To this brave man the knight repairs
For counsel in his law affairs;
And found him mounted in his pew.
With books and money placed for show,
Like nest-eggs to make clients lay,
And for his false opinion pay.
Our readers may recollect a certain smooth-tongued, lank-haired,
buckram-suited, Scottish scrivener, who, in the earlier part of this
history, appeared in the character of a protege of George Heriot. It
is to his house we are about to remove, but times have changed with
him. The petty booth hath become a chamber of importance--the buckram
suit is changed into black velvet; and although the wearer retains his
puritanical humility and politeness to clients of consequence, he can
now look others broad in the face, and treat them with a full
allowance of superior opulence, and the insolence arising from it. It
was but a short period that had achieved these alterations, nor was
the party himself as yet entirely accustomed to them, but the change
was becoming less embarrassing to him with every day's practice. Among
other acquisitions of wealth, you may see one of Davy Ramsay's best
timepieces on the table, and his eye is frequently observing its
revolutions, while a boy, whom he employs as a scribe, is occasionally
sent out to compare its progress with the clock of Saint Dunstan.
The scrivener himself seemed considerably agitated. He took from a
strong-box a bundle of parchments, and read passages of them with
great attention; then began to soliloquize--"There is no outlet which
law can suggest--no back-door of evasion--none--if the lands of
Glenvarloch are not redeemed before it rings noon, Lord Dalgarno has
them a cheap pennyworth. Strange, that he should have been at last
able to set his patron at defiance, and achieve for himself the fair
estate, with the prospect of which he so long flattered the powerful
Buckingham.--Might not Andrew Skurliewhitter nick him as neatly? He
hath been my patron--true--not more than Buckingham was his; and he
can be so no more, for he departs presently for Scotland. I am glad of
it--I hate him, and I fear him. He knows too many of my secrets--I
know too many of his. But, no--no--no--I need never attempt it, there
are no means of over-reaching him.--Well, Willie, what o'clock?"
"Ele'en hours just chappit, sir."
"Go to your desk without, child," said the scrivener. "What to do
next--I shall lose the old Earl's fair business, and, what is worse,
his son's foul practice. Old Heriot looks too close into business to
permit me more than the paltry and ordinary dues. The Whitefriars
business was profitable, but it has become unsafe ever since--pah!--
what brought that in my head just now? I can hardly hold my pen--if
men should see me in this way!--Willie," (calling aloud to the boy,)
"a cup of distilled waters--Soh!--now I could face the devil."
He spoke the last words aloud, and close by the door of the apartment,
which was suddenly opened by Richie Moniplies, followed by two
gentlemen, and attended by two porters bearing money-bags. "If ye can
face the devil, Maister Skurliewhitter," said Richie, "ye will be the
less likely to turn your back on a sack or twa o' siller, which I have
ta'en the freedom to bring you. Sathanas and Mammon are near akin."
The porters, at the same time, ranged their load on the floor.
"I--I,"--stammered the surprised scrivener--"I cannot guess what you
"Only that I have brought you the redemption-money on the part of Lord
Glenvarloch, in discharge of a certain mortgage over his family
inheritance. And here, in good time, comes Master Reginald Lowestoffe,
and another honourable gentleman of the Temple, to be witnesses to the
"I--I incline to think," said the scrivener, "that the term is
"You will pardon us, Master Scrivener," said Lowestoffe. "You will not
baffle us--it wants three-quarters of noon by every clock in the
"I must have time, gentlemen," said Andrew, "to examine the gold by
tale and weight."
"Do so at your leisure, Master Scrivener," replied Lowestoffe again.
"We have already seen the contents of each sack told and weighed, and
we have put our seals on them. There they stand in a row, twenty in
number, each containing three hundred yellow-hammers--we are witnesses
to the lawful tender."
"Gentlemen," said the scrivener, "this security now belongs to a
mighty lord. I pray you, abate your haste, and let me send for Lord
Dalgarno,--or rather I will run for him myself."
So saying, he took up his hat; but Lowestoffe called out,--"Friend
Moniplies, keep the door fast, an thou be'st a man! he seeks but to
put off the time.--In plain terms, Andrew, you may send for the devil,
if you will, who is the mightiest lord of my acquaintance, but from
hence you stir not till you have answered our proposition, by
rejecting or accepting the redemption-money fairly tendered--there it
lies--take it, or leave it, as you will. I have skill enough to know
that the law is mightier than any lord in Britain--I have learned so
much at the Temple, if I have learned nothing else. And see that you
trifle not with it, lest it make your long ears an inch shorter,
"Nay, gentlemen, if you threaten me," said the scrivener, "I cannot
"No threats--no threats at all, my little Andrew," said Lowestoffe; "a
little friendly advice only--forget not, honest Andrew, I have seen
you in Alsatia."
Without answering a single word, the scrivener sat down, and drew in
proper form a full receipt for the money proffered.
"I take it on your report, Master Lowestoffe," he said; "I hope you
will remember I have insisted neither upon weight nor tale--I have
been civil--if there is deficiency I shall come to loss."
"Fillip his nose with a gold-piece, Richie," quoth the Templar. "Take
up the papers, and now wend we merrily to dine thou wot'st where."
"If I might choose," said Richie, "it should not be at yonder roguish
ordinary; but as it is your pleasure, gentlemen, the treat shall be
given wheresoever you will have it."
"At the ordinary," said the one Templar.
"At Beaujeu's," said the other; "it is the only house in London for
neat wines, nimble drawers, choice dishes, and--"
"And high charges," quoth Richie Moniplies. "But, as I said before,
gentlemen, ye have a right to command me in this thing, having so
frankly rendered me your service in this small matter of business,
without other stipulation than that of a slight banquet."
The latter part of this discourse passed in the street, where,
immediately afterwards, they met Lord Dalgarno. He appeared in haste,
touched his hat slightly to Master Lowestoffe, who returned his
reverence with the same negligence, and walked slowly on with his
companion, while Lord Dalgarno stopped Richie Moniplies with a
commanding sign, which the instinct of education compelled Moniplies,
though indignant, to obey.
"Whom do you now follow, sirrah?" demanded the noble.
"Whomsoever goeth before me, my lord," answered Moniplies.
"No sauciness, you knave--I desire to know if you still serve Nigel
Olifaunt?" said Dalgarno.
"I am friend to the noble Lord Glenvarloch," answered Moniplies, with
"True," replied Lord Dalgarno, "that noble lord has sunk to seek
friends among lackeys--Nevertheless,--hark thee hither,--nevertheless,
if he be of the same mind as when we last met, thou mayst show him,
that, on to-morrow, at four afternoon, I shall pass northward by
Enfield Chase--I will be slenderly attended, as I design to send my
train through Barnet. It is my purpose to ride an easy pace through
the forest, and to linger a while by Camlet Moat--he knows the place;
and, if he be aught but an Alsatian bully, will think it fitter for
some purposes than the Park. He is, I understand, at liberty, or
shortly to be so. If he fail me at the place nominated, he must seek
me in Scotland, where he will find me possessed of his father's estate
"Humph!" muttered Richie; "there go twa words to that bargain."
He even meditated a joke on the means which he was conscious he
possessed of baffling Lord Dalgarno's expectations; but there was
something of keen and dangerous excitement in the eyes of the young
nobleman, which prompted his discretion for once to rule his vit, and
he only answered--
"God grant your lordship may well brook your new conquest--when you
get it. I shall do your errand to my lord--whilk is to say," he added
internally, "he shall never hear a word of it from Richie. I am not
the lad to put him in such hazard."
Lord Dalgarno looked at him sharply for a moment, as if to penetrate
the meaning of the dry ironical tone, which, in spite of Richie's awe,
mingled with his answer, and then waved his hand, in signal he should
pass on. He himself walked slowly till the trio were out of sight,
then turned back with hasty steps to the door of the scrivener, which
he had passed in his progress, knocked, and was admitted.
Lord Dalgarno found the man of law with the money-bags still standing
before him; and it escaped not his penetrating glance, that
Skurliewhitter was disconcerted and alarmed at his approach.
"How now, man," he said; "what! hast thou not a word of oily
compliment to me on my happy marriage?--not a word of most
philosophical consolation on my disgrace at Court?--Or has my mien, as
a wittol and discarded favourite, the properties of the Gorgon's head,
the _turbatae Palladis arma_, as Majesty might say?"
"My lord, I am glad--my lord, I am sorry,"--answered the trembling
scrivener, who, aware of the vivacity of Lord Dalgarno's temper,
dreaded the consequence of the communication he had to make to him.
"Glad and sorry!" answered Lord Dalgarno. "That is blowing hot and
cold, with a witness. Hark ye, you picture of petty-larceny
personified--if you are sorry I am a cuckold, remember I am only mine
own, you knave--there is too little blood in her cheeks to have sent
her astray elsewhere. Well, I will bear mine antler'd honours as I
may--gold shall gild them; and for my disgrace, revenge shall sweeten
it. Ay, revenge--and there strikes the happy hour!"
The hour of noon was accordingly heard to peal from Saint Dunstan's.
"Well banged, brave hammers!" said Lord Dalgarno, in triumph.--"The
estate and lands of Glenvarloch are crushed beneath these clanging
blows. If my steel to-morrow prove but as true as your iron maces to-
day, the poor landless lord will little miss what your peal hath cut
him out from.--The papers--the papers, thou varlet! I am to-morrow
Northward, ho! At four, afternoon, I am bound to be at Camlet Moat, in
the Enfield Chase. To-night most of my retinue set forward. The
"My lord, the--the papers of the Glenvarloch mortgage--I--I have them
"Have them not!" echoed Lord Dalgarno,--"Hast thou sent them to my
lodgings, thou varlet? Did I not say I was coming hither?--What mean
you by pointing to that money? What villainy have you done for it? It
is too large to be come honestly by."
"Your lordship knows best," answered the scrivener, in great
perturbation. "The gold is your own. It is--it is--"
"Not the redemption-money of the Glenvarloch estate!" said Dalgarno.
"Dare not say it is, or I will, upon the spot, divorce your
pettifogging soul from your carrion carcass!" So saying, he seized the
scrivener by the collar, and shook him so vehemently, that he tore it
from the cassock.
"My lord, I must call for help," said the trembling caitiff, who felt
at that moment all the bitterness of the mortal agony--"It was the
law's act, not mine. What could I do?"
"Dost ask?--why, thou snivelling dribblet of damnation, were all thy
oaths, tricks, and lies spent? or do you hold yourself too good to
utter them in my service? Thou shouldst have lied, cozened, out-sworn
truth itself, rather than stood betwixt me and my revenge! But mark
me," he continued; "I know more of your pranks than would hang thee. A
line from me to the Attorney-General, and thou art sped."
"What would you have me to do, my lord?" said the scrivener. "All that
art and law can accomplish, I will try."
"Ah, are you converted? do so, or pity of your life!" said the lord;
"and remember I never fail my word.--Then keep that accursed gold," he
continued. "Or, stay, I will not trust you--send me this gold home
presently to my lodging. I will still forward to Scotland, and it
shall go hard but that I hold out Glenvarloch Castle against the
owner, by means of the ammunition he has himself furnished. Thou art
ready to serve me?" The scrivener professed the most implicit
"Then remember, the hour was past ere payment was tendered--and see
thou hast witnesses of trusty memory to prove that point."
"Tush, my lord, I will do more," said Andrew, reviving--"I will prove
that Lord Glenvarloch's friends threatened, swaggered, and drew swords
on me.--Did your lordship think I was ungrateful enough to have
suffered them to prejudice your lordship, save that they had bare
swords at my throat?"
"Enough said," replied Dalgarno; "you are perfect--mind that you
continue so, as you would avoid my fury. I leave my page below--get
porters, and let them follow me instantly with the gold."
So saying, Lord Dalgarno left the scrivener's habitation.
Skurliewhitter, having dispatched his boy to get porters of trust for
transporting the money, remained alone and in dismay, meditating by
what means he could shake himself free of the vindictive and ferocious
nobleman, who possessed at once a dangerous knowledge of his
character, and the power of exposing him, where exposure would be
ruin. He had indeed acquiesced in the plan, rapidly sketched, for
obtaining possession of the ransomed estate, but his experience
foresaw that this would be impossible; while, on the other hand, he
could not anticipate the various consequences of Lord Dalgarno's
resentment, without fears, from which his sordid soul recoiled. To be
in the power, and subject both to the humours and the extortions of a
spendthrift young lord, just when his industry had shaped out the
means of fortune,--it was the most cruel trick which fate could have
played the incipient usurer.
While the scrivener was in this fit of anxious anticipation, one
knocked at the door of the apartment; and, being desired to enter,
appeared in the coarse riding-cloak of uncut Wiltshire cloth, fastened
by a broad leather belt and brass buckle, which was then generally
worn by graziers and countrymen. Skurliewhitter, believing he saw in
his visitor a country client who might prove profitable, had opened
his mouth to request him to be seated, when the stranger, throwing
back his frieze hood which he had drawn over his face, showed the
scrivener features well imprinted in his recollection, but which he
never saw without a disposition to swoon.
"Is it you?" he said, faintly, as the stranger replaced the hood which
concealed his features.
"Who else should it be?" said his visitor.
"Thou son of parchment, got betwixt the inkhorn
And the stuff'd process-bag--that mayest call
The pen thy father, and the ink thy mother,
The wax thy brother, and the sand thy sister
And the good pillory thy cousin allied--
Rise, and do reverence unto me, thy better!"
"Not yet down to the country," said the scrivener, "after every
warning? Do not think your grazier's cloak will bear you out, captain-
-no, nor your scraps of stage-plays."
"Why, what would you have me to do?" said the captain--"Would you have
me starve? If I am to fly, you must eke my wings with a few feathers.
You can spare them, I think."
"You had means already--you have had ten pieces--What is become of
"Gone," answered Captain Colepepper--"Gone, no matter where--I had a
mind to bite, and I was bitten, that's all--I think my hand shook at
the thought of t'other night's work, for I trowled the doctors like a
"And you have lost all, then?--Well, take this and be gone," said the
"What, two poor smelts! Marry, plague of your bounty!--But remember,
you are as deep in as I."
"Not so, by Heaven!" answered the scrivener; "I only thought of easing
the old man of some papers and a trifle of his gold, and you took his
"Were he living," answered Colepepper, "he would rather have lost it
than his money.--But that is not the question, Master Skurliewhitter--
you undid the private bolts of the window when you visited him about
some affairs on the day ere he died--so satisfy yourself, that, if I
am taken, I will not swing alone. Pity Jack Hempsfield is dead, it
spoils the old catch,
'And three merry men, and three merry men,
And three merry men are we,
As ever did sing three parts in a string,
All under the triple tree.'"
"For God's sake, speak lower," said the scrivener; "is this a place or
time to make your midnight catches heard?--But how much will serve
your turn? I tell you I am but ill provided."
"You tell me a lie, then," said the bully--"a most palpable and gross
lie.--How much, d'ye say, will serve my turn? Why, one of these bags
will do for the present."
"I swear to you that these bags of money are not at my disposal."
"Not honestly, perhaps," said the captain, "but that makes little
difference betwixt us."
"I swear to you," continued the scrivener "they are in no way at my
disposal--they have been delivered to me by tale--I am to pay them
over to Lord Dalgarno, whose boy waits for them, and I could not
skelder one piece out of them, without risk of hue and cry."
"Can you not put off the delivery?" said the bravo, his huge hand
still fumbling with one of the bags, as if his fingers longed to close
"Impossible," said the scrivener, "he sets forward to Scotland to-
"Ay!" said the bully, after a moment's thought--"Travels he the north
road with such a charge?"
"He is well accompanied," added the scrivener; "but yet--"
"But yet--but what?" said the bravo.
"Nay, I meant nothing," said the scrivener.
"Thou didst--thou hadst the wind of some good thing," replied
Colepepper; "I saw thee pause like a setting dog. Thou wilt say as
little, and make as sure a sign, as a well-bred spaniel."
"All I meant to say, captain, was, that his servants go by Barnet, and
he himself, with his page, pass through Enfield Chase; and he spoke to
me yesterday of riding a soft pace."
"Aha!--Comest thou to me there, my boy?"
"And of resting"--continued the scrivener,--"resting a space at Camlet
"Why, this is better than cock-fighting!" said the captain.
"I see not how it can advantage you, captain," said the scrivener.
"But, however, they cannot ride fast, for his page rides the sumpter-
horse, which carries all that weight," pointing to the money on the
table. "Lord Dalgarno looks sharp to the world's gear."
"That horse will be obliged to those who may ease him of his burden,"
said the bravo; "and egad, he may be met with.--He hath still that
page--that same Lutin--that goblin? Well, the boy hath set game for me
ere now. I will be revenged, too, for I owe him a grudge for an old
score at the ordinary. Let me see--Black Feltham, and Dick Shakebag--
we shall want a fourth--I love to make sure, and the booty will stand
parting, besides what I can bucket them out of. Well, scrivener, lend
me two pieces.--Bravely done--nobly imparted! Give ye good-den." And
wrapping his disguise closer around him, away he went.
When he had left the room, the scrivener wrung his hands, and
exclaimed, "More blood--more blood! I thought to have had done with
it, but this time there was no fault with me--none--and then I shall
have all the advantage. If this ruffian falls, there is truce with his
tugs at my purse-strings; and if Lord Dalgarno dies--as is most
likely, for though as much afraid of cold steel as a debtor of a dun,
this fellow is a deadly shot from behind a bush,--then am I in a
thousand ways safe--safe--safe."
We willingly drop the curtain over him and his reflections.
Sorry, no summary available yet.