Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

" Where is she, for God's sake?”

“Ou, wha kens where ony o'them is now? puir things, they're sair ta'en doun for their white cockades and their white roses; but she gaed north to her father's in Perthshire, when the government troops came back to Edinbro'. There was some pretty men amang them, and ane Major Whacker was quartered on me, a very ceevil gentleman, but 0, Mr. Waverley, he was naething sae weel fa’rd as the puir Colonel.”

“Do you know what is become of Miss Bradwardine's father?"

“The auld laird ? na, naebody kens that; but they say he fought very hard in that bluidy battle at Inverness; and Deacon Clank, the white-iron smith, says, that the government folk are sair agane him for having been out twice; and troth he might hae ta’en warning, but there's nae fule like an auld fule – 'the puir Colonel was only out ance."

Such conversation contained almost all the good-natured widow knew of the fate of her late lodgers and acquaintances; but it was enough to determine Edward, at all hazards, to proceed instantly 10 Tully-Veolan, where he concluded he should see, or at least hear something of Rose. He therefore left a letter for Colonel Talbot at the place agreed upon, signed by his assumed name,

and giving for his address the post-town next to the Baron's residence.

From Edinburgh to Perth he took post-horses, resolving to make the rest of his journey on foot; a mode of travelling to which he was partial, and which had the advantage of permitting a deviation from the road when he saw parties of military at a distance. His campaign had considerably strengthened his constitution, and improved his habits of enduring fatigue. His baggage he sent before him as opportunity occurred.

As he advanced northward, the traces of war became visible. Broken carriages, dead horses, unroofed cottages, trees felled for palisades, and bridges destroyed, or only partially repaired, all indicated the movements of hostile armies. In those places where the gentry were attached to the Stewart cause, their houses seemed dismantled or deserted, the usual course of what may be called ornamental labour was totally interrupted, and the inhabi-.

tants were seen gliding about, with fear, sorrow, and dejection on their faces.

It was evening when he approached the village of Tully-Veolan, with feelings and sentiments — how different from those which attended his first entrance! Then, life was so new to him, that a dull or disagreeable day was one of the greatest misfortunes which his imagination anticipated, and it seemed to him that his time ought only to be consecrated to elegant or amusing study, and relieved by social or youthful frolic. Now, how changed! how saddened, yet how elevated was his character, within the course of a very few months! Danger and misfortune are rapid, though severe teachers. “A sadder and a wiser man," he felt, in internal confidence and mental dignity, a compensation for the gay dreams which, in his case, experience had so rapidly dissolved.

As he approached the village, he saw, with surprise and anxiety, that a party of soldiers were quartered near it, and, what was worse, that they seemed stationary there. This he conjectured from a few tents which he beheld glimmering upon what was called the Common Moor. To avoid the risk of being stopped and questioned in a place where he was so likely to be recognized, he made a large circuit, altogether avoiding the hamlet, and approaching the upper gate of the avenue by a by-path well known to him. A single glance announced that great changes had taken place. One half of the gate, entirely destroyed, and split up for firewood, lay in piles, ready to be taken away; the other swung uselessly about upon its loosened hinges. The battlements above the gates were broken and thrown down, and the carved Bears, which were said to have done sentinel's duty upon the top for centuries, now hurled from their posts, lay among the rubbish. The avenue was cruelly wasted. Several large trees were felled and left lying across the path; and the cattle of the villagers, and the more rude hoofs of dragoon horses, had poached into black mud the verdant turf which Waverley had so much admired.

Upon entering the court-yard, Edward saw the fears realized which these circumstances had excited. The place had been sacked by the King's troops, who, in wanton mischief, had even attempted to burn it; and though the thickness of the walls had resisted the

fire, unless to a partial extent, the stables and out-houses were totally consumed. The towers and pinnacles of the main building were scorched and blackened; the pavement of the court broken and shattered; the doors torn down entirely, or hanging by a single hinge; the windows dashed in and demolished, and the court strewed with articles of furniture broken into fragments. The accessaries of ancient distinction, to which the Baron, in the pride of his heart, had attached so much importance and veneration, were treated with peculiar contumely. The fountain was demolished, and the spring, which had supplied it, now flooded the court-yard. The stone-basin seemed to be destined for a drinking-trough for cattle, from the manner in which it was arranged upon the ground. The whole tribe of Bears, large and small, had experienced as Jittle favour as those at the head of the avenue, and one or two of the family pictures, which seemed to have served as targets for the soldiers, lay on the ground in tatters. With an aching heart, as may well be imagined, Edward viewed this wreck of a mansion so respected. But his anxiety to learn the fate of the proprietors, and his fears as to what that fate might be, increased with every step. When he entered upon the terrace, new scenes of desolation were visible. The balustrade was broken down, the walls destroyed, the borders overgrown with weeds, and the fruit-trees cut down or grubbed up. In one compartment of this old-fashioned garden were two immense horse-chestnut trees, of whose size the Baron was particularly vain: too lazy, perhaps, to cut them down, the spoilers, with malevolent ingenuity, had mined them, and placed a quantity of gunpowder in the cavity. One had been shivered to pieces by the explosion, and the fragments lay scattered around, encumbering the ground it had so long overshadowed. The other mine had been more partial in its effect. About one-fourth of the trunk of the tree was torn from the mass, which, mutilated and defaced on the one side, still spread on the other its ample and undiminished boughs.*

Amid these general marks of ravage, there were some which

* A pair of chestnut trees, destroyed, the one entirely, and the other in part, by such a mischievous and wanton act of revenge, grew at Invergarry Castle, the fastness of MacDonald of Glengarry.

а е

more particularly addressed the feelings of Waverley. Viewing the front of the building, thus wasted and defaced, bis eyes naturally sought the little balcony which more properly belonged to Rose's apartment her troisième, or rather cinquième étage. It was easily discovered, for beneath it lay the stage-flowers and shrubs, with which it was her pride to decorate it, and which had been hurled from the bartizan: several of her books were mingled with broken flower-pots and other remnants. Among these, Waverley distinguished one of his own, a small copy of Ariosto, and gathered it as a treasure, though wasted by the wind and rain.

While, plunged in the sad reflections which the scene excited, he was looking around for some one who might explain the fate of the inhabitants, he heard a voice from the interior of the building singing, in well-remembered accents, an old Scottish song:

“They came upon us in the night,
And brake my bower and slew my knight:
My servants a' for life did flee,
And left us in extremitie.
They slew my knight, to m car;
They slew my knight, and drave his gear;
The moon may set, the sun may rise,

But a deadly sleep has closed bis eyes." Alas, thought Edward, is it thou ? Poor helpless being, art thou alone left, to gibber and moan, and fill with thy wild and unconnected scraps of míostrelsy the halls that protected thee? He then called, first low, and then louder, “Davie Davie Gellatley!

The poor simpleton showed himself from among the ruins of a sort of green-house, that once terminated what was called the Terrace-walk, but at first sight of a stranger retreated, as if in terror. Waverley, remembering his habits, began to whistle a lune to which he was partial, which Davie had expressed great pleasure in listening to, and had picked up from him by the ear. Our hero's minstrelsy no more equalled that of Blondel, Davie resembled Cour de Lion; but the melody had the same effect, of producing recognition. Davie again stolc from his lurk

* The first three couplets are from an old ballad, called the Border Widow's Lament. Waverley.

26

than poor

ing-place, but timidly, while Waverley, afraid of frightening bim, stood making the most encouraging signals he could devise. “It's his gbaist," muttered Davie; yet, coming nearer, he seemed to acknowledge his living acquaintance. The poor fool himself appeared the ghost of what he had been. The peculiar dress in which he had been attired in better days, showed only miserable rags of its whimsical finery, the lack of which was oddly supplied by the remnants of tapestried hangings, window-curtains, and shreds of pictures, with which he had bedizened his tatters. His face, too, had lost its vacant and careless air, and the poor creature looked hollow-eyed, meagre, half-starved, and nervous to a pitiable degree. After long hesitation, he at length approached Waverley with some confidence, stared him sadly in the face, and said, “A' dead and gane - a' dead and gane.'

“Who are dead?” said Waverley, forgetting the incapacity of Davie to hold any connected discourse.

“Baron -- and Bailie-and Saunders Saunderson — and Lady Rose, that sang sae sweet -- A' dead and gane - dead and gane;

But follow, follow me,
While glowworms light the lea,
I'll show ye where the dead should be

Each in his shroud,
Wbile winds pipe loud,

And the red moon peeps dim through the cloud.
Follow, follow me;
Brave should be be

That treads by night the dead man's lea." With these words, chanted in a wild and earnest tone, he made a sign to Waverley to follow him, and walked rapidly towards the bottom of the garden, tracing the bank of the stream, which, it may be remembered, was its eastern boundary. Edward, over whom an involuntary shuddering stole at the import of his words, followed bim in some hope of an explanation. As the house was evidently deserted, he could not expect to find among the ruins any more rational informer.

Davie, walking very fast, soon reached the extremity of the garden, and scrambled over the ruins of the wall that once had divided it from the wooded glen in which the old Tower of Tully

« AnteriorContinuar »