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

Chapter 17


Edina! Scotia's darling seat,
All hail thy palaces and towers,
Where once, beneath a monarch's feet,
Sate legislation's sovereign powers.
BURNS.

"This, then, is Edinburgh?" said the youth, as the fellow-travellers
arrived at one of the heights to the southward, which commanded a view
of the great northern capital--"This is that Edinburgh of which we
have heard so much!"

"Even so," said the falconer; "yonder stands Auld Reekie--you may see
the smoke hover over her at twenty miles' distance, as the gosshawk
hangs over a plump of young wild-ducks--ay, yonder is the heart of
Scotland, and each throb that she gives is felt from the edge of
Solway to Duncan's-bay-head. See, yonder is the old Castle; and see
to the right, on yon rising ground, that is the Castle of Craigmillar,
which I have known a merry place in my time."

"Was it not there," said the page in a low voice, "that the Queen held
her court?"

"Ay, ay," replied the falconer, "Queen she was then, though you must
not call her so now. Well, they may say what they will--many a true
heart will be sad for Mary Stewart, e'en if all be true men say of
her; for look you, Master Roland--she was the loveliest creature to
look upon that I ever saw with eye, and no lady in the land liked
better the fair flight of a falcon. I was at the great match on Roslin
Moor betwixt Bothwell--he was a black sight to her that Bothwell--and
the Baron of Roslin, who could judge a hawk's flight as well as any
man in Scotland--a butt of Rhenish and a ring of gold was the wager,
and it was flown as fairly for as ever was red gold and bright wine.
And to see her there on her white palfrey, that flew as if it scorned
to touch more than the heather blossom; and to hear her voice, as
clear and sweet as the mavis's whistle, mix among our jolly whooping
and whistling; and to mark all the nobles dashing round her; happiest
he who got a word or a look--tearing through moss and hagg, and
venturing neck and limb to gain the praise of a bold rider, and the
blink of a bonny Queen's bright eye!--she will see little hawking
where she lies now--ay, ay, pomp and pleasure pass away as speedily as
the wap of a falcon's wing."

"And where is this poor Queen now confined?" said Roland Graeme,
interested in the fate of a woman whose beauty and grace had made so
strong an impression even on the blunt and careless character of Adam
Woodcock.

"Where is she now imprisoned?" said honest Adam; "why, in some castle
in the north, they say--I know not where, for my part, nor is it worth
while to vex one's sell anent what cannot be mended--An she had guided
her power well whilst she had it, she had not come to so evil a pass.
Men say she must resign her crown to this little baby of a prince, for
that they will trust her with it no longer. Our master has been as
busy as his neighbours in all this work. If the Queen should come to
her own again, Avenel Castle is like to smoke for it, unless he makes
his bargain all the better." "In a castle in the north Queen Mary is
confined?" said the page. "Why, ay--they say so, at least--In a
castle beyond that great river which comes down yonder, and looks like
a river, but it is a branch of the sea, and as bitter as brine."

"And amongst all her subjects," said the page, with some emotion, "is
there none that will adventure anything for her relief?"

"That is a kittle question," said the falconer; "and if you ask it
often, Master Roland, I am fain to tell you that you will be mewed up
yourself in some of those castles, if they do not prefer twisting your
head off, to save farther trouble with you--Adventure any thing? Lord,
why, Murray has the wind in his poop now, man, and flies so high and
strong, that the devil a wing of them can match him--No, no; there she
is, and there she must lie, till Heaven send her deliverance, or till
her son has the management of all--But Murray will never let her loose
again, he knows her too well.--And hark thee, we are now bound for
Holyrood, where thou wilt find plenty of news, and of courtiers to
tell it--But, take my counsel, and keep a calm sough, as the Scots
say--hear every man's counsel, and keep your own. And if you hap to
learn any news you like, leap not up as if you were to put on armour
direct in the cause--Our old Mr. Wingate says--and he knows
court-cattle well--that if you are told old King Coul is come alive
again, you should turn it off with, 'And is he in truth?--I heard not
of it,' and should seem no more moved, than if one told you, by way of
novelty, that old King Coul was dead and buried. Wherefore, look well
to your bearing, Master Roland, for, I promise you, you come among a
generation that are keen as a hungry hawk--And never be dagger out of
sheath at every wry word you hear spoken; for you will find as hot
blades as yourself, and then will be letting of blood without advice
either of leech or almanack."

"You shall see how staid I will be, and how cautious, my good friend,"
said Graeme; "but, blessed Lady, what goodly house is that which is
lying all in ruins so close to the city? Have they been playing at the
Abbot of Unreason here, and ended the gambol by burning the church?"

"There again now," replied his companion, "you go down the wind like a
wild haggard, that minds neither lure nor beck--that is a question you
should have asked in as low a tone as I shall answer it."

"If I stay here long," said Roland Graeme, "it is like I shall lose
the natural use of my voice--but what are the ruins then?"

"The Kirk of Field," said the falconer, in a low and impressive
whisper, laying at the same time his finger on his lip; "ask no more
about it--somebody got foul play, and somebody got the blame of it;
and the game began there which perhaps may not be played out in our
time.--Poor Henry Darnley! to be an ass, he understood somewhat of a
hawk; but they sent him on the wing through the air himself one bright
moonlight night."

The memory of this catastrophe was so recent, that the page averted
his eyes with horror from the scathed ruins in which it had taken
place; and the accusations against the Queen, to which it had given
rise, came over his mind with such strength as to balance the
compassion he had begun to entertain for her present forlorn
situation.

It was, indeed, with that agitating state of mind which arises partly
from horror, but more from anxious interest and curiosity, that young
Graeme found himself actually traversing the scene of those tremendous
events, the report of which had disturbed the most distant solitudes
in Scotland, like the echoes of distant thunder rolling among the
mountains.

"Now," he thought, "now or never shall I become a man, and bear my
part in those deeds which the simple inhabitants of our hamlets repeat
to each other, as if they were wrought by beings of a superior order
to their own. I will know now, wherefore the Knight of Avenel carries
his crest so much above those of the neighbouring baronage, and how it
is that men, by valour and wisdom, work their way from the hoddin-gray
coat to the cloak of scarlet and gold. Men say I have not much wisdom
to recommend me; and if that be true, courage must do it; for I will
be a man amongst living men, or a dead corpse amongst the dead."

From these dreams of ambition he turned his thoughts to those of
pleasure, and began to form many conjectures, when and where he should
see Catherine Seyton, and in what manner their acquaintance was to be
renewed. With such conjectures he was amusing himself, when he found
that they had entered the city, and all other feelings were suspended
in the sensation of giddy astonishment with which an inhabitant of the
country is affected, when, for the first time, he finds himself in the
streets of a large and populous city, a unit in the midst of
thousands.

The principal street of Edinburgh was then, as now, one of the most
spacious in Europe. The extreme height of the houses, and the variety
of Gothic gables and battlements, and balconies, by which the sky-line
on each side was crowned and terminated, together with the width of
the street itself, might have struck with surprise a more practised
eye than that of young Graeme. The population, close packed within the
walls of the city, and at this time increased by the number of the
lords of the King's party who had thronged to Edinburgh to wait upon
the Regent Murray, absolutely swarmed like bees on the wide and
stately street. Instead of the shop-windows, which are now calculated
for the display of goods, the traders had their open booths projecting
on the street, in which, as in the fashion of the modern bazaars, all
was exposed which they had upon sale. And though the commodities were
not of the richest kinds, yet Graeme thought he beheld the wealth of
the whole world in the various bales of Flanders cloths, and the
specimens of tapestry; and, at other places, the display of domestic
utensils and pieces of plate struck him with wonder. The sight of
cutlers' booths, furnished with swords and poniards, which were
manufactured in Scotland, and with pieces of defensive armour,
imported from Flanders, added to his surprise; and, at every step, he
found so much to admire and gaze upon, that Adam Woodcock had no
little difficulty in prevailing on him to advance through such a scene
of enchantment.

The sight of the crowds which filled the streets was equally a subject
of wonder. Here a gay lady, in her muffler, or silken veil, traced her
way delicately, a gentleman-usher making way for her, a page bearing
up her train, and a waiting gentlewoman carrying her Bible, thus
intimating that her purpose was towards the church--There he might see
a group of citizens bending the same way, with their short Flemish
cloaks, wide trowsers, and high-caped doublets, a fashion to which, as
well as to their bonnet and feather, the Scots were long faithful.
Then, again, came the clergyman himself, in his black Geneva cloak and
band, lending a grave and attentive ear to the discourse of several
persons who accompanied him, and who were doubtless holding serious
converse on the religious subject he was about to treat of. Nor did
there lack passengers of a different class and appearance.

At every turn, Roland Graeme might see a gallant ruffle along in the
newer or French mode, his doublet slashed, and his points of the same
colours with the lining, his long sword on one side, and his poniard
on the other, behind him a body of stout serving men, proportioned to
his estate and quality, all of whom walked with the air of military
retainers, and were armed with sword and buckler, the latter being a
small round shield, not unlike the Highland target, having a steel
spike in the centre. Two of these parties, each headed by a person of
importance, chanced to meet in the very centre of the street, or, as
it was called, "the crown of the cause-way," a post of honour as
tenaciously asserted in Scotland, as that of giving or taking the wall
used to be in the more southern part of the island. The two leaders
being of equal rank, and, most probably, either animated by political
dislike, or by recollection of some feudal enmity, marched close up to
each other, without yielding an inch to the right or the left; and
neither showing the least purpose of giving way, they stopped for an
instant, and then drew their swords. Their followers imitated their
example; about a score of weapons at once flashed in the sun, and
there was an immediate clatter of swords and bucklers, while the
followers on either side cried their master's name; the one shouting
"Help, a Leslie! a Leslie!" while the others answered with shouts of
"Seyton! Seyton!" with the additional punning slogan, "Set on, set
on--bear the knaves to the ground!"

If the falconer found difficulty in getting the page to go forward
before, it was now perfectly impossible. He reined up his horse,
clapped his hands, and, delighted with the fray, cried and shouted as
fast as any of those who were actually engaged in it.

The noise and cries thus arising on the Highgate, as it was called,
drew into the quarrel two or three other parties of gentlemen and
their servants, besides some single passengers, who, hearing a fray
betwixt these two distinguished names, took part in it, either for
love or hatred.

The combat became now very sharp, and although the sword-and-buckler
men made more clatter and noise than they did real damage, yet several
good cuts were dealt among them; and those who wore rapiers, a more
formidable weapon than the ordinary Scottish swords, gave and received
dangerous wounds. Two men were already stretched on the causeway, and
the party of Seyton began to give ground, being much inferior in
number to the other, with which several of the citizens had united
themselves, when young Roland Graeme, beholding their leader, a noble
gentleman, fighting bravely, and hard pressed with numbers, could
withhold no longer. "Adam Woodcock," he said, "an you be a man, draw,
and let us take part with the Seyton." And, without waiting a reply,
or listening to the falconer's earnest entreaty, that he would leave
alone a strife in which he had no concern, the fiery youth sprung from
his horse, drew his short sword, and shouting like the rest, "A
Seyton! a Seyton! Set on! set on!" thrust forward into the throng, and
struck down one of those who was pressing hardest upon the gentleman
whose cause he espoused. This sudden reinforcement gave spirit to the
weaker party, who began to renew the combat with much alacrity, when
four of the magistrates of the city, distinguished by their velvet
cloaks and gold chains, came up with a guard of halberdiers and
citizens, armed with long weapons, and well accustomed to such
service, thrust boldly forward, and compelled the swordsmen to
separate, who immediately retreated in different directions, leaving
such of the wounded on both sides, as had been disabled in the fray,
lying on the street.

The falconer, who had been tearing his beard for anger at his
comrade's rashness, now rode up to him with the horse which he had
caught by the bridle, and accosted him with "Master Roland--master
goose--master mad-cap--will it please you to get on horse, and budge?
or will you remain here to be carried to prison, and made to answer
for this pretty day's work?"

The page, who had begun his retreat along with the Seytons, just as if
he had been one of their natural allies, was by this unceremonious
application made sensible that he was acting a foolish part; and,
obeying Adam Woodcock with some sense of shame, he sprung actively on
horseback, and upsetting with the shoulder of the animal a
city-officer, who was making towards him, he began to ride smartly
down the street, along with his companion, and was quickly out of the
reach of the hue and cry. In fact, rencounters of the kind were so
common in Edinburgh at that period, that the disturbance seldom
excited much attention after the affray was over, unless some person
of consequence chanced to have fallen, an incident which imposed on
his friends the duty of avenging his death on the first convenient
opportunity. So feeble, indeed, was the arm of the police, that it was
not unusual for such skirmishes to last for hours, where the parties
were numerous and well matched. But at this time the Regent, a man of
great strength of character, aware of the mischief which usually arose
from such acts of violence, had prevailed with the magistrates to keep
a constant guard on foot for preventing or separating such affrays as
had happened in the present case.

The falconer and his young companion were now riding down the
Canongate, and had slackened their pace to avoid attracting attention,
the rather that there seemed to be no appearance of pursuit. Roland
hung his head as one who was conscious his conduct had been none of
the wisest, whilst his companion thus addressed him:

"Will you be pleased to tell me one thing, Master Roland Graeme, and
that is, whether there be a devil incarnate in you or no?"

"Truly, Master Adam Woodcock," answered the page, "I would fain
hope there is not."

"Then," said Adam, "I would fain know by what other influence or
instigation you are perpetually at one end or the other of some bloody
brawl? What, I pray, had you to do with these Seytons and Leslies,
that you never heard the names of in your life before?"

"You are out there, my friend," said Roland Graeme, "I have my own
reasons for being a friend to the Seytons."

"They must have been very secret reasons then," answered Adam
Woodcock, "for I think I could have wagered, you had never known one
of the name; and I am apt to believe still, that it was your
unhallowed passion for that clashing of cold iron, which has as much
charm for you as the clatter of a brass pan hath for a hive of bees,
rather than any care either for Seyton or for Leslie, that persuaded
you to thrust your fool's head into a quarrel that no ways concerned
you. But take this for a warning, my young master, that if you are to
draw sword with every man who draws sword on the Highgate here, it
will be scarce worth your while to sheathe bilbo again for the rest of
your life, since, if I guess rightly, it will scarce endure on such
terms for many hours--all which I leave to your serious
consideration."

"By my word, Adam, I honour your advice; and I promise you, that I
will practise by it as faithfully as if I were sworn apprentice to
you, to the trade and mystery of bearing myself with all wisdom and
safety through the new paths of life that I am about to be engaged
in."

"And therein you will do well," said the falconer; "and I do not
quarrel with you, Master Roland, for having a grain over much spirit,
because I know one may bring to the hand a wild hawk which one never
can a dung-hill hen--and so betwixt two faults you have the best
on't. But besides your peculiar genius for quarrelling and lugging out
your side companion, my dear Master Roland, you have also the gift of
peering under every woman's muffler and screen, as if you expected to
find an old acquaintance. Though were you to spy one, I should be as
much surprised at it, well wotting how few you have seen of these same
wild-fowl, as I was at your taking so deep an interest even now in the
Seyton."

"Tush, man! nonsense and folly," answered Roland Graeme, "I but
sought to see what eyes these gentle hawks have got under their hood."

"Ay, but it's a dangerous subject of inquiry," said the falconer; "you
had better hold out your bare wrist for an eagle to perch upon.--Look
you, Master Roland, these pretty wild-geese cannot be hawked at
without risk--they have as many divings, boltings, and volleyings, as
the most gamesome quarry that falcon ever flew at--And besides, every
woman of them is manned with her husband, or her kind friend, or her
brother, or her cousin, or her sworn servant at the least--But you
heed me not, Master Roland, though I know the game so well--your eye
is all on that pretty damsel who trips down the gate before us--by my
certes, I will warrant her a blithe dancer either in reel or revel--a
pair of silver morisco bells would become these pretty ankles as well
as the jesses would suit the fairest Norway hawk."

"Thou art a fool, Adam," said the page, "and I care not a button about
the girl or her ankles--But, what the foul fiend, one must look at
something!"

"Very true, Master Roland Graeme," said his guide, "but let me pray
you to choose your objects better. Look you, there is scarce a woman
walks this High-gate with a silk screen or a pearlin muffler, but, as
I said before, she has either gentleman-usher before her, or kinsman,
or lover, or husband, at her elbow, or it may be a brace of stout
fellows with sword and buckler, not so far behind but what they can
follow close--But you heed me no more than a goss-hawk minds a yellow
yoldring."

"O yes, I do--I do mind you indeed," said Roland Graeme; "but hold my
nag a bit--I will be with you in the exchange of a whistle." So
saying, and ere Adam Woodcock could finish the sermon which was dying
on his tongue, Roland Graeme, to the falconer's utter astonishment,
threw him the bridle of his jennet, jumped off horseback, and pursued
down one of the closes or narrow lanes, which, opening under a vault,
terminate upon the main-street, the very maiden to whom his friend had
accused him of showing so much attention, and who had turned down the
pass in question.

"Saint Mary, Saint Magdalen, Saint Benedict, Saint Barnabas!" said the
poor falconer, when he found himself thus suddenly brought to a pause
in the midst of the Canongate, and saw his young charge start off like
a madman in quest of a damsel whom he had never, as Adam supposed,
seen in his life before,--"Saint Satan and Saint Beelzebub--for this
would make one swear saint and devil--what can have come over the lad,
with a wanion! And what shall I do the whilst!--he will have his
throat cut, the poor lad, as sure as I was born at the foot of
Roseberry-Topping. Could I find some one to hold the horses! but they
are as sharp here north-away as in canny Yorkshire herself, and quit
bridle, quit titt, as we say. An I could but see one of our folks
now, a holly-sprig were worth a gold tassel; or could I but see one of
the Regent's men--but to leave the horses to a stranger, that I
cannot--and to leave the place while the lad is in jeopardy, that I
wonot."

We must leave the falconer, however, in the midst of his distress, and
follow the hot-headed youth who was the cause of his perplexity.

The latter part of Adam Woodcock's sage remonstrance had been in a
great measure lost upon Roland, for whose benefit it was intended;
because, in one of the female forms which tripped along the street,
muffled in a veil of striped silk, like the women of Brussels at this
day, his eye had discerned something which closely resembled the
exquisite shape and spirited bearing of Catherine Seyton.--During all
the grave advice which the falconer was dinning in his ears, his eye
continued intent upon so interesting an object of observation; and at
length, as the damsel, just about to dive under one of the arched
passages which afforded an outlet to the Canongate from the houses
beneath, (a passage, graced by a projecting shield of arms, supported
by two huge foxes of stone,) had lifted her veil for the purpose
perhaps of descrying who the horseman was who for some time had eyed
her so closely, young Roland saw, under the shade of the silken plaid,
enough of the bright azure eyes, fair locks, and blithe features, to
induce him, like an inexperienced and rash madcap, whose wilful ways
never had been traversed by contradiction, nor much subjected to
consideration, to throw the bridle of his horse into Adam Woodcock's
hand, and leave him to play the waiting gentleman, while he dashed
down the paved court after Catherine Seyton--all as aforesaid.

Women's wits are proverbially quick, but apparently those of Catherine
suggested no better expedient than fairly to betake herself to speed
of foot, in hopes of baffling the page's vivacity, by getting safely
lodged before he could discover where. But a youth of eighteen, in
pursuit of a mistress, is not so easily outstripped. Catherine fled
across a paved court, decorated with large formal vases of stone, in
which yews, cypresses, and other evergreens, vegetated in sombre
sullenness, and gave a correspondent degree of solemnity to the high
and heavy building in front of which they were placed as ornaments,
aspiring towards a square portion of the blue hemisphere,
corresponding exactly in extent to the quadrangle in which they were
stationed, and all around which rose huge black walls, exhibiting
windows in rows of five stories, with heavy architraves over each,
bearing armorial and religious devices.

Through this court Catherine Seyton flashed like a hunted doe, making
the best use of those pretty legs which had attracted the commendation
even of the reflective and cautious Adam Woodcock. She hastened
towards a large door in the centre of the lower front of the court,
pulled the bobbin till the latch flew up, and ensconced herself in the
ancient mansion. But, if she fled like a doe, Roland Graeme followed
with the speed and ardour of a youthful stag-hound, loosed for the
first time on his prey. He kept her in view in spite of her efforts;
for it is remarkable what an advantage, in such a race, the gallant
who desires to see, possesses over the maiden who wishes not to be
seen--an advantage which I have known counterbalance a great start in
point of distance. In short, he saw the waving of her screen, or veil,
at one corner, heard the tap of her foot, light as that was, as it
crossed the court, and caught a glimpse of her figure just as she
entered the door of the mansion.

Roland Graeme, inconsiderate and headlong as we have described him,
having no knowledge of real life but from the romances which he had
read, and not an idea of checking himself in the midst of any eager
impulse; possessed, besides, of much courage and readiness, never
hesitated for a moment to approach the door through which the object
of his search had disappeared. He, too, pulled the bobbin, and the
latch, though heavy and massive, answered to the summons, and arose.
The page entered with the same precipitation which had marked his
whole proceeding, and found himself in a large hall, or vestibule,
dimly enlightened by latticed casements of painted glass, and rendered
yet dimmer through the exclusion of the sunbeams, owing to the height
of the walls of those buildings by which the court-yard was enclosed.
The walls of the hall were surrounded with suits of ancient and rusted
armour, interchanged with huge and massive stone scutcheons, bearing
double tressures, fleured and counter-fleured, wheat-sheaves,
coronets, and so forth, things to which Roland Graeme gave not a
moment's attention.

In fact, he only deigned to observe the figure of Catherine Seyton,
who, deeming herself safe in the hall, had stopped to take breath
after her course, and was reposing herself for a moment on a large
oaken settle which stood at the upper end of the hall. The noise of
Roland's entrance at once disturbed her; she started up with a faint
scream of surprise, and escaped through one of the several
folding-doors which opened into this apartment as a common centre.
This door, which Roland Graeme instantly approached, opened on a large
and well-lighted gallery, at the upper end of which he could hear
several voices, and the noise of hasty steps approaching towards the
hall or vestibule. A little recalled to sober thought by an appearance
of serious danger, he was deliberating whether he should stand fast or
retire, when Catherine Seyton re-entered from a side door, running
towards him with as much speed as a few minutes since she had fled
from him.

"Oh, what mischief brought you hither?" she said; "fly--fly, or you
are a dead man,--or stay--they come--flight is impossible--say you
came to ask for Lord Seyton."

She sprung from him and disappeared through the door by which she had
made her second appearance; and, at the same instant, a pair of large
folding-doors at the upper end of the gallery flew open with
vehemence, and six or seven young gentlemen, richly dressed, pressed
forward into the apartment, having, for the greater part, their swords
drawn.

"Who is it," said one, "dare intrude on us in our own mansion?"

"Cut him to pieces," said another; "let him pay for this day's
insolence and violence--he is some follower of the Rothes."

"No, by Saint Mary," said another; "he is a follower of the arch-fiend
and ennobled clown Halbert Glendinning, who takes the style of
Avenel--once a church-vassal, now a pillager of the church."

"It is so," said a fourth; "I know him by the holly-sprig, which is
their cognizance. Secure the door, he must answer for this insolence."

Two of the gallants, hastily drawing their weapons, passed on to the
door by which Roland had entered the hall, and stationed themselves
there as if to prevent his escape. The others advanced on Graeme, who
had just sense enough to perceive that any attempt at resistance would
be alike fruitless and imprudent. At once, and by various voices, none
of which sounded amicably, the page was required to say who he was,
whence he came, his name, his errand, and who sent him hither. The
number of the questions demanded of him at once, afforded a momentary
apology for his remaining silent, and ere that brief truce had
elapsed, a personage entered the hall, at whose appearance those who
had gathered fiercely around Roland, fell back with respect.

This was a tall man, whose dark hair was already grizzled, though his
high and haughty features retained all the animation of youth. The
upper part of his person was undressed to his Holland shirt, whose
ample folds were stained with blood. But he wore a mantle of crimson,
lined with rich fur, cast around him, which supplied the deficiency of
his dress. On his head he had a crimson velvet bonnet, looped up on
one side with a small golden chain of many links, which, going thrice
around the hat, was fastened by a medal, agreeable to the fashion
amongst the grandees of the time.

"Whom have you here, sons and kinsmen," said he, "around whom you
crowd thus roughly?--Know you not that the shelter of this roof should
secure every one fair treatment, who shall come hither either in fair
peace, or in open and manly hostility?"

"But here, my lord," answered one of the youths, "is a knave who comes
on treacherous espial!"

"I deny the charge!" said Roland Graeme, boldly, "I came to inquire
after my Lord Seyton."

"A likely tale," answered his accusers, "in the mouth of a follower of
Glendinning."

"Stay, young men," said the Lord Seyton, for it was that nobleman
himself, "let me look at this youth--By heaven, it is the very same
who came so boldly to my side not very many minutes since, when some
of my own knaves bore themselves with more respect to their own
worshipful safety than to mine! Stand back from him, for he well
deserves honour and a friendly welcome at your hands, instead of this
rough treatment."

They fell back on all sides, obedient to Lord Seyton's commands, who,
taking Roland Graeme by the hand, thanked him for his prompt and
gallant assistance, adding, that he nothing doubted, "the same
interest which he had taken in his cause in the affray, brought him
hither to inquire after his hurt."

Roland bowed low in acquiescence.

"Or is there any thing in which I can serve you, to show my sense of
your ready gallantry?"

But the page, thinking it best to abide by the apology for his visit
which the Lord Seyton had so aptly himself suggested, replied, "that
to be assured of his lordship's safety, had been the only cause of his
intrusion. He judged," he added, "he had seen him receive some hurt in
the affray."

"A trifle," said Lord Seyton; "I had but stripped my doublet, that the
chirurgeon might put some dressing on the paltry scratch, when these
rash boys interrupted us with their clamour."

Roland Graeme, making a low obeisance, was now about to depart, for,
relieved from the danger of being treated as a spy, he began next to
fear, that his companion, Adam Woodcock, whom he had so
unceremoniously quitted, would either bring him into some farther
dilemma, by venturing into the hotel in quest of him, or ride off and
leave him behind altogether. But Lord Seyton did not permit him to
escape so easily. "Tarry," he said, "young man, and let me know thy
rank and name. The Seyton has of late been more wont to see friends
and followers shrink from his side, than to receive aid from
strangers-but a new world may come around, in which he may have the
chance of rewarding his well-wishers."

"My name is Roland Graeme, my lord," answered the youth, "a page,
who, for the present, is in the service of Sir Halbert Glendinning."

"I said so from the first," said one of the young men; "my life I
will wager, that this is a shaft out of the heretic's quiver-a
stratagem from first to last, to injeer into your confidence some
espial of his own. They know how to teach both boys and women to play
the intelligencers."

"That is false, if it be spoken of me," said Roland; "no man in
Scotland should teach me such a foul part!"

"I believe thee, boy," said Lord Seyton, "for thy strokes were too
fair to be dealt upon an understanding with those that were to receive
them. Credit me, however, I little expected to have help at need from
one of your master's household; and I would know what moved thee in my
quarrel, to thine own endangering?"

"So please you, my lord," said Roland, "I think my master himself
would not have stood by, and seen an honourable man borne to earth by
odds, if his single arm could help him. Such, at least, is the lesson
we were taught in chivalry, at the Castle of Avenel."

"The good seed hath fallen into good ground, young man," said Seyton;
"but, alas! if thou practise such honourable war in these
dishonourable days, when right is every where borne down by mastery,
thy life, my poor boy, will be but a short one."

"Let it be short, so it be honourable," said Roland Graeme; "and
permit me now, my lord, to commend me to your grace, and to take my
leave. A comrade waits with my horse in the street."

"Take this, however, young man," said Lord Seyton,

[Footnote: George, fifth Lord Seton, was immovably faithful to Queen
Mary during all the mutabilities of her fortune. He was grand master
of the household, in which capacity he had a picture painted of
himself, with his official baton, and the following motto:


In adversitate, patiens;
In prosperitate, benevolus.
Hazard, yet forward.

On various parts of his castle he inscribed, as expressing his
religious and political creed, the legend:

Un Dieu, un Foy, un Roy, un Loy.

He declined to be promoted to an earldom, which Queen Mary offered him
at the same time when she advanced her natural brother to be Earl of
Mar, and afterwards of Murray.

On his refusing this honour, Mary wrote, or caused to be written, the
following lines in Latin and French:


Sunt comites, ducesque alii; sunt denique reges;
Sethom dominum sit satis esse mihi.

Il y a des comptes, des roys, des ducs; ainsi
C'est assez pour moy d'estre Seigneur de Seton.


Which may be thus rendered:--

Earl, duke, or king, be thou that list to be:
Seton, thy lordship is enough for me.

This distich reminds us of the "pride which aped humility," in the
motto of the house of Couci:

Je suis ni roy, ni prince aussi;
Je suis le Seigneur de Coucy.

After the battle of Langside, Lord Seton was obliged to retire abroad
for safety, and was an exile for two years, during which he was
reduced to the necessity of driving a waggon in Flanders for his
subsistence. He rose to favour in James VI's reign, and assuming his
paternal property, had himself painted in his waggoner's dress, and in
the act of driving a wain with four horses, on the north end of a
stately gallery at Seton Castle]

undoing from his bonnet the golden chain and medal, "and wear it for
my sake."

With no little pride Roland Graeme accepted the gift, which he hastily
fastened around his bonnet, as he had seen gallants wear such an
ornament, and renewing his obeisance to the Baron, left the hall,
traversed the court, and appeared in the street, just as Adam
Woodcock, vexed and anxious at his delay, had determined to leave the
horses to their fate, and go in quest of his youthful comrade. "Whose
barn hast thou broken next?" he exclaimed, greatly relieved by his
appearance, although his countenance indicated that he had passed
through an agitating scene.

"Ask me no questions," said Roland, leaping gaily on his horse; "but
see how short time it takes to win a chain of gold," pointing to that
which he now wore.

"Now, God forbid that thou hast either stolen it, or reft it by
violence," said the falconer; "for, otherwise, I wot not how the devil
thou couldst compass it. I have been often here, ay, for months at an
end, and no one gave me either chain or medal."

"Thou seest I have got one on shorter acquaintance with the city,"
answered the page, "but set thine honest heart at rest; that which is
fairly won and freely given, is neither reft nor stolen."

"Marry, hang thee, with thy fanfarona [Footnote: A name given to the
gold chains worn by the military men of the period. It is of Spanish
origin: for the fashion of wearing these costly ornaments was much
followed amongst the conquerors of the New World.] about thy neck!"
said the falconer; "I think water will not drown, nor hemp strangle
thee. Thou hast been discarded as my lady's page, to come in again as
my lord's squire; and for following a noble young damsel into some
great household, thou gettest a chain and medal, where another would
have had the baton across his shoulders, if he missed having the dirk
in his body. But here we come in front of the old Abbey. Bear thy good
luck with you when you cross these paved stones, and, by our Lady, you
may brag Scotland."

As he spoke, they checked their horses, where the huge old vaulted
entrance to the Abbey or Palace of Holyrood crossed the termination of
the street down which they had proceeded. The courtyard of the palace
opened within this gloomy porch, showing the front of an irregular
pile of monastic buildings, one wing of which is still extant, forming
a part of the modern palace, erected in the days of Charles I.

At the gate of the porch the falconer and page resigned their horses
to the serving-man in attendance; the falconer commanding him with an
air of authority, to carry them safely to the stables. "We follow," he
said, "the Knight of Avenel--We must bear ourselves for what we are
here," said he in a whisper to Roland, "for every one here is looked
on as they demean themselves; and he that is too modest must to the
wall, as the proverb says; therefore cock thy bonnet, man, and let us
brook the causeway bravely."

Assuming, therefore, an air of consequence, corresponding to what he
supposed to be his master's importance and quality, Adam Woodcock led
the way into the courtyard of the Palace of Holyrood.

He appears to have been fond of the arts; for there exists a beautiful
family-piece of him in the centre of his family. Mr. Pinkerton, in his
Scottish Iconographia, published an engraving of this curious
portrait. The original is the property of Lord Somerville, nearly
connected with the Seton family, and is at present at his lordship's
fishing villa of the Pavilion, near Melrose.

Sir Walter Scott