Imágenes de página


of the brook, opposite to the garden, displayed a narrow meadow, or haugh, as it was called, which formed a smiall washing-green; the bank, which relired behind it, was covered by ancient trees.

The scene, though pleasing, was not quite equal to the gardens of Alcina ; yet wanted not the due donzelette garrule" of that enchanted paradise, for upon the green aforesaid two bare-legged damsels, each standing in a spacious tub, performed with their feet the office of a paient washing-machine. These did not, however, like the maidens of Armida, remain to greet with their harmony the approaching guest, but, alarmed at the appearance of a handsome stranger on the opposite side, dropped their garments (I should say garment, to be quite correct) over their limbs, which their occupation exposed somewhat too freely, and, with a shrill exclamation of Eh, sirs !” uttered with an accent between modesty and coquetry, sprung off like deer in different directions.

Waverley began to despair of gaining entrance into this solitary and seemingly enchanted mansion, when a man advanced up one of the garden alleys, where he still retained his station. Trusting this might be a gardener, or some domestic belonging to the house, Edward descended the steps in order to meet him; but as the figure approached, and long before he could descry its features, he was struck with the oddity of its appearance and gestures. Somelimes this mister wight beld his hands clasped over his head, like an Indian Jogue in the allilude of penance; sometimes he swung them perpendicularly, like a pendulum, on each side; and anon he slapped them swiftly and repeatedly across his breast, like the substitute used by a hackney-coachman for his usual flogging exercise, when his cattle are idle upon the stand, in a clear frosty day. His gait was as singular as his gestures, for at limes he hopp'd with great perseverance on the right foot, then exchanged that supporter to advance in the same manner on the left, and then pulling his feet close together, he hopp'd upon both at once. His attire also was antiquated and extravagant. It consisted in a sort of grey jerkin, with scarlet cuffs and slash'd sleeves, showing a scarlet lining; the other parts of the dress corresponded in colour, not forgetting a pair of scarlet stockings, and a scarlet bonnet, proudly surmounted with a lurkey's feather. Edward, whom he did not seem to observe, now perceived conformation in his features of what the mien and gestures had already announced. It was apparently neither idiocy nor insanity which gave that wild, unsellled, irregular expression to a face which naturally was rather handsome, but something that resembled a compound of both, where the simplicity of the fool was mixed with the extravagance of a crazed imagination. He sung with great earnestness, and not without some taste, a fragment of an old Scottish dilty :

False love, and hast thou play'd me this

In summer among the flowers ?
I will repay thee back again

In winter among the showers.
Unless again, again, my love,

Unless you turn again;
As you with other maidens roye,

I'll smile on other men.

Here listing up his eyes, which had hitherto been fixed in observing how his feet kept time to the tune, he beheld Waverley, and instantly doff'd his cap, with many grotesque signals of surprise, respect, and salutation. Edward, though with little hope of receiving an answer to any constant question, requested to know whether Mr. Bradwardine were at home, or where he could find any of the domestics. The questioned party replied, -and, like the witch of Thalaba, “still his speech was song,”

The Knight's to the mountain

His bugle to wind;
The Lady's to greenwood

Her garland to bind.
The bower of Burd Ellen

Has moss on the floor,
That the step of Lord William

Be silent and sure.

This conveyed no information, and Edward, repeating his queries, received a rapid answer, in which, from the haste and peculiarity of the dialect, the word “butler” was alone intelligible. Waverley then requested to see the butler; upon which the fellow, with a knowing look and nod of intelligence, made a signal to Edward to follow, and began to dance and caper down the alley up which he had made his approaches.-A strange guide this, thought Edward, and not much unlike one of Shakspeare's roynish clowns. I am not over prudent to trust to his pilotage; but wiser men have been led by fools.-By this time he reached the bottom of the alley, where, turning short on a little parterre of flowers, shrouded from the east and north by a close yew hedge, he found an old man at work without his coat, whose appearance hovered between that of an upper servant and gardener; his red nose and ruflled shirt belonging to the former profession; his hale and sun-burnt visage, with his green apron, appearing to indicate

Old Adam's likeness, set to dress this garden. The major domo, for such he was, and indisputably the sccond officer of state in the barony, (nay, as chief minister of the interior,

'This is a genuine ancient fragment, with some alteration in the two last lines.

superior even to Bailie Macwhсeble, in his own department of the kitchen and cellar,)—the major domo laid down his spade, slipped on his coat in haste, and with a wrathful look at Edward's guide, probably excited by his having introduced a stranger while he was engaged in this laborious, and, as he might suppose it, degrading office, requested to know the gentleman's commands. Being informed that he wished to pay his respects to his master, that his name was Waverley, and so forth, the old man's countenance assumed a great deal of respectful importance. “He could take it upon his conscience to say, his honour would have exceeding pleasure in seeing him. Would not Mr. Waverley choose some refreshment after his journey? His honour was with the folk who were getting doon the dark hag; the twa gardener lads (an emphasis on the word twa) had been ordered to allend him; and he had been just amusing himself in the mean time with dressing Miss Rose's flower-bed, that he might be near to receive his honour's orders, if need were : he was very fond of a garden, but had little time for such divertisements.”

“ He canna get it wrought in abuné twa days in the week at no rale whatever," said Edward's fantastic conductor.

A grim look from the butter chastised his interference, and he commanded him, by the name of Davie Gellatley, in a lone which admitted no discussion, to look for his honour at the dark hag, and tell him there w a genlleman from the south had arrived at the Ha'.

“ Can this poor fellow deliver a letter ?” asked Edward.

6. With all fidelity, sir, lo any one whom he respects. I would hardly trust him with a long message by word of mouth - though he is more knaye tha'n fool.”

Waverley delivered his credentials to Mr. Gellatley, who seemed to confirm the butler's last observation, by twisting his features at him, when he was looking another way, into the resemblance of the grotesque face on the bole of a German lobacco-pipe; after which, with an odd congé to Waverley, he danced off to discharge his errand.

“He is an innocent, sir," said the butler ; " there is one such in almost every town in the country, but ours is brought far ben. He used to work a day's turn weel eneugh; but he help'd Miss Rose when she was-flemit wilh the Laird of Killancureit's new English bull, and since that time we ca' him Davie Do-little; indeed we might ca' him Davie Do-naething, for since he gol that gay clothing, to please his honour and my young mistress, (great folks will have their fancies,) he has done naething but dance up and down about the toun, without doing a single turn, unless trimming the laird's fishing-wand or busking his flies, or may be catching a dish of trouts at an orra-lime. But here comes Miss Rose, who, I take burden upon me for her, will be especial glad to see one of the house of Waverley at her father's mansion of Tully-Veolan."

But Rose Bradwardine deseryes better of her unworthy historian, than to be introduced at the end of a chapter.

In the meanwhile it may be noticed, that Waverley learned two things from this colloquy; that in Scotland a single house was called a town, and a natural fool an innocent.'



Miss BRADWARDINE was but seventeen ; yet, at the last races of the county town of -, upon her health being proposed among a round of beauties, the Laird of Bumperquaigh, permanent toastmaster and croupier of the Bautherwhillety Club, not only said More to the pledge in a pint bumper of Bourdeaux, but ere pouring forth the libation, denominated the divinity to whom it was dedicated, “ The Rose of Tully-Veolan ;” upon which festive occasion, three cheers were given by all the silling members of that respectable society, whose throats the wine had left capable of such exertion. Nay, I am well assured, that the sleeping partners of the company snorted applause, and that although strong bumpers and weak brains had consigned two or three to the floor, yet even these, fallen as they were from their high estate, and weltering - I will carry the parody, no farther - uttered divers inarticulate sounds, intimating their assent lo the motion.

Such unanimous applause could not be extorted but by acknowledged merit; and Rose Bradwardine not only deserved it, but also the approbation of much more rational persons than the Bautherwhillery Club could have mustered, even before discussion of the first magnum. She was indeed a very prelty girl of the Scotch cast of beauty, that is, with a profusion of hair of paley gold, and a skin like the snow of her own mountains in whiteness. Yet she had not a palid or pensive cast of countenance ; her features, as well as her temper, had a lively expression ; her complexion, though' not florid, was so pure as to secm transparent,

'I am ignorant how long the ancient and established custom of keeping fools bas been disused in England. Swift writes an epitaph on the Earl of Suffolk's fool,

“ Whose name was Dickie Pearce." Įn Scotland, the custom subsisted till late in the last century; at Glammis Castle, is preserved the dress of one of the jesters, very handsome, and ornamented with many bells. It is not above thirty years since such a character stood by the sideboard of a nobleman of the first rank in Scotland, and occasionally mixed in the conversation, till he carried the joke rather too far, in making proposals to one of the young ladies of the family, and publishing the þans betwixt her and himself in the public church.

and the slightest emotion sent her whole blood at once to her face and neck. Her form, though under the common size, was remarkably elegant, and her motions light, easy, and unembarrassed. She came from another part of the garden to receive Captain Waverley, with a inanner that hovered between bashfulness and courtesy.

The first greetings past, Edward learned from her that the dark hag, which had somewhat puzzled him in the butler's account of his master's avocations, had nothing to do either with a black cat or a broomstick, but was simply a portion of oak copse which was to be felled that day. She offered, with diffident civility, to show the stranger the way to the spot, wbich, it seems, was not far distant; but they were prevented by the appearance of the Baroa of Bradwardine in person, who, summoned by David Gellatley, now appeared, “ on hospitable thoughts intent,"clearing the ground at a prodigious rate with swift and long strides, which reminded Waverley of the seven-league boots of the nursery fable. He was a tall, thin, athletic figure, old indeed and grey-haired, but with every muscle rendered as tough as whip-cord by constant exercise. He was dressed carelessly, and more like Frenchman than an Englishman of the period, while, from his hard features and perpendicular rigidily of stature, he bore some resemblance to a Swiss officer of the guards, who had resided some time at Paris, and caught the costume, but not the ease or manner, of its inhabitants. The truth was, that his language and habits were as heterogeneous as his external appearance.

Owing to his natural disposition to study, or perhaps to a very general Scottish fashion of giving young men of rank a legal education, he had been bred with a view to the bar. But the politics of his family precluding the hope of his rising in that profession, Mr. Bradwardine travelled with high reputation for several years, and made some campaigns in foreign service. After his démêlé with the law of high treason in 1715, he had lived in relirement, conversing almost entirely wilh those of his own principles in the vicinage. The pedantry of the lawyer, superinduced upon the military pride of the soldier, might remind a modern of the days of the zealous volunteer service, when the bar-gown of our pleaders was osten flung over a blazing uniform. To this must be added the prejudices of ancient birth and Jacobite politics, greatly strengthened by habils of solitary and secluded authority, which, though exercised only within the bounds of his half-cultivated estate, was there indisputable and undisputed. For, as he used to observe, “the lands of Bradwardine, Tully-Veolan, and others, had been erected into a free barony by a charler from David the First, cum liberali potest. habendi curias et justicias, cum fossa et furca (LIE pit and gallows) et saka et soka, et thol et theam, et in/ang-thief et out

« AnteriorContinuar »