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Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/243

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LORD DAVID DIRRY-MOIR.

the office of keeper of the stick, — which made that young man, boarded at the king's expense, by a natural revulsion of feeling an ardent adherent of the Stuarts. Lord David was for some time one of the hundred and seventy sword-bearers; afterwards, entering the corps of pensioners, he became one of the forty who bear the gilded halberd. He had, besides being one of the noble company instituted by Henry VIII. as a body-guard, the privilege of placing the dishes on the king's table. Thus it was that while his father was growing grey in exile, Lord David was prospering under Charles II. After which he prospered under James II. The king is dead: Long live the king! It is the non deficit alter, aureus.

It was on the accession of the Duke of York that the young man obtained permission to call himself David Lord Dirry-Moir, from an estate which he inherited from his mother (who had just died) in that great forest of Scotland, where lives the krag, a bird which scoops out a nest with its beak in the trunk of the oak.


II.

James II. was a king, and pretended to be a great general. He loved to surround himself with young officers. He showed himself frequently in public on horseback, in a helmet and cuirass, with a huge projecting wig hanging below the helmet and over the cuirass,—a sort of equestrian statue of imbecile war. He took a fancy to young Lord David; he liked the royalist for being the son of a republican. A renegade father does not injure the foundation of a court fortune. The king made Lord David gentleman of the bedchamber, at a salary of a thousand a year. It was a fine promotion. A gentleman of the bedchamber sleeps near the king