The obsequious host of the Hereward Arms called him “my lord,” and inquired after his gracious parents, the duke and the duchess.
John Scott did not actually deceive the people as to his identity, but he tacitly allowed them to deceive themselves. He did not tell them that he was the Marquis of Arondelle; neither did he contradict them when they called him so. Nor did his conscience reproach him for his silent duplicity. He said to himself:
“I am the rightful Marquis of Arondelle. They do but give me my own just title! If this comes to the ears of the duke and brings on a crisis, I will tell him so!”
While he was in the neighborhood, he went up to Ben Lone on a fishing excursion, and there, as elsewhere, on the Scottish estate, he was everywhere received as the Marquis of Arondelle. There John Scott first met by accident the handsome shepherdess, Rose Cameron, and fell in love for the first time in his young life.
We have already seen how the Highland maiden, flattered by the notice of the supposed young nobleman, encouraged those attentions without returning that love.
After this, John Scott spent all his holidays at Lone, and much of them in the society of the handsome shepherdess. His attentions in that direction were regarded with strong disapproval by his father’s tenantry, but it was not their place to censure their supposed “young lord,” and so they only expressed their sentiments with grave shaking of their heads.
During the progress of the work, the ducal family never came to Lone, so that the tenantry there were never set right as to the identity of John Scott.
Only once the duke made a visit, to inspect the progress of the workmen. He stopped at the Hereward Arms, and there heard nothing of the pranks of John Scott, although, upon one occasion, he came very near doing so.
The landlord respectfully inquired if they should have the young marquis up there as usual.
The duke stared for a moment, and then answered:
“You are mistaken. Arondelle does not come up here. Whatever are you thinking of, my man?”
The host said he was mistaken, that was all, and so got himself out of his dilemma the best way he could, and took the first opportunity to warn all his dependents and followers that they were not to “blow” on the young marquis.
“He was an unco wild lad, nae doobt, but his feyther kenned naething about his pranks, and sae the least said, sunest mended,” said the landlord.
And thus, by the pranks of his “double,” the reputation of the excellent young Marquis of Arondelle suffered among his own people.
But a crisis was at hand.
The debts of John Scott increased every year, while the ready means of the Duke of Hereward diminished—everything being engulfed by the Lone restoration maelstrom.