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And nae wonder nor it shou'd be sae, for I was nae less than sax weeks in Lunnon itsell about aughteen years syne, whare I gathered the tongue, as likewise thae manners which hae acquired for me the appellation of the feenished man.”-Asimper of great self-approbation followed this speech.
“ I am glad, Bailie," said Macgillivray with an air of gravity, evidently intended to bring him out-“ I am very glad that you are here, were it only to show our English guests, that we are not all barbarians in this country.”
“ Hout fye, hout fye, Maister Macgillivray !~ barbarians !--na truly, though we do leeve in the North, we're no just that neither ;-there's mony a ane o' us has traivelled, there's you hae been in Italy—and Maister Macflae in the Wast Indians—and Dr Partenclaw there, forbye monyither voyages, was aince at the Greenland fishing—no to crack o' mysell being in Lunnon.”
“ Upon few people, however, are the advantages of travel so apparent as upon the elegant Mr Sparrowpipe," said Macgillivray. “ But then nature, Sir,-nature is everything."
“ Troth that's true eneugh,” replied Sparrowpipe_“I had aye a sort o' genty cast about me -I mind verra weil that Sally Hopkins, the dancin' master's dochter in Threadneedle Street, used aye to say that o' me; and her father, wha was a verra gude judge o' siccan matters, used to declare, that I could mak as bonny a boo as ony Lord o' the bed-chammer."
“ I have no doubt of that, Bailie," said Macgillivray—“ you are still remarkable for your talent that way, which indeed has rather improved than otherwise, and is perhaps one of the causes of your being such a terrible fellow
“ Hout fye, hout fye, Maister Macgillivray," said the Bailie, stretching his long neck and nose across the table like a goose, with a simper of ineffable delight upon his face;
ye are pleas ed for to flatter me, Sir,--that is to say-I mean --ye wrang me sair, Sir-I dinna deserve nae siccan character.—But an I do," added he, looking down, or rather inwards upon his yellow waistcoat, with manifest satisfaction," ane canna help ane’s attraction, ye ken."
“ Aye, aye,” said the Baronet—“ very true, Mr Sparrowpipe,-the rose cannot be blamed for its fragrance."
“ Nor good claret for its seducing flavour," said Cleaver, who now for the first time had found leisure to speak, and putting a brimming flagon to his head, he tossed it off to wash down the immense mass of dried fish he had swallowed.
“ Come now, Bailie,” cried Sir Alisander“ give us a toast,-give us one of the many beauties on your list !"
“ I'll give ye—I'll give," said the Bailie, with some hesitation, and looking upwards to the rafters, as if appealing to them for aid in making his selection—" I'll give ye-Miss Louisa Matilda Mactavish, a young leddy that maist o' verra weil ; she's a lovely lassie, and I'll drink a mutchkin stoup till her.”
“ Say more, Bailie !" roared out young Barklay o' Blutterbog; “ I can't consent to yield her to ye so easily,—she's a particular favourite of mine."
Blutterbog's speech was received with a general cheer, resembling that species of applause which runs round an English ring when a brace of bruisers have agreed to pit themselves for a match at milling. The Bailie, however, seemed
now like a snail that draws in its horns on the approach of something from which it apprehends danger; he felt that he was in a scrape, and he wished to recede if possible. The rule on such occasions of Bacchanalian challenge was, that as the party who proposed the toast drank a bumper, so he who advanced an equal claim to the lady, by the words " say more !"-was obliged to drink a double bumper,—after which the first drank double that, and the other that again doubled, and so on alternately, doubling the quantity of the draught every time, until one or other of the parties gave in, or was fairly floored. To Blutterbog, who had already swallowed gallons, and whose capacious throat was gaping for gallons more, this contest was mere sport. But the bilious Bailie of the Borough, though he had no objections to a long tipple where he was permitted to do as he liked, and where he had listeners to his long love stories, felt that such a deluge of drink as now threatened him would be death to him—He grew doubly pale at the very thought.
“ I'm no just preceesely inclined to gang a' that length for the lass, Maister Barklay o' Blutterbog," said the Bailie, screwed up by vexation to the highest pitch of his soprano.—“She's a bonny lass eneugh I maun confess till ye,—but she's no just ane that taks my fancy naither.”
“ Fire and fury, Sir, why did you toast her then ?” cried the impetuous bullyboy of a laird.
“ Troth, Blutterbog,” said the Bailie, now alarmed for something more than his stomach, “I kenna preceesely how it was I happened on her-I'm sure I had fifty mair i' my head to pick and chuse amang-and I'm far frae wishing to come in your way. But I hae siccan a compassionate heart !-an' the lassie, puir thing, is aye glowrin frae her windows at me, as I gae by in state till the kirk on Sabbath days, wi’ the townoffishers an' their red coats and muckle halberts afore me and she aye giggles for to see meshe canna help fa'in' in fancy wi' me ye ken, an? sae
“ Fancy with you, ye damnd sneaking coil of list !" interrupted Blutterbog, to whom the lady in question was privately affianced at the time-“ Tis false, ye yard of staytape !"
The Bailie glided lengthways under the table