Let's no' make this langsome, MacTaggart. Lady Merritt is weary, and as you know, I'm no' one to stand on ceremony."
"'Tis a haisty affair, aye?" the sheriff observed, some of his good cheer fading as he looked around the room. "No flowers? No candles?"
"No, and also no ring," Keir informed him. "Let us say our pledge, give us the certificate, and we'll have done with it in time for supper."
MacTaggart clearly didn't appreciate the younger man's cavalier attitude. "You'll be having no signed paper until I make certain 'tis done legal," he said, squaring his shoulders. "First... do ye ken there's a fine if you've no' posted banns?"
"'Tis no' a church wedding," Keir said.
"The law says without the banns, 'tis a fine of fifty pounds." As Keir gave him an outraged glance, the sheriff added firmly, "No exceptions."
"What if I give you a bottle of whisky?" Keir asked.
"Fine is waived," MacTaggart said promptly. "Now, then... do the rest of you agree to stand as witnesses?"
Ethan and the Slorachs all nodded.
"I'll start, then," Keir said briskly, and took Merritt's hand. "I, Keir MacRae, do swear that I--"
"No' yet," the sheriff interrupted, now scowling. "'Tis my obligation to ask a few questions first."
"MacTaggart, so help me---" Keir began in annoyance, but Merritt squeezed his hand gently. He heaved a sigh and clamped his mouth shut.
The sheriff resumed with great dignity. "Are the both of you agreeable to be wed?"
"Aye," Keir said acidly.
"Yes," Merritt replied.