« AnteriorContinuar »
of my own a good many years since - interrupted some measures which were then proposed in favour of the three ermines passant; so I am bound in honour to make them amends. Therefore make good use of your time, for, when your week is expired, it will be necessary that you go to London to plead your pardon in the law courts. “Ever, dear Waverley, yours most truly,
" PHILIP TALBOT."
That's not long a-doing. WHEN the first rapturous sensation occasioned by these excellent tidings had somewhat subsided, Edward proposed instantly to go down to the glen to acquaint the Baron with their import. But the cautious Bailie justly observed, that if the Baron were to appear instantly in public, the tenantry and villagers might become riotous in expressing their joy, and give offence to “the powers that be," a sort of persons for whom the Bailie always had unlimited respect. He therefore proposed that Mr. Waverley should go to Janet Gellatley's, and bring the Baron up under cloud of night to Little Veolan, where he might once more enjoy the luxury of a good bed. In the meanwhile, he said, he himself would go to Captain Foster, and show him the Baron's protection, and obtain his countenance for harbouring him that night, and he would have horses ready on the morrow to set him on his way to the Duchran along with Mr. Stanley, “whilk denomination,
I apprehend, your honour will for the present retain," said the Bailie.
“Certainly, Mr. Macwheeble; but will you not go down to the glen yourself in the evening to meet your patron ?"
“That I wad wi' a' my heart; and mickle obliged to your honour for putting me in mind o' my bounden duty. But it will be past sunset afore I get back frae the Captain's, and at these unsonsy hours the glen has a bad name there's something no that canny about auld Janet Gellatley. The Laird he'll no believe
thae things, but he was aye ower rash and venturesome, and, feared neither man nor deevil -- and sae 's seen o't. But right sure am I Sir George Mackenyie says, that no divine can doubt there are witches, since the Bible says thou shalt pot suffer them to live; and that no lawyer in Scotland can doubt it, since it is punishable with death by our law. So there 's baith law and gospel for it. An his honour winna believe the Leviticus, he might aye believe the Statute-book - but he may tak his ain way o't; it's a' ane to Duncan Macwheeble. However, I shall send to ask up auld Janet this e'en; it ’s best no to lightly them that have that character and we 'll want Davie to turn the spit, for I 'll gar Eppie put down a fat goose to the fire for your honours to your supper."
When it was near sunset, Waverley hastened to the hut; and he could not but allow that superstition had chosen no improper locality, or unfit object, for the foundation of her fantastic terrors. It resembled exactly the description of Spenser:
"There, in a gloomy hollow glen, she found
A little cottage built of sticks and reeds,
In which a witch did dwell in loathly weeds,
So ehoosing solitary to abide
And hellish arts, from people she might hide,
And hurt far off, unknown, whomsoever she espied." He entered the cottage with these verses in his memory. Poor old Janet, bent double with age, and bleared with peat-smoke, was tottering about the but with a birch broom, muttering to herself as she endeavoured to make her hearth and floor a little clean for the reception of her expected guests. Waverley's step made her start, look up, and fall a-trembling, so much had her nerves been on the rack for her patron's safety. With difficulty Waverley made her comprehend that the Baron was now safe from personal danger; and when her mind had admitted that joyful news, equally hard to make her believe that he was not to enter again upon possession of his estate. “It behoved to be,” she said, "he wad get it back again; naebody wad be sae gripple as to tak bis
gear after they had gi'en him a pardon: and for that Inch-Grabbit, I could whiles wish mysell a witch for his sak, if I werena feared the Enemy wad tak me at my word.” Waverley then gave her some money, and promised that her fidelity should be rewarded. "How can I be rewarded, Sir, sae weel, as just to see my auld maister and Miss Rose come back and bruik their ain ?."
Waverley now took leave of Janet, and soon stood beneath the Baron's Patmos. At a low whistle, he observed the veteran peeping out to reconnoitre, like an old badger with his head out of his hole. “Ye bae come rather early, my good lad,” said he, descending; "I question if the red-coats hae beat the tattoo yet, and we're not safe till then."
“Good news cannot be told too soon,” said Waverley; and with infinite joy communicated to him the happy tidings. The old man stood for a moment in silent devotion, then exclaimed, “Praise be to God! - I shall see my bairn again."
“And never, I hope, to part with her more,” said Waverley.
“I trust in God, not, unless it be to win the means of supporting her; for my things are but in a bruckle state. But what signifies warld's gear?”
“And if,” said Waverley modestly, “there were a situation in life which would put Miss Bradwardine beyond the uncertainty of fortune, and in the rank to which she was born, would you object to it, my dear Baron, because it would make one of your friends the happiest man in the world?” The Baron turned and looked at him with great earnestness. “Yes,” continued Edward, “I shall not consider my sentence of banishment as repealed, unless you will give me permission to accompany you to the Duchran, and”
The Baron seemed collecting all his dignity to make a suitable reply to what, at another time, he would have treated as the propounding a treaty of alliance between the houses of Bradwardine and Waverley. But his efforts were in vain; the father was too mighty for the Baron; the pride of birth and rank were swept away. In the joyful surprise, a slight convulsion passed rapidly over his features as he gave way to the feelings of nature, threw his arms round Waverley's neck, and sobbed out, – “My son, my son !
if I had been to search the world, I would have made my choice here." Edward returned the embrace with great sympathy of feeling, and for a little while they both kept silence. At length it was broken by Edward. “But Miss Bradwardine?”
“She had never a will but her old father's; besides, you are a likely youth, of honest principles, and high birth; no, she never had any other will than mine, and in my proudest days I could not have wished a mair eligible espousal for her than the
ew of my excellent old friend, Sir Everard. But I hope, young man, ye deal na rashly in this matter? I hope ye hae secured the approbation of your ain friends and allies, particularly of your uncle, who is in loco parentis? Ah! we maun tak heed o’that.” Edward assured him that Sir Everard would think himself highly honoured in the flattering reception his proposal had met with, and that it had his entire approbation; in evidence of which, he put Colonel Talbot's letter into the Baron's hand. The Baron read it with great attention. “Sir Everard,” he said, “always despised wealth in comparison of honour and birth; and indeed he hath no occasion to court the Diva Pecunia. Yet I now wish, since this Malcolm turns out such a parricide, for I can call him no better, as to think of alienating the family inheritance - I now wish (his eyes fixed on a part of the roof wbich was visible above the trees) that I could have left Rose the auld hurley-house, and the riggs belanging to it. And yet," said he, resuming more cheerfully, “it 's may be as weel as it is; for, as Baron of Bradwardine, I might have thought it my duty to insist upon certain compliances respecting name and bearings, whilk now, as a landless laird wi' a tocherless daughter, no one can blame me for departing from.”
Now, Heaven be praised! thought Edward, that Sir Everard does not hear these scruples! The three ermines passant and rampant bear would certainly have gone together by the ears. He then, with all the ardour of a young lover, assured the Baron that he sought for his happiness only in Rose's heart and hand, and thought himself as happy in her father's simple approbation, as if he had settled an earldom upon his daughter.
They now reached Little Veolan. The goose was smoking on the table, and the Bailie brandished his knife and fork. A joyous
greeting took place between him and his patron. The kitchen, too, had its company. Auld Janet was established at the inglenook; Davie had turned the spit to his immortal honour; and even Ban and Buscar, the liberality of Macwheeble's joy, had been stuffed to the throat with food, and now lay snoring on the floor.
The next day conducted the Baron and his-young friend to the Duchran, where the former was expected, in consequence of the success of the nearly unanimous application of the Scottish friends of government in his favour. This had been so general and so powerful, that it was almost thought his estate might have been saved, had it not passed into the rapacious hands of his unworthy kinsman, whose right, arising out of the Baron's attainder, could not be affected by a pardon from the crown. The old gentleman, however, said, with his usual spirit, he was more gratified by the hold he possessed in the good opinion of his neighbours, than he would have been in being “rehabilitated and restored in integrum, had it been found practicable.”
We shall not attempt to describe the meeting of the father and daughter, loving each other so affectionately, and separated under such perilous circumstances. Still less shall we attempt to analyze the deep blush of Rose, at receiving the compliments of Waverley, or stop to inquire whether she had any curiosity respecting the particular cause of his journey to Scotland at that period. We shall not even trouble the reader with the hum-drum details of a courtship Sixty Years since. It is enough to say, that, under so strict a martinet as the Baron, all things were conducted in due form. He took upon himself, the morning after their arrival, the task of announcing the proposal of Waverley to Rose, which she heard with a proper degree of maiden timidity. Fame does, however, say, that Waverley had, the evening before, found five minutes to apprize her of what was coming, while the rest of the company were looking at three twisted serpents, wbich sormed a jet d'eau in the garden.
My fair readers will judge for themselves; but, for my part, I cannot conceive how so important an affair could be communicated in so short a space of time; at least, it certainly took a full hour in the Baron's mode of conveying it.