Serjeant Halted for Refreshments, pp.58-59.

[Tales of the Highlands Contents]

Clifford (Interrupting the Serjeant). – Gentlemen, I beg to remark, that I think it would be quite proper that we should refresh ourselves with food, whilst Mr. Patrick Stewart and his party are engaged in doing so. We shall thus save time, as must be self-evident to all, seeing that the action of the story is thus brought, for a little while, to a state of repose. Of bodily rest we have had enough, in all conscience – thanks to the length of Mister Archy’s yarn.

Grant. – I beg to second the motion of our worthy secretary, which, in my mind, is most sensible.

Clifford. – Methinks, then, that a slice or two from that cold round of beef, which I saw so carefully bestowed in the right hand pannier on the pony’s back, would come well in as an episode to Serjeant Stewart’s story. Here Davy, untruss, if you please.

Grant. – Spread the cloth before us here on the grass, and then lay out the eatables.

Clifford. – Now, methinks, we can more readily sympathise with Patrick Stewart and his people at their luncheon. But come, Davy; we must have something potable too.

Author. – Bring us one of those bottles from the pannier on the other side of the pony.

Clifford. – Aye, that’s right; something to wash the dust out of the serjeant’s throat would considerably improve his voice. What say you to my prescription, Archy?

Serjeant. – Troth, sir, you’re an excellent doctor. Well, here’s wishing all your good healths, gentlemen!

Author. – By the way, Clifford, how many trouts have you caught?

Clifford. – None of your jokes, my good friend. Why, you know very well that I have never made a single cast. Before I had time to give one throw over the stream, Archy hooked me here with the thread of his discourse, and here he has been reeling me out such a line, that I can plainly see it will be some time ere he can wind it up again so as to land me. Fish! – no, no, I may as well put up my rod at once, that we may all hear his Legend quietly to an end.

Author. – I think so, indeed.

Grant. – Well, Archy, when you think that your Patrick Stewart and his party have had their luncheon, and that you have satisfied your own hunger and thirst, we shall all be ready to listen to you.

Serjeant. – I am well served now, sir, and quite ready to proceed.

Clifford. – Spin away then, my gay fellow.

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