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" Alan," he said, was ance wud, and aye waur party entered the Outer Hall of the Court, once the and he was expecting every moment when he would place of meeting of the ancient Scottish Parliament, start off in a wildgoose-chase after the
callant Lati- and which corresponds to the use of Westminster mer; Will Sampson, the horse-hirer in Candlemaker Hall in England, serving as a vestibule to the InnaRow, had given him a hint that Alan had been look- House, as it is termed, and a place of dominion to ing for a good hack, to go to the country for a few certain sedentary personages called Lords Ordinary. days. And then to oppose him downright-he could The earlier pari of the morning was spent by old not but think on the way his poor mother was re- Fairford in reiterating his instructions to Alan, and moved-Would to Heaven he was yoked to some in running from one person to another, from whom tight piece of business, no matter whether well or ill he thought he could still glean some grains of infor. paid, but some job that would hamshackle him at least mation, either concerning the point at issue, or collauntil the Courts rose, if it were but for decency's sake." teral cases. Mean time Poor Peter Peebles, whose
Peter Drudgeit sympathized, for Peter had a son, shallow brain was altogether unable to bear the imwho, reason or none, would needs exchange the torn portance of the moment, kept as close to his young and inky fustian sleeves for the blue jacket and white counsel as shadow to substance, affected now to lapelle ; and he suggested, as the reader knows, the speak loud, now to whisper in his ear, now to deck engaging our friend Alan in the matter of Poor Peter his ghastly countenance with wreathed smiles, now Peebles, just opened by the desertion of young Dum- to cloud it with a shade of deep and solemn import. toustie, whose defection would be at the same time ance, and anon to contort it with the sneer of scorn concealed; and this, Drudgeit said, “ would be felling and derision. These moods of the client's mind were two dogs with one stone.
accompanied with singular "mopings and mowings With these explanations, the reader will hold a man fantastic gestures, which the man of rags and litiof the elder Fairford's sense and experience free from gation deemed appropriate to his changes of countethe hazardous and impatient curiosity with which nance. Now he brandished his arm aloft, now thrust boys fling a puppy into a deep pond, merely to see if his fist straight out, as if to knock his opponent down. the creature can swim. However confident in his Now he laid his open palm on his bosom, and now son's talents, which were really considerable, he Ainging it abroad, he gallantly snapped his fingers in would have been very sorry to have involved him in the air. the duty of pleading a complicated and difficult case, These demonstrations, and the obvious shame and upon his very first appearance at the bar, had he not embarrassment of Alan Fairford, did not escape the resorted to it as an effectual way to prevent the observation of the juvenile idlers in the hall. They young man from taking a step, which his habits of did not, indeed, approach Peter with their usual famiihinking represented as a most fatal one at his outset liarity, from some feeling of deference towards Fairof life.
ford, though many accused him of conceit in presumBetwixt two evils, Mr. Fairford chose that which ing to undertake at this early stage of his practice a was in his own apprehension the least; and, like a case of considerable difficuliy. But Alan, notwithbrave officer sending forth his son to battle, rather standing this forbearance, was not the less sensible chose he should die upon the breach, than desert the that he and his companion were the subjects of many conflict with dishonour. Neither did he leave him to a passing jest, and many a shout of laughter, with his own unassisted energies. Like Alpheus preceding which that region at all times abounds. Hercules, he himself encountered the Augean mass At length the young counsel's patience gave way; of Peter Peebles's law-matters. It was to the old and as it threatened to carry his presence of mind man a labour of love to place in a clear and undis- and recollection along with it, Alan frankly told his torted view the real merits of this case, which the father, that unless he was relieved from the infliction carelessness and blunders of Peter's former solicitors of his client's personal presence and instructions, he had converted into a huge chaotic mass of unintelli- must necessarily throw up his brief, and decline pleadgible technicality; and such was his skill and indus- ing the case. try, that he was able, after the severe toil of two or "Hush, hush, my dear Allan," said the old gentlethree days, to present to the consideration of the man, almost at his own wit's end upon hearing this young counsel the principal facts of the case, in a dilemma; "dinna mind the silly ne'er-do-weel; we light equally simple and comprehensible. With the cannot keep the man from hearing his own cause, assistance of a solicitor so affectionate and indefati
, though he be not quite right in the head.". gable, Alan Fairford was enabled, when the day of “On my life, sir,'' answered Alan, "I shall be untrial arrived, to walk towards the Court, attended by able to go on, he drives every thing out of my rememhis anxious yet encouraging parent, with some degree brance; and if I attempt io speak seriously of the of confidence that he would lose no reputation upon injuries he has sustained, and the condition he is this arduous occasion.
reduced to, how can I expect but that the very apThey were met at the door of the Court by Poor pearance of such an absurd scarecrow will turn it all Peter Peebles, in his usual plentitude of wig and celsi- into ridicule ?" tude of hat. He seized on the young pleader like a "There is something in that,” said Saunders Fairlion on his
prey. "How is a' wi' you, Mr. Alan-ford, glancing a look at Poor Peter, and then caunow is a' wi' you, man ?-The awfi' day is come at tiously inserting his forefinger under his bob-wig, in last-a day that will be lang minded in this house. order to rub his temple and aid his invention; "he is Poor Peter Peebles against Plainstanes-conjoined no figure for the fore-bar to see without laughing; processes---Hearing in presence-stands for the short but how to get rid of him? To speak sense, or any Roll for this day-I have not been able to sleep for a thing like it, is the last thing he will listen to. -Stav: week for thinking of it, and, I dare to say, neither has ay- Alan, my darling, hae patience; I'll get him off the Lord President himsell-for such a cause !! But on the instant, like a gowff ba'." your father garr'd me tak a wee drap ower muckle So saying, he hastened to his ally, Peter Drudgeit, of his pint bottle the other night ; it's no right to mix who, on seeing him with marks of haste in his gail
, brandy wi' business, Mr. Fairford. I would have and care upon his countenance, clapped his pen be been the waur o' liquor if I would have drank as hind his ear, with "What's the stir now, Mr. Saunmuckle as you twa would have had me. But there's ders ?-Is there aught wrang?" a time for a' things, and if ye will dine with me after "Here's a dollar, man," said Mr. Saunders; "now, the case is heard, or, whilk is the same, or maybe or never, Peter, do me a good turn. Yonder's your better, I'll gang my ways hame wi' you and I winna namesake, Peter Peebles, will drive the swine thro' object to a cheerfu' glass, within the bounds of moder- our bonny hanks of yarn ;* get him over to John's
Coffee-house, man-gie him his meridian-keep him Old Fairford shrugged his shoulders and hurried there, drunk or sober, till the hearing is ower.' past the client, saw his son wrapt in the sable bombazine, which, in his eyes, was more venerable than * The simile is obvious, from the old manufacture or Seotan archbishop's lawn, and could not help fondly pat- land, when the gudewife's thrift, as the yarn wrought in the ting his shoulder, and whispering to him to take winter was called, when laid down to bleach by the burn-side, courage, and show he was worthy to wear it.* The regulated about a Scottish farm-house.
was peculiarly exposed to the inroads of the pige, seldoin well
"Eneugh said," quoth Peter Drudgeit, no way dis- | practitioner as his father, and all, or almost all, affordpleased with his own share in the service required,- ing, from civility, the same fair play to the first pleading We'sc do your bidding:"
of a counsel, which the House of Commons yields to "Accordingly, the scribe was wesently seen whis. the maiden speech of one of its members. pering in the ear of Peter Pee..., whose responses Lord Bladderskate was an exception to this general came forth in the following broken form:
expression of benevolence. He scowled upon Alan "Leave the Court for ac minute on this great day from beneath his large, shaggy, gray eye-brows, just of judgment?-not I, by the Reg-Ehl what? as if the young lawyer had been usurping his nephew's Brandy, did ye şay-French Brandy ?-couldna ye honours, instead of covering his disgrace; and, from fetch a stoup to the bar under your coat, man ?-Im- feelings which did his lordship little honour, he pripossible? Na, if it's clean impossible, and if we have vately hoped the young man would not succeed in the an hour good till they get through the single bills and cause which his kinsman had abandoned. the summar-roll, I carena if I cross the close wi' you; Even Lord Bladderskate, however, was, in spite of I am sure I need something to keep my heart up this himself, pleased with the judicious and modest ione awful day; but I'll no stay, above an instant-not in which Alan began his address to the Court, apoloabove a minute of time-nor drink aboon a single gill.” gizing for his own presumption, and excusing it by the
In a few minutes afterwards the two Peters were sudden illness of his learned brother, for whom the seen moving through the Parliament Close, (which labour of opening a cause of some difficulty and imnewfangled affectauon has termed a Square,) the tri- portance had been much more worthily designed. He umphant Drudgeit leading captive the passive Pee-spoke of himself as he really was, and of young Dumbles, whose legs conducted him towards the dram- toustie as what he ought to have been, taking care shop, while his reverted eyes were fixed upon the not to dwell on either topic a moment longer than Court. They dived into the Cimmerian abysses of was necessary. The old Judge's looks became beJohn's Coffee-house,* formerly the favourite rendez- nign; his family pride was propitiated, and, pleased vous of the classical and genial Doctor Pitcairn, and equally with the modesty and civility of the young were for the present seen no more.
man whom he had thought forward and officious, he Relieved from his tormentor, Alan Fairford had relaxed the scorn of his features into an expression of time to rally his recollections, which, in the irritation profound attention; the highest compliment, and the of his spirits, had nearly escaped him, and to prepare greatest encouragement, which a judge can render to himself for a task, the successful discharge or failure the counsel addressing him. in which must, he was aware, have the deepest influ- Having succeeded in securing the favourable attenence upon his fortunes. He had pride, was not with- tion of the court, the young lawyer, using the lights out a consciousness of talent, and the sense of his which his father's experience and knowledge of busifather's feelings upon the subject impelled him to the ness had afforded him, proceeded with an address and utmost exertion. Above all, he had that sort of self-clearness, unexpected from one of his years, to remove command which is essential to success in every ar- from the case itself those complicated formalities with duous undertaking, and he was constitutionally frec which it had been loaded, as a surgeon strips from a from that feverish irritability, by which those whose wound the dressings which have been hastily wrapped over-active imaginations exaggerate difficulties, ren-round it, in order to proceed to his cure secundum der themselves incapable of encountering such when artem. Developed of the cumbrous and complicated they arrive.
technicalities of litigation, with which the perverse Having collecied all the scattered and broken asso- obstinacy of the client, the inconsiderate haste or ig. ciations which were necessary, Alan's thoughts re- norance of his agents and the evasions of a subtle verted to Dumfries-shire, and the precarious situation adversary had invested the process, the cause of Poor in which he feared his beloved friend had placed him- Peter Peebles, standing upon its simple merits, was self; and once and again he consulted his watch, no bad subject for the declamation of a young counsel, eager to have his present task commenced and ended, nor did our friend Alan fail to avail himself of its strong that he might hasten to Darsie's assistance. The points. hour and moment at length arrived. The Macer He exhibited his client as a simple-hearted, honest, shouted, with all his well-remembered brazen strength well-meaning man, who, during a copartnership of of lungs, “ Poor Peter Peebles versus Plainstanes, twelve years, had gradually become impoverished, per Dumtoustie et Tough :-Maister Da-a-niel Dum- while his partner, (his former clerk,) having no funds toustie!" Dumtoustie answered not the summons, but his share of the same business, into which he had which, deep and swelling as it was, could not reach been admitted without any advance of stock, had beacross the Queensferry; but our Maister Alan Fairford come gradually more and more wealthy, appeared in his place.
"Their association," said Alan, and the little flight The Court was very much crowded; for much was received with some applause," resembled the anamusement had been received on former occasions cient story of the fruit which was carved with a knife when Peter had volunteered his own oratory, and had poisoned on one side of the blade only, so that the inbeen completely successful in routing the gravity of dividual to whom the envenomed portion was served, the whole procedure, and putting to silence, not indeed drew decay and death from what afforded savour and the counsel of the opposite party, but his own. sustenance to the consumer of the other moiety."
Both bench and audience seemed considerably sur- He then plunged boldly into the mare magnum of prised at the juvenile appearance of the young man accompts
between the parties; he pursued each false who appeared in the room of Dumtoustie, for the pur-statement from the waste-book to the day-book, from pose of opening this complicated and long depending the day-book to the bill-book, from the bill-book to process, and the common herd were disappointed at the ledger; placed the artful interpolations and inthe absence of Peter the client, the Punchinello of the sertions of the fallacious Plainstanes in array against expected entertainment. The Judges looked with a each other, and against the fact; and, availing him very favourable countenance on our friend Alan, most self to the utmost of his father's previous labours, and of them being acquainted, more or less, with so old a his own knowledge of accompts, in which he had
been sedulously trained, he laid before the Court a resort of such writers and clerks belonging to the Parliament copartnery, showing with precision, that a large ba
* This small dark coffee-house, now burnt down, was the clear and intelligible statement of the affairs of the custom of a meridian, as it was called, or noontide dram of lance must, at the dissolution, have been due to his spirits. If their proceedings were watched, they might be seen client, sufficient to have enabled him to have carried to turn fidgety about the hour of noon, and exchange looks with on business on his own account, and thus to have reeach other from their separate desks, till at length some one tained his situation in society, as an independent and of formal and dignified presence assumed the honour of leading the band, when away they went, threading the crowd like a
industrious tradesman. But, instead of this justice string of wild-fowl,
crossed the square or close, and following being voluntarily rendered by the former clerk to his each other into the coffee-house, received in turn from the hand former master, -by the party obliged to his benefactor, of the waiter, the meridian, which was placed ready at the bar. -by one honest man to another,-his wretched
client This they did, day by day and though they did not speak to had been compelled to follow his quondam clerk, his ity to perfonning the ceremony in company.
present debtor, from Court to Court ; had found his a horn.''*
just claims met with well-invented but unlounded the old gentleman to regret his having again called counter-claims; had seen his party shift his character him up; when his father, as he handed him the letof pursuer or defender, as often as Harlequin effects ters, put one into his hand which produced a singular his transformations, till, in a chase so varied and so effect on the pleader. long, the unhappy litigant had lost substance, seputa- At the first glance, he saw that the paper had no tion, and almost the use of reason itself, and came reference to the affairs of Peter Peebles; but the first before their Lordships an object of thoughtless derision glance also showed him, what, even at that time, and to the unreflecting of compassion to the better in that presence, he could not help reading; and hearted, and of awful meditation to every one, who which, being read, seemed totally to disconcert his considered that, in a country where excellent laws ideas.' He stopped short in his harangue-gazed on were administered by upright and incorruptible judges, the paper with a look of surprise and horror-uttered a man might pursue an almost indisputable claim an exclamation, and, finging down the brief which through all the mazes of litigation; lose fortune, re- he had in his hand, hurried out of Court without re putation, and reason itself in the chase, and at length turning a single word of answer to the various ques come before the Supreme Court of his country in the tions, " what was the matter ?"-"Was he taken anwretched condition of his unhappy client, a víctim to well?"-“Should not a chair be called ?" &c. &c. &c, protracted justice, and to thai hope delayed which The elder Mr. Fairford, who remained seated, and sickens the heart."
looking as senseless as if he had been made of sione The force of this appeal to feeling made as much was at length recalled to himself by the anxious inimpression on the Bench, as had been previously ef- quiries of the judges and the counsel after his son's fected by the clearness of Alan's argument. The ab- health. He then rose with an air, in which was minsurd form of Peter himself, with his tow-wig, was gled the deep habitual reverence in which he held the fortunately not present to excite any ludicrous emo- | Court, with some internal cause of agitation, and with tion, and ihe pause that took place when the young difficulty mentioned something of a mistake-a piece lawyer had concluded his speech, was followed by a of bad news--Alan, he hoped, would be well enough murmur of approbation, which the ears of his father to-morrow. But unable to proceed farther, he clased drank in as the sweetest sounds that had ever entered his hands together, exclaiming, "My son! my son." them. Many a hand of gratulation was thrust out to and left the court hastily, as if in pursuit of him. his grasp, trembling as it was with anxiety, and finally "What's the matter with the auld bitch next? with delight; his voice faltering, as he replied, “Ay, said an acute metaphysical judge, though somewhat ay, I kend Alan was the lad to make a spoon or spoil coarse in his manners, aside to his brethren. This
is a daft cause, Bladderskate-first, it drives the poor The counsel on the other side arose, an old prac- man mad that aught it—then your nevoy goes daft tioner, who had noted too closely the impression made with fright, and flies the pit-then this smart young by Alan's pleading, not to fear the consequences of an hopeful is aff the hooks with too hard study, I fancyimmediate decision. He paid the highest compliments and now auld Saunders Fairford is as lunatick as the to his very young brother," the Benjamin, as he best of them. What say ye lill's
, ye bitch ?" would presume to call him, of the learned Faculty- “Nothing, my lord," answered Bladderskate, much said the alleged hardships of Mr. Peebles were com- too formal to admire the levities in which his pbilopensated, by his being placed in a situation where the sophical brother sometimes indulged—"I say nothing benevolence of their Lordships had assigned him gra- but pray to Heaven to keep our own wits. tuitously such assistance as he might not otherwise "Amen, amen," answered his learned brother, have obtained at a high price--and allowed his young "for some of us have but few to spare." brother had put many things in such a new point of The Court then arose, and the audience departed, view, that, although he was quite certain of his ability greatly wondering at the talent displayed by Alan to refute them, he was honestly desirous of having a Fairford, at his first appearance, in a case so difficult few hours to arrange his answer, in order to be able and so complicated, and assigning a hundred conto follow Mr. Fairford from point to point. He had jectural causes, each different from the others, for the further to observe, there was one point of the case to singular interruption which had clouded his day of which his brother, whose attention had been other success. The worst of the whole was, that sux agents, wise so wonderfully comprehensive had not given the who had each come to the separate resolution of consideration which he expected; it was founded on thrusting a retaining fee into Alan's hand as he left the interpretation of certain correspondence which had the court, shook their heads as they returned the passed betwixt the parties, soon after the dissolution money into their leathern pouches, and said, " that the of the copartnery:
lad was clever, but they would like to see more of him The Court having heard Mr. Tough, readily allowed before they engaged him in the way of businesshim two days for preparing himself, hinting, at the they did not like his lowping awav like a flea in a same time, that he might find his task difficult, and blanket.” affording the young counsel, with high encomiums upon the mode in which he had acquitted himself, the choice of speaking, either now or at next calling of the
CHAPTER II. the cause, upon the point which Plainstane's lawyer had adverted to.
Had our friend Alexander Fairford known the conAlan modestly apologized for what in fact had been sequences of his son's abrupt retreat from the Court, an omission very pardonable in so complicated a case, which was mentioned in the end of the last chapter, and professed himself instantly ready to go through it might have accomplished the prediction of the lively that correspondence, and prove that it was in form old judge, and driven him utterly distracted. As it and substance exactly applicable to the view of the was, he was miserable enough. His son had risen ten case he had submitted to their lordships. He applied degrees higher in his estimation than ever, by his dis to his father, who sat behind him, to hand him, from play of juridical talents, which seemed to assure him time to time, the letters, in the order in which he that the applause of the judges and professors of the meant to read and comment upon them.
law, which, in his estimation, was worth that of all Old Counsellor Tough had probably formed an in- mankind besides, authorized to the fullest extent the genious enough scheme to blunt the effect of the young advantageous estimate which
even his parental par lawyer's reasoning, by thụs obliging him to follow up tiality had been induced to form of Alan's powers. a process of reasoning, clear and complete in itself
, On the other hand, he felt that he was himself a by a hasty and extemporary appendix. If so, he little humbled, from a disguise which he had practised seemed likely to be disappointed; for Alan was well towards this son of his hopes and wishes. prepared on this, as on other parts of the cause, and The truth was, that on the morning of this eventful recommenced his pleading with a degree of animation day, Mr. Alexander Fairford had received from his and spirit, which added force even to what he had correspondent and friend, Provost Crosbie of Dumformerly stated, and might perbaps have occasioned fries, a letter of the following tenor :• Said of an adventurous gipsy, who resolves at all risks to * Tradition ascribes this whimsical style of language to the
ingenious and philosophical Lord Kaimes
convert a sheep's born into a spoon.
summing up the duties of a solicitor, to agé as ac"Your respected favour of 25th ultimo, per favour cords. of Mr. Darsie Latimer, reached me in safety, and I The scheme, as we have seen, was partially sucshowed to the young gentleman such attentions as he cessful, and was only ultimately defeated, as he conwas pleased to accept of. The object of my present fessed to himself with shame, by his own very unbuwriting is twofold. First, the council are of opinion siness-like mistake of shuffling the Provost's letter, that you should now begin to stir in the thirlage cause; in the hurry and anxiety of the morning, among some and they think they will be able, fromevidence noviter papers belonging to Peter Peebles's affairs, and then repertum, to enable you to amend your condescend- handing it to his son, without observing the blunder. ence upon the rise and wont of the burgh, touching He used to protest, even till the day of his death, that the grana invecta et illata. So you will please con- he never had been guilty of such an inaccuracy as sider yourself as authorized to speak to Mr. Pest, and giving a paper out of his hand without looking at the lay before him the papers which you will receive by docketing,
except on that unhappy occasion, when, the coach. The council think that a fee of two of all others, he had such particular reason to regret guineas may be sufficient on this occasion, as Mr. his negligence. Pest had three for drawing the original condescend- Disturbed by these reflections, the old gentleman ence.
had, for the first time in his life, some disinclination, "I take the opportunity of adding, that there has arising from shame and vexation, to face his own been a great riot among the Solway fishermen, who son; so that to protract for a little the meeting which have destroyed, in a masterful manner, the stake-nets he feared would be a painful one, he went to wait set up near the mouth of this river; and have besides upon the Sheriff-depute, who he found had set off for attacked the house of Quaker Geddes, one of the Dumfries, in great haste, to superintend in person the principal partners of the Tide-net Fishing Company, investigation which had been set on foot by his Suband done a great deal of damage. Am sorry to add, stitute. This gentleman's clerk could say little on young Master Latimer was in the fray, and has not the subject of the riot, excepting that it had been sesince been heard of. Murder is spoke of, but that may rious much damage done to property, and some perbe a word of course. As the young gentleman has sonal violence offered to individuals, but as far as he beha ved rather oddly while in these parts, as in de- had yet heard, no lives lost on the spot. clining to dine with me more than once, and going Mr. Fairford was compelled to return home with about the country with strolling fiddlers and such this intelligence; and on inquiring at James Wilkinlike, I rather hope that his present absence is only oc- son where his son was, received for answer, that casioned by a frolic; but as his servant has been "Maister Alan was in his own room, and very busy." making inquiries of me respecting his master, I “We must have our explanation over,” said Saunthought it best to acquaint you in course of post. I ders Fairford to himself. Better a finger off as aye have only to add, that our sheriff has taken a precog: wagging;' and going to the door of his son's apartnition, and committed one or two of the rioters. If I ment he knocked at first gently-then more loudlycan be useful in this matter, either by advertising for but received no answer. Somewhat alarmed at this Mr. Latimer as missing, publishing a reward, orother- silence, he opened the door of the chamber-it was wise, I will obey your respected instructions, being empty-clothes lay mixed in confusion with the lawyour most obedient to command,
books and papers, as if the inmate had been engaged “WILLIAM CROSBIE." in hastily packing for a journey. As Mr. Fairford
looked around in alarm, his eye was arrested by a When Mr. Fairford received this letter, and had read sealed letter lying upon his son's writing-table, and it to an end, his first idea was to communicate it to addressed to himself. It contained the following his son, that an express might be instantly despatched, words :or a King's messenger sent with proper authority to search after his late guest.
"MY DEAREST FATHER, The habits of the fishers were rude, as he well "You will not, I trust, be surprised, nor perhaps knew, though not absolutely sanguinary or ferocious; very much displeased, to learn that I am now on my and there had been instances of their transporting way to Dumfries-shire, to learn, by my own personal persons who had interfered in their smuggling trade investigation, the present state of my dear friend, to the Isle of Man, and elsewhere, and keeping them and afford him such relief as may be in my power, under restraint for many weeks. On this account Mr. and which, I trust, will be effectual. I do not preFairford was naturally led to feel anxiety concerning sume to reflect upon you, dearest sir, for concealing the fate of his late inmate; and, at a less interesting from me information of so much consequence to my moment, would certainly have set out himself, or peace of mind and happiness; but I hope your having licensed his son to go in pursuit of his friend. donc so will be, if not an excuse, at least some miti
But alas! he was both a father and an agent. In gation of my present offence, in taking a step of con; the one capacity, be looked on his son as dearer to sequence without consulting your pleasure; and, I him than all the world besides; in the other, the law- must further own, under circumstances which persuit which he conducted was to him like an infant to haps might lead to your disapprobation of my purits nurse, and the case of Poor Peter Peebles against pose. I can only say, in further apology, thạı if any Plainstanes was, he saw, adjourned, perhaps sine die, thing unhappy, which Heaven forbid ! shall have ocshould this document reach the hands of his son curred to the person who, next to yourself, is dearest The mutual and enthusiastical affection betwixt the to me in this world, I shall have on my heart, as a young men was well known to him; and he con- subject of eternal regret, that being in a certain decluded, that if the precarious state of Latimer were gree warned of his danger, and furnished with the made known to Alan Fairford, it would render bim means of obviating it, I did not instantly hasten to not only unwilling, but totally unfit, to discharge the his assistance, but preferred giving my attention to duty of the day, to which the old gentleman attached the business of this unlucky morning. No view of such ideas of importance.
personal distinction, nothing, indeed, short of your On mature reflection, therefore, he resolved, though earnest and often expressed wishes, could have denot without some feelings of compunction, to delay tained me in town till this day; and having made communicating to his son the disagreeable intelli- this sacrifice to filial duty, I trust you will hold me gence which he had received, until the business of excused, if I now obey the calls of friendship and huthe day should be ended. The delay, he persuaded manity. Do not be in the least anxious on my achimself, could be of little consequence to Dargie Lati-count; I shall know, I trust, how to conduct myself mer, whose folly, he dared to say, had led him into with due caution in any emergence which may occur, some scrape which would meet an appropriate pun- otherwise my legal studies for so many years have ishment, in some accidental restraint, which would be been to little purpose. I am fully provided with mothusprolonged for only a few hours longer. Besides, he ney, and also with arms in case of need; but you would have time to speak to the Sheriff of the county may rely on my prudence in avoiding all occasions of --perhaps to the King's Advocate and set about the • A Scots law phrase of no very determinate import, mean. matter in a regular manner, or, as he termed it, as ing, generally, to do what is Otting.
Vol. IV 4C
using the latter, short of the last necessity. God "Lord sends his servitor to ask after Mr. Almighty bless you, my dearest father! and grant Alan.” that you may forgive the first, and, I trust the last "Oh, the deevil take their civility!" said poor act approaching towards premeditated disobedience, Saunders. "Set him
down to drink too-I will of which I either have now, or shall hereafter have write to his Lordship." to accuse myself. I remain, till death, your dutiful "The lads will bide your pleasure, sir, as lang as I and affectionate son,
"ALAN FAIRFORD. keep the bicker fou; but this ringing is like to wear
out the bell, I think, there are they at it again." “P. S.-I shall write with the utmost regularity, He answered the fresh suimmons accordingly, and acquainting you with my motions, and requesting came back to inform Mr. Fairford, that the Dean of your advice. "I trust my stay will be very short, and Faculty was below, inquiring for Mr. Alan.-" Will I think it possible that I may bring back Darsie along I set him down to drink, too?" said James. with me."
“Will you be an idiot, sir ?" said Mr. Fairford,
"Show Mr. Dean into the parlour.” The paper dropped from the old man's hand when In going slowly down stairs, step by step, the perhe was thus assured of the misfortune which he ap- plexed man of business had time enough to reflect, that prehended. His first idea was to get a post-chaise if it be possible to put a fair gloss upon a true story, the and pursue the fugitive; but he recollected that, upon verity, always serves the purpose better than any the very rare occasions when Alan had shown him- substitute which ingenuity can devise. He therefore self indocile to the patria potestas, his natural ease told his learned visiter, that although his son had and gentleness of disposition seemed hardened into been incommoded by the heat of the court, and the obstinacy, and that now, entitled, as arrived at the long train of hard study, by day and night, preceding years of majority, and a member of the learned Fa- his exertions, yet he had fortunately so far recovered, culty, to direct his own motions, there was great as to be in condition to obey upon the instant a suddoubt, whether , in the event of his overtaking his den summons
which had called him to the country, son, he might be able to prevail upon him to return on a matter of life and death. back. In such a risk of failure, he thought it wiser "It should be a serious matter indeed that takes to desist from his purpose, especially as even his suc- my young friend away at this moment," said the cess in such a pursuit would give a ridiculous éclat good-natured Dean. I wish he had staid to finish to the whole affair, which could not be otherwise than his pleading, and put down old Tough. Without prejudicial to his son's rising character.
compliment, Mr. Fairford, it was as fine a first Bitter, however, were Saunders Fairford's reflec- appearance as I ever heard. I should be sorry your Lions, as, again picking up the fatal scroll, he threw son did not follow it up in a reply. Nothing like himself into his son's leathern easy-chair, and be striking while the iron is hot.”. stowed upon it a disjointed commentary. Bring Mr. Saunders Fairford made a better grimace as back Darsie? little doubt of that-the bad shilling is he acquiesced in an opinion which was indeed de sure enough to come back again. I wish Darsie nocidedly his own; but he thought it most prudent ta worse ill than that he were carried where the silly reply, "that the affair which rendered his son Alan's fool Alan should never see him again. It was an ill presence in the country absolutely necessary, regarded hour that he darkened my doors in, for, ever since ihe affairs of a young gentleman of great fortune, that, Alan has given up his ane old-fashioned mother who was a particular friend of Alan's, and who wit, for the t'other's capernointed maggots and non- never took any material step in his affairs, without sense. Provided with money? you
must have more consulting his counsel learned in the law." than I know of, then, my friend, for I trow I kept you "Well well, Mr. Fairford, you know best," an pretty short for your own good.-Can he have gotten swered the learned Dean; "If there be death or more fees? or, does he think five guineas has neither marriage in the case, a will or a wedding is to be beginning nor end ?-Arms! What would he do preferred to all other business. I am happy Mr. Alan with arms, or what would any man do with them is so much recovered as to be able for travel, and that is not a regular soldier under government, or wish you a very good morning." else a thief-taker? I have had enough of arms, I Having thus taken his ground to the Dean of trow, although I carried them for King George and Faculty, Mr. Fairford hastily wrote cards in answer the government. But this is a worse strait than to the inquiry of three judges, accounting for Alan's Falkirk-field yet !-God guide us, we are poor incon- absence in the same manner. These, being properly sistent creatures! To think the lad should have made sealed and addressed, he delivered to James, with so able an appearance, and then bolted off this gate, directions to dismiss the party-coloured gentry, who after a glaiket ne'er-do-well, like a hound upon a in the mean while, had consumed a gallon of two false scent!-Las-a-day! it's a sore thing to see a penny ale while discussing points of law, and adstunkard cow kick down the pail when it's reaming dressing each other by their master's titles.* fou.-But, after all, it's an ill bird that defiles its ain The exertion which these matters demanded, and nest. I must cover up the scandal as well as I can. the interest which so many persons of legal distincWhat's the matter now, James ?".
tion appeared to have taken in his son, greatly relieved “A message, sir,” said James Wilkinson, "from the oppressed spirit of Saunders Fairlord, who conmy Lord President; and he hopes Mr. Alan is not tinned to talk mysteriously of the very important buseriously indisposed."
siness which had interfered with his son's attendance "From the Lord President? the Lord preserve us! during the brief remainder of the session. He en-I'll send an answer this instant; bid the lad sit deavoured to lay the same unction to his own heart; down, and ask him to drink, James.--Let me see,'
," but here the application was less fortunate, for his continued he, taking a sheet of gilt paper, “how we conscience told him, that no end, however important, are to draw our answers."
which could be achieved in Darsie Latimer's affairs, Ere his pen had touched the paper, James was in could be balanced against the reputation which Alan the room again.
was like to forfeit, by deserting the cause of Pour “What now James?"
Peter Peebles. "Lord Bladderskate's lad is come to ask how Mr. In the mean while, although the haze which sur Alan is, as he left the Court"
rounded the cause, or causes of that unfortunate liti“Ay, ay, ay," answered Saunders, bitterly; "he has gant had been for a time dispelled by Alan's eloquence, c'en made a moonlight fitting, like my lord's ane like a fog by the thunder of artillery, yet it seemed nevoy."
• The Scottish Judges are distinguished by the title of lord Shall I say sae, sir ??? said James, who, as an prefixed to their own temporal designation. old soldier, was literal in all things touching the these official dignitaries do not hear ang share in their husband's ser vice.
honours, they are distinguished only by their lord's family
name. They were not always contented with this species of "The devil! no, no!-Bid the lad sit down and Salique law, which certainly is somewhat inconsistent. Bet taste our ale. I will write his lordship an answer.'
their pretensions to title are said to have been long since Once more the gilt paper was resumed, and once
repelled by James V., the Sovereign who founded the College
of Justice. "I," said he, " made the carles lords, but who the more the door was opened by James.
devil made the carlines ladies ?"
As the ladies of