RED CAP TALES
RED CAP TALES
STOLEN FROM THE TREASURE CHEST OF THE WIZARD OF THE NORTH
WHICH THEFT IS HUMBLY ACKNOWLEDGED BY
S. R. CROCKETT
New York THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
LONDON: ADAM AND CHARLES BLACK 1904
COPYRIGHT, 1904, BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY.
Set up and electrotyped. Published September, 1904.
Norwood Press J. S. Cushing & Co.—Berwick & Smith Co. Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.
FOUR CHILDREN WOULD NOT READ SCOTT
SO I told them these stories—and others—to lure them to the printed book, much as carrots are dangled before the nose of the reluctant donkey. They are four average intelligent children enough, but they hold severely modern views upon storybooks. Waverley, in especial, they could not away with. They found themselves stuck upon the very threshold.
Now, since the first telling of these Red Cap Tales, the Scott shelf in the library has been taken by storm and escalade. It is permanently gap-toothed all along the line. Also there are nightly skirmishes, even to the laying on of hands, as to who shall sleep with Waverley under his pillow.
It struck me that there must be many oldsters in the world who, for the sake of their own youth, would like the various Sweethearts who now inhabit their nurseries, to read Sir Walter with the same breathless eagerness as they used to do—how many years agone? It is chiefly for their sakes that I have added several interludes, telling how Sweetheart, Hugh John, Sir Toady Lion, and Maid Margaret received my petty larcenies from the full chest of the Wizard.
At any rate, Red Cap succeeded in one case—why should he not in another? I claim no merit in the telling of the tales, save that, like medicines well sugar-coated, the patients mistook them for candies and—asked for more.
The books are open. Any one can tell Scott's stories over again in his own way. This is mine.
S. R. CROCKETT.
CERTAIN SMALL PHARAOHS THAT KNEW NOT JOSEPH 1
RED CAP TALES FROM "WAVERLEY"
THE FIRST TALE: I. GOOD-BYE TO WAVERLEY-HONOUR 11 II. THE ENCHANTED CASTLE 16 III. THE BARON AND THE BEAR 21 THE FIRST INTERLUDE OF ACTION 28
THE SECOND TALE: I. THE CATTLE-LIFTING 31 II. THE ROBBER'S CAVE 35 THE SECOND INTERLUDE 41
THE THIRD TALE: I. THE CHIEF OF THE MAC-IVORS AND THE CHIEF'S SISTER 46 II. MISFORTUNES NEVER COME SINGLE 55 THE THIRD INTERLUDE—BEING MAINLY A FEW WORDS UPON HEROES 62
THE FOURTH TALE: HERE AND THERE AMONG THE HEATHER 64 INTERLUDE OF STICKING-PLASTER 78
THE FIFTH TALE: THE WHITE COCKADE 81
THE SIXTH TALE: BLACK LOOKS AND BRIGHT SWORDS 94 INTERLUDE OF BREVITY 104
THE LAST TALE: THE BARON'S SURPRISE 105
RED CAP TALES FROM "GUY MANNERING"
WHERE WE TOLD THE SECOND TALE 123
THE FIRST TALE: I. WITCHCRAFT AND WIZARDRY 124 INTERLUDE OF INTERROGATION 140
THE SECOND TALE: I. HAPPY DOMINIE SAMPSON 143 II. DANDIE DINMONT 150 III. IN THE LION'S MOUTH 158 INTERLUDE OF LOCALITY 162
THE THIRD TALE: THE RETURN OF DIRK HATTERAICK 166
THE FOURTH TALE: THE FIGHT IN THE CAVE 185 INTERLUDE OF CONSULTATION 204
RED CAP TALES FROM "ROB ROY"
THE FIRST TALE: FRANK THE HIGHWAYMAN 211 INTERLUDE OF DISCUSSION 236
THE SECOND TALE: I. IN THE TOILS OF RASHLEIGH 241 II. ROB ROY AT LAST 254 III. THE BAILIE FIGHTS WITH FIRE 267 IV. THE DROWNING OF THE SPY 276 INTERLUDE OF EXPOSTULATION 284
THE THIRD TALE: I. IN THE HANDS OF THE PHILISTINES 288 II. THE ESCAPE 294 III. THE DEATH OF RASHLEIGH 307
RED CAP TALES FROM "THE ANTIQUARY" THE FIRST TALE: I. THE MYSTERIOUS MR. LOVEL 326 II. THE NIGHT OF STORM 337 INTERLUDE OF WARNING 352
THE SECOND TALE: I. LOVEL FIGHTS A DUEL 354 II. THE SEEKERS OF TREASURE 370 III. MISTICOT'S GRAVE 377 A QUITE SUPERFLUOUS INTERLUDE 389
THE THIRD TALE: I. THE EARL'S SECRET 396 II. THE MOTHER'S VENGEANCE 400 III. THE HEIR OF GLENALLAN 408
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
BY SIMON HARMON VEDDER
1 Red Cap among the Wizard's treasures Frontispiece
WAVERLEY Facing page 2 In an instant his red cap was off and he was bowing and saluting . . . with . . . extravagant gestures 20 3 So fierce was the attack . . . made on Edward, that the young man was compelled to draw his pistol 66 4 Rose Bradwardine . . . watched him with a sigh on her lip and colour on her cheek 84 5 "Vich Ian Vohr," it said in a dreadful voice, "beware of to-morrow" 102
6 "Ride your ways, Laird of Ellangowan," she cried 136 7 He would stand there transfixed . . . till a serving-maid pulled his skirts to tell him dinner was waiting 150 8 He saw his late companion . . . engaged in deadly combat with a couple of rascals 154 9 Hazlewood snatched the gun from the servant and haughtily ordered Brown to stand back and not to alarm the lady 170
10 He took the lantern . . . and holding it up, proceeded to examine the stern, set countenance of Frank's guide 256 11 The fight between Frank and Rashleigh 266 12 "Stand!" she cried, . . . "and tell me what you seek in Macgregor's country" 278 13 The girl's face, perhaps not altogether unintentionally, touched that of Frank Osbaldistone 300
14 "Turn back! Turn back!" he cried 344 15 Dousterswivel flung himself on his knees 375 16 He lighted his beacon accordingly 410
RED CAP TALES
CERTAIN SMALL PHARAOHS THAT KNEW NOT JOSEPH
IT was all Sweetheart's fault, and this is how it came about.
She and I were at Dryburgh Abbey, sitting quietly on a rustic seat, and looking toward the aisle in which slept the Great Dead. The long expected had happened, and we had made pilgrimage to our Mecca. Yet, in spite of the still beauty of the June day, I could see that a shadow lay upon our Sweetheart's brow.
"Oh, I know he was great," she burst out at last, "and what you read me out of the Life was nice. I like hearing about Sir Walter—but—"
I knew what was coming.
"But what?" I said, looking severely at the ground, so that I might be able to harden my heart against the pathos of Sweetheart's expression.
"But—I can't read the novels—indeed I can't. I have tried Waverley at least twenty times. And as for Rob Roy—"
Even the multiplication table failed here, and at this, variously a-sprawl on the turf beneath, the smaller fry giggled.
"Course," said Hugh John, who was engaged in eating grass like an ox, "we know it is true about Rob Roy. She read us one whole volume, and there wasn't no Rob Roy, nor any fighting in it. So we pelted her with fir-cones to make her stop and read over Treasure Island to us instead!"
"Yes, though we had heard it twenty times already," commented Sir Toady Lion, trying his hardest to pinch his brother's legs on the sly.
"Books wifout pictures is silly!" said a certain Maid Margaret, a companion new to the honourable company, who was weaving daisy-chains, her legs crossed beneath her, Turk fashion. In literature she had got as far as words of one syllable, and had a poor opinion even of them.
"I had read all Scott's novels long before I was your age," I said reprovingly.
The children received this announcement with the cautious silence with which every rising generation listens to the experiences of its elders when retailed by way of odious comparison.
"Um-m!" said Sir Toady, the licensed in speech; "we know all that. Oh, yes; and you didn't like fruit, and you liked medicine in a big spoon, and eating porridge and—"
"Oh, we know—we know!" cried all the others in chorus. Whereupon I informed them what would have happened to us thirty years ago if we had ventured to address our parents in such fashion. But Sweetheart, with the gravity of her age upon her, endeavoured to raise the discussion to its proper level.
"Scott writes such a lot before you get at the story," she objected, knitting her brows; "why couldn't he just have begun right away?"
"With Squire Trelawney and Dr. Livesey drawing at their pipes in the oak-pannelled dining room, and Black Dog outside the door, and Pew coming tapping along the road with his stick!" cried Hugh John, turning off a sketchy synopsis of his favourite situations in fiction.
"Now that's what I call a proper book!" said Sir Toady, hastily rolling himself out of the way of being kicked. (For with these unusual children, the smooth ordinary upper surfaces of life covered a constant succession of private wars and rumours of wars, which went on under the table at meals, in the schoolroom, and even, it is whispered, in church.)
As for blithe Maid Margaret, she said nothing, for she was engaged in testing the capacities of a green slope of turf for turning somersaults upon.
"In Sir Walter Scott's time," I resumed gravely, "novels were not written for little girls—"
"Then why did you give us Miss Edgeworth to read?" said Sweetheart, quickly. But I went on without noticing the interruption, "Now, if you like, I will tell you some of Sir Walter's stories over again, and then I will mark in your own little edition the chapters you can read for yourselves."
The last clause quieted the joyous shout which the promise of a story—any sort of a story—had called forth. An uncertain look crept over their faces, as if they scented afar off that abomination of desolation—"lessons in holiday time."
"Must we read the chapters?" said Hugh John, unhopefully.
"Tell us the stories, anyway, and leave it to our honour!" suggested Sir Toady Lion, with a twinkle in his eye.
"Is it a story—oh, don't begin wifout me!" Maid Margaret called from behind the trees, her sturdy five-year-old legs carrying her to the scene of action so fast that her hat fell off on the grass and she had to turn back for it.
"Well, I will tell you, if I can, the story of 'Waverley,'" I said.
"Was he called after the pens?" said Toady Lion the irreverent, but under his breath. He was, however, promptly kicked into silence by his peers—seriously this time, for he who interferes with the telling of a story is a "Whelk,"—which, for the moment, is the family word for whatever is base, mean, unprofitable, and unworthy of being associated with.
But first I told them about the writing of Waverley, and the hand at the Edinburgh back window which wrote and wrote. Only that, but the story as told by Lockhart had affected my imagination as a boy.
"Did you ever hear of the Unwearied Hand?" I asked them.
"It sounds a nice title," said Sir Toady; "had he only one?"
"It was in the early summer weather of 1814," I began, "after a dinner in a house in George Street, that a young man, sitting at the wine with his companions, looked out of the window, and, turning pale, asked his next neighbour to change seats with him.
"'There it is—at it again!' he said, with a thump of his fist on thetable that made the decanters jump, and clattered the glasses; 'it has haunted me every night these three weeks. Just when I am lifting my glass I look through the window, and there it is at it—writing—writing—always writing!'
"So the young men, pressing about, looked eagerly, and lo! seen through the back window of a house in a street built at right angles, they saw the shape of a man's hand writing swiftly, steadily, on large quarto pages. As soon as one was finished, it was added to a pile which grew and grew, rising, as it were, visibly before their eyes.
"'It goes on like that all the time, even after the candles are lit,' said the young man, 'and it makes me ashamed. I get no peace for it when I am not at my books. Why cannot the man do his work without making others uncomfortable?'
"Perhaps some of the company may have thought it was not a man at all, but some prisoned fairy tied to an endless task—Wizard Michael's familiar spirit, or Lord Soulis's imp Red Cap doing his master's bidding with a goose-quill.
"But it was something much more wonderful than any of these. It was the hand of Walter Scott finishing Waverley, at the rate of a volume every ten days!"
"Why did he work so hard?" demanded Hugh John, whom the appearance of fifty hands diligently writing would not have annoyed—no, not if they had all worked like sewing-machines.
"Because," I answered, "the man who wrote Waverley was beginning to have more need of money. He had bought land. He was involved in other people's misfortunes. Besides, for a long time, he had been a great poet, and now of late there had arisen a greater."
"I know," cried Sweetheart, "Lord Byron—but I don't think he was."
"Anyway Fitzjames and Roderick Dhu is ripping!" announced Hugh John, and, rising to his feet, he whistled shrill in imitation of the outlaw. It was the time to take the affairs of children at the fulness of the tide.
"I think," I ventured, "that you would like the story of Waverley if I were to tell it now. I know you will like Rob Roy. Which shall it be first?"
Then there were counter-cries of "Waverley" and "Rob Roy"—all the fury of a contested election. But Sweetheart, waiting till the brawlers were somewhat breathed, indicated the final sense of the meeting by saying quietly, "Tell us the one the hand was writing!"
RED CAP TALES
THE FIRST TALE FROM "WAVERLEY"
I. GOOD-BYE TO WAVERLEY-HONOUR
ON a certain Sunday evening, toward the middle of the eighteenth century, a young man stood practising the guards of the broadsword in the library of an old English manor-house. The young man was Captain Edward Waverley, recently assigned to the command of a company in Gardiner's regiment of dragoons, and his uncle was coming in to say a few words to him before he set out to join the colours.
Being a soldier and a hero, Edward Waverley was naturally tall and handsome, but, owing to the manner of his education, his uncle, an high Jacobite of the old school, held that he was "somewhat too bookish" for a proper man. He must therefore see a little of the world, asserted old Sir Everard.
His Aunt Rachel had another reason for wishing him to leave Waverley-Honour. She had actually observed her Edward look too often across at the Squire's pew in church! Now Aunt Rachel held it no wrong to look at Squire Stubbs's pew if only that pew had been empty. But it was (oh, wickedness!) just when it contained the dear old-fashioned sprigged gown and the fresh pretty face of Miss Cecilia Stubbs, that Aunt Rachel's nephew looked most often in that direction. In addition to which the old lady was sure she had observed "that little Celie Stubbs" glance over at her handsome Edward in a way that—well, when she was young! And here the old lady bridled and tossed her head, and the words which her lips formed themselves to utter (though she was too ladylike to speak them) were obviously "The Minx!" Hence it was clear to the most simple and unprejudiced that a greater distance had better be put between the Waverley loft and the Squire's pew—and that as soon as possible.
Edward's uncle, Sir Everard, had wished him to travel abroad in company with his tutor, a staunch Jacobite clergyman by the name of Mr. Pembroke. But to this Edward's father, who was a member of the government, unexpectedly refused his sanction. Now Sir Everard despised his younger brother as a turncoat (and indeed something little better than a spy), but he could not gainsay a father's authority, even though he himself had brought the boy up to be his heir.
"I am willing that you should be a soldier," he said to Edward; "your ancestors have always been of that profession. Be brave like them, but not rash. Remember you are the last of the Waverleys and the hope of the house. Keep no company with gamblers, with rakes, or with Whigs. Do your duty to God, to the Church of England, and—" He was going to say "to the King," when he remembered that by his father's wish Edward was going to fight the battles of King George. So the old Jacobite finished off rather lamely by repeating, "to the Church of England and all constituted authorities!"
Then the old man, not trusting himself to say more, broke off abruptly and went down to the stables to choose the horses which were to carry Edward to the north. Finally, he delivered into the hands of his nephew an important letter addressed as follows:—
"To Cosmo Comyne Bradwardine, Esquire of Bradwardine, at his principal mansion of Tully-Veolan in Perthshire, North Britain,—These.—"
For that was the dignified way in which men of rank directed their letters in those days.
The leave-taking of Mr. Pembroke, Edward's tutor, was even longer and more solemn. And had Edward attended in the least to his moralisings, he might have felt somewhat depressed. In conclusion, the good clergyman presented him with several pounds of foolscap, closely written over in a neat hand.
"These," he said, handling the sheets reverently, "are purposely written small that they may be convenient to keep by you in your saddle-bags. They are my works—my unpublished works. They will teach you the real fundamental principles of the Church, principles concerning which, while you have been my pupil, I have been under obligation never to speak to you. But now as you read them, I doubt not but that the light will come upon you! At all events, I have cleared my conscience."
Edward, in the quiet of his chamber, glanced at the heading of the first: A Dissent from Dissenters or the Comprehension Confuted. He felt the weight and thickness of the manuscript, and promptly confuted their author by consigning the package to that particular corner of his travelling trunk where he was least likely to come across it again.
On the other hand, his Aunt Rachel warned him with many head-shakings against the forwardness of the ladies whom he would meet with in Scotland (where she had never been). Then, more practically, she put into his hand a purse of broad gold pieces, and set on his finger a noble diamond ring.
As for Miss Celie Stubbs, she came to the Waverley church on the last day before his departure, arrayed in all her best and newest clothes, mighty fine with hoops, patches, and silks everywhere. But Master Edward, who had his uniform on for the first time, his gold-laced hat beside him on the cushion, his broadsword by his side, and his spurs on his heels, hardly once looked at the Squire's pew. At which neglect little Celie pouted somewhat at the time, but since within six months she was married to Jones, the steward's son at Waverley-Honour, with whom she lived happy ever after, we may take it that her heart could not have been very deeply touched by Edward's inconstancy.
* * * * *
[As a suitable first taste of the original I now read to my audience from a pocket Waverley, Chapter the Sixth, "The Adieus of Waverley." It was listened to on the whole with more interest than I had hoped for. It was an encouraging beginning. But Sir Toady, always irrepressible, called out a little impatiently: "That's enough about him. Now tell us what he did!" And this is how I endeavoured to obey.]
II. THE ENCHANTED CASTLE
Edward Waverley found his regiment quartered at Dundee in Scotland, but, the time being winter and the people of the neighbourhood not very fond of the "red soldiers," he did not enjoy the soldiering life so much as he had expected. So, as soon as the summer was fairly come, he asked permission to visit the Castle of Bradwardine, in order to pay his respects to his uncle's friend.
It was noon of the second day after setting out when Edward Waverley arrived at the village of Tully-Veolan to which he was bound. Never before had he seen such a place. For, at his uncle's house of Waverley-Honour, the houses of villagers, all white and neat, stood about a village green, or lurked ancient and ivy-grown under the shade of great old park trees. But the turf-roofed hovels of Tully-Veolan, with their low doors supported on either side by all too intimate piles of peat and rubbish, appeared to the young Englishman hardly fit for human beings to live in. Indeed, from the hordes of wretched curs which barked after the heels of his horse, Edward might have supposed them meant to serve as kennels—save, that is, for the ragged urchins who sprawled in the mud of the road and the old women who, distaff in hand, dashed out to rescue them from being trampled upon by Edward's charger.
Passing gardens as full of nettles as of pot-herbs, and entering between a couple of gate-posts, each crowned by the image of a rampant bear, the young soldier at last saw before him, at the end of an avenue, the steep roofs and crow-stepped gable ends of Bradwardine, half dwelling-house, half castle. Here Waverley dismounted, and, giving his horse to the soldier-servant who had accompanied him, he entered a court in which no sound was to be heard save the plashing of a fountain. He saw the door of a tall old mansion before him. Going up he raised the knocker, and instantly the echoes resounded through the empty house. But no one came to answer. The castle appeared uninhabited, the court a desert. Edward glanced about him, half expecting to be hailed by some ogre or giant, as adventurers used to be in the fairy tales he had read in childhood. But instead he only saw all sorts of bears, big and little, climbing (as it seemed) on the roof, over the windows, and out upon the ends of the gables—while over the door at which he had been vainly knocking he read in antique lettering the motto, "BEWAR THE BAR." But all these bruins were of stone, and each one of them kept as still and silent as did everything else about this strange mansion—except, that is, the fountain, which, behind him in the court, kept up its noisy splashing.
Feeling, somehow, vaguely uncomfortable, Edward Waverley crossed the court into a garden, green and pleasant, but to the full as solitary as the castle court. Here again he found more bears, all sitting up in rows on their haunches, on parapets and along terraces, as if engaged in looking at the view. He wandered up and down, searching for some one to whom to speak, and had almost made up his mind that he had found a real enchanted Castle of Silence, when in the distance he saw a figure approaching up one of the green walks. There was something uncouth and strange about the way the newcomer kept waving his hands over his head—then, for no apparent reason, flapping them across his breast like a groom on a frosty day, hopping all the time first on one foot and then on the other. Tiring of this way of getting over the ground, he would advance by standing leaps, keeping both feet together. The only thing he seemed quite incapable of doing was to use his feet, one after the other, as ordinary people do when they are walking. Indeed, this strange guardian of the enchanted castle of Bradwardine looked like a gnome or fairy dwarf. For he was clad in an old-fashioned dress of grey, slashed with scarlet. On his legs were scarlet stockings and on his head a scarlet cap, which in its turn was surmounted by a turkey's feather.
He came along dancing and singing in jerks and snatches, till, suddenly looking up from the ground, he saw Edward. In an instant his red cap was off, and he was bowing and saluting, and again saluting and bowing, with, if possible, still more extravagant gestures than before. Edward asked this curious creature if the Baron Bradwardine were at home, and what was his astonishment to be instantly answered in rhyme:
"The Knight's to the mountain His bugle to wind; The Lady's to greenwood Her garland to bind. The bower of Burd Ellen Has moss on the floor, That the step of Lord William, Be silent and sure."
This was impressive enough, surely; but, after all, it did not tell young Captain what he wanted to know. So he continued to question the strange wight, and finally, after eliciting many unintelligible sounds, was able to make out the single word "butler."
Pouncing upon this, Edward commanded the Unknown to lead him instantly to the butler.
Nothing loath, the fool danced and capered on in front, and, at a turning of the path, they found an old man, who seemed by his dress to be half butler, half gardener, digging diligently among the flower beds. Upon seeing Captain Waverley, he let drop his spade, undid his green apron, frowning all the time at Edward's guide for bringing his master's guest upon him without warning, to find him digging up the earth like a common labourer. But the Bradwardine butler had an explanation ready.
His Honour was with the folk, getting down the Black Hag (so he confided to Edward). The two gardener lads had been ordered to attend his Honour. So in order to amuse himself, he, the majordomo of Bradwardine, had been amusing himself with dressing Miss Rose's flower beds. It was but seldom that he found time for such like, though personally he was very fond of garden work.
"He cannot get it wrought in more than two days a week, at no rate whatever!" put in the scarecrow in the red cap and the turkey feather.
"Go instantly and find his Honour at the Black Hag," cried the majordomo of Bradwardine, wrathful at this interference, "and tell him that there is a gentleman come from England waiting him at the Hall."
"Can this poor fellow deliver a letter?" Edward asked doubtfully.
"With all fidelity, sir," said the butler, "that is, to any one whom he respects. After all, he is more knave than fool. We call the innocent Davie Dolittle, though his proper name is Davie Gellatley. But the truth is, that since my young mistress, Miss Rose Bradwardine, took a fancy to dress him up in fine clothes, the creature cannot be got to do a single hand's turn of work. But here comes Miss Rose herself. Glad will she be to welcome one of the name of Waverley to her father's house!"
III. THE BARON AND THE BEAR
Rose Bradwardine was still quite young. Scarce did the tale of her years number seventeen, but already she was noted over all the countryside as a pretty girl, with a skin like snow, and hair that glistened like pale gold when the light fell upon it. Living so far from society, she was naturally not a little shy. But as soon as her first feeling of bashfulness was over, Rose spoke freely and brightly. Edward and she, however, had but little time to be alone together. For it was not long before the Baron of Bradwardine appeared, striding toward them as if he had possessed himself of the giant's seven-league boots. Bradwardine was a tall, thin, soldierly man, who in his time had seen much of the world, and who under a hard and even stern exterior, hid a heart naturally warm.
He was much given to the singing of French songs and to making long and learned Latin quotations. And indeed he quoted Latin, even with the tears standing in his eyes, as he first shook Edward by the hand and then embraced him in the foreign fashion on both cheeks—all to express the immense pleasure it was to receive in his house of Tully-Veolan "a worthy scion of the old stock of Waverley-Honour."
While Miss Rose ran off to make some changes in her dress, the Baron conducted Edward into a hall hung about with pikes and armour. Four or five servants, in old-fashioned livery, received them with honour, the majordomo at their head. The butler-gardener was not to be caught napping a second time.
Bradwardine took Captain Waverley at once into an old dining room all panelled with black oak, round the walls of which hung pictures of former chiefs of the line of Tully-Veolan. Somewhere out-of-doors a bell was ringing to announce the arrival of other guests, and Edward observed with some interest that the table was laid for six people. In such a desolate country it seemed difficult to imagine where they would arrive from.
Upon this point Edward soon received enlightenment. First, there was the Laird of Balmawhapple,—"a discreet young gentleman," said the Baron, "much given to field sports." Next came the Laird of Killancureit, who cultivated his own fields and cared for his own cattle—thereby (quoth the Baron) showing the commonness of his origin. Added to these were a "non-juring" Episcopal minister—that is, one who had refused to take the oaths of allegiance to King George's government, and, last of all, the "Baron-Bailie" or land-steward of Bradwardine, one Mr. Macwheeble.
This last, to show his consciousness of his inferior position, seated himself as far as possible from the table, and as often as he wanted to eat, he bent himself nearly double over his plate, in the shape of a clasp-knife about to shut. When dinner was over, Rose and the clergyman discreetly retired, when, with a sign to the butler, the Baron of Bradwardine produced out of a locked case a golden cup called the Blessed Bear of Bradwardine, in which first the host and then all the company pledged the health of the young English stranger. After a while, the Baron and Edward set out to see their guests a certain distance on their way, going with them down the avenue to the village "change-house" or inn, where Balmawhapple and Killancureit had stabled their horses.
Edward, being weary, would much rather have found himself in bed, but this desertion of good company the Baron would noways allow. So under the low cobwebbed roof of Lucky Macleary's kitchen the four gentlemen sat down to "taste the sweets of the night." But it was not long before the wine began to do its work in their heads. Each one of them, Edward excepted, talked or sang without paying any attention to his fellows. From wine they fell to politics, when Balmawhapple proposed a toast which was meant to put an affront upon the uniform Edward wore, and the King in whose army he served.
"To the little gentleman in black velvet," cried the young Laird, "he who did such service in 1702, and may the white horse break his neck over a mound of his making!"
The "little gentleman in black velvet" was the mole over whose hillock King William's horse is said to have stumbled, while the "white horse" represented the house of Hanover.
Though of a Jacobite family, Edward could not help taking offence at the obvious insult, but the Baron was before him. The quarrel was not his, he assured him. The guest's quarrel was the host's—so long as he remained under his roof.
"Here," quoth the Baron, "I am in loco parentis to you, Captain Waverley. I am bound to see you scatheless. And as for you, Mr. Falconer of Balmawhapple, I warn you to let me see no more aberrations from the paths of good manners."
"And I tell you, Mr. Cosmo Comyne Bradwardine of Bradwardine and Tully-Veolan," retorted the other, in huge disdain, "that I will make a muir cock of the man that refuses my toast, whether he be a crop-eared English Whig wi' a black ribband at his lug, or ane wha deserts his friends to claw favour wi' the rats of Hanover!"
In an instant rapiers were out, and the Baron and Balmawhapple hard at it. The younger man was stout and active, but he was no match for the Baron at the sword-play. And the encounter would not have lasted long, had not the landlady, Lucky Macleary, hearing the well-known clash of swords, come running in on them, crying that surely the gentlemen would not bring dishonour on an honest widow-woman's house, when there was all the lee land in the country to do their fighting upon.
So saying, she stopped the combat very effectually by flinging her plaid over the weapons of the adversaries.
* * * * *
Next morning Edward awoke late, and in no happy frame of mind. It was an age of duels, and with his first waking thoughts there came the memory of the insult which had been passed upon him by the Laird of Balmawhapple. His position as an officer and a Waverley left him no alternative but to send that sportsman a challenge. Upon descending, he found Rose Bradwardine presiding at the breakfast table. She was alone, but Edward felt in no mood for conversation, and sat gloomy, silent, and ill-content with himself and with circumstances. Suddenly he saw the Baron and Balmawhapple pass the window arm in arm, and the next moment the butler summoned him to speak with his master in another apartment.
There he found Balmawhapple, no little sulky and altogether silent, with the Baron by his side. The latter in his capacity of mediator made Edward a full and complete apology for the events of the past evening—an apology which the young man gladly accepted along with the hand of the offender—somewhat stiffly given, it is true, owing to the necessity of carrying his right arm in a sling—the result (as Balmawhapple afterwards assured Miss Rose) of a fall from his horse.
It was not till the morning of the second day that Edward learned the whole history of this reconciliation, which had at first been so welcome to him. It was Daft Davie Gellatley, who, by the roguish singing of a ballad, first roused his suspicions that something underlay Balmawhapple's professions of regret for his conduct.
"The young man will brawl at the evening board Heard ye so merry the little birds sing? But the old man will draw at the dawning the sword, And the throstle-cock's head is under his wing."
Edward could see by the sly looks of the Fool that he meant something personal by this, so he plied the butler with questions, and discovered that the Baron had actually fought Balmawhapple on the morning after the insult, and wounded him in the sword-arm!
Here, then, was the secret of the young Laird's unexpected submission and apology. As Davie Gellatley put it, Balmawhapple had been "sent hame wi' his boots full o' bluid!"
THE FIRST INTERLUDE OF ACTION
The tale-telling had at this point to be broken off. Clouds began to spin themselves from Eildon top. Dinner also was in prospect, and, most of all, having heard so much of the tale, the four listeners desired to begin to "play Waverley."
Sweetheart made a stately, if skirted, Bradwardine. Besides, she was in Caesar, and had store of Latin quotations—mostly, it is true, from the examples in the grammar, such as "Illa incedit regina!" Certainly she walked like a queen. Or, as it might be expressed, more fittingly with the character of the Baron in the original:
"Stately stepped she east the wa', And stately stepped she west."
Hugh John considered the hero's part in any story only his due. His only fault with that of Waverley was that so far he had done so little. He specially resented the terrible combat "in the dawning" between the Baron and the overbold Balmawhapple (played by Maid Margaret). Sir Toady Lion as low comedian ("camelion" he called it) performed numerous antics as Daft Davie Gellatley. He had dressed the part to perfection by putting his striped jersey on outside his coat, and sticking in his cricket cap such feathers as he could find.
"Lie down, Hugh John," he cried, in the middle of his dancing and singing round and round the combatants; "why, you are asleep in bed!"
This, according to the authorities, being obvious, the baffled hero had to succumb, with the muttered reflection that "Jim Hawkins wouldn't have had to stay asleep, when there was a fight like that going on!"
Still, however, Hugh John could not restrain the natural rights of criticism. He continually raised his head from his pillow of dried branches to watch Sweetheart and Maid Margaret.
"You fight just like girls," he cried indignantly; "keep your left hand behind you, Bradwardine—or Balmawhapple will hack it off! I say—girls are silly things. You two are afraid of hurting each other. Now me and Toady Lion—"
And he gave details of a late fraternal combat much in the manner of Froissart.
It is to be noted that thus far both Sweetheart and Maid Margaret disdained the female parts, the latter even going the length of saying that she preferred Celie Stubbs, the Squire's daughter at Waverley-Honour, to Rose Bradwardine. On being asked for an explanation of this heresy, she said, "Well, at any rate, Celie Stubbs got a new hat to come to church in!"
* * * * *
And though I read the "Repentance and a Reconciliation" chapter, which makes number Twelve of Waverley, to the combatants, I was conscious that I must hasten on to scenes more exciting if I meant to retain the attention of my small but exacting audience. Furthermore, it was beginning to rain. So, hurriedly breaking off the tale, we drove back to Melrose across the green holms of St. Boswells.
It was after the hour of tea, and the crowd of visitors had ebbed away from the precincts of the Abbey before the tale was resumed. A flat "throuch" stone sustained the narrator, while the four disposed themselves on the sunny grass, in the various attitudes of severe inattention which youth assumes when listening to a story. Sweetheart pored into the depths of a buttercup. Hugh John scratched the freestone of a half-buried tomb with a nail till told to stop. Sir Toady Lion, having a "pinch-bug" coralled in his palms, sat regarding it cautiously between his thumbs. Only Maid Margaret, her dimpled chin on her knuckles, sat looking upward in rapt attention. For her there was no joy like that of a story. Only, she was too young to mind letting the tale-teller know it. That made the difference.
Above our heads the beautiful ruin mounted, now all red gold in the lights, and purple in the shadows, while round and round, and through and through, from highest tower to lowest arch, the swifts shrieked and swooped.
THE SECOND TALE FROM "WAVERLEY"
I. THE CATTLE-LIFTING
NEXT morning (I continued, looking up for inspiration to the pinnacles of Melrose, cut against the clear sky of evening, as sharply as when "John Morow, master mason," looked upon his finished work and found it very good)—next morning, as Captain Edward Waverley was setting out for his morning walk, he found the castle of Bradwardine by no means the enchanted palace of silence he had first discovered. Milkmaids, bare-legged and wild-haired, ran about distractedly with pails and three-legged stools in their hands, crying, "Lord, guide us!" and "Eh, sirs!"
Bailie Macwheeble, mounted on his dumpy, round-barrelled pony, rode hither and thither with half the ragged rascals of the neighbourhood clattering after him. The Baron paced the terrace, every moment glancing angrily up at the Highland hills from under his bushy grey eyebrows.
From the byre-lasses and the Bailie, Edward could obtain no satisfactory explanation of the disturbance. He judged it wiser not to seek it from the angry Baron.
Within-doors, however, he found Rose, who, though troubled and anxious, replied to his questions readily enough.
"There has been a 'creach,' that is, a raid of cattle-stealers from out of the Highland hills," she told him, hardly able to keep back her tears—not, she explained, because of the lost cattle, but because she feared that the anger of her father might end in the slaying of some of the Caterans, and in a blood-feud which would last as long as they or any of their family lived.
"And all because my father is too proud to pay blackmail to Vich Ian Vohr!" she added.
"Is the gentleman with that curious name," said Edward, "a local robber or a thief-taker?"
"Oh, no," Rose laughed outright at his southern ignorance, "he is a great Highland chief and a very handsome man. Ah, if only my father would be friends with Fergus Mac-Ivor, then Tully-Veolan would once again be a safe and happy home. He and my father quarrelled at a county meeting about who should take the first place. In his heat he told my father that he was under his banner and paid him tribute. But it was Bailie Macwheeble who had paid the money without my father's knowledge. And since then he and Vich Ian Vohr have not been friends."
"But what is blackmail?" Edward asked in astonishment. For he thought that such things had been done away with long ago. All this was just like reading an old black-letter book in his uncle's library.
"It is money," Rose explained, "which, if you live near the Highland border, you must pay to the nearest powerful chief—such as Vich Ian Vohr. And then, if your cattle are driven away, all you have to do is just to send him word and he will have them sent back, or others as good in their places. Oh, you do not know how dreadful to be at feud with a man like Fergus Mac-Ivor. I was only a girl of ten when my father and his servants had a skirmish with a party of them, near our home-farm—so near, indeed, that some of the windows of the house were broken by the bullets, and three of the Highland raiders were killed. I remember seeing them brought in and laid on the floor in the hall, each wrapped in his plaid. And next morning their wives and daughters came, clapping their hands and crying the coronach and shrieking—and they carried away the dead bodies, with the pipes playing before them. Oh, I could not sleep for weeks afterward, without starting up, thinking that I heard again these terrible cries."
All this seemed like a dream to Waverley—to hear this young gentle girl of seventeen talk familiarly of dark and bloody deeds, such as even he, a grown man and a soldier, had only imagined—yet which she had seen with her own eyes!
By dinner-time the Baron's mood had grown somewhat less stormy. He seemed for the moment to forget his wounded honour, and was even offering, as soon as the quarrel was made up, to provide Edward with introductions to many powerful northern chiefs, when the door opened, and a Highlander in full costume was shown in by the butler.
"Welcome, Evan Dhu Maccombich!" said the Baron, without rising, and speaking in the manner of a prince receiving an embassy; "what news from Fergus Mac-Ivor Vich Ian Vohr?"
The ambassador delivered a courteous greeting from the Highland chief. "Fergus Mac-Ivor (he said) was sorry for the cloud that hung between him and his ancient friend. He hoped that the Baron would be sorry too—and that he should say so. More than this he did not ask."
This the Baron readily did, drinking to the health of the chief of the Mac-Ivors, while Evan Maccombich in turn drank prosperity to the house of Bradwardine.
II. THE ROBBER'S CAVE
Then these high matters being finished, the Highlander retired with Bailie Macwheeble, doubtless to arrange with him concerning the arrears of blackmail. But of that the Baron was supposed to know nothing. This done, the Highlander began to ask all about the party which had driven off the cattle, their appearance, whence they had come, and in what place they had last been seen. Edward was much interested by the man's shrewd questions and the quickness with which he arrived at his conclusions. While on his part Evan Dhu was so flattered by the evident interest of the young Englishman, that he invited him to "take a walk with him into the mountains in search of the cattle," promising him that if the matter turned out as he expected, he would take Edward to such a place as he had never seen before and might never have a chance of seeing again.
Waverley accepted with eager joy, and though Rose Bradwardine turned pale at the idea, the Baron, who loved boldness in the young, encouraged the adventure. He gave Edward a young gamekeeper to carry his pack and to be his attendant, so that he might make the journey with fitting dignity.
Through a great pass, full of rugged rocks and seamed with roaring torrents—indeed, the very pass of Bally-Brough in which the reivers had last been spied—across weary and dangerous morasses, where Edward had perforce to spring from tuft to tussock of coarse grass, Evan Dhu led our hero into the depths of the wild Highland country,—where no Saxon foot trod or dared to tread without the leave of Vich Ian Vohr, as the chief's foster-brother took occasion to inform Edward more than once.
By this time night was coming on, and Edward's attendant was sent off with one of Evan Dhu's men, that they might find a place to sleep in, while Evan himself pushed forward to warn the supposed cattle-stealer, one Donald Bean Lean, of the party's near approach. For, as Evan Dhu said, the Cateran might very naturally be startled by the sudden appearance of a sidier roy—or red soldier—in the very place of his most secret retreat.
Edward was thus left alone with the single remaining Highlander, from whom, however, he could obtain no further information as to his journey's end—save that, as the Sassenach was somewhat tired, Donald Bean might possibly send the currach for him.
Edward wished much to know whether the currach was a horse, a cart, or a chaise. But in spite of all his efforts, he could get no more out of the man with the Lochaber axe than the words repeated over and over again, "Aich aye, ta currach! Aich aye, ta currach!"
However, after stumbling on a little farther, they came out on the shores of a loch, and the guide, pointing through the darkness in the direction of a little spark of light far away across the water, said, "Yon's ta cove!" Almost at the same moment the dash of oars was heard, and a shrill whistle came to their ears out of the darkness. This the Highlander answered, and a boat appeared in which Edward was soon seated, and on his way to the robber's cave.
The light, which at first had been no bigger than a rush-light, grew rapidly larger, glowing red (as it seemed) upon the very bosom of the lake. Cliffs began to rise above their heads, hiding the moon. And, as the boat rapidly advanced, Edward could make out a great fire kindled on the shore, into which dark mysterious figures were busily flinging pine branches. The fire had been built on a narrow ledge at the opening of a great black cavern, into which an inlet of the loch seemed to advance. The men rowed straight for this black entrance. Then, letting the boat run on with shipped oars, the fire was soon passed and left behind, and the cavern entered through a great rocky arch. At the foot of some natural steps the boat stopped. The beacon brands which had served to guide them were thrown hissing into the water, and Edward found himself lifted out of the boat by brawny arms and carried almost bodily into the depths of the cavern. Presently, however, he was allowed to walk, though still guided on either side, when suddenly at a turn of the rock passage, the cave opened out, and Edward found the famous Cateran, Donald Bean Lean, and his whole establishment plain before his eyes.
The cavern was lit with pine torches, and about a charcoal fire five or six Highlanders were seated, while in the dusk behind several others slumbered, wrapped in their plaids. In a large recess to one side were seen the carcasses of both sheep and cattle, hung by the heels as in a butcher's shop, some of them all too evidently the spoils of the Baron of Bradwardine's flocks and herds.
The master of this strange dwelling came forward to welcome Edward, while Evan Dhu stood by his side to make the necessary introductions. Edward had expected to meet with a huge savage warrior in the captain of such banditti, but to his surprise he found Donald Bean Lean to be a little man, pale and insignificant in appearance, and not even Highland in dress. For at one time Donald had served in the French army. So now, instead of receiving Edward in his national costume, he had put on an old blue-and-red foreign uniform, in which he made so strange a figure that, though it was donned in his honour, his visitor had hard work to keep from laughing. Nor was the freebooter's conversation more in accord with his surroundings. He talked much of Edward's family and connections, and especially of his uncle's Jacobite politics—on which last account, he seemed inclined to welcome the young man with more cordiality than, as a soldier of King George, Edward felt to be his due. The scene which followed was, however, better fitted to the time and place.
At a half-savage feast Edward had the opportunity of tasting steaks fresh cut from some of the Baron's cattle, broiled on the coals before his eyes, and washed down with draughts of Highland whiskey.
Yet in spite of the warmth of his welcome, there was something very secret and unpleasant about the shifty cunning glance of this little robber-chief, who seemed to know so much about the royal garrisons, and even about the men of Edward's own troop whom he had brought with him from Waverley-Honour.
When at last they were left alone together, Evan Dhu having lain down in his plaid, the little captain of cattle-lifters asked Captain Waverley in a very significant manner, "if he had nothing particular to say to him."
Edward, a little startled at the tone in which the question was put, answered that he had no other reason for coming to the cave but a desire to see so strange a dwelling-place.
For a moment Donald Bean Lean looked him full in the face, as if waiting for something more, and then, with a nod full of meaning, he muttered: "You might as well have confided in me. I am as worthy of trust as either the Baron of Bradwardine or Vich Ian Vohr! But you are equally welcome to my house!"
His heather bed, the flickering of the fire, the smoking torches, and the movement of the wild outlaws going and coming about the cave, soon, however, diverted Waverley's thoughts from the mysterious words of his host. His eyelids drew together, nor did he reopen them till the morning sun, reflected from the lake, was filling all the cave with a glimmering twilight.
THE SECOND INTERLUDE
As soon as this part of the tale was finished, the audience showed much greater eagerness to enter immediately upon the acting of Donald Bean Lean's cattle-raid, and its consequences, than it had previously displayed as to the doings of Edward Waverley.
As Hugh John admitted, this was "something like!" The Abbey precincts were instantly filled with the mingled sounds characteristic of all well-conducted forays, and it was well indeed that the place was wholly deserted. For the lowings of the driven cattle, the shouts of the triumphant Highlanders, the deep rage of the Baron, stalking to and fro wrapped in his cloak on the Castle terrace, might well have astonished the crowd which in these summer days comes from the four corners of the world "to view fair Melrose aright."
It was not till the edge had worn off their first enthusiasm, that it became possible to collect them again in order to read "The Hold of a Highland Robber," which makes Chapter Seventeenth of Waverley itself. And the reading so fired the enthusiasm of Sweetheart that she asked for the book to take to bed with her. The boys were more practical, though equally enthusiastic.
"Wait till we get home," cried Hugh John, cracking his fingers and thumbs. "I know a proper place for Donald Bean Lean's cave."
"And I," said Sir Toady Lion, "will light a fire by the pond and toss the embers into the water. It will be jolly to hear 'em hiss, I tell you!"
"But what," asked Maid Margaret, "shall we do for the cattle and sheep that were hanging by the heels, when Edward went into Donald Bean Lean's cave?"
"Why, we will hang you up by the heels and cut slices off you!" said Sir Toady, with frowning truculence.
Whereat the little girl, a little solemnised, began to edge away from the dangerous neighbourhood of such a pair of young cannibals. Sweetheart reproached her brothers for inventing calumnies against their countrymen.
"Even the Highlanders were never so wicked," she objected; "they did not eat one another."
"Well, anyway," retorted Sir Toady Lion, unabashed, "Sawney Bean did. Perhaps he was a cousin of Donald's, though in the history it says that he came from East Lothian."
"Yes," cried Hugh John, "and in an old book written in Latin it says (father read it to us) that one of his little girls was too young to be executed with the rest on the sands of Leith. So the King sent her to be brought up by kind people, where she was brought up without knowing anything of her father, the cannibal, and her mother, the cannibaless—"
"Oh," cried Sweetheart, who knew what was coming, putting up her hands over her ears, "please don't tell that dreadful story all over again."
"Father read it out of a book—so there!" cried Sir Toady, implacably, "go on, Hugh John!"
"And so when this girl was about as big as Sweetheart, and, of course, could not remember her grandfather's nice cave or the larder where the arms and legs were hung up to dry in the smoke—"
"Oh, you horrid boy!" cried Sweetheart, not, however, removing herself out of ear-shot—because, after all, it was nice to shiver just a little.
"Oh, yes, and I have seen the cave," cried Sir Toady, "it is on the shore near Ballantrae—a horrid place. Go on, Hugh John, tell about Sawney Bean's grandchild!"
"Well, she grew up and up, playing with dolls just like other girls, till she was old enough to be sent out to service. And after she had been a while about the house to which she went, it was noticed that some of the babies in the neighbourhood began to go a-missing, and they found—"
"I think she was a nursemaid!" interrupted Sir Toady, dispassionately. "That must have been it. The little wretches cried—so she ate them!"
"Oh," cried Sweetheart, stopping her ears with her fingers, "don't tell us what they found—I believe you made it all up, anyway."
"No, I didn't," cried Hugh John, shouting in her ear as if to a very deaf person, "it was father who read it to us, out of a big book with fat black letters. So it must be true!"
Sir Toady was trying to drag away his sister's arms that she might have the benefit of details, when I appeared in the distance. Whereupon Hugh John, who felt his time growing limited, concluded thus, "And when they were taking the girl away to hang her, the minister asked her why she had killed the babies, and she answered him, 'If people only knew how good babies were—especially little girls—there would not be one left between Forth and Solway!'"
Then quite unexpectedly Maid Margaret began to sob bitterly.
"They shan't hang me up and eat me," she cried, running as hard as she could and flinging herself into my arms; "Hugh John and Sir Toady say they will, as soon as we get home."
Happily I had a light cane of a good vintage in my hand, and it did not take long to convince the pair of young scamps of the inconvenience of frightening their little sister. Sweetheart looked on approvingly as two forlorn young men were walked off to a supper, healthfully composed of plain bread and butter, and washed down by some nice cool water from the pump.
"I told you!" she said, "you wouldn't believe me."
All the same she was tender-hearted enough to convey a platter of broken meats secretly up to their "condemned cell," as I knew from finding the empty plate under their washstand in the morning. And as Maid Margaret was being carried off to be bathed and comforted, a Voice, passing their door, threatened additional pains and penalties to little boys who frightened their sisters.
"It was all in a book," said Hugh John, defending himself from under the bedclothes, "father read it to us!"
"We did it for her good," suggested Sir Toady.
"If I hear another word out of you—" broke in the Voice; and then added, "go to sleep this instant!"
The incident of the cave had long been forgotten and forgiven, before I could continue the story of Waverley in the cave of Donald Bean Lean. We sat once more "in oor ain hoose at hame," or rather outside it, near a certain pleasant chalet in a wood, from which place you can see a brown and turbulent river running downward to the sea.
THE THIRD TALE FROM "WAVERLEY"
I. THE CHIEF OF THE MAC-IVORS AND THE CHIEF'S SISTER
WHEN Edward awoke next morning, he could not for a moment remember where he was. The cave was deserted. Only the grey ashes of the fire, a few gnawed bones, and an empty keg remained to prove that he was still on the scene of last night's feast. He went out into the sunlight. In a little natural harbour the boat was lying snugly moored. Farther out, on a rocky spit, was the mark of last night's beacon-fire. Here Waverley had to turn back. Cliffs shut him in on every side, and Edward was at a loss what to do, till he discovered, climbing perilously out in the rock above the cave mouth, some slight steps or ledges. These he mounted with difficulty, and, passing over the shoulder of the cliff, found himself presently on the shores of a loch about four miles long, surrounded on every side by wild heathery mountains.
In the distance he could see a man fishing and a companion watching him. By the Lochaber axe which the latter carried Edward recognised the fisher as Evan Dhu. On a stretch of sand under a birch tree, a girl was laying out a breakfast of milk, eggs, barley bread, fresh butter, and honeycomb. She was singing blithely, yet she must have had to travel far that morning to collect such dainties in so desolate a region.
This proved to be Alice, the daughter of Donald Bean Lean, and it is nothing to her discredit that she had made herself as pretty as she could, that she might attend upon the handsome young Englishman. All communication, however, had to be by smiles and signs, for Alice spoke no English. Nevertheless she set out her dainties with right good-will, and then seated herself on a stone a little distance away to watch for an opportunity of serving the young soldier.
Presently Evan Dhu came up with his catch, a fine salmon-trout, and soon slices of the fish were broiling on the wood embers. After breakfast, Alice gathered what was left into a wicker basket, and, flinging her plaid about her, presented her cheek to Edward for "the stranger's kiss." Evan Dhu made haste to secure a similar privilege, but Alice sprang lightly up the bank out of his reach, and with an arch wave of her hand to Edward she disappeared.
Then Evan Dhu led Edward back to the boat. The three men embarked, and after emerging from the mouth of the cavern, a clumsy sail was hoisted, and they bore away up the lake—Evan Dhu all the time loud in the praises of Alice Bean Lean.
Edward said that it was a pity that such a maiden should be the daughter of a common thief. But this Evan hotly denied. According to Evan, Donald Bean Lean, though indeed no reputable character, was far from being a thief. A thief was one who stole a cow from a poor cotter, but he who lifted a drove from a Sassenach laird was "a gentleman drover."
"But he would be hanged, all the same, if he were caught!" objected Edward. "I do not see the difference."
"To be sure, he would die for the law, as many a pretty man has done before him," cried Evan. "And a better death than to die, lying on damp straw in yonder cave like a mangy tyke!"
"And what," Edward suggested, "would become of pretty Alice then?"
"Alice is both canny and fendy," said the bold Evan Dhu, with a cock of his bonnet, "and I ken nocht to hinder me to marry her mysel'!"
Edward laughed and applauded the Highlander's spirit, but asked also as to the fate of the Baron of Bradwardine's cattle.
"By this time," said Evan, "I warrant they are safe in the pass of Bally-Brough and on their road back to Tully-Veolan. And that is more than a regiment of King George's red soldiers could have brought about!"
Evan Dhu had indeed some reason to be proud.
Reassured as to this, Edward accompanied his guide with more confidence toward the castle of Vich Ian Vohr. The "five miles Scots" seemed to stretch themselves out indefinitely, but at last the figure of a hunter, equipped with gun, dogs, and a single attendant, was seen far across the heath.
"Shogh," said the man with the Lochaber axe, "tat's the Chief!"
Evan Dhu, who had boasted of his master's great retinue, denied it fiercely.
"The Chief," he said, "would not come out with never a soul with him but Callum Beg, to meet with an English gentleman."
But in spite of this prophecy, the Chief of Clan Ivor it was. Fergus Mac-Ivor, whom his people called Vich Ian Vohr, was a young man of much grace and dignity, educated in France, and of a strong, secret, and turbulent character, which by policy he hid for the most part under an appearance of courtesy and kindness. He had long been mustering his clan in secret, in order once more to take a leading part in another attempt to dethrone King George, and to set on the throne of Britain either the Chevalier St. George or his son Prince Charles.
When Waverley and the Chief approached the castle—a stern and rugged pile, surrounded by walls, they found a large body of armed Highlanders drawn up before the gate.
"These," said Vich Ian Vohr, carelessly, "are a part of the clan whom I ordered out, to see that they were in a fit state to defend the country in such troublous times. Would Captain Waverley care to see them go through part of their exercise?"
Thereupon the men, after showing their dexterity at drill, and their fine target-shooting, divided into two parties, and went through the incidents of a battle—the charge, the combat, the flight, and the headlong pursuit—all to the sound of the great warpipes.
Edward asked why, with so large a force, the Chief did not at once put down such robber bands as that of Donald Bean Lean.
"Because," said the Chief, bitterly, "if I did, I should at once be summoned to Stirling Castle to deliver up the few broadswords the government has left us. I should gain little by that. But there is dinner," he added, as if anxious to change the subject, "let me show you the inside of my rude mansion."
The long and crowded dinner-table to which Edward sat down, told of the Chief's immense hospitality. After the meal, healths were drunk, and the bard of the clan recited a wild and thrilling poem in Gaelic—of which, of course, Edward could not understand so much as one word, though it excited the clansmen so that they sprang up in ecstasy, many of them waving their arms about in sympathy with the warlike verses. The Chief, exactly in the ancient manner, presented a silver cup full of wine to the minstrel. He was to drink the one and keep the other for himself.
After a few more toasts, Vich Ian Vohr offered to take Waverley up to be presented to his sister. They found Flora Mac-Ivor in her parlour, a plain and bare chamber with a wide prospect from the windows. She had her brother's dark curling hair, dark eyes, and lofty expression, but her expression seemed sweeter, though not, perhaps, softer. She was, however, even more fiercely Jacobite than her brother, and her devotion to "the King over the Water" (as they called King James) was far more unselfish than that of Vich Ian Vohr. Flora Mac-Ivor had been educated in a French convent, yet now she gave herself heart and soul to the good of her wild Highland clan and to the service of him whom she looked on as the true King.
She was gracious to Edward, and at the request of Fergus, told him the meaning of the war-song he had been listening to in the hall. She was, her brother said, famed for her translations from Gaelic into English, but for the present she could not be persuaded to recite any of these to Edward.
He had better fortune, however, when, finding Flora Mac-Ivor in a wild spot by a waterfall, she sang him, to the accompaniment of a harp, a song of great chiefs and their deeds which fired the soul of the young man. He could not help admiring—he almost began to love her from that moment.
After this reception, Edward continued very willingly at Glennaquoich—both because of his growing admiration for Flora, and because his curiosity increased every day as to this wild race, and the life so different from all that he had hitherto known. Nothing occurred for three weeks to disturb his pleasant dreams, save the chance discovery, made when he was writing a letter to the Baron, that he had somehow lost his seal with the arms of Waverley, which he wore attached to his watch. Flora was inclined to blame Donald Bean Lean for the theft, but the Chief scouted the idea. It was impossible, he said, when Edward was his guest, and, besides (he added slyly), Donald would never have taken the seal and left the watch. Whereupon Edward borrowed Vich Ian Vohr's seal, and, having despatched his letter, thought no more of the matter.
Soon afterwards, whilst Waverley still remained at Glennaquoich, there was a great hunting of the stag, to which Fergus went with three hundred of his clan to meet some of the greatest Highland chiefs, his neighbours. He took Edward with him, and the numbers present amounted almost to those of a formidable army. While the clansmen drove in the deer, the chiefs sat on the heather in little groups and talked in low tones. During the drive, the main body of the deer, in their desperation, charged right upon the place where the chief sportsmen were waiting in ambush. The word was given for every one to fling himself down on his face. Edward, not understanding the language, remained erect, and his life was only saved by the quickness of Vich Ian Vohr, who seized him and flung him down, holding him there by main force till the whole herd had rushed over them. When Edward tried to rise, he found that he had severely sprained his ankle.
However, among those present at the drive, there was found an old man, half-surgeon, half-conjurer, who applied hot fomentations, muttering all the time of the operation such gibberish as Gaspar-Melchior-Balthazar-max-prax-fax!
Thus it happened that, to his great disappointment, Edward was unable to accompany the clansmen and their chiefs any farther. So Vich Ian Vohr had Edward placed in a litter, woven of birch and hazel, and walked beside this rude couch to the house of an old man, a smaller chieftain, who, with only a few old vassals, lived a retired life at a place called Tomanrait.
Here he left Edward to recruit, promising to come back in a few days, in the hope that by that time Edward would be able to ride a Highland pony in order to return to Glennaquoich.
On the sixth morning Fergus returned, and Edward gladly mounted to accompany him. As they approached the castle, he saw, with pleasure, Flora coming to meet them.
II. MISFORTUNES NEVER COME SINGLE
The Chief's beautiful sister appeared very glad to see Edward, and, as her brother spoke a few hasty words to her in Gaelic, she suddenly clasped her hands, and, looking up to heaven, appeared to ask a blessing upon some enterprise. She then gave Edward some letters that had arrived for him during his absence. It was perhaps as well that Edward took these to his room to open, considering the amount of varied ill news that he found in them.
The first was from his father, who had just been dismissed from his position as King's minister, owing (as he put it) to the ingratitude of the great—but really, as was proved afterwards, on account of some political plots which he had formed against his chief, the prime minister of the day.
Then his generous uncle, Sir Everard, wrote that all differences were over between his brother and himself. He had espoused his quarrel, and he directed Edward at once to send in the resignation of his commission to the War Office without any preliminaries, forbidding him longer to serve a government which had treated his father so badly.
But the letter which touched Edward most deeply was one from his commanding officer at Dundee, which declared curtly that if he did not report himself at the headquarters of the regiment within three days after the date of writing, he would be obliged to take steps in the matter which would be exceedingly disagreeable to Captain Waverley.
Edward at once sat down and wrote to Colonel Gardiner that, as he had thus chosen to efface the remembrance of past civilities, there was nothing left to him but to resign his commission, which he did formally, and ended his letter by requesting his commanding officer to forward this resignation to the proper quarter.
No little perplexed as to the meaning of all this, Edward was on his way to consult Fergus Mac-Ivor on the subject, when the latter advanced with an open newspaper in his hand.
"Do your letters," he asked, "confirm this unpleasant news?"
And he held out the Caledonian Mercury, in which not only did he find his father's disgrace chronicled, but on turning to the Gazette he found the words, "Edward Waverley, Captain in the —th regiment of dragoons, superseded for absence without leave." The name of his successor, one Captain Butler, followed immediately.
On looking at the date of Colonel Gardiner's missive as compared with that of the Gazette, it was evident that his commanding officer had carried out his threat to the letter. Yet it was not at all like him to have done so. It was still more out of keeping with the constant kindness that he had shown to Edward. It was the young man's first idea, in accordance with the customs of the time, to send Colonel Gardiner a challenge. But, upon Fergus Mac-Ivor's advice, Edward ultimately contented himself with adding a postscript to his first letter, marking the time at which he had received the first summons, and regretting that the hastiness of his commander's action had prevented his anticipating it by sending in his resignation.
"That, if anything," said Fergus, "will make this Calvinistic colonel blush for his injustice."
But it was not long before some part at least of the mystery was made plain. Fergus took advantage of Edward's natural anger at his unworthy treatment, to reveal to him that a great rising was about to take place in the Highlands in favour of King James, and to urge him to cast in his lot with the clans. Flora, on the contrary, urged him to be careful and cautious, lest he should involve others to whom he owed everything, in a common danger with himself.
Edward, whose fancy (if not whose heart) had gradually been turning more and more toward the beautiful and patriotic Flora, appeared less interested in rebellion than in obtaining her brother's good-will and bespeaking his influence with his sister.
"Out upon you," cried Fergus, with pretended ill-humour, "can you think of nothing but ladies at such a time? Besides, why come to me in such a matter? Flora is up the glen. Go and ask herself. And Cupid go with you! But do not forget that my lovely sister, like her loving brother, is apt to have a pretty strong will of her own!"
Edward's heart beat as he went up the rocky hillside to find Flora. She received and listened to him with kindness, but steadily refused to grant him the least encouragement. All her thoughts, her hopes, her life itself, were set on the success of this one bold stroke for a crown. Till the rightful King was on his throne, she could not think of anything else. Love and marriage were not for such as Flora Mac-Ivor. Edward, in spite of the manifest good-will of the chief, had to be content with such cold comfort as he could extract from Flora's promise that she would remember him in her prayers!
Next morning Edward was awakened to the familiar sound of Daft Davie Gellatley's voice singing below his window. For a moment he thought himself back at Tully-Veolan. Davie was declaring loudly that
"My heart's in the Highland, my heart is not here."
Then, immediately changing to a less sentimental strain, he added with a contemptuous accent:
"There's nocht in the Highlands but syboes and leeks, And lang-leggit callants gaun wanting the breeks; Wanting the breeks, and without hose or shoon, But we'll a' win the breeks when King Jamie comes hame."
Edward, eager to know what had brought the Bradwardine "innocent" so far from home, dressed hastily and went down. Davie, without stopping his dancing for a moment, came whirling past, and, as he went, thrust a letter into Waverley's hand. It proved to be from Rose Bradwardine, and among other things it contained the news that the Baron had gone away to the north with a body of horsemen, while the red soldiers had been at Tully-Veolan searching for her father and also asking after Edward himself. Indeed they had carried off his servant prisoner, together with everything he had left at Tully-Veolan. Rose also warned him against the danger of returning thither, and at the same time sent her compliments to Fergus and Flora. The last words in the letter were, "Is she not as handsome and accomplished as I described her to be?"
Edward was exceedingly perplexed. Knowing his innocence of all treason, he could not imagine why he should be accused of it. He consulted Fergus, who told him he would to a certainty be hanged or imprisoned if he went south. Nevertheless, Edward persisted in "running his hazard." The Chief, though wishful to keep him, did not absolutely say him nay. Flora, instead of coming down to bid him good-bye, sent only excuses. So altogether it was in no happy frame of mind that Edward rode away to the south upon the Chief's horse, Brown Dermid, and with Callum Beg for an attendant in the guise of a Lowland groom.
Callum warned his master against saying anything when they got to the first little Lowland town, either on the subject of the Highlands, or about his master, Vich Ian Vohr.
"The people there are bitter Whigs, teil burst them!" he said fiercely. As they rode on they saw many people about the street, chiefly old women in tartan hoods and red cloaks, who seemed to cast up their hands in horror at the sight of Waverley's horse. Edward asked the reason.
"Oh," said Callum Beg, "it's either the muckle Sunday hersel', or the little government Sunday that they caa the Fast!"
It proved to be the latter, and the innkeeper, a severe sly-looking man, received them with scanty welcome. Indeed, he only admitted them because he remembered that it was in his power to fine them for the crime of travelling on a Fast Day by an addition to the length of his reckoning next morning.
But as soon as Edward announced his wish for a horse and guide to Perth, the hypocritical landlord made ready to go with him in person. Callum Beg, excited by the golden guinea which Waverley gave him, offered to show his gratitude by waiting a little distance along the road, and "kittlin' the landlord's quarters wi' her skene-occle"—or, in other words, setting a dagger in his back. Apparently Vich Ian Vohr's page thought no more of such a deed than an ordinary English boy would have thought of stealing an apple out of an orchard.
THE THIRD INTERLUDE—BEING MAINLY A FEW WORDS UPON HEROES
Among the listeners there was somewhat less inclination than before to act this part of the story. For one thing, the boys were righteously indignant at the idea of any true hero being in love—unless, indeed, he could carry off his bride from the deck of a pirate vessel, cutlass in hand, and noble words of daring on his lips.
As for the girls, well—they knew that the bushes were dripping wet, and that if they set their feet upon their native heath, they would certainly be made to change their stockings as soon as they went home. This was a severe discourager of romance. There was nothing to prevent any one of them from asking questions, however. That was a business in which they excelled.
"But why did the Highland people want to rebel, anyway?" demanded Hugh John. "If I could have hunted like that, and raided, and carried off cattle, and had a castle with pipes playing and hundreds of clansmen to drill, I shouldn't have been such a soft as to rebel and get them all taken away from me!"
"It was because they were loyal to their rightful King," said Sweetheart, who is a Cavalier and a Jacobite—in the intervals of admiring Cromwell, and crying because they shot down the poor Covenanters.
"I think," said Sir Toady, who had been sitting very thoughtful, "that they just liked to fight, and King George would not let them. So they wanted a king who would not mind. Same as us, you know. If we are caught fighting in school, we get whipped, but father lets us fight outside as much as we want to. Besides, what did old Vich Ian Vohr want with all these silly Highlanders, eating up everything in his castle, if there were never any battles that they could fight for him?"
This was certainly a very strong and practical view, and so much impressed the others that they sat a long while quiet, turning it over in their minds.
"Well, at any rate," said Sweetheart, dropping her head with a sigh to go on with her seam, "I know that Flora Mac-Ivor was truly patriotic. See how she refused to listen to Waverley, all because she wanted to give her life for the cause."
"Humph," said Hugh John, disrespectfully turning up his nose, "that's all girls think about—loving, an' marrying, an' playing on harps—"
"I don't play on harps," sighed Sweetheart, "but I do wish I had a banjo!"
"I wish I had a targe and a broadsword, and the Chief's horse, Brown Dermid, to ride on," said Hugh John, putting on his "biggety" look.
"And a nice figure you would cut," sneered Sir Toady Lion, provokingly; "Highlanders don't fight on horseback! You ought to know that!"
Whereupon the first engagement of the campaign was immediately fought out on the carpet. And it was not till after the intervention of the Superior Power had restored quiet that the next tale from Waverley could be proceeded with.
THE FOURTH TALE FROM "WAVERLEY"
HERE AND THERE AMONG THE HEATHER
NOT long after Callum Beg had been left behind, and indeed almost as soon as the innkeeper and Edward were fairly on their way, the former suddenly announced that his horse had fallen lame and that they must turn aside to a neighbouring smithy to have the matter attended to.
"And as it is the Fast Day, and the smith a religious man, it may cost your Honour as muckle as sixpence a shoe!" suggested the wily innkeeper, watching Edward's face as he spoke.
For this announcement Edward cared nothing. He would gladly have paid a shilling a nail to be allowed to push forward on his journey with all speed. Accordingly to the smithy of Cairnvreckan they went. The village was in an uproar. The smith, a fierce-looking man, was busy hammering "dogs' heads" for musket-locks, while among the surrounding crowd the names of great Highland chiefs—Clanronald, Glengarry, Lochiel, and that of Vich Ian Vohr himself, were being bandied from mouth to mouth.
Edward soon found himself surrounded by an excited mob, in the midst of which the smith's wife, a wild witchlike woman, was dancing, every now and then casting her child up in the air as high as her arms would reach, singing all the while, and trying to anger the crowd, and especially to infuriate her husband, by the Jacobite songs which she chanted.
At last the smith could stand this provocation no longer. He snatched a red-hot bar of iron from the forge, and rushed at his wife, crying out that he would "thrust it down her throat." Then, finding himself held back by the crowd from executing vengeance on the woman, all his anger turned upon Edward, whom he took to be a Jacobite emissary. For the news which had caused all this stir was that Prince Charles had landed and that the whole Highlands was rallying to his banner.
So fierce and determined was the attack which the angry smith of Cairnvreckan made on Edward that the young man was compelled to draw his pistol in self-defence. And as the crowd threatened him and the smith continued furiously to attack with the red-hot iron, almost unconsciously his finger pressed the trigger. The shot went off, and immediately the smith fell to the ground. Then Edward, borne down by the mob, was for some time in great danger of his life. He was saved at last by the interference of the minister of the parish, a kind and gentle old man, who caused Edward's captors to treat him more tenderly. So that instead of executing vengeance upon the spot as they had proposed, they brought him before the nearest magistrate, who was, indeed, an old military officer, and, in addition, the Laird of the village of Cairnvreckan, one Major Melville by name.
The latter proved to be a stern soldier, so severe in manner that he often became unintentionally unjust. Major Melville found that though the blacksmith's wound proved to be a mere scratch, and though he had to own that the provocation given was a sufficient excuse for Edward's hasty action, yet he must detain the young man prisoner upon the warrant issued against Edward Waverley, which had been sent out by the Supreme Court of Scotland.
Edward, who at once owned to his name, was astonished beyond words to find that not only was he charged with being in the company of actual rebels, such as the Baron of Bradwardine and Vich Ian Vohr, but also with trying to induce his troop of horse to revolt by means of private letters addressed to one of them, Sergeant Houghton, in their barracks at Dundee. Captain Waverley was asserted to have effected this through the medium of a pedlar named Will Ruthven, or Wily Will—whose very name Edward had never heard up to that moment.
As the magistrate's examination proceeded, Waverley was astonished to find that, instead of clearing himself, everything he said, every article he carried about his person, was set down by Major Melville as an additional proof of his complicity with treason. Among these figured Flora's verses, his own presence at the great hunting match among the mountains, his father's and Sir Everard's letters, even the huge manuscripts written by his tutor (of which he had never read six pages)—all were brought forward as so many evidences of his guilt.
Finally, the magistrate informed Edward that he would be compelled to detain him a prisoner in his house of Cairnvreckan. But that if he would furnish such information as it was doubtless in his power to give concerning the forces and plans of Vich Ian Vohr and the other Highland chiefs, he might, after a brief detention, be allowed to go free. Edward fiercely exclaimed that he would die rather than turn informer against those who had been his friends and hosts. Whereupon, having refused all hospitality, he was conducted to a small room, there to be guarded till there was a chance of sending him under escort to the Castle of Stirling.
Here he was visited by Mr. Morton, the minister who had saved him from the clutches of the mob, and so sympathetically and kindly did he speak, that Edward told him his whole story from the moment when he had first left Waverley-Honour. And though the minister's favourable report did not alter the opinion Major Melville had formed of Edward's treason, it softened his feelings toward the young man so much that he invited him to dinner, and afterwards did his best to procure him favourable treatment from the Westland Whig captain, Mr. Gifted Gilfillan, who commanded the party which was to convoy him to Stirling Castle.
The escort which was to take Edward southward was not so strong as it might have been. Part of Captain Gifted Gilfillan's command had stayed behind to hear a favourite preacher upon the occasion of the afternoon Fast Day service at Cairnvreckan. Others straggled for purposes of their own, while as they went along, their leader lectured Edward upon the fewness of those that should be saved. Heaven, he informed Edward, would be peopled exclusively by the members of his own denomination. Captain Gifted was still engaged in condemning all and sundry belonging to the Churches of England and Scotland, when a stray pedlar joined his party and asked of "his Honour" the favour of his protection as far as Stirling, urging as a reason the uncertainty of the times and the value of the property he carried in his pack.
The pedlar, by agreeing with all that was said, and desiring further information upon spiritual matters, soon took the attention of Captain Gifted Gilfillan from his prisoner. He declared that he had even visited, near Mauchline, the very farm of the Whig leader. He congratulated him upon the fine breed of cattle he possessed. Then he went on to speak of the many evil, popish, and unchristian things he had seen in his travels as a pedlar over the benighted countries of Europe. Whereupon Gifted Gilfillan became so pleased with his companion and so enraptured with his subject, that he allowed his party to string itself out along the route without an attempt at discipline, or even the power of supporting each other in case of attack.