Imágenes de página

from some distant place, where he has a quarrel, and give them to you to make up

your loss. »

« And is this sort of Highland Jonathan Wild admitted into society, and called a gentleman ? »

« So much so, that the quarrel between my father and Fergus Mac-Ivor began at a county meeting, where he wanted to take precedence of all the Lowland gentlemen then present, only my

father would not suffer it. And then he upbraided my father that he was under his banner, and paid him tribute; and my father was in a towering passion, for Baillie Macwheeble, -who manages such things his own way, had contrived to keep this black-mail a secret from him, and passed it in his account for cessmoney. And they would have fought; but Fergus Mac - Ivor said, very gallantly, he would never raise his hand against a grey head that was so much respected as my father's.-0 I wish, I wish they had continued friends!

« And did you ever see this Mr Mac-Ivor, if that be his name, Miss Bradwardine?'

« No, that is not his name; and he would consider master as a sort of affront, only that you are an Englishman, and know no better. But the Lowlanders call him, like other gentlemen, by the name of his estate, Glenaquoich; and the Highlanders call him, Vich Ian Vohr,

that is, the Son of John the Great; and we upon the braes here call him by both names indifferently.»

« I am afraid I shall never bring my English tongue to call him by either one or other. »

« But he is a very polite, handsome man,» continued Rose; «and his sister Flora is one of the most beautiful and accomplished young ladies in this country: she was bred in a convent in France, and was a great friend of mine before this unhappy dispute. Dear Captain Waverley, try your influence with my father to make matters up. I am sure this is but the beginning of our troubles; for Tully-Veolan has never been a safe or quiet residence when we have been at feud with the Highlanders. When I was a girl about ten, there was a skirmish fought between a party of twenty of them, and my father and his servants, behind the Mains; and the bullets broke several panes in the north windows, they were so near. Three of the Highlanders were killed, and they brought them in wrapped in their plaids, and laid them on the stone floor of the hall; and next morning, their wives and daughters came, clapping their hands, and crying the coronach and shrieking, and carried away the dead bodies, with the pipes playing before them. I could not sleep for six weeks without starting, and thinking I heard these terrible cries, and saw the bodies lying on the


steps, all stiff and swathed up in their bloody

But since that time there came a party from the garrison at Stirling, with a warrant from the Lord Justice Clerk, or some such great man, and took


all our arms; and

now, how are we to protect ourselves if they come down in any strength?»

Waverley could not help starting at a story which bore so much resemblance to one of his own day-dreams. Here was a girl scarce seventeen, the gentlest of her sex, both in temper and appearance, who had witnessed with her own eyes such a scene as he had used to conjure up in his imagination, as only occurring in ancient times. He felt at once the impulse of curiosity, and that slight sense of danger which only serves to heighten its in

He might have said with Malvolio, « I do not now fool myself, to let imagination jade me;» I am actually in the land of military and romantic adventures, and it only remains to be seen what will be my own share in them.

The whole circumstances pow detailed concerning the state of the country seemed equally novel and extraordinary. He had indeed often heard of Highland thieves, but had no idea of the systematic mode in which their depredations were conducted; and that the practice was connived at, and even encouraged, by many of the Highland chieftains, who


not only found the creaghs, or forays, useful for the purpose of training individuals of their clans to the practice of arms, but also of maintaining a wholesome terror among their Lowland neighbours, and levying, as we have seen, a tribute from them under colour of protection-money.

Baillie Macwheeble, who soon afterwards entered, expatiated still more at length upon the same topic. This honest gentleman's conversation was so formed upon his professional practice, that Davie Gellatley once said bis discourse was like a « charge of horning. He assured our hero, that « from the maist ancient times of record, the lawless, thieves, limmers, and broken men of the Highlands, had been in fellowship together by reason of their surnames, for the committingof divers thefts, reifs, and herships upon the honest men of the low country, when they not only intromitted with their whole goods and gear, corn, cattle, horse, nolt, sheep, outsight and insight plenishing, at their wicked pleasure, but moreover made prisoners, ransomed them, or concussed them into giving borrows (pledges) to enter into captivity again: all which was directly prohibited in divers parts of the Statute Book, both by the act one thousand five hundred and sixty-seven, and various others; the whilk statutes, with all that had followed and might follow thereupon, were shamefully broken

and vilipended by the said sorners, limmers, and broken men, associated into fellowships for the aforesaid purposes of theft, stouth-reef, fire-raising, murther, raptus mulierum, or forcible abduction of women, and such like as aforesaid.»

It seemed like a dream to Waverley that these deeds of violence should be familiar to men's minds, and currently talked of as falling within the common order of things, and happening daily in the immediate neighbourhood, without his having crossed the seas, and while he was yet in the otherwise well-ordered island of Great Britain.

« AnteriorContinuar »