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are many here whose eyes can see as clear. ly as mine, but the prudence of whose tongues may not be equally trusted.”
So saying, he turned easily away, and joined a circle of officers at a few paces distance, leaving Waverley to ineditate upon his parting expression, which, though not iutelligible to him in its whole purport, was sufficiently so in the caution which the last words recommended. Ma. king therefore an effort to shew himself worthy of the interest which his new master had expressed, by instant obedience to his recommendation, he walked up to the spot where Flora and Miss Bradwardine were still seated, and having made his compliments to the latter, he succeeded, even beyond his own expectation, in entering into conversation upon general topics. · If, my dear reader, thou hast ever happened to take post-horses at + or at
, (one at least of which blanks, on more probably both, you will be able to
fill up from an inn near your own resi. dence,) you must have observed, and doubtless with sympathetic pain, the reluctant agony with which the poor jades at first apply their galled necks to the collars of the harness. But when the irresistible arguments of the post-boy have prevailed upon them to proceed a mile or two, they will become callous to the first sensation; and being warm in the harness, as the said postboy may term it, proceed as if their witherswere altogether unwrung. This simile so much corresponds with the state of Waverley's feelings in the course of this memorable evening, that I prefer it (especi. ally as being, I trust, wholly original) to any more splendid illustration, with which Byshe's Art of Poetry might supply me.
Exertion, like virtue, is its own reward ; and our hero had, moreover, other stimu. lating motives for persevering in a display of affected composure and indifference to Flora's obvious unkindness. Pride, which applies its caustic as an useful, though se
vere, remedy for the wounds of affection, came rapidly to his aid. Distinguished by the favour of a Prince, destined, he had room to hope, to play a conspicuous part in the revolution which awaited a mighty kingdom, excelling probably in mental acquirements, and equalling at least, in personal accomplishments, most of the noble and distinguished persons with whom he was now ranked, young, wealthy, and high born, could he, or ought he to droop beneath the frown of a capricious beauty?
: “O nymph, unrelenting and cold as thou art,
My bosom is proud as thine own." ..
With the feeling expressed in these beautiful lines (which however were not then written,) Waverley détermined upon convincing Flora that he was not to be depressed by a rejection, in which his vanity whispered that perhaps she did her own prospects as much injustice as his. And, to aid this change of feeling, there lurked
the secret and unacknowledged hope, that she might learn to prize his affection more highly when she did not conceive it to be altogether within her own choice to attract or repulse it. There was a mystic tone of encouragement also in the Cheva, lier's words, though he feared they only referred to the wishes of Fergus in favour of an union between him and his sister. But the whole circumstances of time, place, and incident; combined at once to awaken his imagination, and to call upon him for a manly and decisive tone of conduct, leaving to fate to dispose of the issue. Should he appear to be the only one sad and disheartened on the eve of battle, how greedily would the tale be commented upon by the slander which had been already but too busy with his fame? Never, never, he internally resolved, shall my unprovoked enemies possess such an advantage over iny reputation.
Under the influence of these mixed sensations, and cheered at times by a smile
of intelligence and approbation from the Prince as he passed the group, Waverley exerted his powers of fancy, intelligence, and eloquence, and attracted the general admiration of the company. The conversation gradually assumed the tone best qualified for the display of his talents and acquisitions. The gaiety of the evening was exalted in character, rather than checked, by the approaching dangers of to:morrow. Allnerves were strung for the future, and prepared to enjoy the present. This mood of mind is highly favourable for the exercise of the powers of imagination, for poetry, and for that eloquence which is allied to poetry. Waverley, as we have elsewhere observed, possessed at times a won. derful flow of rhetoric; and on the present occasion, he touched more than once the higher notes of feeling, and then again ran. off in a wild voluntary of fanciful mirth. He was supported and excited by kindred spirits, who felt the same impulse of mood and time; and even those of more cold