Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

CHAPTER XXIII.

Dulce Domum.

The impression of horror with which Waverley Jeft Carlisle softened by degrees into melancholy, a gradation which was accelerated by the painful, yet soothing, task of writing to Rose; and, while he could not suppress his own feelings of the calamity, by endeavouring to place it in a light which might grieve her, without shocking herimagination. The picture which he drew for her benefit he gradually familiarised to his own mind, and his next letters were more cheerful, and referred to the prospects of peace and happiness which lay before them. Yet, though his first horrible sensations had sunk into melancholy, Edward had reached his native country before he could, as usual upon former occasions, look round for enjoyment upon the face of nature.

He then, for the first time since leaving Edinburgh, began to experience that pleasure which almost all feel who return to a verdant, populous, and highly-cultivated country, from scenes of waste desolation, or of solitary and melancholy grandeur. But how were those feelings enhanced when he entered on the domain so long possessed by his fore-fathers; recognised the old oaks of Waverley-Chace; thought with what delight he should introduce Rose to all his favourite haunts; beheld at length the towers of the venerable ball arise above the woods which embowered it, and finally threw himself into the arms of the venerable relations to whom he owed so much duty and affection!

The happiness of their meeting was not tarnished by a single word of reproach. On the contrary, whatever pain Sir Everard and Mrs Rachael had felt during Waverley's perilous engagement with the young Chevalier, it assorted too well with the principles in which they had been brought up, to incur reprobation, or even censure. Golonel Talbot also had smoothed the way, with great address, for Edward's favourable reception, by dwelling upon his gallant behaviour in the military character, particularly bis bravery and generosity at Preston; until, warmed at the idea of their nephew's engaging in single combat, making prisoner, and saving from slaughter, so distinguished an officer as the Colonel himself, the imagination of the Baronet and his sister ranked the exploits of Edward with those of Wilibert, Hildebrand, and Nigel, the vaunted heroes of their line.

The appearance of Waverley, embrowned by exercise, and dignified by the habits of military discipline, had acquired an athletic and hardy character, which not only verified the colonel's narration, but surprised and delighted all the inhabitants of Waverley-Honour. They crowded to see, to hear him, and to sing his praises. Mr Pembroke, who, it will readily be believed, secretly extolled his spirit and courage in embracing the genuine cause of the Church of England, censured his pupil gently nevertheless for being so careless of his manuscripts, which indeed he said had occasioned him some personal inconvenience, as upon the Baronet's being arrested by a king's messenger, he had deemed it prudent to retire to a concealment called « The Priest's Hole,» from the use it had been put to in former days; where, he assured our hero, the butler had thought it safe to venture with food only once in the day, so that he had been repeatedly compelled to dine upon victuals either absolutely cold, or, what was worse, only half warm, not to mention that sometimes his bed had not been arranged for two days together. Waverley's mind in voluntarily turned to the Patmos of the Baron of Bradwardine, who was well pleased with

a

Janet's fare, and a few bunches of straw stowed in a cleft in the front of a sand-cliff; but he made no remarks upon a contrast wbich could only mortify his worthy tutor.

All was now in a bustle to prepare for the nuptials of Edward, an event to which the good old Baronet and Mrs Rachael looked forward as if to the renewal of their own youth. The match, as Colonel Talbot had intimated, had seemed to them in the highest degree eligible, having every recommendation but wealth, of which they themselves had more than enough. Mr Clippurse was, therefore, summoned to Waverley-Honour, under better auspices than at the commencement of our story.

But Mr Clippurse came not alone, for, being now stricken in years, he had associated with him a nephew, a younger vulture (as our English Juvenal, who tells the tale of Swallow the attorney, might have called him), and they now carried on business as Messrs Clippurse and Hookem. These worthy gentlemen had directions to make the necessary settlements on the most splendid scale of liberality, as if Edward were to wed a peeress in her own right, with her paternal estate tacked to the fringe of her érmine.

But, ere entering upon a subject of proverbial delay, I must remind my reader of the progress

of

a stone rolled down hill by an idle truant boy (a pastime at which I was myself

a

dwelt upon,

expert in my more juvenile years): it moveth at first slowly, avoiding by inflection every obstacle of the least importance; but when it bas attained its full impulse, and draws near the conclusion of its career, it smokes and thunders down, taking a rood at every spring, clearing hedge and ditch like a Yorkshire huntsman, and becoming most furiously rapid in its course when it is nearest to being consigned to rest for ever. Even such is the course of a narrative, like that which you are perusing; the earlier events are studiously

that
you,

kind reader, may be introduced to the character rather by narrative, than by the duller medium of direct description; but when the story draws near its close, we hurry over the circumstances, however important, which your imagination must have forestalled, and leave you to suppose those things, which it would be abusing your patience to narrate at length,

We are, therefore, so far from attempting to trace the dull progress of Messrs Clippurse and Hookem, or that of their worthy official brethren, who had the charge of suing out the pardons of Edward Waverley and his intended father-in-law, that we can but touch upon matters more attractive. The mutual epistles, for example, which were exchanged between Şir Everard and the Baron upon this occasion, though matchless specimens of eloquence in

[ocr errors]

VOL. III.

II

« AnteriorContinuar »