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Chapter 24
A Stag-Hunt, And Its Consequences
Shall this be a long or a short chapter?--This is a question in which you, gentle reader,
have no vote, however much you may be interested in the consequences; just as you may
(like myself) probably have nothing to do with the imposing a new tax, excepting the
trifling circumstance of being obliged to pay it. More happy surely in the present case,
since, though it lies within my arbitrary power to extend my materials as I think proper, I
cannot call you into Exchequer if you do not think proper to read my narrative. Let me
therefore consider. It is true, that the annals and documents in my hands say but little of
this Highland chase; but then I can find copious materials for description elsewhere.
There is old Lindsay of Pitscottie ready at my elbow, with his Athole hunting, and his
'lofted and joisted palace of green timber; with all kind of drink to be had in burgh and
land, as ale, beer, wine, muscadel, malvaise, hippocras, and aquavitae; with wheat-bread,
main-bread, ginge-bread, beef, mutton, lamb, veal, venison, goose, grice, capon, coney,
crane, swan, partridge, plover, duck, drake, brissel-cock, pawnies, black-cock, muir-fowl,
and capercailzies;' not forgetting the 'costly bedding, vaiselle, and napry,' and least of all
the 'excelling stewards, cunning barters, excellent cooks, and pottingars, with confections
and drugs for the desserts.' Besides the particulars which may be thence gleaned for this
Highland feast (the splendour of which induced the Pope's legate to dissent from an
opinion which he had hitherto held, that Scotland, namely, was the--the--the latter end of
the world)-- besides these, might I not illuminate my pages with Taylor the Water Poet's
hunting in the braes of Mar, where,
Through heather, mosse, 'mong frogs, and bogs, and fogs,
'Mongst craggy cliffs and thunder-battered hills,
Hares, hinds, bucks, roes, are chased by men and dogs,
Where two hours' hunting fourscore fat deer kills.
Lowland, your sports are low as is your seat;
The Highland games and minds are high and great.
But without further tyranny over my readers, or display of the extent of my own reading,
I shall content myself with borrowing a single incident from the memorable hunting at
Lude, commemorated in the ingenious Mr. Gunn's Essay on the Caledonian Harp, and so
proceed in my story with all the brevity that my natural style of composition, partaking of
what scholars call the periphrastic and ambagitory, and the vulgar the circumbendibus,
will permit me.
The solemn hunting was delayed, from various causes, for about three weeks. The
interval was spent by Waverley with great satisfaction at Glennaquoich; for the
impression which Flora had made on his mind at their first meeting grew daily stronger.
She was precisely the character to fascinate a youth of romantic imagination. Her
manners, her language, her talents for poetry and music, gave additional and varied
influence to her eminent personal charms. Even in her hours of gaiety, she was in his