Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

their mutual inclinations. Common fame, it is true, frequently gave Waverley to Miss Mac-Ivor; but the Prince knew that common fame is very prodigal in such gifts; and, watching attentively the behaviour of the ladies loward Waverley, he had no doubt that the young Englishman had no interest with Flora, and was beloved by Rose Bradwardine. Desirous to bind Waverley to his service, and wishing also to do a kind and friendly action, the Prince next assailed the Baron on the subject of settling his estate upon his daughter. Mr Bradwardine acquiesced; but the consequence was that Fergus was immediately induced to prefer his double suit for a wife and an earldom, which the Prince rejected, in the manner we have seen.

The Chevalier constantly engaged in his own multiplied affairs, had not hitherto sought any explanation with Waverley, though often meaning to do so. But after Fergus's declaration, he saw the necessity of appearing neutral between the rivals, devoutly hoping that the matter, which now seemed fraught with the seeds of strife, might be permitted to lie over till the termination of the expedition. When on the march to Derby, Fergus, being questioned concerning his quarrel with Waverley, alleged as the cause, that Edward was desirous of retracting the suit he had made to his sister, the Chevalier plainly told him that he had himself observed

Miss Mac-Ivor's behaviour to Waverley, and that he was convinced Fergus was under the influence of a mistake in judging of Waverley's conduct, who, he had every reason to believe, was engaged to Miss Bradwardine. The quarrel which ensued between Edward and the chieftain is, I hope, still in the remembrance of the reader. These circumstances will serve to explain such points of our narrative as, according to the custom of story-tellers, we deemed it fit to leave unexplained, for the purpose of exciting the reader's curiosity.

When Janet had once furnished the leading facts of this narrative, Waverley was easily en. abled to apply the clue which they afforded to other mazes of the labyrinth, in which he had been engaged. To Rose Bradwardine, then, he owed the life which he now thought he could willingly have laid down to serve her. A little reflection convinced him, however, that to live for her sake was more convenient and agreeable, and that being possessed of independence, she might share it with him either in foreign countries or in his own.

The pleasure of being allied to a man of the Baron's high worth, and who was so much valued by his uncle Sir Everard, was also an agreeable consideration, had any thing been wanting to recommend the match. His absurdities, which had appeared grotesquely ludicrous during his prosperity, seemed, in the sun-set of his for

tune, to be harmonised and assimilated with the nobler features of his character, so as to add peculiarity without exciting ridicule. His mind occupied with such projects of future happiness, Edward sought Little Veolan, the habitation of Mr Duncan Macwheeble.

CHAPTER XIX.

Now is Cupid a child of conscience--he makes

restitution.-SHAKSPEARE.

Mr Duncan MACWHEEBLE, no longer Commissary or Baillie, though still enjoying the empty name of the latter dignity, had escaped proscription by an early secession from the insurgent party, and by his insignificance.

Edward found him in his office immersed among papers and accounts : before him was a large bicker of oatmeal-porridge, and at the side thereof, a horn-spoon and a bottle of twopenny. Eagerly running his eye over a voluminous law-paper, he from time to time shovelled an immense spoonful of these nutritive viands into his capacious mouth.

A pot bellied Dutch bottle of brandy, which stood by, intimated either that this honest limb of the law had taken his morning already, or that he meant to season his porridge with such digestive, or perhaps both circumstances might reasonably

be inferred. His night-cap and morning gown had whilome been of tartan, but equally cautious and frugal, the honest Baillie had got them dyed black, lest their original ill-omened colour might remind his visitors of his unlucky excursion to Derby. To sum up his picture, his face was daubed with snuff up to the eyes, , and his fingers with ink up to the knuckles. He looked dubiously at Waverley as he approached the little green rail which fenced his desk and stool from the approach of the vulgar. Nothing could give the Baillie more annoyance than the idea of acquaintance being claimed by any of the unfortunate gentlemen, who were now so much more likely to need assistance than to afford profit. But this was the rich young Englishman—who knew what might be his situation?-he was the Baron's friend too—what was to be done?

While these reflections gave an air of absurd perplexity to the poor man's visage, Waverley, reflecting on the communication he was about to make to him, of a nature so ridiculously contrasted with the appearance of the individual, could not help bursting out a-laughing, as he checked the propensity to exclaim, with Syphax,

-- « Cato 's a proper person to entrust
A love tale with.»

As Mr Macwheeble had no idea of any per

« AnteriorContinuar »