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and then with firearms. This was the figure of a bird, decorated with party-coloured feathers, so as to resemble a popinjay or parrot. It was suspended to a pole, and served for a mark, at which the competitors discharged their fusees and carbines in rotation, at the distance of sixty or seventy paces. He whose ball brought down the mark, held the proud title of Captain of the Popinjay for the remainder of the day, and was usually escorted in triumph to the most reputable change house in the neighbourhood, where the evening was closed with conviviality, conducted under his auspices.
It will, of course, be supposed that the ladies of the country assembled to witness this gallant strife, those excepted who held the stricter tenets of puritanism, and would therefore have deemed it criminal to afford countenance to the profane gambols of the malignants. Landaus, barouches, or tilburies, there were none in those simple days. The lord-lieutenant of the county (a personage of ducal rank) alone pretended to the magnificence of a wheel-carriage, a thing covered with tarnished gilding and sculpture, in shape like the vulgar picture of Noah's ark, dragged by eight long-tailed Flanders mares, bearing eight insides and six outsides. The insides were their graces in person, two maids of honour, two children, a chaplain, stuffed into a sort of lateral recess, formed by a projection at the door of the vehicle, and called, from its appearance, the boot; and an equery to his grace, ensconced in the corresponding convenience, on the opposite side. A coachman and three postilions, who wore short swords, and tie-wigs with three tails, had blunderbusses slung behind them, and pistols at their saddle bow, conducted the equipage. On the foot-board, behind this moving mansion-house, stood, or rather hung, in triple file, six lacqueys in rich liveries, armed up to the teeth. The rest of the gentry, men and women, old and young, were upon horseback, followed by their servants; but the company, for the reasons already assigned, was rather select than numerous.
Near to the enormous leathern vehicle which we have attempted to describe, vindicating her title to precedency over the untitled gentry of the country, might be seen the sober palfrey of Lady Margaret Bellenden, bearing the erect and primitive form of Lady Margaret herself, decked in those widow's weeds which the good lady never laid aside since the execution of her husband for his adherence to Montrose.
Her granddaughter, and only earthly care, the fair-haired Edith, who was generally allowed to be the prettiest lass in the Upper Ward, appeared beside her aged relative like Spring placed close to Winter. The black Spanish jennet, which she managed with great grace, her gay riding-dress, and laced side-saddle, had been anxiously prepared to set her forth to the best advantage. But the clustering profusion of ringlets, which, escaping from under her cap, were only confined by a green riband from wantoning over her shoulders; her cast of features, soft and feminine, yet not without a certain expression of feminine archness, which redeemed their sweetness from the charge of insipidity, sometimes brought against blondes and blue-eyed beauties—these attracted more admiration from the western youth, than either the splendour of her equipments or the figure of her palfrey.
The attendance of these distinguished ladies was rather inferior to their birth and fashion in those times, as it consisted of only two servants on horseback. The truth was, that the good old lady had been obliged to make all her domestic servants turn out to complete the quota which her barony ought to furnish for the muster, and in which she would not for the universe have been found deficient. The old steward, who, in steel cap and jack-boots, led forth her array, had, as he said, sweated blood and water in his efforts to overcome the scruples and evasions of the moorland farmers, who ought to have furnished men, horse, and harness on these occasions. At last their dispute came near to an open declaration of hostilities, the incensed episcopalian bestowing on the recusants the whole thunders of the commination, and receiving from them, in return, the denunciations of a Calvinistic excommunication; AVhat was to be done? To punish the refractory tenants would have been easy enough. The privy council would readily have imposed fines, and sent a troop of horse to collect them. But this would have been calling in the huntsman and hounds into the garden to kill the hare.
"For," said Harrison to himself, "the carles have little enough gear at ony rate, and if I call in the red-coats and take away what little they have, how is my worshipful lady to get her rents
VOL. III. V
paid at Candlemas, which is but a difficult matter to bring round even in the best of times f"
So he armed the fowler, and falconer, the footman, and the ploughman, at the home farm, with an old drunken cavaliering butler, who had served with the late Sir Richard under Montrose, and stunned the family nightly with his exploits at Kilsythe and Tippermoor, and who was the only man in the party that had the smallest zeal for the work in hand. In this manner, and by recruiting one or two latitudinarian poachers and black fishers, Mr. Harrison completed the quota of men which fell to the share of Lady Margaret Bellenden, as life-rentrix of the barony of Tillietudlum and others. But when the steward, on the morning of the eventful day, had mustered his troupe dorie before the iron grate of the tower, the mother of Cuddie the ploughman appeared, loaded with the jack-boots, buff coat, and other accoutrements which had been issued forth for the service of the day, and laid them before the steward, demurely assuring him, that whether it were the colic, or a qualm of conscience, she couldna tak upon her to decide; but sure it was, Cuddie had been in sair straits a' night, and she culdna say he was muckle better this morning. The finger of Heaven, she said, was in it; and her bairn should gang on nae sic errands. Pains, penalties, and threats of dismission, were denounced in vain; the mother was obstinate, and Cuddie, who underwent a domiciliary visitation for the purpose of verifying his state of body, could, or would answer only by deep groans. Mause, who had been an ancient domestic in the family, was a sort of favourite with Lady Margaret, and presumed accordingly. Lady Margaret had herself set forth, and her authority could not be appealed to. In this dilemma, the good genius of the old butler suggested an expedient.
"He had seen mony a braw callant, far less than Guse Gibbie, fight brawly under Montrose. What for no take Guse Gibbie?"
This was a half-witted lad, of very small stature, who had a kind of charge of the poultry under the old hen wife; for in a Scottish family of that day there was a wonderful substitution of labour. This urchin, being sent for from the common field, was hastily muffled in the buff coat, and girded rather to than with the sword of a full grown man, his little legs plunged into jackboots, and a steel cap put upon his head, which seemed, from its size, as if they were going to extinguish him. Thus accoutred, he was hoisted, at his own earnest request, upon the tamest horse of the party; and prompted and supported by old Gudyill the butler, as his front file, he passed muster tolerably enough; the sheriff not caring to examine too closely the recruits of so well affected a person as Lady Margaret Bellenden. *****
"I see the duke's carriage in motion," said Gilbertscleugh, partaking at the moment an alarm common to all Lady Margaret's friends, when she touched upon the topic of the royal visit at the family mansion—" I see the duke's carriage in motion; I presume your ladyship will take your right or rank in leaving the field. May I be permitted to convoy your ladyship and Miss Bel