Howsever, when a' was o'er, and I could discern that ye were mindet to keep the guildry, I thought, after the wreck o' my provision concern, I might throw mair bread on the water and not find it, than by a bit jaunt to London to see how my honourable friend, the nabob, was coming on in his place in parliament, as I saw none of his speeches in the newspaper.

Having convinced the bailie that Mr Pittle had already, as it were, a sort of infeoffment in the kirk, I called in the evening on my old predecessor in the guildry, Bailie M'Lucre, who was not a hand to be so easily dealt with; but I knew his inclinations, and therefore I resolved to go roundly to work with him.

But although the government candidate in this manner won the day, yet I was so displeased by the jookerie of the bailie, and the selfish manner by which he had himself reaped all the advantage of the election in the sale of his potatoes, that we had no correspondence on public affairs till long after; so that he never had the face to ask me to give up the guildry, till I resigned it of my own accord after the renewal of the tacks to which I have alluded, by the which renewals, a great increase was effected in the income of the town.

This bred no small consideration among us; and I was somehow a thought uneasy thereat, not knowing what the bailie, now that he was out of the guildry, might be saying anent the use and wont that had been practised therein, and never more than in his own time. At length, the babe was born.

Therefore, without seeming to have any foresight concerning the lands that were coming on to be out of lease, I set myself to constrain Mr M'Lucre to give up the guildry, as it were, of his own free-will; and what helped me well to this, was a rumour that came down from London, that there was to be a dissolution of the parliament.

It is but a narrow stair, and you can keep the door with a pike, while I look from the window, and get together some of my brisk boys of the curriers' guildry of Liege, that are as true as the knives they wear in their girdles.

It's true I'm but a novice in public affairs, and with the mystery of the guildry quite unacquaint if, however, you could be persuaded to allow yourself to be made a bailie, I would, subject to your directions, undertake the office of dean of guild, and all this might be so concerted between us, that nobody would ken the nature of our paction for, to be plain with you, it's no to be hoped that such a young counsellor as myself can reasonably expect to be raised, so soon as next Michaelmas, to the magistracy, and there is not another in the council that I would like to see chosen delegate at the election but yourself."

"What! my lively young Archer?" said the worthy Syndic. "Nay, if it has been my fate to find a friend in this fearful night, I will not quit him, I promise you. Go where you will, I follow, and could I get some of the tight lads of our guildry together, I might be able to help you in turn, but they are all squandered abroad like so many pease. Oh, it is a fearful night!"

Thus had I the great satisfaction of going to my repose as a private citizen with a very handsome silver cup, bearing an inscription in the Latin tongue, of the time I had been in the council, guildry, and magistracy; and although, in the outset of my public life, some of my dealings may have been leavened with the leaven of antiquity, yet, upon the whole, it will not be found, I think, that, one thing weighed with another, I have been an unprofitable servant to the community.

Something more explicit might have ensued at that time; but Bailie M'Lucre and Mr Sharpset, who was the dean of guild, had been for about the space of half an hour carrying on a vehement argument anent some concern of the guildry, in which, coming to high words, and both being beguiled and ripened into folly by the earl's wine, they came into such a manifest quarrel, that Mr Sharpset pulled off the bailie's best wig, and flung it with a damn into the fire: the which stramash caused my lord to end the sederunt; but none of the magistrates, save myself, was in a condition to go with his lordship to My Lady in the drawing-room.