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Chapter 10Rose Bradwardine And Her Father
Miss Bradwardine was but seventeen; yet, at the last races of the county town of --, upon her health being proposed among a round of beauties, the Laird of Bumperquaigh, permanent feast-master and croupier of the Bautherwhillery Club, not only said MORE to the pledge in a pint bumper of Bourdeaux, but, ere pouring forth the libation, denominated the divinity to whom it was dedicated, 'the Rose of Tully-Veolan;' upon which festive occasion, three cheers were given by all the sitting members of that respectable society, whose throats the wine had left capable of such exertion. Nay, I am well assured, that the sleeping partners of the company snorted applause, and that although strong bumpers and weak brains had consigned two or three to the floor, yet even these, fallen as they were from their high estate, and weltering --I will carry the parody no further--uttered divers inarticulate sounds, intimating their assent to the motion.
Such unanimous applause could not be extorted but by acknowledged merit; and Rose Bradwardine not only deserved it, but also the approbation of much more rational persons than the Bautherwhillery Club could have mustered, even before discussion of the first MAGNUM. She was indeed a very pretty girl of the Scotch cast of beauty, that is, with a profusion of hair of paley gold, and a skin like the snow of her own mountains in whiteness. Yet she had not a pallid or pensive cast of countenance; her features, as well as her temper, had a lively expression; her complexion, though not florid, was so pure as to seem transparent, and the slightest emotion sent her whole blood at once to her face and neck. Her form, though under the common size, was remarkably elegant, and her motions light, easy, and unembarrassed. She came from another part of the garden to receive Captain Waverley, with a manner that hovered between bashfulness and courtesy.
The first greetings past, Edward learned from her that the dark hag, which had somewhat puzzled him in the butler's account of his master's avocations, had nothing to do either with a black cat or a broomstick, but was simply a portion of oak copse which was to be felled that day. She offered, with diffident civility, to show the stranger the way to the spot, which, it seems, was not far distant; but they were prevented by the appearance of the Baron of Bradwardine in person, who, summoned by David Gellatley, now appeared, 'on hospitable thoughts intent,' clearing the ground at a prodigious rate with swift and long strides, which reminded Waverley of the seven-league boots of the nursery fable. He was a tall, thin, athletic figure; old indeed, and grey- haired, but with every muscle rendered as tough as whip-cord by constant exercise. He was dressed carelessly, and more like a Frenchman than an Englishman of the period, while, from his hard features and perpendicular rigidity of stature, he bore some resemblance to a Swiss officer of the guards, who had resided some time at Paris, and caught the costume, but not the ease or manner of its inhabitants. The truth was, that his language and habits were as heterogeneous as his external appearance.
Owing to his natural disposition to study, or perhaps to a very general Scottish fashion of giving young men of rank a legal education, he had been bred with a view to the Bar. But the politics of his family precluding the hope of his rising in that profession, Mr. Bradwardine travelled with high reputation for several years, and made some campaigns in foreign service. After his DEMELE with the law of high treason in 1715, he had lived in retirement, conversing almost entirely with those of his own principles in the vicinage. The pedantry of the lawyer, superinduced upon the military pride of the soldier, might remind a modern of the days of the zealous volunteer service, when the bar-gown of our pleaders was often hung over a blazing uniform. To this must be added the prejudices of ancient birth and Jacobite politics, greatly strengthened by habits of solitary and secluded authority, which, though exercised only within the bounds of his half-cultivated estate, was there indisputable and undisputed. For, as he used to observe, 'the lands of Bradwardine, Tully-Veolan, and others, had been erected into a free barony by a charter from David the First, CUM LIBERALI POTEST. HABENDI CURIAS ET JUSTICIAS, CUM FOSSA ET FURCA (LIE pit and gallows) ET SAKA ET SOKA, ET THOL ET THEAM, ET INFANG-THIEF ET OUTFANG-THIEF, SIVE HAND-HABEND. SIVE BAK-BARAND.' The peculiar meaning of all these cabalistical words few or none could explain; but they implied, upon the whole, that the Baron of Bradwardine might, in case of delinquency, imprison, try, and execute his vassals at his pleasure. Like James the First. however, the present possessor of this authority was more pleased in talking about prerogative than in exercising it; and, excepting that he imprisoned two poachers in the dungeon of the old tower of Tully-Veolan, where they were sorely frightened by ghosts, and almost eaten by rats, and that he set an old woman in the JOUGS (or Scottish pillory) for saying 'there were mair fules in the laird's ha' house than Davie Gellatley,' I do not learn that he was accused of abusing his high powers. Still, however, the conscious pride of possessing them gave additional importance to his language and deportment.
At his first address to Waverley, it would seem that the hearty pleasure he felt to behold the nephew of his friend had somewhat discomposed the stiff and upright dignity of the Baron of Bradwardine's demeanour, for the tears stood in the old gentleman's eyes, when, having first shaken Edward heartily by the hand in the English fashion, he embraced him A LA MODE FRANCAISE, and kissed him on both sides of his face; while the hardness of his grip, and the quantity of Scotch snuff which his ACCOLADE communicated, called corresponding drops of moisture to the eyes of his guest.
'Upon the honour of a gentleman,' he said, 'but it makes me young again to see you here, Mr. Waverley!' A worthy scion of the old stock of Waverley-Honour--SPES ALTERA, as Maro hath it--and you have the look of the old line, Captain Waverley, not so portly yet as my old friend Sir Everard--MAIS CELA VIENDRA AVEC LE TEMPS, as my Dutch acquaintance, Baron Kikkitbroeck, said of the SAGESSE of MADAME SON EPOUSE.--And so ye have mounted the cockade? Right, right; though I could have wished the colour different, and so I would ha' deemed might Sir Everard. But no more of that; I am old, and times are changed.--And how does the worthy knight baronet, and the fair Mrs. Rachel?--Ah, ye laugh, young man! In troth she was the fair Mrs. Rachel in the year of grace seventeen hundred and sixteen; but time passes--ET SINGULA PRAEDANTUR ANNI--that is most certain. But once again, ye are most heartily welcome to my poor house of Tully-Veolan!--Hie to the house, Rose, and see that Alexander Saunderson leaks out the old Chateau Margaux, which I sent from Bourdeaux to Dundee in the year 1713.'
Rose tripped off demurely enough till she turned the first corner, and then ran with the speed of a fairy, that she might gain leisure, after discharging her father's commission, to put her own dress in order, and produce all her little finery, an occupation for which the approaching dinner hour left but limited time.
'We cannot rival the luxuries of your English table, Captain Waverley, or give you the EPULAE LAUTIORES of Wavery-Honour--I say EPULAE rather than PRANDIUM, because the latter phrase is popular; EPULAE AD SENATUM, PRANDIUM VERO AD POPULUM ATTINET, says Suetonius Tranquillus. But I trust ye will applaud my Bourdeaux; C'EST D'UNE OREILLE, as Captain Vinsauf used to say-- VINUM PRIMAE NOTAE, the Principal of St. Andrews denominated it. And, once more, Captain Waverley, right glad am I that ye are here to drink the best my cellar can make forthcoming.'
This speech, with the necessary interjectional answers, continued from the lower alley where they met, up to the door of the house, where four or five servants in old-fashioned liveries, headed by Alexander Saunderson, the butler, who now bore no token of the sable stains of the garden, received them in grand costume,In an old hall hung round with pikes and with bows, With old bucklers and corselets that had borne many shrewd blows.
With much ceremony, and still more real kindness, the Baron, without stopping in any intermediate apartment, conducted his guest through several into the great dining parlour, wainscoted with black oak, and hung round with the pictures of his ancestry, where a table was set forth in form for six persons, and an old- fashioned beaufet displayed all the ancient and massive plate of the Bradwardine family. A bell was now heard at the head of the avenue; for an old man, who acted as porter upon gala days, had caught the alarm given by Waverley's arrival, and, repairing to his post, announced the arrival of other guests.
These, as the Baron assured his young friend, were very estimable persons. 'There was the young Laird of Balmawhapple, a Falconer by surname, of the house of Glenfarquhar, given right much to field sports--GAUDAT EQUIS ET CANIBUS--but a very discreet young gentleman. Then there was the Laird of Killancureit, who had devoted his leisure UNTILL tillage and agriculture, and boasted himself to be possessed of a bull of matchless merit, brought from the county of Devon (the Damnonia, of the Romans, if we can trust Robert of Cirencester). He is, as ye may well suppose from such a tendency, but of yeoman extraction--SERVABIT ODOREM TESTA DIU--and I believe, between ourselves, his grandsire was from the wrong side of the Border--one Bullsegg, who came hither as a steward, or bailiff, or ground-officer, or something in that department, to the last Girnigo of Killancureit, who died of an atrophy. After his master's death, sir,--ye would hardly believe such a scandal,--but this Bullsegg, being portly and comely of aspect, intermarried with the lady dowager, who was young and amorous, and possessed himself of the estate, which devolved on this unhappy woman by a settlement of her umwhile husband, in direct contravention of an unrecorded taillie, and to the prejudice of the disponer's own flesh and blood, in the person of his natural heir and seventh cousin, Girnigo of Tipperhewit, whose family was so reduced by the ensuing lawsuit, that his represenative is now serving as a private gentleman-sentinel in the Highland Black Watch. But this gentleman, Mr. Bullsegg of Killancureit that now is, has good blood in his veins by the mother and grandmother, who were both of the family of Pickletillim, and he is well liked and looked upon, and knows his own place. And God forbid, Captain Waverley, that we of irreproachable lineage should exult over him, when it may be, that in the eighth, ninth, or tenth generation, his progeny may rank, in a manner, with the old gentry of the country. Rank and ancestry, sir, should be the last words in the mouths of us of unblemished race--VIX EA NOSTRA VOCO, as Naso saith.--There is, besides, a clergyman of the true (though suffering) Episcopal church of Scotland. He was a confessor in her cause after the year 1715, when a Whiggish mob destroyed his meetinghouse, tore his surplice, and plundered his dwelling-house of four silver spoons, intromitting also with his mart and his meal-ark, and with two barrels, one of single, and one of double ale, besides three bottles of brandy. [See Note 7.] My Baron-Bailie and doer, Mr. Duncan Macwheeble, is the fourth on our list. There is a question, owing to the incertitude of ancient orthography, whether he belongs to the clan of Wheedle or of Quibble, but both have produced persons eminent in the law.'--As such he described them by person and name, They entered, and dinner was served as they came.
Chapter 11The Banquet
The entertainment was ample, and handsome, according to the Scotch ideas of the period, and the guests did great honour to it. The Baron ate like a famished soldier, the Laird of Balmawhapple like a sportsman, Bullsegg of Killancureit like a farmer, Waverley himself like a traveller, and Bailie Macwheeble like all four together; though, either out of more respect, or in order to preserve that proper declination of person which showed a sense that he was in the presence of his patron, he sat upon the edge of his chair, placed at three feet distance from the table, and achieved a communication with his plate by projecting his person towards it in a line, which obliqued from the bottom of his spine, so that the person who sat opposite to him could only see the foretop of his riding periwig.
This stooping position might have been inconvenient to another person; but long habit made it, whether seated or walking, perfectly easy to the worthy Bailie. In the latter posture, it occasioned, no doubt, an unseemly projection of the person towards those who happened to walk behind; but those being at all times his inferiors (for Mr. Macwheeble was very scrupulous in giving place to all others), he cared very little what inference of contempt or slight regard they might derive from the circumstance. Hence, when he waddled across the court to and from his old grey pony, he somewhat resembled a turnspit walking upon its hind legs.The nonjuring clergyman was a pensive and interesting old man, with much the air of a sufferer for conscience' sake. He was one of those, Who, undeprived, their benefice forsook.
For this whim, when the Baron was out of hearing, the Bailie used sometimes gently to rally Mr. Rubrick, upbraiding him with the nicety of his scruples. Indeed it must be owned, that he himself, though at heart a keen partisan of the exiled family, had kept pretty fair with all the different turns of state in his time; so that Davie Gellatley once described him as a particularly good man, who had a very quiet and peaceful conscience, THAT NEVER DID HIM ANY HARM.
When the dinner was removed, the Baron announced the health of the King, politely leaving to the consciences of his guests to drink to the sovereign DE FACTO or DE JURE, as their politics inclined. The conversation now became general; and, shortly afterwards, Miss Bradwardine, who had done the honours with natural grace and simplicity, retired, and was soon followed by the clergyman. Among the rest of the party, the wine, which fully justified the encomiums of the landlord, flowed freely round, although Waverley, with some difficulty, obtained the privilege of sometimes neglecting the glass. At length, as the evening grew more late, the Baron made a private signal to Mr. Saunders Saunderson, or, as he facetiously denominated him, ALEXANDER AB ALEXANDRO, who left the room with a nod, and soon after returned, his grave countenance mantling with a solemn and mysterious smile, and placed before his master a small oaken casket, mounted with brass ornaments of curious form. The Baron, drawing out a private key, unlocked the casket, raised the lid, and produced a golden goblet of a singular and antique appearance, moulded into the shape of a rampant bear, which the owner regarded with a look of mingled reverence, pride, and delight, that irresistibly reminded Waverley of Ben Jonson's Tom Otter, with his Bull, Horse, and Dog, as that wag wittily denominated his chief carousing cups. But Mr. Bradwardine, fuming towards him with complacency, requested him to observe this curious relic of the olden time.
'It represents,' he said, 'the chosen crest of our family, a bear, as ye observe, and rampant; because a good herald will depict every animal in its noblest posture; as a horse SALIENT, a greyhound CURRANT, and, as may be inferred, a ravenous animal IN ACTU FEROCIORI, or in a voracious, lacerating, and devouring posture. Now, sir, we hold this most honourable achievement by the wappen-brief, or concession of arms, of Frederick Redbeard, Emperor of Germany, to my predecessor, Godmund Bradwardine, it being the crest of a gigantic Dane, whom he slew in the lists in the Holy Land, on a quarrel touching the chastity of the Emperor's spouse or daughter, tradition saith not precisely which, and thus, as Virgilius hath it--Mutemus clypeos, Danaumque insignia nobis Aptemus.
Then for the cup, Captain Waverley, it was wrought by the command of St. Duthac, Abbot of Aberbrothock, for behoof of another baron of the house of Bradwardine, who had valiantly defended the patrimony of that monastery against certain encroaching nobles. It is properly termed the Blessed Bear of Bradwardine (though old Dr. Doubleit used jocosely to call it Ursa Major), and was supposed, in old and Catholic times, to be invested with certain properties of a mystical and supernatural quality. And though I give not in to such ANILIA, it is certain it has always been esteemed a solemn standard cup and heirloom of our house; nor is it ever used but upon seasons of high festival, and such I hold to be the arrival of the heir of Sir Everard under my roof; and I devote this draught to the health and prosperity of the ancient and highly-to-be-honoured house of Waverley.'
During this long harangue, he carefully decanted a cobwebbed bottle of claret into the goblet, which held nearly an English pint; and, at the conclusion, delivering the bottle to the butler, to be held carefully in the same angle with the horizon, he devoutly quaffed off the contents of the Blessed Bear of Bradwardine.
Edward, with horror and alarm, beheld the animal making his rounds, and thought with great anxiety upon the appropriate motto, 'Beware the Bear;' but at the same time plainly foresaw, that as none of the guests scrupled to do him this extraordinary honour, a refusal on-his part to pledge their courtesy would be extremely ill received. Resolving, therefore, to submit to this last piece of tyranny, and then to quit the table, if possible, and confiding in the strength of his constitution, he did justice to the company in the contents of the Blessed Bear, and felt less inconvenience from the draught than he could possibly have expected. The others, whose time had been more actively employed, began to show symptoms of innovation,--'the good wine did its good office.' [Southey's MADOC.] The frost of etiquette, and pride of birth, began to give way before the genial blessings of this benign constellation, and the formal appellatives with which the three dignitaries had hitherto addressed each other, were now familiarly abbreviated into Tully, Bally, and Killie. When a few rounds had passed, the two latter, after whispering together, craved permission (a joyful hearing for Edward) to ask the grace-cup. This, after some delay, was at length produced, and Waverley concluded that the orgies of Bacchus were terminated for the evening. He was never more mistaken in his life.
As the guests had left their horses at the small inn, or CHANGE- HOUSE, as it was called, of the village, the Baron could not, in politeness, avoid walking with them up the avenue, and Waverley, from the same motive, and to enjoy, after this feverish revel, the cool summer evening, attended the party. But when they arrived at Luckie Macleary's, the Lairds of Balmawhapple and Killancureit declared their determination to acknowledge their sense of the hospitality of Tully-Veolan, by partaking with their entertainer and his guest Captain Waverley, what they technically called DEOCH AN DORUIS, a stirrup-cup, to the honour of the Baron's roof-tree. [See Note 8.]
It must be noticed, that the Bailie, knowing by experience that the day's joviality, which had been hitherto sustained at the expense of his patron, might terminate partly at his own, had mounted his spavined grey pony, and, between gaiety of heart, and alarm for being hooked into a reckoning, spurred him into a hobbling canter (a trot was out of the question), and had already cleared the village. The others entered the change-house, leading Edward in unresisting submission; for his landlord whispered him, that to demur to such an overture would be construed into a high misdemeanour against the LEGES CONVIVIALES, or regulations of genial compotation. Widow Macleary seemed to have expected this visit, as well she might, for it was the usual consummation of merry bouts, not only at Tully-Veolan, but at most other gentlemen's houses in Scotland, Sixty Years since. The guests thereby at once acquitted themselves of their burden of gratitude for their entertainer's kindness, encouraged the trade of his change-house, did honour to the place which afforded harbour to their horses, and indemnified themselves for the previous restraints imposed by private hospitality, by spending, what Falstaff calls the sweet of the night, in the genial license of a tavern.
Accordingly, in full expectation of these distinguished guests, Luckie Macleary had swept her house for the first time this fortnight, tempered her turf-fire to such a heat as the season required in her damp hovel even at Midsummer, set forth her deal table newly washed, propped its lame foot with a fragment of turf, arranged four or five stools of huge and clumsy form, upon the sites which best suited the inequalities of her clay floor; and having, moreover, put on her clean toy, rokelay, and scarlet plaid, gravely awaited the arrival of the company, in full hope of custom and profit. When they were seated under the sooty rafters of Luckie Macleary's only apartment, thickly tapestried with cobwebs, their hostess, who had already taken her cue from the Laird of Balmawhapple, appeared with a huge pewter measuring- pot, containing at least three English quarts, familiarly denominated a TAPPIT HEN, and which, in the language of the hostess, reamed (i.e. mantled) with excellent claret, just drawn from the cask.
It was soon plain that what crumbs of reason the Bear had not devoured, were to be picked up by the Hen; but the confusion which appeared to prevail favoured Edward's resolution to evade the gaily circling glass. The others began to talk thick and at once, each performing his own part in the conversation, without the least respect to hist neighbour. The Baron of Bradwardine sang French CHANSONS-A-BOIRE, and spouted pieces of Latin; Killancureit talked, in a steady unalterable dull key, of top- dressing and bottom-dressing, [This has been censured as an anachronism; and it must be confessed that agriculture of this kind was unknown to the Scotch Sixty Years since.] and year- olds, and gimmers, and dinmonts, and stots, and runts, and kyloes, and a proposed turnpike-act; while Balmawhapple, in notes exalted above both, extolled his horse, his hawks, and a greyhound called Whistler. In the middle of this din, the Baron repeatedly implored silence; and when at length the instinct of polite discipline so far prevailed, that for a moment he obtained it, he hastened to beseech their attention 'unto a military ariette, which was a particular favourite of the Marechal Duc de Berwick;' then, imitating, as well as he could, the manner and tone of a French mousquetaire, he immediately commenced,--
Mon coeur volage, dit-elle, N'est pas pour vous, garcon; Est pour un homme de guerre, Qui a barbe au menton.Lon, Lon, Laridon.
Qui ports chapeau a plume, Soulier a rouge talon,
Qui joue de la flute,
Aussi du violon.
Balmawhapple could hold no longer, but broke in with what he called a, d--d good song, composed by Gibby Gaethroughwi't, the piper of Cupar; and, without wasting more time, struck up,--
It's up Glenbarchan's braes I gaed, And o'er the bent of Killiebraid, And mony a weary cast I made, To cuittle the muirfowl's tail.[SUUM CUIQUE. This snatch of a ballad was composed by Andrew MacDonald, the ingenious and unfortunate author of VIMONDA.]
The Baron, whose voice was drowned in the louder and more obstreperous strains of Balmawhapple, now dropped the competition, but continued to hum, Lon, Lon, Laridon, and to regard the successful candidate for the attention of the company, with an eye of disdain, while Balmawhapple proceeded,--
If up a bonny black-cock should spring, To whistle him down wi' a slug in his wing, And strap him on to my lunzie string, Right seldom would I fail.
After an ineffectual attempt to recover the second verse, he sang the first over again; and, in prosecution of his triumph, declared there was 'more sense in that than in all the DERRY- DONGS of France, and Fifeshire to the boot of it.' The Baron only answered with a long pinch of snuff, and a glance of infinite contempt. But those noble allies, the Bear and the Hen, had emancipated the young laird from the habitual reverence in which he held Bradwardine at other times. He pronounced the claret SHILPIT, and demanded brandy with great vociferation. It was brought; and now the Demon of Politics envied even the harmony arising from this Dutch concert, merely because there was not a wrathful note in the strange compound of sounds which it produced. Inspired by her, the Laird of Balmawhapple, now superior to the nods and winks with which the Baron of Bradwardine, in delicacy to Edward, had hitherto checked his entering upon political discussion, demanded a bumper, with the lungs of a Stentor, 'to the little gentleman in black velvet who did such service in 1702, and may the white horse break his neck over a mound of his making!'
Edward was not at that moment clear-headed enough to remember that King William's fall, which occasioned his death, was said to be owing to his horse stumbling at a molehill; yet felt inclined to take umbrage at a toast, which seemed, from the glance of Balmawhapple's eye, to have a peculiar and uncivil reference to the Government which he served. But, ere he could interfere, the Baron of Bradwardine had taken up the quarrel. 'Sir,' he said, 'whatever my sentiments, TANQUAM PRIVATUS, may be in such matters, I shall not tamely endure your saying anything that may impinge upon the honourable feelings of a gentleman under my roof. Sir, if you have no respect for the laws of urbanity, do ye not respect the military oath, the SACRAMENTUM MILITARE, by which every officer is bound to the standards under which he is enrolled? Look at Titus Livius, what he says of those Roman soldiers who were so unhappy as EXUERE SACRAMENTUM,--to renounce their legionary oath; but you are ignorant, sir, alike of ancient history and modern courtesy.''Not so ignorant as ye would pronounce me,' roared Balmawhapple. 'I ken weel that you mean the Solemn League and Covenant; but if a' the Whigs in hell had taken the--'
Here the Baron and Waverley both spoke at once, the former calling out, 'Be silent, sir! ye not only show your ignorance, but disgrace your native country before a stranger and an Englishman;' and Waverley, at the same moment, entreating Mr. Bradwardine to permit him to reply to an affront which seemed levelled at him personally. But the Baron was exalted by wine, wrath, and scorn, above all sublunary considerations.
'I crave you to be hushed, Captain Waverley; you are elsewhere, peradventure, SUI JURIS,--foris-familiated, that is, and entitled, it may be, to think and resent for yourself; but in my domain, in this poor Barony of Bradwardine, and under this roof, which is QUASI mine, being held by tacit relocation by a tenant at will, I am IN LOCO PARENTIS to you, and bound to see you scathless.--And for you, Mr. Falconer of Balmawhapple, I warn ye, let me see no more aberrations from the paths of good manners.'
'And I tell you, Mr. Cosmo Comyne Bradwardine, of Bradwardine and Tully-Veolan,' retorted the sportsman, in huge disdain, 'that I'll make a moor-cock of the man that refuses my toast, whether it be a crop-eared English Whig wi' a black ribband at his lug, or ane wha deserts his ain friends to claw favour wi' the rats of Hanover.'
In an instant both rapiers were brandished, and some desperate passes exchanged. Balmawhapple was young, stout, and active; but the Baron, infinitely more master of his weapon, would, like Sir Toby Belch, have tickled his opponent other gates than he did, had he not been under the influence of Ursa Major.
Edward rushed forward to interfere between the combatants, but the prostrate bulk of the Laird of Killancureit, over which he stumbled, intercepted his passage. How Killancureit happened to be in this recumbent posture at so interesting a moment, was never accurately known. Some thought he was about to ensconce himself under the table; he himself alleged that he stumbled in the act of lifting a joint-stool, to prevent mischief, by knocking down Balmawhapple. Be that as it may, if readier aid than either his or Waverley's had not interposed, there would certainly have been bloodshed. But the wellknown clash of swords, which was no stranger to her dwelling, aroused Luckie Macleary as she sat quietly beyond the hallan, or earthen partition of the cottage, with eyes employed on Boston's CROOK OF THE LOT, while her ideas were engaged in summing up the reckoning. She boldly rushed in, with the shrill expostulation, 'Wad their honours slay ane another there, and bring discredit on an honest widow-woman's house, when there was a' the lee-land in the country to fight upon?' a remonstrance which she seconded by flinging her plaid with great dexterity over the weapons of the combatants. The servants by this time rushed in, and being, by great chance, tolerably sober, separated the incensed opponents, with the assistance of Edward and Killancureit. The latter led off Balmawhapple, cursing, swearing, and vowing revenge against every Whig, Presbyterian, and fanatic in England and Scotland, from John-o'-Groat's to the Land's End, and with difficulty got him to horse. Our hero, with the assistance of Saunders Saunderson, escorted the Baron of Bradwardine to his own dwelling, but could not prevail upon him to retire to bed until he had made a long and learned apology for the events of the evening, of which, however, there was not a word intelligible, except something about the Centaurs and the Lapithae.
Chapter 12Repentance And A Reconciliation
Waverley was unaccustomed to the use of wine, excepting with great temperance. He slept, therefore, soundly till late in the succeeding morning, and then awakened to a painful recollection of the scene of the preceding evening. He had received a personal affront,--he, a gentleman, a soldier, and a Waverley. True, the person who had offered it was not, at the time it was given, possessed of the moderate share of sense which nature had allotted him; true also, in resenting this insult, he would break the laws of Heaven, as well as of his country; true, in doing so, he might take the life of a young man who perhaps respectably discharged the social duties, and render his family miserable; or he might lose his own;--no pleasant alternative even to the bravest, when it is debated coolly and in private.
All this pressed on his mind; yet the original statement recurred with the same irresistible force. He had received a personal insult; he was of the house of Waverley; and he bore a commission. There was no alternative; and he descended to the breakfast parlour with the intention of taking leave of the family, and writing to one of his brother officers to meet him at the inn mid-way between Tully-Veolan and the town where they were quartered, in order that he might convey such a message to the Laird of Balmawhapple as the circumstances seemed to demand. He found Miss Bradwardine presiding over the tea and coffee, the table loaded with warm bread, both of flour, oatmeal, and barley- meal, in the shape of leaves, cakes, biscuits, and other varieties, together with eggs, reindeer ham, mutton and beef, ditto, smoked salmon, marmalade, and all other delicacies which induced even Johnson himself to extol the luxury of a Scotch breakfast above that of all other countries. A mess of oatmeal porridge, flanked by a silver jug, which held an equal mixture of cream and butter-milk, was placed for the Baron's share of this repast; but Rose observed he had walked out early in the morning, after giving orders that his guest should not be disturbed.
Waverley sat down almost in silence, and with an air of absence and abstraction, which could not give Miss Bradwardine a favourable opinion of his talents for conversation. He answered at random one or two observations which she ventured to make upon ordinary topics; so that feeling herself almost repulsed in her efforts at entertaining him, and secretly wondering that a scarlet coat should cover no better breeding, she left him to his mental amusement of cursing Dr. Doubleit's favourite constellation of Ursa Major, as the cause of all the mischief which had already happened, and was likely to ensue. At once he started, and his colour heightened, as, looking toward the window, he beheld the Baron and young Balmawhapple pass arm in arm, apparently in deep conversation; and he hastily asked, 'Did Mr. Falconer sleep here last night?' Rose, not much pleased with the abruptness of the first question which the young stranger had addressed to her, answered drily in the negative, and the conversation again sank into silence. At this moment Mr. Saunderson appeared, with a message from his master, requesting to speak with Captain Waverley in another apartment. With a heart which beat; a little quicker, not indeed from fear, but from uncertainty and anxiety, Edward obeyed the summons. He found the two gentlemen standing together, an air of complacent dignity on the brow of the Baron, while something like sullenness, or shame, or both, blanked the bold visage of Balmawhapple. The former slipped his arm through that of the latter, and thus seeming to walk with him, while in reality he led him, advanced to meet Waverley, and, stopping in the midst of the apartment, made in great state the following oration: 'Captain Waverley,--my young and esteemed friend, Mr. Falconer of Balmawhapple, has craved of my age and experience, as of one not wholly unskilled in the dependencies and punctilios of the duello or monomachia, to be his interlocutor in expressing to you the regret with which he calls to remembrance certain passages of our symposion last night, which could not but be highly displeasing to you, as serving for the time under this present existing government. He craves you, sir, to drown in oblivion the memory of such solecisms against the laws of politeness, as being what his better reason disavows, and to receive the hand which he offers you in amity; and I must needs assure you, that nothing less than a sense of being DANS SON TORT, as a gallant French chevalier, Mons, Le Bretailleur, once said to me on such an occasion, and an opinion also of your peculiar merit, could have extorted such concessions; for he and all his family are, and have been time out of mind, MAVORTIA PECTORA, as Buchanan saith, a bold and warlike sept, or people.'
Edward immediately, and with natural politeness, accepted the hand which Balmawhapple, or rather the Baron in his character of mediator, extended towards him. 'It was impossible,' he said, 'for him to remember what a gentleman expressed his wish he had not uttered; and he willingly imputed what had passed to the exuberant festivity of the day.'
'That is very handsomely said,' answered the Baron; 'for undoubtedly, if a man be EBRIUS, or intoxicated--an incident which, on solemn and festive occasions, may and will take place in the life of a man of honour; and if the same gentleman, being fresh and sober, recants the contumelies which he hath spoken in his liquor, it must be held VINUM LOCUTUM EST; the words cease to be his own. Yet would I not find this exculpation relevant in the case of one who was EBRIOSUS, or an habitual drunkard; because, if such a person choose to pass the greater part of his time in the predicament of intoxication, he hath no title to be exeemed from the obligations of the code of politeness, but should learn to deport himself peaceably and courteously when under the influence of the vinous stimulus.--And now let us proceed to breakfast, and think no more of this daft business.'
I must confess, whatever inference may be drawn from the circumstance, that Edward, after so satisfactory an explanation, did much greater honour to the delicacies of Miss Bradwardine's breakfast-table than his commencement had promised. Balmawhapple, on the contrary, seemed embarrassed and dejected; and Waverley now, for the first time, observed that his arm was in a sling, which seemed to account for the awkward and embarrassed manner with which he had presented his hand. To a question from Miss Bradwardine, he muttered, in answer, something about his horse having fallen; and, seeming desirous to escape both from the subject and the company, he arose as soon as breakfast was over, made his bow to the party, and, declining the Baron's invitation to tarry till after dinner, mounted his horse and returned to his own home.
Waverley now announced his purpose of leaving Tully-Veolan early enough after dinner to gain the stage at which he meant to sleep; but the unaffected and deep mortification with which the good- natured and affectionate old gentleman heard the proposal, quite deprived him of courage to persist in it. No sooner had he gained Waverley's consent to lengthen his visit for a few days, than he laboured to remove the grounds upon which he conceived he had meditated a more early retreat. 'I would not have you opine, Captain Waverley, that I am by practice or precept an advocate of ebriety, though it may be that, in our festivity of last night, some of our friends, if not perchance altogether EBRII, or drunken, were, to say the least, EBRIOLI, by which the ancients designed those who were fuddled, or, as your English vernacular and metaphorical phrase goes, half-seasover. Not that I would so insinuate respecting you, Captain Waverley, who, like a prudent youth, did rather abstain from potation; nor can it be truly said of myself, who, having assisted at the tables of many great generals and marechals at their solemn carousals, have the art to carry my wine discreetly, and did not, during the whole evening, as ye must have doubtless observed, exceed the bounds of a modest hilarity.'
There was no refusing assent to a proposition so decidedly laid down by him who undoubtedly was the best judge; although, had Edward formed his opinion from his own recollections, he would have pronounced that the Baron was not only EBRIOLUS, but verging to become EBRIUS; or, in plain English, was incomparably the most drunk of the party, except perhaps his antagonist the Laird of Balmawhapple. However, having received the expected, or rather the required, compliment on his sobriety, the Baron proceeded,-- 'No, sir, though I am myself of a strong temperament, I abhor ebriety, and detest those who swallow wine GULAE CAUSA, for the oblectation of the gullet; albeit I might deprecate the law of Pittacus of Mitylene, who punished doubly a crime committed under the influence of LIBER PATER; nor would I utterly accede to the objurgation of the younger Plinius, in the fourteenth book of his HISTORIA NATURALIS. No, sir; I distinguish, I discriminate, and approve of wine so far only as it maketh glad the face, or, in the language of Flaccus, RECEPTO AMICO.'
Thus terminated the apology which the Baron of Bradwardine thought it necessary to make for the super-abundance of his hospitality; and it may be easily believed that he was neither interrupted by dissent, nor any expression of incredulity.
He then invited his guest to a morning ride, and ordered that Davie Gellatley should meet them at the DERN PATH with Ban and Buscar. 'For, until the shooting season commenced, I would willingly show you some sport, and we may, God willing, meet with a roe. The roe, Captain Waverley, may be hunted at all times alike; for never being in what is called PRIDE OF GREASE, he is also never out of season, though it be a truth that his venison is not equal to that of either the red or fallow deer. [The learned in cookery dissent from the Baron of Bradwardine, and hold the roe-venison dry and indifferent food, unless when dressed in soup and Scotch collops.] But he will serve to show how my dogs run; and therefore they shall attend us with Davie Gellatley.'
Waverley expressed his surprise that his friend Davie was capable of such trust; but the Baron gave him to understand that this poor simpleton was neither fatuous, NEC NATURALITER IDIOTA, as is expressed in the brieves of furiosity, but simply a crackbrained knave, who could execute very well any commission which jumped with his own humour, and made his folly a plea for avoiding every other. 'He has made an interest with us,' continued the Baron, 'by saving Rose from a great danger with his own proper peril; and the roguish loon must therefore eat of our bread and drink of our cup, and do what he can, or what he will; which, if the suspicions of Saunderson and the Bailie are well founded, may perchance in his case be commensurate terms.'
Miss Bradwardine then gave Waverley to understand, that this poor simpleton was doatingly fond of music, deeply affected by that which was melancholy, and transported into extravagant gaiety by light and lively airs. He had in this respect a prodigious memory, stored with miscellaneous snatches and fragments of all tunes and songs, which he sometimes applied, with considerable address, as the vehicles of remonstrance, explanation, or satire. Davie was much attached to the few who showed him kindness; and both aware of any slight or ill usage which he happened to receive, and sufficienty apt, where he saw opportunity, to revenge it. The common people, who often judge hardly of each other, as well as of their betters, although they had expressed great compassion for the poor innocent while suffered to wander in rags about the village, no sooner beheld him decently clothed, provided for, and even a sort of favourite, than they called up all the instances of sharpness and ingenuity, in action and repartee, which his annals afforded, and charitably bottomed thereupon a hypothesis, that Davie Gellatley was no further fool than was necessary to avoid hard labour. This opinion was not better founded than that of the Negroes, who, from the acute and mischievous pranks of the monkeys, suppose that they have the gift of speech, and only suppress their powers of elocution to escape being set to work. But the hypothesis was entirely imaginary: Davie Gellatley was in good earnest the half-crazed simpleton which he appeared, and was incapable of any constant and steady exertion. He had just so much solidity as kept on the windy side of insanity; so much wild wit as saved him from the imputation of idiocy; some dexterity in field sports (in which we have known as great fools excel), great kindness and humanity in the treatment of animals entrusted to him, warm affections, a prodigious memory, and an ear for music.The stamping of horses was now heard in the court, and Davie's voice singing to the two large deer greyhounds,--
Hie away, hie away,
Over bank and over brae,
Where the copsewood is the greenest, Where the fountains glisten sheenest, Where the lady-fern grows strongest, Where the morning dew lies longest, Where the black-cock sweetest sips it, Where the fairy latest trips it:
Hie to haunts right seldom seen, Lovely, lonesome, cool, and green, Over bank and over brae,
Hie away, hie away.
'I believe not,' she replied. 'This poor creature had a brother, and Heaven, as if to compensate to the family Davie's deficiencies, had given him what the hamlet thought uncommon talents. An uncle contrived to educate him for the Scottish kirk, but he could not get preferment because he came from our GROUND. He returned from college hopeless and broken-hearted, and fell into a decline. My father supported him till his death, which happened before he was nineteen. He played beautifully on the flute, and was supposed to have a great turn for poetry. He was affectionate and compassionate to his brother, who followed him like his shadow, and we think that from him Davie gathered many fragments of songs and music unlike those of this country. But if we ask him where he got such a fragment as he is now singing, he either answers with wild and long fits of laughter, or else breaks into tears of lamentation; but was never heard to give any explanation, or to mention his brother's name since his death.''Surely,' said Edward, who was readily interested by a tale bordering on the romantic, 'surely more might be learned by more particular inquiry.' 'Perhaps so,' answered Rose, 'but my father will not permit any one to practise on his feelings on this subject.'
By this time the Baron, with the help of Mr. Saunderson, had indued a pair of jack-boots of large dimensions, and now invited our hero to follow him as he stalked clattering down the ample staircase, tapping each huge balustrade as he passed with the butt of his massive horsewhip, and humming, with the air of a chasseur of Louis Quatorze,Pour la chasse ordonnee il faut preparer tout, Hola ho! Vite! vite debout.
Chapter 13A More Rational Day Than The Last
The Baron of Bradwardine, mounted on an active and well-managed horse, and seated on a demi-pique saddle, with deep housings to agree with his livery, was no bad representative of the old school. His light-coloured embroidered coat, and superbly barred waistcoat, his brigadier wig, surmounted by a small gold-laced cocked-hat, completed his personal costume; but he was attended by two well-mounted servants on horseback, armed with holster pistols.
In this guise he ambled forth over hill and valley, the admiration of every farmyard which they passed in their progress, till, 'low down in a grassy vale,' they found Davie Gellatley leading two very tall deer greyhounds, and presiding over half a dozen curs, and about as many bare-legged and bare-headed boys, who, to procure the chosen distinction of attending on the chase, had not failed to tickle his ears with the dulcet appellation of Maister Gellatley, though probably all and each had booted him on former occasions in the character of daft Davie. But this is no uncommon strain of flattery to persons in office, nor altogether confined to the bare-legged villagers of Tully-Veolan: it was in fashion Sixty Years since, is now, and will be six hundred years hence, if this admirable compound of folly and knavery, called the world, shall be then in existence.
These GILLIE-WET-FOOTS, [A bare-footed Highland lad is called a gillie-wet-foot. Gillie, in general, means servant or attendant.] as they were called, were destined to beat the bushes, which they performed with so much success, that, after half an hour's search, a roe was started, coursed, and killed; the Baron following on his white horse, like Earl Percy of yore, and magnanimously flaying and embowelling the slain animal (which, he observed, was called by the French chasseurs FAIRE LA CUREE) with his own baronial COUTEAU DE CHASSE. After this ceremony he conducted his guest homeward by a pleasant and circuitous route, commanding an extensive prospect of different villages and houses, to each of which Mr. Bradwardine attached some anecdote of history or genealogy, told in language whimsical from prejudice and pedantry, but often respectable for the good sense and honourable feelings which his narrative displayed, and almost always curious, if not valuable, for the information they contained.
The truth is, the ride seemed agreeable to both gentlemen, because they found amusement in each other's conversation, although their characters and habits of thinking were in many respects totally opposite. Edward, we have informed the reader, was warm in his feelings, wild and romantic in his ideas and in his taste of reading, with a strong disposition towards poetry. Mr. Bradwardine was the reverse of all this, and piqued himself upon stalking through life with the same upright, starched, stoical gravity which distinguished his evening promenade upon the terrace of Tully-Veolan, where for hours together--the very model old Hardyknute--
Stately stepped he east the wa', And stately stepped he west.
As for literature, he read the classic poets, to be sure, and the EPITHALAMIUM of Georgius Buchanan, and Arthur Johnston's PSALMS, of a Sunday; and the DELICIAE POETARUM SCOTORUM, and Sir David Lindsay's WORKS, and Barbour's BRUCE, and Blind Harry's WALLACE, and the GENTLE SHEPHERD, and the CHERRY AND THE SLAE. But though he thus far sacrificed his time to the Muses, he would if the truth must be spoken, have been much better pleased had the pious or sapient apothegms, as well as the historical narratives, which these various works contained, been presented to him in the form of simple prose. And he sometimes could not refrain from expressing contempt of the 'vain and unprofitable art of poem- making,' in which, he said, 'the only one who had excelled in his time was Allan Ramsay, the periwig-maker.'[The Baron ought to have remembered that the joyous Allan literally drew his blood from the house of the noble Earl, whom he terms-- Dalhousie of an old descent, My stoup, my pride, my ornament.]
But although Edward and he differed TOTO COELO, as the Baron would have said, upon this subject, yet they met upon history as on a neutral ground, in which each claimed an interest. The Baron, indeed, only cumbered his memory with matters of fact; the cold, dry, hard outlines which history delineates. Edward, on the contrary, loved to fill up and round the sketch with the colouring of a warm and vivid imagination, which gives light and life to the actors and speakers in the drama of past ages. Yet with tastes so opposite, they contributed greatly to each other's amusement. Mr. Bradwardine's minute narratives and powerful memory supplied to Waverley fresh subjects of the kind upon which his fancy loved to labour, and opened to him a new mine of incident and of character. And he repaid the pleasure thus communicated, by an earnest attention, valuable to all story- tellers, more especially to the Baron, who felt his habits of selfrespect flattered by it; and sometimes also by reciprocal communications, which interested Mr. Bradwardine, as confirming or illustrating his own favourite anecdotes. Besides, Mr. Bradwardine loved to talk of the scenes of his youth, which had been spent in camps and foreign lands, and had many interesting particulars to tell of the generals under whom he had served, and the actions he had witnessed.
Both parties returned to Tully-Veolan in great good humour with each other; Waverley desirous of studying more attentively what he considered as a singular and interesting character, gifted with a memory containing a curious register of ancient and modern anecdotes; and Bradwardine disposed to regard Edward as PUER (or rather JUVENIS) BONAE SPEI ET MAGNAE INDOLIS, a youth devoid of that petulant volatility, which is impatient of, or vilipends, the conversation and advice of his seniors, from which he predicted great things of his future success and deportment in life. There was no other guest except Mr. Rubrick, whose information and discourse, as a clergyman and a scholar, harmonized very well with that of the Baron and his guest.
Shortly after dinner, the Baron, as if to show that his temperance was not entirely theoretical, proposed a visit to Rose's appartment, or, as he termed it, her TROISIEME ETAGE. Waverley was accordingly conducted through one or two of those long awkward passages with which ancient architects studied to puzzle the inhabitants of the houses which they planned, at the end of which Mr. Bradwardine began to ascend, by two steps at once, a very steep, narrow, and winding stair, leaving Mr. Rubrick and Waverley to follow at more leisure, while he should announce their approach to his daughter.
After having climbed this perpendicular corkscrew until their brains were almost giddy, they arrived in a little matted lobby, which served as an ante-room to Rose's SANCTUM SANCTORUM, and through which they entered her parlour. It was a small but pleasant apartment, opening to the south, and hung with tapestry; adorned besides with two pictures, one of her mother, in the dress of a shepherdess, with a bell-hoop; the other of the Baron, in his tenth year, in a blue coat, embroidered waistcoat, laced hat, and bagwig, with a bow in his hand. Edward could not help smiling at the costume, and at the odd resemblance between the round, smooth, red-checked, staring visage in the portrait, and the gaunt, bearded, hollow-eyed, swarthy features, which travelling, fatigues of war, and advanced age, had bestowed on the original. The Baron joined in the laugh. 'Truly,' he said, 'that picture was a woman's fantasy of my good mother's (a daughter of the Laird of Tulliellum, Captain Waverley; I indicated the house to you when we were on the top of the Shinnyheuch; it was burnt by the Dutch auxiliaries brought in by the Government in 1715); I never sat for my pourtraicture but once since that was painted, and it was at the special and reiterated request of the Marechal Duke of Berwick.'
The good old gentleman did not mention what Mr. Rubrick afterwards told Edward, that the Duke had done him this honour on account of his being the first to mount the breach of a fort; in Savoy during the memorable campaign of 1709, and his having there defended himself with his half-pike for nearly ten minutes before any support reached him. To do the Baron justice, although sufficiently prone to dwell upon, and even to exaggerate, his family dignity and consequence, he was too much a man of real courage ever to allude to such personal acts of merit as he had himself manifested.
Miss Rose now appeared from the interior room of her apartment, to welcome her father and his friends. The little labours in which she had been employed obviously showed a natural taste, which required only cultivation. Her father had taught her French and Italian, and a few of the ordinary authors in those languages ornamented her shelves. He had endeavoured also to be her preceptor in music; but as he began with the more abstruse doctrines of the science, and was not perhaps master of them himself, she had made no proficiency further than to be able to accompany her voice with the harpsichord; but even this was not very common in Scotland at that period. To make amends, she sang with great taste and feeling, and with a respect to the sense of what she uttered that might be proposed in example to ladies of much superior musical talent. Her natural good sense taught her, that if, as we are assured by high authority, music be 'married to immortal verse,' they are very often divorced by the performer in a most shameful manner. It was perhaps owing to this sensibility to poetry, and power of combining its expression with those of the musical notes, that her singing gave more pleasure to all the unlearned in music, and even to many of the learned, than could have been communicated by a much finer voice and more brilliant execution, unguided by the same delicacy of feeling.
A bartizan, or projecting gallery, before the windows of her parlour, served to illustrate another of Rose's pursuits; for it was crowded with flowers of different kinds, which she had taken under her special protection. A projecting turret gave access to this Gothic balcony, which commanded a most beautiful prospect. The formal garden, with its high bounding walls, lay below, contracted, as it seemed, to a mere parterre; while the view extended beyond them down a wooded glen, where the small river was sometimes visible, sometimes hidden in copse. The eye might be delayed by a desire to rest on the rocks, which here and there rose from the dell with massive or spiry fronts, or it might dwell on the noble, though ruined tower, which was here beheld in all its dignity, frowning from a promontory over the river. To the left were seen two or three cottages, a part of the village; the brow of the hill concealed the others. The glen, or dell, was terminated by a sheet of water, called Loch-Veolan, into which the brook discharged itself, and which now glistened in the western sun. The distant country seemed open and varied in surface, though not wooded; and there was nothing to interrupt the view until the scene was bounded by a ridge of distant and blue hills, which formed the southern boundary of the strath or valley. To this pleasant station Miss Bradwardine had ordered coffee.
The view of the old tower, or fortalice, introduced some family anecdotes and tales of Scottish chivalry, which the Baron told with great enthusiasm. The projecting peak of an impending crag which rose near it, had acquired the name of St. Swithin's Chair. it was the scene of a peculiar superstition, of which Mr. Rubrick mentioned some curious particulars, which reminded Waverley of a rhyme quoted By Edgar in KING LEAR; and Rose was called upon to sing a little legend, in which they had been interwoven by some village poet,Who, noteless as the race from which he sprung, Saved others' names, but left his own unsung.
The sweetness of her voice, and the simple beauty of her music, gave all the advantage which the minstrel could have desired, and which his poetry so much wanted. I almost doubt if it can be read with patience, destitute of these advantages; although I conjecture the following copy to have been somewhat corrected by Waverley, to suit the taste of those who might not relish pure antiquity:--ST. SWITHIN'S CHAIR.
On Hallow-Mass Eve, ere ye boune ye to rest, Ever beware that your couch be blessed; Sign it with cross, and sain it with bead, Sing the Ave, and say the Creed.
For on Hallow-Mass Eve the Night-Hag will ride, And all her nine-fold sweeping on by her side, Whether the wind sing lowly or loud,
Sailing through moonshine or swathed in the cloud.
The Lady she sat in St. Swithin's Chair,
The dew of the night has damped her hair: Her cheek was pale--but resolved and high Was the word of her lip and the glance of her eye.
She muttered the spell of Swithin bold, When his naked foot traced the midnight wold, When he stopped the Hag as she rode the night, And bade her descend, and her promise plight.
He that dare sit on St. Swithin's Chair, When the Night-Hag wings the troubled air, Questions three, when he speaks the spell, He may ask, and she must tell.
The Baron has been with King Robert his liege, These three long years in battle and siege; News are there none of his weal or his woe, And fain the Lady his fate would know.
She shudders and stops as the charm she speaks; Is it the moody owl that shrieks?
Or is it that sound, betwixt laughter and scream, The voice of the Demon who haunts the stream?
The moan of the wind sunk silent and low, And the roaring torrent ceased to flow;
The calm was more dreadful than raging storm, Then the cold grey mist brought the ghastly form!
'I am sorry to disappoint the company, especially Captain Waverley, who listens with such laudable gravity; it is but a fragment, although I think there are other verses, describing the return of the Baron from the wars, and how the lady was found "clay-cold upon the grounsill ledge."'
'It is one of those figments,' observed Mr. Bradwardine, 'with which the early history of distinguished families was deformed in the times of superstition; as that of Rome, and other ancient nations, had their prodigies, sir, the which you may read in ancient histories, or in the little work compiled by Julius Obsequens, and inscribed by the learned Scheffer, the editor, to his patron, Benedictus Skytte, Baron of Dudershoff.'
'My father has a strange defiance of the marvellous, Captain Waverley,' observed Rose, 'and once stood firm when a whole synod of Presbyterian divines were put to the rout by a sudden apparition of the foul fiend.'Waverley looked as if desirous to hear more.
Must I tell my story as well as sing my song?--Well.--Once upon a time there lived an old woman, called Janet Gellatley, who was suspected to be a witch, on the infallible grounds that she was very old, very ugly, very poor, and had two sons, one of whom was a poet, and the other a fool, which visitation, all the neighbourhood agreed, had come upon her for the sin of witchcraft. And she was imprisoned for a week in the steeple of the parish church, and sparingly supplied with food, and not permitted to sleep, until she herself became as much persuaded of her being a witch as her accusers; and in this lucid and happy state of mind was brought forth to make a clean breast, that is, to make open confession of her sorceries, before all the Whig gentry and ministers in the vicinity, who were no conjurers themselves. My father went to see fair play between the witch and the clergy; for the witch had been born on his estate. 'And while the witch was confessing that the Enemy appeared, and made his addresses to her as a handsome black man,-which, if you could have seen poor old blear-eyed Janet, reflected little honour on Apollyon's taste,--and while the auditors listened with astonished ears, and the clerk recorded with a trembling hand, she, all of a sudden, changed the low mumbling tone with which she spoke into a shrill yell, and exclaimed, "Look to yourselves! look to yourselves! I see the Evil One sitting in the midst of ye." The surprise was general, and terror and flight its immediate consequences. Happy were those who were next the door; and many were the disasters that befell hats, bands, cuffs, and wigs, before they could get out of the church, where they left the obstinate prelatist to settle matters with the witch and her admirer, at his own peril or pleasure.'
'RISU SOLVUNTUR TABULAE,' said the Baron: 'when they recovered their panic trepidation, they were too much ashamed to bring any wakening of the process against Janet Gellatley.' [The story last told was said to have happened in the south of Scotland; but--CEDANT ARMA TOGAE--and let the gown have its dues. It was an old clergyman, who had wisdom and firmness enough to resist the panic which seized his brethren, who was the means of rescuing a poor insane creature from the cruel fate which would otherwise have overtaken her. The accounts of the trials for witchcraft form one of the most deplorable chapters in Scottish story.]
This anecdote led to a long discussion of
All those idle thoughts and fantasies,
Devices, dreams, opinions unsound,
Shows, visions, soothsays, and prophecies, And all that feigned is, as leasings, tales, and lies.
Chapter 14A Discovery--Waverley Becomes Domesticated At Tully-Veolan
The next day Edward arose betimes, and in a morning walk around the house and its vicinity, came suddenly upon a small court in front of the dog-kennel, where his friend Davie was employed about his four-footed charge. One quick glance of his eye recognized Waverley, when, instantly turning his back, as if he had not observed him, he began to sing part of an old ballad:--
Young men will love thee more fair and more fast;
HEARD YE SO MERRY THE LITTLE BIRD SING? Old men's love the longest will last,
AND THE THROSTLE-COCK'S HEAD IS UNDER HIS WING.
The young man's wrath is like light straw on fire;
HEARD YE SO MERRY THE LITTLE BIRD SING? But like red-hot steel is the old man's ire,
AND THE THROSTLE-COCK'S HEAD IS UNDER HIS WING.
The young man will brawl at the evening board;
HEARD YE SO MERRY THE LITTLE BIRD SING? But the old man will draw at the dawning the sword,
AND THE THROSTLE-COCK'S HEAD IS UNDER HIS WING.
Waverley could not avoid observing that Davie laid something like a satirical emphasis on these lines. He therefore approached, and endeavoured, by sundry queries, to elicit from him what the innuendo might mean; but Davie had no mind to explain, and had wit enough to make his folly cloak his knavery. Edward could collect nothing from him, excepting that the Laird of Balmawhapple had gone home yesterday morning, 'wi' his boots fu' o' bluid.' In the garden, however, he met the old butler, who no longer attempted to conceal, that, having been bred in the nursery line with Sumack & Co., of Newcastle, he sometimes wrought a turn in the flower-borders to oblige the Laird and Miss Rose. By a series of queries, Edward at length discovered, with a painful feeling of surprise and shame, that Balmawhapple's submission and apology had been the consequence of a rencontre with the Baron before his guest had quitted his pillow, in which the younger combatant had been disarmed and wounded in the sword- arm.
Greatly mortified at this information, Edward sought out his friendly host, and anxiously expostulated with him upon the injustice he had done him in anticipating his meeting with Mr. Falconer, a circumstance which, considering his youth and the profession of arms which he had just adopted, was capable of being represented much to his prejudice. The Baron justified himself at greater length than I choose to repeat. He urged that the quarrel was common to them, and that Balmawhapple could not, by the code of honour, EVITE giving satisfaction to both, which he had done in his case by an honourable meeting, and in that of Edward by such a PALINODE as rendered the use of the sword unnecessary, and which, being made and accepted, must necessarily SOPITE the whole affair.
With this excuse or explanation, Waverley was silenced, if not satisfied; but he could not help testifying some displeasure against the Blessed Bear, which had given rise to the quarrel, nor refrain from hinting, that the sanctified epithet was hardly appropriate. The Baron observed, he could not deny that 'the Bear, though allowed by heralds as a most honourable ordinary, had, nevertheless, somewhat fierce, churlish, and morose in his disposition (as might be read in Archibald Simson, pastor of Dalkeith's
HIEROGLYPHICA ANIMALIUM), and had thus been the type of many quarrels and dissensions which had occurred in the house of Bradwardine; of which,' he continued, 'I might commemorate mine own unfortunate dissension with my third cousin by the mother's side, Sir Hew Halbert, who was so unthinking as to deride my family name, as if it had been QUASI BEARWARDEN; a most uncivil jest, since it not only insinuated that the founder of our house occupied such a mean situation as to be a custodier of wild beasts, a charge which, ye must have observed, is only entrusted to the very basest plebeians; but, moreover, seemed to infer that our coat-armour had not been achieved by honourable actions in war, but bestowed by way of PARONOMASIA, or pun upon our family appellation,--a sort of bearing which the French call ARMOIRES PARLANTES; the Latins ARMA CANTANTIA; and your English authorities, canting heraldry; being indeed a species of emblazoning more befitting canters, gaberlunzies, and such-like mendicants, whose gibberish is formed upon playing upon the word, than the noble, honourable, and useful science of heraldry, which assigns armorial bearings as the reward of noble and generous actions, and not to tickle the ear with vain quodlibets, such as are found in jest-books.' [See Note 9.] Of his quarrel with Sir Hew, he said nothing more, than that it was settled in a fitting manner.
Having been so minute with respect to the diversions of Tully- Veolan, on the first days of Edward's arrival, for the purpose of introducing its inmates to the reader's acquaintance, it becomes less necessary to trace the progress of his intercourse with the same accuracy. It is probable that a young man, accustomed to more cheerful society, would have tired of the conversation of so violent an asserter of the 'boast of heraldry' as the Baron; but Edward found an agreeable variety in that of Miss Bradwardine, who listened with eagerness to his remarks upon literature, and showed great justness of taste in her answers. The sweetness of her disposition had made her submit with complacency, and even pleasure, to the course of reading prescribed by her father, although it not only comprehended several heavy folios of history, but certain gigantic tomes in High Church polemics. In heraldry he was fortunately contented to give her only such a slight tincture as might be acquired by perusal of the two folio volumes of Nisbet. Rose was indeed the very apple of her father's eye. Her constant liveliness, her attention to all those little observances most gratifying to those who would never think of exacting them, her beauty, in which he recalled the features of his beloved wife, her unfeigned piety, and the noble generosity of her disposition, would have justified the affection of the most doting father.
His anxiety on her behalf did not, however, seem to extend itself in that quarter, where, according to the general opinion, it is most efficiently displayed; in labouring, namely, to establish her in life, either by a large dowry or a wealthy marriage. By an old settlement, almost all the landed estates of the Baron went, after his death, to a distant relation; and it was supposed that Miss Bradwardine would remain but slenderly provided for, as the good gentleman's cash matters had been too long under the exclusive charge of Bailie Macwheeble, to admit of any great expectations from his personal succession. It is true, the said Bailie loved his patron and his patron's daughter next (although at an incomparable distance) to himself. He thought it was possible to set aside the settlement on the male line, and had actually procured an opinion to that effect (and, as he boasted, without a fee) from an eminent Scottish counsel, under whose notice he contrived to bring the point while consulting him regularly on some other business. But the Baron would not listen to such a proposal for an instant. On the contrary, he used to have a perverse pleasure in boasting that the barony of Bradwardine was a male fief, the first charter having been given at that early period when women were not deemed capable to hold a feudal grant; because, according to Les COUSTUSMES DE NORMANDIE, C'EST L'HOMME KI SE BAST ET KI CONSEILLE; or, as is yet more ungallantly expressed by other authorities, all of whose barbarous names he delighted to quote at full length, because a woman could not serve the superior, or feudal lord, in war, on account of the decorum of her sex, nor assist him with advice, because of her limited intellect, nor keep his counsel, owing to the infirmity of her disposition. He would triumphantly ask, how it would become a female, and that female a Bradwardine, to be seen employed in, SERVITIO EXUENDI, SEU DETRAHENDI, CALIGAS REGIS POST BATTALIAM? that is, in pulling off the king's boots after an engagement, which was the feudal service by which he held the barony of Bradwardine. 'No,' he said, 'beyond hesitation, PROCUL DUBIO, many females, as worthy as Rose, had been excluded, in order to make way for my own succession, and Heaven forbid that I should do aught that might contravene the destination of my forefathers, or impinge upon the right of my kinsman, Malcolm Bradwardine of Inchgrabbit, an honourable though decayed branch of my own family.'
The Bailie, as prime minister, having received this decisive communication from his sovereign, durst not press his own opinion any further, but contented himself with deploring, on all suitable occasions, to Saunderson, the minister of the interior, the Laird's self-willedness, and with laying plans for uniting Rose with the young laird of Balmawhapple, who had a fine estate, only moderately burdened, and was a faultless young gentleman, being as sober as a saint--if you keep brandy from him, and him from brandy--and who, in brief, had no imperfection but that of keeping light company at a time; such as Jinker, the horse-couper, and Gibby Gaethroughwi't, the piper o' Cupar; o' whilk follies, Mr. Saunderson, he'll mend, he'll mend,'-- pronounced the Bailie.'Like sour ale in simmer,' added Davie Gellatley, who happened to be nearer the conclave than they were aware of.
Miss Bradwardine, such as we have described her, with all the simplicity and curiosity of a recluse, attached herself to the opportunities of increasing her store of literature which Edward's visit afforded her. He sent for some of his books from his quarters, and they opened to her sources of delight of which she had hitherto had no idea. The best English poets, of every description, and other works on belles lettres, made a part of this precious cargo. Her music, even her flowers, were neglected, and Saunders not only mourned over, but began to mutiny against the labour for which he now scarce received thanks. These new pleasures became gradually enhanced by sharing them with one of a kindred taste. Edward's readiness to comment, to recite, to explain difficult passages, rendered his assistance invaluable; and the wild romance of his spirit delighted a character too young and inexperienced to observe its deficiencies. Upon subjects which interested him, and when quite at ease, he possessed that flow of natural, and somewhat florid eloquence, which has been supposed as powerful even as figure, fashion, fame, or fortune, in winning the female heart. There was, therefore, an increasing danger in this constant intercourse, to poor Rose's peace of mind, which was the more imminent, as her father was greatly too much abstracted in his studies, and wrapped up in his own dignity, to dream of his daughter's incurring it. The daughters of the house of Bradwardine were, in his opinion, like those of the house of Bourbon or Austria, placed high above the clouds of passion which might obfuscate the intellects of meaner females; they moved in another sphere, were governed by other feelings, and amenable to other rules, than those of idle and fantastic affection. In short, he shut his eyes so resolutely to the natural consequences of Edward's intimacy with Miss Bradwardine, that the whole neighbourhood concluded that he had opened them to the advantages of a match between his daughter and the wealthy young Englishman, and pronounced him much less a fool than he had generally shown himself in cases where his own interest was concerned.
If the Baron, however, had really meditated such an alliance, the indifference of Waverley would have been an insuperable bar to his project. Our hero, since mixing more freely with the world, had learned to think with great shame and confusion upon his mental legend of Saint Cecilia, and the vexation of these reflections was likely, for some time at least, to counterbalance the natural susceptibility of his disposition. Besides, Rose Bradwardine, beautiful and amiable as we have described her, had not precisely the sort of beauty or merit which captivates a romantic imagination in early youth. She was too frank, too confiding, too kind; amiable qualities, undoubtedly, but destructive of the marvellous, with which a youth of imagination delights to address the empress of his affections. Was it possible to bow, to tremble, and to adore, before the timid, yet playful little girl, who now asked Edward to mend her pen, now to construe a stanza in Tasso, and now how to spell a very--very long word in her version of it? All these incidents have their fascination on the mind at a certain period of life, but not when a youth is entering it, and rather looking out for some object whose affection may dignify him in his own eyes, than stooping to one who looks up to him for such distinction. Hence, though there can be no rule in so capricious a passion, early love is frequently ambitious in choosing its object; or, which comes to the same, selects her (as in the case of Saint Cecilia aforesaid) from a situation that gives fair scope for LE BEAU IDEAL, which the reality of intimate and familiar life rather tends to limit and impair. I knew a very accomplished and sensible young man cured of a violent passion for a pretty woman, whose talents were not equal to her face and figure, by being permitted to bear her company for a whole afternoon. Thus it is certain, that had Edward enjoyed such an opportunity of conversing with Miss Stubbs, Aunt Rachel's precaution would have been unnecessary, for he would as soon have fallen in love with the dairymaid. And although Miss Bradwardine was a very different character, it seems probable that the very intimacy of their intercourse prevented his feeling for her other sentiments than those of a brother for an amiable and accomplished sister; while the sentiments of poor Rose were gradually, and without her being conscious, assuming a shade of warmer affection.
I ought to have said that Edward, when he sent to Dundee for the books before mentioned, had applied for, and received permission, extending his leave of absence. But the letter of his commanding-officer contained a friendly recommendation to him, not to spend his time exclusively with persons, who, estimable as they might be in a general sense, could not be supposed well affected to a government which they declined to acknowledge by taking the oath of allegiance. The letter further insinuated, though with great delicacy, that although some family connexions might be supposed to render it necessary for Captain Waverley to communicate with gentlemen who were in this unpleasant state of suspicion, yet his father's situation and wishes ought to prevent his prolonging those attentions into exclusive intimacy. And it was intimated, that; while his political principles were endangered by communicating with laymen of this description, he might also receive erroneous impressions in religion from the prelatic clergy, who so perversely laboured to set up the royal prerogative in things sacred.
This last insinuation probably induced Waverley to set both down to the prejudices of his commanding-officer. He was sensible that Mr. Bradwardine had acted with the most scrupulous delicacy, in never entering upon any discussion that had the most remote tendency to bias his mind in political opinions, although he was himself not only a decided partisan of the exiled family, but had been trusted at different times with important commissions for their service. Sensible, therefore, that there was no risk of his being perverted from his allegiance, Edward felt as if he should do his uncle's old friend injustice in removing from a house where he gave and received pleasure and amusement, merely to gratify a prejudiced and ill-judged suspicion, He therefore wrote a very general answer, assuring his commanding-officer that his loyalty was not in the most distant danger of contamination, and continued an honoured guest and inmate of the house of Tully- Veolan.
Chapter 15A Creagh, And Its Consequences [A CREAGH was an incursion for plunder, termed on the Borders a raid.]
When Edward had been a guest at Tully-Veolan nearly six weeks, he descried one morning, as he took his usual walk before the breakfast-hour, signs of uncommon perturbation in the family. Four bare-legged dairymaids, with each an empty milk-pail in her hand, ran about with frantic gestures, and uttering loud exclamations of surprise, grief, and resentment. From their appearance, a pagan might have conceived them a detachment of the celebrated Belides, just come from their baling penance. As nothing was to be got from this distracted chorus, excepting 'Lord guide us!' and 'Eh, sirs!' ejaculations which threw no light upon the cause of their dismay, Waverley repaired to the forecourt, as it was called, where he beheld Bailie Macwheeble cantering his white pony down the avenue with all the speed it could muster. He had arrived, it would seem, upon a hasty summons and was followed by half a score of peasants from the village, who had no great difficulty in keeping pace with him.
The Bailie, greatly too busy, and too important, to enter into explanations with Edward, summoned forth Mr. Saunderson, who appeared with a countenance in which dismay was mingled with solemnity, and they immediately entered into close conference. Davie Gellatley was also seen in the group, idle as Diogenes at Sinope, while his countrymen were preparing for a siege. His spirits always rose with anything, good or bad, which occasioned tumult, and he continued frisking, hopping, dancing, and singing the burden of an old ballad,Our gear's a' gane, until, happening to pass too near the Bailie, he received an admonitory hint from his horsewhip, which converted his songs into lamentation.
Passing from thence towards the garden, Waverley beheld the Baron in person, measuring and re-measuring, with swift and tremendous strides, the length of the terrace; his countenance clouded with offended pride and indignation, and the whole of his demeanour such as seemed to indicate, that any inquiry concerning the cause of his discomposure would give pain at least, if not offence. Waverley therefore glided into the house, without addressing him, and took his way to the breakfast parlour, where he found his young friend Rose, who, though she neither exhibited the resentment of her father, the turbid importance of Bailie Macwheeble, nor the despair of the hand-maidens, seemed vexed and thoughtful. A single word explained the mystery. 'Your breakfast will be a disturbed one, Captain Waverley, A party of Caterans have come down upon us, last night, and have driven off all our milch cows.'
'A party of Caterans?' 'Yes; robbers from the neighbouring Highlands. We used to be quite free from them while we paid blackmail to Fergus Mac-Ivor Vich Ian Vohr; but my father thought it unworthy of his rank and birth to pay it any longer, and so this disaster has happened. It is not the value of the cattle, Captain Waverley, that vexes me; but my father is so much hurt at the affront, and is so bold and hot, that I fear he will try to recover them by the strong hand; and if he is not hurt himself, he will hurt some of these wild people, and then there will be no peace between them and us perhaps for our lifetime; and we cannot defend ourselves as is old times, for the government have taken all our arms; and my dear father is so rash--Oh, what will become of us!'--Here poor Rose lost heart altogether, and burst into a flood of tears.
The Baron entered at this moment, and rebuked her with more asperity than Waverley had ever heard him use to any one. 'Was it not a shame,' he said, 'that she should exhibit herself before any gentleman in such a light, as if she shed tears for a drove of horned nolt and milch kine, like the daughter of a Cheshire yeoman! Captain Waverley, I must request your favourable construction of her grief, which may, or ought to proceed, solely from seeing her father's estate exposed to spulzie and depredation from common thieves and sornars, [Sornars may be translated sturdy beggars, more especially indicating those unwelcome visitors who exact lodgings and victuals by force, or something approaching to it.] while we are not allowed to keep half a score of muskets, whether for defence or rescue.'
Bailie Macwheeble entered immediately afterwards, and by his report of arms and ammunition confirmed this statement, informing the Baron, in a melancholy voice, that though the people would certainly obey his honour's orders, yet there was no chance of their following the gear to ony guid purpose, in respect there were only his honour's body servants who had swords and pistols, and the depredators were twelve Highlanders, completely armed after the manner of their country.--Having delivered this doleful annunciation, he assumed a posture of silent dejection, shaking his head slowly with the motion of a pendulum when it is ceasing to vibrate, and then remained stationary, his body stooping at a more acute angle than usual, and the latter part of his person projecting in proportion.
The Baron, meanwhile, paced the room in silent indignation, and at length fixing his eye upon an old portrait, whose person was clad in armour, and whose features glared grimly out of a huge bush of hair, part of which descended from his head to his shoulders, and part from his chin and upper-lip to his breastplate,--'That gentleman, Captain Waverley, my grandsire,' he said, 'with two hundred horse, whom he levied within his own bounds, discomfited and put to the rout more than five hundred of these Highland reivers, who have been ever LAPIS OFFENSIONIS, ET PETRA SCANDALI, a stumbling-block and a rock of offence to the Lowland vicinage--he discomfited them, I say, when they had the temerity to descend to harry this country, in the time of the civil dissensions, in the year of grace sixteen hundred forty and two. And now, sir, I, his grandson, am thus used at such unworthy hands!'
Here there was an awful pause; after which all the company, as is usual in cases of difficulty, began to give separate and inconsistent counsel. Alexander ab Alexandro proposed they should send some one to compound with the Caterans, who would readily, he said, give up their prey for a dollar a head. The Bailie opined that this transaction would amount to theft-boot, or composition of felony; and he recommended that some CANNY HAND should be sent up to the glens to make the best bargain he could, as it were for himself, so that the laird might not be seen in such a transaction. Edward proposed to send off to the nearest garrison for a party of soldiers and a magistrate's warrant; and Rose, as far as she dared, endeavoured to insinuate the course of paying the arrears of tribute money to Fergus Mac-Ivor Vich Ian Vohr, who, they all knew, could easily procure restoration of the cattle, if he were properly propitiated.
None of these proposals met the Baron's approbation. The idea of composition, direct or implied, was absolutely ignominious; that of Waverley only showed that he did not understand the state of the country, and of the political parties which divided it; and, standing matters as they did with Fergus Mac-Ivor Vich Ian Vohr, the Baron would make no concession to him, were it, he said, (to procure restitution IN INTEGRUM of every stirk and stot that the chief, his forefathers, and his clan, had stolen since the days of Malcolm Canmore.'
In fact, his voice was still for war, and he proposed to send expresses to Balmawhapple, Killancureit, Tulliellum, and other lairds, who were exposed to similar depredations, inviting them to join in the pursuit; 'and then, sir, shall these NEBULONES NEQUISSIMI, as Leslaeus calls them, be brought to the fate of their predecessor Cacus,Elisos oculos, et siccum sanguine guttur.'
The Bailie, who by no means relished these warlike counsels, here pulled forth an immense watch, of the colour, and nearly of the size, of a pewter warming-pan, and observed it was now past noon, and that the Caterans had been seen in the pass of BallyBrough soon after sunrise; so that before the allied forces could assemble, they and their prey would be far beyond the reach of the most active pursuit, and sheltered in those pathless deserts where it was neither advisable to follow, nor indeed possible to trace them.
This proposition was undeniable. The council therefore broke up without coming to any conclusion, as has occurred to councils of more importance; only it was determined that the Bailie should send his own three milk-cows down to the Mains for the use of the Baron's family, and brew small ale, as a substitute for milk, in his own. To this arrangement, which was suggested by Saunderson, the Bailie readily assented, both from habitual deference to the family, and an internal consciousness that his courtesy would, in some mode or other, be repaid tenfold.
The Baron having also retired to give some necessary directions, Waverley seized the opportunity to ask, whether this Fergus, with the unpronounceable name, was the chief thief-taker of the district.
'Thief-taker!' answered Rose, laughing; 'he is a gentleman of great honour and consequence; the chieftain of an independent branch of a powerful Highland clan, and is much respected, both for his own power, and that of his kith, kin, and allies.'
The commission of war rather, if there be such a thing,' said Rose; 'for he is a very unquiet neighbour to his un-friends, and keeps a greater FOLLOWING on foot than many that have thrice his estates. As to his connexion with the thieves, that I cannot well explain; but the boldest of them will never steal a hoof from any one that pays blackmail to Vich Ian Vohr.''And what is blackmail?'
'A sort of protection-money that Low-country gentlemen and heritors, lying near the Highlands, pay to some Highland chief, that he may neither do them harm himself, nor suffer it to be done to them by others; and then, if your cattle are stolen, you have only to send him word, and he will recover them; or it may be, he will drive away cows from some distant place, where he has a quarrel, and give them to you to make up your loss.''And is this sort of Highland Jonathan Wild admitted into society, and called a gentleman?'
'So much so,' said Rose, 'that the quarrel between my father and Fergus Mac-Ivor began at a county meeting, where he wanted to take precedence of all the Lowland gentlemen then present, only my father would not suffer it. And then he upbraided my father that he was under his banner, and paid him tribute; and my father was in a towering passion, for Bailie Macwheeble, who manages such things his own way, had contrived to keep this blackmail a secret from him, and passed it in his account for cess-money. And they would have fought; but Fergus Mac-Ivor said, very gallantly, he would never raise his hand against a grey head that was so much respected as my father's. Oh, I wish, I wish they had continued friends!''And did you ever see this Mr. Mac-Ivor, if that be his name, Miss Bradwardine?'
'No, that is not his name; and he would consider MASTER as a sort of affront, only that you are an Englishman, and know no better. But the Lowlanders call him, like other gentlemen, by the name of his estate, Glennaquoich; and the Highlanders call him Vich Ian Vohr, that is, the son of John the Great; and we upon the braes here call him by both names indifferently.'I am afraid I shall never bring my English tongue to call him by either one or other.'
'But he is a very polite, handsome man,' continued Rose; 'and his sister Flora is one of the most beautiful and accomplished young ladies in this country: she was bred in a convent in France, and was a great friend of mine before this unhappy dispute. Dear Captain Waverley, try your influence with my father to make matters up. I am sure this is but the beginning of our troubles; for Tully-Veolan has never been a safe or quiet residence when we have been at feud with the Highlanders. When I was a girl about ten, there was a skirmish fought between a party of twenty of them, and my father and his servants, behind the Mains; and the bullets broke several panes in the north windows, they were so near. Three of the Highlanders were killed, and they brought them in, wrapped in their plaids, and laid them on the stone floor of the hall; and next morning, their wives and daughters came, clapping their hands, and crying the coronach, and shrieking, and carried away the dead bodies, with the pipes playing before them. I could not sleep for six weeks without starting, and thinking I heard these terrible cries, and saw the bodies lying on the steps, all stiff and swathed up in their bloody tartans. But since that time there came a party from the garrison at Stirling, with a warrant from the Lord Justice-Clerk, or some such great man, and took away all our arms; and now, how are we to protect ourselves if they come down in any strength?'
Waverley could not help starting at a story which bore so much resemblance to one of his own day-dreams. Here was a girl scarce seventeen, the gentlest of her sex, both in temper and appearance, who had witnessed with her own eyes such a scene as he had used to conjure up in his imagination, as only occurring in ancient times, and spoke of it coolly, as one very likely to recur. He felt at once the impulse of curiosity, and that slight sense of danger which only serves to heighten its interest. He might have said with Malvolio, '"I do not now fool myself, to let imagination jade me!" I am actually in the land of military and romantic adventures, and it only remains to be seen what will be my own share in them.'
The whole circumstances now detailed concerning the state of the country, seemed equally novel and extraordinary. He had indeed often heard of Highland thieves, but had no idea of the systematic mode in which their depredations were conducted; and that the practice was connived at, and even encouraged, by many of the Highland chieftains, who not only found the creaghs, or forays, useful for the purpose of training individuals of their clan to the practice of arms, but also of maintaining a wholesome terror among their Lowland neighbours, and levying, as we have seen, a tribute from them, under colour of protection-money.
Bailie Macwheeble, who soon afterwards entered, expatiated still more at length upon the same topic. This honest gentleman's conversation was so formed upon his professional practice, that Davie Gellatley once said his discourse was like 'a charge of horning.' He assured our hero, that 'from the maist ancient times of record, the lawless thieves, limmers, and broken men of the Highlands, had been in fellowship together by reason of their surnames, for the committing of divers thefts, reifs, and herships upon the honest men of the Low Country, when they not only intromitted with their whole goods and gear, corn, cattle, horse, nolt, sheep, outsight and insight plenishing, at their wicked pleasure, but moreover made prisoners, ransomed them, or concussed them into giving borrows (pledges) to enter into captivity again: all which was directly prohibited in divers parts of the Statute Book, both by the act one thousand five hundred and sixty-seven, and various others; the whilk statutes, with all that had followed and might follow thereupon, were shamefully broken and vilipended by the said sornars, limmers, and broken men, associated into fellowships, for the aforesaid purposes of theft, stouthreef, fire-raising, murther, RAPTUS MULIERUM, or forcible abduction of women, and such like as aforesaid.'
It seemed like a dream to Waverley that these deeds of violence should be familiar to men's minds, and currently talked of, as falling within the common order of things, and happening daily in the immediate vicinity, without his having crossed the seas, and while he was yet in the otherwise well-ordered island of Great Britain. [See Note 10.]
Chapter 16An Unexpected Ally Appears
The Baron returned at the dinner-hour, and had in a great measure recovered his composure and good humour. He not only confirmed the stories which Edward had heard from Rose and Bailie Macwheeble, but added many anecdotes from his own experience, concerning the state of the Highlands and their inhabitants, The chiefs he pronounced to be, in general, gentlemen of great honour and high pedigree, whose word was accounted as a law by all those of their own sept, or clan. 'It did not, indeed,' he said, 'become them, as had occurred in late instances, to propone their PROSAPIA, a lineage which rested for the most part on the vain and fond rhymes of their Seannachies or Barahs, as aequiponderate with the evidence of ancient charters and royal grants of antiquity, conferred upon distinguished houses in the Low Country by divers Scottish monarchs; nevertheless, such was their OUTRECUIDANCE and presumption, as to undervalue those who possessed such evidents, as if they held their lands in a sheep's skin.'
This, by the way, pretty well explained the cause of quarrel between the Baron and his Highland ally. But he went on to state so many curious particulars concerning the manners, customs, and habits of this patriarchal race, that Edward's curiosity became highly interested, and he inquired whether it was possible to make with safety an excursion into the neighbouring Highlands, whose dusky barrier of mountains had already excited his wish to penetrate beyond them. The Baron assured his guest that nothing would be more easy, providing this quarrel were first made up, since he could himself give him letters to many of the distinguished chiefs, who would receive him with the utmost courtesy and hospitality.
While they were on this topic, the door suddenly opened, and, ushered by Saunders Saunderson, a Highlander, fully armed and equipped, entered the apartment. Had it not been that Saunders acted the part of master of the ceremonies to this martial apparition, without appearing to deviate from his usual composure, and that neither Mr. Bradwardine nor Rose exhibited any emotion, Edward would certainly have thought the intrusion hostile, As it was, he started at the sight of what he had not yet happened to see, a mountaineer in his full national costume. The individual Gael was a stout, dark, young man, of low stature, the ample folds of whose plaid added to the appearance of strength which his person exhibited. The short kilt, or petticoat, showed his sinewy and cleanmade limbs; the goat-skin purse, flanked by the usual defences, a dirk and steel-wrought pistol, hung before him; his bonnet had a short feather, which indicated his claim to be treated as a Duinhe-wassel, or sort of gentleman; a broadsword dangled by his side, a target hung upon his shoulder, and a long Spanish fowling-piece occupied one of his hands. With the other hand he pulled off his bonnet, and the Baron, who well knew their customs, and the proper mode of addressing them, immediately said, with an air of dignity, but without rising, and much, as Edward thought, in the manner of a prince receiving an embassy, 'Welcome, Evan Dhu Maccombich! what news from Fergus MacIvor Vich Ian Vohr?'
'Fergus Mac-Ivor Vich Ian Vohr,' said the ambassador, in good English, 'greets you well, Baron of Bradwardine and Tully-Veolan, and is sorry there has been a thick cloud interposed between you and him, which has kept you from seeing and considering the friendship and alliances that have been between your houses and forebears of old; and he prays you that the cloud may pass away, and that things may be as they have been heretofore between the clan Ivor and the house of Bradwardine, when there was an egg between them for a flint, and a knife for a sword. And he expects you will also say, you are sorry for the cloud, and no man shall hereafter ask whether it descended from the hill to the valley, or rose from the valley to the hill; for they never struck with the scabbard who did not receive with the sword; and woe to him who would lose his friend for the stormy cloud of a spring morning!'
To this the Baron of Bradwardine answered, with suitable dignity, that he knew the chief of clan Ivor to be a well-wisher to the King, and he was sorry there should have been a cloud between him and any gentleman of such sound principles, 'for when folks are banding together, feeble is he who hath no brother.'
This appearing perfectly satisfactory, that the peace between these august persons might be duly solemnized, the Baron ordered a stoup of usquebaugh, and, filling a glass, drank to the health and prosperity of Mac-Ivor of Glennaquoich; upon which the Celtic ambassador, to requite his politeness, turned down a mighty bumper of the same generous liquor, seasoned with his good wishes to the house of Bradwardine.
Having thus ratified the preliminaries of the general treaty of pacification, the envoy retired to adjust with Mr. Macwheeble some subordinate articles with which it was not thought necessary to trouble the Baron. These probably referred to the discontinuance of the subsidy, and apparently the Bailie found means to satisfy their ally, without suffering his master to suppose that his dignity was compromised. At least, it is certain, that after the plenipotentiaries had drunk a bottle of brandy in single drams, which seemed to have no more effect upon such seasoned vessels, than if it had been poured upon the two bears at the top of the avenue, Evan Dhu Maccombich, having possessed himself of all the information which he could procure respecting the robbery of the preceding night, declared his intention to set off immediately in pursuit of the cattle, which he pronounced to be 'not far off;--they have broken the bone,' he observed, 'but they have had no time to suck the marrow.'
Our hero, who had attended Evan Dhu during his perquisitions, was much struck with the ingenuity which he displayed in collecting information, and the precise and pointed conclusions which he drew from it. Evan Dhu, on his part, was obviously flattered with the attention of Waverley, the interest he seemed to take in his inquiries, and his curiosity about the customs and scenery of the Highlands. Without much ceremony he invited Edward to accompany him on a short walk of ten or fifteen miles into the mountains, and see the place where the cattle were conveyed to; adding, 'If it be as I suppose, you never saw such a place in your life, nor ever will, unless you go with me, or the like of me.' Our hero, feeling his curiosity considerably excited by the idea of visiting the den of a Highland Cacus, took, however, the precaution to inquire if his guide might be trusted. He was assured, that the invitation would on no account have been given had there been the least danger, and that all he had to apprehend was a little fatigue; and as Evan proposed he should pass a day at his Chieftain's house in returning, where he would be sure of good accommodation and an excellent welcome, there seemed nothing very formidable in the task he undertook. Rose, indeed, turned pale when she heard of it; but her father, who loved the spirited curiosity of his young friend, did not attempt to damp it by an alarm of danger which really did not exist; and a knapsack, with a few necessaries, being bound on the shoulders of a sort of deputy gamekeeper, our hero set forth with a fowling-piece in his hand, accompanied by his new friend Evan Dhu, and, followed by the gamekeeper aforesaid, and by two wild Highlanders, the attendants of Evan, one of whom had upon his shoulder a hatchet at the end of a pole, called a Lochaber-axe, [The Town-guard of Edinburgh were, till a late period, armed with this weapon when on their police duty. There was a hook at the back of the axe, which the ancient Highlanders used to assist them to climb over walls, fixing the hook upon it, and raising themselves by the handle. The axe, which was also much used by the natives of Ireland, is supposed to have been introduced into both countries from Scandinavia.] and the other a long ducking-gun. Evan, upon Edward's inquiry, gave him to understand that this martial escort was by no means necessary as a guard, but merely, as he said, drawing up and adjusting his plaid with an air of dignity, that he might appear decently at Tully-Veolan, and as Vich Ian Vohr's foster-brother ought to do. 'Ah!' said he, 'if you Saxon Duinhe-wassel (English gentlemen) saw but the Chief with his tail on!''With his tail on!' echoed Edward, in some surprise.
'Yes--that is, with all his usual followers, when he visits those of the same rank. There is,' he continued, stopping and drawing himself proudly up, while he counted upon his fingers the several officers of his chief's retinue--'there is his HANCH-MAN, or righthand man; then his BARDH, or poet; then his BLADIER, or orator, to make harangues to the great folks whom he visits; then his GILLY-MORE, or armour-bearer, to carry his sword and target, and his gun; then his GILLY CASFLIUCH, who carries him on his back through the sikes and brooks; then his GILLY-COMSTRIAN, to lead his horse by the bridle in steep and difficult paths; then his GILLY-TRUSHHARNISH, to carry his knapsack; and the piper and the piper's man, and it may be a dozen young lads besides, that have no business, but are just boys of the belt, to follow the laird, and do his honour's bidding.'And does your Chief regularly maintain all these men?' demanded Waverley. 'All these!' replied Evan; 'aye, and many a fair head beside, that would not ken where to lay itself, but for the mickle barn at Glennaquoich.'
With similar tales of the grandeur of the Chief in peace and war, Evan Dhu beguiled the way till they approached more closely those huge mountains which Edward had hitherto only seen at a distance. It was towards evening as they entered one of the tremendous passes which afford communication between the High and Low Country; the path, which was extremely steep and rugged, winded up a chasm between two tremendous rocks, following the passage which a foaming stream, that brawled far below, appeared to have worn for itself in the course of ages. A few slanting beams of the sun, which was now setting, reached the water in its darksome bed, and showed it partially, chafed by a hundred rocks, and broken by a hundred falls. The descent from the path to the stream was a mere precipice, with here and there a projecting fragment of granite, or a scathed tree, which had warped its twisted roots into the fissures of the rock. On the right hand, the mountain rose above the path with almost equal inaccessibility; but the hill on the opposite side displayed a shroud of copsewood, with which some pines were intermingled.
'This,' said Evan, 'is the pass of Bally-Brough, which was kept in former times by ten of the clan Donnochie against a hundred of the Low Country carles. The graves of the slain are still to be seen in that little corri, or bottom, on the opposite side of the burn--if your eyes are good, you may see the green specks among the heather.--See, there is an earn, which you Southrons call an eagle--you have no such birds as that in England--he is going to fetch his supper from the Laird of Bradwardine's braes, but I'll send a slug after him.'
He fired his piece accordingly, but missed the superb monarch of the feathered tribes, who, without noticing the attempt to annoy him, continued his majestic flight to the southward. A thousand birds of prey, hawks, kites, carrion-crows, and ravens, disturbed from the lodgings which they had just taken up for the evening, rose at the report of the gun, and mingled their hoarse and discordant notes with the echoes which replied to it, and with the roar of the mountain cataracts. Evan, a little disconcerted at having missed his mark, when he meant to have displayed peculiar dexterity, covered his confusion by whistling part of a pibroch as he reloaded his piece, and proceeded in silence up the pass.
It issued in a narrow glen, between two mountains, both very lofty, and covered with heath. The brook continued to be their companion, and they advanced up its mazes, crossing them now and then, on which occasions Even Dhu uniformly offered the assistance of his attendants to carry over Edward; but our hero, who had been always a tolerable pedestrian, declined the accommodation, and obviously rose in his guide's opinion by showing that he did not fear wetting his feet. Indeed he was anxious, so far as he could without affectation, to remove the opinion which Evan seemed to entertain of the effeminacy of the Lowlanders, and particularly of the English.
Through the gorge of this glen they found access to a black bog, of tremendous extent, full of large pit-holes, which they traversed with great difficulty and some danger, by tracks which no one but a Highlander could have followed. The path itself, or rather the portion of more solid ground on which the travellers half walked, half waded, was rough, broken, and in many places quaggy and unsound. Sometimes the ground was so completely unsafe, that it was necessary to spring from one hillock to another, the space between being incapable of bearing the human weight. This was an easy matter to the Highlanders, who wore thin-soled brogues fit for the purpose, and moved with a peculiar springing step; but Edward began to find the exercise, to which he was unaccustomed, more fatiguing than he expected. The lingering twilight served to show them through this Serbonian bog, but deserted them almost totally at the bottom of a steep and very stony hill, which it was the travellers' next toilsome task to ascend. The night, however, was pleasant, and not dark; and Waverley, calling up mental energy to support personal fatigue, held on his march gallantly, though envying in his heart his Highland attendants, who continued, without a symptom of abated vigour, the rapid and swinging pace, or rather trot, which, according to his computation, had already brought them fifteen miles upon their journey.
After crossing this mountain, and descending on the other side towards a thick wood, Evan Dhu held some conference with his Highland attendants, in consequence of which Edward's baggage was shifted from the shoulders of the gamekeeper to those of one of the gillies, and the former was sent off with the other mountaineer in a direction different from that of the three remaining travellers. On asking the meaning of this separation, Waverley was told that the Lowlander must go to a hamlet about three miles off for the night; for unless it was some very particular friend, Donald Bean Lean, the worthy person whom they supposed to be possessed of the cattle, did not much approve of strangers approaching his retreat. This seemed reasonable, and silenced a qualm of suspicion which came across Edward's mind, when he saw himself, at such a place and such an hour, deprived of his only Lowland companion. And Evan immediately afterwards added, 'that indeed he himself had better get forward, and announce their approach to Donald Bean Lean, as the arrival of a SIDIER ROY (red soldier) might otherwise be a disagreeable surprise.' And without waiting for an answer, in jockey phrase, he trotted out, and putting himself to a very round pace, was out of sight in an instant.
Waverley was now left to his own meditations, for his attendant with the battle-axe spoke very little English. They were traversing a thick, and, as it seemed, an endless wood of pines, and consequently the path was altogether indiscernible in the murky darkness which surrounded them. The Highlander, however, seemed to trace it by instinct, without the hesitation of a moment, and Edward followed his footsteps as close as he could.After journeying a considerable time in silence, he could not help asking, 'Was it far to the end of their journey?' 'Ta cove was tree, four mile; but as Duinhe-wassel was a wee taiglit, Donald could, tat is, might--would--should send ta curragh.'
This conveyed no information. The CURRAGH which was promised might be a man, a horse, a cart, or chaise; and no more could be got from the man with the battle-axe, but a repetition of 'Aich ay! ta curragh.'
But in a short time Edward began to conceive his meaning, when, issuing from the wood, he found himself on the banks of a large river or lake, where his conductor gave him to understand they must sit down for a little while. The moon, which now began to rise, showed obscurely the expanse of water which spread before them, and the shapeless and indistinct forms of mountains with which it seemed to be surrounded. The cool and yet mild air of the summer night refreshed Waverley after his rapid and toilsome walk; and the perfume which it wafted from the birch-trees, bathed in the evening dew, was exquisitely fragrant. [It is not the weeping birch, the most common species in the Highlands, but the woolly-leaved Lowland birch, that is distinguished by this fragrance.]
He had now time to give himself up to the full romance of his situation. Here he saw on the banks of an unknown lake, under the guidance of a wild native, whose language was unknown to him, on a visit to the den of some renowned outlaw, a second Robin Hood, perhaps, or Adam o' Gordon, and that at deep midnight, through scenes of difficulty and toil, separated from his attendant, left by his guide.--What a variety of incidents for the exercise of a romantic imagination, and all enhanced by the solemn feeling of uncertainty, at least, if not of danger! The only circumstance which assorted ill with the rest, was the cause of his journey--the Baron's milk-cows! This degrading incident he kept in the background.
While wrapped in these dreams of imagination, his companion gently touched him, and pointing in a direction nearly straight across the lake, said 'Yon's ta cove.' A small point of light was seen to twinkle in the direction in which he pointed, and gradually increasing in size and lustre, seemed to flicker like a meteor upon the verge of the horizon. While Edward watched this phenomenon, the distant dash of oars was heard. The measured sound approached near and more near, and presently a loud whistle was heard in the same direction. His friend with the battle-axe immediately whistled clear and shrill, in reply to the signal, and a boat, manned with four or five Highlanders, pushed for a little inlet, near which Edward was sitting. He advanced to meet them with his attendant, was immediately assisted into the boat by the officious attention of two stout mountaineers, and had no sooner seated himself than they resumed their oars, and began to row across the lake with great rapidity.
Chapter 17The Hold Of A Highland Robber
The party preserved silence, interrupted only by the monotonous and murmured chant of a Gaelic song, sung in a kind of low recitative by the steersman, and by the dash of the oars, which the notes seemed to regulate, as they dipped to them in cadence. The light, which they now approached more nearly, assumed a broader, redder, and more irregular splendour. It appeared plainly to be a large fire, but whether kindled upon an island or the main land, Edward could not determine. As he saw it, the red glaring orb seemed to rest on the very surface of the lake itself, and resembled the fiery vehicle in which the Evil Genius of an Oriental tale traverses land and sea. They approached nearer, and the light of the fire sufficed to show that it was kindled at the bottom of a huge dark crag or rock, rising abruptly from the very edge of the water; its front changed by the reflection to dusky red, formed a strange and even awful contrast to the banks around, which were from time to time faintly and partially illuminated by pallid moonlight.
The boat now neared the shore, and Edward could discover that this large fire, amply supplied with branches of pine-wood by two figures, who, in the red reflection of its light, appeared like demons, was kindled in the jaws of a lofty cavern, into which an inlet from the lake seemed to advance; and he conjectured, which was indeed true, that the fire had been lighted as a beacon to the boatmen on their return. They rowed right for the mouth of the cave, and then, shipping their oars, permitted the boat to enter in obedience to the impulse which it had received.
The skiff passed the little point or platform of rock on which the fire was blazing, and running about two boats' length farther, stopped where the cavern (for it was already arched overhead) ascended from the water by five or six broad ledges of rocks, so easy and regular that they might be termed natural steps. At this moment a quantity of water was suddenly flung upon the fire, which sank with a hissing noise, and with it disappeared the light it had hitherto afforded. Four or five active arms lifted Waverley out of the boat, placed him on his feet, and almost carried him into the recesses of the cave. He made a few paces in darkness, guided in this manner; and advancing towards a hum of voices, which seemed to sound from the centre of the rock, at an acute turn Donald Bean Lean and his whole establishment were before his eyes.
The interior of the cave, which here rose very high, was illuminated by torches made of pine-tree, which emitted a bright and bickering light, attended by a strong though not unpleasant odour. Their light was assisted by the red glare of a large charcoal fire, round which were seated five or six armed Highlanders, while others were indistinctly seen couched on their plaids, in the more remote recesses of the cavern. In one large aperture, which the robber facetiously called his spence (or pantry), there hung by the heels the carcasses of a sheep, or ewe, and two cows lately slaughtered. The principal inhabitant of this singular mansion, attended by Evan Dhu as master of the ceremonies, came forward to meet his guest, totally different in appearance and manner from what his imagination had anticipated. The profession which he followed--the wilderness in which he dwelt--the wild warrior-forms that surrounded him, were all calculated to inspire terror. From such accompaniments, Waverley prepared himself to meet a stern, gigantic, ferocious figure, such as Salvator would have chosen to be the central object of a group of banditti. [See Note 11.]
Donald Bean Lean was the very reverse of all these. He was thin in person and low in stature, with light sandy-coloured hair, and small pale features, from which he derived his agnomen of BEAN, or white; and although his form was light, well-proportioned, and active, he appeared, on the whole, rather a diminutive and insignificant figure. He had served in some inferior capacity in the French army, and in order to receive his English visitor in great form, and probably meaning, in his way, to pay him a compliment, he had laid aside the Highland dress for the time, to put on an old blue and red uniform, and a feathered hat, in which he was far from showing to advantage, and indeed looked so incongruous, compared with all around him, that Waverley would have been tempted to laugh, had laughter been either civil or safe. The robber received Captain Waverley with a profusion of French politeness and Scottish hospitality, seemed perfectly to know his name and connexions, and to be particularly acquainted with his uncle's political principles. On these he bestowed great applause, to which Waverley judged it prudent to make a very general reply.
Being placed at a convenient distance from the charcoal fire, the heat of which the season rendered oppressive, a strapping Highland damsel placed before Waverley, Evan, and Donald Bean, three cogues, or wooden vessels, composed of staves and hoops, containing EANARUICH, [This was the regale presented by Rob Roy to the Laird of Tullibody.] a sort of strong soup, made out of a particular part of the inside of the beeves. After this refreshment, which, though coarse, fatigue and hunger rendered palatable, steaks, roasted on the coals, were supplied in liberal abundance, and disappeared before Even Dhu and their host with a promptitude that seemed like magic, and astonished Waverley, who was much puzzled to reconcile their voracity with what he had heard of the abstemiousness of the Highlanders. He was ignorant that this abstinance was with the lower ranks wholly compulsory, and that, like some animals of prey, those who practise it were usually gifted with the power of indemnifying themselves to good purpose, when chance threw plenty in their way. The whisky came forth in abundance to crown the cheer. The Highlanders drank it copiously and undiluted; but Edward, having mixed a little with water, did not find it so palatable as to invite him to repeat the draught. Their host bewailed himself exceedingly that he could offer him no wine: 'Had he but known four-and-twenty hours before, he would have had some, had it been within the circle of forty miles round him. But no gentleman could do more to show his sense of the honour of a visit from another, than to offer him the best cheer his house afforded. Where there are no bushes there can be no nuts, and the way of those you live with is that you must follow.'
He went on regretting to Evan Dhu the death of an aged man, Donnacha an Amrigh, or Duncan with the Cap, 'a gifted seer,' who foretold, through the second sight, visitors of every description who haunted their dwelling, whether as friends or foes. 'Is not his son Malcolm TAISHATR?' (a second-sighted person), asked Evan.
'Nothing equal to his father,' replied Donald Bean. He told us the other day we were to see a great gentleman riding on a horse, and there came nobody that whole day but Shemus Beg, the blind harper, with his dog. Another time he advertised us of a wedding, and behold it proved a funeral; and on the creagh, when he foretold to us we should bring home a hundred head of horned cattle, we gripped nothing but a fat bailie of Perth.'
From this discourse he passed to the political and military state of the country; and Waverley was astonished, and even alarmed, to find a person of this description so accurately acquainted with the strength of the various garrisons and regiments quartered north of the Tay. He even mentioned the exact number of recruits who had joined Waverley's troop from his uncle's estate, and observed they were pretty men, meaning, not handsome, but stout warlike fellows. He put Waverley in mind of one or two minute circumstances which had happened at a general review of the regiment, which satisfied him that the robber had been an eye- witness of it; and Evan Dhu having by this time retired from the conversation, and wrapped himself up in his plaid to take some repose, Donald asked Edward, in a very significant manner, whether he had nothing particular to say to him.
Waverley, surprised and somewhat startled at this question from such a character, answered he had no motive in visiting him but curiosity to see his extraordinary place of residence. Donald Bean Lean looked him steadily in the face for an instant, and then said, with a significant nod, 'You might as well have confided in me; I am as much worthy of trust as either the Baron of Bradwardine, or Vich Ian Vohr:--but you are equally welcome to my house.'
Waverley felt an involuntary shudder creep over him at the mysterious language held by this outlawed and lawless bandit, which, in despite of his attempts to master it, deprived him of the proper to ask the meaning of his insinuations. A heath pallet, with the flowers stuck uppermost, had been prepared for him in a recess of the cave, and here, covered with such spare plaids as could be mustered, he lay for some time matching the motions of the other inhabitants of the cavern. Small parties of two or three entered or left the place without any other ceremony than a few words in Gaelic to the principal outlaw, and, when he fell asleep, to a tall Highlander who acted as his lieutenant, and seemed to keep watch during his repose. Those who entered, seemed to have returned from some excursion, of which they reported the success, and went without further ceremony to the larder, where, cutting with their dirks their rations from the carcasses which were there suspended, they proceeded to broil and eat them at their own pleasure and leisure. The liquor was under strict regulation, being served out either by Donald himself, his lieutenant, or the strapping Highland girl aforesaid, who was the only female that appeared. The allowance of whisky, however, would have appeared prodigal to any but Highlanders, who, living entirely in the open air, and in a very moist climate, can consume great quantities of ardent spirits without the usual baneful effects either upon the brain or constitution.
At length the fluctuating groups began to swim before the eyes of our hero as they gradually closed; nor did he re-open them till the morning sun was high on the lake without, though there was but a faint and glimmering twilight in the recesses of Uaimh an Ri, or the King's Cavern, as the abode of Donald Bean Lean was proudly denominated.
Chapter 18Waverley Proceeds On His Journey
Then Edward had collected his scattered recollection, he was surprised to observe the cavern totally deserted. Having arisen and put his dress in some order, he looked more accurately round him; but all was still solitary. If it had not been for the decayed brands of the fire, now sunk into grey ashes, and the remnants of the festival, consisting of bones half burnt and half gnawed, and an empty keg or two, there remained no traces of Donald and his band. When Waverley sallied forth to the entrance of the cave, he perceived that the point of rock, on which remained the marks of last night's beacon, was accessible by a small path, either natural, or roughly hewn in the rock, along the little inlet of water which ran a few yards up into the cavern, where, as in a wet-dock, the skiff which brought him there the night before was still lying moored. When he reached the small projecting platform on which the beacon had been established, he would have believed his further progress by land impossible, only that it was scarce probable but that the inhabitants of the cavern had some mode of issuing from it otherwise than by the lake. Accordingly, he soon observed three or four shelving steps, or ledges of rock, at the very extremity of the little platform; and, making use of them as a staircase, he clambered by their means around the projecting shoulder of the crag on which the cavern opened, and, descending with some difficulty on the other side, he gained the wild and precipitous shores of a Highland loch, about four miles in length, and a mile and a half across, surrounded by heathy and savage mountains, on the crests of which the morning mist was still sleeping.
Looking back to the place from which he came, he could not help admiring the address which had adopted a retreat of such seclusion and secrecy. The rock, round the shoulder of which he had turned by a few imperceptible notches, that barely afforded place for the foot, seemed, in looking back upon it, a huge precipice, which barred all further passage by the shores of the lake in that direction. There could be no possibility, the breadth of the lake considered, of descrying the entrance of the narrow and low-browed cave from the other side; so that, unless the retreat had been sought for with boats, or disclosed by treachery, it might be a safe and secret residence to its garrison as long as they were supplied with provisions. Having satisfied his curiosity in these particulars, Waverley looked around for Evan Dhu and his attendants, who, he rightly judged, would be at no great distance, whatever might have become of Donald Bean Lean and his party, whose mode of life was, of course, liable to sudden migrations of abode. Accordingly, at the distance of about half a mile, he beheld a Highlander (Evan apparently) angling in the lake, with another attending him, whom, from the weapon which he shouldered, he recognized for his friend with the battle-axe.
Much nearer to the mouth of the cave, he heard the notes of a lively Gaelic song, guided by which, in a sunny recess, shaded by a glittering birch-tree, and carpeted with a bank of firm white sand, he found the damsel of the cavern, whose lay had already reached him, busy, to the best of her power, in arranging to advantage a morning repast of milk, eggs, barley-bread, fresh butter, and honeycomb. The poor girl had already made a circuit of four miles that morning in search of the eggs, of the meal which baked her cakes, and of the other materials of the breakfast, being all delicacies which she had to beg or borrow from distant cottagers. The followers of Donald Bean Lean used little food except the flesh of the animals which they drove away from the Lowlands; bread itself was a delicacy seldom thought of, because hard to be obtained, and all the domestic accommodations of milk, poultry, butter, &c., were out of the question in this Scythian camp. Yet it must not be omitted, that, although Alice had occupied a part of the morning in providing those accommodations for her guest which the cavern did not afford, she had secured time also to arrange her own person in her best trim. Her finery was very simple. A short russet-coloured jacket, and a petticoat, of scanty longitude, was her whole dress; but these were clean, and neatly arranged. A piece of scarlet embroidered cloth, called the snood, confined her hair, which fell over it in a profusion of rich dark curls. The scarlet plaid, which formed part of her dress, was laid aside, that it might not impede her activity in attending the stranger. I should forget Alice's proudest ornament, were I to omit mentioning a pair of gold ear-rings, and a golden rosary, which her father (for she was the daughter of Donald Bean Lean) had brought from France, the plunder, probably, of some battle or storm.
Her form, though rather large for her years, was very well proportioned, and her demeanour had a natural and rustic grace, with nothing of the sheepishness of an ordinary peasant. The smiles, displaying a row of teeth of exquisite whiteness, and the laughing eyes, with which, in dumb show, she gave Waverley that morning greeting which she wanted English words to express, might have been interpreted by a coxcomb, or perhaps by a young soldier, who, without being such, was conscious of a handsome person, as meant to convey more than the courtesy of an hostess. Nor do I take it upon me to say, that the little wild mountaineer would have welcomed any staid old gentleman advanced in life, the Baron of Bradwardine, for example, with the cheerful pains which she bestowed upon Edward's accommodation. She seemed eager to place him by the meal which she had so sedulously arranged, and to which she now added a few bunches of cranberries, gathered in an adjacent morass. Having had the satisfaction of seeing him seated at his breakfast, she placed herself demurely upon a stone at a few yards' distance, and appeared to watch with great complacency for some opportunity of serving him.
Evan and his attendant now returned slowly along the beach, the latter bearing a large salmon-trout, the produce of the morning's sport, together with the angling-rod, while Evan strolled forward, with an easy, self-satisfied, and important gait, towards the spot where Waverley was so agreeably employed at the breakfast-table. After morning greetings had passed on both sides, and Evan, looking at Waverley, had said something in Gaelic to Alice, which made her laugh, yet colour up to her eyes, through a complexion well embrowned by sun and wind, Evan intimated his commands that the fish should be prepared for breakfast. A spark from the lock of his pistol produced a light, and a few withered fir branches were quickly in flame, and as speedily reduced to hot embers, on which the trout was broiled in large slices. To crown the repast, Evan produced from the pocket of his short jerkin, a large scallop shell, and from under the folds of his plaid, a ram's horn full of whisky. Of this he took a copious dram, observing he had already taken his MORNING with Donald Bean Lean, before his departure; he offered the same cordial to Alice and to Edward, which they both declined. With the bounteous air of a lord, Evan then proffered the scallop to Dugald Mahony, his attendant, who, without waiting to be asked a second time, drank it off with great gusto. Evan then prepared to move towards the boat, inviting Waverley to attend him. Meanwhile, Alice had made up in a small basket what she thought worth removing, and hinging her plaid around her, she advanced up to Edward, and, with the utmost simplicity, taking hold of his hand, offered her cheek to his salute, dropping, at the same time, her little curtsy. Evan, who was esteemed a wag among the mountain fair, advanced, as if to secure a similar favour; but Alice, snatching up her basket, escaped up the rocky bank as fleetly as a roe, and, turning round and laughing, called something out to him in Gaelic, which he answered in the same tone and language; then, waving her hand to Edward, she resumed her road, and was soon lost among the thickets, though they continued for some time to hear her lively carol, as she proceeded gaily on her solitary journey.
They now again entered the gorge of the cavern, and stepping into the boat, the Highlander pushed off, and, taking advantage of the morning breeze, hoisted a clumsy sort of sail, while Evan assumed the helm, directing their course, as it appeared to Waverley, rather higher up the lake than towards the place of his embarkation on the preceding night. As they glided along the silver mirror, Evan opened the conversation with a panegyric upon Alice, who, he said, was both CANNY and FENDY; and was, to the boot of all that, the best dancer of a strathspey in the whole strath. Edward assented to her praises so far as he understood them, yet could not help regretting that she was condemned to such a perilous and dismal life.'Oich! for that,' said Evan, 'there is nothing in Perthshire that she need want, if she ask her father to fetch it, unless it be too hot or too heavy. 'But to be the daughter of a cattle-stealer--a common thief!' 'Common thief!--no such thing: Donald Bean Lean never LIFTED less than a drove in his life.' 'Do you call him an uncommon thief, then?'
'No--he that steals a cow from a poor widow, or a stirk from a cottar, is a thief; he that lifts a drove from a Sassenach laird, is a gentleman-drover. And, besides, to take a tree from the forest, a salmon from the river, a deer from the hill, or a cow from a Lowland strath, is what no Highlander need ever think shame upon.''But what can this end in, were he taken in such an appropriation?' 'To be sure he would DIE FOR THE LAW, as many a pretty man has done before him.'
'Die for the law!' 'Aye; that is, with the law, or by the law; be strapped up on the KIND gallows of Crieff, [See Note 12.] where his father died, and his goodsire died, and where I hope he'll live to die himself, if he's not shot, or slashed, in a creagh.''You HOPE such a death for your friend, Evan!' 'And that do I e'en; would you have me wish him to die on a bundle of wet straw in yon den of his, like a mangy tyke?' 'But what becomes of Alice, then?' 'Troth, if such an accident were to happen, as her father would not need her help ony langer, I ken naught to hinder me to marry her mysell.' 'Gallantly resolved!' said Edward;--'but, in the meanwhile, Evan, what has your father-inlaw (that shall be, if he have the good fortune to be hanged) done with the Baron's cattle?'
'Oich,' answered Evan, 'they were all trudging before your lad and Allan Kennedy before the sun blinked ower Ben-Lawers this morning; and they'll be in the pass of BallyBrough by this time, in their way back to the parks of Tully-Veolan, all but two, that were unhappily slaughtered before I got last night to Uaimh an Ri.''And where are we going, Evan, if I may be so bold as to ask?' said Waverley.
'Where would you be ganging, but to the laird's ain house of Glennaquoich? Ye would not think to be in his country, without ganging to see him? It would be as much as a man's life's worth,''And are we far from Glennaquoich?' But five bits of miles; and Vich Ian Vohr will meet us.'
In about half an hour they reached the upper end of the lake, where, after landing Waverley, the two Highlanders drew the boat into a little creek among thick flags and reeds, where it lay perfectly concealed. The oars they put in another place of concealment, both for the use of Donald Bean Lean probably, when his occasions should next bring him to that place.
The travellers followed for some time a delightful opening into the hills, down which a little brook found its way to the lake. When they had pursued their walk a short distance, Waverley renewed his questions about their host of the cavern.'Does he always reside in that cave?' 'Out, no! it's past the skill of man to tell where he's to be found at a' times; there's not a dern nook, or cove, or corri, in the whole country, that he's not acquainted with.' 'And do others beside your master shelter him?'
'My master?--My master is in heaven,' answered Evan haughtily; and then immediately assuming his usual civility of manner--'But you mean my Chief;--no, he does not shelter Donald Bean Lean, nor any that are like him; he only allows him (with a smile) wood and water.''No great boon, I should think, Evan, when both seem to be very plenty.'
'Ah! but ye dinna see through it. When I say wood and water, I mean the loch and the land; and I fancy Donald would be put till't if the laird were to look for him wi' threescore men in the wood of Kailychat yonder; and if our boats, with a score or twa mair, were to come down the loch to Uaimh an Ri, headed by mysell, or ony other pretty man.''But suppose a strong party came against him from the Low Country, would not your Chief defend him?' 'Na, he would not ware the spark of a flint for him--if they came with the law.' 'And what must Donald do, then?' 'He behoved to rid this country of himsell, and fall back, it may be, over the mount upon Letter Scriven.' 'And if he were pursued to that place?' 'I'se warrant he would go to his cousin's at Rannoch.' 'Well, but if they followed him to Rannoch?'
'That,' quoth Evan, 'is beyond all belief; and, indeed, to tell you the truth, there durst not a Lowlander in all Scotland follow the fray a gun-shot beyond Bally-Brough, unless he had the help of the SIDIER DHU.''Whom do you call so?'
'The SIDIER DHU? the black soldier; that is what they call the independent companies that were raised to keep peace and law in the Highlands. Vich Ian Vohr commanded one of them for five years, and I was sergeant myself, I shall warrant ye. They call them SIDIER DHU, because they wear the tartans,--as they call your men, King George's men, SIDIER ROY, or red soldiers.'
'Well, but when you were in King George's pay, Evan, you were surely King George's soldiers?'
'Troth, and you must ask Vich Ian Vohr about that; for we are for his king, and care not much which o' them it is. At any rate, nobody can say we are King George's men now, when we have not seen his pay this twelvemonth.'
This last argument admitted of no reply, nor did Edward attempt any; he rather chose to bring back the discourse to Donald Bean Lean. 'Does Donald confine himself to cattle, or does he LIFT, as you call it, anything else that comes in his way?'
'Troth, he's nae nice body, and he'll just tak ony thing, but most readily cattle, horse, or live Christians; for sheep are slow of travel, and inside plenishing is cumbrous to carry, and not easy to put away for siller in this country.''But does he carry off men and women?'
'Out, aye. Did not ye hear him speak o' the Perth bailie? It cost that body five hundred merks ere he got to the south of Bally-Brough.--And ance Donald played a pretty sport. [See Note 13.] There was to be a blythe bridal between the Lady Cramfeezer, in the howe o' the Mearns (she was the auld laird's widow, and no sae young as she had been hersell), and young Gilliewhackit, who had spent his heirship and movables, like a gentleman, at cock-matches, bull-baitings, horse-races, and the like. Now, Donald Bean Lean, being aware that the bridegroom was in request, and wanting to cleik the cunzie (that is, to hook the siller), he cannily carried off Gilliewhackit ae night when he was riding DOVERING hame (wi' the malt rather abune the meal), and with the help of his gillies he gat him into the hills with the speed of light, and the first place he wakened in was the cove of Uaimh an Ri. So there was old to do about ransoming the bridegroom; for Donald would not lower a farthing of a thousand punds'--The devil!'
'Punds Scottish, ya shall understand. And the lady had not the siller if she had pawned her gown; and they applied to the governor o' Stirling castle, and to the major o' the Black Watch; and the governor said, it was ower far to the northward, and out of his district; and the major said, his men were gane hame to the shearing, and he would not call them out before the victual was got in for all the Cramfeezers in Christendom, let alane the Mearns, for that it would prejudice the country. And in the meanwhile ye'll no hinder Gilliewhackit to take the small-pox. There was not the doctor in Perth or Stirling would look near the poor lad; and I cannot blame them, for Donald had been misguggled by ane of these doctors about Paris, and he swore he would fling the first into the loch that he catched beyond the Pass. However, some cailliachs (that is, old women) that were about Donald's hand, nursed Gilliewhackit sae weel, that between the free open air in the cove and the fresh whey, deil an' he did not recover maybe as weel as if he had been closed in a glazed chamber and a bed with curtains, and fed with red wine and white meat. And Donald was sae vexed about it, that when he was stout and weel, he even sent him free home, and said he would be pleased with onything they would like to gie him for the plague and trouble which he had about Gilliewhackit to an unkenn'd degree. And I cannot tell you precisely how they sorted; but they agreed sae right that Donald was invited to dance at the wedding in his Highland trews, and they said that there was never sae meikle siller clinked in his purse either before or since. And to the boot of all that, Gilliewhackit said, that, be the evidence what it liked, if he had the luck to be on Donald's inquest, he would bring him in guilty of nothing whatever, unless it were wilful arson, or murder under trust.'
With such bald and disjointed chat Evan went on, illustrating the existing state of the Highlands, more perhaps to the amusement of Waverley than that of our readers. At length, after having marched over bank and brae, moss and heather, Edward, though not unacquainted with the Scottish liberality in computing distance, began to think that Evan's five miles were nearly doubled. His observation on the large measure which the Scottish allowed of their land, in comparison to the computation of their money, was readily answered by Evan, with the old jest, The deil take them wha have the least pint stoup.' ['The Scotch are liberal in computing their land and liquor; the Scottish pint corresponds to two English quarts. As for their coin, every one knows the couplet--'How can the rogues pretend to sense? Their pound is only twenty pence.'] And now the report of a gun was heard, and a sportsman was seen, with his dogs and attendant, at the upper end of the glen. 'Shough,' said Dugald Mahony, 'tat's ta Chief.' 'It is not,' said Evan imperiously. 'Do you think he would come to meet a Sassenach Duinhe-wassel in such a way as that?'
But as they approached a little nearer, he said, with an appearance of mortification, 'And it is even he, sure enough; and he has not his tail on after all;--there is no living creature with him but Callum Beg.'
In fact, Fergus Mac-Ivor, of whom a Frenchman might have said, as truly as of any man in the Highlands, 'QU'IL CONNOIT BIEN SES GENS,' had no idea of raising himself in the eyes of an English young man of fortune, by appearing with a retinue of idle Highlanders disproportioned to the occasion. He was well aware that such an unnecessary attendance would seem to Edward rather ludicrous than respectable; and while few men were more attached to ideas of chieftainship and feudal power, he was, for that very reason, cautious of exhibiting external marks of dignity, unless at the time and in the manner when they were most likely to produce an imposing effect. Therefore, although, had he been to receive a brother chieftain, he would probably have been attended by all that retinue which Evan described with so much unction, he judged it more respectable to advance to meet Waverley with a single attendant, a very handsome Highland boy, who carried his master's shooting-pouch and his broadsword, without which he seldom went abroad.
When Fergus and Waverley met, the latter was struck with the peculiar grace and dignity of the Chieftain's figure, Above the middle size, and finely proportioned, the Highland dress, which he wore in its simplest mode, set off his person to great advantage. He wore the trews, or close trousers, made of tartan, chequed scarlet and white; in other particulars, his dress strictly resembled Evan's, excepting that he had no weapon save a dirk, very richly mounted with silver. His page, as we have said, carried his claymore and the fowling-piece, which he held in his hand, seemed only designed for sport. He had shot in the course of his walk some young wild-ducks, as, though CLOSE TIME was then unknown, the broods of grouse were yet too young for the sportsman. His countenance was decidedly Scottish, with all the peculiarities of the northern physiognomy, but yet had so little of ifs harshness and exaggeration, that it would have been pronounced in any country extremely handsome. The martial air of the bonnet, with a single eagle's feather as a distinction, added much to the manly appearance of his head, which was besides ornamented with a far more natural and graceful cluster of close black curls than ever were exposed to sale in Bond Street.
An air of openness and affability increased the favourable impression derived from this handsome and dignified exterior. Yet a skilful physiognomist would have been less satisfied with the countenance on the second than on the first view. The eyebrow and upper lip bespoke something of the habit of peremptory command and decisive superiority. Even his courtesy, though open, frank, and unconstrained, seemed to indicate a sense of personal importance; and, upon any check or accidental excitation, a sudden, though transient lour of the eye, showed a hasty, haughty, and vindictive temper, not less to be dreaded because it seemed much under its owner's command. In short, the countenance of the Chieftain resembled a smiling summer's day, in which, notwithstanding, we are made sensible by certain, though slight signs, that it may thunder and lighten before the close of evening.
It was not, however, upon their first meeting that Edward had an opportunity of making these less favourable remarks. The Chief received him as a friend of the Baron of Bradwardine, with the utmost expression of kindness and obligation for the visit; upbraided him gently with choosing so rude an abode as he had done the night before; and entered into a lively conversation with him about Donald Bean's housekeeping, but without the least hint as to his predatory habits, or the immediate occasion of Waverley's visit, a topic which, as the Chief did not introduce it, our hero also avoided. While they walked merrily on towards the house of Glennaquoich, Evan, who now fell respectfully into the rear, followed with Callum Beg and Dugald Mahony.
We shall take the opportunity to introduce the reader to some particulars of Fergus MacIvor's character and history, which were not completely known to Waverley till after a connexion, which, though arising from a circumstance so casual, had for a length of time the deepest influence upon his character, actions, and prospects. But this, being an important subject, must form the commencement of a new chapter.