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Chapter 11
The 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,
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