« AnteriorContinuar »
my command useful to your royal highness' service. In the meanwhile, I hope your permission to serve as a volunteer, under my friend Fergus Mac-Ivor."
"At least," said the prince, who was obviously pleased with this proposal, "allow me the pleasure of arming you after the Highland fashion." With these words he unbuckled the broad sword which he wore, the belt of which was plated with silver, and the steel basket-hilt richly and curiously inlaid. "The blade," said the prince," is a genuine Andrea Ferrara: it has been a sort of heir-loom in our family; but I am convinced that I put it into better hands than my own, and will add to it pistols of the same workmanship.Colonel Mac-Ivor, you must have much to say to your friend; I will detain you no longer from your private conversation, but remember we expect you both to attend us in the evening. It may be perhaps the last night we may enjoy in these halls, and as we go to the field with a clear conscience, we will spend the eve of battle merrily."
Thus licensed, the chief and Waverley left the presence-chamber.
The Mystery begins to be cleared up.
"How do you like him?" was Fergus's first question, as they descended the large stone staircase. "A prince to live and die under,” was Waverley's enthusiastic answer.
"I knew you would think so when you saw him, and I intended you should have met earlier, but was prevented by your sprain. And yet he has his foibles, or, rather, he has difficult cards to play, and his Irish officers, who are much about him, are but sorry advisers-they cannot discriminate among the numerous pretensions that are set up. Would you think itI have been obliged for the present to suppress an earl's patent, granted for services rendered ten years ago, fond of e ago, for fear of exciting the jealousy, forsooth, of But you were very right Edward, to refuse the situation of aid-de-camp. There are two vacant, indeed, but Clanronald and Lochiel, and almost all of us, have requested one for young Aberhallader, and the Lowlanders and the Irish party are equally desirous to have the other for the Master of F- -. Now, if either of these candidates were to be superseded in your favour, you would make enemies. And then I am surprised that the prince should have offered you a majority, when he knows very well that nothing short of lieutenant colonel will satisfy others, who cannot bring one hundred and fifty men to the field. But patience cousin, and shuffle the cards! It is all very well for the present, and we must have you properly equipped for the evening in your new costume; for, to say truth, your outward man is scarce fit for a court.' ""
Why my shooting jacket has seen service since
we parted; but that, probably, you know as well or better than I."
"You do my second sight too much honour. We were so busy first with the scheme of giving battle to Cope, and afterwards with our operations in the Lowlands, that I could only give general directions to such of our people as were left in Perthshire to respect and protect you, should you come in their way. But let me hear the full story of your adventures, for they have reached us in a very partial and mutilated manner.'
Waverley then detailed at length the circumstances with which the reader is already acquainted, to which Fergus listened with great attention. By this time they had reached the door of his quarters which he had taken up in a small paved court, retiring from the street, at the house of a buxom widow of forty, who seemed to smile very graciously upon the handsome young chief, being a person with whom good looks and good humour were sure to secure an interest, whatever might be the party's political opinions. Here Callum Beg received them with the smile of recognition. "Callum," said the chief, "call Shemus an Snaht," (James of the Needle.) This was the hereditary tailor of Vich Ian Vohr. "Shemus, Mr. Waverley is to wear the cath d'ath, (battle colour or tartan,) his trews must be ready in four hours. You know the measure of a well made man, two double nails to the small of the leg".
"Eleven from haunch to heel, seven round the waist I give your honour leave to hang Shemus, if there's a pair of sheers in the Highlands that has a baulder sneck than hers ain at the cumadh an truais," (shape of the trews.)
"Get a plaid of Mac-Ivor tartan, and sash," continued the chieftan, " and a blue bonnet of the prince's pattern, at Mr. Mouat's the haberdasher. My short green coat, with silver lace, will fit him exactly, and I have never worn it. Tell Ensign Maccombich to pick out a handsome target from among mine. The prince
has given Mr. Waverley a broad-sword and pistols, I will furnish him with a dirk and purse; add but a pair of low-heeled shoes, and then my dear Edward, (turning to him,) you will be a complete son of Ivor."
These necessary directions given, the chieftain resumed the subject of Waverley's adventures. "It is plain," he said, "that you have been in the custody of Donald Bean Lean. You must know that when I marched away my clan to join the prince, I laid my injunctions on that worthy member of society to perform a certain piece of service, which done he was to join me with all the force he could muster.
But instead of doing so, the gentleman finding the coast clear, thought it better to make war on his own account, and has scoured the country, plundering I believe, both friend and foe, under the pretence of levying blackmail, sometimes as if by my authority, and sometimes (and be cursed to his consummate impudence) in his own great name. Upon my honour, if I live to see the cairn of Benmore again, I shall be tempted to hang that fellow. Now I recognise his hand particularly in the mode of your rescue from that canting rascal Gilfillan, and I have little doubt that Donald himself played the part of the pedlar on that occasion; but how he should not have plundered you, or put you to ransom, or availed himself in some way or other of your captivity for his own advantage, passes my judg
"When and how did you hear of my confinement?" said Waverley.
"The prince himself told me," said Fergus, "and inquired very minutely into your history. He then mentioned your being at that moment in the power of one of our northern parties-you know I could not ask him to explain particulars-and requested my opinion about disposing of you. I recommneded that you should be brought here as a prisoner, because I did not wish to prejudice you farther with the English government, in case you pursued your purpose of going south
ward. I knew nothing you must recollect, of the charge brought against you of aiding and abetting high treason, which I presume has some share in changing your original plan. That sullen, good-for-nothing brute, Balmawhapple, was sent to escort you from Doune, with what he calls his troop of horse. As to his behaviour, in addition to his natural antipathy to every thing that resembles a gentleman, I presume his adventure with Bradwardine rankles in his recollection, the rather that I dare say his mode of telling that story contributed to the evil reports which reached your quondam regiment."
Very likely," said Waverley; "but now, surely, my dear Fergus, you may find time to tell me something of Flora."
"Why, I can only tell you that she is well, and residing for the present with a relation in this city. I thought it better she should come here, as since our success a good many ladies of rank attend our military court; and I assure you, that there is a sort of consequence annexed to the relatives of such a person as Flora Mac-Ivor, and where there is such a justling of claims and requests, a man must use every fair means to enhance his importance."
There was something in this last sentence which grated on Waverley's feelings. He could not bear that Flora should be considered as conducing to her brother's preferment, by the admiration which she must unquestionably attract; and although it was in strict correspondence with many points of Fergus's character, it shocked him as selfish, and unworthy of his sister's high mind and his own independent pride. Fergus, to whom such manœuvres were familiar, as to one brought up at the French court, did not observe the unfavourable impression which he had unwarily made upon his friend's mind, and concluded by saying, "that they would hardly see Flora before the evening, when she would be at the concert and ball, with which the prince's party were to be entertained. She