Barnaby was so intent upon his favourite, that he was not at first aware of the approach of two persons on horseback, who were riding at a foot-pace, and coming straight towards his post. When he perceived them, however, which he did when they were within some fifty yards of him, he jumped hastily up, and ordering Grip within doors, stood with both hands on his staff, waiting until he should know whether they were friends or foes.

He had hardly done so, when he observed that those who advanced were a gentleman and his servant; almost at the same moment he recognised Lord George Gordon, before whom he stood uncovered, with his eyes turned towards the ground.

‘Good day!’ said Lord George, not reining in his horse until he was close beside him. ‘Well!’

‘All quiet, sir, all safe!’ cried Barnaby. ‘The rest are away— they went by that path—that one. A grand party!’

‘Ay?’ said Lord George, looking thoughtfully at him. ‘And you?’

‘Oh! They left me here to watch—to mount guard—to keep everything secure till they come back. I’ll do it, sir, for your sake. You’re a good gentleman; a kind gentleman—ay, you are. There are many against you, but we’ll be a match for them, never fear!’

‘What’s that?’ said Lord George—pointing to the raven who was peeping out of the stable-door—but still looking thoughtfully, and in some perplexity, it seemed, at Barnaby.

‘Why, don’t you know!’ retorted Barnaby, with a wondering laugh. ‘Not know what he is! A bird, to be sure. My bird—my friend— Grip.’

‘A devil, a kettle, a Grip, a Polly, a Protestant, no Popery!’ cried the raven.

‘Though, indeed,’ added Barnaby, laying his hand upon the neck of Lord George’s horse, and speaking softly: ‘you had good reason to ask me what he is, for sometimes it puzzles me—and I am used to him—to think he’s only a bird. He’s my brother, Grip is—always with me—always talking—always merry—eh, Grip?’

The raven answered by an affectionate croak, and hopping on his master’s arm, which he held downward for that purpose, submitted with an air of perfect indifference to be fondled, and turned his restless, curious eye, now upon Lord George, and now upon his man.

Lord George, biting his nails in a discomfited manner, regarded Barnaby for some time in silence; then beckoning to his servant, said, ‘Come hither, John.’

John Grueby touched his hat, and came.

‘Have you ever seen this young man before?’ his master asked in a low voice.

‘Twice, my lord,’ said John. ‘I saw him in the crowd last night and Saturday.’

‘Did—did it seem to you that his manner was at all wild or strange?’ Lord George demanded, faltering.

‘Mad,’ said John, with emphatic brevity.

‘And why do you think him mad, sir?’ said his master, speaking in a peevish tone. ‘Don’t use that word too freely. Why do you think him mad?’

‘My lord,’ John Grueby answered, ‘look at his dress, look at his eyes, look at his restless way, hear him cry “No Popery!” Mad, my lord.’

  By PanEris using Melati.

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