Imágenes de página

ment, of which he still conceived himself capable. He invited Waverley to go with him, a proposal in which he acquiesced, providing the interest of Colonel Talbot should fail in procuring his pardon. Tacitly he hoped the Baron would sanction his addresses to Rose, and give him a right to assist him in his exile ; but he forbore to speak on this subject until his own sale should be decided. They then talked of Glennaquoich, for the Baron expressed great anxiety, although, he observed, he was the very Achilles of Horatius Flaccus,

Impiger, iracundus, inexorabilis, acer.

Which," he continued," has been thus rendered (vernacularly) by Struan Robertson :

A fiery etter-cap, a fractious chiel,
As het as ginger, and as stiere as steel."

Flora had a large and unqualified share of the good old man's sympathy.

Il was now wearing late. Old Janet got into some kind of kennel behind the hallan; Davie had been long asleep and snoring between Ban and Buscar. These dogs had followed him lo the hul after the mansion-house was deserted, and there constantly resided; and their ferocity, with the old woman's reputation of being a witch, contributed a good deal to keep visitors from the glen. With this view, Bailie Macwheeble provided Janet underhand with meal for their maintenance, and also with little articles of luxury for his patron's use, in supplying which much precaution was necessarily used. After some compliments, the Baron occupied his usual couch, and Waverley reclined in an easy chair of tallered velvet, which had once garnished the state bed-room of Tully-Veolan (for the furniture of this mansion was now scattered through all the collages in the vicinity), and went to sleep as comfortably as if he had been in a bed of down.



With the first dawn of day, old Janet was scultling about the house to wake the Baron, who usually slept sound and heavily.

" I must go back," he said to Waverley, “ to my cove; will you walk down the glen wi' me?"

They went out together, and followed a narrow and entangled

foot-path, which the occasional passage of anglers, or woodcutters, had (raced by the side of the stream. On their way, the Baron explained to Waverley, that he would be under no danger in remaining a day or two at Tully-Veolan, and even in being seen walking about, if he used the precaulion of pretending that he was looking at the estate as agent or surveyor for an English gentleman, who designed to be purchaser. With this view, he recommended to him to visit the Bailie, who still lived at the faclor's house, called Little Veolan, about a mile from the village, though he was to remove at next term. Stanley's passport would be an answer to the officer who commanded the military; and as to any of the country people, who might recognise Waverley, the Baron assured him he was in no danger of being betrayed by them.

“I believe," said the old man,"half the people of the barony know that their poor auld laird is somewhere hereabout; for I see they do not suffer a single bairn to come here a bird-nesting; a practice, whilk, when I was in full possession of my power as Baron, I was unable totally to inhibit. Nay, I often find bits of things in my way, that the poor bodies, God help them! leave there, because they think they may be useful to me. I hope they will get a wiser master, and as kind a one as I was.”

A natural sigh closed the sentence; but the quiel equanimity with which the Baron endured his misfortunes had something in it venerable, and even sublime. There was no fruitless repining, no turbid melancholy; he bore his lot, and the hardships which it involved, wilh a good-humoured, though serious composure, and used no violent language against the prevailing party.

“ I did what I thought my duty," said the good old man, “and questionless they are doing what they think theirs. It grieves me sometimes to look upon these blackened walls of the house of my ancestors ; but doubtless officers cannot always keep the soldier's hand from depredation and spuilzie ; and Gustavus Adolphus himsell, as ye may read in Colonel Munro his Expedition with the worthy Scotch regiment called Mackay's regiment, did often permit it. Indeed I have myself seen as sad sights as Tully-Veolan now is, when I served with the Marechal Duke of Berwick. To be sure we may say with Virgilius Maro, Fuimus Troes - and there's the end of an auld sang. But houses, and families, and men, have a' stood lang eneugh when they have stood till they fall with honour;

and now I hae gollen a house that is not unlike a domus ultima-they were now standing below a steep rock. poor Jacobites," continued the Baron, looking up, " are now like the conies in Holy Scripture (which the greal traveller Pococke calleth Jerboa), a fecble people, that make our abode in the rocks. So, fare you well, my good lad, till we meet at Janet's in the even ; for I

66 We

must get into my Patmos, which is no easy maller for my auld stiff limbs.”

With that he began to ascend the rock, striding, with the help of his hands, from one precarious footstep to another, till he got about half way up, where two or three bushes concealed the mouth of a hole, resembling an oven, into which the Baron insinualed, first his head and shoulders, and then, by slow gradation, the rest of his long body; his legs and feet finally disappearing, coiled up like a huge snake entering his retreat, or a long pedigree introduced with care and difficulty into the narrow pigeon-hole of an old cabinet. Waverley had the curiosity lo clamber up and look in upon him in his den, as the lurking-place might well be termed. Upon the whole, he looked not unlike that ingenious puzzle, called a reel in a bottle, the marvel of children (and of some grown people loo, myself for one), who can neither comprehend the mystery how it has got in, or how it is to be taken out. The cave was very narrow, too low in the roof to admit of his slanding, or almost of his sitting up, though he made some awkward attempts at the latter posture. His sole amusement was the perusal of his old friend Titus Livius, varied by occasionally scratching Lalin proverbs and texts of Scriplure with his knife on the roof and walls of his fortalice, which were of sand-stone. As the cave was dry, and filled with clean straw and withered fern, “it made," as he said, coiling himself up with an air of snugness and comfort which contrasted strangely with his situation, “ unless when the wind was due north, a very passable gite for an old soldier.” Neither, as he observed, was hc without sentries for the purpose of reconnoitring. Davie and his mother were constantly on the watch, to discover and avert danger; and it was singular what instances of address seemed dictated by the instinctive allachment of the poor simpleton, when his patron's safety was concerned.

With Janel, Edward now sought an interview. He had recogvised her, at first sight, as the old woman who had nursed him during his sickness after his delivery from Gifted Gilfillan. The hut also, though a little repaired, and somewat better furnished, was certainly the place of his confinement; and he now recollected on the common moor of Tully-Veolan the trunk of a large decayed tree, called the trysting-tree, which he had no doubt was the same at which the Highlanders rendezvoused on that memorable night. All this he had combined in his imagination the night before ; but reasons, which may probably occur to the reader, prevented him from catechising Janet in the presence of the Baron.

He now commenced the task in good carnest ; and the first queslion was, who was the young lady that visited the hut during his

illness? Janet paused for a little; and then observed, that to keep the secret now, would neither do good nor ill to any body.

“It was just a leddy, that hasna her equal in the world - Miss Rose Bradwardine!”

“Then Miss Rose was probably also the author of my deliverance," inferred Waverley, delighted at the confirmation of an idea which local circumstances had already induced him to entertain.

“I wot weel, Mr. Wauverley, and that was she e'en; but sair, sair angry and affronted wad she hae been, puir thing, if she had thought ye had been ever to ken a word about the matter; for she gar'd me speak aye Gaelic when ye was in hearing, to mak ye trow we were in the Hielands. I can speak it weil eneugh, for my mother was a Hieland woman.'

A few more questions now brought out the whole mystery respecting Waverley's deliverance from the bondage in which he left Cairnvreckan. Never did music sound sweeter to an amateur, than the drowsy tautology, with which old Janet delailed every circumstance, thrilled upon the ears of Waverley. But my reader is not a lover, and I must spare his patience, by attempling to condense within reasonable compass the narrative which old Janet spread through a harangue of nearly two hours.

When Waverley communicated to Fergus the letter he had received from Rose Bradwardine, by Davie Gellatley, giving an account of Tully-Veolan being occupied by a small parly of soldiers, thal circumstance had struck upon the busy and active mind of the Chiestain. Eager to distress and narrow the posts of the enemy,

desirous to prevent their establishing a garrison so near him, and willing also to oblige the Baron. - for he often had the idea of marriage with Rose floating through his brain, -he resolved to send some of his people to drive out the red-coals, and to bring Rose lo Glennaquoich. But just as he had ordered Evan with a small party on this duly, the news of Cope's having marched into the Highlands to meet and disperse the forces of the Chevalier, ere they came to a head, obliged him to join the standard with his whole forces.

He sent to order Donald Bean to attend him; but that cautious freebooter, who well understood the value of a separale command, instead of joining, sent various apologies, which the pressure of the limes compelled Fergus to admil as current, though not without the internal resolution of being revenged on him for his procrastination, time and place convenient. However, as he could not amend the matter, he issued orders lo Donald lo descend into the Low Country, drive the soldiers from Tully-Veolan, and, paying all respect to the mansion of the Baron, to lake bis abode somewhere near it, for protection of his daughter and family, and to

harass and drive away any of the armed volunteers, or small parties of military, which he might find moving about the vicinity.

As this charge formed a sort of roving commission, which Donald proposed to interpret in the way most advantageous to himself, as he was relieved from the immediate terrors of Fergus, and as he had, from former secret services, some inlerest in the councils of the Chevalier, he resolved to make hay while the sun shone. He achieved, without difficulty the task of driving the soldiers from Tully-Veolan; but although he did not venture to encroach upon the interior of the family, or lo disturb Miss Rose, being unwilling to make himself a powerful enemy in the Chevalier's army,

" For well he knew the Baron's wrath was deadly;"

yet he set about to raise contributions and exactions upon the lenantry, and otherwise to turn the war to his own advantage. Meanwhile he mounted the white cockade, and waited upon Rose with a pretext of great devotion for the service in which her father was engaged, and many apologies for the freedom he must necessarily use for the support of his people. It was at this moment that Rose learned, by open-mouthed fame, with all sorts of exaggeration, that Waverley had killed the smith at Cairnyreckan, in an attempt to arrest him; bad been cast into a dungeon by Major Melville of Cairnyreckan, and was to be executed by martial law within three days. In the agony which these tidings excited, she proposed to Donald Bean the rescue of the prisoner. It was the very sort of service which he was desirous to undertake, judging it might conslitute a merit of such a nalure as would make amends for any peccadilloes which he might be guilty of in the country. He had the art, however, pleading all the while duty and discipline, to hold off, until poor Rose, in the extremily of her distress, offered to bribe him to the enterprise with some valuable jewels which had been her mother's.

Donald Bean, who had served in France, knew, and perhaps over-estimated, the value of these trinkets. But he also perceived Rose's apprehensions of its being discovered that she had parled with her jewels for Waverley's liberation. Resolved this scruple should not part him and the treasure, he voluntarily offered to take an oath that he would never mention Miss Rose's share in the transaction; and foreseeing convenience in keeping the oath, and no probable advantage in breaking it, he took the engagement-in order, as he told his lieutenant, to deal handsomely by the young lady- in the only mode and form which, by a mental paction with himself, he considered as binding — he swore secrecy upon his drawn dirk. He was the more especially moved to this act of good faith by some altentions that Miss Bradwardine showed to his

« AnteriorContinuar »