The first occupation of Waverley, after he departed from the
Chieftain, was to go in quest of the officer whose life he had
saved. He was guarded, along with his companions in misfortune,
who were very numerous, in a gentleman's house near the field of
On entering the room where they stood crowded together, Waverley
easily recognised the object of his visit, not only by the
peculiar dignity of his appearance, but by the appendage of Dugald
Mahony, with his battleaxe, who had stuck to him from the moment
of his captivity as if he had been skewered to his side. This
close attendance was perhaps for the purpose of securing his
promised reward from Edward, but it also operated to save the
English gentleman from being plundered in the scene of general
confusion; for Dugald sagaciously argued that the amount of the
salvage which he might be allowed would be regulated by the state
of the prisoner when he should deliver him over to Waverley. He
hastened to assure Waverley, therefore, with more words than he
usually employed, that he had 'keepit ta sidier roy haill, and
that he wasna a plack the waur since the fery moment when his
honour forbad her to gie him a bit clamhewit wi' her
Waverley assured Dugald of a liberal recompense, and, approaching
the English officer, expressed his anxiety to do anything which
might contribute to his convenience under his present unpleasant
'I am not so inexperienced a soldier, sir,' answered the
Englishman, 'as to complain of the fortune of war. I am only
grieved to see those scenes acted in our own island which I have
often witnessed elsewhere with comparative indifference.'
'Another such day as this,' said Waverley, 'and I trust the cause
of your regrets will be removed, and all will again return to
peace and order.'
The officer smiled and shook his head. 'I must not forget my
situation so far as to attempt a formal confutation of that
opinion; but, notwithstanding your success and the valour which
achieved it, you have undertaken a task to which your strength
appears wholly inadequate.'
At this moment Fergus pushed into the press.
'Come, Edward, come along; the Prince has gone to Pinkie House
the night; and we must follow, or lose the whole ceremony of the
caligae. Your friend, the Baron, has been guilty of a great piece
of cruelty; he has insisted upon dragging Bailie Macwheeble out to
the field of battle. Now, you must know, the Bailie's greatest
horror is an armed Highlander or a loaded gun; and there he
stands, listening to the Baron's instructions concerning the
protest, ducking his head like a sea-gull at the report of every
gun and pistol that our idle boys are firing upon the fields, and
undergoing, by way of penance, at every symptom of flinching a
severe rebuke from his patron, who would not admit the discharge
of a whole battery of cannon, within point-blank distance, as an
apology for neglecting a discourse in which the honour of his
family is interested.'
'But how has Mr. Bradwardine got him to venture so far?' said
'Why, he had come as far as Musselburgh, I fancy, in hopes of
making some of our wills; and the peremptory commands of the Baron
dragged him forward to Preston after the battle was over. He
complains of one or two of our ragamuffins having put him in peril
of his life by presenting their pieces at him; but as they limited
his ransom to an English penny, I don't think we need trouble the
provost-marshal upon that subject. So come along, Waverley.'
'Waverley!' said the English officer, with great emotion;' the
nephew of Sir Everard Waverley, of——shire?'
'The same, sir,' replied our hero, somewhat surprised at the tone
in which he was addressed.
'I am at once happy and grieved,' said the prisoner, 'to have met
'I am ignorant, sir,' answered Waverley, 'how I have deserved so
'Did your uncle never mention a friend called Talbot?'
'I have heard him talk with great regard of such a person,'
replied Edward; 'a colonel, I believe, in the army, and the
husband of Lady Emily Blandeville; but I thought Colonel Talbot
had been abroad.'
'I am just returned,' answered the officer; 'and being in
Scotland, thought it my duty to act where my services promised to
be useful. Yes, Mr. Waverley, I am that Colonel Talbot, the
husband of the lady you have named; and I am proud to acknowledge
that I owe alike my professional rank and my domestic happiness to
your generous and noble-minded relative. Good God! that I should
find his nephew in such a dress, and engaged in such a cause!'
'Sir,' said Fergus, haughtily, 'the dress and cause are those of
men of birth and honour.'
'My situation forbids me to dispute your assertion,' said Colonel
Talbot; 'otherwise it were no difficult matter to show that
neither courage nor pride of lineage can gild a bad cause. But,
with Mr. Waverley's permission and yours, sir, if yours also must
be asked, I would willingly speak a few words with him on affairs
connected with his own family.'
'Mr. Waverley, sir, regulates his own motions. You will follow
I suppose, to Pinkie,' said Fergus, turning to Edward, 'when you
have finished your discourse with this new acquaintance?' So
saying, the Chief of Glennaquoich adjusted his plaid with rather
more than his usual air of haughty assumption and left the
The interest of Waverley readily procured for Colonel Talbot the
freedom of adjourning to a large garden belonging to his place of
confinement. They walked a few paces in silence, Colonel Talbot
apparently studying how to open what he had to say; at length he
'Mr. Waverley, you have this day saved my life; and yet I would
God that I had lost it, ere I had found you wearing the uniform
and cockade of these men.'
'I forgive your reproach, Colonel Talbot; it is well meant, and
your education and prejudices render it natural. But there is
nothing extraordinary in finding a man whose honour has been
publicly and unjustly assailed in the situation which promised
most fair to afford him satisfaction on his calumniators.'
'I should rather say, in the situation most likely to confirm the
reports which they have circulated,' said Colonel Talbot, 'by
following the very line of conduct ascribed to you. Are you aware,
Mr. Waverley, of the infinite distress, and even danger, which
your present conduct has occasioned to your nearest relatives?'
'Yes, sir, danger. When I left England your uncle and father had
been obliged to find bail to answer a charge of treason, to which
they were only admitted by the exertion of the most powerful
interest. I came down to Scotland with the sole purpose of
rescuing you from the gulf into which you have precipitated
yourself; nor can I estimate the consequences to your family of
your having openly joined the rebellion, since the very suspicion
of your intention was so perilous to them. Most deeply do I regret
that I did not meet you before this last and fatal error.'
'I am really ignorant,' said Waverley, in a tone of reserve, 'why
Colonel Talbot should have taken so much trouble on my account.'
'Mr. Waverley,' answered Talbot, 'I am dull at apprehending
and therefore I shall answer your words according to their plain
meaning. I am indebted to your uncle for benefits greater than
those which a son owes to a father. I acknowledge to him the duty
of a son; and as I know there is no manner in which I can requite
his kindness so well as by serving you, I will serve you, if
possible, whether you will permit me or no. The personal
obligation which you have this day laid me under (although, in
common estimation, as great as one human being can bestow on
another) adds nothing to my zeal on your behalf; nor can that zeal
be abated by any coolness with which you may please to receive
'Your intentions may be kind, sir,' said Waverley, drily; 'but
your language is harsh, or at least peremptory.'
'On my return to England,' continued Colonel Talbot, 'after long
absence, I found your uncle, Sir Everard Waverley, in the custody
of a king's messenger, in consequence of the suspicion brought
upon him by your conduct. He is my oldest friend—how often shall
I repeat it?—my best benefactor! he sacrificed his own views of
happiness to mine; he never uttered a word, he never harboured a
thought, that benevolence itself might not have thought or spoken.
I found this man in confinement, rendered harsher to him by his
habits of life, his natural dignity of feeling, and—forgive me,
Mr. Waverley—by the cause through which this calamity had come
upon him. I cannot disguise from you my feelings upon this
occasion; they were most painfully unfavorable to you. Having by
my family interest, which you probably know is not inconsiderable,
succeeded in obtaining Sir Everard's release, I set out for
Scotland. I saw Colonel Gardiner, a man whose fate alone is
sufficient to render this insurrection for ever execrable. In the
course of conversation with him I found that, from late
circumstances, from a reexamination of the persons engaged in the
mutiny, and from his original good opinion of your character, he
was much softened towards you; and I doubted not that, if I could
be so fortunate as to discover you, all might yet be well. But
this unnatural rebellion has ruined all. I have, for the first
time in a long and active military life, seen Britons disgrace
themselves by a panic flight, and that before a foe without either
arms or discipline. And now I find the heir of my dearest
friend—the son, I may say, of his' affections—sharing a triumph for
which he ought the first to have blushed. Why should I lament
Gardiner? his lot was happy compared to mine!'
There was so much dignity in Colonel Talbot's manner, such a
mixture of military pride and manly sorrow, and the news of Sir
Everard's imprisonment was told in so deep a tone of feeling, that
Edward stood mortified, abashed, and distressed in presence of the
prisoner who owed to him his life not many hours before. He was
not sorry when Fergus interrupted their conference a second
'His Royal Highness commands Mr. Waverley's attendance.' Colonel
Talbot threw upon Edward a reproachful glance, which did not
escape the quick eye of the Highland Chief. 'His immediate
attendance,' he repeated, with considerable emphasis. Waverley
turned again towards the Colonel.
'We shall meet again,' he said; 'in the meanwhile, every possible
'I desire none,' said the Colonel; 'let me fare like the meanest
of those brave men who, on this day of calamity, have preferred
wounds and captivity to flight; I would almost exchange places
with one of those who have fallen to know that my words have made
a suitable impression on your mind.'
'Let Colonel Talbot be carefully secured,' said Fergus to the
Highland officer who commanded the guard over the prisoners; 'it
is the Prince's particular command; he is a prisoner of the utmost
'But let him want no accommodation suitable to his rank,' said
Waverley. 'Consistent always with secure custody,' reiterated
Fergus. The officer signified his acquiescence in both commands,
and Edward followed Fergus to the garden-gate, where Callum Beg,
with three saddle-horses, awaited them. Turning his head, he saw
Colonel Talbot reconducted to his place of confinement by a file
of Highlanders; he lingered on the threshold of the door and made
a signal with his hand towards Waverley, as if enforcing the
language he had held towards him.
'Horses,' said Fergus, as he mounted, 'are now as plenty as
blackberries; every man may have them for the catching. Come, let
Callum adjust your stirrups and let us to Pinkie House [Footnote:
Charles Edward took up his quarters after the battle at Pinkie
House, adjoining to Musselburgh.] as fast as these ci-devant
dragoon-horses choose to carry us.'