Waverly Chapter XXIX - Waverley's Reception in the Lowlands After His Highland Tour
by Sir Walter Scott
It was noon when the two friends stood at the top of the pass of
Bally-Brough. 'I must go no farther,' said Fergus Mac-Ivor, who
during the journey had in vain endeavoured to raise his friend's
spirits. 'If my cross-grained sister has any share in your
dejection, trust me she thinks highly of you, though her present
anxiety about the public cause prevents her listening to any other
subject. Confide your interest to me; I will not betray it,
providing you do not again assume that vile cockade.'
'No fear of that, considering the manner in which it has been
recalled. Adieu, Fergus; do not permit your sister to forget
'And adieu, Waverley; you may soon hear of her with a prouder
title. Get home, write letters, and make friends as many and as
fast as you can; there will speedily be unexpected guests on the
coast of Suffolk, or my news from France has deceived
me.' [Footnote: The sanguine Jacobites, during the eventful years
1745-46, kept up the spirits of their party by the rumour of
descents from France on behalf of the Chevalier St. George.]
Thus parted the friends; Fergus returning back to his castle,
while Edward, followed by Callum Beg, the latter transformed from
point to point into a Low-Country groom, proceeded to the little
Edward paced on under the painful and yet not altogether
embittered feelings which separation and uncertainty produce in
the mind of a youthful lover. I am not sure if the ladies
understand the full value of the influence of absence, nor do I
think it wise to teach it them, lest, like the Clelias and
Mandanes of yore, they should resume the humour of sending their
lovers into banishment. Distance, in truth, produces in idea the
same effect as in real perspective. Objects are softened, and
rounded, and rendered doubly graceful; the harsher and more
ordinary points of character are mellowed down, and those by which
it is remembered are the more striking outlines that mark
sublimity, grace, or beauty. There are mists too in the mental as
well as the natural horizon, to conceal what is less pleasing in
distant objects, and there are happy lights, to stream in full
glory upon those points which can profit by brilliant
Waverley forgot Flora Mac-Ivor's prejudices in her magnanimity,
and almost pardoned her indifference towards his affection when he
recollected the grand and decisive object which seemed to fill her
whole soul. She, whose sense of duty so wholly engrossed her in
the cause of a benefactor, what would be her feelings in favour of
the happy individual who should be so fortunate as to awaken them?
Then came the doubtful question, whether he might not be that
happy man,—a question which fancy endeavoured to answer in the
affirmative, by conjuring up all she had said in his praise, with
the addition of a comment much more flattering than the text
warranted. All that was commonplace, all that belonged to the
every-day world, was melted away and obliterated in those dreams
of imagination, which only remembered with advantage the points of
grace and dignity that distinguished Flora from the generality of
her sex, not the particulars which she held in common with them.
Edward was, in short, in the fair way of creating a goddess out of
a high-spirited, accomplished, and beautiful young woman; and the
time was wasted in castle-building until, at the descent of a
steep hill, he saw beneath him the market-town of ——.
The Highland politeness of Callum Beg—there are few nations, by
the way, who can boast of so much natural politeness as the
Highlanders [Footnote: The Highlander, in former times, had always
a high idea of his own gentility, and was anxious to impress the
same upon those with whom he conversed. His language abounded in
the phrases of courtesy and compliment; and the habit of carrying
arms, and mixing with those who did so, made it particularly
desirable they should use cautious politeness in their intercourse
with each other.]—the Highland civility of his attendant had not
permitted him to disturb the reveries of our hero. But observing
him rouse himself at the sight of the village, Callum pressed
closer to his side, and hoped 'when they cam to the public, his
honour wad not say nothing about Vich Ian Vohr, for ta people were
bitter Whigs, deil burst tem.'
Waverley assured the prudent page that he would be cautious; and
as he now distinguished, not indeed the ringing of bells, but the
tinkling of something like a hammer against the side of an old
mossy, green, inverted porridge-pot that hung in an open booth, of
the size and shape of a parrot's cage, erected to grace the east
end of a building resembling an old barn, he asked Callum Beg if
it were Sunday.
'Could na say just preceesely; Sunday seldom cam aboon the pass
On entering the town, however, and advancing towards the most
apparent public-house which presented itself, the numbers of old
women, in tartan screens and red cloaks, who streamed from the
barn-resembling building, debating as they went the comparative
merits of the blessed youth Jabesh Rentowel and that chosen vessel
Maister Goukthrapple, induced Callum to assure his temporary
master 'that it was either ta muckle Sunday hersell, or ta little
government Sunday that they ca'd ta fast.'
On alighting at the sign of the Seven-branched Golden
which, for the further delectation of the guests, was graced with
a short Hebrew motto, they were received by mine host, a tall thin
puritanical figure, who seemed to debate with himself whether he
ought to give shelter to those who travelled on such a day.
Reflecting, however, in all probability, that he possessed the
power of mulcting them for this irregularity, a penalty which they
might escape by passing into Gregor Duncanson's, at the sign of
the Highlander and the Hawick Gill, Mr. Ebenezer Cruickshanks
condescended to admit them into his dwelling.
To this sanctified person Waverley addressed his request that he
would procure him a guide, with a saddle-horse, to carry his
portmanteau to Edinburgh.
'And whar may ye be coming from?' demanded mine host of the
'I have told you where I wish to go; I do not conceive any
information necessary either for the guide or his saddle-horse.'
'Hem! Ahem!' returned he of the Candlestick, somewhat
at this rebuff. 'It's the general fast, sir, and I cannot enter
into ony carnal transactions on sic a day, when the people should
be humbled and the backsliders should return, as worthy Mr.
Goukthrapple said; and moreover when, as the precious Mr. Jabesh
Rentowel did weel observe, the land was mourning for covenants
burnt, broken, and buried.'
'My good friend,' said Waverley, 'if you cannot let me have a
horse and guide, my servant shall seek them elsewhere.'
'Aweel! Your servant? and what for gangs he not forward wi' you
Waverley had but very little of a captain of horse's spirit
him—I mean of that sort of spirit which I have been obliged to
when I happened, in a mail coach or diligence, to meet some
military man who has kindly taken upon him the disciplining of the
waiters and the taxing of reckonings. Some of this useful talent
our hero had, however, acquired during his military service, and
on this gross provocation it began seriously to arise. 'Look ye,
sir; I came here for my own accommodation, and not to answer
impertinent questions. Either say you can, or cannot, get me what
I want; I shall pursue my course in either case.'
Mr. Ebenezer Cruickshanks left the room with some indistinct
mutterings; but whether negative or acquiescent, Edward could not
well distinguish. The hostess, a civil, quiet, laborious drudge,
came to take his orders for dinner, but declined to make answer on
the subject of the horse and guide; for the Salique law, it seems,
extended to the stables of the Golden Candlestick.
From a window which overlooked the dark and narrow court in which
Callum Beg rubbed down the horses after their journey, Waverley
heard the following dialogue betwixt the subtle foot-page of Vich
Ian Vohr and his landlord:—
'Ye'll be frae the north, young man?' began the latter.
'And ye may say that,' answered Callum.
'And ye'll hae ridden a lang way the day, it may weel be?'
'Sae lang, that I could weel tak a dram.'
'Gudewife, bring the gill stoup.'
Here some compliments passed fitting the occasion, when my host
the Golden Candlestick, having, as he thought, opened his guest's
heart by this hospitable propitiation, resumed his scrutiny.
'Ye'll no hae mickle better whisky than that aboon the Pass?'
'I am nae frae aboon the Pass.'
'Ye're a Highlandman by your tongue?'
'Na; I am but just Aberdeen-a-way.'
'And did your master come frae Aberdeen wi' you?'
'Ay; that's when I left it mysell,' answered the cool and
impenetrable Callum Beg.
'And what kind of a gentleman is he?'
'I believe he is ane o' King George's state officers; at least
he's aye for ganging on to the south, and he has a hantle siller,
and never grudges onything till a poor body, or in the way of a
'He wants a guide and a horse frae hence to Edinburgh?'
'Ay, and ye maun find it him forthwith.'
'Ahem! It will be chargeable.'
'He cares na for that a bodle.'
'Aweel, Duncan—did ye say your name was Duncan, or Donald?'
'Na, man—Jamie—Jamie Steenson—I telt ye before.'
This last undaunted parry altogether foiled Mr. Cruickshanks,
though not quite satisfied either with the reserve of the master
or the extreme readiness of the man, was contented to lay a tax on
the reckoning and horse-hire that might compound for his
ungratified curiosity. The circumstance of its being the fast day
was not forgotten in the charge, which, on the whole, did not,
however, amount to much more than double what in fairness it
should have been.
Callum Beg soon after announced in person the ratification of
treaty, adding, 'Ta auld deevil was ganging to ride wi' ta
'That will not be very pleasant, Callum, nor altogether safe, for
our host seems a person of great curiosity; but a traveller must
submit to these inconveniences. Meanwhile, my good lad, here is a
trifle for you to drink Vich Ian Vohr's health.'
The hawk's eye of Callum flashed delight upon a golden guinea,
with which these last words were accompanied. He hastened, not
without a curse on the intricacies of a Saxon breeches pocket, or
spleuchan, as he called it, to deposit the treasure in his fob;
and then, as if he conceived the benevolence called for some
requital on his part, he gathered close up to Edward, with an
expression of countenance peculiarly knowing, and spoke in an
undertone, 'If his honour thought ta auld deevil Whig carle was a
bit dangerous, she could easily provide for him, and teil ane ta
'How, and in what manner?'
'Her ain sell,' replied Callum, 'could wait for him a wee bit
the toun, and kittle his quarters wi'her skene-occle.'
'Skene-occle! what's that?'
Callum unbuttoned his coat, raised his left arm, and, with an
emphatic nod, pointed to the hilt of a small dirk, snugly
deposited under it, in the lining of his jacket. Waverley thought
he had misunderstood his meaning; he gazed in his face, and
discovered in Callum's very handsome though embrowned features
just the degree of roguish malice with which a lad of the same age
in England would have brought forward a plan for robbing an
'Good God, Callum, would you take the man's life?'
'Indeed,' answered the young desperado, 'and I think he has had
just a lang enough lease o 't, when he's for betraying honest folk
that come to spend siller at his public.'
Edward saw nothing was to be gained by argument, and therefore
contented himself with enjoining Callum to lay aside all practices
against the person of Mr. Ebenezer Cruickshanks; in which
injunction the page seemed to acquiesce with an air of great
'Ta duinhe-wassel might please himsell; ta auld rudas loon had
never done Callum nae ill. But here's a bit line frae ta
Tighearna, tat he bade me gie your honour ere I came back.'
The letter from the Chief contained Flora's lines on the fate of
Captain Wogan, whose enterprising character is so well drawn by
Clarendon. He had originally engaged in the service of the
Parliament, but had abjured that party upon the execution of
Charles I; and upon hearing that the royal standard was set up by
the Earl of Glencairn and General Middleton in the Highlands of
Scotland, took leave of Charles II, who was then at Paris, passed
into England, assembled a body of Cavaliers in the neighbourhood
of London, and traversed the kingdom, which had been so long under
domination of the usurper, by marches conducted with such skill,
dexterity, and spirit that he safely united his handful of
horsemen with the body of Highlanders then in arms. After several
months of desultory warfare, in which Wogan's skill and courage
gained him the highest reputation, he had the misfortune to be
wounded in a dangerous manner, and no surgical assistance being
within reach he terminated his short but glorious career.
There were obvious reasons why the politic Chieftain was desirous
to place the example of this young hero under the eye of Waverley,
with whose romantic disposition it coincided so peculiarly. But
his letter turned chiefly upon some trifling commissions which
Waverley had promised to execute for him in England, and it was
only toward the conclusion that Edward found these words: 'I owe
Flora a grudge for refusing us her company yesterday; and, as I am
giving you the trouble of reading these lines, in order to keep in
your memory your promise to procure me the fishing-tackle and
cross-bow from London, I will enclose her verses on the Grave of
Wogan. This I know will tease her; for, to tell you the truth, I
think her more in love with the memory of that dead hero than she
is likely to be with any living one, unless he shall tread a
similar path. But English squires of our day keep their oak-trees
to shelter their deer parks, or repair the losses of an evening at
White's, and neither invoke them to wreathe their brows nor
shelter their graves. Let me hope for one brilliant exception in a
dear friend, to whom I would most gladly give a dearer title.'
The verses were inscribed,
To an Oak Tree
In the Church-Yard of ——, in the Highlands of Scotland,
said to mark the Grave of Captain Wogan, killed in 1649.
Emblem of England's ancient faith,
Full proudly may thy branches wave,
Where loyalty lies low in death,
And valour fills a timeless grave.
And thou, brave tenant of the tomb!
Repine not if our clime deny,
Above thine honour'd sod to bloom
The flowerets of a milder sky.
These owe their birth to genial May;
Beneath a fiercer sun they pine,
Before the winter storm decay;
And can their worth be type of thine?
No! for, 'mid storms of Fate opposing,
Still higher swell'd thy dauntless heart,
And, while Despair the scene was closing,
Commenced thy brief but brilliant part.
'T was then thou sought'st on Albyn's hill,
(When England's sons the strife resign'd)
A rugged race resisting still,
And unsubdued though unrefined.
Thy death's hour heard no kindred wail,
No holy knell thy requiem rung;
Thy mourners were the plaided Gael,
Thy dirge the clamourous pibroch sung.
Yet who, in Fortune's summer-shine
To waste life's longest term away,
Would change that glorious dawn of thine,
Though darken'd ere its noontide day!
Be thine the tree whose dauntless boughs
Brave summer's drought and winter's gloom.
Rome bound with oak her patriots' brows,
As Albyn shadows Wogan's tomb.
Whatever might be the real merit of Flora Mac-Ivor's
poetry, the enthusiasm which it intimated was well calculated to
make a corresponding impression upon her lover. The lines were
read—read again, then deposited in Waverley's bosom, then again
drawn out, and read line by line, in a low and smothered voice,
and with frequent pauses which prolonged the mental treat, as an
epicure protracts, by sipping slowly, the enjoyment of a delicious
beverage. The entrance of Mrs. Cruickshanks with the sublunary
articles of dinner and wine hardly interrupted this pantomime of
At length the tall ungainly figure and ungracious visage of
Ebenezer presented themselves. The upper part of his form,
notwithstanding the season required no such defence, was shrouded
in a large great-coat, belted over his under habiliments, and
crested with a huge cowl of the same stuff, which, when drawn over
the head and hat, completely overshadowed both, and, being
buttoned beneath the chin, was called a trot-cozy. His hand
grasped a huge jockey-whip, garnished with brassmounting. His thin
legs tenanted a pair of gambadoes, fastened at the sides with
rusty clasps. Thus accoutred, he stalked into the midst of the
apartment, and announced his errand in brief phrase: 'Yer horses
'You go with me yourself then, landlord?'
'I do, as far as Perth; where ye may be supplied with a guide to
Embro', as your occasions shall require.'
Thus saying, he placed under Waverley's eye the bill which he
in his hand; and at the same time, self-invited, filled a glass
of wine and drank devoutly to a blessing on their journey.
Waverley stared at the man's impudence, but, as their connection
was to be short and promised to be convenient, he made no
observation upon it; and, having paid his reckoning, expressed his
intention to depart immediately. He mounted Dermid accordingly and
sallied forth from the Golden Candlestick, followed by the
puritanical figure we have described, after he had, at the expense
of some time and difficulty, and by the assistance of a
'louping-on-stane,' or structure of masonry erected for the traveller's
convenience in front of the house, elevated his person to the back
of a long-backed, raw-boned, thin-gutted phantom of a broken-down
blood-horse, on which Waverley's portmanteau was deposited. Our
hero, though not in a very gay humour, could hardly help laughing
at the appearance of his new squire, and at imagining the
astonishment which his person and equipage would have excited at
Edward's tendency to mirth did not escape mine host of the
Candlestick, who, conscious of the cause, infused a double portion
of souring into the pharisaical leaven of his countenance, and
resolved internally that, in one way or other, the young
'Englisher' should pay dearly for the contempt with which he
seemed to regard him. Callum also stood at the gate and enjoyed,
with undissembled glee, the ridiculous figure of Mr. Cruickshanks.
As Waverley passed him he pulled off his hat respectfully, and,
approaching his stirrup, bade him 'Tak heed the auld whig deevil
played him nae cantrip.'
Waverley once more thanked and bade him farewell, and then rode
briskly onward, not sorry to be out of hearing of the shouts of
the children, as they beheld old Ebenezer rise and sink in his
stirrups to avoid the concussions occasioned by a hard trot upon a
half-paved street. The village of—was soon several miles behind