It was twilight when they arrived in town; and having shaken off
his companions, and walked through a good many streets to avoid
the possibility of being traced by them, Edward took a
hackney-coach and drove to Colonel Talbot's house, in one of the principal
squares at the west end of the town. That gentleman, by the death
of relations, had succeeded since his marriage to a large fortune,
possessed considerable political interest, and lived in what is
called great style.
When Waverley knocked at his door he found it at first difficult
to procure admittance, but at length was shown into an apartment
where the Colonel was at table. Lady Emily, whose very beautiful
features were still pallid from indisposition, sate opposite to
him. The instant he heard Waverley's voice, he started up and
embraced him. 'Frank Stanley, my dear boy, how d'ye do? Emily, my
love, this is young Stanley.'
The blood started to the lady's cheek as she gave Waverley a
reception in which courtesy was mingled with kindness, while her
trembling hand and faltering voice showed how much she was
startled and discomposed. Dinner was hastily replaced, and while
Waverley was engaged in refreshing himself, the Colonel
proceeded—'I wonder you have come here, Frank; the Doctors tell me the air
of London is very bad for your complaints. You should not have
risked it. But I am delighted to see you, and so is Emily, though
I fear we must not reckon upon your staying long.'
'Some particular business brought me up,' muttered Waverley.
'I supposed so, but I shan't allow you to stay long. Spontoon'
an elderly military-looking servant out of livery),'take away
these things, and answer the bell yourself, if I ring. Don't let
any of the other fellows disturb us. My nephew and I have business
to talk of.'
When the servants had retired, 'In the name of God, Waverley,
has brought you here? It may be as much as your life is worth.'
'Dear Mr. Waverley,' said Lady Emily, 'to whom I owe so much more
than acknowledgments can ever pay, how could you be so rash?'
'My father—my uncle—this paragraph,'—he handed the paper to
'I wish to Heaven these scoundrels were condemned to be squeezed
to death in their own presses,' said Talbot. 'I am told there are
not less than a dozen of their papers now published in town, and
no wonder that they are obliged to invent lies to find sale for
their journals. It is true, however, my dear Edward, that you have
lost your father; but as to this flourish of his unpleasant
situation having grated upon his spirits and hurt his health—the
truth is—for though it is harsh to say so now, yet it will
relieve your mind from the idea of weighty responsibility—the
truth then is, that Mr. Richard Waverley, through this whole
business, showed great want of sensibility, both to your situation
and that of your uncle; and the last time I saw him, he told me,
with great glee, that, as I was so good as to take charge of your
interests, he had thought it best to patch up a separate
negotiation for himself, and make his peace with government
through some channels which former connexions left still open to
'And my uncle, my dear uncle?'
'Is in no danger whatever. It is true (looking at the date of the
paper) there was a foolish report some time ago to the purport
here quoted, but it is entirely false. Sir Everard is gone down to
Waverley-Honour, freed from all uneasiness, unless upon your own
account. But you are in peril yourself; your name is in every
proclamation; warrants are out to apprehend you. How and when did
you come here?'
Edward told his story at length, suppressing his quarrel with
Fergus; for, being himself partial to Highlanders, he did not wish
to give any advantage to the Colonel's national prejudice against
'Are you sure it was your friend Glen's foot-boy you saw dead in
'Then that little limb of the devil has cheated the gallows, for
cut-throat was written in his face; though (turning to Lady Emily)
it was a very handsome face too. But for you, Edward, I wish you
would go down again to Cumberland, or rather I wish you had never
stirred from thence, for there is an embargo in all the seaports,
and a strict search for the adherents of the Pretender; and the
tongue of that confounded woman will wag in her head like the
clack of a mill, till somehow or other she will detect Captain
Butler to be a feigned personage.'
'Do you know anything,' asked Waverley, 'of my
'Her husband was my sergeant-major for six years; she was a buxom
widow, with a little money; he married her, was steady, and got on
by being a good drill. I must send Spontoon to see what she is
about; he will find her out among the old regimental connections.
To-morrow you must be indisposed, and keep your room from fatigue.
Lady Emily is to be your nurse, and Spontoon and I your
attendants. You bear the name of a near relation of mine, whom
none of my present people ever saw, except Spontoon, so there will
be no immediate danger. So pray feel your head ache and your eyes
grow heavy as soon as possible, that you may be put upon the
sick-list; and, Emily, do you order an apartment for Frank Stanley,
with all the attentions which an invalid may require.'
In the morning the Colonel visited his guest. 'Now,' said he, 'I
have some good news for you. Your reputation as a gentleman and
officer is effectually cleared of neglect of duty and accession to
the mutiny in Gardiner's regiment. I have had a correspondence on
this subject with a very zealous friend of yours, your Scottish
parson, Morton; his first letter was addressed to Sir Everard; but
I relieved the good Baronet of the trouble of answering it. You
must know, that your free-booting acquaintance, Donald of the
Cave, has at length fallen into the hands of the Philistines. He
was driving off the cattle of a certain proprietor, called
Killan—something or other—'
'The same. Now the gentleman being, it seems, a great farmer, and
having a special value for his breed of cattle, being, moreover,
rather of a timid disposition, had got a party of soldiers to
protect his property. So Donald ran his head unawares into the
lion's mouth, and was defeated and made prisoner. Being ordered
for execution, his conscience was assailed on the one hand by a
Catholic priest, on the other by your friend Morton. He repulsed
the Catholic chiefly on account of the doctrine of extreme
unction, which this economical gentleman considered as an
excessive waste of oil. So his conversion from a state of
impenitence fell to Mr. Morton's share, who, I daresay, acquitted
himself excellently, though I suppose Donald made but a queer kind
of Christian after all. He confessed, however, before a
magistrate, one Major Melville, who seems to have been a correct,
friendly sort of person, his full intrigue with Houghton,
explaining particularly how it was carried on, and fully
acquitting you of the least accession to it. He also mentioned his
rescuing you from the hands of the volunteer officer, and sending
you, by orders of the Pret—Chevalier, I mean—as a prisoner to
Doune, from whence he understood you were carried prisoner to
Edinburgh. These are particulars which cannot but tell in your
favour. He hinted that he had been employed to deliver and protect
you, and rewarded for doing so; but he would not confess by whom,
alleging that, though he would not have minded breaking any
ordinary oath to satisfy the curiosity of Mr. Morton, to whose
pious admonitions he owed so much, yet, in the present case he had
been sworn to silence upon the edge of his dirk, [Footnote: See
Note 38.] which, it seems, constituted, in his opinion, an
'And what is become of him?'
'Oh, he was hanged at Stirling after the rebels raised the siege,
with his lieutenant and four plaids besides; he having the
advantage of a gallows more lofty than his friends.'
'Well, I have little cause either to regret or rejoice at his
death; and yet he has done me both good and harm to a very
'His confession, at least, will serve you materially, since it
wipes from your character all those suspicions which gave the
accusation against you a complexion of a nature different from
that with which so many unfortunate gentlemen, now or lately in
arms against the government, may be justly charged. Their
treason—I must give it its name, though you participate in its guilt—is
an action arising from mistaken virtue, and therefore cannot be
classed as a disgrace, though it be doubtless highly criminal.
Where the guilty are so numerous, clemency must be extended to far
the greater number; and I have little doubt of procuring a
remission for you, providing we can keep you out of the claws of
justice till she has selected and gorged upon her victims; for in
this, as in other cases, it will be according to the vulgar
proverb, "First come, first served." Besides, government are
desirous at present to intimidate the English Jacobites, among
whom they can find few examples for punishment. This is a
vindictive and timid feeling which will soon wear off, for of all
nations the English are least blood-thirsty by nature. But it
exists at present, and you must therefore be kept out of the way
in the mean-time.'
Now entered Spontoon with an anxious countenance. By his
regimental acquaintances he had traced out Madam Nosebag, and
found her full of ire, fuss, and fidget at discovery of an
impostor who had travelled from the north with her under the
assumed name of Captain Butler of Gardiner's dragoons. She was
going to lodge an information on the subject, to have him sought
for as an emissary of the Pretender; but Spontoon (an old
soldier), while he pretended to approve, contrived to make her
delay her intention. No time, however, was to be lost: the
accuracy of this good dame's description might probably lead to
the discovery that Waverley was the pretended Captain Butler, an
identification fraught with danger to Edward, perhaps to his
uncle, and even to Colonel Talbot. Which way to direct his course
was now, therefore, the question.
'To Scotland,' said Waverley.
'To Scotland?' said the Colonel; 'with what purpose? not to
again with the rebels, I hope?'
'No; I considered my campaign ended when, after all my efforts, I
could not rejoin them; and now, by all accounts, they are gone to
make a winter campaign in the Highlands, where such adherents as I
am would rather be burdensome than useful. Indeed, it seems likely
that they only prolong the war to place the Chevalier's person out
of danger, and then to make some terms for themselves. To burden
them with my presence would merely add another party, whom they
would not give up and could not defend. I understand they left
almost all their English adherents in garrison at Carlisle, for
that very reason. And on a more general view, Colonel, to confess
the truth, though it may lower me in your opinion, I am heartly
tired of the trade of war, and am, as Fletcher's Humorous
Lieutenant says, "even as weary of this fighting-'"
'Fighting! pooh, what have you seen but a skirmish or two? Ah! if
you saw war on the grand scale—sixty or a hundred thousand men in
the field on each side!'
'I am not at all curious, Colonel. "Enough," says our homely
proverb, "is as good as a feast." The plumed troops and the big
war used to enchant me in poetry, but the night marches, vigils,
couches under the wintry sky, and such accompaniments of the
glorious trade, are not at all to my taste in practice; then for
dry blows, I had MY fill of fighting at Clifton, where I escaped
by a hair's-breadth half a dozen times; and you, I should think—'
'Had enough of it at Preston? you mean to say,' answered the
Colonel, laughing; 'but 'tis my vocation, Hal.'
'It is not mine, though,' said Waverley; 'and having honourably
got rid of the sword, which I drew only as a volunteer, I am quite
satisfied with my military experience, and shall be in no hurry to
take it up again.'
'I am very glad you are of that mind; but then what would you do
in the north?'
'In the first place, there are some seaports on the eastern coast
of Scotland still in the hands of the Chevalier's friends; should
I gain any of them, I can easily embark for the Continent.'
'Good, your second reason?'
'Why, to speak the very truth, there is a person in Scotland upon
whom I now find my happiness depends more than I was always aware,
and about whose situation I am very anxious.'
'Then Emily was right, and there is a love affair in the case
after all? And which of these two pretty Scotchwomen, whom you
insisted upon my admiring, is the distinguished fair? not Miss
'Ah, pass for the other; simplicity may be improved, but pride
conceit never. Well, I don't discourage you; I think it will
please Sir Everard, from what he said when I jested with him about
it; only I hope that intolerable papa, with his brogue, and his
snuff, and his Latin, and his insufferable long stories about the
Duke of Berwick, will find it necessary hereafter to be an
inhabitant of foreign parts. But as to the daughter, though I
think you might find as fitting a match in England, yet if your
heart be really set upon this Scotch rosebud, why the Baronet has
a great opinion of her father and of his family, and he wishes
much to see you married and settled, both for your own sake and
for that of the three ermines passant, which may otherwise pass
away altogether. But I will bring you his mind fully upon the
subject, since you are debarred correspondence for the present,
for I think you will not be long in Scotland before me.'
'Indeed! and what can induce you to think of returning to
Scotland? No relenting longings towards the land of mountains and
floods, I am afraid.'
'None, on my word; but Emily's health is now, thank God,
reestablished, and, to tell you the truth, I have little hopes of
concluding the business which I have at present most at heart
until I can have a personal interview with his Royal Highness the
Commander-in-Chief; for, as Fluellen says, "the duke doth love me
well, and I thank heaven I have deserved some love at his hands."
I am now going out for an hour or two to arrange matters for your
departure; your liberty extends to the next room, Lady Emily's
parlour, where you will find her when you are disposed for music,
reading, or conversation. We have taken measures to exclude all
servants but Spontoon, who is as true as steel.'
In about two hours Colonel Talbot returned, and found his young
friend conversing with his lady; she pleased with his manners and
information, and he delighted at being restored, though but for a
moment, to the society of his own rank, from which he had been for
some time excluded.
'And now,' said the Colonel, 'hear my arrangements, for there is
little time to lose. This youngster, Edward Waverley, alias
Williams, alias Captain Butler, must continue to pass by his
fourth ALIAS of Francis Stanley, my nephew; he shall set out
to-morrow for the North, and the chariot shall take him the first two
stages. Spontoon shall then attend him; and they shall ride post
as far as Huntingdon; and the presence of Spontoon, well known on
the road as my servant, will check all disposition to inquiry. At
Huntingdon you will meet the real Frank Stanley. He is studying at
Cambridge; but, a little while ago, doubtful if Emily's health
would permit me to go down to the North myself, I procured him a
passport from the secretary of state's office to go in my stead.
As he went chiefly to look after you, his journey is now
unnecessary. He knows your story; you will dine together at
Huntingdon; and perhaps your wise heads may hit upon some plan for
removing or diminishing the danger of your farther progress
north-ward. And now (taking out a morocco case), let me put you in funds
for the campaign.'
'I am ashamed, my dear Colonel—'
'Nay,' said Colonel Talbot, 'you should command my purse in any
event; but this money is your own. Your father, considering the
chance of your being attainted, left me his trustee for your
advantage. So that you are worth above L15,000, besides Brere-Wood
Lodge—a very independent person, I promise you. There are bills
here for L200; any larger sum you may have, or credit abroad, as
soon as your motions require it.'
The first use which occurred to Waverley of his newly acquired
wealth was to write to honest Farmer Jopson, requesting his
acceptance of a silver tankard on the part of his friend Williams,
who had not forgotten the night of the eighteenth December last.
He begged him at the same time carefully to preserve for him his
Highland garb and accoutrements, particularly the arms, curious in
themselves, and to which the friendship of the donors gave
additional value. Lady Emily undertook to find some suitable token
of remembrance likely to flatter the vanity and please the taste
of Mrs. Williams; and the Colonel, who was a kind of farmer,
promised to send the Ullswater patriarch an excellent team of
horses for cart and plough.
One happy day Waverley spent in London; and, travelling in the
manner projected, he met with Frank Stanley at Huntingdon. The two
young men were acquainted in a minute.
'I can read my uncle's riddle,' said Stanley;'the cautious old
soldier did not care to hint to me that I might hand over to you
this passport, which I have no occasion for; but if it should
afterwards come out as the rattle-pated trick of a young Cantab,
cela ne tire a rien. You are therefore to be Francis Stanley, with
this passport.' This proposal appeared in effect to alleviate a
great part of the difficulties which Edward must otherwise have
encountered at every turn; and accordingly he scrupled not to
avail himself of it, the more especially as he had discarded all
political purposes from his present journey, and could not be
accused of furthering machinations against the government while
travelling under protection of the secretary's passport.
The day passed merrily away. The young student was inquisitive
about Waverley's campaigns, and the manners of the Highlands, and
Edward was obliged to satisfy his curiosity by whistling a
pibroch, dancing a strathspey, and singing a Highland song. The
next morning Stanley rode a stage northward with his new friend,
and parted from him with great reluctance, upon the remonstrances
of Spontoon, who, accustomed to submit to discipline, was rigid in