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and made him an imperative and silent gesture with his thumb, and with the strange instinct of obedience, Archie followed him into the house.
All dinner time there reigned over the Judge's table a palpable silence, and as soon as the solids were despatched he rose to his feet.
"McKillup, tak’ the wine into my room,” said he ; and then to his son : "Archie, you and me has to have a talk.”
It was at this sickening moment that Archie's courage, for the first and last time, entirely deserted him. “I have an appointment,” said he.
“It'll have to be broken, then,” said Hermiston, and led the way into his study.
The lamp was shaded, the fire trimmed to a nicety, the table covered deep with orderly documents, the backs of law books made a frame upon all sides that was only broken by the window and the doors.
For a moment Herniston warmed his hands at the fire, presenting his back to Archie; then suddenly disclosed on him the terrors of the Hanging Face.
“What's this I hear of ye !” he asked. There was no answer possible to Archie.
"I'll have to tell ye, then,” pursued Hermiston. “It seems ve've been skirling* against the father that begot ye, and one of his Maijesty's Judges in this land ; and that in the public street, and while an order of the Court was being executit. Forbye which, it would appear that ye’ve been airing your opeenions in a Coallege Debatin' Society," he paused a moment: and then, with extraordinay bitterness, added : “Ye damned eediot."
“I had meant to tell you,” stammered Archie. "I see you are well informed.”
" Muckle obleeged to ye,” said his lordship, and took his usual seat. "And so you disapprove of Caapital Punishment ? ” he added.
“I am sorry, sir, I do," said Archie.
“I am sorry, too,” said his lordship. “ And now, if you please, we shall approach this business with a little more parteçcularity. I hear that at the hanging of Duncan Jopp—and, man! ye had a fine client there—in the middle of all the riffraff of the ceety, ye thought fit to cry out, “This is a damned murder, and my gorge rises at the man that haangit him.''
* Crying out.
"No, sir, these were not my words," cried Archie. “What were ye'r words, then ?” asked the Judge.
“I believe I said I denounce it as a murder!'" said the son. “I beg your pardon-a God-defying murder. I have no wish to conceal the truth," he added, and looked his father for a moment in the face.
"God, it would only need that of it next!” cried Hermiston. " There was nothing about your gorge rising, then ?”
"That was afterwards, my lord, as I was leaving the Speculative. I said I had been to see the miserable creature hanged, and my gorge rose at it.”
"Did ye, though ?” said Hermiston. “And I suppose ye knew who haangit him ?"
"I was present at the trial, 1 ought to tell you that, I ought to explain. I ask your pardon beforehand for any expression that may seem undutiful. The position in which I stand is wretched,” said the unhappy hero, now fairly face to face with the business he had chosen. “ I have been reading some of
I was present while Jopp was tried. It was a hideous business. Father, it was a hideous thing! Grant he was vile, why should you hunt him with a vileness equal to his own ? It was done with glee—that is the word—you did it with glee ; and I looked on, God help me! with horror.”
"You're a young gentleman that does nae approve of Caapital Punishment,” said Hermiston. “Weel, I'm an auld man that does. I was glad to get Jopp haangit, and what for would I pretend I wasnae ? You're all for honesty, it seems; you couldn't even steik* your mouth on the public street. What for should I steik mines upon the bench, the King's officer, bearing the sword, a dreid to evil-doers, as I was from the beginning, and as I will be to the end ! Mair than enough of it! Heedious! I never gave twa thoughts to heediousness, I have no call to be bonny. I'm a man that gets through with my day's business, and let that suffice."
The ring-of sarcasm had died out of his voice as he went on; the plain words became invested with some of the dignity of the Justice-seat.
" It would be telling you* if you could say as much,” the speaker resumed. But ye cannot.
ye cannot. Ye've been reading some of my cases, ye say. But it was not for the law in them, it was to spy out your faither's nakedness, a fine employment in a son. You're splairging ;t you're running at lairge in life like a wild nowt. I It's impossible you should think any longer of coming to the Bar. You're not fit for it; no splairger is. And another thing : son of mines or no son of mines, you have flung fylements in public on one of the Senators of the Coallege of Justice, and I would make it my business to see that ye were never admitted there yourself. There is a kind of a decency to be observit. Then comes the next of it—what am I to do with ye next ? Ye'll have to find some kind of a trade, for I'll never support ye in idleset. What do ye fancy ye'll be fit for ? The pulpit ? Na, they could never get diveenity into that bloackhead. Him that the law of man whammles is no likely to do muckle better by the law of God. What would ye make of hell ? Wouldnae your gorge rise at that ? Na, there's no room for splairgers under the fower quarters of John Calvin. What else is there ? Speak up. Have ye got nothing of your own ?
“Father, let me go to the Peninsula,” said Archie. " That's all I'm fit for—to fight.”
"All ? quo' he !” returned the Judge. “And it would be enough too, if I thought it. But I'll never trust ye so near the French, you that's so Frenchifeed."
“ You do me injustice there, sir,” said Archie. “I am loyal ; I will not boast ; but any interest I may have ever felt in the French
"Have ye been so loyal to me ? ” interrupted his father. There came no reply.
“I think not,” continued Hermiston. “And I would send no man to be a servant to the King, God bless him ! that has proved such a shauchlings son to his own faither. You can splairge here on Edinburgh street, and where's the hairm ? It A good thing for you. † Splashing, scattering mud.
* Ox. $ Obloquy l'psets.
doesnae play buff on me! And if there were twenty thousand eediots like yourself, sorrow a Duncan Jopp would hang the fewer. But there's no splairging possible in a camp ; and if you were to go to it, you would find out for yourself whether Lord Well’n’ton approves of caapital punishment or not. You a sodger!” he cried, with a sudden burst of scorn. “Ye auld wife, the sodjers would bray at ye like cuddies !”
As at the drawing of a curtain, Archie was aware of some illogicality in his position, and stood abashed. He had a strong impression, besides, of the essential valour of the old gentleman before him, how conveyed it would be hard to say.
"Well, have ye no other proposeetion ?" said my lord again.
“You have taken this so calmly, sir, that I cannot but stand ashamed," began Archie.
“ I'm nearer voamiting, though, than you would fancy,” said
The blood rose to Archie's brow. “I beg your pardon, I should have said that you had accepted
I admit it was an affront; I did not think to apologise, but I do, I ask your pardon ; it will not be so again, I
pass you my word of honour. I should have said that I admired your magnanimity with-this-offender,” Archie concluded with a gulp.
“I have no other son, ye see,” said Hermiston. “A bonny one I have gotten ! But I must just do the best I can wi' him, and what am I to do ? If ye had been younger, I would have wheepit ye for this rideeculous exhibeetion. The way it is, I have just to grin and bear. But one thing is to be clearly understood. As a faither, I must grin and bear it ; but if I had been the Lord Advocate instead of the Lord Justice-Clerk, son or no son, Mr. Erchibald Weir would have been in a jyle the night."
Archie was now dominated. Lord Hermiston was coarse and cruel ; and yet the son was aware of a bloomless nobility, an ungracious abnegation of the man's self in the man's office. At every word, this sense of the greatness of Lord Hermiston's spirit struck mote home ; and along with it that of his own impotence, who had struck--and perhaps basely struck-at his own father, and not reached so far as to have even nettled him. “ I place myself in your hands without reserve,” he said.
“That's the first sensible word I've had of ye the night,” said Hermiston. • I can tell
ye, that would have been the end of it, the one way or the other ; but it's better ye should come there yourself, than what I would have had to hirstle ye. Weel, by my way of it-and my way is the best—there's just the one thing it's possible that ye might be with decency, and that's a laird.* Ye'll be out of hairm's way at the least of it. If ye have to rowt,+ ye can rowt amang the kye; and the maist fecki of the caapital punishment ye're like to come across 'll be guddling trouts. Now, I'm for no idle lairdies ; every man has to work, if it's only at peddling ballants ;ş to work, or to be wheeped, or to be haangit. If I set ye down at Hermiston, I'll have to see you work that place the way it has never been workit yet ; ye must ken about the sheep like a herd ; ye must be my grieve there, and I'll see that I gain by ye. Is that understood ? "
“I will do my best," said Archie.
“Well, then, I'll send Kirstie word the morn, and ye can go yourself the day after,” said Hermiston. “And just try to be less of an eеdiot !” he concluded, with a freezing smile, and turned immediately to the papers on his desk.
OPINION OF THE BENCH.
LATE the same night, after a disordered walk, Archie was admitted into Lord Glenalmond's dining-room where he sat, with a book upon his knee, beside three frugal coals of fire. In his robes upon the bench, Glenalmond had a certain air of burliness : plucked of these, it was a may-pole of a man that rose unsteadily from his chair to give his visitor welcome. Archie had suffered much in the last days, he had suffered again that evening ; his face was white and drawn, his eyes wild and dark. But Lord Glenalmond greeted him without the least mark of surprise or curiosity.
“Come in, come in," said he. “ Come in and take a seat. Carstairs ” (to his servant)
(to his servant) “make up the fire, and then you Country gentleman. † Roar, rant. # Quantity, portion. $ Ballads.