Waverley by Walter Scott - HTML preview
Download the book in PDF, ePub, Kindle for a complete version.
Chapter 28A Letter From Tully-Veolan
In the morning, when Waverley's troubled reflections had for some time given way to repose, there came music to his dreams, but not the voice of Selma. He imagined himself transported back to Tully-Veolan, and that he heard Davie Gellatley singing in the court those matins which used generally to be the first sounds that disturbed his repose while a guest of the Baron of Bradwardine. The notes which suggested this vision continued, and waxed louder, until Edward awoke in earnest. The illusion, however, did not seem entirely dispelled. The apartment was in the fortress of Ian nan Chaistel, but it was still the voice of Davie Gellatley that made the following lines resound under the window:--
My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart's in the Highlands a-chasing the deer;
A-chasing the wild deer, and following the roe,
My heart's in the Highlands wherever I go.
[These lines form the burden of an old song to which Burns wrote additional verses.]
Curious to know what could have determined Mr. Gellatley on an excursion of such unwonted extent, Edward began to dress himself in all haste, during which operation the minstrelsy of Davie changed its tune more than once:--
There's naught in the Highlands but syboes and leeks,
And lang-leggit callants gaun wanting the breeks;
Wanting the breeks, and without hose and shoon,
But we'll a' win the breeks when King Jamie comes hame.
[These lines are also ancient, and I believe to the tune of 'We'll never hae peace till
By the time Waverley was dressed and had issued forth, David had associated himself with two or three of the numerous Highland loungers who always graced the gates of the castle with their presence, and was capering and dancing full merrily in the doubles and full career of a Scotch foursome reel, to the music of his own whistling. In this double capacity of dancer and musician, he continued, until an idle piper, who observed his zeal, obeyed the unanimous call of SEID SUAS (i.e. blow up), and relieved him from the latter part of his trouble. Young and old then mingled in the dance as they could find partners. The appearance of Waverley did not interrupt David's exercise, though he contrived, by grinning, nodding, and throwing one or two inclinations of the body into the graces with which he performed the Highland fling, to convey to our hero symptoms of recognition. Then, while busily employed in setting, whooping all the while, and snapping his fingers over his head, he of a sudden prolonged his side-step until it brought him to the place where Edward was standing, and, still keeping time to the music like Harlequin in a pantomime, he thrust a letter into our hero's hand, and continued his saltation without pause or intermission, Edward, who perceived that the address was in Rose's handwriting, retired to peruse it, leaving the faithful bearer to continue his exercise until the piper or he should be tired out.
The contents of the letter greatly surprised him. It had originally commenced with DEAR SIR; but these words had been carefully erased, and the monosyllable, SIR, substituted in their place. The rest of the contents shall be given in Rose's own language :--
I fear I am using an improper freedom by intruding upon you, yet I cannot trust to any one else to let you know some things which have happened here, with which it seems necessary you should be acquainted. Forgive me if I am wrong in what I am doing; for, alas! Mr. Waverley, I have no better advice than that of my own feelings;--my dear father is gone from this place, and when he can return to my assistance and protection, God alone knows. You have probably heard, that in consequence of some troublesome news from the Highlands, warrants were sent out for apprehending several gentlemen in these parts, and, among others, my dear father. In spite of all my tears and entreaties that he would surrender himself to the Government, he joined with Mr. Falconer and some other gentlemen, and they have all gone northwards, with a body of about forty horsemen. So I am not so anxious concerning his immediate safety, as about what may follow afterwards, for these troubles are only beginning. But all this is nothing to you, Mr. Waverley, only I thought you would be glad to learn that my father has escaped, in case you happen to have heard that he was in danger.
The day after my father went off, there came a party of soldiers to Tully-Veolan, and behaved very rudely to Bailie Macwheeble; but the officer was very civil to me, only said his duty obliged him to search for arms and papers. My father had provided against this by taking away all the arms except the old useless things which hung in the hall; and he had put all his papers out of the way. But oh! Mr. Waverley, how shall I tell you that they made strict inquiry after you, and asked when you had been at Tully-Veolan, and where you now were. The officer is gone back with his party, but a non-commissioned officer and four men remain as a sort of garrison in the house. They have hitherto behaved very well, as we are forced to keep them in good humour. But these soldiers have hinted as if on your falling into their hands you would be in great danger; I cannot prevail on myself to write what wicked falsehoods they said, for I am sure they are falsehoods; but you will best judge what you ought to do. The party that returned carried off your servant prisoner, with your two horses, and everything that you left at Tully-Veolan. I hope God will protect you, and that you will get safe home to England, where you used to tell me there was no military violence nor fighting among clans permitted, but everything was done according to an equal law that protected all who were harmless and innocent. I hope you will exert your indulgence as to my boldness in writing to you, where it seems to me, though perhaps erroneously, that your safety and honour are concerned. I am sure--at least I think, my father would approve of my writing; for Mr. Rubrick is fled to his cousin's at the Duchran, to be out of danger from the soldiers and the Whigs, and Bailie Macwheeble does not like to meddle (he says) in other men's concerns, though I hope what may serve my father's friend at such a time as this, cannot be termed improper interference. Farewell, Captain Waverley! I shall probably never see you more; for it would be very improper to wish you to call at Tully-Veolan just now, even if these men were gone; but I will always remember with gratitude your kindness in assisting so poor a scholar as myself, and your attentions to my dear, dear father.I remain, your obliged servant, ROSE COMYNE BRADWARDINE.
PS.--I hope you will send me a line by David Gellatley, just to say you have received this, and that you will take care of yourself; and forgive me if I entreat you, for your own sake, to join none of these unhappy cabals, but escape, as fast as possible, to your own fortunate country.--My compliments to my dear Flora, and, to Glennaquoich. Is she not as handsome and accomplished as I have described her?'
Thus concluded the letter of Rose Bradwardine, the contents of which both surprised and affected Waverley. That the Baron should fall under the suspicions of Government, in consequence of the present stir among the partisans of the house of Stuart, seemed only the natural consequence of his political predilections; but how he himself should have been involved in such suspicions, conscious that until yesterday he had been free from harbouring a thought against the prosperity of the reigning family, seemed inexplicable. Both at Tully-Veolan and Glennaquoich, his hosts had respected his engagements with the existing government, and though enough passed by accidental innuendo that might induce him to reckon the Baron and the Chief among those disaffected gentlemen who were still numerous in Scotland, yet until his own connexion with the army had been broken off by the resumption of his commission, he had no reason to suppose that they nourished any immediate or hostile attempts against the present establishment. Still he was aware that unless he meant at once to embrace the proposal of Fergus Mac- Ivor, it would deeply concern him to leave the suspicious neighbourhood without delay, and repair where his conduct might undergo a satisfactory examination. Upon this he the rather determined, as Flora's advice favoured his doing so, and because he felt inexpressible repugnance at the idea of being accessory to the plague of civil war. Whatever were the original rights of the Stuarts, calm reflection told him, that, omitting the question how far James the Second could forfeit those of his posterity, he had, according to the united voice of the whole nation, justly forfeited his own. Since that period, four monarchs had reigned in peace and glory over Britain, sustaining and exalting the character of the nation abroad, and its liberties at home. Reason asked, was it worth while to disturb a government so long settled and established, and to plunge a kingdom into all the miseries of civil war, for the purpose of replacing upon the throne the descendants of a monarch by whom it had been wilfully forfeited? If, on the other hand, his own final conviction of the goodness of their cause, or the commands of his father or uncle, should recommend to him allegiance to the Stuarts, still it was necessary to clear his own character by showing that he had not, as seemed to be falsely insinuated, taken any step to this purpose, during his holding the commission of the reigning monarch.
The affectionate simplicity of Rose, and her anxiety for his safety,--his sense, too, of her unprotected state, and of the terror and actual dangers to which she might be exposed, made an impression upon his mind, and he instantly wrote to thank her in the kindest terms for her solicitude on his account, to express his earnest good wishes for her welfare and that of her father, and to assure her of his own safety. The feelings which this task excited were speedily lost in the necessity which he now saw of bidding farewell to Flora Mac-Ivor, perhaps for ever. The pang attending this reflection were inexpressible; for her high- minded elevation of character, her self-devotion to the cause which she had embraced, united to her scrupulous rectitude as to the means of serving it, had vindicated to his judgement the choice adopted by his passions. But time pressed, calumny was busy with his fame, and every hour's delay increased the power to injure it. His departure must be instant.
With this determination he sought out Fergus, and communicated to him the contents of Rose's letter, with his own resolution instantly to go to Edinburgh, and put into the hands of some one or other of those persons of influence to whom he had letters from his father, his exculpation from any charge which might be preferred against him.
'You run your head into the lion's mouth,' answered Mac-Ivor. 'You do not know the severity of a Government harassed by just apprehensions, and a consciousness of their own illegality and insecurity. I shall have to deliver you from some dungeon in Stirling or Edinburgh Castle.''My innocence, my rank, my father's intimacy with Lord M--, General G--, &c., will be a sufficient protection,' said Waverley.
'You will find the contrary,' replied the Chieftain;--'these gentlemen will have enough to do about their own matters. Once more, will you take the plaid, and stay a little while with us among the mists and the crows, in the bravest cause ever sword was drawn in?' [A Highland rhyme on Glencairn's Expedition, in 1650, has these lines--We'll hide a while among ta crows, 'We'll wiske ta sword and bend ta bows.] 'For many reasons, my dear Fergus, you must hold me excused.'
'Well, then,' said Mac-Ivor, 'I shall certainly find you exerting your poetical talents in elegies upon a prison, or your antiquarian researches in detecting the Oggam [The Oggam is a species of the old Irish character. The idea of the correspondence betwixt the Celtic and Punic, founded on a scene in Plautus, was not started till General Vallancey set up his theory, long after the date of Fergus Mac-Ivor.] character, or some Punic hieroglyphic upon the key-stones of a vault, curiously arched. Or what say you to UN PETIT PENDEMENT BIEN JOLI? against which awkward ceremony I don't warrant you, should you meet a body of the armed west-country Whigs.'
'And why should they use me so?' said Waverley. 'For a hundred good reasons,' answered Fergus: 'First, you are an Englishman; secondly, a gentleman; thirdly, a prelatist abjured; and, fourthly, they have not had an opportunity to exercise their talents on such a subject this long while. But don't be cast down, beloved: all will be done in the fear of the Lord.''Well, I must run my hazard,' 'You are determined, then?' 'I am.' 'Wilful will do 't,' said Fergus;--'but you cannot go on foot and I shall want no horse, as I must march on foot at the head of the children of Ivor; you shall have Brown Dermid.' 'If you will sell him, I shall certainly be much obliged.'
'If your proud English heart cannot be obliged by a gift or loan, I will not refuse money at the entrance of a campaign: his price is twenty guineas, [Remember, reader, it was Sixty Years since.] And when do you propose to depart?''The sooner the better,' answered Waverley.
'You are right, since go you must, or rather, since go you will: I will take Flora's pony, and ride with you as far as Bally- Brough.--Callum Beg, see that our horses are ready, with a pony for yourself, to attend and carry Mr. Waverley's baggage as far as -- (naming a small town), where he can have a horse and guide to Edinburgh. Put on a Lowland dress, Callum, and see you keep your tongue close, if you would not have me cut it out: Mr. Waverley rides Dermid,' Then turning to Edward, 'You will take leave of my sister?''Surely--that is, if Miss Mac-Ivor will honour me so far.'
'Cathleen, let my sister know that Mr. Waverley wishes to bid her farewell before he leaves us.--But Rose Bradwardine,--her situation must be thought of. I wish she were here. And why should she not? There are but four red-coats at Tully-Veolan, and their muskets would be very useful to us.'
To these broken remarks Edward made no answer; his ear indeed received them, but his soul was intent upon the expected entrance of Flora. The door opened--it was but Cathleen, with her lady's excuse, and wishes for Captain Waverley's health and happiness.
Chapter 29Waverley's Reception In The Lowlands After His Highland Tour
It was noon when the two friends stood at the top of the pass of Bally-Brough. 'I must go no farther,' said Fergus Mac-Ivor, who during the journey had in vain endeavoured to raise his friend's spirits, 'If my cross-grained sister has any share in your dejection, trust me she thinks highly of you, though her present anxiety about the public cause prevents her listening to any other subject. Confide your interest to me; I will not betray it, providing you do not again assume that vile cockade.''No fear of that, considering the manner in which it has been recalled. Adieu, Fergus; do not permit your sister to forget me.'
'And adieu, Waverley; you may soon hear of her with a prouder title. Get home, write letters, and make friends as many and as fast as you can; there will speedily be unexpected guests on the coast of Suffolk, or my news from France has deceived me.' [The sanguine Jacobites, during the eventful years 1745-6, kept up the spirits of their party by the rumour of descents from France on behalf of the Chevalier St. George.]
Thus parted the friends; Fergus returning back to his castle, while Edward, followed by Callum Beg, the latter transformed from point to point into a Low-country groom, proceeded to the little town of --.
Edward paced on under the painful and yet not altogether embittered feelings which separation and uncertainty produce in the mind of a youthful lover. I am not sure if the ladies understand the full value of the influence of absence, nor do I think it wise to teach it them, lest, like the Clelias and Mandanes of yore, they should resume the humour of sending their lovers into banishment. Distance, in truth, produces in idea the same effect as in real prospective. Objects are softened, and rounded, and rendered doubly graceful; the harsher and more ordinary points of character are mellowed down, and those by which it is remembered are the more striking outlines that mark sublimity, grace, or beauty. There are mists, too, in the mental, as well as the natural horizon, to conceal what is less pleasing in distant objects, and there are happy lights, to stream in full glory upon those points which can profit by brilliant illumination.
Waverley forgot Flora Mac-Ivor's prejudices in her magnanimity, and almost pardoned her indifference towards his affection, when he recollected the grand and decisive object which seemed to fill her whole soul. She, whose sense of duty so wholly engrossed her in the cause of a benefactor,--what would be her feelings in favour of the happy individual who should be so fortunate as to awaken them? Then came the doubtful question, whether he might not be that happy man,--a question which fancy endeavoured to answer in the affirmative, by conjuring up all she had said in his praise, with the addition of a comment much more flattering than the text warranted. All that was commonplace--all that belonged to the everyday world--was melted away and obliterated in those dreams of imagination, which only remembered with advantage the points of grace and dignity that distinguished Flora, from the generality of her sex, not the particulars which she held in common with them, Edward was, in short, in the fair way of creating a goddess out of a high-spirited, accomplished, and beautiful young woman; and the time was wasted in castle- building, until, at the descent of a steep hill, he saw beneath him the market-town of --.
The Highland politeness of Callum Beg--there are few nations, by the way, who can boast of so much natural politeness as the Highlanders [The Highlander, in former times, had always a high idea, of his own gentility, and was anxious to impress the same upon those with whom he conversed. His language abounded in the phrases of courtesy and compliment; and the habit of carrying arms, and mixing with those who did so, made if particularly desirable they should use cautious politeness in their intercourse with each other.]--the Highland civility of his attendant had not permitted him to disturb the reveries of our hero. But observing him rouse himself at the sight of the village, Callum pressed closer to his side, and hoped 'When they cam to the public, his honour wad not say nothing about Vich Ian Vohr, for ta people were bitter Whigs, deil burst tem.'
Waverley assured the prudent page that he would be cautious; and as he now distinguished, not indeed the ringing of bells, but the tinkling of something like a hammer against the side of an old messy, green, inverted porridge-pot, that hung in an open booth, of the size and shape of a parrot's cage, erected to grace the east end of a building resembling an old barn, he asked Callum Beg if it were Sunday.'Could na say just preceesely--Sunday seldom cam aboon the pass of Bally-Brough.'
On entering the town, however, and advancing towards the most apparent public house which presented itself, the numbers of old women, in tartan screens and red cloaks, who streamed from the barn-resembling building, debating, as they went, the comparative merits of the blessed youth Jabesh Rentowel, and that chosen vessel Maister Goukthrapple, induced Callum to assure his temporary master, 'that it was either ta muckle Sunday hersell, or ta little government Sunday that they ca'd ta fast.'
On alighting at the sign of the Seven-branched Golden Candlestick, which, for the further delectation of the guests, was graced with a short Hebrew motto, they were received by mine host, a tall, thin puritanical figure, who seemed to debate with himself whether he ought to give shelter to those who travelled on such a day. Reflecting, however, in all probability, that he possessed the power of mulcting them for this irregularity, a penalty which they might escape by passing into Gregor Duncanson's, at the sign of the Highlander and the Hawick Gill, Mr. Ebenezer Cruickshanks condescended to admit them into his dwelling.To this sanctified person Waverley addressed his request that he would procure him a guide, with a saddle-horse, to carry his portmanteau to Edinburgh.
'And whar may ye be coming from?' demanded mine host of the Candlestick. 'I have told you where I wish to go; I do not conceive any further information necessary either for the guide or his saddle- horse.'
'Hem! Ahem!' returned he of the Candlestick, somewhat disconcerted at this rebuff. 'It's the general fast, sir, and I cannot enter into ony carnal transactions on sic a day, when the people should be humbled, and the back sliders should return, as worthy Mr. Goukthrapple said; and moreover when, as the precious Mr. Jabesh Rentowel did weel observe, the land was mourning for covenants burnt, broken, and buried.''My good friend,' said Waverley, 'if you cannot let me have a horse and guide, my servant shall seek them elsewhere.' 'Aweel! Your servant?--and what for gangs he not forward wi' you himsell?'
Waverley had but very little of a captain of horse's spirit within him--I mean of that sort of spirit which I have been obliged to when I happened, in a mail-coach, or diligence, to meet some military man who has kindly taken upon him the disciplining of the waiters, and the taxing of reckonings. Some of this useful talent our hero had, however, acquired during his military service, and on this gross provocation it began seriously to arise. 'Look ye, sir; I came here for my own accommodation, and not to answer impertinent questions. Either say you can, or cannot, get me what I want; I shall pursue my course in either case.'
Mr. Ebenezer Cruickshanks left the room with some indistinct muttering; but whether negative or acquiescent, Edward could not well distinguish. The hostess, a civil, quiet, laborious drudge, came to take his orders for dinner, but declined to make answer on the subject of the horse and guide; for the Salique law, it seems, extended to the stables of the Golden Candlestick.
From a window which overlooked the dark and narrow court in which Callum Beg rubbed down the horses after their journey, Waverley heard the following dialogue betwixt the subtle foot-page of Vich Ian Vohr and his landlord:--'Ye'll be frae the north, young man?' began the latter. 'And ye may say that,' answered Callum. 'And ye'll hae ridden a lang way the day, it may weel be?' 'Sae lang, that I could weel tak a dram,' 'Gudewife, bring the gill stoup.'
Here some compliments passed, fitting the occasion, when my host of the Golden Candlestick, having, as he thought, opened his guest's heart by this hospitable propitiation, resumed his scrutiny.
'Ye'll no hae mickle better whisky than that aboon the Pass?'
'I believe he is ane o' King George's state officers; at least he's aye for ganging on to the south; and he has a hantle siller, and never grudges ony thing till a poor body, or in the way of a lawing.''He wants a guide and a horse frae hence to Edinburgh?' 'Aye, and ye maun find it him forthwith.' 'Ahem! It will be chargeable.' 'He cares na for that a bodle.' 'Aweel, Duncan--did ye say your name was Duncan, or Donald?' 'Na, man--Jamie--Jamie Steenson--I telt ye before.'
This last undaunted parry altogether foiled Mr. Cruickshanks, who, though not quite satisfied either with the reserve of the master, or the extreme readiness of the man, was contented to lay a tax on the reckoning and horse-hire, that might compound for his ungratified curiosity. The circumstance of its being the fast-day was not forgotten in the charge, which, on the whole, did not, however, amount to much more than double what in fairness it should have been.Callum Beg soon after announced in person the ratification of this treaty, adding, 'Ta auld deevil was ganging to ride wi' ta Duinhe-wassel hersell.'
'That will not be very pleasant, Callum, nor altogether safe, for our host seems a person of great curiosity; but a traveller must submit to these inconveniences. Meanwhile, my good lad, here is a trifle for you to drink Vich Ian Vohr's health.'
The hawk's eye of Callum flashed delight upon a golden guinea, with which these last words were accompanied. He hastened, not without a curse on the intricacies of a Saxon breeches pocket, or SPLEUCHAN, as he called it, to deposit the treasure in his fob; and then, as if he conceived the benevolence called for some requital on his part, he gathered close up to Edward, with an expression of countenance peculiarly knowing, and spoke in an undertone, 'If his honour thought ta auld deevil Whig carle was a bit dangerous, she could easily provide for him, and tell ane ta wiser.''How, and in what manner?' 'Her ain sell,' replied Callum, 'could wait for him a wee bit frae the toun, and kittle his quarters wi' her SKENE-OCCLE.' 'Skene-occle! what's that?'
Callum unbuttoned his coat, raised his left arm, and, with an emphatic nod, pointed to the hilt of a small dirk, snugly deposited under it, in the lining of his jacket. Waverley thought he had misunderstood his meaning; he gazed in his face, and discovered in Callum's very handsome, though embrowned features, just the degree of roguish malice with which a lad of the same age in England would have brought forward a plan for robbing an orchard.'Good God, Callum, would you take the man's life?' 'Indeed,' answered the young desperado, 'and I think he has had just a lang enough lease o't, when he's for betraying honest folk, that come to spend siller at his public.'
Edward saw nothing was to be gained by argument, and therefore contented himself with enjoining Callum to lay aside all practices against the person of Mr. Ebenezer Cruickshanks; in which injunction the page seemed to acquiesce with an air of great indifference.
'Ta Duinhe-wassel might please himsell; ta auld rudas loon had never done Callum nae ill. But here's a bit line frae ta Tighearna, tat he bade me gie your honour ere I came back.'
The letter from the Chief contained Flora's lines on the fate of Captain Wogan, whose enterprising character is so well drawn by Clarendon. He had originally engaged in the service of the Parliament, but had abjured that party upon the execution of Charles I; and upon hearing that the royal standard was set up by the Earl of Glencairn and General Middleton in the Highlands of Scotland, took leave of Charles II, who was then at Paris, passed into England, assembled a body of cavaliers in the neighbourhood of London, and traversed the kingdom, which had been so long under domination of the usurper, by marches conducted with such skill, dexterity, and spirit, that he safely united his handful of horsemen with the body of Highlanders then in arms. After several months of desultory warfare, in which Wogan's skill and courage gained him the highest reputation, he had the misfortune to be wounded in a dangerous manner, and no surgical assistance being within reach, he terminated his short but glorious career.
Where were obvious reasons why the politic Chieftain was desirous to place the example of this young hero under the eye of Waverley, with whose romantic disposition it coincided so peculiarly. But his letter turned chiefly upon some trifling commissions which Waverley had promised to execute for him in England, and it was only toward the conclusion that Edward found these words: 'I owe Flora a grudge for refusing us her company yesterday; and as I am giving you the trouble of reading these lines, in order to keep in your memory your promise to procure me the fishing-tackle and cross-bow from London, I will enclose her verses on the Grave of Wogan. This I know will tease her; for, to tell you the truth, I think her more in love with the memory of that dead hero, than she is likely to be with any living one, unless he shall tread a similar path. But English squires of our day keep their oak-trees to shelter their deer-parks, or repair the losses of an evening at White's, and neither invoke them to wreathe their brows nor shelter their graves. Let me hope for one brilliant exception in a dear friend, to whom I would most gladly give a dearer title.'The verses were inscribed, TO AN OAK TREE IN THE CHURCHYARD OF --, IN THE HIGHLANDS OF SCOTLAND, SAID TO MARK THE GRAVE OF CAPTAIN WOGAN, KILLED IN 1649.
Emblem of England's ancient faith, Full proudly may thy branches wave, Where loyalty lies low in death, And valour fills a timeless grave.
And thou, brave tenant of the tomb! Repine not if our clime deny, Above thine honoured sod to bloom, The flowerets of a milder sky.
These owe their birth to genial May; Beneath a fiercer sun they pine, Before the winter storm decay-- And can their worth be type of thine?
No! for 'mid storms of Fate opposing, Still higher swelled thy dauntless heart, And, while Despair the scene was closing, Commenced thy brief but brilliant part.
Twas then thou sought'st on Albyn's hill, (When England's sons the strife resigned), A rugged race, resisting still,
And unsubdued though unrefined. Thy death's hour heard no kindred wail, No holy knell thy requiem rung; Thy mourners were the plaided Gael; Thy dirge the clamorous pibroch sung.
Yet who, in Fortune's summer-shine, To waste life's longest term away,
Would change that glorious dawn of thine, Though darkened ere its noontide day?
Be thine the Tree whose dauntless boughs Brave summer's drought and winter's gloom! Rome bound with oak her patriots' brows, As Albyn shadows Wogan's tomb.
Whatever might be the real merit of Flora Mac-Ivor's poetry, the enthusiasm which it intimated was well calculated to make a corresponding impression upon her lover. The lines were read-- read again--then deposited in Waverley's bosom--then again drawn out, and read line by line, in a low and smothered voice, and with frequent pauses which, prolonged the mental treat, as an epicure protracts, by sipping slowly the enjoyment of a delicious beverage. The entrance of Mrs. Cruickshanks, with the sublunary articles of dinner and wine, hardly interrupted this pantomime of affectionate enthusiasm.
At length the tall, ungainly figure and ungracious visage of Ebenezer presented themselves. The upper part of his form, notwithstanding the season required no such defence, was shrouded in a large great-coat, belted over his under habiliments, and crested with a huge cowl of the same stuff, which, when drawn over the head and hat, completely over-shadowed both, and being buttoned beneath the chin, was called a TROT-COZY. His hand grasped a huge jockey-whip, garnished with brass mounting. His thin legs tenanted a pair of gambadoes, fastened at the sides with rusty clasps. Thus accoutred, he stalked into the midst of the apartment, and announced his errand in brief phrase:-- 'Yer horses are ready.''You go with me yourself then, landlord?' 'I do, as far as Perth; where you may be supplied With a guide to Embro', as your occasions shall require.'
Thus saying, he placed under Waverley's eye the bill which he held in his hand; and at the same time, self-invited, filled a glass of wine, and drank devoutly to a blessing on their journey. Waverley stared at the man's impudence, but, as their connexion was to be short, and promised to be convenient, he made no observation upon it; and, having paid his reckoning, expressed his intention to depart immediately. He mounted Dermid accordingly, and sallied forth from the Golden Candlestick, followed by the puritanical figure we have described, after he had, at the expense of some time and difficulty, and by the assistance of a 'louping-on-stane,' or structure of masonry erected for the traveller's convenience in front of the house, elevated his person to the back of a long-backed, rawboned, thin-gutted phantom of a broken-down blood-horse, on which Waverley's portmanteau was deposited. Our hero, though not in a very gay humour, could hardly help laughing at the appearance of his new squire, and at imagining the astonishment which his person and equipage would have excited at Waverley-Honour.
Edward's tendency to mirth did not escape mine host of the Candlestick, who, conscious of the cause, infused a double portion of souring into the pharisaical leaven of his countenance, and resolved internally that in one way or other the young ENGLISHER should pay dearly for the contempt with which he seemed to regard him. Callum also stood at the gate, and enjoyed, with undissembled glee, the ridiculous figure of Mr. Cruickshanks. As Waverley passed him, he pulled off his hat respectfully, and approaching his stirrup, bade him 'Tak heed the auld Whig deevil played him nae cantrip.'
Waverley once more thanked, and bade him farewell, and then rode briskly onward, not sorry to be out of hearing of the shouts of the children, as they beheld old Ebenezer rise and sink in his stirrups, to avoid the concussions occasioned by a hard trot upon a halfpaved street. The village of -- was soon several miles behind him.
Chapter 30Shows That The Loss Of A Horse's Shoe May Be A Serious Inconvenience
The manner and air of Waverley, but, above all, the glittering contents of his purse, and the indifference with which he seemed to regard them, somewhat overawed his companion, and deterred him from making any attempts to enter upon conversation. His own reflections were, moreover, agitated by various surmises, and by plans of selfinterest, with which these were intimately connected. The travellers journeyed, therefore, in silence, until it was interrupted by the annunciation, on the part of the guide, that his 'naig had lost a fore-foot shoe, which, doubtless, his honour would consider it was his part to replace.'
This was what lawyers call a FISHING QUESTION, calculated to ascertain how far Waverley was disposed to submit to petty imposition. 'My part to replace your horse's shoe, you rascal!' said Waverley, mistaking the purport of the intimation.
'Indubitably,' answered Mr. Cruickshanks; 'though there was no preceese clause to that effect, it canna be expected that I am to pay for the casualties whilk may befall the puir naig while in your honour's service.--Nathless, if your honour--''Oh, you mean I am to pay the farrier; but where shall we find one?'
Rejoiced at discerning there would be no objection made on the part of his temporary master, Mr. Cruickshanks assured him that Cairnvreckan, a village which they were about to enter, was happy in an excellent blacksmith; 'but as he was a professor, he would drive a nail for no man on the Sabbath, or kirk-fast, unless it were in a case of absolute necessity, for which he always charged sixpence each shoe.' The most important part of this communication, in the opinion of the speaker, made a very slight impression on the hearer, who only internally wondered what college this veterinary professor belonged to; not aware that the word was used to denote any person who pretended to uncommon sanctity of faith and manner.
As they entered the village of Cairnvreckan, they speedily distinguished the smith's house. Being also a PUBLIC, it was two stories high, and proudly reared its crest, covered with grey slate, above the thatched hovels by which it was surrounded. The adjoining smithy betokened none of the Sabbatical silence and repose which Ebenezer had augured from the sanctity of his friend. On the contrary, hammer clashed and anvil rang, the bellows groaned, and the whole apparatus of Vulcan appeared to be in full activity. Nor was the labour of a rural and pacific nature. The master smith, benempt, as his sign intimated, John Mucklewrath, with two assistants, toiled busily in arranging, repairing, and furbishing old muskets, pistols, and swords, which lay scattered around his workshop in military confusion. The open shed, containing the forge, was crowded with persons who came and went as if receiving and communicating important news; and a single glance at the aspect of the people who traversed the street in haste, or stood assembled in groups, with eyes elevated, and hands uplifted, announced that some extraordinary intelligence was agitating the public mind of the municipality of Cairnvreckan. 'There is some news,' said mine host of the Candlestick, pushing his lantern-jawed visage and bare-boned nag rudely forward into the crowd--'there is some news; and if it please my Creator, I will forthwith obtain speirings thereof.'
Waverley, with better regulated curiosity than his attendant's, dismounted, and gave his horse to a boy who stood idling near. It arose, perhaps, from the shyness of his character in early youth, that he felt dislike at applying to a stranger even for casual information, without previously glancing at his physiognomy and appearance. While he looked about in order to select the person with whom he would most willingly hold communication, the buzz around saved him in some degree the trouble of interrogatories. The names of Lochiel, Clanronald, Glengarry, and other distinguished Highland Chiefs, among whom Vich Ian Vohr was repeatedly mentioned, were as familiar in men's mouths as household words; and from the alarm generally expressed, he easily conceived that their descent into the Lowlands, at the head of their armed tribes, had either already taken place, or was instantly apprehended.
Ere Waverley could ask particulars, a strong, large-boned, hard- featured woman, about forty, dressed as if her clothes had been flung on with a pitchfork, her cheeks flushed with a scarlet red where they were not smutted with soot and lamp-black, jostled through the crowd, and, brandishing high a child of two years old, which she danced in her arms, without regard to its screams of terror, sang forth, with all her might,--
'Charlie is my darling, my darling, my darling, Charlie is my darling,
The young Chevalier!
Little wot ye wha's coming, Little wot ye wha's coming, A' the wild Macraws are coming.'
The Vulcan of Cairnvreckan, who acknowledged his Venus in this exulting Bacchante, regarded her with a grim and ire-foreboding countenance, while some of the senators of the village hastened to interpose. 'Whisht, gudewife; is this a time, or is this a day, to be singing your ranting fule sangs in?--a time when the wine of wrath is poured out without mixture in the cup of indignation, and a day when the land should give testimony against popery, and prelacy, and quakerism, and independency, and supremacy, and erastianism, and antinomianism, and a' the errors of the church?'
'And that's a' your Whiggery,' re-echoed the Jacobite heroine; 'that's a' your Whiggery, and your presbytery, ye cut-lugged, graning carles! What! d'ye think the lads wi' the kilts will care for yer synods and yer presbyteries, and yer buttock-mail, and yer stool o' repentance? Vengeance on the black face o't! Mony an honester woman's been set upon it than streeks doon beside ony Whig in the country. I mysell'--
Here John Mucklewrath, who dreaded her entering upon a detail of personal experience, interposed his matrimonial authority. 'Gae hame, and be d-- (that I should say sae), and put on the sowens for supper.'
'And you, ye doil'd dotard,' replied his gentle helpmate, her wrath, which had hitherto wandered abroad over the whole assembly, being at once and violently impelled into its natural channel, 'ye stand there hammering dog-heads for fules that will never snap them at a Highlandman, instead, of earning bread for your family, and shoeing this winsome young gentleman's horse that's just come frae the north! I'se warrant him nane of your whingeing King George folk, but a gallant Gordon, at the least o' him.'
The eyes of the assembly were now turned upon Waverley, who took the opportunity to beg the smith to shoe his guide's horse with all speed, as he wished to proceed on his journey;--for he had heard enough to make him sensible that there would be danger in delaying long in this place. The smith's eye rested on him with a look of displeasure and suspicion, not lessened by the eagerness with which his wife enforced Waverley's mandate. 'D'ye hear what the weel-favoured young gentleman says, ye drunken ne'er-dogood?'And what may your name be, sir?' quoth Mucklewrath. 'It is of no consequence to you, my friend, provided I pay your labour.'
'But it may be of consequence to the state, sir,' replied an old farmer, smelling strongly of whisky and peat-smoke; 'and I doubt we maun delay your journey till you have seen the Laird.''You certainly,' said Waverley, haughtily, 'will find it both difficult and dangerous to detain me, unless you can produce some proper authority.'
There was a pause and a whisper among the crowd--'Secretary Murray;' 'Lord Lewis Gordon;' 'Maybe the Chevalier himsell!' Such were the surmises that passed hurriedly among them, and there was obviously an increased disposition to resist WaverIey's departure. He attempted to argue mildly with them, but his voluntary ally, Mrs. Mucklewrath, broke in upon and drowned his expostulations, taking his part with an abusive violence, which was all set down to Edward's account by those on whom it was bestowed. 'YE'LL stop ony gentleman that's the Prince's freend?' for she too, though with other feelings, had adopted the general opinion respecting Waverley. 'I daur ye to touch him,' spreading abroad her long and muscular fingers, garnished with claws which a vulture might have envied. 'I'll set my ten commandments in the face o' the first loon that lays a finger on him.'
'Gae hame, gudewife, quoth the farmer aforesaid; 'it wad better set you to be nursing the gudeman's bairns than to be deaving us here.'
O gin ye were dead, gudeman,
And a green turf on your head, gudeman! Then I would ware my widowhood Upon a ranting Highlandman.'
This canticle, which excited a suppressed titter among the younger part of the audience, totally overcame the patience of the taunted man of the anvil. 'Deil be in me but I'll put this het gad down her throat!' cried he, in an ecstasy of wrath, snatching a bar from the forge; and he might have executed his threat, had he not been withheld by a part of the mob; while the rest endeavoured to force the termagant out of his presence.
Waverley meditated a retreat in the confusion, but his horse was nowhere to be seen. At length he observed, at some distance, his faithful attendant, Ebenezer, who, as soon as he had perceived the turn matters were likely to take, had withdrawn both horses from the press, and, mounted on the one, and holding the other, answered the loud and repeated calls of Waverley for his horse-- 'Na, na! if ye are nae friend to kirk and the king, and are detained as siccan a person, ye maun answer to honest men of the country for breach of contract; and I maun keep the naig and the walise for damage and expense, in respect my horse and mysell will lose to-morrow's day's-wark, besides the afternoon preaching.'
Edward, out of patience, hemmed in and hustled by the rabble on every side, and every moment expecting personal violence, resolved to try measures of intimidation, and at length drew a pocket-pistol, threatening, on the one hand, to shoot whomsoever dared to stop him, and, on the other, menacing Ebenezer with a similar doom, if he stirred a foot with the horses. The sapient Partridge says, that one man with a pistol is equal to a hundred unarmed, because, though he can shoot but one of the multitude, yet no one knows but that he himself may be that luckless individual. The levy en masse of Cairnvreckan would therefore probably have given way, nor would Ebenezer, whose natural paleness had waxed three shades more cadaverous, have ventured to dispute a mandate so enforced, had not the Vulcan of the village, eager to discharge upon some more worthy object the fury which his helpmate had provoked, and not ill satisfied to find such an object in Waverley, rushed at him with the red-hot bar of iron, with such determination as made the discharge of his pistol an act of self-defence. The unfortunate man fell; and while Edward, thrilled with a natural horror at the incident, neither had presence of mind to unsheathe his sword nor to draw his remaining pistol, the populace threw themselves upon him, disarmed him, and were about to use him with great violence, when the appearance of a venerable clergyman, the pastor of the parish, put a curb on their fury.
This worthy man (none of the Goukthrapples or Rentowels) maintained his character with the common people, although he preached the practical fruits of Christian faith, as well as its abstract tenets, and was respected by the higher orders, notwithstanding he declined soothing their speculative errors by converting the pulpit of the gospel into a school of heathen morality. Perhaps it is owing to this mixture of faith and practice in his doctrine, that, although his memory has formed a sort of era in the annals of Cairnvreckan, so that the parishioners, to denote what befell Sixty Years since, still say it happened 'in good Mr. Morton's time,' I have never been able to discover which he belonged to, the evangelical, or the moderate party in the kirk. Nor do I hold the circumstance of much moment, since, in my own remembrance, the one was headed by an Erskine, the other by a Robertson. [The Rev. John Erskine, D.D., an eminent Scottish divine, and a most excellent man, headed the Evangelical party in the Church of Scotland at the time when the celebrated Dr. Robertson, the historian, was the leader of the Moderate party. These two distinguished persons were colleagues in the Old Grey Friars' Church, Edinburgh; and, however much they differed in church politics, preserved the most perfect harmony as private friends, and as clergymen serving the same cure.]
Mr. Morton had been alarmed by the discharge of the pistol, and the increasing hubbub around the smithy. His first attention, after he had directed the bystanders to detain Waverley, but to abstain from injuring him, was turned to the body of Mucklewrath, over which his wife, in a revulsion of feeling, was weeping, howling, and tearing her elf-locks, in a state little short of distraction. On raising up the smith, the first discovery was, that he was alive; and the next, that he was likely to live as long as if he had never heard the report of a pistol in his life. He had made a narrow escape, however; the bullet had grazed his head, and stunned him for a moment or two, which trance terror and confusion of spirit had prolonged, somewhat longer. He now arose to demand vengeance on the person of Waverley, and with difficulty acquiesced in the proposal of Mr. Morton, that he should be carried before the laird, as a justice of peace, and placed at his disposal. The rest of the assistants unanimously agreed to the measure recommended; even Mrs. Mucklewrath, who had begun to recover from her hysterics, whimpered forth, 'She wadna say naething against what the minister proposed; he was e'en ower gude for his trade, and she hoped to see him wi' a dainty decent bishop's gown on his back; a comelier sight than your Geneva cloaks and bands, I wis.'
All controversy being thus laid aside, Waverley, escorted by the whole inhabitants of the village who were not bed-ridden, was conducted to the house of Cairnvreckan, which was about half a mile distant.
Chapter 31An Examination
Major Melville of Cairnvreckan, an elderly gentleman, who had spent his youth in the military service, received Mr. Morton with great kindness, and our hero with civility. which the equivocal circumstances wherein Edward was placed rendered constrained and distant.
The nature of the smith's hurt was inquired into, and as the actual injury was likely to prove trifling, and the circumstances in which it was received rendered the infliction, on Edward's part, a natural act of self-defence, the Major conceived he might dismiss that matter, on Waverley's depositing in his hands a small sum for the benefit of the wounded person.
'I could wish, sir,' continued the Major, 'that my duty terminated here; but it is necessary that we should have some further inquiry into the cause of your journey through the country at this unfortunate and distracted time.'
Mr. Ebenezer Cruickshanks now stood forth, and communicated to the magistrate all he knew or suspected, from the reserve of Waverley, and the evasions of Callum Beg. The horse upon which Edward rode, he said he knew to belong to Vich Ian Vohr, though he dared not tax Edward's former attendant with the fact, lest he should have his house and stables burnt over his head some night by that godless gang, the Mac-Ivors. He concluded by exaggerating his own services to kirk and state, as having been the means, under God (as he modestly qualified the assertion), of attaching this suspicious and formidable delinquent. He intimated hopes of future reward, and of instant reimbursement for loss of time, and even of character, by travelling on the state business on the fast-day.
To this Major Melville answered, with great composure, that so far from claiming any merit in this affair, Mr. Cruickshanks ought to deprecate the imposition of a very heavy fine for neglecting to lodge, in terms of the recent proclamation, an account with the nearest magistrate of any stranger who came to his inn; that as Mr. Cruickshanks boasted so much of religion and loyalty, he should not impute this conduct to disaffection, but only suppose that his zeal for kirk and state had been lulled asleep by the opportunity of charging a stranger with double horse-hire; that, however, feeling himself incompetent to decide singly upon the conduct of a person of such importance, he should reserve it for consideration of the next quarter-sessions. Now our history for the present saith no more of him of the Candlestick, who wended dolorous and malcontent back to his own dwelling.
Major Melville then commanded the villagers to return to their homes, excepting two, who officiated as constables, and whom he directed to wait below. The apartment was thus cleared of every person but Mr. Morton, whom the Major invited to remain; a sort of factor, who acted as clerk; and Waverley himself. There ensued a painful and embarrassed pause, till Major Melville, looking upon Waverley with much compassion, and often consulting a paper or memorandum which he held in his hand, requested to know his name.--'Edward Waverley.''I thought so; late of the -- dragoons, and nephew of Sir Everard Waverley of WaverleyHonour?' 'The same.' 'Young gentleman, I am extremely sorry that this painful duty has fallen to my lot.' 'Duty, Major Melville, renders apologies superfluous.'
'True, sir; permit me, therefore, to ask you how your time has been disposed of since you obtained leave of absence from your regiment, several weeks ago, until the present moment?'
'My reply,' said Waverley, 'to so general a question must be guided by the nature of the charge which renders it necessary. I request to know what that charge is, and upon what authority I am forcibly detained to reply to it?'
'The charge, Mr. Waverley, I grieve to say, is of a very high nature, and affects your character both as a soldier and a subject. In the former capacity, you are charged with spreading mutiny and rebellion among the men you commanded, and setting them the example of desertion, by prolonging your own absence from the regiment, contrary to the express orders of your commanding-officer. The civil crime of which you stand accused is that of high treason, and levying war against the king, the highest delinquency of which a subject can be guilty.''And by what authority am I detained to reply to such heinous calumnies?' 'By one which you must not dispute, nor I disobey.'
He handed to Waverley a warrant from the Supreme Criminal Court of Scotland, in full form, for apprehending and securing the person of Edward Waverley, Esq., suspected of treasonable practices and other high crimes and misdemeanours.
The astonishment which Waverley expressed at this communication was imputed by Major Melville to conscious guilt, while Mr. Morton was rather disposed to construe it into the surprise of innocence unjustly suspected. There was something true in both conjectures; for although Edward's mind acquitted him of the crime with which he was charged, yet a hasty review of his own conduct convinced him he might have great difficulty in establishing his innocence to the satisfaction of others.
'It is a very painful part of this painful business,' said Major Melville, after a pause, 'that, under so grave a charge, I must necessarily request to see such papers as you have on your person.'
'You shall, sir, without reserve,' said Edward, throwing his pocket-book and memorandums upon the table; 'there is but one with which I could wish you would dispense.''I am afraid, Mr. Waverley, I can indulge you with no reservation.' 'You shall see it then, sir; and as it can be of no service, I beg it may be returned.'
He took from his bosom the lines he had that morning received, and presented them with the envelope. The Major perused them in silence, and directed his clerk to make a copy of them. He then wrapped the copy in the envelope, and placing it on the table before him, returned the original to Waverley, with an air of melancholy gravity.
After indulging the prisoner, for such our hero must now be considered, with what he thought a reasonable time for reflection, Major Melville resumed his examination, premising, that as Mr. Waverley seemed to object to general questions, his interrogatories should be as specific as his information permitted. He then proceeded in his investigation, dictating, as he went on, the import of the questions and answers to the amanuensis, by whom it was written down.Did Mr. Waverley know one Humphry Houghton, a non-commissioned officer in Gardiner's dragoons?' 'Certainly; he was sergeant of my troop, and son of a tenant of my uncle.' 'Exactly--and had a considerable share of your confidence, and an influence among his comrades?'
'I had never occasion to repose confidence in a person of his description,' answered Waverley. 'I favoured Sergeant Houghton as a clever, active young fellow, and I believe his fellow soldiers respected him accordingly.''But you used through this man,' answered Major Melville, 'to communicate with such of your troop as were recruited upon Waverley-Honour?'
'Certainly; the poor fellows, finding themselves in a regiment chiefly composed of Scotch or Irish, looked up to me in any of their little distresses, and naturally made their countryman, and sergeant, their spokesman on such occasions.''Sergeant Houghton's influence,' continued the Major, 'extended, then, particularly over those soldiers who followed you to the regiment from your uncle's estate?' 'Surely;--but what is that to the present purpose?' 'To that I am just coming, and I beseech your candid reply. Have you, since leaving the regiment, held any correspondence, direct or indirect, with this Sergeant Houghton?' 'I!--I hold correspondence with a man of his rank and situation! --How, or for what purpose?' 'That you are to explain;--but did you not, for example, send to him for some books?'
'You remind me of a trifling commission,' said Waverley, 'which I gave Sergeant Houghton, because my servant could not read. I do recollect I bade him, by letter, select some books, of which I sent him a list, and send them to me at Tully-Veolan.''And of what description were those books?' 'They related almost entirely to elegant literature; they were designed for a lady's perusal.' 'Were there not, Mr. Waverley, treasonable tracts and pamphlets among them?'
'There were some political treatises, into which I hardly looked. They had been sent to me by the officiousness of a kind friend, whose heart is more to be esteemed than his prudence or political sagacity; they seemed to be dull compositions.'
'That friend,' continued the persevering inquirer, 'was a Mr. Pembroke, a nonjuring clergyman, the author of two treasonable works, of which the manuscripts were found among your baggage?''But of which, I give you my honour as a gentleman,' replied Waverley, 'I never read six pages.'
'I am not your judge, Mr. Waverley; your examination will be transmitted elsewhere. And now to proceed--Do you know a person that passes by the name of Wily Will, or Will Ruthven?''I never heard of such a name till this moment.'
'Did you never, through such a person, or any other person, communicate with Sergeant Humphry Houghton, instigating him to desert, with as many of his comrades as he could seduce to join him, and unite with the Highlanders and other rebels now in arms under the command of the young Pretender?'
'I assure you I am not only entirely guiltless of the plot you have laid to my charge, but I detest it from the very bottom of my soul, nor would I be guilty of such treachery to gain a throne, either for myself or any other man alive.'
'Yet when I consider this envelope, in the handwriting of one of those misguided gentlemen who are now in arms against their country, and the verses which it enclosed, I cannot but find some analogy between the enterprise I have mentioned and the exploit of Wogan, which the writer seems to expect you should imitate.'
'But, if I am rightly informed, your time was spent, during your absence from the regiment, between the house of this Highland Chieftain, and that of Mr. Bradwardine of Bradwardine, also in arms for this unfortunate cause?''I do not mean to disguise it; but I do deny, most resolutely, being privy to any of their designs against the Government.'
'You do not, however, I presume, intend to deny, that you attended your host Glennaquoich to a rendezvous, where, under a pretence of a general hunting-match, most of the accomplices of his treason were assembled to concert measures for taking arms?''I acknowledge having been at such a meeting,' said Waverley; 'but I neither heard nor saw anything which could give it the character you affix to it.'
'From thence you proceeded,' continued the magistrate, 'with Glennaquoich and a part of his clan, to join the army of the young Pretender, and returned, after having paid your homage to him, to discipline and arm the remainder, and unite them to his bands on their way southward?''I never went with Glennaquoich on such an errand. I never so much as heard that the person whom you mention was in the country.'
He then detailed the history of his misfortune at the hunting- match, and added, that on his return he found himself suddenly deprived of his commission and did not deny that he then, for the first time, observed symptoms which indicated a disposition in the Highlanders to take arms; but added, that having no inclination to join their cause, and no longer any reason for remaining in Scotland, he was now on his return to his native country, to which he had been summoned by those who had a right to direct his motions, as Major Melville would perceive from the letters on the table.
Major Melville accordingly perused the letters of Richard Waverley, of Sir Everard, and of Aunt Rachel; but the inferences he drew from them were different from what Waverley expected. They held the language of discontent with Government, threw out no obscure hints of revenge; and that of poor Aunt Rachel, which plainly asserted the justice of the Stuart cause, was held to contain the open avowal of what the others only ventured to insinuate.
'Permit me another question, Mr. Waverley,' said Major Melville. 'Did you not receive repeated letters from your commanding- officer, warning you and commanding you to return to your post, and acquainting you with the use made of your name to spread discontent among your soldiers?'
'I never did, Major Melville. One letter, indeed, I received from him, containing a civil intimation of his wish that I would employ my leave of absence otherwise than in constant residence at Bradwardine, as to which, I own, I thought he was not called on to interfere; and, finally, I received, on the same day on which I observed myself superseded in the Gazette, a second letter from Colonel Gardiner, commanding me to join the regiment,--an order which, owing to my absence, already mentioned and accounted for, I received too late to be obeyed. If there were any intermediate letters--and certainly, from the Colonel's high character, I think it probable that there were--they have never reached me.'
'I have omitted, Mr. Waverley,' continued Major Melville, 'to inquire after a matter of less consequence, but which has nevertheless been publicly talked of to your disadvantage. It is said that a treasonable toast having been proposed in your hearing and presence, you, holding his Majesty's commission, suffered the task of resenting it to devolve upon another gentleman of the company. This, sir, cannot be charged against you in a court of justice; but if, as I am informed, the officers of your regiment requested an explanation of such a rumour, as a gentleman and soldier, I cannot but be surprised that you did not afford it to them.'
This was too much. Beset and pressed on every hand by accusations, in which gross falsehoods were blended with such circumstances of truth as could not fail to procure them credit, --alone, unfriended, and in a strange land, Waverley almost gave up his life and honour for lost, and, leaning his head upon his hand, resolutely refused to answer any further questions, since the fair and candid statement he had already made had only served to furnish arms against him.
Without expressing either surprise or displeasure at the change in Waverley's manner, Major Melville proceeded composedly to put several other queries to him. 'What does it avail me to answer you?' said Edward, sullenly. 'You appear convinced of my guilt, and wrest every reply I have made to support your own preconceived opinion. Enjoy your supposed triumph, then, and torment me no further. If I am capable of the cowardice and treachery your charge burdens me with, I am not worthy to be believed in any reply I can make to you. If I am not deserving of your suspicion--and God and my own conscience bear evidence with me that it is so--then I do not see why I should, by my candour, lend my accusers arms against my innocence. There is no reason I should answer a word more, and I am determined to abide by this resolution.' And again he resumed his posture of sullen and determined silence.
'Allow me,' said the magistrate, 'to remind you of one reason that may suggest the propriety of a candid and open confession. The inexperience of youth, Mr. Waverley, lays it open to the plans of the more designing and artful; and one of your friends at least
-I mean Mac-Ivor of Glennaquoich--ranks high in the latter class, as, from your apparent ingenuousness, youth, and unacquaintance with the manners of the Highlands, I should be disposed to place you among the former. In such a case, a false step, or error like yours, which I shall be happy to consider as involuntary, may be atoned for, and I would willingly act as intercessor. But as you must necessarily be acquainted with the strength of the individuals in this country who have assumed arms, with their means, and with their plans, I must expect you will merit this mediation on my part by a frank and candid avowal of all that has come to your knowledge upon these heads. In which case, I think I can venture to promise that a very short personal restraint will be the only ill consequence that can arise from your accession to these unhappy intrigues.'
Waverley listened with great composure until the end of this exhortation, when, springing from his seat, with an energy he had not yet displayed, he replied, 'Major Melville, since that is your name, I have hitherto answered your questions with candour, or declined them with temper, because their import concerned myself alone; but as you presume to esteem me mean enough to commence informer against others, who received me, whatever may be their public misconduct, as a guest and friend,--I declare to you that I consider your questions as an insult infinitely more offensive than your calumnious suspicions; and that, since my hard fortune permits me no other mode of resenting them than by verbal defiance, you should sooner have my heart out of my bosom, than a single syllable of information on subjects which I could only become acquainted with in the full confidence of unsuspecting hospitality.'
Mr. Morton and the Major looked at each other; and the former, who, in the course of the examination, had been repeatedly troubled with a sorry rheum, had recourse to his snuffbox and his handkerchief.
'Mr. Waverley,' said the Major, 'my present situation prohibits me alike from giving or receiving offence, and I will not protract a discussion which approaches to either. I am afraid I must sign a warrant for detaining you in custody, but this house shall for the present be your prison. I fear I cannot persuade you to accept a share of our supper?-(Edward shook his head)-- but I will order refreshments in your apartment.
Our hero bowed and withdrew, under guard of the officers of justice, to a small but handsome room, where, declining all offers of food or wine, he flung himself on the bed, and, stupefied by the harassing events and mental fatigue of this miserable day, he sank into a deep and heavy slumber. This was more than he himself could have expected; but it is mentioned of the North American Indians, when at the stake of torture, that on the least intermission of agony, they will sleep until the fire is applied to awaken them.
Chapter 32A Conference, And The Consequence
Major Melville had detained Mr. Morton during his examination of Waverley, both because he thought he might derive assistance from his practical good sense and approved loyalty, and also because it was agreeable to have a witness of unimpeached candour and veracity to proceedings which touched the honour and safety of a young Englishman of high rank and family, and the expectant heir of a large fortune. Every step he knew would be rigorously canvassed, and it was his business to place the justice and integrity of his own conduct beyond the limits of question.
When Waverley retired, the laird and clergyman of Cairnvreckan sat down in silence to their evening meal. While the servants were in attendance, neither chose to say anything on the circumstances which occupied their minds, and neither felt it easy to speak upon any other. The youth and apparent frankness of Waverley stood in strong contrast to the shades of suspicion which darkened around him, and he had a sort of NAIVETE and openness of demeanour, that seemed to belong to one unhackneyed in the ways of intrigue, and which pleaded highly in his favour.
Each mused over the particulars of the examination, and each viewed it through the medium of his own feelings. Both were men of ready and acute talent, and both were equally competent to combine various parts of evidence, and to deduce from them the necessary conclusions. But the wide difference of their habits and education often occasioned a great discrepancy in their respective deductions from admitted premises.
Major Melville had been versed in camps and cities; he was vigilant by profession, and cautious from experience; had met with much evil in the world, and therefore, though himself an upright magistrate and an honourable man, his opinions of others were always strict, and sometimes unjustly severe. Mr. Morton, on the contrary, had passed from the literary pursuits of a college, where he was beloved by his companions, and respected by his teachers, to the ease and simplicity of his present charge, where his opportunities of witnessing evil were few, and never dwelt upon but in order to encourage repentance and amendment; and where the love and respect of his parishioners repaid his affectionate zeal in their behalf, by endeavouring to disguise from him what they knew would give him the most acute pain, namely, their own occasional transgressions of the duties which it was the business of his life to recommend. Thus it was a common saying in the neighbourhood (though both wore popular characters), that the laird knew only the ill in the parish, and the minister only the good.
A love of letters, though kept in subordination to his clerical studies and duties, also distinguished the pastor of Cairnvreckan, and had tinged his mind in earlier days with a slight feeling of romance, which no after incidents of real life had entirely dissipated. The early loss of an amiable young woman, whom he had married for love, and who was quickly followed to the grave by an only child, had also served, even after the lapse of many years, to soften a disposition naturally mild and contemplative. His feelings on the present occasion were therefore likely to differ from those of the severe disciplinarian, strict magistrate, and distrustful man of the world.
When the servants had withdrawn, the silence of both parties continued, until Major Melville, filling his glass, and pushing the bottle to Mr. Morton, commenced. 'A distressing affair this, Mr. Morton. I fear this youngster has brought himself within the compass of a halter.''God forbid!' answered the clergyman. 'Marry, and amen,' said the temporal magistrate; 'but I think even your merciful logic will hardly deny the conclusion.' 'Surely, Major,' answered the clergyman, 'I should hope it might be averted, for aught we have heard to-night?' 'Indeed!' replied Melville. 'But, my good parson, you are one of those who would communicate to every criminal the benefit of clergy.' 'Unquestionably I would: mercy and long-suffering are the grounds of the doctrine I am called to teach.'
'True, religiously speaking; but mercy to a criminal may be gross injustice to the community. I don't speak of this young fellow in particular, who I heartily wish may be able to clear himself, for I like both his modesty and his spirit. But I fear he has rushed upon his fate.'
'And why? Hundreds of misguided gentlemen are now in arms against the Government; many, doubtless, upon principles which education and early prejudice have gilded with the names of patriotism and heroism;--Justice, when she selects her victims from such a multitude (for surely all will not be destroyed), must regard the moral motive. He whom ambition, or hope of personal advantage, has led to disturb the peace of a well- ordered government, let him fall a victim to the laws; but surely youth, misled by the wild visions of chivalry and imaginary loyalty, may plead for pardon.'
'If visionary chivalry and imaginary loyalty come within the predicament of high treason,' replied the magistrate, 'I know no court in Christendom, my dear Mr. Morton, where they can sue out their Habeas Corpus.''But I cannot see that this youth's guilt is at all established to my satisfaction,' said the clergyman.
'Because your good nature blinds your good sense,' replied Major Melville. 'Observe now: this young man, descended of a family of hereditary Jacobites, his uncle the leader of the Tory interest in the county of --, his father a disobliged and discontented courtier, his tutor a nonjuror, and the author of two treasonable volumes--this youth, I say, enters into Gardiner's dragoons, bringing with him a body-of young fellows from his uncle's estate, who have not stickled at avowing, in their way, the High Church principles they learned at Waverley-Honour, in their disputes with their comrades. To these young men Waverley is unusually attentive; they are supplied with money beyond a soldier's wants, and inconsistent with his discipline; and are under the management of a favourite sergeant, through whom they hold an unusually close communication with their captain, and affect to consider themselves as independent of the other officers, and superior to their comrades.'
'All this, my dear Major, is the natural consequence of their attachment to their young landlord, and of their finding themselves in a regiment levied chiefly in the north of Ireland and the west of Scotland, and of course among comrades disposed to quarrel with them, both as Englishmen, and as members of the Church of England.'
'Well said, parson!' replied the magistrate.--'I would some of your synod heard you.--But let me go on. This young man obtains leave of absence, goes to Tully-Veolan--the principles of the Baron of Bradwardine are pretty well known, not to mention that this lad's uncle brought him off in the year fifteen; he engages there in a brawl, in which he is said to have disgraced the commission he bore; Colonel Gardiner writes to him, first mildly, then more sharply--I think you will not doubt his having done so, since he says so; the mess invite him to explain the quarrel in which he is said to have been involved; he neither replies to his commander nor his comrades. In the meanwhile, his soldiers become mutinous and disorderly, and at length, when the rumour of this unhappy rebellion becomes general, his favourite Sergeant Houghton, and another fellow, are detected in correspondence with a French emissary, accredited, as he says, by Captain Waverley, who urges him, according to the men's confession, to desert with the troop and join their captain, who was with Prince Charles. In the meanwhile this trusty captain is, by his own admission, residing at Glennaquoich with the most active, subtle, and desperate Jacobite in Scotland; he goes with him at least as far as their famous hunting rendezvous, and I fear a little farther. Meanwhile two other summonses are sent him; one warning him of the disturbances in his troop, another peremptorily ordering him to repair to the regiment, which, indeed, common sense might have dictated, when he observed rebellion thickening all round him. He returns an absolute refusal, and throws up his commission.''He had been already deprived of it,' said Mr. Morton.
'But he regrets,' replied Melville, 'that the measure had anticipated his resignation. His baggage is seized at his quarters, and at Tully-Veolan, and is found to contain a stock of pestilent jacobitical pamphlets, enough to poison a whole country, besides the unprinted lucubrations of his worthy friend and tutor Mr. Pembroke.
'He says he never read them,' answered the minister. 'In an ordinary case I should believe him,' replied the magistrate, 'for they are as stupid and pedantic in composition, as mischievous in their tenets. But can you suppose anything but value for the principles they maintain would induce a young man of his age to lug such trash about with him? Then, when news arrive of the approach of the rebels, he sets out in a sort of disguise, refusing to tell his name; and, if yon old fanatic tell truth, attended by a very suspicious character, and mounted on a horse known to have belonged to Glennaquoich, and bearing on his person letters from his family expressing high rancour against the house of Brunswick, and a copy of verses in praise of one Wogan, who abjured the service of the Parliament to join the Highland insurgents, when in arms to restore the house of Stuart, with a body of English cavalry the very counterpart of his own plot--and summed up with a "Go thou and do likewise," from that loyal subject, and most safe and peaceable character, Fergus Mac- Ivor of Glennaquoich, Vich Ian Vohr, and so forth. And, lastly,' continued Major Melville, warming in the detail of his arguments, 'where do we find this second edition of Cavalier Wogan? Why, truly, in the very track most proper for execution of his design, and pistolling the first of the king's subjects who ventures to question his intentions.'
Mr. Morton prudently abstained from argument, which be perceived would only harden the magistrate in his opinion, and merely asked how he intended to dispose of the prisoner?'It is a question of some difficulty, considering the state of the country,' said Major Melville. 'Could you not detain him (being such a gentleman-like young man) here in your own house, out of harm's way, till this storm blow over?'
'My good friend,' said Major Melville, 'neither your house nor mine will be long out of harm's way, even were it legal to confine him here. I have just learned that the commander-in- chief, who marched into the Highlands to seek out and disperse the insurgents, has declined giving them battle at Corryerick, and marched on northward with all the disposable force of Government to Inverness, John-o'-Groat's House, or the devil, for what I know, leaving the road to the Low Country open and undefended to the Highland army.''Good God!' said the clergyman. 'Is the man a coward, a traitor, or an idiot?'
'None of the three, I believe,' answered Melville. 'Sir John has the commonplace courage of a common soldier, is honest enough, does what he is commanded, and understands what is told him, but is as fit to act for himself in circumstances of importance, as I, my dear parson, to occupy your pulpit.'
This important public intelligence naturally diverted the discourse from Waverley for some time; at length, however, the subject was resumed.
'I believe,' said Major Melville, 'that I must give this young man in charge to some of the detached parties of armed volunteers, who were lately sent out to overawe the disaffected districts, They are now recalled towards Stirling, and a small body comes this way tomorrow or next day, commanded by the westland man,--what's his name?--You saw him, and said he was the very model of one of Cromwell's military saints,'
Gilfillan, the Cameronian,' answered Mr. Morton. 'I wish the young gentleman may be safe with him. Strange things are done in the heat and hurry of minds in so agitating a crisis, and I fear Gilfillan is of a sect which has suffered persecution without learning mercy.'
'He has only to lodge Mr. Waverley in Stirling Castle,' said the Major: 'I will give strict injunctions to treat him well. I really cannot devise any better mode for securing him, and I fancy you would hardly advise me to encounter the responsibility of setting him at liberty.''But you will have no objection to my seeing him tomorrow in private?' said the minister. 'None, certainly; your loyalty and character are my warrant. But with what view do you make the request?'
'Simply,' replied Mr. Morton, 'to make the experiment whether he may not be brought to communicate to me some circumstances which may hereafter be useful to alleviate, if not to exculpate his conduct.'The friends now parted and retired to rest, each filled with the most anxious reflections on the state of the country.
Chapter 33A Confidant
Waverley awoke in the morning, from troubled dreams and unrefreshing slumbers, to a full consciousness of the horrors of his situation. How it might terminate he knew not. He might be delivered up to military law, which, in the midst of civil war, was not likely to be scrupulous in the choice of its victims, or the quality of the evidence. Nor did he feel much more comfortable at the thoughts of a trial before a Scottish court of justice, where he knew the laws and forms differed in many respects from those of England, and had been taught to believe, however erroneously, that the liberty and rights of the subject were less carefully protected. A sentiment of bitterness rose in his mind against the Government, which he considered as the cause of his embarrassment and peril, and he cursed internally his scrupulous rejection of Mac-Ivor's invitation to accompany him to the field.
'Why did not I,' he said to himself, 'like other men of honour, take the earliest opportunity to welcome to Britain the descendant of her ancient kings, and lineal heir of her throne? Why did not I
Unthread the rude eye of rebellion,
And welcome home again discarded faith, Seek out Prince Charles, and fall before his feet?
All that has been recorded of excellence and worth in the house of Waverley has been founded upon their loyal faith to the house of Stuart. From the interpretation which this Scotch magistrate has put upon the letters of my uncle and father, it is plain that I ought to have understood them as marshalling me to the course of my ancestors; and it has been my gross dullness, joined to the obscurity of expression which they adopted for the sake of security, that has confounded my judgement. Had I yielded to the first generous impulse of indignation when I learned that my honour was practised upon, how different had been my present situation! I had then been free and in arms, fighting, like my forefathers, for love, for loyalty, and for fame. And now I am here, netted and in the toils, at the disposal of a suspicious, stern, and cold-hearted man, perhaps to be turned over to the solitude of a dungeon, or the infamy of a public execution. O Fergus! how true has your prophecy proved; and how speedy, how very speedy, has been its accomplishment!'
While Edward was ruminating on these painful subjects of contemplation, and very naturally, though not quite so justly, bestowing upon the reigning dynasty that blame which was due to chance, or, in part at least, to his own unreflecting conduct, Mr. Morton availed himself of Major Melville's permission to pay him an early visit.
Waverley's first impulse was to intimate a desire that he might not be disturbed with questions or conversation; but he suppressed it upon observing the benevolent and reverend appearance of the clergyman who had rescued him from the immediate violence of the villagers.
'I believe, sir,' said the unfortunate young man, 'that in any other circumstances I should have had as much gratitude to express to you as the safety of my life may be worth; but such is the present tumult of my mind, and such is my anticipation of what I am yet likely to endure, that I can hardly offer you thanks for your interposition.'
Mr. Morton replied, that, far from making any claim upon his good opinion, his only wish and the sole purpose of his visit was to find out the means of deserving it. 'My excellent friend, Major Melville,' he continued, 'has feelings and duties as a soldier and public functionary, by which I am not fettered; nor can I always coincide in opinions which he forms, perhaps with too little allowance for the imperfections of human nature. He paused, and then proceeded: 'I do not intrude myself on your confidence, Mr. Waverley, for the purpose of learning any circumstances, the knowledge of which can be prejudicial either to yourself or to others; but I own my earnest wish is, that you would entrust me with any particulars which could lead to your exculpation. I can solemnly assure you they will be deposited with a faithful, and, to the extent of his limited powers, a zealous agent.'
'You are, sir, I presume, a Presbyterian clergyman?'--Mr. Morton bowed.--'Were I to be guided by the prepossessions of education, I might distrust your friendly professions in my case; but I have observed that similar prejudices are nourished in this country against your professional brethren of the Episcopal persuasion, and I am willing to believe them equally unfounded in both cases.''Evil to him that thinks otherwise,' said Mr. Morton; 'or who holds church government and ceremonies as the exclusive gage of Christian faith or moral virtue.'
'But,' continued Waverley, 'I cannot perceive why I should trouble you with a detail of particulars, out of which, after revolving them as carefully as possible in my recollection, I find myself unable to explain much of what is charged against me. I know, indeed, that I am innocent, but I hardly see how I can hope to prove myself so.'
'It is for that very reason, Mr. Waverley,' said the clergyman, 'that I venture to solicit your confidence. My knowledge of individuals in this country is pretty general, and can upon occasion be extended. Your situation will, I fear, preclude you taking those active steps for recovering intelligence, or tracing imposture, which I would willingly undertake in your behalf; and if you are not benefited by my exertions, at least they cannot be prejudicial to you.'
Waverley, after a few minutes' reflection, was convinced that his reposing confidence in Mr. Morton, so far as he himself was concerned, could hurt neither Mr. Bradwardine nor Fergus Mac-Ivor, both of whom had openly assumed arms against the Government, and that it might possibly, if the professions of his new friend corresponded in sincerity with the earnestness of his expression, be of some service to himself. He therefore ran briefly over most of the events with which the reader is already acquainted, suppressing his attachment to Flora, and indeed neither mentioning her nor Rose Bradwardine in the course of his narrative.
Mr. Morton seemed particularly struck with the account of Waverley's visit to Donald Bean Lean. 'I am glad,' he said, 'you did not mention this circumstance to the Major. It is capable of great misconstruction on the part; of those who do not consider the power of curiosity and the influence of romance as motives of youthful conduct. When I was a young man like you, Mr. Waverley, any such hair-brained expedition (I beg your pardon for the expression) would have had inexpressible charms for me. But there are men in the world who will not believe that danger and fatigue are often incurred without any very adequate cause, and therefore who are sometimes led to assign motives of action entirely foreign to the truth. This man Bean Lean is renowned through the country as a sort of Robin Hood, and the stories which are told of his address and enterprise are the common tales of the winter fireside. He certainly possesses talents beyond the rude sphere in which he moves; and, being neither destitute of ambition nor encumbered with scruples, he will probably attempt, by every means, to distinguish himself during the period of these unhappy commotions.' Mr. Morton then made a careful memorandum of the various particulars of Waverley's interview with Donald Bean Lean, and the other circumstances which he had communicated.
The interest which this good man seemed to take in his misfortunes,--above all, the full confidence he appeared to repose in his innocence,--had the natural effect of softening Edward's heart, whom the coldness of Major Melville had taught to believe that the world was leagued to oppress him. He shook Mr. Morton warmly by the hand, and assuring him that his kindness and sympathy had relieved his mind of a heavy load, told him, that whatever might be his own fate, he belonged to a family who had both gratitude and the power of displaying it.
The earnestness of his thanks called drops to the eyes of the worthy clergyman, who was doubly interested in the cause for which he had volunteered his services, by observing the genuine and undissembled feelings of his young friend.Edward now inquired if Mr. Morton knew what was likely to be his destination.
'Stirling Castle,' replied. his friend; 'and so far I am well pleased for your sake, for the governor is a man of honour and humanity. But I am more doubtful of your treatment upon the road; Major Melville is involuntarily obliged to entrust the custody of your person to another.'
'I am glad of it,' answered Waverley. 'I detest that cold- blooded calculating Scotch magistrate. I hope he and I shall never meet more: he had neither sympathy with my innocence nor my wretchedness; and the petrifying accuracy with which he attended to every form of civility, while he tortured me by his questions, his suspicions, and his inferences, was as tormenting as the racks of the Inquisition. Do not vindicate him, my dear sir, for that I cannot bear with patience; tell me rather who is to have the charge of so important a state prisoner as I am.''I believe a person called Gilfillan, one of the sect who are termed Cameronians.' 'I never heard of them before.'
'They claim,' said the clergyman, 'to represent the more strict and severe Presbyterians, who in Charles Second's and James Second's days, refused to profit by the Toleration, or Indulgence, as it was called, which was extended to others of that religion. They held conventicles in the open fields, and being treated, with great violence and cruelty by the Scottish government, more than once took arms during those reigns. They take their name from their leader, Richard Cameron.'I recollect,' said Waverley; 'but did not the triumph of Presbytery at the Revolution extinguish that sect?'
'By no means,' replied Morton; 'that great event fell yet far short of what they proposed, which was nothing less than the complete establishment of the Presbyterian Church, upon the grounds of the old Solemn League and Covenant. Indeed, I believe they scarce knew what they wanted; but being a numerous body of men, and not unacquainted with the use of arms, they kept themselves together as a separate party in the state, and at the time of the Union had nearly formed a most unnatural league with their old enemies, the Jacobites, to oppose that important national measure. Since that time their numbers have gradually diminished; but a good many are still to be found in the western counties, and several, with a better temper than in 1707, have now taken arms for Government, This person, whom they call Gifted Gilfillan, has been long a leader among them, and now heads a small party, which will pass here to-day, or to-morrow, on their march towards Stirling, under whose escort Major Melville proposes you shall travel. I would willingly speak to Gilfillan in your behalf; but, having deeply imbibed all the prejudices of his sect, and being of the same fierce disposition, he would pay little regard to the remonstrances of an Erastian divine, as he would politely term me.--And now, farewell, my young friend; for the present, I must not weary out the Major's indulgence, that I may obtain his permission to visit you again in the course of the day.'
Things Mend A Little
About noon, Mr. Morton returned, and brought an invitation from Major Melville that Mr. Waverley would honour him with his company to dinner, notwithstanding the unpleasant affair which detained him at Cairnvreckan, from which he should heartily rejoice to see Mr. Waverley completely extricated. The truth was, that Mr. Morton's favourable report and opinion had somewhat staggered the preconceptions of the old soldier concerning Edward's supposed accession to the mutiny in the regiment; and in the unfortunate state of the country, the mere suspicion of disaffection, or an inclination to join the insurgent Jacobites, might infer criminality indeed, but certainly not dishonour. Besides, a person whom the Major trusted had reported to him (though, as it proved, inaccurately) a contradiction of the agitating news of the preceding evening. According to this second edition of the intelligence, the Highlanders had withdrawn from the Lowland frontier with the purpose of following the army in their march to Inverness. The Major was at a loss, indeed, to reconcile his information with the well-known abilities of some of the gentlemen in the Highland army, yet it was the course which was likely to be most agreeable to others. He remembered the same policy had detained them in the north in the year 1715, and he anticipated a similar termination to the insurrection as upon that occasion.
This news put him in such good humour, that he readily acquiesced in Mr. Morton's proposal to pay some hospitable attention to his unfortunate guest, and voluntarily added, he hoped the whole affair would prove a youthful escapade, which might be easily atoned by a short confinement. The kind mediator had some trouble to prevail on his young friend to accept the invitation. He dared not urge to him the real motive, which was a good- natured wish to secure a favourable report of Waverley's case from Major Melville to Governor Blakeney. He remarked, from the flashes of our hero's spirit, that touching upon this topic would be sure to defeat his purpose. He therefore pleaded, that the invitation argued the Major's disbelief of any part of the accusation which was inconsistent with Waverley's conduct as a soldier and a man of honour, and that to decline his courtesy might be interpreted into a consciousness that it was unmerited. In short, he so far satisfied Edward that the manly and proper course was to meet the Major on easy terms, that, suppressing his strong dislike again to encounter his cold and punctilious civility, Waverley agreed to be guided by his new friend. The meeting, at first, was stiff and formal enough. But Edward, having accepted the invitation, and his mind being really soothed and relieved by the kindness of Morton, held himself bound to behave with ease, though he could not affect cordiality. The Major was somewhat of a BON VIVANT, and his wine was excellent. He told his old campaign stories, and displayed much knowledge of men and manners. Mr. Morton had an internal fund of placid and quiet gaiety, which seldom failed to enliven any small party in which he found himself pleasantly seated. Waverley, whose life was a dream, gave ready way to the predominating impulse, and became the most lively of the party. He had at all times remarkable natural powers of conversation, though easily silenced by discouragement. On the present occasion, he piqued himself upon leaving on the minds of his companions a favourable impression of one who, under such disastrous circumstances, could sustain his misfortunes with ease and gaiety. His spirits, though not unyielding, were abundantly elastic, and soon seconded his efforts. The trio were engaged in very lively discourse, apparently delighted with each other, and the kind host was pressing a third bottle of Burgundy, when the sound of a drum was heard at some distance. The Major, who, in the glee of an old soldier, had forgot the duties of a magistrate, cursed, with a muttered military oath, the circumstances which recalled him to his official functions. He rose and went towards the window, which commanded a very near view of the high-road, and he was followed by his guests.
The drum advanced, beating no measured martial tune, but a kind of rub-a-dub-dub, like that with which the fire-drum startles the slumbering artisans of a Scotch burgh. It is the object of this history to do justice to all men; I must therefore record, in justice to the drummer, that he protested he could beat any known march or point of war known in the British army, and had accordingly commenced with 'Dumbarton's Drums,' when he was silenced by Gifted Gilfillan, the commander of the party, who refused to permit his followers to move to this profane, and even, as he said, persecuting tune, and commanded the drummer to beat the 119th Psalm. As this was beyond the capacity of the drubber of sheepskin, he was fain to have recourse to the inoffensive row-de-dow, as a harmless substitute for the sacred music which his instrument or skill were unable to achieve. This may be held a trifling anecdote, but the drummer in question was no less than towndrummer of Anderton. I remember his successor in office, a member of that enlightened body, the British Convention: be his memory, therefore, treated with due respect. A Volunteer Sixty Years Since
On hearing the unwelcome sound of the drum, Major Melville hastily opened a sashed door, and stepped out upon a sort of terrace which divided his house from the high-road from which the martial music proceeded. Waverley and his new friend followed him, though probably he would have dispensed with their attendance. They soon recognized in solemn march, first, the performer upon the drum; secondly, a large flag of four compartments, on which were inscribed the words COVENANTS, RELIGION, KING, KINGDOMES. The person who was honoured with this charge was followed by the commander of the party, a thin, dark, rigid-looking man, about sixty years old. The spiritual pride, which in mine Host of the Candlestick mantled in a sort of supercilious hypocrisy, was, in this man's face, elevated and yet darkened by genuine and undoubting fanaticism. It was impossible to behold him without imagination placing him in some strange crisis, where religious zeal was the ruling principle. A martyr at the stake, a soldier in the field, a lonely and banished wanderer consoled by the intensity and supposed purity of his faith under every earthly privation; perhaps a persecuting inquisitor, as terrible in power as unyielding in adversity; any of these seemed congenial characters to this personage. With these high traits of energy, there was something in the affected precision and solemnity of his deportment and discourse, that bordered upon the ludicrous; so that, according to the mood of the spectator's mind, and the light under which Mr. Gilfillan presented himself, one might have feared; admired, or laughed at him. His dress was that of a west-country peasant, of better materials indeed than that of the lower rank, but in no respect affecting either the mode of the age, or of the Scottish gentry at any period. His arms were a broadsword and pistols, which, from the antiquity of their appearance, might have seen the rout of Pentland, or Bothwell Brigg.
As he came up a few steps to meet Major Melville, and touched solemnly, but slightly, his huge and overbrimmed blue bonnet, in answer to the Major, who had courteously raised a small triangular gold-laced hat, Waverley was irresistibly impressed with the idea that he beheld a leader of the Roundheads of yore in conference with one of Marlborough's captains.
The group of about thirty armed men who followed this gifted commander, was of a motley description. They were in ordinary Lowland dresses, of different colours, which, contrasted with the arms they bore, gave them an irregular and mobbish appearance; so much is the eye accustomed to connect uniformity of dress with the military character. In front were a few who apparently partook of their leader's enthusiasm; men obviously to be feared in a combat where their natural courage was exalted by religious zeal. Others puffed and strutted, filled with the importance of carrying arms, and all the novelty of their situation, while the rest, apparently fatigued with their march, dragged their limbs listlessly along, or straggled from their companions to procure such refreshments as the neighbouring cottages and ale-houses afforded.--Six grenadiers of Ligonier's, thought the Major to himself, as his mind reverted to his own military experience, would have sent all these fellows to the right about.
Greeting, however, Mr. Gilfillan civilly, he requested to know if he had received the letter he had sent to him upon his march, and could undertake the charge of the state prisoner whom he there mentioned, as far as Stirling Castle. 'Yea,' was the concise reply of the Cameronian leader, in a voice which seemed to issue from the very PENETRALIA of his person.'But your escort, Mr. Gilfillan, is not so strong as I expected,' said Major Melville, 'Some of the people,' replied Gilfillan, 'hungered and were athirst by the way, and tarried until their poor souls were refreshed with the word.'
'I am sorry, sir,' replied the Major, 'you did not trust to your refreshing your men at Cairnvreckan; whatever my house contains is at the command of persons employed in the service.'
'It was not of creature comforts I spake,' answered the Covenanter, regarding Major Melville with something like a smile of contempt; 'howbeit, I thank you; but the people remained waiting upon the precious Mr. Jabesh Rentowel, for the outpouring of the afternoon exhortation.''And have you, sir,' said the Major, 'when the rebels are about to spread themselves through this country, actually left a great part of your command at a field-preaching!' Gilfillan again smiled scornfully as he made this indirect answer,--'Even thus are the children of this world wiser in their generation than the children of light!'
'However, sir,' said the Major, 'as you are to take charge of this gentleman to Stirling, and deliver him, with these papers, into the hands of Governor Blakeney, I beseech you to observe some rules of military discipline upon your march. For example, I would advise you to keep your men more closely together, and that each, in his march, should cover his file-leader, instead of straggling like geese upon a common; and, for fear of surprise, I further recommend to you to form a small advance-party of your best men, with a single vidette in front of the whole march, so that when you approach a village or a wood'-(Here the Major interrupted himself)--'But as I don't observe you listen to me, Mr. Gilfillan, I suppose I need not give myself the trouble to say more upon the subject. You are a better judge, unquestionably, than I am, of the measures to be pursued; but one thing I would have you well aware of, that you are to treat this gentleman, your prisoner, with no rigour nor incivility, and are to subject him to no other restraint than is necessary for his security.'
'I have looked into my commission,' said Mr. Gilfillan, subscribed by a worthy and professing nobleman, William, Earl of Glencairn; nor do I find it therein set down that I am to receive any charges or commands anent my doings from Major William Melville of Cairnvreckan.'
Major Melville reddened even to the well-powdered ears which appeared beneath his neat military side-curls, the more so, as he observed Mr. Morton smile at the same moment. 'Mr. Gilfillan,' he answered with some asperity, 'I beg ten thousand pardons for interfering with a person of your importance. I thought, however, that as you have been bred a grazier, if I mistake not, there might be occasion to remind you of the difference between Highlanders and Highland cattle; and if you should happen to meet with any gentleman who has seen service; and is disposed to speak upon the subject, I should still imagine that listening to him would do you no sort of harm. But I have done, and have only once more to recommend this gentleman to your civility, as well as to your custody.
- Mr, Waverley, I am truly sorry we should part in this way; but I trust, when you are again in this country, I may have an opportunity to render Cairnvreckan more agreeable than circumstances have permitted on this occasion.'
So saying, he shook our hero by the hand. Morton also took an affectionate farewell; and Waverley, having mounted his horse, with a musketeer leading it by the bridle, and a file upon each side to prevent his escape, set forward upon the march with Gilfillan and his party. Through the little village they were accompanied with the shouts of the children, who cried out, 'Eh! see to the Southland gentleman, that's gaun to be hanged for shooting lang John Mucklewrath the smith!'
Chapter 36An Incident
The dinner-hour of Scotland Sixty Years since was two o'clock. It was therefore about four o'clock of a delightful autumn afternoon that Mr. Gilfillan commenced his march, in hopes, although Stirling was eighteen miles distant, he might be able, by becoming a borrower of the night for an hour or two, to reach it that evening. He therefore put forth his strength, and marched stoutly along at the head of his followers, eyeing our hero from time to time, as if he longed to enter into controversy with him. At length unable to resist the temptation, he slackened his pace till he was alongside of his prisoner's horse, and after marching a few steps in silence abreast of him, he suddenly asked,--'Can ye say wha the carle was wi' the black coat; and the mousted head, that was wi' the Laird of Cairnvreckan?''A Presbyterian clergyman,' answered Waverley.
'Presbyterian!' answered Gilfillan contemptuously: 'a wretched Erastian, or rather an obscured Prelatist,--a favourer of the black Indulgence; ane of thae dumb dogs that canna bark: they tell ower a clash o' terror and a clatter o' comfort in their sermons, without ony sense, or savour, or life.--Ye've been fed in siccan a fauld, belike?''No; I am of the Church of England,' said Waverley.
And they're just neighbour-like,' replied the Covenanter; 'and nae wonder they gree sae weel. Wha wad hae thought the goodly structure of the Kirk of Scotland, built up by our fathers in 1642, wad hae been defaced by carnal ends and, the corruptions of the time;-aye, wha wad hae thought the carved work of the sanctuary would hae been sae soon cut down!'
To this lamentation, which one or two of the assistants chorussed with a deep groan, our hero thought it unnecessary to make any reply. Whereupon Mr. Gilfillan, resolving that he should be a hearer at least, if not a disputant, proceeded in his Jeremiad.
'And now is it wonderful, when, for lack of exercise anent the call to the service of the altar and the duty of the day, ministers fall into sinful compliances with patronage, and indemnities, and oaths, and bonds, and, other corruptions,--is it wonderful, I say, that you, sir, and other sic-like unhappy persons, should labour to build up your auld Babel of iniquity, as in the bluidy persecuting saint-killing times? I trow, gin ya werena blinded wi' the graces and favours, and services and enjoyments, and employments and inheritances, of this wicked world, I could prove to you, by the Scripture, in what a filthy rag ye put your trust; and that your surplices, and your copes and vestments, are but castoff-garments of the muckle harlot, that sitteth upon seven hills, and drinketh of the cup of abomination. But, I trow, ye are deaf as adders upon that side of the head; aye, ye are deceived with her enchantments, and ye traffic with her merchandise, and ye are drunk with the cup of her fornication!'
How much longer this military theologist might have continued his invective, in which he spared nobody but the scattered remnant of HILL-FOLK, as he called them, is absolutely uncertain. His matter was copious, his voice powerful, and his memory strong; so that there was little chance of his ending his exhortation till the party had reached Stirling, had not his attention been attracted by a pedlar who had joined the march from a cross-road, and who sighed or groaned with great regularity at all fitting pauses of his homily.'And what may ya be, friend?' said the Gifted Gilfillan.
'A puir pedler, that's bound for Stirling, and craves the protection of your honour's party in these kittle times. Ah! your honour has a notable faculty in searching and explaining the secret,--aye, the secret and obscure and incomprehensible causes of the backslidings of the land; aye, your honour touches the root o' the matter.'
'Friend,' said Gilfillan, with a more complacent voice than he had hitherto used, 'honour not me. I do not go out to park- dikes, and to steadings, and to market-towns, to have herds and cottars and burghers pull off their bonnets to me as they do to Major Melville o' Cairnvreckan, and ca' me laird, or captain, or honour;--no; my sma' means, whilk are not aboon twenty thousand merk, have had the blessing of increase, but the pride of heart has not increased with them; nor do I delight to be called captain, though I have the subscribed commission of that gospel- searching nobleman, the Earl of Glencairn, in whilk I am so designated. While I live, I am and will be called Habakkuk Gilfillan, who will stand up for the standards of doctrine agreed on by the ance-famous Kirk of Scotland, before she trafficked with the accursed Achan, while he has a plack in his purse, or a drap o' bluid in his body.'
'Ah,' said the pedlar, 'I have seen your land about Mauchlin--a fertile spot! your lines have fallen in pleasant places!--And siccan a breed o' cattle is not in ony laird's land in Scotland.'
'Ye say right,--ye say right, friend,' retorted Gilfillan eagerly, for he was not inaccessible to flattery upon this subject,--'ye say right; they are the real Lancashire, and there's no the like o' them even at the Mains of Kilmaurs;' and he then entered into a discussion of their excellences, to which our readers will probably be as indifferent as our hero. After this excursion, the leader returned to his theological discussions, while the pedlar, less profound upon those mystic points, contented himself with groaning, and expressing his edification at suitable intervals.
'What a blessing it would be to the puir blinded popish nations among whom I hae sojourned, to have siccan a light to their paths! I hae been as far as Muscovia in my sma' trading way, as a travelling merchant; and I hae been through France, and the Low Countries, and a' Poland, and maist feck o' Germany; and oh! it would grieve your honour's soul to see the murmuring, and the singing, and massing, that's in the kirk, and the piping that's in the quire, and the heathenish dancing and dicing upon the Sabbath!'
This set Gilfillan off upon the Book of Sports and the Covenant, and the Engagers, and the Protesters, and the Whiggamore's Raid, and the Assembly of Divines at Westminster, and the Longer and Shorter Catechism, and the Excommunication at Torwood, and the slaughter of Archbishop Sharp. This last topic, again, led him into the lawfulness of defensive arms, on which subject he uttered much more sense than could have been expected from some other parts of his harangue, and attracted even Waverley's attention, who had hitherto been lost in his own sad reflections. Mr. Gilfillan then considered the lawfulness of a private man's standing forth as the avenger of public oppression, and as he was labouring with great earnestness the cause of Mas James Mitchell, who fired at the Archbishop of St. Andrews some years before the prelate's assassination on Magus Muir, an incident occurred which interrupted his harangue.
The rays of the sun were lingering on the very verge of the horizon, as the party ascended a hollow and somewhat steep path, which led to the summit of a rising ground. The country was unenclosed, being part of a very extensive heath or common; but it was far from level, exhibiting in many places hollows filled with furze and broom; in others little dingles of stunted brushwood. A thicket of the latter description crowned the hill up which the party ascended. The foremost of the band, being the stoutest and most active, had pushed on, and having surmounted the ascent, were out of ken for the present. Gilfillan, with the pedlar, and the small party who were Waverley's more immediate guard, were near the top of the ascent, and the remainder straggled after them at a considerable interval.
Such was the situation of matters, when the pedlar, missing, as he said, a little doggie which belonged to him, began to halt and whistle for the animal. This signal, repeated more than once, gave offence to the rigour of his companion, the rather because it appeared to indicate inattention to the treasures of theological and controversial knowledge which was pouring out for his edification. He therefore signified gruffly, that he could not waste his time in waiting for a useless cur.'But if your honour wad consider the case of Tobit'--
'Tobit!' exclaimed Gilfillan, with great heat; 'Tobit and his dog baith are altogether heathenish and apocryphal, and none but a prelatist or a papist would draw them into question. I doubt I hae been mista'en in you, friend.''Very likely,' answered the pedlar, with great composure; 'but ne'ertheless, I shall take leave to whistle again upon puir Bawty,'
This last signal was answered in an unexpected manner; for six or eight stout Highlanders, who lurked among the copse and brushwood, sprang into the hollow way, and began to lay about them with their claymores. Gilfillan, un-appalled at this undesirable apparition, cried out manfully, 'The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!' and, drawing his broadsword, would probably have done as much credit to the good old cause as any of its doughty champions at Drumclog, when, behold! the pedlar, snatching a musket from the person who was next him, bestowed the butt of it with such emphasis on the head of his late instructor in the Cameronian creed, that he was forthwith levelled to the ground. In the confusion which ensued, the horse which bore our hero was shot by one of Gilfillan's party, as he discharged his firelock at random. Waverley fell with, and indeed under, the animal, and sustained some severe contusions. But he was almost instantly extricated from the fallen steed by two Highlanders, who, each seizing him by the arm, hurried him away from the scuffle and from the high-road. They ran with great speed, half supporting and half dragging our hero, who could, however, distinguish a few dropping shots fired about the spat which he had left. This, as he afterwards learned, proceeded from Gilfillan's party, who had now assembled, the stragglers in front and rear having joined the others. At their approach the Highlanders drew off, but not before they had rifled Gilfillan and two of his people, who remained on the spot grievously wounded. A few shots were exchanged betwixt them and the Westlanders; but the latter, now without a commander, and apprehensive of a second ambush, did not make any serious effort to recover their prisoner, judging it more wise to proceed on their journey to Stirling, carrying with them their wounded captain and comrades.
Chapter 37Waverley Is Still In Distress
The velocity, and indeed violence, with which Waverley was hurried along, nearly deprived him of sensation; for the injury he had received from his fall prevented him from aiding himself so effectually as he might otherwise have done. When this was observed by his conductors, they called to their aid two or three others of the party, and swathing our hero's body in one of their plaids, divided his weight by that means among them, and transported him at the same rapid rate as before, without any exertion of his own. They spoke little, and that in Gaelic; and did not slacken their pace till they had run nearly two miles, when they abated their extreme rapidity, but continued still to walk very fast, relieving each other occasionally,
Our hero now endeavoured to address them, but was only answered with 'CHA N'EIL BEURL' AGAM,' i.e. 'I have no English,' being, as Waverley well knew, the constant reply of a Highlander, when he either does not understand, or does not choose to reply to, an Englishman or Lowlander. He then mentioned the name of Vich Ian Vohr, concluding that he was indebted to his friendship for his rescue from the clutches of Gifted Gilfillan; but neither did this produce any mark of recognition from his escort.
The twilight had given place to moonshine when the party halted upon the brink of a precipitous glen, which, as partly enlightened by the moonbeams, seemed full of trees and tangled brushwood. Two of the Highlanders dived into it by a small footpath, as if to explore its recesses, and one of them returning in a few minutes, said something to his companions, who instantly raised their burden, and bore him, with great attention and care, down the narrow and abrupt descent. Notwithstanding their precautions, however, Waverley's person came more than once into contact, rudely enough, with the projecting stumps and branches which overhung the pathway.
At the bottom of the descent, and, as it seemed, by the side of a brook (for Waverley heard the rushing of a considerable body of water, although its stream was invisible in the darkness), the party again stopped before a small and rudely-constructed hovel. The door was open, and the inside of the premises appeared as uncomfortable and rude as its situation and exterior foreboded. There was no appearance of a floor of any kind; the roof seemed rent in several places; the walls were composed of loose stones and turf, and the thatch of branches of trees. The fire was in the centre, and filled the whole wigwam with smoke, which escaped as much through the door as by means of a circular aperture in the roof. An old Highland sibyl, the only inhabitant of this forlorn mansion, appeared busy in the preparation of some food. By the light which the fire afforded, Waverley could discover that his attendants were not of the clan of Ivor, for Fergus was particularly strict in requiring from his followers that they should wear the tartan striped in the mode peculiar to their race; a mark of distinction anciently general through the Highlands, and still maintained by those chiefs who were proud of their lineage, or jealous of their separate and exclusive authority.
Edward had lived at Glennaquoich long enough to be aware of a distinction which he had repeatedly heard noticed; and now satisfied that he had no interest with his attendants, he glanced a disconsolate eye around the interior of the cabin. The only furniture, excepting a washing-tub, and a wooden press, called in Scotland an AMBRY, sorely decayed, was a large wooden bed, planked, as is usual, all around, and opening by a sliding panel. In this recess the Highlanders deposited Waverley, after he had by signs declined any refreshment. His slumbers were broken and unrefreshing; strange visions passed before his eyes, and it required constant and reiterated efforts of mind to dispel them. Shivering, violent headache, and shooting pains in his limbs, succeeded these symptoms; and in the morning it was evident to his Highland attendants or guard, for he knew not in which light to consider them, that Waverley was quite unfit to travel. After a long consultation among themselves, six of the party left the hut with their arms, leaving behind an old and a young man. The former addressed Waverley, and bathed the contusions, which swelling and livid colour now made conspicuous. His own portmanteau, which the Highlanders had not failed to bring off, supplied him with linen, and, to his great surprise, was, with all its undiminished contents, freely resigned to his use. The bedding of his couch seemed clean and comfortable, and his aged attendant closed the door of the bed, for it had no curtain, after a few words of Gaelic, from which Waverley gathered that he exhorted him to repose. So behold our hero for a second time the patient of a Highland Aesculapius, but in a situation much more uncomfortable than when he was the guest of the worthy Tomanrait.
The symptomatic fever which accompanied the injuries he had sustained did not abate till the third day, when it gave way to the care of his attendants and the strength of his constitution, and he could now raise himself in his bed, though not without pain. He observed, however, that there was a great disinclination, on the part of the old woman who acted as his nurse, as well as on that of the elderly Highlander, to permit the door of the bed to be left open, so that he might amuse himself with observing their motions; and at length, after Waverley had repeatedly drawn open, and they had as frequently shut, the hatchway of his cage, the old gentleman put an end to the contest, by securing it on the outside with a nail, so effectually that the door could not be drawn till this exterior impediment was removed.
While musing upon the cause of this contradictory spirit in persons whose conduct intimated no purpose of plunder, and who, in all other points, appeared to consult his welfare and his wishes, it occurred to our hero, that, during the worst crisis of his illness, a female figure, younger than his old Highland nurse, had appeared to flit around his couch. Of this, indeed, he had but a very indistinct recollection, but his suspicions were confirmed when, attentively listening, he often heard, in the course of the day, the voice of another female conversing in whispers with his attendant. Who could it be? And why should she apparently desire concealment? Fancy immediately roused herself, and turned to Flora Mac-Ivor. But after a short conflict between his eager desire to believe she was in his neighbourhood, guarding, like an angel of mercy, the couch of his sickness, Waverley was compelled to conclude that his conjecture was altogether improbable; since, to suppose she had left the comparatively safe situation at Glennaquoich to descend into the Low Country, now the seat of civil war, and to inhabit such a lurking-place as this, was a thing hardly to be imagined. Yet his heart bounded as he sometimes could distinctly hear the trip of a light female step glide to or from the door of the hut, or the suppressed sounds of a female voice, of softness and delicacy, hold dialogue with the hoarse inward croak of old Janet, for so he understood his antiquated attendant was denominated.
Having nothing else to amuse his solitude, he employed himself in contriving some plan to gratify his curiosity, in spite of the sedulous caution of Janet and the old Highland janizary, for he had never seen the young fellow since the first morning. At length, upon accurate examination, the infirm state of his wooden prison-house appeared to supply the means of gratifying his curiosity, for out of a spot which was somewhat decayed he was able to extract a nail. Through this minute aperture he could perceive a female form, wrapped in a plaid, in the act of conversing with Janet. But, since the days of our grandmother Eve, the gratification of inordinate curiosity has generally borne its penalty in disappointment. The form was not that of Flora, nor was the face visible; and, to crown his vexation, while he laboured with the nail to enlarge the hole, that he might obtain a more complete view, a slight noise betrayed his purpose, and the object of his curiosity instantly disappeared; nor, so far as he could observe, did she again revisit the cottage.
All precautions to blockade his view were from that time abandoned, and he was not only permitted, but assisted to rise and quit what had been, in a literal sense, his couch of confinement. But he was not allowed to leave the hut; for the young Highlander had now rejoined his senior, and one or other was constantly on the watch. Whenever Waverley approached the cottage door, the sentinel upon duty civilly, but resolutely, placed himself against it and opposed his exit, accompanying his action with signs which seemed to imply there was danger in the attempt, and an enemy in the neighbourhood. Old Janet appeared anxious and upon the watch; and Waverley, who had not yet recovered strength enough to attempt to take his departure in spite of the opposition of his hosts, was under the necessity of remaining patient. His fare was, in every point of view, better than he could have conceived; for poultry, and even wine, were no strangers to his table. The Highlanders never presumed to eat with him, and unless in the circumstance of watching him, treated him with great respect. His sole amusement was gazing from the window, or rather the shapeless aperture which was meant to answer the purpose of a window, upon large and rough brook, which raged and foamed through a rocky channel, closely canopied with trees and bushes, about ten feet beneath the site of his house of captivity.
Upon the sixth day of his confinement, Waverley found himself so well, that he began to meditate his escape from this dull and miserable prison-house, thinking any risk which he might incur in the attempt preferable to the stupefying and intolerable uniformity of Janet's retirement. The question indeed occurred, whither he was to direct his course when again at his own disposal. Two schemes seemed practicable, yet both attended with danger and difficulty. One was to go back to Glennaquoich, and join Fergus Mac-Ivor, by whom he was sure to be kindly received; and in the present state of his mind, the rigour with which he had been treated fully absolved him, in his own eyes, from his allegiance to the existing government. The other project was to endeavour to attain a Scottish seaport, and thence to take shipping for England. His mind wavered between these plans; and probably, if he had effected his escape in the manner he proposed, he would have been finally determined by the comparative facility by which either might have been executed. But his fortune had settled that he was not to be left to his option.
Upon the evening of the seventh day the door of the hut suddenly opened, and two Highlanders entered, whom Waverley recognized as having been a part of his original escort to this cottage. They conversed for a short time with the old man and his companion, and then made Waverley understand, by very significant signs, that he was to prepare to accompany them. This was a joyful communication. What had already passed during his confinement made it evident that no personal injury was designed to him; and his romantic spirit, having recovered during his repose much of that elasticity which anxiety, resentment, disappointment, and the mixture of unpleasant feelings excited by his late adventures, had for a time subjugated, was now wearied with inaction. His passion for the wonderful, although it is the nature of such dispositions to be excited, by that degree of danger which merely gives dignity to the feeling of the individual exposed to it, had sunk under the extraordinary and apparently, insurmountable evils by which he appeared environed at Cairnvreckan. In fact, this compound of intense curiosity and exalted imagination forms a peculiar species of courage, which somewhat resembles the light usually carried by a miner,-- sufficiently competent, indeed, to afford him guidance and comfort during the ordinary perils of his labour, but certain to be extinguished should he encounter the more formidable hazard of earth-damps or pestiferous vapours. It was now, however, once more rekindled, and with a throbbing mixture of hope, awe, and anxiety, Waverley watched the group before him, as those who had just arrived snatched a hasty meal, and the others assumed their arms, and made brief preparations for their departure.
As he sat in the smoky hut, at some distance from the fire, around which the others were crowded, he felt a gentle pressure upon his arm. He looked round--it was Alice, the daughter of Donald Bean Lean. She showed him a packet of papers in such a manner that the motion was remarked by no one else, put her finger for a second to her lips, and passed on, as if to assist old Janet in packing Waverley's clothes in his portmanteau. It was obviously her wish that he should not seem to recognize her; yet she repeatedly looked back at him, as an opportunity occurred of doing so unobserved, and when she saw that he remarked what she did, she folded the packet with great address and speed in one of his shirts, which she deposited in the portmanteau.
Here then was fresh food for conjecture. Was Alice his unknown warden, and was this maiden of the cavern the tutelar genius that watched his bed during his sickness? Was he in the hands of her father? and if so, what was his purpose? Spoil, his usual object, seemed in this case neglected; for not only Waverley's property was restored, but his purse, which might have tempted this professional plunderer, had been all along suffered to remain in his possession. All this perhaps the packet might explain; but it was plain from Alice's manner that she desired he should consult it in secret. Nor did she again seek his eye after she had satisfied herself that her manoeuvre was observed and understood. On the contrary, she shortly afterwards left the hut, and it was only as she tripped out from the door, that, favoured by the obscurity, she gave Waverley a parting smile and nod of significance, ere she vanished in the dark glen.
The young Highlander was repeatedly dispatched by his comrades as if to collect intelligence. At length when he had returned for the third or fourth time, the whole party arose, and made signs to our hero to accompany them. Before his departure, however, he shook hands with old Janet, who had been so sedulous in his behalf, and added substantial marks of his gratitude for her attendance.
'God bless you! God prosper you, Captain Waverley!' said Janet, in good Lowland Scotch, though he had never hitherto heard her utter a syllable, save in Gaelic. But the impatience of his attendants prohibited his asking any explanation.
Chapter 38A Nocturnal Adventure
There was a moment's pause when the whole party had got out of the hut; and the Highlander who assumed the command, and who, in Waverley's awakened recollection, seemed to be the same tall figure who had acted as Donald Bean Lean's lieutenant, by whispers and signs imposed the strictest silence. He delivered to Edward a sword and steel pistol, and, pointing up the tract, laid his hand on the hilt of his own claymore, as if to make him sensible they might have occasion to use force to make good their passage. He then placed himself at the head of the party, who moved up the pathway in single or Indian file, Waverley being placed nearest to their leader. He moved with great precaution, as if to avoid giving any alarm, and halted as soon as he came to the verge of the ascent. Waverley was soon sensible of the reason, for he heard at no great distance an English sentinel call out 'All's well.' The heavy sound sank on the night-wind down the woody glen, and was answered by the echoes of its banks. A second, third, and fourth time, the signal was repeated, fainter and fainter, as if at a greater and greater distance. It was obvious that a party of soldiers were near, and upon their guard, though not sufficiently so to detect men skilful in every art of predatory warfare, like those with whom he now watched their ineffectual precautions.
When these sounds had died upon the silence of the night, the Highlanders began their march swiftly, yet with the most cautious silence. Waverley had little time, or indeed disposition, for observation, and could only discern that; they passed at some distance from a large building, in the windows of which a light or two yet seemed to twinkle. A little farther on, the leading Highlander snuffed the wind like a setting spaniel, and then made a signal to his party again to halt. He stooped down upon all- fours, wrapped up in his plaid, so as to be scarce distinguishable from the heathy ground on which he moved, and advanced in this posture to reconnoitre. In a short time he returned, and dismissed his attendants excepting one; and, intimating to Waverley that he must imitate his cautious mode of proceeding, all three crept forward on hands and knees.
After proceeding a greater way in this inconvenient manner than was at all comfortable to his knees and shins, Waverley perceived the smell of smoke, which probably had been much sooner distinguished by the more acute nasal organs of his guide. It proceeded from the corner of a low and ruinous sheepfold, the walls of which were made of loose stones, as is usual in Scotland. Close by this low wall the Highlander guided Waverley, and, in order probably to make him sensible of his danger, or perhaps to obtain the full credit of his own dexterity, he intimated to him, by sign and example, that he might raise his head so as to peep into the sheepfold. Waverley did so, and beheld an outpost of four or five soldiers lying by their watch- fire. They were all asleep, except the sentinel, who paced backwards and forwards with his firelock on his shoulder, which glanced red in the light of the fire as he crossed and recrossed before it in his short walk, casting his eye frequently to that part of the heavens from which the moon, hitherto obscured by mist, seemed now about to make her appearance,
In the course of a minute or two, by one of those sudden changes of atmosphere incident to a mountainous country, a breeze arose, and swept before it the clouds which had covered the horizon, and the night planet poured her full effulgence upon a wide and blighted heath, skirted indeed with copsewood and stunted trees in the quarter from which they had come, but open and bare to the observation of the sentinel in that to which their course tended. The wall of the sheepfold, indeed, concealed them as they lay, but any advance beyond its shelter seemed impossible without certain discovery.
The Highlander eyed the blue vault, but far from blessing the useful light with Homer's, or rather Pope's, benighted peasant, he muttered a Gaelic curse upon the unseasonable splendour of MAC-FARLANE'S BUAT (i. e. lantern). [See Note 21.] He looked anxiously around for a few minutes, and then apparently took his resolution. Leaving his attendant with Waverley, after motioning to Edward to remain quiet, and giving his comrade directions in a brief whisper, he retreated, favoured by the irregularity of the ground, in the same direction and in the same manner as they had advanced. Edward, turning his head after him, could perceive him crawling on all-fours with the dexterity of an Indian, availing himself of every bush and inequality to escape observation, and never passing over the more exposed parts of his track until the sentinel's back was turned from him. At length he reached the thickets and underwood which partly covered the moor in that direction, and probably extended to the verge of the glen where Waverley had been so long an inhabitant. The Highlander disappeared, but it was only for a few minutes, for he suddenly issued forth from a different part of the thicket, and advancing boldly upon the open heath, as if to invite discovery, he levelled his piece, and fired at the sentinel. A wound in the arm proved a disagreeable interruption to the poor fellow's meteorological observations, as well as to the tune of 'Nancy Dawson,' which he was whistling. He returned the fire ineffectually, and his comrades, starting up at the alarm, advanced alertly towards the spot from which the first shot had issued. The Highlander, after giving them a full view of his person, dived among the thickets, for his RUSE DE GUERRE had now perfectly succeeded.
While the soldiers pursued the cause of their disturbance in one direction, Waverley, adopting the hint of his remaining attendant, made the best of his speed in that which his guide originally intended to pursue, and which now (the attention of the soldiers being drawn to a different quarter) was unobserved and unguarded. When they had run about a quarter of a mile, the brow of a rising ground, which they had surmounted, concealed them from further risk of observation. They still heard, however, at a distance, the shouts of the soldiers as they hallooed to each other upon the heath, and they could also hear the distant roll of a drum beating to arms in the same direction. But these hostile sounds were now far in their rear, and died away upon the breeze as they rapidly proceeded.
When they had walked about half an hour, still along open and waste ground of the same description, they came to the stump of an ancient oak, which, from its relics, appeared to have been at one time a tree of very large size. In an adjacent hollow they found several Highlanders, with a horse or two. They had not joined them above a few minutes, which Waverley's attendant employed, in all probability, in communicating the cause of their delay (for the words 'Duncan Duroch' were often repeated), when Duncan himself appeared, out of breath indeed, and with all the symptoms of having run for his life, but laughing, and in high spirits at the success of the stratagem by which he had baffled his pursuers. This, indeed, Waverley could easily conceive might be a matter of no great difficulty to the active mountaineer, who was perfectly acquainted with the ground, and traced his course with a firmness and confidence to which his pursuers must have been strangers. The alarm which he excited seemed still to continue, for a dropping shot or two were heard at a great distance, which seemed to serve as an addition to the mirth of Duncan and his comrades.
The mountaineer now resumed the arms with which he had entrusted our hero, giving him to understand that the dangers of the journey were happily surmounted. Waverley was then mounted upon one of the horses, a change which the fatigue of the night and his recent illness rendered exceedingly acceptable. His portmanteau was placed on another pony, Duncan mounted a third, and they set forward at a round pace, accompanied by their escort. No other incident marked the course of that night's journey, and at the dawn of morning they attained the banks of a rapid river. The country around was at once fertile and romantic. Steep banks of wood were broken by cornfields, which this year presented an abundant harvest, already in a great measure cut down.
On the opposite bank of the river, and partly surrounded by a winding of its stream, stood a large and massive castle, the half-ruined turrets of which were already glittering in the first rays of the sun. [See Note 22.] It was in form an oblong square, of size sufficient to contain a large court in the centre. The towers at each angle of the square rose higher than the walls of the building, and were in their turn surmounted by turrets, differing in height, and irregular in shape. Upon one of these a sentinel watched, whose bonnet and plaid, streaming in the wind, declared him to be a Highlander, as a broad white ensign, which floated from another tower, announced that the garrison was held by the insurgent adherents of the House of Stuart.
Passing hastily through a small and mean town, where their appearance excited neither surprise nor curiosity in the few peasants whom the labours of the harvest began to summon from their repose, the party crossed an ancient and narrow bridge of several arches, and turning to the left, up an avenue of huge old sycamores, Waverley found himself in front of the gloomy yet picturesque structure which he had admired at a distance. A huge iron-grated door, which formed the exterior defence of the gateway, was already thrown back to receive them; and a second, heavily constructed of oak, and studded thickly with iron nails, being next opened, admitted them into the interior courtyard. A gentleman, dressed in the Highland garb, and having a white cockade in his bonnet, assisted Waverley to dismount from his horse, and with much courtesy bid him welcome to the castle.
The governor for so we must term him, having conducted Waverley to a half-ruinous apartment, where, however, there was a small camp-bed, and having offered him any refreshment which he desired, was then about to leave him.
'Will you not add to your civilities,' said Waverley, after having made the usual acknowledgement, 'by having the kindness to inform me where I am, and whether or not I am to consider myself as a prisoner?'
'By the honour of Donald Stewart, governor of the garrison, and lieutenant-colonel in the service of his Royal Highness Prince Charles Edward.' So saying, he hastily left the apartment, as if to avoid further discussion.Exhausted by the fatigues of the night, our hero now threw himself upon the bed, and was in a few minutes fast asleep.