Upon The Same Subject
Fergus Mac-Ivor had too much tact and delicacy to renew the subject which he had
interrupted. His head was, or appeared to be, so full of guns, broadswords, bonnets,
canteens, and tartan hose, that Waverley could not for some time draw his attention to
any other topic.
'Are you to take the field so soon, Fergus,' he asked, 'that you are making all these martial
'When we have settled that you go with me, you shall know all; but otherwise, the
knowledge might rather be prejudicial to you.'
'But are you serious in your purpose, with such inferior forces, to rise against an
established government? It is mere frenzy.'
'LAISSEZ FAIRE A DON ANTOINE--I shall take good care of myself. We shall at least
use the compliment of Conan, who never got a stroke but he gave one. I would not,
however,' continued the Chieftain, 'have you think me mad enough to stir till a favourable
opportunity: I will not slip my dog before the game's afoot. But once more, will you join
with us, and you shall know all?'
'How can I?' said Waverley; 'I who have so lately held that commission which is now
posting back to those that gave it? My accepting it implied a promise of fidelity, and an
acknowledgement of the legality of the government.
'A rash promise,' answered Fergus, 'is not a steel handcuff; it may be shaken off,
especially when it was given under deception, and has been repaid by insult. But if you
cannot immediately make up your mind to a glorious revenge, go to England, and ere you
cross the Tweed, you will hear tidings that will make the world ring; and if Sir Everard be
the gallant old cavalier I have heard him described by some of our HONEST gentlemen
of the year one thousand seven hundred and fifteen, he will find you a better horse-troop
and a better cause than you have lost.'
'But your sister, Fergus?'
'Out, hyperbolical fiend,' replied the Chief, laughing; 'how vexest thou this man!--
Speak'st thou of nothing but of ladies?'
'Nay, be serious, my dear friend,' said Waverley; 'I feel that the happiness of my future
life must depend upon the answer which Miss Mac-Ivor shall make to what I ventured to
tell her this morning.'