Subscribe for ad free access & additional features for teachers. Authors: 267, Books: 3,607, Poems & Short Stories: 4,435, Forum Members: 71,154, Forum Posts: 1,238,602, Quizzes: 344

Chapter 17


Come hither, young one,--Mark me! Thou art now
'Mongst men o' the sword, that live by reputation
More than by constant income--Single-suited
They are, I grant you; yet each single suit
Maintains, on the rough guess, a thousand followers--
And they be men, who, hazarding their all,
Needful apparel, necessary income,
And human body, and immortal soul,
Do in the very deed but hazard nothing--
So strictly is that ALL bound in reversion;
Clothes to the broker, income to the usurer,
And body to disease, and soul to the foul fiend;
Who laughs to see Soldadoes and Fooladoes,
Play better than himself his game on earth.
_The Mohocks._

"Your lordship," said Reginald Lowestoffe, "must be content to
exchange your decent and court-beseeming rapier, which I will retain
in safe keeping, for this broadsword, with an hundredweight of rusty
iron about the hilt, and to wear these huge-paned slops, instead of
your civil and moderate hose. We allow no cloak, for your ruffian
always walks in _cuerpo_; and the tarnished doublet of bald velvet,
with its discoloured embroidery, and--I grieve to speak it--a few
stains from the blood of the grape, will best suit the garb of a
roaring boy. I will leave you to change your suit for an instant, till
I can help to truss you."

Lowestoffe retired, while slowly, and with hesitation, Nigel obeyed
his instructions. He felt displeasure and disgust at the scoundrelly
disguise which he was under the necessity of assuming; but when he
considered the bloody consequences which law attached to his rash act
of violence, the easy and indifferent temper of James, the prejudices
of his son, the overbearing influence of the Duke of Buckingham, which
was sure to be thrown into the scale against him; and, above all, when
he reflected that he must now look upon the active, assiduous, and
insinuating Lord Dalgarno, as a bitter enemy, reason told him he was
in a situation of peril which authorised all honest means, even the
most unseemly in outward appearance, to extricate himself from so
dangerous a predicament.

While he was changing his dress, and musing on these particulars, his
friendly host re-entered the sleeping apartment--"Zounds!" he said,
"my lord, it was well you went not straight into that same Alsatia of
ours at the time you proposed, for the hawks have stooped upon it.
Here is Jem come back with tidings, that he saw a pursuivant there
with a privy-council warrant, and half a score of yeomen assistants,
armed to the teeth, and the horn which we heard was sounded to call
out the posse of the Friars. Indeed, when old Duke Hildebrod saw that
the quest was after some one of whom he knew nothing, he permitted,
out of courtesy, the man-catcher to search through his dominions,
quite certain that they would take little by their motions; for Duke
Hildebrod is a most judicious potentate.--Go back, you bastard, and
bring us word when all is quiet."

"And who may Duke Hildebrod be?" said Lord Glenvarloch.

"Nouns! my lord," said the Templar, "have you lived so long on the
town, and never heard of the valiant, and as wise and politic as
valiant, Duke Hildebrod, grand protector of the liberties of Alsatia?
I thought the man had never whirled a die but was familiar with his
fame."

"Yet I have never heard of him, Master Lowestoffe," said Lord
Glenvarloch; "or, what is the same thing, I have paid no attention to
aught that may have passed in conversation respecting him."

"Why, then," said Lowestoffe--"but, first, let me have the honour of
trussing you. Now, observe, I have left several of the points untied,
of set purpose; and if it please you to let a small portion of your
shirt be seen betwixt your doublet and the band of your upper stock,
it will have so much the more rakish effect, and will attract you
respect in Alsatia, where linen is something scarce. Now, I tie some
of the points carefully asquint, for your ruffianly gallant never
appears too accurately trussed--so."

"Arrange it as you will, sir," said Nigel; "but let me hear at least
something of the conditions of the unhappy district into which, with
other wretches, I am compelled to retreat."

"Why, my lord," replied the Templar, "our neighbouring state of
Alsatia, which the law calls the Sanctuary of White-friars, has had
its mutations and revolutions like greater kingdoms; and, being in
some sort a lawless, arbitrary government, it follows, of course, that
these have been more frequent than our own better regulated
commonwealth of the Templars, that of Gray's Inn, and other similar
associations, have had the fortune to witness. Our traditions and
records speak of twenty revolutions within the last twelve years, in
which the aforesaid state has repeatedly changed from absolute
despotism to republicanism, not forgetting the intermediate stages of
oligarchy, limited monarchy, and even gynocracy; for I myself remember
Alsatia governed for nearly nine months by an old fish-woman. 'I hen
it fell under the dominion of a broken attorney, who was dethroned by
a reformado captain, who, proving tyrannical, was deposed by a
hedgeparson, who was succeeded, upon resignation of his power, by Duke
Jacob Hildebrod, of that name the first, whom Heaven long preserve."

"And is this potentate's government," said Lord Glenvarloch, forcing
himself to take some interest in the conversation, "of a despotic
character?"

"Pardon me, my lord," said the Templar; "this said sovereign is too
wise to incur, like many of his predecessors, the odium of wielding so
important an authority by his own sole will. He has established a
council of state, who regularly meet for their morning's draught at
seven o'clock; convene a second time at eleven for their _ante-
meridiem_, or whet; and, assembling in solemn conclave at the hour of
two afternoon, for the purpose of consulting for the good of the
commonwealth, are so prodigal of their labour in the service of the
state, that they seldom separate before midnight. Into this worthy
senate, composed partly of Duke Hildebrod's predecessors in his high
office, whom he has associated with him to prevent the envy attending
sovereign and sole authority, I must presently introduce your
lordship, that they may admit you to the immunities of the Friars, and
assign you a place of residence."

"Does their authority extend to such regulation?" said Lord
Glenvarloch.

"The council account it a main point of their privileges, my lord,"
answered Lowestoffe; "and, in fact, it is one of the most powerful
means by which they support their authority. For when Duke Ilildebrod
and his senate find a topping householder in the Friars becomes
discontented and factious, it is but assigning him, for a lodger, some
fat bankrupt, or new lesidenter, whose circumstances require refuge,
and whose purse can pay for it, and the malecontent becomes as
tractable as a lamb. As for the poorer refugees, they let them shift
as they can; but the registration of their names in the Duke's entry-
book, and the payment of garnish conforming to their circumstances, is
never dispensed with; and the Friars would be a very unsafe residence
for the stranger who should dispute these points of jurisdiction."

"Well, Master Lowestoffe," said Lord Glenvarloch, "I must be
controlled by the circumstances which dictate to me this state of
concealment--of course, I am desirous not to betray my name and rank."

"It will be highly advisable, my lord," said Lowestoffe; "and is a
case thus provided for in the statutes of the republic, or monarchy,
or whatsoever you call it.--He who desires that no questions shall be
asked him concerning his name, cause of refuge, and the like, may
escape the usual interrogations upon payment of double the garnish
otherwise belonging to his condition. Complying with this essential
stipulation, your lordship may register yourself as King of Bantam if
you will, for not a question will be asked of you.--But here comes our
scout, with news of peace and tranquillity. Now, I will go with your
lordship myself, and present you to the council of Alsatia, with all
the influence which I have over them as an office-bearer in the
Temple, which is not slight; for they have come halting off upon all
occasions when we have taken part against them, and that they well
know. The time is propitious, for as the council is now met in
Alsatia, so the Temple walks are quiet. Now, my lord, throw your cloak
about you, to hide your present exterior. You shall give it to the boy
at the foot of the stairs that go down to the Sanctuary; and as the
ballad says that Queen Eleanor sunk at Charing Cross and rose at
Queenhithe, so you shall sink a nobleman in the Temple Gardens, and
rise an Alsatian at Whitefriars."

They went out accordingly, attended by the little scout, traversed the
gardens, descended the stairs, and at the bottom the young Templar
exclaimed,--"And now let us sing, with Ovid,

'In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas--'

Off, off, ye lendings!" he continued, in the same vein. "Via, the
curtain that shadowed Borgia!--But how now, my lord?" he continued,
when he observed Lord Glenvarloch was really distressed at the
degrading change in his situation, "I trust you are not offended at my
rattling folly? I would but reconcile you to your present
circumstances, and give you the tone of this strange place. Come,
cheer up; I trust it will only be your residence for a very few days."

Nigel was only able to press his hand, and reply in a whisper, "I am
sensible of your kindness. I know I must drink the cup which my own
folly has filled for me. Pardon me, that, at the first taste, I feel
its bitterness."

Reginald Lowestoffe was bustlingly officious and good-natured; but,
used to live a scrambling, rakish course of life himself, he had not
the least idea of the extent of Lord Glenvarloch's mental sufferings,
and thought of his temporary concealment as if it were merely the
trick of a wanton boy, who plays at hide-and-seek with his tutor. With
the appearance of the place, too, he was familiar--but on his
companion it produced a deep sensation.

The ancient Sanctuary at Whitefriars lay considerably lower than the
elevated terraces and gardens of the Temple, and was therefore
generally involved in the damps and fogs arising from the Thames. The
brick buildings by which it was occupied, crowded closely on each
other, for, in a place so rarely privileged, every foot of ground was
valuable; but, erected in many cases by persons whose funds were
inadequate to their speculations, the houses were generally
insufficient, and exhibited the lamentable signs of having become
ruinous while they were yet new. The wailing of children, the scolding
of their mothers, the miserable exhibition of ragged linens hung from
the windows to dry, spoke the wants and distresses of the wretched
inhabitants; while the sounds of complaint were mocked and overwhelmed
in the riotous shouts, oaths, profane songs, and boisterous laughter,
that issued from the alehouses and taverns, which, as the signs
indicated, were equal in number to all the other houses; and, that the
full character of the place might be evident, several faded, tinselled
and painted females, looked boldly at the strangers from their open
lattices, or more modestly seemed busied with the cracked flower-pots,
filled with mignonette and rosemary, which were disposed in front of
the windows, to the great risk of the passengers.

"_Semi-reducta Venus_," said the Templar, pointing to one of these
nymphs, who seemed afraid of observation, and partly concealed herself
behind the casement, as she chirped to a miserable blackbird, the
tenant of a wicker prison, which hung outside on the black brick
wall.--"I know the face of yonder waistcoateer," continued the guide;
"and I could wager a rose-noble, from the posture she stands in, that
she has clean head-gear and a soiled night-rail.--But here come two of
the male inhabitants, smoking like moving volcanoes! These are roaring
blades, whom Nicotia and Trinidado serve, I dare swear, in lieu of
beef and pudding; for be it known to you, my lord, that the king's
counter-blast against the Indian weed will no more pass current in
Alsatia than will his writ of _capias_."

As he spoke, the two smokers approached; shaggy, uncombed ruffians,
whose enormous mustaches were turned back over their ears, and mingled
with the wild elf-locks of their hair, much of which was seen under
the old beavers which they wore aside upon their heads, while some
straggling portion escaped through the rents of the hats aforesaid.
Their tarnished plush jerkins, large slops, or trunk-breeches, their
broad greasy shoulder-belts, and discoloured scarfs, and, above all,
the ostentatious manner in which the one wore a broad-sword and the
other an extravagantly long rapier and poniard, marked the true
Alsatian bully, then, and for a hundred years afterwards, a well-known
character.

"Tour out," said the one ruffian to the other; "tour the bien mort
twiring at the gentry cove!" [Footnote: Look sharp. See how the girl
is coquetting with the strange gallants!]

"I smell a spy," replied the other, looking at Nigel. "Chalk him
across the peepers with your cheery." [Footnote: Slash him over the
eyes with your dagger.]

"Bing avast, bing avast!" replied his companion; "yon other is
rattling Reginald Lowestoffe of the Temple--I know him; he is a good
boy, and free of the province."

So saying, and enveloping themselves in another thick cloud of smoke,
they went on without farther greeting.

"_Grasso in aere_!" said the Templar. "You hear what a character the
impudent knave gives me; but, so it serves your lordship's turn, I
care not.--And, now, let me ask your lordship what name you will
assume, for we are near the ducal palace of Duke Hildebrod."

"I will be called Grahame," said Nigel; "it was my mother's name."

"Grime," repeated the Templar, "will suit Alsatia well enough--both a
grim and grimy place of refuge."

"I said Grahame, sir, not Grime," said Nigel, something shortly, and
laying an emphasis on the vowel--for few Scotsmen understand raillery
upon the subject of their names.

"I beg pardon, my lord," answered the undisconcerted punster; "but
_Graam_ will suit the circumstance, too--it signifies tribulation in
the High Dutch, and your lordship must be considered as a man under
trouble."

Nigel laughed at the pertinacity of the Templar; who, proceeding to
point out a sign representing, or believed to represent, a dog
attacking a bull, and running at his head, in the true scientific
style of onset,--"There," said he, "doth faithful Duke Hildebrod deal
forth laws, as well as ale and strong waters, to his faithful
Alsatians. Being a determined champion of Paris Garden, he has chosen
a sign corresponding to his habits; and he deals in giving drink to
the thirsty, that he himself may drink without paying, and receive pay
for what is drunken by others.--Let us enter the ever-open gate of
this second Axylus."

As they spoke, they entered the dilapidated tavern, which was,
nevertheless, more ample in dimensions, and less ruinous, than many
houses in the same evil neighbourhood. Two or three haggard, ragged
drawers, ran to and fro, whose looks, like those of owls, seemed only
adapted for midnight, when other creatures sleep, and who by day
seemed bleared, stupid, and only half awake. Guided by one of these
blinking Ganymedes, they entered a room, where the feeble rays of the
sun were almost wholly eclipsed by volumes of tobacco-smoke, rolled
from the tubes of the company, while out of the cloudy sanctuary arose
the old chant of--

"Old Sir Simon the King,
And old Sir Simon the King,
With his malmsey nose,
And his ale-dropped hose,
And sing hey ding-a-ding-ding."


Duke Hildebrod, who himself condescended to chant this ditty to his
loving subjects, was a monstrously fat old man, with only one eye; and
a nose which bore evidence to the frequency, strength, and depth of
his potations. He wore a murrey-coloured plush jerkin, stained with
the overflowings of the tankard, and much the worse for wear, and
unbuttoned at bottom for the ease of his enormous paunch. Behind him
lay a favourite bull-dog, whose round head and single black glancing
eye, as well as the creature's great corpulence, gave it a burlesque
resemblance to its master.

The well-beloved counsellors who surrounded the ducal throne, incensed
it with tobacco, pledged its occupier in thick clammy ale, and echoed
back his choral songs, were Satraps worthy of such a Soldan. The buff
jerkin, broad belt, and long sword of one, showed him to be a Low
Country soldier, whose look of scowling importance, and drunken
impudence, were designed to sustain his title to call himself a Roving
Blade. It seemed to Nigel that he had seen this fellow somewhere or
other. A hedge-parson, or buckle-beggar, as that order of priesthood
has been irreverently termed, sat on the Duke's left, and was easily
distinguished by his torn band, flapped hat, and the remnants of a
rusty cassock. Beside the parson sat a most wretched and meagre-
looking old man, with a threadbare hood of coarse kersey upon his
head, and buttoned about his neck, while his pinched features, like
those of old Daniel, were illuminated by
--"an eye,
Through the last look of dotage still cunning and sly."

On his left was placed a broken attorney, who, for some malpractices,
had been struck from the roll of practitioners, and who had nothing
left of his profession, except its roguery. One or two persons of less
figure, amongst whom there was one face, which, like that of the
soldier, seemed not unknown to Nigel, though he could not recollect
where he had seen it, completed the council-board of Jacob Duke
Hildebrod.

The strangers had full time to observe all this; for his grace the
Duke, whether irresistibly carried on by the full tide of harmony, or
whether to impress the strangers with a proper idea of his
consequence, chose to sing his ditty to an end before addressing them,
though, during the whole time, he closely scrutinized them with his
single optic.

When Duke Hildebrod had ended his song, he informed his Peers that a
worthy officer of the Temple attended them, and commanded the captain
and parson to abandon their easy chairs in behalf of the two
strangers, whom he placed on his right and left hand. The worthy
representative of the army and the church of Alsatia went to place
themselves on a crazy form at the bottom of the table, which, ill
calculated to sustain men of such weight, gave way under them, and the
man of the sword and man of the gown were rolled over each other on
the floor, amidst the exulting shouts of the company. They arose in
wrath, contending which should vent his displeasure in the loudest and
deepest oaths, a strife in which the parson's superior acquaintance
with theology enabled him greatly to excel the captain, and were at
length with difficulty tranquillised by the arrival of the alarmed
waiters with more stable chairs, and by a long draught of the cooling
tankard. When this commotion was appeased, and the strangers
courteously accommodated with flagons, after the fashion of the others
present, the Duke drank prosperity to the Temple in the most gracious
manner, together with a cup of welcome to Master Reginald Lowestoffe;
and, this courtesy having been thankfully accepted, the party honoured
prayed permission to call for a gallon of Rhenish, over which he
proposed to open his business.

The mention of a liquor so superior to their usual potations had an
instant and most favourable effect upon the little senate; and its
immediate appearance might be said to secure a favourable reception of
Master Lowestoffe's proposition, which, after a round or two had
circulated, he explained to be the admission of his friend Master
Nigel Grahame to the benefit of the sanctuary and other immunities of
Alsatia, in the character of a grand compounder; for so were those
termed who paid a double fee at their matriculation, in order to avoid
laying before the senate the peculiar circumstances which compelled
them to take refuge there.

The worthy Duke heard the proposition with glee, which glittered in
his single eye; and no wonder, as it was a rare occurrence, and of
peculiar advantage to his private revenue. Accordingly, he commanded
his ducal register to be brought him, a huge book, secured with brass
clasps like a merchant's ledger, and whose leaves, stained with wine,
and slabbered with tobacco juice, bore the names probably of as many
rogues as are to be found in the Calendar of Newgate.

Nigel was then directed to lay down two nobles as his ransom, and to
claim privilege by reciting the following doggerel verses, which were
dictated to him by the Duke:--

"Your suppliant, by name
Nigel Grahame,
In fear of mishap
From a shoulder-tap;
And dreading a claw
From the talons of law,
That are sharper than briers:
His freedom to sue,
And rescue by you--
Thorugh weapon and wit,
From warrant and writ,
From bailiff's hand,
From tipstaff's wand,
Is come hither to Whitefriars."

As Duke Hildebrod with a tremulous hand began to make the entry, and
had already, with superfluous generosity, spelled Nigel with two g's
instead of one, he was interrupted by the parson. [Footnote: This
curious register is still in existence, being in possession of that
eminent antiquary, Dr. Dryasdust, who liberally offered the author
permission to have the autograph of Duke Hildebrod engraved as an
illustration of this passage. Unhappily, being rigorous as Ritson
himself in adhering to the very letter of his copy, the worthy Doctor
clogged his munificence with the condition that we should adopt the
Duke's orthography, and entitle the work "The Fortunes of Niggle,"
with which stipulation we did not think it necessary to comply.] This
reverend gentleman had been whispering for a minute or two, not with
the captain, but with that other individual, who dwelt imperfectly, as
we have already mentioned, in Nigel's memory, and being, perhaps,
still something malecontent on account of the late accident, he now
requested to be heard before the registration took place.

"The person," he said, "who hath now had the assurance to propose
himself as a candidate for the privileges and immunities of this
honourable society, is, in plain terms, a beggarly Scot, and we have
enough of these locusts in London already--if we admit such palmer-
worms and caterpillars to the Sanctuary, we shall soon have the whole
nation."

"We are not entitled to inquire," said Duke Hildebrod, "whether he be
Scot, or French, or English; seeing he has honourably laid down his
garnish, he is entitled to our protection."

"Word of denial, most Sovereign Duke," replied the parson, "I ask him
no questions--his speech betrayeth him--he is a Galilean--and his
garnish is forfeited for his assurance in coming within this our
realm; and I call on you, Sir Duke, to put the laws in force against
him!"

The Templar here rose, and was about to interrupt the deliberations of
the court, when the Duke gravely assured him that he should be heard
in behalf of his friend, so soon as the council had finished their
deliberations.

The attorney next rose, and, intimating that he was to speak to the
point of law, said--"It was easy to be seen that this gentleman did
not come here in any civil case, and that he believed it to be the
story they had already heard of concerning a blow given within the
verge of the Park--that the Sanctuary would not bear out the offender
in such case--and that the queer old Chief would send down a broom
which would sweep the streets of Alsatia from the Strand to the
Stairs; and it was even policy to think what evil might come to their
republic, by sheltering an alien in such circumstances."

The captain, who had sat impatiently while these opinions were
expressed, now sprung on his feet with the vehemence of a cork
bouncing from a bottle of brisk beer, and, turning up his mustaches
with a martial air, cast a glance of contempt on the lawyer and
churchman, while he thus expressed his opinion.

"Most noble Duke Hildebrod! When I hear such base, skeldering,
coistril propositions come from the counsellors of your grace, and
when I remember the Huffs, the Muns, and the Tityretu's by whom your
grace's ancestors and predecessors were advised on such occasions, I
begin to think the spirit of action is as dead in Alsatia as in my old
grannam; and yet who thinks so thinks a lie, since I will find as many
roaring boys in the Friars as shall keep the liberties against all the
scavengers of Westminster. And, if we should be overborne for a turn,
death and darkness! have we not time to send the gentleman off by
water, either to Paris Garden or to the bankside? and, if he is a
gallant of true breed, will he not make us full amends for all the
trouble we have? Let other societies exist by the law, I say that we
brisk boys of the Fleet live in spite of it; and thrive best when we
are in right opposition to sign and seal, writ and warrant, sergeant
and tipstaff, catchpoll, and bum-bailey."

This speech was followed by a murmur of approbation, and Lowestoffe,
striking in before the favourable sound had subsided, reminded the
Duke and his council how much the security of their state depended
upon the amity of the Templars, who, by closing their gates, could at
pleasure shut against the Alsatians the communication betwixt the
Friars and the Temple, and that as they conducted themselves on this
occasion, so would they secure or lose the benefit of his interest
with his own body, which they knew not to be inconsiderable. "And, in
respect of my friend being a Scotsman and alien, as has been observed
by the reverend divine and learned lawyer, you are to consider," said
Lowestoffe, "for what he is pursued hither--why, for giving the
bastinado, not to an Englishman, but to one of his own countrymen. And
for my own simple part," he continued, touching Lord Glenvarloch at
the same time, to make him understand he spoke but in jest, "if all
the Scots in London were to fight a Welsh main, and kill each other to
a man, the survivor would, in my humble opinion, be entitled to our
gratitude, as having done a most acceptable service to poor Old
England."

A shout of laughter and applause followed this ingenious apology for
the client's state of alienage; and the Templar followed up his plea
with the following pithy proposition:--"I know well," said he, "it is
the custom of the fathers of this old and honourable republic, ripely
and well to consider all their proceedings over a proper allowance of
liquor; and far be it from me to propose the breach of so laudable a
custom, or to pretend that such an affair as the present can be well
and constitutionally considered during the discussion of a pitiful
gallon of Rhenish. But, as it is the same thing to this honourable
conclave whether they drink first and determine afterwards, or whether
they determine first and drink afterwards, I propose your grace, with
the advice of your wise and potent senators, shall pass your edict,
granting to mine honourable friend the immunities of the place, and
assigning him a lodging, according to your wise forms, to which he
will presently retire, being somewhat spent with this day's action;
whereupon I will presently order you a rundlet of Rhenish, with a
corresponding quantity of neats' tongues and pickled herrings, to make
you all as glorious as George-a-Green."

This overture was received with a general shout of applause, which
altogether drowned the voice of the dissidents, if any there were
amongst the Alsatian senate who could have resisted a proposal so
popular. The words of, kind heart! noble gentleman! generous gallant!
flew from mouth to mouth; the inscription of the petitioner's name in
the great book was hastily completed, and the oath administered to him
by the worthy Doge. Like the Laws of the Twelve Tables, of the ancient
Cambro-Britons, and other primitive nations, it was couched in poetry,
and ran as follows:-

"By spigot and barrel,
By bilboe and buff;
Thou art sworn to the quarrel
Of the blades of the huff.
For Whitefriars and its claims
To be champion or martyr,
And to fight for its dames
Like a Knight of the Garter."

Nigel felt, and indeed exhibited, some disgust at this mummery; but,
the Templar reminding him that he was too far advanced to draw back,
he repeated the words, or rather assented as they were repeated by
Duke Hildebrod, who concluded the ceremony by allowing him the
privilege of sanctuary, in the following form of prescriptive
doggerel:--

"From the touch of the tip,
From the blight of the warrant,
From the watchmen who skip
On the Harman Beck's errand;
From the bailiffs cramp speech,
That makes man a thrall,
I charm thee from each,
And I charm thee from all.
Thy freedom's complete
As a Blade of the Huff,
To be cheated and cheat,
To be cuff'd and to cuff;
To stride, swear, and swagger,
To drink till you stagger,
To stare and to stab,
And to brandish your dagger
In the cause of your drab;
To walk wool-ward in winter,
Drink brandy, and smoke,
And go _fresco_ in summer
For want of a cloak;
To eke out your living
By the wag of your elbow,
By fulham and gourd,
And by baring of bilboe;
To live by your shifts,
And to swear by your honour,
Are the freedom and gifts
Of which I am the donor."[Footnote: Of the cant words used in this
inauguratory oration, some are obvious in their meaning, others, as
Harman Beck (constable), and the like, derive their source from that
ancient piece of lexicography, the Slang Dictionary]

This homily being performed, a dispute arose concerning the special
residence to be assigned the new brother of the Sanctuary; for, as the
Alsatians held it a maxim in their commonwealth, that ass's milk
fattens, there was usually a competition among the inhabitants which
should have the managing, as it was termed, of a new member of the
society.

The Hector who had spoken so warmly and critically in Nigel's behalf,
stood out now chivalrously in behalf of a certain Blowselinda, or
Bonstrops, who had, it seems, a room to hire, once the occasional
residence of Slicing Dick of Paddington, who lately suffered at
Tyburn, and whose untimely exit had been hitherto mourned by the
damsel in solitary widowhood, after the fashion of the turtle-dove.

The captain's interest was, however, overruled, in behalf of the old
gentleman in the kersey hood, who was believed, even at his extreme
age, to understand the plucking of a pigeon, as well, or better, than
any man in Alsatia.

This venerable personage was an usurer of notoriety, called Trapbois,
and had very lately done the state considerable service in advancing a
subsidy necessary to secure a fresh importation of liquors to the
Duke's cellars, the wine-merchant at the Vintry being scrupulous to
deal with so great a man for any thing but ready money.

When, therefore, the old gentleman arose, and with much coughing,
reminded the Duke that he had a poor apartment to let, the claims of
all others were set aside, and Nigel was assigned to Trapbois as his
guest.

No sooner was this arrangement made, than Lord Glenvarloch expressed
to Lowestoffe his impatience to leave this discreditable assembly, and
took his leave with a careless haste, which, but for the rundlet of
Rhenish wine that entered just as he left the apartment, might have
been taken in bad part. The young Templar accompanied his friend to
the house of the old usurer, with the road to which he and some other
youngsters about the Temple were even but too well acquainted. On the
way, he assured Lord Glenvarloch that he was going to the only clean
house in Whitefriars; a property which it owed solely to the exertions
of the old man's only daughter, an elderly damsel, ugly enough to
frighten sin, yet likely to be wealthy enough to tempt a puritan, so
soon as the devil had got her old dad for his due. As Lowestoffe spoke
thus, they knocked at the door of the house, and the sour stern
countenance of the female by whom it was opened, fully confirmed all
that the Templar had said of the hostess. She heard with an ungracious
and discontented air the young Templar's information, that the
gentleman, his companion, was to be her father's lodger, muttered
something about the trouble it was likely to occasion, but ended by
showing the stranger's apartment, which was better than could have
been augured from the general appearance of the place, and much larger
in extent than that which he occupied at Paul's Wharf, though inferior
to it in neatness.

Lowestoffe, having thus seen his friend fairly installed in his new
apartment, and having obtained for him a note of the rate at which he
could be accommodated with victuals from a neighbouring cook's shop,
now took his leave, offering, at the same time, to send the whole, or
any part of Lord Glenvarloch's baggage, from his former place of
residence to his new lodging. Nigel mentioned so few articles, that
the Templar could not help observing, that his lordship, it would
seem, did not intend to enjoy his new privileges long.

"They are too little suited to my habits and taste, that I should do
so," replied Lord Glenvarloch.

"You may change your opinion to-morrow," said Lowestoffe; "and so I
wish you a good even. To-morrow I will visit you betimes."

The morning came, but instead of the Templar, it brought only a letter
from him. The epistle stated, that Lowestoffe's visit to Alsatia had
drawn down the animadversions of some crabbed old pantaloons among the
benchers, and that he judged it wise not to come hither at present,
for fear of attracting too much attention to Lord Glenvarloch's place
of residence. He stated, that he had taken measures for the safety of
his baggage, and would send him, by a safe hand, his money-casket, and
what articles he wanted. Then followed some sage advices, dictated by
Lowestoffe's acquaintance with Alsatia and its manners. He advised him
to keep the usurer in the most absolute uncertainty concerning the
state of his funds-never to throw a main with the captain, who was in
the habit of playing dry-fisted, and paying his losses with three
vowels; and, finally, to beware of Duke Hildebrod, who was as sharp,
he said, as a needle, though he had no more eyes than are possessed by
that necessary implement of female industry.

Sir Walter Scott