Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

upon the plain, with their front opposed to the line of the Prince's army. They were followed by a train of field-pieces, which, when they reached the flank of the dragoons, were also brought into line, and pointed against the heights. The march was continued by three or four regiments of infantry marching in open column, their fixed bayonets shewing like successive hedges of steel, and their arms glancing like lightning, as, at a signal given, they at once wheeled into line, and were placed in direct opposition to the Highlanders. "A second train of artillery, with another regiment of horse, closed the long march, and formed on the left flank of the infantry, the whole line facing southwards.

While the English army went through these evolutions, the Highlanders shewed equal promptitude and zeal for battle.' As fast as the clans came upon the ridge which fronted their enemy, they were formed into line, so that both armies got into complete order of battle at the same moment. When this was accomplished, the Highlanders set up a tremendous yell, which was re-echoed by the heights behind them. The regulars, who were int high'spirits, returned a loud shout of defiance, and fired one or two of their cannon, upon an advanced post of the HighJanders. The latter displayed great earnestness to proceed instantly to the attack, Evan Dhu urging to Fergus, by way of argument, that "the sidier roy was tottering like an egg upon a staff, and that they had a' the vantage of the onset, for even a haggis (God bless her!),could charge down

But the ground through which the mountaineers must have descended, although not of great extent, was impracticable in its character, being not only marshy, but intersected with walls of dry stone, and traversed in its whole length by a very broad and deep ditch, circumstances which must have given the musketry of the regulars dreadful advantages. The autho.

sity of the commanders was therefore interposed to curb the impetuosity of the Highlanders, and only a few marksmen were sent down the descent to skirmish with the enemy's advanced posts, and to reconnoitre the ground. :: . · Here then was a military spectacle of nó ordinary interest, or usual occurrence. The two armies, so different in'aspect and discipline, yet each admirably trained to their peculiar mode of war, upon whose conflict the temporary fate at least of Scotland appeared to depend, now faced each other like two gladiators in the-arena, each meditating upon the mode of attacking their enemy. The leading officers and the general's staff of each army could be distinguished in front of their lines, bu. sied with their spy-glasses to watch each others' motions, and occupied in dispatching the orders and receiving the intelligence conveyed by the aids-de-camp and orderly-men, who gave life to the scene by galloping along in different directions, as if the fate of the day depended upon the speed of their horses. The space between the armies was at times occupied by the partial and irregular contest of indivi: dual sharp-shooters, and a hat or bonnet was occasionally seen to fall, or a wounded man was borne off by his comrades. These, however, were but trifling skirmishes, for it suited the view of neither party to advance in that direction, From the neighbouring hamlets, the peasantry cautiously shewed themselves as if watching the is sue of the expected engagement; and at no great distance, in the bay were two square-rigged vessels bearing the English flag, whose tops, and yards were crowded with less timid spectators. - When this awful pause had lasted for a short time, Fergus, with another Chieftain, received orders to detach their clans towards the village of Preston, in order to threaten the right flank of Cope's army, and compel him to a change of disposition. . In order to execute these orders, the Chief of Glennaquoich occupied the church-yard of Tranent, a commanding situation, and à convenient place, as Evan Dhu remarked, for any gentleman who might have the misfortune to be killed, and chanced to be curious about Christian burial. To check or dislodge this party, the English general detached two guns, escorted by a strong party of cavalry. They approached so near that Waverley could plainly recognize the standard of the troop he had formerly commanded, and hear the trumpets and kettle-drums sound the advance, which he had so often obeyed.He could hear, too, the well-known word given in the English dialect, by the equally well-distinguished voice of the commanding officer for whom he had once felt so much re. spect. It was at that instant, that looking around him, he saw the wild dress and appearance of his Highland associates, heard their whispers in an uncouth and unknown language, looked upon his own dress, so unlike that which he had worn

« AnteriorContinuar »