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Te the set the stajoman' guaintate DO
realised that Mungo had had his own way after all. The servant's steps declined along the corridor and down the stair, with a woman's to keep them company and a woman's sobs, all of which convinced the Count that his acquaintance with Annapla was not desired by the residents of Doom.
SIM MACTAGGART, CHAMBERLAIN.
On the roof of a high old church with as little architectural elegance as a dry-stone barn, a bell jerked by a rope from the church-yard indicated the close association of law and the kirk by ringing a sort of triumphal peal to the procession of the judges between the court-room and the inn. Contesting with its not too dulcet music blared forth the fanfare of two gorgeous trumpeters in scarlet and gold lace, tie wigs, silk stockings, and huge cocked hats, who filled the street with a brassy melody that suggested Gabriel's stern and awful judgment-summons rather than gave lightness and rhythm to the feet of those who made up the procession. The procession itself had some dreadful aspects and elements as well as others incongruous and comical. The humorous fancy might see something to smile at in the two greywigged bent old men in long scarlet coats who went in front of the trumpeters, prepared to clear the way if necessary (though a gust of shrewd wind would have blown them off their feet), by means of the long-poled halberts they carried; but this impression of the farcical was modified by the nature of the body whereof they were the pioneers or advance guard. Sleek magistrates and councillors in unaccustomed black suits and silver-buckled shoes, the provost ermined at their head, showed the way to the more actual, the more dignified embodiment of
nd tore upon hi a dark"re, equit
stern Scots law. At least a score of wigs were there from the Parliament House of Edinburgh, a score of dusty gowns, accustomed to sweep the lobbies of the Courts of Session, gathered the sand of the burgh street, and in their midst walked the representatives of that old feudal law at long-last ostensibly abandoned, and of the common law of the land. Argyll was in a demure equivalent for some Court costume, with a dark velvet coat, a ribbon of the Thistle upon his shoulder, a sword upon his haunch, and for all his sixty-six years he carried himself less like the lawyer made at Utrecht - like JusticeGeneral and Extraordinary Lord of Session—than like the old soldier who had served with Marlborough and took the field for the House of Hanover in 1715. My Lords Elchies and Kilkerran walked on either side of him-Kilkerran with the lack-lustre eye of the passionate mathematician, the studious moralist devoted to midnight oil, a ruddy, tall, sturdy man, well filling the crimson and white silk gown; Elchies, a shrivelled atomy with a hirpling walk, leaning heavily upon a rattan, both with the sinister black tri-corne hats in their hands, and flanked by a company of musketeers.
A great band of children lent the ludicrous element again to the company by following close upon its heels, chanting a doggerel song to the tune of the trumpets; the populace stood at the close-mouths or leaned over their windows looking at the spectacle, wondering at the pomp given to the punishment of a Stewart who a few years ago would have been sent to the gallows by his Grace with no more formality than might have attended the sentence of a kipper salmon-poacher to whipping at the hands of Long Davie the dempster.
His Grace was entertaining the Lords, the Counsel (all but the convict's lawyers- a lot of disaffected Jacobites, who took their food by themselves at the inn, and brusquely refused his Grace's hospitality), the magistracy, and some county friends, to a late
dinner at the castle that night, and an hour after saw them round the ducal board.
If Count Victor was astonished at the squalid condition of things in the castle of the poor Baron of Doom, he would have been surprised to find here, within an hour or two's walk of it, so imposing and luxuriant a domesticity. Many lands, many hands, great wealth won by law, battle, and the shrewdness of generations, enabled Argyll to give his castle grandeur and his table the opulence of any southern palace. And it was a bright company that sat about his board, with several ladies in it, for his duchess loved to have her sojourn in her Highland home made gay by the company of young women who might by their beauty and light hearts recall her own lost youth.
A bagpipe stilled in the hall, a lute breathed a melody from a neighbouring room, the servants in claret and yellow livery noiselessly served wine.
Elchies sourly pursed his lips over his liquor, to the mingled amusement and vexation of his Grace, who knew his lordship's cellar, or even the Justiciary Vault in the town (for the first act of the Court had been to send down wine from Edinburgh for their use on circuit), contained no vintage half so good, and “Your Grace made reference on the way up to some one killed in the neighbourhood,” he said, as one resuming a topic begun elsewhere.
“Not six miles from where we sit,” replied the Duke, his cultivated English accent in a strong contrast with the broad burr of the Edinburgh justiciar, “and scarcely a day before you drove past. The man shot, so far as we have yet learned, was a Macfarlane, one of a small but ancient and extremely dishonest clan whose country used to be near the head of Loch Lomond. Scarcely more than half a hundred of them survive, but they give us considerable trouble, for they survive at the cost of their neighbours' gear and cattle. They are robbers and footpads, and it looks as if the fatality to one of their number near Doom has been incurred during a raid. We still have our raids, Lord Elchies, in spite of what you were saying on the bench as to the good example this part of the country sets the rest of the Highlands—not the raids of old fashion, perhaps, but more prosaic, simply thefts indeed. That is why I have had these troops brought here. It is reported to me pretty circumstantially that some of the Appin people are in the key to attempt a rescue of James Stewart on his way to the place of execution at Lettermore. They would think nothing of attempting it once he was brought the length of Benderloch, if only a law officer or two had him in charge.”
“I would have thought the duty of keeping down a ploy' of that kind would have been congenial to your own folk,” said Elchies, drenching his nostrils vulgarly with macabaw.
Argyll smiled. “You may give us credit for willingness to take our share of the responsibility of keeping Appin in order," said he. “I should not wonder if there are half a hundred claymores with hands in them somewhere about our old barracks in Maltland. Eh ! Simon ? " and he smiled down the table to his Chamberlain.
“ Five-and-forty, to be strict," said the gentleman appealed to, and never a word more but a sudden stop, for his half-eaten plum had miraculously gone from his plate in the moment he had looked up at the Duke.
“Was't in your lands ?” asked Elchies, indifferent, but willing to help on a good topic in a company where a variety of classes made the conversation anything but brisk.
* No," said Argyll, “it was in Doom, the place of a small landowner, Lamond, whose castle-it is but a ramshackle old bigging now—you may have noticed on your left as you rode round. Lamond himself is a man I have a sort of softness for, though, to tell the truth, he has forced me into more litigation than he had money to pay for and I had patience to take any lasting interest in."