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“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 could think of an officer in the service of the house 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. 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 ro
An hundred firelocks, my friend, and as many broadswords, just arrived from good friends; and two or three hundred stout fellows almost fighting which shall first possess them. - But Jet 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 ihat 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, to 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 tact and delicacy to renew the subject which he had interrupted. His head was, or appeared to be, so full of gups, broadswords, bonnets, canteens, and tartan hose, that Waverley could not for some time 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 till a favourable opportunity: I will not slip my dog before the game's afoot. But, once more,
will you join with us, and know all?"
“How can I?” said Waverley; "I, who have so lately held that commission which is now posting back to those that gave it? My accepting it implied a promise of fidelity, and an acknowledgment 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 gravely, “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, entitle 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 where it may be more necessary to remove obstacles I mean with your lovely sister.”
“My lovely sister," replied Fergus, “like her loving brother, is very apt to have a pretty decisive will of her own, by which, in this case, you must be ruled; but you shall not want my interest,
nor my counsel.
And, in the first place, I will give you one hint – Loyalty is her ruling passion; and since she could spell an English book, she has been in love with the memory of the gallant Captain Wogan, who renounced the service of the usurper Cromwell to join the standard of Charles II., marched a handful of cavalry from London to the Highlands to join Middleton, then in arms for the king, and at length died gloriously in the royal cause. Ask her to show you some verses she made on his history and fate; they have been much admired, I assure you. The next point is – I think I saw Flora go up towards the waterfall a short time since - follow, man, follow! don't allow the garrison time to strengthen its purposes of resistance Alerte à la muraille! Seek Flora out, and learn her decision as soon as you can, and Cupid go with you, while I go to look over belts and cartouch-boxes."
Waverley ascended the glen with an anxious and throbbing heart. Love, with all its romantic train of hopes, fears, and wishes, was mingled with other feelings of a nature less easily defined. He could not but remember how much this morning had changed his fate, and into what a complication of perplexity it was likely to plunge him. Sun-rise had seen him possessed of an esteemed rank in the honourable profession of arms, his father to all appearance rapidly rising in the favour of his sovereign; all this had passed away like a dream he himself was dishonoured, his father disgraced, and he had become involuntarily the confident at least, if not the accomplice, of plans, dark, deep, and dangerous, which must inser either the subversion of the government he had so lately served, or the destruction of all who had participated in them. Should Flora even listen to his suit favourably, what prospect was there of its being brought to a happy termination, amid the tumult of an impending insurrection ? Or how could he make the selfish request that she should leave Fergus, to whom she was so much attached, and, retiring with him to England, wait, as a distant spectator, the success of her brother's undertaking, or the ruin of all his hopes and fortunes ? — Or, on the other hand, to engage himself, with no other aid than his
in the dangerous and precipitate counsels of the Chieftain, to be whirled along by him, the partaker of all his
desperate and impetuous motions, renouncing almost the power of judging, or deciding upon the rectitude or prudence of his actions,
this was no pleasing prospect for the secret pride of Waverley to stoop to. And yet what other conclusion remained, saving the rejection of his addresses by Flora, an alternative not to be thought of in the present high-wrought state of his feelings, with any thing short of mental agony. Pondering the doubtful and dangerous prospect before him, he at length arrived near the cascade, where, as Fergus had augured, he found Flora seated.
She was quite alone, and as soon as she observed his approach, she rose, and came to meet him. Edward attempted to say something within the verge of ordinary compliment and conversation, but found himself unequal to the task. Flora seemed at first equally embarrassed, but recovered herself more speedily, and (an unfavourable augury for Waverley's suit) was the first to enter upon the subject of their last interview. “It is too important, in every point of view, Mr. Waverley, to permit me to leave you in doubt on my sentiments.”
“Do not speak them speedily,” said Waverley, much agitated, unless they are such as I fear, from your manner,
I must not dare to anticipate. Let time — let my future conduct — let your brother's influence"
“Forgive me, Mr. Waverley," said Flora, her complexion a little heightened, but her voice firm and composed. “I should incur my own heavy censure, did I delay expressing my sincere conviction that I can never regard you otherwise than as a valued friend. I should do you the highest injustice did I conceal my sentiments for a moment I see I distress you, and I grieve for it, but better now than later; and O, better a thousand times, Mr. Waverley, that you should feel a present momentary disappointment, than the long and heart-sickening griefs which attend a rash and ill-assorted marriage!"
“Good God!” exclaimed Waverley, “why should you anticipate such consequences from a union, where birth is equal, where fortune is favourable, where, if I may venture to say so, the tastes. are similar, where you allege no preference for another, where you even express a favourable opinion of him whom you reject?”