Imágenes de página

verley-Chace; thought with what delight he should introduce Rose to all his favourite haunls ; beheld at length the towers of the venerable hall arise above the woods which embowered it, and finally threw himself into the arms of the venerable relations to whom he owed so much duty and affection!

The happiness of their meeting was not tarnished by a single word of reproach. On the contrary, whatever pain Sir Everard and Mrs. Rachel had felt during Waverley's perilous engagement with the young Chevalier, it assorted too well with the principles in which they had been brought up, to incur reprobation, or even censure. Colonel Talbot also had smoothed the way, with great address, for Edward's favourable reception, by dwelling upon his gallant behaviour in the military character, particularly his bravery and generosity at Preston ; until, warmed at the idea of their nephew's engaging in single combat, making prisoner, and saving from slaughter, so distinguished an officer as the Colonel himself, the imagination of the Baronel and his sister ranked the exploits of Edward with those of Wilibert, Hildebrand, and Nigel, the vaunted heroes of their line.

The appearance of Waverley, embrowned by exercise, and dignified by the habits of military discipline, had acquired an aliletic and hardy character, which not only verified the Colonel's narration, but surprised and delighled all the inhahilan!ş of WaverleyHonour. They crowded to see, to hear him, and to sing his praises. Mr. Pembroke, who secretly extolled his spirit and courage in embracing the genuine cause of the Church of England, censured his pupil gently, nevertheless, for being so careless of his manuscripts, which indeed, he said, had occasioned him some personal inconvenience, as, upon the Baronet's being arrested by a king's messenger, he had deemed it prudent to retire to a concealment called “The Priest's Hole,” from the use it had been put to in former days; where, he assured our hero, the hutler had thought it safe to venlure with food only once in the day, so thal he had been repeatedly compelled to dine upon victuals either absolutely cold, or, what was worse, only half warm, not to mention that sometimes his bed had not been arranged for two days together. Waverley's mind involuntarily turned to the Patmos of the Baron of Bradwardine, who was well pleased with Janet's fare, and a few bunches of straw stowed in a cleft in the front of a sand-cliff; but he made no remarks upon a contrast which could only mortify' his worthy tutor.

All was now in a bustle to prepare for the nuptials of Edward, an event to which the good old Baronet and Mrs. Rachel looked forward as if to the renewal of their own youth. The match, as Colonel Talbot had intimated, had seemed lo them in the highest degree eligible, having every recommendation but wealth, of which they

themselves had more than enough. Mr. Clippurse was, therefore, summoned to Waverley-Jonour, under beller auspices than at the commencement of our story. But Mr. Clippurse came not alone, for, being now stricken in years, he had associated with him a nephew, a younger vulture (as our English Juvenal, who tells the tale of Swallow the allorney, might have called him), and they now carried on business as Messrs. Clippurse and Hookem. These worthy gentlemen had directions to make the necessary selllements on the most splendid scale of liberality, as if Edward were to wed a peeress

in her own right, with her paternal estate lacked to the fringe of 7 her ermine.

But before entering upon a subject of proverbial delay, I must remind my reader of the progress of a stone rolled down hill by an idle truant boy (a pastime at which I was myself expert in my more juvenile years) : it moves at first slowly, avoiding by inflection every obstacle of the least importance; but when it has altained its full impulse, and draws near the conclusion of its career, it smokes and thunders down, taking a rood al every spring, clearing hedge and ditch like a Yorkshire huntsman, and becoming most furiously rapid in its course when it is nearest 'lo being consigned to rest for ever. Even such is the course of a narrative like that which you are perusing. The earlier events are studiously dwelt upon, that you, kind reader, may be introduced to the character rather by narrative, than by the daller medium of direct description; but when the story draws near its close, we hurry over the circumstances, however important, which your imagination must have forestalled, and leave you to suppose those things which it would be abusing your patience lo relate at length.

We are, therefore, so far from attempting to trace the dull progress of Messrs. Clippurse and Hookem, or that of their worthy official brethren, who had the charge of suing out the pardons of Edward Waverley and his intended father-in-law, that we can but touch upon malters more attractive. The mutual epistles, for example, which were exchanged between Sir Everard and the Baron upon this occasion, though matchless specimens of eloquence in Their way, must be consigned to merciless oblivion. Nor can I tell you, at length, how worthy Aunt Rachel, not without a delicate and affeclionate allusion to the circumstances which had transferred Rose's maternal diamonds to the hands of Donald Bean Lean, stocked her casket with a set of jewels that a duchess might have envied. Moreover, the reader will have the goodness to imagine that Job Houghton and his dame were suitably provided for, although they could never be persuaded that their son fell otherwise than fighting by the young squire's side ; so that Alick, who, as a lover of truth, had made many needless allempts to expound the real circumstances to them, was finally ordered to say nol a word

more upon the subject. He indemnified himself, however, by the liberal allowance of desperate battles, grisly executions, and rawhead and bloody-bone stories, with which he astonished the servanls'-hall.

But although these important matters may be briefly told in narrative, like a newspaper report of a Chancery suil, yet, with all the urgency which Waverley could use, the real time which the law proceedings occupied, joined to the delay occasioned by the mode of travelling at that period, rendered it considerably more than two months ere Waverley, having left England, alighted once more at the mansion of the Laird of Duchran to claim the hand of his plighted bride.

The day of his marriage was fixed for the sixth after his arrival. The Baron of Bradwardine, with whom bridals, christenings, and funerals, were festivals of high and solemn import, felt a little hurt, that, including the family of the Duchran, and all the imniediate vicinity who had lille to be present on such an occasion, there could not be above thirty persons collected. “When he was married,” he observed, “ three hundred horse of gentlemen born, besides servants, and some score or two of Highland lairds, who never got on horseback, were present on lhe occasion.”

But his pride sound some consolation in reflecting, that he and his son-in-law having been so lately in arms against government, it mighl give matter of reasonable fear and offence to the ruling powers, if they were to collect logelher the kith, kin, and allies of their houses, arrayed in efleir of war, as was the ancient custom of Scotland on these occasions—“And, without dubitation,” he concluded with a sigh, “ many of those who would have rejoiced most freely upon these joyful espousals, are either gone to a better place or are now exiles from their native land.”

The marriage took place on the appointed day. The Reverend Mr. Rubrick, kinsman to the proprietor of the hospitable mansion where it was solemnized, and chaplain to the Baron of Bradwardine, had the satisfaction to unite their hands; and Frank Stanley acted as bridesman, having joined Edward with that view soon after his arrival. Lady Emily and . Colonel Talbot had proposed being present; but Lady Emily's health, when the day approached, was found inadequate to the journey. In amends, it was arranged that Edward Waverley and his lady, who, with the Baron, proposed an immediate journey to Waverley-Honour, should, in their way, spend a few days at an estate which Colonel Talbot had been lempted to purchase in Scotland as a very great bargain, and at which he proposed to reside for some time.


“ This is no mine ain house, I ken by the bigging o't."

Old Song.

The nuptial party travelled in great style. There was a coach and six after the newest pattern, which Sir Everard had presented to his nephew, that dazzled with its splendour the eyes of one half of Scotland; there was the family coach of Mr. Rubrick ;-both these were crowded with ladies, and there were gentlemen on horseback, with their servants, to the number of a round score. Nevertheless, without having the fear of famine before his eyes, Bailie Macwheeble met them in the road, to entreat that they would pass by his house at Little Veolan. The Baron stared, and said his son and he would certainly ride by Little Veolan, and pay their compliments to the Bailie, but could not think of bringing with them the “haill comitatus nuptialis, or matrimonial procession.” He added,

that, as he understood that the barony had been sold by ils unworthy possessor, he was glad to see his old friend Duncan had regained his situation under the new Dominus, or proprietor." The Bailie ducked, bowed, and fidgeted, and then again insisted upon his invitation ; until the Baron, though rather piqued at the pertinacy of his instances, could not nevertheless refuse to consent, without making evident sensations which he was anxious to conceal.

He fell into a deep sludy as they approached the top of the avenue, and was only starlled from it by observing that the battlements were replaced, the ruins cleared away, and (most wonderful of all) that the two great stone Bears, those mutilated Dagons of his idolatry, had resumed their posts over the gateway.

"Now this new proprietor,” said he lo Edward, “ has shown mair.gusto, as the Italians call it, in the short time he has had this domain, than that hound Malcolm, though I bred him here mysell, has acquired vita adhuc durante.And now I talk of hounds, is not yon Ban and Buscar, who come scouping up the avenue with Davie Gellatley ?"

I vote we should go to meet them, sir," said Waverley, " for I believe the present master of the house is Colonel Talbot, who will expect to see us. We hesitated to mention to you at first that he had purchased your ancient patrimonial property, and even yet, if you do not incline to visit him, we can pass on to the Bailie's.”

The Baron had occasion for all his magnanimity. However, he drew a long breath, look a long snuff, and observed, since they had brought him so far, he could not pass the Colonel's gate, and he would be happy to see the new master of his old tenants. He alighted accordingly, as did the other gentlemen and ladies ;-he

[ocr errors]

gave his arm to his daughter, and as they descended the avenue, pointed out to her how speedily the “Diva Pecunia of the Southron—their tutelary deity, he might call her-had removed the marks of spoliation."

In truth, not only had the felled trees been removed, but, their stumps being grubbed up, and the earth round them levelled and sown with grass, every mark of devastation, unless to an eye intimately acquainted with the spot, was already tolally obliterated. There was a similar reformation in the outward man of Davie Gellatley, who met them, every now and then stopping to admire the new suit which graced his person, in the same colours as formerly, but bedizened fine enough to have served Touchstone himself. He danced up with his usual ungainly frolics, first to the Baron, and then to Rose, passing his hands over his clothes, crying, “Bra', bra' Davie," and scarce able to sing a bar to an end of his thousand-and-one songs, for the breathless extravagance of his joy. The dogs also acknowledged their old master with a thousand gambols. “Upon my conscience, Rose," ejaculated the Baron,

the gratitude o' thae dumb brutes, and of that puir innocent, brings the tears into my auld een, while that schellum Malcolmbut I'm obliged to Colonel Talbot for putting my hounds into such good condition, and likewise for puir Davic. But, Rose, my dear, we must not permit them to be a life-rent burden upon the estate.”

As he spoke, Lady Emily, leaning upon the arm of her husband, met the party at the lower gate, with a thousand welcomes. After the ceremony of introduction had been gone through, much abridged by the ease and excellent breeding of Lady Emily, she apologized for having used a little art to wile them back to a place which might awaken some painful reflections—" But as it was to change masters, we were very desirous that the Baron”.

“Mr. Bradwardine, madam, if you please,” said the old gentleman."

“Mr. Bradwardine, then, and Mr. Waverley, should see what we have done towards restoring the mansion of your fathers to its former state.”

The Baron answered with a low bow. Indeed, when he entered the court, excepting that the heavy stables, which had been burnt down, were replaced by buildings of a lighter and more picturesque appearance, all seemed as much as possible restored to the state in which he had left it when he assumed arms some months before. The pigeon-house was replenished; the fountain played with its usual activity, and not only the Bear who predominated over its basin, but all the olher Bears whatsoever, were replaced on their several stations, and renewed or repaired with so much care, that they bore no lokens of the violence which had so lately descended upon them. While these minuliæ had been so heedfully allended

« AnteriorContinuar »