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CHAPTER VIII.

An Examination.

MAJOR Melville of Cairnvreckan, an elderly gentleman, who had spent his youth in the military service, received Mr Morton with great kindness, and our hero with civility, which the equivocal circumstances in which Edward was placed tendered constrained and distant.

The nature of the smith's hurt was enquired into, and as the actual injury was likely to prove trifling, and the circumstances in which it was received, rendered the infliction, on Edward's part; a natural act of self-defence, the Major conceived he might dismiss that matter, on Waverley's depositing in his hands a small sum for the benefit of the wounded person.

“I could wish, sir,"continued the Major, " that my duty terminated here; but it is necessary that we should have some fur. ther enquiry into the cause of your journey through the country at this unfortunate and distracted time.”

Mr Ebenezer Cruickshanks now stood forth, and communicated to the magistrate all he knew or suspected from the reserve of Waverley, and the evasions of Callum Beg. The horse upon which Edward rode, he said, he knew to belong to Vich Ian Vohr, though he dared not tax Edward's former attendant with the fact; lest he should have his house and stables burnt over his head some night by that godless gang, the Mac-Iyors. He concluded by exaggerating his own services to kirk and state, as having been the means, under God, (as he modestly qualified the phrase) of attaching this suspicious and formidable delinquent. He intimated hopes of future reward, and of instant reimbursement for loss of time, and even of character, by travelling in the state business upon the fast-day, :

. To this Major Melville answered, with great composure, that so far from claiming any merit in this affair, Mr Cruickshanks ought to deprecate the imposition of a very heavy fine for neglecting to lodge, in terms of the recent proclamation, an account with the nearest magistrate of any stranger who came to his inn; that as Mr Cruickshanks boasted so much of religion and loyalty, he should not impute this conduct to disaffection, but only suppose that his zeal for kirk and state had been lulled asleep by the opportunity of charging a stranger with double horsehire ; that, however, feeling himself incompetent to decide singly upon the conduct of a person of such importance, he should reserve it for consideration of the next quarter-sessions. Now our history for the present saith no more of him of the Candlestick, who wended dolorous and mal-content back to his own dwelling. - Major Melville then commanded the villagers to return to their homes, except

ing two, who officiated as constables, and whom he directed to wait below. The apartment was thus cleared of every person but Mr Morton, whom the Major invited to remain; a sort of factor, who acted as clerk; and Waverley himself. There ensued a painful and embarrassed pause, till Major Melville, looking upon Waverley with much compassion, ånd often consulting a paper or memorandum which he held in his hand, requested to know his name. Edward Waverley."

"I thought so; late of the -- dragoons, and nephew of Sir Edward Waverley of Waverley-Honour?" · !6 The same." . .

" Young gentleman, I am extremely sorry that this painful duty has fallen to my lot.” :

"Duty, Major Melville, renders apologies superfluous,"

" True, sir; permit me, therefore, to ask you how your time has been disposed of since you obtained leave of absence from our regiment, several weeks ago, until the present moment.”

“My reply to so general a question must be guided by the nature of the charge which renders it necessary. I request to know. what that charge is, and upon what authority I am forcibly detained to reply to it?"

“The charge, Mr Waverley, I grieve to say, is of a very high nature, and affects your character both as a soldier and a subject. In the former capacity, you are charged with spreading mutiny and rebellion among the men you commanded, and setting them the example of desertion, by prolonging your own absence from the regiment, contrary to the express orders of your commanding officer. The civil crime. of which you stand accused is that of hightreason, and levying war against the king, the highest delinquency of which a subject can be guilty.”

“And by what authority am I detained. to reply to such heinous calumnies 2".

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