Fergus Mac-Ivor had too much tact and delicacy to renew the
subject which he had interrupted. His head was, or appeared to be,
so full of guns, broadswords, bonnets, canteens, and tartan hose
that Waverley could not for some time draw his attention to any
'Are you to take the field so soon, Fergus,' he asked, 'that you
are making all these martial preparations?'
'When we have settled that you go with me, you shall know all;
otherwise, the knowledge might rather be prejudicial to you.'
'But are you serious in your purpose, with such inferior forces,
to rise against an established government? It is mere frenzy.'
'Laissez faire a Don Antoine; I shall take good care of myself.
shall at least use the compliment of Conan, who never got a stroke
but he gave one. I would not, however,' continued the Chieftain,
'have you think me mad enough to stir till a favourable
opportunity: I will not slip my dog before the game's afoot. But,
once more, will you join with us, and you shall know all?'
'How can I?' said Waverley; 'I, who have so lately held that
commission which is now posting back to those that gave it? My
accepting it implied a promise of fidelity, and an acknowledgment
of the legality of the government.'
'A rash promise,' answered Fergus, 'is not a steel handcuff, it
may be shaken off, especially when it was given under deception,
and has been repaid by insult. But if you cannot immediately make
up your mind to a glorious revenge, go to England, and ere you
cross the Tweed you will hear tidings that will make the world
ring; and if Sir Everard be the gallant old cavalier I have heard
him described by some of our HONEST gentlemen of the year one
thousand seven hundred and fifteen, he will find you a better
horse-troop and a better cause than you have lost.'
'But your sister, Fergus?'
'Out, hyperbolical fiend!' replied the Chief, laughing; 'how
vexest thou this man! Speak'st thou of nothing but of ladies?'
'Nay, be serious, my dear friend,' said Waverley; 'I feel that
happiness of my future life must depend upon the answer which Miss
Mac-Ivor shall make to what I ventured to tell her this
'And is this your very sober earnest,' said Fergus, more gravely,
'or are we in the land of romance and fiction?'
'My earnest, undoubtedly. How could you suppose me jesting on
'Then, in very sober earnest,' answered his friend, 'I am very
glad to hear it; and so highly do I think of Flora, that you are
the only man in England for whom I would say so much. But before
you shake my hand so warmly, there is more to be considered. Your
own family—will they approve your connecting yourself with the
sister of a high-born Highland beggar?'
'My uncle's situation,' said Waverley, 'his general opinions, and
his uniform indulgence, entitle me to say, that birth and personal
qualities are all he would look to in such a connection. And where
can I find both united in such excellence as in your sister?'
'O nowhere! cela va sans dire,' replied Fergus, with a smile.
your father will expect a father's prerogative in being
'Surely; but his late breach with the ruling powers removes all
apprehension of objection on his part, especially as I am
convinced that my uncle will be warm in my cause.'
'Religion perhaps,' said Fergus, 'may make obstacles, though we
are not bigotted Catholics.'
'My grandmother was of the Church of Rome, and her religion was
never objected to by my family. Do not think of MY friends, dear
Fergus; let me rather have your influence where it may be more
necessary to remove obstacles—I mean with your lovely sister.'
'My lovely sister,' replied Fergus, 'like her loving brother, is
very apt to have a pretty decisive will of her own, by which, in
this case, you must be ruled; but you shall not want my interest,
nor my counsel. And, in the first place, I will give you one
hint—Loyalty is her ruling passion; and since she could spell an
English book she has been in love with the memory of the gallant
Captain Wogan, who renounced the service of the usurper Cromwell
to join the standard of Charles II, marched a handful of cavalry
from London to the Highlands to join Middleton, then in arms for
the king, and at length died gloriously in the royal cause. Ask
her to show you some verses she made on his history and fate; they
have been much admired, I assure you. The next point is—I think
I saw Flora go up towards the waterfall a short time since;
follow, man, follow! don't allow the garrison time to strengthen
its purposes of resistance. Alerte a la muraille! Seek Flora out,
and learn her decision as soon as you can, and Cupid go with you,
while I go to look over belts and cartouch-boxes.'
Waverley ascended the glen with an anxious and throbbing heart.
Love, with all its romantic train of hopes, fears, and wishes, was
mingled with other feelings of a nature less easily defined. He
could not but remember how much this morning had changed his fate,
and into what a complication of perplexity it was likely to plunge
him. Sunrise had seen him possessed of an esteemed rank in the
honourable profession of arms, his father to all appearance
rapidly rising in the favour of his sovereign. All this had passed
away like a dream: he himself was dishonoured, his father
disgraced, and he had become involuntarily the confidant at least,
if not the accomplice, of plans, dark, deep, and dangerous, which
must infer either the subversion of the government he had so
lately served or the destruction of all who had participated in
them. Should Flora even listen to his suit favourably, what
prospect was there of its being brought to a happy termination
amid the tumult of an impending insurrection? Or how could he make
the selfish request that she should leave Fergus, to whom she was
so much attached, and, retiring with him to England, wait, as a
distant spectator, the success of her brother's undertaking, or
the ruin of all his hopes and fortunes? Or, on the other hand, to
engage himself, with no other aid than his single arm, in the
dangerous and precipitate counsels of the Chieftain, to be whirled
along by him, the partaker of all his desperate and impetuous
motions, renouncing almost the power of judging, or deciding upon
the rectitude or prudence of his actions, this was no pleasing
prospect for the secret pride of Waverley to stoop to. And yet
what other conclusion remained, saving the rejection of his
addresses by Flora, an alternative not to be thought of in the
present high-wrought state of his feelings with anything short of
mental agony. Pondering the doubtful and dangerous prospect before
him, he at length arrived near the cascade, where, as Fergus had
augured, he found Flora seated.
She was quite alone, and as soon as she observed his approach she
rose and came to meet him. Edward attempted to say something
within the verge of ordinary compliment and conversation, but
found himself unequal to the task. Flora seemed at first equally
embarrassed, but recovered herself more speedily, and (an
unfavourable augury for Waverley's suit) was the first to enter
upon the subject of their last interview. 'It is too important, in
every point of view, Mr. Waverley, to permit me to leave you in
doubt on my sentiments.'
'Do not speak them speedily,' said Waverley, much agitated,
'unless they are such as I fear, from your manner, I must not dare
to anticipate. Let time—let my future conduct—let your brother's
'Forgive me, Mr. Waverley,' said Flora, her complexion a little
heightened, but her voice firm and composed. 'I should incur my
own heavy censure did I delay expressing my sincere conviction
that I can never regard you otherwise than as a valued friend. I
should do you the highest injustice did I conceal my sentiments
for a moment. I see I distress you, and I grieve for it, but
better now than later; and O, better a thousand times, Mr.
Waverley, that you should feel a present momentary disappointment
than the long and heart-sickening griefs which attend a rash and
'Good God!' exclaimed Waverley, 'why should you anticipate such
consequences from a union where birth is equal, where fortune is
favourable, where, if I may venture to say so, the tastes are
similar, where you allege no preference for another, where you
even express a favourable opinion of him whom you reject?'
'Mr. Waverley, I HAVE that favourable opinion,' answered Flora;
'and so strongly that, though I would rather have been silent on
the grounds of my resolution, you shall command them, if you exact
such a mark of my esteem and confidence.'
She sat down upon a fragment of rock, and Waverley, placing
himself near her, anxiously pressed for the explanation she
'I dare hardly,' she said, 'tell you the situation of my
they are so different from those usually ascribed to young women
at my period of life; and I dare hardly touch upon what I
conjecture to be the nature of yours, lest I should give offence
where I would willingly administer consolation. For myself, from
my infancy till this day I have had but one wish—the restoration
of my royal benefactors to their rightful throne. It is impossible
to express to you the devotion of my feelings to this single
subject; and I will frankly confess that it has so occupied my
mind as to exclude every thought respecting what is called my own
settlement in life. Let me but live to see the day of that happy
restoration, and a Highland cottage, a French convent, or an
English palace will be alike indifferent to me.'
'But, dearest Flora, how is your enthusiastic zeal for the exiled
family inconsistent with my happiness?'
'Because you seek, or ought to seek, in the object of your
attachment a heart whose principal delight should be in augmenting
your domestic felicity and returning your affection, even to the
height of romance. To a man of less keen sensibility, and less
enthusiastic tenderness of disposition, Flora Mac-Ivor might give
content, if not happiness; for, were the irrevocable words spoken,
never would she be deficient in the duties which she vowed.'
'And why,—why, Miss Mac-Ivor, should you think yourself a more
valuable treasure to one who is less capable of loving, of
admiring you, than to me?'
'Simply because the tone of our affections would be more in
unison, and because his more blunted sensibility would not require
the return of enthusiasm which I have not to bestow. But you, Mr.
Waverley, would for ever refer to the idea of domestic happiness
which your imagination is capable of painting, and whatever fell
short of that ideal representation would be construed into
coolness and indifference, while you might consider the enthusiasm
with which I regarded the success of the royal family as
defrauding your affection of its due return.'
'In other words, Miss Mac-Ivor, you cannot love me?' said her
'I could esteem you, Mr. Waverley, as much, perhaps more, than
man I have ever seen; but I cannot love you as you ought to be
loved. O! do not, for your own sake, desire so hazardous an
experiment! The woman whom you marry ought to have affections and
opinions moulded upon yours. Her studies ought to be your studies;
her wishes, her feelings, her hopes, her fears, should all mingle
with yours. She should enhance your pleasures, share your sorrows,
and cheer your melancholy.'
'And why will not you, Miss Mac-Ivor, who can so well describe a
happy union, why will not you be yourself the person you
'Is it possible you do not yet comprehend me?' answered Flora.
'Have I not told you that every keener sensation of my mind is
bent exclusively towards an event upon which, indeed, I have no
power but those of my earnest prayers?'
'And might not the granting the suit I solicit,' said Waverley,
too earnest on his purpose to consider what he was about to say,
'even advance the interest to which you have devoted yourself? My
family is wealthy and powerful, inclined in principles to the
Stuart race, and should a favourable opportunity—'
'A favourable opportunity!' said Flora—somewhat scornfully.
'Inclined in principles! Can such lukewarm adherence be honourable
to yourselves, or gratifying to your lawful sovereign? Think, from
my present feelings, what I should suffer when I held the place of
member in a family where the rights which I hold most sacred are
subjected to cold discussion, and only deemed worthy of support
when they shall appear on the point of triumphing without it!'
'Your doubts,' quickly replied Waverley, 'are unjust as far as
concerns myself. The cause that I shall assert, I dare support
through every danger, as undauntedly as the boldest who draws
sword in its behalf.'
'Of that,' answered Flora, 'I cannot doubt for a moment. But
consult your own good sense and reason rather than a prepossession
hastily adopted, probably only because you have met a young woman
possessed of the usual accomplishments in a sequestered and
romantic situation. Let your part in this great and perilous drama
rest upon conviction, and not on a hurried and probably a
Waverley attempted to reply, but his words failed him. Every
sentiment that Flora had uttered vindicated the strength of his
attachment; for even her loyalty, although wildly enthusiastic,
was generous and noble, and disdained to avail itself of any
indirect means of supporting the cause to which she was devoted.
After walking a little way in silence down the path, Flora thus
resumed the conversation.—'One word more, Mr. Waverley, ere we
bid farewell to this topic for ever; and forgive my boldness if
that word have the air of advice. My brother Fergus is anxious
that you should join him in his present enterprise. But do not
consent to this; you could not, by your single exertions, further
his success, and you would inevitably share his fall, if it be
God's pleasure that fall he must. Your character would also suffer
irretrievably. Let me beg you will return to your own country;
and, having publicly freed yourself from every tie to the usurping
government, I trust you will see cause, and find opportunity, to
serve your injured sovereign with effect, and stand forth, as your
loyal ancestors, at the head of your natural followers and
adherents, a worthy representative of the house of Waverley.'
'And should I be so happy as thus to distinguish myself, might I
'Forgive my interruption,' said Flora. 'The present time only is
ours, and I can but explain to you with candour the feelings which
I now entertain; how they might be altered by a train of events
too favourable perhaps to be hoped for, it were in vain even to
conjecture. Only be assured, Mr. Waverley, that, after my
brother's honour and happiness, there is none which I shall more
sincerely pray for than for yours.'
With these words she parted from him, for they were now arrived
where two paths separated. Waverley reached the castle amidst a
medley of conflicting passions. He avoided any private interview
with Fergus, as he did not find himself able either to encounter
his raillery or reply to his solicitations. The wild revelry of
the feast, for Mac-Ivor kept open table for his clan, served in
some degree to stun reflection. When their festivity was ended, he
began to consider how he should again meet Miss Mac-Ivor after the
painful and interesting explanation of the morning. But Flora did
not appear. Fergus, whose eyes flashed when he was told by
Cathleen that her mistress designed to keep her apartment that
evening, went himself in quest of her; but apparently his
remonstrances were in vain, for he returned with a heightened
complexion and manifest symptoms of displeasure. The rest of the
evening passed on without any allusion, on the part either of
Fergus or Waverley, to the subject which engrossed the reflections
of the latter, and perhaps of both.
When retired to his own apartment, Edward endeavoured to sum up
the business of the day. That the repulse he had received from
Flora would be persisted in for the present, there was no doubt.
But could he hope for ultimate success in case circumstances
permitted the renewal of his suit? Would the enthusiastic loyalty,
which at this animating moment left no room for a softer passion,
survive, at least in its engrossing force, the success or the
failure of the present political machinations? And if so, could he
hope that the interest which she had acknowledged him to possess
in her favour might be improved into a warmer attachment? He taxed
his memory to recall every word she had used, with the appropriate
looks and gestures which had enforced them, and ended by finding
himself in the same state of uncertainty. It was very late before
sleep brought relief to the tumult of his mind, after the most
painful and agitating day which he had ever passed.