Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

CHAPTER XVI.

The Journey is continued.

BEFORE Waverley awakened from his repose, the day was far advanced, and he began to feel that he had past many hours without food. This was soon supplied in form of a copious breakfast, but Colonel Stuart, as if wishing to avoid the queries of his guest, did not again present himself. His compliments were, however, delivered by a servant, with an offer to provide any thing in his power that could be useful to Captain Waverley on his journey, which he intimated would be continued that evening. To Waverley's further enquiries, the servant opposed the impenetrable barrier of real or affected ignorance and stupidity. He removed the table and provi

sions, and Waverley was again consigned to his own meditations.

As he contemplated the strangeness of his fortune, which seemed to delight in placing him at the disposal of others, without the power of directing his own motions, Edward's eye suddenly rested upon his portmanteau, which had been deposited in his apartment during his sleep. The mysterious appearance of Alice, in the cottage of the glen, immediately rushed upon his mind, and he was about to secure and examine the packet which she had deposited among his clothes, when the servant, of Colonel Stuart again made his appearance, and took up the portmanteau upon his shoulders.

“May I not take out a change of linen, my friend?”

“Your honour sall get ane o' the colo-, nel's ain ruffled sarks, but this maun gang in the baggage-cart."

And so saying, he very coolly carried off : the portmanteau, without waiting further

remonstrance, leaving our hero in a state where disappointment and indignation struggled for the mastery. In a few minutes he heard a cart rumble out of the rugged court-yard, and made no doubt that he was now dispossessed, for a space at least, if not for ever, of the only documents which seemed to promise some light upon the dubious events which had of late influenced his destiny. With such melancholy thoughts he had to beguile about four or five hours of solitude..

When this space was elapsed, the trampling of horse was heard in the court-yard, and Colonel Stuart soon after made his appearance to request his guest to take some farther refreshment before his departure.' The offer was accepted, for a late breakfast had by no means left our hero incapable of doing honour to dinner, which was now presented. The conversation of his host was that of a plain country gentleman, mixed with some soldier-like 'sentiments and expressions. He cautiously avoided

any reference to the military operations or civil politics of the time, and to Waverley's direct enquiries conceruing some of these points, replied equally directly, that he was not at liberty to converse upon such topics.'' - When dinner was finished, the governor arose, and wishing Edward a good journey, told him that his servant having informed him that his baggage had been sent forward, he had taken the freedom to supply him with such changes of linen as he might find necessary till he was again posa sessed of his own, with this compliment he disappeared. A servant acquainted Wa. verly an instant afterwards, that his horse was ready. ?!!:"1'.:. .: :;;

Upon this hint he descended into the court-yard, and found a trooper holding a saddled horse, on which he mounted, and sallied from the portal of Doune Castle, attended by about a score of armed men on horseback. These had less the appearance of regular soldiers than of individuals

who had suddenly assumed arms from some pressing motive of unexpected emergency. Their uniform, which was an af. fected imitation of that of French chasseurs, was in many respects incomplete, and sate awkwardly upon those who wore it. Waverley's eye, accustomed to look at a well-disciplined regiment, could easily discover that the motions and habits of his escort were not those of trained soldiers, and that although expert enough in the management of their horses, their skill was that of huntsmen or grooms, rather than of troopers. Their horses were not trained to the regular pace so necessary to execute simultaneous and combined movements and formations; nor did they seem bitted (as it is technically expressed) for the use of the sword. The men, however, were stout hardy-looking fellows, and might be individually formidable as irregular cavalry. The commander of this small party was mounted upon an excellent hunter, and although dressed in uniform, his change of

VOL. II.

« AnteriorContinuar »