Waverley, by Sir Walter Scott

Chapter X

Rose Bradwardine and Her Father

Miss Bradwardine was but seventeen; yet, at the last races of the county town of — — upon her health being proposed among a round of beauties, the Laird of Bumperquaigh, permanent toast-master and croupier of the Bautherwhillery Club, not only said MORE to the pledge in a pint bumper of Bourdeaux, but, ere pouring forth the libation, denominated the divinity to whom it was dedicated, ‘the Rose of Tully-Veolan’; upon which festive occasion three cheers were given by all the sitting members of that respectable society, whose throats the wine had left capable of such exertion. Nay, I am well assured, that the sleeping partners of the company snorted applause, and that although strong bumpers and weak brains had consigned two or three to the floor, yet even these, fallen as they were from their high estate, and weltering — I will carry the parody no farther — uttered divers inarticulate sounds, intimating their assent to the motion.

Such unanimous applause could not be extorted but by acknowledged merit; and Rose Bradwardine not only deserved it, but also the approbation of much more rational persons than the Bautherwhillery Club could have mustered, even before discussion of the first magnum. She was indeed a very pretty girl of the Scotch cast of beauty, that is, with a profusion of hair of paley gold, and a skin like the snow of her own mountains in whiteness. Yet she had not a pallid or pensive cast of countenance; her features, as well as her temper, had a lively expression; her complexion, though not florid, was so pure as to seem transparent, and the slightest emotion sent her whole blood at once to her face and neck. Her form, though under the common size, was remarkably elegant, and her motions light, easy, and unembarrassed. She came from another part of the garden to receive Captain Waverley, with a manner that hovered between bashfulness and courtesy.

The first greetings past, Edward learned from her that the dark hag, which had somewhat puzzled him in the butler’s account of his master’s avocations, had nothing to do either with a black cat or a broomstick, but was simply a portion of oak copse which was to be felled that day. She offered, with diffident civility, to show the stranger the way to the spot, which, it seems, was not far distant; but they were prevented by the appearance of the Baron of Bradwardine in person, who, summoned by David Gellatley, now appeared, ‘on hospitable thoughts intent,’ clearing the ground at a prodigious rate with swift and long strides, which reminded Waverley of the seven-league boots of the nursery fable. He was a tall, thin, athletic figure, old indeed and grey-haired, but with every muscle rendered as tough as whip-cord by constant exercise. He was dressed carelessly, and more like a Frenchman than an Englishman of the period, while, from his hard features and perpendicular rigidity of stature, he bore some resemblance to a Swiss officer of the guards, who had resided some time at Paris, and caught the costume, but not the ease or manner, of its inhabitants. The truth was, that his language and habits were as heterogeneous as his external appearance.

Owing to his natural disposition to study, or perhaps to a very general Scottish fashion of giving young men of rank a legal education, he had been bred with a view to the bar. But the politics of his family precluding the hope of his rising in that profession, Mr. Bradwardine travelled with high reputation for several years, and made some campaigns in foreign service. After his demele with the law of high treason in 1715, he had lived in retirement, conversing almost entirely with those of his own principles in the vicinage. The pedantry of the lawyer, superinduced upon the military pride of the soldier, might remind a modern of the days of the zealous volunteer service, when the bar-gown of our pleaders was often flung over a blazing uniform. To this must be added the prejudices of ancient birth and Jacobite politics, greatly strengthened by habits of solitary and secluded authority, which, though exercised only within the bounds of his half-cultivated estate, was there indisputable and undisputed. For, as he used to observe, ‘the lands of Bradwardine, Tully- Veolan, and others, had been erected into a free barony by a charter from David the First, cum liberali potest. habendi curias et justicias, cum fossa et furca (LIE, pit and gallows) et saka et soka, et thol et theam, et infang-thief et outfang-thief, sive hand-habend. sive bak-barand.’ The peculiar meaning of all these cabalistical words few or none could explain; but they implied, upon the whole, that the Baron of Bradwardine might, in case of delinquency, imprison, try, and execute his vassals at his pleasure. Like James the First, however, the present possessor of this authority was more pleased in talking about prerogative than in exercising it; and excepting that he imprisoned two poachers in the dungeon of the old tower of Tully-Veolan, where they were sorely frightened by ghosts, and almost eaten by rats, and that he set an old woman in the jougs (or Scottish pillory) for saying’ there were mair fules in the laird’s ha’ house than Davie Gellatley,’ I do not learn that he was accused of abusing his high powers. Still, however, the conscious pride of possessing them gave additional importance to his language and deportment.

At his first address to Waverley, it would seem that the hearty pleasure he felt to behold the nephew of his friend had somewhat discomposed the stiff and upright dignity of the Baron of Bradwardine’s demeanour, for the tears stood in the old gentleman’s eyes, when, having first shaken Edward heartily by the hand in the English fashion, he embraced him a la mode Francoise, and kissed him on both sides of his face; while the hardness of his gripe, and the quantity of Scotch snuff which his accolade communicated, called corresponding drops of moisture to the eyes of his guest.

‘Upon the honour of a gentleman,’ he said, ‘but it makes me young again to see you here, Mr. Waverley! A worthy scion of the old stock of Waverley-Honour — spes altera, as Maro hath it — and you have the look of the old line, Captain Waverley; not so portly yet as my old friend Sir Everard — mais cela viendra avec le tems, as my Dutch acquaintance, Baron Kikkitbroeck, said of the sagesse of Madame son epouse. And so ye have mounted the cockade? Right, right; though I could have wished the colour different, and so I would ha’ deemed might Sir Everard. But no more of that; I am old, and times are changed. And how does the worthy knight baronet, and the fair Mrs. Rachel? — Ah, ye laugh, young man! In troth she was the fair Mrs. Rachel in the year of grace seventeen hundred and sixteen; but time passes — et singula praedantur anni — that is most certain. But once again ye are most heartily welcome to my poor house of Tully-Veolan! Hie to the house, Rose, and see that Alexander Saunderson looks out the old Chateau Margaux, which I sent from Bourdeaux to Dundee in the year 1713.’

Rose tripped off demurely enough till she turned the first corner, and then ran with the speed of a fairy, that she might gain leisure, after discharging her father’s commission, to put her own dress in order, and produce all her little finery, an occupation for which the approaching dinner-hour left but limited time.

‘We cannot rival the luxuries of your English table, Captain Waverley, or give you the epulae lautiores of Waverley-Honour. I say epulae rather than prandium, because the latter phrase is popular: epulae ad senatum, prandium vero ad populum attinet, says Suetonius Tranquillus. But I trust ye will applaud my Bourdeaux; c’est des deux oreilles, as Captain Vinsauf used to say; vinum primae notae, the principal of Saint Andrews denominated it. And, once more, Captain Waverley, right glad am I that ye are here to drink the best my cellar can make forthcoming.’

This speech, with the necessary interjectional answers, continued from the lower alley where they met up to the door of the house, where four or five servants in old-fashioned liveries, headed by Alexander Saunderson, the butler, who now bore no token of the sable stains of the garden, received them in grand COSTUME,

In an old hall hung round with pikes and with bows,

With old bucklers and corslets that had borne many shrewd blows.

With much ceremony, and still more real kindness, the Baron, without stopping in any intermediate apartment, conducted his guest through several into the great dining parlour, wainscotted with black oak, and hung round with the pictures of his ancestry, where a table was set forth in form for six persons, and an old- fashioned beaufet displayed all the ancient and massive plate of the Bradwardine family. A bell was now heard at the head of the avenue; for an old man, who acted as porter upon gala days, had caught the alarm given by Waverley’s arrival, and, repairing to his post, announced the arrival of other guests.

These, as the Baron assured his young friend, were very estimable persons. ‘There was the young Laird of Balmawhapple, a Falconer by surname, of the house of Glenfarquhar, given right much to field-sports — gaudet equis et canibus — but a very discreet young gentleman. Then there was the Laird of Killancureit, who had devoted his leisure UNTILL tillage and agriculture, and boasted himself to be possessed of a bull of matchless merit, brought from the county of Devon (the Damnonia of the Romans, if we can trust Robert of Cirencester). He is, as ye may well suppose from such a tendency, but of yeoman extraction — servabit odorem testa diu — and I believe, between ourselves, his grandsire was from the wrong side of the Border — one Bullsegg, who came hither as a steward, or bailiff, or ground-officer, or something in that department, to the last Girnigo of Killancureit, who died of an atrophy. After his master’s death, sir, — ye would hardly believe such a scandal, — but this Bullsegg, being portly and comely of aspect, intermarried with the lady dowager, who was young and amorous, and possessed himself of the estate, which devolved on this unhappy woman by a settlement of her umwhile husband, in direct contravention of an unrecorded taillie, and to the prejudice of the disponer’s own flesh and blood, in the person of his natural heir and seventh cousin, Girnigo of Tipperhewit, whose family was so reduced by the ensuing law-suit, that his representative is now serving as a private gentleman-sentinel in the Highland Black Watch. But this gentleman, Mr. Bullsegg of Killancureit that now is, has good blood in his veins by the mother and grandmother, who were both of the family of Pickletillim, and he is well liked and looked upon, and knows his own place. And God forbid, Captain Waverley, that we of irreproachable lineage should exult over him, when it may be, that in the eighth, ninth, or tenth generation, his progeny may rank, in a manner, with the old gentry of the country. Rank and ancestry, sir, should be the last words in the mouths of us of unblemished race — vix ea nostra voco, as Naso saith. There is, besides, a clergyman of the true (though suffering) Episcopal church of Scotland.28 He was a confessor in her cause after the year 1715, when a Whiggish mob destroyed his meeting-house, tore his surplice, and plundered his dwelling-house of four silver spoons, intromitting also with his mart and his mealark, and with two barrels, one of single and one of double ale, besides three bottles of brandy. My baron-bailie and doer, Mr. Duncan Macwheeble, is the fourth on our list. There is a question, owing to the incertitude of ancient orthography, whether he belongs to the clan of Wheedle or of Quibble, but both have produced persons eminent in the law.’ —

As such he described them by person and name,

They enter’d, and dinner was served as they came.

28 After the Revolution of 1688, and on some occasions when the spirit of the Presbyterians had been unusually animated against their opponents, the Episcopal clergymen, who were chiefly nonjurors, were exposed to be mobbed, as we should now say, or rabbled, as the phrase then went, to expiate their political heresies. But notwithstanding that the Presbyterians had the persecution in Charles II and his brother’s time to exasperate them, there was little mischief done beyond the kind of petty violence mentioned in the text.

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Last updated Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 22:29