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Chapter 29

How fares the man on whom good men would look
With eyes where scorn and censure combated,
But that kind Christian love hath taught the lesson--
That they who merit most contempt and hate,
Do most deserve our pity.--
_Old Play_.

It might have seemed natural that the visit of John Christie should
have entirely diverted Nigel's attention from his slumbering
companion, and, for a time, such was the immediate effect of the chain
of new ideas which the incident introduced; yet, soon after the
injured man had departed, Lord Glenvarloch began to think it
extraordinary that the boy should have slept so soundly, while they
talked loudly in his vicinity. Yet he certainly did not appear to have
stirred. Was he well--was he only feigning sleep? He went close to him
to make his observations, and perceived that he had wept, and was
still weeping, though his eyes were closed. He touched him gently on
the shoulder--the boy shrunk from his touch, but did not awake. He
pulled him harder, and asked him if he was sleeping.

"Do they waken folk in your country to know whether they are asleep or
no?" said the boy, in a peevish tone.

"No, my young sir," answered Nigel; "but when they weep in the manner
you do in your sleep, they awaken them to see what ails them."

"It signifies little to any one what ails me," said the boy.

"True," replied Lord Glenvarloch; "but you knew before you went to
sleep how little I could assist you in your difficulties, and you
seemed disposed, notwithstanding, to put some confidence in me."

"If I did, I have changed my mind," said the lad.

"And what may have occasioned this change of mind, I trow?" said Lord
Glenvarloch. "Some men speak through their sleep--perhaps you have the
gift of hearing in it?"

"No, but the Patriarch Joseph never dreamt truer dreams than I do."

"Indeed!" said Lord Glenvarloch. "And, pray, what dream have you had
that has deprived me of your good opinion; for that, I think, seems
the moral of the matter?"

"You shall judge yourself," answered the boy. "I dreamed I was in a
wild forest, where there was a cry of hounds, and winding of horns,
exactly as I heard in Greenwich Park."

"That was because you were in the Park this morning, you simple
child," said Nigel.

"Stay, my lord," said the youth. "I went on in my dream, till, at the
top of a broad green alley, I saw a noble stag which had fallen into
the toils; and methought I knew that he was the very stag which the
whole party were hunting, and that if the chase came up, the dogs
would tear him to pieces, or the hunters would cut his throat; and I
had pity on the gallant stag, and though I was of a different kind
from him, and though I was somewhat afraid of him, I thought I would
venture something to free so stately a creature; and I pulled out my
knife, and just as I was beginning to cut the meshes of the net, the
animal started up in my face in the likeness of a tiger, much larger
and fiercer than any you may have seen in the ward of the wild beasts
yonder, and was just about to tear me limb from limb, when you awaked

"Methinks," said Nigel, "I deserve more thanks than I have got, for
rescuing you from such a danger by waking you. But, my pretty master,
methinks all this tale of a tiger and a stag has little to do with
your change of temper towards me."

"I know not whether it has or no," said the lad; "but I will not tell
you who I am."

"You will keep your secret to yourself then, peevish boy," said Nigel,
turning from him, and resuming his walk through the room; then
stopping suddenly, he said--"And yet you shall not escape from me
without knowing that I penetrate your mystery."

"My mystery!" said the youth, at once alarmed and irritated--"what
mean you, my lord?"

"Only that I can read your dream without the assistance of a Chaldean
interpreter, and my exposition is--that my fair companion does not
wear the dress of her sex."

"And if I do not, my lord," said his companion, hastily starting up,
and folding her cloak tight around her, "my dress, such as it is,
covers one who will not disgrace it."

"Many would call that speech a fair challenge," said Lord Glenvarloch,
looking on her fixedly; "women do not masquerade in men's clothes, to
make use of men's weapons."

"I have no such purpose," said the seeming boy; "I have other means of
protection, and powerful--but I would first know what is _your_

"An honourable and a most respectful one," said Lord Glenvarloch;
"whatever you are--whatever motive may have brought you into this
ambiguous situation, I am sensible--every look, word, and action of
yours, makes me sensible, that you are no proper subject of
importunity, far less of ill usage. What circumstances can have forced
you into so doubtful a situation, I know not; but I feel assured there
is, and can be, nothing in them of premeditated wrong, which should
expose you to cold-blooded insult. From me you have nothing to dread."

"I expected nothing less from your nobleness, my lord," answered the
female; "my adventure, though I feel it was both desperate and
foolish, is not so very foolish, nor my safety here so utterly
unprotected, as at first sight--and in this strange dress, it may
appear to be. I have suffered enough, and more than enough, by the
degradation of having been seen in this unfeminine attire, and the
comments you must necessarily have made on my conduct--but I thank God
that I am so far protected, that I could not have been subjected to
insult unavenged." When this extraordinary explanation had proceeded
thus far, the warder appeared, to place before Lord Glenvarloch a
meal, which, for his present situation, might be called comfortable,
and which, if not equal to the cookery of the celebrated Chevalier
Beaujeu, was much superior in neatness and cleanliness to that of
Alsatia. A warder attended to do the honours of the table, and made a
sign to the disguised female to rise and assist him in his functions.
But Nigel, declaring that he knew the youth's parents, interfered, and
caused his companion to eat along with him. She consented with a sort
of embarrassment, which rendered her pretty features yet more
interesting. Yet she maintained with a natural grace that sort of
good-breeding which belongs to the table; and it seemed to Nigel,
whether already prejudiced in her favour by the extraordinary
circumstances of their meeting, or whether really judging from what
was actually the fact, that he had seldom seen a young person comport
herself with more decorous propriety, mixed with ingenuous simplicity;
while the consciousness of the peculiarity of her situation threw a
singular colouring over her whole demeanour, which could be neither
said to be formal, nor easy, nor embarrassed, but was compounded of,
and shaded with, an interchange of all these three characteristics.
Wine was placed on the table, of which she could not be prevailed on
to taste a glass. Their conversation was, of course, limited by the
presence of the warder to the business of the table: but Nigel had,
long ere the cloth was removed, formed the resolution, if possible, of
making himself master of this young person's history, the more
especially as he now began to think that the tones of her voice and
her features were not so strange to him as he had originally supposed.
This, however, was a conviction which he adopted slowly, and only as
it dawned upon him from particular circumstances during the course of
the repast.

At length the prison-meal was finished, and Lord Glenvarloch began to
think how he might most easily enter upon the topic he meditated, when
the warder announced a visitor.

"Soh!" said Nigel, something displeased, "I find even a prison does
not save one from importunate visitations."

He prepared to receive his guest, however, while his alarmed companion
flew to the large cradle-shaped chair, which had first served her as a
place of refuge, drew her cloak around her, and disposed herself as
much as she could to avoid observation. She had scarce made her
arrangements for that purpose when the door opened, and the worthy
citizen, George Heriot, entered the prison-chamber.

He cast around the apartment his usual sharp, quick glance of
observation, and, advancing to Nigel, said--"My lord, I wish I could
say I was happy to see you."

"The sight of those who are unhappy themselves, Master Heriot, seldom
produces happiness to their friends--I, however, am glad to see you."

He extended his hand, but Heriot bowed with much formal complaisance,
instead of accepting the courtesy, which in those times, when the
distinction of ranks was much guarded by etiquette and ceremony, was
considered as a distinguished favour.

"You are displeased with me, Master Heriot," said Lord Glenvarloch,
reddening, for he was not deceived by the worthy citizen's affectation
of extreme reverence and respect.

"By no means, my lord," replied Heriot; "but I have been in France,
and have thought it is well to import, along with other more
substantial articles, a small sample of that good-breeding which the
French are so renowned for."

"It is not kind of you," said Nigel, "to bestow the first use of it on
an old and obliged friend."

Heriot only answered to this observation with a short dry cough, and
then proceeded.

"Hem! hem! I say, ahem! My lord, as my French politeness may not carry
me far, I would willingly know whether I am to speak as a friend,
since your lordship is pleased to term me such; or whether I am, as
befits my condition, to confine myself to the needful business which
must be treated of between us."

"Speak as a friend by all means, Master Heriot," said Nigel; "I
perceive you have adopted some of the numerous prejudices against me,
if not all of them. Speak out, and frankly--what I cannot deny I will
at least confess."

"And I trust, my lord, redress," said Heriot.

"So far as in my power, certainly," answered Nigel.

"Ah I my lord," continued Heriot, "that is a melancholy though a
necessary restriction; for how lightly may any one do an hundred times
more than the degree of evil which it may be within his power to
repair to the sufferers and to society! But we are not alone here," he
said, stopping, and darting his shrewd eye towards the muffled figure
of the disguised maiden, whose utmost efforts had not enabled her so
to adjust her position as altogether to escape observation. More
anxious to prevent her being discovered than to keep his own affairs
private, Nigel hastily answered-

"'Tis a page of mine; you may speak freely before him. He is of
France, and knows no English."

"I am then to speak freely," said Heriot, after a second glance at the
chair; "perhaps my words may be more free than welcome."

"Go on, sir," said Nigel, "I have told you I can bear reproof."

"In one word, then, my lord--why do I find you in this place, and
whelmed with charges which must blacken a name rendered famous by ages
of virtue?"

"Simply, then, you find me here," said Nigel, "because, to begin from
my original error, I would be wiser than my father."

"It was a difficult task, my lord," replied Heriot; "your father was
voiced generally as the wisest and one of the bravest men of

"He commanded me," continued Nigel, "to avoid all gambling; and I took
upon me to modify this injunction into regulating my play according to
my skill, means, and the course of my luck."

"Ay, self opinion, acting on a desire of acquisition, my lord--you
hoped to touch pitch and not to be defiled, "answered Heriot. "Well,
my lord, you need not say, for I have heard with much regret, how far
this conduct diminished your reputation. Your next error I may without
scruple remind you of--My lord, my lord, in whatever degree Lord
Dalgarno may have failed towards you, the son of his father should
have been sacred from your violence."

"You speak in cold blood, Master Heriot, and I was smarting under a
thousand wrongs inflicted on me under the mask of friendship."

"That is, he gave your lordship bad advice, and you," said Heriot--

"Was fool enough to follow his counsel," answered Nigel--"But we will
pass this, Master Heriot, if you please. Old men and young men, men of
the sword and men of peaceful occupation, always have thought, always
will think, differently on such subjects."

"I grant," answered Heriot, "the distinction between the old goldsmith
and the young nobleman--still you should have had patience for Lord
Huntinglen's sake, and prudence for your own. Supposing your quarrel

"I pray you to pass on to some other charge," said Lord Glenvarloch.

"I am not your accuser, my lord; but I trust in heaven, that your own
heart has already accused you bitterly on the inhospitable wrong which
your late landlord has sustained at your hand."

"Had I been guilty of what you allude to," said Lord Glenvarloch,--
"had a moment of temptation hurried me away, I had long ere now most
bitterly repented it. But whoever may have wronged the unhappy woman,
it was not I--I never heard of her folly until within this hour."

"Come, my lord," said Heriot, with some severity, "this sounds too
much like affectation. I know there is among our modern youth a new
creed respecting adultery as well as homicide--I would rather hear you
speak of a revision of the Decalogue, with mitigated penalties in
favour of the privileged orders--I would rather hear you do this than
deny a fact in which you have been known to glory."

"Glory!--I never did, never would have taken honour to myself from
such a cause," said Lord Glenvarloch. "I could not prevent other idle
tongues, and idle brains, from making false inferences."

"You would have known well enough how to stop their mouths, my lord,"
replied Heriot, "had they spoke of you what was unpleasing to your
ears, and what the truth did not warrant.--Come, my lord, remember
your promise to confess; and, indeed, to confess is, in this case, in
some slight sort to redress. I will grant you are young--the woman
handsome--and, as I myself have observed, light-headed enough. Let me
know where she is. Her foolish husband has still some compassion for
her--will save her from infamy--perhaps, in time, receive her back;
for we are a good-natured generation we traders. Do not, my lord,
emulate those who work mischief merely for the pleasure of doing so--
it is the very devil's worst quality."

"Your grave remonstrances will drive me mad," said Nigel. "There is a
show of sense and reason in what you say; and yet, it is positively
insisting on my telling the retreat of a fugitive of whom I know
nothing earthly."

"It is well, my lord," answered Heriot, coldly. "You have a right,
such as it is, to keep your own secrets; but, since my discourse on
these points seems so totally unavailing, we had better proceed to
business. Yet your father's image rises before me, and seems to plead
that I should go on."

"Be it as you will, sir," said Glenvarloch; "he who doubts my word
shall have no additional security for it."

"Well, my lord.--In the Sanctuary at Whitefriars--a place of refuge so
unsuitable to a young man of quality and character--I am told a murder
was committed."

"And you believe that I did the deed, I suppose?"

"God forbid, my lord!" said Heriot. "The coroner's inquest hath sat,
and it appeared that your lordship, under your assumed name of
Grahame, behaved with the utmost bravery."

"No compliment, I pray you," said Nigel; "I am only too happy to find,
that I did not murder, or am not believed to have murdered, the old

"True, my lord, said Heriot; "but even in this affair there lacks
explanation. Your lordship embarked this morning in a wherry with a
female, and, it is said, an immense sum of money, in specie and other
valuables--but the woman has not since been heard of."

"I parted with her at Paul's Wharf," said Nigel, "where she went
ashore with her charge. I gave her a letter to that very man, John

"Ay, that is the waterman's story; but John Christie denies that he
remembers anything of the matter."

"I am sorry to hear this," said the young nobleman; "I hope in Heaven
she has not been trepanned, for the treasure she had with her."

"I hope not, my lord," replied Heriot; "but men's minds are much
disturbed about it. Our national character suffers on all hands. Men
remember the fatal case of Lord Sanquhar, hanged for the murder of a
fencing-master; and exclaim, they will not have their wives whored,
and their property stolen, by the nobility of Scotland."

"And all this is laid to my door!" said Nigel; "my exculpation is

"I trust so, my lord," said Heriot;--"nay, in this particular, I do
not doubt it.--But why did you leave Whitefriars under such

"Master Reginald Lowestoffe sent a boat for me, with intimation to
provide for my safety."

"I am sorry to say," replied Heriot, "that he denies all knowledge of
your lordship's motions, after having dispatched a messenger to you
with some baggage."

"The watermen told me they were employed by him."

"Watermen!" said Heriot; "one of these proves to be an idle
apprentice, an old acquaintance of mine--the other has escaped; but
the fellow who is in custody persists in saying he was employed by
your lordship, and you only."

"He lies!" said Lord Glenvarloch, hastily;--"He told me Master
Lowestoffe had sent him.--I hope that kind-hearted gentleman is at

"He is," answered Heriot; "and has escaped with a rebuke from the
benchers, for interfering in such a matter as your lordship's. The
Court desire to keep well with the young Templars in these times of
commotion, or he had not come off so well."

"That is the only word of comfort I have heard from you," replied
Nigel. "But this poor woman,--she and her trunk were committed to the
charge of two porters."

"So said the pretended waterman; but none of the fellows who ply at
the wharf will acknowledge the employment.--I see the idea makes you
uneasy, my lord; but every effort is made to discover the poor woman's
place of retreat--if, indeed, she yet lives.--And now, my lord, my
errand is spoken, so far as it relates exclusively to your lordship;
what remains, is matter of business of a more formal kind."

"Let us proceed to it without delay," said Lord Glenvarloch. "I would
hear of the affairs of any one rather than of my own."

"You cannot have forgotten, my lord," said Heriot, "the transaction
which took place some weeks since at Lord Huntinglen's--by which a
large sum of money was advanced for the redemption of your lordship's

"I remember it perfectly," said Nigel; "and your present austerity
cannot make me forget your kindness on the occasion."

Heriot bowed gravely, and went on.--"That money was advanced under the
expectation and hope that it might be replaced by the contents of a
grant to your lordship, under the royal sign-manual, in payment of
certain monies due by the crown to your father.--I trust your lordship
understood the transaction at the time--I trust you now understand my
resumption of its import, and hold it to be correct?"

"Undeniably correct," answered Lord Glenvarloch. "If the sums
contained in the warrant cannot be recovered, my lands become the
property of those who paid off the original holders of the mortgage,
and now stand in their right."

"Even so, my lord," said Heriot. "And your lordship's unhappy
circumstances having, it would seem, alarmed these creditors, they are
now, I am sorry to say, pressing for one or other of these
alternatives--possession of the land, or payment of their debt."

"They have a right to one or other," answered Lord Glenvarloch; "and
as I cannot do the last in my present condition, I suppose they must
enter on possession."

"Stay, my lord," replied Heriot; "if you have ceased to call me a
friend to your person, at least you shall see I am willing to be such
to your father's house, were it but for the sake of your father's
memory. If you will trust me with the warrant under the sign-manual, I
believe circumstances do now so stand at Court, that I may be able to
recover the money for you."

"I would do so gladly," said Lord Glenvarloch, "but the casket which
contains it is not in my possession. It was seized when I was arrested
at Greenwich."

"It will be no longer withheld from you," said Heriot; "for, I
understand, my Master's natural good sense, and some information which
he has procured, I know not how, has induced him to contradict the
whole charge of the attempt on his person. It is entirely hushed up;
and you will only be proceeded against for your violence on Lord
Dalgarno, committed within the verge of the Palace--and that you will
find heavy enough to answer."

"I will not shrink under the weight," said Lord Glenvarloch. "But that
is not the present point.--If I had that casket--"

"Your baggage stood in the little ante-room, as I passed," said the
citizen; "the casket caught my eye. I think you had it of me. It was
my old friend Sir Faithful Frugal's. Ay; he, too, had a son--"

Here he stopped short.

"A son who, like Lord Glenvarloch's, did no credit to his father.--Was
it not so you would have ended the sentence, Master Heriot?" asked the
young nobleman.

"My lord, it was a word spoken rashly," answered Heriot. "God may mend
all in his own good time. This, however, I will say, that I have
sometimes envied my friends their fair and flourishing families; and
yet have I seen such changes when death has removed the head, so many
rich men's sons penniless, the heirs of so many knights and nobles
acreless, that I think mine own estate and memory, as I shall order
it, has a fair chance of outliving those of greater men, though God
has given me no heir of my name. But this is from the purpose.--Ho!
warder, bring in Lord Glenvarloch's baggage." The officer obeyed.
Seals had been placed upon the trunk and casket, but were now removed,
the warder said, in consequence of the subsequent orders from Court,
and the whole was placed at the prisoner's free disposal.

Desirous to bring this painful visit to a conclusion, Lord Glenvarloch
opened the casket, and looked through the papers which it contained,
first hastily, and then more slowly and accurately; but it was all in
vain. The Sovereign's signed warrant had disappeared.

"I thought and expected nothing better," said George Heriot, bitterly.
"The beginning of evil is the letting out of water. Here is a fair
heritage lost, I dare say, on a foul cast at dice, or a conjuring
trick at cards!--My lord, your surprise is well played. I give you
full joy of your accomplishments. I have seen many as young brawlers
and spendthrifts, but never as young and accomplished a dissembler.--
Nay, man, never bend your angry brows on me. I speak in bitterness of
heart, from what I remember of your worthy father; and if his son
hears of his degeneracy from no one else, he shall hear it from the
old goldsmith."

This new suspicion drove Nigel to the very extremity of his patience;
yet the motives and zeal of the good old man, as well as the
circumstances of suspicion which created his displeasure, were so
excellent an excuse for it, that they formed an absolute curb on the
resentment of Lord Glenvarloch, and constrained him, after two or
three hasty exclamations, to observe a proud and sullen silence. At
length, Master Heriot resumed his lecture.

"Hark you, my lord," he said, "it is scarce possible that this most
important paper can be absolutely assigned away. Let me know in what
obscure corner, and for what petty sum, it lies pledged--something may
yet be done."

"Your efforts in my favour are the more generous," said Lord
Glenvarloch, "as you offer them to one whom you believe you have cause
to think hardly of--but they are altogether unavailing. Fortune has
taken the field against me at every point. Even let her win the

"Zouns!" exclaimed Heriot, impatiently,--"you would make a saint
swear! Why, I tell you, if this paper, the loss of which seems to sit
so light on you, be not found, farewell to the fair lordship of
Glenvarloch--firth and forest--lea and furrow--lake and stream--all
that has been in the house of Olifaunt since the days of William the

"Farewell to them, then," said Nigel,--"and that moan is soon made."

"'Sdeath! my lord, you will make more moan for it ere you die," said
Heriot, in the same tone of angry impatience.

"Not I, my old friend," said Nigel. "If I mourn, Master Heriot, it
will be for having lost the good opinion of a worthy man, and lost it,
as I must say, most undeservedly."

"Ay, ay, young man," said Heriot, shaking his head, "make me believe
that if you can.--To sum the matter up," he said, rising from his
seat, and walking towards that occupied by the disguised female, "for
our matters are now drawn into small compass, you shall as soon make
me believe that this masquerading mummer, on whom I now lay the hand
of paternal authority, is a French page, who understands no English."

So saying, he took hold of the supposed page's cloak, and, not without
some gentle degree of violence, led into the middle of the apartment
the disguised fair one, who in vain attempted to cover her face, first
with her mantle, and afterwards with her hands; both which impediments
Master Heriot removed something unceremoniously, and gave to view the
detected daughter of the old chronologist, his own fair god-daughter,
Margaret Ramsay.

"Here is goodly gear!" he said; and, as he spoke, he could not prevent
himself from giving her a slight shake, for we have elsewhere noticed
that he was a severe disciplinarian.--"How comes it, minion, that I
find you in so shameless a dress, and so unworthy a situation? Nay,
your modesty is now mistimed--it should have come sooner. Speak, or I

"Master Heriot," said Lord Glenvarloch, "whatever right you may have
over this maiden elsewhere, while in my apartment she is under my

"Your protection, my lord!--a proper protector!--and how long,
mistress, have you been under my lord's protection? Speak out

"For the matter of two hours, godfather," answered the maiden, with a
countenance bent to the ground, and covered with blushes, "but it was
against my will."

"Two hours!" repeated Heriot,--"space enough for mischief.--My lord,
this is, I suppose, another victim offered to your character of
gallantry--another adventure to be boasted of at Beaujeu's ordinary?
Methinks the roof under which you first met this silly maiden should
have secured _her_, at least, from such a fate."

"On my honour, Master Heriot," said Lord Glenvarloch, "you remind me
now, for the first time, that I saw this young lady in your family.
Her features are not easily forgotten, and yet I was trying in vain to
recollect where I had last looked on them. For your suspicions, they
are as false as they are injurious both to her and me. I had but
discovered her disguise as you entered. I am satisfied, from her whole
behaviour, that her presence here in this dress was involuntary; and
God forbid that I have been capable of taking advantage of it to her

"It is well mouthed, my lord," said Master Heriot; "but a cunning
clerk can read the Apocrypha as loud as the Scripture. Frankly, my
lord, you are come to that pass, where your words will not be received
without a warrant."

"I should not speak, perhaps," said Margaret, the natural vivacity of
whose temper could never be long suppressed by any situation, however
disadvantageous, "but I cannot be silent. Godfather, you do me wrong--
and no less wrong to this young nobleman. You say his words want a
warrant. I know where to find a warrant for some of them, and the rest
I deeply and devoutly believe without one."

"And I thank you, maiden," replied Nigel, "for the good opinion you
have expressed. I am at that point, it seems, though how I have been
driven to it I know not, where every fair construction of my actions
and motives is refused me. I am the more obliged to her who grants me
that right which the world denies me. For you, lady, were I at
liberty, I have a sword and arm should know how to guard your

"Upon my word, a perfect Amadis and Oriana!" said George Heriot. "I
should soon get my throat cut betwixt the knight and the princess, I
suppose, but that the beef-eaters are happily within halloo.--Come,
come, Lady Light-o'-Love--if you mean to make your way with me, it
must be by plain facts, not by speeches from romaunts and play-books.
How, in Heaven's name, came you here?"

"Sir," answered Margaret, "since I must speak, I went to Greenwich
this morning with Monna Paula, to present a petition to the king on
the part of the Lady Hermione."

"Mercy-a-gad!" exclaimed Heriot, "is she in the dance, too? Could she
not have waited my return to stir in her affairs? But I suppose the
intelligence I sent her had rendered her restless. Ah! woman, woman--
he that goes partner with you, had need of a double share of patience,
for you will bring none into the common stock.--Well, but what on
earth had this embassy of Monna Paula's to do with your absurd
disguise? Speak out."

"Monna Paula was frightened," answered Margaret, "and did not know how
to set about the errand, for you know she scarce ever goes out of
doors--and so--and so--I agreed to go with her to give her courage;
and, for the dress, I am sure you remember I wore it at a Christmas
mumming, and you thought it not unbeseeming."

"Yes, for a Christmas parlour," said Heriot, "but not to go a-masking
through the country in. I do remember it, minion, and I knew it even
now; that and your little shoe there, linked with a hint I had in the
morning from a friend, or one who called himself such, led to your
detection."--Here Lord Glenvarloch could not help giving a glance at
the pretty foot, which even the staid citizen thought worth
recollection--it was but a glance, for he saw how much the least
degree of observation added to Margaret's distress and confusion. "And
tell me, maiden," continued Master Heriot, for what we have observed
was by-play,--"did the Lady Hermione know of this fair work?"
"I dared not have told her for the world," said Margaret--"she
thought one of our apprentices went with Monna Paula."

It may be here noticed, that the words, "our apprentices," seemed to
have in them something of a charm to break the fascination with which
Lord Glenvarloch had hitherto listened to the broken, yet interesting
details of Margaret's history.

"And wherefore went he not?--he had been a fitter companion for Monna
Paula than you, I wot," said the citizen.

"He was otherwise employed," said Margaret, in a voice scarce audible.

Master George darted a hasty glance at Nigel, and when he saw his
features betoken no consciousness, he muttered to himself,--"It must
be better than I feared.--And so this cursed Spaniard, with her head
full, as they all have, of disguises, trap-doors, rope-ladders, and
masks, was jade and fool enough to take you with her on this wild
goose errand?--And how sped you, I pray?"

"Just as we reached the gate of the Park," replied Margaret, "the cry
of treason was raised. I know not what became of Monna, but I ran till
I fell into the arms of a very decent serving-man, called Linklater;
and I was fain to tell him I was your god-daughter, and so he kept the
rest of them from me, and got me to speech of his Majesty, as I
entreated him to do."

"It is the only sign you showed in the whole matter that common sense
had not utterly deserted your little skull," said Heriot.

"His Majesty," continued the damsel, "was so gracious as to receive me
alone, though the courtiers cried out against the danger to his
person, and would have searched me for arms, God help me, but the king
forbade it. I fancy he had a hint from Linklater how the truth stood
with me."

"Well, maiden, I ask not what passed," said Heriot; "it becomes not me
to pry into my Master's secrets. Had you been closeted with his
grandfather the Red Tod of Saint Andrews, as Davie Lindsay used to
call him, by my faith, I should have had my own thoughts of the
matter; but our Master, God bless him, is douce and temperate, and
Solomon in every thing, save in the chapter of wives and concubines."

"I know not what you mean, sir," answered Margaret. "His Majesty was
most kind and compassionate, but said I must be sent hither, and that
the Lieutenant's lady, the Lady Mansel, would have a charge of me, and
see that I sustained no wrong; and the king promised to send me in a
tilted barge, and under conduct of a person well known to you; and
thus I come to be in the Tower."

"But how, or why, in this apartment, nymph?" said George Heriot--
"Expound that to me, for I think the riddle needs reading."

"I cannot explain it, sir, further, than that the Lady Mansel sent me
here, in spite of my earnest prayers, tears, and entreaties. I was not
afraid of any thing, for I knew I should be protected. But I could
have died then--could die now--for very shame and confusion!"

"Well, well, if your tears are genuine," said Heriot, "they may the
sooner wash out the memory of your fault--Knows your father aught of
this escape of yours?"

"I would not for the world he did," replied she; "he believes me with
the Lady Hermione."

"Ay, honest Davy can regulate his horologes better than his family.--
Come, damsel, now I will escort you back to the Lady Mansel, and pray
her, of her kindness, that when she is again trusted with a goose, she
will not give it to the fox to keep.--The warders will let us pass to
my lady's lodgings, I trust."

"Stay but one moment," said Lord Glenvarloch. "Whatever hard opinion
you may have formed of me, I forgive you, for time will show that you
do me wrong; and you yourself, I think, will be the first to regret
the injustice you have done me. But involve not in your suspicions
this young person, for whose purity of thought angels themselves
should be vouchers. I have marked every look, every gesture; and
whilst I can draw breath, I shall ever think of her with--"

"Think not at all of her, my lord," answered George Heriot,
interrupting him; "it is, I have a notion, the best favour you can do
her;--or think of her as the daughter of Davy Ramsay, the clockmaker,
no proper subject for fine speeches, romantic adventures, or high-
flown Arcadian compliments. I give you god-den, my lord. I think not
altogether so harshly as my speech may have spoken. If I can help--
that is, if I saw my way clearly through this labyrinth--but it avails
not talking now. I give your lordship god-den.--Here, warder! Permit
us to pass to the Lady Hansel's apartment." The warder said he must
have orders from the Lieutenant; and as he retired to procure them,
the parties remained standing near each other, but without speaking,
and scarce looking at each other save by stealth, a situation which,
in two of the party at least, was sufficiently embarrassing. The
difference of rank, though in that age a consideration so serious,
could not prevent Lord Glenvarloch from seeing that Margaret Ramsay
was one of the prettiest young women he had ever beheld--from
suspecting, he could scarce tell why, that he himself was not
indifferent to her--from feeling assured that he had been the cause of
much of her present distress--admiration, self-love, and generosity,
acting in favour of the same object; and when the yeoman returned with
permission to his guests to withdraw, Nigel's obeisance to the
beautiful daughter of the mechanic was marked with an expression,
which called up in her cheeks as much colour as any incident of the
eventful day had hitherto excited. She returned the courtesy timidly
and irresolutely--clung to her godfather's arm, and left the
apartment, which, dark as it was, had never yet appeared so obscure to
Nigel, as when the door closed behind her.

Sir Walter Scott