Imágenes de página

unfortunate friend was confined, but was refused admittance. “The High Sheriff,” a non-commissioned officer said, “bad requested of the governor that none should be admitted to see the prisoner excepting his confessor and his sister."

“And where was Miss Mac-Ivor?” They gave him the direction. It was the house of a respectable Catholic family near Carlisle.

Repulsed from the gate of the Castle, and not venturing to make application to the High Sheriff or Judges in his own unpopular name, he had recourse to the solicitor who came down in Fergus's behalf. This gentleman told him, that it was thought the public mind was in danger of being debauched by the account of the last moments of these persons, as given by the friends of the Pretender; that there had been a resolution, therefore, to exclude all such persons as had not the plea of near kindred for attending upon them. Yet, he promised (to oblige the heir of Waverley-Honour) to get him an order for admittance to the prisoner the next morning, before his irons were knocked off for execution.

Is it of Fergus Mac-Ivor they speak thus, thought Waverley, or do I dream? Of Fergus, the bold, the chivalrous, the freeminded? The lofty chieftain of a tribe devoted to him? Is it he, that I have seen lead the chase and head the attack? - the brave, the active, the young, the noble, the love of ladies, and the theme of song,

is he who is ironed like a malefactor; who is to be dragged on a hurdle to the common gallows; to die a lingering and cruel death, and to be mangled by the hand of the most outcast of wretches? Evil indeed was the spectre, that boded such a fate as this to the brave Chief of Glennaquoich!

With a faltering voice he requested the solicitor to find means to warn Fergus of his intended visit, should he obtain permission to make it. He then turned away from him, and, returning to the ion, wrote a scarcely intelligible note to Flora Mac-Ivor, intimating his purpose to wait upon her that evening. The messenger brought back a letter in Flora's beautiful Italian hand, which seemed scarce to tremble even under this load of misery. "Miss Flora Mac-Ivor," the letter bore, “could not refuse to see Waverley.


the dearest friend of her dear brother, even in her present circumstances of unparalleled distress.”

When Edward reached Miss Mac-Ivor's present place of abode, he was instantly admitted. In a large and gloomy tapestried apartment, Flora was seated by a latticed window, sewing what seemed to be a garment of white flannel. At a little distance sat an elderly woman, apparently a foreigner, and of a religious order. She was reading in a book of Catholic de on, but when Waverley entered, laid it on the table and left the room. Flora rose to receive him, and stretched out her hand, but neither ventured to attempt speech. Her fine complexion was totally gone; her person considerably emaciated; and her face and hands as white as the purest statuary marble, forming a strong contrast with her sable dress and jet-black hair. Yet, amid these marks of distress, there was nothing negligent or ill-arranged about her atiire; even her hair, though totally without ornament, was disposed with her usual attention to neatness. The first words she uttered were, “Have you seen him?”.

Alas, no," answered Waverley, “I have been refused admittance." “It accords with the rest,” she said; “but we must submit.

obtain leave, do you suppose?" “For-for-to-morrow," said Waverley; but muttering the last word so faintly that it was almost uplotelligible.

“Ay, then or never,” said Flora, “until" - she added, looking upward, “the time when, I trust, we shall all meet. But I hope you will see him while earth yet bears him. He always loved you at his heart, though — but it is vain to talk of the past."

6. Vain indeed!” echoed Waverley,

"Or even of the future, my good friend," said Flora, “so far as earthly events are concerned; for how often bave I pictured to myself the strong possibility of this horrid issue, and tasked myself to consider how I could support my part; and yet how far has all my anticipation fallen short of the unimaginable bitterness of this hour!"

“Dear Flora, if your strength of mind"
“Ay, there it is," she answered, somewhat wildly; "there is

Sball you

Mr. Waverley, there is a busy devil at my heart, that whispers but it were madness to listen to it. that the strength of mind on which Flora prided herself has murdered her brother!"

“Good God! how can you give utterance to a thought so shocking?"

“Ay, is it not so? but yet it haunts me like a phantom; I know it is unsubstantial and vain; but it will be present; will intrude its horrors on my mind; will whisper that my brother, as volatile as ardent, would have divided his energies amid a hundred objects. It was I who taught him to concentrate them, and to gage all on this dreadful and desperate cast. Oh that I could recollect that I had but once said to him, "He that striketh with the sword shall die by the sword;' that I had but once said, Remain at home; reserve yourself, your vassals, your life, for enterprises within the reach of man. But 0, Mr. Waverley, I spurred his fiery temper, and half of his ruin at least lies with his sister!”

The horrid idea which she had intimated, Edward endeavoured to combat by every incoherent argument that occurred to him. He recalled to her the principles on which both thought it their duty to act, and in which they had been educated.

“Do not think I have forgotten them,” she said, looking up, with eager quickness; “I do not regret his attempt, because it was wrong! O no! on that point I am armed; but because it was impossible it could end otherwise than thus."

“Yet it did not always seem so desperate and hazardous as it was; and it would have been chosen by the bold spirit of Fergus, whether you had approved it or no; your counsels only served to give unity and consistence to his conduct; to dignify, but not to precipitate, his resolution.” Flora had soon ceased to listen to Edward, and was again intent upon her needle-work.

“Do you remember," she said, looking up with a ghastly smile, “you once found me making Fergus's bride-favours, and now I am sewing his bridal-garment. Our friends here," she continued, with suppressed emotion, “are to give hallowed earth in their chapel to the bloody relics of the last Vich Ian Vohr. But they will not all rest together; no his head! - I shall not have the

last miserable consolation of kissing the cold lips of my dear, dear Fergus!"

The unfortunate Flora here, after one or two hysterical sobs, fainted in her chair. The lady, who had been attending in the anteroom, now entered hastily, and begged Edward to leave the room, but not the house,

When he was recalled, after the space of nearly half an hour, he found that, by a strong effort, Miss Mac-Ivor had greatly composed herself. It was then he ventured to urge Miss Bradwardine's claim, to be considered as an adopted sister, and empowered to assist her plans for the future.

“I have had a letter from my dear Rose," she replied, “to the same purpose. Sorrow is selfish and engrossing, or I would have written to express, that, even in my own despair, I felt a gleam of pleasure at learning her happy prospects, and at hearing that the good old Baron has escaped the general wreck. Give this to my dearest Rose; it is her poor Flora's only ornament of value, and was the gift of a princess.” She put into his hand a case, containing the chain of diamonds with which she used to decorate her hair. "To me it is in future useless. The kindness of my friends has secured me a retreat in the convent of the Scottish Benedictine nuns in Paris. To-morrow if indeed I can survive to-morrow I set forward on my journey with this venerable sister. And now, Mr. Waverley, adieu! May you be as happy with Rose as your amiable dispositions deserve; and think sometimes on the friends you have lost. Do not attempt to see me again; it would be mistaken kindness."

She gave him her hand, on which Edward shed a torrent of tears, and, with a faltering step, withdrew from the apartment, and returned to the town of Carlisle. At the inn, he found a letter from his law friend, intimating, that he would be admitted to Fergus next morning, as soon as the Castle gates were opened, and permitted to remain with him till the arrival of the Sheriff gave signal for the fatal procession.

- A darker departure is near,
The death drum is muffled, and sable the bier.

CAMPBELL. After a sleepless night, the first dawn of morning found Waverley on the esplanade in front of the old Gothic gate of Carlisle Castle. But he paced it long in every direction, before the hour when, according to the rules of the garrison, the gates were opened, and the drawbridge lowered. He produced his order to the sergeant of the guard, and was admitted.

The place of Fergus's confinement was a gloomy and vaulted apartment in the central part of the Castle; a huge old tower, supposed to be of great antiquity, and surrounded by outworks, seemingly of Henry VIII.'s time, or somewhat later. The grating of the large old-fashioned bars and bolts, withdrawn for the purpose of admitting Edward, was answered by the clash of chains, as the unfortunate Chieftain, strongly and heavily fettered, shuffled along the stone floor of his prison, to fling himself into his friend's arms.

“My dear Edward,” he said, in a firm and even cheerful voice, “this is truly kind. I heard of your approaching happiness with the highest pleasure. And how does Rose? and how is our old whimsical friend the Baron? Well, I trust, since I see you at freedom And how will you settle precedence between the three ermines passant and the bear and boot-jack?”

“How, O how, my dear Fergus, can you talk of such things at such a moment!” “Why, we bave entered Carlisle with happier auspices, to be

on the 16th of November last, for example, when we marched in, side by side, and hoisted the white flag on these ancient towers. But I am no boy, to sit down and weep, because the luck has gone against me. I knew the stake which I risked; we played the game boldly, and the forfeit shall be paid manfully. And now, since my time is short, let me come to the questions that interest me most the Prince ? has he escaped the bloodhounds?”


« AnteriorContinuar »