« AnteriorContinuar »
The Chevalier was silent for a moment, looking steadily at them both, and then said, “Upon my word, Mr. Waverley, you are a less happy man than I conceived I had very good reason to believe you. But now, gentlemen, allow me to be umpire in this matter, not as Prince Regent, but as Charles Stewart, a brother adventurer, with you in the same gallant cause. Lay my pretensions to be obeyed by you entirely out of view, and consider your own honour, and how
far it is well, or becoming, to give our enemies the advantage, and Jour friends the scandal, of showing that, few as we are, we are not
united. And forgive me if I add, that the names of the ladies, who have been mentioned, crave more respect from us all than to be made themes of discord.”
He look Fergus a little apart, and spoke to him very earnestly for two or three minutes, and then returning to Waverley, said, " I believe I have satisfied Colonel Mac-Ivor, that his resentment was founded upon a misconception, to which, indeed, I myself gave rise; and I trust Mr. Waverley is too generous to harbour any recollection of what is past, when I assure him that such is the case. -You must state this matter properly to your clan, Vich Ian Vohr, to prevent a recurrence of their precipitate violence.” Fergus howed. “And now, gentlemen, let me have the pleasure to see you shake hands."
They advanced coldly, and with measured steps, each apparently reluctant to appear most forward in concession. They did, however, shake hands, and parted, taking a respectful leave of the Chevalier.
Charles Edward' then rode to the head of the Mac-Ivors, threw
"The Author of Waverley has been charged with painting the young Adventurer in colours more amiable than bis character deserved. But having known many individuals who were near his person, he has been described according to the light in which those eye-witnesses saw his temper and qualifications. Something must be allowed, no doubt, to the natural exaggeration of those who remembered him as the bold and adventurous Prince, in whose cause they had braved death and ruin; but is their evidence to give place entirely to that of a single malcontent?
I have already noticed the impulations thrown by the Chevalier Johnstone on the Prince's courage. But some part at least of that gentleman's tale is purely romantic. It would not, for instance, be supposed, that at the time he is favouring us with the highly wrought account of bis amour with the adorable Peggie, the Chevalier Johnstone was a married man, whose grandchild is now alive, or that the whole circumstantial story concerning the outrageous vengeance laken by Gordon of Abbachie on a Presbyterian clergyman, is entirely apocryphal. At the same time it may be admitted, that the Prince, like others of his family, did not esteem the services done him by his adherents so highly as he ought. Educated in bigb ideas of his hereditary right, he has been supposed to have held every exertion and sacrifice made in his cause as too much the duty of the person making it, to merit extravagant gratitude on bis part. Dr. King's evidence (which bis leaving the Jacobite interest renders somewhat doubtful) goes to strengthen this opinion.
The ingenious editor of Johnstone's Memoirs has quoted a story said to be told by Helvelius, stating that Prince Charles Edward, far from voluntarily embarking on his daring expedition, was literally bound band and foot, and to which he seems disposed to yield credit. Now, it being a fact as well known as any in his history, and, so far as I know, entirely undisputed, that the Prince's personal entreaties and urgency positively forced
Boisdale and Lochiel into insurrection, when they were earnestly desirous that he would put off his attempt until he could obtain a sufficient force from France, it will be very difficult to reconcile his alleged reluctance to undertake the expedition, with his despc
himself from his horse, begged a drink out of old Bellenkeiroch's cantine, and marched about half a mile along with them, inquiring
rately insisting on carrying the rising into effect, against the advice and entreaty of his most powerful and most sage partisans. Surely a man who had been carried bound on board the vessel which brought him to so desperate an enterprise, would have taken the opportunity afforded by the reluctance of his partisans, to return to France in safety.
It is averred in Johnstone's Memoirs, that Charles Edward left the field of Culloden without doing the utmost to dispute the victory; and, to give the evidence on both sides, there is in existence the more trust-worthy testimony of Lord Elcho, who slates, that he himself earnestly exhorted the Prince to charge at the head of the left wing, which was entire, and retrieve the day or die with bonour. And on bis counsel being declined, Lord Elcho took leave of him with a bitter execration, swearing he would never look on his face again, and kept his word.
On the other hand, it seems to have been the opinion of almost all the other officers, that the day was irretrievably lost, one wing of the Highlanders being entirely rouled, the rest of the army out-numbered, out-flanked, and in a condition totally hopeless. In this situation of things, the Irish officers who surrounded Charles's person interfered to force him off the field. A cornet, who was close to the Prince, left a strong attestation, that he had seen Sir Thomas Sheridan seize the bridle of bis borse, and turn bim round. There is some discrepancy of evidence; but the opinion of Lord Elcho, a man of fiery temper, and desperate at the ruin which he beheld impending, cannot fairly be taken, in prejudice of a character for courage which is intimated by the nature of the enterprise itself, by the Prince's eagerness to fight on all occasions, by his determination to advance from Derby to London, and by the presence of mind which he manifested during the romantic perils of his escape. The author is far from claiming for this unforlunate person the praise due to splendid talents; but he continues to be of opinion, that, at the period of his enterprise, be had a mind capable of facing danger and aspiring to fame.
That Charles Edward bad the advantages of a graceful presence, courtesy, and an address and manner becoming his station, the author never heard disputed by any who approached bis person, nor does be conceive that these qualities are overcharged in the present allempt to sketch his portrait. The following extracts, corroborative of the general opinion respecting the Prince's amiable disposition, are taken from a manuscript account of his romantic expedition, by James Maxwell of Kirkconnell, of wbich I possess a copy, by the friendship of J. Menzies, Esq. of Pitfoddells. The author, though partial to the Prince, whom he faithfully followed, seems to have been a fair and candid man, and well acquainted with the intrigues among the Adventurer's council :
“Every body was mightily taken with the Prince's figure and personal behaviour. There was but one voice about them. Those whom interest or prejudice made a runaway to his cause, could not help acknowledging that they wished him well in all other respects, and could hardly blame him for his present undertaking. Sundry things bad concurred to raise his character to the highest pitch, besides the greatness of the enterprise, and the conduct that bad hitherto appeared in the execution of it. There were several instances of good-nature and humanity that had made a great impression on peoples' minds. I shall confine myself to two or three. Immediately after the batlle, as the Prince was riding along the ground that Cope's army bad occupied a few minutes before, one of the officers came up to congratulate him, and said, pointing to the killed, “Sir, there are your enemies at your feet.' The Prince, far from exulting, expressed a great deal of compassion for bis father's deluded subjects, whom he declared he was beartily sorry to see in that posture. Next day, while the Prince was at Pipkiehouse, a citizen of Edinburgh came to make some representation to Secretary Murray about the tents that city was ordered to furnish againsi a certain day. Murray happened to be out of the way, which the Prince hearing of, called to have the gentleman brought to bim, saying, he would rather dispatch the business, whatever it was, himself, than have the gentleman wait, which he did, by granting every thing that was asked. So much affability in a young prince Mushed with victory, drew encomiums even from his enemies. But what gave the people the highest idea of him was the negative he gave to a thing that very nearly concerned bis interest, and upon which the success of his enterprise perhaps depended. It was proposed to send one of the prisoners to London, lo demand of that court a cartel for the exchange of prisoners laken, and to be taken, during this war, and to intimate that a refusal would be looked upon as a resolution on their part to give no quarter. It was visible a cartel would be of great advantage to the Prince's affairs ; his friends would be more ready to declare for him if they had nothing to fear but the chance of war in the field; and if the court of London refused to sellle a cartel, the Prince was authorised 10 trcal bis prisoners in the same manner the Elector of Hanover was determined to
into the history and connexions of Sliochd nan Ivor, adroitly using the few words of Gaelic he possessed, and affecting a great desire to learn it more thoroughly. He then mounted his horse once more, and galloped to the Baron's cavalry, which was in front, halted them, and examined their accoutrements and state of discipline; took notice of the principal gentlemen, and even of the cadets; inquired after their ladies, and commended their horses; rode about an hour with the Baron of Bradwardine, and endured three long stories about Field-Marshal the Duke of Berwick.
“Ah, Beaujeu, mon cher ami,” said he, as he returned to his usual place in the line of march,“que mon métier de prince errant est ennuyant parfois. Mais, courage! c'est le grand jeu, après tout."
The reader need hardly be reminded, that, after a council of war held at Derby on the 5th of December, the Highlanders relinquished their desperate attempt to penetrate farther into England, and, greatly to the dissatisfaction of their young and daring leader, posilively determined to return northward. They commenced their retreat accordingly, and, by the extreme celerity of their movements, outstripped the motions of the Duke of Cumberland, who now pursued them with a very large body of cavalry.
treat such of the Prince's friends as might fall into his hands : it was urged that a few examples would compel the court of Londou to comply. It was to be presumed that the officers of the English army would make a point of it. They had never engaged in the service, but upon such terms as are in use among all civilized nations, and it could be no slain upon their honour lo lay down their commissions if these terms were not observed, and that owing to the obstipacy of their own Prince, Though this scheme was plausible, and represented as very important, the Prince could never be brought into it; it was below him, he said, to make empty threats, and he would never put such as those into execution; he would never in cold blood take away lives which he bad saved in heat of action, at the peril of his own. These were not the only proofs of good pature the Prince gave about this time. Every day produced something new of this kind. These things softened the rigour of a military government, which was only imputed to the necessity of his affairs, and which he endeavoured to make as gentle and easy as possible.”
It has been said, that the Prince sometimes exacted more state and ceremonial than seemed to suit his condition; but, on the other hand, some strictness of eliquette was altogether indispensable, where he must otherwise bave been exposed to general intruşion. He could also endure, with a good grace, the retorts wbich his affectation of cercmony sometimes exposed him to. It is said, for example, that Grant of Glenmoriston having made a basty march to join Charles, at the head of his clan, rushed into the Prince's presence at Holyrood, with unceremonious haste, without having attended to the duties of the toilet. The Prince received him kindly, but not without a bint that a previous interview with the barber might not bave been wholly unnecessary. “It is not beardless boys,” answered the displeased Chief, “who are to do your Royal Highness's turn." The Chevalier took the rebuke in good part.
On the whole, if Prince Charles had concluded his life soon after bis miraculous escape, his character in history must have stood very high. As it was, his station is amongst those, a cerlain brilliant portion of whose life forms a remarkable contrast to all which precedes, and all which follows it.
This retreat was a virtual resignation of their lowering hopes. None had been so sanguine as Fergus Mac-Ivor; none, consequently, was so cruelly mortified at the change of measures. He argued, or rather remonstrated with the utmost vehemence, at the council of war; and, when his opinion was rejected, shed lears of grief and indignation. From that moment his whole manner was so much altered, that he could scarcely have been recognised for the same soaring and ardent spirit, for whom the whole earth seemed too narrow but a week before. The retreat had continued for several days, when Edward, lo his surprise, early on the 12th of December, received a visit from the Chieftain in his quarters, in a hamlet about half way between Shap and Penrith.
Having bad no intercourse with the Chieftain since their rupture, Edward waited with some anxiety an explanation of this unexpected visit; nor could he help being surprised, and somewhat shocked, with the change in his appearance. His eye had lost much of its fire; his cheek was hollow, his voice was languid, even his gait seemed less firm and elastic than it was wont; and his dress, to which he used to be particularly altenlive, was now carelessly flung about him. He invited Edward to walk out with him by the little river in the vicinily; and smiled in a melancholy manner when he observed him lake down and buckle on his sword.
As soon as they were in a wild sequestered path by the side of the stream, the Chief broke out, -" Our fine adventure is now tolally ruined, Waverley, and I wish to know what you intend to do :nay, never stare at me, man. I tell you I received a packet from my sister yesterday, and, had I got the information it contains sooner, it would have prevented a quarrel, which I am always vexed when I think of. In a letter wrilten after our dispute, I acquainted her with the cause of it; and she now replies to me, that she never had, nor could have, any purpose of giving you encouragement; so that it seems I have acted like a madman.--Poor Flora! she wriles in high spirits; what a change will the news of this unhappy retreat make in her state of mind !"
Waverley, who was really much affected by the deep tone of melancholy with which Fergus spoke, affectionately entreated him to banish from his remembrance any unkindness which had arisen between them, and they once more shook hands, but now with sincere cordiality. Fergus again inquired of Waverley what he intended to do. “ Had you not better leave this luckless army, and get down before us into Scotland, and embark for the Continent from some of the eastern ports that are still in our possession? When you are out of the kingdom, your friends will easily negotiate your pardon; and, to tell you the truth, I wish you would carry Rose Bradwardine with you as your wise, and take Flora also under your joint proleclion."--Edward looked surprised" She loves you,
and I believe you love her, though, perhaps, you have not found it out, for you are not celebrated for knowing your own mind very pointedly." He said this with a sort of smile.
“How," answered Edward, can you advise me to desert the expedition in which we are all embarked ?”
“Embarked ?" said Fergus; “the vessel is going to pieces, and it is full time, for all who can, to get into the long-boat and leave her."
“ Why, what will other gentlemen do!" answered Waverley,
and why did the Highland Chiefs consent to this retreat, if it is so ruinous?"
“0,” replied Mac-Ivor, " they think that, as on former occasions, the heading, hanging, and forfeiling, will chiefly fall to the lot of the Lowland gentry; that they will be left secure in their poverty and their fastnesses, there, according to their proverb, - to listen to the wind upon the hill till the waters abate.' But they will be disappointed; they have been too often troublesome to be so repeatedly passed over, and this time John Bull has been too heartily frightened to recover his good-humour for some time. The Hanoverian ministers always deserved to be hanged for rascals; but now, if they get the power in their hands, -as, sooner or later, they must, since there is neither rising in England nor assistance from France,-they will deserve the gallows as fools, if they leave a single clan in the Highlands in a situation to be again troublesome to government. Ay, they will make root-and-branchwork. I warrant them."
“And while you recommend flight to me," said Edward, -"a counsel which I would rather die than enibrace,- what are your own views ?"
" 0," answered Fergus, with a melancholy air,“ my fate is settled. Dead or captive I must be before to-morrow.”
“ What do you mean by that, my friend?” said Edward. “The enemy is still a day's march in our rear, and if he comes up, we are still strong enough to keep him in check. Remember Gladsmuir."
" What I tell you is true notwithstanding, so far as I am individually concerned.”
“Upon what authority can you found so melancholy a prediclion ?" asked Waverley.
“ On one which never failed a person of my house. I have seen,” he said, lowering his voice, “ I have seen the Bodach Glas.”
“ Bodach Glas?"
“Yes : Have you been so long at Glen naquoich, and never heard of the Grey Spectre? Ihough indeed there is a certain reluctance among us to mention him."