Imágenes de página

There is no better antidote against entertaining too high an opinion of others, than having an excellent one of ourselves at the very same time.

Miss Stubbs had indeed summoned up every assistance which art could afford to beauty; but, alas! hoop, patches, frizzled locks, and a new mantua of genuine French silk, were lost upon a young officer of dragoons, who wore for the first time his goldlaced hat, boots, and broad-sword. I know not whether, like the champion of an old ballad,

His heart was all on honour bent,

He could not stoop to love ;
No lady in the land had power

His frozen heart to move;

or whether the deep and flaming bars of embroidered gold, which now fenced his breast, defied the artillery of Cecilia's eyes, but every arrow was launched at him in vain.

Yet did I mark where Cupid's shaft did light;
It lighted not on little western flower,
But on a yeoman, flower of all the west,
Hight Jonas Culbertfield, the steward's son.

Craving pardon for my heroics (which I am unable in certain cases to resist giving way to), it is a melancholy fact, that my history must here take leave of the fair Cecilia, who, like many a daughter of Eve, after the departure

of Edward, and the dissipation of certain idle visions which she had adopted, quietly contented herself with a pis-aller, and gave her hand, at the distance of six months, to the aforesaid Jonas, son of the baronet's steward, and heir (no unfertile prospect) to a steward's fortune; besides the snug probability of succeeding to his father's office. All these advantages moved Squire Stubbs, as much as the ruddy brow and manly form of the suitor influenced his daughter, to abate somewhat in the article of their gentry, and so the match was concluded. None seemed more gratified than Aunt Rachael, wbo had hitherto looked rather askance upon the presumptuous damsel (as much so peradvanture as ber nature would permit), but who, on the first appearance of the new-married pair at church, honoured the bride with a smile and a profound courtesy, in presence of the rector, the curate, the clerk, and the whole congregation of the united parishes of Waverley cum Beverley.

I beg pardon, once and for all, of those readers who take up novels merely for amusement, for plaguing them so long with oldfashioned politics, and Whig and Tory, and Hanoverians and Jacobites. The truth is, I cannot promise them that this story shall be intelligible, not to say probable, without it. My plan requires that I should explain the motives on which its action proceeded; and these

motives necessarily arose from the feelings, prejudices, and parties, of the times. I do not invite my fair readers, whose sex and impatience give them the greatest right to complain of these circumstances, into a flying chariot drawn by hippogriffs, or moved by enchantment. Mine is a humble English postchaise, drawn upon four wheels, and keeping his majesty's highway. Such as dislike the vehicle may leave it at the next halt, and wait for the conveyance of Prince Hussein's tapestry, or Malek the Weaver's flying sentry-box. Those who are contented to remain with me will be occasionally exposed to the dulness inseparable from heavy roads, steep hills, sloughs, and other terrestrial retardations; but, with tolerable horses and a civil driver (as the advertisements have it), I also engage to get as soon as possible into a more picturesque and romantic country, if my passengers incline to have some patience with me during my first stages.


The Adieus of Waverley.

It was upon the evening of this memorable Sunday that Sir Everard entered the library, where he narrowly missed surprising our young hero as he went through the guards of the broad-sword with the ancient weapon of old Sir Hildebrand, which, being preserved as an heir-loom, usually hung over the chimney in the library, beneath a picture of the knight and his horse, where the features were almost entirely hidden by the knight's profusion of curled hair, and the Bucephalus which he bestrode concealed by the voluminous robes of the Bath with which he was decorated. Sir Everard entered, and after a glance at the picture and another at his nephew, began a little speech, which, however, soon dropped into the natural simplicity of his common manner, agitated upon the present occasion by no common feeling. Nephew,» he said; and then, as mending his phrase, « My dear Edward, it

is God's will, and also the will of your father, whom, under God, it is your duty to obey, that you should leave us to take up the profession of arms, in which so many of your ancestors have been distinguished. I have made such arrangements as will enable you to take the field as their descendant, and as the probable heir of the house of Waverley; and, Sir, in the field of battle you will remember what name you bear. And, Edward, my dear boy, remember also that you are the last of that race, and the only hope of its revival depends upon you; therefore, as far as duty and honour will permit, avoid danger-I mean unnecessary danger-and keep no company with rakes, gamblers, and whigs, of whom, it is to be feared, there are but too many in the service into which you are going. Your colonel, as I am informed, is an excellent man--for a presbyterian; but you will remember your duty to God, the church of England, and the--(this breach ought to have been supplied, according to the rubrick, with the word king ; but as, unfortunately, that word conveyed a double and embarrassing sense, one meaning de facto, and the other de jure, the knight filled up the blank otherwise)-the church of England, and all constituted authorities. Then, not trusting himself with any farther oratory, he carried his nephew to his stables to see the horses he destined for his campaign. Two were black (the

« AnteriorContinuar »