Edward was in a most unpleasant and dangerous situation. He soon
lost the sound of the bagpipes; and, what was yet more unpleasant,
when, after searching long in vain and scrambling through many
enclosures, he at length approached the highroad, he learned, from
the unwelcome noise of kettledrums and trumpets, that the English
cavalry now occupied it, and consequently were between him and the
Highlanders. Precluded, therefore, from advancing in a straight
direction, he resolved to avoid the English military and endeavour
to join his friends by making a circuit to the left, for which a
beaten path, deviating from the main road in that direction,
seemed to afford facilities. The path was muddy and the night dark
and cold; but even these inconveniences were hardly felt amidst
the apprehensions which falling into the hands of the King's
forces reasonably excited in his bosom.
After walking about three miles, he at length reached a hamlet.
Conscious that the common people were in general unfavourable to
the cause he had espoused, yet desirous, if possible, to procure a
horse and guide to Penrith, where he hoped to find the rear, if
not the main body, of the Chevalier's army, he approached the
alehouse of the place. There was a great noise within; he paused
to listen. A round English oath or two, and the burden of a
campaign song, convinced him the hamlet also was occupied by the
Duke of Cumberland's soldiers. Endeavouring to retire from it as
softly as possible, and blessing the obscurity which hitherto he
had murmured against, Waverley groped his way the best he could
along a small paling, which seemed the boundary of some cottage
garden. As he reached the gate of this little enclosure, his
outstretched hand was grasped by that of a female, whose voice at
the same time uttered, 'Edward, is't thou, man?'
'Here is some unlucky mistake,' thought Edward, struggling, but
gently, to disengage himself.
'Naen o' thy foun, now, man, or the red cwoats will hear thee;
they hae been houlerying and poulerying every ane that past
alehouse door this noight to make them drive their waggons and
sick loike. Come into feyther's, or they'll do ho a mischief.'
'A good hint,' thought Waverley, following the girl through the
little garden into a brick-paved kitchen, where she set herself to
kindle a match at an expiring fire, and with the match to light a
candle. She had no sooner looked on Edward than she dropped the
light, with a shrill scream of 'O feyther, feyther!'
The father, thus invoked, speedily appeared—a sturdy old farmer,
in a pair of leather breeches, and boots pulled on without
stockings, having just started from his bed; the rest of his dress
was only a Westmoreland statesman's robe-de-chambre—that is, his
shirt. His figure was displayed to advantage by a candle which he
bore in his left hand; in his right he brandished a poker.
'What hast ho here, wench?'
'O!' cried the poor girl, almost going off in hysterics, 'I
thought it was Ned Williams, and it is one of the plaid-men.'
'And what was thee ganging to do wi' Ned Williams at this time o'
noight?' To this, which was, perhaps, one of the numerous class of
questions more easily asked than answered, the rosy-cheeked damsel
made no reply, but continued sobbing and wringing her hands.
'And thee, lad, dost ho know that the dragoons be a town? dost ho
know that, mon? ad, they'll sliver thee loike a turnip, mon.'
'I know my life is in great danger,' said Waverley, 'but if you
can assist me, I will reward you handsomely. I am no Scotchman,
but an unfortunate English gentleman.'
'Be ho Scot or no,' said the honest farmer, 'I wish thou hadst
kept the other side of the hallan. But since thou art here, Jacob
Jopson will betray no man's bluid; and the plaids were gay canny,
and did not do so much mischief when they were here yesterday.'
Accordingly, he set seriously about sheltering and refreshing our
hero for the night. The fire was speedily rekindled, but with
precaution against its light being seen from without. The jolly
yeoman cut a rasher of bacon, which Cicely soon broiled, and her
father added a swingeing tankard of his best ale. It was settled
that Edward should remain there till the troops marched in the
morning, then hire or buy a horse from the farmer, and, with the
best directions that could be obtained, endeavour to overtake his
friends. A clean, though coarse, bed received him after the
fatigues of this unhappy day.
With the morning arrived the news that the Highlanders had
evacuated Penrith, and marched off towards Carlisle; that the Duke
of Cumberland was in possession of Penrith, and that detachments
of his army covered the roads in every direction. To attempt to
get through undiscovered would be an act of the most frantic
temerity. Ned Williams (the right Edward) was now called to
council by Cicely and her father. Ned, who perhaps did not care
that his handsome namesake should remain too long in the same
house with his sweetheart, for fear of fresh mistakes, proposed
that Waverley, exchanging his uniform and plaid for the dress of
the country, should go with him to his father's farm near
Ullswater, and remain in that undisturbed retirement until the
military movements in the country should have ceased to render
his departure hazardous. A price was also agreed upon, at which
the stranger might board with Farmer Williams if he thought
proper, till he could depart with safety. It was of moderate
amount; the distress of his situation, among this honest and
simple-hearted race, being considered as no reason for increasing
The necessary articles of dress were accordingly procured, and,
following by-paths known to the young farmer, they hoped to escape
any unpleasant rencontre. A recompense for their hospitality was
refused peremptorily by old Jopson and his cherry-cheeked
daughter; a kiss paid the one and a hearty shake of the hand the
other. Both seemed anxious for their guest's safety, and took
leave of him with kind wishes.
In the course of their route Edward, with his guide, traversed
those fields which the night before had been the scene of action.
A brief gleam of December's sun shone sadly on the broad heath,
which, towards the spot where the great north-west road entered
the enclosures of Lord Lonsdale's property, exhibited dead bodies
of men and horses, and the usual companions of war, a number of
carrion-crows, hawks, and ravens.
'And this, then, was thy last field,' said Waverley to himself,
his eye filling at the recollection of the many splendid points of
Fergus's character, and of their former intimacy, all his passions
and imperfections forgotten—'here fell the last Vich Ian Vohr,
on a nameless heath; and in an obscure night-skirmish was quenched
that ardent spirit, who thought it little to cut a way for his
master to the British throne! Ambition, policy, bravery, all far
beyond their sphere, here learned the fate of mortals. The sole
support, too, of a sister whose spirit, as proud and unbending,
was even more exalted than thine own; here ended all thy hopes for
Flora, and the long and valued line which it was thy boast to
raise yet more highly by thy adventurous valour!'
As these ideas pressed on Waverley's mind, he resolved to go upon
the open heath and search if, among the slain, he could discover
the body of his friend, with the pious intention of procuring for
him the last rites of sepulture. The timorous young man who
accompanied him remonstrated upon the danger of the attempt, but
Edward was determined. The followers of the camp had already
stripped the dead of all they could carry away; but the country
people, unused to scenes of blood, had not yet approached the
field of action, though some stood fearfully gazing at a distance.
About sixty or seventy dragoons lay slain within the first
enclosure, upon the highroad, and on the open moor. Of the
Highlanders, not above a dozen had fallen, chiefly those who,
venturing too far on the moor, could not regain the strong ground.
He could not find the body of Fergus among the slain. On a little
knoll, separated from the others, lay the carcasses of three
English dragoons, two horses, and the page Callum Beg, whose hard
skull a trooper's broadsword had, at length, effectually cloven.
It was possible his clan had carried off the body of Fergus; but
it was also possible he had escaped, especially as Evan Dhu, who
would never leave his Chief, was not found among the dead; or he
might be prisoner, and the less formidable denunciation inferred
from the appearance of the Bodach Glas might have proved the true
one. The approach of a party sent for the purpose of compelling
the country people to bury the dead, and who had already assembled
several peasants for that purpose, now obliged Edward to rejoin
his guide, who awaited him in great anxiety and fear under shade
of the plantations.
After leaving this field of death, the rest of their journey was
happily accomplished. At the house of Farmer Williams, Edward
passed for a young kinsman, educated for the church, who was come
to reside there till the civil tumults permitted him to pass
through the country. This silenced suspicion among the kind and
simple yeomanry of Cumberland, and accounted sufficiently for the
grave manners and retired habits of the new guest. The precaution
became more necessary than Waverley had anticipated, as a variety
of incidents prolonged his stay at Fasthwaite, as the farm was
A tremendous fall of snow rendered his departure impossible for
more than ten days. When the roads began to become a little
practicable, they successively received news of the retreat of the
Chevalier into Scotland; then, that he had abandoned the
frontiers, retiring upon Glasgow; and that the Duke of Cumberland
had formed the siege of Carlisle. His army, therefore, cut off all
possibility of Waverley's escaping into Scotland in that
direction. On the eastern border Marshal Wade, with a large force,
was advancing upon Edinburgh; and all along the frontier, parties
of militia, volunteers, and partizans were in arms to suppress
insurrection, and apprehend such stragglers from the Highland army
as had been left in England. The surrender of Carlisle, and the
severity with which the rebel garrison were threatened, soon
formed an additional reason against venturing upon a solitary and
hopeless journey through a hostile country and a large army, to
carry the assistance of a single sword to a cause which seemed
altogether desperate. In this lonely and secluded situation,
without the advantage of company or conversation with men of
cultivated minds, the arguments of Colonel Talbot often recurred
to the mind of our hero. A still more anxious recollection haunted
his slumbers—it was the dying look and gesture of Colonel
Gardiner. Most devoutly did he hope, as the rarely occurring post
brought news of skirmishes with various success, that it might
never again be his lot to draw his sword in civil conflict. Then
his mind turned to the supposed death of Fergus, to the desolate
situation of Flora, and, with yet more tender recollection, to
that of Rose Bradwardine, who was destitute of the devoted
enthusiasm of loyalty, which to her friend hallowed and exalted
misfortune. These reveries he was permitted to enjoy, undisturbed
by queries or interruption; and it was in many a winter walk by
the shores of Ullswater that he acquired a more complete mastery
of a spirit tamed by adversity than his former experience had
given him; and that he felt himself entitled to say firmly, though
perhaps with a sigh, that the romance of his life was ended, and
that its real history had now commenced. He was soon called upon
to justify his pretensions by reason and philosophy.