Waverley; Or 'Tis Sixty Years Since — Volume 2Walter Scott
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[Transcriber's Note:I feel that it is important to note that this book is partof the Caledonian series. The Caledonian series is a groupof 50 books comprising all of Sir Walter Scott's works.]
BY SIR WALTER SCOTT
OR 'TIS SIXTY YEARS SINCE
The dinner hour of Scotland Sixty Years Since was two o'clock. Itwas therefore about four o'clock of a delightful autumn afternoonthat Mr. Gilfillan commenced his march, in hopes, althoughStirling was eighteen miles distant, he might be able, by becominga borrower of the night for an hour or two, to reach it thatevening. He therefore put forth his strength, and marched stoutlyalong at the head of his followers, eyeing our hero from time totime, as if he longed to enter into controversy with him. Atlength, unable to resist the temptation, he slackened his pacetill he was alongside of his prisoner's horse, and after marchinga few steps in silence abreast of him, he suddenly asked--'Can yesay wha the carle was wi' the black coat and the mousted head,that was wi' the Laird of Cairnvreckan?'
'A Presbyterian clergyman,' answered Waverley.
'Presbyterian!' answered Gilfillan contemptuously; 'a wretchedErastian, or rather an obscure Prelatist, a favourer of the blackindulgence, ane of thae dumb dogs that canna bark; they tell owera clash o' terror and a clatter o' comfort in their sermons,without ony sense, or savour, or life. Ye've been fed in siccan afauld, belike?'
'No; I am of the Church of England,' said Waverley.
'And they're just neighbour-like,' replied the Covenanter; 'andnae wonder they gree sae weel. Wha wad hae thought the goodlystructure of the Kirk of Scotland, built up by our fathers in1642, wad hae been defaced by carnal ends and the corruptions ofthe time;--ay, wha wad hae thought the carved work of thesanctuary would hae been sae soon cut down!'
To this lamentation, which one or two of the assistants chorussedwith a deep groan, our hero thought it unnecessary to make anyreply. Whereupon Mr. Gilfillan, resolving that he should be ahearer at least, if not a disputant, proceeded in his Jeremiade.
'And now is it wonderful, when, for lack of exercise anent thecall to the service of the altar and the duty of the day,ministers fall into sinful compliances with patronage, andindemnities, and oaths, and bonds, and other corruptions,--is itwonderful, I say, that you, sir, and other sic-like unhappypersons, should labour to build up your auld Babel of iniquity, asin the bluidy persecuting saint-killing times? I trow, gin yewerena blinded wi' the graces and favours, and services andenjoyments, and employments and inheritances, of this wickedworld, I could prove to you, by the Scripture, in what a filthyrag ye put your trust; and that your surplices, and your copes andvestments, are but cast-off garments of the muckle harlot thatsitteth upon seven hills and drinketh of the cup of abomination.But, I trow, ye are deaf as adders upon that side of the head; ay,ye are deceived with her enchantments, and ye traffic with hermerchandise, and ye are drunk with the cup of her fornication!'
How much longer this military theologist might have continued hisinvective, in which he spared nobody but the scattered remnant ofHILL-FOLK, as he called them, is absolutely uncertain. His matterwas copious, his voice powerful, and his memory strong; so thatthere was little chance of his ending his exhortation till theparty had reached Stirling, had not his attention been attractedby a pedlar who had joined the march from a cross-road, and whosighed or groaned with great regularity at all fitting pauses ofhis homily.
'And what may ye be, friend?' said the Gifted Gilfillan.
'A puir pedlar, that's bound for Stirling, and craves theprotection of your honour's party in these kittle times. Ah' yourhonour has a notable faculty in searching and explaining thesecret,--ay, the secret and obscure and incomprehensible causes ofthe backslidings of the land; ay, your honour touches the root o'the matter.'
'Friend,' said Gilfillan, with a more complacent voice than he hadhitherto used, 'honour not me. I do not go out to park-dikes andto steadings and to market-towns to have herds and cottars andburghers pull off their bonnets to me as they do to Major Melvilleo' Cairnvreckan, and ca' me laird or captain or honour. No; mysma' means, whilk are not aboon twenty thousand merk, have had theblessing of increase, but the pride of my heart has not increasedwith them; nor do I delight to be called captain, though I havethe subscribed commission of that gospel-searching nobleman, theEarl of Glencairn, fa whilk I am so designated. While I live I amand will be called Habakkuk Gilfillan, who will stand up for thestandards of doctrine agreed on by the ance famous Kirk ofScotland, before she trafficked with the accursed Achan, while hehas a plack in his purse or a drap o' bluid in his body.'
'Ah,' said the pedlar, 'I have seen your land about Mauchlin. Afertile spot! your lines have fallen in pleasant places! Andsiccan a breed o' cattle is not in ony laird's land in Scotland.'
'Ye say right,--ye say right, friend' retorted Gilfillan eagerly,for he was not inaccessible to flattery upon this subject,--'yesay right; they are the real Lancashire, and there's no the likeo' them even at the mains of Kilmaurs'; and he then entered into adiscussion of their excellences, to which our readers willprobably be as indifferent as our hero. After this excursion theleader returned to his theological discussions, while the pedlar,less profound upon those mystic points, contented himself withgroaning and expressing his edification at suitable intervals.
'What a blessing it would be to the puir blinded popish nationsamong whom I hae sojourned, to have siccan a light to their paths!I hae been as far as Muscovia in my sma' trading way, as atravelling merchant, and I hae been through France, and the LowCountries, and a' Poland, and maist feck o' Germany, and O! itwould grieve your honour's soul to see the murmuring and thesinging and massing that's in the kirk, and the piping that's inthe quire, and the heathenish dancing and dicing upon theSabbath!'
This set Gilfillan off upon the Book of Sports and the Covenant,and the Engagers, and the Protesters, and the Whiggamore's Raid,and the Assembly of Divines at Westminster, and the Longer andShorter Catechism, and the Excommunication at Torwood, and theslaughter of Archbishop Sharp. This last topic, again, led himinto the lawfulness of defensive arms, on which subject he utteredmuch more sense than could have been expected from some otherparts of his harangue, and attracted even Waverley's attention,who had hitherto been lost in his own sad reflections. Mr.Gilfillan then considered the lawfulness of a private man'sstanding forth as the avenger of public oppression, and as he waslabouring with great earnestness the cause of Mas James Mitchell,who fired at the Archbishop of Saint Andrews some years before theprelate's assassination on Magus Muir, an incident occurred whichinterrupted his harangue.
The rays of the sun were lingering on the very verge of thehorizon as the party ascended a hollow and somewhat steep pathwhich led to the summit of a rising ground. The country wasuninclosed, being part of a very extensive heath or common; but itwas far from level, exhibiting in many places hollows filled withfurze and broom; in others, little dingles of stunted brushwood. Athicket of the latter description crowned the hill up which theparty ascended. The foremost of the band, being the stoutest andmost active, had pushed on, and, having surmounted the ascent,were out of ken for the present. Gilfillan, with the pedlar andthe small party who were Waverley's more immediate guard, werenear the top of the ascent, and the remainder straggled after themat a considerable interval.
Such was the situation of matters when the pedlar, missing, as hesaid, a little doggie which belonged to him, began to halt andwhistle for the animal. This signa
l, repeated more than once, gaveoffence to the rigour of his companion, the rather because itappeared to indicate inattention to the treasures of theologicaland controversial knowledge which were pouring out for hisedification. He therefore signified gruffly that he could notwaste his time in waiting for an useless cur.
'But if your honour wad consider the case of Tobit--'
'Tobit!' exclaimed Gilffflan, with great heat; 'Tobit and his dogbaith are altogether heathenish and apocryphal, and none but aprelatist or a papist would draw them into question. I doubt I haebeen mista'en in you, friend.'
'Very likely,' answered the pedlar, with great composure; 'butne'ertheless, I shall take leave to whistle again upon puirBawty.'
This last signal was answered in an unexpected manner; for six oreight stout Highlanders, who lurked among the copse and brushwood,sprung into the hollow way and began to lay about them with theirclaymores. Gilfillan, unappalled at this undesirable apparition,cried out manfully, 'The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!' and,drawing his broadsword, would probably have done as much credit tothe good old cause as any of its doughty champions at Drumclog,when, behold! the pedlar, snatching a musket from the person whowas next him bestowed the butt of it with such emphasis on thehead of his late instructor in the Cameronian creed that he wasforthwith levelled to the ground. In the confusion which ensuedthe horse which bore our hero was shot by one of Gilfillan'sparty, as he discharged his firelock at random. Waverley fellwith, and indeed under, the animal, and sustained some severecontusions. But he was almost instantly extricated from the fallensteed by two Highlanders, who, each seizing him by the arm,hurried him away from the scuffle and from the highroad. They ranwith great speed, half supporting and half dragging our hero, whocould, however, distinguish a few dropping shots fired about thespot which he had left. This, as he afterwards learned, proceededfrom Gilfillan's party, who had now assembled, the stragglers infront and rear having joined the others. At their approach theHighlanders drew off, but not before they had rifled Gilfillan andtwo of his people, who remained on the spot grievously wounded. Afew shots were exchanged betwixt them and the Westlanders; but thelatter, now without a commander, and apprehensive of a secondambush, did not make any serious effort to recover their prisoner,judging it more wise to proceed on their journey to Stirling,carrying with them their wounded captain and comrades.