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from his uncle's estate, and observed they were pretty men, meaning not handsome; but stout warlike fellows. , He put Waverley in mind of one or two minute' circumstances which had happened at a general review of the regiment, which satisfied him that the robber had been an eye-witness of it; and Evan Dhu having by this time retired from the conversation, and wrapped himself up in his plaid to take some repose, Donald asked Edward, in a very significant manner, whether he had nothing particular to say to him.
Waverley, surprised and somewhat startled at this question from such a character, answered he had no motive in visiting him but curiosity to see his extraordinary place of residence. Donald Bean Lean looked him steadily in the face for an instant, and then said, with a significant nod, «You might as well have confided in me; I am as much worthy of trust as either the Baron of Bradwardine or Vich lan Vohr:--but you are equally welcome to my house.»
Waverley felt an involuntary shudder creep over him at the mysterious language held by this outlawed and lawless bandit, which, in despite of his attempts to master it, deprived him of the power to ask the meaning of his insinuations. A heath pallet, with the flowers stuck uppermost, had been prepared for him in a recess of the cave, and here, covered with
such spare plaids as could be mustered, he lay for some time watching the motions of the other inhabitants of the cavern. Small parties of two or three entered or left the place without any other ceremony than a few words in Gaelic to the principal outlaw, and, when he fell asleep, to a tall Highlander who acted as his lieutenant, and seemed to keep watch during his repose. Those who entered, seemed to have returned from some excursion, of which they reported the success, and went without farther ceremony to the larder, where cutting with their dirks their rations from the carcasses which were there suspended, they proceeded to broil and eat them at their own time and leisure. The liquor was under stricter regulation, being served out either by Donald himself, his lieutenant, or the strapping Highland girl aforesaid, who was the only female that appeared. The allowance of whisky, however, would have appeared prodigal to any but Highlanders, who, living entirely in the open air, and in a very moist climate, can consume great quantities of ardent spirits without the usual baneful effects either upon the brain or constitution.
At length the fluctuating groups began to swim before the eyes of our hero as they gradually closed; nor did he re-open them till the morning sun was high on the lake without,
though there was but a faint and glimmering twilight in the recesses of Uaimh an Ri, or the King's cavern, as the abode of Donald Bean Lean was proudly denominated.
Waverley proceeds on his Journey..
WHEN Edward had collected his scattered recollection, he was surprised to observe the cavern totally deserted. Having arisen and put his dress in some order, he looked more accurately around him, but all was still solitary. If it had not been for the decayed brands of the fire, now sunk into grey ashes, and the remnants of the festival, consisting of bones half burnt and half gnawed, and an empty keg or two, there remained no traces of Donald and his band. When Waverley sallied forth to the entrance of the cave, he perceived that the point of rock, on which remained the mark of last night's beacon, was accessible by a small path, either natural, or roughly hewn in the rock, along the little inlet of water which ran a few yards up into the cavern, where, as in a wet-dock, the skiff which brought him there the night before, was still lying moored.
When he reached the small projecting platform on which the beacon had been established, he would have believed his farther progress by land impossible, only that it was scarce probable that the inhabitants of the cavern had not some mode of issuing from it otherwise than by the lake. Accordingly, he soon observed one or two shelving steps, or ledges of rock, at the very extremity of the little platform;,and, making use of them as a staircase, he clambered by their means around the projecting shoulder of the crag on which the cavern opened, and, descending with some difficulty on the other side, he thus gained the wild and precipitous shores of a Highland loch, about four miles in length, and a mile and a half over, surrounded by heathy and savage mountains, on the crests of which the morning mist was still sleeping.
Looking back to the place from which he came, he could not belp admiring the address which had adopted a netreat of sueh seclusion and seerecy. The rock, round the shoulder of which he had turned by a few imperceptible notches, that barely afforded place for the. foot, seemed, in looking back upon it, a huge precipice, which barred all farther passage by the edge of the lake in that direction. There could be no possibility, the breadth of the lake considered, of descrying the entrance of the narrow, and low-browed cave from the other