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An unexpected Ally appears.
The Baron returned at the dinner hour, and had in a great measure recovered his composure and good humour. He not only confirmed the stories which Edward had heard from Rose and Baillie Macwheeble, but added many anecdotes, from his own experience, concerning the state of the Highlands and their inhabitants. The chiefs he pronounced to be, in general, gentlemen of great honour and high pedigree, whose word was accounted as a law by all those of their own sept or clan. « It did not indeed, » he said, « become them, as had occurred in late instances, to propone their prosapia, a lineage which rested for the most part on the vain and fond rhymes of their Seannachies or Bhairds, as æquiponderate with the evidence of ancient charters and royal grants of antiquity, conferred upon distinguished houses in the low country by divers Scottish monarchs; nevertheless, such was their
outrecuidance and presumption, as to undervalue those who possessed such evidents, as if they held their lands in a sheep's skin. »
This, by the way, pretty well explained the cause of quarrel between the Baron and his Highland ally. But he went on to state so many curious particulars concerning the manners, customs, and habits of this patriarchal race, that Edward's curiosity became highly interested, and he inquired whether it were possible to make with safety an excursion into the neighbouring Highlands, whose dusky barrier of mountains had already excited his wish to penetrate beyond them. The Baron assured his guest that nothing would be more easy, providing this quarrel were first made up, since he could himself give him letters to many of the distinguished chiefs, who would receive him with the utmost courtesy and · hospitality
While they were on this topic, the door suddenly opened, and, ushered by Saunders Saunderson, a Highlander, fully armed and equipped, entered the apartment. Had it not been that Saunders acted the part of master of the ceremonies to this martial apparition, without appearing to deviate from his usual coinposure, and that neither Mr Bradwardine nor Rose exhibited any emotion, Edward would certainly have thought the intrusion hostile. As it was, he started at the sight of
what he had not yet happened to see, a mountaineer in his full national costume. The individual Gael was a stout dark man of low stature, the ample folds of whose plaid added to the appearance of strength which his person exhibited. The short kilt, or petticoat, showed his sinewy and clean-made limbs; the goatskin purse, flanked by the usual defences, a dirk and steel-wrought pistol, hung before him; his bonnet had a short feather, which indicated his claim to be treated as a DuinhéWassell, or sort of gentleman; a broad sword dangled by his side, a target hung upon his shoulder, and a long Spanish fowling-piece occupied one of his hands. With the other hand he pulled off his bonnet, and the Baron, who well knew their customs, and the proper mode of addressing them, immediately said, with an air of dignity, but without rising, and much as Edward thought, in the manner of a prince receiving an embassy, « Welcome, Evan Dhu Maccombich, what news from Fergus Mac-Ivor Vich lan Vohr?»
« Fergus Mac-Ivor Vich lan Vohr,» said the ambassador, in good English, « greets you well, Baron of Bradwardine and Tully-Veolan, and is sorry there has been a thick cloud interposed between you and him, which has kept you from seeing and considering the friendship and alliances that have been between your houses and forbears of old; and be prays you
that the cloud may pass away, and that things may be as they have been heretofore between the clan Ivor and the house of Bradwardine, when there was an egg between them for a flint, and a knife for a sword. And he expects you will also say, you are sorry for the cloud, and no man shall hereafter ask whether it descended from the hill to the valley, or rose from the valley to the hill; for they never struck with the scabbard who did not receive with the sword, and woe to him who would lose his friend for the stormy cloud of a spring morning.»
To this the Baron of Bradwardine answered with suitable dignity, that he knew the chief of clan Ivor to be a well-wisher to the King, and he was sorry there should have been a cloud between him and any gentleman of such sound principles, « for when folks are banding together, feeble is he who hath no brother.»
This appearing perfectly satisfactory, that the peace between these august persons might be duly solemnized, the Baron ordered a stoup of usquebaugh, and, filling a glass, drank to the health and prosperity of Mac-Ivor of Glennaquoich; upon which the Celtic ambassador, to requite his politeness, turned down a mighty bumper of the same generous liquor, seasoned with his good wishes to the house of Bradwardine.
Having thus ratified the preliminaries of the
general treaty of pacification, the envoy retired to adjust with Mr Macwheeble some subor. dinate articles, with which it was not thought necessary to trouble the Baron. bably referred to the discontinuance of the subsidy, and apparently the baillie found means to satisfy their ally without suffering his master to suppose that his dignity was compromised. At least, it is certain, that after the plenipotentiaries had drunk a bottle of brandy in single drams, which seemed to have no more effect upon such seasoned vessels, than if it had been poured upon the two bears at the top of the avenue, Evan Dhu Maccombi having possessed himself of all the information which he could procure respecting the robbery of the preceding night, declared his intention to set off immediately in pursuit of the cattle, which he pronounced to be «no that far off;—they have broken the bone,» he observed, « but have had no time to suck the
Our hero, who had attended Evan Dhu during his perquisitions, was much struck with the ingenuity which he displayed in collecting information, and the precise and pointed conclusions which he drew from it. Evan Dhu, on his part, was obviously flattered with the attention of Waverley, the interest he seemed to take in his inquiries, and his curiosity about the customs and scenery of the Highlands.