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Chapter 10


Bid not thy fortune troll upon the wheels
Of yonder dancing cubes of mottled bone;
And drown it not, like Egypt's royal harlot,
Dissolving her rich pearl in the brimm'd wine-cup.
These are the arts, Lothario, which shrink acres
Into brief yards--bring sterling pounds to farthings,
Credit to infamy; and the poor gull,
Who might have lived an honour'd, easy life,
To ruin, and an unregarded grave.
_The Changes._

When they were fairly embarked on the Thames, the earl took from his
pocket the Supplication, and, pointing out to George Heriot the royal
warrant indorsed thereon, asked him, if it were in due and regular
form? The worthy citizen hastily read it over, thrust forth his hand
as if to congratulate the Lord Glenvarloch, then checked himself,
pulled out his barnacles, (a present from old David Ramsay,) and again
perused the warrant with the most business-like and critical
attention. "It is strictly correct and formal," he said, looking to
the Earl of Huntinglen; "and I sincerely rejoice at it."

"I doubt nothing of its formality," said the earl; "the king
understands business well, and, if he does not practise it often, it
is only because indolence obscures parts which are naturally well
qualified for the discharge of affairs. But what is next to be done
for our young friend, Master Heriot? You know how I am circumstanced.
Scottish lords living at the English Court have seldom command of
money; yet, unless a sum can be presently raised on this warrant,
matters standing as you hastily hinted to me, the mortgage, wadset, or
whatever it is called, will be foreclosed."

"It is true," said Heriot, in some embarrassment; "there is a large
sum wanted in redemption--yet, if it is not raised, there will be an
expiry of the legal, as our lawyers call it, and the estate will be
evicted."

"My noble--my worthy friends, who have taken up my cause so
undeservedly, so unexpectedly," said Nigel, "do not let me be a burden
on your kindness. You have already done too much where nothing was
merited."

"Peace, man, peace," said Lord Huntinglen, "and let old Heriot and I
puzzle this scent out. He is about to open--hark to him!"

"My lord," said the citizen, "the Duke of Buckingham sneers at our
city money-bags; yet they can sometimes open, to prop a falling and a
noble house."

"We know they can," said Lord Huntinglen--"mind not Buckingham, he is
a Peg-a-Ramsay--and now for the remedy."

"I partly hinted to Lord Glenvarloch already," said Heriot, "that the
redemption money might be advanced upon such a warrant as the present,
and I will engage my credit that it can. But then, in order to secure
the lender, he must come in the shoes of the creditor to whom he
advances payment."

"Come in his shoes!" replied the earl; "why, what have boots or shoes
to do with this matter, my good friend?"

"It is a law phrase, my lord. My experience has made me pick up a few
of them," said Heriot.

"Ay, and of better things along with them, Master George," replied
Lord Huntinglen; "but what means it?"

"Simply this," resumed the citizen; "that the lender of this money
will transact with the holder of the mortgage, or wadset, over the
estate of Glenvarloch, and obtain from him such a conveyance to his
right as shall leave the lands pledged for the debt, in case the
warrant upon the Scottish Exchequer should prove unproductive. I fear,
in this uncertainty of public credit, that without some such counter
security, it will be very difficult to find so large a sum."

"Ho la!" said the Earl of Huntinglen, "halt there! a thought strikes
me.--What if the new creditor should admire the estate as a hunting-
field, as much as my Lord Grace of Buckingham seems to do, and should
wish to kill a buck there in the summer season? It seems to me, that
on your plan, Master George, our new friend will be as well entitled
to block Lord Glenvarloch out of his inheritance as the present holder
of the mortgage."

The citizen laughed. "I will engage," he said, "that the keenest
sportsman to whom I may apply on this occasion, shall not have a
thought beyond the Lord Mayor's Easter-Hunt, in Epping Forest. But
your lordship's caution is reasonable. The creditor must be bound to
allow Lord Glenvarloch sufficient time to redeem his estate by means
of the royal warrant, and must wave in his favour the right of instant
foreclosure, which may be, I should think, the more easily managed, as
the right of redemption must be exercised in his own name."

"But where shall we find a person in London fit to draw the necessary
writings?" said the earl. "If my old friend Sir John Skene of Halyards
had lived, we should have had his advice; but time presses, and--"

"I know," said Heriot, "an orphan lad, a scrivener, that dwells by
Temple Bar; he can draw deeds both after the English and Scottish
fashion, and I have trusted him often in matters of weight and of
importance. I will send one of my serving-men for him, and the mutual
deeds may be executed in your lordship's presence; for, as things
stand, there should be no delay." His lordship readily assented; and,
as they now landed upon the private stairs leading down to the river
from the gardens of the handsome hotel which he inhabited, the
messenger was dispatched without loss of time.

Nigel, who had sat almost stupefied while these zealous friends
volunteered for him in arranging the measures by which his fortune was
to be disembarrassed, now made another eager attempt to force upon
them his broken expressions of thanks and gratitude. But he was again
silenced by Lord Huntinglen, who declared he would not hear a word on
that topic, and proposed instead, that they should take a turn in the
pleached alley, or sit upon the stone bench which overlooked the
Thames, until his son's arrival should give the signal for dinner.

"I desire to introduce Dalgarno and Lord Glenvarloch to each other,"
he said, "as two who will be near neighbours, and I trust will be more
kind ones than their fathers were formerly. There is but three Scots
miles betwixt the castles, and the turrets of the one are visible from
the battlements of the other."

The old earl was silent for a moment, and appeared to muse upon the
recollections which the vicinity of the castles had summoned up.

"Does Lord Dalgarno follow the Court to Newmarket next week?" said
Heriot, by way of removing the conversation.

"He proposes so, I think," answered Lord Huntinglen, relapsed into his
reverie for a minute or two, and then addressed Nigel somewhat
abruptly--

"My young friend, when you attain possession of your inheritance, as I
hope you soon will, I trust you will not add one to the idle followers
of the Court, but reside on your patrimonial estate, cherish your
ancient tenants, relieve and assist your poor kinsmen, protect the
poor against subaltern oppression, and do what our fathers used to do,
with fewer lights and with less means than we have."

"And yet the advice to keep the country," said Heriot, "comes from an
ancient and constant ornament of the Court."

"From an old courtier, indeed," said the earl, "and the first of my
family that could so write himself--my grey beard falls on a cambric
ruff and a silken doublet--my father's descended upon a buff coat and
a breast-plate. I would not that those days of battle returned; but I
should love well to make the oaks of my old forest of Dalgarno ring
once more with halloo, and horn, and hound, and to have the old stone-
arched hall return the hearty shout of my vassals and tenants, as the
bicker and the quaigh walked their rounds amongst them. I should like
to see the broad Tay once more before I die--not even the Thames can
match it, in my mind."

"Surely, my lord," said the citizen, "all this might be easily done--
it costs but a moment's resolution, and the journey of some brief
days, and you will be where you desire to be--what is there to prevent
you?"

"Habits, Master George, habits," replied the earl, "which to young men
are like threads of silk, so lightly are they worn, so soon broken;
but which hang on our old limbs as if time had stiffened them into
gyves of iron. To go to Scotland for a brief space were but labour in
vain; and when I think of abiding there, I cannot bring myself to
leave my old master, to whom I fancy myself sometimes useful, and
whose weal and woe I have shared for so many years. But Dalgarno shall
be a Scottish noble."

"Has he visited the North?" said Heriot.

"He was there last year and made such a report of the country, that
the prince has expressed a longing to see it." "Lord Dalgarno is in
high grace with his Highness and the Duke of Buckingham?" observed the
goldsmith.

"He is so," answered the earl,--"I pray it may be for the advantage of
them all. The prince is just and equitable in his sentiments, though
cold and stately in his manners, and very obstinate in his most
trifling purposes; and the duke, noble and gallant, and generous and
open, is fiery, ambitious, and impetuous. Dalgarno has none of these
faults, and such as he may have of his own, may perchance be corrected
by the society in which he moves.--See, here he comes."

Lord Dalgarno accordingly advanced from the farther end of the alley
to the bench on which his father and his guests were seated, so that
Nigel had full leisure to peruse his countenance and figure. He was
dressed point-device, and almost to extremity, in the splendid fashion
of the time, which suited well with his age, probably about five-and-
twenty, with a noble form and fine countenance, in which last could
easily be traced the manly features of his father, but softened by a
more habitual air of assiduous courtesy than the stubborn old earl had
ever condescended to assume towards the world in general. In other
respects, his address was gallant, free, and unencumbered either by
pride or ceremony--far remote certainly from the charge either of
haughty coldness or forward impetuosity; and so far his father had
justly freed him from the marked faults which he ascribed to the
manners of the prince and his favourite Buckingham.

While the old earl presented his young acquaintance Lord Glenvarloch
to his son, as one whom he would have him love and honour, Nigel
marked the countenance of Lord Dalgarno closely, to see if he could
detect aught of that secret dislike which the king had, in one of his
broken expostulations, seemed to intimate, as arising from a clashing
of interests betwixt his new friend and the great Buckingham. But
nothing of this was visible; on the contrary, Lord Dalgarno received
his new acquaintance with the open frankness and courtesy which makes
conquest at once, when addressed to the feelings of an ingenuous young
man.

It need hardly be told that his open and friendly address met equally
ready and cheerful acceptation from Nigel Olifaunt. For many months,
and while a youth not much above two-and-twenty, he had been
restrained by circumstances from the conversation of his equals. When,
on his father's sudden death, he left the Low Countries for Scotland,
he had found himself involved, to all appearance inextricably, with
the details of the law, all of which threatened to end in the
alienation of the patrimony which should support his hereditary rank.
His term of sincere mourning, joined to injured pride, and the
swelling of the heart under unexpected and undeserved misfortune,
together with the uncertainty attending the issue of his affairs, had
induced the young Lord of Glenvarloch to live, while in Scotland, in a
very private and reserved manner. How he had passed his time in
London, the reader is acquainted with. But this melancholy and
secluded course of life was neither agreeable to his age nor to his
temper, which was genial and sociable. He hailed, therefore, with
sincere pleasure, the approaches which a young man of his own age and
rank made towards him; and when he had exchanged with Lord Dalgarno
some of those words and signals by which, as surely as by those of
freemasonry, young people recognise a mutual wish to be agreeable to
each other, it seemed as if the two noblemen had been acquainted for
some time.

Just as this tacit intercourse had been established, one of Lord
Huntinglen's attendants came down the alley, marshalling onwards a man
dressed in black buckram, who followed him with tolerable speed,
considering that, according to his sense of reverence and propriety,
he kept his body bent and parallel to the horizon from the moment that
he came in sight of the company to which he was about to be presented.

"Who is this, you cuckoldy knave," said the old lord, who had retained
the keen appetite and impatience of a Scottish baron even during a
long alienation from his native country; "and why does John Cook, with
a murrain to him, keep back dinner?"

"I believe we are ourselves responsible for this person's intrusion,"
said George Heriot; "this is the scrivener whom we desired to see.--
Look up, man, and see us in the face as an honest man should, instead
of beating thy noddle charged against us thus, like a battering-ram."

The scrivener did look up accordingly, with the action of an automaton
which suddenly obeys the impulse of a pressed spring. But, strange to
tell, not even the haste he had made to attend his patron's mandate, a
business, as Master Heriot's message expressed, of weight and
importance--nay not even the state of depression in which, out of
sheer humility, doubtless, he had his head stooped to the earth, from
the moment he had trod the demesnes of the Earl of Huntinglen, had
called any colour into his countenance. The drops stood on his brow
from haste and toil, but his cheek was still pale and tallow-coloured
as before; nay, what seemed stranger, his very hair, when he raised
his head, hung down on either cheek as straight and sleek and
undisturbed as it was when we first introduced him to our readers,
seated at his quiet and humble desk.

Lord Dalgarno could not forbear a stifled laugh at the ridiculous and
puritanical figure which presented itself like a starved anatomy to
the company, and whispered at the same time into Lord Glenvarloch's
ear--

"The devil damn thee black, thou cream-faced loon,
Where got'st thou that goose-look?"

Nigel was too little acquainted with the English stage to understand a
quotation which had already grown matter of common allusion in London.
Lord Dalgarno saw that he was not understood, and continued, "That
fellow, by his visage, should either be a saint, or a most
hypocritical rogue--and such is my excellent opinion of human nature,
that I always suspect the worst. But they seem deep in business. Will
you take a turn with me in the garden, my lord, or will you remain a
member of the serious conclave?"

"With you, my lord, most willingly," said Nigel; and they were turning
away accordingly, when George Heriot, with the formality belonging to
his station, observed, that, "as their business concerned Lord
Glenvarloch, he had better remain, to make himself master of it, and
witness to it."

"My presence is utterly needless, my good lord;-and, my best friend,
Master Heriot," said the young nobleman, "I shall understand nothing
the better for cumbering you with my ignorance in these matters; and
can only say at the end, as I now say at the beginning, that I dare
not take the helm out of the hand of the kind pilots who have already
guided my course within sight of a fair and unhoped-for haven.
Whatever you recommend to me as fitting, I shall sign and seal; and
the import of the deeds I shall better learn by a brief explanation
from Master Heriot, if he will bestow so much trouble in my behalf,
than by a thousand learned words and law terms from this person of
skill."

"He is right," said Lord Huntinglen; "our young friend is right, in
confiding these matters to you and me, Master George Heriot--he has
not misplaced his confidence."

Master George Heriot cast a long look after the two young noblemen,
who had now walked down the alley arm-in-arm, and at length said, "He
hath not, indeed, misplaced his confidence, as your lordship well and
truly says--but, nevertheless, he is not in the right path; for it
behoves every man to become acquainted with his own affairs, so soon
as he hath any that are worth attending to."

When he had made this observation, they applied themselves, with the
scrivener, to look into various papers, and to direct in what manner
writings should be drawn, which might at once afford sufficient
security to those who were to advance the money, and at the same time
preserve the right of the young nobleman to redeem the family estate,
provided he should obtain the means of doing so, by the expected
reimbursement from the Scottish Exchequer, or otherwise. It is
needless to enter into those details. But it is not unimportant to
mention, as an illustration of character, that Heriot went into the
most minute legal details with a precision which showed that
experience had made him master even of the intricacies of Scottish
conveyancing; and that the Earl of Huntinglen, though far less
acquainted with technical detail, suffered no step of the business to
pass over, until he had attained a general but distinct idea of its
import and its propriety.

They seemed to be admirably seconded in their benevolent intentions
towards the young Lord Glenvarloch, by the skill and eager zeal of the
scrivener, whom Heriot had introduced to this piece of business, the
most important which Andrew had ever transacted in his life, and the
particulars of which were moreover agitated in his presence between an
actual earl, and one whose wealth and character might entitle him to
be an alderman of his ward, if not to be lord mayor, in his turn.

While they were thus in eager conversation on business, the good earl
even forgetting the calls of his appetite, and the delay of dinner, in
his anxiety to see that the scrivener received proper instructions,
and that all was rightly weighed and considered, before dismissing him
to engross the necessary deeds, the two young men walked together on
the terrace which overhung the river, and talked on the topics which
Lord Dalgarno, the elder, and the more experienced, thought most
likely to interest his new friend.

These naturally regarded the pleasures attending a Court life; and
Lord Dalgarno expressed much surprise at understanding that Nigel
proposed an instant return to Scotland.

"You are jesting with me," he said. "All the Court rings--it is
needless to mince it--with the extraordinary success of your suit--
against the highest interest, it is said, now influencing the horizon
at Whitehall. Men think of you--talk of you--fix their eyes on you--
ask each other, who is this young Scottish lord, who has stepped so
far in a single day? They augur, in whispers to each other, how high
and how far you may push your fortune--and all that you design to make
of it, is, to return to Scotland, eat raw oatmeal cakes, baked upon a
peat-fire, have your hand shaken by every loon of a blue-bonnet who
chooses to dub you cousin, though your relationship comes by Noah;
drink Scots twopenny ale, eat half-starved red-deer venison, when you
can kill it, ride upon a galloway, and be called my right honourable
and maist worthy lord!"

"There is no great gaiety in the prospect before me, I confess," said
Lord Glenvarloch, "even if your father and good Master Heriot should
succeed in putting my affairs on some footing of plausible hope. And
yet I trust to do something for my vassals as my ancestors before me,
and to teach my children, as I have myself been taught, to make some
personal sacrifices, if they be necessary, in order to maintain with
dignity the situation in which they are placed by Providence."

Lord Dalgarno, after having once or twice stifled his laughter during
this speech, at length broke out into a fit of mirth, so hearty and so
resistless, that, angry as he was, the call of sympathy swept Nigel
along with him, and despite of himself, he could not forbear to join
in a burst of laughter, which he thought not only causeless, but
almost impertinent.

He soon recollected himself, however, and said, in a tone qualified to
allay Lord Dalgarno's extreme mirth: "This is all well, my lord; but
how am I to understand your merriment?" Lord Dalgarno only answered
him with redoubled peals of laughter, and at length held by Lord
Glenvarloch's cloak, as if to prevent his falling down on the ground,
in the extremity of his convulsion.

At length, while Nigel stood half abashed, half angry, at becoming
thus the subject of his new acquaintance's ridicule, and was only
restrained from expressing his resentment against the son, by a sense
of the obligations he owed the father, Lord Dalgarno recovered
himself, and spoke in a half-broken voice, his eyes still running with
tears: "I crave your pardon, my dear Lord Glenvarloch--ten thousand
times do I crave your pardon. But that last picture of rural dignity,
accompanied by your grave and angry surprise at my laughing at what
would have made any court-bred hound laugh, that had but so much as
bayed the moon once from the court-yard at Whitehall, totally overcame
me. Why, my liefest and dearest lord, you, a young and handsome
fellow, with high birth, a title, and the name of an estate, so well
received by the king at your first starting, as makes your further
progress scarce matter of doubt, if you know how to improve it--for
the king has already said you are a 'braw lad, and well studied in the
more humane letters'--you, too, whom all the women, and the very
marked beauties of the Court, desire to see, because you came from
Leyden, were born in Scotland, and have gained a hard-contested suit
in England--you, I say, with a person like a prince, an eye of fire,
and a wit as quick, to think of throwing your cards on the table when
the game is in your very hand, running back to the frozen north, and
marrying--let me see--a tall, stalking, blue-eyed, fair-skinned bony
wench, with eighteen quarters in her scutcheon, a sort of Lot's wife,
newly descended from her pedestal, and with her to shut yourself up in
your tapestried chamber! Uh, gad!--Swouns, I shall never survive the
idea!"

It is seldom that youth, however high-minded, is able, from mere
strength of character and principle, to support itself against the
force of ridicule. Half angry, half mortified, and, to say truth, half
ashamed of his more manly and better purpose, Nigel was unable, and
flattered himself it was unnecessary, to play the part of a rigid
moral patriot, in presence of a young man whose current fluency of
language, as well as his experience in the highest circles of society,
gave him, in spite of Nigel's better and firmer thoughts, a temporary
ascendency over him. He sought, therefore, to compromise the matter,
and avoid farther debate, by frankly owning, that, if to return to his
own country were not his choice, it was at least a matter of
necessity. "His affairs," he said, "were unsettled, his income
precarious."

"And where is he whose affairs are settled, or whose income is less
than precarious, that is to be found in attendance on the Court?" said
Lord Dalgarno; "all are either losing or winning. Those who have
wealth, come hither to get rid of it, while the happy gallants, who,
like you and I, dear Glenvarloch, have little or none, have every
chance to be sharers in their spoils."

"I have no ambition of that sort," said Nigel, "and if I had, I must
tell you plainly, Lord Dalgarno, I have not the means to do so. I can
scarce as yet call the suit I wear my own; I owe it, and I do riot
blush to say so, to the friendship of yonder good man."

"I will not laugh again, if I can help it," said Lord Dalgarno. "But,
Lord! that you should have gone to a wealthy goldsmith for your habit
--why, I could have brought you to an honest, confiding tailor, who
should have furnished you with half-a-dozen, merely for love of the
little word, 'lordship,' which you place before your name;--and then
your goldsmith, if he be really a friendly goldsmith, should have
equipped you with such a purse of fair rose-nobles as would have
bought you thrice as many suits, or done better things for you."

"I do not understand these fashions, my lord," said Nigel, his
displeasure mastering his shame; "were I to attend the Court of my
sovereign, it should be when I could maintain, without shifting or
borrowing, the dress and retinue which my rank requires."

"Which my rank requires!" said Lord Dalgarno, repeating his last
words; "that, now, is as good as if my father had spoke it. I fancy
you would love to move to Court with him, followed by a round score of
old blue-bottles, with white heads and red noses, with bucklers and
broadswords, which their hands, trembling betwixt age and strong
waters, can make no use of--as many huge silver badges on their arms,
to show whose fools they are, as would furnish forth a court cupboard
of plate--rogues fit for nothing but to fill our ante-chambers with
the flavour of onions and genievre--pah!"

"The poor knaves!" said Lord Glenvarloch; "they have served your
father, it may be, in the wars. What would become of them were he to
turn them off?"

"Why, let them go to the hospital," said Dalgarno, "or to the bridge-
end, to sell switches. The king is a better man than my father, and
you see those who have served in HIS wars do so every day; or, when
their blue coats were well worn out, they would make rare scarecrows.
Here is a fellow, now, comes down the walk; the stoutest raven dared
not come within a yard of that copper nose. I tell you, there is more
service, as you will soon see, in my valet of the chamber, and such a
lither lad as my page Lutin, than there is in a score of these old
memorials of the Douglas wars, [Footnote: The cruel civil wars waged
by the Scottish barons during the minority of James VI., had the name
from the figure made in them by the celebrated James Douglas, Earl of
Morton. Both sides executed their prisoners without mercy or favour.]
where they cut each other's throats for the chance of finding twelve
pennies Scots on the person of the slain. Marry, my lord, to make
amends, they will eat mouldy victuals, and drink stale ale, as if
their bellies were puncheons.--But the dinner-bell is going to sound--
hark, it is clearing its rusty throat, with a preliminary jowl. That
is another clamorous relic of antiquity, that, were I master, should
soon be at the bottom of the Thames. How the foul fiend can it
interest the peasants and mechanics in the Strand, to know that the
Earl of Huntinglen is sitting down to dinner? But my father looks our
way--we must not be late for the grace, or we shall be in DIS-grace,
if you will forgive a quibble which would have made his Majesty laugh.
You will find us all of a piece, and, having been accustomed to eat in
saucers abroad, I am ashamed you should witness our larded capons, our
mountains of beef, and oceans of brewis, as large as Highland hills
and lochs; but you shall see better cheer to-morrow. Where lodge you?
I will call for you. I must be your guide through the peopled desert,
to certain enchanted lands, which you will scarce discover without
chart and pilot. Where lodge you?"

"I will meet you in Paul's," said Nigel, a good deal embarrassed, "at
any hour you please to name."

"O, you would be private," said the young lord; "nay, fear not me--I
will be no intruder. But we have attained this huge larder of flesh,
fowl, and fish. I marvel the oaken boards groan not under it."

They had indeed arrived in the dining-parlour of the mansion, where
the table was superabundantly loaded, and where the number of
attendants, to a certain extent, vindicated the sarcasms of the young
nobleman. The chaplain, and Sir Mungo Malagrowther, were of the party.
The latter complimented Lord Glenvarloch upon the impression he had
made at Court. "One would have thought ye had brought the apple of
discord in your pouch, my lord, or that you were the very firebrand of
whilk Althea was delivered, and that she had lain-in in a barrel of
gunpowder, for the king, and the prince, and the duke, have been by
the lugs about ye, and so have many more, that kendna before this
blessed day that there was such a man living on the face of the
earth."

"Mind your victuals, Sir Mungo," said the earl; "they get cold while
you talk." "Troth, and that needsna, my lord," said the knight; "your
lordship's dinners seldom scald one's mouth--the serving-men are
turning auld, like oursells, my lord, and it is far between the
kitchen and the ha'."

With this little explosion of his spleen, Sir Mungo remained
satisfied, until the dishes were removed, when, fixing his eyes on the
brave new doublet of Lord Dalgarno, he complimented him on his
economy, pretending to recognise it as the same which his father had
worn in Edinburgh in the Spanish ambassador's time. Lord Dalgarno, too
much a man of the world to be moved by any thing from such a quarter,
proceeded to crack some nuts with great deliberation, as he replied,
that the doublet was in some sort his father's, as it was likely to
cost him fifty pounds some day soon. Sir Mungo forthwith proceeded in
his own way to convey this agreeable intelligence to the earl,
observing, that his son was a better maker of bargains than his
lordship, for he had bought a doublet as rich as that his lordship
wore when the Spanish ambassador was at Holyrood, and it had cost him
but fifty pounds Scots;--"that was no fool's bargain, my lord."

"Pounds sterling, if you please, Sir Mungo," answered the earl,
calmly; "and a fool's bargain it is, in all the tenses. Dalgarno WAS a
fool when he bought--I _will_ be a fool when I pay--and you, Sir
Mungo, craving your pardon, _are_ a fool _in praesenti_, for speaking
of what concerns you not."

So saying, the earl addressed himself to the serious business of the
table and sent the wine around with a profusion which increased the
hilarity, but rather threatened the temperance, of the company, until
their joviality was interrupted by the annunciation that the scrivener
had engrossed such deeds as required to be presently executed.

George Heriot rose from the table, observing, that wine-cups and legal
documents were unseemly neighbours. The earl asked the scrivener if
they had laid a trencher and set a cup for him in the buttery and
received the respectful answer, that heaven forbid he should be such
an ungracious beast as to eat or drink until his lordship's pleasure
was performed.

"Thou shalt eat before thou goest," said Lord Huntinglen; "and I will
have thee try, moreover, whether a cup of sack cannot bring some
colour into these cheeks of thine. It were a shame to my household,
thou shouldst glide out into the Strand after such a spectre-fashion
as thou now wearest--Look to it, Dalgarno, for the honour of our roof
is concerned."

Lord Dalgarno gave directions that the man should be attended to. Lord
Glenvarloch and the citizen, in the meanwhile, signed and
interchanged, and thus closed a transaction, of which the principal
party concerned understood little, save that it was under the
management of a zealous and faithful friend, who undertook that the
money should be forthcoming, and the estate released from forfeiture,
by payment of the stipulated sum for which it stood pledged, and that
at the term of Lambmas, and at the hour of noon, and beside the tomb
of the Regent Earl of Murray, in the High Kirk of Saint Giles, at
Edinburgh, being the day and place assigned for such redemption.
[Footnote: As each covenant in those days of accuracy had a special
place nominated for execution, the tomb of the Regent Earl of Murray
in Saint Giles's Church was frequently assigned for the purpose.]

When this business was transacted, the old earl would fain have
renewed his carouse; but the citizen, alleging the importance of the
deeds he had about him, and the business he had to transact betimes
the next morning, not only refused to return to table, but carried
with him to his barge Lord Glenvarloch, who might, perhaps, have been
otherwise found more tractable.

When they were seated in the boat, and fairly once more afloat on the
river, George Heriot looked back seriously on the mansion they had
left--"There live," he said, "the old fashion and the new. The father
is like a noble old broadsword, but harmed with rust, from neglect and
inactivity; the son is your modern rapier, well-mounted, fairly gilt,
and fashioned to the taste of the time--and it is time must evince if
the metal be as good as the show. God grant it prove so, says an old
friend to the family."

Nothing of consequence passed betwixt them, until Lord Glenvarloch,
landing at Paul's Wharf, took leave of his friend the citizen, and
retired to his own apartment, where his attendant, Richie, not a
little elevated with the events of the day, and with the hospitality
of Lord Huntinglen's house-keeping, gave a most splendid account of
them to the buxom Dame Nelly, who rejoiced to hear that the sun at
length was shining upon what Richie called "the right side of the
hedge."

Sir Walter Scott