A large glass of claret was offered to Mannering, who drank it to the health of the reigning prince. "You are, I presume to guess," said the monarch, "that celebrated Sir Miles Mannering, so renowned in the French wars, and may well pronounce to us if the wines of Gascony lose their flavour in our more northern realm."
Mannering, agreeably flattered by this allusion to the fame of his celebrated ancestor, replied, by professing himself only a distant relation of the preux chevalier, and added, "that in his opinion the wine was superlatively good."
"It's owre cauld for my stamach," said Dinmont, setting down the glass (empty, however).
"We will correct that quality," answered King Paulus, the first of the name; "we have not forgotten that the moist and humid air of our valley of Liddel inclines to stronger potations.--Seneschal, let our faithful yeoman have a cup of brandy; it will be more germain to the matter."
"And now," said Mannering, "since we have unwarily intruded upon your majesty at a moment of mirthful retirement, be pleased to say when you will indulge a stranger with an audience on those affairs of weight which have brought him to your northern capital."
The monarch opened Mac-Morlan's letter, and, running it hastily over, exclaimed, with his natural voice and. manner, "Lucy Bertram of Ellangowan, poor dear lassie!"
"A forfeit! a forfeit!" exclaimed a dozen voices; his majesty has forgot his kingly character."
"Not a whit! not a whit!" replied the king; "I'll be judged by this courteous knight. May not a monarch love a maid of low degree? Is not King Cophetua and the Beggar-maid, an adjudged case in point?"