Waverley, by Sir Walter Scott

Chapter IV

The Adieus of Waverley

It was upon the evening of this memorable Sunday that Sir Everard entered the library, where he narrowly missed surprising our young hero as he went through the guards of the broadsword with the ancient weapon of old Sir Hildebrand, which, being preserved as an heirloom, usually hung over the chimney in the library, beneath a picture of the knight and his horse, where the features were almost entirely hidden by the knight’s profusion of curled hair, and the Bucephalus which he bestrode concealed by the voluminous robes of the Bath with which he was decorated. Sir Everard entered, and after a glance at the picture and another at his nephew, began a little speech, which, however, soon dropt into the natural simplicity of his common manner, agitated upon the present occasion by no common feeling. ‘Nephew,’ he said; and then, as mending his phrase, ‘My dear Edward, it is God’s will, and also the will of your father, whom, under God, it is your duty to obey, that you should leave us to take up the profession of arms, in which so many of your ancestors have been distinguished. I have made such arrangements as will enable you to take the field as their descendant, and as the probable heir of the house of Waverley; and, sir, in the field of battle you will remember what name you bear. And, Edward, my dear boy, remember also that you are the last of that race, and the only hope of its revival depends upon you; therefore, as far as duty and honour will permit, avoid danger — I mean unnecessary danger — and keep no company with rakes, gamblers, and Whigs, of whom, it is to be feared, there are but too many in the service into which you are going. Your colonel, as I am informed, is an excellent man — for a Presbyterian; but you will remember your duty to God, the Church of England, and the — ’ (this breach ought to have been supplied, according to the rubric, with the word KING; but as, unfortunately, that word conveyed a double and embarrassing sense, one meaning de facto and the other de jure, the knight filled up the blank otherwise) — ‘the Church of England, and all constituted authorities.’ Then, not trusting himself with any further oratory, he carried his nephew to his stables to see the horses destined for his campaign. Two were black (the regimental colour), superb chargers both; the other three were stout active hacks, designed for the road, or for his domestics, of whom two were to attend him from the Hall; an additional groom, if necessary, might be picked up in Scotland.

‘You will depart with but a small retinue,’ quoth the Baronet, ‘compared to Sir Hildebrand, when he mustered before the gate of the Hall a larger body of horse than your whole regiment consists of. I could have wished that these twenty young fellows from my estate, who have enlisted in your troop, had been to march with you on your journey to Scotland. It would have been something, at least; but I am told their attendance would be thought unusual in these days, when every new and foolish fashion is introduced to break the natural dependence of the people upon their landlords.’

Sir Everard had done his best to correct this unnatural disposition of the times; for he had brightened the chain of attachment between the recruits and their young captain, not only by a copious repast of beef and ale, by way of parting feast, but by such a pecuniary donation to each individual as tended rather to improve the conviviality than the discipline of their march. After inspecting the cavalry, Sir Everard again conducted his nephew to the library, where he produced a letter, carefully folded, surrounded by a little stripe of flox-silk, according to ancient form, and sealed with an accurate impression of the Waverley coat-of-arms. It was addressed, with great formality, ‘To Cosmo Comyne Bradwardine, Esq., of Bradwardine, at his principal mansion of Tully-Veolan, in Perthshire, North Britain. These — By the hands of Captain Edward Waverley, nephew of Sir Everard Waverley, of Waverley-Honour, Bart.’

The gentleman to whom this enormous greeting was addressed, of whom we shall have more to say in the sequel, had been in arms for the exiled family of Stuart in the year 1715, and was made prisoner at Preston in Lancashire. He was of a very ancient family, and somewhat embarrassed fortune; a scholar, according to the scholarship of Scotchmen, that is, his learning was more diffuse than accurate, and he was rather a reader than a grammarian. Of his zeal for the classic authors he is said to have given an uncommon instance. On the road between Preston and London, he made his escape from his guards; but being afterwards found loitering near the place where they had lodged the former night, he was recognised, and again arrested. His companions, and even his escort, were surprised at his infatuation, and could not help inquiring, why, being once at liberty, he had not made the best of his way to a place of safety; to which he replied, that he had intended to do so, but, in good faith, he had returned to seek his Titus Livius, which he had forgot in the hurry of his escape. 20 The simplicity of this anecdote struck the gentleman, who, as we before observed, had managed the defence of some of those unfortunate persons, at the expense of Sir Everard, and perhaps some others of the party. He was, besides, himself a special admirer of the old Patavinian, and though probably his own zeal might not have carried him such extravagant lengths, even to recover the edition of Sweynheim and Pannartz (supposed to be the princeps), he did not the less estimate the devotion of the North Briton, and in consequence exerted himself to so much purpose to remove and soften evidence, detect legal flaws, et cetera, that he accomplished the final discharge and deliverance of Cosmo Comyne Bradwardine from certain very awkward consequences of a plea before our sovereign lord the king in Westminster.

The Baron of Bradwardine, for he was generally so called in Scotland (although his intimates, from his place of residence, used to denominate him Tully-Veolan, or more familiarly, Tully), no sooner stood rectus in curia than he posted down to pay his respects and make his acknowledgments at Waverley-Honour. A congenial passion for field-sports, and a general coincidence in political opinions, cemented his friendship with Sir Everard, notwithstanding the difference of their habits and studies in other particulars; and, having spent several weeks at Waverley-Honour, the Baron departed with many expressions of regard, warmly pressing the Baronet to return his visit, and partake of the diversion of grouse-shooting, upon his moors in Perthshire next season. Shortly after, Mr. Bradwardine remitted from Scotland a sum in reimbursement of expenses incurred in the King’s High Court of Westminster, which, although not quite so formidable when reduced to the English denomination, had, in its original form of Scotch pounds, shillings, and pence, such a formidable effect upon the frame of Duncan Macwheeble, the laird’s confidential factor, baron-bailie, and man of resource, that he had a fit of the cholic, which lasted for five days, occasioned, he said, solely and utterly by becoming the unhappy instrument of conveying such a serious sum of money out of his native country into the hands of the false English. But patriotism, as it is the fairest, so it is often the most suspicious mask of other feelings; and many who knew Bailie Macwheeble concluded that his professions of regret were not altogether disinterested, and that he would have grudged the moneys paid to the LOONS at Westminster much less had they not come from Bradwardine estate, a fund which he considered as more particularly his own. But the Bailie protested he was absolutely disinterested —

‘Woe, woe, for Scotland, not a whit for me!’

The laird was only rejoiced that his worthy friend, Sir Everard Waverley of Waverley-Honour, was reimbursed of the expenditure which he had outlaid on account of the house of Bradwardine. It concerned, he said, the credit of his own family, and of the kingdom of Scotland at large, that these disbursements should be repaid forthwith, and, if delayed, it would be a matter of national reproach. Sir Everard, accustomed to treat much larger sums with indifference, received the remittance of £294, 13s. 6d. without being aware that the payment was an international concern, and, indeed, would probably have forgot the circumstance altogether, if Bailie Macwheeble had thought of comforting his cholic by intercepting the subsidy. A yearly intercourse took place, of a short letter and a hamper or a cask or two, between Waverley-Honour and Tully-Veolan, the English exports consisting of mighty cheeses and mightier ale, pheasants, and venison, and the Scottish returns being vested in grouse, white hares, pickled salmon, and usquebaugh; all which were meant, sent, and received as pledges of constant friendship and amity between two important houses. It followed as a matter of course, that the heir-apparent of Waverley-Honour could not with propriety visit Scotland without being furnished with credentials to the Baron of Bradwardine.

When this matter was explained and settled, Mr. Pembroke expressed his wish to take a private and particular leave of his dear pupil. The good man’s ex hortations to Edward to preserve an unblemished life and morals, to hold fast the principles of the Christian religion, and to eschew the profane company of scoffers and latitudinarians, too much abounding in the army, were not unmingled with his political prejudices. It had pleased Heaven, he said, to place Scotland (doubtless for the sins of their ancestors in 1642) in a more deplorable state of darkness than even this unhappy kingdom of England. Here, at least, although the candlestick of the Church of England had been in some degree removed from its place, it yet afforded a glimmering light; there was a hierarchy, though schismatical, and fallen from the principles maintained by those great fathers of the church, Sancroft and his brethren; there was a liturgy, though woefully perverted in some of the principal petitions. But in Scotland it was utter darkness; and, excepting a sorrowful, scattered, and persecuted remnant, the pulpits were abandoned to Presbyterians, and, he feared, to sectaries of every description. It should be his duty to fortify his dear pupil to resist such unhallowed and pernicious doctrines in church and state as must necessarily be forced at times upon his unwilling ears.

Here he produced two immense folded packets, which appeared each to contain a whole ream of closely written manuscript. They had been the labour of the worthy man’s whole life; and never were labour and zeal more absurdly wasted. He had at one time gone to London, with the intention of giving them to the world, by the medium of a bookseller in Little Britain, well known to deal in such commodities, and to whom he was instructed to address himself in a particular phrase and with a certain sign, which, it seems, passed at that time current among the initiated Jacobites. The moment Mr. Pembroke had uttered the Shibboleth, with the appropriate gesture, the bibliopolist greeted him, notwithstanding every disclamation, by the title of Doctor, and conveying him into his back shop, after inspecting every possible and impossible place of concealment, he commenced: ‘Eh, Doctor! — Well — all under the rose — snug — I keep no holes here even for a Hanoverian rat to hide in. And, what — eh! any good news from our friends over the water? — and how does the worthy King of France? — Or perhaps you are more lately from Rome? it must be Rome will do it at last — the church must light its candle at the old lamp. — Eh — what, cautious? I like you the better; but no fear.’ Here Mr. Pembroke with some difficulty stopt a torrent of interrogations, eked out with signs, nods, and winks; and, having at length convinced the bookseller that he did him too much honour in supposing him an emissary of exiled royalty, he explained his actual business.

The man of books with a much more composed air proceeded to examine the manuscripts. The title of the first was ‘A Dissent from Dissenters, or the Comprehension confuted; showing the Impossibility of any Composition between the Church and Puritans, Presbyterians, or Sectaries of any Description; illustrated from the Scriptures, the Fathers of the Church, and the soundest Controversial Divines.’ To this work the bookseller positively demurred. ‘Well meant,’ he said, ‘and learned, doubtless; but the time had gone by. Printed on small-pica it would run to eight hundred pages, and could never pay. Begged therefore to be excused. Loved and honoured the true church from his soul, and, had it been a sermon on the martyrdom, or any twelve-penny touch — why, I would venture something for the honour of the cloth. But come, let’s see the other. “Right Hereditary righted!” — Ah! there’s some sense in this. Hum — hum — hum — pages so many, paper so much, letter-press — Ah — I’ll tell you, though, Doctor, you must knock out some of the Latin and Greek; heavy, Doctor, damn’d heavy — (beg your pardon) and if you throw in a few grains more pepper — I am he that never preached my author. I have published for Drake and Charlwood Lawton, and poor Amhurst21 — Ah, Caleb! Caleb! Well, it was a shame to let poor Caleb starve, and so many fat rectors and squires among us. I gave him a dinner once a week; but, Lord love you, what’s once a week, when a man does not know where to go the other six days? Well, but I must show the manuscript to little Tom Alibi the solicitor, who manages all my law affairs — must keep on the windy side; the mob were very uncivil the last time I mounted in Old Palace Yard — all Whigs and Roundheads every man of them, Williamites and Hanover rats.’

The next day Mr. Pembroke again called on the publisher, but found Tom Alibi’s advice had determined him against undertaking the work. ‘Not but what I would go to — (what was I going to say?) to the Plantations for the church with pleasure — but, dear Doctor, I have a wife and family; but, to show my zeal, I’ll recommend the job to my neighbour Trimmel — he is a bachelor, and leaving off business, so a voyage in a western barge would not inconvenience him.’ But Mr. Trimmel was also obdurate, and Mr. Pembroke, fortunately perchance for himself, was compelled to return to Waverley-Honour with his treatise in vindication of the real fundamental principles of church and state safely packed in his saddle-bags.

As the public were thus likely to be deprived of the benefit arising from his lucubrations by the selfish cowardice of the trade, Mr. Pembroke resolved to make two copies of these tremendous manuscripts for the use of his pupil. He felt that he had been indolent as a tutor, and, besides, his conscience checked him for complying with the request of Mr. Richard Waverley, that he would impress no sentiments upon Edward’s mind inconsistent with the present settlement in church and state. But now, thought he, I may, without breach of my word, since he is no longer under my tuition, afford the youth the means of judging for himself, and have only to dread his reproaches for so long concealing the light which the perusal will flash upon his mind. While he thus indulged the reveries of an author and a politician, his darling proselyte, seeing nothing very inviting in the title of the tracts, and appalled by the bulk and compact lines of the manuscript, quietly consigned them to a corner of his travelling trunk.

Aunt Rachel’s farewell was brief and affectionate. She only cautioned her dear Edward, whom she probably deemed somewhat susceptible, against the fascination of Scottish beauty. She allowed that the northern part of the island contained some ancient families, but they were all Whigs and Presbyterians except the Highlanders; and respecting them she must needs say, there could be no great delicacy among the ladies, where the gentlemen’s usual attire was, as she had been assured, to say the least, very singular, and not at all decorous. She concluded her farewell with a kind and moving benediction, and gave the young officer, as a pledge of her regard, a valuable diamond ring (often worn by the male sex at that time), and a purse of broad gold-pieces, which also were more common Sixty Years Since than they have been of late.

20 The attachment to this classic was, it is said, actually displayed in the manner mentioned in the text by an unfortunate Jacobite in that unhappy period. He escaped from the jail in which he was confined for a hasty trial and certain condemnation, and was retaken as he hovered around the place in which he had been imprisoned, for which he could give no better reason than the hope of recovering his favourite Titus Livius. I am sorry to add that the simplicity of such a character was found to form no apology for his guilt as a rebel, and that he was condemned and executed.

21 Nicholas Amhurst, a noted political writer, who conducted for many years a paper called the Craftsman, under the assumed name of Caleb D’Anvers. He was devoted to the Tory interest, and seconded with much ability the attacks of Pulteney on Sir Robert Walpole. He died in 1742, neglected by his great patrons and in the most miserable circumstances.

‘Amhurst survived the downfall of Walpole’s power, and had reason to expect a reward for his labours. If we excuse Bolingbroke, who had only saved the shipwreck of his fortunes, we shall be at a loss to justify Pulteney, who could with ease have given this man a considerable income. The utmost of his generosity to Amhurst that I ever heard of was a hogshead of claret! He died, it is supposed, of a broken heart; and was buried at the charge of his honest printer, Richard Francklin.’ — Lord Chesterfield’s Characters Reviewed, p. 42.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/s/scott/walter/waverley/chapter6.html

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