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Chapter 19


It is and is not--'tis the thing I sought for,
Have kneel'd for, pray'd for, risk'd my fame and life for,
And yet it is not--no more than the shadow
Upon the hard, cold, flat, and polished mirror,
Is the warm, graceful, rounded, living substance
Which it presents in form and lineament.
OLD PLAY.

The usher, with gravity which ill concealed a jealous scowl, conducted
Roland Graeme to a lower apartment, where he found his comrade the
falconer. The man of office then briefly acquainted them that this
would be their residence till his Grace's farther orders; that they
were to go to the pantry, to the buttery, to the cellar, and to the
kitchen, at the usual hours, to receive the allowances becoming their
station,--instructions which Adam Woodcock's old familiarity with the
court made him perfectly understand--"For your beds," he said, "you
must go to the hostelry of Saint Michael's, in respect the palace is
now full of the domestics of the greater nobles."

No sooner was the usher's back turned than Adam exclaimed with all the
glee of eager curiosity, "And now, Master Roland, the news--the
news--come unbutton thy pouch, and give us thy tidings--What says the
Regent? asks he for Adam Woodcock?--and is all soldered up, or must
the Abbot of Unreason strap for it?"

"All is well in that quarter," said the page; "and for the rest--But,
hey-day, what! have you taken the chain and medal off from my bonnet?"

"And meet time it was, when yon usher, vinegar-faced rogue that he is,
began to inquire what Popish trangam you were wearing.--By the mass,
the metal would have been confiscated for conscience-sake, like your
other rattle-trap yonder at Avenel, which Mistress Lilias bears about
on her shoes in the guise of a pair of shoe-buckles--This comes of
carrying Popish nicknackets about you."

"The jade!" exclaimed Roland Graeme, "has she melted down my rosary
into buckles for her clumsy hoofs, which will set off such a garnish
nearly as well as a cow's might?--But, hang her, let her keep
them--many a dog's trick have I played old Lilias, for want of having
something better to do, and the buckles will serve for a remembrance.
Do you remember the verjuice I put into the comfits, when old Wingate
and she were to breakfast together on Easter morning?"

"In troth do I, Master Roland--the major-domo's mouth was as crooked
as a hawk's beak for the whole morning afterwards, and any other page
in your room would have tasted the discipline of the porter's lodge
for it. But my Lady's favour stood between your skin and many a
jerking--Lord send you may be the better for her protection in such
matters!"

"I am least grateful for it, Adam! and I am glad you put me in mind
of it."

"Well, but the news, my young master," said Woodcock, "spell me the
tidings--what are we to fly at next?--what did the Regent say to you?"

"Nothing that I am to repeat again," said Roland Graeme, shaking his
head.

"Why, hey-day," said Adam, "how prudent we are become all of a sudden!
You have advanced rarely in brief space, Master Roland. You have well
nigh had your head broken, and you have gained your gold chain, and
you have made an enemy, Master Usher to wit, with his two legs like
hawks' perches, and you have had audience of the first man in the
realm, and bear as much mystery in your brow, as if you had flown in
the court-sky ever since you were hatched. I believe, in my soul, you
would run with a piece of the egg-shell on your head like the curlews,
which (I would we were after them again) we used to call whaups in the
Halidome and its neighbourhood. But sit thee down, boy; Adam Woodcock
was never the lad to seek to enter into forbidden secrets--sit thee
down, and I will go and fetch the vivers--I know the butler and the
pantler of old."

The good-natured falconer set forth upon his errand, busying himself
about procuring their refreshment; and, during his absence, Roland
Graeme abandoned himself to the strange, complicated, and yet
heart-stirring reflections, to which the events of the morning had
given rise. Yesterday he was of neither mark nor likelihood; a vagrant
boy, the attendant on a relative, of whose sane judgment he himself
had not the highest opinion; but now he had become, he knew not why,
or wherefore, or to what extent, the custodier, as the Scottish phrase
went, of some important state secret, in the safe keeping of which the
Regent himself was concerned. It did not diminish from, but rather
added to the interest of a situation so unexpected, that Roland
himself did not perfectly understand wherein he stood committed by the
state secrets, in which he had unwittingly become participator. On
the contrary, he felt like one who looks on a romantic landscape, of
which he sees the features for the first time, and then obscured with
mist and driving tempest. The imperfect glimpse which the eye catches
of rocks, trees, and other objects around him, adds double dignity to
these shrouded mountains and darkened abysses, of which the height,
depth, and extent, are left to imagination.

But mortals, especially at the well-appetized age which precedes
twenty years, are seldom so much engaged either by real or conjectural
subjects of speculation, but that their earthly wants claim their hour
of attention. And with many a smile did our hero, so the reader may
term him if he will, hail the re-appearance of his friend Adam
Woodcock, bearing on one platter a tremendous portion of boiled beef,
and on another a plentiful allowance of greens, or rather what the
Scotch call lang-kale. A groom followed with bread, salt, and the
other means of setting forth a meal; and when they had both placed on
the oaken table what they bore in their hands, the falconer observed,
that since he knew the court, it had got harder and harder every day
to the poor gentlemen and yeoman retainers, but that now it was an
absolute flaying of a flea for the hide and tallow. Such thronging to
the wicket, and such churlish answers, and such bare beef-bones, such
a shouldering at the buttery-hatch and cellarage, and nought to be
gained beyond small insufficient single ale, or at best with a single
straike of malt to counterbalance a double allowance of water--"By the
mass, though, my young friend," said he, while he saw the food
disappearing fast under Roland's active exertions, "it is not so to
well to lament for former times as to take the advantage of the
present, else we are like to lose on both sides."

So saying, Adam Woodcock drew his chair towards the table, unsheathed
his knife, (for every one carried that minister of festive
distribution for himself,) and imitated his young companion's example,
who for the moment had lost his anxiety for the future in the eager
satisfaction of an appetite sharpened by youth and abstinence.

In truth, they made, though the materials were sufficiently simple, a
very respectable meal, at the expense of the royal allowance; and Adam
Woodcock, notwithstanding the deliberate censure which he had passed
on the household beer of the palace, had taken the fourth deep draught
of the black jack ere he remembered him that he had spoken in its
dispraise. Flinging himself jollily and luxuriously back in an old
danske elbow-chair, and looking with careless glee towards the page,
extending at the same time his right leg, and stretching the other
easily over it, he reminded his companion that he had not yet heard
the ballad which he had made for the Abbot of Unreason's revel. And
accordingly he struck merrily up with


"The Pope, that pagan full of pride,
Has blinded us full lang."------

Roland Graeme, who felt no great delight, as may be supposed, in the
falconer's satire, considering its subject, began to snatch up his
mantle, and fling it around his shoulders, an action which instantly
interrupted the ditty of Adam Woodcock.

"Where the vengeance are you going now," he said, "thou restless
boy?--Thou hast quicksilver in the veins of thee to a certainty, and
canst no more abide any douce and sensible communing, than a hoodless
hawk would keep perched on my wrist!"

"Why, Adam," replied the page, "if you must needs know, I am about to
take a walk and look at this fair city. One may as well be still mewed
up in the old castle of the lake, if one is to sit the live-long night
between four walls, and hearken to old ballads."

"It is a new ballad--the Lord help thee!" replied Adam, "and that one
of the best that ever was matched with a rousing chorus."

"Be it so," said the page, "I will hear it another day, when the rain
is dashing against the windows, and there is neither steed stamping,
nor spur jingling, nor feather waving in the neighbourhood to mar my
marking it well. But, even now, I want to be in the world, and to look
about me."

"But the never a stride shall you go without me," said the falconer,
"until the Regent shall take you whole and sound off my hand; and so,
if you will, we may go to the hostelrie of Saint Michael's, and there
you will see company enough, but through the casement, mark you me;
for as to rambling through the street to seek Seytons and Leslies, and
having a dozen holes drilled in your new jacket with rapier and
poniard, I will yield no way to it."

"To the hostelrie of Saint Michael's, then, with all my heart," said
the page; and they left the palace accordingly, rendered to the
sentinels at the gate, who had now taken their posts for the evening,
a strict account of their names and business, were dismissed through a
small wicket of the close-barred portal, and soon reached the inn or
hostelrie of Saint Michael, which stood in a large court-yard, off the
main street, close under the descent of the Calton-hill. The place,
wide, waste, and uncomfortable, resembled rather an Eastern
caravansary, where men found shelter indeed, but were obliged to
supply themselves with every thing else, than one of our modern inns;


Where not one comfort shall to those be lost,
Who never ask, or never feel, the cost.

But still, to the inexperienced eye of Roland Graeme, the bustle and
confusion of this place of public resort, furnished excitement and
amusement. In the large room, into which they had rather found their
own way than been ushered by mine host, travellers and natives of the
city entered and departed, met and greeted, gamed or drank together,
forming the strongest contrast to the stern and monotonous order and
silence with which matters were conducted in the well-ordered
household of the Knight of Avenel. Altercation of every kind, from
brawling to jesting, was going on amongst the groups around them, and
yet the noise and mingled voices seemed to disturb no one and indeed
to be noticed by no others than by those who composed the group to
which the speaker belonged.

The falconer passed through the apartment to a projecting latticed
window, which formed a sort of recess from the room itself; and having
here ensconced himself and his companion, he called for some
refreshments; and a tapster, after he had shouted for the twentieth
time, accommodated him with the remains of a cold capon and a neat's
tongue, together with a pewter stoup of weak French vin-de-pays.
"Fetch a stoup of brandy-wine, thou knave--We will be jolly to-night,
Master Roland," said he, when he saw himself thus accommodated, "and
let care come to-morrow."

But Roland had eaten too lately to enjoy the good cheer; and feeling
his curiosity much sharper than his appetite, he made it his choice to
look out of the lattice, which overhung a large yard, surrounded by
the stables of the hostelrie, and fed his eyes on the busy sight
beneath, while Adam Woodcock, after he had compared his companion to
the "Laird of Macfarlane's geese, who liked their play better than
their meat," disposed of his time with the aid of cup and trencher,
occasionally humming the burden of his birth-strangled ballad, and
beating time to it with his fingers on the little round table. In this
exercise he was frequently interrupted by the exclamations of his
companion, as he saw something new in the yard beneath, to attract and
interest him.

It was a busy scene, for the number of gentlemen and nobles who were
now crowded into the city, had filled all spare stables and places of
public reception with their horses and military attendants. There were
some score of yeomen, dressing their own or their masters' horses in
the yard, whistling, singing, laughing, and upbraiding each other, in
a style of wit which the good order of Avenel Castle rendered strange
to Roland Graeme's ears. Others were busy repairing their own arms, or
cleaning those of their masters. One fellow, having just bought a
bundle of twenty spears, was sitting in a corner, employed in painting
the white staves of the weapons with yellow and vermillion. Other
lacqueys led large stag-hounds, or wolf-dogs, of noble race, carefully
muzzled to prevent accidents to passengers. All came and went, mixed
together and separated, under the delighted eye of the page, whose
imagination had not even conceived a scene so gaily diversified with
the objects he had most pleasure in beholding; so that he was
perpetually breaking the quiet reverie of honest Woodcock, and the
mental progress which he was making in his ditty, by exclaiming, "Look
here, Adam--look at the bonny bay horse--Saint Anthony, what, a
gallant forehand he hath got!--and see the goodly gray, which yonder
fellow in the frieze-jacket is dressing as awkwardly as if he had
never touched aught but a cow--I would I were nigh him to teach him
his trade!--And lo you, Adam, the gay Milan armour that the yeoman is
scouring, all steel and silver, like our Knight's prime suit, of which
old Wingate makes such account--And see to yonder pretty wench, Adam,
who comes tripping through them all with her milk-pail--I warrant me
she has had a long walk from the loaning; she has a stammel waistcoat,
like your favourite Cicely Sunderland, Master Adam!"

"By my hood, lad," answered the falconer, "it is well for thee thou
wert brought up where grace grew. Even in the Castle of Avenel thou
wert a wild-blood enough, but hadst thou been nurtured here, within a
flight-shot of the Court, thou hadst been the veriest crack-hemp of a
page that ever wore feather in thy bonnet or steel by thy side: truly,
I wish it may end well with thee."

"Nay, but leave thy senseless humming and drumming, old Adam, and come
to the window ere thou hast drenched thy senses in the pint-pot there.
See here comes a merry minstrel with his crowd, and a wench with him,
that dances with bells at her ankles; and see, the yeomen and pages
leave their horses and the armour they were cleaning, and gather
round, as is very natural, to hear the music. Come, old Adam, we will
thither too."

"You shall call me cutt if I do go down," said Adam; "you are near as
good minstrelsy as the stroller can make, if you had but the grace to
listen to it."

"But the wench in the stammel waistcoat is stopping too, Adam--by
heaven, they are going to dance! Frieze-jacket wants to dance with
stammel waistcoat, but she is coy and recusant."

Then suddenly changing his tone of levity into one of deep interest
and surprise, he exclaimed, "Queen of Heaven! what is it that I see!"
and then remained silent.

The sage Adam Woodcock, who was in a sort of languid degree amused
with the page's exclamations, even while he professed to despise them,
became at length rather desirous to set his tongue once more a-going,
that he might enjoy the superiority afforded by his own intimate
familiarity with all the circumstances which excited in his young
companion's mind so much wonderment.

"Well, then," he said at last, "what is it you do see, Master Roland,
that you have become mute all of a sudden?"

Roland returned no answer.

"I say, Master Roland Graeme," said the falconer, "it is manners in my
country for a man to speak when he is spoken to."

Roland Graeme remained silent.

"The murrain is in the boy," said Adam Woodcock, "he has stared out
his eyes, and talked his tongue to pieces, I think."

The falconer hastily drank off his can of wine, and came to Roland,
who stood like a statue, with his eyes eagerly bent on the court-yard,
though Adam Woodcock was unable to detect amongst the joyous scenes
which it exhibited aught that could deserve such devoted attention.

"The lad is mazed!" said the falconer to himself.

But Roland Graeme had good reasons for his surprise, though they were
not such as he could communicate to his companion.

The touch of the old minstrel's instrument, for he had already begun
to play, had drawn in several auditors from the street when one
entered the gate of the yard, whose appearance exclusively arrested
the attention of Roland Graeme. He was of his own age, or a good deal
younger, and from his dress and bearing might be of the same rank and
calling, having all the air of coxcombry and pretension, which
accorded with a handsome, though slight and low figure, and an elegant
dress, in part hid by a large purple cloak. As he entered, he cast a
glance up towards the windows, and, to his extreme astonishment, under
the purple velvet bonnet and white feather, Roland recognized the
features so deeply impressed on his memory, the bright and clustered
tresses, the laughing full blue eyes, the well-formed eyebrows, the
nose, with the slightest possible inclination to be aquiline, the ruby
lip, of which an arch and half-suppressed smile seemed the habitual
expression--in short, the form and face of Catherine Seyton; in man's
attire, however, and mimicking, as it seemed, not unsuccessfully, the
bearing of a youthful but forward page.

"Saint George and Saint Andrew!" exclaimed the amazed Roland Graeme to
himself, "was there ever such an audacious quean!--she seems a little
ashamed of her mummery too, for she holds the lap of her cloak to her
face, and her colour is heightened--but Santa Maria, how she threads
the throng, with as firm and bold a step as if she had never tied
petticoat round her waist!--Holy Saints! she holds up her riding-rod
as if she would lay it about some of their ears, that stand most in
her way--by the hand of my father! she bears herself like the very
model of pagehood.--Hey! what! sure she will not strike frieze-jacket
in earnest?" But he was not long left in doubt; for the lout whom he
had before repeatedly noticed, standing in the way of the bustling
page, and maintaining his place with clownish obstinacy or stupidity,
the advanced riding-rod was, without a moment's hesitation, sharply
applied to his shoulders, in a manner which made him spring aside,
rubbing the part of the body which had received so unceremonious a
hint that it was in the way of his betters. The party injured growled
forth an oath or two of indignation, and Roland Graeme began to think
of flying down stairs to the assistance of the translated Catherine;
but the laugh of the yard was against frieze-jacket, which indeed had,
in those days, small chance of fair play in a quarrel with velvet and
embroidery; so that the fellow, who was menial in the inn, slunk back
to finish his task of dressing the bonny gray, laughed at by all, but
most by the wench in the stammel waistcoat, his fellow-servant, who,
to crown his disgrace, had the cruelty to cast an applauding smile
upon the author of the injury, while, with a freedom more like the
milk-maid of the town than she of the plains, she accosted him
with--"Is there any one you want here, my pretty gentleman, that you
seem in such haste?"

"I seek a sprig of a lad," said the seeming gallant, "with a sprig of
holly in his cap, black hair, and black eyes, green jacket, and the
air of a country coxcomb--I have sought him through every close and
alley in the Canongate, the fiend gore him!"

"Why, God-a-mercy, Nun!" muttered Roland Graeme, much bewildered.

"I will inquire him presently out for your fair young worship," said
the wench of the inn.

"Do," said the gallant squire, "and if you bring me to him, you shall
have a groat to-night, and a kiss on Sunday when you have on a cleaner
kirtle."

"Why, God-a-mercy, Nun!" again muttered Roland, "this is a note
above E La."

In a moment after, the servant entered the room, and ushered in the
object of his surprise.

While the disguised vestal looked with unabashed brow, and bold and
rapid glance of her eye, through the various parties in the large old
room, Roland Graeme, who felt an internal awkward sense of bashful
confusion, which he deemed altogether unworthy of the bold and dashing
character to which he aspired, determined not to be browbeaten and put
down by this singular female, but to meet her with a glance of
recognition so sly, so penetrating, so expressively humorous, as
should show her at once he was in possession of her secret and master
of her fate, and should compel her to humble herself towards him, at
least into the look and manner of respectful and deprecating
observance.

This was extremely well planned; but just as Roland had called up the
knowing glance, the suppressed smile, the shrewd intelligent look,
which was to ensure his triumph, he encountered the bold, firm, and
steady gaze of his brother or sister-page, who, casting on him a
falcon glance, and recognizing him at once as the object of his
search, walked up with the most unconcerned look, the most free and
undaunted composure, and hailed him with "You, Sir Holly-top, I would
speak with you."

The steady coolness and assurance with which these words were uttered,
although the voice was the very voice he had heard at the old convent,
and although the features more nearly resembled those of Catharine
when seen close than when viewed from a distance, produced,
nevertheless, such a confusion in Roland's mind, that he became
uncertain whether he was not still under a mistake from the beginning;
the knowing shrewdness which should have animated his visage faded
into a sheepish bashfulness, and the half-suppressed but most
intelligible smile, became the senseless giggle of one who laughs to
cover his own disorder of ideas.

"Do they understand a Scotch tongue in thy country, Holly-top?" said
this marvellous specimen of metamorphosis. "I said I would speak with
thee."

"What is your business with my comrade, my young chick of the game?"
said Adam Woodcock, willing to step in to his companion's assistance,
though totally at a loss to account for the sudden disappearance of
all Roland's usual smartness and presence of mind.

"Nothing to you, my old cock of the perch," replied the gallant; "go
mind your hawk's castings. I guess by your bag and your gauntlet that
you are squire of the body to a sort of kites."

He laughed as he spoke, and the laugh reminded Roland so irresistibly
of the hearty fit of risibility, in which Catherine had indulged at
his expense when they first met in the old nunnery, that he could
scarce help exclaiming, "Catherine Seyton, by Heavens!"--He checked
the exclamation, however, and only said, "I think, sir, we two are not
totally strangers to each other."

"We must have met in our dreams then" said the youth; "and my days are
too busy to remember what I think on at nights."

"Or apparently to remember upon one day those whom you may have seen
on the preceding eve" said Roland Graeme.

The youth in his turn cast on him a look of some surprise, as he
replied, "I know no more of what you mean than does the horse I ride
on--if there be offence in your words, you shall find me ready to take
it as any lad in Lothian."

"You know well," said Roland, "though it pleases you to use the
language of a stranger, that with you I have no purpose to quarrel."

"Let me do mine errand, then, and be rid of you," said the page. "Step
hither this way, out of that old leathern fist's hearing."

They walked into the recess of the window, which Roland had left upon
the youth's entrance into the apartment. The messenger then turned his
back on the company, after casting a hasty and sharp glance around to
see if they were observed. Roland did the same, and the page in the
purple mantle thus addressed him, taking at the same time from under
his cloak a short but beautifully wrought sword, with the hilt and
ornaments upon the sheath of silver, massively chased and
over-gilded--"I bring you this weapon from a friend, who gives it you
under the solemn condition, that you will not unsheath it until you
are commanded by your rightful Sovereign. For your warmth of temper is
known, and the presumption with which you intrude yourself into the
quarrels of others; and, therefore, this is laid upon you as a penance
by those who wish you well, and whose hand will influence your destiny
for good or for evil. This is what I was charged to tell you. So if
you will give a fair word for a fair sword, and pledge your promise,
with hand and glove, good and well; and if not, I will carry back
Caliburn to those who sent it."

"And may I not ask who these are?" said Roland Graeme, admiring at the
same time the beauty of the weapon thus offered him.

"My commission in no way leads me to answer such a question," said he
of the purple mantle.

"But if I am offended" said Roland, "may I not draw to defend myself?"

"Not _this_ weapon," answered the sword-bearer; "but you have
your own at command, and, besides, for what do you wear your poniard?"

"For no good," said Adam Woodcock, who had now approached close to
them, "and that I can witness as well as any one."

"Stand back, fellow," said the messenger, "thou hast an intrusive
curious face, that will come by a buffet if it is found where it has
no concern."

"A buffet, my young Master Malapert?" said Adam, drawing back,
however; "best keep down fist, or, by Our Lady, buffet will beget
buffet!"

"Be patient, Adam Woodcock," said Roland Graeme; "and let me pray you,
fair sir, since by such addition you choose for the present to be
addressed, may I not barely unsheathe this fair weapon, in pure
simplicity of desire to know whether so fair a hilt and scabbard are
matched with a befitting blade?"

"By no manner of means," said the messenger; "at a word, you must take
it under the promise that you never draw it until you receive the
commands of your lawful Sovereign, or you must leave it alone."

"Under that condition, and coming from your friendly hand, I accept of
the sword," said Roland, taking it from his hand; "but credit me, if
we are to work together in any weighty emprise, as I am induced to
believe, some confidence and openness on your part will be necessary
to give the right impulse to my zeal--I press for no more at present,
it is enough that you understand me."

"I understand you!" said the page, exhibiting the appearance of
unfeigned surprise in his turn,--"Renounce me if I do!--here you stand
jiggeting, and sniggling, and looking cunning, as if there were some
mighty matter of intrigue and common understanding betwixt you and me,
whom you never set your eyes on before!"

"What!" said Roland Graeme, "will you deny that we have met before?"

"Marry that I will, in any Christian court," said the other page.

"And will you also deny," said Roland, "that it was recommended to us
to study each other's features well, that in whatever disguise the
time might impose upon us, each should recognize in the other the
secret agent of a mighty work? Do not you remember, that Sister
Magdalen and Dame Bridget----"

The messenger here interrupted him, shrugging up his shoulders, with a
look of compassion, "Bridget and Magdalen! why, this is madness and
dreaming! Hark ye, Master Holly-top, your wits are gone on
wool-gathering; comfort yourself with a caudle, and thatch your
brain-sick noddle with a woollen night-cap, and so God be with you!"

As he concluded this polite parting address, Adam Woodcock, who was
again seated by the table on which stood the now empty can, said to
him, "Will you drink a cup, young man, in the way of courtesy, now you
have done your errand, and listen to a good song?" and without waiting
for an answer, he commenced his ditty,--


"The Pope, that pagan full of pride,
Hath blinded us full lang--"

It is probable that the good wine had made some innovation in the
falconer's brain, otherwise he would have recollected the danger of
introducing any thing like political or polemical pleasantry into a
public assemblage at a time when men's minds were in a state of great
irritability. To do him justice, he perceived his error, and stopped
short so soon as he saw that the word Pope had at once interrupted the
separate conversations of the various parties which were assembled in
the apartment; and that many began to draw themselves up, bridle, look
big, and prepare to take part in the impending brawl; while others,
more decent and cautious persons, hastily paid down their lawing, and
prepared to leave the place ere bad should come to worse.

And to worse it was soon likely to come; for no sooner did Woodcock's
ditty reach the ear of the stranger page, than, uplifting his
riding-rod, he exclaimed, "He who speaks irreverently of the Holy
Father of the church in my presence, is the cub of a heretic
wolf-bitch, and I will switch him as I would a mongrel-cur."

"And I will break thy young pate," said Adam, "if thou darest to lift
a finger to me." And then, in defiance of the young Drawcansir's
threats, with a stout heart and dauntless accent, he again uplifted
the stave.


"The Pope, that pagan full of pride.
Hath blinded--"

But Adam was able to proceed no farther, being himself unfortunately
blinded by a stroke of the impatient youth's switch across his eyes.
Enraged at once by the smart and the indignity, the falconer started
up, and darkling as he was, for his eyes watered too fast to permit
his seeing any thing, he would soon have been at close grips with his
insolent adversary, had not Roland Graeme, contrary to his nature,
played for once the prudent man and the peacemaker, and thrown himself
betwixt them, imploring Woodcock's patience. "You know not," he said,
"with whom you have to do.--And thou," addressing the messenger, who
stood scornfully laughing at Adam's rage, "get thee gone, whoever thou
art; if thou be'st what I guess thee, thou well knowest there are
earnest reasons why thou shouldst."

"Thou hast hit it right for once, Holly-top," said the gallant,
"though I guess you drew your bow at a venture.--Here, host, let this
yeoman have a bottle of wine to wash the smart out of his eyes--and
there is a French crown for him." So saying, he threw the piece of
money on the table, and left the apartment, with a quick yet steady
pace, looking firmly at right and left, as if to defy interruption:
and snapping his fingers at two or three respectable burghers, who,
declaring it was a shame that any one should be suffered to rant and
ruffle in defence of the Pope, were labouring to find the hilts of
their swords, which had got for the present unhappily entangled in the
folds of their cloaks. But, as the adversary was gone ere any of them
had reached his weapon, they did not think it necessary to unsheath
cold iron, but merely observed to each other, "This is more than
masterful violence, to see a poor man stricken in the face just for
singing a ballad against the whore of Babylon! If the Pope's champions
are to be bangsters in our very change-houses, we shall soon have the
old shavelings back again."

"The provost should look to it," said another, "and have some five or
six armed with partisans, to come in upon the first whistle, to teach
these gallants their lesson. For, look you, neighbour Lugleather, it
is not for decent householders like ourselves to be brawling with the
godless grooms and pert pages of the nobles, that are bred up to
little else save bloodshed and blasphemy."

"For all that, neighbour," said Lugleather, "I would have curried that
youngster as properly as ever I curried a lamb's hide, had not the
hilt of my bilbo been for the instant beyond my grasp; and before I
could turn my girdle, gone was my master!"

"Ay," said the others, "the devil go with him, and peace abide with
us--I give my rede, neighbours, that we pay the lawing, and be
stepping homeward, like brother and brother; for old Saint Giles's is
tolling curfew, and the street grows dangerous at night."

With that the good burghers adjusted their cloaks, and prepared for
their departure, while he that seemed the briskest of the three,
laying his hand on his Andrea Ferrara, observed, "that they that spoke
in the praise of the Pope on the High-gate of Edinburgh, had best
bring the sword of Saint Peter to defend them."

While the ill-humour excited by the insolence of the young aristocrat
was thus evaporating in empty menace, Roland Graeme had to control the
far more serious indignation of Adam Woodcock. "Why, man, it was but a
switch across the mazzard--blow your nose, dry your eyes, and you will
see all the better for it."

"By this light, which I cannot see," said Adam Woodcock, "thou hast
been a false friend to me, young man--neither taking up my rightful
quarrel, nor letting me fight it out myself."

"Fy for shame, Adam Woodcock," replied the youth, determined to turn
the tables on him, and become in turn the counsellor of good order and
peaceable demeanour--"I say, fy for shame!--Alas, that you will speak
thus! Here are you sent with me, to prevent my innocent youth getting
into snares----"

"I wish your innocent youth were cut short with a halter, with all my
heart," said Adam, who began to see which way the admonition tended.

--"And instead of setting before me," continued Roland, "an example of
patience and sobriety becoming the falconer of Sir Halbert
Glendinning, you quaff me off I know not how many flagons of ale,
besides a gallon of wine, and a full measure of strong waters."

"It was but one small pottle," said poor Adam, whom consciousness of
his own indiscretion now reduced to a merely defensive warfare.

"It was enough to pottle you handsomely, however," said the page--"And
then, instead of going to bed to sleep off your liquor, must you sit
singing your roistering songs about popes and pagans, till you have
got your eyes almost switched out of your head; and but for my
interference, whom your drunken ingratitude accuses of deserting you,
yon galliard would have cut your throat, for he was whipping out a
whinger as broad as my hand, and as sharp as a razor--And these are
lessons for an inexperienced youth!--Oh, Adam! out upon you! out upon
you!"

"Marry, amen, and with all my heart," said Adam; "out upon my folly
for expecting any thing but impertinent raillery from a page like
thee, that if he saw his father in a scrape, would laugh at him,
instead of lending him aid.

"Nay, but I will lend you aid," said the page, still laughing, "that
is, I will lend thee aid to thy chamber, good Adam, where thou shalt
sleep off wine and ale, ire and indignation, and awake the next
morning with as much fair wit as nature has blessed thee withal. Only
one thing I will warn thee, good Adam, that henceforth and for ever,
when thou railest at me for being somewhat hot at hand, and rather too
prompt to out with poniard or so, thy admonition shall serve as a
prologue to the memorable adventure of the switching of Saint
Michael's."

With such condoling expressions he got the crest-fallen falconer to
his bed, and then retired to his own pallet, where it was some time
ere he could fall asleep. If the messenger whom he had seen were
really Catherine Seyton, what a masculine virago and termagant must
she be! and stored with what an inimitable command of insolence and
assurance!--The brass on her brow would furbish the front of twenty
pages; "and I should know," thought Roland, "what that amounts to--And
yet, her features, her look, her light gait, her laughing eye, the art
with which she disposed the mantle to show no more of her limbs than
needs must be seen--I am glad she had at least that grace left--the
voice, the smile--it must have been Catherine Seyton, or the devil in
her likeness! One thing is good, I have silenced the eternal
predications of that ass, Adam Woodcock, who has set up for being a
preacher and a governor, over me, so soon as he has left the hawks'
mew behind him."

And with this comfortable reflection, joined to the happy indifference
which youth hath for the events of the morrow, Roland Graeme fell fast
asleep.


Sir Walter Scott