« AnteriorContinuar »
«I desire nothing else, my lord,» answered Fergus, in the same manly and firm tone.
The hard eyes of Evan, which had been perpetually bent on his Chief, were moistened with a tear. « For you, poor ignorant man," : continued the judge, « who, following the ideas in which you have been educated, have this day given us a striking example how the loyalty due to the king and state alone, is, from your unhappy ideas of clanship, transferred to some ambitious individual, who ends by making you the tool of his crimes--for you, I say, I feel so much compassion, that if you can make up your mind to petition for grace,
I will endeavour to procure it for you - - otherwise
« Grace me no grace,» said Evan; « since you are to shed Vich Ian Vobr's blood, the only favour I would accept from you, is to bid them loose my hands and gie me my claymore, and bide you just a minute sitting where
« Remove the prisoners,» said the judge; « his blood be upon his own head.»
Almost stupified with his feelings, Edward found that the rush of the crowd had con-. veyed him out into the street, ere he knew what he was doing. His immediate wishi was to see and speak with Fergus once more. He applied at the castle where his unfortunate friend was confined, but was refused admit
« The High Sheriff,» a non-commissioned officer said, « had requested of the governor that none should be admitted to see the prisoner, excepting his confessor and his sister.»
« And where was Miss Mac-Ivor?» They gave him the direction.
It was the house of a respectable catholic family near Carlisle.
Repulsed from the gate of the castle, and not venturing to make application to the High Sheriff or Judges in his own unpopular name, he had recourse to the solicitor who came down in Fergus's behalf. This gentleman told him, that it was thought the public mind was in danger of being debauched by the account of the last moments of these persons, as given by the friends of the Pretender; that there had been a resolution therefore to exclude all such persons as had not the plea of near kindred for attending upon them. Yet he promised (to oblige the heir of Waverley-Honour) to get him an order for admittance to the prisoner the next morning, before his irons were knocked off for execution.
« Is it of Fergus Mac-Ivor they speak thus,» thought Waverley, «or do I dream? Of Fergus, the bold, the chivalrous, the free-minded? The lofty chieftain of a tribe devoted to him? Is it he, that I have seen lead the chase and head the attack,--the brave, the active, the young, the noble, the love of ladies, and the
theme of song,—Is it he who is ironed like a malefactor? Who is to be dragged on a hurdle to the common gallows; to die a lingering and cruel death, and to be mangled by the hand of the most outcast of wretches? Evil indeed was the spectre, that boded such a fate as this to the brave Chief of Glennaquoich!»
With a faultering voice he requested the solicitor to find means to warn Fergus of his intended visit, should he obtain permission to make it. He then turned away from him, and returning to the inn, wrote a scarce intelligible note to Flora Mac-Ivor, intimating his purpose to wait upon her that evening. The messenger brought back a letter in Flora's beautiful Italian band, which seemed scarce to tremble even under this load of misery. « Miss Flora Mac-Ivor,» the letter bore, « could not refuse to see the dearest friend of her dear brother, even in her present circumstances of unparalleled distress.» When Edward reached Miss Mac-Ivor's
present place of abode, he was instantly admitted. In a large and gloomy tapestried apartment, Flora was seated by a latticed window, sewing what seemed to be a garment of white flannel. At a little distance sat an elderly woman, apparently a foreigner, and of a religious order. She was reading in a book of catholic devotion, but, when Waverley entered, laid it on the table, and left the room.
Flora rose to
receive him, and stretched out her hand, but neither ventured to attempt speech. Her fine complexion was totally gone; her person considerably emaciated; and her face and hands as white as the purest statuary marble, forming a strong contrast with her sable dress and jet-black hair. Yet, amid these marks of distress, there was nothing negligent or illarranged about her dress — even her hair, though totally without ornament, was disposed with her usual attention to neatness. The first words she uttered were, « Have you seen him?»
« Alas, no,» answered Waverley, «I have been refused admittance.»
« It accords with the rest,» she said, « but we must submit. Shall you obtain leave, do you suppose ?»
« For- for-to-morrow?» said Waverley, but muttering the last word so faintly that it was almost unintelligible.
Ay, then or never,” said Flora, « until, » she added, looking upward, « the time when, I trust, we shall all meet. But I hope you will see him while earth yet bears him. He always loved you at his heart, though-but it is vain to talk of the past.» · «Vain indeed!» echoed Waverley.
« Or even of the future, my good friend, so far as earthly events are concerned, for how often have I pictured to myself the strong pos
sibility of this horrid issue, and tasked myself to consider how I could support my part, and yet how far has all my anticipation fallen short of the unimaginable bitterness of this hour?»
a Dear Flora, if your strength of mind»
« Ay, there it is,» she answered, somewhat wildly; « there is, Mr Waverley, there is a busy devil at my heart, that whispers—but it were madness to listen to it—that the strength of mind on which Flora prided herself basmurdered her brother!
« Good God! how can you give utterance to a thought so shocking ?»
« Ay, is it not so? but yet it haunts me like a phantom: 1 know it is unsubstantial and vain; but it will be present; will intrude its horrors on my mind; will whisper, that my brother, as volatile as ardent, would have divided his energies amid an hundred objects. It was I who taught him to centre them, and to gage all on this dreadful and desperate cast. Oh that I could recollect that I had but once said to him, 'He that striketh with the sword shall die by the sword;' that I had but once said, Remain at home, spare yourself, your vassals, your life, for enterprises within the reach of man. But O, Mr Waverley, I spurred his fiery temper, and half of his ruin at least lies with his sister!»
The horrid idea which she had intimated, Edward endeavoured to combat by every