Duncan and Banquo rode side by side as they approached Inverness.
‘This castle is pleasantly situated,’ said Duncan. ‘The air appeals to my senses.’
‘Look,’ said Banquo. ‘Swifts have built their nests here – proof of the delicacy and freshness of the air. See, there’s no jut, frieze, buttress or corner that these birds haven’t used. I’ve noticed that wherever they breed the air is delicate.’
Lady Macbeth ran out to meet them.
‘See, see, our honoured hostess!’ exclaimed Duncan.
A dozen grooms came to help them. The courtyard was swept so clean that one could see the great grey stones that paved it. Duncan smiled. ‘People take so much trouble over my entertainment. It can be a problem but I do appreciate it.’ He kissed his hostess.
‘Anything I could do, doubled and then doubled again, would be nothing compared with the honours your Majesty piles on our house. For everything you’ve done in the past and now these new honours, we are deeply in your debt.’
Duncan looked around. ‘Where’s the Thane of Cawdor? We tried to catch him but he rides fast. He’s got something special to come home to, which helps his speed.’ Duncan looked admiringly at Lady Macbeth.
‘Beautiful and gracious hostess, we are your guest tonight.’
‘We are your servants,’ said Lady Macbeth. ‘Everything in our home is yours.’
‘Give me your hand,’ said Duncan. ‘Conduct me to my host. We love him greatly and will continue our favours to him. Lead the way, if you please, hostess.’