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Chapter 10

PASSAGES AT NEW YORK.

I have mentioned I was resolved to steal a march upon the Master;
and this, with the complicity of Captain McMurtrie, was mighty
easily effected: a boat being partly loaded on the one side of our
ship and the Master placed on board of it, the while a skiff put
off from the other, carrying me alone. I had no more trouble in
finding a direction to my lord's house, whither I went at top
speed, and which I found to be on the outskirts of the place, a
very suitable mansion, in a fine garden, with an extraordinary
large barn, byre, and stable, all in one. It was here my lord was
walking when I arrived; indeed, it had become his chief place of
frequentation, and his mind was now filled with farming. I burst
in upon him breathless, and gave him my news: which was indeed no
news at all, several ships having outsailed the NONESUCH in the
interval.

"We have been expecting you long," said my lord; "and indeed, of
late days, ceased to expect you any more. I am glad to take your
hand again, Mackellar. I thought you had been at the bottom of the
sea."

"Ah! my lord, would God I had!" cried I. "Things would have been
better for yourself."

"Not in the least," says he, grimly. "I could not ask better.
There is a long score to pay, and now - at last - I can begin to
pay it."

I cried out against his security.

"Oh!" says he, "this is not Durrisdeer, and I have taken my
precautions. His reputation awaits him; I have prepared a welcome
for my brother. Indeed, fortune has served me; for I found here a
merchant of Albany who knew him after the '45 and had mighty
convenient suspicions of a murder: some one of the name of Chew it
was, another Albanian. No one here will be surprised if I deny him
my door; he will not be suffered to address my children, nor even
to salute my wife: as for myself, I make so much exception for a
brother that he may speak to me. I should lose my pleasure else,"
says my lord, rubbing his palms.

Presently he bethought himself, and set men off running, with
billets, to summon the magnates of the province. I cannot recall
what pretext he employed; at least, it was successful; and when our
ancient enemy appeared upon the scene, he found my lord pacing in
front of his house under some trees of shade, with the Governor
upon one hand and various notables upon the other. My lady, who
was seated in the verandah, rose with a very pinched expression and
carried her children into the house.

The Master, well dressed and with an elegant walking-sword, bowed
to the company in a handsome manner and nodded to my lord with
familiarity. My lord did not accept the salutation, but looked
upon his brother with bended brows.

"Well, sir," says he, at last, "what ill wind brings you hither of
all places, where (to our common disgrace) your reputation has
preceded you?"

"Your lordship is pleased to be civil," said the Master, with a
fine start.

"I am pleased to be very plain," returned my lord; "because it is
needful you should clearly understand your situation. At home,
where you were so little known, it was still possible to keep
appearances; that would be quite vain in this province; and I have
to tell you that I am quite resolved to wash my hands of you. You
have already ruined me almost to the door, as you ruined my father
before me; - whose heart you also broke. Your crimes escape the
law; but my friend the Governor has promised protection to my
family. Have a care, sir!" cries my lord, shaking his cane at him:
"if you are observed to utter two words to any of my innocent
household, the law shall be stretched to make you smart for it."

"Ah!" says the Master, very slowly. "And so this is the advantage
of a foreign land! These gentlemen are unacquainted with our
story, I perceive. They do not know that I am the Lord Durrisdeer;
they do not know you are my younger brother, sitting in my place
under a sworn family compact; they do not know (or they would not
be seen with you in familiar correspondence) that every acre is
mine before God Almighty - and every doit of the money you withhold
from me, you do it as a thief, a perjurer, and a disloyal brother!"

"General Clinton," I cried, "do not listen to his lies. I am the
steward of the estate, and there is not one word of truth in it.
The man is a forfeited rebel turned into a hired spy: there is his
story in two words."

It was thus that (in the heat of the moment) I let slip his infamy.

"Fellow," said the Governor, turning his face sternly on the
Master, "I know more of you than you think for. We have some
broken ends of your adventures in the provinces, which you will do
very well not to drive me to investigate. There is the
disappearance of Mr. Jacob Chew with all his merchandise; there is
the matter of where you came ashore from with so much money and
jewels, when you were picked up by a Bermudan out of Albany.
Believe me, if I let these matters lie, it is in commiseration for
your family and out of respect for my valued friend, Lord
Durrisdeer."

There was a murmur of applause from the provincials.

"I should have remembered how a title would shine out in such a
hole as this," says the Master, white as a sheet: "no matter how
unjustly come by. It remains for me, then, to die at my lord's
door, where my dead body will form a very cheerful ornament."

"Away with your affectations!" cries my lord. "You know very well
I have no such meaning; only to protect myself from calumny, and my
home from your intrusion. I offer you a choice. Either I shall
pay your passage home on the first ship, when you may perhaps be
able to resume your occupations under Government, although God
knows I would rather see you on the highway! Or, if that likes you
not, stay here and welcome! I have inquired the least sum on which
body and soul can be decently kept together in New York; so much
you shall have, paid weekly; and if you cannot labour with your
hands to better it, high time you should betake yourself to learn.
The condition is - that you speak with no member of my family
except myself," he added.

I do not think I have ever seen any man so pale as was the Master;
but he was erect and his mouth firm.

"I have been met here with some very unmerited insults," said he,
"from which I have certainly no idea to take refuge by flight.
Give me your pittance; I take it without shame, for it is mine
already - like the shirt upon your back; and I choose to stay until
these gentlemen shall understand me better. Already they must spy
the cloven hoof, since with all your pretended eagerness for the
family honour, you take a pleasure to degrade it in my person."

"This is all very fine," says my lord; "but to us who know you of
old, you must be sure it signifies nothing. You take that
alternative out of which you think that you can make the most.
Take it, if you can, in silence; it will serve you better in the
long run, you may believe me, than this ostentation of
ingratitude."

"Oh, gratitude, my lord!" cries the Master, with a mounting
intonation and his forefinger very conspicuously lifted up. "Be at
rest: it will not fail you. It now remains that I should salute
these gentlemen whom we have wearied with our family affairs."

And he bowed to each in succession, settled his walking-sword, and
took himself off, leaving every one amazed at his behaviour, and me
not less so at my lord's.


We were now to enter on a changed phase of this family division.
The Master was by no manner of means so helpless as my lord
supposed, having at his hand, and entirely devoted to his service,
an excellent artist in all sorts of goldsmith work. With my lord's
allowance, which was not so scanty as he had described it, the pair
could support life; and all the earnings of Secundra Dass might be
laid upon one side for any future purpose. That this was done, I
have no doubt. It was in all likelihood the Master's design to
gather a sufficiency, and then proceed in quest of that treasure
which he had buried long before among the mountains; to which, if
he had confined himself, he would have been more happily inspired.
But unfortunately for himself and all of us, he took counsel of his
anger. The public disgrace of his arrival - which I sometimes
wonder he could manage to survive - rankled in his bones; he was in
that humour when a man - in the words of the old adage - will cut
off his nose to spite his face; and he must make himself a public
spectacle in the hopes that some of the disgrace might spatter on
my lord.

He chose, in a poor quarter of the town, a lonely, small house of
boards, overhung with some acacias. It was furnished in front with
a sort of hutch opening, like that of a dog's kennel, but about as
high as a table from the ground, in which the poor man that built
it had formerly displayed some wares; and it was this which took
the Master's fancy and possibly suggested his proceedings. It
appears, on board the pirate ship he had acquired some quickness
with the needle - enough, at least, to play the part of tailor in
the public eye; which was all that was required by the nature of
his vengeance. A placard was hung above the hutch, bearing these
words in something of the following disposition:


JAMES DURIE,
FORMERLY MASTER OF BALLANTRAE.
CLOTHES NEATLY CLOUTED.
* * * * *
SECUNDRA DASS,
DECAYED GENTLEMAN OF INDIA.
FINE GOLDSMITH WORK.


Underneath this, when he had a job, my gentleman sat withinside
tailor-wise and busily stitching. I say, when he had a job; but
such customers as came were rather for Secundra, and the Master's
sewing would be more in the manner of Penelope's. He could never
have designed to gain even butter to his bread by such a means of
livelihood: enough for him that there was the name of Durie
dragged in the dirt on the placard, and the sometime heir of that
proud family set up cross-legged in public for a reproach upon his
brother's meanness. And in so far his device succeeded that there
was murmuring in the town and a party formed highly inimical to my
lord. My lord's favour with the Governor laid him more open on the
other side; my lady (who was never so well received in the colony)
met with painful innuendoes; in a party of women, where it would be
the topic most natural to introduce, she was almost debarred from
the naming of needle-work; and I have seen her return with a
flushed countenance and vow that she would go abroad no more.

In the meanwhile my lord dwelled in his decent mansion, immersed in
farming; a popular man with his intimates, and careless or
unconscious of the rest. He laid on flesh; had a bright, busy
face; even the heat seemed to prosper with him; and my lady - in
despite of her own annoyances - daily blessed Heaven her father
should have left her such a paradise. She had looked on from a
window upon the Master's humiliation; and from that hour appeared
to feel at ease. I was not so sure myself; as time went on, there
seemed to me a something not quite wholesome in my lord's
condition. Happy he was, beyond a doubt, but the grounds of this
felicity were wont; even in the bosom of his family he brooded with
manifest delight upon some private thought; and I conceived at last
the suspicion (quite unworthy of us both) that he kept a mistress
somewhere in the town. Yet he went little abroad, and his day was
very fully occupied; indeed, there was but a single period, and
that pretty early in the morning, while Mr. Alexander was at his
lesson-book, of which I was not certain of the disposition. It
should be borne in mind, in the defence of that which I now did,
that I was always in some fear my lord was not quite justly in his
reason; and with our enemy sitting so still in the same town with
us, I did well to be upon my guard. Accordingly I made a pretext,
had the hour changed at which I taught Mr. Alexander the foundation
of cyphering and the mathematic, and set myself instead to dog my
master's footsteps.

Every morning, fair or foul, he took his gold-headed cane, set his
hat on the back of his head - a recent habitude, which I thought to
indicate a burning brow - and betook himself to make a certain
circuit. At the first his way was among pleasant trees and beside
a graveyard, where he would sit awhile, if the day were fine, in
meditation. Presently the path turned down to the waterside, and
came back along the harbour-front and past the Master's booth. As
he approached this second part of his circuit, my Lord Durrisdeer
began to pace more leisurely, like a man delighted with the air and
scene; and before the booth, half-way between that and the water's
edge, would pause a little, leaning on his staff. It was the hour
when the Master sate within upon his board and plied his needle.
So these two brothers would gaze upon each other with hard faces;
and then my lord move on again, smiling to himself.

It was but twice that I must stoop to that ungrateful necessity of
playing spy. I was then certain of my lord's purpose in his
rambles and of the secret source of his delight. Here was his
mistress: it was hatred and not love that gave him healthful
colours. Some moralists might have been relieved by the discovery;
I confess that I was dismayed. I found this situation of two
brethren not only odious in itself, but big with possibilities of
further evil; and I made it my practice, in so far as many
occupations would allow, to go by a shorter path and be secretly
present at their meeting. Coming down one day a little late, after
I had been near a week prevented, I was struck with surprise to
find a new development. I should say there was a bench against the
Master's house, where customers might sit to parley with the
shopman; and here I found my lord seated, nursing his cane and
looking pleasantly forth upon the bay. Not three feet from him
sate the Master, stitching. Neither spoke; nor (in this new
situation) did my lord so much as cut a glance upon his enemy. He
tasted his neighbourhood, I must suppose, less indirectly in the
bare proximity of person; and, without doubt, drank deep of hateful
pleasures.

He had no sooner come away than I openly joined him. "My lord, my
lord," said I, "this is no manner of behaviour."

"I grow fat upon it," he replied; and not merely the words, which
were strange enough, but the whole character of his expression,
shocked me.

"I warn you, my lord, against this indulgency of evil feeling,"
said I. "I know not to which it is more perilous, the soul or the
reason; but you go the way to murder both."

"You cannot understand," said he. "You had never such mountains of
bitterness upon your heart."

"And if it were no more," I added, "you will surely goad the man to
some extremity."

"To the contrary; I am breaking his spirit," says my lord.


Every morning for hard upon a week my lord took his same place upon
the bench. It was a pleasant place, under the green acacias, with
a sight upon the bay and shipping, and a sound (from some way off)
of marines singing at their employ. Here the two sate without
speech or any external movement, beyond that of the needle or the
Master biting off a thread, for he still clung to his pretence of
industry; and here I made a point to join them, wondering at myself
and my companions. If any of my lord's friends went by, he would
hail them cheerfully, and cry out he was there to give some good
advice to his brother, who was now (to his delight) grown quite
industrious. And even this the Master accepted with a steady
countenance; what was in his mind, God knows, or perhaps Satan
only.

All of a sudden, on a still day of what they call the Indian
Summer, when the woods were changed into gold and pink and scarlet,
the Master laid down his needle and burst into a fit of merriment.
I think he must have been preparing it a long while in silence, for
the note in itself was pretty naturally pitched; but breaking
suddenly from so extreme a silence, and in circumstances so averse
from mirth, it sounded ominously on my ear.

"Henry," said he, "I have for once made a false step, and for once
you have had the wit to profit by it. The farce of the cobbler
ends to-day; and I confess to you (with my compliments) that you
have had the best of it. Blood will out; and you have certainly a
choice idea of how to make yourself unpleasant."

Never a word said my lord; it was just as though the Master had not
broken silence.

"Come," resumed the Master, "do not be sulky; it will spoil your
attitude. You can now afford (believe me) to be a little gracious;
for I have not merely a defeat to accept. I had meant to continue
this performance till I had gathered enough money for a certain
purpose; I confess ingenuously, I have not the courage. You
naturally desire my absence from this town; I have come round by
another way to the same idea. And I have a proposition to make;
or, if your lordship prefers, a favour to ask."

"Ask it," says my lord.

"You may have heard that I had once in this country a considerable
treasure," returned the Master; "it matters not whether or no -
such is the fact; and I was obliged to bury it in a spot of which I
have sufficient indications. To the recovery of this, has my
ambition now come down; and, as it is my own, you will not grudge
it me."

"Go and get it," says my lord. "I make no opposition."

"Yes," said the Master; "but to do so, I must find men and
carriage. The way is long and rough, and the country infested with
wild Indians. Advance me only so much as shall be needful: either
as a lump sum, in lieu of my allowance; or, if you prefer it, as a
loan, which I shall repay on my return. And then, if you so
decide, you may have seen the last of me."

My lord stared him steadily in the eyes; there was a hard smile
upon his face, but he uttered nothing.

"Henry," said the Master, with a formidable quietness, and drawing
at the same time somewhat back - "Henry, I had the honour to
address you."

"Let us be stepping homeward," says my lord to me, who was plucking
at his sleeve; and with that he rose, stretched himself, settled
his hat, and still without a syllable of response, began to walk
steadily along the shore.

I hesitated awhile between the two brothers, so serious a climax
did we seem to have reached. But the Master had resumed his
occupation, his eyes lowered, his hand seemingly as deft as ever;
and I decided to pursue my lord.

"Are you mad?" I cried, so soon as I had overtook him. "Would you
cast away so fair an opportunity?"

"Is it possible you should still believe in him?" inquired my lord,
almost with a sneer.

"I wish him forth of this town!" I cried. "I wish him anywhere and
anyhow but as he is."

"I have said my say," returned my lord, "and you have said yours.
There let it rest."

But I was bent on dislodging the Master. That sight of him
patiently returning to his needlework was more than my imagination
could digest. There was never a man made, and the Master the least
of any, that could accept so long a series of insults. The air
smelt blood to me. And I vowed there should be no neglect of mine
if, through any chink of possibility, crime could be yet turned
aside. That same day, therefore, I came to my lord in his business
room, where he sat upon some trivial occupation.

"My lord," said I, "I have found a suitable investment for my small
economies. But these are unhappily in Scotland; it will take some
time to lift them, and the affair presses. Could your lordship see
his way to advance me the amount against my note?"

He read me awhile with keen eyes. "I have never inquired into the
state of your affairs, Mackellar," says he. "Beyond the amount of
your caution, you may not be worth a farthing, for what I know."

"I have been a long while in your service, and never told a lie,
nor yet asked a favour for myself," said I, "until to-day."

"A favour for the Master," he returned, quietly. "Do you take me
for a fool, Mackellar? Understand it once and for all, I treat
this beast in my own way; fear nor favour shall not move me; and
before I am hoodwinked, it will require a trickster less
transparent than yourself. I ask service, loyal service; not that
you should make and mar behind my back, and steal my own money to
defeat me."

"My lord," said I, "these are very unpardonable expressions."

"Think once more, Mackellar," he replied; "and you will see they
fit the fact. It is your own subterfuge that is unpardonable.
Deny (if you can) that you designed this money to evade my orders
with, and I will ask your pardon freely. If you cannot, you must
have the resolution to hear your conduct go by its own name."

"If you think I had any design but to save you - " I began.

"Oh! my old friend," said he, "you know very well what I think!
Here is my hand to you with all my heart; but of money, not one
rap."

Defeated upon this side, I went straight to my room, wrote a
letter, ran with it to the harbour, for I knew a ship was on the
point of sailing; and came to the Master's door a little before
dusk. Entering without the form of any knock, I found him sitting
with his Indian at a simple meal of maize porridge with some milk.
The house within was clean and poor; only a few books upon a shelf
distinguished it, and (in one corner) Secundra's little bench.

"Mr. Bally," said I, "I have near five hundred pounds laid by in
Scotland, the economies of a hard life. A letter goes by yon ship
to have it lifted. Have so much patience till the return ship
comes in, and it is all yours, upon the same condition you offered
to my lord this morning."

He rose from the table, came forward, took me by the shoulders, and
looked me in the face, smiling.

"And yet you are very fond of money!" said he. "And yet you love
money beyond all things else, except my brother!"

"I fear old age and poverty," said I, "which is another matter."

"I will never quarrel for a name. Call it so," he replied. "Ah!
Mackellar, Mackellar, if this were done from any love to me, how
gladly would I close upon your offer!"

"And yet," I eagerly answered - "I say it to my shame, but I cannot
see you in this poor place without compunction. It is not my
single thought, nor my first; and yet it's there! I would gladly
see you delivered. I do not offer it in love, and far from that;
but, as God judges me - and I wonder at it too! - quite without
enmity."

"Ah!" says he, still holding my shoulders, and now gently shaking
me, "you think of me more than you suppose. 'And I wonder at it
too,'" he added, repeating my expression and, I suppose, something
of my voice. "You are an honest man, and for that cause I spare
you."

"Spare me?" I cried.

"Spare you," he repeated, letting me go and turning away. And
then, fronting me once more. "You little know what I would do with
it, Mackellar! Did you think I had swallowed my defeat indeed?
Listen: my life has been a series of unmerited cast-backs. That
fool, Prince Charlie, mismanaged a most promising affair: there
fell my first fortune. In Paris I had my foot once more high upon
the ladder: that time it was an accident; a letter came to the
wrong hand, and I was bare again. A third time, I found my
opportunity; I built up a place for myself in India with an
infinite patience; and then Clive came, my rajah was swallowed up,
and I escaped out of the convulsion, like another AEneas, with
Secundra Dass upon my back. Three times I have had my hand upon
the highest station: and I am not yet three-and-forty. I know the
world as few men know it when they come to die - Court and camp,
the East and the West; I know where to go, I see a thousand
openings. I am now at the height of my resources, sound of health,
of inordinate ambition. Well, all this I resign; I care not if I
die, and the world never hear of me; I care only for one thing, and
that I will have. Mind yourself; lest, when the roof falls, you,
too, should be crushed under the ruins."


As I came out of his house, all hope of intervention quite
destroyed, I was aware of a stir on the harbour-side, and, raising
my eyes, there was a great ship newly come to anchor. It seems
strange I could have looked upon her with so much indifference, for
she brought death to the brothers of Durrisdeer. After all the
desperate episodes of this contention, the insults, the opposing
interests, the fraternal duel in the shrubbery, it was reserved for
some poor devil in Grub Street, scribbling for his dinner, and not
caring what he scribbled, to cast a spell across four thousand
miles of the salt sea, and send forth both these brothers into
savage and wintry deserts, there to die. But such a thought was
distant from my mind; and while all the provincials were fluttered
about me by the unusual animation of their port, I passed
throughout their midst on my return homeward, quite absorbed in the
recollection of my visit and the Master's speech.

The same night there was brought to us from the ship a little
packet of pamphlets. The next day my lord was under engagement to
go with the Governor upon some party of pleasure; the time was
nearly due, and I left him for a moment alone in his room and
skimming through the pamphlets. When I returned, his head had
fallen upon the table, his arms lying abroad amongst the crumpled
papers.

"My lord, my lord!" I cried as I ran forward, for I supposed he was
in some fit.

He sprang up like a figure upon wires, his countenance deformed
with fury, so that in a strange place I should scarce have known
him. His hand at the same time flew above his head, as though to
strike me down. "Leave me alone!" he screeched, and I fled, as
fast as my shaking legs would bear me, for my lady. She, too, lost
no time; but when we returned, he had the door locked within, and
only cried to us from the other side to leave him be. We looked in
each other's faces, very white - each supposing the blow had come
at last.

"I will write to the Governor to excuse him," says she. "We must
keep our strong friends." But when she took up the pen, it flew
out of her fingers. "I cannot write," said she. "Can you?"

"I will make a shift, my lady," said I.

She looked over me as I wrote. "That will do," she said, when I
had done. "Thank God, Mackellar, I have you to lean upon! But
what can it be now? What, what can it be?"

In my own mind, I believed there was no explanation possible, and
none required; it was my fear that the man's madness had now simply
burst forth its way, like the long-smothered flames of a volcano;
but to this (in mere mercy to my lady) I durst not give expression.

"It is more to the purpose to consider our own behaviour," said I.
"Must we leave him there alone?"

"I do not dare disturb him," she replied. "Nature may know best;
it may be Nature that cries to be alone; and we grope in the dark.
Oh yes, I would leave him as he is."

"I will, then, despatch this letter, my lady, and return here, if
you please, to sit with you," said I.

"Pray do," cries my lady.

All afternoon we sat together, mostly in silence, watching my
lord's door. My own mind was busy with the scene that had just
passed, and its singular resemblance to my vision. I must say a
word upon this, for the story has gone abroad with great
exaggeration, and I have even seen it printed, and my own name
referred to for particulars. So much was the same: here was my
lord in a room, with his head upon the table, and when he raised
his face, it wore such an expression as distressed me to the soul.
But the room was different, my lord's attitude at the table not at
all the same, and his face, when he disclosed it, expressed a
painful degree of fury instead of that haunting despair which had
always (except once, already referred to) characterised it in the
vision. There is the whole truth at last before the public; and if
the differences be great, the coincidence was yet enough to fill me
with uneasiness. All afternoon, as I say, I sat and pondered upon
this quite to myself; for my lady had trouble of her own, and it
was my last thought to vex her with fancies. About the midst of
our time of waiting, she conceived an ingenious scheme, had Mr.
Alexander fetched, and bid him knock at his father's door. My lord
sent the boy about his business, but without the least violence,
whether of manner or expression; so that I began to entertain a
hope the fit was over.

At last, as the night fell and I was lighting a lamp that stood
there trimmed, the door opened and my lord stood within upon the
threshold. The light was not so strong that we could read his
countenance; when he spoke, methought his voice a little altered
but yet perfectly steady.

"Mackellar," said he, "carry this note to its destination with your
own hand. It is highly private. Find the person alone when you
deliver it."

"Henry," says my lady, "you are not ill?"

"No, no," says be, querulously, "I am occupied. Not at all; I am
only occupied. It is a singular thing a man must be supposed to be
ill when he has any business! Send me supper to this room, and a
basket of wine: I expect the visit of a friend. Otherwise I am
not to be disturbed."

And with that he once more shut himself in.

The note was addressed to one Captain Harris, at a tavern on the
portside. I knew Harris (by reputation) for a dangerous
adventurer, highly suspected of piracy in the past, and now
following the rude business of an Indian trader. What my lord
should have to say to him, or he to my lord, it passed my
imagination to conceive: or yet how my lord had heard of him,
unless by a disgraceful trial from which the man was recently
escaped. Altogether I went upon the errand with reluctance, and
from the little I saw of the captain, returned from it with sorrow.
I found him in a foul-smelling chamber, sitting by a guttering
candle and an empty bottle; he had the remains of a military
carriage, or rather perhaps it was an affectation, for his manners
were low.

"Tell my lord, with my service, that I will wait upon his lordship
in the inside of half an hour," says he, when he had read the note;
and then had the servility, pointing to his empty bottle, to
propose that I should buy him liquor.

Although I returned with my best speed, the Captain followed close
upon my heels, and he stayed late into the night. The cock was
crowing a second time when I saw (from my chamber window) my lord
lighting him to the gate, both men very much affected with their
potations, and sometimes leaning one upon the other to confabulate.
Yet the next morning my lord was abroad again early with a hundred
pounds of money in his pocket. I never supposed that he returned
with it; and yet I was quite sure it did not find its way to the
Master, for I lingered all morning within view of the booth. That
was the last time my Lord Durrisdeer passed his own enclosure till
we left New York; he walked in his barn, or sat and talked with his
family, all much as usual; but the town saw nothing of him, and his
daily visits to the Master seemed forgotten. Nor yet did Harris
reappear; or not until the end.

I was now much oppressed with a sense of the mysteries in which we
had begun to move. It was plain, if only from his change of
habitude, my lord had something on his mind of a grave nature; but
what it was, whence it sprang, or why he should now keep the house
and garden, I could make no guess at. It was clear, even to
probation, the pamphlets had some share in this revolution; I read
all I could find, and they were all extremely insignificant, and of
the usual kind of party scurrility; even to a high politician, I
could spy out no particular matter of offence, and my lord was a
man rather indifferent on public questions. The truth is, the
pamphlet which was the spring of this affair, lay all the time on
my lord's bosom. There it was that I found it at last, after he
was dead, in the midst of the north wilderness: in such a place,
in such dismal circumstances, I was to read for the first time
these idle, lying words of a Whig pamphleteer declaiming against
indulgency to Jacobites:- "Another notorious Rebel, the M-r of B-e,
is to have his Title restored," the passage ran. "This Business
has been long in hand, since he rendered some very disgraceful
Services in Scotland and France. His Brother, L-D D-R, is known to
be no better than himself in Inclination; and the supposed Heir,
who is now to be set aside, was bred up in the most detestable
Principles. In the old Phrase, it is SIX OF THE ONE AND HALF A
DOZEN OF THE OTHER; but the Favour of such a Reposition is too
extreme to be passed over." A man in his right wits could not have
cared two straws for a tale so manifestly false; that Government
should ever entertain the notion, was inconceivable to any
reasoning creature, unless possibly the fool that penned it; and my
lord, though never brilliant, was ever remarkable for sense. That
he should credit such a rodomontade, and carry the pamphlet on his
bosom and the words in his heart, is the clear proof of the man's
lunacy. Doubtless the mere mention of Mr. Alexander, and the
threat directly held out against the child's succession,
precipitated that which had so long impended. Or else my master
had been truly mad for a long time, and we were too dull or too
much used to him, and did not perceive the extent of his infirmity.

About a week after the day of the pamphlets I was late upon the
harbour-side, and took a turn towards the Master's, as I often did.
The door opened, a flood of light came forth upon the road, and I
beheld a man taking his departure with friendly salutations. I
cannot say how singularly I was shaken to recognise the adventurer
Harris. I could not but conclude it was the hand of my lord that
had brought him there; and prolonged my walk in very serious and
apprehensive thought. It was late when I came home, and there was
my lord making up his portmanteau for a voyage.

"Why do you come so late?" he cried. "We leave to-morrow for
Albany, you and I together; and it is high time you were about your
preparations."

"For Albany, my lord?" I cried. "And for what earthly purpose?"

"Change of scene," said he.

And my lady, who appeared to have been weeping, gave me the signal
to obey without more parley. She told me a little later (when we
found occasion to exchange some words) that he had suddenly
announced his intention after a visit from Captain Harris, and her
best endeavours, whether to dissuade him from the journey, or to
elicit some explanation of its purpose, had alike proved
unavailing.

Robert Louis Stevenson

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