Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

ing 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 dra: goons, and nephew of Sir Edward Waver, ley of Waverley-Honour?" 66 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 had been disposed of since you obtained leave of absence

from our regiment,' several weeks ago, un. til the present moment."

My reply 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 sub- . ject. 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 hightreason, 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 hejnous calunnies?”

[ocr errors]

By one which yoù 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. súsa! pected 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 crimes with which he was charged, 'yet a hastý 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 painfül business,” said Major Melville, after a pause, " that, under so grave a 'charge, I

.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

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 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 re turned,"

He took from his bosom the lines he had that morning received, and presented them, with the envelope. The Major pe rused 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, return; ed the original to Waverley, with an air of melancholy gravity.

After indulging the prisoner, for such qur hero must now be considered, with what he thought a reasonable time for re

66

flection, Major Melville resumed his exam mination, premising, that, as Mo Waverley seemed to object to general questions, his interrogatories should be as specific as his information permitted. He then proceeds ed in his investigation, dictating, as be 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 G's dragoons ?"

“ Certainly ; he was serjeant 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. I favoured Serjeant Houghton as a clever, active young fellow, and I believe his fellow-soldiers respected him accordingly."

" But you used through this man to

« AnteriorContinuar »