The Master endeavoured, in vain, to make Caleb comprehend that the butler’s incurring the responsibility of debts in his own person would rather add to than remove the objections which he had to their being contracted. He spoke to a premier too busy in devising ways and means to puzzle himself with refuting the arguments offered against their justice or expediency.
“There’s Eppie Sma’trash will trust us for ale,” said Caleb to himself —“she has lived a’ her life under the family — and maybe wi’ a soup brandy; I canna say for wine — she is but a lone woman, and gets her claret by a runlet at a time; but I’ll work a wee drap out o’ her by fair means or foul. For doos, there’s the doocot; there will be poultry amang the tenants, though Luckie Chirnside says she has paid the kain twice ower. We’ll mak shift, an it like your honour — we’ll mak shift;Football Adjustable Hats
keep your heart abune, for the house sall haud its credit as lang as auld Caleb is to the fore.”
The entertainment which the old man’s exertions of various kinds enabled him to present to the young gentlemen for three or four days was certainly of no splendid description, but it may readily be believed it was set before no critical guests; and even the distresses, excuses, evasions, and shifts of Caleb afforded amusement to the young men, and added a sort fo interest to the scrambling and irregular style of their table. They had indeed occasion to seize on every circumstance that might serve to diversify or enliven time, which otherwise passed away so heavily.
Bucklaw, shut out from his usual field-sports and joyous carouses by the necessity of remaining concealed within the walls of the castle, became a joyless and uninteresting companion. When the Master of Ravenswood would no longer fence or play at shovel-board; when he himself had polished to the extremity the coat of his palfrey with brush, curry comb, and hair-cloth; when he had seen him eat his provender, and gently lie down in his stall, he could hardly help envying the animal’s apparent acquiescence in a life so monotonous. “The stupid brute,” he said, “thinks neither of the race-ground or the hunting-field, or his green paddock at Bucklaw, but enjoys himself as comfortably when haltered to the rack in this ruinous vault, as if he had been foaled in it; and, I who have the freedom of a prisoner at large, to range through the dungeons of this wretched old tower, can hardly, betwixt whistling and sleeping, contrive to pass away the hour till dinner-time.”
And with this disconsolate reflection, he wended his way to the bartizan or battlements of the tower, to watch what objects might appear on the distant moor, or to pelt, with pebbles and pieces of lime,MLB Have Size Hat
the sea-mews and cormorants which established themselves incautiously within the reach of an idle young man.