Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/245

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
213
LORD DAVID DIRRY-MOIR.

paigns, and with glory; for he was a gallant soldier. He was a brave lord, well-made, handsome, generous, and majestic in look and in manner. His person was like his quality. He was tall in stature, as well as exalted in birth. At one time he stood a chance of being made groom of the stole, which would have given him the privilege of putting the king's shirt on his Majesty: but to hold that office it was necessary to be either prince or peer. Now, to create a peer is a serious thing, inasmuch as it is first necessary to create a peerage; and that makes many people jealous. It is a favour,—but a favour that gains the king one friend and one hundred enemies, without taking into account that the one friend becomes ungrateful. James II. was not inclined to create peerages, but he transferred them freely. The transfer of a peerage produces no sensation; it is simply the continuation of a name. The friendly monarch had no objection to raising Lord David Dirry-Moir to the upper house, provided he could do so by means of a substituted peerage. Nothing would have pleased his Majesty better than to transform Lord David Dirry-Moir lord by courtesy into a lord by right.


III.

The opportunity occurred. One day it was announced that several things had happened to the old exile Lord Clancharlie, the most important of which was that he had died. Death does men this much good,—it makes them the subject of conversation for a time. People told what they knew, or what they thought they knew, about the last years of Lord Linnæus. What they said was probably a mixture of hearsay and conjecture. If these tales were to be credited, Lord Clancharlie's republicanism was intensified towards the end of his days to the