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so delusive. He accompanied Fergus with downcast eyes, tingling ears, and the sensation of a criminal, who, while he moves slowly through the crowds that have assembled to behold his execution, receives no clear sensation either from the noise which fills his ears, or the tumult on which he casts his wandering look.
Flora seemed a little--a very little - affected and discomposed at his approach. «I bring you an adopted son of Ivor,» said Fergus.
« And I receive him as a second brother,» replied Flora.
There was a slight emphasis on the word which would have escaped every ear but one that was feverish with apprehension. It was however distinctly marked, and, combined with her whole tone and manner, plainly intimated, «I will never think of Mr Waverley as a more intimate connexion.» Edward stopped, bowed, and looked at Fergus, who bit his lip; a movement of anger, which proved that he also put a sinister interpretation on the reception which his sister had extended his friend. « This then is an end of my day-dream!» Such was Waverley's first thought, and it was so exquisitely painful as to banish from his cheek every drop of blood.
« Good God!» said Rose Bradwardine, «he is not yet recovered!»
These words, which she uttered with great emotion, were overheard by the Chevalier himself, who stepped hastily forward, and, taking Waverley by the hand, enquired kindly after his health, and added, that he wished to speak with him.
By a strong and sudden effort, which the circumstances rendered indispensable, Waverley recovered himself so far as to follow the Chevalier in silence to a sort of recess in the apartment.
Here the Prince detained him for some time, asking various questions about the great tory and catholic families of England, their connexions, their influence, and the state of their affections towards the house of Stuart. To these queries Edward could not at any time have given more than general answers, and it may be supposed that, in the present state of his feelings, his responses were indistinct even to confusion. The Chevalier smiled once or twice at tlre incongruity of his replies, but continued the same style of conversation, although he found himself obliged to occupy the principal share of it, until he perceived that Waverley had recovered his presence of mind. It is probable that this long audience was partly meant to further the idea which the Prince desired should be entertained among his followers, that Waverley was a character of political in
fluence. But it appeared from his concluding expressions, that he had a different and goodnatured motive, personal to our hero, for prolonging the conference. « I cannot resist the temptation,», he said, « of boasting of my own discretion as a lady's confidant. You see, Mr Waverley, that I know all, and I assure you I am deeply interested in the affair. But, my good young friend, you must put a more severe restraint upon your feelings. There are many here whose eyes can see as clearly as mine, but the prudence of whose tongues may not be equally trusted. »
So saying, he turned easily away, and joined a circle of officers at a few paces, distance, leaving Waverley to meditate upon his parting expression, which, though not intelligible to him in its whole purport, was sufficiently so in the caution which the last words recommended. Making therefore an effort to show himself worthy of the interest which his new master had expressed, by instant obedience to his recommendation, he walked up to the spot where Flora and Miss Bradwardine were still seated, and having made his compliments to the latter, he succeeded, even beyond his own expectation, in entering into conversation upon general topics.
If, my dear reader, thou hast ever happened to take post-horses at --, or at --- (one at least of which blanks, or more probably both,
you will be able to fill up from an inn near your own residence), you must have observed, and doubtless with sympathetic pain, the reluctant agony with which the poor jades at first apply their galled necks to the collars of the harness. But when the irresistible arguments of the post-boy have prevailed upon them to proceed a mile or two, they will become callous to the first sensation; and being warm in the harness, as the said post-boy may terın it, proceed as if their withers were altogether unwrung. This simile so much cor. responds with the state of Waverley's feelings in the course of this memorable evening, that. I prefer it (especially as being, I trust, wholly original) to any more splendid illustration, with which Byshe's Art of Poetry might supply me.
Exertion, like virtue, is its own reward; and ourhero had, moreover, other stimulating motives for persevering in a display of affected composure and indifference to Flora's obvious unkindness. Pride, which applies its caustic as an useful, though severe, remedy for the wounds of affection, came rapidly to his aid. Distinguished by the favour of a Prince, destined, he had room to hope, to play a conspicuous part
in the revolution which awaited a mighty kingdom, excelling probably in mental acquirements, and equalling at least in personal accomplishments, most of the noble and dis,
tinguished persons with whom he was now ranked, young, wealthy, and high born, could he, or ought he, to droop beneath the frowni of a capricious beauty?
« O nymph, unrelenting and cold as thou art,
With the feeling expressed in these beautiful lines (which however were not then written), Waverley determined upon convincing Flora that he was not to be depressed by a rejection, in which his vanity whispered that perhaps she did her own prospects as much injustice as his. And, to aid this change of feeling, there larked the secret and unacknowledged hope, that she might learn to prize his affection more highly when she did not conceive it to be altogether within her own choice to attract or repulse it. There was a mystic tone of encouragement also in the Chevalier's words, though he feared they only referred to the wishes of Fergus in favour of an union between him and his sister. But the whole circumstances of time, place, and incident, combined at once to awaken his imagination, and to call upon him for a manly and decisive tone of conduct, leaving to fate to dispose of the issue. Should he appear to be the only one sad and disheartened on the eve ofbattle, how greedily would the tale be commented upon by the slander which had been already but too busy with his fame? Never, never,