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rising abruptly from the very edge of the water; its front, changed by the reflection to dusky red, formed a strange, and even awful contrast to the banks around, which were from time to time faintly and partially enlightened by pallid moonlight.
The boat now neared the shore, and Edward could discover that this large fire, amply supplied with branches of pine-wood by two figures, who, in the red reflection of its light, appeared like demons, was kindled in the jaws of a lofty cavern, into which an inlet from the lake seemed to advance; and he conjectured, which was indeed true, that the fire had been lighted as a beacon to the boatmen on their return. They rowed right for the mouth of the cave, and then, shipping their gars, permitted the boat to enter with the impulse which it had received. The skiff passed the little point, or platform, of rock on which the fire was blazing, and, running about two boats' lengths farther, stopped where the cavern, for it was already arched overhead, ascended from the water by five or six broad ledges of rock, so easy and regular that they might be termed natural steps. At this moment a quantity of water was suddenly flung upon the fire, which sunk with a hissing noise, and with it disappeared the light it had hitherto afforded. Four or five active arms lifted Waverley out of the boat, placed him on his feet,
and almost carried him in the recesses of the cave. He made a few paces in darkness, guided in this manner; and advancing towards a hum of voices, which seemed to sound from the centre of the rock, at an acute turn Donald Bean Lean and his whole establishment were before his eyes.
The interior of the cave, which here rose very high, was illuminated by torches made of pine-tree, which emitted a bright and bickering light, attended by a strong though not unpleasant odour. Their light was assisted by the red glare of a large charcoal fire, round which were seated five or six armed Highlanders, while others were indistinctly seen couched on their plaids, in the more remote recesses of the cavern.
In one large aperture, which the robber facetiously called his spence (or pantry), there hung by the heels the carcasses of a sheep, or ewe, and two cows, lately slaughtered. The principal inhabitant of this singular mansion, attended by Evan Dhu, as master of ceremonies, came forward to meet his guest, totally different in appearance and manner from what his imagination had anticipated. The profession which he followed the wilderness in which he dwelt- the wild warrior forms that surrounded him, were all calculated to inspire terror. From such accompaniments, Waverley prepared himself to meet a stern, gigantic, ferocious figure, such as Salvator
would have chosen to be the central object of
of all these. He was thin in person and low in stature, with light sandy-coloured hair and small pale features, from which he derived his agnomen of Bean, or white; and although his form was light, well-proportioned, and active, he appeared, on the whole, rather a diminutive and insignificant figure. He had served in some inferior capacity in the French army, and in order to receive his English visitor in great form, and probably meaning, in his way, to pay him a compliment, he had laid aside the Highland dress for the time, to put on an old blue and red uniform, and a feathered hat, in which he was far from showing to advantage, and indeed looked so incongruous, compared with all around him, that Waverley would bave been tempted to laugh, had laughter been either civil or safe. He received Captain Waverley with a profusion of French politeness and Scottish hospitality, seemed perfectly to know his name and connexions, and to be particularly acquainted with his uncle's political principles. On these he bestowed great applause, to which Waverley judged it prudent to make a very general reply.
Being placed at a convenient distance from the charcoal fire, the heat of which the season rendered oppressive, a strapping Highland
damsel placed before Waverley, Evan and Donald Bean, three cogues, or wooden vessels, composed of staves and hoops, containing imrigh, a sort of strong soup made out of a particular part of the inside of the beeves. After this refreshment, which, though coarse, fatigue and hunger rendered palatable, steaks, roasted on the coals, were supplied in liberal abundance, and disappeared before Evan Dhu and their host with a promptitude that seemed like magic, and astonished Waverley, who was much puzzled to reconcile their voracity with what he had heard of the abstemiousness of the Highlanders. He was ignorant that this abstinence was with the lower ranks wholly compulsory, and that, like some animals of prey, those who practise it were usually gifted with the power of indemnifying themselves to good purpose, when chance threw plenty in their way. The whisky came forth in abundance to crown the cheer. The Highlanders drank it copiously and undiluted; but Edward, having mixed a little with water, did not find it so palatable as to invite him to repeat the draught. Their host bewailed himself exceedingly that he could offer him no wine: « Had he but known four-and twenty hours before, he would have had some, had it been within the circle of forty miles round him. But no gentleman could do more to show his sense of the honour of a visit from another,
than to offer him the best cheer his house afforded. Where there are no bushes there can be no nuts, and the way of those you live with is that you must follow.»
He went on regretting to Evan Dhu the death of an aged man, Donnacha an Amrigh, or Duncan with the Cap, « a gifted seer,» who foretold, through the second sight, visitors of every description who haunted their dwelling, whether as friends or foes.
« Is not his son Malcolm taishatr (a seer)? » asked Evan.
« Nothing equal to his father,» replied Donald Bean. « He told us the other day we were to see a great gentleman riding on a horse, and there came nobody that whole day but Shemus Beg, the blind harper, with his dog. Another time he advertised us of a wedding, and behold it proved a funeral; and on the creagh, when he foretold to us we should bring home a hundred head of horned cattle, we gripped nothing but a fat baillie of Perth.»
From this discourse he passed to the political and military state of the country; and Waverley was astonished, and even alarmed, to find a person of this description so accurately acquainted with the strength of the various garrisons and regiments quartered north of the Tay. He even mentioned the exact number of recruits who had joined Waverley's troop