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!"
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.
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.
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. "111 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."