No doubt but there was much of the truth in what he said; if James was past helping, whom was it more natural that I should turn to help than just the man before me, who had helped myself so often, and was even now setting me a pattern of patience? I was besides not only weary, but beginning to be ashamed of my perpetual attitude of suspicion and refusal.
“If you will name the time and place, I will be punctually ready to attend your lordship,” said I.
He shook hands with me. “And I think my misses have some news for you,” says he, dismissing me.
I came away, vastly pleased to have my peace made, yet a little concerned in conscience; nor could I help wondering, as I went back, whether, perhaps, I had not been a scruple too good-natured. But there was the fact, that this was a man that might have been my father, an able man, a great dignitary, and one that, in the hour of my need, had reached a hand to my assistance. I was in the better humour to enjoy the remainder of that evening, which I passed with the advocates, in excellent company no doubt, but perhaps with rather more than a sufficiency of punch: for though I went early to bed I have no clear mind of how I got there.
* * * * *
THE TEE’D BALL
On the morrow, from the justices’ private room, where none could see me, I heard the verdict given in and judgment rendered upon James. The Duke’s words I am quite sure I have correctly; and since that famous passage has been made a subject of dispute, I may as well commemorate my version. Having referred to the year ’45, the chief of the Campbells, sitting as Justice-General upon the bench, thus addressed the unfortunate Stewart before him: “If you had been successful in that rebellion, you might have been giving the law where you have now received the judgment of it; we, who are this day your judges, might have been tried before one of your mock courts of judicature; and then you might have been satiated with the blood of any name or clan to which you had an aversion.”
“This is to let the cat out of the bag, indeed,” thought I. And that was the general impression. It was extraordinary how the young advocate lads took hold and made a mock of this speech, and how scarce a meal passed but what some one would get in the words: “And then you might have been satiated.” Many songs were made in that time for the hour’s diversion, and are near all forgot. I remember one began:
What do ye want the bluid
of, bluid of?
Is it a name, or is it a clan,
Or is it an aefauld Hielandman,
That ye want the bluid of, bluid of?
Another went to my old favourite air, The House of Airlie, and began thus:
It fell on a day when Argyle
was on the bench,
That they served him a Stewart for his denner.