Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

the Temple, and was therefore generally involved in , stance, too-it signifies tribulation in the High Dutch,
the damps and fogs arising from the Thames. The and your lordship must be considered as a man under
brick buildings by which it was occupied, crowded trouble."
closely on each other, for, in a place so rarely privi- Nigel laughed at the pertinacity of the Templar ;
leged, every foot of ground was valuable; but, erected who, proceeding to point out a sign representing, or
in many cases by persons whose funds were inade- believed to represent, a dog attacking a bull, and run-
quate to their speculations, the houses were generally ning at his head, in the true scientific style of onset,
insufficient, and exhibited the lamentable signs of “There,” said he, doth faithful Duke Hildebrod deal
having become ruinous while they were yet new. forth laws, as well as ale and strong waters, to his
The wailing of children, the scolding of their mothers, faithful Alsatians. Being a determined champion of
the miserable exhibition of ragged linens hung from Paris Garden, he has chosen a sign corresponding to
the windows to dry, spoke the wants and distresses his habits; and he deals in giving drink to the thirsty,
of the wretched inhabitants; while the sounds of that he himself may drink without paying, and receive
complaint were mocked and overwhelmed in the pay for what is drunken by others.--Let us enter the
riotous shouts, oaths, profane songs, and boisterous ever-open gate of this second Axylus."
laughter, that issued from the alehouses and taverns, As they spoke, they entered the dilapidated tavern,
which, as the signs indicated, were equal in number which was, nevertheless, more ample in dimensions,
to all the other houses; and, that the full character and less ruinous, than many houses in the same evil
of the place might be evident, several faded, tinselled, neighbourhood. Two or three haggard, ragged draw-
and painted females, looked' boldly at the strangers ers, ran to and fro, whose looks, like those of owls,
from their open lattices, or more modestly seemed seemed only adapted for midnight, when other crea-
busied with the cracked flower-pots, filled with migno- tures sleep, and who by day seemed bleared, stupid,
nette and rosemary, which were disposed in front of and only half awake. Guided by one of these blink
the windows, to the great risk of the passengers. ing Ganymedes, they entered a room, where the fee-

Semi-reducta Venus," said the Templar, pointing ble rays of the sun were almost wholly eclipsed by
to one of these nymphs, who seemed afraid of obser- volumes of tobacco smoke, rolled from the tubes of
vation, and partly concealed herself behind the case the company, while out of the cloudy sanctuary arose
ment, as she chirped to a miserable blackbird, the the old chant of-
tenant of a wicker prison, which hung outside on the

“ Old sir Simon the King, black brick wall." I know the face of yonder waist

And old Sir Simon the King, coateer," continued the guide; "and I could wager a

With his malmsey nose, rose-noble, from the posture she stands in, that she

And his ale-dropped hose, has clean head-gear, and a soiled night-rail. - But

And sing hey ding-a-ding-ding." here come two of the male inhabitants, smoking like Duke Hildebrod, who himself condescended to moving volcanoes! These are roaring blades, whom chant this ditty to his loving subjects, was a monNicotia and Trinidado serve, I dare swear, in lieu of strously fat old man, with only one eye; and a nose beef and pudding; for be it known to you, my lord, which bore evidence to the frequency, strength, and that the King's counter-blast against the Indian weed depth of his potations. He wore a murrey-coloured will no more pass current in Alsatia, than will his plush jerkin, stained with the overflowings of the writ of capias.'

tankard, and much the worse for wear, and unbutAs he spoke, the two smokers approached; shaggy, toned at bottom for the ease of his enormous paunch. uncombed ruffians, whose enormous mustaches were Behind him lay a favourite bull-dog, whose round turned back over their ears, and mingled with the head and single black glancing eye, as well as the wild elf-locks of their hair, much of which was seen creature's great corpulence, gave it a burlesque reunder the old beavers which they wore aside upon semblance to its master. their heads, while some straggling portion escaped

The well-beloved counsellors who surrounded the through the rents of the hats aforesaid. Their tar-ducal throne, incensed it with tobacco, pledged its nished plush jerkins, large slops, or trunk-breeches, occupier in thick, clammy ale, and echoed back his their broad greasy shoulder-belts, and discoloured choral songs, were Satraps worthy of such a Soldan. scarfs, and, above all, the ostentatious manner in The buff jerkin, broad belt, and long sword of one, which the one wore a broadsword, and the other an showed him to be a Low Country soldier, whose look extravagantly long rapier and poniard, marked the of scowling importance, and drunken impudence, true Alsatian bully, then, and for a hundred years were designed to sustain his title to call himself a afterwards, a well-known character.

Roving Blade. It seemed to Nigel that he had seen "Tour out," said the one ruffian to the other; this fellow somewhere or other. A hedge-parson, or tour the bien mort twiring at the gentry cove !!!* buckle-beggar, as that order of priesthood has been

"I smell a spy," replied the other, looking at Nigel. irreverently termed, sat on the Duke's left, and was "Chalk him across the peepers with your cheery.”+ easily distinguished by his torn band, flapped hat, and

"Bing avast, bing avast!. replied his companion; the remnants of a rusty cassock. Beside the parson yon other is rattling Reginald Lowestoffe of the sat a most wretched and meagre-looking old man, Temple I know him; he is a good boy, and free of with a threadbare hood of coarse kersey upon his the province."

head, and buttoned about his neck, while his pinched So saying, and enveloping themselves in another features, like those of old Daniel, were illuminated by thick cloud of smoke, they went on without farther greeting.

Through the last look of dotage still cunning and sly." Crasso in aere!" said the Templar. "You hear On his left was placed a broken attorney, who, for what a character the impudent knaves give me; but, some mal-practices, had been struck from the roll of so it serves your lordship's turn, I care not. And practitioners, and who had nothing left of his profesnow, let me ask your lordship

what name you will sion, excepting its roguery. One or two persons of assume, for we are near the ducal palace of Duke less figure, amongst whom there was one face, which, Hildebrod.”

like that of the soldier, seemed not unknown to Ni"I will be called Grahame,” said Nigel ; "it was gel, though he could not recollect where he had seen my mother's name."

it, completed the council-board of Jacob Duke HildeGrime, repeated the Templar, "will suit Alsatia brod. well enough—both a grim and grimy place of refuge." The strangers had full time to observe all this; for "I said Grahame, sir, not Grime," said Nigel, some- his grace the

Duke, whether irresistibly carried

on by thing shortly, and laying an emphasis on the vowel- the full tide of harmony, or whether to impress the for few Scotsmen understand raillery upon the sub- strangers with a proper idea of his consequence, chose ject of their names.

to sing his ditty to an end before addressing them, "I beg pardon, my lord,” answered the undiscon- though, during the whole time, he closely scrutinized certed punster; "but Graam will suit the circum- them with his single optic. * Look sharp. See how the girl is coquoting with the strange formed his Peers that a worthy officer of the Temple

When Duke Hildebrod had ended his song, he ingallants ! Slash him over the eyes with your dagger.

attended them, and commanded the captain and par

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

an eye,

[graphic]

or the blades of the huff.

pithy proposition :-"I know well,” said he, “it is cally in Nigel's behalf, stood out now chivalrously the custom of the fathers of this old and honourable in behalf of a certain Blowselinda, or Bonstrops, who republic, ripely and well to consider all their proceed- had, it seems, a room to hire, once the occasional ings over a proper allowance of liquor ; and far be it residence of Slicing Dick of Paddington, who lately from me to propose the breach of so laudable a cus- suffered at Tyburn and whose untimely exit had been tom, or to pretend that such an affair as the present hitherto mourned by the damsel in solitary widowcan be weil and constitutionally considered during hood, after the fashion of the turtle dove. the discussion of a pitiful gallon of Rhenish. But as The captain's interest was, however, overruled, in it is the same thing wo this honourable conclave behalf of the old gentleman in the kersey hood, who whether they drink first and determine afterwards, was þelieved, even at his extreme agę, to understand or whether they determine first and drink afterwards, the plucking of a pigeon as well, or better, than any I propose your grace, with the advice of your wice inan of Alsatia. and potent senators, shall pass your edict, granting This venerable personage was a usurer of some noto mine honourable friend the immunities of the toriety, called Trapbois, and had very lately done the place, and assigning him a lodging, according to state considerable service in advancing a subsidy neyour wise forms, to which he will presently retire, cessary to secure a fresh importation of liquors to the being somewhat spent with this day's action; where Duke's cellars, the wine-merchant at the Vintry beupon I will presently order you a rundlet of Rhenish, ing scrupulous to deal with so great a man for any with a corresponding quantity of neats' tongues and thing but ready money. pickled herrings, to make you all as glorious as When, therefore, the old gentleman arose, and with George-a-Green."

much coughing, reminded the Duke that he had a This overture was received with a general shout of poor apartment to let, the claims of all others were applause, which altogether drowned the voice of the set aside, and Nigel was assigned to Trapbois as his dissidents, if any there were amongst the Alsatian guest. senate who could have resisted a proposal so popu- No sooner was this arrangement made, than Lord lar. The words of, kind heart! noble gentleman ! Glenvarloch expressed to Lowestoffe his impatience generous gallant! few from mouth to mouth; the to leave this discreditable assembly, and took his inscription of the petitioner's name in the great book leave with a careless haste, which, but for the rundle: was hastily completed, and the oath administered 10 of Rhenish wine that entered just as he left the aparthim by the worthy Doge. Like the Laws of the ment, might have been taken in bad part. The young Twelve Tables, of the ancient Cambro-Britons, and Templar accompanied his friend to the house of the other primitive nations, it was couched in poetry, and old usurer, with the road to which he and some other ran as follows:

youngsters about the Temple were even but too well "Bv spigot and barrel,

acquainted. On the way, he assured Lord GlenvarBy wilboe and buff;

loch that he was going to the only clean house in Thou art sworn to the quarrel

Whitefriars; a property which it owed solely to the

exertions of the old man's only daughter, an elderly For Whitefriars and its claims To be champion or martyr,

damsel, ugly enough to frighten sin, yet likely to be And to fight for its dames

wealthy enough to tempt a puritan, so soon as the Like a Knight of the Garter."

devil had got her old dad for his due. As Lowestoffe Nigel felt, and indeed exhibited, some disgust at this and the sour stern countenance of the female by whom

spoke thus, they knocked at the door of the house, mummery; but the Templar reminding him that he it was opened, fully confirmed all that the Templar was too far advanced to draw back, he repeated the had said of the hostess. She heard with an ungrawords, or rather assented as they were repeated by cious and discontented air the young Templar's inlowing him the privilege of sanctuary, in the follows formation, that the gentleman, his companion, was ing form of prescriptive doggerel :

to be her father's lodger, muttered something about

the trouble it was likely to occasion, but ended by "From the touch of the tip,

showing the stranger's apartment, which was better From the blight of the warrant,

than could have been augured from the general apFrom the watchmen who skip On the Harman Beck's errand;

pearance of the place, and much larger in extent than From the bailiff's cramp speech

that which he had occupied at Paul's Wharf, though That makes man a thrall,

inferior to it in neatness.

Lowestoffe, having thus seen his friend fairly in-
And I charm thee from all.
Thy freedom's complete

stalled in his new apartment, and having obtained for As a Blade of the Huff,

him a note of the rate at which he could be accomTo be cheated and cheat,

modated with victuals from a neighbouring cook's To be cuff 'd and to cufto;

shop, now took his leave, offering, at the same time, To stride, swear, and swagger, To drink till you stagger,

to send the whole, or any part of Lord Glenvarloch's To stare and to stab,

baggage, from his former place of residence to his And to brandish your dagger

new lodging. Nigel mentiuned so few articles, that In the cause of your drab;

the Templar could not help observing, that his lordTo walk wool-ward in winter, Drink brandy, and smoke,

ship, it would seem, did not intend to enjoy his new And go fresco in summer

privileges long.
For want of a cloak;

They are too little suited to my habits and taste,
To eke out your living
By the wag of your elbow,

that I should do so," replied Lord Glenvarloch. By fulham and gourd,

“You may change your opinion 10-morrow," said And by baring of bilboe ;

Lowestoffe; and so I wish you a good even. To-
To live by your shifts,

morrow I will visit you betimes.”
And to swear by your honour,
Are the freedom and gifts

The morning came, but instead of the Templar, of which I am the donor." *

it brought only a letter from him. The epistle stated,

that Lowestoffe's visit to Alsatia had drawn down This homily being performed, a dispute arose con- the animadversions of some crabbed old pantaloons cerning the special residence to be assigned the new among the benchers, and that he judged it wise not brother of the Sanctuary ; for, as the Alsatians held to come hither at present, for fear of attracting too it a maxim in their commonwealth, that ass's milk much attention to Lord Glenvarloch's place of resifattens, there was usually a competition among the dence. He stated, that he had taken measures for inhabitants which should have the managing, as it the safety of his baggage, and would send

him, by a was termed, of a new member of the society. safe hand, his money-casket, and what articles he The Hecior who had spoken so warmly and criti- wanted. Then followed some sage advices, dictated

by Lowestoffe's acquaintance with Alsatia and its of the cant words used in this inauguratory oration, some manners. He advised him to keep the usurer in the Cable, and the like, derive their source from that ancient piece most absolute uncertainty concerning the state of his r1 lexicography, the Slang Dictionary.

funds--never to throw a main with the captain, who

I charm thee from each,

[ocr errors]

.

was in the habit of playing dry-fisted, and paying his She went away, and shortly returned with a dry losses with three vowels; and, finally, to beware of -“ Mistress Marget, the lady will be glad to see you ; Duke Hildebrod, who was as sharp, he said, as a and that's more, my, young madam, than you had a needle, though he had no more eyes than are pos- right to count upon. sessed by that necessary implement of female indus- Mistress Margaret hung her head in silence, too try.

much perplexed by the train of her own embarrassed thoughts, for attempting either to conciliate

Aunt Judith's kindness, or, which on other occaCHAPTER XVIII.

sions would have been as congenial to her own Mother. What! dazzled by a flash of Cupid's mirror,

humour, to retaliate on her cross-tempered remarks With which the boy, as mortal urchins wont,

and manner. She followed Aunt Judith, therefore, Flings back the sunbeam in the eye of passengers

in silence and dejection, to the strong oaken door Then loughs to see them stumble !

which divided the Lady Hermione's apartments from Daugtier. Mother! noIt was a lightning flash which dazzled me,

the rest of George Heriot's spacious house. And never shall these eyes see true again.

At the door of this sanctuary it is necessary to Beef and Pudding. - An old English Comedy.

pause, in order to correct the reports with which It is necessary that we should leave our hero Nigel Richie Moniplies had filled his master's ear, respectfor a time, although in a situation neither safe, coming the singular appearance of that lady's attendance fortable

, nor creditable, in order to detail some par- at prayers, whom we now own to be by name the ticulars which have immediate connexion with his Lady Hermione. Some part of these exaggerations fortunes.

had been communicated to the worthy Scotsman by It was but the third day after he had been forced Jenkin Vincent, who was well experienced in the to take refuge in the house of old Trapbois, the noted species of wit which has been long a favourite in the usurer of Whitefriars, commonly called Golden city, under the names of cross-biting, giving the dor, Trapbois, when the pretty daughter of old Ramsay, bamboozling, cramming, hoaxing, humbugging, and the watchmaker, after having piously seen her father quizzing; for which sport Richie Moniplies with his finish his breakfast, (from the fear that he might, in solemn gravity, totally unapprehensive of a joke, and an abstruse fit of thought, swallow the salt-cellar his natural propensity to the marvellous, formed an instead of a crust of the brown loaf,), set forth from admirable subject. Farther ornaments the tale had the house as soon as he was again plunged into the received from Richie himself, whose tongue, espedepth of calculation, and, accompanied only by that cially when oiled with good liquor, had a considerable faithtal old drudge, Janet, the Scots laundress, to tendency to amplification, and who failed not, while whom her whims were laws, made her way to Lom- he retailed to his master all the wonderful circumbard Street, and disturbed at the unusual hour of stances narrated by Vincent, to add to them many eight in the morning, Aunt Judith, the sister of her conjectures of his own, which his imagination had worthy godfather.

over-hastily converted into facts. The venerable maiden received her young visiter Yet the life which the Lady Hermione had led for with no great complacency; for, naturally enough, two years, during which she had been the inmate of she had neither the same admiration of her very George Heriot's house, was so singular, as almost pretty countenance, nor allowance for her foolish and to sanction many of the wild reports which went girlish impatience of temper, which Master George abroad. The house which the worthy goldsmith Heriot entertained. Still Mistress Margaret was a inhabited, had in former times belonged to a powerful favourite of her brother's, whose will was to Aunt and wealthy baronial family, which, during the reign Judith a supreme law; and she contented herself of Henry VIII., terminated in a dowager lady, very with asking her untimely visiter, "what she made so wealthy, very devout, and most unalienably attached early with her pale, chitty face, in the streets of to the Catholic faith. The chosen friend of the HoLondon ?"

nourable Lady Foljambe was the Abbess of Saint "I would speak with the Lady Hermione," an- Roque's Nunnery, like herself a conscientious, rigid, swered the almost breathless girl, while the blood and devoted Papist. When the house of Saint Roque ran so fast to her face as totally to remove the objec- was despotically dissolved by the fiat of the impetution of paleness which Aunt Judith had made to her ous monarch, the Lady Foljambe received her friend complexion.

into her spacious mansion, together with two vestal "With the Lady Hermione?" said Aunt Judith-sisters, who, like their Abbess, were determined to "with the Lady Hermoine? and at this time in the follow the tenor of their vows, instead of embracing morning, when she will scarce see any of the family, the profane liberty, which the Monarch's will had even at seasonable hours? You are crazy, you silly thrown in their choice. For their residence, the Lady wench, or you abuse the indulgence which my brother Foljambecontrived, with all secrecy--for Henry might and the lady have shown to you."

not have relished her interference-to set apart a suite "Indeed, indeed I have not,” repeated Margaret, of four rooms, with a little closet fitted up as an orastruggling to retain the unbidden tear which seemed tory, or chapel; the whole apartments fenced by a ready to burst out on the slightest occasion. "Do strong oaken door to exclude strangers, and accombut say to the lady that your brother's god-daughter modated with a turning wheel to receive necessaries, desires earnestly to speak to her, and I know she according to the practice of all nunneries. In this will not refuse to see me."

retreat, the Abbess of Saint Roque and her attendants Aunt Judith bent an earnest, suspicious, and in- passed many years, communicating only with tho quisitive glance on her young visiter. “You might Lady Foljambe, who, in virtue of their prayers, and of make me your secretary, my lassie," she said, as the support she afforded them, accounted herself liitle well as the Lady Hermione. I am older, and better less than a saint on earth. The Abbess, fortunately skilled to advise. I live more in the world than one for herself, died before her munificent patroness, who who shuts herself up within four rooms, and I have lived deep in Queen Elizabeth's time, ere sho was the better means to assist you.

summoned by fate. "O! no-no-no," said Margaret, eagerly, and The Lady Foljambe was succeeded in this maugon with more earnest sincerity, than complaisance; by a sour fanatic knight, a distant and collateral re" there are some things to which you cannot advise lation, who claimed the same merit for expelling the me, Aunt Judith. It is a case-pardon me, my dear priestess of Baal, which his predecessor had founded aunt--a case beyond your counsel."

on maintaining the votaresses of Heaven. Of the I am glad on't, maiden," said Aunt Judith, some two unhappy nuns, driven from their ancient refuge, what angrily; " for I think the follies of the young one went beyond sea; the other, unable froin old age people of this generation would drive mad an old to undertake such a journey, died under the roof of a brain like mine. Here you come on the viretot, faithful Catholic widow of low degree. Sir Paul through the whole streets of London, to talk some Crambagge, having got rid of the nuns, spoiled the non sense to a lady, who scarce sees God's sun, but chapel of its ornaments, and had thoughts of altogewhen he shines on a brick wall. But

I will tell her ther destroying the apartments, until checked by the ou are here."

reflection that the operation would be an unnecessary expense, since he only inhabited three rooms of the visited his guest but in presence of Mademoiselle large mansion, and had not therefore the slightest Pauline, who sat with her work in a remote part of occasion for any addition to its accommodations. the same room in which they conversed. It was alsu His son proved a waster and a prodigal, and from ascertained that these visits scarcely ever exceeded him the house was bought by our friend George an hour in length, and were usually only repeated Heriot, who, finding, like Sir Paul, the house more once a-week, an intercourse too brief and too long than sufficiently ample for his accommodation, left interrupted, to render it probable that love was the the Foljambe apartments, or Saint Roque's rooms, bond of their union. as they were called, in the state in which he found The inquirers were, therefore, at fault, and compelthem.

led to relinquish the pursuit of Master Heriot's secret, About two years and a half before our history open- while a thousand ridiculous tales were circulated ed, when Heriot was absent upon an expedition to the amongst the ignorant and superstitious, with some Continent, he sent special orders to his sister and his specimens of which our friend Richie Moniplies had cash-keeper, directing that the Foljambe apartments been crammed, as we have seen, by the malícious apshould be fitted up handsomely, though plainly, for prentice of worthy David Ramsay. the reception of a lady, who would make them her There was one person in the world who, it was residence for some time; and who would live more thought, could (if she would) have said more of the or less with his own turnily according to her pleasure. Lady Hermione than any one in London, excep! He also directed, that the necessary repairs should be George Heriot himself; and that was the said Davia made with secrecy, and that as litile should be said Ramsay's only child, Margaret. as possible upon the subject of his letter.

This girl was not much past the age of fifteen when When the time of his return came nigh, Aunt Judith the Lady Hermione first came to England, and was and the household were on the tenter-hooks of im- a very frequent visiter at her godfather's, who was patience. Master George came, as he had intima- much amused by her childish sallies, and by the wild ted, accompanied by a lady, so eminently beautiful, and natural beauty with which she sung the airs of that, had it not been for her extreme and uniform her native country. Spoilt she was on all hands; by paleness, she mgh have been reckoned one of the the indulgence of her godfather, the absent habits and loveliest creatures on earth. She had with her an at- indifference of her father, and the deference of all tendant, or humble companion, whose business seem- around to her caprices, as a beauty and as an heiress. ed only to wait upon her. This person, a reser- But though, from these circumstances, the city-beauty ved woman, and by her dialect a foreigner, aged about had become as wilful, as capricious, and as affected, fifty, was called by the lady Monna Paula, and by as unlimited indulgence seldom fails to render those Master Heriot, and others, Mademoiselle 'Pauline. to whom it is extended ; and although she exhibited She slept in the same room with her patroness at upon many occasions that affectation of extreme shynight, ate in her apartment, and was scarcely ever ness, silence, and reserve, which misses in their teens separated from her during the day.

are apt to take for an amiable modesty; and, upon These females took possession of the nunnery of others, a considerable portion of that flippancy, which the devout Abbess, and, without observing the same youth sometimes confounds with wit, Mistress Marrigorous seclusion, according to the letter, seemed garet had much real shrewdness and judgment, which well-nigh to restore the apartments to the use to wanted only opportunities of observation to refine itwhich they had been originally designed. The new a lively, good-humoured, playful disposition, and an inmates lived and took their meals apart from the excellent heart. Her acquired follies were much inrest of the family. With the domestics Lady Her-creased by reading plays and romances, to which she mione, for 80 she was termed, held no communica- devoted a great deal of her time, and from which she tion, and Mademoiselle Pauline only such as was adopted ideas as different as possible from those which indispensable, which she despatched as briefly as pos- she might have obtained from the invaluable and af sible. Frequent and liberal largesses reconciled thc fectionate instructions of an excellent mother; and servants to this conduct; and they were in the habit of the freaks of which she was sometimes guilty, renderobserving to each other, that to do a service for Made- ed her not unjustly liable to the charge of affectation moiselle Pauline, was like finding a fairy treasure. and coquetry. But the little lass had sense and

To Aunt Judith the Lady Hermione was kind and shrewdness enough to keep her failings out of sight of civil, but their intercourse was rare; on which ac- her godfather, to whom she was sincerely attached : count the elder lady felt some pangs both of curiosity and so high she stood in his favour, that, at his re and injured dignity. But she knew her brother so commendation, she obtained permission to visit the well, and loved him so dearly, that his will, once ex- recluse Lady Hermione. pressed, might be truly said to become her own. The The singular mode of life which that lady observed; worthy citizen was not without a spice of the dogma- her great beauty, rendered even more interesting by tism which grows on the best disposition, when a her extreme paleness; the conscious pride of being word is a law to all around. Master George did not admitted farther than the rest of the world into the endure to be questioned by his family, and, when he society of a person who was wrapped in so much had generally expressed his will, that the Lady Her- mystery, made a deep impression on the mind of Marmione should live in the way most agreeable to her, garet Ramsay; and though their conversations were and that no inquiries should be made concerning her at no time either long or confidential, yet, proud of history, or her motives for observing such strict se- the trust reposed in her, Margaret was as secret reclusion, his sister well knew that he would have been specting their tenor as if every word repeated had seriously displeased with any attempt to pry into the been to cost her life. No inquiry, however ar:fully

backed by flattery and insinuation, whether on the But though Heriot's servants were bribed, and his part of Dame Ursula, or any other person equally in sister awed into silent acquiescence in these arrange-quisitive, could wring from the little maiden one word ments, they were not of a nature to escape the critical of what she heard or saw, after she

entered these observation of the neighbourhood. Some opined that mysterious and secluded apartments. The slightest the wealthy goldsmith was about to turn papist, question concerning Master Heriot's ghost, was sufand re-establish Lady Foljambe's nunnery-others ficient, at her gayest moment, to check the current of that he was going mad-others that he was either her communicative pratile, and render her silent. going to marry, or to do worse. Master George's We mention this, chiefly to illustrate the early constant appearance at church, and the knowledge strength of Margaret's character-a strength conthat the supposed votaress always attended when the cealed under a hundred freakish whims and humours, prayers of the English ritual were read in the family, as an ancient and massive buttress is disguised by its liberated him from the first of these suspicions; those fantastic covering of ivy and wild flowers. In truth, who had to transact business with him upon 'Change, if the damsel had told all she heard or saw within the could not doubt the soundness of Master Heriot's Foljambe apartments, she would have said but little mind; and, to confute the other sumours, it was cre- to gratify the curiosity of inquirers. dibly reported by such as made the matter their par- At the earlier period of their acquaintance, the Lady ucular interest, that Master George Heriot never Hermione was wont to reward the attentions of her

secret.

« PreviousContinue »