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Without much ceremony he invited Edward to accompany
him on a short walk of ten or fifteen miles into the mountains, and see the place where the cattle were conveyed to; adding, «If it be as I suppose, you never saw such a place in your life, nor ever will, unless you go with me or the like of me.»
Our hero, feeling his curiosity considerably excited by the idea of visiting the den of a Highland Cacus, took however the precaution to inquire if his guide might be trusted. He was assured, that the invitation would on no account have been given had there been the least danger, and that all he had to apprehend was a little fatigue; and as Evan proposed he should pass a day at his chieftain's house in returning, where he would be sure of good accommodation and an excellent welcome, there seemed nothing very formidable in the task he undertook. Rose, indeed, turned pale when she heard of it; but her fath ?r, who loved the spirited curiosity of his young friend, did not attempt to damp it by an alarm of danger which really did not exist, and a knapsack, with a few necessaries, being bound on the shoulders of a sort of deputy gamekeeper, our hero set forth with a fowling-piece in his hand, accompanied by his new friend Evan Dhu, and followed by the gamekeeper aforesaid, and by two wild Highlanders, the attend
ants of Evan, one of whom bad upon his shoulder a hatchet at the end of a pole, called a Lochaber axe, and the other a long duckinggun. Evan, upon Edward's inquiry, gave him to understand, that this martial escort was by no means necessary as a guard, but merely, as he said, drawing up and adjusting his plaid with an air of dignity, that he might appear decently at Tully-Veolan, and as Vich lan Vohr's foster-brother ought to do. « Ah! if you
Saxon Duinhé-wassal (English gentleman) saw but the chief himself with his tail on! »
« With his tail on!» echoed Edward in some surprise.
« Yes—that is, with all his usual followers, when he visits those of the same rank. There is,» he continued, stopping and drawing him. self proudly up, while he counted upon his fingers the several officers of his chief's retinue; «there is his hanchman, or right-hand man; then his bhaird, or poet; then his bladier, or orator, to make harangues to the great folks whom he visits; then his gilly-more, or armourbearer, to carry his sword, and target, and his gun; then his gilly-casflue, who carries him on his back through the sikes and brooks; then his gilly.comstraine, to lead his borse by the bridle in steep and difficult paths; then his gilly-trusharnish, to carry his knapsack; and the piper and the piper's man, and it may be a dozen
young lads beside, that have no business, but are just boys of the belt to follow the laird, and do his honour's bidding.»
« And does your chief regularly maintain all these men ?»
« All these! ay, and many a fair head beside, that would not ken where to lay itself, but for the mickle barn at Glennaquoich.»
With similar tales of the grandeur of the chief in peace and war, Evan Dhu beguiled the way till they approached more closely those huge mountains which Edward had hitherto only seen at a distance. It was towards evening as they entered one of the tremendous passes which afford communication between the high and low country; the path, which was extreinely steep and rugged, winded up a chasm between two tremendous rocks, following the passage which a foaming stream, that brawled far below, appeared to have worn for itself in the course of
A few slanting beams of the sun, which was now setting, reached the water in its darksome bed, and showed it partially, chafed by an hundred rocks, and broken by an hundred falls. The descent from the path to the stream was a mere precipice, with here and there a projecting fragment of granite, or a scathed tree, which had
warped its twisted roots into the fissures of the rock. On the right hand the mountain rose above
the path with almost equal inaccessibility; but the hill on the opposite side displayed a shroud of copsewood, with which some pines were intermingled.
« This," said Evan, «is the pass of Bally Brough, which was kept in former times by ten of the clan Donochie against a hundred of the low-country carls. The graves of the slain are still to be seen in that little corri, or bottom, on the opposite side of the burn—if
your eyes are good, you may see the green specks among the heather.-See, there is an earn, which you southrons call an eagle-you have no such birds as that in England — he is going to fetch his supper from the Laird of Bradwardine's braes, but I'll send a slug after him.
He fired his piece accordingly, but missed the superb monarch of the feathered tribes, who, without noticing the attempt to annoy him, continued his majestic flight to the southward. A thousand birds of prey, hawks, kites, carrion crows, and ravens, disturbed from the lodgings which they had just taken up for the evening, rose at the report of the gun, and mingled their hoarse and discordant notes with the echoes which replied to it, and with the roar of the mountain cataracts. Evan, a little disconcerted at having missed his mark, when he meant to have displayed peculiar
dexterity, covered his confusion by whistling part of a pibroch as he reloaded his piece, and proceeded in silence up the pass.
It issued in a narrow glen, between two mountains, both very lofty and covered with heath. The brook continued to be their companion, and they advanced up its mazes, crossing them now and then, on which occasions Evan Dhu uniformly offered the assistance of his attendants to carry over Edward; but our hero, who had been always a tolerable pedestrian, declined the accommodation, and obviously rose in his guide's opinion, by showing that he did not fear wetting his feet. Indeed he was anxious, so far as he could without affectation, to remove the opinion which Evan seemed to entertain of the effeminacy of the Lowlanders, and particularly of the English
Through the gorge of this glen they found access to a black bog, of tremendous extent, full of large pit-holes, which they traversed with great difficulty and some danger, by tracks which no one but a Highlander could have followed. The path itself, or rather the portion of more solid ground on which the travellers half walked, half waded, was rough, broken, and in many places quaggy and unsound. Sometimes the ground was so completely unsafe, that it was necessary to spring from one hillock to another, the space between