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equally unnecessary and strangely timed, had been made and ended. Nothing, in short, remained that indicated wealth; all the signs were those of recent wastefulness and present desolation. The black cloth hangings, which, on the late mournful occasion, replaced the tattered moth-eaten tapestries, had been partly pulled down, and, dangling from the wall in irregular festoons, disclosed the rough stone work of the building, unsmoothed either by plaster or hewn stone. The seats thrown down, or left in disorder, intimated the careless confusion which had concluded the mournful revel. "This room," said Ravenswood, holding up the lamp—" this room, Mr. Hayston, was riotous when it should have been sad; it is a just retribution that it should now be sad when it ought to be cheerful." They left this disconsolate apartment, and went up stairs, where, after opening one or two doors in vain, Ravenswood led the way into a little matted anti-room, in which, to their great joy, they found a tolerably good fire, which Mysie, by some such expedient as Caleb had suggested, had supplied with a reasonable quantity of fuel. Glad at the heart to see more of comfort than the castle had yet seemed to offer, Bucklaw rubbed his hands heartily over the fire, and now listened with more complacency to the apologies which the master of Ravenswood offered. "Comfort," he says, " I cannot provide for you, for I have it not for myself; it is long since these walls have known it, if indeed they were ever acquainted with it. Shelter and safety, I think, I can promise you."
"Excellent matters, master," replied Bucklaw, "and, with a mouthful of food and wine, positively all I can require to-night."
"1 fear," said the master, "your supper will be a poor one; I hear the matter in discussion betwixt Caleb and Mysie. Poor Balderston is something deaf, amongst his other accomplishments, so that much of what he means should be spoken aside is overheard by the whole audience, and especially by those from whom he is most anxious to conceal his private manoeuvres— Hark!"
They listened, and heard the old domestic's voice in conversation with Mysie to the following effect:—-" Just mak the best o't, make the best o't, woman; it's easy to put a fair face on onything."
"But the auld brood-hen 1—she'll be as teugh as bow-strings and bend-leather."
"Say ye made a mistake—say ye made a mistake, Mysie," replied the faithful seneschal, in a soothing and undertoned voice; "tak it a' on yoursel; never let the credit o' the house suffer."
"But the brood-hen," remonstrated Mysie,— "ou, she's sitting some gate aneath the clais in the hall, and I am feared to gae in the dark for the bogle; and if I didna see the bogle, I could as ill see the hen, for it's pit-mirk, and there's no another light in the house, save that very blessed lamp whilk the master has in his ain hand. And if I had the hen, she's to pu', and to draw, and to dress; how can I do that, and their sitting by the only fire we have?"
"Weel, weel, Mysie," said the butler, " bide
VOL. III. E
ye there a wee, and I'll try to get the lamp wiled away frae them."
Accordingly Caleb Balderston entered theapartment, little aware that so much of his by-play had been audible there. "Well, Caleb, my old friend, is there any chance of supper?" said the master of Ravenswood.
"Chance of supper, your lordship?" said Caleb, with an emphasis of strong scorn at the implied doubt,—" How should there be ony question of that, and we in your lordship's house ?—Chance of supper indeed!—But ye'll no be for butchermeat I There's walth o' fat poultry, ready either for spit or brander—The fat capon, Mysie," he added, calling out as boldly as if such a thing had been in existence.
"Uuite unnecessary," said Bucklaw, who deemed himself bound in courtesy to relieve some part of the anxious butler's perplexity, " if you have any thing cold, or a morsel of bread."
"The best of bannocks I" exclaimed Caleb, much relieved: "and. for cauld meat, a' that we hae is cauld aneugh,—howbeit maist of the cauld meat and pastry was gi'en to the poor folk after the ceremony of interment as gude reason was; nevertheless"
"Come, Caleb," said the master of Ravenswood, " I must cut this matter short. This is the young laird of Bucklaw; he is under hiding, and therefore you know"
"He'll be nae nicer than your lordship's honour, I'se warrant," answered Caleb cheerfully, with a nod of intelligence; "I am sorry that the gentleman is under distress, but I am blythe that he canna say muckle again our house-keeping, for I believe, his ain pinches may match ours ;— no that we are pinched, thank God," he added, retracting the admission which he had made in his first burst of joy, "but nae doubt we are waur aff than we hae been, or suld be. And for eating,—what signifies telling a lie?—there just the hinder end of the mutton ham, that has been but three times on the table; and the nearer the bane the sweeter, as your honours weel ken; and—there's the heel of the ewe-milk kebbuck, wi' a bit of nice butter, and—and—that's a' that's to trust to." And with great alacrity he produced his slender stock of provisions, and placed them with much formality upon a small round table betwixt the two gentlemen, who were not deterred either by the homely quality or limited quantity of the repast from doing it full justice. Caleb in the mean while waited on them with great officiousness, as if anxious to make up, by his own respectful assiduity, for the want of all other attendance.
But, alas! how little on such occasions can form, however anxiously and scrupulously observed, supply the lack of substantial fare! Bucklow, who had eagerly eat a considerable portion of the thrice-sacked mutton ham, now began to demand ale.
"I wadna just presume to recommend our ale," said Caleb; " the maut was ill made, and there was awfu' thunner last week; but siccan water as the Tower well has, ye'll seldom see, Bucklaw, and that I'se engage for." "But if your ale is bad, you can let us have some wine," said Bucklaw, making a grimace at the mention of the pure element which Caleb so earnestly recommended.
"Wine?" answered Caleb undauntedly, "aneugh of wine; it was but twa days syne— wae's me for the cause—there was as much wine drunk in this house as would have floated a pinnace. There never was lack of wine at Wolfs Crag."
"Do fetch us some then," said his master, "instead of talking about it." And Caleb boldly departed.
Every expended butt in the old cellar did he set atilt and shake with the desperate expectation of collecting enough of the grounds of claret to fill the large pewter measure which he carried in his hand. Alas! each had been too devoutly drained; and, with all the squeezing and manoeuvring which his craft as a butler suggested, he could only collect about half a quart that seemed presentable. Still, however, Caleb was too good a general to renounce the field without a stratagem to cover his retreat. He undauntedly threw down an empty flagon, as if he had stumbled at the entrance of the apartment; called upon Mysie to wipe up the wine that had never been spilt, and, placing the other vessel upon the table, hoped there was still enough left for their honours. There was indeed; for even Bucklaw, a sworn friend to the grape, found no encouragement to renew his first attack upon the vintage of Wolf's Crag, but contented himself, however reluctantly, with a draught of fair water. Arrangements were now made for