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He satisfied himself about the archbishop, the
dean, the precentor, the chancellor, the
sub-dean, the four archdeacons, the twenty-eight
prebendaries, the sub-chanter, the five
priest-vicars, the seven lay-clerks, the six choristers,
the four vergers, and the other officers and
servants of the little staff attached to the
cathedral; but he could not satisfy himself
about the Registry.

The uneasiness of Mr. Wallace's mind
increasing with the growth of his suspicion that
there must surely be a flaw in the old adage,
and that where there was a will (and a great
many wills) there was no way at all, he be-
took himself to the Cathedral-close. Passing
down an uncommonly pure, clean, tidy little
street, where the houses looked like a tasteful
sort of missionary-subscription-boxes, into
which subscribers of a larger growth were
expected to drop their money down the
chimneys, he came by a turnstile, into that
haven of rest, and looked about him.

"Do you know where the Registry is?" he
asked a farmer-looking man.

"The wa'at!" said he.

"The Registry; where they keep the wills?"

"A' dinnot know for shower," said the
farmer, looking round. "Ding! If I shoodn't
wondther if thot wur it!"

Mr. Wallace concealed his disparaging
appreciation of the farmer's judgment, when he
pointed with his ash-stick to a kind of shedsuch as is usually called a lean-tosqueezing
itself, as if it were (with very good reason)
ashamed, into the south-west corner of the
cross, which the ground-plan of the cathedral
forms, and sticking to it like a dirty little
pimple. But, what was his dismay, on going
thither to inquire, to discover that this actually
WAS the unimpeachable Registry; and that a
confined den within, which would have made
an indifferent chandler's shop, with a pestilent
little chimney in it, filling it with smoke
like a Lapland hut, was the "Searching
Office."

Mr. Wallace was soon taught that seven
thousand pounds per annum is, after all, but
a poor pittance for the Registrar of a simple
bishoprick, when calculated by the ecclesiastical
rule of three; for the registry of Cathedral
number two, produces to its fortunate
patentees twenty thousand per annum; about
ten thousand a year for the Registrar who
does nothing, and the like amount for his
Deputy who helps him.

The portentous personage to whom Mr.
Wallace was accredited, received him in state
in the small office surrounded by a Surrogate
(apparently retained on purpose to cross-
examine Mr. Wallace) and the clerks. Mr.
Wallace mentioned that he believed the
Archbishop had written to the Deputy Registrar to
afford him every facility in consulting the
documents under his charge. The Deputy
Registrar owned that the Archbishop had
done so, but declared that the Archbishop
had no jurisdiction whatever over him; and,
claiming as he did, complete immunity from,
and irresponsibility to, all human control, he
begged to say that his Grace the Archbishop,
in presuming to write to the high-authorities
of that unimpeachable Registry on such a
subject, had taken a very great liberty. Mr.
William Wallace inquired if that was to be
the answer he was expected to convey to the
Archbishop? bowed, and was about to retire,
when the awful Deputy recalled him. What
did he want to search for? Mr. Wallace
repeated that his object was wholly literary
and archaeological. The chief clerk who here
came in as a reinforcement, was so good as
to intimate that he "didn't believe a word of
it." Whereupon a strong opinion was added
that Mr. Wallace wanted surreptitiously to
obtain pedigrees, and to consult wills. A
powerful battery of cross-questionings was
then opened by the heavier authorities, aided
by a few shots from the light-bob, or skirmish-
ing partythe clerk. But had Mr. William
Wallace been his great ancestor, he could not
have held his position against such odds more
firmly. At length the preliminaries of a
treaty were proposed by the enemy, the terms
of which were that Mr. Wallace should be
allowed to consult any records dated before
the year one thousand four hundred! This
was demurred to as utterly useless. Negotiations
were then resumed, and the authorities
liberally threw in another century, out of
the fullness of a respect for the Archbishop,
which they had refrained from condescending
to express;—Mr. Wallace might consult
documents up to the year fifteen hundred.

With this munificent concession, Mr. Wal-
lace was obliged to be satisfied, and proceeded
to venture on another stipulation:—

The researches which he had proposed to
himself at this Cathedral number two, were
elaborate and complicated; they would require
such facilities as had been asked on his behalf
by the Archbishop. Could he have access to
the documents themselves?

The effect which this simple request pro-
duced in the office, was prodigious! A small
schoolboy who should, at dinner, ask for a
piece of the master's apple-pie; or a drummer
on parade, who should solicit from his captain
a loan of five shillings, could not produce
a more sublime degree of indignant astonishment,
than that which glared through the
smoke from the faces of the deputy-registrar,
the surrogate, the chief clerk, and all the junior
clerks, then and there assembled. The effect
produced amounted to temporary petrefaction;
the principals neither spoke nor moved; the
subordinates left off writing and poking the
fire. So superlative was the audacity of the
request, that it paralysed the pendulum of that
small, rusty, dusty, smoky old ecclesiastical
clock, and stopped the works!

Refusal in words was not vouchsafed to Mr.
William Wallace; neither did he need that
condescension. The silent but expressive
pantomime was enough. As the Eastern culprit

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