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occasion of this crusade against the Ayrshire whigs and covenanters, the Vich Ian Vohr of the time had probably been as successful as his predecessor was in harrying Northumberland, and therefore left to his posterity a rival edifice, as a monument of his magnificence.
Around the house, which stood on an eminence in the midst of a narrow Highland valley, there appeared none of that attention to convenience, far less to ornament and decoration, which usually surrounds a gentleman's habitation. An inclosure or two, divided by dry stone walls, were the only part of the domain that was fenced; as to the rest, the narrow slips of level ground which lay by the side of the brook exbibited a scanty crop of barley, liable to constant depredations from the herds of wild ponies and black cattle that grazed upon the adjacent hills.' These ever and anon made an incursion upon the arable ground, which was repelled by the loud, uncouth, and dissonant shouts of half a dozen Highland swains, all running as if they had been mad, and every one hallooing a half-starved dog to the rescue of the forage. At a little distance
up the glen was a small and stunted wood of birch; the hills were high and heathy, but without any variety of surface; so that the whole view was wild and desolate, rather than grand and solitary. Yet, such as it was, no genuine descendant of lan nan Chaistel would
have exchanged the domain for Stow or Blenheim.
There was a sight, however, before the gate, which perhaps would have afforded the first owner of Blenheim more pleasure than the finest view in the domain assigned to him by the gratitude of his country. This consisted of about an hundred Highlanders, in complete dress and arms; at sight of whom the chieftain apologized to Waverley in a sort of negligent manner. « He had forgot,» he said, « that he had ordered a few of his clan out, for the purpose of seeing that they were in a fit condition to protect the country, and prevent such accidents as, he was sorry to learn, had befallen the Baron of Bradwardine. Before they were dismissed, perhaps Captain Waverley might chuse to see them go through a part
of their exercise,» Edward assented, and the men executed with agility and precision some of the ordinary military movements. They then practised individually at a mark, and showed extraordinary dexterity in the management of the pistol and firelock. They took aim standing, sitting, leaning, or lying prostrate, as they were commanded, and always with effect upon the target. Next they paired off for the broadsword exercise; and having manifested their individual skill and dexterity, united in two bodies, and exhibited a sort of mock encounter,
in which the charge, the rally, the flight, the pursuit, and all the current of a heady fight, were exhibited to the sound of the great war bagpipe.
On a signal made by the chief, the skirmish was ended. Matches were then made for running, wrestling, leaping, pitching the bar, and other sports, in which this feudal militia displayed incredible swiftness, strength, and agility; and accomplished the purpose which their chieftain had at heart, by impressing on Waverley no light sense of their merit as soldiers, and of the power of him who commanded them by his nod.
« And what number of such gallant fellows have the happiness to call you leader?» asked Waverley
«In a good cause, and under a chieftain whom they loved, the race of Ivor have seldom taken the field under five hundred claymores. But you are aware, Captain Waverley, that the disarming act, passed about twenty years ago, prevents their being in the complete state of preparation, as in former times; and I keep no more of my clan under arms than
defend my own or my friends' property, when the country
is troubled with such men as your last night's landlord; and government, which has removed other means of defence, must connive at our protecting ourselves. »
« But with your force you mightsoon destroy,
or put down, such gangs as that of Donald Bean Lean.»
« Yes, doubtless; and my reward would be a summons to deliver up to General Blakeney, at Stirling, the few broad-swords they have left us: there were little policy in that, methinks.-But come, captain, the sound of the pipes informs me that dinner is prepared Let me have the honour to show you into my rude mansion.
A Highland Feast.
ERE Waverley entered the banquetting-hall, he was offered the patriarchal refreshment of a bath for the feet, which the sultry weather, and the morasses he had traversed, rendered highly acceptable. He was not indeed so luxuriously attended upon this occasion as the heroic travellers in the Odyssey; the task of ablution and abstersion being performed, not by a beautiful damsel trained
To chafe the limbs and pour the fragrant oil,
but by a smoke-dried skinny old Highland woman, who did not seem to think herself much honoured by the duty imposed upon her, but muttered between her teeth, fathers' herds did not feed so near together, that I should do you this service.» A small donation, however, amply reconciled this ancient handmaiden to the supposed degrada