displeasure mastering his shame; "were I to attend the Court of my
sovereign, it should be when I could maintain, without shifting or
borrowing, the dress and retinue which my rank requires."

"Which my rank requires!" said Lord Dalgarno, repeating his last words;
"that, now, is as good as if my father had spoke it. I fancy you
would love to move to Court with him, followed by a round score of
old blue-bottles, with white heads and red noses, with bucklers and
broadswords, which their hands, trembling betwixt age and strong waters,
can make no use of--as many huge silver badges on their arms, to
show whose fools they are, as would furnish forth a court cupboard of
plate--rogues fit for nothing but to fill our ante-chambers with the
flavour of onions and genievre--pah!"

"The poor knaves!" said Lord Glenvarloch; "they have served your father,
it may be, in the wars. What would become of them were he to turn them
off?"

"Why, let them go to the hospital," said Dalgarno, "or to the
bridge-end, to sell switches. The king is a better man than my father,
and you see those who have served in HIS wars do so every day; or, when
their blue coats were well worn out, they would make rare scarecrows.
Here is a fellow, now, comes down the walk; the stoutest raven dared
not come within a yard of that copper nose. I tell you, there is more
service, as you will soon see, in my valet of the chamber, and such
a lither lad as my page Lutin, than there is in a score of these old
memorials of the Douglas wars, [Footnote: The cruel civil wars waged by
the Scottish barons during the minority of James VI., had the name from
the figure made in them by the celebrated James Douglas, Earl of Morton.
Both sides executed their prisoners without mercy or favour.] where they
cut each other's throats for the chance of finding twelve pennies Scots
on the person of the slain. Marry, my lord, to make amends, they will
eat mouldy victuals, and drink stale ale, as if their bellies were
puncheons.--But the dinner-bell is going to sound--hark, it is clearing
its rusty throat, with a preliminary jowl. That is another clamorous
relic of antiquity, that, were I master, should soon be at the bottom
of the Thames. How the foul fiend can it interest the peasants and
mechanics in the Strand, to know that the Earl of Huntinglen is sitting
down to dinner? But my father looks our way--we must not be late for the
grace, or we shall be in DIS-grace, if you will forgive a quibble which
would have made his Majesty laugh. You will find us all of a piece, and,
having been accustomed to eat in saucers abroad, I am ashamed you should
witness our larded capons, our mountains of beef, and oceans of brewis,
as large as Highland hills and lochs; but you shall see better cheer
to-morrow. Where lodge you? I will call for you. I must be your guide
through the peopled desert, to certain enchanted lands, which you will
scarce discover without chart and pilot. Where lodge you?"

"I will meet you in Paul's," said Nigel, a good deal embarrassed, "at
any hour you please to name."

"O, you would be private," said the young lord; "nay, fear not me--I
will be no intruder. But we have attained this huge larder of flesh,
fowl, and fish. I marvel the oaken boards groan not under it."

They had indeed arrived in the dining-parlour of the mansion, where the
table was superabundantly loaded, and where the number of attendants,
to a certain extent, vindicated the sarcasms of the young nobleman.
The chaplain, and Sir Mungo Malagrowther, were of the party. The latter
complimented Lord Glenvarloch upon the impression he had made at Court.
"One would have thought ye had brought the apple of discord in your
pouch, my lord, or that you were the very firebrand of whilk Althea was
delivered, and that she had lain-in in a barrel of gunpowder, for the
king, and the prince, and the duke, have been by the lugs about ye, and
so have many more, that kendna before this blessed day that there was
such a man living on the face of the earth."

"Mind your victuals, Sir Mungo," said the earl; "they get cold while
you talk."

"Troth, and that needsna, my lord," said the knight; "your lordship's
dinners seldom scald one's mouth--the serving-men are turning auld, like
oursells, my lord, and it is far between the kitchen and the ha'."

With this little explosion of his spleen, Sir Mungo remained satisfied,
until the dishes were removed, when, fixing his eyes on the brave new
doublet of Lord Dalgarno, he complimented him on his economy, pretending
to recognise it as the same which his father had worn in Edinburgh in
the Spanish ambassador's time. Lord Dalgarno, too much a man of the
world to be moved by any thing from such a quarter, proceeded to crack
some nuts with great deliberation, as he replied, that the doublet was
in some sort his father's, as it was likely to cost him fifty pounds
some day soon. Sir Mungo forthwith proceeded in his own way to convey
this agreeable intelligence to the earl, observing, that his son was a
better maker of bargains than his lordship, for he had bought a doublet
as rich as that his lordship wore when the Spanish ambassador was at
Holyrood, and it had cost him but fifty pounds Scots;--"that was no
fool's bargain, my lord."

"Pounds sterling, if you please, Sir Mungo," answered the earl, calmly;
"and a fool's bargain it is, in all the tenses. Dalgarno WAS a fool when
he bought--I _will_ be a fool when I pay--and you, Sir Mungo, craving
your pardon, _are_ a fool _in praesenti_, for speaking of what concerns
you not."

So saying, the earl addressed himself to the serious business of the
table and sent the wine around with a profusion which increased the
hilarity, but rather threatened the temperance, of the company, until
their joviality was interrupted by the annunciation that the scrivener
had engrossed such deeds as required to be presently executed.

George Heriot rose from the table, observing, that wine-cups and legal
documents were unseemly neighbours. The earl asked the scrivener if they
had laid a trencher and set a cup for him in the buttery and received
the respectful answer, that heaven forbid he should be such an
ungracious beast as to eat or drink until his lordship's pleasure was
performed.

"Thou shalt eat before thou goest," said Lord Huntinglen; "and I will
have thee try, moreover, whether a cup of sack cannot bring some colour
into these cheeks of thine. It were a shame to my household, thou
shouldst glide out into the Strand after such a spectre-fashion as
thou now wearest--Look to it, Dalgarno, for the honour of our roof is
concerned."

Lord Dalgarno gave directions that the man should be attended to. Lord
Glenvarloch and the citizen, in the meanwhile, signed and interchanged,
and thus closed a transaction, of which the principal party concerned
understood little, save that it was under the management of a zealous
and faithful friend, who undertook that the money should be forthcoming,
and the estate released from forfeiture, by payment of the stipulated
sum for which it stood pledged, and that at the term of Lambmas, and at
the hour of noon, and beside the tomb of the Regent Earl of Murray,
in the High Kirk of Saint Giles, at Edinburgh, being the day and place
assigned for such redemption. [Footnote: As each covenant in those days
of accuracy had a special place nominated for execution, the tomb of the
Regent Earl of Murray in Saint Giles's Church was frequently assigned
for the purpose.]

When this business was transacted, the old earl would fain have renewed
his carouse; but the citizen, alleging the importance of the deeds he
had about him, and the business he had to transact betimes the next
morning, not only refused to return to table, but carried with him to
his barge Lord Glenvarloch, who might, perhaps, have been otherwise
found more tractable.

When they were seated in the boat, and fairly once more afloat on the
river, George Heriot looked back seriously on the mansion they had
left--"There live," he said, "the old fashion and the new. The father
is like a noble old broadsword, but harmed with rust, from neglect and
inactivity; the son is your modern rapier, well-mounted, fairly gilt,
and fashioned to the taste of the time--and it is time must evince if
the metal be as good as the show. God grant it prove so, says an old
friend to the family."

Nothing of consequence passed betwixt them, until Lord Glenvarloch,
landing at Paul's Wharf, took leave of his friend the citizen, and
retired to his own apartment, where his attendant, Richie, not a little
elevated with the events of the day, and with the hospitality of Lord
Huntinglen's house-keeping, gave a most splendid account of them to
the buxom Dame Nelly, who rejoiced to hear that the sun at length was
shining upon what Richie called "the right side of the hedge."



CHAPTER XI


  You are not for the manner nor the times,
  They have their vices now most like to virtues;
  You cannot know them apait by any difference,
  They wear the same clothes, eat the same meat--
  Sleep i' the self-same beds, ride in those coaches,
  Or very like four horses in a coach,
  As the best men and women.
                            _Ben Jonson_

On the following morning, while Nigel, his breakfast finished, was
thinking how he should employ the day, there was a little bustle upon
the stairs which attracted his attention, and presently entered Dame
Nelly, blushing like scarlet, and scarce able to bring out--"A young
nobleman, sir--no one less," she added, drawing her hand slightly over
her lips, "would be so saucy--a young nobleman, sir, to wait on you!"

And she was followed into the little cabin by Lord Dalgarno, gay,
easy, disembarrassed, and apparently as much pleased to rejoin his
new acquaintance as if he had found him in the apartments of a palace.
Nigel, on the contrary, (for youth is slave to such circumstances,)
was discountenanced and mortified at being surprised by so splendid a
gallant in a chamber which, at the moment the elegant and high-dressed
cavalier appeared in it, seemed to its inhabitant, yet lower, narrower,
darker, and meaner than it had ever shown before. He would have made
some apology for the situation, but Lord Dalgarno cut him short--

"Not a word of it," he said, "not a single word--I know why you ride at
anchor here--but I can keep counsel--so pretty a hostess would recommend
worse quarters."

"On my word--on my honour," said Lord Glenvarloch--

"Nay, nay, make no words of the matter," said Lord Dalgarno; "I am no
tell-tale, nor shall I cross your walk; there is game enough in the
forest, thank Heaven, and I can strike a doe for myself."

All this he said in so significant a manner, and the explanation
which he had adopted seemed to put Lord Glenvarloch's gallantry on so
respectable a footing, that Nigel ceased to try to undeceive him; and
less ashamed, perhaps, (for such is human weakness,) of supposed vice
than of real poverty, changed the discourse to something else, and
left poor Dame Nelly's reputation and his own at the mercy of the young
courtier's misconstruction.

He offered refreshments with some hesitation. Lord Dalgarno had long
since breakfasted, but had just come from playing a set of tennis, he
said, and would willingly taste a cup of the pretty hostess's single
beer. This was easily procured, was drunk, was commended, and, as the
hostess failed not to bring the cup herself, Lord Dalgarno profited by
the opportunity to take a second and more attentive view of her, and
then gravely drank to her husband's health, with an almost imperceptible
nod to Lord Glenvarloch. Dame Nelly was much honoured, smoothed her
apron down with her hands, and said

"Her John was greatly and truly honoured by their lordships--he was a
kind painstaking man for his family, as was in the alley, or indeed, as
far north as Paul's Chain."

She would have proceeded probably to state the difference betwixt their
ages, as the only alloy to their nuptial happiness; but her lodger, who
had no mind to be farther exposed to his gay friend's raillery, gave
her, contrary to his wont, a signal to leave the room.

Lord Dalgarno looked after her, and then looked at Glenvarloch, shook
his head, and repeated the well-known lines--

"'My lord, beware of jealousy--It is the green-eyed monster which doth
make the meat it feeds on.'

"But come," he said, changing his tone, "I know not why I should worry
you thus--I who have so many follies of my own, when I should rather
make excuse for being here at all, and tell you wherefore I came."

So saying, he reached a seat, and, placing another for Lord Glenvarloch,
in spite of his anxious haste to anticipate this act of courtesy, he
proceeded in the same tone of easy familiarity:--

"We are neighbours, my lord, and are just made known to each other.
Now, I know enough of the dear North, to be well aware that Scottish
neighbours must be either dear friends or deadly enemies--must either
walk hand-in-hand, or stand sword-point to sword-point; so I choose the
hand-in-hand, unless you should reject my proffer."

"How were it possible, my lord," said Lord Glenvarloch, "to refuse what
is offered so frankly, even if your father had not been a second father
to me?"--And, as he took Lord Dalgarno's hand, he added--"I have, I
think, lost no time, since, during one day's attendance at Court, I have
made a kind friend and a powerful enemy."

"The friend thanks you," replied Lord Dalgarno, "for your just opinion;
but, my dear Glenvarloch--or rather, for titles are too formal between
us of the better file--what is your Christian name?"

"Nigel," replied Lord Glenvarloch.

"Then we will be Nigel and Malcolm to each other," said his visitor,
"and my lord to the plebeian world around us. But I was about to ask you
whom you suppose your enemy?"

"No less than the all-powerful favourite, the great Duke of Buckingham."

"You dream! What could possess you with such an opinion?" said Dalgarno.

"He told me so himself," replied Glenvarloch; "and, in so doing, dealt
frankly and honourably with me."

"O, you know him not yet," said his companion; "the duke is moulded of
an hundred noble and fiery qualities, that prompt him, like a generous
horse, to spring aside in impatience at the least obstacle to his
forward course. But he means not what he says in such passing heats--I
can do more with him, I thank Heaven, than most who are around him; you
shall go visit him with me, and you will see how you shall be received."

"I told you, my lord," said Glenvarloch firmly, and with some
haughtiness, "the Duke of Buckingham, without the least offence,
declared himself my enemy in the face of the Court; and he shall
retract that aggression as publicly as it was given, ere I will make the
slightest advance towards him."

"You would act becomingly in every other case," said Lord Dalgarno,
"but here you are wrong. In the Court horizon Buckingham is Lord of
the Ascendant, and as he is adverse or favouring, so sinks or rises the
fortune of a suitor. The king would bid you remember your Phaedrus,

     'Arripiens geminas, ripis cedentibus, ollas--'

and so forth. You are the vase of earth; beware of knocking yourself
against the vase of iron."

"The vase of earth," said Glenvarloch, "will avoid the encounter, by
getting ashore out of the current--I mean to go no more to Court."

"O, to Court you necessarily must go; you will find your Scottish suit
move ill without it, for there is both patronage and favour necessary
to enforce the sign-manual you have obtained. Of that we will speak more
hereafter; but tell me in the meanwhile, my dear Nigel, whether you did
not wonder to see me here so early?"

"I am surprised that you could find me out in this obscure corner," said
Lord Glenvarloch.

"My page Lutin is a very devil for that sort of discovery," replied
Lord Dalgarno; "I have but to say, 'Goblin, I would know where he or she
dwells,' and he guides me thither as if by art magic."

"I hope he waits not now in the street, my lord," said Nigel; "I will
send my servant to seek him."

"Do not concern yourself--he is by this time," said Lord Dalgarno,
"playing at hustle-cap and chuck-farthing with the most blackguard imps
upon the wharf, unless he hath foregone his old customs."

"Are you not afraid," said Lord Glenvarloch, "that in such company his
morals may become depraved?"

"Let his company look to their own," answered Lord Dalgarno, cooly; "for
it will be a company of real fiends in which Lutin cannot teach more
mischief than he can learn: he is, I thank the gods, most thoroughly
versed in evil for his years. I am spared the trouble of looking after
his moralities, for nothing can make them either better or worse."

"I wonder you can answer this to his parents, my lord," said Nigel.

"I wonder where I should find his parents," replied his companion, "to
render an account to them."

"He may be an orphan," said Lord Nigel; "but surely, being a page in
your lordship's family, his parents must be of rank."

"Of as high rank as the gallows could exalt them to," replied Lord
Dalgarno, with the same indifference; "they were both hanged, I
believe--at least the gipsies, from whom I bought him five years ago,
intimated as much to me.--You are surprised at this, now. But is it not
better that, instead of a lazy, conceited, whey-faced slip of gentility,
to whom, in your old-world idea of the matter, I was bound to stand Sir
Pedagogue, and see that he washed his hands and face, said his prayers,
learned his acddens, spoke no naughty words, brushed his hat, and
wore his best doublet only on Sunday,--that, instead of such a Jacky
Goodchild, I should have something like this?"

He whistled shrill and clear, and the page he spoke of darted into the
room, almost with the effect of an actual apparition. From his height he
seemed but fifteen, but, from his face, might be two or even three years
older, very neatly made, and richly dressed; with a thin bronzed visage,
which marked his gipsy descent, and a pair of sparkling black eyes,
which seemed almost to pierce through those whom he looked at.

"There he is," said Lord Dalgarno, "fit for every element--prompt to
execute every command, good, bad, or indifferent--unmatched in his
tribe, as rogue, thief, and liar."

"All which qualities," said the undaunted page, "have each in turn stood
your lordship in stead."

"Out, you imp of Satan!" said his master; "vanish-begone-or my conjuring
rod goes about your ears." The boy turned, and disappeared as suddenly
as he had entered. "You see," said Lord Dalgarno, "that, in choosing my
household, the best regard I can pay to gentle blood is to exclude it
from my service--that very gallows--bird were enough to corrupt a
whole antechamber of pages, though they were descended from kings and
kaisers."

"I can scarce think that a nobleman should need the offices of such
an attendant as your goblin," said Nigel; "you are but jesting with my
inexperience."

"Time will show whether I jest or not, my dear Nigel," replied Dalgarno;
"in the meantime, I have to propose to you to take the advantage of the
flood-tide, to run up the river for pastime; and at noon I trust you
will dine with me."

Nigel acquiesced in a plan which promised so much amusement; and his new
friend and he, attended by Lutin and Moniplies, who greatly resembled,
when thus associated, the conjunction of a bear and a monkey, took
possession of Lord Dalgarno's wherry, which, with its badged watermen,
bearing his lordship's crest on their arms, lay in readiness to receive
them. The air was delightful upon the river; and the lively conversation
of Lord Dalgarno added zest to the pleasures of the little voyage.
He could not only give an account of the various public buildings and
noblemen's houses which they passed in ascending the Thames, but knew
how to season his information with abundance of anecdote, political
innuendo, and personal scandal; if he had not very much wit, he was at
least completely master of the fashionable tone, which in that time, as
in ours, more than amply supplies any deficiency of the kind.

It was a style of conversation entirely new to his companion, as was the
world which Lord Dalgarno opened to his observation; and it is no wonder
that Nigel, notwithstanding his natural good sense and high spirit,
admitted, more readily than seemed consistent with either, the tone
of authoritative instruction which his new friend assumed towards him.
There would, indeed, have been some difficulty in making a stand. To
attempt a high and stubborn tone of morality, in answer to the light
strain of Lord Dalgarno's conversation, which kept on the frontiers
between jest and earnest, would have seemed pedantic and ridiculous; and
every attempt which Nigel made to combat his companion's propositions,
by reasoning as jocose as his own, only showed his inferiority in
that gay species of controversy. And it must be owned, besides, though
internally disapproving much of what he heard, Lord Glenvarloch, young
as he was in society, became less alarmed by the language and manners of
his new associate, than in prudence he ought to have been.

Lord Dalgarno was unwilling to startle his proselyte, by insisting
upon any topic which appeared particularly to jar with his habits or
principles; and he blended his mirth and his earnest so dexterously,
that it was impossible for Nigel to discover how far he was serious in
his propositions, or how far they flowed from a wild and extravagant
spirit of raillery. And, ever and anon, those flashes of spirit and
honour crossed his conversation, which seemed to intimate, that, when
stirred to action by some adequate motive, Lord Dalgarno would prove
something very different from the court-haunting and ease-loving
voluptuary, which he was pleased to represent as his chosen character.

As they returned down the river, Lord Glenvarloch remarked, that the
boat passed the mansion of Lord Huntinglen, and noticed the circumstance
to Lord Dalgarno, observing, that he thought they were to have dined
there. "Surely no," said the young nobleman, "I have more mercy on you
than to gorge you a second time with raw beef and canary wine. I propose
something better for you, I promise you, than such a second Scythian
festivity. And as for my father, he proposes to dine to-day with my
grave, ancient Earl of Northampton, whilome that celebrated putter-down
of pretended prophecies, Lord Henry Howard."

"And do you not go with him?" said his companion.

"To what purpose?" said Lord Dalgarno. "To hear his wise lordship speak
musty politics in false Latin, which the old fox always uses, that he
may give the learned Majesty of England an opportunity of correcting his
slips in grammar? That were a rare employment!"

"Nay," said Lord Nigel, "but out of respect, to wait on my lord your
father."

"My lord my father," replied Lord Dalgarno, "has blue-bottles enough to
wait on him, and can well dispense with such a butterfly as myself. He
can lift the cup of sack to his head without my assistance; and, should
the said paternal head turn something giddy, there be men enough to
guide his right honourable lordship to his lordship's right honourable
couch.--Now, do not stare at me, Nigel, as if my words were to sink the
boat with us. I love my father--I love him dearly--and I respect him,
too, though I respect not many things; a trustier old Trojan never
belted a broadsword by a loop of leather. But what then? He belongs to
the old world, I to the new. He has his follies, I have mine; and the
less either of us sees of the other's peccadilloes, the greater will be
the honour and respect--that, I think, is the proper phrase--I say the
_respect_ in which we shall hold each other. Being apart, each of us is
himself, such as nature and circumstances have made him; but, couple us
up too closely together, you will be sure to have in your leash either
an old hypocrite or a young one, or perhaps both the one and t'other."

As he spoke thus, the boat put into the landing-place at Blackfriars.
Lord Dalgarno sprung ashore, and, flinging his cloak and rapier to his
page, recommended to his companion to do the like. "We are coming among
a press of gallants," he said; "and, if we walked thus muffled, we shall
look like your tawny-visaged Don, who wraps him close in his cloak, to
conceal the defects of his doublet."

"I have known many an honest man do that, if it please your lordship,"
said Richie Moniplies, who had been watching for an opportunity to
intrude himself on the conversation, and probably remembered what had
been his own condition, in respect to cloak and doublet, at a very
recent period.

Lord Dalgarno stared at him, as if surprised at his assurance; but
immediately answered, "You may have known many things, friend; but, in
the meanwhile, you do not know what principally concerns your master,
namely, how to carry his cloak, so as to show to advantage the
gold-laced seams, and the lining of sables. See how Lutin holds the
sword, with his cloak cast partly over it, yet so as to set off the
embossed hilt, and the silver work of the mounting.--Give your familiar
your sword, Nigel," he continued, addressing Lord Glenvarloch, "that he
may practise a lesson in an art so necessary."

"Is it altogether prudent," said Nigel, unclasping his weapon, and
giving it to Richie, "to walk entirely unarmed?"

"And wherefore not?" said his companion. "You are thinking now of Auld
Reekie, as my father fondly calls your good Scottish capital, where
there is such bandying of private feuds and public factions, that a man
of any note shall not cross your High Street twice, without endangering
his life thrice. Here, sir, no brawling in the street is permitted. Your
bull-headed citizen takes up the case so soon as the sword is drawn, and
clubs is the word."

"And a hard word it is," said Richie, "as my brain-pan kens at this
blessed moment."

"Were I your master, sirrah," said Lord Dalgarno, "I would make your
brain-pan, as you call it, boil over, were you to speak a word in my
presence before you were spoken to."

Richie murmured some indistinct answer, but took the hint, and ranked
himself behind his master along with Lutin, who failed not to expose his
new companion to the ridicule of the passers-by, by mimicking, as often
as he could do so unobserved by Richie, his stiff and upright stalking
gait and discontented physiognomy.

"And tell me now, my dear Malcolm," said Nigel, "where we are bending
our course, and whether we shall dine at an apartment of yours?"

"An apartment of mine--yes, surely," answered Lord Dalgarno, "you shall
dine at an apartment of mine, and an apartment of yours, and of twenty
gallants besides; and where the board shall present better cheer, better
wine, and better attendance, than if our whole united exhibitions went
to maintain it. We are going to the most noted ordinary of London."

"That is, in common language, an inn, or a tavern," said Nigel.

"An inn, or a tavern, my most green and simple friend!" exclaimed Lord
Dalgarno. "No, no--these are places where greasy citizens take pipe
and pot, where the knavish pettifoggers of the law spunge on their most
unhappy victims--where Templars crack jests as empty as their nuts, and
where small gentry imbibe such thin potations, that they get dropsies
instead of getting drunk. An ordinary is a late-invented institution,
sacred to Bacchus and Comus, where the choicest noble gallants of the
time meet with the first and most ethereal wits of the age,--where the
wine is the very soul of the choicest grape, refined as the genius of
the poet, and ancient and generous as the blood of the nobles. And then
the fare is something beyond your ordinary gross terrestrial food! Sea
and land are ransacked to supply it; and the invention of six ingenious
cooks kept eternally upon the rack to make their art hold pace with, and
if possible enhance, the exquisite quality of the materials."

"By all which rhapsody," said Lord Glenvarloch, "I can only understand,
as I did before, that we are going to a choice tavern, where we shall be
handsomely entertained, on paying probably as handsome a reckoning."

"Reckoning!" exclaimed Lord Dalgarno in the same tone as before,
"perish the peasantly phrase! What profanation! Monsieur le Chevalier de
Beaujeu, pink of Paris and flower of Gascony--he who can tell the age of
his wine by the bare smell, who distils his sauces in an alembic by the
aid of Lully's philosophy--who carves with such exquisite precision,
that he gives to noble, knight and squire, the portion of the pheasant
which exactly accords with his rank--nay, he who shall divide a becafico
into twelve parts with such scrupulous exactness, that of twelve guests
not one shall have the advantage of the other in a hair's breadth, or
the twentieth part of a drachm, yet you talk of him and of a reckoning
in the same breath! Why, man, he is the well-known and general referee
in all matters affecting the mysteries of Passage, Hazard, In and
In, Penneeck, and Verquire, and what not--why, Beaujeu is King of
the Card-pack, and Duke of the Dice-box--HE call a reckoning like a
green-aproned, red-nosed son of the vulgar spigot! O, my dearest Nigel,
what a word you have spoken, and of what a person! That you know him
not, is your only apology for such blasphemy; and yet I scarce hold it
adequate, for to have been a day in London and not to know Beaujeu, is a
crime of its own kind. But you _shall_ know him this blessed moment,
and shall learn to hold yourself in horror for the enormities you have
uttered."

"Well, but mark you," said Nigel, "this worthy chevalier keeps not all
this good cheer at his own cost, does he?"

"No, no," answered Lord Dalgarno; "there is a sort of ceremony which my
chevalier's friends and intimates understand, but with which you have no
business at present. There is, as majesty might say, a _symbolum_ to be
disbursed--in other words, a mutual exchange of courtesies take place
betwixt Beaujeu and his guests. He makes them a free present of the
dinner and wine, as often as they choose to consult their own felicity
by frequenting his house at the hour of noon, and they, in gratitude,
make the chevalier a present of a Jacobus. Then you must know, that,
besides Comus and Bacchus, that princess of sublunary affairs, the Diva
Fortuna, is frequently worshipped at Beaujeu's, and he, as officiating
high-priest, hath, as in reason he should, a considerable advantage from
a share of the sacrifice."

"In other words," said Lord Glenvarloch, "this man keeps a
gaming-house."

"A house in which you may certainly game," said Lord Dalgarno, "as you
may in your own chamber if you have a mind; nay, I remember old Tom
Tally played a hand at put for a wager with Quinze le Va, the Frenchman,
during morning prayers in St. Paul's; the morning was misty, and the
parson drowsy, and the whole audience consisted of themselves and a
blind woman, and so they escaped detection."

"For all this, Malcolm," said the young lord, gravely, "I cannot dine
with you to-day, at this same ordinary."

"And wherefore, in the name of heaven, should you draw back from your
word?" said Lord Dalgarno.

"I do not retract my word, Malcolm; but I am bound, by an early promise
to my father, never to enter the doors of a gaming-house."

"I tell you this is none," said Lord Dalgarno; "it is but, in plain
terms, an eating-house, arranged on civiller terms, and frequented by
better company, than others in this town; and if some of them do amuse
themselves with cards and hazard, they are men of honour, and who play
as such, and for no more than they can well afford to lose. It was not,
and could not be, such houses that your father desired you to avoid.
Besides, he might as well have made you swear you would never take
accommodation of an inn, tavern, eating-house, or place of public
reception of any kind; for there is no such place of public resort but
where your eyes may be contaminated by the sight of a pack of pieces of
painted pasteboard, and your ears profaned by the rattle of those little
spotted cubes of ivory. The difference is, that where we go, we may
happen to see persons of quality amusing themselves with a game; and in
the ordinary houses you will meet bullies and sharpers, who will strive
either to cheat or to swagger you out of your money."

"I am sure you would not willingly lead me to do what is wrong," said
Nigel; "but my father had a horror for games of chance, religious
I believe, as well as prudential. He judged from I know not what
circumstance, a fallacious one I should hope, that I should have a
propensity to such courses, and I have told you the promise which he
exacted from me."

"Now, by my honour," said Dalgarno, "what you have said affords the
strongest reason for my insisting that you go with me. A man who would
shun any danger, should first become acquainted with its real bearing
and extent, and that in the company of a confidential guide and guard.
Do you think I myself game? Good faith, my father's oaks grow too far
from London, and stand too fast rooted in the rocks of Perthshire, for
me to troll them down with a die, though I have seen whole forests go
down like nine-pins. No, no--these are sports for the wealthy Southron,
not for the poor Scottish noble. The place is an eating-house, and as
such you and I will use it. If others use it to game in, it is their
fault, but neither that of the house nor ours."

Unsatisfied with this reasoning, Nigel still insisted upon the promise
he had given to his father, until his companion appeared rather
displeased, and disposed to impute to him injurious and unhandsome
suspicions. Lord Glenvarloch could not stand this change of tone. He
recollected that much was due from him to Lord Dalgarno, on account
of his father's ready and efficient friendship, and something also on
account of the frank manner in which the young man himself had offered
him his intimacy. He had no reason to doubt his assurances, that the
house where they were about to dine did not fall under the description
of places which his father's prohibition referred; and finally, he was
strong in his own resolution to resist every temptation to join in
games of chance. He therefore pacified Lord Dalgarno, by intimating
his willingness to go along with him; and, the good-humour of the young
courtier instantaneously returning, he again ran on in a grotesque and
rodomontade account of the host, Monsieur de Beaujeu, which he did not
conclude until they had reached the temple of hospitality over which
that eminent professor presided.



CHAPTER XII


    ----This is the very barn-yard,
    Where muster daily the prime cocks o' the game,
    Ruffle their pinions, crow till they are hoarse,
    And spar about a barleycorn. Here too chickens,
    The callow, unfledged brood of forward folly,
    Learn first to rear the crest, and aim the spur,
    And tune their note like full-plumed Chanticleer.
                                        _The Bear-Garden._

The Ordinary, now an ignoble sound, was in the days of James, a
new institution, as fashionable among the youth of that age as the
first-rate modern club-houses are amongst those of the present day.
It differed chiefly, in being open to all whom good clothes and good
assurance combined to introduce there. The company usually dined
together at an hour fixed, and the manager of the establishment presided
as master of the ceremonies.

Monsieur le Chevalier, (as he qualified himself,) Saint Priest de
Beaujeu, was a sharp, thin Gascon, about sixty years old, banished from
his own country, as he said, on account of an affair of honour, in which
he had the misfortune to kill his antagonist, though the best swordsman
in the south of France. His pretensions to quality were supported by
a feathered hat, a long rapier, and a suit of embroidered taffeta, not
much the worse for wear, in the extreme fashion of the Parisian court,
and fluttering like a Maypole with many knots of ribbon, of which it
was computed he bore at least five hundred yards about his person.
But, notwithstanding this profusion of decoration, there were many who
thought Monsieur le Chevalier so admirably calculated for his present
situation, that nature could never have meant to place him an inch
above it. It was, however, part of the amusement of the place, for Lord
Dalgarno and other young men of quality to treat Monsieur de Beaujeu
with a great deal of mock ceremony, which being observed by the herd of
more ordinary and simple gulls, they paid him, in clumsy imitation, much
real deference. The Gascon's natural forwardness being much enhanced by
these circumstances, he was often guilty of presuming beyond the limits
of his situation, and of course had sometimes the mortification to be
disagreeably driven back into them.

When Nigel entered the mansion of this eminent person, which had been
but of late the residence of a great Baron of Queen Elizabeth's court,
who had retired to his manors in the country on the death of that
princess, he was surprised at the extent of the accommodation which it
afforded, and the number of guests who were already assembled. Feathers
waved, spurs jingled, lace and embroidery glanced everywhere; and at
first sight, at least, it certainly made good Lord Dalgarno's encomium,
who represented the company as composed almost entirely of youth of the
first quality. A more close review was not quite so favourable. Several
individuals might be discovered who were not exactly at their ease
in the splendid dresses which they wore, and who, therefore, might be
supposed not habitually familiar with such finery. Again, there were
others, whose dress, though on a general view it did not seem inferior
to that of the rest of the company, displayed, on being observed more
closely, some of these petty expedients, by which vanity endeavours to
disguise poverty.

Nigel had very little time to make such observations, for the entrance
of Lord Dalgarno created an immediate bustle and sensation among the
company, as his name passed from one mouth to another. Some stood
forward to gaze, others stood back to make way--those of his own rank
hastened to welcome him--those of inferior degree endeavoured to catch
some point of his gesture, or of his dress, to be worn and practised
upon a future occasion, as the newest and most authentic fashion.

The _genius loci_, the Chevalier himself, was not the last to welcome
this prime stay and ornament of his establishment. He came shuffling
forward with a hundred apish _conges_ and _chers milors_, to express his
happiness at seeing Lord Dalgarno again.--"I hope you do bring back the
sun with you, _Milor_--You did carry away the sun and moon from your
pauvre Chevalier when you leave him for so long. Pardieu, I believe you
take them away in your pockets."

"That must have been because you left me nothing else in them,
Chevalier," answered Lord Dalgarno; "but Monsieur le Chevalier, I pray
you to know my countryman and friend, Lord Glenvarloch!"

"Ah, ha! tres honore--Je m'en souviens,--oui. J'ai connu autrefois un
Milor Kenfarloque en Ecosse. Yes, I have memory of him--le pere de milor
apparemment-we were vera intimate when I was at Oly Root with Monsieur
de la Motte--I did often play at tennis vit Milor Kenfarloque at
L'Abbaie d'Oly Root--il etoit meme plus fort que moi--Ah le beaucoup
de revers qu'il avoit!--I have memory, too that he was among the pretty
girls--ah, un vrai diable dechaine--Aha! I have memory--"

"Better have no more memory of the late Lord Glenvarloch," said Lord
Dalgarno, interrupting the Chevalier without ceremony; who perceived
that the encomium which he was about to pass on the deceased was likely
to be as disagreeable to the son as it was totally undeserved by the
father, who, far from being either a gamester or libertine, as the
Chevalier's reminiscences falsely represented him, was, on the contrary,
strict and severe in his course of life, almost to the extent of rigour.

"You have the reason, milor," answered the Chevalier, "you have the
right--Qu'est ce que nous avons a faire avec le temps passe?--the time
passed did belong to our fathers--our ancetres--very well--the time
present is to us--they have their pretty tombs with their memories and
armorials, all in brass and marbre--we have the petits plats exquis, and
the soupe-a-Chevalier, which I will cause to mount up immediately."

So saying, he made a pirouette on his heel, and put his attendants in
motion to place dinner on the table. Dalgarno laughed, and, observing
his young friend looked grave, said to him, in a tone of reproach--"Why,
what!--you are not gull enough to be angry with such an ass as that?"

"I keep my anger, I trust, for better purposes," said Lord Glenvarloch;
"but I confess I was moved to hear such a fellow mention my father's
name--and you, too, who told me this was no gaming-house, talked to him
of having left it with emptied pockets."

"Pshaw, man!" said Lord Dalgarno, "I spoke but according to the trick of
the time; besides, a man must set a piece or two sometimes, or he would
be held a cullionly niggard. But here comes dinner, and we will
see whether you like the Chevalier's good cheer better than his
conversation."

Dinner was announced accordingly, and the two friends, being seated in
the most honourable station at the board, were ceremoniously attended
to by the Chevalier, who did the honours of his table to them and to the
other guests, and seasoned the whole with his agreeable conversation.
The dinner was really excellent, in that piquant style of cookery which
the French had already introduced, and which the home-bred young men of
England, when they aspired to the rank of connoisseurs and persons of
taste, were under the necessity of admiring. The wine was also of the
first quality, and circulated in great variety, and no less abundance.
The conversation among so many young men was, of course, light, lively,
and amusing; and Nigel, whose mind had been long depressed by anxiety
and misfortune, naturally found himself at ease, and his spirits raised
and animated.

Some of the company had real wit, and could use it both politely and to
advantage; others were coxcombs, and were laughed at without discovering
it; and, again, others were originals, who seemed to have no objection
that the company should be amused with their folly instead of their
wit. And almost all the rest who played any prominent part in the
conversation had either the real tone of good society which belonged to
the period, or the jargon which often passes current for it.

In short, the company and conversation was so agreeable, that Nigel's
rigour was softened by it, even towards the master of ceremonies, and
he listened with patience to various details which the Chevalier de
Beaujeu, seeing, as he said, that Milor's taste lay for the "curieux
and Futile," chose to address to him in particular, on the subject of
cookery. To gratify, at the same time, the taste for antiquity, which
he somehow supposed that his new guest possessed, he launched out in
commendation of the great artists of former days, particularly one
whom he had known in his youth, "Maitre de Cuisine to the Marechal
Strozzi--tres bon gentilhomme pourtant;" who had maintained his master's
table with twelve covers every day during the long and severe blockade
of le petit Leyth, although he had nothing better to place on it than
the quarter of a carrion-horse now and then, and the grass and weeds
that grew on the ramparts. "Despardieux c'dtoit un homme superbe!" With
one tistle-head, and a nettle or two, he could make a soupe for twenty
guests--an haunch of a little puppy-dog made a roti des plus excellens;
but his coupe de maitre was when the rendition--what you call the
surrender, took place and appened; and then, dieu me damme, he made out
of the hind quarter of one salted horse, forty-five couverts; that the
English and Scottish officers and nobility, who had the honour to dine
with Monseigneur upon the rendition, could not tell what the devil any
of them were made upon at all.

The good wine had by this time gone so merrily round, and had such
genial effect on the guests, that those of the lower end of the table,
who had hitherto been listeners, began, not greatly to their own credit,
or that of the ordinary, to make innovations.

"You speak of the siege of Leith," said a tall, raw-boned man, with
thick mustaches turned up with a military twist, a broad buff belt, a
long rapier, and other outward symbols of the honoured profession, which
lives by killing other people--"you talk of the siege of Leith, and I
have seen the place--a pretty kind of a hamlet it is, with a plain wall,
or rampart, and a pigeon-house or so of a tower at every angle. Uds
daggers and scabbards, if a leaguer of our days had been twenty-four
hours, not to say so many months, before it, without carrying the place
and all its cocklofts, one after another, by pure storm, they would have
deserved no better grace than the Provost-Marshal gives when his noose
is reeved."

"Saar," said the Chevalier, "Monsieur le Capitaine, I vas not at
the siege of the petit Leyth, and I know not what you say about the
cockloft; but I will say for Monseigneur de Strozzi, that he understood
the grande guerre, and was grand capitaine--plus grand--that is more
great, it may be, than some of the capitaines of Angleterre, who do
speak very loud--tenez, Monsieur, car c'est a vous!"

"O Monsieur." answered the swordsman, "we know the Frenchman will fight
well behind his barrier of stone, or when he is armed with back, breast,
and pot."

"Pot!" exclaimed the Chevalier, "what do you mean by pot--do you mean to
insult me among my noble guests? Saar, I have done my duty as a pauvre
gentilhomme under the Grand Henri Quatre, both at Courtrai and Yvry,
and, ventre saint gris! we had neither pot nor marmite, but did always
charge in our shirt."

"Which refutes another base scandal," said Lord Dalgarno, laughing,
"alleging that linen was scarce among the French gentlemen-at-arms."

"Gentlemen out at arms and elbows both, you mean, my lord," said the
captain, from the bottom of the table. "Craving your lordship's pardon,
I do know something of these same gens-d'armes."

"We will spare your knowledge at present, captain, and save your modesty
at the same time the trouble of telling us how that knowledge was
acquired," answered Lord Dalgarno, rather contemptuously.

"I need not speak of it, my lord," said the man of war; "the world knows
it--all perhaps, but the men of mohair--the poor sneaking citizens of
London, who would see a man of valour eat his very hilts for hunger, ere
they would draw a farthing from their long purses to relieve them. O,
if a band of the honest fellows I have seen were once to come near that
cuckoo's nest of theirs!"

"A cuckoo's nest!-and that said of the city of London!" said a gallant
who sat on the opposite side of the table, and who, wearing a splendid
and fashionable dress, seemed yet scarce at home in it--"I will not
brook to hear that repeated."

"What!" said the soldier, bending a most terrific frown from a pair of
broad black eyebrows, handling the hilt of his weapon with one hand, and
twirling with the other his huge mustaches; "will you quarrel for your
city?"

"Ay, marry will I," replied the other. "I am a citizen, I care not who
knows it; and he who shall speak a word in dispraise of the city, is an
ass and a peremptory gull, and I will break his pate, to teach him sense
and manners."

The company, who probably had their reasons for not valuing the
captain's courage at the high rate which he himself put upon it, were
much entertained at the manner in which the quarrel was taken up by
the indignant citizen; and they exclaimed on all sides, "Well run,
Bow-bell!"--"Well crowed, the cock of Saint Paul's!"--"Sound a charge
there, or the soldier will mistake his signals, and retreat when he
should advance."

"You mistake me, gentlemen," said the captain, looking round with an
air of dignity. "I will but inquire whether this cavaliero citizen is
of rank and degree fitted to measure swords with a man of action; (for,
conceive me, gentlemen, it is not with every one that I can match myself
without loss of reputation;) and in that case he shall soon hear from me
honourably, by way of cartel."

"You shall feel me most dishonourably in the way of cudgel," said the
citizen, starting up, and taking his sword, which he had laid in a
corner. "Follow me."

"It is my right to name the place of combat, by all the rules of
the sword," said the captain; "and I do nominate the Maze, in
Tothill-Fields, for place--two gentlemen, who shall be indifferent
judges, for witnesses;--and for time--let me say this day fortnight, at
daybreak."

"And I," said the citizen, "do nominate the bowling-alley behind the
house for place, the present good company for witnesses, and for time
the present moment."

So saying, he cast on his beaver, struck the soldier across the
shoulders with his sheathed sword, and ran down stairs. The captain
showed no instant alacrity to follow him; yet, at last, roused by the
laugh and sneer around him, he assured the company, that what he did he
would do deliberately, and, assuming his hat, which he put on with the
air of Ancient Pistol, he descended the stairs to the place of combat,
where his more prompt adversary was already stationed, with his sword
unsheathed. Of the company, all of whom seemed highly delighted with
the approaching fray, some ran to the windows which overlooked the
bowling-alley, and others followed the combatants down stairs. Nigel
could not help asking Dalgarno whether he would not interfere to prevent
mischief.

"It would be a crime against the public interest," answered his friend;
"there can no mischief happen between two such originals, which will not
be a positive benefit to society, and particularly to the Chevalier's
establishment, as he calls it. I have been as sick of that captain's
buff belt, and red doublet, for this month past, as e'er I was of aught;
and now I hope this bold linendraper will cudgel the ass out of that
filthy lion's hide. See, Nigel, see the gallant citizen has ta'en his
ground about a bowl's-cast forward, in the midst of the alley--the very
model of a hog in armour. Behold how he prances with his manly foot, and
brandishes his blade, much as if he were about to measure forth cambric
with it. See, they bring on the reluctant soldado, and plant him
opposite to his fiery antagonist, twelve paces still dividing them--Lo,
the captain draws his tool, but, like a good general, looks over his
shoulder to secure his retreat, in case the worse come on't. Behold the
valiant shop-keeper stoops his head, confident, doubtless, in the civic
helmet with which his spouse has fortified his skull--Why, this is the
rarest of sport. By Heaven, he will run a tilt at him, like a ram."

It was even as Lord Dalgarno had anticipated; for the citizen, who
seemed quite serious in his zeal for combat, perceiving that the man
of war did not advance towards him, rushed onwards with as much good
fortune as courage, beat down the captain's guard, and, pressing
on, thrust, as it seemed, his sword clear through the body of his
antagonist, who, with a deep groan, measured his length on the ground.
A score of voices cried to the conqueror, as he stood fixed in
astonishment at his own feat, "Away, away with you!--fly, fly--fly by
the back door!--get into the Whitefriars, or cross the water to the
Bankside, while we keep off the mob and the constables." And
the conqueror, leaving his vanquished foeman on the ground, fled
accordingly, with all speed.

"By Heaven," said Lord Dalgarno, "I could never have believed that
the fellow would have stood to receive a thrust--he has certainly been
arrested by positive terror, and lost the use of his limbs. See, they
are raising him."

Stiff and stark seemed the corpse of the swordsman, as one or two of
the guests raised him from the ground; but, when they began to open his
waistcoat to search for the wound which nowhere existed, the man of war
collected, his scattered spirits; and, conscious that the ordinary was
no longer a stage on which to display his valour, took to his heels as
fast as he could run, pursued by the laughter and shouts of the company.

"By my honour," said Lord Dalgarno, "he takes the same course with his
conqueror. I trust in heaven he will overtake him, and then the valiant
citizen will suppose himself haunted by the ghost of him he has slain."

"Despardieux, milor," said the Chevalier, "if he had stayed one moment,
he should have had a _torchon_--what you call a dishclout, pinned to him
for a piece of shroud, to show he be de ghost of one grand fanfaron."

"In the meanwhile," said Lord Dalgarno, "you will oblige us, Monsieur le
Chevalier, as well as maintain your own honoured reputation, by letting
your drawers receive the man-at-arms with a cudgel, in case he should
venture to come way again."

"Ventre saint gris, milor," said the Chevalier, "leave that to
me.--Begar, the maid shall throw the wash-sud upon the grand poltron!"

When they had laughed sufficiently at this ludicrous occurrence, the
party began to divide themselves into little knots--some took possession
of the alley, late the scene of combat, and put the field to its proper
use of a bowling-ground, and it soon resounded with all the terms of the
game, as "run, run-rub, rub--hold bias, you infernal trundling timber!"
thus making good the saying, that three things are thrown away in a
bowling-green, namely, time, money, and oaths. In the house, many of the
gentlemen betook themselves to cards or dice, and parties were formed at
Ombre, at Basset, at Gleek, at Primero, and other games then in fashion;
while the dice were used at various games, both with and without the
tables, as Hazard, In-and-in, Passage, and so forth. The play, however,
did not appear to be extravagantly deep; it was certainly conducted with
great decorum and fairness; nor did there appear any thing to lead the
young Scotsman in the least to doubt his companion's assurance, that
the place was frequented by men of rank and quality, and that the
recreations they adopted were conducted upon honourable principles.

Lord Dalgarno neither had proposed play to his friend, nor joined in the
amusement himself, but sauntered from one table to another, remarking
the luck of the different players, as well as their capacity to avail
themselves of it, and exchanging conversation with the highest and most
respectable of the guests. At length, as if tired of what in modern
phrase would have been termed lounging, he suddenly remembered that
Burbage was to act Shakespeare's King Richard, at the Fortune, that
afternoon, and that he could not give a stranger in London, like
Lord Glenvarloch, a higher entertainment than to carry him to that
exhibition; "unless, indeed," he added, in a whisper, "there is paternal
interdiction of the theatre as well as of the ordinary."

"I never heard my father speak of stage-plays," said Lord Glenvarloch,
"for they are shows of a modern date, and unknown in Scotland. Yet, if
what I have heard to their prejudice be true, I doubt much whether he
would have approved of them."

"Approved of them!" exclaimed Lord Dalgarno--"why, George Buchanan wrote
tragedies, and his pupil, learned and wise as himself, goes to see
them, so it is next door to treason to abstain; and the cleverest men in
England write for the stage, and the prettiest women in London resort to
the playhouses, and I have a brace of nags at the door which will
carry us along the streets like wild-fire, and the ride will digest our
venison and ortolans, and dissipate the fumes of the wine, and so let's
to horse--Godd'en to you, gentlemen--Godd'en, Chevalier de la Fortune."

Lord Dalgarno's grooms were in attendance with two horses, and the young
men mounted, the proprietor upon a favourite barb, and Nigel upon a
high-dressed jennet, scarce less beautiful. As they rode towards the
theatre, Lord Dalgarno endeavoured to discover his friend's opinion of
the company to which he had introduced him, and to combat the exceptions
which he might suppose him to have taken. "And wherefore lookest thou
sad," he said, "my pensive neophyte? Sage son of the Alma Mater of
Low-Dutch learning, what aileth thee? Is the leaf of the living world
which we have turned over in company, less fairly written than thou
hadst been taught to expect? Be comforted, and pass over one little blot
or two; thou wilt be doomed to read through many a page, as black as
Infamy, with her sooty pinion, can make them. Remember, most immaculate
Nigel, that we are in London, not Leyden--that we are studying life, not
lore. Stand buff against the reproach of thine over-tender conscience,
man, and when thou summest up, like a good arithmetician, the actions
of the day, before you balance the account on your pillow, tell the
accusing spirit, to his brimstone beard, that if thine ears have heard
the clatter of the devil's bones, thy hand hath not trowled them--that
if thine eye hath seen the brawling of two angry boys, thy blade hath
not been bared in their fray."

"Now, all this may be wise and witty," replied Nigel; "yet I own I
cannot think but that your lordship, and other men of good quality
with whom we dined, might have chosen a place of meeting free from the
intrusion of bullies, and a better master of your ceremonial than yonder
foreign adventurer."

"All shall be amended, Sancte Nigelle, when thou shalt come forth a
new Peter the Hermit, to preach a crusade against dicing, drabbing, and
company-keeping. We will meet for dinner in Saint Sepulchre's Church;
we will dine in the chancel, drink our flask in the vestry, the parson
shall draw every cork, and the clerk say amen to every health. Come man,
cheer up, and get rid of this sour and unsocial humour. Credit me, that
the Puritans who object to us the follies and the frailties incident to
human nature, have themselves the vices of absolute devils, privy malice
and backbiting hypocrisy, and spiritual pride in all its presumption.
There is much, too, in life which we must see, were it only to learn to
shun it. Will Shakespeare, who lives after death, and who is presently
to afford thee such pleasure as none but himself can confer, has
described the gallant Falconbridge as calling that man

  ----' a bastard to the time,
  That doth not smack of observation;
  Which, though I will not practise to deceive,
  Yet, to avoid deceit, I mean to learn."

But here we are at the door of the Fortune, where we shall have
matchless Will speaking for himself.--Goblin, and you other lout, leave
the horses to the grooms, and make way for us through the press."

They dismounted, and the assiduous efforts of Lutin, elbowing, bullying,
and proclaiming his master's name and title, made way through a crowd of
murmuring citizens, and clamorous apprentices, to the door, where Lord
Dalgarno speedily procured a brace of stools upon the stage for his
companion and himself, where, seated among other gallants of the same
class, they had an opportunity of displaying their fair dresses
and fashionable manners, while they criticised the piece during its
progress; thus forming, at the same time, a conspicuous part of the
spectacle, and an important proportion of the audience.

Nigel Olifaunt was too eagerly and deeply absorbed in the interest of
the scene, to be capable of playing his part as became the place
where he was seated. He felt all the magic of that sorcerer, who had
displayed, within the paltry circle of a wooden booth, the long wars of
York and Lancaster, compelling the heroes of either line to stalk across
the scene in language and fashion as they lived, as if the grave had
given up the dead for the amusement and instruction of the living.
Burbage, esteemed the best Richard until Garrick arose, played the
tyrant and usurper with such truth and liveliness, that when the Battle
of Bosworth seemed concluded by his death, the ideas of reality and
deception were strongly contending in Lord Glenvarloch's imagination,
and it required him to rouse himself from his reverie, so strange did
the proposal at first sound when his companion declared King Richard
should sup with them at the Mermaid.

They were joined, at the same time, by a small party of the gentlemen
with whom they had dined, which they recruited by inviting two or three
of the most accomplished wits and poets, who seldom failed to attend
the Fortune Theatre, and were even but too ready to conclude a day of
amusement with a night of pleasure. Thither the whole party adjourned,
and betwixt fertile cups of sack, excited spirits, and the emulous wit
of their lively companions, seemed to realise the joyous boast of one of
Ben Jonson's contemporaries, when reminding the bard of

            "Those lyric feasts,
     Where men such clusters had,
     As made them nobly wild, not mad;
     While yet each verse of thine
     Outdid the meat, outdid the frolic wine."



CHAPTER XIII


    Let the proud salmon gorge the feather'd hook,
    Then strike, and then you have him--He will wince;
    Spin out your line that it shall whistle from you
    Some twenty yards or so, yet you shall have him--
    Marry! you must have patience--the stout rock
    Which is his trust, hath edges something sharp;
    And the deep pool hath ooze and sludge enough
    To mar your fishing--'less you are more careful.
                _Albion, or the Double Kings._

It is seldom that a day of pleasure, upon review, seems altogether
so exquisite as the partaker of the festivity may have felt it while
passing over him. Nigel Olifaunt, at least, did not feel it so, and it
required a visit from his new acquaintance, Lord Dalgarno, to reconcile
him entirely to himself. But this visit took place early after
breakfast, and his friend's discourse was prefaced with a question, How
he liked the company of the preceding evening?

"Why, excellently well," said Lord Glenvarloch; "only I should have
liked the wit better had it appeared to flow more freely. Every man's
invention seemed on the stretch, and each extravagant simile seemed to
set one half of your men of wit into a brown study to produce something
which should out-herod it."

"And wherefore not?" said Lord Dalgarno, "or what are these fellows fit
for, but to play the intellectual gladiators before us? He of them who
declares himself recreant, should, d--n him, be restricted to muddy ale,
and the patronage of the Waterman's Company. I promise you, that many a
pretty fellow has been mortally wounded with a quibble or a carwitchet
at the Mermaid, and sent from thence, in a pitiable estate, to Wit's
hospital in the Vintry, where they languish to this day amongst fools
and aldermen."

"It may be so," said Lord Nigel; "yet I could swear by my honour, that
last night I seemed to be in company with more than one man whose genius
and learning ought either to have placed him higher in our company, or
to have withdrawn him altogether from a scene, where, sooth to speak,
his part seemed unworthily subordinate."

"Now, out upon your tender conscience," said Lord Dalgarno; "and the
fico for such outcasts of Parnassus! Why, these are the very leavings of
that noble banquet of pickled herrings and Rhenish, which lost London
so many of her principal witmongers and bards of misrule. What would you
have said had you seen Nash or Green, when you interest yourself about
the poor mimes you supped with last night? Suffice it, they had their
drench and their doze, and they drank and slept as much as may save
them from any necessity of eating till evening, when, if they are
industrious, they will find patrons or players to feed them. [Footnote:
The condition of men of wit and talents was never more melancholy than
about this period. Their lives were so irregular, and their means of
living so precarious, that they were alternately rioting in debauchery,
or encountering and struggling with the meanest necessities. Two or
three lost their lives by a surfeit brought on by that fatal banquet of
Rhenish wine and pickled herrings, which is familiar to those who
study the lighter literature of that age. The whole history is a most
melancholy picture of genius, degraded at once by its own debaucheries,
and the patronage of heartless rakes and profligates.] For the rest of
their wants, they can be at no loss for cold water while the New
River head holds good; and your doublets of Parnassus are eternal in
duration."

"Virgil and Horace had more efficient patronage," said Nigel.

"Ay," replied his countryman, "but these fellows are neither Virgil nor
Horace; besides, we have other spirits of another sort, to whom I will
introduce you on some early occasion. Our Swan of Avon hath sung his
last; but we have stout old Ben, with as much learning and genius as
ever prompted the treader of sock and buskin. It is not, however, of
him I mean now to speak; but I come to pray you, of dear love, to row up
with me as far as Richmond, where two or three of the gallants whom you
saw yesterday, mean to give music and syllabubs to a set of beauties,
with some curious bright eyes among them--such, I promise you, as might
win an astrologer from his worship of the galaxy. My sister leads the
bevy, to whom I desire to present you. She hath her admirers at Court;
and is regarded, though I might dispense with sounding her praise, as
one of the beauties of the time."

There was no refusing an engagement, where the presence of the party
invited, late so low in his own regard, was demanded by a lady of
quality, one of the choice beauties of the time. Lord Glenvarloch
accepted, as was inevitable, and spent a lively day among the gay
and the fair. He was the gallant in attendance, for the day, upon his
friend's sister, the beautiful Countess of Blackchester, who aimed at
once at superiority in the realms of fashion, of power, and of wit.

She was, indeed, considerably older than her brother, and had probably
completed her six lustres; but the deficiency in extreme youth was more
than atoned for, in the most precise and curious accuracy in attire,
an early acquaintance with every foreign mode, and a peculiar gift
in adapting the knowledge which she acquired, to her own particular
features and complexion. At Court, she knew as well as any lady in the
circle, the precise tone, moral, political, learned, or jocose, in which
it was proper to answer the monarch, according to his prevailing humour;
and was supposed to have been very active, by her personal interest,
in procuring her husband a high situation, which the gouty old viscount
could never have deserved by any merit of his own commonplace conduct
and understanding.

It was far more easy for this lady than for her brother, to reconcile
so young a courtier as Lord Glenvarloch to the customs and habits of
a sphere so new to him. In all civilised society, the females of
distinguished rank and beauty give the tone to manners, and, through
these, even to morals. Lady Blackchester had, besides, interest either
in the Court, or over the Court, (for its source could not be well
traced,) which created friends, and overawed those who might have been
disposed to play the part of enemies.

At one time, she was understood to be closely leagued with the
Buckingham family, with whom her brother still maintained a great
intimacy; and, although some coldness had taken place betwixt the
Countess and the Duchess of Buckingham, so that they were little seen
together, and the former seemed considerably to have withdrawn herself
into privacy, it was whispered that Lady Blackchester's interest with
the great favourite was not diminished in consequence of her breach with
his lady.

Our accounts of the private Court intrigues of that period, and of the
persons to whom they were intrusted, are not full enough to enable us to
pronounce upon the various reports which arose out of the circumstances
we have detailed. It is enough to say, that Lady Blackchester possessed
great influence on the circle around her, both from her beauty, her
abilities, and her reputed talents for Court intrigue; and that Nigel
Olifaunt was not long of experiencing its power, as he became a slave in
some degree to that species of habit, which carries so many men into a
certain society at a certain hour, without expecting or receiving any
particular degree of gratification, or even amusement.

His life for several weeks may be thus described. The ordinary was no
bad introduction to the business of the day; and the young lord quickly
found, that if the society there was not always irreproachable, still
it formed the most convenient and agreeable place of meeting with the
fashionable parties, with whom he visited Hyde Park, the theatres, and
other places of public resort, or joined the gay and glittering circle
which Lady Blackchester had assembled around her. Neither did he
entertain the same scrupulous horror which led him originally even to
hesitate entering into a place where gaming was permitted; but, on the
contrary, began to admit the idea, that as there could be no harm done
in beholding such recreation when only indulged in to a moderate degree,
so, from a parity of reasoning, there could be no objection to joining
in it, always under the same restrictions. But the young lord was a
Scotsman, habituated to early reflection, and totally unaccustomed to
any habit which inferred a careless risk or profuse waste of money.
Profusion was not his natural vice, or one likely to be acquired in
the course of his education; and, in all probability, while his father
anticipated with noble horror the idea of his son approaching the
gaming-table, he was more startled at the idea of his becoming a gaining
than a losing adventurer. The second, according to his principles, had
a termination, a sad one indeed, in the loss of temporal fortune--the
first quality went on increasing the evil which he dreaded, and perilled
at once both body and soul.

However the old lord might ground his apprehension, it was so far
verified by his son's conduct, that, from an observer of the various
games of chance which he witnessed, he came, by degrees, by moderate
hazards, and small bets or wagers, to take a certain interest in them.
Nor could it be denied, that his rank and expectations entitled him to
hazard a few pieces (for his game went no deeper) against persons, who,
from the readiness with which they staked their money, might be supposed
well able to afford to lose it.

It chanced, or, perhaps, according to the common belief, his evil genius
had so decreed, that Nigel's adventures were remarkably successful. He
was temperate, cautious, cool-headed, had a strong memory, and a ready
power of calculation; was besides, of a daring and intrepid character,
one upon whom no one that had looked even slightly, or spoken to
though but hastily, would readily have ventured to practise any thing
approaching to trick, or which required to be supported by intimidation.
While Lord Glenvarloch chose to play, men played with him regularly,
or, according to the phrase, upon the square; and, as he found his
luck change, or wished to hazard his good fortune no farther, the more
professed votaries of fortune, who frequented the house of Monsieur le
Chevalier de Saint Priest Beaujeu, did not venture openly to express
their displeasure at his rising a winner. But when this happened
repeatedly, the gamesters murmured amongst themselves equally at the
caution and the success of the young Scotsman; and he became far from
being a popular character among their society.

It was no slight inducement to the continuance of this most evil habit,
when it was once in some degree acquired, that it seemed to place
Lord Glenvarloch, haughty as he naturally was, beyond the necessity of
subjecting himself to farther pecuniary obligations, which his prolonged
residence in London must otherwise have rendered necessary. He had to
solicit from the ministers certain forms of office, which were to render
his sign-manual effectually useful; and these, though they could not be
denied, were delayed in such a manner, as to lead Nigel to believe there
was some secret opposition, which occasioned the demur in his business.
His own impulse was, to have appeared at Court a second time, with the
king's sign-manual in his pocket, and to have appealed to his Majesty
himself, whether the delay of the public officers ought to render his
royal generosity unavailing. But the Lord Huntinglen, that good old
peer, who had so frankly interfered in his behalf on a former occasion,
and whom he occasionally visited, greatly dissuaded him from a similar
adventure, and exhorted him quietly to await the deliverance of the
ministers, which should set him free from dancing attendance in London.

Lord Dalgarno joined his father in deterring his young friend from a
second attendance at Court, at least till he was reconciled with the
Duke of Buckingham--"a matter in which," he said, addressing his father,
"I have offered my poor assistance, without being able to prevail on
Lord Nigel to make any--not even the least--submission to the Duke of
Buckingham."

"By my faith, and I hold the laddie to be in the right on't, Malcom!"
answered the stout old Scots lord.--"What right hath Buckingham, or,
to speak plainly, the son of Sir George Villiers, to expect homage and
fealty from one more noble than himself by eight quarters? I heard him
myself, on no reason that I could perceive, term Lord Nigel his enemy;
and it will never be by my counsel that the lad speaks soft word to him,
till he recalls the hard one."

"That is precisely my advice to Lord Glenvarloch," answered Lord
Dalgarno; "but then you will admit, my dear father, that it would be the
risk of extremity for our friend to return into the presence, the duke
being his enemy--better to leave it with me to take off the heat of the
distemperature, with which some pickthanks have persuaded the duke to
regard our friend."

"If thou canst persuade Buckingham of his error, Malcolm," said his
father, "for once I will say there hath been kindness and honesty in
Court service. I have oft told your sister and yourself, that in the
general I esteem it as lightly as may be."

"You need not doubt my doing my best in Nigel's case," answered Lord
Dalgarno; "but you must think, my dear father, I must needs use slower
and gentler means than those by which you became a favourite twenty
years ago."

"By my faith, I am afraid thou wilt," answered his father.--"I tell
thee, Malcolm, I would sooner wish myself in the grave, than doubt
thine honesty or honour; yet somehow it hath chanced, that honest,
ready service, hath not the same acceptance at Court which it has in my
younger time--and yet you rise there."

"O, the time permits not your old-world service," said Lord
Dalgarno; "we have now no daily insurrections, no nightly attempts at
assassination, as were the fashion in the Scottish Court. Your prompt
and uncourteous sword-in-hand attendance on the sovereign is no
longer necessary, and would be as unbeseeming as your old-fashioned
serving-men, with their badges, broadswords, and bucklers, would be at a
court-mask. Besides, father, loyal haste hath its inconveniences. I have
heard, and from royal lips too, that when you stuck your dagger into the
traitor Ruthven, it was with such little consideration, that the point
ran a quarter of an inch into the royal buttock. The king
never talks of it but he rubs the injured part, and quotes his
_'infandum-------renovare dolorem.'_ But this comes of old fashions, and
of wearing a long Liddesdale whinger instead of a poniard of Parma. Yet
this, my dear father, you call prompt and valiant service. The king, I
am told, could not sit upright for a fortnight, though all the cushions
in Falkland were placed in his chair of state, and the Provost of
Dunfermline's borrowed to the boot of all."

"It is a lie," said the old earl, "a false lie, forge it who list!--It
is true I wore a dagger of service by my side, and not a bodkin like
yours, to pick one's teeth withal--and for prompt service--Odds nouns!
it should be prompt to be useful when kings are crying treason and
murder with the screech of a half-throttled hen. But you young courtiers
know nought of these matters, and are little better than the green geese
they bring over from the Indies, whose only merit to their masters is to
repeat their own words after them--a pack of mouthers, and flatterers,
and ear-wigs.--Well, I am old and unable to mend, else I would break all
off, and hear the Tay once more flinging himself over the Campsie Linn."

"But there is your dinner-bell, father," said Lord Dalgarno, "which, if
the venison I sent you prove seasonable, is at least as sweet a sound."

"Follow me, then, youngsters, if you list," said the old earl; and
strode on from the alcove in which this conversation was held, towards
the house, followed by the two young men.

In their private discourse, Lord Dalgarno had little trouble in
dissuading Nigel from going immediately to Court; while, on the other
hand, the offers he made him of a previous introduction to the Duke
of Buckingham, were received by Lord Glenvarloch with a positive and
contemptuous refusal. His friend shrugged his shoulders, as one who
claims the merit of having given to an obstinate friend the best
counsel, and desires to be held free of the consequences of his
pertinacity.

As for the father, his table indeed, and his best liquor, of which
he was more profuse than necessary, were at the command of his young
friend, as well as his best advice and assistance in the prosecution of
his affairs. But Lord Huntinglen's interest was more apparent than real;
and the credit he had acquired by his gallant defence of the king's
person, was so carelessly managed by himself, and so easily eluded by
the favourites and ministers of the sovereign, that, except upon one or
two occasions, when the king was in some measure taken by surprise, as
in the case of Lord Glenvarloch, the royal bounty was never efficiently
extended either to himself or to his friends.

"There never was a man," said Lord Dalgarno, whose shrewder knowledge of
the English Court saw where his father's deficiency lay, "that had it so
perfectly in his power to have made his way to the pinnacle of fortune
as my poor father. He had acquired a right to build up a staircase, step
by step, slowly and surely, letting every boon, which he begged year
after year, become in its turn the resting-place for the next annual
grant. But your fortunes shall not shipwreck upon the same coast,
Nigel," he would conclude. "If I have fewer means of influence than my
father has, or rather had, till he threw them away for butts of sack,
hawks, hounds, and such carrion, I can, far better than he, improve that
which I possess; and that, my dear Nigel, is all engaged in your behalf.
Do not be surprised or offended that you now see me less than formerly.
The stag-hunting is commenced, and the prince looks that I should attend
him more frequently. I must also maintain my attendance on the duke,
that I may have an opportunity of pleading your cause when occasion
shall permit."

"I have no cause to plead before the duke," said Nigel, gravely; "I have
said so repeatedly."

"Why, I meant the phrase no otherwise, thou churlish and suspicious
disputant," answered Dalgarno, "than as I am now pleading the duke's
cause with thee. Surely I only mean to claim a share in our royal
master's favourite benediction, _Beati Pacifici_."

Upon several occasions, Lord Glenvarloch's conversations, both with the
old earl and his son, took a similar turn and had a like conclusion. He
sometimes felt as if, betwixt the one and the other, not to mention the
more unseen and unboasted, but scarce less certain influence of Lady
Blackchester, his affair, simple as it had become, might have been
somehow accelerated. But it was equally impossible to doubt the rough
honesty of the father, and the eager and officious friendship of Lord
Dalgarno; nor was it easy to suppose that the countenance of the lady,
by whom he was received with such distinction, would be wanting, could
it be effectual in his service.

Nigel was further sensible of the truth of what Lord Dalgarno often
pointed out, that the favourite being supposed to be his enemy, every
petty officer, through whose hands his affair must necessarily pass,
would desire to make a merit of throwing obstacles in his way, which
he could only surmount by steadiness and patience, unless he preferred
closing the breach, or, as Lord Dalgarno called it, making his peace
with the Duke of Buckingham.

Nigel might, and doubtless would, have had recourse to the advice of his
friend George Heriot upon this occasion, having found it so advantageous
formerly; but the only time he saw him after their visit to Court, he
found the worthy citizen engaged in hasty preparations for a journey to
Paris, upon business of great importance in the way of his profession,
and by an especial commission from the Court and the Duke of Buckingham,
which was likely to be attended with considerable profit. The good man
smiled as he named the Duke of Buckingham. He had been, he said, pretty
sure that his disgrace in that quarter would not be of long duration.
Lord Glenvarloch expressed himself rejoiced at that reconciliation,
observing, that it had been a most painful reflection to him, that
Master Heriot should, in his behalf, have incurred the dislike, and
perhaps exposed himself to the ill offices, of so powerful a favourite.

"My lord," said Heriot, "for your father's son I would do much; and yet
truly, if I know myself, I would do as much and risk as much, for the
sake of justice, in the case of a much more insignificant person, as I
have ventured for yours. But as we shall not meet for some time, I must
commit to your own wisdom the farther prosecution of this matter."

And thus they took a kind and affectionate leave of each other.

There were other changes in Lord Glenvarloch's situation, which require
to be noticed. His present occupations, and the habits of amusement
which he had acquired, rendered his living so far in the city a
considerable inconvenience. He may also have become a little ashamed of
his cabin on Paul's Wharf, and desirous of being lodged somewhat
more according to his quality. For this purpose, he had hired a small
apartment near the Temple. He was, nevertheless, almost sorry for what
he had done, when he observed that his removal appeared to give some
pain to John Christie, and a great deal to his cordial and officious
landlady. The former, who was grave and saturnine in every thing he did,
only hoped that all had been to Lord Glenvarloch's mind, and that he had
not left them on account of any unbeseeming negligence on their part.
But the tear twinkled in Dame Nelly's eye, while she recounted the
various improvements she had made in the apartment, of express purpose
to render it more convenient to his lordship.

"There was a great sea-chest," she said, "had been taken upstairs to the
shopman's garret, though it left the poor lad scarce eighteen inches
of opening to creep betwixt it and his bed; and Heaven knew--she did
not--whether it could ever be brought down that narrow stair again. Then
the turning the closet into an alcove had cost a matter of twenty round
shillings; and to be sure, to any other lodger but his lordship, the
closet was more convenient. There was all the linen, too, which she had
bought on purpose--But Heaven's will be done--she was resigned."

Everybody likes marks of personal attachment; and Nigel, whose heart
really smote him, as if in his rising fortunes he were disdaining the
lowly accommodations and the civilities of the humble friends which had
been but lately actual favours, failed not by every assurance in his
power, and by as liberal payment as they could be prevailed upon to
accept, to alleviate the soreness of their feelings at his departure;
and a parting kiss from the fair lips of his hostess sealed his
forgiveness.

Richie Moniplies lingered behind his master, to ask whether, in case of
need, John Christie could help a canny Scotsman to a passage back to his
own country; and receiving assurance of John's interest to that effect,
he said at parting, he would remind him of his promise soon.--"For,"
said he, "if my lord is not weary of this London life, I ken one that
is, videlicet, mysell; and I am weel determined to see Arthur's Seat
again ere I am many weeks older."



CHAPTER XIV


  Bingo, why, Bingo! hey, boy--here, sir, here!--
  He's gone and off, but he'll be home before us;--
  'Tis the most wayward cur e'er mumbled bone,
  Or dogg'd a master's footstep.--Bingo loves me
  Better than ever beggar loved his alms;
  Yet, when he takes such humour, you may coax
  Sweet Mistress Fantasy, your worship's mistress,
  Out of her sullen moods, as soon as Bingo.
                       _The Dominie And His Dog_.

Richie Moniplies was as good as his word. Two or three mornings after
the young lord had possessed himself of his new lodgings, he appeared
before Nigel, as he was preparing to dress, having left his pillow at an
hour much later than had formerly been his custom.

As Nigel looked upon his attendant, he observed there was a gathering
gloom upon his solemn features, which expressed either additional
importance, or superadded discontent, or a portion of both.

"How now," he said, "what is the matter this morning, Richie, that you
have made your face so like the grotesque mask on one of the spouts
yonder?" pointing to the Temple Church, of which Gothic building they
had a view from the window.

Richie swivelled his head a little to the right with as little alacrity
as if he had the crick in his neck, and instantly resuming his posture,
replied,--"Mask here, mask there--it were nae such matters that I have
to speak anent."

"And what matters have you to speak anent, then?" said his master, whom
circumstances had inured to tolerate a good deal of freedom from his
attendant.

"My lord,"--said Richie, and then stopped to cough and hem, as if what
he had to say stuck somewhat in his throat.

"I guess the mystery," said Nigel, "you want a little money, Richie;
will five pieces serve the present turn?"

"My lord," said Richie, "I may, it is like, want a trifle of money; and
I am glad at the same time, and sorry, that it is mair plenty with your
lordship than formerly."

"Glad and sorry, man!" said Lord Nigel, "why, you are reading riddles to
me, Richie."

"My riddle will be briefly read," said Richie; "I come to crave of your
lordship your commands for Scotland."

"For Scotland!--why, art thou mad, man?" said Nigel; "canst thou not
tarry to go down with me?"

"I could be of little service," said Richie, "since you purpose to hire
another page and groom."

"Why, thou jealous ass," said the young lord, "will not thy load of
duty lie the lighter?--Go, take thy breakfast, and drink thy ale double
strong, to put such absurdities out of thy head--I could be angry with
thee for thy folly, man--but I remember how thou hast stuck to me in
adversity."

"Adversity, my lord, should never have parted us," said Richie;
"methinks, had the warst come to warst, I could have starved as
gallantly as your lordship, or more so, being in some sort used to it;
for, though I was bred at a flasher's stall, I have not through my life
had a constant intimacy with collops."

"Now, what is the meaning of all this trash?" said Nigel; "or has it no
other end than to provoke my patience? You know well enough, that, had I
twenty serving-men, I would hold the faithful follower that stood by
me in my distress the most valued of them all. But it is totally out of
reason to plague me with your solemn capriccios."

"My lord," said Richie, "in declaring your trust in me, you have done
what is honourable to yourself, if I may with humility say so much, and
in no way undeserved on my side. Nevertheless, we must part."

"Body of me, man, why?" said Lord Nigel; "what reason can there be for
it, if we are mutually satisfied?"

"My lord," said Richie Moniplies, "your lordship's occupations are such
as I cannot own or countenance by my presence."

"How now, sirrah!" said his master, angrily.

"Under favour, my lord," replied his domestic, "it is unequal dealing to
be equally offended by my speech and by my silence. If you can hear with
patience the grounds of my departure, it may be, for aught I know, the
better for you here and hereafter--if not, let me have my license of
departure in silence, and so no more about it."

"Go to, sir!" said Nigel; "speak out your mind--only remember to whom
you speak it."

"Weel, weel, my lord--I speak it with humility;" (never did Richie look
with more starched dignity than when he uttered the word;) "but do
you think this dicing and card-shuffling, and haunting of taverns and
playhouses, suits your lordship--for I am sure it does not suit me?"

"Why, you are not turned precisian or puritan, fool?" said Lord
Glenvarloch, laughing, though, betwixt resentment and shame, it cost him
some trouble to do so.

"My lord," replied the follower, "I ken the purport of your query. I
am, it may be, a little of a precisian, and I wish to Heaven I was mair
worthy of the name; but let that be a pass-over.--I have stretched the
duties of a serving-man as far as my northern conscience will permit. I
can give my gude word to my master, or to my native country, when I am
in a foreign land, even though I should leave downright truth a wee bit
behind me. Ay, and I will take or give a slash with ony man that
speaks to the derogation of either. But this chambering, dicing, and
play-haunting, is not my element--I cannot draw breath in it--and when
I hear of your lordship winning the siller that some poor creature may
full sairly miss--by my saul, if it wad serve your necessity, rather
than you gained it from him, I wad take a jump over the hedge with your
lordship, and cry 'Stand!' to the first grazier we met that was coming
from Smithfield with the price of his Essex calves in his leathern
pouch!"

"You are a simpleton," said Nigel, who felt, however, much
conscience-struck; "I never play but for small sums."

"Ay, my lord," replied the unyielding domestic, "and--still with
reverence--it is even sae much the waur. If you played with your equals,
there might be like sin, but there wad be mair warldly honour in it.
Your lordship kens, or may ken, by experience of your ain, whilk is not
as yet mony weeks auld, that small sums can ill be missed by those that
have nane larger; and I maun e'en be plain with you, that men notice it
of your lordship, that ye play wi' nane but the misguided creatures that
can but afford to lose bare stakes."

"No man dare say so!" replied Nigel, very angrily. "I play with whom I
please, but I will only play for what stake I please."

"That is just what they say, my lord," said the unmerciful Richie,
whose natural love of lecturing, as well as his bluntness of feeling,
prevented him from having any idea of the pain which he was inflicting
on his master; "these are even their own very words. It was but
yesterday your lordship was pleased, at that same ordinary, to win from
yonder young hafflins gentleman, with the crimson velvet doublet, and
the cock's feather in his beaver--him, I mean, who fought with the
ranting captain--a matter of five pounds, or thereby. I saw him come
through the hall; and, if he was not cleaned out of cross and pile, I
never saw a ruined man in my life."

"Impossible!" said Lord Glenvarloch--"Why, who is he? he looked like a
man of substance."

"All is not gold that glistens, my lord," replied Richie; "'broidery
and bullion buttons make bare pouches. And if you ask who he is--maybe I
have a guess, and care not to tell."

"At least, if I have done any such fellow an injury," said the Lord
Nigel, "let me know how I can repair it."

"Never fash your beard about that, my lord,--with reverence always,"
said Richie,--"he shall be suitably cared after. Think on him but as
ane wha was running post to the devil, and got a shouldering from your
lordship to help him on his journey. But I will stop him, if reason can;
and so your lordship needs asks nae mair about it, for there is no use
in your knowing it, but much the contrair."

"Hark you, sirrah," said his master, "I have borne with you thus far,
for certain reasons; but abuse my good-nature no farther--and since you
must needs go, why, go a God's name, and here is to pay your journey."
So saying, he put gold into his hand, which Richie told over piece by
piece, with the utmost accuracy.

"Is it all right--or are they wanting in weight--or what the devil keeps
you, when your hurry was so great five minutes since?" said the young
lord, now thoroughly nettled at the presumptuous precision with which
Richie dealt forth his canons of morality.

"The tale of coin is complete," said Richie, with the most imperturbable
gravity; "and, for the weight, though they are sae scrupulous in this
town, as make mouths at a piece that is a wee bit light, or that has
been cracked within the ring, my sooth, they will jump at them in
Edinburgh like a cock at a grosart. Gold pieces are not so plenty there,
the mair the pity!"

"The more is your folly, then," said Nigel, whose anger was only
momentary, "that leave the land where there is enough of them."

"My lord," said Richie, "to be round with you, the grace of God is
better than gold pieces. When Goblin, as you call yonder Monsieur
Lutin,--and you might as well call him Gibbet, since that is what he is
like to end in,--shall recommend a page to you, ye will hear little such
doctrine as ye have heard from me.--And if they were my last words," he
said, raising his voice, "I would say you are misled, and are forsaking
the paths which your honourable father trode in; and, what is more, you
are going--still under correction--to the devil with a dishclout, for ye
are laughed at by them that lead you into these disordered bypaths."

"Laughed at!" said Nigel, who, like others of his age, was more sensible
to ridicule than to reason--"Who dares laugh at me?"

"My lord, as sure as I live by bread--nay, more, as I am a true
man--and, I think, your lordship never found Richie's tongue bearing
aught but the truth--unless that your lordship's credit, my country's
profit, or, it may be, some sma' occasion of my ain, made it unnecessary
to promulgate the haill veritie,--I say then, as I am a true man, when I
saw that puir creature come through the ha', at that ordinary, whilk is
accurst (Heaven forgive me for swearing!) of God and man, with his teeth
set, and his hands clenched, and his bonnet drawn over his brows like a
desperate man, Goblin said to me, 'There goes a dunghill chicken, that
your master has plucked clean enough; it will be long ere his lordship
ruffle a feather with a cock of the game.' And so, my lord, to speak
it out, the lackeys, and the gallants, and more especially your sworn
brother, Lord Dalgarno, call you the sparrow-hawk.--I had some thought
to have cracked Lutin's pate for the speech, but, after a', the
controversy was not worth it."

"Do they use such terms of me?" said Lord Nigel. "Death and the devil!"

"And the devil's dam, my lord," answered Richie; "they are all three
busy in London.--And, besides, Lutin and his master laughed at you, my
lord, for letting it be thought that--I shame to speak it--that ye were
over well with the wife of the decent honest man whose house you but
now left, as not sufficient for your new bravery, whereas they said, the
licentious scoffers, that you pretended to such favour when you had not
courage enough for so fair a quarrel, and that the sparrow-hawk was
too craven-crested to fly at the wife of a cheesemonger."--He stopped a
moment, and looked fixedly in his master's face, which was inflamed with
shame and anger, and then proceeded. "My lord, I did you justice in my
thought, and myself too; for, thought I, he would have been as deep in
that sort of profligacy as in others, if it hadna been Richie's four
quarters."

"What new nonsense have you got to plague me with?" said Lord Nigel.
"But go on, since it is the last time I am to be tormented with your
impertinence,--go on, and make the most of your time."

"In troth," said Richie, "and so will I even do. And as Heaven has
bestowed on me a tongue to speak and to advise----"

"Which talent you can by no means be accused of suffering to remain
idle," said Lord Glenvarloch, interrupting him.

"True, my lord," said Richie, again waving his hand, as if to bespeak
his master's silence and attention; "so, I trust, you will think some
time hereafter. And, as I am about to leave your service, it is proper
that ye suld know the truth, that ye may consider the snares to which
your youth and innocence may be exposed, when aulder and doucer heads
are withdrawn from beside you.--There has been a lusty, good-looking
kimmer, of some forty, or bygane, making mony speerings about you, my
lord."

"Well, sir, what did she want with me?" said Lord Nigel.

"At first, my lord," replied his sapient follower, "as she seemed to be
a well-fashioned woman, and to take pleasure in sensible company, I was
no way reluctant to admit her to my conversation."

"I dare say not," said Lord Nigel; "nor unwilling to tell her about my
private affairs."

"Not I, truly, my lord," said the attendant;--"for, though she asked me
mony questions about your fame, your fortune, your business here, and
such like, I did not think it proper to tell her altogether the truth
thereanent."

"I see no call on you whatever," said Lord Nigel, "to tell the woman
either truth or lies upon what she had nothing to do with."

"I thought so, too, my lord," replied Richie, "and so I told her
neither."

"And what _did_ you tell her, then, you eternal babbler?" said his
master, impatient of his prate, yet curious to know what it was all to
end in.

"I told her," said Richie, "about your warldly fortune, and sae forth,
something whilk is not truth just at this time; but which hath been
truth formerly, suld be truth now, and will be truth again,--and that
was, that you were in possession of your fair lands, whilk ye are but
in right of as yet. Pleasant communing we had on that and other topics,
until she showed the cloven foot, beginning to confer with me about some
wench that she said had a good-will to your lordship, and fain she would
have spoken with you in particular anent it; but when I heard of such
inklings, I began to suspect she was little better than--whew! "--Here
he concluded his narrative with a low, but very expressive whistle.

"And what did your wisdom do in these circumstances?" said Lord Nigel,
who, notwithstanding his former resentment, could now scarcely forbear
laughing.

"I put on a look, my lord," replied Richie, bending his solemn brows,
"that suld give her a heartscald of walking on such errands. I laid her
enormities clearly before her, and I threatened her, in sae mony words,
that I would have her to the ducking-stool; and she, on the contrair
part, miscawed me for a forward northern tyke--and so we parted never
to meet again, as I hope and trust. And so I stood between your lordship
and that temptation, which might have been worse than the ordinary, or
the playhouse either; since you wot well what Solomon, King of the Jews,
sayeth of the strange woman--for, said I to mysell, we have taken to
dicing already, and if we take to drabbing next, the Lord kens what we
may land in!"

"Your impertinence deserves correction, but it is the last which, for
a time at least, I shall have to forgive--and I forgive it," said Lord
Glenvarloch; "and, since we are to part, Richie, I will say no more
respecting your precautions on my account, than that I think you might
have left me to act according to my own judgment."

"Mickle better not," answered Richie--"mickle better not; we are a'
frail creatures, and can judge better for ilk ither than in our ain
cases. And for me, even myself, saving that case of the Sifflication,
which might have happened to ony one, I have always observed myself to
be much more prudential in what I have done in your lordship's
behalf, than even in what I have been able to transact for my own
interest--whilk last, I have, indeed, always postponed, as in duty I
ought."

"I do believe thou hast," said Lord Nigel, "having ever found thee true
and faithful. And since London pleases you so little, I will bid you a
short farewell; and you may go down to Edinburgh until I come thither
myself, when I trust you will re-enter into my service."

"Now, Heaven bless you, my lord," said Richie Moniplies, with uplifted
eyes; "for that word sounds more like grace than ony has come out of
your mouth this fortnight.--I give you godd'en, my lord."

So saying, he thrust forth his immense bony hand, seized on that of Lord
Glenvarloch, raised it to his lips, then turned short on his heel, and
left the room hastily, as if afraid of showing more emotion than was
consistent with his ideas of decorum. Lord Nigel, rather surprised at
his sudden exit, called after him to know whether he was sufficiently
provided with money; but Richie, shaking his head, without making any
other answer, ran hastily down stairs, shut the street-door heavily
behind him, and was presently seen striding along the Strand.

His master almost involuntarily watched and distinguished the tall
raw-boned figure of his late follower, from the window, for some time,
until he was lost among the crowd of passengers. Nigel's reflections
were not altogether those of self-approval. It was no good sign of his
course of life, (he could not help acknowledging this much to himself,)
that so faithful an adherent no longer seemed to feel the same pride
in his service, or attachment to his person, which he had formerly
manifested. Neither could he avoid experiencing some twinges of
conscience, while he felt in some degree the charges which Richie
had preferred against him, and experienced a sense of shame and
mortification, arising from the colour given by others to that, which
he himself would have called his caution and moderation in play. He had
only the apology, that it had never occurred to himself in this light.

Then his pride and self-love suggested, that, on the other hand, Richie,
with all his good intentions, was little better than a conceited,
pragmatical domestic, who seemed disposed rather to play the tutor than
the lackey, and who, out of sheer love, as he alleged, to his master's
person, assumed the privilege of interfering with, and controlling, his
actions, besides rendering him ridiculous in the gay world, from the
antiquated formality, and intrusive presumption, of his manners.

Nigel's eyes were scarce turned from the window, when his new landlord
entering, presented to him a slip of paper, carefully bound round with
a string of flox-silk and sealed---it had been given in, he said, by a
woman, who did not stop an instant. The contents harped upon the same
string which Richie Moniplies had already jarred. The epistle was in the
following words:

For the Right Honourable hands of Lord Glenvarloch, "These, from a
friend unknown:--

"MY LORD,

"You are trusting to an unhonest friend, and diminishing an honest
reputation. An unknown but real friend of your lordship will speak in
one word what you would not learn from flatterers in so many days, as
should suffice for your utter ruin. He whom you think most true--I say
your friend Lord Dalgarno--is utterly false to you, and doth but seek,
under pretence of friendship, to mar your fortune, and diminish the good
name by which you might mend it. The kind countenance which he shows
to you, is more dangerous than the Prince's frown; even as to gain
at Beaujeu's ordinary is more discreditable than to lose. Beware of
both.--And this is all from your true but nameless friend, IGNOTO."

Lord Glenvarloch paused for an instant, and crushed the paper
together--then again unfolded and read it with attention--bent
his brows--mused for a moment, and then tearing it to fragments,
exclaimed--"Begone for a vile calumny! But I will watch--I will
observe--"

Thought after thought rushed on him; but, upon the whole, Lord
Glenvarloch was so little satisfied with the result of his own
reflections, that he resolved to dissipate them by a walk in the Park,
and, taking his cloak and beaver, went thither accordingly.



CHAPTER XV


  Twas when fleet Snowball's head was woxen grey,
  A luckless lev'ret met him on his way.--
  Who knows not Snowball--he, whose race renown'd
  Is still victorious on each coursing ground?
  Swaffhanm Newmarket, and the Roman Camp,
  Have seen them victors o'er each meaner stamp--
  In vain the youngling sought, with doubling wile,
  The hedge, the hill, the thicket, or the stile.
  Experience sage the lack of speed supplied,
  And in the gap he sought, the victim died.
  So was I once, in thy fair street, Saint James,
  Through walking cavaliers, and car-borne dames,
  Descried, pursued, turn'd o'er again, and o'er,
  Coursed, coted, mouth'd by an unfeeling bore.
                                        &c. &c. &c,

The Park of Saint James's, though enlarged, planted with verdant alleys,
and otherwise decorated by Charles II., existed in the days of his
grandfather, as a public and pleasant promenade; and, for the sake of
exercise or pastime, was much frequented by the better classes.

Lord Glenvarloch repaired thither to dispel the unpleasant reflections
which had been suggested by his parting with his trusty squire, Richie
Moniplies, in a manner which was agreeable neither to his pride nor his
feelings; and by the corroboration which the hints of his late attendant
had received from the anonymous letter mentioned in the end of the last
chapter.

There was a considerable number of company in the Park when he entered
it, but, his present state of mind inducing him to avoid society,
he kept aloof from the more frequented walks towards Westminster
and Whitehall, and drew to the north, or, as we should now say, the
Piccadilly verge of the enclosure, believing he might there enjoy, or
rather combat, his own thoughts unmolested.

In this, however, Lord Glenvarloch was mistaken; for, as he strolled
slowly along with his arms folded in his cloak, and his hat drawn over
his eyes, he was suddenly pounced upon by Sir Mungo Malagrowther,
who, either shunning or shunned, had retreated, or had been obliged to
retreat, to the same less frequented corner of the Park.

Nigel started when he heard the high, sharp, and querulous tones of the
knight's cracked voice, and was no less alarmed when he beheld his tall
thin figure hobbling towards him, wrapped in a thread-bare cloak, on
whose surface ten thousand varied stains eclipsed the original scarlet,
and having his head surmounted with a well-worn beaver, bearing a black
velvet band for a chain, and a capon's feather for an ostrich plume.

Lord Glenvarloch would fain have made his escape, but, as our motto
intimates, a leveret had as little chance to free herself of an
experienced greyhound. Sir Mungo, to continue the simile, had long ago
learned to run cunning, and make sure of mouthing his game. So
Nigel found himself compelled to stand and answer the hackneyed
question--"What news to-day?"

"Nothing extraordinary, I believe," answered the young nobleman,
attempting to pass on.

"O, ye are ganging to the French ordinary belive," replied the knight;
"but it is early day yet--we will take a turn in the Park in the
meanwhile--it will sharpen your appetite."

So saying, he quietly slipped his arm under Lord Glenvarloch's, in spite
of all the decent reluctance which his victim could exhibit, by keeping
his elbow close to his side; and having fairly grappled the prize, he
proceeded to take it in tow.

Nigel was sullen and silent, in hopes to shake off his unpleasant
companion; but Sir Mungo was determined, that if he did not speak, he
should at least hear.

"Ye are bound for the ordinary, my lord?" said the cynic;--"weel, ye
canna do better--there is choice company there, and peculiarly selected,
as I am tauld, being, dootless, sic as it is desirable that young
noblemen should herd withal--and your noble father wad have been blithe
to see you keeping such worshipful society."

"I believe," said Lord Glenvarloch, thinking himself obliged to say
something, "that the society is as good as generally can be found in
such places, where the door can scarcely be shut against those who come
to spend their money."

"Right, my lord--vera right," said his tormentor, bursting out into a
chuckling, but most discordant laugh. "These citizen chuffs and clowns
will press in amongst us, when there is but an inch of a door open. And
what remedy?--Just e'en this, that as their cash gies them confidence,
we should strip them of it. Flay them, my lord--singe them as the
kitchen wench does the rats, and then they winna long to come back
again.--Ay, ay--pluck them, plume them--and then the larded capons will
not be for flying so high a wing, my lord, among the goss-hawks and
sparrow-hawks, and the like."

And, therewithal, Sir Mungo fixed on Nigel his quick, sharp, grey
eye, watching the effect of his sarcasm as keenly as the surgeon, in a
delicate operation, remarks the progress of his anatomical scalpel.

Nigel, however willing to conceal his sensations, could not avoid
gratifying his tormentor by wincing under the operation. He coloured
with vexation and anger; but a quarrel with Sir Mungo Malagrowther
would, he felt, be unutterably ridiculous; and he only muttered to
himself the words, "Impertinent coxcomb!" which, on this occasion,
Sir Mungo's imperfection of organ did not prevent him from hearing and
replying to.

"Ay, ay--vera true," exclaimed the caustic old courtier--"Impertinent
coxcombs they are, that thus intrude themselves on the society of their
betters; but your lordship kens how to gar them as gude--ye have the
trick on't.--They had a braw sport in the presence last Friday, how ye
suld have routed a young shopkeeper, horse and foot, ta'en his _spolia
ofima_, and a' the specie he had about him, down to the very silver
buttons of his cloak, and sent him to graze with Nebuchadnezzar, King
of Babylon. Muckle honour redounded to your lordship thereby.--We were
tauld the loon threw himsell into the Thames in a fit of desperation.
There's enow of them behind--there was mair tint on Flodden-edge."

"You have been told a budget of lies, so far as I am concerned, Sir
Mungo," said Nigel, speaking loud and sternly.

"Vera likely--vera likely," said the unabashed and undismayed Sir Mungo;
"naething but lies are current in the circle.--So the chield is not
drowned, then?--the mair's the pity.--But I never believed that part of
the story--a London dealer has mair wit in his anger. I dare swear the
lad has a bonny broom-shank in his hand by this time, and is scrubbing
the kennels in quest after rusty nails, to help him to begin his pack
again.--He has three bairns, they say; they will help him bravely to
grope in the gutters. Your good lordship may have the ruining of him
again, my lord, if they have any luck in strand-scouring."

"This is more than intolerable," said Nigel, uncertain whether to make
an angry vindication of his character, or to fling the old tormentor
from his arm. But an instant's recollection convinced him, that, to do
either, would only give an air of truth and consistency to the scandals
which he began to see were affecting his character, both in the higher
and lower circles. Hastily, therefore, he formed the wiser resolution,
to endure Sir Mungo's studied impertinence, under the hope of
ascertaining, if possible, from what source those reports arose which
were so prejudicial to his reputation.

Sir Mungo, in the meanwhile, caught up, as usual, Nigel's last words, or
rather the sound of them, and amplified and interpreted them in his own
way. "Tolerable luck!" he repeated; "yes, truly, my lord, I am told that
you have tolerable luck, and that ye ken weel how to use that jilting
quean, Dame Fortune, like a canny douce lad, willing to warm yourself in
her smiles, without exposing yourself to her frowns. And that is what I
ca' having luck in a bag."

"Sir Mungo Malagrowther," said Lord Glenvarloch, turning towards him
seriously, "have the goodness to hear me for a moment."

"As weel as I can, my lord--as weel as I can," said Sir Mungo, shaking
his head, and pointing the finger of his left hand to his ear.

"I will try to speak very distinctly," said Nigel, arming himself with
patience. "You take me for a noted gamester; I give you my word that
you have not been rightly informed--I am none such. You owe me some
explanation, at least, respecting the source from which you have derived
such false information."

"I never heard ye were a _great_ gamester, and never thought or said ye
were such, my lord," said Sir Mungo, who found it impossible to
avoid hearing what Nigel said with peculiarly deliberate and distinct
pronunciation. "I repeat it--I never heard, said, or thought that
you were a ruffling gamester,--such as they call those of the first
head.--Look you, my lord, I call _him_ a gamester, that plays with equal
stakes and equal skill, and stands by the fortune of the game, good or
bad; and I call _him_ a ruffling gamester, or ane of the first head, who
ventures frankly and deeply upon such a wager. But he, my lord, who has
the patience and prudence never to venture beyond small game, such as,
at most, might crack the Christmas-box of a grocer's 'prentice, who vies
with those that have little to hazard, and who therefore, having the
larger stock, can always rook them by waiting for his good fortune, and
by rising from the game when luck leaves him--such a one as he, my
lord, I do not call a _great_ gamester, to whatever other name he may be
entitled."

"And such a mean-spirited, sordid wretch, you would infer that I am,"
replied Lord Glenvarloch; "one who fears the skilful, and preys upon the
ignorant--who avoids playing with his equals, that he may make sure
of pillaging his inferiors?--Is this what I am to understand has been
reported of me?"

"Nay, my lord, you will gain nought by speaking big with me," said Sir
Mungo, who, besides that his sarcastic humour was really supported by
a good fund of animal courage, had also full reliance on the immunities
which he had derived from the broadsword of Sir Rullion Rattray, and the
baton of the satellites employed by the Lady Cockpen. "And for the truth
of the matter," he continued, "your lordship best knows whether you
ever lost more than five pieces at a time since you frequented
Beaujeu's--whether you have not most commonly risen a winner--and
whether the brave young gallants who frequent the ordinary--I mean
those of noble rank, and means conforming--are in use to play upon those
terms?"

"My father was right," said Lord Glenvarloch, in the bitterness of his
spirit; "and his curse justly followed me when I first entered that
place. There is contamination in the air, and he whose fortune avoids
ruin, shall be blighted in his honour and reputation."

Sir Mungo, who watched his victim with the delighted yet wary eye of an
experienced angler, became now aware, that if he strained the line on
him too tightly, there was every risk of his breaking hold. In order to
give him room, therefore, to play, he protested that Lord Glenvarloch
"should not take his free speech _in malam partem_. If you were a trifle
ower sicker in your amusement, my lord, it canna be denied that it
is the safest course to prevent farther endangerment of your somewhat
dilapidated fortunes; and if ye play with your inferiors, ye are
relieved of the pain of pouching the siller of your friends and
equals; forby, that the plebeian knaves have had the advantage, _tecum
certasse_, as Ajax Telamon sayeth, _apud Metamorphoseos_; and for the
like of them to have played with ane Scottish nobleman is an honest and
honourable consideration to compensate the loss of their stake, whilk, I
dare say, moreover, maist of the churls can weel afford."

"Be that as it may, Sir Mungo," said Nigel, "I would fain know--"

"Ay, ay," interrupted Sir Mungo; "and, as you say, who cares whether the
fat bulls of Bashan can spare it or no? gentlemen are not to limit their
sport for the like of them."

"I wish to know, Sir Mungo," said Lord Glenvarloch, "in what company you
have learned these offensive particulars respecting me?"

"Dootless--dootless, my lord," said Sir Mungo; "I have ever heard, and
have ever reported, that your lordship kept the best of company in a
private way.--There is the fine Countess of Blackchester, but I think
she stirs not much abroad since her affair with his Grace of Buckingham;
and there is the gude auld-fashioned Scottish nobleman, Lord Huntinglen,
an undeniable man of quality--it is pity but he could keep caup and can
frae his head, whilk now and then doth'minish his reputation. And there
is the gay young Lord Dalgarno, that carries the craft of gray hairs
under his curled love-locks--a fair race they are, father, daughter,
and son, all of the same honourable family. I think we needna speak of
George Heriot, honest man, when we have nobility in question. So that
is the company I have heard of your keeping, my lord, out-taken those of
the ordinary."

"My company has not, indeed, been much more extended than amongst those
you mention," said Lord Glenvarloch; "but in short--"

"To Court?" said Sir Mungo, "that was just what I was going to say--Lord
Dalgarno says he cannot prevail on ye to come to Court, and that does ye
prejudice, my lord--the king hears of you by others, when he should see
you in person--I speak in serious friendship, my lord. His Majesty,
when you were named in the circle short while since, was heard to say,
_'Jacta est alea!_--Glenvarlochides is turned dicer and drinker.'--My
Lord Dalgarno took your part, and he was e'en borne down by the popular
voice of the courtiers, who spoke of you as one who had betaken yourself
to living a town life, and risking your baron's coronet amongst the
flatcaps of the city."

"And this was publicly spoken of me," said Nigel, "and in the king's
presence?"

"Spoken openly?" repeated Sir Mungo Malagrowther; "ay, by my troth
was it--that is to say, it was whispered privately--whilk is as open
promulgation as the thing permitted; for ye may think the Court is not
like a place where men are as sib as Simmie and his brother, and roar
out their minds as if they were at an ordinary."

"A curse on the Court and the ordinary both!" cried Nigel, impatiently.

"With all my heart," said the knight; "I have got little by a knight's
service in the Court; and the last time I was at the ordinary, I lost
four angels."

"May I pray of you, Sir Mungo, to let me know," said Nigel, "the names
of those who thus make free with the character of one who can be but
little known to them, and who never injured any of them?"

"Have I not told you already," answered Sir Mungo, "that the king said
something to that effect--so did the Prince too;--and such being the
case, ye may take it on your corporal oath, that every man in the circle
who was not silent, sung the same song as they did."

"You said but now," replied Glenvarloch, "that Lord Dalgarno interfered
in my behalf."

"In good troth did he," answered Sir Mungo, with a sneer; "but the young
nobleman was soon borne down--by token, he had something of a catarrh,
and spoke as hoarse as a roopit raven. Poor gentleman, if he had had his
full extent of voice, he would have been as well listened to, dootless,
as in a cause of his ain, whilk no man kens better how to plead to
purpose.--And let me ask you, by the way," continued Sir Mungo, "whether
Lord Dalgarno has ever introduced your lordship to the Prince, or the
Duke of Buckingham, either of whom might soon carry through your suit?"

"I have no claim on the favour of either the Prince or the Duke of
Buckingham," said Lord Glenvarloch.--"As you seem to have made my
affairs your study, Sir Mungo, although perhaps something unnecessarily,
you may have heard that I have petitioned my Sovereign for payment of a
debt due to my family. I cannot doubt the king's desire to do justice,
nor can I in decency employ the solicitation of his Highness the Prince,
or his Grace the Duke of Buckingham, to obtain from his Majesty what
either should be granted me as a right, or refused altogether."

Sir Mungo twisted his whimsical features into one of his most grotesque
sneers, as he replied--

"It is a vera clear and parspicuous position of the case, my lord; and
in relying thereupon, you show an absolute and unimprovable acquaintance
with the King, Court, and mankind in general.-But whom have we got
here?--Stand up, my lord, and make way--by my word of honour, they are
the very men we spoke of--talk of the devil, and--humph!"

It must be here premised, that, during the conversation, Lord
Glenvarloch, perhaps in the hope of shaking himself free of Sir Mungo,
had directed their walk towards the more frequented part of the Park;
while the good knight had stuck to him, being totally indifferent which
way they went, provided he could keep his talons clutched upon his
companion. They were still, however, at some distance from the livelier
part of the scene, when Sir Mungo's experienced eye noticed the
appearances which occasioned the latter part of his speech to Lord
Glenvarloch. A low respectful murmur arose among the numerous groups of
persons which occupied the lower part of the Park. They first clustered
together, with their faces turned towards Whitehall, then fell back
on either hand to give place to a splendid party of gallants, who,
advancing from the Palace, came onward through the Park; all the other
company drawing off the pathway, and standing uncovered as they passed.

Most of these courtly gallants were dressed in the garb which the
pencil of Vandyke has made familiar even at the distance of nearly two
centuries; and which was just at this period beginning to supersede
the more fluttering and frivolous dress which had been adopted from the
French Court of Henri Quatre.

The whole train were uncovered excepting the Prince of Wales, afterwards
the most unfortunate of British monarchs, who came onward, having his
long curled auburn tresses, and his countenance, which, even in early
youth, bore a shade of anticipated melancholy, shaded by the Spanish hat
and the single ostrich feather which drooped from it. On his right
hand was Buckingham, whose commanding, and at the same time graceful,
deportment, threw almost into shade the personal demeanour and majesty
of the Prince on whom he attended. The eye, movements, and gestures
of the great courtier were so composed, so regularly observant of all
etiquette belonging to his situation, as to form a marked and strong
contrast with the forward gaiety and frivolity by which he recommended
himself to the favour of his "dear dad and gossip," King James. A
singular fate attended this accomplished courtier, in being at once
the reigning favourite of a father and son so very opposite in manners,
that, to ingratiate himself with the youthful Prince, he was obliged
to compress within the strictest limits of respectful observance the
frolicsome and free humour which captivated his aged father.

It is true, Buckingham well knew the different dispositions both of
James and Charles, and had no difficulty in so conducting himself as
to maintain the highest post in the favour of both. It has indeed been
supposed, as we before hinted, that the duke, when he had completely
possessed himself of the affections of Charles, retained his hold in
those of the father only by the tyranny of custom; and that James,
could he have brought himself to form a vigorous resolution, was, in
the latter years of his life especially, not unlikely to have discarded
Buckingham from his counsels and favour. But if ever the king indeed
meditated such a change, he was too timid, and too much accustomed to
the influence which the duke had long exercised over him, to summon up
resolution enough for effecting such a purpose; and at all events it
is certain, that Buckingham, though surviving the master by whom he was
raised, had the rare chance to experience no wane of the most splendid
court-favour during two reigns, until it was at once eclipsed in his
blood by the dagger of his assassin Felton.

To return from this digression: The Prince, with his train, advanced,
and were near the place where Lord Glenvarloch and Sir Mungo had stood
aside, according to form, in order to give the Prince passage, and
to pay the usual marks of respect. Nigel could now remark that Lord
Dalgarno walked close behind the Duke of Buckingham, and, as he thought,
whispered something in his ear as they came onward. At any rate, both
the Prince's and Duke of Buckingham's attention seemed to be directed
by such circumstance towards Nigel, for they turned their heads in that
direction and looked at him attentively--the Prince with a countenance,
the grave, melancholy expression of which was blended with severity;
while Buckingham's looks evinced some degree of scornful triumph.
Lord Dalgarno did not seem to observe his friend, perhaps because the
sunbeams fell from the side of the walk on which Nigel stood, obliging
Malcolm to hold up his hat to screen his eyes.

As the Prince passed, Lord Glenvarloch and Sir Mungo bowed, as respect
required; and the Prince, returning their obeisance with that grave
ceremony which paid to every rank its due, but not a tittle beyond
it, signed to Sir Mungo to come forward. Commencing an apology for his
lameness as he started, which he had just completed as his hobbling gait
brought him up to the Prince, Sir Mungo lent an attentive, and, as it
seemed, an intelligent ear, to questions, asked in a tone so low, that
the knight would certainly have been deaf to them had they been put to
him by any one under the rank of Prince of Wales. After about a minute's
conversation, the Prince bestowed on Nigel the embarrassing notice of
another fixed look, touched his hat slightly to Sir Mungo, and walked
on.

"It is even as I suspected, my lord," said Sir Mungo, with an air
which he designed to be melancholy and sympathetic, but which, in
fact, resembled the grin of an ape when he has mouthed a scalding
chestnut--"Ye have back-friends, my lord, that is, unfriends--or, to be
plain, enemies--about the person of the Prince."

"I am sorry to hear it," said Nigel; "but I would I knew what they
accuse me of."

"Ye shall hear, my lord," said Sir Mungo, "the Prince's vera words--'Sir
Mungo,' said he, 'I rejoice to see you, and am glad your rheumatic
troubles permit you to come hither for exercise.'--I bowed, as in duty
bound--ye might remark, my lord, that I did so, whilk formed the first
branch of our conversation.--His Highness then demanded of me, 'if he
with whom I stood, was the young Lord Glenvarloch.' I answered, 'that
you were such, for his Highness's service;' whilk was the second
branch.--Thirdly, his Highness, resuming the argument, said, that 'truly
he had been told so,' (meaning that he had been told you were that
personage,) 'but that he could not believe, that the heir of that noble
and decayed house could be leading an idle, scandalous, and precarious
life, in the eating-houses and taverns of London, while the king's
drums were beating, and colours flying in Germany in the cause of the
Palatine, his son-in-law.'--I could, your lordship is aware, do nothing
but make an obeisance; and a gracious 'Give ye good-day, Sir Mungo
Malagrowther,' licensed me to fall back to your lordship. And now,
my lord, if your business or pleasure calls you to the ordinary,
or anywhere in the direction of the city--why, have with you; for,
dootless, ye will think ye have tarried lang enough in the Park, as they
will likely turn at the head of the walk, and return this way--and you
have a broad hint, I think, not to cross the Prince's presence in a
hurry."

"_You_ may stay or go as you please, Sir Mungo," said Nigel, with an
expression of calm, but deep resentment; "but, for my own part, my
resolution is taken. I will quit this public walk for pleasure of no
man--still less will I quit it like one unworthy to be seen in places of
public resort. I trust that the Prince and his retinue will return this
way as you expect; for I will abide, Sir Mungo, and beard them."

"Beard them!" exclaimed Sir Mungo, in the extremity of surprise,--"Beard
the Prince of Wales--the heir-apparent of the kingdoms!--By my saul, you
shall beard him yourself then."

Accordingly, he was about to leave Nigel very hastily, when some
unwonted touch of good-natured interest in his youth and experience,
seemed suddenly to soften his habitual cynicism.

"The devil is in me for an auld fule!" said Sir Mungo; "but I must
needs concern mysell--I that owe so little either to fortune or
my fellow-creatures, must, I say, needs concern mysell--with this
springald, whom I will warrant to be as obstinate as a pig possessed
with a devil, for it's the cast of his family; and yet I maun e'en
fling away some sound advice on him.--My dainty young Lord Glenvarloch,
understand me distinctly, for this is no bairn's-play. When the Prince
said sae much to me as I have repeated to you, it was equivalent to
a command not to appear in his presence; wherefore take an auld man's
advice that wishes you weel, and maybe a wee thing better than he has
reason to wish ony body. Jouk, and let the jaw gae by, like a canny
bairn--gang hame to your lodgings, keep your foot frae taverns, and your
fingers frae the dice-box; compound your affairs quietly wi' some ane
that has better favour than yours about Court, and you will get a round
spell of money to carry you to Germany, or elsewhere, to push your
fortune. It was a fortunate soldier that made your family four or five
hundred years syne, and, if you are brave and fortunate, you may find
the way to repair it. But, take my word for it, that in this Court you
will never thrive."

When Sir Mungo had completed his exhortation, in which there was more of
sincere sympathy with another's situation, than he had been heretofore
known to express in behalf of any one, Lord Glenvarloch replied, "I am
obliged to you, Sir Mungo--you have spoken, I think, with sincerity, and
I thank you. But in return for your good advice, I heartily entreat you
to leave me; I observe the Prince and his train are returning down the
walk, and you may prejudice yourself, but cannot help me, by remaining
with me."

"And that is true,"--said Sir Mungo; "yet, were I ten years younger,
I would be tempted to stand by you, and gie them the meeting. But at
threescore and upward, men's courage turns cauldrife; and they that
canna win a living, must not endanger the small sustenance of their
age. I wish you weel through, my lord, but it is an unequal fight." So
saying, he turned and limped away; often looking back, however, as if
his natural spirit, even in its present subdued state, aided by his
love of contradiction and of debate, rendered him unwilling to adopt the
course necessary for his own security.

Thus abandoned by his companion, whose departure he graced with better
thoughts of him than those which he bestowed on his appearance, Nigel
remained with his arms folded, and reclining against a solitary tree
which overhung the path, making up his mind to encounter a moment which
he expected to be critical of his fate. But he was mistaken in supposing
that the Prince of Wales would either address him, or admit him to
expostulation, in such a public place as the Park. He did not remain
unnoticed, however, for, when he made a respectful but haughty
obeisance, intimating in look and manner that he was possessed of, and
undaunted by, the unfavourable opinion which the Prince had so lately
expressed, Charles returned his reverence with such a frown, as is only
given by those whose frown is authority and decision. The train passed
on, the Duke of Buckingham not even appearing to see Lord Glenvarloch;
while Lord Dalgarno, though no longer incommoded by the sunbeams, kept
his eyes, which had perhaps been dazzled by their former splendour, bent
upon the ground.

Lord Glenvarloch had difficulty to restrain an indignation, to which,
in the circumstances, it would have been madness to have given vent. He
started from his reclining posture, and followed the Prince's train so
as to keep them distinctly in sight; which was very easy, as they walked
slowly. Nigel observed them keep their road towards the Palace, where
the Prince turned at the gate and bowed to the noblemen in attendance,
in token of dismissing them, and entered the Palace, accompanied only by
the Duke of Buckingham, and one or two of his equerries. The rest of
the train, having returned in all dutiful humility the farewell of the
Prince, began to disperse themselves through the Park.

All this was carefully noticed by Lord Glenvarloch, who, as he adjusted
his cloak, and drew his sword-belt round so as to bring the hilt closer
to his hand, muttered--"Dalgarno shall explain all this to me, for it is
evident that he is in the secret!"



CHAPTER XVI


  Give way--give way--I must and will have justice.
  And tell me not of privilege and place;
  Where I am injured, there I'll sue redress.
  Look to it, every one who bars my access;
  I have a heart to feel the injury,
  A hand to night myself, and, by my honour,
  That hand shall grasp what grey-beard Law denies me.
                                _The Chamberlain._

It was not long ere Nigel discovered Lord Dalgarno advancing towards him
in the company of another young man of quality of the Prince's train;
and as they directed their course towards the south-eastern corner of
the Park, he concluded they were about to go to Lord Huntinglen's. They
stopped, however, and turned up another path leading to the north; and
Lord Glenvarloch conceived that this change of direction was owing to
their having seen him, and their desire to avoid him.

Nigel followed them without hesitation by a path which, winding around
a thicket of shrubs and trees, once more conducted him to the less
frequented part of the Park. He observed which side of the thicket
was taken by Lord Dalgarno and his companion, and he himself, walking
hastily round the other verge, was thus enabled to meet them face to
face.

"Good-morrow, my Lord Dalgarno," said Lord Glenvarloch, sternly.

"Ha! my friend Nigel," answered Lord Dalgarno, in his usual careless and
indifferent tone, "my friend Nigel, with business on his brow?--but you
must wait till we meet at Beaujeu's at noon--Sir Ewes Haldimund and I
are at present engaged in the Prince's service."

"If you were engaged in the king's, my lord," said Lord Glenvarloch,
"you must stand and answer me."

"Hey-day!" said Lord Dalgarno, with an air of great astonishment, "what
passion is this? Why, Nigel, this is King Cambyses' vein!--You have
frequented the theatres too much lately--Away with this folly, man; go,
dine upon soup and salad, drink succory-water to cool your blood, go to
bed at sun-down, and defy those foul fiends, Wrath and Misconstruction."

"I have had misconstruction enough among you," said Glenvarloch, in the
same tone of determined displeasure, "and from you, my Lord Dalgarno, in
particular, and all under the mask of friendship."

"Here is a proper business!"--said Dalgarno, turning as if to appeal to
Sir Ewes Haldimund; "do you see this angry ruffler, Sir Ewes? A month
since, he dared not have looked one of yonder sheep in the face, and
now he is a prince of roisterers, a plucker of pigeons, a controller of
players and poets--and in gratitude for my having shown him the way
to the eminent character which he holds upon town, he comes hither to
quarrel with his best friend, if not his only one of decent station."

"I renounce such hollow friendship, my lord," said Lord Glenvarloch; "I
disclaim the character which, even to my very face, you labour to fix
upon me, and ere we part I will call you to a reckoning for it."

"My lords both," interrupted Sir Ewes Haldimund, "let me remind you that
the Royal Park is no place to quarrel in."

"I will make my quarrel good," said Nigel, who did not know, or in
his passion might not have recollected, the privileges of the place,
"wherever I find my enemy."

"You shall find quarelling enough," replied Lord Dalgarno, calmly, "so
soon as you assign a sufficient cause for it. Sir Ewes Haldimund,
who knows the Court, will warrant you that I am not backward on such
occasions.--But of what is it that you now complain, after having
experienced nothing save kindness from me and my family?"

"Of your family I complain not," replied Lord Glenvarloch; "they have
done for me all they could, more, far more, than I could have expected;
but you, my lord, have suffered me, while you called me your friend, to
be traduced, where a word of your mouth would have placed my character
in its true colours--and hence the injurious message which I just now
received from the Prince of Wales. To permit the misrepresentation of a
friend, my lord, is to share in the slander."

"You have been misinformed, my Lord Glenvarloch," said Sir Ewes
Haldimund; "I have myself often heard Lord Dalgarno defend your
character, and regret that your exclusive attachment to the pleasures of
a London life prevented your paying your duty regularly to the King and
Prince."

"While he himself," said Lord Glenvarloch, "dissuaded me from presenting
myself at Court."

"I will cut this matter short," said Lord Dalgarno, with haughty
coldness. "You seem to have conceived, my lord, that you and I were
Pylades and Orestes--a second edition of Damon and Pythias--Theseus and
Pirithoiis at the least. You are mistaken, and have given the name of
friendship to what, on my part, was mere good-nature and compassion for
a raw and ignorant countryman, joined to the cumbersome charge which my
father gave me respecting you. Your character, my lord, is of no one's
drawing, but of your own making. I introduced you where, as in all such
places, there was good and indifferent company to be met with--your
habits, or taste, made you prefer the worse. Your holy horror at the
sight of dice and cards degenerated into the cautious resolution to play
only at those times, and with such persons, as might ensure your rising
a winner--no man can long do so, and continue to be held a gentleman.
Such is the reputation you have made for yourself, and you have no right
to be angry that I do not contradict in society what yourself know to be
true. Let us pass on, my lord; and if you want further explanation, seek
some other time and fitter place."

"No time can be better than the present," said Lord Glenvarloch, whose
resentment was now excited to the uttermost by the cold-blooded and
insulting manner, in which Dalgarno vindicated himself,--"no place
fitter than the place where we now stand. Those of my house have ever
avenged insult, at the moment, and on the spot, where it was offered,
were it at the foot of the throne.--Lord Dalgarno, you are a villain!
draw and defend yourself." At the same moment he unsheathed his rapier.

"Are you mad?" said Lord Dalgarno, stepping back; "we are in the
precincts of the Court."

"The better," answered Lord Glenvarloch; "I will cleanse them from a
calumniator and a coward." He then pressed on Lord Dalgarno, and struck
him with the flat of the sword.

The fray had now attracted attention, and the cry went round, "Keep
the peace--keep the peace--swords drawn in the Park!--What, ho!
guards!--keepers--yeomen--rangers!" and a number of people came rushing
to the spot from all sides.

Lord Dalgarno, who had half drawn his sword on receiving the blow,
returned it to his scabbard when he observed the crowd thicken, and,
taking Sir Ewes Haldimund by the arm, walked hastily away, only saying
to Lord Glenvarloch as they left him, "You shall dearly abye this
insult--we will meet again."

A decent-looking elderly man, who observed that Lord Glenvarloch
remained on the spot, taking compassion on his youthful appearance,
said to him, "Are you aware that this is a Star-Chamber business, young
gentleman, and that it may cost you your right hand?--Shift for yourself
before the keepers or constables come up--Get into Whitefriars or
somewhere, for sanctuary and concealment, till you can make friends or
quit the city."

The advice was not to be neglected. Lord Glenvarloch made hastily
towards the issue from the Park by Saint James's Palace, then Saint
James's Hospital. The hubbub increased behind him; and several
peace-officers of the Royal Household came up to apprehend the
delinquent. Fortunately for Nigel, a popular edition of the cause of the
affray had gone abroad. It was said that one of the Duke of Buckingham's
companions had insulted a stranger gentleman from the country, and that
the stranger had cudgelled him soundly. A favourite, or the companion
of a favourite, is always odious to John Bull, who has, besides, a
partiality to those disputants who proceed, as lawyers term it, _par
wye du fait_, and both prejudices were in Nigel's favour. The officers,
therefore, who came to apprehend him, could learn from the spectators no
particulars of his appearance, or information concerning the road he had
taken; so that, for the moment, he escaped being arrested.

What Lord Glenvarloch heard among the crowd as he passed along, was
sufficient to satisfy him, that in his impatient passion he had placed
himself in a predicament of considerable danger. He was no stranger
to the severe and arbitrary proceedings of the Court of Star-Chamber,
especially in cases of breach of privilege, which made it the terror
of all men; and it was no farther back than the Queen's time that the
punishment of mutilation had been actually awarded and executed, for
some offence of the same kind which he had just committed. He had also
the comfortable reflection, that, by his violent quarrel with Lord
Dalgarno, he must now forfeit the friendship and good offices of that
nobleman's father and sister, almost the only persons of consideration
in whom he could claim any interest; while all the evil reports which
had been put in circulation concerning his character, were certain to
weigh heavily against him, in a case where much must necessarily depend
on the reputation of the accused. To a youthful imagination, the idea
of such a punishment as mutilation seems more ghastly than death itself;
and every word which he overheard among the groups which he met, mingled
with, or overtook and passed, announced this as the penalty of his
offence. He dreaded to increase his pace for fear of attracting
suspicion, and more than once saw the ranger's officers so near him,
that his wrist tingled as if already under the blade of the dismembering
knife. At length he got out of the Park, and had a little more leisure
to consider what he was next to do.

Whitefriars, adjacent to the Temple, then well known by the cant name
of Alsatia, had at this time, and for nearly a century afterwards, the
privilege of a sanctuary, unless against the writ of the Lord Chief
Justice, or of the Lords of the Privy-Council. Indeed, as the place
abounded with desperadoes of every description,--bankrupt citizens,
ruined gamesters, irreclaimable prodigals, desperate duellists, bravoes,
homicides, and debauched profligates of every description, all leagued
together to maintain the immunities of their asylum,--it was both
difficult and unsafe for the officers of the law to execute warrants
emanating even from the highest authority, amongst men whose safety
was inconsistent with warrants or authority of any kind. This Lord
Glenvarloch well knew; and odious as the place of refuge was, it seemed
the only one where, for a space at least, he might be concealed and
secure from the immediate grasp of the law, until he should have leisure
to provide better for his safety, or to get this unpleasant matter in
some shape accommodated.

Meanwhile, as Nigel walked hastily forward towards the place of
sanctuary, he bitterly blamed himself for suffering Lord Dalgarno
to lead him into the haunts of dissipation; and no less accused his
intemperate heat of passion, which now had driven him for refuge into
the purlieus of profane and avowed vice and debauchery.

"Dalgarno spoke but too truly in that," were his bitter reflections; "I
have made myself an evil reputation by acting on his insidious counsels,
and neglecting the wholesome admonitions which ought to have claimed
implicit obedience from me, and which recommended abstinence even
from the slightest approach of evil. But if I escape from the perilous
labyrinth in which folly and inexperience, as well as violent passions,
have involved me, I will find some noble way of redeeming the lustre of
a name which was never sullied until I bore it."

As Lord Glenvarloch formed these prudent resolutions, he entered the
Temple Walks, whence a gate at that time opened into Whitefriars, by
which, as by the more private passage, he proposed to betake himself to
the sanctuary. As he approached the entrance to that den of infamy, from
which his mind recoiled even while in the act of taking shelter there,
his pace slackened, while the steep and broken stairs reminded him of
the _facilis_ descensus Averni, and rendered him doubtful whether it
were not better to brave the worst which could befall him in the public
haunts of honourable men, than to evade punishment by secluding himself
in those of avowed vice and profligacy.

As Nigel hesitated, a young gentleman of the Temple advanced towards
him, whom he had often seen, and sometimes conversed with, at the
ordinary, where he was a frequent and welcome guest, being a wild
young gallant, indifferently well provided with money, who spent at
the theatres and other gay places of public resort, the time which his
father supposed he was employing in the study of the law. But Reginald
Lowestoffe, such was the young Templar's name, was of opinion that
little law was necessary to enable him to spend the revenues of the
paternal acres which were to devolve upon him at his father's demose,
and therefore gave himself no trouble to acquire more of that science
than might be imbibed along with the learned air of the region in which
he had his chambers. In other respects, he was one of the wits of the
place, read Ovid and Martial, aimed at quick repartee and pun, (often
very far fetched,) danced, fenced, played at tennis, and performed
sundry tunes on the fiddle and French horn, to the great annoyance of
old Counsellor Barratter, who lived in the chambers immediately below
him. Such was Reginald Lowes-toffe, shrewd, alert, and well-acquainted
with the town through all its recesses, but in a sort of disrespectable
way. This gallant, now approaching the Lord Glenvarloch, saluted him by
name and title, and asked if his lordship designed for the Chevalier's
this day, observing it was near noon, and the woodcock would be on the
board before they could reach the ordinary.

"I do not go there to-day," answered Lord Glenvarloch. "Which way, then,
my lord?" said the young Templar, who was perhaps not undesirous to
parade a part at least of the street in company with a lord, though but
a Scottish one.

"I--I--" said Nigel, desiring to avail himself of this young man's local
knowledge, yet unwilling and ashamed to acknowledge his intention to
take refuge in so disreputable a quarter, or to describe the situation
in which he stood--"I have some curiosity to see Whitefriars."

"What! your lordship is for a frolic into Alsatia?" said
Lowestoffe-"-Have with you, my lord--you cannot have a better guide to
the infernal regions than myself. I promise you there are bona-robas to
be found there--good wine too, ay, and good fellows to drink it with,
though somewhat suffering under the frowns of Fortune. But your lordship
will pardon me--you are the last of our acquaintance to whom I would
have proposed such a voyage of discovery."

"I am obliged to you, Master Lowestoffe, for the good opinion you have
expressed in the observation," said Lord Glenvarloch; "but my present
circumstances may render even a residence of a day or two in the
sanctuary a matter of necessity."

"Indeed!" said Lowestoffe, in a tone of great surprise; "I thought your
lordship had always taken care not to risk any considerable stake--I beg
pardon, but if the bones have proved perfidious, I know just so much
law as that a peer's person is sacred from arrest; and for mere
impecuniosity, my lord, better shift can be made elsewhere than in
Whitefriars, where all are devouring each other for very poverty."

"My misfortune has no connexion with want of money," said Nigel.

"Why, then, I suppose," said Lowestoffe, "you have been tilting,
my lord, and have pinked your man; in which case, and with a
purse reasonably furnished, you may lie perdu in Whitefriars for a
twelvemonth--Marry, but you must be entered and received as a member of
their worshipful society, my lord, and a frank burgher of Alsatia--so
far you must condescend; there will be neither peace nor safety for you
else."

"My fault is not in a degree so deadly, Master Lowestoffe," answered
Lord Glenvarloch, "as you seem to conjecture--I have stricken a
gentleman in the Park, that is all."

"By my hand, my lord, and you had better have struck your sword through
him at Barns Elms," said the Templar. "Strike within the verge of
the Court! You will find that a weighty dependence upon your hands,
especially if your party be of rank and have favour."

"I will be plain with you, Master Lowestoffe," said Nigel, "since I have
gone thus far. The person I struck was Lord Dalgarno, whom you have seen
at Beaujeu's."

"A follower and favourite of the Duke of Buckingham!--It is a most
unhappy chance, my lord; but my heart was formed in England, and cannot
bear to see a young nobleman borne down, as you are like to be. We
converse here greatly too open for your circumstances. The Templars
would suffer no bailiff to execute a writ, and no gentleman to be
arrested for a duel, within their precincts; but in such a matter
between Lord Dalgarno and your lordship, there might be a party on
either side. You must away with me instantly to my poor chambers
here, hard by, and undergo some little change of dress, ere you take
sanctuary; for else you will have the whole rascal rout of the Friars
about you, like crows upon a falcon that strays into their rookery. We
must have you arrayed something more like the natives of Alsatia, or
there will be no life there for you."

While Lowestoffe spoke, he pulled Lord Glenvarloch along with him into
his chambers, where he had a handsome library, filled with all the poems
and play-books which were then in fashion. The Templar then dispatched a
boy, who waited upon him, to procure a dish or two from the next cook's
shop; "and this," he said, "must be your lordship's dinner, with a glass
of old sack, of which my grandmother (the heavens requite her!) sent me
a dozen bottles, with charge to use the liquor only with clarified whey,
when I felt my breast ache with over study. Marry, we will drink the
good lady's health in it, if it is your lordship's pleasure, and you
shall see how we poor students eke out our mutton-commons in the hall."

The outward door of the chambers was barred so soon as the boy had
re-entered with the food; the boy was ordered to keep close watch, and
admit no one; and Lowestoffe, by example and precept, pressed his noble
guest to partake of his hospitality. His frank and forward manners,
though much differing from the courtly ease of Lord Dalgarno, were
calculated to make a favourable impression; and Lord Glenvarloch, though
his experience of Dalgarno's perfidy had taught him to be cautious of
reposing faith in friendly professions, could not avoid testifying his
gratitude to the young Templar, who seemed so anxious for his safety and
accommodation.

"You may spare your gratitude any great sense of obligation, my lord,"
said the Templar. "No doubt I am willing to be of use to any gentleman
that has cause to sing _Fortune my foe_, and particularly proud to serve
your lordship's turn; but I have also an old grudge, to speak Heaven's
truth, at your opposite, Lord Dalgarno."

"May I ask on what account, Master Lowestoffe?" said Lord Glenvarloch.

"O, my lord," replied the Templar, "it was for a hap that chanced after
you left the ordinary, one evening about three weeks since--at least I
think you were not by, as your lordship always left us before deep play
began--I mean no offence, but such was your lordship's custom--when
there were words between Lord Dalgarno and me concerning a certain game
at gleek, and a certain mournival of aces held by his lordship, which
went for eight--tib, which went for fifteen--twenty-three in all. Now I
held king and queen, being three--a natural towser, making fifteen--and
tiddy, nineteen. We vied the ruff, and revied, as your lordship may
suppose, till the stake was equal to half my yearly exhibition, fifty as
fair yellow canary birds as e'er chirped in the bottom of a green silk
purse. Well, my lord, I gained the cards, and lo you! it pleases his
lordship to say that we played without tiddy; and as the rest stood
by and backed him, and especially the sharking Frenchman, why, I was
obliged to lose more than I shall gain all the season.--So judge if I
have not a crow to pluck with his lordship. Was it ever heard there was
a game at gleek at the ordinary before, without counting tiddy?--marry
quep upon his lordship!--Every man who comes there with his purse in his
hand, is as free to make new laws as he, I hope, since touch pot touch
penny makes every man equal."

As Master Lowestoffe ran over this jargon of the gaming-table, Lord
Glenvarloch was both ashamed and mortified, and felt a severe pang of
aristocratic pride, when he concluded in the sweeping clause that the
dice, like the grave, levelled those distinguishing points of society,
to which Nigel's early prejudices clung perhaps but too fondly. It was
impossible, however, to object any thing to the learned reasoning of
the young Templar, and therefore Nigel was contented to turn the
conversation, by making some inquiries respecting the present state of
White-friars. There also his host was at home.

"You know, my lord," said Master Lowestoffe, "that we Templars are a
power and a dominion within ourselves, and I am proud to say that I hold
some rank in our republic--was treasurer to the Lord of Misrule last
year, and am at this present moment in nomination for that dignity
myself. In such circumstances, we are under the necessity of maintaining
an amicable intercourse with our neighbours of Alsatia, even as the
Christian States find themselves often, in mere policy, obliged to make
alliance with the Grand Turk, or the Barbary States."

"I should have imagined you gentlemen of the Temple more independent of
your neighbours," said Lord Glenvarloch.

"You do us something too much honour, my lord," said the Templar; "the
Alsatians and we have some common enemies, and we have, under the rose,
some common friends. We are in the use of blocking all bailiffs out of
our bounds, and we are powerfully aided by our neighbours, who tolerate
not a rag belonging to them within theirs. Moreover the Alsatians
have--I beg you to understand me--the power of protecting or distressing
our friends, male or female, who may be obliged to seek sanctuary within
their bounds. In short, the two communities serve each other, though the
league is between states of unequal quality, and I may myself say, that
I have treated of sundry weighty affairs, and have been a negotiator
well approved on both sides.--But hark--hark--what is that?"

The sound by which Master Lowestoffe was interrupted, was that of a
distant horn, winded loud and keenly, and followed by a faint and remote
huzza.

"There is something doing," said Lowestoffe, "in the Whitefriars at this
moment. That is the signal when their privileges are invaded by tipstaff
or bailiff; and at the blast of the horn they all swarm out to the
rescue, as bees when their hive is disturbed.--Jump, Jim," he
said, calling out to the attendant, "and see what they are doing in
Alsatia.--That bastard of a boy," he continued, as the lad, accustomed
to the precipitate haste of his master, tumbled rather than ran out of
the apartment, and so down stairs, "is worth gold in this quarter--he
serves six masters--four of them in distinct Numbers, and you would
think him present like a fairy at the mere wish of him that for the time
most needs his attendance. No scout in Oxford, no gip in Cambridge, ever
matched him in speed and intelligence. He knows the step of a dun from
that of a client, when it reaches the very bottom of the staircase; can
tell the trip of a pretty wench from the step of a bencher, when at
the upper end of the court; and is, take him all in all--But I see your
lordship is anxious--May I press another cup of my kind grandmother's
cordial, or will you allow me to show you my wardrobe, and act as your
valet or groom of the chamber?"

Lord Glenvarloch hesitated not to acknowledge that he was painfully
sensible of his present situation, and anxious to do what must needs be
done for his extrication.

The good-natured and thoughtless young Templar readily acquiesced,
and led the way into his little bedroom, where, from bandboxes,
portmanteaus, mail-trunks, not forgetting an old walnut-tree wardrobe,
he began to select the articles which he thought best suited effectually
to disguise his guest in venturing into the lawless and turbulent
society of Alsatia.



CHAPTER XVII


 Come hither, young one,--Mark me! Thou art now
 'Mongst men o' the sword, that live by reputation
 More than by constant income--Single-suited
 They are, I grant you; yet each single suit
 Maintains, on the rough guess, a thousand followers--
 And they be men, who, hazarding their all,
 Needful apparel, necessary income,
 And human body, and immortal soul,
 Do in the very deed but hazard nothing-- So strictly is that ALL bound in reversion;
 Clothes to the broker, income to the usurer,
 And body to disease, and soul to the foul fiend;
 Who laughs to see Soldadoes and Fooladoes,
 Play better than himself his game on earth.
                                        _The Mohocks._

"Your lordship," said Reginald Lowestoffe, "must be content to exchange
your decent and court-beseeming rapier, which I will retain in safe
keeping, for this broadsword, with an hundredweight of rusty iron about
the hilt, and to wear these huge-paned slops, instead of your civil
and moderate hose. We allow no cloak, for your ruffian always walks in
_cuerpo_; and the tarnished doublet of bald velvet, with its discoloured
embroidery, and--I grieve to speak it--a few stains from the blood of
the grape, will best suit the garb of a roaring boy. I will leave you to
change your suit for an instant, till I can help to truss you."

Lowestoffe retired, while slowly, and with hesitation, Nigel obeyed
his instructions. He felt displeasure and disgust at the scoundrelly
disguise which he was under the necessity of assuming; but when he
considered the bloody consequences which law attached to his rash act
of violence, the easy and indifferent temper of James, the prejudices of
his son, the overbearing influence of the Duke of Buckingham, which was
sure to be thrown into the scale against him; and, above all, when
he reflected that he must now look upon the active, assiduous, and
insinuating Lord Dalgarno, as a bitter enemy, reason told him he was in
a situation of peril which authorised all honest means, even the most
unseemly in outward appearance, to extricate himself from so dangerous a
predicament.

While he was changing his dress, and musing on these particulars, his
friendly host re-entered the sleeping apartment--"Zounds!" he said, "my
lord, it was well you went not straight into that same Alsatia of ours
at the time you proposed, for the hawks have stooped upon it. Here
is Jem come back with tidings, that he saw a pursuivant there with a
privy-council warrant, and half a score of yeomen assistants, armed to
the teeth, and the horn which we heard was sounded to call out the posse
of the Friars. Indeed, when old Duke Hildebrod saw that the quest was
after some one of whom he knew nothing, he permitted, out of courtesy,
the man-catcher to search through his dominions, quite certain that
they would take little by their motions; for Duke Hildebrod is a most
judicious potentate.--Go back, you bastard, and bring us word when all
is quiet."

"And who may Duke Hildebrod be?" said Lord Glenvarloch.

"Nouns! my lord," said the Templar, "have you lived so long on the town,
and never heard of the valiant, and as wise and politic as valiant, Duke
Hildebrod, grand protector of the liberties of Alsatia? I thought the
man had never whirled a die but was familiar with his fame."

"Yet I have never heard of him, Master Lowestoffe," said Lord
Glenvarloch; "or, what is the same thing, I have paid no attention to
aught that may have passed in conversation respecting him."

"Why, then," said Lowestoffe--"but, first, let me have the honour of
trussing you. Now, observe, I have left several of the points untied, of
set purpose; and if it please you to let a small portion of your shirt
be seen betwixt your doublet and the band of your upper stock, it will
have so much the more rakish effect, and will attract you respect in
Alsatia, where linen is something scarce. Now, I tie some of the
points carefully asquint, for your ruffianly gallant never appears too
accurately trussed--so."

"Arrange it as you will, sir," said Nigel; "but let me hear at least
something of the conditions of the unhappy district into which, with
other wretches, I am compelled to retreat."

"Why, my lord," replied the Templar, "our neighbouring state of Alsatia,
which the law calls the Sanctuary of White-friars, has had its mutations
and revolutions like greater kingdoms; and, being in some sort a
lawless, arbitrary government, it follows, of course, that these have
been more frequent than our own better regulated commonwealth of the
Templars, that of Gray's Inn, and other similar associations, have
had the fortune to witness. Our traditions and records speak of twenty
revolutions within the last twelve years, in which the aforesaid state
has repeatedly changed from absolute despotism to republicanism, not
forgetting the intermediate stages of oligarchy, limited monarchy, and
even gynocracy; for I myself remember Alsatia governed for nearly nine
months by an old fish-woman. 'I hen it fell under the dominion of a
broken attorney, who was dethroned by a reformado captain, who, proving
tyrannical, was deposed by a hedgeparson, who was succeeded, upon
resignation of his power, by Duke Jacob Hildebrod, of that name the
first, whom Heaven long preserve."

"And is this potentate's government," said Lord Glenvarloch, forcing
himself to take some interest in the conversation, "of a despotic
character?"

"Pardon me, my lord," said the Templar; "this said sovereign is too
wise to incur, like many of his predecessors, the odium of wielding
so important an authority by his own sole will. He has established a
council of state, who regularly meet for their morning's draught
at seven o'clock; convene a second time at eleven for their
_ante-meridiem_, or whet; and, assembling in solemn conclave at the
hour of two afternoon, for the purpose of consulting for the good of
the commonwealth, are so prodigal of their labour in the service of
the state, that they seldom separate before midnight. Into this worthy
senate, composed partly of Duke Hildebrod's predecessors in his high
office, whom he has associated with him to prevent the envy attending
sovereign and sole authority, I must presently introduce your lordship,
that they may admit you to the immunities of the Friars, and assign you
a place of residence."

"Does their authority extend to such regulation?" said Lord Glenvarloch.

"The council account it a main point of their privileges, my lord,"
answered Lowestoffe; "and, in fact, it is one of the most powerful means
by which they support their authority. For when Duke Ilildebrod and his
senate find a topping householder in the Friars becomes discontented and
factious, it is but assigning him, for a lodger, some fat bankrupt, or
new lesidenter, whose circumstances require refuge, and whose purse can
pay for it, and the malecontent becomes as tractable as a lamb. As
for the poorer refugees, they let them shift as they can; but the
registration of their names in the Duke's entry-book, and the payment of
garnish conforming to their circumstances, is never dispensed with; and
the Friars would be a very unsafe residence for the stranger who should
dispute these points of jurisdiction."

"Well, Master Lowestoffe," said Lord Glenvarloch, "I must be controlled
by the circumstances which dictate to me this state of concealment--of
course, I am desirous not to betray my name and rank."

"It will be highly advisable, my lord," said Lowestoffe; "and is a
case thus provided for in the statutes of the republic, or monarchy, or
whatsoever you call it.--He who desires that no questions shall be asked
him concerning his name, cause of refuge, and the like, may escape
the usual interrogations upon payment of double the garnish otherwise
belonging to his condition. Complying with this essential stipulation,
your lordship may register yourself as King of Bantam if you will, for
not a question will be asked of you.--But here comes our scout, with
news of peace and tranquillity. Now, I will go with your lordship
myself, and present you to the council of Alsatia, with all the
influence which I have over them as an office-bearer in the Temple,
which is not slight; for they have come halting off upon all occasions
when we have taken part against them, and that they well know. The time
is propitious, for as the council is now met in Alsatia, so the Temple
walks are quiet. Now, my lord, throw your cloak about you, to hide your
present exterior. You shall give it to the boy at the foot of the stairs
that go down to the Sanctuary; and as the ballad says that Queen Eleanor
sunk at Charing Cross and rose at Queenhithe, so you shall sink a
nobleman in the Temple Gardens, and rise an Alsatian at Whitefriars."

They went out accordingly, attended by the little scout, traversed
the gardens, descended the stairs, and at the bottom the young Templar
exclaimed,--"And now let us sing, with Ovid,

     'In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas--'

Off, off, ye lendings!" he continued, in the same vein. "Via, the
curtain that shadowed Borgia!--But how now, my lord?" he continued,
when he observed Lord Glenvarloch was really distressed at the degrading
change in his situation, "I trust you are not offended at my rattling
folly? I would but reconcile you to your present circumstances, and give
you the tone of this strange place. Come, cheer up; I trust it will only
be your residence for a very few days."

Nigel was only able to press his hand, and reply in a whisper, "I am
sensible of your kindness. I know I must drink the cup which my own
folly has filled for me. Pardon me, that, at the first taste, I feel its
bitterness."

Reginald Lowestoffe was bustlingly officious and good-natured; but,
used to live a scrambling, rakish course of life himself, he had not the
least idea of the extent of Lord Glenvarloch's mental sufferings, and
thought of his temporary concealment as if it were merely the trick of
a wanton boy, who plays at hide-and-seek with his tutor. With the
appearance of the place, too, he was familiar--but on his companion it
produced a deep sensation.

The ancient Sanctuary at Whitefriars lay considerably lower than the
elevated terraces and gardens of the Temple, and was therefore generally
involved in the damps and fogs arising from the Thames. The brick
buildings by which it was occupied, crowded closely on each other, for,
in a place so rarely privileged, every foot of ground was valuable; but,
erected in many cases by persons whose funds were inadequate to their
speculations, the houses were generally insufficient, and exhibited the
lamentable signs of having become ruinous while they were yet new.
The wailing of children, the scolding of their mothers, the miserable
exhibition of ragged linens hung from the windows to dry, spoke the
wants and distresses of the wretched inhabitants; while the sounds of
complaint were mocked and overwhelmed in the riotous shouts, oaths,
profane songs, and boisterous laughter, that issued from the alehouses
and taverns, which, as the signs indicated, were equal in number to all
the other houses; and, that the full character of the place might be
evident, several faded, tinselled and painted females, looked boldly at
the strangers from their open lattices, or more modestly seemed busied
with the cracked flower-pots, filled with mignonette and rosemary,
which were disposed in front of the windows, to the great risk of the
passengers.

"_Semi-reducta Venus_," said the Templar, pointing to one of these
nymphs, who seemed afraid of observation, and partly concealed herself
behind the casement, as she chirped to a miserable blackbird, the tenant
of a wicker prison, which hung outside on the black brick wall.--"I
know the face of yonder waistcoateer," continued the guide; "and I could
wager a rose-noble, from the posture she stands in, that she has clean
head-gear and a soiled night-rail.--But here come two of the male
inhabitants, smoking like moving volcanoes! These are roaring blades,
whom Nicotia and Trinidado serve, I dare swear, in lieu of beef and
pudding; for be it known to you, my lord, that the king's counter-blast
against the Indian weed will no more pass current in Alsatia than will
his writ of _capias_."

As he spoke, the two smokers approached; shaggy, uncombed ruffians,
whose enormous mustaches were turned back over their ears, and mingled
with the wild elf-locks of their hair, much of which was seen under
the old beavers which they wore aside upon their heads, while some
straggling portion escaped through the rents of the hats aforesaid.
Their tarnished plush jerkins, large slops, or trunk-breeches, their
broad greasy shoulder-belts, and discoloured scarfs, and, above all, the
ostentatious manner in which the one wore a broad-sword and the other an
extravagantly long rapier and poniard, marked the true Alsatian bully,
then, and for a hundred years afterwards, a well-known character.

"Tour out," said the one ruffian to the other; "tour the bien mort
twiring at the gentry cove!" [Footnote: Look sharp. See how the girl is
coquetting with the strange gallants!]

"I smell a spy," replied the other, looking at Nigel. "Chalk him across
the peepers with your cheery." [Footnote: Slash him over the eyes with
your dagger.]

"Bing avast, bing avast!" replied his companion; "yon other is rattling
Reginald Lowestoffe of the Temple--I know him; he is a good boy, and
free of the province."

So saying, and enveloping themselves in another thick cloud of smoke,
they went on without farther greeting.

"_Grasso in aere_!" said the Templar. "You hear what a character the
impudent knave gives me; but, so it serves your lordship's turn, I care
not.--And, now, let me ask your lordship what name you will assume, for
we are near the ducal palace of Duke Hildebrod."

"I will be called Grahame," said Nigel; "it was my mother's name."

"Grime," repeated the Templar, "will suit Alsatia well enough--both a
grim and grimy place of refuge."

"I said Grahame, sir, not Grime," said Nigel, something shortly, and
laying an emphasis on the vowel--for few Scotsmen understand raillery
upon the subject of their names.

"I beg pardon, my lord," answered the undisconcerted punster; "but
_Graam_ will suit the circumstance, too--it signifies tribulation in
the High Dutch, and your lordship must be considered as a man under
trouble."

Nigel laughed at the pertinacity of the Templar; who, proceeding to
point out a sign representing, or believed to represent, a dog attacking
a bull, and running at his head, in the true scientific style of
onset,--"There," said he, "doth faithful Duke Hildebrod deal forth laws,
as well as ale and strong waters, to his faithful Alsatians. Being a
determined champion of Paris Garden, he has chosen a sign corresponding
to his habits; and he deals in giving drink to the thirsty, that he
himself may drink without paying, and receive pay for what is drunken by
others.--Let us enter the ever-open gate of this second Axylus."

As they spoke, they entered the dilapidated tavern, which was,
nevertheless, more ample in dimensions, and less ruinous, than many
houses in the same evil neighbourhood. Two or three haggard, ragged
drawers, ran to and fro, whose looks, like those of owls, seemed only
adapted for midnight, when other creatures sleep, and who by day seemed
bleared, stupid, and only half awake. Guided by one of these blinking
Ganymedes, they entered a room, where the feeble rays of the sun were
almost wholly eclipsed by volumes of tobacco-smoke, rolled from the
tubes of the company, while out of the cloudy sanctuary arose the old
chant of--

      "Old Sir Simon the King,
       And old Sir Simon the King,
       With his malmsey nose,
       And his ale-dropped hose,
       And sing hey ding-a-ding-ding."

Duke Hildebrod, who himself condescended to chant this ditty to his
loving subjects, was a monstrously fat old man, with only one eye; and
a nose which bore evidence to the frequency, strength, and depth of
his potations. He wore a murrey-coloured plush jerkin, stained with the
overflowings of the tankard, and much the worse for wear, and unbuttoned
at bottom for the ease of his enormous paunch. Behind him lay a
favourite bull-dog, whose round head and single black glancing eye, as
well as the creature's great corpulence, gave it a burlesque resemblance
to its master.

The well-beloved counsellors who surrounded the ducal throne, incensed
it with tobacco, pledged its occupier in thick clammy ale, and echoed
back his choral songs, were Satraps worthy of such a Soldan. The buff
jerkin, broad belt, and long sword of one, showed him to be a Low
Country soldier, whose look of scowling importance, and drunken
impudence, were designed to sustain his title to call himself a Roving
Blade. It seemed to Nigel that he had seen this fellow somewhere or
other. A hedge-parson, or buckle-beggar, as that order of priesthood
has been irreverently termed, sat on the Duke's left, and was easily
distinguished by his torn band, flapped hat, and the remnants of a rusty
cassock. Beside the parson sat a most wretched and meagre-looking old
man, with a threadbare hood of coarse kersey upon his head, and buttoned
about his neck, while his pinched features, like those of old Daniel,
were illuminated by

                            --"an eye,
  Through the last look of dotage still cunning and sly."

On his left was placed a broken attorney, who, for some malpractices,
had been struck from the roll of practitioners, and who had nothing
left of his profession, except its roguery. One or two persons of
less figure, amongst whom there was one face, which, like that of the
soldier, seemed not unknown to Nigel, though he could not recollect
where he had seen it, completed the council-board of Jacob Duke
Hildebrod.

The strangers had full time to observe all this; for his grace the Duke,
whether irresistibly carried on by the full tide of harmony, or whether
to impress the strangers with a proper idea of his consequence, chose
to sing his ditty to an end before addressing them, though, during the
whole time, he closely scrutinized them with his single optic.

When Duke Hildebrod had ended his song, he informed his Peers that a
worthy officer of the Temple attended them, and commanded the captain
and parson to abandon their easy chairs in behalf of the two strangers,
whom he placed on his right and left hand. The worthy representative of
the army and the church of Alsatia went to place themselves on a crazy
form at the bottom of the table, which, ill calculated to sustain men
of such weight, gave way under them, and the man of the sword and man of
the gown were rolled over each other on the floor, amidst the exulting
shouts of the company. They arose in wrath, contending which should vent
his displeasure in the loudest and deepest oaths, a strife in which
the parson's superior acquaintance with theology enabled him greatly to
excel the captain, and were at length with difficulty tranquillised by
the arrival of the alarmed waiters with more stable chairs, and by a
long draught of the cooling tankard. When this commotion was appeased,
and the strangers courteously accommodated with flagons, after the
fashion of the others present, the Duke drank prosperity to the Temple
in the most gracious manner, together with a cup of welcome to Master
Reginald Lowestoffe; and, this courtesy having been thankfully accepted,
the party honoured prayed permission to call for a gallon of Rhenish,
over which he proposed to open his business.

The mention of a liquor so superior to their usual potations had an
instant and most favourable effect upon the little senate; and its
immediate appearance might be said to secure a favourable reception
of Master Lowestoffe's proposition, which, after a round or two had
circulated, he explained to be the admission of his friend Master Nigel
Grahame to the benefit of the sanctuary and other immunities of Alsatia,
in the character of a grand compounder; for so were those termed who
paid a double fee at their matriculation, in order to avoid laying
before the senate the peculiar circumstances which compelled them to
take refuge there.

The worthy Duke heard the proposition with glee, which glittered in his
single eye; and no wonder, as it was a rare occurrence, and of peculiar
advantage to his private revenue. Accordingly, he commanded his ducal
register to be brought him, a huge book, secured with brass clasps like
a merchant's ledger, and whose leaves, stained with wine, and slabbered
with tobacco juice, bore the names probably of as many rogues as are to
be found in the Calendar of Newgate.

Nigel was then directed to lay down two nobles as his ransom, and to
claim privilege by reciting the following doggerel verses, which were
dictated to him by the Duke:--

        "Your suppliant, by name
         Nigel Grahame,
         In fear of mishap
         From a shoulder-tap;
         And dreading a claw
         From the talons of law,
          That are sharper than briers:
         His freedom to sue,
         And rescue by you--
         Thorugh weapon and wit,
         From warrant and writ,
         From bailiff's hand,
         From tipstaff's wand,
          Is come hither to Whitefriars."

As Duke Hildebrod with a tremulous hand began to make the entry, and had
already, with superfluous generosity, spelled Nigel with two g's instead
of one, he was interrupted by the parson. [Footnote: This curious
register is still in existence, being in possession of that eminent
antiquary, Dr. Dryasdust, who liberally offered the author permission to
have the autograph of Duke Hildebrod engraved as an illustration of this
passage. Unhappily, being rigorous as Ritson himself in adhering to the
very letter of his copy, the worthy Doctor clogged his munificence with
the condition that we should adopt the Duke's orthography, and entitle
the work "The Fortunes of Niggle," with which stipulation we did
not think it necessary to comply.] This reverend gentleman had been
whispering for a minute or two, not with the captain, but with that
other individual, who dwelt imperfectly, as we have already mentioned,
in Nigel's memory, and being, perhaps, still something malecontent on
account of the late accident, he now requested to be heard before the
registration took place.

"The person," he said, "who hath now had the assurance to propose
himself as a candidate for the privileges and immunities of this
honourable society, is, in plain terms, a beggarly Scot, and we have
enough of these locusts in London already--if we admit such palmer-worms
and caterpillars to the Sanctuary, we shall soon have the whole nation."

"We are not entitled to inquire," said Duke Hildebrod, "whether he be
Scot, or French, or English; seeing he has honourably laid down his
garnish, he is entitled to our protection."

"Word of denial, most Sovereign Duke," replied the parson, "I ask him no
questions--his speech betrayeth him--he is a Galilean--and his garnish
is forfeited for his assurance in coming within this our realm; and I
call on you, Sir Duke, to put the laws in force against him!"

The Templar here rose, and was about to interrupt the deliberations of
the court, when the Duke gravely assured him that he should be heard
in behalf of his friend, so soon as the council had finished their
deliberations.

The attorney next rose, and, intimating that he was to speak to the
point of law, said--"It was easy to be seen that this gentleman did not
come here in any civil case, and that he believed it to be the story
they had already heard of concerning a blow given within the verge of
the Park--that the Sanctuary would not bear out the offender in such
case--and that the queer old Chief would send down a broom which would
sweep the streets of Alsatia from the Strand to the Stairs; and it
was even policy to think what evil might come to their republic, by
sheltering an alien in such circumstances."

The captain, who had sat impatiently while these opinions were
expressed, now sprung on his feet with the vehemence of a cork bouncing
from a bottle of brisk beer, and, turning up his mustaches with a
martial air, cast a glance of contempt on the lawyer and churchman,
while he thus expressed his opinion.

"Most noble Duke Hildebrod! When I hear such base, skeldering, coistril
propositions come from the counsellors of your grace, and when I
remember the Huffs, the Muns, and the Tityretu's by whom your grace's
ancestors and predecessors were advised on such occasions, I begin to
think the spirit of action is as dead in Alsatia as in my old grannam;
and yet who thinks so thinks a lie, since I will find as many roaring
boys in the Friars as shall keep the liberties against all the
scavengers of Westminster. And, if we should be overborne for a turn,
death and darkness! have we not time to send the gentleman off by water,
either to Paris Garden or to the bankside? and, if he is a gallant of
true breed, will he not make us full amends for all the trouble we have?
Let other societies exist by the law, I say that we brisk boys of
the Fleet live in spite of it; and thrive best when we are in right
opposition to sign and seal, writ and warrant, sergeant and tipstaff,
catchpoll, and bum-bailey."

This speech was followed by a murmur of approbation, and Lowestoffe,
striking in before the favourable sound had subsided, reminded the Duke
and his council how much the security of their state depended upon the
amity of the Templars, who, by closing their gates, could at pleasure
shut against the Alsatians the communication betwixt the Friars and the
Temple, and that as they conducted themselves on this occasion, so would
they secure or lose the benefit of his interest with his own body, which
they knew not to be inconsiderable. "And, in respect of my friend being
a Scotsman and alien, as has been observed by the reverend divine and
learned lawyer, you are to consider," said Lowestoffe, "for what he is
pursued hither--why, for giving the bastinado, not to an Englishman, but
to one of his own countrymen. And for my own simple part," he continued,
touching Lord Glenvarloch at the same time, to make him understand he
spoke but in jest, "if all the Scots in London were to fight a Welsh
main, and kill each other to a man, the survivor would, in my humble
opinion, be entitled to our gratitude, as having done a most acceptable
service to poor Old England."

A shout of laughter and applause followed this ingenious apology for the
client's state of alienage; and the Templar followed up his plea with
the following pithy proposition:--"I know well," said he, "it is the
custom of the fathers of this old and honourable republic, ripely
and well to consider all their proceedings over a proper allowance of
liquor; and far be it from me to propose the breach of so laudable a
custom, or to pretend that such an affair as the present can be well and
constitutionally considered during the discussion of a pitiful gallon
of Rhenish. But, as it is the same thing to this honourable conclave
whether they drink first and determine afterwards, or whether they
determine first and drink afterwards, I propose your grace, with the
advice of your wise and potent senators, shall pass your edict, granting
to mine honourable friend the immunities of the place, and assigning
him a lodging, according to your wise forms, to which he will presently
retire, being somewhat spent with this day's action; whereupon I will
presently order you a rundlet of Rhenish, with a corresponding quantity
of neats' tongues and pickled herrings, to make you all as glorious as
George-a-Green."

This overture was received with a general shout of applause, which
altogether drowned the voice of the dissidents, if any there were
amongst the Alsatian senate who could have resisted a proposal so
popular. The words of, kind heart! noble gentleman! generous gallant!
flew from mouth to mouth; the inscription of the petitioner's name in
the great book was hastily completed, and the oath administered to him
by the worthy Doge. Like the Laws of the Twelve Tables, of the ancient
Cambro-Britons, and other primitive nations, it was couched in poetry,
and ran as follows:--

 "By spigot and barrel,
  By bilboe and buff;
  Thou art sworn to the quarrel
  Of the blades of the huff.
  For Whitefriars and its claims
  To be champion or martyr,
  And to fight for its dames
  Like a Knight of the Garter."

Nigel felt, and indeed exhibited, some disgust at this mummery; but,
the Templar reminding him that he was too far advanced to draw back,
he repeated the words, or rather assented as they were repeated by Duke
Hildebrod, who concluded the ceremony by allowing him the privilege of
sanctuary, in the following form of prescriptive doggerel:--

 "From the touch of the tip,
  From the blight of the warrant,
  From the watchmen who skip
  On the Harman Beck's errand;
  From the bailiffs cramp speech,
  That makes man a thrall,
  I charm thee from each,
  And I charm thee from all.
  Thy freedom's complete
  As a Blade of the Huff,
  To be cheated and cheat,
  To be cuff'd and to cuff;
  To stride, swear, and swagger,
  To drink till you stagger,
  To stare and to stab,
  And to brandish your dagger
  In the cause of your drab;
  To walk wool-ward in winter,
  Drink brandy, and smoke,
  And go _fresco_ in summer
  For want of a cloak;
  To eke out your living
  By the wag of your elbow,
  By fulham and gourd,
  And by baring of bilboe;
  To live by your shifts,
  And to swear by your honour,
  Are the freedom and gifts
  Of which I am the donor."[Footnote: Of the cant words used in this
inauguratory oration, some are obvious in their meaning, others, as
Harman Beck (constable), and the like, derive their source from that
ancient piece of lexicography, the Slang Dictionary]

This homily being performed, a dispute arose concerning the special
residence to be assigned the new brother of the Sanctuary; for, as
the Alsatians held it a maxim in their commonwealth, that ass's milk
fattens, there was usually a competition among the inhabitants which
should have the managing, as it was termed, of a new member of the
society.

The Hector who had spoken so warmly and critically in Nigel's behalf,
stood out now chivalrously in behalf of a certain Blowselinda, or
Bonstrops, who had, it seems, a room to hire, once the occasional
residence of Slicing Dick of Paddington, who lately suffered at Tyburn,
and whose untimely exit had been hitherto mourned by the damsel in
solitary widowhood, after the fashion of the turtle-dove.

The captain's interest was, however, overruled, in behalf of the old
gentleman in the kersey hood, who was believed, even at his extreme age,
to understand the plucking of a pigeon, as well, or better, than any man
in Alsatia.

This venerable personage was an usurer of notoriety, called Trapbois,
and had very lately done the state considerable service in advancing a
subsidy necessary to secure a fresh importation of liquors to the Duke's
cellars, the wine-merchant at the Vintry being scrupulous to deal with
so great a man for any thing but ready money.

When, therefore, the old gentleman arose, and with much coughing,
reminded the Duke that he had a poor apartment to let, the claims of all
others were set aside, and Nigel was assigned to Trapbois as his guest.

No sooner was this arrangement made, than Lord Glenvarloch expressed to
Lowestoffe his impatience to leave this discreditable assembly, and took
his leave with a careless haste, which, but for the rundlet of Rhenish
wine that entered just as he left the apartment, might have been taken
in bad part. The young Templar accompanied his friend to the house of
the old usurer, with the road to which he and some other youngsters
about the Temple were even but too well acquainted. On the way, he
assured Lord Glenvarloch that he was going to the only clean house in
Whitefriars; a property which it owed solely to the exertions of the old
man's only daughter, an elderly damsel, ugly enough to frighten sin, yet
likely to be wealthy enough to tempt a puritan, so soon as the devil had
got her old dad for his due. As Lowestoffe spoke thus, they knocked at
the door of the house, and the sour stern countenance of the female by
whom it was opened, fully confirmed all that the Templar had said of
the hostess. She heard with an ungracious and discontented air the young
Templar's information, that the gentleman, his companion, was to be her
father's lodger, muttered something about the trouble it was likely
to occasion, but ended by showing the stranger's apartment, which was
better than could have been augured from the general appearance of the
place, and much larger in extent than that which he occupied at Paul's
Wharf, though inferior to it in neatness.

Lowestoffe, having thus seen his friend fairly installed in his new
apartment, and having obtained for him a note of the rate at which he
could be accommodated with victuals from a neighbouring cook's shop, now
took his leave, offering, at the same time, to send the whole, or any
part of Lord Glenvarloch's baggage, from his former place of residence
to his new lodging. Nigel mentioned so few articles, that the Templar
could not help observing, that his lordship, it would seem, did not
intend to enjoy his new privileges long.

"They are too little suited to my habits and taste, that I should do
so," replied Lord Glenvarloch.

"You may change your opinion to-morrow," said Lowestoffe; "and so I wish
you a good even. To-morrow I will visit you betimes."

The morning came, but instead of the Templar, it brought only a letter
from him. The epistle stated, that Lowestoffe's visit to Alsatia had
drawn down the animadversions of some crabbed old pantaloons among the
benchers, and that he judged it wise not to come hither at present, for
fear of attracting too much attention to Lord Glenvarloch's place of
residence. He stated, that he had taken measures for the safety of his
baggage, and would send him, by a safe hand, his money-casket, and
what articles he wanted. Then followed some sage advices, dictated by
Lowestoffe's acquaintance with Alsatia and its manners. He advised him
to keep the usurer in the most absolute uncertainty concerning the state
of his funds-never to throw a main with the captain, who was in the
habit of playing dry-fisted, and paying his losses with three vowels;
and, finally, to beware of Duke Hildebrod, who was as sharp, he said,
as a needle, though he had no more eyes than are possessed by that
necessary implement of female industry.



CHAPTER XVIII


_Mother._ What I dazzled by a flash from Cupid's mirror, With which
the boy, as mortal urchins wont, Flings back the sunbeam in the eye of
passengers--Then laughs to see them stumble!

_Daughter._ Mother! no--It was a lightning-flash which dazzled me, And
never shall these eyes see true again. _Beef and Pudding.-An Old English
Comedy._

It is necessary that we should leave our hero Nigel for a time, although
in a situation neither safe, comfortable, nor creditable, in order
to detail some particulars which have immediate connexion with his
fortunes.

It was but the third day after he had been forced to take refuge in the
house of old Trapbois, the noted usurer of Whitefriars, commonly called
Golden Trapbois, when the pretty daughter of old Ramsay, the watchmaker,
after having piously seen her father finish his breakfast, (from
the fear that he might, in an abstruse fit of thought, swallow the
salt-cellar instead of a crust of the brown loaf,) set forth from the
house as soon as he was again plunged into the depth of calculation,
and, accompanied only by that faithful old drudge, Janet, the Scots
laundress, to whom her whims were laws, made her way to Lombard Street,
and disturbed, at the unusual hour of eight in the morning, Aunt Judith,
the sister of her worthy godfather.

The venerable maiden received her young visitor with no great
complacency; for, naturally enough, she had neither the same admiration
of her very pretty countenance, nor allowance for her foolish and
girlish impatience of temper, which Master George Heriot entertained.
Still Mistress Margaret was a favourite of her brother's, whose will was
to Aunt Judith a supreme law; and she contented herself with asking her
untimely visitor, "what she made so early with her pale, chitty face, in
the streets of London?"

"I would speak with the Lady Hermione," answered the almost breathless
girl, while the blood ran so fast to her face as totally to remove the
objection of paleness which Aunt Judith had made to her complexion.

"With the Lady Hermione?" said Aunt Judith--"with the Lady Hermione? and
at this time in the morning, when she will scarce see any of the family,
even at seasonable hours? You are crazy, you silly wench, or you abuse
the indulgence which my brother and the lady have shown to you."

"Indeed, indeed I have not," repeated Margaret, struggling to retain the
unbidden tear which seemed ready to burst out on the slightest occasion.
"Do but say to the lady that your brother's god-daughter desires
earnestly to speak to her, and I know she will not refuse to see me."

Aunt Judith bent an earnest, suspicious, and inquisitive glance on her
young visitor, "You might make me your secretary, my lassie," she said,
"as well as the Lady Hermione. I am older, and better skilled to advise.
I live more in the world than one who shuts herself up within four
rooms, and I have the better means to assist you."

"O! no--no--no," said Margaret, eagerly, and with more earnest sincerity
than complaisance; "there are some things to which you cannot advise me,
Aunt Judith. It is a case--pardon me, my dear aunt--a case beyond your
counsel."

"I am glad on't, maiden," said Aunt Judith, somewhat angrily; "for I
think the follies of the young people of this generation would drive mad
an old brain like mine. Here you come on the viretot, through the whole
streets of London, to talk some nonsense to a lady, who scarce sees
God's sun, but when he shines on a brick wall. But I will tell her you
are here."

She went away, and shortly returned with a dry--"Miss Marget, the lady
will be glad to see you; and that's more, my young madam, than you had a
right to count upon."

Mistress Margaret hung her head in silence, too much perplexed by
the train of her own embarrassed thoughts, for attempting either to
conciliate Aunt Judith's kindness, or, which on other occasions
would have been as congenial to her own humour, to retaliate on her
cross-tempered remarks and manner. She followed Aunt Judith, therefore,
in silence and dejection, to the strong oaken door which divided the
Lady Hermione's apartments from the rest of George Heriot's spacious
house.

At the door of this sanctuary it is necessary to pause, in order to
correct the reports with which Richie Moniplies had filled his master's
ear, respecting the singular appearance of that lady's attendance at
prayers, whom we now own to be by name the Lady Hermione. Some part
of these exaggerations had been communicated to the worthy Scotsman by
Jenkin Vincent, who was well experienced in the species of wit which
has been long a favourite in the city, under the names of cross-biting,
giving the dor, bamboozling, cramming, hoaxing, humbugging, and
quizzing; for which sport Richie Moniplies, with his solemn gravity,
totally unapprehensive of a joke, and his natural propensity to the
marvellous, formed an admirable subject. Farther ornaments the tale had
received from Richie himself, whose tongue, especially when oiled with
good liquor, had a considerable tendency to amplification, and
who failed not, while he retailed to his master all the wonderful
circumstances narrated by Vincent, to add to them many conjectures of
his own, which his imagination had over-hastily converted into facts.

Yet the life which the Lady Hermione had led for two years, during which
she had been the inmate of George Heriot's house, was so singular, as
almost to sanction many of the wild reports which went abroad. The house
which the worthy goldsmith inhabited, had in former times belonged to a
powerful and wealthy baronial family, which, during the reign of Henry
VIII., terminated in a dowager lady, very wealthy, very devout, and most
unalienably attached to the Catholic faith. The chosen friend of the
Honourable Lady Foljambe was the Abbess of Saint Roque's Nunnery, like
herself a conscientious, rigid, and devoted Papist. When the house of
Saint Roque was despotically dissolved by the fiat of the impetuous
monarch, the Lady Foljambe received her friend into her spacious
mansion, together with two vestal sisters, who, like their Abbess, were
determined to follow the tenor of their vows, instead of embracing the
profane liberty which the Monarch's will had thrown in their choice.
For their residence, the Lady Foljambe contrived, with all secrecy--for
Henry might not have relished her interference--to set apart a suite of
four rooms, with a little closet fitted up as an oratory, or chapel; the
whole apartments fenced by a stout oaken door to exclude strangers, and
accommodated with a turning wheel to receive necessaries, according
to the practice of all nunneries. In this retreat, the Abbess of Saint
Roque and her attendants passed many years, communicating only with the
Lady Foljambe, who, in virtue of their prayers, and of the support she
afforded them, accounted herself little less than a saint on earth. The
Abbess, fortunately for herself, died before her munificent patroness,
who lived deep in Queen Elizabeth's time, ere she was summoned by fate.

The Lady Foljambe was succeeded in this mansion by a sour fanatic
knight, a distant and collateral relation, who claimed the same merit
for expelling the priestess of Baal, which his predecessor had founded
on maintaining the votaresses of Heaven. Of the two unhappy nuns, driven
from their ancient refuge, one went beyond sea; the other, unable from
old age to undertake such a journey, died under the roof of a faithful
Catholic widow of low degree. Sir Paul Crambagge, having got rid of
the nuns, spoiled the chapel of its ornaments, and had thoughts of
altogether destroying the apartments, until checked by the reflection
that the operation would be an unnecessary expense, since he only
inhabited three rooms of the large mansion, and had not therefore the
slightest occasion for any addition to its accommodations. His son
proved a waster and a prodigal, and from him the house was bought by our
friend George Heriot, who, finding, like Sir Paul, the house more than
sufficiently ample for his accommodation, left the Foljambe apartments,
or Saint Roque's rooms, as they were called, in the state in which he
found them.

About two years and a half before our history opened, when Heriot was
absent upon an expedition to the Continent, he sent special orders to
his sister and his cash-keeper, directing that the Foljambe apartments
should be fitted up handsomely, though plainly, for the reception of
a lady, who would make them her residence for some time; and who would
live more or less with his own family according to her pleasure. He also
directed, that the necessary repairs should be made with secrecy,
and that as little should be said as possible upon the subject of his
letter.

When the time of his return came nigh, Aunt Judith and the household
were on the tenter-hooks of impatience. Master George came, as he had
intimated, accompanied by a lady, so eminently beautiful, that, had
it not been for her extreme and uniform paleness, she might have been
reckoned one of the loveliest creatures on earth. She had with her an
attendant, or humble companion, whose business seemed only to wait upon
her. This person, a reserved woman, and by her dialect a foreigner, aged
about fifty, was called by the lady Monna Paula, and by Master Heriot,
and others, Mademoiselle Pauline. She slept in the same room with
her patroness at night, ate in her apartment, and was scarcely ever
separated from her during the day.

These females took possession of the nunnery of the devout Abbess, and,
without observing the same rigorous seclusion, according to the letter,
seemed wellnigh to restore the apartments to the use to which they had
been originally designed. The new inmates lived and took their meals
apart from the rest of the family. With the domestics Lady Hermione, for
so she was termed, held no communication, and Mademoiselle Pauline only
such as was indispensable, which she dispatched as briefly as possible.
Frequent and liberal largesses reconciled the servants to this conduct;
and they were in the habit of observing to each other, that to do a
service for Mademoiselle Pauline, was like finding a fairy treasure.

To Aunt Judith the Lady Hermione was kind and civil, but their
intercourse was rare; on which account the elder lady felt some pangs
both of curiosity and injured dignity. But she knew her brother so well,
and loved him so dearly, that his will, once expressed, might be truly
said to become her own. The worthy citizen was not without a spice of
the dogmatism which grows on the best disposition, when a word is a
law to all around. Master George did not endure to be questioned by his
family, and, when he had generally expressed his will, that the Lady
Hermione should live in the way most agreeable to her, and that no
inquiries should be made concerning their history, or her motives for
observing such strict seclusion, his sister well knew that he would have
been seriously displeased with any attempt to pry into the secret.

But, though Heriot's servants were bribed, and his sister awed into
silent acquiescence in these arrangements, they were not of a nature to
escape the critical observation of the neighbourhood. Some opined that
the wealthy goldsmith was about to turn papist, and re-establish Lady
Foljambe's nunnery--others that he was going mad--others that he
was either going to marry, or to do worse. Master George's constant
appearance at church, and the knowledge that the supposed votaress
always attended when the prayers of the English ritual were read in the
family, liberated him from the first of these suspicions; those who
had to transact business with him upon 'Change, could not doubt the
soundness of Master Heriot's mind; and, to confute the other rumours,
it was credibly reported by such as made the matter their particular
interest, that Master George Heriot never visited his guest but in
presence of Mademoiselle Pauline, who sat with her work in a remote part
of the same room in which they conversed. It was also ascertained that
these visits scarcely ever exceeded an hour in length, and were usually
only repeated once a week, an intercourse too brief and too long
interrupted, to render it probable that love was the bond of their
union.

The inquirers were, therefore, at fault, and compelled to relinquish
the pursuit of Master Heriot's secret, while a thousand ridiculous
tales were circulated amongst the ignorant and superstitious, with some
specimens of which our friend Richie Moniplies had been _crammed_, as we
have seen, by the malicious apprentice of worthy David Ramsay.

There was one person in the world who, it was thought, could (if she
would) have said more of the Lady Hermione than any one in London,
except George Heriot himself; and that was the said David Ramsay's only
child, Margaret.

This girl was not much past the age of fifteen when the Lady Hermione
first came to England, and was a very frequent visitor at her
godfather's, who was much amused by her childish sallies, and by the
wild and natural beauty with which she sung the airs of her native
country. Spoilt she was on all hands; by the indulgence of her
godfather, the absent habits and indifference of her father, and the
deference of all around to her caprices, as a beauty and as an heiress.
But though, from these circumstances, the city-beauty had become as
wilful, as capricious, and as affected, as unlimited indulgence seldom
fails to render those to whom it is extended; and although she exhibited
upon many occasions that affectation of extreme shyness, silence, and
reserve, which misses in their teens are apt to take for an amiable
modesty; and, upon others, a considerable portion of that flippancy,
which youth sometimes confounds with wit, Mistress Margaret had much
real shrewdness and judgment, which wanted only opportunities of
observation to refine it--a lively, good-humoured, playful disposition,
and an excellent heart. Her acquired follies were much increased by
reading plays and romances, to which she devoted a great deal of her
time, and from which she adopted ideas as different as possible from
those which she might have obtained from the invaluable and affectionate
instructions of an excellent mother; and the freaks of which she was
sometimes guilty, rendered her not unjustly liable to the charge of
affectation and coquetry. But the little lass had sense and shrewdness
enough to keep her failings out of sight of her godfather, to whom she
was sincerely attached; and so high she stood in his favour, that, at
his recommendation, she obtained permission to visit the recluse Lady
Hermione.

The singular mode of life which that lady observed; her great beauty,
rendered even more interesting by her extreme paleness; the conscious
pride of being admitted farther than the rest of the world into the
society of a person who was wrapped in so much mystery, made a
deep impression on the mind of Margaret Ramsay; and though their
conversations were at no time either long or confidential, yet, proud of
the trust reposed in her, Margaret was as secret respecting their tenor
as if every word repeated had been to cost her life. No inquiry, however
artfully backed by flattery and insinuation, whether on the part of Dame
Ursula, or any other person equally inquisitive, could wring from the
little maiden one word of what she heard or saw, after she entered these
mysterious and secluded apartments. The slightest question concerning
Master Heriot's ghost, was sufficient, at her gayest moment, to check
the current of her communicative prattle, and render her silent.

We mention this, chiefly to illustrate the early strength of Margaret's
character--a strength concealed under a hundred freakish whims and
humours, as an ancient and massive buttress is disguised by its
fantastic covering of ivy and wildflowers. In truth, if the damsel had
told all she heard or saw within the Foljambe apartments, she would have
said but little to gratify the curiosity of inquirers.

At the earlier period of their acquaintance, the Lady Hermione was wont
to reward the attentions of her little friend with small but elegant
presents, and entertain her by a display of foreign rarities and
curiosities, many of them of considerable value. Sometimes the time
was passed in a way much less agreeable to Margaret, by her receiving
lessons from Pauline in the use of the needle. But, although her
preceptress practised these arts with a dexterity then only known in
foreign convents, the pupil proved so incorrigibly idle and awkward,
that the task of needlework was at length given up, and lessons of music
substituted in their stead. Here also Pauline was excellently qualified
as an instructress, and Margaret, more successful in a science for which
Nature had gifted her, made proficiency both in vocal and instrumental
music. These lessons passed in presence of the Lady Hermione, to whom
they seemed to give pleasure. She sometimes added her own voice to the
performance, in a pure, clear stream of liquid melody; but this was only
when the music was of a devotional cast. As Margaret became older, her
communications with the recluse assumed a different character. She was
allowed, if not encouraged, to tell whatever she had remarked out of
doors, and the Lady Hermione, while she remarked the quick, sharp, and
retentive powers of observation possessed by her young friend, often
found sufficient reason to caution her against rashness in forming
opinions, and giddy petulance in expressing them.

The habitual awe with which she regarded this singular personage,
induced Mistress Margaret, though by no means delighting in
contradiction or reproof, to listen with patience to her admonitions,
and to make full allowance for the good intentions of the patroness by
whom they were bestowed; although in her heart she could hardly conceive
how Madame Hermione, who never stirred from the Foljambe apartments,
should think of teaching knowledge of the world to one who walked twice
a-week between Temple Bar and Lombard Street, besides parading in
the Park every Sunday that proved to be fair weather. Indeed, pretty
Mistress Margaret was so little inclined to endure such remonstrances,
that her intercourse with the inhabitants of the Foljambe apartments
would have probably slackened as her circle of acquaintance increased
in the external world, had she not, on the one hand, entertained an
habitual reverence for her monitress, of which she could not divest
herself, and been flattered, on the other, by being to a certain degree
the depository of a confidence for which others thirsted in vain.
Besides, although the conversation of Hermione was uniformly serious, it
was not in general either formal or severe; nor was the lady offended by
flights of levity which Mistress Margaret sometimes ventured on in her
presence, even when they were such as made Monna Paula cast her eyes
upwards, and sigh with that compassion which a devotee extends towards
the votaries of a trivial and profane world. Thus, upon the whole, the
little maiden was disposed to submit, though not without some wincing,
to the grave admonitions of the Lady Hermione; and the rather that the
mystery annexed to the person of her monitress was in her mind early
associated with a vague idea of wealth and importance, which had been
rather confirmed than lessened by many accidental circumstances which
she had noticed since she was more capable of observation.

It frequently happens, that the counsel which we reckon intrusive when
offered to us unasked, becomes precious in our eyes when the pressure of
difficulties renders us more diffident of our own judgment than we are
apt to find ourselves in the hours of ease and indifference; and this is
more especially the case if we suppose that our adviser may also possess
power and inclination to back his counsel with effectual assistance.
Mistress Margaret was now in that situation. She was, or believed
herself to be, in a condition where both advice and assistance might be
necessary; and it was therefore, after an anxious and sleepless night,
that she resolved to have recourse to the Lady Hermione, who she knew
would readily afford her the one, and, as she hoped, might also possess
means of giving her the other. The conversation between them will best
explain the purport of the visit.



CHAPTER XIX


  By this good light, a wench of matchless mettle!
  This were a leaguer-lass to love a soldier,
  To bind his wounds, and kiss his bloody brow,
  And sing a roundel as she help'd to arm him,
  Though the rough foeman's drums were beat so nigh,
  They seem'd to bear the burden.
                               _Old Play._

When Mistress Margaret entered the Foljambe apartment, she found the
inmates employed in their usual manner; the lady in reading, and her
attendant in embroidering a large piece of tapestry, which had occupied
her ever since Margaret had been first admitted within these secluded
chambers.

Hermione nodded kindly to her visitor, but did not speak; and Margaret,
accustomed to this reception, and in the present case not sorry for it,
as it gave her an interval to collect her thoughts, stooped over Monna
Paula's frame and observed, in a half whisper, "You were just so far as
that rose, Monna, when I first saw you--see, there is the mark where I
had the bad luck to spoil the flower in trying to catch the stitch--I
was little above fifteen then. These flowers make me an old woman, Monna
Paula."

"I wish they could make you a wise one, my child," answered Monna Paula,
in whose esteem pretty Mistress Margaret did not stand quite so high as
in that of her patroness; partly owing to her natural austerity, which
was something intolerant of youth and gaiety, and partly to the jealousy
with which a favourite domestic regards any one whom she considers as a
sort of rival in the affections of her mistress.

"What is it you say to Monna, little one?" asked the lady.

"Nothing, madam," replied Mistress Margaret, "but that I have seen the
real flowers blossom three times over since I first saw Monna Paula
working in her canvass garden, and her violets have not budded yet."

"True, lady-bird," replied Hermione; "but the buds that are longest in
blossoming will last the longest in flower. You have seen them in the
garden bloom thrice, but you have seen them fade thrice also; now, Monna
Paula's will remain in blow for ever--they will fear neither frost nor
tempest."

"True, madam," answered Mistress Margaret; "but neither have they life
or odour."

"That, little one," replied the recluse, "is to compare a life agitated
by hope and fear, and chequered with success and disappointment, and
fevered by the effects of love and hatred, a life of passion and of
feeling, saddened and shortened by its exhausting alternations, to a
calm and tranquil existence, animated but by a sense of duties, and only
employed, during its smooth and quiet course, in the unwearied discharge
of them. Is that the moral of your answer?"

"I do not know, madam," answered Mistress Margaret; "but, of all birds
in the air, I would rather be the lark, that sings while he is drifting
down the summer breeze, than the weathercock that sticks fast yonder
upon his iron perch, and just moves so much as to discharge his duty,
and tell us which way the wind blows."

"Metaphors are no arguments, my pretty maiden," said the Lady Hermione,
smiling.

"I am sorry for that, madam," answered Margaret; "for they are such a
pretty indirect way of telling one's mind when it differs from one's
betters--besides, on this subject there is no end of them, and they are
so civil and becoming withal."

"Indeed?" replied the lady; "let me hear some of them, I pray you."

"It would be, for example, very bold in me," said Margaret, "to say
to your ladyship, that, rather than live a quiet life, I would like a
little variety of hope and fear, and liking and disliking--and--and--and
the other sort of feelings which your ladyship is pleased to speak of;
but I may say freely, and without blame, that I like a butterfly better
than a bettle, or a trembling aspen better than a grim Scots fir, that
never wags a leaf--or that of all the wood, brass, and wire that ever my
father's fingers put together, I do hate and detest a certain huge
old clock of the German fashion, that rings hours and half hours, and
quarters and half quarters, as if it were of such consequence that the
world should know it was wound up and going. Now, dearest lady, I wish
you would only compare that clumsy, clanging, Dutch-looking piece of
lumber, with the beautiful timepiece that Master Heriot caused my father
to make for your ladyship, which uses to play a hundred merry tunes, and
turns out, when it strikes the hour, a whole band of morrice dancers, to
trip the hays to the measure."

"And which of these timepieces goes the truest, Margaret?" said the
lady.

"I must confess the old Dutchman has the advantage in that"--said
Margaret. "I fancy you are right, madam, and that comparisons are no
arguments; at least mine has not brought me through."

"Upon my word, maiden Margaret," said the lady, smiling, "you have been
of late thinking very much of these matters."

"Perhaps too much, madam," said Margaret, so low as only to be heard by
the lady, behind the back of whose chair she had now placed herself. The
words were spoken very gravely, and accompanied by a half sigh, which
did not escape the attention of her to whom they were addressed.
The Lady Hermione turned immediately round, and looked earnestly at
Margaret, then paused for a moment, and, finally, commanded Monna Paula
to carry her frame and embroidery into the antechamber. When they were
left alone, she desired her young friend to come from behind the chair
on the back of which she still rested, and sit down beside her upon a
stool.

"I will remain thus, madam, under your favour," answered Margaret,
without changing her posture; "I would rather you heard me without
seeing me."

"In God's name, maiden," returned her patroness, "what is it you can
have to say, that may not be uttered face to face, to so true a friend
as I am?"

Without making any direct answer, Margaret only replied, "You were
right, dearest lady, when you said, I had suffered my feelings too much
to engross me of late. I have done very wrong, and you will be angry
with me--so will my godfather, but I cannot help it--he must be
rescued."

"_He?_" repeated the lady, with emphasis; "that brief little word does,
indeed, so far explain your mystery;--but come from behind the chair,
you silly popinjay! I will wager you have suffered yonder gay young
apprentice to sit too near your heart. I have not heard you mention
young Vincent for many a day--perhaps he has not been out of mouth and
out of mind both. Have you been so foolish as to let him speak to you
seriously?--I am told he is a bold youth."

"Not bold enough to say any thing that could displease me, madam," said
Margaret.

"Perhaps, then, you were _not_ displeased," said the lady; "or perhaps
he has not _spoken_, which would be wiser and better. Be open-hearted,
my love--your godfather will soon return, and we will take him into
our consultations. If the young man is industrious, and come of honest
parentage, his poverty may be no such insurmountable obstacle. But you
are both of you very young, Margaret--I know your godfather will expect,
that the youth shall first serve out his apprenticeship."

Margaret had hitherto suffered the lady to proceed, under the mistaken
impression which she had adopted, simply because she could not tell how
to interrupt her; but pure despite at hearing her last words gave her
boldness at length to say "I crave your pardon, madam; but neither
the youth you mention, nor any apprentice or master within the city of
London--"

"Margaret," said the lady, in reply, "the contemptuous tone with which
you mention those of your own class, (many hundreds if not thousands of
whom are in all respects better than yourself, and would greatly honour
you by thinking of you,) is methinks, no warrant for the wisdom of your
choice--for a choice, it seems, there is. Who is it, maiden, to whom you
have thus rashly attached yourself?--rashly, I fear it must be."

"It is the young Scottish Lord Glenvarloch, madam," answered Margaret,
in a low and modest tone, but sufficiently firm, considering the
subject.

"The young Lord of Glenvarloch!" repeated the lady, in great
surprise--"Maiden, you are distracted in your wits."

"I knew you would say so, madam," answered Margaret. "It is what another
person has already told me--it is, perhaps, what all the world would
tell me--it is what I am sometimes disposed to tell myself. But look
at me, madam, for I will now come before you, and tell me if there is
madness or distraction in my look and word, when I repeat to you again,
that I have fixed my affections on this young nobleman."

"If there is not madness in your look or word, maiden, there is infinite
folly in what you say," answered the Lady Hermione, sharply. "When did
you ever hear that misplaced love brought any thing but wretchedness?
Seek a match among your equals, Margaret, and escape the countless
kinds of risk and misery that must attend an affection beyond your
degree.--Why do you smile, maiden? Is there aught to cause scorn in what
I say?"

"Surely no, madam," answered Margaret. "I only smiled to think how it
should happen, that, while rank made such a wide difference between
creatures formed from the same clay, the wit of the vulgar should,
nevertheless, jump so exactly the same length with that of the
accomplished and the exalted. It is but the variation of the phrase
which divides them. Dame Ursley told me the very same thing which your
ladyship has but now uttered; only you, madam, talk of countless misery,
and Dame Ursley spoke of the gallows, and Mistress Turner, who was
hanged upon it."

"Indeed?" answered the Lady Hermione; "and who may Dame Ursley be,
that your wise choice has associated with me in the difficult task of
advising a fool?"

"The barber's wife at next door, madam," answered Margaret, with feigned
simplicity, but far from being sorry at heart, that she had found an
indirect mode of mortifying her monitress. "She is the wisest woman that
I know, next to your ladyship."

"A proper confidant," said the lady, "and chosen with the same delicate
sense of what is due to yourself and others!--But what ails you,
maiden--where are you going?"

"Only to ask Dame Ursley's advice," said Margaret, as if about to
depart; "for I see your ladyship is too angry to give me any, and the
emergency is pressing."

"What emergency, thou simple one?" said the lady, in a kinder
tone.--"Sit down, maiden, and tell me your tale. It is true you are a
fool, and a pettish fool to boot; but then you are a child--an amiable
child, with all your self-willed folly, and we must help you, if we
can.--Sit down, I say, as you are desired, and you will find me a safer
and wiser counseller than the barber-woman. And tell me how you come to
suppose, that you have fixed your heart unalterably upon a man whom you
have seen, as I think, but once."

"I have seen him oftener," said the damsel, looking down; "but I have
only spoken to him once. I should have been able to get that once out of
my head, though the impression was so deep, that I could even now repeat
every trifling word he said; but other things have since riveted it in
my bosom for ever."

"Maiden," replied the lady, "_for ever_ is the word which comes most
lightly on the lips in such circumstances, but which, not the less,
is almost the last that we should use. The fashion of this world,
its passions, its joys, and its sorrows, pass away like the winged
breeze--there is nought for ever but that which belongs to the world
beyond the grave."

"You have corrected me justly, madam," said Margaret calmly; "I ought
only to have spoken of my present state of mind, as what will last me
for my lifetime, which unquestionably may be but short."

"And what is there in this Scottish lord that can rivet what concerns
him so closely in your fancy?" said the lady. "I admit him a personable
man, for I have seen him; and I will suppose him courteous and
agreeable. But what are his accomplishments besides, for these surely
are not uncommon attributes."

"He is unfortunate, madam--most unfortunate--and surrounded by snares
of different kinds, ingeniously contrived to ruin his character, destroy
his estate, and, perhaps, to reach even his life. These schemes have
been devised by avarice originally, but they are now followed close by
vindictive ambition, animated, I think, by the absolute and concentrated
spirit of malice; for the Lord Dalgarno--"

"Here, Monna Paula--Monna Paula!" exclaimed the Lady Hermione,
interrupting her young friend's narrative. "She hears me not," she
answered, rising and going out, "I must seek her--I will return
instantly." She returned accordingly very soon after. "You mentioned a
name which I thought was familiar to me," she said; "but Monna Paula has
put me right. I know nothing of your lord--how was it you named him?"

"Lord Dalgarno," said Margaret;--"the wickedest man who lives. Under
pretence of friendship, he introduced the Lord Glenvarloch to a
gambling-house with the purpose of engaging him in deep play; but
he with whom the perfidious traitor had to deal, was too virtuous,
moderate, and cautious, to be caught in a snare so open. What did they
next, but turn his own moderation against him, and persuade others
that--because he would not become the prey of wolves, he herded with
them for a share of their booty! And, while this base Lord Dalgarno was
thus undermining his unsuspecting countryman, he took every measure
to keep him surrounded by creatures of his own, to prevent him from
attending Court, and mixing with those of his proper rank. Since the
Gunpowder Treason, there never was a conspiracy more deeply laid, more
basely and more deliberately pursued."

The lady smiled sadly at Margaret's vehemence, but sighed the next
moment, while she told her young friend how little she knew the world
she was about to live in, since she testified so much surprise at
finding it full of villainy.

"But by what means," she added, "could you, maiden, become possessed of
the secret views of a man so cautious as Lord Dalgarno--as villains in
general are?"

"Permit me to be silent on that subject," said the maiden; "I could not
tell you without betraying others--let it suffice that my tidings are as
certain as the means by which I acquired them are secret and sure. But I
must not tell them even to you."

"You are too bold, Margaret," said the lady, "to traffic in such matters
at your early age. It is not only dangerous, but even unbecoming and
unmaidenly."

"I knew you would say that also," said Margaret, with more meekness and
patience than she usually showed on receiving reproof; "but, God knows,
my heart acquits me of every other feeling save that of the wish to
assist this most innocent and betrayed man.--I contrived to send him
warning of his friend's falsehood;--alas! my care has only hastened his
utter ruin, unless speedy aid be found. He charged his false friend with
treachery, and drew on him in the Park, and is now liable to the fatal
penalty due for breach of privilege of the king's palace."

"This is indeed an extraordinary tale," said Hermione; "is Lord
Glenvarloch then in prison?"

"No, madam, thank God, but in the Sanctuary at Whitefriars--it is matter
of doubt whether it will protect him in such a case--they speak of a
warrant from the Lord Chief Justice--A gentleman of the temple has been
arrested, and is in trouble for having assisted him in his flight.--Even
his taking temporary refuge in that base place, though from extreme
necessity, will be used to the further defaming him. All this I know,
and yet I cannot rescue him--cannot rescue him save by your means."

"By my means, maiden?" said the lady--"you are beside yourself!--What
means can I possess in this secluded situation, of assisting this
unfortunate nobleman?"

"You have means," said Margaret, eagerly; "you have those means, unless
I mistake greatly, which can do anything--can do everything, in this
city, in this world--you have wealth, and the command of a small portion
of it will enable me to extricate him from his present danger. He will
be enabled and directed how to make his escape--and I--" she paused.

"Will accompany him, doubtless, and reap the fruits of your sage
exertions in his behalf?" said the Lady Hermione, ironically.

"May heaven forgive you the unjust thought, lady," answered Margaret.
"I will never see him more--but I shall have saved him, and the thought
will make me happy."

"A cold conclusion to so bold and warm a flame," said the lady, with a
smile which seemed to intimate incredulity.

"It is, however, the only one which I expect, madam--I could almost
say the only one which I wish--I am sure I will use no efforts to bring
about any other; if I am bold in his cause, I am timorous enough in my
own. During our only interview I was unable to speak a word to him. He
knows not the sound of my voice--and all that I have risked, and must
yet risk, I am doing for one, who, were he asked the question, would say
he has long since forgotten that he ever saw, spoke to, or sat beside, a
creature of so little signification as I am."

"This is a strange and unreasonable indulgence of a passion equally
fanciful and dangerous," said Lady Hermione. "You will _not_ assist me,
then?" said Margaret; "have good-day, then, madam--my secret, I trust,
is safe in such honourable keeping."

"Tarry yet a little," said the lady, "and tell me what resource you
have to assist this youth, if you were supplied with money to put it in
motion."

"It is superfluous to ask me the question, madam," answered Margaret,
"unless you purpose to assist me; and, if you do so purpose, it is still
superfluous. You could not understand the means I must use, and time is
too brief to explain."

"But have you in reality such means?" said the lady.

"I have, with the command of a moderate sum," answered Margaret Ramsay,
"the power of baffling all his enemies--of eluding the passion of
the irritated king--the colder but more determined displeasure of the
prince--the vindictive spirit of Buckingham, so hastily directed against
whomsoever crosses the path of his ambition--the cold concentrated
malice of Lord Dalgarno--all, I can baffle them all!"

"But is this to be done without your own personal risk, Margaret?"
replied the lady; "for, be your purpose what it will, you are not to
peril your own reputation or person, in the romantic attempt of serving
another; and I, maiden, am answerable to your godfather,--to your
benefactor, and my own,--not to aid you in any dangerous or unworthy
enterprise."

"Depend upon my word,--my oath,--dearest lady," replied the supplicant,
"that I will act by the agency of others, and do not myself design to
mingle in any enterprise in which my appearance might be either perilous
or unwomanly."

"I know not what to do," said the Lady Hermione; "it is perhaps
incautious and inconsiderate in me to aid so wild a project; yet the end
seems honourable, if the means be sure--what is the penalty if he fall
into their power?"

"Alas, alas! the loss of his right hand!" replied Margaret, her voice
almost stifled with sobs.

"Are the laws of England so cruel? Then there is mercy in heaven alone,"
said the lady, "since, even in this free land, men are wolves to each
other.--Compose yourself, Margaret, and tell me what money is necessary
to secure Lord Glenvarloch's escape."

"Two hundred pieces," replied Margaret; "I would speak to you of
restoring them--and I must one day have the power--only that I
know--that is, I think--your ladyship is indifferent on that score."

"Not a word more of it," said the lady; "call Monna Paula hither."



CHAPTER XX


  Credit me, friend, it hath been ever thus,
  Since the ark rested on Mount Ararat.
  False man hath sworn, and woman hath believed--
  Repented and reproach'd, and then believed once more.
                                  _The New World._

By the time that Margaret returned with Monna Paula, the Lady Hermione
was rising from the table at which she had been engaged in writing
something on a small slip of paper, which she gave to her attendant.

"Monna Paula," she said, "carry this paper to Roberts the cash-keeper;
let them give you the money mentioned in the note, and bring it hither
presently."

Monna Paula left the room, and her mistress proceeded.

"I do not know," she said, "Margaret, if I have done, and am doing,
well in this affair. My life has been one of strange seclusion, and I am
totally unacquainted with the practical ways of this world--an ignorance
which I know cannot be remedied by mere reading.--I fear I am doing
wrong to you, and perhaps to the laws of the country which affords me
refuge, by thus indulging you; and yet there is something in my heart
which cannot resist your entreaties."

"O, listen to it--listen to it, dear, generous lady!" said Margaret,
throwing herself on her knees and grasping those of her benefactress
and looking in that attitude like a beautiful mortal in the act
of supplicating her tutelary angel; "the laws of men are but the
injunctions of mortality, but what the heart prompts is the echo of the
voice from heaven within us."

"Rise, rise, maiden," said Hermione; "you affect me more than I thought
I could have been moved by aught that should approach me. Rise and tell
me whence it comes, that, in so short a time, your thoughts, your looks,
your speech, and even your slightest actions, are changed from those
of a capricious and fanciful girl, to all this energy and impassioned
eloquence of word and action?"

"I am sure I know not, dearest lady," said Margaret, looking down; "but
I suppose that, when I was a trifler, I was only thinking of trifles.
What I now reflect is deep and serious, and I am thankful if my speech
and manner bear reasonable proportion to my thoughts."

"It must be so," said the lady; "yet the change seems a rapid and
strange one. It seems to be as if a childish girl had at once shot up
into deep-thinking and impassioned woman, ready to make exertions alike,
and sacrifices, with all that vain devotion to a favourite object of
affection, which is often so basely rewarded."

The Lady Hermione sighed bitterly, and Monna Paula entered ere the
conversation proceeded farther. She spoke to her mistress in the foreign
language in which they frequently conversed, but which was unknown to
Margaret.

"We must have patience for a time," said the lady to her visitor; "the
cash-keeper is abroad on some business, but he is expected home in the
course of half an hour."

Margaret wrung her hands in vexation and impatience.

"Minutes are precious," continued the lady; "that I am well aware of;
and we will at least suffer none of them to escape us. Monna Paula shall
remain below and transact our business, the very instant that Roberts
returns home."

She spoke to her attendant accordingly, who again left the room.

"You are very kind, madam--very good," said the poor little Margaret,
while the anxious trembling of her lip and of her hand showed all that
sickening agitation of the heart which arises from hope deferred.

"Be patient, Margaret, and collect yourself," said the lady; "you
may, you must, have much to do to carry through this your bold
purpose--reserve your spirits, which you may need so much--be
patient--it is the only remedy against the evils of life."

"Yes, madam," said Margaret, wiping her eyes, and endeavouring in
vain to suppress the natural impatience of her temper,--"I have heard
so--very often indeed; and I dare say I have myself, heaven forgive me,
said so to people in perplexity and affliction; but it was before I
had suffered perplexity and vexation myself, and I am sure I will never
preach patience to any human being again, now that I know how much the
medicine goes against the stomach."

"You will think better of it, maiden," said the Lady Hermione; "I also,
when I first felt distress, thought they did me wrong who spoke to me
of patience; but my sorrows have been repeated and continued till I have
been taught to cling to it as the best, and--religious duties excepted,
of which, indeed, patience forms a part--the only alleviation which life
can afford them."

Margaret, who neither wanted sense nor feeling, wiped her tears hastily,
and asked her patroness's forgiveness for her petulance.

"I might have thought"--she said, "I ought to have reflected, that even
from the manner of your life, madam, it is plain you must have suffered
sorrow; and yet, God knows, the patience which I have ever seen you
display, well entitles you to recommend your own example to others."

The lady was silent for a moment, and then replied--

"Margaret, I am about to repose a high confidence in you. You are no
longer a child, but a thinking and a feeling woman. You have told me as
much of your secret as you dared--I will let you know as much of mine as
I may venture to tell. You will ask me, perhaps, why, at a moment when
your own mind is agitated, I should force upon you the consideration of
my sorrows? and I answer, that I cannot withstand the impulse which now
induces me to do so. Perhaps from having witnessed, for the first time
these three years, the natural effects of human passion, my own
sorrows have been awakened, and are for the moment too big for my own
bosom--perhaps I may hope that you, who seem driving full sail on the
very rock on which I was wrecked for ever, will take warning by the tale
I have to tell. Enough, if you are willing to listen, I am willing to
tell you who the melancholy inhabitant of the Foljambe apartments really
is, and why she resides here. It will serve, at least, to while away the
time until Monna Paula shall bring us the reply from Roberts."

At any other moment of her life, Margaret Ramsay would have heard
with undivided interest a communication so flattering in itself, and
referring to a subject upon which the general curiosity had been so
strongly excited. And even at this agitating moment, although she ceased
not to listen with an anxious ear and throbbing heart for the sound of
Monna Paula's returning footsteps, she nevertheless, as gratitude and
policy, as well as a portion of curiosity dictated, composed herself,
in appearance at least, to the strictest attention to the Lady Hermione,
and thanked her with humility for the high confidence she was pleased
to repose in her. The Lady Hermione, with the same calmness which always
attended her speech and actions, thus recounted her story to her young
friend:

"My father," she said, "was a merchant, but he was of a city whose
merchants are princes. I am the daughter of a noble house in Genoa,
whose name stood as high in honour and in antiquity, as any inscribed in
the Golden Register of that famous aristocracy.

"My mother was a noble Scottish woman. She was descended--do not
start--and not remotely descended, of the house of Glenvarloch--no
wonder that I was easily led to take concern in the misfortunes of this
young lord. He is my near relation, and my mother, who was more than
sufficiently proud of her descent, early taught me to take an interest
in the name. My maternal grandfather, a cadet of that house of
Glenvarloch, had followed the fortunes of an unhappy fugitive, Francis
Earl of Bothwell, who, after showing his miseries in many a foreign
court, at length settled in Spain upon a miserable pension, which
he earned by conforming to the Catholic faith. Ralph Olifaunt, my
grandfather, separated from him in disgust, and settled at Barcelona,
where, by the friendship of the governor, his heresy, as it was termed,
was connived at. My father, in the course of his commerce, resided more
at Barcelona than in his native country, though at times he visited
Genoa.

"It was at Barcelona that he became acquainted with my mother, loved
her, and married her; they differed in faith, but they agreed in
affection. I was their only child. In public I conformed to the
docterins and ceremonial of the Church of Rome; but my mother, by whom
these were regarded with horror, privately trained me up in those of the
reformed religion; and my father, either indifferent in the matter, or
unwilling to distress the woman whom he loved, overlooked or connived at
my secretly joining in her devotions.

"But when, unhappily, my father was attacked, while yet in the prime
of life, by a slow wasting disease, which he felt to be incurable, he
foresaw the hazard to which his widow and orphan might be exposed, after
he was no more, in a country so bigoted to Catholicism as Spain. He made
it his business, during the two last years of his life, to realize and
remit to England a large part of his fortune, which, by the faith and
honour of his correspondent, the excellent man under whose roof I now
reside, was employed to great advantage. Had my father lived to complete
his purpose, by withdrawing his whole fortune from commerce, he himself
would have accompanied us to England, and would have beheld us settled
in peace and honour before his death. But heaven had ordained it
otherwise. He died, leaving several sums engaged in the hands of his
Spanish debtors; and, in particular, he had made a large and extensive
consignment to a certain wealthy society of merchants at Madrid, who
showed no willingness after his death to account for the proceeds. Would
to God we had left these covetous and wicked men in possession of their
booty, for such they seemed to hold the property of their deceased
correspondent and friend! We had enough for comfort, and even splendour,
already secured in England; but friends exclaimed upon the folly
of permitting these unprincipled men to plunder us of our rightful
property. The sum itself was large, and the claim having been made,
my mother thought that my father's memory was interested in its being
enforced, especially as the defences set up for the mercantile society
went, in some degree, to impeach the fairness of his transactions.

"We went therefore to Madrid. I was then, my Margaret, about your age,
young and thoughtless, as you have hitherto been--We went, I say, to
Madrid, to solicit the protection of the Court and of the king, without
which we were told it would be in vain to expect justice against an
opulent and powerful association.

"Our residence at the Spanish metropolis drew on from weeks to months.
For my part, my natural sorrow for a kind, though not a fond father,
having abated, I cared not if the lawsuit had detained us at Madrid for
ever. My mother permitted herself and me rather more liberty than we
had been accustomed to. She found relations among the Scottish and Irish
officers, many of whom held a high rank in the Spanish armies; their
wives and daughters became our friends and companions, and I had
perpetual occasion to exercise my mother's native language, which I had
learned from my infancy. By degrees, as my mother's spirits were low,
and her health indifferent, she was induced, by her partial fondness for
me, to suffer me to mingle occasionally in society which she herself did
not frequent, under the guardianship of such ladies as she imagined she
could trust, and particularly under the care of the lady of a general
officer, whose weakness or falsehood was the original cause of my
misfortunes. I was as gay, Margaret, and thoughtless--I again repeat
it--as you were but lately, and my attention, like yours, became
suddenly riveted to one object, and to one set of feelings.

"The person by whom they were excited was young, noble, handsome,
accomplished, a soldier, and a Briton. So far our cases are nearly
parallel; but, may heaven forbid that the parallel should become
complete! This man, so noble, so fairly formed, so gifted, and so
brave--this villain, for that, Margaret, was his fittest name, spoke of
love to me, and I listened---Could I suspect his sincerity? If he was
wealthy, noble, and long-descended, I also was a noble and an opulent
heiress. It is true, that he neither knew the extent of my father's
wealth, nor did I communicate to him (I do not even remember if I myself
knew it at the time) the important circumstance, that the greater part
of that wealth was beyond the grasp of arbitrary power, and not subject
to the precarious award of arbitrary judges. My lover might think,
perhaps, as my mother was desirous the world at large should believe,
that almost our whole fortune depended on the precarious suit which we
had come to Madrid to prosecute--a belief which she had countenanced
out of policy, being well aware that a knowledge of my father's having
remitted such a large part of his fortune to England, would in no shape
aid the recovery of further sums in the Spanish courts. Yet, with no
more extensive views of my fortune than were possessed by the public,
I believe that he, of whom I am speaking, was at first sincere in his
pretensions. He had himself interest sufficient to have obtained a
decision in our favour in the courts, and my fortune, reckoning only
what was in Spain, would then have been no inconsiderable sum. To be
brief, whatever might be his motives or temptation for so far committing
himself, he applied to my mother for my hand, with my consent and
approval. My mother's judgment had become weaker, but her passions had
become more irritable, during her increasing illness.

"You have heard of the bitterness of the ancient Scottish feuds, of
which it may be said, in the language of Scripture, that the fathers eat
sour grapes, and the teeth of the children are set on edge. Unhappily--I
should say _happily_, considering what this man has now shown himself
to be--some such strain of bitterness had divided his house from my
mother's, and she had succeeded to the inheritance of hatred. When
he asked her for my hand, she was no longer able to command her
passions--she raked up every injury which the rival families had
inflicted upon each other during a bloody feud of two centuries--heaped
him with epithets of scorn, and rejected his proposal of alliance, as if
it had come from the basest of mankind.

"My lover retired in passion; and I remained to weep and murmur against
fortune, and--I will confess my fault--against my affectionate parent.
I had been educated with different feelings, and the traditions of the
feuds and quarrels of my mother's family in Scotland, which we're to her
monuments and chronicles, seemed to me as insignificant and unmeaning
as the actions and fantasies of Don Quixote; and I blamed my mother
bitterly for sacrificing my happiness to an empty dream of family
dignity.

"While I was in this humour, my lover sought a renewal of our
intercourse. We met repeatedly in the house of the lady whom I
have mentioned, and who, in levity, or in the spirit of intrigue,
countenanced our secret correspondence. At length we were secretly
married--so far did my blinded passion hurry me. My lover had secured
the assistance of a clergyman of the English church. Monna Paula, who
had been my attendant from infancy, was one witness of our union. Let me
do the faithful creature justice--She conjured me to suspend my purpose
till my mother's death should permit us to celebrate our marriage
openly; but the entreaties of my lover, and my own wayward passion,
prevailed over her remonstrances. The lady I have spoken of was another
witness, but whether she was in full possession of my bridegroom's
secret, I had never the means to learn. But the shelter of her name and
roof afforded us the means of frequently meeting, and the love of my
husband seemed as sincere and as unbounded as my own.

"He was eager, he said, to gratify his pride, by introducing me to one
or two of his noble English friends. This could not be done at Lady
D---'s; but by his command, which I was now entitled to consider as my
law, I contrived twice to visit him at his own hotel, accompanied only
by Monna Paula. There was a very small party, of two ladies and two
gentlemen. There was music, mirth, and dancing. I had heard of the
frankness of the English nation, but I could not help thinking it
bordered on license during these entertainments, and in the course
of the collation which followed; but I imputed my scruples to my
inexperience, and would not doubt the propriety of what was approved by
my husband.

"I was soon summoned to other scenes: My poor mother's disease drew to
a conclusion--Happy I am that it took place before she discovered what
would have cut her to the soul.

"In Spain you may have heard how the Catholic priests, and particularly
the monks, besiege the beds of the dying, to obtain bequests for the
good of the church. I have said that my mother's temper was irritated by
disease, and her judgment impaired in proportion. She gathered spirits
and force from the resentment which the priests around her bed excited
by their importunity, and the boldness of the stern sect of reformers,
to which she had secretly adhered, seemed to animate her dying tongue.
She avowed the religion she had so long concealed; renounced all hope
and aid which did not come by and through its dictates; rejected with
contempt the ceremonial of the Romish church; loaded the astonished
priests with reproaches for their greediness and hypocrisy, and
commanded them to leave her house. They went in bitterness and rage,
but it was to return with the inquisitorial power, its warrants, and its
officers; and they found only the cold corpse left of her, on whom they
had hoped to work their vengeance. As I was soon discovered to have
shared my mother's heresy, I was dragged from her dead body, imprisoned
in a solitary cloister, and treated with severity, which the Abbess
assured me was due to the looseness of my life, as well as my spiritual
errors. I avowed my marriage, to justify the situation in which I found
myself--I implored the assistance of the Superior to communicate my
situation to my husband. She smiled coldly at the proposal, and told
me the church had provided a better spouse for me; advised me to secure
myself of divine grace hereafter, and deserve milder treatment here, by
presently taking the veil. In order to convince me that I had no other
resource, she showed me a royal decree, by which all my estate was
hypothecated to the convent of Saint Magdalen, and became their complete
property upon my death, or my taking the vows. As I was, both from
religious principle, and affectionate attachment to my husband,
absolutely immovable in my rejection of the veil, I believe--may heaven
forgive me if I wrong her--that the Abbess was desirous to make sure of
my spoils, by hastening the former event.

"It was a small and a poor convent, and situated among the mountains
of Guadarrama. Some of the sisters were the daughters of neighbouring
Hidalgoes, as poor as they were proud and ignorant; others were women
immured there on account of their vicious conduct. The Superior herself
was of a high family, to which she owed her situation; but she was said
to have disgraced her connexions by her conduct during youth, and now,
in advanced age, covetousness and the love of power, a spirit too of
severity and cruelty, had succeeded to the thirst after licentious
pleasure. I suffered much under this woman--and still her dark, glassy
eye, her tall, shrouded form, and her rigid features, haunt my slumbers.

"I was not destined to be a mother. I was very ill, and my recovery was
long doubtful. The most violent remedies were applied, if remedies
they indeed were. My health was restored at length, against my own
expectation and that of all around me. But, when I first again beheld
the reflection of my own face, I thought it was the visage of a ghost. I
was wont to be flattered by all, but particularly by my husband, for the
fineness of my complexion--it was now totally gone, and, what is more
extraordinary, it has never returned. I have observed that the few
who now see me, look upon me as a bloodless phantom--Such has been
the abiding effect of the treatment to which I was subjected. May God
forgive those who were the agents of it!--I thank Heaven I can say so
with as sincere a wish, as that with which I pray for forgiveness of
my own sins. They now relented somewhat towards me--moved perhaps
to compassion by my singular appearance, which bore witness to my
sufferings; or afraid that the matter might attract attention during
a visitation of the bishop, which was approaching. One day, as I was
walking in the convent-garden, to which I had been lately admitted, a
miserable old Moorish slave, who was kept to cultivate the little
spot, muttered as I passed him, but still keeping his wrinkled face and
decrepit form in the same angle with the earth--'There is Heart's Ease
near the postern.'

"I knew something of the symbolical language of flowers, once carried to
such perfection among the Moriscoes of Spain; but if I had been ignorant
of it, the captive would soon have caught at any hint which seemed
to promise liberty. With all the haste consistent with the utmost
circumspection--for I might be observed by the Abbess or some of the
sisters from the window--I hastened to the postern. It was closely
barred as usual, but when I coughed slightly, I was answered from the
other side--and, O heaven! it was my husband's voice which said, 'Lose
not a minute here at present, but be on this spot when the vesper bell
has tolled.'

"I retired in an ecstasy of joy. I was not entitled or permitted to
assist at vespers, but was accustomed to be confined to my cell while
the nuns were in the choir. Since my recovery, they had discontinued
locking the door; though the utmost severity was denounced against me
if I left these precincts. But, let the penalty be what it would, I
hastened to dare it.--No sooner had the last toll of the vesper bell
ceased to sound, than I stole from my chamber, reached the garden
unobserved, hurried to the postern, beheld it open with rapture, and
in the next moment was in my husband's arms. He had with him another
cavalier of noble mien--both were masked and armed. Their horses, with
one saddled for my use, stood in a thicket hard by, with two other
masked horsemen, who seemed to be servants. In less than two minutes we
were mounted, and rode off as fast as we could through rough and devious
roads, in which one of the domestics appeared to act as guide.

"The hurried pace at which we rode, and the anxiety of the moment, kept
me silent, and prevented my expressing my surprise or my joy save in a
few broken words. It also served as an apology for my husband's silence.
At length we stopped at a solitary hut--the cavaliers dismounted, and I
was assisted from my saddle, not by M----M----my husband, I would say,
who seemed busied about his horse, but by the stranger.

"'Go into the hut,' said my husband, 'change your dress with the
speed of lightning--you will find one to _assist_ you--we must forward
instantly when you have shifted your apparel.'

"I entered the hut, and was received in the arms of the faithful Monna
Paula, who had waited my arrival for many hours, half distracted with
fear and anxiety. With her assistance I speedily tore off the detested
garments of the convent, and exchanged them for a travelling suit, made
after the English fashion. I observed that Monna Paula was in a similar
dress. I had but just huddled on my change of attire, when we were
hastily summoned to mount. A horse, I found, was provided for Monna
Paula, and we resumed our route. On the way, my convent-garb, which had
been wrapped hastily together around a stone, was thrown into a lake,
along the verge of which we were then passing. The two cavaliers rode
together in front, my attendant and I followed, and the servants brought
up the rear. Monna Paula, as we rode on, repeatedly entreated me to
be silent upon the road, as our lives depended on it. I was easily
reconciled to be passive, for, the first fever of spirits which attended
the sense of liberation and of gratified affection having passed away, I
felt as it were dizzy with the rapid motion; and my utmost exertion was
necessary to keep my place on the saddle, until we suddenly (it was now
very dark) saw a strong light before us.

"My husband reined up his horse, and gave a signal by a low whistle
twice repeated, which was answered from a distance. The whole party then
halted under the boughs of a large cork-tree, and my husband, drawing
himself close to my side, said, in a voice which I then thought was only
embarrassed by fear for my safety,--'We must now part. Those to whom I
commit you are contrabandists, who only know you as English-women, but
who, for a high bribe, have undertaken to escort you through the passes
of the Pyrenees as far as Saint Jean de Luz.'

"'And do you not go with us?' I exclaimed with emphasis, though in a
whisper.

"'It is impossible,' he said, 'and would ruin all--See that you speak
in English in these people's hearing, and give not the least sign of
understanding what they say in Spanish--your life depends on it; for,
though they live in opposition to, and evasion of, the laws of Spain,
they would tremble at the idea of violating those of the church--I see
them coming--farewell--farewell.'

"The last words were hastily uttered-I endeavoured to detain him yet a
moment by my feeble grasp on his cloak.

"'You will meet me, then, I trust, at Saint Jean de Luz?'

"'Yes, yes,' he answered hastily, 'at Saint Jean de Luz you will meet
your protector.'

"He then extricated his cloak from my grasp, and was lost in the
darkness. His companion approached--kissed my hand, which in the
agony of the moment I was scarce sensible of, and followed my husband,
attended by one of the domestics."

The tears of Hermione here flowed so fast as to threaten the
interruption of her narrative. When she resumed it, it was with a kind
of apology to Margaret.

"Every circumstance," she said, "occurring in those moments, when I
still enjoyed a delusive idea of happiness, is deeply imprinted in my
remembrance, which, respecting all that has since happened, is waste and
unvaried as an Arabian desert. But I have no right to inflict on you,
Margaret, agitated as you are with your own anxieties, the unavailing
details of my useless recollections."

Margaret's eyes were full of tears--it was impossible it could
be otherwise, considering that the tale was told by her suffering
benefactress, and resembled, in some respects, her own situation; and
yet she must not be severely blamed, if, while eagerly pressing her
patroness to continue her narrative, her eye involuntarily sought the
door, as if to chide the delay of Monna Paula.

The Lady Hermione saw and forgave these conflicting emotions; and
she, too, must be pardoned, if, in her turn, the minute detail of her
narrative showed, that, in the discharge of feelings so long locked
in her own bosom, she rather forgot those which were personal to
her auditor, and by which it must be supposed Margaret's mind was
principally occupied, if not entirely engrossed.

"I told you, I think, that one domestic followed the gentlemen," thus
the lady continued her story, "the other remained with us for the
purpose, as it seemed, of introducing us to two persons whom M--, I
say, whom my husband's signal had brought to the spot. A word or two of
explanation passed between them and the servant, in a sort of _patois_,
which I did not understand; and one of the strangers taking hold of my
bridle, the other of Monna Paula's, they led us towards the light,
which I have already said was the signal of our halting. I touched Monna
Paula, and was sensible that she trembled very much, which surprised me,
because I knew her character to be so strong and bold as to border upon
the masculine.

"When we reached the fire, the gipsy figures of those who surrounded it,
with their swarthy features, large Sombrero hats, girdles stuck full
of pistols and poniards, and all the other apparatus of a roving and
perilous life, would have terrified me at another moment. But then I
only felt the agony of having parted from my husband almost in the very
moment of my rescue. The females of the gang--for there were four or
five women amongst these contraband traders--received us with a sort of
rude courtesy. They were, in dress and manners, not extremely different
from the men with whom they associated--were almost as hardy and
adventurous, carried arms like them, and were, as we learned from
passing circumstances, scarce less experienced in the use of them.

"It was impossible not to fear these wild people; yet they gave us no
reason to complain of them, but used us on all occasions with a kind of
clumsy courtesy, accommodating themselves to our wants and our weakness
during the journey, even while we heard them grumbling to each other
against our effeminacy,--like some rude carrier, who, in charge of a
package of valuable and fragile ware, takes every precaution for its
preservation, while he curses the unwonted trouble which it occasions
him. Once or twice, when they were disappointed in their contraband
traffic, lost some goods in a rencontre with the Spanish officers of
the revenue, and were finally pursued by a military force, their murmurs
assumed a more alarming tone, in the terrified ears of my attendant and
myself, when, without daring to seem to understand them, we heard them
curse the insular heretics, on whose account God, Saint James, and
Our Lady of the Pillar, had blighted their hopes of profit. These are
dreadful recollections, Margaret."

"Why, then, dearest lady," answered Margaret, "will you thus dwell on
them?"

"It is only," said the Lady Hermione, "because I linger like a criminal
on the scaffold, and would fain protract the time that must inevitably
bring on the final catastrophe. Yes, dearest Margaret, I rest and dwell
on the events of that journey, marked as it was by fatigue and danger,
though the road lay through the wildest and most desolate deserts and
mountains, and though our companions, both men and women, were fierce
and lawless themselves, and exposed to the most merciless retaliation
from those with whom they were constantly engaged--yet would I rather
dwell on these hazardous events than tell that which awaited me at Saint
Jean de Luz."

"But you arrived there in safety?" said Margaret.

"Yes, maiden," replied the Lady Hermione; "and were guided by the chief
of our outlawed band to the house which had been assigned for reception,
with the same punctilious accuracy with which he would have delivered a
bale of uncustomed goods to a correspondent. I was told a gentleman
had expected me for two days--I rushed into the apartment, and, when
I expected to embrace my husband--I found myself in the arms of his
friend!"

"The villain!" exclaimed Margaret, whose anxiety had, in spite of
herself, been a moment suspended by the narrative of the lady.

"Yes," replied Hermione, calmly, though her voice somewhat faltered, "it
is the name that best--that well befits him. He, Margaret, for whom I
had sacrificed all--whose love and whose memory were dearer to me than
my freedom, when I was in the convent--than my life, when I was on my
perilous journey--had taken his measures to shake me off, and transfer
me, as a privileged wanton, to the protection of his libertine
friend. At first the stranger laughed at my tears and my agony, as the
hysterical passion of a deluded and overreached wanton, or the wily
affection of a courtezan. My claim of marriage he laughed at, assuring
me he knew it was a mere farce required by me, and submitted to by his
friend, to save some reserve of delicacy; and expressed his surprise
that I should consider in any other light a ceremony which could be
valid neither in Spain nor England, and insultingly offered to remove
my scruples, by renewing such a union with me himself. My exclamations
brought Monna Paula to my aid--she was not, indeed, far distant, for she
had expected some such scene."

"Good heaven!" said Margaret, "was she a confidant of your base
husband?"

"No," answered Hermione, "do her not that injustice. It was her
persevering inquiries that discovered the place of my confinement--it
was she who gave the information to my husband, and who remarked even
then that the news was so much more interesting to his friend than to
him, that she suspected, from an early period, it was the purpose of the
villain to shake me off. On the journey, her suspicions were confirmed.
She had heard him remark to his companion, with a cold sarcastic
sneer, the total change which my prison and my illness had made on my
complexion; and she had heard the other reply, that the defect might be
cured by a touch of Spanish red. This, and other circumstances, having
prepared her for such treachery, Monna Paula now entered, completely
possessed of herself, and prepared to support me. Her calm
representations went farther with the stranger than the expressions of
my despair. If he did not entirely believe our tale, he at least
acted the part of a man of honour, who would not intrude himself
on defenceless females, whatever was their character; desisted from
persecuting us with his presence; and not only directed Monna Paula how
we should journey to Paris, but furnished her with money for the purpose
of our journey. From the capital I wrote to Master Heriot, my father's
most trusted correspondent; he came instantly to Paris on receiving
the letter; and--But here comes Monna Paula, with more than the sum you
desired. Take it, my dearest maiden--serve this youth if you will. But,
O Margaret, look for no gratitude in return!"

The Lady Hermione took the bag of gold from her attendant, and gave it
to her young friend, who threw herself into her arms, kissed her on
both the pale cheeks, over which the sorrows so newly awakened by
her narrative had drawn many tears, then sprung up, wiped her own
overflowing eyes, and left the Foljambe apartments with a hasty and
resolved step.



CHAPTER XXI


  Rove not from pole to pole-the man lives here
  Whose razor's only equall'd by his beer;
  And where, in either sense, the cockney-put
  May, if he pleases, get confounded cut.
       _On the sign of an Alehouse kept by a Barber._

We are under the necessity of transporting our readers to the habitation
of Benjamin Suddlechop, the husband of the active and efficient Dame
Ursula, and who also, in his own person, discharged more offices than
one. For, besides trimming locks and beards, and turning whiskers upward
into the martial and swaggering curl, or downward into the drooping
form which became mustaches of civil policy; besides also occasionally
letting blood, either by cupping or by the lancet, extracting a stump,
and performing other actions of petty pharmacy, very nearly as well as
his neighbour Raredrench, the apothecary: he could, on occasion, draw
a cup of beer as well as a tooth, tap a hogshead as well as a vein, and
wash, with a draught of good ale, the mustaches which his art had just
trimmed. But he carried on these trades apart from each other.

His barber's shop projected its long and mysterious pole into Fleet
Street, painted party-coloured-wise, to represent the ribbons with
which, in elder times, that ensign was garnished. In the window were
seen rows of teeth displayed upon strings like rosaries--cups with a red
rag at the bottom, to resemble blood, an intimation that patients
might be bled, cupped, or blistered, with the assistance of "sufficient
advice;" while the more profitable, but less honourable operations upon
the hair of the head and beard, were briefly and gravely announced.
Within was the well-worn leather chair for customers, the guitar, then
called a ghittern or cittern, with which a customer might amuse himself
till his predecessor was dismissed from under Benjamin's hands, and
which, therefore, often flayed the ears of the patient metaphorically,
while his chin sustained from the razor literal scarification. All,
therefore, in this department, spoke the chirurgeon-barber, or the
barber-chirurgeon.

But there was a little back-room, used as a private tap-room, which had
a separate entrance by a dark and crooked alley, which communicated with
Fleet Street, after a circuitous passage through several by-lanes
and courts. This retired temple of Bacchus had also a connexion with
Benjamin's more public shop by a long and narrow entrance, conducting to
the secret premises in which a few old topers used to take their morning
draught, and a few gill-sippers their modicum of strong waters, in a
bashful way, after having entered the barber's shop under pretence of
being shaved. Besides, this obscure tap-room gave a separate admission
to the apartments of Dame Ursley, which she was believed to make use of
in the course of her multifarious practice, both to let herself secretly
out, and to admit clients and employers who cared not to be seen to
visit her in public. Accordingly, after the hour of noon, by which time
the modest and timid whetters, who were Benjamin's best customers, had
each had his draught, or his thimbleful, the business of the tap was in
a manner ended, and the charge of attending the back-door passed from
one of the barber's apprentices to the little mulatto girl, the dingy
Iris of Dame Suddlechop. Then came mystery thick upon mystery; muffled
gallants, and masked females, in disguises of different fashions, were
seen to glide through the intricate mazes of the alley; and even the low
tap on the door, which frequently demanded the attention of the
little Creole, had in it something that expressed secrecy and fear of
discovery.

It was the evening of the same day when Margaret had held the long
conference with the Lady Hermione, that Dame Suddlechop had directed her
little portress to "keep the door fast as a miser's purse-strings; and,
as she valued her saffron skin, to let in none but---" the name she
added in a whisper, and accompanied it with a nod. The little domestic
blinked intelligence, went to her post, and in brief time thereafter
admitted and ushered into the presence of the dame, that very
city-gallant whose clothes sat awkwardly upon him, and who had behaved
so doughtily in the fray which befell at Nigel's first visit to
Beaujeu's ordinary. The mulatto introduced him--"Missis, fine young
gentleman, all over gold and velvet "--then muttered to herself as she
shut the door, "fine young gentleman, he!--apprentice to him who makes
the tick-tick."

It was indeed--we are sorry to say it, and trust our readers will
sympathize with the interest we take in the matter--it was indeed honest
Jin Vin, who had been so far left to his own devices, and abandoned by
his better angel, as occasionally to travesty himself in this fashion,
and to visit, in the dress of a gallant of the day, those places of
pleasure and dissipation, in which it would have been everlasting
discredit to him to have been seen in his real character and condition;
that is, had it been possible for him in his proper shape to have gained
admission. There was now a deep gloom on his brow, his rich habit was
hastily put on, and buttoned awry; his belt buckled in a most disorderly
fashion, so that his sword stuck outwards from his side, instead of
hanging by it with graceful negligence; while his poniard, though fairly
hatched and gilded, stuck in his girdle like a butcher's steel in
the fold of his blue apron. Persons of fashion had, by the way, the
advantage formerly of being better distinguished from the vulgar than at
present; for, what the ancient farthingale and more modern hoop were to
court ladies, the sword was to the gentleman; an article of dress, which
only rendered those ridiculous who assumed it for the nonce, without
being in the habit of wearing it. Vincent's rapier got between his legs,
and, as he stumbled over it, he exclaimed--"Zounds! 'tis the second time
it has served me thus--I believe the damned trinket knows I am no true
gentleman, and does it of set purpose."

"Come, come, mine honest Jin Vin--come, my good boy," said the dame, in
a soothing tone, "never mind these trankums--a frank and hearty London
'prentice is worth all the gallants of the inns of court."

"I was a frank and hearty London 'prentice before I knew you, Dame
Suddlechop," said Vincent; "what your advice has made me, you may find a
name for; since, fore George! I am ashamed to think about it myself."

"A-well-a-day," quoth the dame, "and is it even so with thee?--nay,
then, I know but one cure;" and with that, going to a little corner
cupboard of carved wainscoat, she opened it by the assistance of a key,
which, with half-a-dozen besides, hung in a silver chain at her girdle,
and produced a long flask of thin glass cased with wicker, bringing
forth at the same time two Flemish rummer glasses, with long stalks and
capacious wombs. She filled the one brimful for her guest, and the other
more modestly to about two-thirds of its capacity, for her own
use, repeating, as the rich cordial trickled forth in a smooth oily
stream--"Right Rosa Solis, as ever washed mulligrubs out of a moody
brain!"

But, though Jin Vin tossed off his glass without scruple, while the lady
sippped hers more moderately, it did not appear to produce the expected
amendment upon his humour. On the contrary, as he threw himself into the
great leathern chair, in which Dame Ursley was wont to solace herself of
an evening, he declared himself "the most miserable dog within the sound
of Bow-bell."

"And why should you be so idle as to think yourself so, silly boy?" said
Dame Suddlechop; "but 'tis always thus--fools and children never know
when they are well. Why, there is not one that walks in St. Paul's,
whether in flat cap, or hat and feather, that has so many kind glances
from the wenches as you, when ye swagger along Fleet Street with your
bat under your arm, and your cap set aside upon your head. Thou knowest
well, that, from Mrs. Deputy's self down to the waist-coateers in the
alley, all of them are twiring and peeping betwixt their fingers when
you pass; and yet you call yourself a miserable dog! and I must tell
you all this over and over again, as if I were whistling the chimes
of London to a pettish child, in order to bring the pretty baby into
good-humour!"

The flattery of Dame Ursula seemed to have the fate of her cordial--it
was swallowed, indeed, by the party to whom she presented it, and that
with some degree of relish, but it did not operate as a sedative on the
disturbed state of the youth's mind. He laughed for an instant, half
in scorn, and half in gratified vanity, but cast a sullen look on Dame
Ursley as he replied to her last words,

"You do treat me like a child indeed, when you sing over and over to me
a cuckoo song that I care not a copper-filing for."

"Aha!" said Dame Ursley; "that is to say, you care not if you please
all, unless you please one--You are a true lover, I warrant, and care
not for all the city, from here to Whitechapel, so you could write
yourself first in your pretty Peg-a-Ramsay's good-will. Well, well, take
patience, man, and be guided by me, for I will be the hoop will bind you
together at last."

"It is time you were so," said Jenkin, "for hitherto you have rather
been the wedge to separate us."

Dame Suddlechop had by this time finished her cordial--it was not the
first she had taken that day; and, though a woman of strong brain,
and cautious at least, if not abstemious, in her potations, it may
nevertheless be supposed that her patience was not improved by the
regimen which she observed.

"Why, thou ungracious and ingrate knave," said Dame Ursley, "have not
I done every thing to put thee in thy mistress's good graces? She loves
gentry, the proud Scottish minx, as a Welshman loves cheese, and has
her father's descent from that Duke of Daldevil, or whatsoever she calls
him, as close in her heart as gold in a miser's chest, though she
as seldom shows it--and none she will think of, or have, but a
gentleman--and a gentleman I have made of thee, Jin Vin, the devil
cannot deny that."

"You have made a fool of me," said poor Jenkin, looking at the sleeve of
his jacket.

"Never the worse gentleman for that," said Dame Ursley, laughing.

"And what is worse," said he, turning his back to her suddenly, and
writhing in his chair, "you have made a rogue of me."

"Never the worse gentleman for that neither," said Dame Ursley, in the
same tone; "let a man bear his folly gaily and his knavery stoutly, and
let me see if gravity or honesty will look him in the face now-a-days.
Tut, man, it was only in the time of King Arthur or King Lud, that a
gentleman was held to blemish his scutcheon by a leap over the line
of reason or honesty--It is the bold look, the ready hand, the fine
clothes, the brisk oath, and the wild brain, that makes the gallant
now-a-days."

"I know what you have made me," said Jin Vin; "since I have given up
skittles and trap-ball for tennis and bowls, good English ale for thin
Bordeaux and sour Rhenish, roast-beef and pudding for woodcocks and
kickshaws--my bat for a sword, my cap for a beaver, my forsooth for
a modish oath, my Christmas-box for a dice-box, my religion for the
devil's matins, and mine honest name for--Woman, I could brain thee,
when I think whose advice has guided me in all this!"

"Whose advice, then? whose advice, then? Speak out, thou poor, petty
cloak-brusher, and say who advised thee!" retorted Dame Ursley, flushed
and indignant--"Marry come up, my paltry companion--say by whose advice
you have made a gamester of yourself, and a thief besides, as your
words would bear--The Lord deliver us from evil!" And here Dame Ursley
devoutly crossed herself.

"Hark ye, Dame Ursley Suddlechop," said Jenkin, starting up, his dark
eyes flashing with anger; "remember I am none of your husband--and, if
I were, you would do well not to forget whose threshold was swept
when they last rode the Skimmington [Footnote: A species of triumphal
procession in honour of female supremacy, when it rose to such a height
as to attract the attention of the neighbourhood. It is described at
full length in Hudibras. (Part II. Canto II.) As the procession passed
on, those who attended it in an official capacity were wont to sweep
the threshold of the houses in which Fame affirmed the mistresses to
exercise paramount authority, which was given and received as a hint
that their inmates might, in their turn, be made the subject of a
similar ovation. The Skimmington, which in some degree resembled
the proceedings of Mumbo Jumbo in an African village, has been long
discontinued in England, apparently because female rule has become
either milder or less frequent than among our ancestors.] upon such
another scolding jade as yourself."

"I hope to see you ride up Holborn next," said Dame Ursley, provoked out
of all her holiday and sugar-plum expressions, "with a nosegay at your
breast, and a parson at your elbow!"

"That may well be," answered Jin Vin, bitterly, "if I walk by your
counsels as I have begun by them; but, before that day comes, you
shall know that Jin Vin has the brisk boys of Fleet Street still at
his wink.--Yes, you jade, you shall be carted for bawd and conjurer,
double-dyed in grain, and bing off to Bridewell, with every brass basin
betwixt the Bar and Paul's beating before you, as if the devil were
banging them with his beef-hook."

Dame Ursley coloured like scarlet, seized upon the half-emptied flask of
cordial, and seemed, by her first gesture, about to hurl it at the head
of her adversary; but suddenly, and as if by a strong internal effort,
she checked her outrageous resentment, and, putting the bottle to its
more legitimate use, filled, with wonderful composure, the two glasses,
and, taking up one of them, said, with a smile, which better became her
comely and jovial countenance than the fury by which it was animated the
moment before--

"Here is to thee, Jin Vin, my lad, in all loving kindness, whatever
spite thou bearest to me, that have always been a mother to thee."

Jenkin's English good-nature could not resist this forcible appeal; he
took up the other glass, and lovingly pledged the dame in her cup of
reconciliation, and proceeded to make a kind of grumbling apology for
his own violence--

"For you know," he said, "it was you persuaded me to get these fine
things, and go to that godless ordinary, and ruffle it with the best,
and bring you home all the news; and you said, I, that was the cock
of the ward, would soon be the cock of the ordinary, and would win
ten times as much at gleek and primero, as I used to do at put and
beggar-my-neighbour--and turn up doublets with the dice, as busily as I
was wont to trowl down the ninepins in the skittle-ground--and then you
said I should bring you such news out of the ordinary as should make
us all, when used as you knew how to use it--and now you see what is to
come of it all!"

"'Tis all true thou sayest, lad," said the dame; "but thou must have
patience. Rome was not built in a day--you cannot become used to your
court-suit in a month's time, any more than when you changed your long
coat for a doublet and hose; and in gaming you must expect to lose as
well as gain--'tis the sitting gamester sweeps the board."

"The board has swept me, I know," replied Jin Vin, "and that pretty
clean out.--I would that were the worst; but I owe for all this finery,
and settling-day is coming on, and my master will find my accompt worse
than it should be by a score of pieces. My old father will be called in
to make them good; and I--may save the hangman a labour and do the job
myself, or go the Virginia voyage."

"Do not speak so loud, my dear boy," said Dame Ursley; "but tell me why
you borrow not from a friend to make up your arrear. You could lend him
as much when his settling-day came round."

"No, no--I have had enough of that work," said Vincent. "Tunstall would
lend me the money, poor fellow, an he had it; but his gentle, beggarly
kindred, plunder him of all, and keep him as bare as a birch at
Christmas. No--my fortune may be spelt in four letters, and these read,
RUIN."

"Now hush, you simple craven," said the dame; "did you never hear, that
when the need is highest the help is nighest? We may find aid for you
yet, and sooner than you are aware of. I am sure I would never have
advised you to such a course, but only you had set heart and eye on
pretty Mistress Marget, and less would not serve you--and what could
I do but advise you to cast your city-slough, and try your luck where
folks find fortune?"

"Ay, ay--I remember your counsel well," said Jenkin; "I was to be
introduced to her by you when I was perfect in my gallantries, and as
rich as the king; and then she was to be surprised to find I was poor
Jin Vin, that used to watch, from matin to curfew, for one glance of
her eye; and now, instead of that, she has set her soul on this Scottish
sparrow-hawk of a lord that won my last tester, and be cursed to him;
and so I am bankrupt in love, fortune, and character, before I am out of
my time, and all along of you, Mother Midnight."

"Do not call me out of my own name, my dear boy, Jin Vin," answered
Ursula, in a tone betwixt rage and coaxing,--"do not; because I am no
saint, but a poor sinful woman, with no more patience than she needs,
to carry her through a thousand crosses. And if I have done you wrong by
evil counsel, I must mend it and put you right by good advice. And for
the score of pieces that must be made up at settling-day, why, here is,
in a good green purse, as much as will make that matter good; and
we will get old Crosspatch, the tailor, to take a long day for your
clothes; and--"

"Mother, are you serious?" said Jin Vin, unable to trust either his eyes
or his ears.

"In troth am I," said the dame; "and will you call me Mother Midnight
now, Jin Vin?"

"Mother Midnight!" exclaimed Jenkin, hugging the dame in his transport,
and bestowing on her still comely cheek a hearty and not unacceptable
smack, that sounded like the report of a pistol,--"Mother Midday,
rather, that has risen to light me out of my troubles--a mother more
dear than she who bore me; for she, poor soul, only brought me into a
world of sin and sorrow, and your timely aid has helped me out of the
one and the other." And the good-natured fellow threw himself back in
his chair, and fairly drew his hand across his eyes.

"You would not have me be made to ride the Skimmington then," said the
dame; "or parade me in a cart, with all the brass basins of the ward
beating the march to Bridewell before me?"

"I would sooner be carted to Tyburn myself," replied the penitent.

"Why, then, sit up like a man, and wipe thine eyes; and, if thou art
pleased with what I have done, I will show thee how thou mayst requite
me in the highest degree."

"How?" said Jenkin Vincent, sitting straight up in his chair.--"You
would have me, then, do you some service for this friendship of yours?"

"Ay, marry would I," said Dame Ursley; "for you are to know, that though
I am right glad to stead you with it, this gold is not mine, but was
placed in my hands in order to find a trusty agent, for a certain
purpose; and so--But what's the matter with you?--are you fool enough to
be angry because you cannot get a purse of gold for nothing? I would
I knew where such were to come by. I never could find them lying in my
road, I promise you."

"No, no, dame," said poor Jenkin, "it is not for that; for, look you,
I would rather work these ten bones to the knuckles, and live by my
labour; but--" (and here he paused.)

"But what, man?" said Dame Ursley. "You are willing to work for what you
want; and yet, when I offer you gold for the winning, you look on me as
the devil looks over Lincoln."

"It is ill talking of the devil, mother," said Jenkin. "I had him even
now in my head--for, look you, I am at that pass, when they say he
will appear to wretched ruined creatures, and proffer them gold for the
fee-simple of their salvation. But I have been trying these two days to
bring my mind strongly up to the thought, that I will rather sit down
in shame, and sin, and sorrow, as I am like to do, than hold on in ill
courses to get rid of my present straits; and so take care, Dame Ursula,
how you tempt me to break such a good resolution."

"I tempt you to nothing, young man," answered Ursula; "and, as I
perceive you are too wilful to be wise, I will e'en put my purse in my
pocket, and look out for some one that will work my turn with better
will, and more thankfulness. And you may go your own course,--break
your indenture, ruin your father, lose your character, and bid pretty
Mistress Margaret farewell, for ever and a day."

"Stay, stay," said Jenkin "the woman is in as great a hurry as a brown
baker when his oven is overheated. First, let me hear that which you
have to propose to me."

"Why, after all, it is but to get a gentleman of rank and fortune, who
is in trouble, carried in secret down the river, as far as the Isle of
Dogs, or somewhere thereabout, where he may lie concealed until he can
escape aboard. I know thou knowest every place by the river's side as
well as the devil knows an usurer, or the beggar knows his dish."

"A plague of your similes, dame," replied the apprentice; "for the devil
gave me that knowledge, and beggary may be the end on't.--But what has
this gentleman done, that he should need to be under hiding? No Papist,
I hope--no Catesby and Piercy business--no Gunpowder Plot?"

"Fy, fy!--what do you take me for?" said Dame Ursula. "I am as good a
churchwoman as the parson's wife, save that necessary business will not
allow me to go there oftener than on Christmas-day, heaven help me!--No,
no--this is no Popish matter. The gentleman hath but struck another in
the Park--"

"Ha! what?" said Vincent, interrupting her with a start.

"Ay, ay, I see you guess whom I mean. It is even he we have spoken of so
often--just Lord Glenvarloch, and no one else."

Vincent sprung from his seat, and traversed the room with rapid and
disorderly steps.

"There, there it is now--you are always ice or gunpowder. You sit in the
great leathern armchair, as quiet as a rocket hangs upon the frame in a
rejoicing-night till the match be fired, and then, whizz! you are in the
third heaven, beyond the reach of the human voice, eye, or brain.--When
you have wearied yourself with padding to and fro across the room, will
you tell me your determination, for time presses? Will you aid me in
this matter, or not?"

"No--no--no--a thousand times no," replied Jenkin. "Have you not
confessed to me, that Margaret loves him?"

"Ay," answered the dame, "that she thinks she does; but that will not
last long."

"And have I not told you but this instant," replied Jenkin, "that it was
this same Glenvarloch that rooked me, at the ordinary, of every penny I
had, and made a knave of me to boot, by gaining more than was my own?--O
that cursed gold, which Shortyard, the mercer, paid me that morning on
accompt, for mending the clock of Saint Stephen's! If I had not, by ill
chance, had that about me, I could but have beggared my purse, without
blemishing my honesty; and, after I had been rooked of all the rest
amongst them, I must needs risk the last five pieces with that shark
among the minnows!"

"Granted," said Dame Ursula. "All this I know; and I own, that as Lord
Glenvarloch was the last you played with, you have a right to charge
your ruin on his head. Moreover, I admit, as already said, that Margaret
has made him your rival. Yet surely, now he is in danger to lose his
hand, it is not a time to remember all this?"

"By my faith, but it is, though," said the young citizen. "Lose his
hand, indeed? They may take his head, for what I care. Head and hand
have made me a miserable wretch!"

"Now, were it not better, my prince of flat-caps," said Dame Ursula,
"that matters were squared between you; and that, through means of the
same Scottish lord, who has, as you say, deprived you of your money and
your mistress, you should in a short time recover both?"

"And how can your wisdom come to that conclusion, dame?" said the
apprentice. "My money, indeed, I can conceive--that is, if I comply with
your proposal; but--my pretty Marget!--how serving this lord, whom
she has set her nonsensical head upon, can do me good with her, is far
beyond my conception."

"That is because, in simple phrase," said Dame Ursula, "thou knowest no
more of a woman's heart than doth a Norfolk gosling. Look you, man.
Were I to report to Mistress Margaret that the young lord has miscarried
through thy lack of courtesy in refusing to help him, why, then, thou
wert odious to her for ever. She will loathe thee as she will loathe the
very cook who is to strike off Glenvarloch's hand with his cleaver--and
then she will be yet more fixed in her affections towards this lord.
London will hear of nothing but him--speak of nothing but him--think
of nothing but him, for three weeks at least, and all that outcry will
serve to keep him uppermost in her mind; for nothing pleases a girl so
much as to bear relation to any one who is the talk of the whole world
around her. Then, if he suffer this sentence of the law, it is a chance
if she ever forgets him. I saw that handsome, proper young gentleman
Babington, suffer in the Queen's time myself, and though I was then but
a girl, he was in my head for a year after he was hanged. But, above
all, pardoned or punished, Glenvarloch will probably remain in London,
and his presence will keep up the silly girl's nonsensical fancy about
him. Whereas, if he escapes--"

"Ay, show me how that is to avail me?" said Jenkin. "If he escapes,"
said the dame, resuming her argument, "he must resign the Court for
years, if not for life; and you know the old saying, 'out of sight, and
out of mind.'"

"True--most true," said Jenkin; "spoken like an oracle, most wise
Ursula."

"Ay, ay, I knew you would hear reason at last," said the wily dame; "and
then, when this same lord is off and away for once and for ever, who, I
pray you, is to be pretty pet's confidential person, and who is to fill
up the void in her affections?--why, who but thou, thou pearl of
'prentices! And then you will have overcome your own inclinations to
comply with hers, and every woman is sensible of that--and you will have
run some risk, too, in carrying her desires into effect--and what is it
that woman likes better than bravery, and devotion to her will? Then you
have her secret, and she must treat you with favour and observance, and
repose confidence in you, and hold private intercourse with you, till
she weeps with one eye for the absent lover whom she is never to see
again, and blinks with the other blithely upon him who is in presence;
and then if you know not how to improve the relation in which you stand
with her, you are not the brisk lively lad that all the world takes you
for--Said I well?"

"You have spoken like an empress, most mighty Ursula," said Jenkin
Vincent; "and your will shall be obeyed."

"You know Alsatia well?" continued his tutoress.

"Well enough, well enough," replied he with a nod; "I have heard the
dice rattle there in my day, before I must set up for gentleman, and go
among the gallants at the Shavaleer Bojo's, as they call him,--the worse
rookery of the two, though the feathers are the gayest."

"And they will have a respect for thee yonder, I warrant?"

"Ay, ay," replied Vin, "when I am got into my fustian doublet again,
with my bit of a trunnion under my arm, I can walk Alsatia at midnight
as I could do that there Fleet Street in midday--they will not one of
them swagger with the prince of 'prentices, and the king of clubs--they
know I could bring every tall boy in the ward down upon them."

"And you know all the watermen, and so forth?"

"Can converse with every sculler in his own language, from Richmond to
Gravesend, and know all the water-cocks, from John Taylor the Poet to
little Grigg the Grinner, who never pulls but he shows all his teeth
from ear to ear, as if he were grimacing through a horse-collar."

"And you can take any dress or character upon you well, such as a
waterman's, a butcher's, a foot-soldier's," continued Ursula, "or the
like?"

"Not such a mummer as I am within the walls, and thou knowest that
well enough, dame," replied the apprentice. "I can touch the players
themselves, at the Ball and at the Fortune, for presenting any thing
except a gentleman. Take but this d--d skin of frippery off me, which
I think the devil stuck me into, and you shall put me into nothing else
that I will not become as if I were born to it."

"Well, we will talk of your transmutation by and by," said the dame,
"and find you clothes withal, and money besides; for it will take a good
deal to carry the thing handsomely through."

"But where is that money to come from, dame?" said Jenkin; "there is a
question I would fain have answered before I touch it."

"Why, what a fool art thou to ask such a question! Suppose I am content
to advance it to please young madam, what is the harm then?"

"I will suppose no such thing," said Jenkin, hastily; "I know that you,
dame, have no gold to spare, and maybe would not spare it if you had--so
that cock will not crow. It must be from Margaret herself."

"Well, thou suspicious animal, and what if it were?" said Ursula.

"Only this," replied Jenkin, "that I will presently to her, and learn if
she has come fairly by so much ready money; for sooner than connive at
her getting it by any indirection, I would hang myself at once. It is
enough what I have done myself, no need to engage poor Margaret in such
villainy--I'll to her, and tell her of the danger--I will, by heaven!"

"You are mad to think of it," said Dame Suddlechop, considerably
alarmed--"hear me but a moment. I know not precisely from whom she got
the money; but sure I am that she obtained it at her godfather's."

"Why, Master George Heriot is not returned from France," said Jenkin.

"No," replied Ursula, "but Dame Judith is at home--and the strange lady,
whom they call Master Heriot's ghost--she never goes abroad."

"It is very true, Dame Suddlechop," said Jenkin; "and I believe you have
guessed right--they say that lady has coin at will; and if Marget can
get a handful of fairy-gold, why, she is free to throw it away at will."

"Ah, Jin Vin," said the dame, reducing her voice almost to a whisper,
"we should not want gold at will neither, could we but read the riddle
of that lady!"

"They may read it that list," said Jenkin, "I'll never pry into what
concerns me not--Master George Heriot is a worthy and brave citizen, and
an honour to London, and has a right to manage his own household as he
likes best.--There was once a talk of rabbling him the fifth of November
before the last, because they said he kept a nunnery in his house, like
old Lady Foljambe; but Master George is well loved among the 'prentices,
and we got so many brisk boys of us together as should have rabbled the
rabble, had they had but the heart to rise."

"Well, let that pass," said Ursula; "and now, tell me how you will
manage to be absent from shop a day or two, for you must think that this
matter will not be ended sooner."

"Why, as to that, I can say nothing," said Jenkin, "I have always served
duly and truly; I have no heart to play truant, and cheat my master of
his time as well as his money."

"Nay, but the point is to get back his money for him," said Ursula,
"which he is not likely to see on other conditions. Could you not ask
leave to go down to your uncle in Essex for two or three days? He may be
ill, you know."

"Why, if I must, I must," said Jenkin, with a heavy sigh; "but I will
not be lightly caught treading these dark and crooked paths again."

"Hush thee, then," said the dame, "and get leave for this very evening;
and come back hither, and I will introduce you to another implement,
who must be employed in the matter.--Stay, stay!--the lad is mazed--you
would not go into your master's shop in that guise, surely? Your trunk
is in the matted chamber, with your 'prentice things--go and put them on
as fast as you can."

"I think I am bewitched," said Jenkin, giving a glance towards his
dress, "or that these fool's trappings have made as great an ass of
me as of many I have seen wear them; but let line once be rid of the
harness, and if you catch me putting it on again, I will give you leave
to sell me to a gipsy, to carry pots, pans, and beggar's bantlings, all
the rest of my life." So saying, he retired to change his apparel.



CHAPTER XXII


  Chance will not do the work--Chance sends the breeze;
  But if the pilot slumber at the helm,
  The very wind that wafts us towards the port
  May dash us on the shelves.--The steersman's part is vigilance,
  Blow it or rough or smooth.
                               _Old Play_.

We left Nigel, whose fortunes we are bound to trace by the engagement
contracted in our title-page, sad and solitary in the mansion of
Trapbois the usurer, having just received a letter instead of a visit
from his friend the Templar, stating reasons why he could not at
that time come to see him in Alsatia. So that it appeared that his
intercourse with the better and more respectable class of society, was,
for the present, entirely cut off. This was a melancholy, and, to a
proud mind like that of Nigel, a degrading reflection.

He went to the window of his apartment, and found the street enveloped
in one of those thick, dingy, yellow-coloured fogs, which often invest
the lower part of London and Westminster. Amid the darkness, dense and
palpable, were seen to wander like phantoms a reveller or two, whom the
morning had surprised where the evening left them; and who now, with
tottering steps, and by an instinct which intoxication could not wholly
overcome, were groping the way to their own homes, to convert day into
night, for the purpose of sleeping off the debauch which had turned
night into day. Although it was broad day in the other parts of the
city, it was scarce dawn yet in Alsatia; and none of the sounds of
industry or occupation were there heard, which had long before aroused
the slumberers in any other quarter. The prospect was too tiresome and
disagreeable to detain Lord Glenvarloch at his station, so, turning from
the window, he examined with more interest the furniture and appearance
of the apartment which he tenanted.

Much of it had been in its time rich and curious--there was a huge
four-post bed, with as much carved oak about it as would have made the
head of a man-of-war, and tapestry hangings ample enough to have
been her sails. There was a huge mirror with a massy frame of gilt
brass-work, which was of Venetian manufacture, and must have been worth
a considerable sum before it received the tremendous crack, which,
traversing it from one corner to the other, bore the same proportion to
the surface that the Nile bears to the map of Egypt. The chairs were
of different forms and shapes, some had been carved, some gilded, some
covered with damasked leather, some with embroidered work, but all were
damaged and worm-eaten. There was a picture of Susanna and the Elders
over the chimney-piece, which might have been accounted a choice piece,
had not the rats made free with the chaste fair one's nose, and with the
beard of one of her reverend admirers.

In a word, all that Lord Glenvarloch saw, seemed to have been articles
carried off by appraisement or distress, or bought as pennyworths at
some obscure broker's, and huddled together in the apartment, as in a
sale-room, without regard to taste or congruity.

The place appeared to Nigel to resemble the houses near the sea-coast,
which are too often furnished with the spoils of wrecked vessels, as
this was probably fitted up with the relics of ruined profligates.--"My
own skiff is among the breakers," thought Lord Glenvarloch, "though my
wreck will add little to the profits of the spoiler."

He was chiefly interested in the state of the grate, a huge assemblage
of rusted iron bars which stood in the chimney, unequally supported
by three brazen feet, moulded into the form of lion's claws, while the
fourth, which had been bent by an accident, seemed proudly uplifted
as if to paw the ground; or as if the whole article had nourished the
ambitious purpose of pacing forth into the middle of the apartment, and
had one foot ready raised for the journey. A smile passed over Nigel's
face as this fantastic idea presented itself to his fancy.--"I must
stop its march, however," he thought; "for this morning is chill and raw
enough to demand some fire."

He called accordingly from the top of a large staircase, with a heavy
oaken balustrade, which gave access to his own and other apartments, for
the house was old and of considerable size; but, receiving no answer to
his repeated summons, he was compelled to go in search of some one who
might accommodate him with what he wanted.

Nigel had, according to the fashion of the old world in Scotland,
received an education which might, in most particulars, be termed
simple, hardy, and unostentatious; but he had, nevertheless, been
accustomed to much personal deference, and to the constant attendance
and ministry of one or more domestics. This was the universal custom in
Scotland, where wages were next to nothing, and where, indeed, a man of
title or influence might have as many attendants as he pleased, for
the mere expense of food, clothes, and countenance. Nigel was therefore
mortified and displeased when he found himself without notice or
attendance; and the more dissatisfied, because he was at the same time
angry with himself for suffering such a trifle to trouble him at all,
amongst matters of more deep concernment. "There must surely be some
servants in so large a house as this," said he, as he wandered over the
place, through which he was conducted by a passage which branched
off from the gallery. As he went on, he tried the entrance to several
apartments, some of which he found were locked and others unfurnished,
all apparently unoccupied; so that at length he returned to the
staircase, and resolved to make his way down to the lower part of the
house, where he supposed he must at least find the old gentleman, and
his ill-favoured daughter. With this purpose he first made his entrance
into a little low, dark parlour, containing a well-worn leathern
easy-chair, before which stood a pair of slippers, while on the left
side rested a crutch-handled staff; an oaken table stood before it, and
supported a huge desk clamped with iron, and a massive pewter inkstand.
Around the apartment were shelves, cabinets, and other places convenient
for depositing papers. A sword, musketoon, and a pair of pistols, hung
over the chimney, in ostentatious display, as if to intimate that the
proprietor would be prompt in the defence of his premises.

"This must be the usurer's den," thought Nigel; and he was about to
call aloud, when the old man, awakened even by the slightest noise,
for avarice seldom sleeps sound, soon was heard from the inner room,
speaking in a voice of irritability, rendered more tremulous by his
morning cough.

"Ugh, ugh, ugh--who is there? I say--ugh, ugh--who is there? Why,
Martha!--ugh! ugh--Martha Trapbois--here be thieves in the house, and
they will not speak to me--why, Martha!--thieves, thieves--ugh, ugh,
ugh!"

Nigel endeavoured to explain, but the idea of thieves had taken
possession of the old man's pineal gland, and he kept coughing and
screaming, and screaming and coughing, until the gracious Martha entered
the apartment; and, having first outscreamed her father, in order
to convince him that there was no danger, and to assure him that the
intruder was their new lodger, and having as often heard her sire
ejaculate--"Hold him fast--ugh, ugh--hold him fast till I come," she at
length succeeded in silencing his fears and his clamour, and then
coldly and dryly asked Lord Glenvarloch what he wanted in her father's
apartment.

Her lodger had, in the meantime, leisure to contemplate her appearance,
which did not by any means improve the idea he had formed of it by
candlelight on the preceding evening. She was dressed in what was called
a Queen Mary's ruff and farthingale; not the falling ruff with which the
unfortunate Mary of Scotland is usually painted, but that which, with
more than Spanish stiffness, surrounded the throat, and set off
the morose head, of her fierce namesake, of Smithfield memory. This
antiquated dress assorted well with the faded complexion, grey eyes,
thin lips, and austere visage of the antiquated maiden, which was,
moreover, enhanced by a black hood, worn as her head-gear, carefully
disposed so as to prevent any of her hair from escaping to view,
probably because the simplicity of the period knew no art of disguising
the colour with which time had begun to grizzle her tresses. Her figure
was tall, thin, and flat, with skinny arms and hands, and feet of the
larger size, cased in huge high-heeled shoes, which added height to
a stature already ungainly. Apparently some art had been used by
the tailor, to conceal a slight defect of shape, occasioned by
the accidental elevation of one shoulder above the other; but the
praiseworthy efforts of the ingenious mechanic, had only succeeded in
calling the attention of the observer to his benevolent purpose, without
demonstrating that he had been able to achieve it.

Such was Mrs. Martha Trapbois, whose dry "What were you seeking here,
sir?" fell again, and with reiterated sharpness, on the ear of Nigel,
as he gazed upon her presence, and compared it internally to one of the
faded and grim figures in the old tapestry which adorned his bedstead.
It was, however, necessary to reply, and he answered, that he came in
search of the servants, as he desired to have a fire kindled in his
apartment on account of the rawness of the morning.

"The woman who does our char-work," answered Mistress Martha, "comes at
eight o'clock-if you want fire sooner, there are fagots and a bucket of
sea-coal in the stone-closet at the head of the stair--and there is a
flint and steel on the upper shelf--you can light fire for yourself if
you will."

"No--no--no, Martha," ejaculated her father, who, having donned his
rustic tunic, with his hose all ungirt, and his feet slip-shod, hastily
came out of the inner apartment, with his mind probably full of robbers,
for he had a naked rapier in his hand, which still looked formidable,
though rust had somewhat marred its shine.--What he had heard at
entrance about lighting a fire, had changed, however, the current of his
ideas. "No--no--no," he cried, and each negative was more emphatic than
its predecessor-"The gentleman shall not have the trouble to put on a
fire--ugh--ugh. I'll put it on myself, for a con-si-de-ra-ti-on."

This last word was a favourite expression with the old gentleman, which
he pronounced in a peculiar manner, gasping it out syllable by syllable,
and laying a strong emphasis upon the last. It was, indeed, a sort
of protecting clause, by which he guarded himself against all
inconveniences attendant on the rash habit of offering service or
civility of any kind, the which, when hastily snapped at by those to
whom they are uttered, give the profferer sometimes room to repent his
promptitude.

"For shame, father," said Martha, "that must not be. Master Grahame will
kindle his own fire, or wait till the char-woman comes to do it for him,
just as likes him best."

"No, child--no, child. Child Martha, no," reiterated the old miser--"no
char-woman shall ever touch a grate in my house; they put--ugh, ugh--the
faggot uppermost, and so the coal kindles not, and the flame goes up
the chimney, and wood and heat are both thrown away. Now, I will lay
it properly for the gentleman, for a consideration, so that it shall
last--ugh, ugh--last the whole day." Here his vehemence increased his
cough so violently, that Nigel could only, from a scattered word here
and there, comprehend that it was a recommendation to his daughter
to remove the poker and tongs from the stranger's fireside, with an
assurance, that, when necessary, his landlord would be in attendance to
adjust it himself, "for a consideration."

Martha paid as little attention to the old man's injunctions as a
predominant dame gives to those of a henpecked husband. She only
repeated, in a deeper and more emphatic tone of censure,--"For shame,
father--for shame!" then, turning to her guest, said, with her usual
ungraciousness of manner--"Master Grahame--it is best to be plain with
you at first. My father is an old, a very old man, and his wits, as you
may see, are somewhat weakened--though I would not advise you to make
a bargain with him, else you may find them too sharp for your own. For
myself, I am a lone woman, and, to say truth, care little to see or
converse with any one. If you can be satisfied with house-room, shelter,
and safety, it will be your own fault if you have them not, and they
are not always to be found in this unhappy quarter. But, if you seek
deferential observance and attendance, I tell you at once you will not
find them here."

"I am not wont either to thrust myself upon acquaintance, madam, or
to give trouble," said the guest; "nevertheless, I shall need the
assistance of a domestic to assist me to dress--Perhaps you can
recommend me to such?"

"Yes, to twenty," answered Mistress Martha, "who will pick your purse
while they tie your points, and cut your throat while they smooth your
pillow."

"I will be his servant, myself," said the old man, whose intellect,
for a moment distanced, had again, in some measure, got up with
the conversation. "I will brush his cloak--ugh, ugh--and tie his
points--ugh, ugh--and clean his shoes--ugh--and run on his errands with
speed and safety--ugh, ugh, ugh, ugh--for a consideration."

"Good-morrow to you, sir," said Martha, to Nigel, in a tone of direct
and positive dismissal. "It cannot be agreeable to a daughter that
a stranger should hear her father speak thus. If you be really a
gentleman, you will retire to your own apartment."

"I will not delay a moment," said Nigel, respectfully, for he was
sensible that circumstances palliated the woman's rudeness. "I would but
ask you, if seriously there can be danger in procuring the assistance of
a serving-man in this place?"

"Young gentleman," said Martha, "you must know little of Whitefriars to
ask the question. We live alone in this house, and seldom has a stranger
entered it; nor should you, to be plain, had my will been consulted.
Look at the door--see if that of a castle can be better secured; the
windows of the first floor are grated on the outside, and within, look
to these shutters."

She pulled one of them aside, and showed a ponderous apparatus of bolts
and chains for securing the window-shutters, while her father, pressing
to her side, seized her gown with a trembling hand, and said, in a low
whisper, "Show not the trick of locking and undoing them. Show him not
the trick on't, Martha--ugh, ugh--on _no_ consideration." Martha went
on, without paying him any attention.

"And yet, young gentleman, we have been more than once like to find all
these defences too weak to protect our lives; such an evil effect on the
wicked generation around us hath been made by the unhappy report of my
poor father's wealth."

"Say nothing of that, housewife," said the miser, his irritability
increased by the very supposition of his being wealthy--"Say nothing
of that, or I will beat thee, housewife--beat thee with my staff, for
fetching and carrying lies that will procure our throats to be cut
at last--ugh, ugh.--I am but a poor man," he continued, turning to
Nigel--"a very poor man, that am willing to do any honest turn upon
earth, for a modest consideration."

"I therefore warn you of the life you must lead, young gentleman," said
Martha; "the poor woman who does the char-work will assist you so far as
in her power, but the wise man is his own best servant and assistant."

"It is a lesson you have taught me, madam, and I thank you for it--I
will assuredly study it at leisure."

"You will do well," said Martha; "and as you seem thankful for advice,
I, though I am no professed counsellor of others, will give you more.
Make no intimacy with any one in Whitefriars--borrow no money, on any
score, especially from my father, for, dotard as he seems, he will make
an ass of you. Last, and best of all, stay here not an instant longer
than you can help it. Farewell, sir."

"A gnarled tree may bear good fruit, and a harsh nature may give good
counsel," thought the Lord of Glenvarloch, as he retreated to his own
apartment, where the same reflection occurred to him again and again,
while, unable as yet to reconcile himself to the thoughts of becoming
his own fire-maker, he walked up and down his bedroom, to warm himself
by exercise.

At length his meditations arranged themselves in the following
soliloquy--by which expression I beg leave to observe once for all, that
I do not mean that Nigel literally said aloud with his bodily organs,
the words which follow in inverted commas, (while pacing the room by
himself,) but that I myself choose to present to my dearest reader the
picture of my hero's mind, his reflections and resolutions, in the form
of a speech, rather than in that of a narrative. In other words, I have
put his thoughts into language; and this I conceive to be the purpose of
the soliloquy upon the stage as well as in the closet, being at once the
most natural, and perhaps the only way of communicating to the spectator
what is supposed to be passing in the bosom of the scenic personage.
There are no such soliloquies in nature, it is true, but unless they
were received as a conventional medium of communication betwixt the poet
and the audience, we should reduce dramatic authors to the recipe of
Master Puff, who makes Lord Burleigh intimate a long train of political
reasoning to the audience, by one comprehensive shake of his noddle. In
narrative, no doubt, the writer has the alternative of telling that his
personages thought so and so, inferred thus and thus, and arrived at
such and such a conclusion; but the soliloquy is a more concise and
spirited mode of communicating the same information; and therefore thus
communed, or thus might have communed, the Lord of Glenvarloch with his
own mind.

"She is right, and has taught me a lesson I will profit by. I have been,
through my whole life, one who leant upon others for that assistance,
which it is more truly noble to derive from my own exertions. I am
ashamed of feeling the paltry inconvenience which long habit had led me
to annex to the want of a servant's assistance--I am ashamed of that;
but far, far more am I ashamed to have suffered the same habit of
throwing my own burden on others, to render me, since I came to this
city, a mere victim of those events, which I have never even
attempted to influence--a thing never acting, but perpetually acted
upon--protected by one friend, deceived by another; but in the advantage
which I received from the one, and the evil I have sustained from the
other, as passive and helpless as a boat that drifts without oar or
rudder at the mercy of the winds and waves. I became a courtier, because
Heriot so advised it--a gamester, because Dalgarno so contrived it--an
Alsatian, because Lowestoffe so willed it. Whatever of good or bad has
befallen me, has arisen out of the agency of others, not from my own. My
father's son must no longer hold this facile and puerile course. Live
or die, sink or swim, Nigel Olifaunt, from this moment, shall owe his
safety, success, and honour, to his own exertions, or shall fall with
the credit of having at least exerted his own free agency. I will write
it down in my tablets, in her very words,--'The wise man is his own best
assistant.'"

He had just put his tablets in his pocket when the old charwoman, who,
to add to her efficiency, was sadly crippled by rheumatism, hobbled into
the room, to try if she could gain a small gratification by waiting on
the stranger. She readily undertook to get Lord Glenvarloch's breakfast,
and as there was an eating-house at the next door, she succeeded in a
shorter time than Nigel had augured.

As his solitary meal was finished, one of the Temple porters, or
inferior officers, was announced, as seeking Master Grahame, on the part
of his friend, Master Lowestoffe; and, being admitted by the old woman
to his apartment, he delivered to Nigel a small mail-trunk, with the
clothes he had desired should be sent to him, and then, with more
mystery, put into his hand a casket, or strong-boy, which he carefully
concealed beneath his cloak. "I am glad to be rid on't," said the
fellow, as he placed it on the table.

"Why, it is surely not so very heavy," answered Nigel, "and you are a
stout young man."

"Ay, sir," replied the fellow; "but Samson himself would not have
carried such a matter safely through Alsatia, had the lads of the Huff
known what it was. Please to look into it, sir, and see all is right--I
am an honest fellow, and it comes safe out of my hands. How long it may
remain so afterwards, will depend on your own care. I would not my good
name were to suffer by any after-clap."

To satisfy the scruples of the messenger, Lord Glenvarloch opened the
casket in his presence, and saw that his small stock of money, with
two or three valuable papers which it contained, and particularly the
original sign-manual which the king had granted in his favour, were in
the same order in which he had left them. At the man's further instance,
he availed himself of the writing materials which were in the casket, in
order to send a line to Master Lowestoffe, declaring that his property
had reached him in safety. He added some grateful acknowledgments for
Lowestoffe's services, and, just as he was sealing and delivering his
billet to the messenger, his aged landlord entered the apartment. His
threadbare suit of black clothes was now somewhat better arranged than
they had been in the dishabille of his first appearance, and his nerves
and intellects seemed to be less fluttered; for, without much coughing
or hesitation, he invited Nigel to partake of a morning draught of
wholesome single ale, which he brought in a large leathern tankard, or
black-jack, carried in the one hand, while the other stirred it round
with a sprig of rosemary, to give it, as the old man said, a flavour.

Nigel declined the courteous proffer, and intimated by his manner,
while he did so, that he desired no intrusion on the privacy of his
own apartment; which, indeed, he was the more entitled to maintain,
considering the cold reception he had that morning met with when
straying from its precincts into those of his landlord. But the open
casket contained matter, or rather metal, so attractive to old Trapbois,
that he remained fixed, like a setting-dog at a dead point, his nose
advanced, and one hand expanded like the lifted forepaw, by which that
sagacious quadruped sometimes indicates that it is a hare which he has
in the wind. Nigel was about to break the charm which had thus arrested
old Trapbois, by shutting the lid of the casket, when his attention was
withdrawn from him by the question of the messenger, who, holding
out the letter, asked whether he was to leave it at Mr. Lowestoffe's
chambers in the Temple, or carry it to the Marshalsea?

"The Marshalsea?" repeated Lord Glenvarloch; "what of the Marshalsea?"

"Why, sir," said the man, "the poor gentleman is laid up there in
lavender, because, they say, his own kind heart led him to scald his
fingers with another man's broth."

Nigel hastily snatched back the letter, broke the seal, joined to the
contents his earnest entreaty that he might be instantly acquainted with
the cause of his confinement, and added, that, if it arose out of his
own unhappy affair, it would be of a brief duration, since he had, even
before hearing of a reason which so peremptorily demanded that he should
surrender himself, adopted the resolution to do so, as the manliest and
most proper course which his ill fortune and imprudence had left in his
own power. He therefore conjured Mr. Lowestoffe to have no delicacy upon
this score, but, since his surrender was what he had determined upon as
a sacrifice due to his own character, that he would have the frankness
to mention in what manner it could be best arranged, so as to extricate
him, Lowestoffe, from the restraint to which the writer could not but
fear his friend had been subjected, on account of the generous interest
which he had taken in his concerns. The letter concluded, that the
writer would suffer twenty-four hours to elapse in expectation of
hearing from him, and, at the end of that period, was determined to put
his purpose in execution. He delivered the billet to the messenger,
and, enforcing his request with a piece of money, urged him, without a
moment's delay, to convey it to the hands of Master Lowestoffe.

"I--I--I--will carry it to him myself," said the old usurer, "for half
the consideration."

The man who heard this attempt to take his duty and perquisites over his
head, lost no time in pocketing the money, and departed on his errand as
fast as he could.

"Master Trapbois," said Nigel, addressing the old man somewhat
impatiently, "had you any particular commands for me?"

"I--I--came to see if you rested well," answered the old man; "and--if I
could do anything to serve you, on any consideration."

"Sir, I thank you," said Lord Glenvarloch--"I thank you;" and, ere he
could say more, a heavy footstep was heard on the stair.

"My God!" exclaimed the old man, starting up--"Why,
Dorothy--char-woman--why, daughter,--draw bolt, I say, housewives--the
door hath been left a-latch!"

The door of the chamber opened wide, and in strutted the portly bulk
of the military hero whom Nigel had on the preceding evening in vain
endeavoured to recognise.



CHAPTER XXIII


SWASH-BUCKLER. Bilboe's the word--PIERROT. It hath been spoke too often,
The spell hath lost its charm--I tell thee, friend, The meanest cur that
trots the street, will turn, And snarl against your proffer'd bastinado.
SWASH-BUCKLER. 'Tis art shall do it, then--I will dose the mongrels--Or,
in plain terms, I'll use the private knife 'Stead of the brandish'd
falchion. _Old Play_.

The noble Captain Colepepper or Peppercull, for he was known by both
these names, and some others besides; had a martial and a swashing
exterior, which, on the present occasion, was rendered yet more
peculiar, by a patch covering his left eye and a part of the cheek.
The sleeves of his thickset velvet jerkin were polished and shone with
grease,--his buff gloves had huge tops, which reached almost to the
elbow; his sword-belt of the same materials extended its breadth from
his haunchbone to his small ribs, and supported on the one side his
large black-hilted back-sword, on the other a dagger of like proportions
He paid his compliments to Nigel with that air of predetermined
effrontery, which announces that it will not be repelled by any coldness
of reception, asked Trapbois how he did, by the familiar title of old
Peter Pillory, and then, seizing upon the black-jack, emptied it off at
a draught, to the health of the last and youngest freeman of Alsatia,
the noble and loving master Nigel Grahame.

When he had set down the empty pitcher and drawn his breath, he began to
criticise the liquor which it had lately contained.--"Sufficient single
beer, old Pillory--and, as I take it, brewed at the rate of a nutshell
of malt to a butt of Thames--as dead as a corpse, too, and yet it
went hissing down my throat--bubbling, by Jove, like water upon hot
iron.--You left us early, noble Master Grahame, but, good faith, we had
a carouse to your honour--we heard _butt_ ring hollow ere we parted;
we were as loving as inkle-weavers--we fought, too, to finish off the
gawdy. I bear some marks of the parson about me, you see--a note of the
sermon or so, which should have been addressed to my ear, but missed its
mark, and reached my left eye. The man of God bears my sign-manual too,
but the Duke made us friends again, and it cost me more sack than I
could carry, and all the Rhenish to boot, to pledge the seer in the way
of love and reconciliation--But, Caracco! 'tis a vile old canting slave
for all that, whom I will one day beat out of his devil's livery into
all the colours of the rainbow.--Basta!--Said I well, old Trapbois?
Where is thy daughter, man?--what says she to my suit?--'tis an honest
one--wilt have a soldier for thy son-in-law, old Pillory, to mingle the
soul of martial honour with thy thieving, miching, petty-larceny blood,
as men put bold brandy into muddy ale?"

"My daughter receives not company so early, noble captain," said the
usurer, and concluded his speech with a dry, emphatical "ugh, ugh."

"What, upon no con-si-de-ra-ti-on?" said the captain; "and wherefore not,
old Truepenny? she has not much time to lose in driving her bargain,
methinks."

"Captain," said Trapbois, "I was upon some little business with our
noble friend here, Master Nigel Green--ugh, ugh, ugh--"

"And you would have me gone, I warrant you?" answered the bully; "but
patience, old Pillory, thine hour is not yet come, man--You see," he
said, pointing to the casket, "that noble Master Grahame, whom you call
Green, has got the _decuses_ and the _smelt_."

"Which you would willingly rid him of, ha! ha!--ugh, ugh," answered the
usurer, "if you knew how--but, lack-a-day! thou art one of those that
come out for wool, and art sure to go home shorn. Why now, but that I
am sworn against laying of wagers, I would risk some consideration that
this honest guest of mine sends thee home penniless, if thou darest
venture with him--ugh, ugh--at any game which gentlemen play at."

"Marry, thou hast me on the hip there, thou old miserly cony-catcher!"
answered the captain, taking a bale of dice from the sleeve of his coat;
"I must always keep company with these damnable doctors, and they have
made me every baby's cully, and purged my purse into an atrophy; but
never mind, it passes the time as well as aught else--How say you,
Master Grahame?"

The fellow paused; but even the extremity of his impudence could
scarcely hardly withstand the cold look of utter contempt with which
Nigel received his proposal, returning it with a simple, "I only play
where I know my company, and never in the morning."

"Cards may be more agreeable," said Captain Colepepper; "and, for
knowing your company, here is honest old Pillory will tell you Jack
Colepepper plays as truly on the square as e'er a man that trowled
a die--Men talk of high and low dice, Fulhams and bristles, topping,
knapping, slurring, stabbing, and a hundred ways of rooking besides;
but broil me like a rasher of bacon, if I could ever learn the trick on
'em!"

"You have got the vocabulary perfect, sir, at the least," said Nigel, in
the same cold tone.

"Yes, by mine honour have I," returned the Hector; "they are phrases
that a gentleman learns about town.--But perhaps you would like a set at
tennis, or a game at balloon--we have an indifferent good court hard
by here, and a set of as gentleman-like blades as ever banged leather
against brick and mortar."

"I beg to be excused at present," said Lord Glenvarloch; "and to be
plain, among the valuable privileges your society has conferred on me, I
hope I may reckon that of being private in my own apartment when I have
a mind."

"Your humble servant, sir," said the captain; "and I thank you for
your civility--Jack Colepepper can have enough of company, and thrusts
himself on no one.--But perhaps you will like to make a match at
skittles?"

"I am by no means that way disposed," replied the young nobleman,

"Or to leap a flea--run a snail--match a wherry, eh?"

"No--I will do none of these," answered Nigel.

Here the old man, who had been watching with his little peery eyes,
pulled the bulky Hector by the skirt, and whispered, "Do not vapour him
the huff, it will not pass--let the trout play, he will rise to the hook
presently."

But the bully, confiding in his own strength, and probably mistaking
for timidity the patient scorn with which Nigel received his proposals,
incited also by the open casket, began to assume a louder and more
threatening tone. He drew himself up, bent his brows, assumed a look of
professional ferocity, and continued, "In Alsatia, look ye, a man must
be neighbourly and companionable. Zouns! sir, we would slit any nose
that was turned up at us honest fellows.--Ay, sir, we would slit it
up to the gristle, though it had smelt nothing all its life but musk,
ambergris, and court-scented water.--Rabbit me, I am a soldier, and care
no more for a lord than a lamplighter!"

"Are you seeking a quarrel, sir?" said Nigel, calmly, having in truth no
desire to engage himself in a discreditable broil in such a place, and
with such a character.

"Quarrel, sir?" said the captain; "I am not seeking a quarrel, though I
care not how soon I find one. Only I wish you to understand you must
be neighbourly, that's all. What if we should go over the water to the
garden, and see a bull hanked this fine morning--'sdeath, will you do
nothing?"

"Something I am strangely tempted to do at this moment," said Nigel.

"Videlicet," said Colepepper, with a swaggering air, "let us hear the
temptation."

"I am tempted to throw you headlong from the window, unless you
presently make the best of your way down stairs."

"Throw me from the window?--hell and furies!" exclaimed the captain; "I
have confronted twenty crooked sabres at Buda with my single rapier, and
shall a chitty-faced, beggarly Scots lordling, speak of me and a window
in the same breath?--Stand off, old Pillory, let me make Scotch collops
of him--he dies the death!"

"For the love of Heaven, gentlemen," exclaimed the old miser, throwing
himself between them, "do not break the peace on any consideration!
Noble guest, forbear the captain--he is a very Hector of
Troy--Trusty Hector, forbear my guest, he is like to prove a very
Achilles-ugh-ugh----"

Here he was interrupted by his asthma, but, nevertheless, continued
to interpose his person between Colepepper (who had unsheathed his
whinyard, and was making vain passes at his antagonist) and Nigel, who
had stepped back to take his sword, and now held it undrawn in his left
hand.

"Make an end of this foolery, you scoundrel!" said Nigel--"Do you come
hither to vent your noisy oaths and your bottled-up valour on me? You
seem to know me, and I am half ashamed to say I have at length been
able to recollect you--remember the garden behind the ordinary,--you
dastardly ruffian, and the speed with which fifty men saw you run from a
drawn sword.--Get you gone, sir, and do not put me to the vile labour of
cudgelling such a cowardly rascal down stairs."

The bully's countenance grew dark as night at this unexpected
recognition; for he had undoubtedly thought himself secure in his change
of dress, and his black patch, from being discovered by a person who had
seen him but once. He set his teeth, clenched his hands, and it seemed
as if he was seeking for a moment's courage to fly upon his antagonist.
But his heart failed, he sheathed his sword, turned his back in gloomy
silence, and spoke not until he reached the door, when, turning
round, he said, with a deep oath, "If I be not avenged of you for this
insolence ere many days go by, I would the gallows had my body and the
devil my spirit!"

So saying, and with a look where determined spite and malice made his
features savagely fierce, though they could not overcome his fear, he
turned and left the house. Nigel followed him as far as the gallery at
the head of the staircase, with the purpose of seeing him depart, and
ere he returned was met by Mistress Martha Trapbois, whom the noise of
the quarrel had summoned from her own apartment. He could not resist
saying to her in his natural displeasure--"I would, madam, you could
teach your father and his friends the lesson which you had the goodness
to bestow on me this morning, and prevail on them to leave me the
unmolested privacy of my own apartment."

"If you came hither for quiet or retirement, young man," answered she,
"you have been advised to an evil retreat. You might seek mercy in the
Star-Chamber, or holiness in hell, with better success than quiet in
Alsatia. But my father shall trouble you no longer."

So saying, she entered the apartment, and, fixing her eyes on the
casket, she said with emphasis--"If you display such a loadstone, it
will draw many a steel knife to your throat."

While Nigel hastily shut the casket, she addressed her father,
upbraiding him, with small reverence, for keeping company with the
cowardly, hectoring, murdering villain, John Colepepper.

"Ay, ay, child," said the old man, with the cunning leer which
intimated perfect satisfaction with his own superior address--"I know--I
know--ugh--but I'll crossbite him--I know them all, and I can manage
them--ay, ay--I have the trick on't--ugh-ugh."

"_You_ manage, father!" said the austere damsel; "you will manage to
have your throat cut, and that ere long. You cannot hide from them your
gains and your gold as formerly."

"My gains, wench? my gold?" said the usurer; "alack-a-day, few of these
and hard got--few and hard got."

"This will not serve you, father, any longer," said she, "and had not
served you thus long, but that Bully Colepepper had contrived a cheaper
way of plundering your house, even by means of my miserable self.--But
why do I speak to him of all this," she said, checking herself, and
shrugging her shoulders with an expression of pity which did not fall
much short of scorn. "He hears me not--he thinks not of me.--Is it
not strange that the love of gathering gold should survive the care to
preserve both property and life?"

"Your father," said Lord Glenvarloch, who could not help respecting the
strong sense and feeling shown by this poor woman, even amidst all
her rudeness and severity, "your father seems to have his faculties
sufficiently alert when he is in the exercise of his ordinary pursuits
and functions. I wonder he is not sensible of the weight of your
arguments."

"Nature made him a man senseless of danger, and that insensibility is
the best thing I have derived from him," said she; "age has left him
shrewdness enough to tread his old beaten paths, but not to seek new
courses. The old blind horse will long continue to go its rounds in the
mill, when it would stumble in the open meadow."

"Daughter!--why, wench--why, housewife!" said the old man, awakening
out of some dream, in which he had been sneering and chuckling in
imagination, probably over a successful piece of roguery,--"go to
chamber, wench--go to chamber--draw bolts and chain--look sharp to
door--let none in or out but worshipful Master Grahame--I must take my
cloak, and go to Duke Hildebrod--ay, ay, time has been, my own warrant
was enough; but the lower we lie, the more are we under the wind."

And, with his wonted chorus of muttering and coughing, the old man left
the apartment. His daughter stood for a moment looking after him, with
her usual expression of discontent and sorrow.

"You ought to persuade your father," said Nigel, "to leave this evil
neighbourhood, if you are in reality apprehensive for his safety."

"He would be safe in no other quarter," said the daughter; "I would
rather the old man were dead than publicly dishonoured. In other
quarters he would be pelted and pursued, like an owl which ventures into
sunshine. Here he was safe, while his comrades could avail themselves of
his talents; he is now squeezed and fleeced by them on every pretence.
They consider him as a vessel on the strand, from which each may snatch
a prey; and the very jealousy which they entertain respecting him as a
common property, may perhaps induce them to guard him from more private
and daring assaults."

"Still, methinks, you ought to leave this place," answered Nigel, "since
you might find a safe retreat in some distant country."

"In Scotland, doubtless," said she, looking at him with a sharp and
suspicious eye, "and enrich strangers with our rescued wealth--Ha! young
man?"

"Madam, if you knew me," said Lord Glenvarloch, "you would spare the
suspicion implied in your words."

"Who shall assure me of that?" said Martha, sharply. "They say you are
a brawler and a gamester, and I know how far these are to be trusted by
the unhappy."

"They do me wrong, by Heaven!" said Lord Glenvarloch.

"It may be so," said Martha; "I am little interested in the degree of
your vice or your folly; but it is plain, that the one or the other
has conducted you hither, and that your best hope of peace, safety, and
happiness, is to be gone, with the least possible delay, from a place
which is always a sty for swine, and often a shambles." So saying, she
left the apartment.

There was something in the ungracious manner of this female, amounting
almost to contempt of him she spoke to--an indignity to which
Glenvarloch, notwithstanding his poverty, had not as yet been personally
exposed, and which, therefore, gave him a transitory feeling of painful
surprise. Neither did the dark hints which Martha threw out concerning
the danger of his place of refuge, sound by any means agreeably to his
ears. The bravest man, placed in a situation in which he is surrounded
by suspicious persons, and removed from all counsel and assistance,
except those afforded by a valiant heart and a strong arm, experiences
a sinking of the spirit, a consciousness of abandonment, which for
a moment chills his blood, and depresses his natural gallantry of
disposition.

But, if sad reflections arose in Nigel's mind, he had not time to
indulge them; and, if he saw little prospect of finding friends in
Alsatia, he found that he was not likely to be solitary for lack of
visitors.

He had scarcely paced his apartment for ten minutes, endeavouring to
arrange his ideas on the course which he was to pursue on quitting
Alsatia, when he was interrupted by the Sovereign of the quarter, the
great Duke Hildebrod himself, before whose approach the bolts and chains
of the miser's dwelling fell, or withdrew, as of their own accord; and
both the folding leaves of the door were opened, that he might roll
himself into the house like a huge butt of liquor, a vessel to which
he bore a considerable outward resemblance, both in size, shape,
complexion, and contents.

"Good-morrow to your lordship," said the greasy puncheon, cocking his
single eye, and rolling it upon Nigel with a singular expression of
familiar impudence; whilst his grim bull-dog, which was close at his
heels, made a kind of gurgling in his throat, as if saluting, in similar
fashion, a starved cat, the only living thing in Trapbois' house which
we have not yet enumerated, and which had flown up to the top of the
tester, where she stood clutching and grinning at the mastiff, whose
greeting she accepted with as much good-will as Nigel bestowed on that
of the dog's master.

"Peace, Belzie!--D--n thee, peace!" said Duke Hildebrod. "Beasts and
fools will be meddling, my lord."

"I thought, sir," answered Nigel, with as much haughtiness as was
consistent with the cool distance which he desired to preserve, "I
thought I had told you, my name at present was Nigel Grahame."

His eminence of Whitefriars on this burst out into a loud, chuckling,
impudent laugh, repeating the word, till his voice was almost
inarticulate,--"Niggle Green--Niggle Green--Niggle Green!--why, my lord,
you would be queered in the drinking of a penny pot of Malmsey, if you
cry before you are touched. Why, you have told me the secret even now,
had I not had a shrewd guess of it before. Why, Master Nigel, since that
is the word, I only called you my lord, because we made you a peer
of Alsatia last night, when the sack was predominant.--How you look
now!--Ha! ha! ha!"

Nigel, indeed, conscious that he had unnecessarily betrayed himself,
replied hastily,--"he was much obliged to him for the honours conferred,
but did not propose to remain in the Sanctuary long enough to enjoy
them."

"Why, that may be as you will, an you will walk by wise counsel,"
answered the ducal porpoise; and, although Nigel remained standing, in
hopes to accelerate his guest's departure, he threw himself into one of
the old tapestry-backed easy-chairs, which cracked under his weight, and
began to call for old Trapbois.

The crone of all work appearing instead of her master, the Duke cursed
her for a careless jade, to let a strange gentleman, and a brave guest,
go without his morning's draught.

"I never take one, sir," said Glenvarloch.

"Time to begin--time to begin," answered the Duke.--"Here, you old
refuse of Sathan, go to our palace, and fetch Lord Green's morning
draught. Let us see--what shall it be, my lord?--a humming double pot of
ale, with a roasted crab dancing in it like a wherry above bridge?--or,
hum--ay, young men are sweet-toothed--a quart of burnt sack, with sugar
and spice?--good against the fogs. Or, what say you to sipping a gill of
right distilled waters? Come, we will have them all, and you shall take
your choice.--Here, you Jezebel, let Tim send the ale, and the sack, and
the nipperkin of double-distilled, with a bit of diet-loaf, or some such
trinket, and score it to the new comer."

Glenvarloch, bethinking himself that it might be as well to endure
this fellow's insolence for a brief season, as to get into farther
discreditable quarrels, suffered him to take his own way, without
interruption, only observing, "You make yourself at home, sir, in my
apartment; but, for the time, you may use your pleasure. Meanwhile,
I would fain know what has procured me the honour of this unexpected
visit?"

"You shall know that when old Deb has brought the liquor--I never speak
of business dry-lipped. Why, how she drumbles--I warrant she stops to
take a sip on the road, and then you will think you have had unchristian
measure.--In the meanwhile, look at that dog there--look Belzebub in
the face, and tell me if you ever saw a sweeter beast--never flew but at
head in his life."

And, after this congenial panegyric, he was proceeding with a tale of a
dog and a bull, which threatened to be somewhat of the longest, when
he was interrupted by the return of the old crone, and two of his own
tapsters, bearing the various kinds of drinkables which he had demanded,
and which probably was the only species of interruption he would have
endured with equanimity.

When the cups and cans were duly arranged upon the table, and when
Deborah, whom the ducal generosity honoured with a penny farthing in
the way of gratuity, had withdrawn with her satellites, the worthy
potentate, having first slightly invited Lord Glenvarloch to partake
of the liquor which he was to pay for, and after having observed, that,
excepting three poached eggs, a pint of bastard, and a cup of clary, he
was fasting from every thing but sin, set himself seriously to reinforce
the radical moisture. Glenvarloch had seen Scottish lairds and Dutch
burgomasters at their potations; but their exploits (though each might
be termed a thirsty generation) were nothing to those of Duke Hildebrod,
who seemed an absolute sandbed, capable of absorbing any given quantity
of liquid, without being either vivified or overflowed. He drank off
the ale to quench a thirst which, as he said, kept him in a fever from
morning to night, and night to morning; tippled off the sack to correct
the crudity of the ale; sent the spirits after the sack to keep all
quiet, and then declared that, probably, he should not taste liquor till
_post meridiem_, unless it was in compliment to some especial friend.
Finally, he intimated that he was ready to proceed on the business
which brought him from home so early, a proposition which Nigel readily
received, though he could not help suspecting that the most important
purpose of Duke Hildebrod's visit was already transacted.

In this, however, Lord Glenvarloch proved to be mistaken. Hildebrod,
before opening what he had to say, made an accurate survey of the
apartment, laying, from time to time, his finger on his nose, and
winking on Nigel with his single eye, while he opened and shut the
doors, lifted the tapestry, which concealed, in one or two places, the
dilapidation of time upon the wainscoted walls, peeped into closets,
and, finally, looked under the bed, to assure himself that the coast
was clear of listeners and interlopers. He then resumed his seat, and
beckoned confidentially to Nigel to draw his chair close to him.

"I am well as I am, Master Hildebrod," replied the young lord, little
disposed to encourage the familiarity which the man endeavoured to fix
on him; but the undismayed Duke proceeded as follows:

"You shall pardon me, my lord--and I now give you the title right
seriously--if I remind you that our waters may be watched; for though
old Trapbois be as deaf as Saint Paul's, yet his daughter has sharp
ears, and sharp eyes enough, and it is of them that it is my business to
speak."

"Say away, then, sir," said Nigel, edging his chair somewhat closer to
the Quicksand, "although I cannot conceive what business I have either
with mine host or his daughter."

"We will see that in the twinkling of a quart-pot," answered the
gracious Duke; "and first, my lord, you must not think to dance in a net
before old Jack Hildebrod, that has thrice your years o'er his head, and
was born, like King Richard, with all his eye-teeth ready cut."

"Well, sir, go on," said Nigel.

"Why, then, my lord, I presume to say, that, if you are, as I believe
you are, that Lord Glenvarloch whom all the world talk of--the Scotch
gallant that has spent all, to a thin cloak and a light purse--be not
moved, my lord, it is so noised of you--men call you the sparrow-hawk,
who will fly at all--ay, were it in the very Park--Be not moved, my
lord."

"I am ashamed, sirrah," replied Glenvarloch, "that you should have power
to move me by your insolence--but beware--and, if you indeed guess who
I am, consider how long I may be able to endure your tone of insolent
familiarity."

"I crave pardon, my lord," said Hildebrod, with a sullen, yet apologetic
look; "I meant no harm in speaking my poor mind. I know not what honour
there may be in being familiar with your lordship, but I judge there
is little safety, for Lowestoffe is laid up in lavender only for having
shown you the way into Alsatia; and so, what is to come of those who
maintain you when you are here, or whether they will get most honour or
most trouble by doing so, I leave with your lordship's better judgment."

"I will bring no one into trouble on my account," said Lord Glenvarloch.
"I will leave Whitefriars to-morrow. Nay, by Heaven, I will leave it
this day."

"You will have more wit in your anger, I trust," said Duke Hildebrod;
"listen first to what I have to say to you, and, if honest Jack
Hildebrod puts you not in the way of nicking them all, may he never cast
doublets, or dull a greenhorn again! And so, my lord, in plain words,
you must wap and win."

"Your words must be still plainer before I can understand them," said
Nigel.

"What the devil--a gamester, one who deals with the devil's bones and
the doctors, and not understand Pedlar's French! Nay, then, I must speak
plain English, and that's the simpleton's tongue."

"Speak, then, sir," said Nigel; "and I pray you be brief, for I have
little more time to bestow on you."

"Well, then, my lord, to be brief, as you and the lawyers call it--I
understand you have an estate in the north, which changes masters for
want of the redeeming ready.--Ay, you start, but you cannot dance in
a net before me, as I said before; and so the king runs the frowning
humour on you, and the Court vapours you the go-by; and the Prince
scowls at you from under his cap; and the favourite serves you out the
puckered brow and the cold shoulder; and the favourite's favourite--"

"To go no further, sir," interrupted Nigel, "suppose all this true--and
what follows?"

"What follows?" returned Duke Hildebrod. "Marry, this follows, that you
will owe good deed, as well as good will, to him who shall put you in
the way to walk with your beaver cocked in the presence, as an ye were
Earl of Kildare; bully the courtiers; meet the Prince's blighting look
with a bold brow; confront the favourite; baffle his deputy, and--"

"This is all well," said Nigel! "but how is it to be accomplished?"

"By making thee a Prince of Peru, my lord of the northern latitudes;
propping thine old castle with ingots,--fertilizing thy failing fortunes
with gold dust--it shall but cost thee to put thy baron's coronet for a
day or so on the brows of an old Caduca here, the man's daughter of the
house, and thou art master of a mass of treasure that shall do all I
have said for thee, and--"

"What, you would have me marry this old gentlewoman here, the daughter
of mine host?" said Nigel, surprised and angry, yet unable to suppress
some desire to laugh.

"Nay, my lord, I would have you marry fifty thousand good sterling
pounds; for that, and better, hath old Trapbois hoarded; and thou shall
do a deed of mercy in it to the old man, who will lose his golden smelts
in some worse way--for now that he is well-nigh past his day of work,
his day of payment is like to follow."

"Truly, this is a most courteous offer," said Lord Glenvarloch; "but may
I pray of your candour, most noble duke, to tell me why you dispose of
a ward of so much wealth on a stranger like me, who may leave you
to-morrow?"

"In sooth, my lord," said the Duke, "that question smacks more of the
wit of Beaujeu's ordinary, than any word I have yet heard your lordship
speak, and reason it is you should be answered. Touching my peers, it is
but necessary to say, that Mistress Martha Trapbois will none of them,
whether clerical or laic. The captain hath asked her, so hath the
parson, but she will none of them--she looks higher than either, and
is, to say truth, a woman of sense, and so forth, too profound, and of
spirit something too high, to put up with greasy buff or rusty prunella.
For ourselves, we need but hint that we have a consort in the land of
the living, and, what is more to purpose, Mrs. Martha knows it. So, as
she will not lace her kersey hood save with a quality binding, you, my
lord, must be the man, and must carry off fifty thousand decuses, the
spoils of five thousand bullies, cutters, and spendthrifts,--always
deducting from the main sum some five thousand pounds for our princely
advice and countenance, without which, as matters stand in Alsatia, you
would find it hard to win the plate."

"But has your wisdom considered, sir," replied Glenvarloch, "how this
wedlock can serve me in my present emergence?"

"As for that, my lord," said Duke Hildebrod, "if, with forty or fifty
thousand pounds in your pouch, you cannot save yourself, you will
deserve to lose your head for your folly, and your hand for being
close-fisted."

"But, since your goodness has taken my matters into such serious
consideration," continued Nigel, who conceived there was no prudence
in breaking with a man, who, in his way, meant him favour rather than
offence, "perhaps you may be able to tell me how my kindred will be
likely to receive such a bride as you recommend to me?"

"Touching that matter, my lord, I have always heard your countrymen knew
as well as other folks, on which side their bread was buttered. And,
truly, speaking from report, I know no place where fifty thousand
pounds--fifty thousand pounds, I say--will make a woman more welcome
than it is likely to do in your ancient kingdom. And, truly, saving the
slight twist in her shoulder, Mrs. Martha Trapbois is a person of very
awful and majestic appearance, and may, for aught I know, be come of
better blood than any one wots of; for old Trapbois looks not over
like to be her father, and her mother was a generous, liberal sort of a
woman."

"I am afraid," answered Nigel, "that chance is rather too vague to
assure her a gracious reception into an honourable house."

"Why, then, my lord," replied Hildebrod, "I think it like she will be
even with them; for I will venture to say, she has as much ill-nature as
will make her a match for your whole clan."

"That may inconvenience me a little," replied Nigel.

"Not a whit--not a whit," said the Duke, fertile in expedients; "if she
should become rather intolerable, which is not unlikely, your honourable
house, which I presume to be a castle, hath, doubtless, both turrets and
dungeons, and ye may bestow your bonny bride in either the one or the
other, and then you know you will be out of hearing of her tongue, and
she will be either above or below the contempt of your friends."

"It is sagely counselled, most equitable sir," replied Nigel, "and such
restraint would be a fit meed for her folly that gave me any power over
her."

"You entertain the project then, my lord?" said Duke Hildebrod.

"I must turn it in my mind for twenty-four hours," said Nigel; "and I
will pray you so to order matters that I be not further interrupted by
any visitors."

"We will utter an edict to secure your privacy," said the Duke; "and you
do not think," he added, lowering his voice to a confidential whisper,
"that ten thousand is too much to pay to the Sovereign, in name of
wardship?"

"Ten thousand!" said Lord Glenvarloch; "why, you said five thousand but
now."

"Aha! art avised of that?" said the Duke, touching the side of his
nose with his finger; "nay, if you have marked me so closely, you are
thinking on the case more nearly than I believed, till you trapped me.
Well, well, we will not quarrel about the consideration, as old Trapbois
would call it--do you win and wear the dame; it will be no hard matter
with your face and figure, and I will take care that no one interrupts
you. I will have an edict from the Senate as soon as they meet for their
meridiem."

So saying, Duke Hildebrod took his leave.



CHAPTER XXIV


  This is the time--Heaven's maiden sentinel
  Hath quitted her high watch--the lesser spangles
  Are paling one by one; give me the ladder
  And the short lever--bid Anthony
  Keep with his carabine the wicket-gate;
  And do thou bare thy knife and follow me,
  For we will in and do it--darkness like this
  Is dawning of our fortunes.
                           _Old Play._

When Duke Hildebrod had withdrawn, Nigel's first impulse was an
irresistible feeling to laugh at the sage adviser, who would have thus
connected him with age, ugliness, and ill-temper; but his next thought
was pity for the unfortunate father and daughter, who, being the only
persons possessed of wealth in this unhappy district, seemed like a
wreck on the sea-shore of a barbarous country, only secured from plunder
for the moment by the jealousy of the tribes among whom it had been
cast. Neither could he help being conscious that his own residence here
was upon conditions equally precarious, and that he was considered by
the Alsatians in the same light of a godsend on the Cornish coast, or a
sickly but wealthy caravan travelling through the wilds of Africa, and
emphatically termed by the nations of despoilers through whose regions
it passes _Dummalafong_, which signifies a thing given to be devoured--a
common prey to all men.

Nigel had already formed his own plan to extricate himself, at whatever
risk, from his perilous and degrading situation; and, in order that he
might carry it into instant execution, he only awaited the return of
Lowestoffe's messenger. He expected him, however, in vain, and could
only amuse himself by looking through such parts of his baggage as had
been sent to him from his former lodgings, in order to select a small
packet of the most necessary articles to take with him, in the event of
his quitting his lodgings secretly and suddenly, as speed and privacy
would, he foresaw, be particularly necessary, if he meant to obtain
an interview with the king, which was the course his spirit and his
interest alike determined him to pursue.

While he was thus engaged, he found, greatly to his satisfaction, that
Master Lowestoffe had transmitted not only his rapier and poniard, but a
pair of pistols, which he had used in travelling; of a smaller and more
convenient size than the large petronels, or horse pistols, which were
then in common use, as being made for wearing at the girdle or in the
pockets. Next to having stout and friendly comrades, a man is chiefly
emboldened by finding himself well armed in case of need, and Nigel,
who had thought with some anxiety on the hazard of trusting his life, if
attacked, to the protection of the clumsy weapon with which Lowestoffe
had equipped him, in order to complete his disguise, felt an emotion
of confidence approaching to triumph, as, drawing his own good and
well-tried rapier, he wiped it with his handkerchief, examined its
point, bent it once or twice against the ground to prove its well-known
metal, and finally replaced it in the scabbard, the more hastily, that
he heard a tap at the door of his chamber, and had no mind to be found
vapouring in the apartment with his sword drawn.

It was his old host who entered, to tell him with many cringes that the
price of his apartment was to be a crown per diem; and that, according
to the custom of Whitefriars, the rent was always payable per advance,
although he never scrupled to let the money lie till a week or
fortnight, or even a month, in the hands of any honourable guest like
Master Grahame, always upon some reasonable consideration for the use.
Nigel got rid of the old dotard's intrusion, by throwing down two pieces
of gold, and requesting the accommodation of his present apartment for
eight days, adding, however, he did not think he should tarry so long.

The miser, with a sparkling eye and a trembling hand, clutched fast the
proffered coin, and, having balanced the pieces with exquisite pleasure
on the extremity of his withered finger, began almost instantly to
show that not even the possession of gold can gratify for more than an
instant the very heart that is most eager in the pursuit of it. First,
the pieces might be light--with hasty hand he drew a small pair
of scales from his bosom, and weighed them, first together, then
separately, and smiled with glee as he saw them attain the due
depression in the balance--a circumstance which might add to his
profits, if it were true, as was currently reported, that little of the
gold coinage was current in Alsatia in a perfect state, and that none
ever left the Sanctuary in that condition.

Another fear then occurred to trouble the old miser's pleasure. He had
been just able to comprehend that Nigel intended to leave the Friars
sooner than the arrival of the term for which he had deposited the rent.
This might imply an expectation of refunding, which, as a Scotch wag
said, of all species of funding, jumped least with the old gentleman's
humour. He was beginning to enter a hypothetical caveat on this subject,
and to quote several reasons why no part of the money once consigned as
room-rent, could be repaid back on any pretence, without great hardship
to the landlord, when Nigel, growing impatient, told him that the money
was his absolutely, and without any intention on his part of resuming
any of it--all he asked in return was the liberty of enjoying in private
the apartment he had paid for. Old Trapbois, who had still at his
tongue's end much of the smooth language, by which, in his time, he had
hastened the ruin of many a young spendthrift, began to launch out
upon the noble and generous disposition of his new guest, until Nigel,
growing impatient, took the old gentleman by the hand, and gently, yet
irresistibly, leading him to the door of the chamber, put him out, but
with such decent and moderate exertion of his superior strength, as to
render the action in no shape indecorous, and, fastening the door, began
to do that for his pistols which he had done for his favourite sword,
examining with care the flints and locks, and reviewing the state of his
small provision of ammunition.

In this operation he was a second time interrupted by a knocking at the
door--he called upon the person to enter, having no doubt that it
was Lowestoffe's messenger at length arrived. It was, however, the
ungracious daughter of old Trapbois, who, muttering something about her
father's mistake, laid down upon the table one of the pieces of gold
which Nigel had just given to him, saying, that what she retained was
the full rent for the term he had specified. Nigel replied, he had paid
the money, and had no desire to receive it again.

"Do as you will with it, then," replied his hostess, "for there it lies,
and shall lie for me. If you are fool enough to pay more than is reason,
my father shall not be knave enough to take it."

"But your father, mistress," said Nigel, "your father told me--"

"Oh, my father, my father," said she, interrupting him,--"my father
managed these affairs while he was able--I manage them now, and that may
in the long run be as well for both of us."

She then looked on the table, and observed the weapons.

"You have arms, I see," she said; "do you know how to use them?"

"I should do so mistress," replied Nigel, "for it has been my
occupation."

"You are a soldier, then?" she demanded.

"No farther as yet, than as every gentleman of my country is a soldier."

"Ay, that is your point of honour--to cut the throats of the poor--a
proper gentlemanlike occupation for those who should protect them!"

"I do not deal in cutting throats, mistress," replied Nigel; "but I
carry arms to defend myself, and my country if it needs me."

"Ay," replied Martha, "it is fairly worded; but men say you are as
prompt as others in petty brawls, where neither your safety nor your
country is in hazard; and that had it not been so, you would not have
been in the Sanctuary to-day."

"Mistress," returned Nigel, "I should labour in vain to make you
understand that a man's honour, which is, or should be, dearer to him
than his life, may often call on and compel us to hazard our own
lives, or those of others, on what would otherwise seem trifling
contingencies."

"God's law says nought of that," said the female; "I have only read
there, that thou shall not kill. But I have neither time nor inclination
to preach to you--you will find enough of fighting here if you like
it, and well if it come not to seek you when you are least prepared.
Farewell for the present--the char-woman will execute your commands for
your meals."

She left the room, just as Nigel, provoked at her assuming a superior
tone of judgment and of censure, was about to be so superfluous as to
enter into a dispute with an old pawnbroker's daughter on the subject of
the point of honour. He smiled at himself for the folly into which the
spirit of self-vindication had so nearly hurried him.

Lord Glenvarloch then applied to old Deborah the char-woman, by whose
intermediation he was provided with a tolerably decent dinner; and the
only embarrassment which he experienced, was from the almost forcible
entry of the old dotard his landlord, who insisted upon giving his
assistance at laying the cloth. Nigel had some difficulty to prevent
him from displacing his arms and some papers which were lying on a small
table at which he had been sitting; and nothing short of a stern and
positive injunction to the contrary could compel him to use another
board (though there were two in the room) for the purpose of laying the
cloth.

Having at length obliged him to relinquish his purpose, he could not
help observing that the eyes of the old dotard seemed still anxiously
fixed upon the small table on which lay his sword and pistols; and that,
amidst all the little duties which he seemed officiously anxious to
render to his guest, he took every opportunity of looking towards and
approaching these objects of his attention. At length, when Trapbois
thought he had completely avoided the notice of his guest, Nigel,
through the observation of one of the cracked mirrors, oh which channel
of communication the old man had not calculated, beheld him actually
extend his hand towards the table in question. He thought it unnecessary
to use further ceremony, but telling his landlord, in a stern voice,
that he permitted no one to touch his arms, he commanded him to leave
the apartment. The old usurer commenced a maundering sort of apology, in
which all that Nigel distinctly apprehended, was a frequent repetition
of the word _consideration_, and which did not seem to him to require
any other answer than a reiteration of his command to him to leave the
apartment, upon pain of worse consequences.

The ancient Hebe who acted as Lord Glenvarloch's cup-bearer, took his
part against the intrusion of the still more antiquated Ganymede, and
insisted on old Trapbois leaving the room instantly, menacing him at
the same time with her mistress's displeasure if he remained there any
longer. The old man seemed more under petticoat government than any
other, for the threat of the char-woman produced greater effect upon him
than the more formidable displeasure of Nigel. He withdrew grumbling and
muttering, and Lord Glenvarloch heard him bar a large door at the nearer
end of the gallery, which served as a division betwixt the other parts
of the extensive mansion, and the apartment occupied by his guest,
which, as the reader is aware, had its access from the landing-place at
the head of the grand staircase.

Nigel accepted the careful sound of the bolts and bars as they were
severally drawn by the trembling hand of old Trapbois, as an omen
that the senior did not mean again to revisit him in the course of
the evening, and heartily rejoiced that he was at length to be left to
uninterrupted solitude.

The old woman asked if there was aught else to be done for his
accommodation; and, indeed, it had hitherto seemed as if the pleasure of
serving him, or more properly the reward which she expected, had renewed
her youth and activity. Nigel desired to have candles, to have a fire
lighted in his apartment, and a few fagots placed beside it, that he
might feed it from time to time, as he began to feel the chilly effects
of the damp and low situation of the house, close as it was to the
Thames. But while the old woman was absent upon his errand, he began to
think in what way he should pass the long solitary evening with which he
was threatened.

His own reflections promised to Nigel little amusement, and less
applause. He had considered his own perilous situation in every light
in which it could be viewed, and foresaw as little utility as comfort in
resuming the survey. To divert the current of his ideas, books were, of
course, the readiest resource; and although, like most of us, Nigel had,
in his time, sauntered through large libraries, and even spent a long
time there without greatly disturbing their learned contents, he was now
in a situation where the possession of a volume, even of very inferior
merit, becomes a real treasure. The old housewife returned shortly
afterwards with fagots, and some pieces of half-burnt wax-candles, the
perquisites, probably, real or usurped, of some experienced groom of
the chambers, two of which she placed in large brass candlesticks, of
different shapes and patterns, and laid the others on the table, that
Nigel might renew them from time to time as they burnt to the socket.
She heard with interest Lord Glenvarloch's request to have a book--any
sort of book--to pass away the night withal, and returned for answer,
that she knew of no other books in the house than her young mistress's
(as she always denominated Mistress Martha Trapbois) Bible, which the
owner would not lend; and her master's Whetstone of Witte, being the
second part of Arithmetic, by Robert Record, with the Cossike Practice
and Rule of Equation; which promising volume Nigel declined to borrow.
She offered, however, to bring him some books from Duke Hildebrod--"who
sometimes, good gentleman, gave a glance at a book when the State
affairs of Alsatia left him as much leisure."

Nigfil embraced the proposal, and his unwearied Iris scuttled away on
this second embassy. She returned in a short time with a tattered quarto
volume under her arm, and a bottle of sack in her hand; for the Duke,
judging that mere reading was dry work, had sent the wine by way of
sauce to help it down, not forgetting to add the price to the morning's
score, which he had already run up against the stranger in the
Sanctuary.

Nigel seized on the book, and did not refuse the wine, thinking that a
glass or two, as it really proved to be of good quality, would be no
bad interlude to his studies. He dismissed, with thanks and assurance
of reward, the poor old drudge who had been so zealous in his service;
trimmed his fire and candles, and placed the easiest of the old
arm-chairs in a convenient posture betwixt the fire and the table at
which he had dined, and which now supported the measure of sack and the
lights; and thus accompanying his studies with such luxurious appliances
as were in his power, he began to examine the only volume with which the
ducal library of Alsatia had been able to supply him.

The contents, though of a kind generally interesting, were not well
calculated to dispel the gloom by which he was surrounded. The book was
entitled "God's Revenge against Murther;" not, as the bibliomaniacal
reader may easily conjecture, the work which Reynolds published under
that imposing name, but one of a much earlier date, printed and sold
by old Wolfe; and which, could a copy now be found, would sell for much
more than its weight in gold.[Footnote: Only three copies are known
to exist; one in the library at Kennaquhair, and two--one foxed and
cropped, the other tall and in good condition--both in the possession
of an eminent member of the Roxburghe Club.--_Note by_ CAPTAIN
CLUTTERBUCK.] Nigel had soon enough of the doleful tales which the book
contains, and attempted one or two other modes of killing the evening.
He looked out at window, but the night was rainy, with gusts of wind;
he tried to coax the fire, but the fagots were green, and smoked without
burning; and as he was naturally temperate, he felt his blood somewhat
heated by the canary sack which he had already drank, and had no farther
inclination to that pastime. He next attempted to compose a memorial
addressed to the king, in which he set forth his case and his
grievances; but, speedily stung with the idea that his supplication
would be treated with scorn, he flung the scroll into the fire, and, in
a sort of desperation, resumed the book which he had laid aside.

Nigel became more interested in the volume at the second than at the
first attempt which he made to peruse it. The narratives, strange and
shocking as they were to human feeling, possessed yet the interest of
sorcery or of fascination, which rivets the attention by its awakening
horrors. Much was told of the strange and horrible acts of blood by
which men, setting nature and humanity alike at defiance, had, for
the thirst of revenge, the lust of gold, or the cravings of irregular
ambition, broken into the tabernacle of life. Yet more surprising and
mysterious tales were recounted of the mode in which such deeds of blood
had come to be discovered and revenged. Animals, irrational animals,
had told the secret, and birds of the air had carried the matter. The
elements had seemed to betray the deed which had polluted them--earth
had ceased to support the murderer's steps, fire to warm his frozen
limbs, water to refresh his parched lips, air to relieve his gasping
lungs. All, in short, bore evidence to the homicide's guilt. In other
circumstances, the criminal's own awakened conscience pursued and
brought him to justice; and in some narratives the grave was said to
have yawned, that the ghost of the sufferer might call for revenge.

It was now wearing late in the night, and the book was still in Nigel's
hands, when the tapestry which hung behind him flapped against the wall,
and the wind produced by its motion waved the flame of the candles by
which he was reading. Nigel started and turned round, in that excited
and irritated state of mind which arose from the nature of his studies,
especially at a period when a certain degree of superstition was
inculcated as a point of religious faith. It was not without emotion
that he saw the bloodless countenance, meagre form, and ghastly aspect
of old Trapbois, once more in the very act of extending his withered
hand towards the table which supported his arms. Convinced by this
untimely apparition that something evil was meditated towards him, Nigel
sprung up, seized his sword, drew it, and placing it at the old man's
breast, demanded of him what he did in his apartment at so untimely an
hour. Trapbois showed neither fear nor surprise, and only answered
by some imperfect expressions, intimating he would part with his
life rather than with his property; and Lord Glenvarloch, strangely
embarrassed, knew not what to think of the intruder's motives, and still
less how to get rid of him. As he again tried the means of intimidation,
he was surprised by a second apparition from behind the tapestry, in the
person of the daughter of Trapbois, bearing a lamp in her hand. She
also seemed to possess her father's insensibility to danger, for, coming
close to Nigel, she pushed aside impetuously his naked sword, and even
attempted to take it out of his hand.

"For shame," she said, "your sword on a man of eighty years and
more!-=this the honour of a Scottish gentleman!--give it to me to make a
spindle of!"

"Stand back," said Nigel; "I mean your father no injury--but I _will_
know what has caused him to prowl this whole day, and even at this late
hour of night, around my arms."

"Your arms!" repeated she; "alas! young man, the whole arms in the Tower
of London are of little value to him, in comparison of this miserable
piece of gold which I left this morning on the table of a young
spendthrift, too careless to put what belonged to him into his own
purse."

So saying, she showed the piece of gold, which, still remaining on the
table, where she left it, had been the bait that attracted old Trapbois
so frequently to the spot; and which, even in the silence of the night,
had so dwelt on his imagination, that he had made use of a private
passage long disused, to enter his guest's apartment, in order to
possess himself of the treasure during his slumbers. He now exclaimed,
at the highest tones of his cracked and feeble voice--

"It is mine--it is mine!--he gave it to me for a consideration--I will
die ere I part with my property!"

"It is indeed his own, mistress," said Nigel, "and I do entreat you to
restore it to the person on whom I have bestowed it, and let me have my
apartment in quiet."

"I will account with you for it, then,"--said the maiden, reluctantly
giving to her father the morsel of Mammon, on which he darted as if his
bony fingers had been the talons of a hawk seizing its prey; and then
making a contented muttering and mumbling, like an old dog after he
has been fed, and just when he is wheeling himself thrice round for the
purpose of lying down, he followed his daughter behind the tapestry,
through a little sliding-door, which was perceived when the hangings
were drawn apart.

"This shall be properly fastened to-morrow," said the daughter to Nigel,
speaking in such a tone that her father, deaf, and engrossed by his
acquisition, could not hear her; "to-night I will continue to watch him
closely.--I wish you good repose."

These few words, pronounced in a tone of more civility than she had yet
made use of towards her lodger, contained a wish which was not to be
accomplished, although her guest, presently after her departure, retired
to bed.

There was a slight fever in Nigel's blood, occasioned by the various
events of the evening, which put him, as the phrase is, beside his
rest. Perplexing and painful thoughts rolled on his mind like a troubled
stream, and the more he laboured to lull himself to slumber, the farther
he seemed from attaining his object. He tried all the resources common
in such cases; kept counting from one to a thousand, until his head
was giddy--he watched the embers of the wood fire till his eyes were
dazzled--he listened to the dull moaning of the wind, the swinging and
creaking of signs which projected from the houses, and the baying of
here and there a homeless dog, till his very ear was weary.

Suddenly, however, amid this monotony, came a sound which startled him
at once. It was a female shriek. He sat up in his bed to listen, then
remembered he was in Alsatia, where brawls of every sort were current
among the unruly inhabitants. But another scream, and another, and
another, succeeded so close, that he was certain, though the noise was
remote and sounded stifled, it must be in the same house with himself.

Nigel jumped up hastily, put on a part of his clothes, seized his sword
and pistols, and ran to the door of his chamber. Here he plainly heard
the screams redoubled, and, as he thought, the sounds came from the
usurer's apartment. All access to the gallery was effectually excluded
by the intermediate door, which the brave young lord shook with eager,
but vain impatience. But the secret passage occurred suddenly to his
recollection. He hastened back to his room, and succeeded with some
difficulty in lighting a candle, powerfully agitated by hearing the
cries repeated, yet still more afraid lest they should sink into
silence.

He rushed along the narrow and winding entrance, guided by the noise,
which now burst more wildly on his ear; and, while he descended a narrow
staircase which terminated the passage, he heard the stifled voices
of men, encouraging, as it seemed, each other. "D--n her, strike
her down--silence her--beat her brains out!"--while the voice of his
hostess, though now almost exhausted, was repeating the cry of "murder,"
and "help." At the bottom of the staircase was a small door, which gave
way before Nigel as he precipitated himself upon the scene of action,--a
cocked pistol in one hand, a candle in the other, and his naked sword
under his arm.

Two ruffians had, with great difficulty, overpowered, or, rather, were
on the point of overpowering, the daughter of Trapbois, whose resistance
appeared to have been most desperate, for the floor was covered with
fragments of her clothes, and handfuls of her hair. It appeared that her
life was about to be the price of her defence, for one villain had drawn
a long clasp-knife, when they were surprised by the entrance of Nigel,
who, as they turned towards him, shot the fellow with the knife dead on
the spot, and when the other advanced to him, hurled the candlestick at
his head, and then attacked him with his sword. It was dark, save some
pale moonlight from the window; and the ruffian, after firing a pistol
without effect, and fighting a traverse or two with his sword, lost
heart, made for the window, leaped over it, and escaped. Nigel fired his
remaining pistol after him at a venture, and then called for light.

"There is light in the kitchen," answered Martha Trapbois, with more
presence of mind than could have been expected. "Stay, you know not the
way; I will fetch it myself.--Oh! my father--my poor father!--I knew
it would come to this--and all along of the accursed gold!--They have
_murdered_ him!"



CHAPTER XXV


  Death finds us 'mid our playthings--snatches us,
  As a cross nurse might do a wayward child,
  From all our toys and baubles. His rough call
  Unlooses all our favourite ties on earth;
  And well if they are such as may be answer'd
  In yonder world, where all is judged of truly.
                                   _Old Play_.

It was a ghastly scene which opened, upon Martha Trapbois's return with
a light. Her own haggard and austere features were exaggerated by
all the desperation of grief, fear, and passion--but the latter was
predominant. On the floor lay the body of the robber, who had expired
without a groan, while his blood, flowing plentifully, had crimsoned
all around. Another body lay also there, on which the unfortunate woman
precipitated herself in agony, for it was that of her unhappy father. In
the next moment she started up, and exclaiming--"There may be life yet!"
strove to raise the body. Nigel went to her assistance, but not without
a glance at the open window; which Martha, as acute as if undisturbed
either by passion or terror, failed not to interpret justly.

"Fear not," she cried, "fear not; they are base cowards, to whom courage
is as much unknown as mercy. If I had had weapons, I could have defended
myself against them without assistance or protection.--Oh! my poor
father! protection comes too late for this cold and stiff corpse.--He is
dead--dead!"

While she spoke, they were attempting to raise the dead body of the old
miser; but it was evident, even from the feeling of the inactive weight
and rigid joints, that life had forsaken her station. Nigel looked for a
wound, but saw none. The daughter of the deceased, with more presence
of mind than a daughter could at the time have been supposed capable
of exerting, discovered the instrument of his murder--a sort of scarf,
which had been drawn so tight round his throat, as to stifle his cries
for assistance, in the first instance, and afterwards to extinguish
life.

She undid the fatal noose; and, laying the old man's body in the arms of
Lord Glenvarloch, she ran for water, for spirits, for essences, in the
vain hope that life might be only suspended. That hope proved indeed
vain. She chafed his temples, raised his head, loosened his nightgown,
(for it seemed as if he had arisen from bed upon hearing the entrance
of the villains,) and, finally, opened, with difficulty, his fixed and
closely-clenched hands, from one of which dropped a key, from the other
the very piece of gold about which the unhappy man had been a little
before so anxious, and which probably, in the impaired state of his
mental faculties, he was disposed to defend with as desperate energy as
if its amount had been necessary to his actual existence.

"It is in vain--it is in vain," said the daughter, desisting from her
fruitless attempts to recall the spirit which had been effectually
dislodged, for the neck had been twisted by the violence of the
murderers; "It is in vain--he is murdered--I always knew it would be
thus; and now I witness it!"

She then snatched up the key and the piece of money, but it was only to
dash them again on the floor, as she exclaimed, "Accursed be ye both,
for you are the causes of this deed!"

Nigel would have spoken--would have reminded her, that measures should
be instantly taken for the pursuit of the murderer who had escaped, as
well as for her own security against his return; but she interrupted him
sharply.

"Be silent," she said, "be silent. Think you, the thoughts of my own
heart are not enough to distract me, and with such a sight as this
before me? I say, be silent," she said again, and in a yet sterner
tone--"Can a daughter listen, and her father's murdered corpse lying on
her knees?"

Lord Glenvarloch, however overpowered by the energy of her grief, felt
not the less the embarrassment of his own situation. He had discharged
both his pistols--the robber might return--he had probably other
assistants besides the man who had fallen, and it seemed to him, indeed,
as if he had heard a muttering beneath the windows. He explained hastily
to his companion the necessity of procuring ammunition.

"You are right," she said, somewhat contemptuously, "and have ventured
already more than ever I expected of man. Go, and shift for yourself,
since that is your purpose--leave me to my fate."

Without stopping for needless expostulation, Nigel hastened to his own
room through the secret passage, furnished himself with the ammunition
he sought for, and returned with the same celerity; wondering himself at
the accuracy with which he achieved, in the dark, all the meanderings
of the passage which he had traversed only once, and that in a moment of
such violent agitation.

He found, on his return, the unfortunate woman standing like a statue by
the body of her father, which she had laid straight on the floor, having
covered the face with the skirt of his gown. She testified neither
surprise nor pleasure at Nigel's return, but said to him calmly--"My
moan is made--my sorrow--all the sorrow at least that man shall ever
have noting of, is gone past; but I will have justice, and the base
villain who murdered this poor defenceless old man, when he had not, by
the course of nature, a twelvemonth's life in him, shall not cumber
the earth long after him. Stranger, whom heaven has sent to forward
the revenge reserved for this action, go to Hildebrod's--there they are
awake all night in their revels--bid him come hither--he is bound by his
duty, and dare not, and shall not, refuse his assistance, which he knows
well I can reward. Why do ye tarry?--go instantly."

"I would," said Nigel, "but I am fearful of leaving you alone; the
villains may return, and--"

"True, most true," answered Martha, "he may return; and, though I care
little for his murdering me, he may possess himself of what has most
tempted him. Keep this key and this piece of gold; they are both of
importance--defend your life if assailed, and if you kill the villain I
will make you rich. I go myself to call for aid."

Nigel would have remonstrated with her, but she had departed, and in
a moment he heard the house-door clank behind her. For an instant he
thought of following her; but upon recollection that the distance was
but short betwixt the tavern of Hildebrod and the house of Trapbois,
he concluded that she knew it better than he--incurred little danger in
passing it, and that he would do well in the meanwhile to remain on the
watch as she recommended.

It was no pleasant situation for one unused to such scenes to remain
in the apartment with two dead bodies, recently those of living and
breathing men, who had both, within the space of less than half an hour,
suffered violent death; one of them by the hand of the assassin, the
other, whose blood still continued to flow from the wound in his throat,
and to flood all around him, by the spectator's own deed of violence,
though of justice. He turned his face from those wretched relics of
mortality with a feeling of disgust, mingled with superstition; and he
found, when he had done so, that the consciousness of the presence
of these ghastly objects, though unseen by him, rendered him more
uncomfortable than even when he had his eyes fixed upon, and reflected
by, the cold, staring, lifeless eyeballs of the deceased. Fancy also
played her usual sport with him. He now thought he heard the well-worn
damask nightgown of the deceased usurer rustle; anon, that he heard the
slaughtered bravo draw up his leg, the boot scratching the floor as if
he was about to rise; and again he deemed he heard the footsteps and
the whisper of the returned ruffian under the window from which he had
lately escaped. To face the last and most real danger, and to parry the
terrors which the other class of feelings were like to impress upon him,
Nigel went to the window, and was much cheered to observe the light of
several torches illuminating the street, and followed, as the murmur
of voices denoted, by a number of persons, armed, it would seem, with
firelocks and halberds, and attendant on Hildebrod, who (not in his
fantastic office of duke, but in that which he really possessed of
bailiff of the liberty and sanctuary of Whitefriars) was on his way to
inquire into the crime and its circumstances.

It was a strange and melancholy contrast to see these debauchees,
disturbed in the very depth of their midnight revel, on their arrival at
such a scene as this. They stared on each other, and on the bloody work
before them, with lack-lustre eyes; staggered with uncertain steps
over boards slippery with blood; their noisy brawling voices sunk into
stammering whispers; and, with spirits quelled by what they saw, while
their brains were still stupefied by the liquor which they had drunk,
they seemed like men walking in their sleep.

Old Hildebrod was an exception to the general condition. That seasoned
cask, however full, was at all times capable of motion, when there
occurred a motive sufficiently strong to set him a-rolling. He seemed
much shocked at what he beheld, and his proceedings, in consequence,
had more in them of regularity and propriety, than he might have been
supposed capable of exhibiting upon any occasion whatever. The
daughter was first examined, and stated, with wonderful accuracy and
distinctness, the manner in which she had been alarmed with a noise of
struggling and violence in her father's apartment, and that the
more readily, because she was watching him on account of some alarm
concerning his health. On her entrance, she had seen her father sinking
under the strength of two men, upon whom she rushed with all the fury
she was capable of. As their faces were blackened, and their figures
disguised, she could not pretend, in the hurry of a moment so dreadfully
agitating, to distinguish either of them as persons whom she had seen
before. She remembered little more except the firing of shots, until
she found herself alone with her guest, and saw that the ruffians had
escaped. Lord Glenvarloch told his story as we have given it to the
reader. The direct evidence thus received, Hildebrod examined the
premises. He found that the villains had made their entrance by the
window out of which the survivor had made his escape; yet it seemed
singular that they should have done so, as it was secured with strong
iron bars, which old Trapbois was in the habit of shutting with his own
hand at nightfall. He minuted down with great accuracy, the state of
every thing in the apartment, and examined carefully the features of the
slain robber. He was dressed like a seaman of the lowest order, but
his face was known to none present. Hildebrod next sent for an Alsatian
surgeon, whose vices, undoing what his skill might have done for him,
had consigned him to the wretched practice of this place. He made him
examine the dead bodies, and make a proper declaration of the manner in
which the sufferers seemed to have come by their end. The circumstances
of the sash did not escape the learned judge, and having listened to
all that could be heard or conjectured on the subject, and collected
all particulars of evidence which appeared to bear on the bloody
transaction, he commanded the door of the apartment to be locked until
next morning; and carrying, the unfortunate daughter of the murdered
man into the kitchen, where there was no one in presence but Lord
Glenvarloch, he asked her gravely, whether she suspected no one in
particular of having committed the deed.

"Do _you_ suspect no one?" answered Martha, looking fixedly on him.

"Perhaps, I may, mistress; but it is my part to ask questions, yours to
answer them. That's the rule of the game."

"Then I suspect him who wore yonder sash. Do not you know whom I mean?"

"Why, if you call on me for honours, I must needs say I have seen
Captain Peppercull have one of such a fashion, and he was not a man to
change his suits often."

"Send out, then," said Martha, "and have him apprehended."

"If it is he, he will be far by this time; but I will communicate with
the higher powers," answered the judge.

"You would have him escape," resumed she, fixing her eyes on him
sternly.

"By cock and pie," replied Hildebrod, "did it depend on me, the
murdering cut-throat should hang as high as ever Haman did--but let me
take my time. He has friends among us, _that_ you wot well; and all that
should assist me are as drunk as fiddlers."

"I will have revenge--I _will_ have it," repeated she; "and take heed
you trifle not with me."

"Trifle! I would sooner trifle with a she-bear the minute after they had
baited her. I tell you, mistress, be but patient, and we will have him.
I know all his haunts, and he cannot forbear them long; and I will have
trap-doors open for him. You cannot want justice, mistress, for you have
the means to get it."

"They who help me in my revenge," said Martha, "shall share those
means."

"Enough said," replied Hildebrod; "and now I would have you go to my
house, and get something hot--you will be but dreary here by yourself."

"I will send for the old char-woman," replied Martha, "and we have the
stranger gentleman, besides."

"Umph, umph--the stranger gentleman!" said Hildebrod to Nigel, whom
he drew a little apart. "I fancy the captain has made the stranger
gentleman's fortune when he was making a bold dash for his own. I
can tell your honour--I must not say lordship--that I think my having
chanced to give the greasy buff-and-iron scoundrel some hint of what I
recommended to you to-day, has put him on this rough game. The better
for you--you will get the cash without the father-in-law.--You will keep
conditions, I trust?"

"I wish you had said nothing to any one of a scheme so absurd," said
Nigel.

"Absurd!--Why, think you she will not have thee? Take her with the tear
in her eye, man--take her with the tear in her eye. Let me hear from you
to-morrow. Good-night, good-night--a nod is as good as a wink. I must to
my business of sealing and locking up. By the way, this horrid work has
put all out of my head.--Here is a fellow from Mr. Lowestoffe has been
asking to see you. As he said his business was express, the Senate only
made him drink a couple of flagons, and he was just coming to beat up
your quarters when this breeze blew up.--Ahey, friend! there is Master
Nigel Grahame."

A young man, dressed in a green plush jerkin, with a badge on the
sleeve, and having the appearance of a waterman, approached and took
Nigel aside, while Duke Hildebrod went from place to place to exercise
his authority, and to see the windows fastened, and the doors of the
apartment locked up. The news communicated by Lowestoffe's messenger
were not the most pleasant. They were intimated in a courteous whisper
to Nigel, to the following effect:--That Master Lowestoffe prayed him to
consult his safety by instantly leaving Whitefriars, for that a warrant
from the Lord Chief-Justice had been issued out for apprehending him,
and would be put in force to-morrow, by the assistance of a party of
musketeers, a force which the Alsatians neither would nor dared to
resist.

"And so, squire," said the aquatic emissary, "my wherry is to wait you
at the Temple Stairs yonder, at five this morning, and, if you would
give the blood-hounds the slip, why, you may."

"Why did not Master Lowestoffe write to me?" said Nigel.

"Alas! the good gentleman lies up in lavender for it himself, and has as
little to do with pen and ink as if he were a parson."

"Did he send any token to me?" said Nigel.

"Token!--ay, marry did he--token enough, an I have not forgot it," said
the fellow; then, giving a hoist to the waistband of his breeches, he
said,--"Ay, I have it--you were to believe me, because your name was
written with an O, for Grahame. Ay, that was it, I think.--Well, shall
we meet in two hours, when tide turns, and go down the river like a
twelve-oared barge?"

"Where is the king just now, knowest thou?" answered Lord Glenvarloch.

"The king! why, he went down to Greenwich yesterday by water, like a
noble sovereign as he is, who will always float where he can. He was
to have hunted this week, but that purpose is broken, they say; and
the Prince, and the Duke, and all of them at Greenwich, are as merry as
minnows."

"Well," replied Nigel, "I will be ready to go at five; do thou come
hither to carry my baggage."

"Ay, ay, master," replied the fellow, and left the house mixing himself
with the disorderly attendants of Duke Hildebrod, who were now retiring.
That potentate entreated Nigel to make fast the doors behind him, and,
pointing to the female who sat by the expiring fire with her limbs
outstretched, like one whom the hand of Death had already arrested, he
whispered, "Mind your hits, and mind your bargain, or I will cut your
bow-string for you before you can draw it."

Feeling deeply the ineffable brutality which could recommend the
prosecuting such views over a wretch in such a condition, Lord
Glenvarloch yet commanded his temper so far as to receive the advice
in silence, and attend to the former part of it, by barring the door
carefully behind Duke Hildebrod and his suite, with the tacit hope
that he should never again see or hear of them. He then returned to the
kitchen, in which the unhappy woman remained, her hands still clenched,
her eyes fixed, and her limbs extended, like those of a person in a
trance. Much moved by her situation, and with the prospect which lay
before her, he endeavoured to awaken her to existence by every means in
his power, and at length apparently succeeded in dispelling her stupor,
and attracting her attention. He then explained to her that he was
in the act of leaving Whitefriars in a few hours--that his future
destination was uncertain, but that he desired anxiously to know whether
he could contribute to her protection by apprizing any friend of her
situation, or otherwise. With some difficulty she seemed to comprehend
his meaning, and thanked him with her usual short ungracious manner. "He
might mean well," she said, "but he ought to know that the miserable had
no friends."

Nigel said, "He would not willingly be importunate, but, as he was about
to leave the Friars--" She interrupted him--

"You are about to leave the Friars? I will go with you."

"You go with me!" exclaimed Lord Glenvarloch.

"Yes," she said, "I will persuade my father to leave this murdering
den." But, as she spoke, the more perfect recollection of what had
passed crowded on her mind. She hid her face in her hands, and burst out
into a dreadful fit of sobs, moans, and lamentations, which terminated
in hysterics, violent in proportion to the uncommon strength of her body
and mind.

Lord Glenvarloch, shocked, confused, and inexperienced, was about to
leave the house in quest of medical, or at least female assistance; but
the patient, when the paroxysm had somewhat spent its force, held him
fast by the sleeve with one hand, covering her face with the other,
while a copious flood of tears came to relieve the emotions of grief by
which she had been so violently agitated.

"Do not leave me," she said--"do not leave me, and call no one. I have
never been in this way before, and would not now," she said, sitting
upright, and wiping her eyes with her apron,--"would not now--but
that--but that he loved _me_. if he loved nothing else that was
human--To die so, and by such hands!"

And again the unhappy woman gave way to a paroxysm of sorrow, mingling
her tears with sobbing, wailing, and all the abandonment of female
grief, when at its utmost height. At length, she gradually recovered
the austerity of her natural composure, and maintained it as if by a
forcible exertion of resolution, repelling, as she spoke, the repeated
returns of the hysterical affection, by such an effort as that by which
epileptic patients are known to suspend the recurrence of their fits.
Yet her mind, however resolved, could not so absolutely overcome the
affection of her nerves, but that she was agitated by strong fits of
trembling, which, for a minute or two at a time, shook her whole frame
in a manner frightful to witness. Nigel forgot his own situation, and,
indeed, every thing else, in the interest inspired by the unhappy woman
before him--an interest which affected a proud spirit the more deeply,
that she herself, with correspondent highness of mind, seemed determined
to owe as little as possible either to the humanity or the pity of
others.

"I am not wont to be in this way," she said,--"but--but--Nature will
have power over the frail beings it has made. Over you, sir, I have some
right; for, without you, I had not survived this awful night. I wish
your aid had been either earlier or later--but you have saved my life,
and you are bound to assist in making it endurable to me."

"If you will show me how it is possible," answered Nigel.

"You are going hence, you say, instantly--carry me with you," said
the unhappy woman. "By my own efforts, I shall never escape from this
wilderness of guilt and misery."

"Alas! what can I do for you?" replied Nigel. "My own way, and I must
not deviate from it, leads me, in all probability, to a dungeon. I
might, indeed, transport you from hence with me, if you could afterwards
bestow yourself with any friend."

"Friend!" she exclaimed--"I have no friend--they have long since
discarded us. A spectre arising from the dead were more welcome than
I should be at the doors of those who have disclaimed us; and, if they
were willing to restore their friendship to me now, I would despise it,
because they withdrew it from him--from him"--(here she underwent strong
but suppressed agitation, and then added firmly)--"from _him_ who lies
yonder.--I have no friend." Here she paused; and then suddenly, as if
recollecting herself, added, "I have no friend, but I have that
will purchase many--I have that which will purchase both friends and
avengers.--It is well thought of; I must not leave it for a prey to
cheats and ruffians.--Stranger, you must return to yonder room. Pass
through it boldly to his--that is, to the sleeping apartment; push the
bedstead aside; beneath each of the posts is a brass plate, as if to
support the weight, but it is that upon the left, nearest to the wall,
which must serve your turn--press the corner of the plate, and it will
spring up and show a keyhole, which this key will open. You will then
lift a concealed trap-door, and in a cavity of the floor you will
discover a small chest. Bring it hither; it shall accompany our journey,
and it will be hard if the contents cannot purchase me a place of
refuge."

"But the door communicating with the kitchen has been locked by these
people," said Nigel.

"True, I had forgot; they had their reasons for that, doubtless,"
answered she. "But the secret passage from your apartment is open, and
you may go that way."

Lord Glenvarloch took the key, and, as he lighted a lamp to show him the
way, she read in his countenance some unwillingness to the task imposed.

"You fear?" said she--"there is no cause; the murderer and his victim
are both at rest. Take courage, I will go with you myself--you cannot
know the trick of the spring, and the chest will be too heavy for you."

"No fear, no fear," answered Lord Glenvarloch, ashamed of the
construction she put upon a momentary hesitation, arising from a dislike
to look upon what is horrible, often connected with those high-wrought
minds which are the last to fear what is merely dangerous--"I will do
your errand as you desire; but for you, you must not--cannot go yonder."

"I can--I will," she said. "I am composed. You shall see that I am so."
She took from the table a piece of unfinished sewing-work, and, with
steadiness and composure, passed a silken thread into the eye of a
fine needle.--"Could I have done that," she said, with a smile yet more
ghastly than her previous look of fixed despair, "had not my heart and
hand been both steady?"

She then led the way rapidly up stairs to Nigel's chamber, and proceeded
through the secret passage with the same haste, as if she had feared her
resolution might have failed her ere her purpose was executed. At the
bottom of the stairs she paused a moment, before entering the fatal
apartment, then hurried through with a rapid step to the sleeping
chamber beyond, followed closely by Lord Glenvarloch, whose reluctance
to approach the scene of butchery was altogether lost in the anxiety
which he felt on account of the survivor of the tragedy.

Her first action was to pull aside the curtains of her father's bed. The
bed-clothes were thrown aside in confusion, doubtless in the action of
his starting from sleep to oppose the entrance of the villains into the
next apartment. The hard mattress scarcely showed the slight pressure
where the emaciated body of the old miser had been deposited. His
daughter sank beside the bed, clasped her hands, and prayed to heaven,
in a short and affectionate manner, for support in her affliction,
and for vengeance on the villains who had made her fatherless. A
low-muttered and still more brief petition recommended to Heaven the
soul of the sufferer, and invoked pardon for his sins, in virtue of the
great Christian atonement.

This duty of piety performed, she signed to Nigel to aid her; and,
having pushed aside the heavy bedstead, they saw the brass plate which
Martha had described. She pressed the spring, and, at once, the plate
starting up, showed the keyhole, and a large iron ring used in lifting
the trap-door, which, when raised, displayed the strong box, or small
chest, she had mentioned, and which proved indeed so very weighty, that
it might perhaps have been scarcely possible for Nigel, though a very
strong man, to have raised it without assistance.

Having replaced everything as they had found it, Nigel, with such help
as his companion was able to afford, assumed his load, and made a shift
to carry it into the next apartment, where lay the miserable owner,
insensible to sounds and circumstances, which, if any thing could
have broken his long last slumber, would certainly have done so. His
unfortunate daughter went up to his body, and had even the courage to
remove the sheet which had been decently disposed over it. She put her
hand on the heart, but there was no throb--held a feather to the lips,
but there was no motion--then kissed with deep reverence the starting
veins of the pale forehead, and then the emaciated hand.

"I would you could hear me," she said,--"Father! I would you could hear
me swear, that, if I now save what you most valued on earth, it is only
to assist me in obtaining vengeance for your death."

She replaced the covering, and, without a tear, a sigh, or an additional
word of any kind, renewed her efforts, until they conveyed the
strong-box betwixt them into Lord Glenvarloch's sleeping apartment. "It
must pass," she said, "as part of your baggage. I will be in readiness
so soon as the waterman calls."

She retired; and Lord Glenvarloch, who saw the hour of their departure
approach, tore down a part of the old hanging to make a covering, which
he corded upon the trunk, lest the peculiarity of its shape, and the
care with which it was banded and counterbanded with bars of steel,
might afford suspicions respecting the treasure which it contained.
Having taken this measure of precaution, he changed the rascally
disguise, which he had assumed on entering Whitefriars, into a suit
becoming his quality, and then, unable to sleep, though exhausted
with the events of the night, he threw himself on his bed to await the
summons of the waterman.



CHAPTER XXVI


  Give us good voyage, gentle stream--we stun not
  Thy sober ear with sounds of revelry;
  Wake not the slumbering echoes of thy banks
  With voice of flute and horn--we do but seek
  On the broad pathway of thy swelling bosom
  To glide in silent safety.
                             _The Double Bridal._

Grey, or rather yellow light, was beginning to twinkle through the
fogs of Whitefriars, when a low tap at the door of the unhappy miser
announced to Lord Glenvarloch the summons of the boatman. He found at
the door the man whom he had seen the night before, with a companion.

"Come, come, master, let us get afloat," said one of them, in a rough
impressive whisper, "time and tide wait for no man."

"They shall not wait for me," said Lord Glenvarloch; "but I have some
things to carry with me."

"Ay, ay--no man will take a pair of oars now, Jack, unless he means to
load the wherry like a six-horse waggon. When they don't want to shift
the whole kitt, they take a sculler, and be d--d to them. Come, come,
where be your rattle-traps?"

One of the men was soon sufficiently loaded, in his own estimation at
least, with Lord Glenvarloch's mail and its accompaniments, with which
burden he began to trudge towards the Temple Stairs. His comrade, who
seemed the principal, began to handle the trunk which contained the
miser's treasure, but pitched it down again in an instant, declaring,
with a great oath, that it was as reasonable to expect a man to carry
Paul's on his back. The daughter of Trapbois, who had by this time
joined them, muffled up in a long dark hood and mantle, exclaimed to
Lord Glenvarloch--"Let them leave it if they will, let them leave it
all; let us but escape from this horrible place."

We have mentioned elsewhere, that Nigel was a very athletic young man,
and, impelled by a strong feeling of compassion and indignation, he
showed his bodily strength singularly on this occasion, by seizing on
the ponderous strong-box, and, by means of the rope he had cast around
it, throwing it on his shoulders, and marching resolutely forward under
a weight, which would have sunk to the earth three young gallants,
at the least, of our degenerate day. The waterman followed him in
amazement, calling out, "Why, master, master, you might as well gie me
t'other end on't!" and anon offered his assistance to support it in some
degree behind, which after the first minute or two Nigel was fain to
accept. His strength was almost exhausted when he reached the wherry,
which was lying at the Temple Stairs according to appointment; and, when
he pitched the trunk into it, the weight sank the bow of the boat so low
in the water as well-nigh to overset it.

"We shall have as hard a fare of it," said the waterman to his
companion, "as if we were ferrying over an honest bankrupt with all his
secreted goods--Ho, ho! good woman, what, are you stepping in for?--our
gunwale lies deep enough in the water without live lumber to boot."

"This person comes with me," said Lord Glenvarloch; "she is for the
present under my protection."

"Come, come, master," rejoined the fellow, "that is out of my
commission. You must not double my freight on me--she may go by
land--and, as for protection, her face will protect her from Berwick to
the Land's End."

"You will not except at my doubling the loading, if I double the fare?"
said Nigel, determined on no account to relinquish the protection of
this unhappy woman, for which he had already devised some sort of plan,
likely now to be baffled by the characteristic rudeness of the Thames
watermen.

"Ay, by G----, but I will except, though," said the fellow with the green
plush jacket: "I will overload my wherry neither for love nor money--I
love my boat as well as my wife, and a thought better."

"Nay, nay, comrade," said his mate, "that is speaking no true water
language. For double fare we are bound to row a witch in her eggshell if
she bid us; and so pull away, Jack, and let us have no more prating."

They got into the stream-way accordingly, and, although heavily laden,
began to move down the river with reasonable speed.

The lighter vessels which passed, overtook, or crossed them, in their
course, failed not to assail them with their boisterous raillery, which
was then called water-wit; for which the extreme plainness of Mistress
Martha's features, contrasted with the youth, handsome figure, and good
looks of Nigel, furnished the principal topics; while the circumstance
of the boat being somewhat overloaded, did not escape their notice. They
were hailed successively, as a grocer's wife upon a party of pleasure
with her eldest apprentice--as an old woman carrying her grandson to
school--and as a young strapping Irishman, conveying an ancient maiden
to Dr. Rigmarole's, at Redriffe, who buckles beggars for a tester and
a dram of Geneva. All this abuse was retorted in a similar strain of
humour by Greenjacket and his companion, who maintained the war of wit
with the same alacrity with which they were assailed.

Meanwhile, Lord Glenvarloch asked his desolate companion if she had
thought on any place where she could remain in safety with her property.
She confessed, in more detail than formerly, that her father's character
had left her no friends; and that, from the time he had betaken himself
to Whitefriars, to escape certain legal consequences of his eager
pursuit of gain, she had lived a life of total seclusion; not
associating with the society which the place afforded, and, by her
residence there, as well as her father's parsimony, effectually cut off
from all other company. What she now wished, was, in the first place,
to obtain the shelter of a decent lodging, and the countenance of honest
people, however low in life, until she should obtain legal advice as
to the mode of obtaining justice on her father's murderer. She had
no hesitation to charge the guilt upon Colepepper, (commonly called
Peppercull,) whom she knew to be as capable of any act of treacherous
cruelty, as he was cowardly, where actual manhood was required. He
had been strongly suspected of two robberies before, one of which
was coupled with an atrocious murder. He had, she intimated, made
pretensions to her hand as the easiest and safest way of obtaining
possession of her father's wealth; and, on her refusing his addresses,
if they could be termed so, in the most positive terms, he had thrown
out such obscure hints of vengeance, as, joined with some imperfect
assaults upon the house, had kept her in frequent alarm, both on her
father's account and her own.

Nigel, but that his feeling of respectful delicacy to the unfortunate
woman forebade him to do so, could here have communicated a circumstance
corroborative of her suspicions, which had already occurred to his own
mind. He recollected the hint that old Hildebrod threw forth on the
preceding night, that some communication betwixt himself and Colepepper
had hastened the catastrophe. As this communication related to the
plan which Hildebrod had been pleased to form, of promoting a marriage
betwixt Nigel himself and the rich heiress of Trapbois, the fear
of losing an opportunity not to be regained, together with the mean
malignity of a low-bred ruffian, disappointed in a favourite scheme,
was most likely to instigate the bravo to the deed of violence which
had been committed. The reflection that his own name was in some
degree implicated with the causes of this horrid tragedy, doubled Lord
Glenvarloch's anxiety in behalf of the victim whom he had rescued, while
at the same time he formed the tacit resolution, that, so soon as his
own affairs were put upon some footing, he would contribute all in his
power towards the investigation of this bloody affair.

After ascertaining from his companion that she could form no better plan
of her own, he recommended to her to take up her lodging for the time,
at the house of his old landlord, Christie the ship-chandler, at Paul's
Wharf, describing the decency and honesty of that worthy couple, and
expressing his hopes that they would receive her into their own house,
or recommend her at least to that of some person for whom they would be
responsible, until she should have time to enter upon other arrangements
for herself.

The poor woman received advice so grateful to her in her desolate
condition, with an expression of thanks, brief indeed, but deeper
than any thing had yet extracted from the austerity of her natural
disposition.

Lord Glenvarloch then proceeded to inform Martha, that certain reasons,
connected with his personal safety, called him immediately to Greenwich,
and, therefore, it would not be in his power to accompany her to
Christie's house, which he would otherwise have done with pleasure: but,
tearing a leaf from his tablet, he wrote on it a few lines, addressed
to his landlord, as a man of honesty and humanity, in which he described
the bearer as a person who stood in singular necessity of temporary
protection and good advice, for which her circumstances enabled her to
make ample acknowledgment. He therefore requested John Christie, as his
old and good friend, to afford her the shelter of his roof for a short
time; or, if that might not be consistent with his convenience, at least
to direct her to a proper lodging-and, finally, he imposed on him the
additional, and somewhat more difficult commission, to recommend her to
the counsel and services of an honest, at least a reputable and skilful
attorney, for the transacting some law business of importance. The note
he subscribed with his real name, and, delivering it to his _protegee_,
who received it with another deeply uttered "I thank you," which spoke
the sterling feelings of her gratitude better than a thousand combined
phrases, he commanded the watermen to pull in for Paul's Wharf, which
they were now approaching.

"We have not time," said Green-jacket; "we cannot be stopping every
instant."

But, upon Nigel insisting upon his commands being obeyed, and adding,
that it was for the purpose of putting the lady ashore, the waterman
declared that he would rather have her room than her company, and put
the wherry alongside the wharf accordingly. Here two of the porters, who
ply in such places, were easily induced to undertake the charge of the
ponderous strong-box, and at the same time to guide the owner to the
well-known mansion of John Christie, with whom all who lived in that
neighbourhood were perfectly acquainted.

The boat, much lightened of its load, went down the Thames at a rate
increased in proportion. But we must forbear to pursue her in her voyage
for a few minutes, since we have previously to mention the issue of Lord
Glenvarloch's recommendation.

Mistress Martha Trapbois reached the shop in perfect safety, and was
about to enter it, when a sickening sense of the uncertainty of her
situation, and of the singularly painful task of telling her story, came
over her so strongly, that she paused a moment at the very threshold
of her proposed place of refuge, to think in what manner she could best
second the recommendation of the friend whom Providence had raised up
to her. Had she possessed that knowledge of the world, from which her
habits of life had completely excluded her, she might have known
that the large sum of money which she brought along with her, might,
judiciously managed, have been a passport to her into the mansions
of nobles, and the palaces of princes. But, however conscious of its
general power, which assumes so many forms and complexions, she was so
inexperienced as to be most unnecessarily afraid that the means by which
the wealth had been acquired, might exclude its inheretrix from shelter
even in the house of a humble tradesman.

While she thus delayed, a more reasonable cause for hesitation arose, in
a considerable noise and altercation within the house, which grew louder
and louder as the disputants issued forth upon the street or lane before
the door.

The first who entered upon the scene was a tall raw-boned hard-favoured
man, who stalked out of the shop hastily, with a gait like that of a
Spaniard in a passion, who, disdaining to add speed to his locomotion by
running, only condescends, in the utmost extremity of his angry haste,
to add length to his stride. He faced about, so soon as he was out
of the house, upon his pursuer, a decent-looking, elderly, plain
tradesman--no other than John Christie himself, the owner of the shop
and tenement, by whom he seemed to be followed, and who was in a state
of agitation more than is usually expressed by such a person.

"I'll hear no more on't," said the personage who first appeared on the
scene.--"Sir, I will hear no more on it. Besides being a most false
and impudent figment, as I can testify--it is _Scandaalum Magnaatum_,
sir--_Scandaalum Magnaatum_" he reiterated with a broad accentuation of
the first vowel, well known in the colleges of Edinburgh and Glasgow,
which we can only express in print by doubling the said first of letters
and of vowels, and which would have cheered the cockles of the reigning
monarch had he been within hearing,--as he was a severer stickler for
what he deemed the genuine pronunciation of the Roman tongue, than for
any of the royal prerogatives, for which he was at times disposed to
insist so strenuously in his speeches to Parliament.

"I care not an ounce of rotten cheese," said John Christie in reply,
"what you call it--but it is TRUE; and I am a free Englishman, and have
right to speak the truth in my own concerns; and your master is little
better than a villain, and you no more than a swaggering coxcomb, whose
head I will presently break, as I have known it well broken before on
lighter occasion."

And, so saying, he flourished the paring-shovel which usually made clean
the steps of his little shop, and which he had caught up as the readiest
weapon of working his foeman damage, and advanced therewith upon him.
The cautious Scot (for such our readers must have already pronounced
him, from his language and pedantry) drew back as the enraged
ship-chandler approached, but in a surly manner, and bearing his hand
on his sword-hilt rather in the act of one who was losing habitual
forbearance and caution of deportment, than as alarmed by the attack of
an antagonist inferior to himself in youth, strength, and weapons.

"Bide back," he said, "Maister Christie--I say bide back, and consult
your safety, man. I have evited striking you in your ain house under
muckle provocation, because I am ignorant how the laws here may
pronounce respecting burglary and hamesucken, and such matters; and,
besides, I would not willingly hurt ye, man, e'en on the causeway, that
is free to us baith, because I mind your kindness of lang syne, and
partly consider ye as a poor deceived creature. But deil d--n me, sir,
and I am not wont to swear, but if you touch my Scotch shouther with
that shule of yours, I will make six inches of my Andrew Ferrara
deevilish intimate with your guts, neighbour."

And therewithal, though still retreating from the brandished shovel, he
made one-third of the basket-hilled broadsword which he wore, visible
from the sheath. The wrath of John Christie was abated, either by his
natural temperance of disposition, or perhaps in part by the glimmer of
cold steel, which flashed on him from his adversary's last action.

"I would do well to cry clubs on thee, and have thee ducked at the
wharf," he said, grounding his shovel, however, at the same time, "for
a paltry swaggerer, that would draw thy bit of iron there on an honest
citizen before his own door; but get thee gone, and reckon on a salt eel
for thy supper, if thou shouldst ever come near my house again. I wish
it had been at the bottom of the Thames when it first gave the use of
its roof to smooth-faced, oily-tongued, double-minded Scots thieves!"

"It's an ill bird that fouls its own nest," replied his adversary, not
perhaps the less bold that he saw matters were taking the turn of a
pacific debate; "and a pity it is that a kindly Scot should ever
have married in foreign parts, and given life to a purse-proud,
pudding-headed, fat-gutted, lean-brained Southron, e'en such as you,
Maister Christie. But fare ye weel--fare ye weel, for ever and a day;
and, if you quarrel wi' a Scot again, man, say as mickle ill o' himsell
as ye like, but say nane of his patron or of his countrymen, or it will
scarce be your flat cap that will keep your lang lugs from the sharp
abridgement of a Highland whinger, man."

"And, if you continue your insolence to me before my own door, were
it but two minutes longer," retorted John Christie, "I will call the
constable, and make your Scottish ankles acquainted with an English pair
of stocks!"

So saying, he turned to retire into his shop with some show of victory;
for his enemy, whatever might be his innate valour, manifested no
desire to drive matters to extremity--conscious, perhaps, that whatever
advantage he might gain in single combat with Jonn Christie, would
be more than overbalanced by incurring an affair with the constituted
authorities of Old England, not at that time apt to be particularly
favourable to their new fellow-subjects, in the various successive
broils which were then constantly taking place between the individuals
of two proud nations, who still retained a stronger sense of their
national animosity during centuries, than of their late union for a few
years under the government of the same prince.

Mrs. Martha Trapbois had dwelt too long in Alsatia, to be either
surprised or terrified at the altercation she had witnessed. Indeed,
she only wondered that the debate did not end in some of those acts of
violence by which they were usually terminated in the Sanctuary. As
the disputants separated from each other, she, who had no idea that the
cause of the quarrel was more deeply rooted than in the daily scenes of
the same nature which she had heard of or witnessed, did not hesitate to
stop Master Christie in his return to his shop, and present to him the
letter which Lord Glenvarloch had given to her. Had she been better
acquainted with life and its business, she would certainly have waited
for a more temperate moment; and she had reason to repent of her
precipitation, when, without saying a single word, or taking the trouble
to gather more of the information contained in the letter than was
expressed in the subscription, the incensed ship chandler threw it down
on the ground, trampled it in high disdain, and, without addressing a
single word to the bearer, except, indeed, something much more like
a hearty curse than was perfectly consistent with his own grave
appearance, he retired into his shop, and shut the hatch-door.

It was with the most inexpressible anguish that the desolate, friendless
and unhappy female, thus beheld her sole hope of succour, countenance,
and protection, vanish at once, without being able to conceive a reason;
for, to do her justice, the idea that her friend, whom she knew by
the name of Nigel Grahame, had imposed on her, a solution which might
readily have occurred to many in her situation, never once entered
her mind. Although it was not her temper easily to bend her mind to
entreaty, she could not help exclaiming after the ireful and retreating
ship-chandler,--"Good Master, hear me but a moment! for mercy's sake,
for honesty's sake!"

"Mercy and honesty from him, mistress!" said the Scot, who, though he
essayed not to interrupt the retreat of his antagonist, still kept stout
possession of the field of action,--"ye might as weel expect brandy from
bean-stalks, or milk from a craig of blue whunstane. The man is mad, bom
mad, to boot."

"I must have mistaken the person to whom the letter was addressed,
then;" and, as she spoke, Mistress Martha Trapbois was in the act of
stooping to lift the paper which had been so uncourteously received. Her
companion, with natural civility, anticipated her purpose; but, what
was not quite so much in etiquette, he took a sly glance at it as he was
about to hand it to her, and his eye having caught the subscription, he
said, with surprise, "Glenvarloch--Nigel Olifaunt of Glenvarloch! Do you
know the Lord Glenvarloch, mistress?"

"I know not of whom you speak," said Mrs. Martha, peevishly. "I had that
paper from one Master Nigel Gram."

"Nigel Grahame!--umph.-O, ay, very true--I had forgot," said the
Scotsman. "A tall, well-set young man, about my height; bright blue
eyes like a hawk's; a pleasant speech, something leaning to the kindly
north-country accentuation, but not much, in respect of his having been
resident abroad?"

"All this is true--and what of it all?" said the daughter of the miser.

"Hair of my complexion?"

"Yours is red," replied she.

"I pray you peace," said the Scotsman. "I was going to say--of my
complexion, but with a deeper shade of the chestnut. Weel, mistress, if
I have guessed the man aright, he is one with whom I am, and have been,
intimate and familiar,--nay,--I may truly say I have done him much
service in my time, and may live to do him more. I had indeed a sincere
good-will for him, and I doubt he has been much at a loss since we
parted; but the fault is not mine. Wherefore, as this letter will not
avail you with him to whom it is directed, you may believe that heaven
hath sent it to me, who have a special regard for the writer--I have,
besides, as much mercy and honesty within me as man can weel make his
bread with, and am willing to aid any distressed creature, that is my
friend's friend, with my counsel, and otherwise, so that I am not put
to much charges, being in a strange country, like a poor lamb that has
wandered from its ain native hirsel, and leaves a tait of its woo' in
every d--d Southron bramble that comes across it." While he spoke thus,
he read the contents of the letter, without waiting for permission,
and then continued,--"And so this is all that you are wanting, my dove?
nothing more than safe and honourable lodging, and sustenance, upon your
own charges?"

"Nothing more," said she. "If you are a man and a Christian, you will
help me to what I need so much."

"A man I am," replied the formal Caledonian, "e'en sic as ye see me; and
a Christian I may call myself, though unworthy, and though I have
heard little pure doctrine since I came hither--a' polluted with men's
devices--ahem! Weel, and if ye be an honest woman," (here he peeped
under her muffler,) "as an honest woman ye seem likely to be--though,
let me tell you, they are a kind of cattle not so rife in the streets
of this city as I would desire them--I was almost strangled with my own
band by twa rampallians, wha wanted yestreen, nae farther gane, to harle
me into a change-house--however, if ye be a decent honest woman," (here
he took another peep at features certainly bearing no beauty which
could infer suspicion,) "as decent and honest ye seem to be, why, I
will advise you to a decent house, where you will get douce, quiet
entertainment, on reasonable terms, and the occasional benefit of my
own counsel and direction--that is, from time to time, as my other
avocations may permit."

"May I venture to accept of such an offer from a stranger?" said Martha,
with natural hesitation.

"Troth, I see nothing to hinder you, mistress," replied the bonny Scot;
"ye can but see the place, and do after as ye think best. Besides, we
are nae such strangers, neither; for I know your friend, and you,
it's like, know mine, whilk knowledge, on either hand, is a medium of
communication between us, even as the middle of the string connecteth
its twa ends or extremities. But I will enlarge on this farther as we
pass along, gin ye list to bid your twa lazy loons of porters there lift
up your little kist between them, whilk ae true Scotsman might carry
under his arm. Let me tell you, mistress, ye will soon make a toom
pock-end of it in Lon'on, if you hire twa knaves to do the work of ane."

So saying, he led the way, followed by Mistress Martha Trapbois, whose
singular destiny, though it had heaped her with wealth, had left her,
for the moment, no wiser counsellor, or more distinguished protector,
than honest Richie Moniplies, a discarded serving-man.



CHAPTER XXVII


  This way lie safety and a sure retreat;
  Yonder lie danger, shame, and punishment
  Most welcome danger then--Nay, let me say,
  Though spoke with swelling heart--welcome e'en shame
  And welcome punishment--for, call me guilty,
  I do but pay the tax that's due to justice;
  And call me guiltless, then that punishment
  Is shame to those alone who do inflict it,
                              _The Tribunal_.

We left Lord Glenvarloch, to whose fortunes our story chiefly attaches
itself, gliding swiftly down the Thames. He was not, as the reader may
have observed, very affable in his disposition, or apt to enter into
conversation with those into whose company he was casually thrown. This
was, indeed, an error in his conduct, arising less from pride, though
of that feeling we do not pretend to exculpate him, than from a sort of
bashful reluctance to mix in the conversation of those with whom he was
not familiar. It is a fault only to be cured by experience and knowledge
of the world, which soon teaches every sensible and acute person the
important lesson, that amusement, and, what is of more consequence,
that information and increase of knowledge, are to be derived from the
conversation of every individual whatever, with whom he is thrown into
a natural train of communication. For ourselves, we can assure the
reader--and perhaps if we have ever been able to afford him amusement,
it is owing in a great degree to this cause--that we never found
ourselves in company with the stupidest of all possible companions in a
post-chaise, or with the most arrant cumber-corner that ever occupied
a place in the mail-coach, without finding, that, in the course of our
conversation with him, we had some ideas suggested to us, either grave
orgay, or some information communicated in the course of our journey,
which we should have regretted not to have learned, and which we should
be sorry to have immediately forgotten. But Nigel was somewhat immured
within the Bastile of his rank, as some philosopher (Tom Paine, we
think) has happily enough expressed that sort of shyness which men of
dignified situations are apt to be beset with, rather from not exactly
knowing how far, or with whom, they ought to be familiar, than from any
real touch of aristocratic pride. Besides, the immediate pressure of
our adventurer's own affairs was such as exclusively to engross his
attention.

He sat, therefore, wrapt in his cloak, in the stern of the boat, with
his mind entirely bent upon the probable issue of the interview with his
Sovereign, which it was his purpose to seek; for which abstraction of
mind he may be fully justified, although perhaps, by questioning
the watermen who were transporting him down the river, he might have
discovered matters of high concernment to him.

At any rate, Nigel remained silent till the wherry approached the
town of Greenwich, when he commanded the men to put in for the nearest
landing-place, as it was his purpose to go ashore there, and dismiss
them from further attendance.

"That is not possible," said the fellow with the green jacket, who, as
we have already said, seemed to take on himself the charge of pilotage.
"We must go," he continued, "to Gravesend, where a Scottish vessel,
which dropped down the river last tide for the very purpose, lies
with her anchor a-peak, waiting to carry you to your own dear northern
country. Your hammock is slung, and all is ready for you, and you talk
of going ashore at Greenwich, as seriously as if such a thing were
possible!"

"I see no impossibility," said Nigel, "in your landing me where I desire
to be landed; but very little possibility of your carrying me anywhere I
am not desirous of going."

"Why, whether do you manage the wherry, or we, master?" asked
Green-jacket, in a tone betwixt jest and earnest; "I take it she will go
the way we row her."

"Ay," retorted Nigel, "but I take it you will row her on the course I
direct you, otherwise your chance of payment is but a poor one."

"Suppose we are content to risk that," said the undaunted waterman, "I
wish to know how you, who talk so big--I mean no offence, master, but
you do talk big--would help yourself in such a case?"

"Simply thus," answered Lord Glenvarloch--"You saw me, an hour since,
bring down to the boat a trunk that neither of you could lift. If we are
to contest the destination of our voyage, the same strength which
tossed that chest into the wherry, will suffice to fling you out of it;
wherefore, before we begin the scuffle, I pray you to remember, that,
whither I would go, there I will oblige you to carry me."

"Gramercy for your kindness," said Green-jacket; "and now mark me in
return. My comrade and I are two men--and you, were you as stout as
George-a-Green, can pass but for one; and two, you will allow, are more
than a match for one. You mistake in your reckoning, my friend."

"It is you who mistake," answered Nigel, who began to grow warm; "it is
I who am three to two, sirrah--I carry two men's lives at my girdle."

So saying, he opened his cloak and showed the two pistols which he had
disposed at his girdle. Green-jacket was unmoved at the display.

"I have got," said he, "a pair of barkers that will match yours," and he
showed that he also was armed with pistols; "so you may begin as soon as
you list."

"Then," said Lord Glenvarloch, drawing forth and cocking a pistol,
"the sooner the better. Take notice, I hold you as a ruffian, who have
declared you will put force on my person; and that I will shoot you
through the head if you do not instantly put me ashore at Greenwich."

The other waterman, alarmed at Nigel's gesture, lay upon his oar; but
Green-jacket replied coolly--"Look you, master, I should not care a
tester to venture a life with you on this matter; but the truth is, I am
employed to do you good, and not to do you harm."

"By whom are you employed?" said the Lord Glenvarloch; "or who dare
concern themselves in me, or my affairs, without my authority?"

"As to that," answered the waterman, in the same tone of indifference,
"I shall not show my commission. For myself, I care not, as I said,
whether you land at Greenwich to get yourself hanged, or go down to get
aboard the Royal Thistle, to make your escape to your own country; you
will be equally out of my reach either way. But it is fair to put the
choice before you."

"My choice is made," said Nigel. "I have told you thrice already it is
my pleasure to be landed at Greenwich."

"Write it on a piece of paper," said the waterman, "that such is your
positive will; I must have something to show to my employers, that the
transgression of their orders lies with yourself, not with me."

"I choose to hold this trinket in my hand for the present," said Nigel,
showing his pistol, "and will write you the acquittance when I go
ashore."

"I would not go ashore with you for a hundred pieces," said the
waterman. "Ill luck has ever attended you, except in small gaming; do me
fair justice, and give me the testimony I desire. If you are afraid of
foul play while you write it, you may hold my pistols, if you will." He
offered the weapons to Nigel accordingly, who, while they were under
his control, and all possibility of his being taken at disadvantage was
excluded, no longer hesitated to give the waterman an acknowledgment, in
the following terms:--

"Jack in the Green, with his mate, belonging to the wherry called
the Jolly Raven, have done their duty faithfully by me, landing me
at Greenwich by my express command; and being themselves willing and
desirous to carry me on board the Royal Thistle, presently lying at
Gravesend." Having finished this acknowledgment, which he signed
with the letters, N. O. G. as indicating his name and title, he again
requested to know of the waterman, to whom he delivered it, the name of
his employers.

"Sir," replied Jack in the Green, "I have respected your secret, do not
you seek to pry into mine. It would do you no good to know for whom I
am taking this present trouble; and, to be brief, you shall not know
it--and, if you will fight in the quarrel, as you said even now, the
sooner we begin the better. Only this you may be cock-sure of, that we
designed you no harm, and that, if you fall into any, it will be of your
own wilful seeking." As he spoke, they approached the landing-place,
where Nigel instantly jumped ashore. The waterman placed his small
mail-trunk on the stairs, observing that there were plenty of spare
hands about, to carry it where he would.

"We part friends, I hope, my lads," said the young nobleman, offering at
the same time a piece of money more than double the usual fare, to the
boatmen.

"We part as we met," answered Green-jacket; "and, for your money, I am
paid sufficiently with this bit of paper. Only, if you owe me any love
for the cast I have given you, I pray you not to dive so deep into the
pockets of the next apprentice that you find fool enough to play the
cavalier.--And you, you greedy swine," said he to his companion, who
still had a longing eye fixed on the money which Nigel continued to
offer, "push off, or, if I take a stretcher in hand, I'll break the
knave's pate of thee." The fellow pushed off, as he was commanded, but
still could not help muttering, "This was entirely out of waterman's
rules."

Glenvarloch, though without the devotion of the "injured Thales" of the
moralist, to the memory of that great princess, had now attained

     "The hallow'd soil which gave Eliza birth,"

whose halls were now less respectably occupied by her successor. It was
not, as has been well shown by a late author, that James was void either
of parts or of good intentions; and his predecessor was at least as
arbitrary in effect as he was in theory. But, while Elizabeth possessed
a sternness of masculine sense and determination which rendered even her
weaknesses, some of which were in themselves sufficiently ridiculous, in
a certain degree respectable, James, on the other hand, was so utterly
devoid of "firm resolve," so well called by the Scottish bard,

     "The stalk of carle-hemp in man,"

that even his virtues and his good meaning became laughable, from the
whimsical uncertainty of his conduct; so that the wisest things he ever
said, and the best actions he ever did, were often touched with a strain
of the ludicrous and fidgety character of the man. Accordingly, though
at different periods of his reign he contrived to acquire with his
people a certain degree of temporary popularity, it never long outlived
the occasion which produced it; so true it is, that the mass of mankind
will respect a monarch stained with actual guilt, more than one whose
foibles render him only ridiculous.

To return from this digression, Lord Glenvarloch soon received, as
Green-jacket had assured him, the offer of an idle bargeman to transport
his baggage where he listed; but that where was a question of momentary
doubt. At length, recollecting the necessity that his hair and beard
should be properly arranged before he attempted to enter the royal
presence, and desirous, at the same time, of obtaining some information
of the motions of the Sovereign and of the Court, he desired to be
guided to the next barber's shop, which we have already mentioned as
the place where news of every kind circled and centred. He was speedily
shown the way to such an emporium of intelligence, and soon found he was
likely to hear all he desired to know, and much more, while his head was
subjected to the art of a nimble tonsor, the glibness of whose tongue
kept pace with the nimbleness of his fingers while he ran on, without
stint or stop, in the following excursive manner:--

"The Court here, master?--yes, master--much to the advantage of
trade--good custom stirring. His Majesty loves Greenwich--hunts every
morning in the Park--all decent persons admitted that have the entries
of the Palace--no rabble--frightened the king's horse with their
hallooing, the uncombed slaves.--Yes, sir, the beard more peaked?
Yes, master, so it is worn. I know the last cut--dress several of the
courtiers--one valet-of-the-chamber, two pages of the body, the clerk
of the kitchen, three running footmen, two dog-boys, and an honourable
Scottish knight, Sir Munko Malgrowler."

"Malagrowther, I suppose?" said Nigel, thrusting in his conjectural
emendation, with infinite difficulty, betwixt two clauses of the
barber's text.

"Yes, sir--Malcrowder, sir, as you say, sir--hard names the Scots have,
sir, for an English mouth. Sir Munko is a handsome person, sir--perhaps
you know him--bating the loss of his fingers, and the lameness of his
leg, and the length of his chin. Sir, it takes me one minute, twelve
seconds, more time to trim that chin of his, than any chin that I know
in the town of Greenwich, sir. But he is a very comely gentleman,
for all that; and a pleasant--a very pleasant gentleman, sir--and a
good-humoured, saving that he is so deaf he can never hear good of
any one, and so wise, that he can never believe it; but he is a very
good-natured gentleman for all that, except when one speaks too low, or
when a hair turns awry.--Did I graze you, sir? We shall put it to rights
in a moment, with one drop of styptic--my styptic, or rather my wife's,
sir--She makes the water herself. One drop of the styptic, sir, and a
bit of black taffeta patch, just big enough to be the saddle to a flea,
sir--Yes, sir, rather improves than otherwise. The Prince had a patch
the other day, and so had the Duke: and, if you will believe me, there
are seventeen yards three quarters of black taffeta already cut into
patches for the courtiers."

"But Sir Mungo Malagrowther?" again interjected Nigel, with difficulty.

"Ay, ay, sir--Sir Munko, as you say; a pleasant, good-humoured gentleman
as ever--To be spoken with, did you say? O ay, easily to be spoken
withal, that is, as easily as his infirmity will permit. He will
presently, unless some one hath asked him forth to breakfast, be taking
his bone of broiled beef at my neighbour Ned Kilderkin's yonder,
removed from over the way. Ned keeps an eating-house, sir, famous for
pork-griskins; but Sir Munko cannot abide pork, no more than the
King's most Sacred Majesty,[Footnote: The Scots, till within the last
generation, disliked swine's flesh as an article of food as much as the
Highlanders do at present. It was remarked as extraordinary rapacity,
when the Border depredators condescended to make prey of the accursed
race, whom the fiend made his habitation. Ben Jonson, in drawing James's
character, says, he loved "no part of a swine."] nor my Lord Duke of
Lennox, nor Lord Dalgarno,--nay, I am sure, sir, if I touched you this
time, it was your fault, not mine.--But a single drop of the styptic,
another little patch that would make a doublet for a flea, just under
the left moustache; it will become you when you smile, sir, as well as
a dimple; and if you would salute your fair mistress--but I beg pardon,
you are a grave gentleman, very grave to be so young.--Hope I have given
no offence; it is my duty to entertain customers--my duty, sir, and my
pleasure--Sir Munko Malcrowther?--yes, sir, I dare say he is at this
moment in Ned's eating-house, for few folks ask him out, now Lord
Huntinglen is gone to London. You will get touched again--yes,
sir--there you shall find him with his can of single ale, stirred with a
sprig of rosemary, for he never drinks strong potations, sir, unless to
oblige Lord Huntinglen--take heed, sir--or any other person who asks him
forth to breakfast--but single beer he always drinks at Ned's, with his
broiled bone of beef or mutton--or, it may be, lamb at the season--but
not pork, though Ned is famous for his griskins. But the Scots never eat
pork--strange that! some folk think they are a sort of Jews. There is a
resemblance, sir,--Do you not think so? Then they call our most gracious
Sovereign the Second Solomon, and Solomon, you know, was King of the
Jews; so the thing bears a face, you see. I believe, sir, you will
find yourself trimmed now to your content. I will be judged by the fair
mistress of your affections. Crave pardon--no offence, I trust. Pray,
consult the glass--one touch of the crisping tongs, to reduce this
straggler.--Thank your munificence, sir--hope your custom while you stay
in Greenwich. Would you have a tune on that ghittern, to put your temper
in concord for the day?--Twang, twang--twang, twang, dillo. Something
out of tune, sir--too many hands to touch it--we cannot keep these
things like artists. Let me help you with your cloak, sir--yes,
sir--You would not play yourself, sir, would you?--Way to Sir Munko's
eating-house?--Yes, sir; but it is Ned's eating-house, not Sir
Munko's.--The knight, to be sure, eats there, and makes it his
eating-house in some sense, sir--ha, ha! Yonder it is, removed from over
the way, new white-washed posts, and red lattice--fat man in his doublet
at the door--Ned himself, sir--worth a thousand pounds, they say--better
singeing pigs' faces than trimming courtiers--but ours is the less
mechanical vocation.--Farewell, sir; hope your custom." So saying, he
at length permitted Nigel to depart, whose ears, so long tormented with
continued babble, tingled when it had ceased, as if a bell had been rung
close to them for the same space of time.

Upon his arrival at the eating-house, where he proposed to meet with Sir
Mungo Malagrowther, from whom, in despair of better advice, he trusted
to receive some information as to the best mode of introducing himself
into the royal presence, Lord Glenvarloch found, in the host with whom
he communed, the consequential taciturnity of an Englishman well to pass
in the world. Ned Kilderkin spoke as a banker writes, only touching the
needful. Being asked if Sir Mungo Malagrowther was there? he replied,
No. Being interrogated whether he was expected? he said, Yes. And being
again required to say when he was expected, he answered, Presently.
As Lord Glenvarloch next inquired, whether he himself could have any
breakfast? the landlord wasted not even a syllable in reply, but,
ushering him into a neat room where there were several tables, he placed
one of them before an armchair, and beckoning Lord Glenvarloch to take
possession, he set before him, in a very few minutes, a substantial
repast of roast-beef, together with a foaming tankard, to which
refreshment the keen air of the river disposed him, notwithstanding his
mental embarrassments, to do much honour.

While Nigel was thus engaged in discussing his commons, but raising his
head at the same time whenever he heard the door of the apartment open,
eagerly desiring the arrival of Sir Mungo Malagrowther, (an event which
had seldom been expected by any one with so much anxious interest,) a
personage, as it seemed, of at least equal importance with the knight,
entered into the apartment, and began to hold earnest colloquy with
the publican, who thought proper to carry on the conference on his side
unbonneted. This important gentleman's occupation might be guessed from
his dress. A milk-white jerkin, and hose of white kersey; a white apron
twisted around his body in the manner of a sash, in which, instead of a
war-like dagger, was stuck a long-bladed knife, hilted with buck's-horn;
a white nightcap on his head, under which his hair was neatly tucked,
sufficiently pourtrayed him as one of those priests of Comus whom the
vulgar call cooks; and the air with which he rated the publican for
having neglected to send some provisions to the Palace, showed that he
ministered to royalty itself.

"This will never answer," he said, "Master Kilderkin--the king twice
asked for sweetbreads, and fricasseed coxcombs, which are a favourite
dish of his most Sacred Majesty, and they were not to be had, because
Master Kilderkin had not supplied them to the clerk of the kitchen, as
by bargain bound." Here Kilderkin made some apology, brief, according
to his own nature, and muttered in a lowly tone after the fashion of all
who find themselves in a scrape. His superior replied, in a lofty
strain of voice, "Do not tell me of the carrier and his wain, and of the
hen-coops coming from Norfolk with the poultry; a loyal man would have
sent an express--he would have gone upon his stumps, like Widdrington.
What if the king had lost his appetite, Master Kilderkin? What if his
most Sacred Majesty had lost his dinner? O, Master Kilderkin, if you had
but the just sense of the dignity of our profession, which is told of
by the witty African slave, for so the king's most excellent Majesty
designates him, Publius Terentius, _Tanguam in specula--in patinas
inspicerejubeo_."

"You are learned, Master Linklater," replied the English publican,
compelling, as it were with difficulty, his mouth to utter three or four
words consecutively.

"A poor smatterer," said Mr. Linklater; "but it would be a shame to us,
who are his most excellent Majesty's countrymen, not in some sort to
have cherished those arts wherewith he is so deeply embued--_Regis ad
exemplar_, Master Kilderkin, _totus componitur orbis_--which is as
much as to say, as the king quotes the cook learns. In brief, Master
Kilderkin, having had the luck to be bred where humanities may be had
at the matter of an English five groats by the quarter, I, like others,
have acquired--ahem-hem!--" Here, the speaker's eye having fallen upon
Lord Glenvarloch, he suddenly stopped in his learned harangue, with
such symptoms of embarrassment as induced Ned Kilderkin to stretch his
taciturnity so far as not only to ask him what he ailed, but whether he
would take any thing.

"Ail nothing," replied the learned rival of the philosophical Syrus;
"Nothing--and yet I do feel a little giddy. I could taste a glass of
your dame's _aqua mirabilis_."

"I will fetch it," said Ned, giving a nod; and his back was no sooner
turned, than the cook walked near the table where Lord Glenvarloch was
seated, and regarding him with a look of significance, where more was
meant than met the ear, said,--"You are a stranger in Greenwich, sir.
I advise you to take the opportunity to step into the Park--the western
wicket was ajar when I came hither; I think it will be locked presently,
so you had better make the best of your way--that is, if you have any
curiosity. The venison are coming into season just now, sir, and there
is a pleasure in looking at a hart of grease. I always think when they
are bounding so blithely past, what a pleasure it would be, to broach
their plump haunches on a spit, and to embattle their breasts in a noble
fortification of puff-paste, with plenty of black pepper."

He said no more, as Kilderkin re-entered with the cordial, but edged off
from Nigel without waiting any reply, only repeating the same look of
intelligence with which he had accosted him.

Nothing makes men's wits so alert as personal danger. Nigel took the
first opportunity which his host's attention to the yeoman of the royal
kitchen permitted, to discharge his reckoning, and readily obtained a
direction to the wicket in question. He found it upon the latch, as
he had been taught to expect; and perceived that it admitted him to a
narrow footpath, which traversed a close and tangled thicket, designed
for the cover of the does and the young fawns. Here he conjectured it
would be proper to wait; nor had he been stationary above five minutes,
when the cook, scalded as much with heat of motion as ever he had been
by his huge fire-place, arrived almost breathless, and with his pass-key
hastily locked the wicket behind him.

Ere Lord Glenvarloch had time to speculate upon this action, the man
approached with anxiety, and said--"Good lord, my Lord Glenvarloch!--why
will you endanger yourself thus?"

"You know me then, my friend?" said Nigel.

"Not much of that, my lord--but I know your honour's noble house
well.--My name is Laurie Linklater, my lord."

"Linklater!" repeated Nigel. "I should recollect--'

"Under your lordship's favour," he continued, "I was 'prentice, my
lord, to old Mungo Moniplies, the flesher at the wanton West-Port of
Edinburgh, which I wish I saw again before I died. And, your honour's
noble father having taken Richie Moniplies into his house to wait on
your lordship, there was a sort of connexion, your lordship sees."

"Ah!" said Lord Glenvarloch, "I had almost forgot your name, but not
your kind purpose. You tried to put Richie in the way of presenting a
supplication to his Majesty?"

"Most true, my lord," replied the king's cook. "I had like to have come
by mischief in the job; for Richie, who was always wilful, 'wadna be
guided by me,' as the sang says. But nobody amongst these brave English
cooks can kittle up his Majesty's most sacred palate with our own gusty
Scottish dishes. So I e'en betook myself to my craft, and concocted a
mess of friar's chicken for the soup, and a savoury hachis, that made
the whole cabal coup the crans; and, instead of disgrace, I came
by preferment. I am one of the clerks of the kitchen now, make me
thankful--with a finger in the purveyor's office, and may get my whole
hand in by and by."

"I am truly glad," said Nigel, "to hear that you have not suffered on my
account,--still more so at your good fortune."

"You bear a kind heart, my lord," said Linklater, "and do not forget
poor people; and, troth, I see not why they should be forgotten, since
the king's errand may sometimes fall in the cadger's gate. I have
followed your lordship in the street, just to look at such a stately
shoot of the old oak-tree; and my heart jumped into my throat, when I
saw you sitting openly in the eating-house yonder, and knew there was
such danger to your person."

"What! there are warrants against me, then?" said Nigel.

"It is even true, my lord; and there are those who are willing to
blacken you as much as they can.--God forgive them, that would sacrifice
an honourable house for their own base ends!"

"Amen," said Nigel.

"For, say your lordship may have been a little wild, like other young
gentlemen--"

"We have little time to talk of it, my friend," said Nigel. "The point
in question is, how am I to get speech of the king?"

"The king, my lord!" said Linklater in astonishment; "why, will not that
be rushing wilfully into danger?--scalding yourself, as I may say, with
your own ladle?"

"My good friend," answered Nigel, "my experience of the Court, and
my knowledge of the circumstances in which I stand, tell me, that the
manliest and most direct road is, in my case, the surest and the safest.
The king has both a head to apprehend what is just, and a heart to do
what is kind."

"It is e'en true, my lord, and so we, his old servants, know," added
Linklater; "but, woe's me, if you knew how many folks make it their
daily and nightly purpose to set his head against his heart, and his
heart against his head--to make him do hard things because they are
called just, and unjust things because they are represented as kind.
Woe's me! it is with his Sacred Majesty, and the favourites who work
upon him, even according to the homely proverb that men taunt my calling
with,--'God sends good meat, but the devil sends cooks.'"

"It signifies not talking of it, my good friend," said Nigel, "I must
take my risk, my honour peremptorily demands it. They may maim me, or
beggar me, but they shall not say I fled from my accusers. My peers
shall hear my vindication."

"Your peers?" exclaimed the cook--"Alack-a-day, my lord, we are not in
Scotland, where the nobles can bang it out bravely, were it even
with the king himself, now and then. This mess must be cooked in the
Star-Chamber, and that is an oven seven times heated, my lord;--and yet,
if you are determined to see the king, I will not say but you may find
some favour, for he likes well any thing that is appealed directly to
his own wisdom, and sometimes, in the like cases, I have known him stick
by his own opinion, which is always a fair one. Only mind, if you will
forgive me, my lord--mind to spice high with Latin; a curn or two of
Greek would not be amiss; and, if you can bring in any thing about the
judgment of Solomon, in the original Hebrew, and season with a merry
jest or so, the dish will be the more palatable.--Truly, I think, that,
besides my skill in art, I owe much to the stripes of the Rector of
the High School, who imprinted on my mind that cooking scene in
the Heautontimorumenos."

"Leaving that aside, my friend," said Lord Glenvarloch, "can you inform
me which way I shall most readily get to the sight and speech of the
king?"

"To the sight of him readily enough," said Linklater; "he is galloping
about these alleys, to see them strike the hart, to get him an appetite
for a nooning--and that reminds me I should be in the kitchen. To the
speech of the king you will not come so easily, unless you could either
meet him alone, which rarely chances, or wait for him among the
crowd that go to see him alight. And now, farewell, my lord, and God
speed!--if I could do more for you, I would offer it."

"You have done enough, perhaps, to endanger yourself," said Lord
Glenvarloch. "I pray you to be gone, and leave me to my fate."

The honest cook lingered, but a nearer burst of the horns apprized him
that there was no time to lose; and, acquainting Nigel that he would
leave the postern-door on the latch to secure his retreat in that
direction, he bade God bless him, and farewell.

In the kindness of this humble countryman, flowing partly from national
partiality, partly from a sense of long-remembered benefits, which had
been scarce thought on by those who had bestowed them, Lord Glenvarloch
thought he saw the last touch of sympathy which he was to receive in
this cold and courtly region, and felt that he must now be sufficient to
himself, or be utterly lost.

He traversed more than one alley, guided by the sounds of the chase,
and met several of the inferior attendants upon the king's sport, who
regarded him only as one of the spectators who were sometimes permitted
to enter the Park by the concurrence of the officers about the Court.
Still there was no appearance of James, or any of his principal
courtiers, and Nigel began to think whether, at the risk of incurring
disgrace similar to that which had attended the rash exploit of Richie
Moniplies, he should not repair to the Palace-gate, in order to address
the king on his return, when Fortune presented him the opportunity of
doing so, in her own way.

He was in one of those long walks by which the Park was traversed, when
he heard, first a distant rustling, then the rapid approach of hoofs
shaking the firm earth on which he stood; then a distant halloo, warned
by which he stood up by the side of the avenue, leaving free room for
the passage of the chase. The stag, reeling, covered with foam, and
blackened with sweat, his nostrils extended as he gasped for breath,
made a shift to come up as far as where Nigel stood, and, without
turning to bay, was there pulled down by two tall greyhounds of the
breed still used by the hardy deer-stalkers of the Scottish Highlands,
but which has been long unknown in England. One dog struck at the buck's
throat, another dashed his sharp nose and fangs, I might almost
say, into the animal's bowels. It would have been natural for Lord
Glenvarloch, himself persecuted as if by hunters, to have thought upon
the occasion like the melancholy Jacques; but habit is a strange matter,
and I fear that his feelings on the occasion were rather those of the
practised huntsman than of the moralist. He had no time, however, to
indulge them, for mark what befell.

A single horseman followed the chase, upon a steed so thoroughly
subjected to the rein, that it obeyed the touch of the bridle as if
it had been a mechanical impulse operating on the nicest piece of
machinery; so that, seated deep in his demipique saddle, and so trussed
up there as to make falling almost impossible, the rider, without either
fear or hesitation, might increase or diminish the speed at which he
rode, which, even on the most animating occasions of the chase, seldom
exceeded three-fourths of a gallop, the horse keeping his haunches
under him, and never stretching forward beyond the managed pace of
the academy. The security with which he chose to prosecute even this
favourite, and, in the ordinary case, somewhat dangerous amusement, as
well as the rest of his equipage, marked King James. No attendant was
within sight; indeed, it was often a nice strain of flattery to permit
the Sovereign to suppose he had outridden and distanced all the rest of
the chase.

"Weel dune, Bash--weel dune, Battie!" he exclaimed as he came up. "By
the honour of a king, ye are a credit to the Braes of Balwhither!--Haud
my horse, man," he called out to Nigel, without stopping to see to whom
he had addressed himself--"Haud my naig, and help me doun out o' the
saddle--deil ding your saul, sirrah, canna ye mak haste before these
lazy smaiks come up?--haud the rein easy--dinna let him swerve--now,
haud the stirrup--that will do, man, and now we are on terra firma."
So saying, without casting an eye on his assistant, gentle King Jamie,
unsheathing the short, sharp hanger, (_couteau de chasse_,) which was
the only thing approaching to a sword that he could willingly endure the
sight of, drew the blade with great satisfaction across the throat of
the buck, and put an end at once to its struggles and its agonies.

Lord Glenvarloch, who knew well the silvan duty which the occasion
demanded, hung the bridle of the king's palfrey on the branch of a tree,
and, kneeling duteously down, turned the slaughtered deer upon its back,
and kept the _quarree_ in that position, while the king, too intent upon
his sport to observe any thing else, drew his _couteau_ down the breast
of the animal, _secundum artem_; and, having made a cross cut, so as to
ascertain the depth of the fat upon the chest, exclaimed, in a sort of
rapture, "Three inches of white fat on the brisket!--prime--prime--as
I am a crowned sinner--and deil ane o' the lazy loons in but mysell!
Seven--aught--aught tines on the antlers. By G--d, a hart of aught
tines, and the first of the season! Bash and Battie, blessings on the
heart's-root of ye! Buss me, my bairns, buss me." The dogs accordingly
fawned upon him, licked him with bloody jaws, and soon put him in such
a state that it might have seemed treason had been doing its full work
upon his anointed body. "Bide doun, with a mischief to ye--bide doun,
with a wanion," cried the king, almost overturned by the obstreperous
caresses of the large stag-hounds. "But ye are just like ither folks,
gie ye an inch and ye take an ell.--And wha may ye be, friend?" he said,
now finding leisure to take a nearer view of Nigel, and observing what
in his first emotion of silvan delight had escaped him,--"Ye are nane
of our train, man. In the name of God, what the devil are ye?"

"An unfortunate man, sire," replied Nigel.

"I dare say that," answered the king, snappishly, "or I wad have seen
naething of you. My lieges keep a' their happiness to themselves; but
let bowls row wrang wi' them, and I am sure to hear of it."

"And to whom else can we carry our complaints but to your Majesty, who
is Heaven's vicegerent over us!" answered Nigel.

"Right, man, right--very weel spoken," said the king; "but you should
leave Heaven's vicegerent some quiet on earth, too."

"If your Majesty will look on me," (for hitherto the king had been
so busy, first with the dogs, and then with the mystic operation of
_breaking_, in vulgar phrase, cutting up the deer, that he had scarce
given his assistant above a transient glance,) "you will see whom
necessity makes bold to avail himself of an opportunity which may never
again occur."

King James looked; his blood left his cheek, though it continued stained
with that of the animal which lay at his feet, he dropped the knife from
his hand, cast behind him a faltering eye, as if he either
meditated flight or looked out for assistance, and then
exclaimed,--"Glenvarlochides! as sure as I was christened James Stewart.
Here is a bonny spot of work, and me alone, and on foot too!" he added,
bustling to get upon his horse.

"Forgive me that I interrupt you, my liege," said Nigel, placing himself
between the king and his steed; "hear me but a moment!"

"I'll hear ye best on horseback," said the king. "I canna hear a word
on foot, man, not a word; and it is not seemly to stand cheek-for-chowl
confronting us that gate. Bide out of our gate, sir, we charge you on
your allegiance.--The deil's in them a', what can they be doing?"

"By the crown that you wear, my liege," said Nigel, "and for which my
ancestors have worthily fought, I conjure you to be composed, and to
hear me but a moment!"

That which he asked was entirely out of the monarch's power to grant.
The timidity which he showed was not the plain downright cowardice,
which, like a natural impulse, compels a man to flight, and which can
excite little but pity or contempt, but a much more ludicrous, as well
as more mingled sensation. The poor king was frightened at once and
angry, desirous of securing his safety, and at the same time ashamed
to compromise his dignity; so that without attending to what Lord
Glenvarloch endeavoured to explain, he kept making at his horse, and
repeating, "We are a free king, man,--we are a free king--we will not be
controlled by a subject.--In the name of God, what keeps Steenie? And,
praised be his name, they are coming--Hillo, ho--here, here--Steenie,
Steenie!"

The Duke of Buckingham galloped up, followed by several courtiers
and attendants of the royal chase, and commenced with his usual
familiarity,--"I see Fortune has graced our dear dad, as usual.--But
what's this?"

"What is it? It is treason for what I ken," said the king; "and a' your
wyte, Steenie. Your dear dad and gossip might have been murdered, for
what you care."

"Murdered? Secure the villain!" exclaimed the Duke. "By Heaven, it is
Olifaunt himself!" A dozen of the hunters dismounted at once, letting
their horses run wild through the park. Some seized roughly on Lord
Glenvarloch, who thought it folly to offer resistance, while others
busied themselves with the king. "Are you wounded, my liege--are you
wounded?"

"Not that I ken of," said the king, in the paroxysm of his apprehension,
(which, by the way, might be pardoned in one of so timorous a
temper, and who, in his time, had been exposed to so many strange
attempts)--"Not that I ken of--but search him--search him. I am sure I
saw fire-arms under his cloak. I am sure I smelled powder--I am dooms
sure of that."

Lord Glenvarloch's cloak being stripped off, and his pistols discovered,
a shout of wonder and of execration on the supposed criminal purpose,
arose from the crowd now thickening every moment. Not that celebrated
pistol, which, though resting on a bosom as gallant and as loyal as
Nigel's, spread such cause less alarm among knights and dames at a late
high solemnity--not that very pistol caused more temporary consternation
than was so groundlessly excited by the arms which were taken from Lord
Glenvarloch's person; and not Mhic-Allastar-More himself could repel
with greater scorn and indignation, the insinuations that they were worn
for any sinister purposes.

"Away with the wretch--the parricide--the bloody-minded villain!" was
echoed on all hands; and the king, who naturally enough set the same
value on his own life, at which it was, or seemed to be, rated by
others, cried out, louder than all the rest, "Ay, ay--away with him.
I have had enough of him and so has the country. But do him no bodily
harm--and, for God's sake, sirs, if ye are sure ye have thoroughly
disarmed him, put up your swords, dirks, and skenes, for you will
certainly do each other a mischief."

There was a speedy sheathing of weapons at the king's command; for those
who had hitherto been brandishing them in loyal bravado, began thereby
to call to mind the extreme dislike which his Majesty nourished against
naked steel, a foible which seemed to be as constitutional as his
timidity, and was usually ascribed to the brutal murder of Rizzio having
been perpetrated in his unfortunate mother's presence before he yet saw
the light.

At this moment, the Prince, who had been hunting in a different part
of the then extensive Park, and had received some hasty and confused
information of what was going forward, came rapidly up, with one or two
noblemen in his train, and amongst others Lord Dalgarno. He sprung from
his horse and asked eagerly if his father were wounded.

"Not that I am sensible of, Baby Charles--but a wee matter exhausted,
with struggling single-handed with the assassin.--Steenie, fill up a cup
of wine--the leathern bottle is hanging at our pommel.--Buss me, then,
Baby Charles," continued the monarch, after he had taken this cup of
comfort; "O man, the Commonwealth and you have had a fair escape from
the heavy and bloody loss of a dear father; for we are _pater patriae_,
as weel as _pater familias_.-_Quis desiderio sit pudor aut modus tarn
cari capitis!_-Woe is me, black cloth would have been dear in England,
and dry een scarce!"

And, at the very idea of the general grief which must have attended his
death, the good-natured monarch cried heartily himself.

"Is this possible?" said Charles, sternly; for his pride was hurt at
his father's demeanour on the one hand, while on the other, he felt the
resentment of a son and a subject, at the supposed attempt on the
king's life. "Let some one speak who has seen what happened--My Lord of
Buckingham!"

"I cannot say my lord," replied the Duke, "that I saw any actual
violence offered to his Majesty, else I should have avenged him on the
spot."

"You would have done wrong, then, in your zeal, George," answered the
Prince; "such offenders were better left to be dealt with by the laws.
But was the villain not struggling with his Majesty?"

"I cannot term it so, my lord," said the Duke, who, with many faults,
would have disdained an untruth; "he seemed to desire to detain his
Majesty, who, on the contrary, appeared to wish to mount his horse; but
they have found pistols on his person, contrary to the proclamation,
and, as it proves to be by Nigel Olifaunt, of whose ungoverned
disposition your Royal Highness has seen some samples, we seem to be
justified in apprehending the worst."

"Nigel Olifaunt!" said the Prince; "can that unhappy man so soon have
engaged in a new trespass? Let me see those pistols."

"Ye are not so unwise as to meddle with such snap-haunces, Baby
Charles?" said James--"Do not give him them, Steenie--I command you
on your allegiance! They may go off of their own accord, whilk often
befalls.--You will do it, then?--Saw ever a man sic wilful bairns as we
are cumbered with!--Havena we guardsmen and soldiers enow, but you must
unload the weapons yoursell--you, the heir of our body and dignities,
and sae mony men around that are paid for venturing life in our cause?"

But without regarding his father's exclamations, Prince Charles, with
the obstinacy which characterised him in trifles, as well as matters of
consequence, persisted in unloading the pistols with his own hand, of
the double bullets with which each was charged. The hands of all around
were held up in astonishment at the horror of the crime supposed to have
been intended, and the escape which was presumed so narrow.

Nigel had not yet spoken a word--he now calmly desired to be heard.

"To what purpose?" answered the Prince coldly. "You knew yourself
accused of a heavy offence, and, instead of rendering yourself up to
justice, in terms of the proclamation, you are here found intruding
yourself on his Majesty's presence, and armed with unlawful weapons."

"May it please you, sir," answered Nigel, "I wore these unhappy weapons
for my own defence; and not very many hours since they were necessary to
protect the lives of others."

"Doubtless, my lord," answered the Prince, still calm and
unmoved,--"your late mode of life, and the associates with whom you have
lived, have made you familiar with scenes and weapons of violence. But
it is not to me you are to plead your cause."

"Hear me--hear me, noble Prince!" said Nigel, eagerly. "Hear me!
You--even you yourself--may one day ask to be heard, and in vain."

"How, sir," said the Prince, haughtily--"how am I to construe that, my
lord?"

"If not on earth, sir," replied the prisoner, "yet to Heaven we must all
pray for patient and favourable audience."

"True, my lord," said the Prince, bending his head with haughty
acquiescence; "nor would I now refuse such audience to you, could it
avail you. But you shall suffer no wrong. We will ourselves look into
your case."

"Ay, ay," answered the king, "he hath made _appellatio ad Casarem_--we
will interrogate Glenvarlochides ourselves, time and place fitting; and,
in the meanwhile, have him and his weapons away, for I am weary of the
sight of them."

In consequence of directions hastily given, Nigel was accordingly
removed from the presence, where, however, his words had not altogether
fallen to the ground. "This is a most strange matter, George," said
the Prince to the favourite; "this gentleman hath a good countenance, a
happy presence, and much calm firmness in his look and speech. I cannot
think he would attempt a crime so desperate and useless."

"I profess neither love nor favour to the young man," answered
Buckingham, whose high-spirited ambition bore always an open character:
"but I cannot but agree with your Highness, that our dear gossip hath
been something hasty in apprehending personal danger from him."

"By my saul, Steenie, ye are not blate, to say so!" said the king. "Do I
not ken the smell of pouther, think ye? Who else nosed out the Fifth of
November, save our royal selves? Cecil, and Suffolk, and all of them,
were at fault, like sae mony mongrel tikes, when I puzzled it out:
and trow ye that I cannot smell pouther? Why, 'sblood, man, Joannes
Barclaius thought my ingine was in some measure inspiration, and terms
his history of the plot, Series patefacti divinitus parricidii; and
Spondanus, in like manner, saith of us, Divinitus evasit."

"The land was happy in your Majesty's escape," said the Duke of
Buckingham, "and not less in the quick wit which tracked that labyrinth
of treason by so fine and almost invisible a clew."

"Saul, man, Steenie, ye are right! There are few youths have sic true
judgment as you, respecting the wisdom of their elders; and, as for this
fause, traitorous smaik, I doubt he is a hawk of the same nest. Saw ye
not something papistical about him? Let them look that he bears not a
crucifix, or some sic Roman trinket, about him."

"It would ill become me to attempt the exculpation of this unhappy man,"
said Lord Dalgarno, "considering the height of his present attempt,
which has made all true men's blood curdle in their veins. Yet I cannot
avoid intimating, with all due submission to his Majesty's infallible
judgment, in justice to one who showed himself formerly only my enemy,
though he now displays himself in much blacker colours, that this
Olifaunt always appeared to me more as a Puritan than as a Papist."

"Ah, Dalgarno, art thou there, man?" said the king. "And ye behoved to
keep back, too, and leave us to our own natural strength and the care of
Providence, when we were in grips with the villain!"

"Providence, may it please your most Gracious Majesty, would not fail
to aid, in such a strait, the care of three weeping kingdoms," said Lord
Dalgarno.

"Surely, man--surely," replied the king--"but a sight of your father,
with his long whinyard, would have been a blithe matter a short while
syne; and in future we will aid the ends of Providence in our favour,
by keeping near us two stout beef-eaters of the guard.--And so this
Olifaunt is a Puritan?--not the less like to be a Papist, for all
that--for extremities meet, as the scholiast proveth. There are, as I
have proved in my book, Puritans of papistical principles--it is just a
new tout on an old horn."

Here the king was reminded by the Prince, who dreaded perhaps that he
was going to recite the whole Basilicon Doron, that it would be best to
move towards the Palace, and consider what was to be done for satisfying
the public mind, in whom the morning's adventure was likely to excite
much speculation. As they entered the gate of the Palace, a female bowed
and presented a paper, which the king received, and, with a sort
of groan, thrust it into his side pocket. The Prince expressed some
curiosity to know its contents. "The valet in waiting will tell you
them," said the king, "when I strip off my cassock. D'ye think, Baby,
that I can read all that is thrust into my hands? See to me, man"--(he
pointed to the pockets of his great trunk breeches, which were stuffed
with papers)--"We are like an ass--that we should so speak--stooping
betwixt two burdens. Ay, ay, Asinus fortis accumbens inter terminos, as
the Vulgate hath it--Ay, ay, Vidi terrain quod esset optima, et supposui
humerum ad portandum, et factus sum tributis serviens--I saw this land
of England, and became an overburdened king thereof."

"You are indeed well loaded, my dear dad and gossip," said the Duke of
Buckingham, receiving the papers which King James emptied out of his
pockets.

"Ay, ay," continued the monarch; "take them to you per aversionem,
bairns--the one pouch stuffed with petitions, t'other with pasquinadoes;
a fine time we have on't. On my conscience, I believe the tale of Cadmus
was hieroglyphical, and that the dragon's teeth whilk he sowed were
the letters he invented. Ye are laughing, Baby Charles?--Mind what I
say.--When I came here first frae our ain country, where the men are
as rude as the weather, by my conscience, England was a bieldy bit;
one would have thought the king had little to do but to walk by quiet
waters, per aquam refectionis. But, I kenna how or why, the place is
sair changed--read that libel upon us and on our regimen. The dragon's
teeth are sown, Baby Charles; I pray God they bearna their armed harvest
in your day, if I suld not live to see it. God forbid I should, for
there will be an awful day's kemping at the shearing of them."

"I shall know how to stifle the crop in the blade,--ha, George?" said
the Prince, turning to the favourite with a look expressive of some
contempt for his father's apprehensions, and full of confidence in the
superior firmness and decision of his own counsels.

While this discourse was passing, Nigel, in charge of a
pursuivant-at-arms, was pushed and dragged through the small town, all
the inhabitants of which, having been alarmed by the report of an attack
on the king's life, now pressed forward to see the supposed traitor.
Amid the confusion of the moment, he could descry the face of the
victualler, arrested into a stare of stolid wonder, and that of the
barber grinning betwixt horror and eager curiosity. He thought that he
also had a glimpse of his waterman in the green jacket.

He had no time for remarks, being placed in a boat with the pursuivant
and two yeomen of the guard, and rowed up the river as fast as the
arms of six stout watermen could pull against the tide. They passed
the groves of masts which even then astonished the stranger with the
extended commerce of London, and now approached those low and blackened
walls of curtain and bastion, which exhibit here and there a piece of
ordnance, and here and there a solitary sentinel under arms, but have
otherwise so little of the military terrors of a citadel. A projecting
low-browed arch, which had loured over many an innocent, and many a
guilty head, in similar circumstances, now spread its dark frowns over
that of Nigel. The boat was put close up to the broad steps against
which the tide was lapping its lazy wave. The warder on duty looked from
the wicket, and spoke to the pursuivant in whispers. In a few minutes
the Lieutenant of the Tower appeared, received, and granted an
acknowledgment for the body of Nigel, Lord Glenvarloch.



CHAPTER XXVIII


  Ye towers of Julius! London's lasting shame;
  With many a foul and midnight murder fed!
                           _Gray._

Such is the exclamation of Gray. Bandello, long before him, has said
something like it; and the same sentiment must, in some shape or other,
have frequently occurred to those, who, remembering the fate of other
captives in that memorable state-prison, may have had but too much
reason to anticipate their own. The dark and low arch, which seemed,
like the entrance to Dante's Hell, to forbid hope of regress--the
muttered sounds of the warders, and petty formalities observed in
opening and shutting the grated wicket--the cold and constrained
salutation of the Lieutenant of the fortress, who showed his prisoner
that distant and measured respect which authority pays as a tax to
decorum, all struck upon Nigel's heart, impressing on him the cruel
consciousness of captivity.

"I am a prisoner," he said, the words escaping from him almost unawares;
"I am a prisoner, and in the Tower!"

The Lieutenant bowed--"And it is my duty," he said, "to show your
lordship your chamber, where, I am compelled to say, my orders are
to place you under some restraint. I will make it as easy as my duty
permits."

Nigel only bowed in return to this compliment, and followed the
Lieutenant to the ancient buildings on the western side of the parade,
and adjoining to the chapel, used in those days as a state-prison, but
in ours as the mess-room of the officers of the guard upon duty at the
fortress. The double doors were unlocked, the prisoner ascended a few
steps, followed by the Lieutenant, and a warder of the higher class.
They entered a large, but irregular, low-roofed, and dark apartment,
exhibiting a very scanty proportion of furniture. The warder had orders
to light a fire, and attend to Lord Glenvarloch's commands in all things
consistent with his duty; and the Lieutenant, having made his reverence
with the customary compliment, that he trusted his lordship would not
long remain under his guardianship, took his leave.

Nigel would have asked some questions of the warder, who remained to
put the apartment into order, but the man had caught the spirit of his
office. He seemed not to hear some of the prisoner's questions, though
of the most ordinary kind, did not reply to others, and when he did
speak, it was in a short and sullen tone, which, though not
positively disrespectful, was such as at least to encourage no farther
communication.

Nigel left him, therefore, to do his work in silence, and proceeded
to amuse himself with the melancholy task of deciphering the names,
mottoes, verses, and hieroglyphics, with which his predecessors in
captivity had covered the walls of their prison-house. There he saw
the names of many a forgotten sufferer mingled with others which will
continue in remembrance until English history shall perish. There were
the pious effusions of the devout Catholic, poured forth on the eve of
his sealing his profession at Tyburn, mingled with those of the firm
Protestant, about to feed the fires of Smithfield. There the slender
hand of the unfortunate Jane Grey, whose fate was to draw tears from
future generations, might be contrasted with the bolder touch which
impressed deep on the walls the Bear and Ragged Staff, the proud emblem
of the proud Dudleys. It was like the roll of the prophet, a record of
lamentation and mourning, and yet not unmixed with brief
interjections of resignation, and sentences expressive of the firmest
resolution.[Footnote: These memorials of illustrious criminals, or of
innocent persons who had the fate of such, are still preserved, though
at one time, in the course of repairing the rooms, they were in some
danger of being whitewashed. They are preserved at present with becoming
respect, and have most of them been engraved.--_See_ BAYLEY'S _History
and Antiquities of the Tower of London._]

In the sad task of examining the miseries of his predecessors in
captivity, Lord Glenvarloch was interrupted by the sudden opening of
the door of his prison-room. It was the warder, who came to inform him,
that, by order of the Lieutenant of the Tower, his lordship was to
have the society and attendance of a fellow-prisoner in his place of
confinement. Nigel replied hastily, that he wished no attendance, and
would rather be left alone; but the warder gave him to understand, with
a kind of grumbling civility, that the Lieutenant was the best judge how
his prisoners should be accommodated, and that he would have no trouble
with the boy, who was such a slip of a thing as was scarce worth turning
a key upon.--"There, Giles," he said, "bring the child in."

Another warder put the "lad before him" into the room, and, both
withdrawing, bolt crashed and chain clanged, as they replaced these
ponderous obstacles to freedom. The boy was clad in a grey suit of the
finest cloth, laid down with silver lace, with a buff-coloured cloak
of the same pattern. His cap, which was a Montero of black velvet, was
pulled over his brows, and, with the profusion of his long ringlets,
almost concealed his face. He stood on the very spot where the warder
had quitted his collar, about two steps from the door of the apartment,
his eyes fixed on the ground, and every joint trembling with confusion
and terror. Nigel could well have dispensed with his society, but it was
not in his nature to behold distress, whether of body or mind, without
endeavouring to relieve it.

"Cheer up," he said, "my pretty lad. We are to be companions, it seems,
for a little time--at least I trust your confinement will be short,
since you are too young to have done aught to deserve long restraint.
Come, come--do not be discouraged. Your hand is cold and trembles? the
air is warm too--but it may be the damp of this darksome room. Place you
by the fire.--What! weeping-ripe, my little man? I pray you, do not be
a child. You have no beard yet, to be dishonoured by your tears, but yet
you should not cry like a girl. Think you are only shut up for playing
truant, and you can pass a day without weeping, surely."

The boy suffered himself to be led and seated by the fire, but, after
retaining for a long time the very posture which he assumed in sitting
down, he suddenly changed it in order to wring his hands with an air of
the bitterest distress, and then, spreading them before his face, wept
so plentifully, that the tears found their way in floods through his
slender fingers.

Nigel was in some degree rendered insensible to his own situation, by
his feelings for the intense agony by which so young and beautiful
a creature seemed to be utterly overwhelmed; and, sitting down close
beside the boy, he applied the most soothing terms which occurred,
to endeavour to alleviate his distress; and, with an action which the
difference of their age rendered natural, drew his hand kindly along the
long hair of the disconsolate child. The lad appeared so shy as even
to shrink from this slight approach to familiarity--yet, when Lord
Glenvarloch, perceiving and allowing for his timidity, sat down on the
farther side of the fire, he appeared to be more at his ease, and to
hearken with some apparent interest to the arguments which from time to
time Nigel used, to induce him to moderate, at least, the violence of
his grief. As the boy listened, his tears, though they continued to flow
freely, seemed to escape from their source more easily, his sobs were
less convulsive, and became gradually changed into low sighs, which
succeeded each other, indicating as much sorrow, perhaps, but less
alarm, than his first transports had shown.

"Tell me who and what you are, my pretty boy," said Nigel.--"Consider
me, child, as a companion, who wishes to be kind to you, would you but
teach him how he can be so."

"Sir--my lord, I mean," answered the boy, very timidly, and in a voice
which could scarce be heard even across the brief distance which divided
them, "you are very good--and I--am very unhappy--"

A second fit of tears interrupted what else he had intended to say, and
it required a renewal of Lord Glenvarloch's good-natured expostulations
and encouragements, to bring him once more to such composure as rendered
the lad capable of expressing himself intelligibly. At length, however,
he was able to say--"I am sensible of your goodness, my lord--and
grateful for it--but I am a poor unhappy creature, and, what is worse,
have myself only to thank for my misfortunes."

"We are seldom absolutely miserable, my young acquaintance," said Nigel,
"without being ourselves more or less responsible for it--I may well say
so, otherwise I had not been here to-day--but you are very young, and
can have but little to answer for."

"O sir! I wish I could say so--I have been self-willed and
obstinate--and rash and ungovernable--and now--now, how dearly do I pay
the price of it!"

"Pshaw, my boy," replied Nigel; "this must be some childish frolic--some
breaking out of bounds--some truant trick--And yet how should any of
these have brought you to the Tower?--There is something mysterious
about you, young man, which I must inquire into."

"Indeed, indeed, my lord, there is no harm about me," said the boy, more
moved it would seem to confession by the last words, by which he seemed
considerably alarmed, than by all the kind expostulations and arguments
which Nigel had previously used. "I am innocent--that is, I have done
wrong, but nothing to deserve being in this frightful place."

"Tell me the truth, then," said Nigel, in a tone in which command
mingled with encouragement; "you have nothing to fear from me, and as
little to hope, perhaps--yet, placed as I am, I would know with whom I
speak."

"With an unhappy--boy, sir--and idle and truantly disposed, as your
lordship said," answered the lad, looking up, and showing a countenance
in which paleness and blushes succeeded each other, as fear and
shamefacedness alternately had influence. "I left my father's house
without leave, to see the king hunt in the Park at Greenwich; there came
a cry of treason, and all the gates were shut--I was frightened, and
hid myself in a thicket, and I was found by some of the rangers and
examined--and they said I gave no good account of myself--and so I was
sent hither."

"I am an unhappy, a most unhappy being," said Lord Glenvarloch, rising
and walking through the apartment; "nothing approaches me but shares my
own bad fate! Death and imprisonment dog my steps, and involve all who
are found near me. Yet this boy's story sounds strangely.--You say you
were examined, my young friend--Let me pray you to say whether you told
your name, and your means of gaining admission into the Park--if so,
they surely would not have detained you?"

"O, my lord," said the boy, "I took care not to tell them the name of
the friend that let me in; and as to my father--I would not he knew
where I now am for all the wealth in London!"

"But do you not expect," said Nigel, "that they will dismiss you till
you let them know who and what you are?"

"What good will it do them to keep so useless a creature as myself?"
said the boy; "they must let me go, were it but out of shame."

"Do not trust to that--tell me your name and station--I will communicate
them to the Lieutenant--he is a man of quality and honour, and will not
only be willing to procure your liberation, but also, I have no doubt,
will intercede with your father. I am partly answerable for such poor
aid as I can afford, to get you out of this embarrassment, since I
occasioned the alarm owing to which you were arrested; so tell me your
name, and your father's name."

"My name to you? O never, never!" answered the boy, in a tone of deep
emotion, the cause of which Nigel could not comprehend.

"Are you so much afraid of me, young man," he replied, "because I am
here accused and a prisoner? Consider, a man may be both, and deserve
neither suspicion nor restraint. Why should you distrust me? You seem
friendless, and I am myself so much in the same circumstances, that I
cannot but pity your situation when I reflect on my own. Be wise; I have
spoken kindly to you--I mean as kindly as I speak."

"O, I doubt it not, I doubt it not, my lord," said the boy, "and I could
tell you all--that is, almost all."

"Tell me nothing, my young friend, excepting what may assist me in being
useful to you," said Nigel.

"You are generous, my lord," said the boy; "and I am sure--O sure,
I might safely trust to your honour--But yet--but yet--I am so sore
beset--I have been so rash, so unguarded--I can never tell you of
my folly. Besides, I have already told too much to one whose heart I
thought I had moved--yet I find myself here."

"To whom did you make this disclosure?" said Nigel.

"I dare not tell," replied the youth.

"There is something singular about you, my young friend," said Lord
Glenvarloch, withdrawing with a gentle degree of compulsion the hand
with which the boy had again covered his eyes; "do not pain yourself
with thinking on your situation just at present--your pulse is high, and
your hand feverish--lay yourself on yonder pallet, and try to compose
yourself to sleep. It is the readiest and best remedy for the fancies
with which you are worrying yourself."

"I thank you for your considerate kindness, my lord," said the boy;
"with your leave I will remain for a little space quiet in this chair--I
am better thus than on the couch. I can think undisturbedly on what I
have done, and have still to do; and if God sends slumber to a creature
so exhausted, it shall be most welcome."

So saying, the boy drew his hand from Lord Nigel's, and, drawing around
him and partly over his face the folds of his ample cloak, he resigned
himself to sleep or meditation, while his companion, notwithstanding the
exhausting scenes of this and the preceding day, continued his pensive
walk up and down the apartment.

Every reader has experienced, that times occur, when far from being lord
of external circumstances, man is unable to rule even the wayward realm
of his own thoughts. It was Nigel's natural wish to consider his own
situation coolly, and fix on the course which it became him as a man
of sense and courage to adopt; and yet, in spite of himself, and
notwithstanding the deep interest of the critical state in which he was
placed, it did so happen that his fellow-prisoner's situation occupied
more of his thoughts than did his own. There was no accounting for this
wandering of the imagination, but also there was no striving with it.
The pleading tones of one of the sweetest voices he had ever heard,
still rung in his ear, though it seemed that sleep had now fettered the
tongue of the speaker. He drew near on tiptoe to satisfy himself whether
it were so. The folds of the cloak hid the lower part of his face
entirely; but the bonnet, which had fallen a little aside, permitted him
to see the forehead streaked with blue veins, the closed eyes, and the
long silken eyelashes.

"Poor child," said Nigel to himself, as he looked on him, nestled up as
it were in the folds of his mantle, "the dew is yet on thy eyelashes,
and thou hast fairly wept thyself asleep. Sorrow is a rough nurse to one
so young and delicate as thou art. Peace be to thy slumbers, I will
not disturb them. My own misfortunes require my attention, and it is to
their contemplation that I must resign myself."

He attempted to do so, but was crossed at every turn by conjectures
which intruded themselves as before, and which all regarded the sleeper
rather than himself. He was angry and vexed, and expostulated with
himself concerning the overweening interest which he took in the
concerns of one of whom he knew nothing, saving that the boy was forced
into his company, perhaps as a spy, by those to whose custody he was
committed--but the spell could not be broken, and the thoughts which he
struggled to dismiss, continued to haunt him.

Thus passed half an hour, or more; at the conclusion of which, the
harsh sound of the revolving bolts was again heard, and the voice of the
warder announced that a man desired to speak with Lord Glenvarloch. "A
man to speak with me, under my present circumstances!--Who can it be?"
And John Christie, his landlord of Paul's Wharf, resolved his doubts, by
entering the apartment. "Welcome--most welcome, mine honest landlord!"
said Lord Glenvarloch. "How could I have dreamt of seeing you in my
present close lodgings?" And at the same time, with the frankness of
old kindness, he walked up to Christie and offered his hand; but John
started back as from the look of a basilisk.

"Keep your courtesies to yourself, my lord," said he, gruffly; "I have
had as many of them already as may serve me for my life."

"Why, Master Christie," said Nigel, "what means this? I trust I have not
offended you?"

"Ask me no questions, my lord," said Christie, bluntly. "I am a man of
peace--I came not hither to wrangle with you at this place and season.
Just suppose that I am well informed of all the obligements from your
honour's nobleness, and then acquaint me, in as few words as may be,
where is the unhappy woman--What have you done with her?"

"What have I done with her!" said Lord Glenvarloch--"Done with whom? I
know not what you are speaking of."

"Oh, yes, my lord," said Christie; "play surprise as well as you will,
you must have some guess that I am speaking of the poor fool that was my
wife, till she became your lordship's light-o'-love."

"Your wife! Has your wife left you? and, if she has, do you come to ask
her of me?"

"Yes, my lord, singular as it may seem," returned Christie, in a tone
of bitter irony, and with a sort of grin widely discording from the
discomposure of his features, the gleam of his eye, and the froth which
stood on his lip, "I do come to make that demand of your lordship.
Doubtless, you are surprised I should take the trouble; but, I cannot
tell, great men and little men think differently. She has lain in
my bosom, and drunk of my cup; and, such as she is, I cannot forget
that--though I will never see her again--she must not starve, my lord,
or do worse, to gain bread, though I reckon your lordship may think I am
robbing the public in trying to change her courses."

"By my faith as a Christian, by my honour as a gentleman," said Lord
Glenvarloch, "if aught amiss has chanced with your wife, I know nothing
of it. I trust in Heaven you are as much mistaken in imputing guilt to
her, as in supposing me her partner in it."

"Fie! fie! my lord," said Christie, "why will you make it so tough? She
is but the wife of a clod-pated old chandler, who was idiot enough to
marry a wench twenty years younger than himself. Your lordship cannot
have more glory by it than you have had already; and, as for
advantage and solace, I take it Dame Nelly is now unnecessary to
your gratification. I should be sorry to interrupt the course of your
pleasure; an old wittol should have more consideration of his condition.
But, your precious lordship being mewed up here among other choice
jewels of the kingdom, Dame Nelly cannot, I take it, be admitted
to share the hours of dalliance which"--Here the incensed husband
stammered, broke off his tone of irony, and proceeded, striking his
staff against the ground--"O that these false limbs of yours, which I
wish had been hamstrung when they first crossed my honest threshold,
were free from the fetters they have well deserved! I would give you the
odds of your youth, and your weapon, and would bequeath my soul to
the foul fiend if I, with this piece of oak, did not make you such an
example to all ungrateful, pick-thank courtiers, that it should be a
proverb to the end of time, how John Christie swaddled his wife's fine
leman!"

"I understand not your insolence," said Nigel, "but I forgive it,
because you labour under some strange delusion. In so far as I can
comprehend your vehement charge, it is entirely undeserved on my part.
You seem to impute to me the seduction of your wife--I trust she is
innocent. For me, at least, she is as innocent as an angel in bliss.
I never thought of her--never touched her hand or cheek, save in
honourable courtesy."

"O, ay--courtesy!--that is the very word. She always praised your
lordship's honourable courtesy. Ye have cozened me between ye, with your
courtesy. My lord--my lord, you came to us no very wealthy man--you know
it. It was for no lucre of gain I took you and your swash-buckler, your
Don Diego yonder, under my poor roof. I never cared if the little room
were let or no; I could live without it. If you could not have paid for
it, you should never have been asked. All the wharf knows John Christie
has the means and spirit to do a kindness. When you first darkened my
honest doorway, I was as happy as a man need to be, who is no youngster,
and has the rheumatism. Nelly was the kindest and best-humoured
wench--we might have a word now and then about a gown or a ribbon, but
a kinder soul on the whole, and a more careful, considering her years,
till you come--and what is she now!--But I will not be a fool to cry, if
I can help it. _What_ she is, is not the question, but where she is; and
that I must learn, sir, of you."

"How can you, when I tell you," replied Nigel, "that I am as ignorant as
yourself, or rather much more so? Till this moment, I never heard of any
disagreement betwixt your dame and you."

"That is a lie," said John Christie, bluntly.

"How, you base villain!" said Lord Glenvarloch--"do you presume on my
situation? If it were not that I hold you mad, and perhaps made so
by some wrong sustained, you should find my being weaponless were no
protection, I would beat your brains out against the wall."

"Ay, ay," answered Christie, "bully as ye list. Ye have been at the
ordinaries, and in Alsatia, and learned the ruffian's rant, I doubt not.
But I repeat, you have spoken an untruth, when you said you knew not of
my wife's falsehood; for, when you were twitted with it among your gay
mates, it was a common jest among you, and your lordship took all the
credit they would give you for your gallantry and gratitude."

There was a mixture of truth in this part of the charge which
disconcerted Lord Glenvarloch exceedingly; for he could not, as a man
of honour, deny that Lord Dalgarno, and others, had occasionally jested
with him on the subject of Dame Nelly, and that, though he had not
played exactly _le fanfaron des vices qu'il n'avoit pas_, he had not
at least been sufficiently anxious to clear himself of the suspicion of
such a crime to men who considered it as a merit. It was therefore with
some hesitation, and in a sort of qualifying tone, that he admitted that
some idle jests had passed upon such a supposition, although without
the least foundation in truth. John Christie would not listen to his
vindication any longer. "By your own account," he said, "you permitted
lies to be told of you injest. How do I know you are speaking truth,
now you are serious? You thought it, I suppose, a fine thing to wear the
reputation of having dishonoured an honest family,--who will not think
that you had real grounds for your base bravado to rest upon? I will not
believe otherwise for one, and therefore, my lord, mark what I have to
say. You are now yourself in trouble--As you hope to come through
it safely, and without loss of life and property, tell me where this
unhappy woman is. Tell me, if you hope for heaven--tell me, if you fear
hell--tell me, as you would not have the curse of an utterly ruined
woman, and a broken-hearted man, attend you through life, and bear
witness against you at the Great Day, which shall come after death. You
are moved, my lord, I see it. I cannot forget the wrong you have done
me. I cannot even promise to forgive it--but--tell me, and you shall
never see me again, or hear more of my reproaches."

"Unfortunate man," said Lord Glenvarloch, "you have said more, far more
than enough, to move me deeply. Were I at liberty, I would lend you my
best aid to search out him who has wronged you, the rather that I do
suspect my having been your lodger has been in some degree the remote
cause of bringing the spoiler into the sheepfold."

"I am glad your lordship grants me so much," said John Christie,
resuming the tone of embittered irony with which he had opened
the singular conversation; "I will spare you farther reproach and
remonstrance--your mind is made up, and so is mine.--So, ho, warder!"
The warder entered, and John went on,--"I want to get out, brother. Look
well to your charge--it were better that half the wild beasts in their
dens yonder were turned loose upon Tower Hill, than that this same
smooth-faced, civil-spoken gentleman, were again returned to honest
men's company!"

So saying, he hastily left the apartment; and Nigel had full leisure
to lament the waywardness of his fate, which seemed never to tire of
persecuting him for crimes of which he was innocent, and investing him
with the appearances of guilt which his mind abhorred. He could not,
however, help acknowledging to himself, that all the pain which he
might sustain from the present accusation of John Christie, was so far
deserved, from his having suffered himself, out of vanity, or rather an
unwillingness to encounter ridicule, to be supposed capable of a
base inhospitable crime, merely because fools called it an affair of
gallantry; and it was no balsam to the wound, when he recollected what
Richie had told him of his having been ridiculed behind his back by the
gallants of the ordinary, for affecting the reputation of an intrigue
which he had not in reality spirit enough to have carried on. His
simulation had, in a word, placed him in the unlucky predicament of
being rallied as a braggart amongst the dissipated youths, with whom the
reality of the amour would have given him credit; whilst, on the other
hand, he was branded as an inhospitable seducer by the injured husband,
who was obstinately persuaded of his guilt.



CHAPTER XXIX


  How fares the man on whom good men would look
  With eyes where scorn and censure combated,
  But that kind Christian love hath taught the lesson--
  That they who merit most contempt and hate,
  Do most deserve our pity.--
                              _Old Play_.

It might have seemed natural that the visit of John Christie should have
entirely diverted Nigel's attention from his slumbering companion, and,
for a time, such was the immediate effect of the chain of new ideas
which the incident introduced; yet, soon after the injured man had
departed, Lord Glenvarloch began to think it extraordinary that the boy
should have slept so soundly, while they talked loudly in his vicinity.
Yet he certainly did not appear to have stirred. Was he well--was he
only feigning sleep? He went close to him to make his observations, and
perceived that he had wept, and was still weeping, though his eyes were
closed. He touched him gently on the shoulder--the boy shrunk from his
touch, but did not awake. He pulled him harder, and asked him if he was
sleeping.

"Do they waken folk in your country to know whether they are asleep or
no?" said the boy, in a peevish tone.

"No, my young sir," answered Nigel; "but when they weep in the manner
you do in your sleep, they awaken them to see what ails them."

"It signifies little to any one what ails me," said the boy.

"True," replied Lord Glenvarloch; "but you knew before you went to
sleep how little I could assist you in your difficulties, and you seemed
disposed, notwithstanding, to put some confidence in me."

"If I did, I have changed my mind," said the lad.

"And what may have occasioned this change of mind, I trow?" said Lord
Glenvarloch. "Some men speak through their sleep--perhaps you have the
gift of hearing in it?"

"No, but the Patriarch Joseph never dreamt truer dreams than I do."

"Indeed!" said Lord Glenvarloch. "And, pray, what dream have you had
that has deprived me of your good opinion; for that, I think, seems the
moral of the matter?"

"You shall judge yourself," answered the boy. "I dreamed I was in a wild
forest, where there was a cry of hounds, and winding of horns, exactly
as I heard in Greenwich Park."

"That was because you were in the Park this morning, you simple child,"
said Nigel.

"Stay, my lord," said the youth. "I went on in my dream, till, at the
top of a broad green alley, I saw a noble stag which had fallen into the
toils; and methought I knew that he was the very stag which the whole
party were hunting, and that if the chase came up, the dogs would tear
him to pieces, or the hunters would cut his throat; and I had pity on
the gallant stag, and though I was of a different kind from him, and
though I was somewhat afraid of him, I thought I would venture something
to free so stately a creature; and I pulled out my knife, and just as I
was beginning to cut the meshes of the net, the animal started up in my
face in the likeness of a tiger, much larger and fiercer than any you
may have seen in the ward of the wild beasts yonder, and was just about
to tear me limb from limb, when you awaked me."

"Methinks," said Nigel, "I deserve more thanks than I have got, for
rescuing you from such a danger by waking you. But, my pretty master,
methinks all this tale of a tiger and a stag has little to do with your
change of temper towards me."

"I know not whether it has or no," said the lad; "but I will not tell
you who I am."

"You will keep your secret to yourself then, peevish boy," said Nigel,
turning from him, and resuming his walk through the room; then stopping
suddenly, he said--"And yet you shall not escape from me without knowing
that I penetrate your mystery."

"My mystery!" said the youth, at once alarmed and irritated--"what mean
you, my lord?"

"Only that I can read your dream without the assistance of a Chaldean
interpreter, and my exposition is--that my fair companion does not wear
the dress of her sex."

"And if I do not, my lord," said his companion, hastily starting up, and
folding her cloak tight around her, "my dress, such as it is, covers one
who will not disgrace it."

"Many would call that speech a fair challenge," said Lord Glenvarloch,
looking on her fixedly; "women do not masquerade in men's clothes, to
make use of men's weapons."

"I have no such purpose," said the seeming boy; "I have other means
of protection, and powerful--but I would first know what is _your_
purpose."

"An honourable and a most respectful one," said Lord Glenvarloch;
"whatever you are--whatever motive may have brought you into this
ambiguous situation, I am sensible--every look, word, and action of
yours, makes me sensible, that you are no proper subject of importunity,
far less of ill usage. What circumstances can have forced you into so
doubtful a situation, I know not; but I feel assured there is, and can
be, nothing in them of premeditated wrong, which should expose you to
cold-blooded insult. From me you have nothing to dread."

"I expected nothing less from your nobleness, my lord," answered the
female; "my adventure, though I feel it was both desperate and foolish,
is not so very foolish, nor my safety here so utterly unprotected, as
at first sight--and in this strange dress, it may appear to be. I have
suffered enough, and more than enough, by the degradation of having been
seen in this unfeminine attire, and the comments you must necessarily
have made on my conduct--but I thank God that I am so far protected,
that I could not have been subjected to insult unavenged." When this
extraordinary explanation had proceeded thus far, the warder appeared,
to place before Lord Glenvarloch a meal, which, for his present
situation, might be called comfortable, and which, if not equal to
the cookery of the celebrated Chevalier Beaujeu, was much superior in
neatness and cleanliness to that of Alsatia. A warder attended to do the
honours of the table, and made a sign to the disguised female to rise
and assist him in his functions. But Nigel, declaring that he knew the
youth's parents, interfered, and caused his companion to eat along with
him. She consented with a sort of embarrassment, which rendered her
pretty features yet more interesting. Yet she maintained with a natural
grace that sort of good-breeding which belongs to the table; and
it seemed to Nigel, whether already prejudiced in her favour by the
extraordinary circumstances of their meeting, or whether really judging
from what was actually the fact, that he had seldom seen a young person
comport herself with more decorous propriety, mixed with ingenuous
simplicity; while the consciousness of the peculiarity of her situation
threw a singular colouring over her whole demeanour, which could be
neither said to be formal, nor easy, nor embarrassed, but was compounded
of, and shaded with, an interchange of all these three characteristics.
Wine was placed on the table, of which she could not be prevailed on
to taste a glass. Their conversation was, of course, limited by the
presence of the warder to the business of the table: but Nigel had, long
ere the cloth was removed, formed the resolution, if possible, of making
himself master of this young person's history, the more especially as he
now began to think that the tones of her voice and her features were not
so strange to him as he had originally supposed. This, however, was a
conviction which he adopted slowly, and only as it dawned upon him from
particular circumstances during the course of the repast.

At length the prison-meal was finished, and Lord Glenvarloch began to
think how he might most easily enter upon the topic he meditated, when
the warder announced a visitor.

"Soh!" said Nigel, something displeased, "I find even a prison does not
save one from importunate visitations."

He prepared to receive his guest, however, while his alarmed companion
flew to the large cradle-shaped chair, which had first served her as a
place of refuge, drew her cloak around her, and disposed herself as much
as she could to avoid observation. She had scarce made her arrangements
for that purpose when the door opened, and the worthy citizen, George
Heriot, entered the prison-chamber.

He cast around the apartment his usual sharp, quick glance of
observation, and, advancing to Nigel, said--"My lord, I wish I could say
I was happy to see you."

"The sight of those who are unhappy themselves, Master Heriot, seldom
produces happiness to their friends--I, however, am glad to see you."

He extended his hand, but Heriot bowed with much formal complaisance,
instead of accepting the courtesy, which in those times, when the
distinction of ranks was much guarded by etiquette and ceremony, was
considered as a distinguished favour.

"You are displeased with me, Master Heriot," said Lord Glenvarloch,
reddening, for he was not deceived by the worthy citizen's affectation
of extreme reverence and respect.

"By no means, my lord," replied Heriot; "but I have been in France, and
have thought it is well to import, along with other more substantial
articles, a small sample of that good-breeding which the French are so
renowned for."

"It is not kind of you," said Nigel, "to bestow the first use of it on
an old and obliged friend."

Heriot only answered to this observation with a short dry cough, and
then proceeded.

"Hem! hem! I say, ahem! My lord, as my French politeness may not carry
me far, I would willingly know whether I am to speak as a friend, since
your lordship is pleased to term me such; or whether I am, as befits
my condition, to confine myself to the needful business which must be
treated of between us."

"Speak as a friend by all means, Master Heriot," said Nigel; "I perceive
you have adopted some of the numerous prejudices against me, if not
all of them. Speak out, and frankly--what I cannot deny I will at least
confess."

"And I trust, my lord, redress," said Heriot.

"So far as in my power, certainly," answered Nigel.

"Ah I my lord," continued Heriot, "that is a melancholy though a
necessary restriction; for how lightly may any one do an hundred times
more than the degree of evil which it may be within his power to repair
to the sufferers and to society! But we are not alone here," he said,
stopping, and darting his shrewd eye towards the muffled figure of the
disguised maiden, whose utmost efforts had not enabled her so to adjust
her position as altogether to escape observation. More anxious to
prevent her being discovered than to keep his own affairs private, Nigel
hastily answered--"'Tis a page of mine; you may speak freely before him.
He is of France, and knows no English."

"I am then to speak freely," said Heriot, after a second glance at the
chair; "perhaps my words may be more free than welcome."

"Go on, sir," said Nigel, "I have told you I can bear reproof."

"In one word, then, my lord--why do I find you in this place, and
whelmed with charges which must blacken a name rendered famous by ages
of virtue?"

"Simply, then, you find me here," said Nigel, "because, to begin from my
original error, I would be wiser than my father."

"It was a difficult task, my lord," replied Heriot; "your father was
voiced generally as the wisest and one of the bravest men of Scotland."

"He commanded me," continued Nigel, "to avoid all gambling; and I took
upon me to modify this injunction into regulating my play according to
my skill, means, and the course of my luck."

"Ay, self opinion, acting on a desire of acquisition, my lord--you hoped
to touch pitch and not to be defiled," answered Heriot. "Well, my
lord, you need not say, for I have heard with much regret, how far
this conduct diminished your reputation. Your next error I may without
scruple remind you of--My lord, my lord, in whatever degree Lord
Dalgarno may have failed towards you, the son of his father should have
been sacred from your violence."

"You speak in cold blood, Master Heriot, and I was smarting under a
thousand wrongs inflicted on me under the mask of friendship."

"That is, he gave your lordship bad advice, and you," said Heriot--

"Was fool enough to follow his counsel," answered Nigel--"But we will
pass this, Master Heriot, if you please. Old men and young men, men of
the sword and men of peaceful occupation, always have thought, always
will think, differently on such subjects."

"I grant," answered Heriot, "the distinction between the old goldsmith
and the young nobleman--still you should have had patience for Lord
Huntinglen's sake, and prudence for your own. Supposing your quarrel
just--"

"I pray you to pass on to some other charge," said Lord Glenvarloch.

"I am not your accuser, my lord; but I trust in heaven, that your own
heart has already accused you bitterly on the inhospitable wrong which
your late landlord has sustained at your hand."

"Had I been guilty of what you allude to," said Lord Glenvarloch,--"had
a moment of temptation hurried me away, I had long ere now most bitterly
repented it. But whoever may have wronged the unhappy woman, it was not
I--I never heard of her folly until within this hour."

"Come, my lord," said Heriot, with some severity, "this sounds too much
like affectation. I know there is among our modern youth a new creed
respecting adultery as well as homicide--I would rather hear you speak
of a revision of the Decalogue, with mitigated penalties in favour of
the privileged orders--I would rather hear you do this than deny a fact
in which you have been known to glory."

"Glory!--I never did, never would have taken honour to myself from
such a cause," said Lord Glenvarloch. "I could not prevent other idle
tongues, and idle brains, from making false inferences."

"You would have known well enough how to stop their mouths, my lord,"
replied Heriot, "had they spoke of you what was unpleasing to your
ears, and what the truth did not warrant.--Come, my lord, remember your
promise to confess; and, indeed, to confess is, in this case, in
some slight sort to redress. I will grant you are young--the woman
handsome--and, as I myself have observed, light-headed enough. Let me
know where she is. Her foolish husband has still some compassion for
her--will save her from infamy--perhaps, in time, receive her back; for
we are a good-natured generation we traders. Do not, my lord, emulate
those who work mischief merely for the pleasure of doing so--it is the
very devil's worst quality."

"Your grave remonstrances will drive me mad," said Nigel. "There is
a show of sense and reason in what you say; and yet, it is positively
insisting on my telling the retreat of a fugitive of whom I know nothing
earthly."

"It is well, my lord," answered Heriot, coldly. "You have a right, such
as it is, to keep your own secrets; but, since my discourse on these
points seems so totally unavailing, we had better proceed to business.
Yet your father's image rises before me, and seems to plead that I
should go on."

"Be it as you will, sir," said Glenvarloch; "he who doubts my word shall
have no additional security for it."

"Well, my lord.--In the Sanctuary at Whitefriars--a place of refuge so
unsuitable to a young man of quality and character--I am told a murder
was committed."

"And you believe that I did the deed, I suppose?"

"God forbid, my lord!" said Heriot. "The coroner's inquest hath sat,
and it appeared that your lordship, under your assumed name of Grahame,
behaved with the utmost bravery."

"No compliment, I pray you," said Nigel; "I am only too happy to find,
that I did not murder, or am not believed to have murdered, the old
man."

"True, my lord," said Heriot; "but even in this affair there lacks
explanation. Your lordship embarked this morning in a wherry with a
female, and, it is said, an immense sum of money, in specie and other
valuables--but the woman has not since been heard of."

"I parted with her at Paul's Wharf," said Nigel, "where she went ashore
with her charge. I gave her a letter to that very man, John Christie."

"Ay, that is the waterman's story; but John Christie denies that he
remembers anything of the matter."

"I am sorry to hear this," said the young nobleman; "I hope in Heaven
she has not been trepanned, for the treasure she had with her."

"I hope not, my lord," replied Heriot; "but men's minds are much
disturbed about it. Our national character suffers on all hands. Men
remember the fatal case of Lord Sanquhar, hanged for the murder of a
fencing-master; and exclaim, they will not have their wives whored, and
their property stolen, by the nobility of Scotland."

"And all this is laid to my door!" said Nigel; "my exculpation is easy."

"I trust so, my lord," said Heriot;--"nay, in this particular, I do not
doubt it.--But why did you leave Whitefriars under such circumstances?"

"Master Reginald Lowestoffe sent a boat for me, with intimation to
provide for my safety."

"I am sorry to say," replied Heriot, "that he denies all knowledge of
your lordship's motions, after having dispatched a messenger to you with
some baggage."

"The watermen told me they were employed by him."

"Watermen!" said Heriot; "one of these proves to be an idle apprentice,
an old acquaintance of mine--the other has escaped; but the fellow who
is in custody persists in saying he was employed by your lordship, and
you only."

"He lies!" said Lord Glenvarloch, hastily;--"He told me Master
Lowestoffe had sent him.--I hope that kind-hearted gentleman is at
liberty?"

"He is," answered Heriot; "and has escaped with a rebuke from the
benchers, for interfering in such a matter as your lordship's. The Court
desire to keep well with the young Templars in these times of commotion,
or he had not come off so well."

"That is the only word of comfort I have heard from you," replied Nigel.
"But this poor woman,--she and her trunk were committed to the charge of
two porters."

"So said the pretended waterman; but none of the fellows who ply at the
wharf will acknowledge the employment.--I see the idea makes you uneasy,
my lord; but every effort is made to discover the poor woman's place
of retreat--if, indeed, she yet lives.--And now, my lord, my errand is
spoken, so far as it relates exclusively to your lordship; what remains,
is matter of business of a more formal kind."

"Let us proceed to it without delay," said Lord Glenvarloch. "I would
hear of the affairs of any one rather than of my own."

"You cannot have forgotten, my lord," said Heriot, "the transaction
which took place some weeks since at Lord Huntinglen's--by which a large
sum of money was advanced for the redemption of your lordship's estate?"

"I remember it perfectly," said Nigel; "and your present austerity
cannot make me forget your kindness on the occasion."

Heriot bowed gravely, and went on.--"That money was advanced under the
expectation and hope that it might be replaced by the contents of a
grant to your lordship, under the royal sign-manual, in payment of
certain monies due by the crown to your father.--I trust your lordship
understood the transaction at the time--I trust you now understand my
resumption of its import, and hold it to be correct?"

"Undeniably correct," answered Lord Glenvarloch. "If the sums contained
in the warrant cannot be recovered, my lands become the property of
those who paid off the original holders of the mortgage, and now stand
in their right."

"Even so, my lord," said Heriot. "And your lordship's unhappy
circumstances having, it would seem, alarmed these creditors, they
are now, I am sorry to say, pressing for one or other of these
alternatives--possession of the land, or payment of their debt."

"They have a right to one or other," answered Lord Glenvarloch; "and as
I cannot do the last in my present condition, I suppose they must enter
on possession."

"Stay, my lord," replied Heriot; "if you have ceased to call me a friend
to your person, at least you shall see I am willing to be such to your
father's house, were it but for the sake of your father's memory. If
you will trust me with the warrant under the sign-manual, I believe
circumstances do now so stand at Court, that I may be able to recover
the money for you."

"I would do so gladly," said Lord Glenvarloch, "but the casket which
contains it is not in my possession. It was seized when I was arrested
at Greenwich."

"It will be no longer withheld from you," said Heriot; "for, I
understand, my Master's natural good sense, and some information which
he has procured, I know not how, has induced him to contradict the whole
charge of the attempt on his person. It is entirely hushed up; and
you will only be proceeded against for your violence on Lord Dalgarno,
committed within the verge of the Palace--and that you will find heavy
enough to answer."

"I will not shrink under the weight," said Lord Glenvarloch. "But that
is not the present point.--If I had that casket--"

"Your baggage stood in the little ante-room, as I passed," said the
citizen; "the casket caught my eye. I think you had it of me. It was my
old friend Sir Faithful Frugal's. Ay; he, too, had a son--"

Here he stopped short.

"A son who, like Lord Glenvarloch's, did no credit to his father.--Was
it not so you would have ended the sentence, Master Heriot?" asked the
young nobleman.

"My lord, it was a word spoken rashly," answered Heriot. "God may
mend all in his own good time. This, however, I will say, that I have
sometimes envied my friends their fair and flourishing families; and yet
have I seen such changes when death has removed the head, so many rich
men's sons penniless, the heirs of so many knights and nobles acreless,
that I think mine own estate and memory, as I shall order it, has a fair
chance of outliving those of greater men, though God has given me no
heir of my name. But this is from the purpose.--Ho! warder, bring in
Lord Glenvarloch's baggage." The officer obeyed. Seals had been placed
upon the trunk and casket, but were now removed, the warder said, in
consequence of the subsequent orders from Court, and the whole was
placed at the prisoner's free disposal.

Desirous to bring this painful visit to a conclusion, Lord Glenvarloch
opened the casket, and looked through the papers which it contained,
first hastily, and then more slowly and accurately; but it was all in
vain. The Sovereign's signed warrant had disappeared.

"I thought and expected nothing better," said George Heriot, bitterly.
"The beginning of evil is the letting out of water. Here is a fair
heritage lost, I dare say, on a foul cast at dice, or a conjuring trick
at cards!--My lord, your surprise is well played. I give you full joy
of your accomplishments. I have seen many as young brawlers and
spendthrifts, but never as young and accomplished a dissembler.--Nay,
man, never bend your angry brows on me. I speak in bitterness of heart,
from what I remember of your worthy father; and if his son hears of his
degeneracy from no one else, he shall hear it from the old goldsmith."

This new suspicion drove Nigel to the very extremity of his patience;
yet the motives and zeal of the good old man, as well as the
circumstances of suspicion which created his displeasure, were so
excellent an excuse for it, that they formed an absolute curb on the
resentment of Lord Glenvarloch, and constrained him, after two or three
hasty exclamations, to observe a proud and sullen silence. At length,
Master Heriot resumed his lecture.

"Hark you, my lord," he said, "it is scarce possible that this most
important paper can be absolutely assigned away. Let me know in what
obscure corner, and for what petty sum, it lies pledged--something may
yet be done."

"Your efforts in my favour are the more generous," said Lord
Glenvarloch, "as you offer them to one whom you believe you have cause
to think hardly of--but they are altogether unavailing. Fortune has
taken the field against me at every point. Even let her win the battle."

"Zouns!" exclaimed Heriot, impatiently,--"you would make a saint swear!
Why, I tell you, if this paper, the loss of which seems to sit so
light on you, be not found, farewell to the fair lordship of
Glenvarloch--firth and forest--lea and furrow--lake and stream--all that
has been in the house of Olifaunt since the days of William the Lion!"

"Farewell to them, then," said Nigel,--"and that moan is soon made."

"'Sdeath! my lord, you will make more moan for it ere you die," said
Heriot, in the same tone of angry impatience.

"Not I, my old friend," said Nigel. "If I mourn, Master Heriot, it will
be for having lost the good opinion of a worthy man, and lost it, as I
must say, most undeservedly."

"Ay, ay, young man," said Heriot, shaking his head, "make me believe
that if you can.--To sum the matter up," he said, rising from his seat,
and walking towards that occupied by the disguised female, "for our
matters are now drawn into small compass, you shall as soon make me
believe that this masquerading mummer, on whom I now lay the hand of
paternal authority, is a French page, who understands no English."

So saying, he took hold of the supposed page's cloak, and, not without
some gentle degree of violence, led into the middle of the apartment the
disguised fair one, who in vain attempted to cover her face, first with
her mantle, and afterwards with her hands; both which impediments Master
Heriot removed something unceremoniously, and gave to view the detected
daughter of the old chronologist, his own fair god-daughter, Margaret
Ramsay.

"Here is goodly gear!" he said; and, as he spoke, he could not prevent
himself from giving her a slight shake, for we have elsewhere noticed
that he was a severe disciplinarian.--"How comes it, minion, that I
find you in so shameless a dress, and so unworthy a situation? Nay, your
modesty is now mistimed--it should have come sooner. Speak, or I will--"

"Master Heriot," said Lord Glenvarloch, "whatever right you may have
over this maiden elsewhere, while in my apartment she is under my
protection."

"Your protection, my lord!--a proper protector!--and how long, mistress,
have you been under my lord's protection? Speak out forsooth!"

"For the matter of two hours, godfather," answered the maiden, with a
countenance bent to the ground, and covered with blushes, "but it was
against my will."

"Two hours!" repeated Heriot,--"space enough for mischief.--My lord,
this is, I suppose, another victim offered to your character of
gallantry--another adventure to be boasted of at Beaujeu's ordinary?
Methinks the roof under which you first met this silly maiden should
have secured _her_, at least, from such a fate."

"On my honour, Master Heriot," said Lord Glenvarloch, "you remind me
now, for the first time, that I saw this young lady in your family.
Her features are not easily forgotten, and yet I was trying in vain to
recollect where I had last looked on them. For your suspicions, they are
as false as they are injurious both to her and me. I had but discovered
her disguise as you entered. I am satisfied, from her whole behaviour,
that her presence here in this dress was involuntary; and God forbid
that I have been capable of taking advantage of it to her prejudice."

"It is well mouthed, my lord," said Master Heriot; "but a cunning clerk
can read the Apocrypha as loud as the Scripture. Frankly, my lord, you
are come to that pass, where your words will not be received without a
warrant."

"I should not speak, perhaps," said Margaret, the natural vivacity of
whose temper could never be long suppressed by any situation, however
disadvantageous, "but I cannot be silent. Godfather, you do me
wrong--and no less wrong to this young nobleman. You say his words want
a warrant. I know where to find a warrant for some of them, and the rest
I deeply and devoutly believe without one."

"And I thank you, maiden," replied Nigel, "for the good opinion you have
expressed. I am at that point, it seems, though how I have been driven
to it I know not, where every fair construction of my actions and
motives is refused me. I am the more obliged to her who grants me that
right which the world denies me. For you, lady, were I at liberty, I
have a sword and arm should know how to guard your reputation."

"Upon my word, a perfect Amadis and Oriana!" said George Heriot. "I
should soon get my throat cut betwixt the knight and the princess, I
suppose, but that the beef-eaters are happily within halloo.--Come,
come, Lady Light-o'-Love--if you mean to make your way with me, it must
be by plain facts, not by speeches from romaunts and play-books. How, in
Heaven's name, came you here?"

"Sir," answered Margaret, "since I must speak, I went to Greenwich this
morning with Monna Paula, to present a petition to the king on the part
of the Lady Hermione."

"Mercy-a-gad!" exclaimed Heriot, "is she in the dance, too? Could she
not have waited my return to stir in her affairs? But I suppose the
intelligence I sent her had rendered her restless. Ah! woman, woman--he
that goes partner with you, had need of a double share of patience, for
you will bring none into the common stock.--Well, but what on earth had
this embassy of Monna Paula's to do with your absurd disguise? Speak
out."

"Monna Paula was frightened," answered Margaret, "and did not know
how to set about the errand, for you know she scarce ever goes out of
doors--and so--and so--I agreed to go with her to give her courage; and,
for the dress, I am sure you remember I wore it at a Christmas mumming,
and you thought it not unbeseeming."

"Yes, for a Christmas parlour," said Heriot, "but not to go a-masking
through the country in. I do remember it, minion, and I knew it even
now; that and your little shoe there, linked with a hint I had in the
morning from a friend, or one who called himself such, led to your
detection."--Here Lord Glenvarloch could not help giving a glance at the
pretty foot, which even the staid citizen thought worth recollection--it
was but a glance, for he saw how much the least degree of observation
added to Margaret's distress and confusion. "And tell me, maiden,"
continued Master Heriot, for what we have observed was by-play,--"did
the Lady Hermione know of this fair work?"

"I dared not have told her for the world," said Margaret--"she thought
one of our apprentices went with Monna Paula."

It may be here noticed, that the words, "our apprentices," seemed to
have in them something of a charm to break the fascination with which
Lord Glenvarloch had hitherto listened to the broken, yet interesting
details of Margaret's history.

"And wherefore went he not?--he had been a fitter companion for Monna
Paula than you, I wot," said the citizen.

"He was otherwise employed," said Margaret, in a voice scarce audible.

Master George darted a hasty glance at Nigel, and when he saw his
features betoken no consciousness, he muttered to himself,--"It must be
better than I feared.--And so this cursed Spaniard, with her head full,
as they all have, of disguises, trap-doors, rope-ladders, and masks,
was jade and fool enough to take you with her on this wild goose
errand?--And how sped you, I pray?"

"Just as we reached the gate of the Park," replied Margaret, "the cry
of treason was raised. I know not what became of Monna, but I ran till I
fell into the arms of a very decent serving-man, called Linklater; and I
was fain to tell him I was your god-daughter, and so he kept the rest of
them from me, and got me to speech of his Majesty, as I entreated him to
do."

"It is the only sign you showed in the whole matter that common sense
had not utterly deserted your little skull," said Heriot.

"His Majesty," continued the damsel, "was so gracious as to receive me
alone, though the courtiers cried out against the danger to his person,
and would have searched me for arms, God help me, but the king forbade
it. I fancy he had a hint from Linklater how the truth stood with me."

"Well, maiden, I ask not what passed," said Heriot; "it becomes not
me to pry into my Master's secrets. Had you been closeted with his
grandfather the Red Tod of Saint Andrews, as Davie Lindsay used to call
him, by my faith, I should have had my own thoughts of the matter; but
our Master, God bless him, is douce and temperate, and Solomon in every
thing, save in the chapter of wives and concubines."

"I know not what you mean, sir," answered Margaret. "His Majesty was
most kind and compassionate, but said I must be sent hither, and that
the Lieutenant's lady, the Lady Mansel, would have a charge of me, and
see that I sustained no wrong; and the king promised to send me in a
tilted barge, and under conduct of a person well known to you; and thus
I come to be in the Tower."

"But how, or why, in this apartment, nymph?" said George
Heriot--"Expound that to me, for I think the riddle needs reading."

"I cannot explain it, sir, further, than that the Lady Mansel sent me
here, in spite of my earnest prayers, tears, and entreaties. I was not
afraid of any thing, for I knew I should be protected. But I could have
died then--could die now--for very shame and confusion!"

"Well, well, if your tears are genuine," said Heriot, "they may the
sooner wash out the memory of your fault--Knows your father aught of
this escape of yours?"

"I would not for the world he did," replied she; "he believes me with
the Lady Hermione."

"Ay, honest Davy can regulate his horologes better than his
family.--Come, damsel, now I will escort you back to the Lady Mansel,
and pray her, of her kindness, that when she is again trusted with a
goose, she will not give it to the fox to keep.--The warders will let us
pass to my lady's lodgings, I trust."

"Stay but one moment," said Lord Glenvarloch. "Whatever hard opinion you
may have formed of me, I forgive you, for time will show that you do
me wrong; and you yourself, I think, will be the first to regret the
injustice you have done me. But involve not in your suspicions this
young person, for whose purity of thought angels themselves should be
vouchers. I have marked every look, every gesture; and whilst I can draw
breath, I shall ever think of her with--"

"Think not at all of her, my lord," answered George Heriot, interrupting
him; "it is, I have a notion, the best favour you can do her;--or think
of her as the daughter of Davy Ramsay, the clockmaker, no proper
subject for fine speeches, romantic adventures, or high-flown Arcadian
compliments. I give you god-den, my lord. I think not altogether so
harshly as my speech may have spoken. If I can help--that is, if I saw
my way clearly through this labyrinth--but it avails not talking now. I
give your lordship god-den.--Here, warder! Permit us to pass to the
Lady Hansel's apartment." The warder said he must have orders from the
Lieutenant; and as he retired to procure them, the parties remained
standing near each other, but without speaking, and scarce looking at
each other save by stealth, a situation which, in two of the party at
least, was sufficiently embarrassing. The difference of rank, though in
that age a consideration so serious, could not prevent Lord Glenvarloch
from seeing that Margaret Ramsay was one of the prettiest young women
he had ever beheld--from suspecting, he could scarce tell why, that he
himself was not indifferent to her--from feeling assured that he had
been the cause of much of her present distress--admiration, self-love,
and generosity, acting in favour of the same object; and when the yeoman
returned with permission to his guests to withdraw, Nigel's obeisance
to the beautiful daughter of the mechanic was marked with an expression,
which called up in her cheeks as much colour as any incident of the
eventful day had hitherto excited. She returned the courtesy timidly
and irresolutely--clung to her godfather's arm, and left the apartment,
which, dark as it was, had never yet appeared so obscure to Nigel, as
when the door closed behind her.



CHAPTER XXX


  Yet though thou shouldst be dragg'd in scorn
  To yonder ignominious tree,
  Thou shall not want one faithful friend
  To share the cruel fates' decree.
                   _Ballad of Jemmy Dawson._

Master George Heriot and his ward, as she might justly be termed, for
his affection to Margaret imposed on him all the cares of a guardian,
were ushered by the yeoman of the guard to the lodging of the
Lieutenant, where they found him seated with his lady. They were
received by both with that decorous civility which Master Heriot's
character and supposed influence demanded, even at the hand of a
punctilious old soldier and courtier like Sir Edward Mansel. Lady Mansel
received Margaret with like courtesy, and informed Master George that
she was now only her guest, and no longer her prisoner.

"She is at liberty," she said, "to return to her friends under your
charge--such is his Majesty's pleasure."

"I am glad of it, madam," answered Heriot, "but only I could have wished
her freedom had taken place before her foolish interview with that
singular young man; and I marvel your ladyship permitted it."

"My good Master Heriot," said Sir Edward, "we act according to the
commands of one better and wiser than ourselves--our orders from his
Majesty must be strictly and literally obeyed; and I need not say that
the wisdom of his Majesty doth more than ensure--"

"I know his Majesty's wisdom well," said Heriot; "yet there is an old
proverb about fire and flax--well, let it pass."

"I see Sir Mungo Malagrowther stalking towards the door of the lodging,"
said the Lady Mansel, "with the gait of a lame crane--it is his second
visit this morning."

"He brought the warrant for discharging Lord Glenvarloch of the charge
of treason," said Sir Edward.

"And from him," said Heriot, "I heard much of what had befallen; for I
came from France only late last evening, and somewhat unexpectedly."

As they spoke, Sir Mungo entered the apartment--saluted the Lieutenant
of the Tower and his lady with ceremonious civility--honoured George
Heriot with a patronising nod of acknowledgment, and accosted Margaret
with--"Hey! my young charge, you have not doffed your masculine attire
yet?"

"She does not mean to lay it aside, Sir Mungo," said Heriot, speaking
loud, "until she has had satisfaction from you, for betraying her
disguise to me, like a false knight--and in very deed, Sir Mungo, I
think when you told me she was rambling about in so strange a dress, you
might have said also that she was under Lady Mansel's protection."

"That was the king's secret, Master Heriot," said Sir Mungo, throwing
himself into a chair with an air of atrabilarious importance; "the other
was a well-meaning hint to yourself, as the girl's friend."

"Yes," replied Heriot, "it was done like yourself--enough told to make
me unhappy about her--not a word which could relieve my uneasiness."

"Sir Mungo will not hear that remark," said the lady; "we must change
the subject.--Is there any news from Court, Sir Mungo? you have been to
Greenwich?"

"You might as well ask me, madam," answered the Knight, "whether there
is any news from hell."

"How, Sir Mungo, how!" said Sir Edward, "measure your words something
better--You speak of the Court of King James."

"Sir Edward, if I spoke of the court of the twelve Kaisers, I would say
it is as confused for the present as the infernal regions. Courtiers of
forty years' standing, and such I may write myself, are as far to seek
in the matter as a minnow in the Maelstrom. Some folk say the king has
frowned on the Prince--some that the Prince has looked grave on the
duke--some that Lord Glenvarloch will be hanged for high treason--and
some that there is matter against Lord Dalgarno that may cost him as
much as his head's worth."

"And what do you, that are a courtier of forty years' standing, think of
it all?" said Sir Edward Mansel.

"Nay, nay, do not ask him, Sir Edward," said the lady, with an
expressive look to her husband.

"Sir Mungo is too witty," added Master Heriot, "to remember that he who
says aught that may be repeated to his own prejudice, does but load a
piece for any of the company to shoot him dead with, at their pleasure
and convenience."

"What!" said the bold Knight, "you think I am afraid of the trepan? Why
now, what if I should say that Dalgarno has more wit than honesty,--the
duke more sail than ballast,--the Prince more pride than prudence,--and
that the king--" The Lady Mansel held up her finger in a warning
manner--"that the king is my very good master, who has given me, for
forty years and more, dog's wages, videlicit, bones and beating.--Why
now, all this is said, and Archie Armstrong [Footnote: The celebrated
Court jester.] says worse than this of the best of them every day."

"The more fool he," said George Heriot; "yet he is not so utterly wrong,
for folly is his best wisdom. But do not you, Sir Mungo, set your wit
against a fool's, though he be a court fool."

"A fool, said you?" replied Sir Mungo, not having fully heard what
Master Heriot said, or not choosing to have it thought so,--"I have
been a fool indeed, to hang on at a close-fisted Court here, when men of
understanding and men of action have been making fortunes in every other
place of Europe. But here a man comes indifferently off unless he gets a
great key to turn," (looking at Sir Edward,) "or can beat tattoo with a
hammer on a pewter plate.--Well, sirs, I must make as much haste back on
mine errand as if I were a fee'd messenger.--Sir Edward and my lady,
I leave my commendations with you--and my good-will with you, Master
Heriot--and for this breaker of bounds, if you will act by my counsel,
some maceration by fasting, and a gentle use of the rod, is the best
cure for her giddy fits."

"If you propose for Greenwich, Sir Mungo," said the Lieutenant, "I can
spare you the labour--the king comes immediately to Whitehall."

"And that must be the reason the council are summoned to meet in such
hurry," said Sir Mungo. "Well--I will, with your permission, go to the
poor lad Glenvarloch, and bestow some comfort on him."

The Lieutenant seemed to look up, and pause for a moment as if in doubt.

"The lad will want a pleasant companion, who can tell him the nature of
the punishment which he is to suffer, and other matters of concernment.
I will not leave him until I show him how absolutely he hath ruined
himself from feather to spur, how deplorable is his present state, and
how small his chance of mending it."

"Well, Sir Mungo," replied the Lieutenant, "if you really think all
this likely to be very consolatory to the party concerned, I will send a
warder to conduct you."

"And I," said George Heriot, "will humbly pray of Lady Mansel, that she
will lend some of her handmaiden's apparel to this giddy-brained girl;
for I shall forfeit my reputation if I walk up Tower Hill with her
in that mad guise--and yet the silly lassie looks not so ill in it
neither."

"I will send my coach with you instantly," said the obliging lady.

"Faith, madam, and if you will honour us by such courtesy, I will gladly
accept it at your hands," said the citizen, "for business presses hard
on me, and the forenoon is already lost, to little purpose."

The coach being ordered accordingly, transported the worthy citizen and
his charge to his mansion in Lombard Street. There he found his presence
was anxiously expected by the Lady Hermione, who had just received an
order to be in readiness to attend upon the Royal Privy Council in the
course of an hour; and upon whom, in her inexperience of business, and
long retirement from society and the world, the intimation had made as
deep an impression as if it had not been the necessary consequence of
the petition which she had presented to the king by Monna Paula. George
Heriot gently blamed her for taking any steps in an affair so important
until his return from France, especially as he had requested her
to remain quiet, in a letter which accompanied the evidence he had
transmitted to her from Paris. She could only plead in answer the
influence which her immediately stirring in the matter was likely to
have on the affair of her kinsman Lord Glenvarloch, for she was ashamed
to acknowledge how much she had been gained on by the eager importunity
of her youthful companion. The motive of Margaret's eagerness was, of
course, the safety of Nigel; but we must leave it to time to show in
what particulars that came to be connected with the petition of the
Lady Hermione. Meanwhile, we return to the visit with which Sir Mungo
Malagrowther favoured the afflicted young nobleman in his place of
captivity.

The Knight, after the usual salutations, and having prefaced his
discourse with a great deal of professed regret for Nigel's situation,
sat down beside him, and composing his grotesque features into the most
lugubrious despondence, began his raven song as follows:--

"I bless God, my lord, that I was the person who had the pleasure to
bring his Majesty's mild message to the Lieutenant, discharging the
higher prosecution against ye, for any thing meditated against his
Majesty's sacred person; for, admit you be prosecuted on the lesser
offence, or breach of privilege of the Palace and its precincts, _usque
ad mutilationem_, even to dismemberation, as it is most likely you will,
yet the loss of a member is nothing to being hanged and drawn quick,
after the fashion of a traitor."

"I should feel the shame of having deserved such a punishment," answered
Nigel, "more than the pain of undergoing it."

"Doubtless, my lord, the having, as you say, deserved it, must be an
excruciation to your own mind," replied his tormentor; "a kind of mental
and metaphysical hanging, drawing, and quartering, which may be in some
measure equipollent with the external application of hemp, iron, fire,
and the like, to the outer man."

"I say, Sir Mungo," repeated Nigel, "and beg you to understand my words,
that I am unconscious of any error, save that of having arms on my
person when I chanced to approach that of my Sovereign."

"Ye are right, my lord, to acknowledge nothing," said Sir Mungo. "We
have an old proverb,--Confess, and--so forth. And indeed, as to the
weapons, his Majesty has a special ill-will at all arms whatsoever, and
more especially pistols; but, as I said, there is an end of that matter.
[Footnote: Wilson informs us that when Colonel Grey, a Scotsman who
affected the buff dress even in the time of peace, appeared in that
military garb at Court, the king, seeing him with a case of pistols at
his girdle, which he never greatly liked, told him, merrily, "he was
now so fortified, that, if he were but well victualled, he would be
impregnable."--WILSON'S _Life and Reign of James VI._, _apud_ KENNET'S
_History of England_, vol. ii. p. 389. In 1612, the tenth year
of James's reign, there was a rumour abroad that a shipload of
pocket-pistols had been exported from Spain, with a view to a general
massacre of the Protestants. Proclamations were of consequence sent
forth, prohibiting all persons from carrying pistols under a foot long
in the barrel. _Ibid_. p. 690.] I wish you as well through the next,
which is altogether unlikely."

"Surely, Sir Mungo," answered Nigel, "you yourself might say something
in my favour concerning the affair in the Park. None knows better
than you that I was at that moment urged by wrongs of the most heinous
nature, offered to me by Lord Dalgarno, many of which were reported to
me by yourself, much to the inflammation of my passion."

"Alack-a-day!-Alack-a-day!" replied Sir Mungo, "I remember but too well
how much your choler was inflamed, in spite of the various remonstrances
which I made to you respecting the sacred nature of the place. Alas!
alas! you cannot say you leaped into the mire for want of warning."

"I see, Sir Mungo, you are determined to remember nothing which can do
me service," said Nigel.

"Blithely would I do ye service," said the Knight; "and the best whilk I
can think of is, to tell you the process of the punishment to the whilk
you will be indubitably subjected, I having had the good fortune to
behold it performed in the Queen's time, on a chield that had written
a pasquinado. I was then in my Lord Gray's train, who lay leaguer here,
and being always covetous of pleasing and profitable sights, I could not
dispense with being present on the occasion."

"I should be surprised, indeed," said Lord Glenvarloch, "if you had so
far put restraint upon your benevolence, as to stay away from such an
exhibition."

"Hey! was your lordship praying me to be present at your own execution?"
answered the Knight. "Troth, my lord, it will be a painful sight to a
friend, but I will rather punish myself than baulk you. It is a pretty
pageant, in the main--a very pretty pageant. The fallow came on with
such a bold face, it was a pleasure to look on him. He was dressed all
in white, to signify harmlessness and innocence. The thing was done on a
scaffold at Westminster--most likely yours will be at the Charing. There
were the Sheriffs and the Marshal's men, and what not--the executioner,
with his cleaver and mallet, and his man, with a pan of hot charcoal,
and the irons for cautery. He was a dexterous fallow that Derrick. This
man Gregory is not fit to jipper a joint with him; it might be worth
your lordship's while to have the loon sent to a barber-surgeon's, to
learn some needful scantling of anatomy--it may be for the benefit of
yourself and other unhappy sufferers, and also a kindness to Gregory."

"I will not take the trouble," said Nigel.--"If the laws will demand my
hand, the executioner may get it off as he best can. If the king leaves
it where it is, it may chance to do him better service."

"Vera noble--vera grand, indeed, my lord," said Sir Mungo; "it is
pleasant to see a brave man suffer. This fallow whom I spoke of--This
Tubbs, or Stubbs, or whatever the plebeian was called, came forward as
bold as an emperor, and said to the people, 'Good friends, I come
to leave here the hand of a true Englishman,' and clapped it on
the dressing-block with as much ease as if he had laid it on his
sweetheart's shoulder; whereupon Derrick the hangman, adjusting, d'ye
mind me, the edge of his cleaver on the very joint, hit it with the
mallet with such force, that the hand flew off as far from the owner as
a gauntlet which the challenger casts down in the tilt-yard. Well, sir,
Stubbs, or Tubbs, lost no whit of countenance, until the fallow clapped
the hissing-hot iron on his raw stump. My lord, it fizzed like a rasher
of bacon, and the fallow set up an elritch screech, which made some
think his courage was abated; but not a whit, for he plucked off his
hat with his left hand, and waved it, crying, 'God save the Queen, and
confound all evil counsellors!' The people gave him three cheers, which
he deserved for his stout heart; and, truly, I hope to see your lordship
suffer with the same magnanimity."

"I thank you, Sir Mungo," said Nigel, who had not been able to forbear
some natural feelings of an unpleasant nature during this lively
detail,--"I have no doubt the exhibition will be a very engaging one
to you and the other spectators, whatever it may prove to the party
principally concerned."

"Vera engaging," answered Sir Mungo, "vera interesting--vera interesting
indeed, though not altogether so much so as an execution for high
treason. I saw Digby, the Winters, Fawkes, and the rest of the gunpowder
gang, suffer for that treason, whilk was a vera grand spectacle, as well
in regard to their sufferings, as to their constancy in enduring."

"I am the more obliged to your goodness, Sir Mungo," replied Nigel,
"that has induced you, although you have lost the sight, to congratulate
me on my escape from the hazard of making the same edifying appearance."

"As you say, my lord," answered Sir Mungo, "the loss is chiefly
in appearance. Nature has been very bountiful to us, and has given
duplicates of some organs, that we may endure the loss of one of them,
should some such circumstance chance in our pilgrimage. See my poor
dexter, abridged to one thumb, one finger, and a stump,--by the blow of
my adversary's weapon, however, and not by any carnificial knife. Weel,
sir, this poor maimed hand doth me, in some sort, as much service as
ever; and, admit yours to be taken off by the wrist, you have still your
left hand for your service, and are better off than the little Dutch
dwarf here about town, who threads a needle, limns, writes, and tosses a
pike, merely by means of his feet, without ever a hand to help him."

"Well, Sir Mungo," said Lord Glenvarloch, "this is all no doubt very
consolatory; but I hope the king will spare my hand to fight for him
in battle, where, notwithstanding all your kind encouragement, I could
spend my blood much more cheerfully than on a scaffold."

"It is even a sad truth," replied Sir Mungo, "that your lordship was
but too like to have died on a scaffold--not a soul to speak for you but
that deluded lassie Maggie Ramsay."

"Whom mean you?" said Nigel, with more interest than he had hitherto
shown in the Knight's communications.

"Nay, who should I mean, but that travestied lassie whom we dined with
when we honoured Heriot the goldsmith? Ye ken best how you have made
interest with her, but I saw her on her knees to the king for you. She
was committed to my charge, to bring her up hither in honour and safety.
Had I had my own will, I would have had her to Bridewell, to flog the
wild blood out of her--a cutty quean, to think of wearing the breeches,
and not so much as married yet!"

"Hark ye, Sir Mungo Malagrowther," answered Nigel, "I would have you
talk of that young person with fitting respect."

"With all the respect that befits your lordship's paramour, and Davy
Ramsay's daughter, I shall certainly speak of her, my lord," said Sir
Mungo, assuming a dry tone of irony.

Nigel was greatly disposed to have made a serious quarrel of it, but
with Sir Mungo such an affair would have been ridiculous; he smothered
his resentment, therefore, and conjured him to tell what he had heard
and seen respecting this young person.

"Simply, that I was in the ante-room when she had audience, and heard
the king say, to my great perplexity, '_Pulchra sane puella;_' and
Maxwell, who hath but indifferent Latin ears, thought that his Majesty
called on him by his own name of Sawney, and thrust into the presence,
and there I saw our Sovereign James, with his own hand, raising up the
lassie, who, as I said heretofore, was travestied in man's attire. I
should have had my own thoughts of it, but our gracious Master is auld,
and was nae great gillravager amang the queans even in his youth; and
he was comforting her in his own way and saying,--'Ye needna greet about
it, my bonnie woman, Glenvarlochides shall have fair play; and, indeed,
when the hurry was off our spirits, we could not believe that he had
any design on our person. And touching his other offences, we will look
wisely and closely into the matter.' So I got charge to take the young
fence-louper to the Tower here, and deliver her to the charge of Lady
Mansel; and his Majesty charged me to say not a word to her about your
offences, for, said he, the poor thing is breaking her heart for him."

"And on this you have charitably founded the opinion to the prejudice
of this young lady, which you have now thought proper to express?" said
Lord Glenvarloch.

"In honest truth, my lord," replied Sir Mungo, "what opinion would you
have me form of a wench who gets into male habiliments, and goes on
her knees to the king for a wild young nobleman? I wot not what the
fashionable word may be, for the phrase changes, though the custom
abides. But truly I must needs think this young leddy--if you call
Watchie Ramsay's daughter a young leddy--demeans herself more like a
leddy of pleasure than a leddy of honour."

"You do her egregious wrong, Sir Mungo," said Nigel; "or rather you have
been misled by appearances."

"So will all the world be misled, my lord," replied the satirist,
"unless you were doing that to disabuse them which your father's son
will hardly judge it fit to do."

"And what may that be, I pray you?"

"E'en marry the lass--make her Leddy Glenvarloch.--Ay, ay, ye may
start--but it's the course you are driving on. Rather marry than do
worse, if the worst be not done already."

"Sir Mungo," said Nigel, "I pray you to forbear this subject, and rather
return to that of the mutilation, upon which it pleased you to enlarge a
short while since."

"I have not time at present," said Sir Mungo, hearing the clock strike
four; "but so soon as you shall have received sentence, my lord, you may
rely on my giving you the fullest detail of the whole solemnity; and I
give you my word, as a knight and a gentleman, that I will myself attend
you on the scaffold, whoever may cast sour looks on me for doing so. I
bear a heart, to stand by a friend in the worst of times."

So saying, he wished Lord Glenvarloch farewell; who felt as heartily
rejoiced at his departure, though it may be a bold word, as any person
who had ever undergone his society.

But, when left to his own reflections, Nigel could not help feeling
solitude nearly as irksome as the company of Sir Mungo Malagrowther. The
total wreck of his fortune,--which seemed now to be rendered unavoidable
by the loss of the royal warrant, that had afforded him the means of
redeeming his paternal estate,--was an unexpected and additional blow.
When he had seen the warrant he could not precisely remember; but was
inclined to think, it was in the casket when he took out money to pay
the miser for his lodgings at Whitefriars. Since then, the casket had
been almost constantly under his own eye, except during the short time
he was separated from his baggage by the arrest in Greenwich Park. It
might, indeed, have been taken out at that time, for he had no reason
to think either his person or his property was in the hands of those who
wished him well; but, on the other hand, the locks of the strong-box had
sustained no violence that he could observe, and, being of a particular
and complicated construction, he thought they could scarce be opened
without an instrument made on purpose, adapted to their peculiarities,
and for this there had been no time. But, speculate as he would on the
matter, it was clear that this important document was gone, and probable
that it had passed into no friendly hands. "Let it be so," said Nigel
to himself; "I am scarcely worse off respecting my prospects of fortune,
than when I first reached this accursed city. But to be hampered with
cruel accusations, and stained with foul suspicions-to be the object
of pity of the most degrading kind to yonder honest citizen, and of the
malignity of that envious and atrabilarious courtier, who can endure
the good fortune and good qualities of another no more than the mole
can brook sunshine--this is indeed a deplorable reflection; and the
consequences must stick to my future life, and impede whatever my head,
or my hand, if it is left me, might be able to execute in my favour."

The feeling, that he is the object of general dislike and dereliction,
seems to be one of the most unendurably painful to which a human being
can be subjected. The most atrocious criminals, whose nerves have not
shrunk from perpetrating the most horrid cruelty, endure more from the
consciousness that no man will sympathise with their sufferings, than
from apprehension of the personal agony of their impending punishment;
and are known often to attempt to palliate their enormities, and
sometimes altogether to deny what is established by the clearest proof,
rather than to leave life under the general ban of humanity. It was no
wonder that Nigel, labouring under the sense of general, though unjust
suspicion, should, while pondering on so painful a theme, recollect that
one, at least, had not only believed him innocent, but hazarded herself,
with all her feeble power, to interpose in his behalf.

"Poor girl!" he repeated; "poor, rash, but generous maiden! your fate is
that of her in Scottish story, who thrust her arm into the staple of
the door, to oppose it as a bar against the assassins who threatened the
murder of her sovereign. The deed of devotion was useless; save to give
an immortal name to her by whom it was done, and whose blood flows, it
is said, in the veins of my house."

I cannot explain to the reader, whether the recollection of this
historical deed of devotion, and the lively effect which the comparison,
a little overstrained perhaps, was likely to produce in favour of
Margaret Ramsay, was not qualified by the concomitant ideas of ancestry
and ancient descent with which that recollection was mingled. But the
contending feelings suggested a new train of ideas.--"Ancestry," he
thought, "and ancient descent, what are they to me?--My patrimony
alienated--my title become a reproach--for what can be so absurd as
titled beggary?--my character subjected to suspicion,--I will not remain
in this country; and should I, at leaving it, procure the society of one
so lovely, so brave, and so faithful, who should say that I derogated
from the rank which I am virtually renouncing?"

There was something romantic and pleasing, as he pursued this picture of
an attached and faithful pair, becoming all the world to each other,
and stemming the tide of fate arm in arm; and to be linked thus with a
creature so beautiful, and who had taken such devoted and disinterested
concern in his fortunes, formed itself into such a vision as romantic
youth loves best to dwell upon.

Suddenly his dream was painfully dispelled, by the recollection, that
its very basis rested upon the most selfish ingratitude on his own part.
Lord of his castle and his towers, his forests and fields, his fair
patrimony and noble name, his mind would have rejected, as a sort of
impossibility, the idea of elevating to his rank the daughter of a
mechanic; but, when degraded from his nobility, and plunged into poverty
and difficulties, he was ashamed to feel himself not unwilling, that
this poor girl, in the blindness of her affection, should abandon
all the better prospects of her own settled condition, to embrace the
precarious and doubtful course which he himself was condemned to. The
generosity of Nigel's mind recoiled from the selfishness of the plan of
happiness which he projected; and he made a strong effort to expel from
his thoughts for the rest of the evening this fascinating female, or, at
least, not to permit them to dwell upon the perilous circumstance, that
she was at present the only creature living who seemed to consider him
as an object of kindness.

He could not, however, succeed in banishing her from his slumbers, when,
after having spent a weary day, he betook himself to a perturbed couch.
The form of Margaret mingled with the wild mass of dreams which his late
adventures had suggested; and even when, copying the lively narrative of
Sir Mungo, fancy presented to him the blood bubbling and hissing on
the heated iron, Margaret stood behind him like a spirit of light, to
breathe healing on the wound. At length nature was exhausted by these
fantastic creations, and Nigel slept, and slept soundly, until awakened
in the morning by the sound of a well-known voice, which had often
broken his slumbers about the same hour.



CHAPTER XXXI


  Many, come up, sir, with your gentle blood!
  Here's a red stream beneath this coarse blue doublet,
  That warms the heart as kindly as if drawn
  From the far source of old Assyrian kings.
  Who first made mankind subject to their sway.
                           _Old Play_.

The sounds to which we alluded in our last, were no other than the
grumbling tones of Richie Moniplies's voice.

This worthy, like some other persons who rank high in their own opinion,
was very apt, when he could have no other auditor, to hold conversation
with one who was sure to be a willing listener--I mean with himself. He
was now brushing and arranging Lord Glenvarloch's clothes, with as
much composure and quiet assiduity as if he had never been out of
his service, and grumbling betwixt whiles to the following
purpose:--"Hump--ay, time cloak and jerkin were through my hands--I
question if horsehair has been passed over them since they and I last
parted. The embroidery finely frayed too--and the gold buttons of the
cloak--By my conscience, and as I am an honest man, there is a round
dozen of them gane! This comes of Alsatian frolics--God keep us with
his grace, and not give us over to our own devices!--I see no sword--but
that will be in respect of present circumstances."

Nigel for some time could not help believing that he was still in a
dream, so improbable did it seem that his domestic, whom he supposed to
be in Scotland, should have found him out, and obtained access to him,
in his present circumstances. Looking through the curtains, however,
he became well assured of the fact, when he beheld the stiff and bony
length of Richie, with a visage charged with nearly double its ordinary
degree of importance, employed sedulously in brushing his master's
cloak, and refreshing himself with whistling or humming, from interval
to interval, some snatch of an old melancholy Scottish ballad-tune.
Although sufficiently convinced of the identity of the party, Lord
Glenvarloch could not help expressing his surprise in the superfluous
question--"In the name of Heaven, Richie, is this you?"

"And wha else suld it be, my lord?" answered Richie; "I dreamna that
your lordship's levee in this place is like to be attended by ony that
are not bounded thereto by duty."

"I am rather surprised," answered Nigel, "that it should be attended by
any one at all--especially by you, Richie; for you know that we parted,
and I thought you had reached Scotland long since."

"I crave your lordship's pardon, but we have not parted yet, nor are
soon likely so to do; for there gang twa folk's votes to the unmaking
of a bargain, as to the making of ane. Though it was your lordship's
pleasure so to conduct yourself that we were like to have parted, yet
it was not, on reflection, my will to be gone. To be plain, if your
lordship does not ken when you have a good servant, I ken when I have a
kind master; and to say truth, you will be easier served now than ever,
for there is not much chance of your getting out of bounds."

"I am indeed bound over to good behaviour," said Lord Glenvarloch, with
a smile; "but I hope you will not take advantage of my situation to be
too severe on my follies, Richie?"

"God forbid, my lord--God forbid!" replied Richie, with an expression
betwixt a conceited consciousness of superior wisdom and real
feeling--"especially in consideration of your lordship's having a due
sense of them. I did indeed remonstrate, as was my humble duty, but
I scorn to cast that up to your lordship now--Na, na, I am myself an
erring creature--very conscious of some small weaknesses--there is no
perfection in man."

"But, Richie," said Lord Glenvarloch, "although I am much obliged to you
for your proffered service, it can be of little use to me here, and may
be of prejudice to yourself."

"Your lordship shall pardon me again," said Richie, whom the relative
situation of the parties had invested with ten times his ordinary
dogmatism; "but as I will manage the matter, your lordship shall be
greatly benefited by my service, and I myself no whit prejudiced."

"I see not how that can be, my friend," said Lord Glenvarloch, "since
even as to your pecuniary affairs--"

"Touching my pecuniars, my lord," replied Richie, "I am indifferently
weel provided; and, as it chances, my living here will be no burden to
your lordship, or distress to myself. Only I crave permission to annex
certain conditions to my servitude with your lordship."

"Annex what you will," said Lord Glenvarloch, "for you are pretty sure
to take your own way, whether you make any conditions or not. Since you
will not leave me, which were, I think, your wisest course, you must,
and I suppose will, serve me only on such terms as you like yourself."

"All that I ask, my lord," said Richie, gravely, and with a tone of
great moderation, "is to have the uninterrupted command of my own
motions, for certain important purposes which I have now in hand, always
giving your lordship the solace of my company and attendance, at such
times as may be at once convenient for me, and necessary for your
service."

"Of which, I suppose, you constitute yourself sole judge," replied
Nigel, smiling.

"Unquestionably, my lord," answered Richie, gravely; "for your lordship
can only know what yourself want; whereas I, who see both sides of the
picture, ken both what is the best for your affairs, and what is the
most needful for my own."

"Richie, my good friend," said Nigel, "I fear this arrangement, which
places the master much under the disposal of the servant, would scarce
suit us if we were both at large; but a prisoner as I am, I may be as
well at your disposal as I am at that of so many other persons; and
so you may come and go as you list, for I suppose you will not take my
advice, to return to your own country, and leave me to my fate."

"The deil be in my feet if I do," said Moniplies,--"I am not the lad to
leave your lordship in foul weather, when I followed you and fed upon
you through the whole summer day, And besides, there may be brave days
behind, for a' that has come and gane yet; for

"It's hame, and it's hame, and it's hame we fain would be, Though the
cloud is in the lift, and the wind is on the lea; For the sun through
the mirk blinks blithe on mine ee, Says,--'I'll shine on ye yet in our
ain country!"

Having sung this stanza in the manner of a ballad-singer, whose voice
has been cracked by matching his windpipe against the bugle of the north
blast, Richie Moniplies aided Lord Glenvarloch to rise, attended his
toilet with every possible mark of the most solemn and deferential
respect, then waited upon him at breakfast, and finally withdrew,
pleading that he had business of importance, which would detain him for
some hours.

Although Lord Glenvarloch necessarily expected to be occasionally
annoyed by the self-conceit and dogmatism of Richie Moniplies's
character, yet he could not but feel the greatest pleasure from the firm
and devoted attachment which this faithful follower had displayed in
the present instance, and indeed promised himself an alleviation of the
ennui of his imprisonment, in having the advantage of his services. It
was, therefore, with pleasure that he learned from the warder, that
his servant's attendance would be allowed at all times when the general
rules of the fortress permitted the entrance of strangers.

In the meanwhile, the magnanimous Richie Moniplies had already reached
Tower Wharf. Here, after looking with contempt on several scullers by
whom he was plied, and whose services he rejected with a wave of his
hand, he called with dignity, "First oars!" and stirred into activity
several lounging Tritons of the higher order, who had not, on his
first appearance, thought it worth while to accost him with proffers of
service. He now took possession of a wherry, folded his arms within his
ample cloak, and sitting down in the stern with an air of importance,
commanded them to row to Whitehall Stairs. Having reached the Palace
in safety, he demanded to see Master Linklater, the under-clerk of his
Majesty's kitchen. The reply was, that he was not to be spoken withal,
being then employed in cooking a mess of cock-a-leekie for the king's
own mouth.

"Tell him," said Moniplies, "that it is a dear countryman of his, who
seeks to converse with him on matter of high import."

"A dear countryman?" said Linklater, when this pressing message was
delivered to him. "Well, let him come in and be d--d, that I should say
sae! This now is some red-headed, long-legged, gillie-white-foot
frae the West Port, that, hearing of my promotion, is come up to be
a turn-broche, or deputy scullion, through my interest. It is a great
hinderance to any man who would rise in the world, to have such friends
to hang by his skirts, in hope of being towed up along with him.--Ha!
Richie Moniplies, man, is it thou? And what has brought ye here? If they
should ken thee for the loon that scared the horse the other day!--"

"No more o' that, neighbour," said Richie,--"I am just here on the auld
errand--I maun speak with the king."

"The king? Ye are red wud," said Linklater; then shouted to his
assistant in the kitchen, "Look to the broches, ye knaves--_pisces
purga_--_Salsamenta fac macerentur pulchre_--I will make you understand
Latin, ye knaves, as becomes the scullions of King James." Then in a
cautious tone, to Richie's private ear, he continued, "Know ye not how
ill your master came off the other day?--I can tell you that job made
some folk shake for their office."

"Weel, but, Laurie, ye maun befriend me this time, and get this wee
bit sifflication slipped into his Majesty's ain most gracious hand. I
promise you the contents will be most grateful to him."

"Richie," answered Linklater, "you have certainly sworn to say your
prayers in the porter's lodge, with your back bare; and twa grooms, with
dog-whips, to cry amen to you."

"Na, na, Laurie, lad," said Richie, "I ken better what belangs to
sifflications than I did yon day; and ye will say that yoursell, if ye
will but get that bit note to the king's hand."

"I will have neither hand nor foot in the matter," said the cautious
Clerk of the Kitchen; "but there is his Majesty's mess of cock-a-leekie
just going to be served to him in his closet--I cannot prevent you from
putting the letter between the gilt bowl and the platter; his sacred
Majesty will see it when he lifts the bowl, for he aye drinks out the
broth."

"Enough said," replied Richie, and deposited the paper accordingly, just
before a page entered to carry away the mess to his Majesty.

"Aweel, aweel, neighbour," said Laurence, when the mess was taken
away, "if ye have done ony thing to bring yoursell to the withy, or the
scourging post, it is your ain wilful deed."

"I will blame no other for it," said Richie; and with that undismayed
pertinacity of conceit, which made a fundamental part of his character,
he abode the issue, which was not long of arriving.

In a few minutes Maxwell himself arrived in the apartment, and demanded
hastily who had placed a writing on the king's trencher, Linklater
denied all knowledge of it; but Richie Moniplies, stepping boldly forth,
pronounced the emphatical confession, "I am the man."

"Follow me, then," said Maxwell, after regarding him with a look of
great curiosity.

They went up a private staircase,--even that private staircase, the
privilege of which at Court is accounted a nearer road to power than the
_grandes entrees_ themselves. Arriving in what Richie described as an
"ill redd-up" ante-room, the usher made a sign to him to stop, while he
went into the king's closet. Their conference was short, and as Maxwell
opened the door to retire, Richie heard the conclusion of it.

"Ye are sure he is not dangerous?--I was caught once.--Bide within call,
but not nearer the door than within three geometrical cubits. If I speak
loud, start to me like a falcon--If I speak loun, keep your lang lugs
out of ear-shot--and now let him come in."

Richie passed forward at Maxwell's mute signal, and in a moment found
himself in the presence of the king. Most men of Richie's birth and
breeding, and many others, would have been abashed at finding themselves
alone with their Sovereign. But Richie Moniplies had an opinion of
himself too high to be controlled by any such ideas; and having made his
stiff reverence, he arose once more into his perpendicular height, and
stood before James as stiff as a hedge-stake.

"Have ye gotten them, man? have ye gotten them?" said the king, in
a fluttered state, betwixt hope and eagerness, and some touch of
suspicious fear. "Gie me them--gie me them--before ye speak a word, I
charge you, on your allegiance."

Richie took a box from his bosom, and, stooping on one knee, presented
it to his Majesty, who hastily opened it, and having ascertained that
it contained a certain carcanet of rubies, with which the reader was
formerly made acquainted, he could not resist falling into a sort of
rapture, kissing the gems, as if they had been capable of feeling,
and repeating again and again with childish delight, "_Onyx cum prole,
silexque_---_Onyx cum prole!_ Ah, my bright and bonny sparklers, my
heart loups light to see you again." He then turned to Richie, upon
whose stoical countenance his Majesty's demeanour had excited something
like a grim smile, which James interrupted his rejoicing to reprehend,
saying, "Take heed, sir, you are not to laugh at us--we are your
anointed Sovereign."

"God forbid that I should laugh!" said Richie, composing his countenance
into its natural rigidity. "I did but smile, to bring my visage into
coincidence and conformity with your Majesty's physiognomy."

"Ye speak as a dutiful subject, and an honest man," said the king; "but
what deil's your name, man?"

"Even Richie Moniplies, the son of auld Mungo Moniplies, at the West
Port of Edinburgh, who had the honour to supply your Majesty's mother's
royal table, as weel as your Majesty's, with flesh and other vivers,
when time was."

"Aha!" said the king, laughing,--for he possessed, as a useful attribute
of his situation, a tenacious memory, which recollected every one with
whom he was brought into casual contact,--"Ye are the self-same traitor
who had weelnigh coupit us endlang on the causey of our ain courtyard?
but we stuck by our mare. _Equam memento rebus in arduis servare_. Weel,
be not dismayed, Richie; for, as many men have turned traitors, it
is but fair that a traitor, now and then, suld prove to be, contra
expectanda, a true man. How cam ye by our jewels, man?--cam ye on the
part of George Heriot?"

"In no sort," said Richie. "May it please your Majesty, I come as
Harry Wynd fought, utterly for my own hand, and on no man's errand; as,
indeed, I call no one master, save Him that made me, your most
gracious Majesty who governs me, and the noble Nigel Olifaunt, Lord of
Glenvarloch, who maintained me as lang as he could maintain himself,
poor nobleman!"

"Glenvarlochides again!" exclaimed the king; "by my honour, he lies in
ambush for us at every corner!--Maxwell knocks at the door. It is George
Heriot come to tell us he cannot find these jewels.--Get thee behind
the arras, Richie--stand close, man--sneeze not--cough not--breathe
not!--Jingling Geordie is so damnably ready with his gold-ends of
wisdom, and sae accursedly backward with his gold-ends of siller, that,
by our royal saul, we are glad to get a hair in his neck."

Richie got behind the arras, in obedience to the commands of the
good-natured king, while the Monarch, who never allowed his dignity to
stand in the way of a frolic, having adjusted, with his own hand, the
tapestry, so as to complete the ambush, commanded Maxwell to tell him
what was the matter without. Maxwell's reply was so low as to be lost by
Richie Moniplies, the peculiarity of whose situation by no means abated
his curiosity and desire to gratify it to the uttermost.

"Let Geordie Heriot come in," said the king; and, as Richie could
observe through a slit in the tapestry, the honest citizen, if not
actually agitated, was at least discomposed. The king, whose talent for
wit, or humour, was precisely of a kind to be gratified by such a scene
as ensued, received his homage with coldness, and began to talk to him
with an air of serious dignity, very different from the usual indecorous
levity of his behaviour. "Master Heriot," he said, "if we aright
remember, we opignorated in your hands certain jewels of the Crown, for
a certain sum of money--Did we, or did we not?"

"My most gracious Sovereign," said Heriot, "indisputably your Majesty
was pleased to do so."

"The property of which jewels and _cimelia_ remained with us," continued
the king, in the same solemn tone, "subject only to your claim of
advance thereupon; which advance being repaid, gives us right to
repossession of the thing opignorated, or pledged, or laid in wad.
Voetius, Vinnius, Groenwigeneus, Pagenstecherus,--all who have treated
_de Contractu Opignerationis, consentiunt in eundem_,--gree on the same
point. The Roman law, the English common law, and the municipal law
of our ain ancient kingdom of Scotland, though they split in mair
particulars than I could desire, unite as strictly in this as the three
strands of a twisted rope."

"May it please your Majesty," replied Heriot, "it requires not so many
learned authorities to prove to any honest man, that his interest in a
pledge is determined when the money lent is restored."

"Weel, sir, I proffer restoration of the sum lent, and I demand to be
repossessed of the jewels pledged with you. I gave ye a hint, brief
while since, that this would be essential to my service, for, as
approaching events are like to call us into public, it would seem
strange if we did not appear with those ornaments, which are heirlooms
of the Crown, and the absence whereof is like to place us in contempt
and suspicion with our liege subjects."

Master George Heriot seemed much moved by this address of his Sovereign,
and replied with emotion, "I call Heaven to witness, that I am totally
harmless in this matter, and that I would willingly lose the sum
advanced, so that I could restore those jewels, the absence of which
your Majesty so justly laments. Had the jewels remained with me, the
account of them would be easily rendered; but your Majesty will do me
the justice to remember, that, by your express order, I transferred them
to another person, who advanced a large sum, just about the time of my
departure for Paris. The money was pressingly wanted, and no other means
to come by it occurred to me. I told your Majesty, when I brought the
needful supply, that the man from whom the monies were obtained, was
of no good repute; and your most princely answer was, smelling to the
gold--_Non olet_, it smells not of the means that have gotten it."

"Weel, man," said the king, "but what needs a' this din? If ye gave my
jewels in pledge to such a one, suld ye not, as a liege subject, have
taken care that the redemption was in our power? And are we to suffer
the loss of our _cimelia_ by your neglect, besides being exposed to the
scorn and censure of our lieges, and of the foreign ambassadors?"

"My lord and liege king," said Heriot, "God knows, if my bearing blame
or shame in this matter would keep it from your Majesty, it were my duty
to endure both, as a servant grateful for many benefits; but when
your Majesty considers the violent death of the man himself, the
disappearance of his daughter, and of his wealth, I trust you will
remember that I warned your Majesty, in humble duty, of the possibility
of such casualties, and prayed you not to urge me to deal with him on
your behalf."

"But you brought me nae better means," said the king--"Geordie, ye
brought me nae better means. I was like a deserted man; what could I do
but grip to the first siller that offered, as a drowning man grasps to
the willow-wand that comes readiest?--And now, man, what for have ye not
brought back the jewels? they are surely above ground, if ye wad make
strict search."

"All strict search has been made, may it please your Majesty," replied
the citizen; "hue and cry has been sent out everywhere, and it has been
found impossible to recover them."

"Difficult, ye mean, Geordie, not impossible," replied the king; "for
that whilk is impossible, is either naturally so, _exempli gratia_, to
make two into three; or morally so, as to make what is truth falsehood;
but what is only difficult may come to pass, with assistance of wisdom
and patience; as, for example, Jingling Geordie, look here!" And he
displayed the recovered treasure to the eyes of the astonished jeweller,
exclaiming, with great triumph, "What say ye to that, Jingler?--By my
sceptre and crown, the man stares as if he took his native prince for a
warlock! us that are the very _malleus maleficarum_, the contunding
and contriturating hammer of all witches, sorcerers, magicians, and the
like; he thinks we are taking a touch of the black art outsells!--But
gang thy way, honest Geordie; thou art a good plain man, but nane of the
seven sages of Greece; gang thy way, and mind the soothfast word which
you spoke, small time syne, that there is one in this land that comes
near to Solomon, King of Israel, in all his gifts, except in his love to
strange women, forby the daughter of Pharaoh."

If Heriot was surprised at seeing the jewels so unexpectedly produced
at the moment the king was upbraiding him for the loss of them, this
allusion to the reflection which had escaped him while conversing with
Lord Glenvarloch, altogether completed his astonishment; and the king
was so delighted with the superiority which it gave him at the moment,
that he rubbed his hands, chuckled, and finally, his sense of dignity
giving way to the full feeling of triumph, he threw himself into his
easy-chair, and laughed with unconstrained violence till he lost his
breath, and the tears ran plentifully down his cheeks as he strove
to recover it. Meanwhile, the royal cachinnation was echoed out by a
discordant and portentous laugh from behind the arras, like that of one
who, little accustomed to give way to such emotions, feels himself
at some particular impulse unable either to control or to modify his
obstreperous mirth. Heriot turned his head with new surprise towards the
place, from which sounds so unfitting the presence of a monarch seemed
to burst with such emphatic clamour.

The king, too, somewhat sensible of the indecorum, rose up, wiped his
eyes, and calling,--"Todlowrie, come out o' your den," he produced from
behind the arras the length of Richie Moniplies, still laughing with as
unrestrained mirth as ever did gossip at a country christening. "Whisht,
man, whisht, man," said the king; "ye needna nicher that gait, like a
cusser at a caup o' corn, e'en though it was a pleasing jest, and our
ain framing. And yet to see Jingling Geordie, that bauds himself so
much the wiser than other folk--to see him, ha! ha! ha!--in the vein of
Euclio apud Plautum, distressing himself to recover what was lying at
his elbow--'Peril, interii, occidi--quo curram? quo non curram?--Tene,
tene--quem? quis? nescio--nihil video."

"Ah! Geordie, your een are sharp enough to look after gowd and silver,
gems, rubies, and the like of that, and yet ye kenna how to come by them
when they are lost.--Ay, ay--look at them, man--look at them--they are
a' right and tight, sound and round, not a doublet crept in amongst
them."

George Heriot, when his first surprise was over, was too old a courtier
to interrupt the king's imaginary triumph, although he darted a look
of some displeasure at honest Richie, who still continued on what is
usually termed the broad grin. He quietly examined the stones, and
finding them all perfect, he honestly and sincerely congratulated his
Majesty on the recovery of a treasure which could not have been lost
without some dishonour to the crown; and asked to whom he himself was to
pay the sums for which they had been pledged, observing, that he had the
money by him in readiness.

"Ye are in a deevil of a hurry, when there is paying in the case,
Geordie," said the king.--"What's a' the haste, man? The jewels were
restored by an honest, kindly countryman of ours. There he stands, and
wha kens if he wants the money on the nail, or if he might not be as
weel pleased wi' a bit rescript on our treasury some six months hence?
Ye ken that our Exchequer is even at a low ebb just now, and ye cry pay,
pay, pay, as if we had all the mines of Ophir."

"Please your Majesty," said Heriot, "if this man has the real right to
these monies, it is doubtless at his will to grant forbearance, if he
will. But when I remember the guise in which I first saw him, with a
tattered cloak and a broken head, I can hardly conceive it.--Are not you
Richie Moniplies, with the king's favour?"

"Even sae, Master Heriot--of the ancient and honourable house of Castle
Collop, near to the West Port of Edinburgh," answered Richie.

"Why, please your Majesty, he is a poor serving-man," said Heriot. "This
money can never be honestly at his disposal."

"What for no?" said the king. "Wad ye have naebody spraickle up the brae
but yoursell, Geordie? Your ain cloak was thin enough when ye cam here,
though ye have lined it gay and weel. And for serving-men, there has
mony a red-shank cam over the Tweed wi' his master's wallet on his
shoulders, that now rustles it wi' his six followers behind him. There
stands the man himsell; speer at him, Geordie."

"His may not be the best authority in the case," answered the cautious
citizen.

"Tut, tut, man," said the king, "ye are over scrupulous. The knave
deer-stealers have an apt phrase, _Non est inquirendum unde venit_
VENISON. He that brings the gudes hath surely a right to dispose of
the gear.--Hark ye, friend, speak the truth and shame the deil. Have
ye plenary powers to dispose on the redemption-money as to delay of
payments, or the like, ay or no?"

"Full power, an it like your gracious Majesty," answered Richie
Moniplies; "and I am maist willing to subscrive to whatsoever may in ony
wise accommodate your Majesty anent the redemption-money, trusting your
Majesty's grace will be kind to me in one sma' favour."

"Ey, man," said the king, "come ye to me there? I thought ye wad e'en
be like the rest of them.--One would think our subjects' lives and goods
were all our ain, and holden of us at our free will; but when we stand
in need of ony matter of siller from them, which chances more frequently
than we would it did, deil a boddle is to be had, save on the auld terms
of giff-gaff. It is just niffer for niffer.--Aweel, neighbour, what
is it that ye want--some monopoly, I reckon? Or it may be a grant
of kirk-lands and teinds, or a knighthood, or the like? Ye maun be
reasonable, unless ye propose to advance more money for our present
occasions."

"My liege," answered Richie Moniplies, "the owner of these monies places
them at your Majesty's command, free of all pledge or usage as long as
it is your royal pleasure, providing your Majesty will condescend to
show some favour to the noble Lord Glenvarloch, presently prisoner in
your royal Tower of London."

"How, man--how,--man--how, man!" exclaimed the king, reddening and
stammering, but with emotions more noble than those by which he was
sometimes agitated--"What is that you dare to say to us?--Sell our
justice!--sell our mercy!--and we a crowned king, sworn to do justice
to our subjects in the gate, and responsible for our stewardship to
Him that is over all kings?"--Here he reverently looked up, touched his
bonnet, and continued, with some sharpness,--"We dare not traffic in
such commodities, sir; and, but that ye are a poor ignorant creature,
that have done us this day some not unpleasant service, we wad have a
red iron driven through your tongue, _in terrorem_ of others.--Awa with
him, Geordie,--pay him, plack and bawbee, out of our monies in your
hands, and let them care that come ahint."

Richie, who had counted with the utmost certainty upon the success
of this master-stroke of policy, was like an architect whose whole
scaffolding at once gives way under him. He caught, however, at what
he thought might break his fall. "Not only the sum for which the jewels
were pledged," he said, "but the double of it, if required, should be
placed at his Majesty's command, and even without hope or condition of
repayment, if only--"

But the king did not allow him to complete the sentence, crying out with
greater vehemence than before, as if he dreaded the stability of his own
good resolutions,--"Awa wi' him--swith awa wi' him! It is time he
were gane, if he doubles his bode that gate. And, for your life, letna
Steenie, or ony of them, hear a word from his mouth; for wha kens what
trouble that might bring me into! _Ne inducas in tentationem_--_Vade
retro, Sathanas!--Amen_."

In obedience to the royal mandate, George Heriot hurried the abashed
petitioner out of the presence and out of the Palace; and, when they
were in the Palace-yard, the citizen, remembering with some resentment
the airs of equality which Richie had assumed towards him in the
commencement of the scene which had just taken place, could not forbear
to retaliate, by congratulating him with an ironical smile on his favour
at Court, and his improved grace in presenting a supplication.

"Never fash your beard about that, Master George Heriot," said Richie,
totally undismayed; "but tell me when and where I am to sifflicate
you for eight hundred pounds sterling, for which these jewels stood
engaged?"

"The instant that you bring with you the real owner of the money,"
replied Heriot; "whom it is important that I should see on more accounts
than one."

"Then will I back to his Majesty," said Richie Moniplies, stoutly, "and
get either the money or the pledge back again. I am fully commissionate
to act in that matter."

"It may be so, Richie," said the citizen, "and perchance it may _not_
be so neither, for your tales are not all gospel; and, therefore, be
assured I will see that it _is_ so, ere I pay you that large sum of
money. I shall give you an acknowledgment for it, and I will keep it
prestable at a moment's warning. But, my good Richard Moniplies, of
Castle Collop, near the West Port of Edinburgh, in the meantime I am
bound to return to his Majesty on matters of weight." So speaking, and
mounting the stair to re-enter the Palace, he added, by way of summing
up the whole,--"George Heriot is over old a cock to be caught with
chaff."

Richie stood petrified when he beheld him re-enter the Palace, and found
himself, as he supposed, left in the lurch.--"Now, plague on ye," he
muttered, "for a cunning auld skinflint! that, because ye are an honest
man yoursell, forsooth, must needs deal with all the world as if they
were knaves. But deil be in me if ye beat me yet!--Gude guide us!
yonder comes Laurie Linklater next, and he will be on me about the
sifflication.--I winna stand him, by Saint Andrew!"

So saying, and changing the haughty stride with which he had that
morning entered the precincts of the Palace, into a skulking shamble, he
retreated for his wherry, which was in attendance, with speed which, to
use the approved phrase on such occasions, greatly resembled a flight.



CHAPTER XXXII


_Benedict_. This looks not like a nuptial. _Much Ado About Nothing._

Master George Heriot had no sooner returned to the king's apartment,
than James inquired of Maxwell if the Earl of Huntinglen was in
attendance, and, receiving an answer in the affirmative, desired that he
should be admitted. The old Scottish Lord having made his reverence
in the usual manner, the king extended his hand to be kissed, and then
began to address him in a tone of great sympathy.

"We told your lordship in our secret epistle of this morning, written
with our ain hand, in testimony we have neither pretermitted nor
forgotten your faithful service, that we had that to communicate to you
that would require both patience and fortitude to endure, and therefore
exhorted you to peruse some of the most pithy passages of Seneca, and of
Boethius _de Consolatione_, that the back may be, as we say, fitted for
the burden--This we commend to you from our ain experience.

     'Non ignara mail, miseris succurrere disco,'

sayeth Dido, and I might say in my own person, _non ignarus_; but
to change the gender would affect the prosody, whereof our southern
subjects are tenacious. So, my Lord of Huntinglen, I trust you have
acted by our advice, and studied patience before ye need it--_venienti
occurrite morbo_--mix the medicament when the disease is coming on."

"May it please your Majesty," answered Lord Huntinglen, "I am more of an
old soldier than a scholar--and if my own rough nature will not bear
me out in any calamity, I hope I shall have grace to try a text of
Scripture to boot."

"Ay, man, are you there with your bears?" said the king; "The Bible,
man," (touching his cap,) "is indeed _principium et fons_--but it is
pity your lordship cannot peruse it in the original. For although we did
ourselves promote that work of translation,--since ye may read, at the
beginning of every Bible, that when some palpable clouds of darkness
were thought like to have overshadowed the land, after the setting of
that bright occidental star, Queen Elizabeth; yet our appearance, like
that of the sun in his strength, instantly dispelled these surmised
mists,--I say, that although, as therein mentioned, we countenanced
the preaching of the gospel, and especially the translation of the
Scriptures out of the original sacred tongues; yet nevertheless, we
ourselves confess to have found a comfort in consulting them in the
original Hebrew, whilk we do not perceive even in the Latin version of
the Septuagint, much less in the English traduction."

"Please your Majesty," said Lord Huntinglen, "if your Majesty delays
communicating the bad news with which your honoured letter threatens me,
until I am capable to read Hebrew like your Majesty, I fear I shall
die in ignorance of the misfortune which hath befallen, or is about to
befall, my house."

"You will learn it but too soon, my lord," replied the king. "I grieve
to say it, but your son Dalgarno, whom I thought a very saint, as he was
so much with Steenie and Baby Charles, hath turned out a very villain."

"Villain!" repeated Lord Huntinglen; and though he instantly checked
himself, and added, "but it is your Majesty speaks the word," the effect
of his first tone made the king step back as if he had received a blow.
He also recovered himself again, and said in the pettish way which
usually indicated his displeasure--"Yes, my lord, it was we that said
it--_non surdo canis_--we are not deaf--we pray you not to raise your
voice in speech with us--there is the bonny memorial--read, and judge
for yourself."

The king then thrust into the old nobleman's hand a paper, containing
the story of the Lady Hermione, with the evidence by which it was
supported, detailed so briefly and clearly, that the infamy of Lord
Dalgarno, the lover by whom she had been so shamefully deceived, seemed
undeniable. But a father yields not up so easily the cause of his son.

"May it please your Majesty," he said, "why was this tale not sooner
told? This woman hath been here for years--wherefore was the claim on my
son not made the instant she touched English ground?"

"Tell him how that came about, Geordie," said the king, dressing Heriot.

"I grieve to distress my Lord Huntinglen," said Heriot; "but I must speak
the truth. For a long time the Lady Hermione could not brook the idea
of making her situation public; and when her mind became changed in
that particular, it was necessary to recover the evidence of the false
marriage, and letters and papers connected with it, which, when she
came to Paris, and just before I saw her, she had deposited with a
correspondent of her father in that city. He became afterwards bankrupt,
and in consequence of that misfortune the lady's papers passed into
other hands, and it was only a few days since I traced and recovered
them. Without these documents of evidence, it would have been imprudent
for her to have preferred her complaint, favoured as Lord Dalgarno is by
powerful friends."

"Ye are saucy to say sae," said the king; "I ken what ye mean weel
eneugh--ye think Steenie wad hae putten the weight of his foot into
the scales of justice, and garr'd them whomle the bucket--ye forget,
Geordie, wha it is whose hand uphaulds them. And ye do poor Steenie the
mair wrang, for he confessed it ance before us and our privy council,
that Dalgarno would have put the quean aff on him, the puir simple
bairn, making him trow that she was a light-o'-love; in whilk mind he
remained assured even when he parted from her, albeit Steenie might hae
weel thought ane of thae cattle wadna hae resisted the like of him."

"The Lady Hermione," said George Heriot, "has always done the utmost
justice to the conduct of the duke, who, although strongly possessed
with prejudice against her character, yet scorned to avail himself
of her distress, and on the contrary supplied her with the means of
extricating herself from her difficulties."

"It was e'en like himsell--blessings on his bonny face!" said the king;
"and I believed this lady's tale the mair readily, my Lord Huntinglen,
that she spake nae ill of Steenie--and to make a lang tale short, my
lord, it is the opinion of our council and ourself, as weel as of Baby
Charles and Steenie, that your son maun amend his wrong by wedding this
lady, or undergo such disgrace and discountenance as we can bestow."

The person to whom he spoke was incapable of answering him. He stood
before the king motionless, and glaring with eyes of which even the lids
seemed immovable, as if suddenly converted into an ancient statue of the
times of chivalry, so instantly had his hard features and strong limbs
been arrested into rigidity by the blow he had received--And in a second
afterwards, like the same statue when the lightning breaks upon it,
he sunk at once to the ground with a heavy groan. The king was in the
utmost alarm, called upon Heriot and Maxwell for help, and, presence
of mind not being his _forte_, ran to and fro in his cabinet,
exclaiming--"My ancient and beloved servant--who saved our anointed
self! _vae atque dolor!_ My Lord of Huntinglen, look up--look up, man,
and your son may marry the Queen of Sheba if he will."

By this time Maxwell and Heriot had raised the old nobleman, and placed
him on a chair; while the king, observing that he began to recover
himself, continued his consolations more methodically.

"Haud up your head--haud up your head, and listen to your ain kind
native Prince. If there is shame, man, it comesna empty-handed--there
is siller to gild it--a gude tocher, and no that bad a pedigree;--if she
has been a loon, it was your son made her sae, and he can make her an
honest woman again."

These suggestions, however reasonable in the common case, gave no
comfort to Lord Huntinglen, if indeed he fully comprehended them; but
the blubbering of his good-natured old master, which began to accompany
and interrupt his royal speech, produced more rapid effect. The large
tear gushed reluctantly from his eye, as he kissed the withered hands,
which the king, weeping with less dignity and restraint, abandoned to
him, first alternately and then both together, until the feelings of the
man getting entirely the better of the Sovereign's sense of dignity, he
grasped and shook Lord Huntinglen's hands with the sympathy of an equal
and a familiar friend.

"_Compone lachrymas_," said the Monarch; "be patient, man, be patient;
the council, and Baby Charles, and Steenie, may a' gang to the
deevil--he shall not marry her since it moves you so deeply."

"He _shall_ marry her, by God!" answered the earl, drawing himself
up, dashing the tear from his eyes, and endeavouring to recover his
composure. "I pray your Majesty's pardon, but he shall marry her, with
her dishonour for her dowry, were she the veriest courtezan in all
Spain--If he gave his word, he shall make his word good, were it to
the meanest creature that haunts the streets--he shall do it, or my own
dagger shall take the life that I gave him. If he could stoop to use so
base a fraud, though to deceive infamy, let him wed infamy."

"No, no!" the Monarch continued to insinuate, "things are not so bad as
that--Steenie himself never thought of her being a streetwalker, even
when he thought the worst of her."

"If it can at all console my Lord of Huntinglen," said the citizen, "I
can assure him of this lady's good birth, and most fair and unspotted
fame."

"I am sorry for it," said Lord Huntinglen--then interrupting himself, he
said--"Heaven forgive me for being ungrateful for such comfort!--but I
am well-nigh sorry she should be as you represent her, so much better
than the villain deserves. To be condemned to wed beauty and innocence
and honest birth--"

"Ay, and wealth, my lord--wealth," insinuated the king, "is a better
sentence than his perfidy has deserved."

"It is long," said the embittered father, "since I saw he was selfish
and hardhearted; but to be a perjured liar--I never dreaded that such a
blot would have fallen on my race! I will never look on him again."

"Hoot ay, my lord, hoot ay," said the king; "ye maun tak him to task
roundly. I grant you should speak more in the vein of Demea than Mitio,
_vi nempe et via pervulgata patrum_; but as for not seeing him again,
and he your only son, that is altogether out of reason. I tell ye, man,
(but I would not for a boddle that Baby Charles heard me,) that he might
gie the glaiks to half the lasses of Lonnun, ere I could find in my
heart speak such harsh words as you have said of this deil of a Dalgarno
of yours."

"May it please your Majesty to permit me to retire," said Lord
Huntinglen, "and dispose of the case according to your own royal sense
of justice, for I desire no favour for him."

"Aweel, my lord, so be it; and if your lordship can think," added the
Monarch, "of any thing in our power which might comfort you--"

"Your Majesty's gracious sympathy," said Lord Huntinglen, "has already
comforted me as far as earth can; the rest must be from the King of
kings."

"To Him I commend you, my auld and faithful servant," said James with
emotion, as the earl withdrew from his presence. The king remained fixed
in thought for some time, and then said to Heriot, "Jingling Geordie,
ye ken all the privy doings of our Court, and have dune so these thirty
years, though, like a wise man, ye hear, and see, and say nothing.
Now, there is a thing I fain wad ken, in the way of philosophical
inquiry--Did you ever hear of the umquhile Lady Huntinglen, the departed
Countess of this noble earl, ganging a wee bit gleed in her walk through
the world; I mean in the way of slipping a foot, casting a leglin-girth,
or the like, ye understand me?"

[Footnote: A leglin-girth is the lowest hoop upon a _leglin_, or
milk-pail. Allan Ramsay applies the phrase in the same metaphorical
sense.

"Or bairns can read, they first maun spell, I learn'd this frae my
mammy, And cast a leglin-girth mysell,
 Lang ere I married Tammy."
                              _Christ's Kirk On The Green_.]

"On my word as an honest man," said George Heriot, somewhat surprised
at the question, "I never heard her wronged by the slightest breath
of suspicion. She was a worthy lady, very circumspect in her walk, and
lived in great concord with her husband, save that the good Countess was
something of a puritan, and kept more company with ministers than was
altogether agreeable to Lord Huntinglen, who is, as your Majesty well
knows, a man of the old rough world, that will drink and swear."

"O Geordie!" exclaimed the king, "these are auld-warld frailties, of
whilk we dare not pronounce even ourselves absolutely free. But the
warld grows worse from day to day, Geordie. The juveniles of this age
may weel say with the poet--

     'Aetas parentum, pejor avis, tulit Nos nequiores--'

This Dalgarno does not drink so much, or swear so much, as his father;
but he wenches, Geordie, and he breaks his word and oath baith. As
to what you say of the leddy, and the ministers, we are a' fallible
creatures, Geordie, priests and kings, as weel as others; and wha kens
but what that may account for the difference between this Dalgarno and
his father? The earl is the vera soul of honour, and cares nae mair for
warld's gear than a noble hound for the quest of a foulmart; but as
for his son, he was like to brazen us a' out--ourselves, Steenie, Baby
Charles, and our council--till he heard of the tocher, and then, by my
kingly crown, he lap like a cock at a grossart! These are discrepancies
betwixt parent and son not to be accounted for naturally, according to
Baptista Porta, Michael Scott _de secretis_, and others.--Ah, Jingling
Geordie, if your clouting the caldron, and jingling on pots, pans, and
veshels of all manner of metal, hadna jingled a' your grammar out of
your head, I could have touched on that matter to you at mair length."

Heriot was too plain-spoken to express much concern for the loss of his
grammar learning on this occasion; but after modestly hinting that he
had seen many men who could not fill their father's bonnet, though no
one had been suspected of wearing their father's nightcap, he inquired
"whether Lord Dalgarno had consented to do the Lady Hermione justice."

"Troth, man, I have small doubt that he will," quoth the king; "I gave
him the schedule of her worldly substance, which you delivered to us in
the council, and we allowed him half-an-hour to chew the cud upon that.
It is rare reading for bringing him to reason. I left Baby Charles and
Steenie laying his duty before him; and if he can resist doing what
_they_ desire him--why, I wish he would teach _me_ the gate of it. O
Geordie, Jingling Geordie, it was grand to hear Baby Charles laying down
the guilt of dissimulation, and Steenie lecturing on the turpitude of
incontinence!"

"I am afraid," said George Heriot, more hastily than prudently, "I might
have thought of the old proverb of Satan reproving sin."

"Deil hae our saul, neighbour," said the king, reddening, "but ye are
not blate! I gie ye license to speak freely, and, by our saul, ye do not
let the privilege become lost _non utendo_--it will suffer no negative
prescription in your hands. Is it fit, think ye, that Baby Charles
should let his thoughts be publicly seen?--No--no--princes' thoughts are
_arcana imperii_--_Qui nescit dissimulare nescit regnare_. Every liege
subject is bound to speak the whole truth to the king, but there is
nae reciprocity of obligation--and for Steenie having been whiles a
dike-louper at a time, is it for you, who are his goldsmith, and to
whom, I doubt, he awes an uncomatable sum, to cast that up to him?"

Heriot did not feel himself called on to play the part of Zeno and
sacrifice himself for upholding the cause of moral truth; he did not
desert it, however, by disavowing his words, but simply expressed
sorrow for having offended his Majesty, with which the placable king was
sufficiently satisfied.

"And now, Geordie, man," quoth he, "we will to this culprit, and hear
what he has to say for himself, for I will see the job cleared this
blessed day. Ye maun come wi' me, for your evidence may be wanted."

The king led the way, accordingly, into a larger apartment, where the
Prince, the Duke of Buckingham, and one or two privy counsellors were
seated at a table, before which stood Lord Dalgarno, in an attitude of
as much elegant ease and indifference as could be expressed, considering
the stiff dress and manners of the times.

All rose and bowed reverently, while the king, to use a north country
word, expressive of his mode of locomotion, _toddled_ to his chair or
throne, making a sign to Heriot to stand behind him.

"We hope," said his Majesty, "that Lord Dalgarno stands prepared to do
justice to this unfortunate lady, and to his own character and honour?"

"May I humbly inquire the penalty," said Lord Dalgarno, "in case
I should unhappily find compliance with your Majesty's demands
impossible?"

"Banishment frae our Court, my lord," said the king; "frae our Court and
our countenance."

"Unhappy exile that I may be!" said Lord Dalgarno, in a tone of subdued
irony--"I will at least carry your Majesty's picture with me, for I
shall never see such another king."

"And banishment, my lord," said the Prince, sternly, "from these our
dominions."

"That must be by form of law, please your Royal Highness," said
Dalgarno, with an affectation of deep respect; "and I have not heard
that there is a statute, compelling us, under such penalty, to marry
every woman we may play the fool with. Perhaps his Grace of Buckingham
can tell me?"

"You are a villain, Dalgarno," said the haughty and vehement favourite.

"Fie, my lord, fie!--to a prisoner, and in presence of your royal and
paternal gossip!" said Lord Dalgarno. "But I will cut this deliberation
short. I have looked over this schedule of the goods and effects of
Erminia Pauletti, daughter of the late noble--yes, he is called the
noble, or I read wrong, Giovanni Pauletti, of the Houee of Sansovino,
in Genoa, and of the no less noble Lady Maud Olifaunt, of the House of
Glenvarloch--Well, I declare that I was pre-contracted in Spain to this
noble lady, and there has passed betwixt us some certain _proelibatio
matrimonii_; and now, what more does this grave assembly require of me?"

"That you should repair the gross and infamous wrong you have done the
lady, by marrying her within this hour," said the Prince.

"O, may it please your Royal Highness," answered Dalgarno, "I have a
trifling relationship with an old Earl, who calls himself my father, who
may claim some vote in the matter. Alas! every son is not blessed with
an obedient parent!" He hazarded a slight glance towards the throne, to
give meaning to his last words.

"We have spoken ourselves with Lord Huntinglen," said the king, "and are
authorised to consent in his name."

"I could never have expected this intervention of a _proxaneta_, which
the vulgar translate blackfoot, of such eminent dignity," said Dalgarno,
scarce concealing a sneer. "And my father hath consented? He was wont
to say, ere we left Scotland, that the blood of Huntinglen and of
Glenvarloch would not mingle, were they poured into the same basin.
Perhaps he has a mind to try the experiment?"

"My lord," said James, "we will not be longer trifled with--Will you
instantly, and _sine mora_, take this lady to your wife, in our chapel?"

"_Statim atque instanter_," answered Lord Dalgarno; "for I perceive
by doing so, I shall obtain power to render great services to the
commonwealth--I shall have acquired wealth to supply the wants of
your Majesty, and a fair wife to be at the command of his Grace of
Buckingham."

The Duke rose, passed to the end of the table where Lord Dalgarno was
standing, and whispered in his ear, "You have placed a fair sister at my
command ere now."

This taunt cut deep through Lord Dalgarno's assumed composure. He
started as if an adder had stung him, but instantly composed himself,
and, fixing on the Duke's still smiling countenance an eye which spoke
unutterable hatred, he pointed the forefinger of his left hand to the
hilt of his sword, but in a manner which could scarce be observed by any
one save Buckingham. The Duke gave him another smile of bitter scorn,
and returned to his seat, in obedience to the commands of the king, who
continued calling out, "Sit down, Steenie, sit down, I command ye--we
will hae nae harnsbreaking here."

"Your Majesty needs not fear my patience," said Lord Dalgarno; "and
that I may keep it the better, I will not utter another word in this
presence, save those enjoined to me in that happy portion of the
Prayer-Book, which begins with _Dearly Beloved_, and ends with
_amazement_."

"You are a hardened villain, Dalgarno," said the king; "and were I the
lass, by my father's saul, I would rather brook the stain of having been
your concubine, than run the risk of becoming your wife. But she shall
be under our special protection.--Come, my lords, we will ourselves see
this blithesome bridal." He gave the signal by rising, and moved towards
the door, followed by the train. Lord Dalgarno attended, speaking to
none, and spoken to by no one, yet seeming as easy and unembarrassed in
his gait and manner as if in reality a happy bridegroom.

They reached the Chapel by a private entrance, which communicated from
the royal apartment. The Bishop of Winchester, in his pontifical dress,
stood beside the altar; on the other side, supported by Monna Paula, the
colourless, faded, half-lifeless form of the Lady Hermione, or Erminia
Pauletti. Lord Dalgarno bowed profoundly to her, and the Prince,
observing the horror with which she regarded him, walked up, and said
to her, with much dignity,--"Madam, ere you put yourself under the
authority of this man, let me inform you, he hath in the fullest degree
vindicated your honour, so far as concerns your former intercourse. It
is for you to consider whether you will put your fortune and happiness
into the hands of one, who has shown himself unworthy of all trust."

The lady, with much difficulty, found words to make reply. "I owe to
his Majesty's goodness," she said, "the care of providing me some
reservation out of my own fortune, for my decent sustenance. The rest
cannot be better disposed than in buying back the fair fame of which I
am deprived, and the liberty of ending my life in peace and seclusion."

"The contract has been drawn up," said the king, "under our own eye,
specially discharging the _potestas maritalis_, and agreeing they shall
live separate. So buckle them, my Lord Bishop, as fast as you can, that
they may sunder again the sooner."

The Bishop accordingly opened his book and commenced the marriage
ceremony, under circumstances so novel and so inauspicious. The
responses of the bride were only expressed by inclinations of the
head and body; while those of the bridegroom were spoken boldly and
distinctly, with a tone resembling levity, if not scorn. When it was
concluded, Lord Dalgarno advanced as if to salute the bride, but seeing
that she drew back in fear and abhorrence, he contented himself with
making her a low bow. He then drew up his form to its height, and
stretched himself as if examining the power of his limbs, but elegantly,
and without any forcible change of attitude. "I could caper yet,"
he said "though I am in fetters--but they are of gold, and lightly
worn.--Well, I see all eyes look cold on me, and it is time I should
withdraw. The sun shines elsewhere than in England! But first I must ask
how this fair Lady Dalgarno is to be bestowed. Methinks it is but decent
I should know. Is she to be sent to the harem of my Lord Duke? Or is
this worthy citizen, as before--"

"Hold thy base ribald tongue!" said his father, Lord Huntinglen, who had
kept in the background during the ceremony, and now stepping suddenly
forward, caught the lady by the arm, and confronted her unworthy
husband.--"The Lady Dalgarno," he continued, "shall remain as a widow in
my house. A widow I esteem her, as much as if the grave had closed over
her dishonoured husband."

Lord Dalgarno exhibited momentary symptoms of extreme confusion, and
said, in a submissive tone, "If you, my lord, can wish me dead, I
cannot, though your heir, return the compliment. Few of the first-born
of Israel," he added, recovering himself from the single touch of
emotion he had displayed, "can say so much with truth. But I will
convince you ere I go, that I am a true descendant of a house famed for
its memory of injuries."

"I marvel your Majesty will listen to him longer," said Prince Charles.
"Methinks we have heard enough of his daring insolence."

But James, who took the interest of a true gossip in such a scene as was
now passing, could not bear to cut the controversy short, but imposed
silence on his son, with "Whisht, Baby Charles--there is a good bairn,
whisht!--I want to hear what the frontless loon can say."

"Only, sir," said Dalgarno, "that but for one single line in this
schedule, all else that it contains could not have bribed me to take
that woman's hand into mine."

"That line maun have been the SUMMA TOTALIS," said the king.

"Not so, sire," replied Dalgarno. "The sum total might indeed have been
an object for consideration even to a Scottish king, at no very distant
period; but it would have had little charms for me, save that I see
here an entry which gives me the power of vengeance over the family of
Glenvarloch; and learn from it that yonder pale bride, when she put the
wedding-torch into my hand, gave me the power of burning her mother's
house to ashes!"

"How is that?" said the king. "What is he speaking about, Jingling
Geordie?"

"This friendly citizen, my liege," said Lord Dalgarno, "hath expended a
sum belonging to my lady, and now, I thank heaven, to me, in acquiring
a certain mortgage, or wanset, over the estate of Glenvarloch, which, if
it be not redeemed before to-morrow at noon, will put me in possession
of the fair demesnes of those who once called themselves our house's
rivals."

"Can this be true?" said the king.

"It is even but too true, please your Majesty," answered the citizen.
"The Lady Hermione having advanced the money for the original creditor,
I was obliged, in honour and honesty, to take the rights to her; and
doubtless, they pass to her husband."

"But the warrant, man," said the king--"the warrant on our
Exchequer--Couldna that supply the lad wi' the means of redemption?"

"Unhappily, my liege, he has lost it, or disposed of it--It is not to be
found. He is the most unlucky youth!"

"This is a proper spot of work!" said the king, beginning to amble
about and play with the points of his doublet and hose, in expression of
dismay. "We cannot aid him without paying our debts twice over, and we
have, in the present state of our Exchequer, scarce the means of paying
them once."

"You have told me news," said Lord Dalgarno, "but I will take no
advantage."

"Do not," said his father, "be a bold villain, since thou must be one,
and seek revenge with arms, and not with the usurer's weapons."

"Pardon me, my lord," said Lord Dalgarno. "Pen and ink are now my
surest means of vengeance; and more land is won by the lawyer with the
ram-skin, than by the Andrea Ferrara with his sheepshead handle. But,
as I said before, I will take no advantages. I will await in town
to-morrow, near Covent Garden; if any one will pay the redemption-money
to my scrivener, with whom the deeds lie, the better for Lord
Glenvarloch; if not, I will go forward on the next day, and travel with
all dispatch to the north, to take possession."

"Take a father's malison with you, unhappy wretch!" said Lord
Huntinglen.

"And a king's, who is _pater patriae_," said James.

"I trust to bear both lightly," said Lord Dalgarno; and bowing around
him, he withdrew; while all present, oppressed, and, as it were,
overawed, by his determined effrontery, found they could draw breath
more freely, when he at length relieved them of his society. Lord
Huntinglen, applying himself to comfort his new daughter-in-law,
withdrew with her also; and the king, with his privy-council, whom he
had not dismissed, again returned to his council-chamber, though the
hour was unusually late. Heriot's attendance was still commanded, but
for what reason was not explained to him.



CHAPTER XXXIII

---I'll play the eavesdropper. _Richard III., Act V., Scene 3_.

James had no sooner resumed his seat at the council-board than he began
to hitch in his chair, cough, use his handkerchief, and make other
intimations that he meditated a long speech. The council composed
themselves to the beseeming degree of attention. Charles, as strict
in his notions of decorum, as his father was indifferent to it, fixed
himself in an attitude of rigid and respectful attention, while the
haughty favourite, conscious of his power over both father and
son, stretched himself more easily on his seat, and, in assuming an
appearance of listening, seemed to pay a debt to ceremonial rather than
to duty.

"I doubt not, my lords," said the Monarch, "that some of you may be
thinking the hour of refection is past, and that it is time to ask with
the slave in the comedy--_Quid de symbolo?_--Nevertheless, to do justice
and exercise judgment is our meat and drink; and now we are to pray your
wisdom to consider the case of this unhappy youth, Lord Glenvarloch, and
see whether, consistently with our honour, any thing can be done in his
favour."

"I am surprised at your Majesty's wisdom making the inquiry," said the
Duke; "it is plain this Dalgarno hath proved one of the most insolent
villains on earth, and it must therefore be clear, that if Lord
Glenvarloch had run him through the body, there would but have been
out of the world a knave who had lived in it too long. I think Lord
Glenvarloch hath had much wrong; and I regret that, by the persuasions
of this false fellow, I have myself had some hand in it."

"Ye speak like a child, Steenie--I mean my Lord of Buckingham," answered
the king, "and as one that does not understand the logic of the schools;
for an action may be inconsequential or even meritorious, _quoad
hominem_, that is, as touching him upon _whom_ it is acted; and yet most
criminal, _quoad locum_, or considering the place _wherein_ it is done;
as a man may lawfully dance Chrighty Beardie or any other dance in a
tavern, but not _inter parietes ecclesiae_. So that, though it may have
been a good deed to have sticked Lord Dalgarno, being such as he has
shown himself, anywhere else, yet it fell under the plain statute, when
violence was offered within the verge of the Court. For, let me tell
you, my lords, the statute against striking would be of no small use in
our Court, if it could be eluded by justifying the person stricken to be
a knave. It is much to be lamented that I ken nae Court in Christendom
where knaves are not to be found; and if men are to break the peace
under pretence of beating them, why, it will rain Jeddart staves
[Footnote: The old-fashioned weapon called the Jeddart staff was a
species of battle-axe. Of a very great tempest, it is said, in the south
of Scotland, that it rains Jeddart staffs, as in England the common
people talk of its raining cats and dogs.] in our very ante-chamber."

"What your Majesty says," replied Prince Charles, "is marked with your
usual wisdom--the precincts of palaces must be sacred as well as
the persons of kings, which are respected even in the most barbarous
nations, as being one step only beneath their divinities. But your
Majesty's will can control the severity of this and every other law,
and it is in your power, on consideration of his case, to grant the rash
young man a free pardon."

"_Rem acu tetigisti, Carole, mi puerule,_" answered the king; "and know,
my lords, that we have, by a shrewd device and gift of our own, already
sounded the very depth of this Lord Glenvarloch's disposition. I trow
there be among you some that remember my handling in the curious case
of my Lady Lake, and how I trimmed them about the story of hearkening
behind the arras. Now this put me to cogitation, and I remembered me
of having read that Dionysius, King of Syracuse, whom historians call
Tyrannos, which signifieth not in the Greek tongue, as in ours, a
truculent usurper, but a royal king who governs, it may be, something
more strictly than we and other lawful monarchs, whom the ancients
termed Basileis--Now this Dionysius of Syracuse caused cunning workmen
to build for himself a _lugg_--D'ye ken what that is, my Lord Bishop?"

"A cathedral, I presume to guess," answered the Bishop.

"What the deil, man--I crave your lordship's pardon for swearing--but
it was no cathedral--only a lurking-place called the king's _lugg_,
or _ear_, where he could sit undescried, and hear the converse of his
prisoners. Now, sirs, in imitation of this Dionysius, whom I took for
my pattern, the rather that he was a great linguist and grammarian, and
taught a school with good applause after his abdication, (either he or
his successor of the same name, it matters not whilk)--I have caused
them to make a _lugg_ up at the state-prison of the Tower yonder, more
like a pulpit than a cathedral, my Lord Bishop--and communicating with
the arras behind the Lieutenant's chamber, where we may sit and
privily hear the discourse of such prisoners as are pent up there for
state-offences, and so creep into the very secrets of our enemies."

The Prince cast a glance towards the Duke, expressive of great vexation
and disgust. Buckingham shrugged his shoulders, but the motion was so
slight as to be almost imperceptible.

"Weel, my lords, ye ken the fray at the hunting this morning--I
shall not get out of the trembling exies until I have a sound night's
sleep--just after that, they bring ye in a pretty page that had been
found in the Park. We were warned against examining him ourselves by the
anxious care of those around us; nevertheless, holding our life ever at
the service of these kingdoms, we commanded all to avoid the room,
the rather that we suspected this boy to be a girl. What think ye, my
lords?--few of you would have thought I had a hawk's eye for sic gear;
but we thank God, that though we are old, we know so much of such toys
as may beseem a man of decent gravity. Weel, my lords, we questioned
this maiden in male attire ourselves, and I profess it was a very pretty
interrogatory, and well followed. For, though she at first professed
that she assumed this disguise in order to countenance the woman who
should present us with the Lady Hermione's petition, for whom she
professed entire affection; yet when we, suspecting _anguis in herba_,
did put her to the very question, she was compelled to own a virtuous
attachment for Glenvarlochides, in such a pretty passion of shame and
fear, that we had much ado to keep our own eyes from keeping company
with hers in weeping. Also, she laid before us the false practices of
this Dalgarno towards Glenvarlochides, inveigling him into houses of ill
resort, and giving him evil counsel under pretext of sincere friendship,
whereby the inexperienced lad was led to do what was prejudicial to
himself, and offensive to us. But, however prettily she told her tale,
we determined not altogether to trust to her narration, but rather to
try the experiment whilk we had devised for such occasions. And having
ourselves speedily passed from Greenwich to the Tower, we constituted
ourselves eavesdropper, as it is called, to observe what should pass
between Glenvarlochides and his page, whom we caused to be admitted to
his apartment, well judging that if they were of counsel together to
deceive us, it could not be but something of it would spunk out--And
what think ye we saw, my lords?--Naething for you to sniggle and laugh
at, Steenie--for I question if you could have played the temperate and
Christian-like part of this poor lad Glenvarloch. He might be a Father
of the Church in comparison of you, man.--And then, to try his patience
yet farther, we loosed on him a courtier and a citizen, that is Sir
Mungo Malagrowther and our servant George Heriot here, wha dang the poor
lad about, and didna greatly spare our royal selves.--You mind, Geordie,
what you said about the wives and concubines? but I forgie ye, man--nae
need of kneeling, I forgie ye--the readier, that it regards a certain
particular, whilk, as it added not much to Solomon's credit, the lack
of it cannot be said to impinge on ours. Aweel, my lords, for all
temptation of sore distress and evil ensample, this poor lad never
loosed his tongue on us to say one unbecoming word--which inclines us
the rather, acting always by your wise advice, to treat this affair
of the Park as a thing done in the heat of blood, and under strong
provocation, and therefore to confer our free pardon on Lord
Glenvarloch."

"I am happy your gracious Majesty," said the Duke of Buckingham, "has
arrived at that conclusion, though I could never have guessed at the
road by which you attained it."

"I trust," said Prince Charles, "that it is not a path which your
Majesty will think it consistent with your high dignity to tread
frequently."

"Never while I live again, Baby Charles, that I give you my royal word
on. They say that hearkeners hear ill tales of themselves--by my saul,
my very ears are tingling wi' that auld sorrow Sir Mungo's sarcasms. He
called us close-fisted, Steenie--I am sure you can contradict that. But
it is mere envy in the auld mutilated sinner, because he himself has
neither a noble to hold in his loof, nor fingers to close on it if he
had." Here the king lost recollection of Sir Mungo's irreverence
in chuckling over his own wit, and only farther alluded to it by
saying--"We must give the old maunderer _bos in linguam_--something to
stop his mouth, or he will rail at us from Dan to Beersheba.--And now,
my lords, let our warrant of mercy to Lord Glenvarloch be presently
expedited, and he put to his freedom; and as his estate is likely to go
so sleaveless a gate, we will consider what means of favour we can
show him.--My lords, I wish you an appetite to an early supper--for our
labours have approached that term.--Baby Charles and Steenie, you will
remain till our couchee.--My Lord Bishop, you will be pleased to stay to
bless our meat.--Geordie Heriot, a word with you apart."

His Majesty then drew the citizen into a corner, while the counsellors,
those excepted who had been commanded to remain, made their
obeisance, and withdrew. "Geordie," said the king, "my good and trusty
servant"--Here he busied his fingers much with the points and ribbons of
his dress,--"Ye see that we have granted, from our own natural sense of
right and justice, that which yon long-backed fallow, Moniplies I think
they ca' him, proffered to purchase from us with a mighty bribe; whilk
we refused, as being a crowned king, who wad neither sell our justice
nor our mercy for pecuniar consideration. Now, what think ye should be
the upshot of this?"

"My Lord Glenvarloch's freedom, and his restoration to your Majesty's
favour," said Heriot.

"I ken that," said the king, peevishly. "Ye are very dull to-day. I
mean, what do you think this fallow Moniplies should think about the
matter?"

"Surely that your Majesty is a most good and gracious sovereign,"
answered Heriot.

"We had need to be gude and gracious baith," said the king, still more
pettishly, "that have idiots about us that cannot understand what we
mint at, unless we speak it out in braid Lowlands. See this chield
Moniplies, sir, and tell him what we have done for Lord Glenvarloch,
in whom he takes such part, out of our own gracious motion, though we
refused to do it on ony proffer of private advantage. Now, you may put
it till him, as if of your own mind, whether it will be a gracious or a
dutiful part in him, to press us for present payment of the two or three
hundred miserable pounds for whilk we were obliged to opignorate our
jewels? Indeed, mony men may think ye wad do the part of a good citizen,
if you took it on yourself to refuse him payment, seeing he hath
had what he professed to esteem full satisfaction, and considering,
moreover, that it is evident he hath no pressing need of the money,
whereof we have much necessity."

George Heriot sighed internally. "O my Master," thought he--"my dear
Master, is it then fated you are never to indulge any kingly or noble
sentiment, without its being sullied by some afterthought of interested
selfishness!"

The king troubled himself not about what he thought, but taking him by
the collar, said,--"Ye ken my meaning now, Jingler--awa wi' ye. You
are a wise man--manage it your ain gate--but forget not our present
straits." The citizen made his obeisance, and withdrew.

"And now, bairns," said the king, "what do you look upon each other
for--and what have you got to ask of your dear dad and gossip?"

"Only," said the Prince, "that it would please your Majesty to command
the lurking-place at the prison to be presently built up--the groans of
a captive should not be brought in evidence against him."

"What! build up my lugg, Baby Charles? And yet, better deaf than hear
ill tales of oneself. So let them build it up, hard and fast, without
delay, the rather that my back is sair with sitting in it for a whole
hour.--And now let us see what the cooks have been doing for us, bonny
bairns."



CHAPTER XXXIV


  To this brave man the knight repairs
  For counsel in his law affairs;
  And found him mounted in his pew.
  With books and money placed for show,
  Like nest-eggs to make clients lay,
  And for his false opinion pay.
                        _Hudibras._

Our readers may recollect a certain smooth-tongued, lank-haired,
buckram-suited, Scottish scrivener, who, in the earlier part of this
history, appeared in the character of a protege of George Heriot. It is
to his house we are about to remove, but times have changed with him.
The petty booth hath become a chamber of importance--the buckram suit
is changed into black velvet; and although the wearer retains his
puritanical humility and politeness to clients of consequence, he can
now look others broad in the face, and treat them with a full allowance
of superior opulence, and the insolence arising from it. It was but
a short period that had achieved these alterations, nor was the party
himself as yet entirely accustomed to them, but the change was becoming
less embarrassing to him with every day's practice. Among other
acquisitions of wealth, you may see one of Davy Ramsay's best timepieces
on the table, and his eye is frequently observing its revolutions, while
a boy, whom he employs as a scribe, is occasionally sent out to compare
its progress with the clock of Saint Dunstan.

The scrivener himself seemed considerably agitated. He took from a
strong-box a bundle of parchments, and read passages of them with great
attention; then began to soliloquize--"There is no outlet which law can
suggest--no back-door of evasion--none--if the lands of Glenvarloch
are not redeemed before it rings noon, Lord Dalgarno has them a cheap
pennyworth. Strange, that he should have been at last able to set his
patron at defiance, and achieve for himself the fair estate, with the
prospect of which he so long flattered the powerful Buckingham.--Might
not Andrew Skurliewhitter nick him as neatly? He hath been my
patron--true--not more than Buckingham was his; and he can be so no
more, for he departs presently for Scotland. I am glad of it--I hate
him, and I fear him. He knows too many of my secrets--I know too many
of his. But, no--no--no--I need never attempt it, there are no means of
over-reaching him.--Well, Willie, what o'clock?"

"Ele'en hours just chappit, sir."

"Go to your desk without, child," said the scrivener. "What to do
next--I shall lose the old Earl's fair business, and, what is worse, his
son's foul practice. Old Heriot looks too close into business to permit
me more than the paltry and ordinary dues. The Whitefriars business was
profitable, but it has become unsafe ever since--pah!--what brought that
in my head just now? I can hardly hold my pen--if men should see me
in this way!--Willie," (calling aloud to the boy,) "a cup of distilled
waters--Soh!--now I could face the devil."

He spoke the last words aloud, and close by the door of the apartment,
which was suddenly opened by Richie Moniplies, followed by two
gentlemen, and attended by two porters bearing money-bags. "If ye can
face the devil, Maister Skurliewhitter," said Richie, "ye will be the
less likely to turn your back on a sack or twa o' siller, which I have
ta'en the freedom to bring you. Sathanas and Mammon are near akin." The
porters, at the same time, ranged their load on the floor.

"I--I,"--stammered the surprised scrivener--"I cannot guess what you
mean, sir."

"Only that I have brought you the redemption-money on the part of
Lord Glenvarloch, in discharge of a certain mortgage over his family
inheritance. And here, in good time, comes Master Reginald Lowestoffe,
and another honourable gentleman of the Temple, to be witnesses to the
transaction."

"I--I incline to think," said the scrivener, "that the term is expired."

"You will pardon us, Master Scrivener," said Lowestoffe. "You will not
baffle us--it wants three-quarters of noon by every clock in the city."

"I must have time, gentlemen," said Andrew, "to examine the gold by tale
and weight."

"Do so at your leisure, Master Scrivener," replied Lowestoffe again.
"We have already seen the contents of each sack told and weighed, and we
have put our seals on them. There they stand in a row, twenty in number,
each containing three hundred yellow-hammers--we are witnesses to the
lawful tender."

"Gentlemen," said the scrivener, "this security now belongs to a
mighty lord. I pray you, abate your haste, and let me send for Lord
Dalgarno,--or rather I will run for him myself."

So saying, he took up his hat; but Lowestoffe called out,--"Friend
Moniplies, keep the door fast, an thou be'st a man! he seeks but to put
off the time.--In plain terms, Andrew, you may send for the devil, if
you will, who is the mightiest lord of my acquaintance, but from hence
you stir not till you have answered our proposition, by rejecting or
accepting the redemption-money fairly tendered--there it lies--take it,
or leave it, as you will. I have skill enough to know that the law is
mightier than any lord in Britain--I have learned so much at the Temple,
if I have learned nothing else. And see that you trifle not with it,
lest it make your long ears an inch shorter, Master Skurliewhitter."

"Nay, gentlemen, if you threaten me," said the scrivener, "I cannot
resist compulsion."

"No threats--no threats at all, my little Andrew," said Lowestoffe; "a
little friendly advice only--forget not, honest Andrew, I have seen you
in Alsatia."

Without answering a single word, the scrivener sat down, and drew in
proper form a full receipt for the money proffered.

"I take it on your report, Master Lowestoffe," he said; "I hope you
will remember I have insisted neither upon weight nor tale--I have been
civil--if there is deficiency I shall come to loss."

"Fillip his nose with a gold-piece, Richie," quoth the Templar. "Take up
the papers, and now wend we merrily to dine thou wot'st where."

"If I might choose," said Richie, "it should not be at yonder roguish
ordinary; but as it is your pleasure, gentlemen, the treat shall be
given wheresoever you will have it."

"At the ordinary," said the one Templar.

"At Beaujeu's," said the other; "it is the only house in London for neat
wines, nimble drawers, choice dishes, and--"

"And high charges," quoth Richie Moniplies. "But, as I said before,
gentlemen, ye have a right to command me in this thing, having so
frankly rendered me your service in this small matter of business,
without other stipulation than that of a slight banquet."

The latter part of this discourse passed in the street, where,
immediately afterwards, they met Lord Dalgarno. He appeared in haste,
touched his hat slightly to Master Lowestoffe, who returned his
reverence with the same negligence, and walked slowly on with his
companion, while Lord Dalgarno stopped Richie Moniplies with a
commanding sign, which the instinct of education compelled Moniplies,
though indignant, to obey.

"Whom do you now follow, sirrah?" demanded the noble.

"Whomsoever goeth before me, my lord," answered Moniplies.

"No sauciness, you knave--I desire to know if you still serve Nigel
Olifaunt?" said Dalgarno.

"I am friend to the noble Lord Glenvarloch," answered Moniplies, with
dignity.

"True," replied Lord Dalgarno, "that noble lord has sunk to seek friends
among lackeys--Nevertheless,--hark thee hither,--nevertheless, if he
be of the same mind as when we last met, thou mayst show him, that, on
to-morrow, at four afternoon, I shall pass northward by Enfield Chase--I
will be slenderly attended, as I design to send my train through Barnet.
It is my purpose to ride an easy pace through the forest, and to linger
a while by Camlet Moat--he knows the place; and, if he be aught but an
Alsatian bully, will think it fitter for some purposes than the Park. He
is, I understand, at liberty, or shortly to be so. If he fail me at
the place nominated, he must seek me in Scotland, where he will find me
possessed of his father's estate and lands."

"Humph!" muttered Richie; "there go twa words to that bargain."

He even meditated a joke on the means which he was conscious he
possessed of baffling Lord Dalgarno's expectations; but there was
something of keen and dangerous excitement in the eyes of the young
nobleman, which prompted his discretion for once to rule his vit, and he
only answered--

"God grant your lordship may well brook your new conquest--when you
get it. I shall do your errand to my lord--whilk is to say," he added
internally, "he shall never hear a word of it from Richie. I am not the
lad to put him in such hazard."

Lord Dalgarno looked at him sharply for a moment, as if to penetrate
the meaning of the dry ironical tone, which, in spite of Richie's awe,
mingled with his answer, and then waved his hand, in signal he should
pass on. He himself walked slowly till the trio were out of sight, then
turned back with hasty steps to the door of the scrivener, which he had
passed in his progress, knocked, and was admitted.

Lord Dalgarno found the man of law with the money-bags still
standing before him; and it escaped not his penetrating glance, that
Skurliewhitter was disconcerted and alarmed at his approach.

"How now, man," he said; "what! hast thou not a word of oily compliment
to me on my happy marriage?--not a word of most philosophical
consolation on my disgrace at Court?--Or has my mien, as a wittol and
discarded favourite, the properties of the Gorgon's head, the _turbatae
Palladis arma_, as Majesty might say?"

"My lord, I am glad--my lord, I am sorry,"--answered the trembling
scrivener, who, aware of the vivacity of Lord Dalgarno's temper, dreaded
the consequence of the communication he had to make to him.

"Glad and sorry!" answered Lord Dalgarno. "That is blowing hot and cold,
with a witness. Hark ye, you picture of petty-larceny personified--if
you are sorry I am a cuckold, remember I am only mine own, you
knave--there is too little blood in her cheeks to have sent her astray
elsewhere. Well, I will bear mine antler'd honours as I may--gold
shall gild them; and for my disgrace, revenge shall sweeten it. Ay,
revenge--and there strikes the happy hour!"

The hour of noon was accordingly heard to peal from Saint Dunstan's.
"Well banged, brave hammers!" said Lord Dalgarno, in triumph.--"The
estate and lands of Glenvarloch are crushed beneath these clanging
blows. If my steel to-morrow prove but as true as your iron maces
to-day, the poor landless lord will little miss what your peal hath
cut him out from.--The papers--the papers, thou varlet! I am to-morrow
Northward, ho! At four, afternoon, I am bound to be at Camlet Moat,
in the Enfield Chase. To-night most of my retinue set forward. The
papers!--Come, dispatch."

"My lord, the--the papers of the Glenvarloch mortgage--I--I have them
not."

"Have them not!" echoed Lord Dalgarno,--"Hast thou sent them to my
lodgings, thou varlet? Did I not say I was coming hither?--What mean you
by pointing to that money? What villainy have you done for it? It is too
large to be come honestly by."

"Your lordship knows best," answered the scrivener, in great
perturbation. "The gold is your own. It is--it is--"

"Not the redemption-money of the Glenvarloch estate!" said Dalgarno.
"Dare not say it is, or I will, upon the spot, divorce your pettifogging
soul from your carrion carcass!" So saying, he seized the scrivener
by the collar, and shook him so vehemently, that he tore it from the
cassock.

"My lord, I must call for help," said the trembling caitiff, who felt
at that moment all the bitterness of the mortal agony--"It was the law's
act, not mine. What could I do?"

"Dost ask?--why, thou snivelling dribblet of damnation, were all thy
oaths, tricks, and lies spent? or do you hold yourself too good to utter
them in my service? Thou shouldst have lied, cozened, out-sworn truth
itself, rather than stood betwixt me and my revenge! But mark me," he
continued; "I know more of your pranks than would hang thee. A line from
me to the Attorney-General, and thou art sped."

"What would you have me to do, my lord?" said the scrivener. "All that
art and law can accomplish, I will try."

"Ah, are you converted? do so, or pity of your life!" said the lord;
"and remember I never fail my word.--Then keep that accursed gold,"
he continued. "Or, stay, I will not trust you--send me this gold home
presently to my lodging. I will still forward to Scotland, and it shall
go hard but that I hold out Glenvarloch Castle against the owner, by
means of the ammunition he has himself furnished. Thou art ready to
serve me?" The scrivener professed the most implicit obedience.

"Then remember, the hour was past ere payment was tendered--and see thou
hast witnesses of trusty memory to prove that point."

"Tush, my lord, I will do more," said Andrew, reviving--"I will prove
that Lord Glenvarloch's friends threatened, swaggered, and drew swords
on me.--Did your lordship think I was ungrateful enough to have suffered
them to prejudice your lordship, save that they had bare swords at my
throat?"

"Enough said," replied Dalgarno; "you are perfect--mind that you
continue so, as you would avoid my fury. I leave my page below--get
porters, and let them follow me instantly with the gold."

So saying, Lord Dalgarno left the scrivener's habitation.

Skurliewhitter, having dispatched his boy to get porters of trust for
transporting the money, remained alone and in dismay, meditating by
what means he could shake himself free of the vindictive and ferocious
nobleman, who possessed at once a dangerous knowledge of his character,
and the power of exposing him, where exposure would be ruin. He
had indeed acquiesced in the plan, rapidly sketched, for obtaining
possession of the ransomed estate, but his experience foresaw that this
would be impossible; while, on the other hand, he could not anticipate
the various consequences of Lord Dalgarno's resentment, without fears,
from which his sordid soul recoiled. To be in the power, and subject
both to the humours and the extortions of a spendthrift young lord, just
when his industry had shaped out the means of fortune,--it was the most
cruel trick which fate could have played the incipient usurer.

While the scrivener was in this fit of anxious anticipation, one knocked
at the door of the apartment; and, being desired to enter, appeared in
the coarse riding-cloak of uncut Wiltshire cloth, fastened by a broad
leather belt and brass buckle, which was then generally worn by graziers
and countrymen. Skurliewhitter, believing he saw in his visitor a
country client who might prove profitable, had opened his mouth to
request him to be seated, when the stranger, throwing back his frieze
hood which he had drawn over his face, showed the scrivener features
well imprinted in his recollection, but which he never saw without a
disposition to swoon.

"Is it you?" he said, faintly, as the stranger replaced the hood which
concealed his features.

"Who else should it be?" said his visitor.

"Thou son of parchment, got betwixt the inkhorn And the stuff'd
process-bag--that mayest call The pen thy father, and the ink thy mother,

 The wax thy brother, and the sand thy sister
 And the good pillory thy cousin allied--
 Rise, and do reverence unto me, thy better!"

"Not yet down to the country," said the scrivener, "after every warning?
Do not think your grazier's cloak will bear you out, captain--no, nor
your scraps of stage-plays."

"Why, what would you have me to do?" said the captain--"Would you have
me starve? If I am to fly, you must eke my wings with a few feathers.
You can spare them, I think."

"You had means already--you have had ten pieces--What is become of
them?"

"Gone," answered Captain Colepepper--"Gone, no matter where--I had a
mind to bite, and I was bitten, that's all--I think my hand shook at the
thought of t'other night's work, for I trowled the doctors like a very
baby."

"And you have lost all, then?--Well, take this and be gone," said the
scrivener.

"What, two poor smelts! Marry, plague of your bounty!--But remember, you
are as deep in as I."

"Not so, by Heaven!" answered the scrivener; "I only thought of easing
the old man of some papers and a trifle of his gold, and you took his
life."

"Were he living," answered Colepepper, "he would rather have lost
it than his money.--But that is not the question, Master
Skurliewhitter--you undid the private bolts of the window when you
visited him about some affairs on the day ere he died--so satisfy
yourself, that, if I am taken, I will not swing alone. Pity Jack
Hempsfield is dead, it spoils the old catch,

     'And three merry men, and three merry men,
      And three merry men are we,
      As ever did sing three parts in a string,
      All under the triple tree.'"

"For God's sake, speak lower," said the scrivener; "is this a place or
time to make your midnight catches heard?--But how much will serve your
turn? I tell you I am but ill provided."

"You tell me a lie, then," said the bully--"a most palpable and gross
lie.--How much, d'ye say, will serve my turn? Why, one of these bags
will do for the present."

"I swear to you that these bags of money are not at my disposal."

"Not honestly, perhaps," said the captain, "but that makes little
difference betwixt us."

"I swear to you," continued the scrivener "they are in no way at my
disposal--they have been delivered to me by tale--I am to pay them over
to Lord Dalgarno, whose boy waits for them, and I could not skelder one
piece out of them, without risk of hue and cry."

"Can you not put off the delivery?" said the bravo, his huge hand still
fumbling with one of the bags, as if his fingers longed to close on it.

"Impossible," said the scrivener, "he sets forward to Scotland
to-morrow."

"Ay!" said the bully, after a moment's thought--"Travels he the north
road with such a charge?"

"He is well accompanied," added the scrivener; "but yet--"

"But yet--but what?" said the bravo.

"Nay, I meant nothing," said the scrivener.

"Thou didst--thou hadst the wind of some good thing," replied
Colepepper; "I saw thee pause like a setting dog. Thou wilt say as
little, and make as sure a sign, as a well-bred spaniel."

"All I meant to say, captain, was, that his servants go by Barnet, and
he himself, with his page, pass through Enfield Chase; and he spoke to
me yesterday of riding a soft pace."

"Aha!--Comest thou to me there, my boy?"

"And of resting"--continued the scrivener,--"resting a space at Camlet
Moat."

"Why, this is better than cock-fighting!" said the captain.

"I see not how it can advantage you, captain," said the scrivener. "But,
however, they cannot ride fast, for his page rides the sumpter-horse,
which carries all that weight," pointing to the money on the table.
"Lord Dalgarno looks sharp to the world's gear."

"That horse will be obliged to those who may ease him of his burden,"
said the bravo; "and egad, he may be met with.--He hath still that
page--that same Lutin--that goblin? Well, the boy hath set game for
me ere now. I will be revenged, too, for I owe him a grudge for an old
score at the ordinary. Let me see--Black Feltham, and Dick Shakebag--we
shall want a fourth--I love to make sure, and the booty will stand
parting, besides what I can bucket them out of. Well, scrivener, lend
me two pieces.--Bravely done--nobly imparted! Give ye good-den." And
wrapping his disguise closer around him, away he went.

When he had left the room, the scrivener wrung his hands, and exclaimed,
"More blood--more blood! I thought to have had done with it, but this
time there was no fault with me--none--and then I shall have all the
advantage. If this ruffian falls, there is truce with his tugs at my
purse-strings; and if Lord Dalgarno dies--as is most likely, for though
as much afraid of cold steel as a debtor of a dun, this fellow is
a deadly shot from behind a bush,--then am I in a thousand ways
safe--safe--safe."

We willingly drop the curtain over him and his reflections.



CHAPTER XXXV


  We are not worst at once--the course of evil
  Begins so slowly, and from such slight source,
  An infant's hand might stem its breach with clay;
  But let the stream get deeper, and philosophy--
  Ay, and religion too--shall strive in vain
  To turn the headlong torrent.
                            _Old Play._

The Templars had been regaled by our friend Richie Moniplies in a
private chamber at Beaujeu's, where he might be considered as good
company; for he had exchanged his serving-man's cloak and jerkin for
a grave yet handsome suit of clothes, in the fashion of the times, but
such as might have befitted an older man than himself. He had positively
declined presenting himself at the ordinary, a point to which his
companions were very desirous to have brought him, for it will be
easily believed that such wags as Lowestoffe and his companion were not
indisposed to a little merriment at the expense of the raw and pedantic
Scotsman; besides the chance of easing him of a few pieces, of which
he appeared to have acquired considerable command. But not even a
succession of measures of sparkling sack, in which the little brilliant
atoms circulated like motes in the sun's rays, had the least effect
on Richie's sense of decorum. He retained the gravity of a judge, even
while he drank like a fish, partly from his own natural inclination to
good liquor, partly in the way of good fellowship towards his guests.
When the wine began to make some innovation on their heads, Master
Lowestoffe, tired, perhaps, of the humours of Richie, who began to
become yet more stoically contradictory and dogmatical than even in the
earlier part of the entertainment, proposed to his friend to break up
their debauch and join the gamesters.

The drawer was called accordingly, and Richie discharged the reckoning
of the party, with a generous remuneration to the attendants, which was
received with cap and knee, and many assurances of--"Kindly welcome,
gentlemen."

"I grieve we should part so soon, gentlemen," said Richie to his
companions,--"and I would you had cracked another quart ere you went, or
stayed to take some slight matter of supper, and a glass of Rhenish. I
thank you, however, for having graced my poor collation thus far; and
I commend you to fortune, in your own courses, for the ordinary neither
was, is, nor shall be, an element of mine."

"Fare thee well, then," said Lowestoffe, "most sapient and sententious
Master Moniplies. May you soon have another mortgage to redeem, and may
I be there to witness it; and may you play the good fellow, as heartily
as you have done this day."

"Nay, gentlemen, it is merely of your grace to say so--but, if you
would but hear me speak a few words of admonition respecting this wicked
ordinary--"

"Reserve the lesson, most honourable Richie," said Lowestoffe, "until
I have lost all my money," showing, at the same time, a purse
indifferently well provided, "and then the lecture is likely to have
some weight."

"And keep my share of it, Richie," said the other Templar, showing an
almost empty purse, in his turn, "till this be full again, and then I
will promise to hear you with some patience."

"Ay, ay, gallants," said Richie, "the full and the empty gang a' ae
gate, and that is a grey one--but the time will come."

"Nay, it is come already," said Lowestoffe; "they have set out the
hazard table. Since you will peremptorily not go with us, why, farewell,
Richie."

"And farewell, gentlemen," said Richie, and left the house, into which
they had returned.

Moniplies was not many steps from the door, when a person, whom, lost
in his reflections on gaming, ordinaries, and the manners of the age,
he had not observed, and who had been as negligent on his part, ran
full against him; and, when Richie desired to know whether he meant "ony
incivility," replied by a curse on Scotland, and all that belonged to
it. A less round reflection on his country would, at any time, have
provoked Richie, but more especially when he had a double quart of
Canary and better in his pate. He was about to give a very rough answer,
and to second his word by action, when a closer view of his antagonist
changed his purpose.

"You are the vera lad in the warld," said Richie, "whom I most wished to
meet."

"And you," answered the stranger, "or any of your beggarly countrymen,
are the last sight I should ever wish to see. You Scots are ever fair
and false, and an honest man cannot thrive within eyeshot of you."

"As to our poverty, friend," replied Richie, "that is as Heaven pleases;
but touching our falset, I'll prove to you that a Scotsman bears as leal
and true a heart to his friend as ever beat in English doublet."

"I care not whether he does or not," said the gallant. "Let me go--why
keep you hold of my cloak? Let me go, or I will thrust you into the
kennel."

"I believe I could forgie ye, for you did me a good turn once, in
plucking me out of it," said the Scot.

"Beshrew my fingers, then, if they did so," replied the stranger. "I
would your whole country lay there, along with you; and Heaven's curse
blight the hand that helped to raise them!--Why do you stop my way?" he
added, fiercely.

"Because it is a bad one, Master Jenkin," said Richie. "Nay, never start
about it, man--you see you are known. Alack-a-day! that an honest man's
son should live to start at hearing himself called by his own name!"
Jenkin struck his brow violently with his clenched fist.

"Come, come," said Richie, "this passion availeth nothing. Tell me what
gate go you?"

"To the devil!" answered Jin Vin.

"That is a black gate, if you speak according to the letter," answered
Richie; "but if metaphorically, there are worse places in this great
city than the Devil Tavern; and I care not if I go thither with you, and
bestow a pottle of burnt sack on you--it will correct the crudities of
my stomach, and form a gentle preparative for the leg of a cold pullet."

"I pray you, in good fashion, to let me go," said Jenkin. "You may mean
me kindly, and I wish you to have no wrong at my hand; but I am in the
humour to be dangerous to myself, or any one."

"I will abide the risk," said the Scot, "if you will but come with me;
and here is a place convenient, a howff nearer than the Devil, whilk
is but an ill-omened drouthy name for a tavern. This other of the Saint
Andrew is a quiet place, where I have ta'en my whetter now and
then, when I lodged in the neighbourhood of the Temple with Lord
Glenvarloch.--What the deil's the matter wi' the man, garr'd him gie sic
a spang as that, and almaist brought himself and me on the causeway?"

"Do not nam