Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/234

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160
ENGLISH CARICATURISTS.

sented himself in the saloons of Holyrood. His majesty's Celtic toilette had been carefully watched and assisted by the gallant Laird of Garth, who was not a little proud of the result of his dexterous manipulations of the rough plaid, and pronounced the king 'a vara pretty man.' And he did look a most stately and imposing person in that beautiful dress; but his satisfaction therein was cruelly disturbed when he discovered, towering and blazing among and above the genuine Glengarries and Macleods and MacGregors, a figure even more portly than his own, equipped from a sudden impulse of loyal ardour in an equally complete set of the self-same conspicuous Stewart tartans:—

'He caught Sir William Curtis in a kilt—
While throng'd the chiefs of every Highland clan
To hail their brother, Vich Ian Alderman.'[1]

In truth this portentous apparition cast an air of ridicule and caricature over the whole of Sir Walter's celtified pageantry. A sharp little bailie from Aberdeen, who had previously made acquaintance with the worthy Guildhall baronet, and tasted the turtle soup of his voluptuous yacht, tortured him as he sailed down the long gallery of Holyrood, by suggesting that after all his costume was not quite perfect. Sir William, who had been rigged out, as the auctioneer's advertisements say, 'regardless of expense,' exclaimed that he must be mistaken, begged he would explain his criticism, and, as he spoke, threw a glance of admiration on his skene dhu (black knife), which, like a true 'warrior and hunter of deer,' he wore stuck into one of his garters. 'Oo ay! Oo ay!' quoth the Aberdonian; 'the knife's a' right, mon—but faar's your speen?' (where's your spoon?) Such was Scott's story; but whether he 'gave it a cocked hat and walking cane,' in the hope of restoring the king's good humour, so grievously shaken by this heroical doppel ganger, it is not very necessary to inquire."[2]

Which indeed of the absurd pair looked the most ridiculous it

  1. Byron's "Age of Bronze."
  2. Lockhart's "Life of Scott," vol. v. p. 203.