This way lie safety and a sure retreat;
Yonder lie danger, shame, and punishment
Most welcome danger then--Nay, let me say,
Though spoke with swelling heart--welcome e'en shame
And welcome punishment--for, call me guilty,
I do but pay the tax that's due to justice;
And call me guiltless, then that punishment
Is shame to those alone who do inflict it,
We left Lord Glenvarloch, to whose fortunes our story chiefly attaches
itself, gliding swiftly down the Thames. He was not, as the reader may
have observed, very affable in his disposition, or apt to enter into
conversation with those into whose company he was casually thrown.
This was, indeed, an error in his conduct, arising less from pride,
though of that feeling we do not pretend to exculpate him, than from a
sort of bashful reluctance to mix in the conversation of those with
whom he was not familiar. It is a fault only to be cured by experience
and knowledge of the world, which soon teaches every sensible and
acute person the important lesson, that amusement, and, what is of
more consequence, that information and increase of knowledge, are to
be derived from the conversation of every individual whatever, with
whom he is thrown into a natural train of communication. For
ourselves, we can assure the reader--and perhaps if we have ever been
able to afford him amusement, it is owing in a great degree to this
cause--that we never found ourselves in company with the stupidest of
all possible companions in a post-chaise, or with the most arrant
cumber-corner that ever occupied a place in the mail-coach, without
finding, that, in the course of our conversation with him, we had some
ideas suggested to us, either grave orgay, or some information
communicated in the course of our journey, which we should have
regretted not to have learned, and which we should be sorry to have
immediately forgotten. But Nigel was somewhat immured within the
Bastile of his rank, as some philosopher (Tom Paine, we think) has
happily enough expressed that sort of shyness which men of dignified
situations are apt to be beset with, rather from not exactly knowing
how far, or with whom, they ought to be familiar, than from any real
touch of aristocratic pride. Besides, the immediate pressure of our
adventurer's own affairs was such as exclusively to engross his
He sat, therefore, wrapt in his cloak, in the stern of the boat, with
his mind entirely bent upon the probable issue of the interview with
his Sovereign, which it was his purpose to seek; for which abstraction
of mind he may be fully justified, although perhaps, by questioning
the watermen who were transporting him down the river, he might have
discovered matters of high concernment to him.
At any rate, Nigel remained silent till the wherry approached the town
of Greenwich, when he commanded the men to put in for the nearest
landing-place, as it was his purpose to go ashore there, and dismiss
them from further attendance.
"That is not possible," said the fellow with the green jacket, who, as
we have already said, seemed to take on himself the charge of
pilotage. "We must go," he continued, "to Gravesend, where a Scottish
vessel, which dropped down the river last tide for the very purpose,
lies with her anchor a-peak, waiting to carry you to your own dear
northern country. Your hammock is slung, and all is ready for you, and
you talk of going ashore at Greenwich, as seriously as if such a thing
"I see no impossibility," said Nigel, "in your landing me where I
desire to be landed; but very little possibility of your carrying me
anywhere I am not desirous of going."
"Why, whether do you manage the wherry, or we, master?" asked Green-
jacket, in a tone betwixt jest and earnest; "I take it she will go the
way we row her."
"Ay," retorted Nigel, "but I take it you will row her on the course I
direct you, otherwise your chance of payment is but a poor one."
"Suppose we are content to risk that," said the undaunted waterman, "I
wish to know how you, who talk so big--I mean no offence, master, but
you do talk big--would help yourself in such a case?"
"Simply thus," answered Lord Glenvarloch--"You saw me, an hour since,
bring down to the boat a trunk that neither of you could lift. If we
are to contest the destination of our voyage, the same strength which
tossed that chest into the wherry, will suffice to fling you out of
it; wherefore, before we begin the scuffle, I pray you to remember,
that, whither I would go, there I will oblige you to carry me."
"Gramercy for your kindness," said Green-jacket; "and now mark me in
return. My comrade and I are two men--and you, were you as stout as
George-a-Green, can pass but for one; and two, you will allow, are
more than a match for one. You mistake in your reckoning, my friend."
"It is you who mistake," answered Nigel, who began to grow warm; "it
is I who am three to two, sirrah--I carry two men's lives at my
So saying, he opened his cloak and showed the two pistols which he had
disposed at his girdle. Green-jacket was unmoved at the display.
"I have got," said he, "a pair of barkers that will match yours," and
he showed that he also was armed with pistols; "so you may begin as
soon as you list."
"Then," said Lord Glenvarloch, drawing forth and cocking a pistol,
"the sooner the better. Take notice, I hold you as a ruffian, who have
declared you will put force on my person; and that I will shoot you
through the head if you do not instantly put me ashore at Greenwich."
The other waterman, alarmed at Nigel's gesture, lay upon his oar; but
Green-jacket replied coolly--"Look you, master, I should not care a
tester to venture a life with you on this matter; but the truth is, I
am employed to do you good, and not to do you harm."
"By whom are you employed?" said the Lord Glenvarloch; "or who dare
concern themselves in me, or my affairs, without my authority?"
"As to that," answered the waterman, in the same tone of indifference,
"I shall not show my commission. For myself, I care not, as I said,
whether you land at Greenwich to get yourself hanged, or go down to
get aboard the Royal Thistle, to make your escape to your own country;
you will be equally out of my reach either way. But it is fair to put
the choice before you."
"My choice is made," said Nigel. "I have told you thrice already it is
my pleasure to be landed at Greenwich."
"Write it on a piece of paper," said the waterman, "that such is your
positive will; I must have something to show to my employers, that the
transgression of their orders lies with yourself, not with me."
"I choose to hold this trinket in my hand for the present," said
Nigel, showing his pistol, "and will write you the acquittance when I
"I would not go ashore with you for a hundred pieces," said the
waterman. "111 luck has ever attended you, except in small gaming; do
me fair justice, and give me the testimony I desire. If you are afraid
of foul play while you write it, you may hold my pistols, if you
will." He offered the weapons to Nigel accordingly, who, while they
were under his control, and all possibility of his being taken at
disadvantage was excluded, no longer hesitated to give the waterman an
acknowledgment, in the following terms:--
"Jack in the Green, with his mate, belonging to the wherry called the
Jolly Raven, have done their duty faithfully by me, landing me at
Greenwich by my express command; and being themselves willing and
desirous to carry me on board the Royal Thistle, presently lying at
Gravesend." Having finished this acknowledgment, which he signed with
the letters, N. O. G. as indicating his name and title, he again
requested to know of the waterman, to whom he delivered it, the name
of his employers.
"Sir," replied Jack in the Green, "I have respected your secret, do
not you seek to pry into mine. It would do you no good to know for
whom I am taking this present trouble; and, to be brief, you shall not
know it--and, if you will fight in the quarrel, as you said even now,
the sooner we begin the better. Only this you may be cock-sure of,
that we designed you no harm, and that, if you fall into any, it will
be of your own wilful seeking." As he spoke, they approached the
landing-place, where Nigel instantly jumped ashore. The waterman
placed his small mail-trunk on the stairs, observing that there were
plenty of spare hands about, to carry it where he would.
"We part friends, I hope, my lads," said the young nobleman, offering
at the same time a piece of money more than double the usual fare, to
"We part as we met," answered Green-jacket; "and, for your money, I am
paid sufficiently with this bit of paper. Only, if you owe me any love
for the cast I have given you, I pray you not to dive so deep into the
pockets of the next apprentice that you find fool enough to play the
cavalier.--And you, you greedy swine," said he to his companion, who
still had a longing eye fixed on the money which Nigel continued to
offer, "push off, or, if I take a stretcher in hand, I'll break the
knave's pate of thee." The fellow pushed off, as he was commanded, but
still could not help muttering, "This was entirely out of waterman's
Glenvarloch, though without the devotion of the "injured Thales" of
the moralist, to the memory of that great princess, had now attained
"The hallow'd soil which gave Eliza birth,"
whose halls were now less respectably occupied by her successor. It
was not, as has been well shown by a late author, that James was void
either of parts or of good intentions; and his predecessor was at
least as arbitrary in effect as he was in theory. But, while Elizabeth
possessed a sternness of masculine sense and determination which
rendered even her weaknesses, some of which were in themselves
sufficiently ridiculous, in a certain degree respectable, James, on
the other hand, was so utterly devoid of "firm resolve," so well
called by the Scottish bard,
"The stalk of carle-hemp in man,"
that even his virtues and his good meaning became laughable, from the
whimsical uncertainty of his conduct; so that the wisest things he
ever said, and the best actions he ever did, were often touched with a
strain of the ludicrous and fidgety character of the man. Accordingly,
though at different periods of his reign he contrived to acquire with
his people a certain degree of temporary popularity, it never long
outlived the occasion which produced it; so true it is, that the mass
of mankind will respect a monarch stained with actual guilt, more than
one whose foibles render him only ridiculous.
To return from this digression, Lord Glenvarloch soon received, as
Green-jacket had assured him, the offer of an idle bargeman to
transport his baggage where he listed; but that where was a question
of momentary doubt. At length, recollecting the necessity that his
hair and beard should be properly arranged before he attempted to
enter the royal presence, and desirous, at the same time, of obtaining
some information of the motions of the Sovereign and of the Court, he
desired to be guided to the next barber's shop, which we have already
mentioned as the place where news of every kind circled and centred.
He was speedily shown the way to such an emporium of intelligence, and
soon found he was likely to hear all he desired to know, and much
more, while his head was subjected to the art of a nimble tonsor, the
glibness of whose tongue kept pace with the nimbleness of his fingers
while he ran on, without stint or stop, in the following excursive
"The Court here, master?--yes, master--much to the advantage of trade-
-good custom stirring. His Majesty loves Greenwich--hunts every
morning in the Park--all decent persons admitted that have the entries
of the Palace--no rabble--frightened the king's horse with their
hallooing, the uncombed slaves.--Yes, sir, the beard more peaked? Yes,
master, so it is worn. I know the last cut--dress several of the
courtiers--one valet-of-the-chamber, two pages of the body, the clerk
of the kitchen, three running footmen, two dog-boys, and an honourable
Scottish knight, Sir Munko Malgrowler."
"Malagrowther, I suppose?" said Nigel, thrusting in his conjectural
emendation, with infinite difficulty, betwixt two clauses of the
"Yes, sir--Malcrowder, sir, as you say, sir--hard names the Scots
have, sir, for an English mouth. Sir Munko is a handsome person, sir--
perhaps you know him--bating the loss of his fingers, and the lameness
of his leg, and the length of his chin. Sir, it takes me one minute,
twelve seconds, more time to trim that chin of his, than any chin that
I know in the town of Greenwich, sir. But he is a very comely
gentleman, for all that; and a pleasant--a very pleasant gentleman,
sir--and a good-humoured, saving that he is so deaf he can never hear
good of any one, and so wise, that he can never believe it; but he is
a very good-natured gentleman for all that, except when one speaks too
low, or when a hair turns awry.--Did I graze you, sir? We shall put it
to rights in a moment, with one drop of styptic--my styptic, or rather
my wife's, sir--She makes the water herself. One drop of the styptic,
sir, and a bit of black taffeta patch, just big enough to be the
saddle to a flea, sir--Yes, sir, rather improves than otherwise. The
Prince had a patch the other day, and so had the Duke: and, if you
will believe me, there are seventeen yards three quarters of black
taffeta already cut into patches for the courtiers."
"But Sir Mungo Malagrowther?" again interjected Nigel, with
"Ay, ay, sir--Sir Munko, as you say; a pleasant, good-humoured
gentleman as ever--To be spoken with, did you say? O ay, easily to be
spoken withal, that is, as easily as his infirmity will permit. He
will presently, unless some one hath asked him forth to breakfast, be
taking his bone of broiled beef at my neighbour Ned Kilderkin's
yonder, removed from over the way. Ned keeps an eating-house, sir,
famous for pork-griskins; but Sir Munko cannot abide pork, no more
than the King's most Sacred Majesty,[Footnote: The Scots, till within
the last generation, disliked swine's flesh as an article of food as
much as the Highlanders do at present. It was remarked as
extraordinary rapacity, when the Border depredators condescended to
make prey of the accursed race, whom the fiend made his habitation.
Ben Jonson, in drawing James's character, says, he loved "no part of a
swine."] nor my Lord Duke of Lennox, nor Lord Dalgarno,--nay, I am
sure, sir, if I touched you this time, it was your fault, not mine.--
But a single drop of the styptic, another little patch that would make
a doublet for a flea, just under the left moustache; it will become
you when you smile, sir, as well as a dimple; and if you would salute
your fair mistress--but I beg pardon, you are a grave gentleman, very
grave to be so young.--Hope I have given no offence; it is my duty to
entertain customers--my duty, sir, and my pleasure--Sir Munko
Malcrowther?--yes, sir, I dare say he is at this moment in Ned's
eating-house, for few folks ask him out, now Lord Huntinglen is gone
to London. You will get touched again--yes, sir--there you shall find
him with his can of single ale, stirred with a sprig of rosemary, for
he never drinks strong potations, sir, unless to oblige Lord
Huntinglen--take heed, sir--or any other person who asks him forth to
breakfast--but single beer he always drinks at Ned's, with his broiled
bone of beef or mutton--or, it may be, lamb at the season--but not
pork, though Ned is famous for his griskins. But the Scots never eat
pork--strange that! some folk think they are a sort of Jews. There is
a resemblance, sir,--Do you not think so? Then they call our most
gracious Sovereign the Second Solomon, and Solomon, you know, was King
of the Jews; so the thing bears a face, you see. I believe, sir, you
will find yourself trimmed now to your content. I will be judged by
the fair mistress of your affections. Crave pardon--no offence, I
trust. Pray, consult the glass--one touch of the crisping tongs, to
reduce this straggler.--Thank your munificence, sir--hope your custom
while you stay in Greenwich. Would you have a tune on that ghittern,
to put your temper in concord for the day?--Twang, twang--twang,
twang, dillo. Something out of tune, sir--too many hands to touch it--
we cannot keep these things like artists. Let me help you with your
cloak, sir--yes, sir--You would not play yourself, sir, would you?--
Way to Sir Munko's eating-house?--Yes, sir; but it is Ned's eating-
house, not Sir Munko's.--The knight, to be sure, eats there, and makes
it his eating-house in some sense, sir--ha, ha! Yonder it is, removed
from over the way, new white-washed posts, and red lattice--fat man in
his doublet at the door--Ned himself, sir--worth a thousand pounds,
they say--better singeing pigs' faces than trimming courtiers--but
ours is the less mechanical vocation.--Farewell, sir; hope your
custom. "So saying, he at length permitted Nigel to depart, whose
ears, so long tormented with continued babble, tingled when it had
ceased, as if a bell had been rung close to them for the same space of
Upon his arrival at the eating-house, where he proposed to meet with
Sir Mungo Malagrowther, from whom, in despair of better advice, he
trusted to receive some information as to the best mode of introducing
himself into the royal presence, Lord Glenvarloch found, in the host
with whom he communed, the consequential taciturnity of an Englishman
well to pass in the world. Ned Kilderkin spoke as a banker writes,
only touching the needful. Being asked if Sir Mungo Malagrowther was
there? he replied, No. Being interrogated whether he was expected? he
said, Yes. And being again required to say when he was expected, he
answered, Presently. As Lord Glenvarloch next inquired, whether he
himself could have any breakfast? the landlord wasted not even a
syllable in reply, but, ushering him into a neat room where there were
several tables, he placed one of them before an armchair, and
beckoning Lord Glenvarloch to take possession, he set before him, in a
very few minutes, a substantial repast of roast-beef, together with a
foaming tankard, to which refreshment the keen air of the river
disposed him, notwithstanding his mental embarrassments, to do much
While Nigel was thus engaged in discussing his commons, but raising
his head at the same time whenever he heard the door of the apartment
open, eagerly desiring the arrival of Sir Mungo Malagrowther, (an
event which had seldom been expected by any one with so much anxious
interest,) a personage, as it seemed, of at least equal importance
with the knight, entered into the apartment, and began to hold earnest
colloquy with the publican, who thought proper to carry on the
conference on his side unbonneted. This important gentleman's
occupation might be guessed from his dress. A milk-white jerkin, and
hose of white kersey; a white apron twisted around his body in the
manner of a sash, in which, instead of a war-like dagger, was stuck a
long-bladed knife, hilted with buck's-horn; a white nightcap on his
head, under which his hair was neatly tucked, sufficiently pourtrayed
him as one of those priests of Comus whom the vulgar call cooks; and
the air with which he rated the publican for having neglected to send
some provisions to the Palace, showed that he ministered to royalty
"This will never answer," he said, "Master Kilderkin--the king twice
asked for sweetbreads, and fricasseed coxcombs, which are a favourite
dish of his most Sacred Majesty, and they were not to be had, because
Master Kilderkin had not supplied them to the clerk of the kitchen, as
by bargain bound." Here Kilderkin made some apology, brief, according
to his own nature, and muttered in a lowly tone after the fashion of
all who find themselves in a scrape. His superior replied, in a lofty
strain of voice, "Do not tell me of the carrier and his wain, and of
the hen-coops coming from Norfolk with the poultry; a loyal man would
have sent an express--he would have gone upon his stumps, like
Widdrington. What if the king had lost his appetite, Master Kilderkin?
What if his most Sacred Majesty had lost his dinner? O, Master
Kilderkin, if you had but the just sense of the dignity of our
profession, which is told of by the witty African slave, for so the
king's most excellent Majesty designates him, Publius Terentius,
_Tanguam in specula--in patinas inspicerejubeo_."
"You are learned, Master Linklater," replied the English publican,
compelling, as it were with difficulty, his mouth to utter three or
four words consecutively.
"A poor smatterer," said Mr. Linklater; "but it would be a shame to
us, who are his most excellent Majesty's countrymen, not in some sort
to have cherished those arts wherewith he is so deeply embued--_Regis
ad exemplar_, Master Kilderkin, _totus componitur orbis_--which is as
much as to say, as the king quotes the cook learns. In brief, Master
Kilderkin, having had the luck to be bred where humanities may be had
at the matter of an English five groats by the quarter, I, like
others, have acquired--ahem-hem!--" Here, the speaker's eye having
fallen upon Lord Glenvarloch, he suddenly stopped in his learned
harangue, with such symptoms of embarrassment as induced Ned Kilderkin
to stretch his taciturnity so far as not only to ask him what he
ailed, but whether he would take any thing.
"Ail nothing," replied the learned rival of the philosophical Syrus;
"Nothing--and yet I do feel a little giddy. I could taste a glass of
your dame's _aqua mirabilis_."
"I will fetch it," said Ned, giving a nod; and his back was no sooner
turned, than the cook walked near the table where Lord Glenvarloch was
seated, and regarding him with a look of significance, where more was
meant than met the ear, said,--"You are a stranger in Greenwich, sir.
I advise you to take the opportunity to step into the Park--the
western wicket was ajar when I came hither; I think it will be locked
presently, so you had better make the best of your way--that is, if
you have any curiosity. The venison are coming into season just now,
sir, and there is a pleasure in looking at a hart of grease. I always
think when they are bounding so blithely past, what a pleasure it
would be, to broach their plump haunches on a spit, and to embattle
their breasts in a noble fortification of puff-paste, with plenty of
He said no more, as Kilderkin re-entered with the cordial, but edged
off from Nigel without waiting any reply, only repeating the same look
of intelligence with which he had accosted him.
Nothing makes men's wits so alert as personal danger. Nigel took the
first opportunity which his host's attention to the yeoman of the
royal kitchen permitted, to discharge his reckoning, and readily
obtained a direction to the wicket in question. He found it upon the
latch, as he had been taught to expect; and perceived that it admitted
him to a narrow footpath, which traversed a close and tangled thicket,
designed for the cover of the does and the young fawns. Here he
conjectured it would be proper to wait; nor had he been stationary
above five minutes, when the cook, scalded as much with heat of motion
as ever he had been by his huge fire-place, arrived almost breathless,
and with his pass-key hastily locked the wicket behind him.
Ere Lord Glenvarloch had time to speculate upon this action, the man
approached with anxiety, and said--"Good lord, my Lord Glenvarloch!--
why will you endanger yourself thus?"
"You know me then, my friend?" said Nigel.
"Not much of that, my lord--but I know your honour's noble house
well.--My name is Laurie Linklater, my lord."
"Linklater!" repeated Nigel. "I should recollect--'
"Under your lordship's favour," he continued, "I was 'prentice, my
lord, to old Mungo Moniplies, the flesher at the wanton West-Port of
Edinburgh, which I wish I saw again before I died. And, your honour's
noble father having taken Richie Moniplies into his house to wait on
your lordship, there was a sort of connexion, your lordship sees."
"Ah!" said Lord Glenvarloch, "I had almost forgot your name, but not
your kind purpose. You tried to put Richie in the way of presenting a
supplication to his Majesty?"
"Most true, my lord," replied the king's cook. "I had like to have
come by mischief in the job; for Richie, who was always wilful, 'wadna
be guided by me,' as the sang says. But nobody amongst these brave
English cooks can kittle up his Majesty's most sacred palate with our
own gusty Scottish dishes. So I e'en betook myself to my craft, and
concocted a mess of friar's chicken for the soup, and a savoury
hachis, that made the whole cabal coup the crans; and, instead of
disgrace, I came by preferment. I am one of the clerks of the kitchen
now, make me thankful--with a finger in the purveyor's office, and may
get my whole hand in by and by."
"I am truly glad," said Nigel, "to hear that you have not suffered on
my account,--still more so at your good fortune."
"You bear a kind heart, my lord," said Linklater, "and do not forget
poor people; and, troth, I see not why they should be forgotten, since
the king's errand may sometimes fall in the cadger's gate. I have
followed your lordship in the street, just to look at such a stately
shoot of the old oak-tree; and my heart jumped into my throat, when I
saw you sitting openly in the eating-house yonder, and knew there was
such danger to your person."
"What! there are warrants against me, then?" said Nigel.
"It is even true, my lord; and there are those who are willing to
blacken you as much as they can.--God forgive them, that would
sacrifice an honourable house for their own base ends!"
"Amen," said Nigel.
"For, say your lordship may have been a little wild, like other young
"We have little time to talk of it, my friend," said Nigel. "The point
in question is, how am I to get speech of the king?"
"The king, my lord!" said Linklater in astonishment; "why, will not
that be rushing wilfully into danger?--scalding yourself, as I may
say, with your own ladle?"
"My good friend," answered Nigel, "my experience of the Court, and my
knowledge of the circumstances in which I stand, tell me, that the
manliest and most direct road is, in my case, the surest and the
safest. The king has both a head to apprehend what is just, and a
heart to do what is kind."
"It is e'en true, my lord, and so we, his old servants, know," added
Linklater; "but, woe's me, if you knew how many folks make it their
daily and nightly purpose to set his head against his heart, and his
heart against his head--to make him do hard things because they are
called just, and unjust things because they are represented as kind.
Woe's me! it is with his Sacred Majesty, and the favourites who work
upon him, even according to the homely proverb that men taunt my
calling with,--'God sends good meat, but the devil sends cooks.'"
"It signifies not talking of it, my good friend," said Nigel, "I must
take my risk, my honour peremptorily demands it. They may maim me, or
beggar me, but they shall not say I fled from my accusers. My peers
shall hear my vindication."
"Your peers?" exclaimed the cook--"Alack-a-day, my lord, we are not in
Scotland, where the nobles can bang it out bravely, were it even with
the king himself, now and then. This mess must be cooked in the Star-
Chamber, and that is an oven seven times heated, my lord;--and yet, if
you are determined to see the king, I will not say but you may find
some favour, for he likes well any thing that is appealed directly to
his own wisdom, and sometimes, in the like cases, I have known him
stick by his own opinion, which is always a fair one. Only mind, if
you will forgive me, my lord--mind to spice high with Latin; a curn or
two of Greek would not be amiss; and, if you can bring in any thing
about the judgment of Solomon, in the original Hebrew, and season with
a merry jest or so, the dish will be the more palatable.--Truly, I
think, that, besides my skill in art, I owe much to the stripes of the
Rector of the High School, who imprinted on my mind that cooking scene
in the Heautontimorumenos." "Leaving that aside, my friend," said Lord
Glenvarloch, "can you inform me which way I shall most readily get to
the sight and speech of the king?"
"To the sight of him readily enough," said Linklater; "he is galloping
about these alleys, to see them strike the hart, to get him an
appetite for a nooning--and that reminds me I should be in the
kitchen. To the speech of the king you will not come so easily, unless
you could either meet him alone, which rarely chances, or wait for him
among the crowd that go to see him alight. And now, farewell, my lord,
and God speed!--if I could do more for you, I would offer it."
"You have done enough, perhaps, to endanger yourself," said Lord
Glenvarloch. "I pray you to be gone, and leave me to my fate."
The honest cook lingered, but a nearer burst of the horns apprized him
that there was no time to lose; and, acquainting Nigel that he would
leave the postern-door on the latch to secure his retreat in that
direction, he bade God bless him, and farewell.
In the kindness of this humble countryman, flowing partly from
national partiality, partly from a sense of long-remembered benefits,
which had been scarce thought on by those who had bestowed them, Lord
Glenvarloch thought he saw the last touch of sympathy which he was to
receive in this cold and courtly region, and felt that he must now be
sufficient to himself, or be utterly lost.
He traversed more than one alley, guided by the sounds of the chase,
and met several of the inferior attendants upon the king's sport, who
regarded him only as one of the spectators who were sometimes
permitted to enter the Park by the concurrence of the officers about
the Court. Still there was no appearance of James, or any of his
principal courtiers, and Nigel began to think whether, at the risk of
incurring disgrace similar to that which had attended the rash exploit
of Richie Moniplies, he should not repair to the Palace-gate, in order
to address the king on his return, when Fortune presented him the
opportunity of doing so, in her own way.
He was in one of those long walks by which the Park was traversed,
when he heard, first a distant rustling, then the rapid approach of
hoofs shaking the firm earth on which he stood; then a distant halloo,
warned by which he stood up by the side of the avenue, leaving free
room for the passage of the chase. The stag, reeling, covered with
foam, and blackened with sweat, his nostrils extended as he gasped for
breath, made a shift to come up as far as where Nigel stood, and,
without turning to bay, was there pulled down by two tall greyhounds
of the breed still used by the hardy deer-stalkers of the Scottish
Highlands, but which has been long unknown in England. One dog struck
at the buck's throat, another dashed his sharp nose and fangs, I might
almost say, into the animal's bowels. It would have been natural for
Lord Glenvarloch, himself persecuted as if by hunters, to have thought
upon the occasion like the melancholy Jacques; but habit is a strange
matter, and I fear that his feelings on the occasion were rather those
of the practised huntsman than of the moralist. He had no time,
however, to indulge them, for mark what befell.
A single horseman followed the chase, upon a steed so thoroughly
subjected to the rein, that it obeyed the touch of the bridle as if it
had been a mechanical impulse operating on the nicest piece of
machinery; so that, seated deep in his demipique saddle, and so
trussed up there as to make falling almost impossible, the rider,
without either fear or hesitation, might increase or diminish the
speed at which he rode, which, even on the most animating occasions of
the chase, seldom exceeded three-fourths of a gallop, the horse
keeping his haunches under him, and never stretching forward beyond
the managed pace of the academy. The security with which he chose to
prosecute even this favourite, and, in the ordinary case, somewhat
dangerous amusement, as well as the rest of his equipage, marked King
James. No attendant was within sight; indeed, it was often a nice
strain of flattery to permit the Sovereign to suppose he had outridden
and distanced all the rest of the chase.
"Weel dune, Bash--weel dune, Battie!" he exclaimed as he came up. "By
the honour of a king, ye are a credit to the Braes of Balwhither!--
Haud my horse, man," he called out to Nigel, without stopping to see
to whom he had addressed himself--"Haud my naig, and help me doun out
o' the saddle--deil ding your saul, sirrah, canna ye mak haste before
these lazy smaiks come up?--haud the rein easy--dinna let him swerve--
now, haud the stirrup--that will do, man, and now we are on terra
firma." So saying, without casting an eye on his assistant, gentle
King Jamie, unsheathing the short, sharp hanger, (_couteau de
chasse_,) which was the only thing approaching to a sword that he
could willingly endure the sight of, drew the blade with great
satisfaction across the throat of the buck, and put an end at once to
its struggles and its agonies.
Lord Glenvarloch, who knew well the silvan duty which the occasion
demanded, hung the bridle of the king's palfrey on the branch of a
tree, and, kneeling duteously down, turned the slaughtered deer upon
its back, and kept the _quarree_ in that position, while the king, too
intent upon his sport to observe any thing else, drew his _couteau_
down the breast of the animal, _secundum artem_; and, having made a
cross cut, so as to ascertain the depth of the fat upon the chest,
exclaimed, in a sort of rapture, "Three inches of white fat on the
brisket!--prime--prime--as I am a crowned sinner--and deil ane o' the
lazy loons in but mysell! Seven--aught--aught tines on the antlers. By
G--d, a hart of aught tines, and the first of the season! Bash and
Battie, blessings on the heart's-root of ye! Buss me, my bairns, buss
me. "The dogs accordingly fawned upon him, licked him with bloody
jaws, and soon put him in such a state that it might have seemed
treason had been doing its full work upon his anointed body." Bide
doun, with a mischief to ye--bide doun, with a wanion," cried the
king, almost overturned by the obstreperous caresses of the large
stag-hounds. "But ye are just like ither folks, gie ye an inch and ye
take an ell.--And wha may ye be, friend? "he said, now finding leisure
to take a nearer view of Nigel, and observing what in his first
emotion of silvan delight had escaped him,--" Ye are nane of our
train, man. In the name of God, what the devil are ye?"
"An unfortunate man, sire," replied Nigel.
"I dare say that," answered the king, snappishly, "or I wad have seen
naething of you. My lieges keep a' their happiness to themselves; but
let bowls row wrang wi' them, and I am sure to hear of it."
"And to whom else can we carry our complaints but to your Majesty, who
is Heaven's vicegerent over us!" answered Nigel.
"Right, man, right--very weel spoken," said the king; "but you should
leave Heaven's vicegerent some quiet on earth, too."
"If your Majesty will look on me," (for hitherto the king had been so
busy, first with the dogs, and then with the mystic operation of
_breaking_, in vulgar phrase, cutting up the deer, that he had scarce
given his assistant above a transient glance,) "you will see whom
necessity makes bold to avail himself of an opportunity which may
never again occur."
King James looked; his blood left his cheek, though it continued
stained with that of the animal which lay at his feet, he dropped the
knife from his hand, cast behind him a faltering eye, as if he either
meditated flight or looked out for assistance, and then exclaimed,--
"Glenvarlochides! as sure as I was christened James Stewart. Here is a
bonny spot of work, and me alone, and on foot too!" he added, bustling
to get upon his horse.
"Forgive me that I interrupt you, my liege," said Nigel, placing
himself between the king and his steed; "hear me but a moment!"
"I'll hear ye best on horseback," said the king. "I canna hear a word
on foot, man, not a word; and it is not seemly to stand cheek-for-
chowl confronting us that gate. Bide out of our gate, sir, we charge
you on your allegiance.--The deil's in them a', what can they be
"By the crown that you wear, my liege," said Nigel, "and for which my
ancestors have worthily fought, I conjure you to be composed, and to
hear me but a moment!"
That which he asked was entirely out of the monarch's power to grant.
The timidity which he showed was not the plain downright cowardice,
which, like a natural impulse, compels a man to flight, and which can
excite little but pity or contempt, but a much more ludicrous, as well
as more mingled sensation. The poor king was frightened at once and
angry, desirous of securing his safety, and at the same time ashamed
to compromise his dignity; so that without attending to what Lord
Glenvarloch endeavoured to explain, he kept making at his horse, and
repeating, "We are a free king, man,--we are a free king--we will not
be controlled by a subject.--In the name of God, what keeps Steenie?
And, praised be his name, they are coming--Hillo, ho--here, here--
The Duke of Buckingham galloped up, followed by several courtiers and
attendants of the royal chase, and commenced with his usual
familiarity,--"I see Fortune has graced our dear dad, as usual.--But
"What is it? It is treason for what I ken," said the king; "and a'
your wyte, Steenie. Your dear dad and gossip might have been murdered,
for what you care."
"Murdered? Secure the villain!" exclaimed the Duke. "By Heaven, it is
Olifaunt himself!" A dozen of the hunters dismounted at once, letting
their horses run wild through the park. Some seized roughly on Lord
Glenvarloch, who thought it folly to offer resistance, while others
busied themselves with the king. "Are you wounded, my liege--are you
"Not that I ken of," said the king, in the paroxysm of his
apprehension, (which, by the way, might be pardoned in one of so
timorous a temper, and who, in his time, had been exposed to so many
strange attempts)--"Not that I ken of--but search him--search him. I
am sure I saw fire-arms under his cloak. I am sure I smelled powder--I
am dooms sure of that."
Lord Glenvarloch's cloak being stripped off, and his pistols
discovered, a shout of wonder and of execration on the supposed
criminal purpose, arose from the crowd now thickening every moment.
Not that celebrated pistol, which, though resting on a bosom as
gallant and as loyal as Nigel's, spread such cause less alarm among
knights and dames at a late high solemnity--not that very pistol
caused more temporary consternation than was so groundlessly excited
by the arms which were taken from Lord Glenvarloch's person; and not
Mhic-Allastar-More himself could repel with greater scorn and
indignation, the insinuations that they were worn for any sinister
"Away with the wretch--the parricide--the bloody-minded villain!" was
echoed on all hands; and the king, who naturally enough set the same
value on his own life, at which it was, or seemed to be, rated by
others, cried out, louder than all the rest, "Ay, ay--away with him. I
have had enough of him and so has the country. But do him no bodily
harm--and, for God's sake, sirs, if ye are sure ye have thoroughly
disarmed him, put up your swords, dirks, and skenes, for you will
certainly do each other a mischief."
There was a speedy sheathing of weapons at the king's command; for
those who had hitherto been brandishing them in loyal bravado, began
thereby to call to mind the extreme dislike which his Majesty
nourished against naked steel, a foible which seemed to be as
constitutional as his timidity, and was usually ascribed to the brutal
murder of Rizzio having been perpetrated in his unfortunate mother's
presence before he yet saw the light.
At this moment, the Prince, who had been hunting in a different part
of the then extensive Park, and had received some hasty and confused
information of what was going forward, came rapidly up, with one or
two noblemen in his train, and amongst others Lord Dalgarno. He sprung
from his horse and asked eagerly if his father were wounded.
"Not that I am sensible of, Baby Charles--but a wee matter exhausted,
with struggling single-handed with the assassin.--Steenie, fill up a
cup of wine--the leathern bottle is hanging at our pommel.--Buss me,
then, Baby Charles," continued the monarch, after he had taken this
cup of comfort; "O man, the Commonwealth and you have had a fair
escape from the heavy and bloody loss of a dear father; for we are
_pater patriae_, as weel as _pater familias_.-_Quis desiderio sit
pudor aut modus tarn cari capitis!_-Woe is me, black cloth would have
been dear in England, and dry een scarce!"
And, at the very idea of the general grief which must have attended
his death, the good-natured monarch cried heartily himself.
"Is this possible?" said Charles, sternly; for his pride was hurt at
his father's demeanour on the one hand, while on the other, he felt
the resentment of a son and a subject, at the supposed attempt on the
king's life. "Let some one speak who has seen what happened--My Lord
"I cannot say my lord," replied the Duke, "that I saw any actual
violence offered to his Majesty, else I should have avenged him on the
"You would have done wrong, then, in your zeal, George," answered the
Prince; "such offenders were better left to be dealt with by the laws.
But was the villain not struggling with his Majesty?"
"I cannot term it so, my lord," said the Duke, who, with many faults,
would have disdained an untruth; "he seemed to desire to detain his
Majesty, who, on the contrary, appeared to wish to mount his horse;
but they have found pistols on his person, contrary to the
proclamation, and, as it proves to be by Nigel Olifaunt, of whose
ungoverned disposition your Royal Highness has seen some samples, we
seem to be justified in apprehending the worst."
"Nigel Olifaunt!" said the Prince; "can that unhappy man so soon have
engaged in a new trespass? Let me see those pistols."
"Ye are not so unwise as to meddle with such snap-haunces, Baby
Charles?" said James--"Do not give him them, Steenie--I command you on
your allegiance! They may go off of their own accord, whilk often
befalls.--You will do it, then?--Saw ever a man sic wilful bairns as
we are cumbered with!--Havena we guardsmen and soldiers enow, but you
must unload the weapons yoursell--you, the heir of our body and
dignities, and sae mony men around that are paid for venturing life in
But without regarding his father's exclamations, Prince Charles, with
the obstinacy which characterised him in trifles, as well as matters
of consequence, persisted in unloading the pistols with his own hand,
of the double bullets with which each was charged. The hands of all
around were held up in astonishment at the horror of the crime
supposed to have been intended, and the escape which was presumed so
Nigel had not yet spoken a word--he now calmly desired to be heard.
"To what purpose?" answered the Prince coldly. "You knew yourself
accused of a heavy offence, and, instead of rendering yourself up to
justice, in terms of the proclamation, you are here found intruding
yourself on his Majesty's presence, and armed with unlawful weapons."
"May it please you, sir," answered Nigel, "I wore these unhappy
weapons for my own defence; and not very many hours since they were
necessary to protect the lives of others."
"Doubtless, my lord," answered the Prince, still calm and unmoved,--
"your late mode of life, and the associates with whom you have lived,
have made you familiar with scenes and weapons of violence. But it is
not to me you are to plead your cause."
"Hear me--hear me, noble Prince!" said Nigel, eagerly. "Hear me! You--
even you yourself--may one day ask to be heard, and in vain."
"How, sir," said the Prince, haughtily--"how am I to construe that, my
"If not on earth, sir," replied the prisoner, "yet to Heaven we must
all pray for patient and favourable audience."
"True, my lord," said the Prince, bending his head with haughty
acquiescence; "nor would I now refuse such audience to you, could it
avail you. But you shall suffer no wrong. We will ourselves look into
"Ay, ay," answered the king, "he hath made _appellatio ad Casarem_--we
will interrogate Glenvarlochides ourselves, time and place fitting;
and, in the meanwhile, have him and his weapons away, for I am weary
of the sight of them."
In consequence of directions hastily given, Nigel was accordingly
removed from the presence, where, however, his words had not
altogether fallen to the ground. "This is a most strange matter,
George," said the Prince to the favourite; "this gentleman hath a good
countenance, a happy presence, and much calm firmness in his look and
speech. I cannot think he would attempt a crime so desperate and
"I profess neither love nor favour to the young man," answered
Buckingham, whose high-spirited ambition bore always an open
character: "but I cannot but agree with your Highness, that our dear
gossip hath been something hasty in apprehending personal danger from
"By my saul, Steenie, ye are not blate, to say so!" said the king. "Do
I not ken the smell of pouther, think ye? Who else nosed out the Fifth
of November, save our royal selves? Cecil, and Suffolk, and all of
them, were at fault, like sae mony mongrel tikes, when I puzzled it
out: and trow ye that I cannot smell pouther? Why, 'sblood, man,
Joannes Barclaius thought my ingine was in some measure inspiration,
and terms his history of the plot, Series patefacti divinitus
parricidii; and Spondanus, in like manner, saith of us, Divinitus
"The land was happy in your Majesty's escape," said the Duke of
Buckingham, "and not less in the quick wit which tracked that
labyrinth of treason by so fine and almost invisible a clew."
"Saul, man, Steenie, ye are right! There are few youths have sic true
judgment as you, respecting the wisdom of their elders; and, as for
this fause, traitorous smaik, I doubt he is a hawk of the same nest.
Saw ye not something papistical about him? Let them look that he bears
not a crucifix, or some sic Roman trinket, about him."
"It would ill become me to attempt the exculpation of this unhappy
man," said Lord Dalgarno, "considering the height of his present
attempt, which has made all true men's blood curdle in their veins.
Yet I cannot avoid intimating, with all due submission to his
Majesty's infallible judgment, in justice to one who showed himself
formerly only my enemy, though he now displays himself in much blacker
colours, that this Olifaunt always appeared to me more as a Puritan
than as a Papist."
"Ah, Dalgarno, art thou there, man?" said the king. "And ye behoved to
keep back, too, and leave us to our own natural strength and the care
of Providence, when we were in grips with the villain!"
"Providence, may it please your most Gracious Majesty, would not fail
to aid, in such a strait, the care of three weeping kingdoms," said
"Surely, man--surely," replied the king--"but a sight of your father,
with his long whinyard, would have been a blithe matter a short while
syne; and in future we will aid the ends of Providence in our favour,
by keeping near us two stout beef-eaters of the guard.--And so this
Olifaunt is a Puritan?--not the less like to be a Papist, for all
that--for extremities meet, as the scholiast proveth. There are, as I
have proved in my book, Puritans of papistical principles--it is just
a new tout on an old horn."
Here the king was reminded by the Prince, who dreaded perhaps that he
was going to recite the whole Basilicon Doron, that it would be best
to move towards the Palace, and consider what was to be done for
satisfying the public mind, in whom the morning's adventure was likely
to excite much speculation. As they entered the gate of the Palace, a
female bowed and presented a paper, which the king received, and, with
a sort of groan, thrust it into his side pocket. The Prince expressed
some curiosity to know its contents. "The valet in waiting will tell
you them," said the king, "when I strip off my cassock. D'ye think,
Baby, that I can read all that is thrust into my hands? See to me,
man,--(he pointed to the pockets of his great trunk breeches, which
were stuffed with papers)--"We are like an ass--that we should so
speak--stooping betwixt two burdens. Ay, ay, Asinus fortis accumbens
inter terminos, as the Vulgate hath it--Ay, ay, Vidi terrain quod
esset optima, et supposui humerum ad portandum, et factus sum tributis
serviens--I saw this land of England, and became an overburdened king
"You are indeed well loaded, my dear dad and gossip," said the Duke of
Buckingham, receiving the papers which King James emptied out of his
"Ay, ay," continued the monarch; "take them to you per aversionem,
bairns--the one pouch stuffed with petitions, t'other with
pasquinadoes; a fine time we have on't. On my conscience, I believe
the tale of Cadmus was hieroglyphical, and that the dragon's teeth
whilk he sowed were the letters he invented. Ye are laughing, Baby
Charles?--Mind what I say.--When I came here first frae our ain
country, where the men are as rude as the weather, by my conscience,
England was a bieldy bit; one would have thought the king had little
to do but to walk by quiet waters, per aquam refectionis. But, I kenna
how or why, the place is sair changed--read that libel upon us and on
our regimen. The dragon's teeth are sown, Baby Charles; I pray God
they bearna their armed harvest in your day, if I suld not live to see
it. God forbid I should, for there will be an awful day's kemping at
the shearing of them."
"I shall know how to stifle the crop in the blade,--ha, George?" said
the Prince, turning to the favourite with a look expressive of some
contempt for his father's apprehensions, and full of confidence in the
superior firmness and decision of his own counsels.
While this discourse was passing, Nigel, in charge of a pursuivant-at-
arms, was pushed and dragged through the small town, all the
inhabitants of which, having been alarmed by the report of an attack
on the king's life, now pressed forward to see the supposed traitor.
Amid the confusion of the moment, he could descry the face of the
victualler, arrested into a stare of stolid wonder, and that of the
barber grinning betwixt horror and eager curiosity. He thought that he
also had a glimpse of his waterman in the green jacket.
He had no time for remarks, being placed in a boat with the pursuivant
and two yeomen of the guard, and rowed up the river as fast as the
arms of six stout watermen could pull against the tide. They passed
the groves of masts which even then astonished the stranger with the
extended commerce of London, and now approached those low and
blackened walls of curtain and bastion, which exhibit here and there a
piece of ordnance, and here and there a solitary sentinel under arms,
but have otherwise so little of the military terrors of a citadel. A
projecting low-browed arch, which had loured over many an innocent,
and many a guilty head, in similar circumstances, now spread its dark
frowns over that of Nigel. The boat was put close up to the broad
steps against which the tide was lapping its lazy wave. The warder on
duty looked from the wicket, and spoke to the pursuivant in whispers.
In a few minutes the Lieutenant of the Tower appeared, received, and
granted an acknowledgment for the body of Nigel, Lord Glenvarloch.
Sorry, no summary available yet.