Waverly Chapter XXVIII - A Letter From Tully-Veolan
by Sir Walter Scott
In the morning, when Waverley's troubled reflections had for some
time given way to repose, there came music to his dreams, but not
the voice of Selma. He imagined himself transported back to
Tully-Veolan, and that he heard Davie Gellatley singing in the court
those matins which used generally to be the first sounds that
disturbed his repose while a guest of the Baron of Bradwardine.
The notes which suggested this vision continued, and waxed louder,
until Edward awoke in earnest. The illusion, however, did not seem
entirely dispelled. The apartment was in the fortress of lan nan
Chaistel, but it was still the voice of Davie Gellatley that made
the following lines resound under the window:—
My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart's in the Highlands a-chasing the deer;
A-chasing the wild deer, and following the roe,
My heart's in the Highlands wherever I go.
[Footnote: These lines form the burden of an old song to which
Burns wrote additional verses.]
Curious to know what could have determined Mr. Gellatley on an
excursion of such unwonted extent, Edward began to dress himself
in all haste, during which operation the minstrelsy of Davie
changed its tune more than once:—
There's nought in the Highlands but syboes and leeks,
And lang-leggit callants gaun wanting the breeks,
Wanting the breeks, and without hose and shoon,
But we'll a'win the breeks when King Jamie comes hame.
[Footnote: These lines are also ancient, and I believe to the
tune of 'We'll never hae peace till Jamie comes hame,' to which
Burns likewise wrote some verses.]
By the time Waverley was dressed and had issued forth, David had
associated himself with two or three of the numerous Highland
loungers who always graced the gates of the castle with their
presence, and was capering and dancing full merrily in the doubles
and full career of a Scotch foursome reel, to the music of his own
whistling. In this double capacity of dancer and musician he
continued, until an idle piper, who observed his zeal, obeyed the
unanimous call of seid suas (i.e. blow up), and relieved him from
the latter part of his trouble. Young and old then mingled in the
dance as they could find partners. The appearance of Waverley did
not interrupt David's exercise, though he contrived, by grinning,
nodding, and throwing one or two inclinations of the body into the
graces with which he performed the Highland fling, to convey to
our hero symptoms of recognition. Then, while busily employed in
setting, whooping all the while, and snapping his fingers over his
head, he of a sudden prolonged his side-step until it brought him
to the place where Edward was standing, and, still keeping time to
the music like Harlequin in a pantomime, he thrust a letter into
our hero's hand, and continued his saltation without pause or
intermission. Edward, who perceived that the address was in Rose's
hand-writing, retired to peruse it, leaving the faithful bearer to
continue his exercise until the piper or he should be tired out.
The contents of the letter greatly surprised him. It had
originally commenced with 'Dear Sir'; but these words had been
carefully erased, and the monosyllable 'Sir' substituted in their
place. The rest of the contents shall be given in Rose's own
I fear I am using an improper freedom by intruding upon you, yet
cannot trust to any one else to let you know some things which
have happened here, with which it seems necessary you should be
acquainted. Forgive me, if I am wrong in what I am doing; for,
alas! Mr. Waverley, I have no better advice than that of my own
feelings; my dear father is gone from this place, and when he can
return to my assistance and protection, God alone knows. You have
probably heard that, in consequence of some troublesome news from
the Highlands, warrants were sent out for apprehending several
gentlemen in these parts, and, among others, my dear father. In
spite of all my tears and entreaties that he would surrender
himself to the government, he joined with Mr. Falconer and some
other gentlemen, and they have all gone northwards, with a body of
about forty horsemen. So I am not so anxious concerning his
immediate safety as about what may follow afterwards, for these
troubles are only beginning. But all this is nothing to you, Mr.
Waverley, only I thought you would be glad to learn that my father
has escaped, in case you happen to have heard that he was in
The day after my father went off there came a party of soldiers
Tully-Veolan, and behaved very rudely to Bailie Macwheeble; but
the officer was very civil to me, only said his duty obliged him
to search for arms and papers. My father had provided against this
by taking away all the arms except the old useless things which
hung in the hall, and he had put all his papers out of the way.
But O! Mr. Waverley, how shall I tell you, that they made strict
inquiry after you, and asked when you had been at Tully-Veolan,
and where you now were. The officer is gone back with his party,
but a non-commissioned officer and four men remain as a sort of
garrison in the house. They have hitherto behaved very well, as we
are forced to keep them in good-humour. But these soldiers have
hinted as if, on your falling into their hands, you would be in
great danger; I cannot prevail on myself to write what wicked
falsehoods they said, for I am sure they are falsehoods; but you
will best judge what you ought to do. The party that returned
carried off your servant prisoner, with your two horses, and
everything that you left at Tully-Veolan. I hope God will protect
you, and that you will get safe home to England, where you used to
tell me there was no military violence nor fighting among clans
permitted, but everything was done according to an equal law that
protected all who were harmless and innocent. I hope you will
exert your indulgence as to my boldness in writing to you, where
it seems to me, though perhaps erroneously, that your safety and
honour are concerned. I am sure—at least I think, my father
would approve of my writing; for Mr. Rubrick is fled to his
cousin's at the Duchran, to to be out of danger from the soldiers
and the Whigs, and Bailie Macwheeble does not like to meddle (he
says) in other men's concerns, though I hope what may serve my
father's friend at such a time as this cannot be termed improper
interference. Farewell, Captain Waverley! I shall probably never
see you more; for it would be very improper to wish you to call at
Tully-Veolan just now, even if these men were gone; but I will
always remember with gratitude your kindness in assisting so poor
a scholar as myself, and your attentions to my dear, dear
I remain, your obliged servant,
ROSE COMYNE BRADWARDINE.
P.S.—I hope you will send me a line by David Gellatley, just to
say you have received this and that you will take care of
yourself; and forgive me if I entreat you, for your own sake, to
join none of these unhappy cabals, but escape, as fast as
possible, to your own fortunate country. My compliments to my dear
Flora and to Glennaquoich. Is she not as handsome and accomplished
as I have described her?
Thus concluded the letter of Rose Bradwardine, the contents of
which both surprised and affected Waverley. That the Baron should
fall under the suspicions of government, in consequence of the
present stir among the partisans of the house of Stuart, seemed
only the natural consequence of his political predilections; but
how HE himself should have been involved in such suspicions,
conscious that until yesterday he had been free from harbouring a
thought against the prosperity of the reigning family, seemed
inexplicable. Both at Tully-Veolan and Glennaquoich his hosts had
respected his engagements with the existing government, and though
enough passed by accidental innuendo that might induce him to
reckon the Baron and the Chief among those disaffected gentlemen
who were still numerous in Scotland, yet until his own connection
with the army had been broken off by the resumption of his
commission, he had no reason to suppose that they nourished any
immediate or hostile attempts against the present establishment.
Still he was aware that, unless he meant at once to embrace the
proposal of Fergus Mac-Ivor, it would deeply concern him to leave
the suspicious neighbourhood without delay, and repair where his
conduct might undergo a satisfactory examination. Upon this he the
rather determined, as Flora's advice favoured his doing so, and
because he felt inexpressible repugnance at the idea of being
accessary to the plague of civil war. Whatever were the original
rights of the Stuarts, calm reflection told him that, omitting the
question how far James the Second could forfeit those of his
posterity, he had, according to the united voice of the whole
nation, justly forfeited his own. Since that period four monarchs
had reigned in peace and glory over Britain, sustaining and
exalting the character of the nation abroad and its liberties at
home. Reason asked, was it worth while to disturb a government so
long settled and established, and to plunge a kingdom into all the
miseries of civil war, for the purpose of replacing upon the
throne the descendants of a monarch by whom it had been wilfully
forfeited? If, on the other hand, his own final conviction of the
goodness of their cause, or the commands of his father or uncle,
should recommend to him allegiance to the Stuarts, still it was
necessary to clear his own character by showing that he had not,
as seemed to be falsely insinuated, taken any step to this purpose
during his holding the commission of the reigning monarch,
The affectionate simplicity of Rose and her anxiety for his
safety, his sense too of her unprotected state, and of the terror
and actual dangers to which she might be exposed, made an
impression upon his mind, and he instantly wrote to thank her in
the kindest terms for her solicitude on his account, to express
his earnest good wishes for her welfare and that of her father,
and to assure her of his own safety. The feelings which this task
excited were speedily lost in the necessity which he now saw of
bidding farewell to Flora Mac-Ivor, perhaps for ever. The pang
attending this reflection was inexpressible; for her high-minded
elevation of character, her self-devotion to the cause which she
had embraced, united to her scrupulous rectitude as to the means
of serving it, had vindicated to his judgment the choice adopted
by his passions. But time pressed, calumny was busy with his fame,
and every hour's delay increased the power to injure it. His
departure must be instant.
With this determination he sought out Fergus, and communicated to
him the contents of Rose's letter, with his own resolution
instantly to go to Edinburgh, and put into the hands of some one
or other of those persons of influence to whom he had letters from
his father his exculpation from any charge which might be
preferred against him.
'You run your head into the lion's mouth,' answered Mac-Ivor.
do not know the severity of a government harassed by just
apprehensions, and a consciousness of their own illegality and
insecurity. I shall have to deliver you from some dungeon in
Stirling or Edinburgh Castle.'
'My innocence, my rank, my father's intimacy with Lord M—,
General G—, etc., will be a sufficient protection,' said
'You will find the contrary,' replied the Chieftain, 'these
gentlemen will have enough to do about their own matters. Once
more, will you take the plaid, and stay a little while with us
among the mists and the crows, in the bravest cause ever sword was
[Footnote: A Highland rhyme on Glencairn's Expedition, in 1650,
has these lines—
We'll bide a while amang ta crows,
We'll wiske ta sword and bend ta bows]
'For many reasons, my dear Fergus, you must hold me excused.'
'Well then,' said Mac-Ivor, 'I shall certainly find you exerting
your poetical talents in elegies upon a prison, or your
antiquarian researches in detecting the Oggam [Footnote: The Oggam
is a species of the old Irish character. The idea of the
correspondence betwixt the Celtic and Punic, founded on a scene in
Plautus, was not started till General Vallancey set up his theory,
long after the date of Fergus Mac-Ivor] character or some Punic
hieroglyphic upon the keystones of a vault, curiously arched. Or
what say you to un petit pendement bien joli? against which
awkward ceremony I don't warrant you, should you meet a body of
the armed West-Country Whigs.'
'And why should they use me so?' said Waverley.
'For a hundred good reasons,' answered Fergus. 'First, you are an
Englishman; secondly, a gentleman; thirdly, a prelatist abjured;
and, fourthly, they have not had an opportunity to exercise their
talents on such a subject this long while. But don't be cast down,
beloved; all will be done in the fear of the Lord.'
'Well, I must run my hazard.'
'You are determined, then?'
'Wilful will do't' said Fergus. 'But you cannot go on foot, and I
shall want no horse, as I must march on foot at the head of the
children of Ivor; you shall have brown Dermid.'
'If you will sell him, I shall certainly be much obliged.'
'If your proud English heart cannot be obliged by a gift or loan,
I will not refuse money at the entrance of a campaign: his price
is twenty guineas. [Remember, reader, it was Sixty Years Since.]
And when do you propose to depart?'
'The sooner the better,' answered Waverley.
'You are right, since go you must, or rather, since go you will.
will take Flora's pony and ride with you as far as Bally-Brough.
Callum Beg, see that our horses are ready, with a pony for
yourself, to attend and carry Mr. Waverley's baggage as far
as—(naming a small town), where he can have a horse and guide to
Edinburgh. Put on a Lowland dress, Callum, and see you keep your
tongue close, if you would not have me cut it out. Mr. Waverley
rides Dermid.' Then turning to Edward, 'You will take leave of my
'Surely—that is, if Miss Mac-Ivor will honour me so far.'
'Cathleen, let my sister know Mr. Waverley wishes to bid her
farewell before he leaves us. But Rose Bradwardine, her situation
must be thought of; I wish she were here. And why should she not?
There are but four red-coats at Tully-Veolan, and their muskets
would be very useful to us.'
To these broken remarks Edward made no answer; his ear indeed
received them, but his soul was intent upon the expected entrance
of Flora. The door opened. It was but Cathleen, with her lady's
excuse, and wishes for Captain Waverley's health and happiness.