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to the Stewart family was now a matter of such vital importance to the Stewart cause. Nor could Fergus perceive any obstacle to such a scheme. Waverley's altachment was evident; and as his person was handsome, and his taste apparently coincided with her own, he anticipated no opposition on the part of Flora. Indeed, between his ideas of patriarchal power, and those which he had acquired in France respecting the disposal of females in marriage, any opposition from his sister, dear as she was to him, would have been the last obstacle on which he would have calculated, even bad the union been less eligible.
Influenced by these feelings, the Chief now led Waverley in quest of Miss Mac-Ivor, not without the hope that the present agitation of his guest's spirits might give him courage to cut short what Fergus termed the romance of the courtship. They found Flora, with her faithful attendants, Una and Cathleen, busied in preparing what appeared to Waverley to be while bridal favours. Disguising as well as he could the agitation of his mind, Waverley asked for what joyful occasion Miss Mac-Ivor made such ample preparation.
" It is for Fergus's bridal," she said, smiling.
“ Indeed!” said Edward ; “ he has kept his secret well. I hope he will allow me to be his bride's-man.”
“That is a man's office, but not yours, as Beatrice says,” retorted Flora.
“And who is the fair lady, may I be permitted to ask, Miss Mac-Ivor?”
“ Did not I tell you long since, that Fergus wooed no bride but Honour?” answered Flora.
“And am I then incapable of being his assistant and counsellor in the pursuit of honour?” said our hero, colouring deeply. “Do I rank so low in your opinion?”
“ Far from it, Captain Waverley. I would to God you were of our determination! and made use of the expression which displeased you, solely
Because you are not of our quality,
“ That time is past, sister,” said Fergus; "and you may wish Edward Waverley (no longer captain) joy of being freed from the slavery to an usurper, implied in that sable and ill-omened emblem.”
“Yes,” said Waverley, undoing the cockade from his hat, “it has pleased the king who bestowed this badge upon me, to resume it in a manner which leaves me little reason to regret his service.”
“ Thank God for that!” cried the enthusiast; “and 0 that they may be blind enough to treat every man of honour who serves them with the same indignity, that I may have less to sigh for when the struggle approaches!”
“ And now, sister," said the Chieftain, replace his cockade with one of a more lively colour. I think it was the fashion of the ladies of yore to arm and send forth their knights to high achievement.”
“ Not,” replied the lady, “till the knight adventurer had well weighed the justice and the danger of the cause, Fergus. Mr. Waverley is just now too much agitated by feelings of recent emolion, for me to press upon him a resolution of consequence.”
Waverley felt half-alarmed at the thought of adopting the badge of what was by the majority of the kingdom esteemed rebellion, yet he could not disguise bis chagrin at the coldness with which Flora parried her brother's hint.“ Miss Mac-Iyor, I perceive, thinks the knight unworthy of her encouragement and favour,” said he, somewhat bitterly.
“Not so, Mr. Waverley," she replied, with great sweetness.
Why should I refuse my brother's valued friend a boon which I am distributing to his whole clan? Most willingly would I enlist every man of honour in the cause to which my brother has de- ! voted himself. But Fergus has taken bis measures with his eyes, open. His life has been devoted to this cause from his cradle ; with him ils call is sacred, were it even a summons to the tomb." But how can I wish you, Mr. Waverley, so new to the world,
1 so far from every friend who might advise and ought to influence you,- in a moment too of sudden pique and indignation,-how can I wish you to plunge yourself at once into so desperale an enterprise?"
Fergus, who did not understand these delicacies, strode through the apartment biting his lip, and then, with a constrained smile, said, Well, sister, I leave you to act your new character of mediator between the Elector of Hanover and the subjects of your lawful sovereign and benefactor," and left the room.
There was a painful pause, which was at length broken by Miss Mac-Ivor. “ My brother is unjust,” she said, “because he can bear no interruption that seems to thwart his loyal zeal.”
“And do you not share his ardour?” asked Waverley.
“ Do I not?" answered Flora—“God knows mine exceeds his, if that be possible. But I am not, like him, rapt by the bustle of military preparation, and the infinite detail necessary to the present undertaking, beyond consideration of the grand principles of justice and truth, on which our enterprise is grounded; and these, I am certain, can only be furthered by measures in themselves true and just. To operate upon your present feelings, my dear Mr. Waver ley, to induce you to an irrelrievable step, of which you have not considered either the justice or the danger, is, in my poor judgment, neither the one nor the other.”
“ Incomparable Flora!” said Edward, taking her hand," how much do I need such a monitor !”
A better one by far,” said Flora, gently withdrawing her hand, "Mr. Waverley will always find in his own bosom, when he will give its small still voice leisure to be heard."
"No, Miss Mac-Ivor, I dare not hope it; a thousand circumstances of fatal self-indulgence have made me the creature rather of imagination than reason. Durst I but hope-could I but thinkthat you would deign to be to me that affectionate, that condescending friend, who would strengthen me to redeem my errors, my future life”.
“Hush, my dear sir! now you carry your joy at escaping the hands of a Jacobite recruiting officer to an unparalleled excess of gratitude."
“Nay, dear Flora, trifle with me no longer; you cannot mistake the meaning of those feelings which I have almost involuntarily expressed; and, since I have broken the harrier of silence, let me profit by my audacily-Or may I, wilh your permission, mention to your brother". “Not for the world, Mr. Waverley!”
· What am I to understand ?” said Edward. “Is there any fatal bar-has any prepossession"
“None, sir,” answered Flora. “I owe it to myself to say, that I never yel saw the person, on whom I thought with reference to the present subject.”
“The shortness of our acquaintance, perhaps--If Miss Mac-Jyor will deign to give me time”.
“I have not even that excuse. Captain Waverley's character is so open-is, in short, of that nature, that it cannot be misconstrued, either in its strength or its weakness.”
“And for that weakness you despise me?” said Edward.
“Forgive me, Mr. Waverley—and remember it is but within this half hour that there existed between us a barrier of a nature to me insurmountable, since I never coul think of an office in the service of the Elector of Hanover in any other light than as a casual acquaintance. Permit me then to arrange my ideas upon so unexpected a topic, and in less than an hour I will be ready to give you such reasons for the resolution I shall express, as may be satisfactory at least, if not pleasing to you." So saying, Flora withdrew, leaving Waverley to meditate upon the manner in which she had received his addresses.
Ere he could make up his mind whether to believe his suit had been acceptable or no, Fergus re-entered the apartment. “What, à la mort, Waverley?" he cried. “Come down with me to the court, and you shall see a sight worth all the tirades of your romances. An hundred firelocks, my friend, and as many broad
swords, just arrived from good friends; and two or three hundred slout fellows almost fighting which shall first possess them.--But let me look at you closer-Why, a true Highlander would say you had been blighted by an evil eye. Or can it be this silly girl that has thus blanked your spirit?-Never mind her, dear Edward ; the wisest of her sex are fools in what regards the business of life.”
“Indeed, my good friend," answered Waverley, “all that I can charge against your sister is, that she is too sensible, too reasonable."
“If that be all, I ensure you for a louis-d'or against the mood lasting four-and-twenty hours. No woman was ever steadily sensible for that period; and I will engage, if that will please you, Flora shall be as unreasonable to-morrow as any of her sex. You must learn, my dear Edward, lo consider women en mousquetaire.” So saying, he seized Waverley's arm, and dragged him off to review his military preparations.
UPON THE SAME SUBJECT.
FERGUS MAC-IVOR had too much lact and delicacy to renew the subject which he had interrupted. His head was, or appeared to be, so full of guns, broadswords, bonnets, canteens, and tarlan hose, that Waverley could not for some lime draw his attention to any other topic.
" Are you to take the field so soon, Fergus,” he asked, that you are making all these martial preparations!”
" When we have settled that you go with me, you shall know all; but otherwise, the knowledge might rather be prejudicial to you."
" But are you serious in your purpose, with such inferior forces, to rise against an established government? It is mere frenzy."
“ Laissez faire à Don Antoine – I shall take good care of myself. We shall at least use the compliment of Conan, who never got a stroke but he gave one. I would not, however,” continued the Chieftain,“ have you think me mad enough to stir lill a favourable opportunity : I will not slip my dog before the game's afoot. But, once more, will you join with us, and you shall know all?”
" How can I?” said Waverley ; I, who have so lately held that commission which is now posting back to those that gave il?
My accepting it implied a promise of fidelity, and an ackowledgment of the legality of the government."
“ A rash promise," answered Fergus, “is not a steel handcuff; it may be shaken off, especially when it was given under deception, and has been repaid by insult. But if you cannot immediately make up your mind to a glorious revenge, go to England, and, ere you cross the Tweed, you will hear tidings that will make the • world ring; and if Sir Everard be the gallant old cavalier I have heard him described by some of our honest gentlemen of the year one thousand seven hundred and fifteen, he will find you a better horse-troop and a better cause than you have lost.”
“But your sister, Fergus?"
“Out, hyperbolical fiend!" replied the Chief, laughing; “how vexest thou this man !-Speak'st thou of nothing but of ladies?”
“Nay, be serious, my dear friend,” said Waverley ; “ I feel that the happiness of my future life must depend upon the answer which Miss Mac-Ivor shall make to what I ventured to tell her this morning.”
“And is this your very sober earnest,” said Fergus, more grave141
or are we in the land of romance and fiction ?” “My earnest, undoubtedly. How could you suppose me jesting on such a subject?” Then, in very sober earnest,” answered his friend,
I am very glad to hear it; and so highly do I think of Flora, that you are the only man in England for whom I would say so much. + But before you shake my hand so warmly, there is more to be considered.—Your own family—will they approve your connecting yourself with the sister of a high-born Highland beggar?”
“My uncle's situation," said Waverley,“ his general opinions, and his uniform indulgence, entille me to say, that birth and personal qualities are all he would look to in such a connexion. And where can I find both united in such excellence as in your sister?'
“ O nowhere ?- cela va sans dire,” replied Fergus with a smile. “But your father will expect a father's prerogative in being consulted."
“ Surely; but his late breach with the ruling powers removes all apprehension of objection on his part, especially as I am convinced that my uncle will be warm in my cause.”
“Religion perhaps," said Fergus, “ may make obstacles, though we are not bigotted Catholics.'
My grandmother was of the Church of Rome, and her religion was never objected to by my family.-Do not think of my friends, dear Fergus; let me rather have your influence were it may be more necessary to remove obstacles -- I mean with your lovely sister.”