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Chapter 37


Jacques. There is, suie, another flood toward, and these couples are
coming to the ark!--Here comes a pair of very strange beasts.--As You
Like It.

The fashion of such narratives as the present, changes like other
earthly things. Time was that the tale-teller was obliged to wind up
his story by a circumstantial description of the wedding, bedding, and
throwing the stocking, as the grand catastrophe to which, through so
many circumstances of doubt and difficulty, he had at length happily
conducted his hero and heroine. Not a circumstance was then omitted,
from the manly ardour of the bridegroom, and the modest blushes of the
bride, to the parson's new surplice, and the silk tabinet mantua of
the bridesmaid. But such descriptions are now discarded, for the same
reason, I suppose, that public marriages are no longer fashionable,
and that, instead of calling together their friends to a feast and a
dance, the happy couple elope in a solitary post-chaise, as secretly
as if they meant to go to Gretna-Green, or to do worse. I am not
ungrateful for a change which saves an author the trouble of
attempting in vain to give a new colour to the commonplace description
of such matters; but, notwithstanding, I find myself forced upon it in
the present instance, as circumstances sometimes compel a stranger to
make use of an old road which has been for some time shut up. The
experienced reader may have already remarked, that the last chapter
was employed in sweeping out of the way all the unnecessary and less
interesting characters, that I might clear the floor for a blithe
bridal.

In truth, it would be unpardonable to pass over slightly what so
deeply interested our principal personage, King James. That learned
and good-humoured monarch made no great figure in the politics of
Europe; but then, to make amends, he was prodigiously busy, when he
could find a fair opportunity of intermeddling with the private
affairs of his loving subjects, and the approaching marriage of Lord
Glenvarloch was matter of great interest to him. He had been much
struck (that is, for him, who was not very accessible to such
emotions) with the beauty and embarrassment of the pretty Peg-a-
Ramsay, as he called her, when he first saw her, and he glorified
himself greatly on the acuteness which he had displayed in detecting
her disguise, and in carrying through the whole inquiry which took
place in consequence of it.

He laboured for several weeks, while the courtship was in progress,
with his own royal eyes, so as wellnigh to wear out, he declared, a
pair of her father's best barnacles, in searching through old books
and documents, for the purpose of establishing the bride's pretensions
to a noble, though remote descent, and thereby remove the only
objection which envy might conceive against the match. In his own
opinion, at least, he was eminently successful; for, when Sir Mungo
Malagrowther one day, in the presence-chamber, took upon him to grieve
bitterly for the bride's lack of pedigree, the monarch cut him short
with, "Ye may save your grief for your ain next occasions, Sir Mungo;
for, by our royal saul, we will uphauld her father, Davy Ramsay, to be
a gentleman of nine descents, whase great gudesire came of the auld
martial stock of the House of Dalwolsey, than whom better men never
did, and better never will, draw sword for king and country. Heard ye
never of Sir William Ramsay of Dalwolsey, man, of whom John Fordoun
saith,--'He was _bellicosissimus, nobilissimus?_'--His castle stands
to witness for itsell, not three miles from Dalkeith, man, and within
a mile of Bannockrig. Davy Ramsay came of that auld and honoured
stock, and I trust he hath not derogated from his ancestors by his
present craft. They all wrought wi' steel, man; only the auld knights
drilled holes wi' their swords in their enemies' corslets, and he saws
nicks in his brass wheels. And I hope it is as honourable to give eyes
to the blind as to slash them out of the head of those that see, and
to show us how to value our time as it passes, as to fling it away in
drinking, brawling, spear-splintering, and such-like unchristian
doings. And you maun understand, that Davy Ramsay is no mechanic, but
follows a liberal art, which approacheth almost to the act of creating
a living being, seeing it may be said of a watch, as Claudius saith of
the sphere of Archimedes, the Syracusan--

"Inclusus variis famulatur spiritus astris,
Et vivum certis motibus urget opus.'"

"Your Majesty had best give auld Davy a coat-of-arms, as well as a
pedigree," said Sir Mungo.

"It's done, or ye bade, Sir Mungo," said the king; "and I trust we,
who are the fountain of all earthly honour, are free to spirit a few
drops of it on one so near our person, without offence to the Knight
of Castle Girnigo. We have already spoken with the learned men of the
Herald's College, and we propose to grant him an augmented coat-of-
arms, being his paternal coat, charged with the crown-wheel of a watch
in chief, for a difference; and we purpose to add Time and Eternity,
for supporters, as soon as the Garter King-at-Arms shall be able to
devise how Eternity is to be represented."

"I would make him twice as muckle as Time," [Footnote: Chaucer says,
there is nothing new but what it has been old. The reader has here the
original of an anecdote which has since been fathered on a Scottish
Chief of our own time.] said Archie Armstrong, the Court fool, who
chanced to be present when the king stated this dilemma. "Peace, man--
ye shall be whippet," said the king, in return for this hint; "and
you, my liege subjects of England, may weel take a hint from what we
have said, and not be in such a hurry to laugh at our Scottish
pedigrees, though they be somewhat long derived, and difficult to be
deduced. Ye see that a man of right gentle blood may, for a season,
lay by his gentry, and yet ken whare to find it, when he has occasion
for it. It would be as unseemly for a packman, or pedlar, as ye call a
travelling merchant, whilk is a trade to which our native subjects of
Scotland are specially addicted, to be blazing his genealogy in the
faces of those to whom he sells a bawbee's worth of ribbon, as it
would be to him to have a beaver on his head, and a rapier by his
side, when the pack was on his shoulders. Na, na--he hings his sword
on the cleek, lays his beaver on the shelf, puts his pedigree into his
pocket, and gangs as doucely and cannily about his peddling craft as
if his blood was nae better than ditch-water; but let our pedlar be
transformed, as I have kend it happen mair than ance, into a bein
thriving merchant, then ye shall have a transformation, my lords.

'In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas--'

Out he pulls his pedigree, on he buckles his sword, gives his beaver a
brush, and cocks it in the face of all creation. We mention these
things at the mair length, because we would have you all to know, that
it is not without due consideration of the circumstances of all
parties, that we design, in a small and private way, to honour with
our own royal presence the marriage of Lord Glenvarloch with Margaret
Ramsay, daughter and heiress of David Ramsay, our horologer, and a
cadet only thrice removed from the ancient house of Dalwolsey. We are
grieved we cannot have the presence of the noble Chief of that House
at the ceremony; but where there is honour to be won abroad the Lord
Dalwolsey is seldom to be found at home. _Sic fuit, est, et erit_.-
Jingling Geordie, as ye stand to the cost of the marriage feast, we
look for good cheer."

Heriot bowed, as in duty bound. In fact, the king, who was a great
politician about trifles, had manoeuvred greatly on this occasion, and
had contrived to get the Prince and Buckingham dispatched on an
expedition to Newmarket, in order that he might find an opportunity in
their absence of indulging himself in his own gossiping, _coshering_
habits, which were distasteful to Charles, whose temper inclined to
formality, and with which even the favourite, of late, had not thought
it worth while to seem to sympathise. When the levee was dismissed,
Sir Mungo Malagrowther seized upon the worthy citizen in the court-
yard of the Palace, and detained him, in spite of all his efforts, for
the purpose of subjecting him to the following scrutiny:--

"This is a sair job on you, Master George--the king must have had
little consideration--this will cost you a bonny penny, this wedding
dinner?"

"It will not break me, Sir Mungo," answered Heriot; "the king hath a
right to see the table which his bounty hath supplied for years, well
covered for a single day."

"Vera true, vera true--we'll have a' to pay, I doubt, less or mair--a
sort of penny-wedding it will prove, where all men contribute to the
young folk's maintenance, that they may not have just four bare legs
in a bed together. What do you propose to give, Master George?--we
begin with the city when money is in question." [Footnote: The penny-
wedding of the Scots, now disused even among the lowest ranks, was a
peculiar species of merry-making, at which, if the wedded pair were
popular, the guests who convened, contributed considerable sums under
pretence of paying for the bridal festivity, but in reality to set the
married folk afloat in the world.]

"Only a trifle, Sir Mungo--I give my god-daughter the marriage ring;
it is a curious jewel--I bought it in Italy; it belonged to Cosmo de
Medici. The bride will not need my help--she has an estate which
belonged to her maternal grandfather."

"The auld soap-boiler," said Sir Mungo; "it will need some of his suds
to scour the blot out of the Glenvarloch shield--I have heard that
estate was no great things."

"It is as good as some posts at Court, Sir Mungo, which are coveted by
persons of high quality," replied George Heriot.

"Court favour, said ye? Court favour, Master Heriot?" replied Sir
Mungo, choosing then to use his malady of misapprehension; "Moonshine
in water, poor thing, if that is all she is to be tochered with--I am
truly solicitous about them."

"I will let you into a secret," said the citizen, "which will relieve
your tender anxiety. The dowager Lady Dalgarno gives a competent
fortune to the bride, and settles the rest of her estate upon her
nephew the bridegroom."

"Ay, say ye sae?" said Sir Mungo, "just to show her regard to her
husband that is in the tomb--lucky that her nephew did not send him
there; it was a strange story that death of poor Lord Dalgarno--some
folk think the poor gentleman had much wrong. Little good comes of
marrying the daughter of the house you are at feud with; indeed, it
was less poor Dalgarno's fault, than theirs that forced the match on
him; but I am glad the young folk are to have something to live on,
come how it like, whether by charity or inheritance. But if the Lady
Dalgarno were to sell all she has, even to her very wylie-coat, she
canna gie them back the fair Castle of Glenvarloch--that is lost and
gane--lost and gane."

"It is but too true," said George Heriot; "we cannot discover what has
become of the villain Andrew Skurliewhitter, or what Lord Dalgarno has
done with the mortgage."

"Assigned it away to some one, that his wife might not get it after he
was gane; it would have disturbed him in his grave, to think
Glenvarloch should get that land back again," said Sir Mungo; "depend
on it, he will have ta'en sure measures to keep that noble lordship
out of her grips or her nevoy's either."

"Indeed it is but too probable, Sir Mungo," said Master Heriot; "but
as I am obliged to go and look after many things in consequence of
this ceremony, I must leave you to comfort yourself with the
reflection."

"The bride-day, you say, is to be on the thirtieth of the instant
month?" said Sir Mungo, holloing after the citizen; "I will be with
you in the hour of cause."

"The king invites the guests," said George Heriot, without turning
back.

"The base-born, ill-bred mechanic!" soliloquised Sir Mungo, "if it
were not the odd score of pounds he lent me last week, I would teach
him how to bear himself to a man of quality! But I will be at the
bridal banquet in spite of him."

Sir Mungo contrived to get invited, or commanded, to attend on the
bridal accordingly, at which there were but few persons present; for
James, on such occasions, preferred a snug privacy, which gave him
liberty to lay aside the encumbrance, as he felt it to be, of his
regal dignity. The company was very small, and indeed there were at
least two persons absent whose presence might have been expected. The
first of these was the Lady Dalgarno, the state of whose health, as
well as the recent death of her husband, precluded her attendance on
the ceremony. The other absentee was Richie Moniplies, whose conduct
for some time past had been extremely mysterious. Regulating his
attendance on Lord Glenvarloch entirely according to his own will and
pleasure, he had, ever since the rencounter in Enfield Chase, appeared
regularly at his bedside in the morning, to assist him to dress, and
at his wardrobe in the evening. The rest of the day he disposed of at
his own pleasure, without control from his lord, who had now a
complete establishment of attendants. Yet he was somewhat curious to
know how the fellow disposed of so much of his time; but on this
subject Richie showed no desire to be communicative.

On the morning of the bridal-day, Richie was particularly attentive in
doing all a valet-de-chambre could, so as to set off to advantage the
very handsome figure of his master; and when he had arranged his dress
to the utmost exactness, and put to his long curled locks what he
called "the finishing touch of the redding-kaim," he gravely kneeled
down, kissed his hand, and bade him farewell, saying that he humbly
craved leave to discharge himself of his lordship's service.

"Why, what humour is this?" said Lord Glenvarloch; "if you mean to
discharge yourself of my service, Richie, I suppose you intend to
enter my wife's?"

"I wish her good ladyship that shall soon be, and your good lordship,
the blessings of as good a servant as myself, in heaven's good time,"
said Richie; "but fate hath so ordained it, that I can henceforth only
be your servant in the way of friendly courtesy."

"Well, Richie," said the young lord, "if you are tired of service, we
will seek some better provision for you; but you will wait on me to
the church, and partake of the bridal dinner?"

"Under favour, my lord," answered Richie; "I must remind you of our
covenant, having presently some pressing business of mine own, whilk
will detain me during the ceremony; but I will not fail to prie Master
George's good cheer, in respect he has made very costly fare, whilk it
would be unthankful not to partake of."

"Do as you list," answered Lord Glenvarloch; and having bestowed a
passing thought on the whimsical and pragmatical disposition of his
follower, he dismissed the subject for others better suited to the
day.

The reader must fancy the scattered flowers which strewed the path of
the happy couple to church--the loud music which accompanied the
procession--the marriage service performed by a bishop--the king, who
met them at Saint Paul's, giving away the bride,--to the great relief
of her father, who had thus time, during the ceremony, to calculate
the just quotient to be laid on the pinion of report in a timepiece
which he was then putting together.

When the ceremony was finished, the company were transported in the
royal carriages to George Heriot's, where a splendid collation was
provided for the marriage-guests in the Foljambe apartments. The king
no sooner found himself in this snug retreat, than, casting from him
his sword and belt with such haste as if they burnt his fingers, and
flinging his plumed hat on the table, as who should say, Lie there,
authority! he swallowed a hearty cup of wine to the happiness of the
married couple, and began to amble about the room, mumping, laughing,
and cracking jests, neither the wittiest nor the most delicate, but
accompanied and applauded by shouts of his own mirth, in order to
encourage that of the company. Whilst his Majesty was in the midst of
this gay humour, and a call to the banquet was anxiously expected, a
servant whispered Master Heriot forth of the apartment. When he re-
entered, he walked up to the king, and, in his turn whispered
something, at which James started.

"He is not wanting his siller?" said the king, shortly and sharply.

"By no means, my liege," answered Heriot. "It is a subject he states
himself as quite indifferent about, so long as it can pleasure your
Majesty."

"Body of us, man!" said the king, "it is the speech of a true man and
a loving subject, and we will grace him accordingly--what though he be
but a carle--a twopenny cat may look at a king. Swith, man! have him--
_pundite fores_.--Moniplies?--They should have called the chield
Monypennies, though I sall warrant you English think we have not such
a name in Scotland."

"It is an ancient and honourable stock, the Monypennies," said Sir
Mungo Malagrowther; "the only loss is, there are sae few of the name."

"The family seems to increase among your countrymen, Sir Mungo," said
Master Lowestoffe, whom Lord Glenvarloch had invited to be present,
"since his Majesty's happy accession brought so many of you here."

"Right, sir--right," said Sir Mungo, nodding and looking at George
Heriot; "there have some of ourselves been the better of that great
blessing to the English nation."

As he spoke, the door flew open, and in entered, to the astonishment
of Lord Glenvarloch, his late serving-man Richie Moniplies, now
sumptuously, nay, gorgeously, attired in a superb brocaded suit, and
leading in his hand the tall, thin, withered, somewhat distorted form
of Martha Trapbois, arrayed in a complete dress of black velvet, which
suited so strangely with the pallid and severe melancholy of her
countenance, that the king himself exclaimed, in some perturbation,
"What the deil has the fallow brought us here? Body of our regal
selves! it is a corpse that has run off with the mort-cloth!"

"May I sifflicate your Majesty to be gracious unto her?" said Richie;
"being that she is, in respect of this morning's wark, my ain wedded
wife, Mrs. Martha Moniplies by name."

"Saul of our body, man! but she looks wondrous grim," answered King
James. "Art thou sure she has not been in her time maid of honour to
Queen Mary, our kinswoman, of redhot memory?"

"I am sure, an it like your Majesty, that she has brought me fifty
thousand pounds of good siller, and better; and that has enabled me to
pleasure your Majesty, and other folk."

"Ye need have said naething about that, man," said the king; "we ken
our obligations in that sma' matter, and we are glad this rudas spouse
of thine hath bestowed her treasure on ane wha kens to put it to the
profit of his king and country.--But how the deil did ye come by her,
man?"

"In the auld Scottish fashion, my liege. She is the captive of my bow
and my spear," answered Moniplies. "There was a convention that she
should wed me when I avenged her father's death--so I slew, and took
possession."

"It is the daughter of Old Trapbois, who has been missed so long,"
said Lowestoffe.--"Where the devil could you mew her up so closely,
friend Richie?"

"Master Richard, if it be your will," answered Richie; "or Master
Richard Moniplies, if you like it better. For mewing of her up, I
found her a shelter, in all honour and safety, under the roof of an
honest countryman of my own--and for secrecy, it was a point of
prudence, when wantons like you were abroad, Master Lowestoffe."

There was a laugh at Richie's magnanimous reply, on the part of every
one but his bride, who made to him a signal of impatience, and said,
with her usual brevity and sternness,--"Peace--peace, I pray you,
peace. Let us do that which we came for." So saying, she took out a
bundle of parchments, and delivering them to Lord Glenvarloch, she
said aloud,--"I take this royal presence, and all here, to witness,
that I restore the ransomed lordship of Glenvarloch to the right
owner, as free as ever it was held by any of his ancestors."

"I witnessed the redemption of the mortgage," said Lowestoffe; "but I
little dreamt by whom it had been redeemed."

"No need ye should," said Richie; "there would have been small wisdom
in crying roast-meat."

"Peace," said his bride, "once more.--This paper," she continued,
delivering another to Lord Glenvarloch, "is also your property--take
it, but spare me the question how it came into my custody."

The king had bustled forward beside Lord Glenvarloch, and fixing an
eager eye on the writing, exclaimed--"Body of ourselves, it is our
royal sign-manual for the money which was so long out of sight!--How
came you by it, Mistress Bride?"

"It is a secret," said Martha, dryly.

"A secret which my tongue shall never utter," said Richie,
resolutely,--"unless the king commands me on my allegiance."

"I do--I do command you," said James, trembling and stammering with
the impatient curiosity of a gossip; while Sir Mungo, with more
malicious anxiety to get at the bottom of the mystery, stooped his
long thin form forward like a bent fishing-rod, raised his thin grey
locks from his ear, and curved his hand behind it to collect every
vibration of the expected intelligence. Martha in the meantime frowned
most ominously on Richie, who went on undauntedly to inform the king,
"that his deceased father-in-law, a good careful man in the main, had
a' touch of worldly wisdom about him, that at times marred the
uprightness of his walk; he liked to dabble among his neighbour's
gear, and some of it would at times stick to his fingers in the
handling."

"For shame, man, for shame!" said Martha; "since the infamy of the
deed must be told, be it at least briefly.--Yes, my lord," she added,
addressing Glenvarloch, "the piece of gold was not the sole bait which
brought the miserable old man to your chamber that dreadful night--his
object, and he accomplished it, was to purloin this paper. The
wretched scrivener was with him that morning, and, I doubt not, urged
the doting old man to this villainy, to offer another bar to the
ransom of your estate. If there was a yet more powerful agent at the
bottom of this conspiracy, God forgive it to him at this moment, for
he is now where the crime must be answered!"

"Amen!" said Lord Glenvarloch, and it was echoed by all present.

"For my father," continued she, with her stern features twitched by an
involuntary and convulsive movement, "his guilt and folly cost him his
life; and my belief is constant, that the wretch, who counselled him
that morning to purloin the paper, left open the window for the
entrance of the murderers."

Every body was silent for an instant; the king was first to speak,
commanding search instantly to be made for the guilty scrivener. "_I,
lictor,_" he concluded, "_colliga manus--caput obnubito-infelici
suspendite arbori_."

Lowestoffe answered with due respect, that the scrivener had absconded
at the time of Lord Dalgarno's murder, and had not been heard of
since.

"Let him be sought for," said the king. "And now let us change the
discourse--these stories make one's very blood grew, and are
altogether unfit for bridal festivity. Hymen, O Hymenee!" added he,
snapping his fingers, "Lord Glenvarloch, what say you to Mistress
Moniplies, this bonny bride, that has brought you back your father's
estate on your bridal day?"

"Let him say nothing, my liege," said Martha; "that will best suit his
feelings and mine."

"There is redemption-money, at the least, to be repaid," said Lord
Glenvarloch; "in that I cannot remain debtor."

"We will speak of it hereafter," said Martha; "_my_ debtor _you_
cannot be." And she shut her mouth as if determined to say nothing
more on the subject.

Sir Mungo, however, resolved not to part with the topic, and availing
himself of the freedom of the moment, said to Richie--"A queer story
that of your father-in-law, honest man; methinks your bride thanked
you little for ripping it up."

"I make it a rule, Sir Mungo," replied Richie, "always to speak any
evil I know about my family myself, having observed, that if I do not,
it is sure to be told by ither folks."

"But, Richie," said Sir Mungo, "it seems to me that this bride of
yours is like to be master and mair in the conjugal state."

"If she abides by words, Sir Mungo," answered Richie, "I thank heaven
I can be as deaf as any one; and if she comes to dunts, I have twa
hands to paik her with."

"Weel said, Richie, again," said the king; "you have gotten it on
baith haffits, Sir Mungo.--Troth, Mistress Bride, for a fule, your
gudeman has a pretty turn of wit."

"There are fools, sire," replied she, "who have wit, and fools who
have courage--aye, and fools who have learning, and are great fools
notwithstanding.--I chose this man because he was my protector when I
was desolate, and neither for his wit nor his wisdom. He is truly
honest, and has a heart and hand that make amends for some folly.
Since I was condemned to seek a protector through the world, which is
to me a wilderness, I may thank God that I have come by no worse."

"And that is sae sensibly said," replied the king, "that, by my saul,
I'll try whether I canna make him better. Kneel down, Richie--somebody
lend me a rapier--yours, Mr. Langstaff, (that's a brave name for a
lawyer,)--ye need not flash it out that gate, Templar fashion, as if
ye were about to pink a bailiff!"

He took the drawn sword, and with averted eyes, for it was a sight he
loved not to look on, endeavoured to lay it on Richie's shoulder, but
nearly stuck it into his eye. Richie, starting back, attempted to
rise, but was held down by Lowestoffe, while Sir Mungo, guiding the
royal weapon, the honour-bestowing blow was given and received:
"_Surge, carnifex_--Rise up, Sir Richard Moniplies, of Castle-Collop!-
-And, my lords and lieges, let us all to our dinner, for the cock-a-
leekie is cooling."

Sir Walter Scott