Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

ness.

inarticulate sounds intimating their assent to the motion.

Such unanimous applause could not be extorted but by acknowledged merit; and Rose Bradwardine not only deserved it, but also the approbation of much more rational persons than the Bautherwhillery Club could have mustered, even before discussion of the first magnum. She was indeed a very pretty girl of the Scotch cast of beauty, that is, with a profusion of hair of paley gold, and a skin like the snow of her own mountains in white

Yet she had not a pallid or pensive cast of countenance; her features, as well as her temper, had a lively expression; her complexion, though not florid, was so pure as to seem transparent, and the slightest cause sent her whole blood at once to her face and neck. Her form, though under the common size, was remarkably elegant, and her motions light, easy, and unembarrassed: She came from another part of the garden to receive Captain Waverley, with a manner that hovered between bashfulness and courtesy.

The first greetings past, Edward learned from her that the dark hag, which had somewhat puzzled him in the butler's account of his master's avocations, had nothing to do either with a black cat ora broomstick, but was simply a portion of oak copse which was to be felled that day. She offered, with embarrass

ed civility, to show the stranger the way to the spot, which, it seems, was not far distant; but they were prevented by the appearance of the Baron of Bradwardine in person, who, summoned by David Gellatley, now appeared, « on hospitable thoughts intent,» clearing the ground at a prodigious rate with swift and long strides, which reminded Waverley of the seven-league boots of the nursery fable. He was a tall, thin, athletic figure, old indeed and grey-haired, but with every muscle rendered as tough as whipcord by constant exercise. He was dressed carelessly, and more like a Frenchman than an Englishman of the period, while, from his hard features and perpendicular rigidity of stature, he bore some resemblance to a Swiss officer of the guards, who had resided some time at Paris, and caught the costume, but not the ease or manner of its inhabitants. The truth was, that his language and habits were as heterogeneous as his external appearance.

Owing to his natural disposition to study, or perhaps to a very general Scottish fashion of giving young men of rank a legal education, he bad been bred with a view to the bar. But the politics of his family precluding the hope of his rising in that profession, Mr Bradwardine travelled with high reputation for several years, and made some campaigns in foreign service. After his démêlé with the law of high treason

in 1715, he had lived in retirement, conversing almost entirely with those of his own principles in the vicinage. The pedantry of the lawyer, superinduced upon the military pride of the soldier, might remind a modern of the days of the zealous volunteer service, when the bargown of our pleaders was often flung over a blazing uniform. To this must be added the prejudices of ancient birth and jacobite politics, greatly strengthened by habits of solitary and secluded authority, which, though exer.cised only within the bounds of his half-cultivated estate, was there indisputable and undisputed. For, as he used to observe, « the lands of Bradwardinė, Tully-Veolan, and others, had been erected into a free barony by a charter from David the First, cum liberali potest. habendi curias et justicias, cum fossa et furca (LIE pit and gallows) et saka et soka, et thol et theam, et infang thief et outfang thief, sive hand-habend. sive bak-barand.» The peculiar meaning of all these cabalistical words few or none could explain; but they implied, upon the whole, that the Baron of Bradwardine might imprison, try, and execute his vassals and tenants at his pleasure. Like James the First, however, the present possessor of this authority was more pleased in talking about prerogative than in exercising it; and excepting that he imprisoned two poachers in the dungeon of the old tower of Tully-Veolan, where they were sorely fright

ened by ghosts, and almost eaten by rats, and that he set an old woman in the jougs (or Scottish pillory) for saying « there were mair fules in the laird's ha' house than Davie Gellatley,» I do not learn that he was accused of abusing his high powers. Still, however, the conscious pride of possessing them gave additional importance to his language and deportment.

At his first address to Waverley, it would seem that the hearty pleasure he felt to behold the nephew of his friend had somewhat discomposed the stiff and upright dignity of the Baron of Bradwardine's demeanour, for the tears stood in the old gentleman's eyes, when, having first shaken Edward heartily by the hand in English fashion, he embraced him à la mode Française, and kissed him on both sides of the face; while the hardness of his gripe, and the quantity of Scotch snuff which his accolade communicated, called corresponding drops of moisture to the eyes of his guest.

Upon the honour of a gentleman,» he said, « but it makes me young again to see you here, Mr Waverley! A worthy scion of the old stock of Waverley-Honour-spes altera, as Maro hath it—and you have the look of the old line, Captain Waverley; not so portly yet as my old friend Sir Everard- mais cela viendra avec le temps, as my Dutch acquaintance, Baron Rikkitbroeck, said of the sagesse of madame son épouse.--And so ye have mounted the cockade?

[ocr errors]

Right, right; though I could have wished the colour different, and so I would ha' deemed might Sir Everard. But no more of that; I am old, and times are changed.—And how does the worthy knight-baronet, and the fair Mrs Rachael?-Ah, ye laugh, young man ! but she was the fair Mrs Rachael in the

year of

grace seventeen hundred and sixteen; but time passes-et singula prædantur anni—that is most certain. But once again, ye are most heartily welcome to my poor house of Tully-Veolan! Hie to the house, Rose, and see that Alexander Saunderson looks out the old Chateau Margaux which I sent from Bourdeaux to Dundee in the year 1713.

Rose tripped off demurely enough till she lurned the first corner, and then ran with the speed of a fairy, that she might gain leisure, after discharging her father's commission, to put her own dress in order, and produce all her little finery, an occupation for which the approaching dinner-hour left but little time. « We cannot rival the luxuries of your English table, Captain Waverley, or give you the epulæ lautiores of Waverley-Honour-I say epulæ rather than prandium, because the latter phrase is popular; Epulæ ad senatum, prandium vero ad populum attinet, says Suetonius Tranquillus. But I trust ye will applaud mny Bourdeaux; c'est des deux oreilles, as Captain Vinsauf used to say-Vinum primæ notæ, the Principal of St

« AnteriorContinuar »