Imagens da página

the hunting-match which he attended with Fergus Mac-Ivor, but this was upon a scale of much greater magnitude, and incompa rably deeper interest. The rocks, which formed the back-ground of the scene, and the very sky itself, rung with the clang of the bagpipers, summoning forth, each with his appropriate pibroch, his chieftain and clan. The mountaineers, rousing themselves from their couch under the canopy of heaven, with the hum and bustle of a confused and irregular multitude, like bees alarmed and arming in their hives, seemed to possess all the pliability of movement fitted to execute military manœuvres. Their motions appeared spontaneous and confused, but the result was order and regularity; so that a general must have praised the conclusion, though a martinet might have ridiculed the method by which it was attained.

The sort of complicated medley created by the hasty arrangement of the various clans, under their respective banners, for

the purpose of getting into the order of march, was in itself a gay and lively spectacle. They had no tents to strike, having generally, and by choice, slept upon the open field, although the autumn was now waning, and the nights beginning to be frosty. After forming for a little while, there was exhibited a changing, fluctuar ting, and confused appearance of wavipg tartans and floating plumes, and of banners displaying the proud gathering word of Clanronald, Ganion Coheriga -(gainsay who dares ;) Loch-Slay-Forth, fortune, and fill the fetters, the motto of the Marquis of Tullibardine; Bydand, that of Lord Lewis Gordon; and the appropriate signal words and emblems of many other chieftains and clans. • At length the mixed and wavering multitude arranged themselves into a narrow and dusky column of great length, stretching through the whole extent of the valley. In the front of the column the stand, ard of the Chevalier was displayed, bear,

ing a red cross upon a white ground, with the motto Tandem Triumphans. The few cavalry, being chiefly Lowland gentry, with their domestic servants and retainers, formed the advanced-guard of the army, and their standards, of which they had rather too many in respect of their numbers, were seen waving upon the extreme verge of the horizon. Many members of this body, among whom Waverley accidentally remarked Balmawhapple and his lieutenapt, Jinker, (which last, however, had been reduced, with several others, by the advice of the Baron of Bradwardine, to the situation of what he called reformed officers, or reformadoes,) added to the liveliness, though by no means to the re gularity, of the scene, by galloping their horses as fast forward as the press would permit, to join their proper station in the van. The fascinations of the Circes of the High Street, and the potions of strength with which they had been drenched over night, had probably detained these heroes


within the walls of Edinburgh somewhat later than was consistent with their morning duty. Of such loiterers, the more prudent took the longer and circuitous, but more open route, to attain their place in the march, by keeping at some distance from the infantry, and inaking their way through the inclosures to the right, at the expence of leaping over or pulling down the dry stone fences. The irregular appearance and vanishing of these small parties, as well as the confusion occasioned by those who endeavoured, though generally without effect, to press to the front through the crowd of Highlanders, maugre their curses, baths, and opposition, added to the picturesque wildness, though not to the military regularity of the scene.

While Waverley gazed upon this remarkable spectacle, rendered yet more impressive by the occasional discharge of cannon-shot from the Castle at the Highland guards as they were withdrawn from its vicinity to join their main body, Callum, with his usual freedom of interference, reminded him that Vich Ian Vohr's folk were nearly at the head of the column of march which was still distant, and that " they would gang very fast after the can. non fired.” Thus admonished, Waverley walked briskly forward, yet often casting a glance upon the darksome clouds of war. riors who were collected before and beneath him. A nearer view, indeed, rather diminished the effect impressed on the mind by the more distant appearance of the army. The leading men of cach clan were well armed with broadsword, target, and fusee, to which, all added the dirk, and most the steel pistol. But these consisted of gentlemen, that is, relations of the chief, however distant; and, who had an immediate title to his countenance and protection. Finer and hardier men than these could not have been selected out of any army in Christendom; and the free and independent habits which each possessed, and which each was yet so well

« AnteriorContinuar »