CHAPTER NINETEENTH.

Here has been such a stormy encounter Betwixt my cousin Captain, and this soldier, About I know not what!---nothing, indeed; Competitions, degrees, and comparatives Of soldiership!----- A Faire Qurrell.

The attentive audience gave the fair transcriber of the foregoinglegend the thanks which politeness required. Oldbuck alonecurled up his nose, and observed, that Miss Wardour's skill wassomething like that of the alchemists, for she had contrived toextract a sound and valuable moral out of a very trumpery andridiculous legend. ``It is the fashion, as I am given to understand,to admire those extravagant fictions---for me,

------------I bear an English heart, Unused at ghosts and rattling bones to start.''

``Under your favour, my goot Mr. Oldenbuck,'' said theGerman, ``Miss Wardour has turned de story, as she does everything as she touches, very pretty indeed; but all the history ofde Harz goblin, and how he walks among de desolate mountainswid a great fir-tree for his walking cane, and wid de great greenbush around his head and his waist---that is as true as I aman honest man.''

``There is no disputing any proposition so well guaranteed,''answered the Antiquary, drily. But at this moment the approachof a stranger cut short the conversation.

The new comer was a handsome young man, about five-and-twenty,in a military undress, and bearing, in his look andmanner, a good deal of the, martial profession---nay, perhaps alittle more than is quite consistent with the ease of a man ofperfect good-breeding, in whom no professional habit ought topredominate. He was at once greeted by the greater part ofthe company. ``My dear Hector!'' said Miss M`Intyre, as sherose to take his hand---

``Hector, son of Priam, whence comest thou?'' said theAntiquary.

``From Fife, my liege,'' answered the young soldier, andcontinued, when he had politely saluted the rest of the company,and particularly Sir Arthur and his daughter---``I learned fromone of the servants, as I rode towards Monkbarns to pay myrespects to you, that I should find the present company in thisplace, and I willingly embrace the opportunity to pay my respectsto so many of my friends at once.''

``And to a new one also, my trusty Trojan,'' said Oldbuck. ``Mr. Lovel, this is my nephew, Captain M`Intyre---Hector, Irecommend Mr. Lovel to your acquaintance.''

The young soldier fixed his keen eye upon Lovel, and paidhis compliment with more reserve than cordiality and as ouracquaintance thought his coldness almost supercilious, he wasequally frigid and haughty in making the necessary return toit; and thus a prejudice seemed to arise between them at thevery commencement of their acquaintance.

The observations which Lovel made during the remainderof this pleasure party did not tend to reconcile him with thisaddition to their society. Captain M`Intyre, with the gallantryto be expected from his age and profession, attached himself tothe service of Miss Wardour, and offered her, on every possibleopportunity, those marks of attention which Lovel would havegiven the world to have rendered, and was only deterred fromoffering by the fear of her displeasure. With forlorn dejectionat one moment, and with irritated susceptibility at another, hesaw this handsome young soldier assume and exercise all theprivileges of a _cavaliere servente._ He handed Miss Wardour'sgloves, he assisted her in putting on her shawl, he attachedhimself to her in the walks, had a hand ready to remove everyimpediment in her path, and an arm to support her where itwas rugged or difficult; his conversation was addressed chieflyto her, and, where circumstances permitted, it was exclusivelyso. All this, Lovel well knew, might be only that sort ofegotistical gallantry which induces some young men of thepresent day to give themselves the air of engrossing theattention of the prettiest women in company, as if the otherswere unworthy of their notice. But he thought he observed inthe conduct of Captain M`Intyre something of marked andpeculiar tenderness, which was calculated to alarm the jealousyof a lover. Miss Wardour also received his attentions; andalthough his candour allowed they were of a kind which couldnot be repelled without some strain of affectation, yet it galledhim to the heart to witness that she did so.

The heart-burning which these reflections occasioned provedvery indifferent seasoning to the dry antiquarian discussionswith which Oldbuck, who continued to demand his particularattention, was unremittingly persecuting him; and he underwent,with fits of impatience that amounted almost to loathing,a course of lectures upon monastic architecture, in all its styles,from the massive Saxon to the florid Gothic, and from that tothe mixed and composite architecture of James the First's time,when, according to Oldbuck, all orders were confounded, andcolumns of various descriptions arose side by side, or were piledabove each other, as if symmetry had been forgotten, and theelemental principles of art resolved into their primitive confusion.``What can be more cutting to the heart than thesight of evils,'' said Oldbuck, in rapturous enthusiasm, ``whichwe are compelled to behold, while we do not possess the powerof remedying them?'' Lovel answered by an involulatary groan. ``I see, my dear young friend, and most congenial spirit, thatyou feel these enormities almost as much as I do. Have youever approached them, or met them, without longing to tear, todeface, what is so dishonourable?''

``Dishonourable!'' echoed Lovel---``in what respect dishonourable?''

``I mean, disgraceful to the arts.''

``Where? how?''

``Upon the portico, for example, of the schools of Oxford,where, at immense expense, the barbarous, fantastic, and ignorantarchitect has chosen to represent the whole five orders ofarchitecture on the front of one building.''

By such attacks as these, Oldbuck, unconscious of the torturehe was giving, compelled Lovel to give him a share of his attention,---as a skilful angler, by means of his line, maintains aninfluence over the most frantic movements of his agonized prey.

They were now on their return to the spot where they hadleft the carriages; and it is inconceivable how often, in thecourse of that short walk, Lovel, exhausted by the unceasingprosing of his worthy companion, mentally bestowed on thedevil, or any one else that would have rid him of hearing moreof them, all the orders and disorders of architecture which hadbeen invented or combined from the building of Solomon'stemple downwards. A slight incident occurred, however, whichsprinkled a little patience on the heat of his distemperature.

Miss Wardour, and her self-elected knight companion, ratherpreceded the others in the narrow path, when the young ladyapparently became desirous to unite herself with the rest ofthe party, and, to break off her _tte--tte_ with the young officer,fairly made a pause until Mr. Oldbuck came up. ``I wished toask you a question, Mr. Oldbuck, concerning the date of theseinteresting ruins.''

It would be doing injustice to Miss Wardour's _savoir faire,_to suppose she was not aware that such a question would leadto an answer of no limited length. The Antiquary, startinglike a war-horse at the trumpet sound, plunged at once into thevarious arguments for and against the date of 1273, which hadbeen assigned to the priory of St. Ruth by a late publication onScottish architectural antiquities. He raked up the names ofall the priors who had ruled the institution, of the nobles whohad bestowed lands upon it, and of the monarchs who had slepttheir last sleep among its roofless courts. As a train whichtakes fire is sure to light another, if there be such in thevicinity, the Baronet, catching at the name of one of hisancestors which occurred in Oldbuck's disquisition, enteredupon an account of his wars, his conquests, and his trophies;and worthy Dr. Blattergowl was induced, from the mention ofa grant of lands, _cum decimis inclusis tam vicariis quamgarbalibus, et nunquan antea separatis,_ to enter into a longexplanation concerning the interpretation given by the TeindCourt in the consideration of such a clause, which had occurredin a process for localling his last augmentation of stipend. The orators, like three racers, each pressed forward to the goal,without much regarding how each crossed and jostled hiscompetitors. Mr. Oldbuck harangued, the Baronet declaimed,Mr. Blattergowl prosed and laid down the law, while the Latinforms of feudal grants were mingled with the jargon of blazonry,and the yet more barbarous phraseology of the Teind Courtof Scotland. ``He was,'' exclaimed Oldbuck, speaking of thePrior Adhemar, ``indeed an exemplary prelate; and, from hisstrictness of morals, rigid execution of penance, joined to thecharitable disposition of his mind, and the infirmities enduredby his great age and ascetic habits''------

Here he chanced to cough, and Sir Arthur burst in, or rathercontinued---``was called popularly Hell-in-Harness; he carrieda shield, gules with a sable fess, which we have since disused,and was slain at the battle of Vernoil, in France, after killingsix of the English with his own''------

``Decreet of certification,'' proceeded the clergyman, in thatprolonged, steady, prosing tone, which, however overpowered atfirst by the vehemence of competition, promised, in the longrun, to obtain the ascendancy in this strife of narrators;---``Decreet of certification having gone out, and parties beingheld as confessed, the proof seemed to be held as concluded,when their lawyer moved to have it opened up, on the allegationthat they had witnesses to bring forward, that they had beenin the habit of carrying the ewes to lamb on the teind-free land;which was a mere evasion, for''------

But here the, Baronet and Mr. Oldbuck having recoveredtheir wind, and continued their respective harangues, the three_strands_ of the conversation, to speak the language of a rope-work,were again twined together into one undistinguishablestring of confusion.

Yet, howsoever uninteresting this piebald jargon might seem,it was obviously Miss Wardour's purpose to give it her attention,in preference to yielding Captain M`Intyre an opportunity ofrenewing their private conversation. So that, after waiting fora little time with displeasure, ill concealed by his haughtyfeatures, he left her to enjoy her bad taste, and taking hissister by the arm, detained her a little behind the rest of theparty.

``So I find, Mary, that your neighbour has neither becomemore lively nor less learned during my absence.''

``We lacked your patience and wisdom to instruct us,Hector.''

``Thank you, my dear sister. But you have got a wiser, ifnot so lively an addition to your society, than your unworthybrother---Pray, who is this Mr. Lovel, whom our old uncle hasat once placed so high in his good graces?---he does not use tobe so accessible to strangers.''

``Mr. Lovel, Hector, is a very gentleman-like young man.''

``Ay,---that is to say, he bows when he comes into a room,and wears a coat that is whole at the elbows.''

``No, brother; it says a great deal more. It says that hismanners and discourse express the feelings and education of thehigher class.''

``But I desire to know what is his birth and his rank insociety, and what is his title to be in the circle in which I findhim domesticated?''

``If you mean, how he comes to visit at Monkbarns, you mustask my uncle, who will probably reply, that he invites to hisown house such company as he pleases; and if you mean toask Sir Arthur, you must know that Mr. Lovel rendered MissWardour and him a service of the most important kind.''

``What! that romantic story is true, then?---And pray, doesthe valorous knight aspire, as is befitting on such occasions, tothe hand of the young lady whom he redeemed from peril? Itis quite in the rule of romance, I am aware; and I did thinkthat she was uncommonly dry to me as we walked together, andseemed from time to time as if she watched whether she wasnot giving offence to her gallant cavalier.''

``Dear Hector,'' said his sister, ``if you really continue tonourish any affection for Miss Wardour''------

``If, Mary?---what an _if_ was there!''

``------I own I consider your perseverance as hopeless.''

``And why hopeless, my sage sister?'' asked Captain M`Intyre:``Miss Wardour, in the state of her father's affairs, cannot pretendto much fortune;---and, as to family, I trust that ofM`lntyre is not inferior.''

``But, Hector,'' continued his sister, ``Sir Arthur always considersus as members of the Monkbarns family.''

``Sir Arthur may consider what he pleases,'' answered theHighlander scornfully; ``but any one with common sense willconsider that the wife takes rank from the husband, and thatmy father's pedigree of fifteen unblemished descents must haveennobled my mother, if her veins had been filled with printer'sink.''

``For God's sake, Hector,'' replied his anxious sister, ``takecare of yourself! a single expression of that kind, repeated tomy uncle by an indiscreet or interested eavesdropper, would loseyou his favour for ever, and destroy all chance of your succeedingto his estate.''

``Be it so,'' answered the heedless young man; ``I am oneof a profession which the world has never been able to dowithout, and will far less endure to want for half a century tocome; and my good old uncle may tack his good estate and hisplebeian name to your apron-string if he pleases, Mary, and youmay wed this new favourite of his if you please, and you mayboth of you live quiet, peaceable, well-regulated lives, if itpleases Heaven. My part is taken---I'll fawn on no man foran inheritance which should be mine by birth.''

Miss M`Intyre laid her hand on her brother's arm, andentreated him to suppress his vehemence. ``Who,'' she said,``injures or seeks to injure you, but your own hasty temper?---what dangers are you defying, but those you have yourself conjuredup?---Our uncle has hitherto been all that is kind andpaternal in his conduct to us, and why should you suppose hewill in future be otherwise than what he has ever been, sincewe were left as orphans to his care?''

``He is an excellent old gentleman, I must own,'' repliedM`Intyre, ``and I am enraged at myself when I chance tooffend him; but then his eternal harangues upon topics notworth the spark of a flint---his investigations about invalidedpots and pans and tobacco-stoppers past service---all these thingsput me out of patience. I have something of Hotspur in me,sister, I must confess.''

``Too much, too much, my dear brother! Into how manyrisks, and, forgive me for saying, some of them little creditable,has this absolute and violent temper led you! Do not let suchclouds darken the time you are now to pass in our neighbourhood,but let our old benefactor see his kinsman as he is---generous, kind, and lively, without being rude, headstrong, andimpetuous.''

``Well,'' answered Captain M`Intyre, ``I am schooled---good-mannersbe my speed! I'll do the civil thing by your newfriend---I'll have some talk with this Mr. Lovel.''

With this determination, in which he was for the time perfectlysincere, he joined the party who were walking before them. The treble disquisition was by this time ended; and Sir Arthurwas speaking on the subject of foreign news, and the politicaland military situation of the country, themes upon which everyman thinks himself qualified to give an opinion. An actionof the preceding year having come upon the _tapis,_ Lovel,accidentally mingling in the conversation, made some assertionconcerning it, of the accuracy of which Captain M`Intyreseemed not to be convinced, although his doubts were politelyexpressed.

``You must confess yourself in the wrong here, Hector,'' saidhis uncle, ``although I know no man less willing to give up anargument; but you were in England at the time, and Mr. Lovelwas probably concerned in the affair.''

``I am speaking to a military man, then?'' said M`Intyre;``may I inquire to what regiment Mr. Lovel belongs?''---Mr. Lovel gave him the number of the regiment. ``It happensstrangely that we should never have met before, Mr. Lovel. Iknow your regiment very well, and have served along with themat different times.''

A blush crossed Lovel's countenance. ``I have not latelybeen with my regiment,'' he replied; ``I served the lastcampaign upon the staff of General Sir ------ ------.''

``Indeed! that is more wonderful than the other circumstance!---for although I did not serve with General Sir ------ ------, yetI had an opportunity of knowing the names of the officers whoheld situations in his family, and I cannot recollect that ofLovel. ''

At this observation Lovel again blushed so deeply as to attractthe attention of the whole company, while, a scornful laughseemed to indicate Captain M`Intyre's triumph. ``There issomething strange in this,'' said Oldbuck to himself; ``but Iwill not readily give up my phoenix of post-chaise companions---all his actions, language, and bearing, are those of agentleman.''

Lovel in the meanwhile had taken out his pocket-book, andselecting a letter, from which he took off the envelope, he handedit to M`lntyre. ``You know the General's hand, in all probability---I own I ought not to show these exaggerated expressionsof his regard and esteem for me.'' The letter contained a veryhandsome compliment from the officer in question for somemilitary service lately performed. Captain M`Intyre, as beglanced his eye over it, could not deny that it was written inthe General's hand, but drily observed, as be returned it, thatthe address was wanting. ``The address, Captain M`Intyre,''answered Lovel, in the same tone, ``shall be at your servicewhenever you choose to inquire after it!''

``I certainly shall not fail to do so,'' rejoined the soldier.

``Come, come,'' exclaimed Oldbuck, ``what is the meaning ofall this? Have we got Hiren here?---We'll have no swaggeringyoungsters. Are you come from the wars abroad, to stirup domestic strife in our peaceful land? Are you like bull-dogpuppies, forsooth, that when the bull, poor fellow, is removedfrom the ring, fall to brawl among themselves, worry each other,and bite honest folk's shins that are standing by?''

Sir Arthur trusted, he said, the young gentlemen would notso far forget themselves as to grow warm upon such a triflingsubject as the back of a letter.

Both the disputants disclaimed any such intention, and, withhigh colour and flashing eyes, protested they were never so coolin their lives. But an obvious damp was cast over the party;---they talked in future too much by the rule to be sociable,and Lovel, conceiving himself the object of cold and suspiciouslooks from the rest of the company, and sensible that his indirectreplies had given them permission to entertain strange opinionsrespecting him, made a gallant determination to sacrifice thepleasure he had proposed in spending the day at Knockwinnock.

He affected, therefore, to complain of a violent headache,occasioned by the heat of the day, to which he had not beenexposed since his illness, and made a formal apology to SirArthur, who, listening more to recent suspicion than to thegratitude due for former services, did not press him to keep hisengagement more than good-breeding exactly demanded.

When Lovel took leave of the ladies, Miss Wardour's mannerseemed more anxious than he had hitherto remarked it. Sheindicated by a glance of her eye towards Captain M`Intyre,perceptible only by Lovel, the subject of her alarm, and hoped,in a voice greatly under her usual tone, it was not a less pleasantengagement which deprived them of the pleasure of Mr. Lovel'scompany. ``No engagement had intervened,'' he assured her;``it was only the return of a complaint by which he had beenfor some time occasionally attacked.''

``The best remedy in such a case is prudence, and I---everyfriend of Mr. Lovel's will expect him to employ it.''

Lovel bowed low and coloured deeply, and Miss Wardour, asif she felt that she had said too much, turned and got into thecarriage. Lovel had next to part with Oldbuck, who, duringthis interval, had, with Caxon's assistance, been arranging hisdisordered periwig, and brushing his coat, which exhibited somemarks of the rude path they had traversed. ``What, man!''said Oldbuck, ``you are not going to leave us on account ofthat foolish Hector's indiscreet curiosity and vehemence? Why,he is a thoughtless boy---a spoiled child from the time he wasin the nurse's arms---he threw his coral and bells at my headfor refusing him a bit of sugar; and you have too much senseto mind such a shrewish boy: _quam servare mentem_ is themotto of our friend Horace. I'll school Hector by and by, andput it all to rights.'' But Lovel persisted in his design of returningto Fairport.

The Antiquary then assumed a graver tone.---``Take heed,young man, to your present feelings. Your life has been givenyon for useful and valuable purposes, and should be reserved toillustrate the literature of your country, when you are not calledupon to expose it in her defence, or in the rescue of the innocent. Private war, a practice unknown to the civilised ancients, is, ofall the absurdities introduced by the Gothic tribes, the mostgross, impious, and cruel. Let me hear no more of these absurdquarrels, and I will show you the treatise upon the duello,which I composed when the town-clerk and provost Mucklewhamechose to assume the privileges of gentlemen, andchallenged each other. I thought of printing my Essay, whichis signed _Pacificator;_ but there was no need, as the matterwas taken up by the town-council of the borough.''

``But I assure you, my dear sir, there is nothing betweenCaptain M`Intyre and me that can render such respectableinterference necessary.''

``See it be so; for otherwise, I will stand second to bothparties.''

So saying, the old gentleman got into the chaise, close towhich Miss M`Intyre had detained her brother, upon the sameprinciple that the owner of a quarrelsome dog keeps him by hisside to prevent his fastening upon another. But Hector contrivedto give her precaution the slip, for, as he was on horseback,he lingered behind the carriages until they had fairly turnedthe corner in the road to Knockwinnock, and then, wheelinghis horse's head round, gave him the spur in the oppositedirection.

A very few minutes brought him up with Lovel, who, perhapsanticipating his intention, had not put his horse beyond a slowwalk, when the clatter of hoofs behind him announced CaptainM`lntyre. The young soldier, his natural heat of temperexasperated by the rapidity of motion, reined his horse upsuddenly and violently by Lovel's side, and touching his hatslightly, inquired, in a very haughty tone of voice, ``What amI to understand, sir, by your telling me that your address wasat my service?''

``Simply, sir,'' replied Lovel, ``that my name is Lovel, andthat my residence is, for the present, Fairport, as you will seeby this card.''

``And is this all the information you are disposed to giveme?''

``I see no right you have to require more.''

``I find you, sir, in company with my sister,'' said the youngsoldier, ``and I have a right to know who is admitted into MissM`Intyre's society.''

``I shall take the liberty of disputing that right,'' repliedLovel, with a manner as haughty as that of the young soldier;---``you find me in society who are satisfied with the degree ofinformation on my affairs which I have thought proper to communicate,and you, a mere stranger, have no right to inquirefurther.''

``Mr. Lovel, if you served as you say you have''------

``If!'' interrupted Lovel,---``_if_ I have served as _I say_ Ihave?''

``Yes, sir, such is my expression---_if_ you have so served, youmust know that you owe me satisfaction either in one way orother.''

``If that be your opinion, I shall be proud to give it to you,Captain M`Intyre, in the way in which the word is generallyused among gentlemen.''

``Very well, sir,'' rejoined Hector, and, turning his horseround, galloped off to overtake his party.

His absence had already alarmed them, and his sister, havingstopped the carriage, had her neck stretched out of the windowto see where he was.

``What is the matter with you now?'' said the Antiquary,``riding to and fro as your neck were upon the wager---why doyou not keep up with the carriage?''

``I forgot my glove, sir,'' said Hector.

``Forgot your glove!---I presume you meant to say you wentto throw it down---But I will take order with you, my younggentleman---you shall return with me this night to Monkbarns.''So saying, he bid the postilion go on.


Chapter 20

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