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Baron of Bradwardine, of which Edward had been the unwilling cause, still rankled in the mind of the low-bred, and yet proud, laird. He carefully avoided giving the least sign of recognition, riding doggedly at the head of his men, who though scarce equal in numbers to a sergeant's party, were denominated Captain Falconer's troop, being proceeded by a trumpet, which sounded from time to time, and a standard, borne by Cornet Falconer, the laird's younger brother. The lieutenant, an elderly man, had much the air of a low sportsman and boon companion; the expression of dry humour predominated in his countenance over features of a vulgar cast, which indicated habitual intemperance. His cocked hat was set knowingly upon one side of his head, and while he whistled the "Bob of Dumblain," under the influence of half a mutchkin of brandy, he seemed to trot merrily forwards, with a happy indifference to the state of the country, the conduct of the party, the end of the journey, and all other sublunary matters whatsoever.
From this wight, who now and then dropped alongside of his horse, Waverley hoped to acquire some information, or at least to beguile the way with talk. "A fine evening, sir," was Edward's salutation.
"Ow, ay! a bra' night," replied the lieutenant, in broad Scotch of the most vulgar description.
"And a fine harvest, apparently," continued Waverley, following up his first attack.
Ay, the aits will be got bravely in; but the farmers, deil burst them, and the corn-mongers, will make the auld price gude against them as has horses till keep."
"You perhaps act as quarter-master, sir?"
"Ay, quarter-master, riding-master, and lieuten
And to be sure, whae's fitter to look after the breaking and the keeping of the puir beasts than mysell, that bought and sold every one of them?
"And pray, sir, if it be not too great a freedom, may I beg to know where we are going just now?" "A fule's errand, I fear," answered this communicative personage.
"In that case I should have thought a person of your appearance would not have been found upon the road."
"Vera true, vera true, sir-but every why has its wherefore; ye maun ken the laird there bought a thir beasts frae me to munt his troop, and agreed to pay for them according to the necessities and prices of the time. But then he had na the ready penny, and I hae been advised his bond will no be worth a boddle against the estate, and then I had a' my dealers to settle with at Martimas; and so as he very kindly offered me this commission, and as the auld fifteen wad never help me to my siller for sending out naigs against the government, why, conscience! sir, I thought my best chance for payment was e'en to gae out mysell; and ye may judge, sir, as I hae dealt a' my life in the halters, I think nae mickle o' putting my craig in peril of a St. Johnstone's tippet.'
"You are not, then by profession a soldier?"
"Na, na, thank God, answered this doughty partizan," I was na bred at sae short a tether; I was brought up to hack and manger: I was bred a horsecouper, sir; and if I might live to see you at Whitsontryst, or at Stagshaw-bank, or the winter fair at Hawick, and ye wanted a spanker that would lead the field, I'se be caution I would serve ye asy, for Jamie Jinker was ne'er the lad to impose upon a gentleman. Ye're a gentleman, sir an should ken a horse's points; ye see that through gging thing that Balmawhapple's on; I selled her till him. She was bred out of Lick the-Laddle, which wan the king's plate at Caverton-Edge, by Duke Hamilton's Dusty-foot," &c. &c. &c.
But as Jinker was entering full sail upon the pedigree of Balmawhapple's mare, having already got as
far as great grandsire and grand-dam, and while Waverley was watching for an opportunity to obtain from him intelligence of more interest, the noble captain checked his horse until they came up, and then, without directly appearing to notice Edward, said sternly to the genealogist," I thought, lieutenant, my orders were precise, that no one should speak to the prisoner?"
The metamorphosed horse-dealer was silenced, of course, and slunk to the rear, where he consoled himself by entering into a vehement dispute upon the price of hay with a farmer, who had reluctantly followed his laird to the field, rather than give up his farm, whereof the lease had just expired. Waverley was therefore, once more consigned to silence, foreseeing that farther attempts at conversation with any of the party would only give Balmawhapple a wished-for opportunity to display the insolence of authority, and the sulky spite of a temper naturally dogged, and rendered more so by habits of low indulgence and the incense of servile adulation.
In about two hour's time the party were near the Castle of Stirling, over whose battlements the union flag was brightening as it waved in the evening sun. To shorten his journey, or perhaps to displayed his importance and insult the English garrison, Balmawhapple, inclining to the right, took his rout through the royal park, which reaches to, and surrounds the rock upon which the fortress is situated.
With a mind more at ease, Waverley could not have failed to admire the mixture of romance and beauty which renders interesting the scene through which he was now passing-the field which had been the scene of the tournaments of old-the rock from which the ladies beheld the contest, while each made vows for the success of some favourite knight-the towers of the gothic church where these vows might be paid and, surmounting all, the fortress itself, at once a castle and palace, where valour received the
prize from royalty, and knights and dames closed the evening, amid the revelry of the dance, and song, and the feast. All these were objects fitted to arouse and interest a romantic imagination.
But Waverley had other subjects of meditation, and an incident soon occurred of a nature to disturb meditation of any kind. Balmawhapple, in the pride of his heart, as he wheeled his little body of cavalry around the base of the castle, commanded his trumpet to sound a flourish, and his standard to be displayed. This insult produced apparently some sensation; for when the cavalcade was at such a distance from the southern battery as to admit a gun being so much depressed as to bear upon them, a flash of fire issued from one of the embrazures upon the rock; and ere the report, with which it was attended, could be heard, the rushing sound of a cannon-ball passed over Balmawhapple's head, and the bullet burying itself in the ground at a few yards' distance, covered him with the earth which it drove up. There was no need to bid the party trudge. In fact, every man acting upon the impulse of the moment, Mr. Jinker's steeds were soon brought to show their mettle, and the cavaliers, retreating with more speed than regularity, never took to a trot, as the lieutenant afterwards observed, until an intervening eminence had secured them from any repetition of so undesirable a compliment on the part of Stirling Castle. I must do Balmawhapple, however, the justice to say, that he not only kept the rear of his troop, and laboured to maintain some order among them, but in the height of his gallantry answered the fire of the castle by discharging one of his horse-pistols at the battlements; although, the distance being nearly half a mile, I could never learn that this measure of retaliation was attended with any particular effect.
The travellers now passed the memorable field of Bannockburn, and reached Torwood, a place glorious or terrible to the recollections of the Scottish
peasants a' the feats of Wallace, or the cruelties of Wude Willie Grime, predominate in his recollection. At Falkirk, a town formerly famous in Scottish history, and soon to be again distinguished as the scene of military events of importance, Balmawhapple proposed to halt and repose for the evening. This was performed with very little regard to military discipline, as his worthy quarter-master was chiefly solicitous to discover where the best brandy might be come at. Sentinels were deemed unnecessary, and the only vigils performed were those of such of the party as could procure liquor. A few resolute men might easily have cut off the detachment; but of the inhabitants some were favourable, many indifferent, and the rest overawed. So nothing memorable occurred in the course of the evening, excepting that Waverley's rest was sorely interrupted by the revellers hallooing forth their jacobite songs without remorse or mitigation of voice.
Early in the morning they were again mounted, and on the road to Edinburgh, though the pallid visages of some of the troop betrayed that they had spent a night of sleepless debauchery. They halted at Lintithgow, distinguished by its ancient palace, which, sixty years since, was entire and habitable, but the venerable ruins of which, not quite sixty years since, very narrowly escaped the unworthy fate of being converted into a barrack for French prisoners. May repose and blessings attend the ashes of the patriotic statesman, who, amongst his last services to Scotland, interposed to prevent this profanation.
As they approached the metropolis of Scotland, through a champaign and cultivated country, the sounds of war began to be heard. The distant, yet distinct report of heavy cannon, fired at intervals, apprized Waverley that the work of destruction was going forward. Even Balmawhapple seemed moved to take some precautions, by sending an advanced party in front of his troop, keeping the main body in tolerable order, and moving steadily forward.