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Chapter 5

Is she a Capulet?
O dear account! my life is my foe's debt.

SHAKESPEARE

THE Lord Keeper walked for nearly a quarter of a mile in profound
silence. His daughter, naturally timid, and bred up in those ideas of
filial awe and implicit obedience which were inculcated upon the youth
of that period, did not venture to interrupt his meditations.

"Why do you look so pale, Lucy?" said her father, turning suddenly round
and breaking silence.

According to the ideas of the time, which did not permit a young woman
to offer her sentiments on any subject of importance unless required to
do so, Lucy was bound to appear ignorant of the meaning of all that
had passed betwixt Alice and her father, and imputed the emotion he had
observed to the fear of the wild cattle which grazed in that part of the
extensive chase through which they were now walking.

Of these animals, the descendants of the savage herds which anciently
roamed free in the Caledonian forests, it was formerly a point of
state to preserve a few in the parks of the Scottish nobility. Specimens
continued within the memory of man to be kept at least at three houses
of distinction--Hamilton, namely, Drumlanrig, and Cumbernauld. They had
degenerated from the ancient race in size and strength, if we are to
judge from the accounts of old chronicles, and from the formidable
remains frequently discovered in bogs and morasses when drained and laid
open. The bull had lost the shaggy honours of his mane, and the race was
small and light made, in colour a dingy white, or rather a pale yellow,
with black horns and hoofs. They retained, however, in some measure,
the ferocity of their ancestry, could not be domesticated on account
of their antipathy to the human race, and were often dangerous if
approached unguardedly, or wantonly disturbed. It was this last reason
which has occasioned their being extirpated at the places we have
mentioned, where probably they would otherwise have been retained as
appropriate inhabitants of a Scottish woodland, and fit tenants for
a baronial forest. A few, if I mistake not, are still preserved
at Chillingham Castle, in Northumberland, the seat of the Earl of
Tankerville.

It was to her finding herself in the vicinity of a group of three or
four of these animals, that Lucy thought proper to impute those signs of
fear which had arisen in her countenance for a different reason. For she
had been familiarised with the appearance of the wil cattle during her
walks in the chase; and it was not then, as it may be now, a necessary
part of a young lady's demeanour to indulge in causeless tremors of the
nerves. On the present occasion, however, she speedily found cause for
real terror.

Lucy had scarcely replied to her father in the words we have mentioned,
and he was just about to rebuke her supposed timidity, when a bull,
stimulated either by the scarlet colour of Miss Ashton's mantle, or by
one of those fits of capricious ferocity to which their dispositions are
liable, detached himself suddenly from the group which was feeding at
the upper extremity of a grassy glade, that seemed to lose itself among
the crossing and entangled boughs. The animal approached the intruders
on his pasture ground, at first slowly, pawing the ground with his hoof,
bellowing from time to time, and tearing up the sand with his horns, as
if to lash himself up to rage and violence.

The Lord Keeper, who observed the animal's demeanour, was aware that he
was about to become mischievous, and, drawing his daughter's arm under
his own, began to walk fast along the avenue, in hopes to get out of his
sight and his reach. This was the most injudicious course he could have
adopted, for, encouraged by the appearance of flight, the bull began
to pursue them at full speed. Assailed by a danger so imminent, firmer
courage than that of the Lord Keeper might have given way. But paternal
tenderness, "love strong as death," sustained him. He continued to
support and drag onward his daughter, until her fears altogether
depriving her of the power of flight, she sunk down by his side; and
when he could no longer assist her to escape, he turned round and placed
himself betwixt her and the raging animal, which, advancing in full
career, its brutal fury enhanced by the rapidity of the pursuit, was now
within a few yards of them. The Lord Keeper had no weapons; his age
and gravity dispensed even with the usual appendage of a walking
sword--could such appendage have availed him anything.

It seemed inevitable that the father or daughter, or both, should
have fallen victims to the impending danger, when a shot from the
neighbouring thicket arrested the progress of the animal. He was so
truly struck between the junction of the spine with the skull, that the
wound, which in any other part of his body might scarce have impeded his
career, proved instantly fatal. Stumbling forward with a hideous bellow,
the progressive force of his previous motion, rather than any operation
of his limbs, carried him up to within three yards of the astonished
Lord Keeper, where he rolled on the ground, his limbs darkened with the
black death-sweat, and quivering with the last convulsions of muscular
motion.

Lucy lay senseless on the ground, insensible of the wonderful
deliverance which she had experience. Her father was almost equally
stupified, so rapid and unexpected had been the transition from the
horrid death which seemed inevitable to perfect security. He gazed on
the animal, terrible even in death, with a species of mute and confused
astonishment, which did not permit him distinctly to understand what had
taken place; and so inaccurate was his consciousness of what had passed,
that he might have supposed the bull had been arrested in its career by
a thunderbolt, had he not observed among the branches of the thicket the
figure of a man, with a short gun or musquetoon in his hand.

This instantly recalled him to a sense of their situation: a glance at
his daughter reminded him of the necessity of procuring her assistance.
He called to the man, whom he concluded to be one of his foresters, to
give immediate attention to Miss Ashton, while he himself hastened to
call assistance. The huntsman approached them accordingly, and the Lord
Keeper saw he was a stranger, but was too much agitated to make any
farther remarks. In a few hurried words he directed the shooter, as
stronger and more active than himself, to carry the young lady to a
neighbouring fountain, while he went back to Alice's hut to procure more
aid.

The man to whose timely interference they had been so much indebted did
not seem inclined to leave his good work half finished. He raised Lucy
from the ground in his arms, and conveying her through the glades of
the forest by paths with which he seemed well acquainted, stopped not
until he laid her in safety by the side of a plentiful and pellucid
fountain, which had been once covered in, screened and decorated with
architectural ornaments of a Gothic character. But now the vault which
had covered it being broken down and riven, and the Gothic font ruined
and demolished, the stream burst forth from the recess of the earth in
open day, and winded its way among the broken sculpture and moss-grown
stones which lay in confusion around its source.

Tradition, always busy, at least in Scotland, to grace with a legendary
tale a spot in itself interesting, had ascribed a cause of peculiar
veneration to this fountain. A beautiful young lady met one of the Lords
of Ravenswood while hunting near this spot, and, like a second Egeria,
had captivated the affections of the feudal Numa. They met frequently
afterwards, and always at sunset, the charms of the nymph's mind
completing the conquest which her beauty had begun, and the mystery of
the intrigue adding zest to both. She always appeared and disappeared
close by the fountain, with which, therefore, her lover judged she had
some inexplicable connexion. She placed certain restrictions on their
intercourse, which also savoured of mystery. They met only once a
week--Friday was the appointed day--and she explained to the Lord of
Ravenswood that they were under the necessity of separating so soon as
the bell of a chapel, belonging to a hermitage in the adjoining wood,
now long ruinous, should toll the hour of vespers. In the course of his
confession, the Baron of Ravenswood entrusted the hermit with the
secret of this singular amour, and Father Zachary drew the necessary and
obvious consequence that his patron was enveloped in the toils of Satan,
and in danger of destruction, both to body and soul. He urged these
perils to the Baron with all the force of monkish rhetoric, and
described, in the most frightful colours, the real character and person
of the apparently lovely Naiad, whom he hesitated not to denounce as
a limb of the kingdom of darkness. The lover listened with obstinate
incredulity; and it was not until worn out by the obstinacy of the
anchoret that he consented to put the state and condition of his
mistress to a certain trial, and for that purpose acquiesced in
Zachary's proposal that on their next interview the vespers bell
should be rung half an hour later than usual. The hermit maintained
and bucklered his opinion, by quotations from Malleus Malificarum,
Sprengerus, Remigius, and other learned demonologists, that the Evil
One, thus seduced to remain behind the appointed hour, would assume her
true shape, and, having appeared to her terrified lover as a fiend of
hell, would vanish from him in a flash of sulphurous lightning. Raymond
of Ravenswood acquiesced in the experiment, not incurious concerning
the issue, though confident it would disappoint the expectations of the
hermit.

At the appointed hour the lovers met, and their interview was protracted
beyond that at which they usually parted, by the delay of the priest
to ring his usual curfew. No change took place upon the nymph's outward
form; but as soon as the lengthening shadows made her aware that the
usual hour of the vespers chime was passed, she tore herself from her
lover's arms with a shriek of despair, bid him adieu for ever, and,
plunging into the fountain, disappeared from his eyes. The bubbles
occasioned by her descent were crimsoned with blood as they arose,
leading the distracted Baron to infer that his ill-judged curiosity
had occasioned the death of this interesting and mysterious being. The
remorse which he felt, as well as the recollection of her charms, proved
the penance of his future life, which he lost in the battle of Flodden
not many months after. But, in memory of his Naiad, he had previously
ornamented the fountain in which she appeared to reside, and secured its
waters from profanation or pollution by the small vaulted building of
which the fragments still remained scattered around it. From this period
the house of Ravenswood was supposed to have dated its decay.

Such was the generally-received legend, which some, who would seem
wiser than the vulgar, explained as obscurely intimating the fate of a
beautiful maid of plebeian rank, the mistress of this Raymond, whom he
slew in a fit of jealousy, and whose blood was mingled with the waters
of the locked fountain, as it was commonly called. Others imagined
that the tale had a more remote origin in the ancient heathen mythology.
All, however, agreed that the spot was fatal to the Ravenswood family;
and that to drink of the waters of the well, or even approach its brink,
was as ominous to a descendant of that house as for a Grahame to wear
green, a Bruce to kill a spider, or a St. Clair to cross the Ord on a
Monday.

It was on this ominous spot that Lucy Ashton first drew breath after her
long and almost deadly swoon. Beautiful and pale as the fabulous Naiad
in the last agony of separation from her lover, she was seated so as to
rest with her back against a part of the ruined wall, while her mantle,
dripping with the water which her protector had used profusely to recall
her senses, clung to her slender and beautifully proportioned form.

The first moment of recollection brought to her mind the danger which
had overpowered her senses; the next called to remembrance that of her
father. She looked around; he was nowhere to be seen. "My father, my
father!" was all that she could ejaculate.

"Sir William is safe," answered the voice of a stranger--"perfectly
safe, adn will be with you instantly."

"Are you sure of that?" exclaimed Lucy. "The bull was close by us. Do
not stop me: I must go to seek my father!"

And she rose with that purpose; but her strength was so much exhausted
that, far from possessing the power to execute her purpose, she must
have fallen against the stone on which she had leant, probably not
without sustaining serious injury.

The stranger was so near to her that, without actually suffering her to
fall, he could not avoid catching her in his arms, which, however, he
did with a momentary reluctance, very unusual when youth interposes to
prevent beauty from danger. It seemed as if her weight, slight as it
was, proved too heavy for her young and athletic assistant, for, without
feeling the temptation of detaining her in his arms even for a single
instant, he again placed her on the stone from which she had risen,
and retreating a few steps, repeated hastily "Sir William Ashton is
perfectly safe and will be here instantly. Do not make yourself anxious
on his account: Fate has singularly preserved him. You, madam, are
exhausted, and must not think of rising until you have some assistance
more suitable than mine."

Lucy, whose senses were by this time more effectually collected, was
naturally led to look at the stranger with attention. There was nothing
in his appearance which should have rendered him unwilling to offer his
arm to a young lady who required support, or which could have induced
her to refuse his assistance; and she could not help thinking, even
in that moment, that he seemed cold and reluctant to offer it. A
shooting-dress of dark cloth intimated the rank of the wearer, though
concealed in part by a large and loose cloak of a dark brown colour.
A montero cap and a black feather drooped over the wearer's brow,
and partly concealed his features, which, so far as seen, were dark,
regular, adn full of majestic, though somewhat sullen, expression.
Some secret sorrow, or the brooding spirit of some moody passion, had
quenched the light and ingenuous vivacity of youth in a countenance
singularly fitted to display both, and it was not easy to gaze on the
stranger without a secret impression either of pity or awe, or at least
of doubt and curiosity allied to both.

The impression which we have necessarily been long in describing, Lucy
felt in the glance of a moment, and had no sooner encountered the keen
black eyes of the stranger than her own were bent on the ground with a
mixture of bashful embarrassment and fear. Yet there was a necessity to
speak, or at last she thought so, and in a fluttered accent she began
to mention her wonderful escape, in which she was sure that the stranger
must, under Heaven, have been her father's protector and her own.

He seemed to shrink from her expressions of gratitude, while he replied
abruptly, "I leave you, madam," the deep melody of his voice rendered
powerful, but not harsh, by something like a severity of tone--"I leave
you to the protection of those to whom it is possible you may have this
day been a guardian angel."

Lucy was surprised at the ambiguity of his language, and, with a feeling
of artless and unaffected gratitude, began to deprecate the idea of
having intended to give her deliverer any offence, as if such a thing
had been possible. "I have been unfortunate," she said, "in endeavouring
to express my thanks--I am sure it must be so, though I cannot recollect
what I said; but would you but stay till my father--till the Lord Keeper
comes; would you only permit him to pay you his thanks, and to inquire
your name?"

"My name is unnecessary," answered the stranger; "your father--I would
rather say Sir William Ashton--will learn it soon enough, for all the
pleasure it is likely to afford him."

"You mistake him," said Lucy, earnestly; "he will be grateful for my
sake and for his own. You do not know my father, or you are deceiving me
with a story of his safety, when he has already fallen a victim to the
fury of that animal."

When she had caught this idea, she started from the ground and
endeavoured to press towards the avenue in which the accident had taken
place, while the stranger, though he seemed to hesitate between the
desire to assist and the wish to leave her, was obliged, in common
humanity, to oppose her both by entreaty and action.

"On the word of a gentleman, madam, I tell you the truth; your father
is in perfect safety; you will expose yourself to injury if you venture
back where the herd of wild cattle grazed. If you will go"--for, having
once adopted the idea that her father was still in danger, she pressed
forward in spite of him--"if you WILL go, accept my arm, though I am not
perhaps the person who can with most propriety offer you support."

But, without heeding this intimation, Lucy took him at his word. "Oh,
if you be a man," she said--"if you be a gentleman, assist me to find my
father! You shall not leave me--you must go with me; he is dying perhaps
while we are talking here!"

Then, without listening to excuse or apology, and holding fast by the
stranger's arm, though unconscious of anything save the support which
it gave, and without which she could not have moved, mixed with a vague
feeling of preventing his escape from her, she was urging, and almost
dragging, him forward when Sir William Ashton came up, followed by the
female attendant of blind Alice, and by two woodcutters, whom he had
summoned from their occupation to his assistance. His joy at seeing his
daughter safe overcame the surprise with which he would at another time
have beheld her hanging as familiarly on the arm of a stranger as she
might have done upon his own.

"Lucy, my dear Lucy, are you safe?--are you well?" were the only words
that broke from him as he embraced her in ecstasy.

"I am well, sir, thank God! and still more that I see you so; but this
gentleman," she said, quitting his arm and shrinking from him, "what
must he think of me?" and her eloquent blood, flushing over neck and
brow, spoke how much she was ashamed of the freedom with which she had
craved, and even compelled, his assistance.

"This gentleman," said Sir William Ashton, "will, I trust, not regret
the trouble we have given him, when I assure him of the gratitude of
the Lord Keeper for the greatest service which one man ever rendered to
another--for the life of my child--for my own life, which he has saved
by his bravery and presence of mind. He will, I am sure, permit us to
request----" "Request nothing of ME, my lord," said the stranger, in a
stern and peremptory tone; "I am the Master of Ravenswood."

There was a dead pause of surprise, not unmixed with less pleasant
feelings. The Master wrapt himself in his cloak, made a haughty
inclination toward Lucy, muttering a few words of courtesy, as
indistinctly heard as they seemed to be reluctantly uttered, and,
turning from them, was immediately lost in the thicket.

"The Master of Ravenswood!" said the Lord Keeper, when he had recovered
his momentary astonishment. "Hasten after him--stop him--beg him to
speak to me for a single moment."

The two foresters accordingly set off in pursuit of the stranger. They
speedily reappeared, and, in an embarrassed and awkward manner, said the
gentleman would not return.

The Lord Keeper took one of the fellows aside, and questioned him more
closely what the Master of Ravenswood had said.

"He just said he wadna come back," said the man, with the caution of
a prudent Scotchman, who cared not to be the bearer of an unpleasant
errand.

"He said something more, sir," said the Lord Keeper, "and I insist on
knowing what it was."

"Why, then, my lord," said the man, looking down, "he said--But it wad
be nae pleasure to your lordship to hear it, for I dare say the Master
meant nae ill."

"That's none of your concern, sir; I desire to hear the very words."

"Weel, then," replied the man, "he said, 'Tell Sir William Ashton that
the next time he and I forgather, he will nto be half sae blythe of our
meeting as of our parting.'"

"Very well, sir," said the Lord Keeper, "I believe he alludes to a wager
we have on our hawks; it is a matter of no consequence."

He turned to his daughter, who was by this time so much recovered as to
be able to walk home. But the effect, which the various recollections
connected with a scene so terrific made upon a mind which was
susceptible in an extreme degree, was more permanent than the injury
which her nerves had sustained. Visions of terror, both in sleep and in
waking reveries, recalled to her the form of the furious animal, and the
dreadful bellow with which he accompanied his career; and it was always
the image of the Master of Ravenswood, with his native nobleness of
countenance and form, that seemed to interpose betwixt her and assured
death. It is, perhaps, at all times dangerous for a young person to
suffer recollection to dwell repeatedly, and with too much complacency,
on the same individual; but in Lucy's situation it was almost
unavoidable. She had never happened to see a young man of mien and
features so romantic and so striking as young Ravenswood; but had she
seen an hundred his equals or his superiors in those particulars, no one
else would have been linked to her heart by the strong associations of
remembered danger and escape, of gratitude, wonder, and curiosity. I
say curiosity, for it is likely that the singularly restrained and
unaccommodating manners of the Master of Ravenswood, so much at variance
with the natural expression of his features and grace of his deportment,
as they excited wonder by the contrast, had their effect in riveting her
attention to the recollections. She knew little of Ravenswood, or the
disputes which had existed betwixt her father and his, and perhaps could
in her gentleness of mind hardly have comprehended the angry and bitter
passions which they had engendered. But she knew that he was come of
noble stem; was poor, though descended from the noble and the wealthy;
and she felt that she could sympathise with the feelings of a proud
mind, which urged him to recoil from the proffered gratitude of the new
proprietors of his father's house and domains. Would he have equally
shunned their acknowledgments and avoided their intimacy, had her
father's request been urged more mildly, less abruptly, and softened
with the grace which women so well know how to throw into their manner,
when they mean to mediate betwixt the headlong passions of the ruder
sex? This was a perilous question to ask her own mind--perilous both in
the idea and its consequences.

Lucy Ashton, in short, was involved in those mazes of the imagination
which are most dangerous to the young and the sensitive. Time, it
is true, absence, change of scene and new faces, might probably have
destroyed the illusion in her instance, as it has done in many others;
but her residence remained solitary, and her mind without those means of
dissipating her pleasing visions. This solitude was chiefly owing to the
absence of Lady Ashton, who was at this time in Edinburgh, watching the
progress of some state-intrigue; the Lord Keeper only received society
out of policy or ostentation, and was by nature rather reserved and
unsociable; and thus no cavalier appeared to rival or to obscure the
ideal picture of chivalrous excellence which Lucy had pictured to
herself in the Master of Ravenswood.

While Lucy indulged in these dreams, she made frequent visits to old
blind Alice, hoping it would be easy to lead her to talk on the subject
which at present she had so imprudently admitted to occupy so large a
portion of her thoughts. But Alice did not in this particular gratify
her wishes and expectations. She spoke readily, and with pathetic
feeling, concerning the family in general, but seemed to observe
an especial and cautious silence on the subject of the present
representative. The little she said of him was not altogether so
favourable as Lucy had anticipated. She hinted that he was of a stern
and unforgiving character, more ready to resent than to pardon injuries;
and Lucy combined, with great alarm, the hints which she now dropped
of these dangerous qualities with Alice's advice to her father, so
emphatically given, "to beware of Ravenswood."

But that very Ravenswood, of whom such unjust suspicions had been
entertained, had, almost immediately after they had been uttered,
confuted them by saving at once her father's life and her own. Had he
nourished such black revenge as Alice's dark hints seemed to indicate,
no deed of active guilt was necessary to the full gratification of
that evil passion. He needed but to have withheld for an instant his
indispensable and effective assistance, and the object of his resentment
must have perished, without any direct aggression on his part, by a
death equally fearful and certain. She conceived, therefore, that some
secret prejudice, or the suspicions incident to age and misfortune,
had led Alice to form conclusions injurious to the character, and
irreconcilable both with the generous conduct and noble features, of the
Master of Ravenswood. And in this belief Lucy reposed her hope, and went
on weaving her enchanted web of fairy tissue, as beautiful and transient
as the film of the gossamer when it is pearled with the morning dew and
glimmering to the sun.

Her father, in the mean while, as well as the Master of Ravenswood, were
making reflections, as frequent though more solid than those of Lucy,
upon the singular event which had taken place. The Lord Keeper's first
task, when he returned home, was to ascertain by medical advice that
his daughter had sustained no injury from the dangerous and alarming
situation in which she had been placed. Satisfied on this topic, he
proceeded to revise the memoranda which he had taken down from the mouth
of the person employed to interrupt the funeral service of the late
Lord Ravenswood. Bred to casuistry, and well accustomed to practise the
ambidexter ingenuity of the bar, it cost him little trouble to soften
the features of the tumult which he had been at first so anxious to
exaggerate. He preached to his colleagues of the privy council the
necessity of using conciliatory measures with young men, whose blood
and temper were hot, and their experience of life limited. He did not
hesitate to attribute some censure to the conduct of the officer, as
having been unnecessarily irritating.

These were the contents of his public despatches. The letters which
he wrote to those private friends into whose management the matter was
likely to fall were of a yet more favourable tenor. He represented
that lenity in this case would be equally politic and popular, whereas,
considering the high respect with which the rites of interment are
regarded in Scotland, any severity exercised against the Master of
Ravenswood for protecting those of his father from interruption, would
be on all sides most unfavourably construed. And, finally, assuming the
language of a generous and high-spirited man, he made it his particular
request that this affair should be passed over without severe notice. He
alluded with delicacy to the predicament in which he himself stood with
young Ravenswood, as having succeeded in the long train of litigation
by which the fortunes of that noble house had been so much reduced, and
confessed it would be most peculiarly acceptable to his own feelings,
could he find in some sort to counterbalance the disadvantages which he
had occasioned the family, though only in the prosecution of his just
and lawful rights. He therefore made it his particular and personal
request that the matter should have no farther consequences, an
insinuated a desire that he himself should have the merit of having
put a stop to it by his favourable report and intercession. It was
particularly remarkable that, contrary to his uniform practice, he made
no special communication to Lady Ashton upon the subject of the tumult;
and although he mentioned the alarm which Lucy had received from one
of the wild cattle, yet he gave no detailed account of an incident so
interesting and terrible.

There was much surprise among Sir William Ashton's political friends and
colleagues on receiving letters of a tenor so unexpected. On comparing
notes together, one smiled, one put up his eyebrows, a third nodded
acquiescence in the general wonder, and a fourth asked if they were sure
these were ALL the letters the Lord Keeper had written on the subject.
"It runs strangely in my mind, my lords, that none of these advices
contain the root of the matter."

But no secret letters of a contrary nature had been received, although
the question seemed to imply the possibility of their existence.

"Well," said an old grey-headed statesman, who had contrived, by
shifting and trimming, to maintain his post at the steerage through all
the changes of course which the vessel had held for thirty years, "I
thought Sir William would hae verified the auld Scottish saying, 'As
soon comes the lamb's skin to market as the auld tup's'."

"We must please him after his own fashion," said another, "though it be
an unlooked-for one."

"A wilful man maun hae his way," answered the old counsellor.

"The Keeper will rue this before year and day are out," said a third;
"the Master of Ravenswood is the lad to wind him a pirn."

"Why, what would you do, my lords, with the poor young fellow?" said a
noble Marquis present. "The Lord Keeper has got all his estates; he has
not a cross to bless himself with."

On which the ancient Lord Turntippet replied,

"If he hasna gear to fine,
He ha shins to pine.

"And that was our way before the Revolution: Lucitur cum persona, qui
luere non potest cum crumena. Hegh, my lords, that's gude law Latin."

"I can see no motive," replied the Marquis, "that any noble lord can
have for urging this matter farther; let the Lord Keeper have the power
to deal in it as he pleases."

"Agree, agree--remit to the Lord Keeper, with any other person for
fashion's sake--Lord Hirplehooly, who is bed-ridden--one to be a quorum.
Make your entry in the minutes, Mr. Clerk. And now, my lords, there is
that young scattergood the Laird of Bucklaw's fine to be disposed upon.
I suppose it goes to my Lord Treasurer?"

"Shame be in my meal-poke, then," exclaimed the Lord Turntippet, "and
your hand aye in the nook of it! I had set that down for a bye-bit
between meals for mysell."

"To use one of your favourite saws, my lord," replied the Marquis, "you
are like the miller's dog, that licks his lips before the bag is untied:
the man is not fined yet."

"But that costs but twa skarts of a pen," said Lord Turntippet; "and
surely there is nae noble lord that will presume to say that I, wha hae
complied wi' a' compliances, taen all manner of tests, adjured all that
was to be abjured, and sworn a' that was to be sworn, for these thirty
years bye-past, sticking fast by my duty to the state through good
report and bad report, shouldna hae something now and then to synd my
mouth wi' after sic drouthy wark? Eh?"

"It would be very unreasonable indeed, my lord," replied the Marquis,
"had we either thought that your lordship's drought was quenchable, or
observed anything stick in your throat that required washing down."

And so we close the scene on the privy council of that period.

Sir Walter Scott