Imágenes de página

mily. But it was both the opinion of Mr. Richard Waverley and his own, that Edward, the representative of the family of WaverleyHonour, should not remain in a situation which subjected him also to such trealment as thal with which his father had been stigmalized. He requested his nephew therefore to take the fillest, and, at the same time, the most speedy opportunity, of transmitting his resignation to the War-Office, and hinted, moreover, that little ceremony was necessary where so little had been used to his falher. He sent multitudinous greetings to the Baron of Bradwardine.

A letter from aunt Rachel spoke out even more plainly. She considered the disgrace of brother Richard as the just reward of his forfeiting his allegiance to a lawful though exiled sovereign, and taking the oaths to an alien; a concession which her grandfather, Sir Nigel Waverley, refused to make, either to the Round-head Parliament or to Cromwell, when his life and fortune stood in the utmost extremity. She hoped her dear Edward would follow the footsteps of his ancestors, and as speedily as possible get rid of the badge of servitude to the usurping family, and regard the wrongs sustained by his father as an admonition from Heaven, that every desertion of the line of loyalty becomes its own punishment. She also concluded with her respects to Mr. Bradwardine, and begged Waverley would inform her whether his daughter, Miss Rose, was old enough to wear a pair of very handsome ear-rings, which she proposed to send as a token of her affection. The good lady also desired to be informed whether Mr. Bradwardine took as much Scotch snuff, and danced as unweariedly, as he did when he was at Waverley-Honour about thirty years ago.

These letters, as might have been expected, highly excited Waverley's indignation. From the desultory style of his studies, he had not any fixed political opinion to place in opposition to the movements of indignation which he felt at his father's supposed wrongs. Of the real cause of his disgrace, Edward was totally ignorant; nor had his babits at all led him to investigate the poJilics of the period in which he lived, or remark the intrigues in which his father had been so actively engaged. Indeed, any impressions which he had accidentally adopted concerning the parties of the times, were (owing to the society in which he had lived at Waverley-Honour) of a nature rather unfavourable to the existing government and dynasty. He entered, therefore, without hesitation, into the resentsul feeling of the relations who had the best title to dictale his conduct; and not perhaps the less willingly, when he remembered the tædium of his quarters, and the inferior figure which he had made among the officers of his regiment. If he could have had any doubt upon the subject, it would have been decided by the following letter from his commanding officer, which, as it is very short, shall be inserted verbatim :


“Having carried somewhat beyond the line of my duty, an indulgence which even the lights of nature, and much more those of Christianity, direct towards errors which may arise from youth and inexperience, and that, altogether without effect, I am reluctantly compelled, at the present crisis, to use the only remaining remedy which is in my power. You are, therefore, hereby commanded to repair to--, the head-quarters of the regiment, within three days after the date of this letter. If you shall fail to do so, I must report you to the War-Office as absent without leave, and also take other steps, which will be disagreeable to you, as well as to,

[ocr errors][merged small]

Edward's blood boiled within him as he read this letter. He had been accustomed from his very infancy to possess, in a great measure, the disposal of his own lime, and thus acquired habits which rendered the rules of military discipline as unpleasing to him in this as they were in some other respects. An idea that in his own case they would not be enforced in a very rigid manner, had also obtained full possession of his mind, and had hitherto been sanclioned by the indulgent conduct of his lieutenant-colonel. Neither had any thing occurred, to his knowledge, that should have induced his commanding officer, without any other warning than the hints we noticed at the end of the fourteenth chapter, so suddenly to assume a harsh, and, as Edward deemed it, so insolent a tone of dictatorial authority. Connecting it with the letters he had just received from his family, he could not but suppose, that it was designed to make him feel, in his present situation, the same pressure of authority which had been exercised in his father's case, and that the whole was a concerted scheme to depress and degrade every member of the Waverley family.

Without a pause, therefore, Edward wrote a few cold lines, thanking his lieutenant-colonel for past civilities, and expressing regret that he should have chosen to efface the remembrance of them, by assuming a different tone towards him. The strain of his letter, as well as what he (Edward) conceived to be his duty, in the present crisis, called upon him to lay down his commission; and he therefore inclosed the formal resignation of a situation which subjected him to so unpleasant a correspondence, and requested Co

[ocr errors]

lonel Gardiner would have the goodness lo forward it to the proper authorities.

Having finished this magnanimous epistle, he felt somewhat uncertain concerning the terms in which his resignation ought to be expressed, upon which subject he resolved to consult Fergus MacIvor. It may be observed in passing, that the bold and prompt habits of thinking, acting, and speaking, which distinguished this young Chieftain, had given him a considerable ascendency over the mind of Waverley. Endowed with at least equal powers of understanding, and with much finer genius, Edward yet stooped lo the bold and decisive activity of an intellect which was sharpened by the habit of acting on a preconceived and regular system, as well as by extensive knowledge of the world.

When Edward found his friend, the latter had still in his hand the newspaper which he had perused, and advanced to meet him with the embarrassment of one has unpleasing news to communicate. “Do your letters, Captain Waverley, confirm the unpleasing information which I find in this paper?”

He put the paper into his hand, where his father's disgrace was registered in the most bitter terms, transferred probably from some London journal. At the end of the paragraph was this remarkable innuendo :

“We understand that this same Richard who halh done all this,' is not the only example of the Wavering Honour of W-v-rly H-n-r. See the Gazelte of this day."

With hurried and severish apprehension our hero turned to the place referred to, and found therein recorded, “Edward Waverley, captain in--regiment dragoons, superseded for absence without leave;" and in the list of military promotions, referring to the same regiment, he discovered this farther article, “ Lieut. Julius Buller, to be captain, vice Edward Waverley, superseded.”

Our hero's bosom glowed with the resentment which undeserved and apparently premeditated insult was calculated to excite in the bosom of one who had aspired after honour, and was thus wantonly held up to public scorn and disgrace. Upon comparing the date of his colonel's letter with that of the article in the Gazette, he perceived that his threat of making a report upon his absence had been literally fulfilled, and without inquiry, as it seemed, whether Edward had either received his summons, or was disposed to comply with it. The whole, therefore, appeared a formed plan to degrade him in the eyes of the public; and the idea of its having succeeded filled him with such bitter emotions, that, after various attempts to conceal them, he al length threw himself into Mac-Ivor's arms, and gave vent to tears of shame and indignation.

It was none of this Chieftain's faults to be indifferent to the wrongs of his friends, and for Edward, independent of certain

plans with which he was connected, he felt a deep and sincere interest. The proceeding appeared as extraordinary lo him as it had done to Edward. He indeed knew of more molives than Waverley was privy to for the peremptory order that he should join his regiment. But that, without farther inquiry into the circumstances of a necessary delay, the commanding officer, in contradiction lo his known and established character, should have proceeded in so harsh and unusual a manner, was a mystery which he could not penetrate. He soothed our hero, however, to the best of his power, and began to turn his thoughts on revenge for his insulted honour.

Edward eagerly grasped at the idea. “Will you carry a message for me to Colonel Gardiner, my dear Fergus, and oblige me for ever?"

Fergus paused; “It is an act of friendship which you should command, could it be useful, or lead to the righting your honour; but, in the present case, I doubt if your commanding officer would give you the meeting, on account of his having taken measures, which, however harsh and exasperating, were still within the strict bounds of his duly. Besides, Gardiner is a precise Huguenot, and has adopled certain ideas about the sinsulness of such rencontres, from which it would be impossible to make him depart, especially as his courage is beyond all suspicion. And besides, I-I, to say the truth-I dare not at this moment, for some very weighty reasons, go near any of the military quarters or garrisons belonging to this government."

“And am I,” said Waverley, “to sit down quiet and contenled under the injury I have received ?”

“That will I never advise my friend,” replied Mac-Ivor. “But I would have vengeance to fall on the head, not on the hand; the tyrannical and oppressive government which designed and directed these premeditated and reiterated insults, not on the tools of office which they employed in the execution of the injuries they aimed at you."

“On the government!” said Waverley.

“Yes,” replied the impetuous Highlander, “on the usurping House of Hanover, whom your grandfather would no more have served than he would have taken wages of red-hot gold from the great fiend of hell !”

“ But since the time of my grandfather two generations of this dynasty have possessed the throne,” said Edward, coolly.

" True," replied the Chieftain; "and because we have passively given them so long the means of showing their native character, because both you and I myself have lived in quiet submission, have even truckled to the times so far as to accept commissions under thein, and thus have given them an opportunity of disgracing us publicly by resuming them, are we not on that account to resent


injuries which our fathers only apprehended, but which we have actually sustained? Or is the cause of the unfortunate Stewart family become less just, because their title has devolved upon an heir who is innocent of the charges of misgovernment brought against his father?-Do you remember the lines of your favourite poet?

Had Richard unconstrain'd resign'd the throne,
A king can give no more than is his own;
The title stood entail'd had Richard had a son.

You see, my dear Waverley, I can quote poelry as well as Flora and you. But come, clear your moody brow, and trust lo me to show you an honourable road to a speedy and glorious revenge. Let us seek Flora, who perhaps has more news to tell us of what has occurred during our absence. She will rejoice lo hear that you are relieved of your servitude. But first add a postscript to your letter, marking the time when you received this calvinistical Colonel's first summons, and express your regret that the hasliness of his proceedings prevented your anticipating them by sending your resignation. Then let him blush for his injustice.”

The letter was sealed accordingly, covering a formal resignation of the commission, and Mac-Ivor dispatched it with some letters of his own by a special messenger, with charge to put them into the nearest post-office in the Lowlands..



The hint which the Chieftain had thrown out respecting Flora was not unpremeditated. He had observed with great salisfaclion the growing attachment of Waverley to his sister, nor did he see any bar to their union, excepting the situation which;Waverley's father held in the ministry, and Edward's own commission in the army of George II. These obstacles were now removed, and in a manner which apparently paved the way for the son's becoming reconciled to another allegiance. Ip every other respect the match would be most eligible. The safety, happiness, and honourable provision of his sister, whom he dearly loved, appeared to be ensured by the proposed union ; and his heart swelled when he considered how his own interest would be exalted in the eyes of the ex-monarch. lo whom he had dedicated his service, by an alliance with one of those ancient, powerful, and wealthy English families of the steady cavalier faith, to awaken whose decayed attachment

« AnteriorContinuar »