Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

The friends now parted and retired to rest, each filled with the most anxious réflections on the state of the country,

CHAPTER X.

A Confidant.

... WAVERLEY awoke in the morning from troubled dreams and unrefreshing slumbers, to a full consciousness of the horrors of his situation. How it might terminate he knew not. He might be delivered up to military law, which, in the midst of civil war, was not likely to be scrupulous in the choice of its victims, or the quality of the evidence. Nor did he feel much more comfortable at the thoughts of a trial before a Scottish court of justice, where he knew the laws and forms differed in many respects from those of England, and had been taught to believe, however erroneously, that the liberty and rights of the subject were less carefully protected. A

3

sentiment of bitterness rose in his mind against the government, which he considered as the cause of his embarrassment and peril, and he cursed internally his scru. pulous rejection of Mac-Ivor's invitation to accompany him to the field. “ Why did not I,” he said to himself, “ like other men of honour, take the earliest opportu." nity to welcome to Britain the descendant of her ancient kings, and lineal heir of her throne? Why did not I.

- Unthread the rude eye of rebellion,

And welcome home again discarded faith,
Seek out Prince Charles, and fall before his feet?.

“ All that has been recorded of excellence and worth in the house of Waverley has been founded upon their loyal faith to the house of Stuart. From the interpretation which this Scotch magistrate has put upon the letters of my uncle and father, it is plain that I ought to have understood them as marshalling me to the course VOL. II.

H

of my ancestors; and it has been my gross dulness, joined to the obscurity of expression which they adopted for the sake of security, which has confounded myjudg. ment. Had I yielded to the first gene. rous impulse of indignation, when I learned that my honour was practised upon, how different had been my present situation! I had then been free and in arms, fighting, like my forefathers, for love, for loyalty, and for fame. And now I am here, netted and in the toils, at the disposal of a suspicious, stern, and cold-hearted man, perhaps to be turned over to the solitude of a dungeon, or the infamy of a public execution. O Fergus! how true has your prophecy proved! and how speedy, how very speedy, has been its accomplishment!"

While Edward was ruminating on these painful subjects of contemplation, and very naturally, though not quite so justly, bestowing upon the reigning dynasty that blame which was due to chance, or, in part at least, to his own unreflecting con

duct, Mr Morton availed himself of Major Melville's permission to pay him an early visit.

Waverley's first impulse was to intimate a desire that he might not be disturbed with questions or conversation, but he suppressed it upon observing the benevolent and reverend appearance of the clergyman, who had rescued him from the immediate violence of the villagers.

“I believe, sir," said the unfortunate young man, “ that in any other circumstances I should have had as much gratitude to express to you as the safety of my life may be worth; but such is the present tumult of my mind, and such my anticipation of what I am yet likely to endure, that I can hardly offer you thanks for your interposition.” · Mr Morton replied, '" that, far from making any claim upon his good opinion, his only wish and the sole purpose of his visit was to find out the means of deserving it. My excellent friend, Major Mel

« AnteriorContinuar »