‘That will be easily done by most of us,’ said Mac-Ivor, laughing.
’Craving your pardon, Colonel Mac-Ivor, not quite so easily as ye seem to opine. I grant most of your folk left the Highlands expedited as it were, and free from the incumbrance of baggage; but it is unspeakable the quantity of useless sprechery which they have collected on their march. I saw one fellow of yours (craving your pardon once more) with a pier-glass upon his back.’
‘Ay,’ said Fergus, still in good-humour, ’he would have told you, if you had questioned him, “a ganging foot is aye getting.” But come, my dear Baron, you know as well as I that a hundred Uhlans, or a single troop of Schmirschitz’s Pandours, would make more havoc in a country than the knight of the mirror and all the rest of our clans put together.’
‘And that is very true likewise,’ replied the Baron; ’they are, as the heathen author says, ferociores in aspectu, mitiores in actu, of a horrid and grim visage, but more benign in demeanour than their physiognomy or aspect might infer. But I stand here talking to you two youngsters when I should be in the King’s Park.’
’But you will dine with Waverley and me on your return? I assure you, Baron, though I can live like a Highlander when needs must, I remember my Paris education, and understand perfectly faire la meilleure chere.’
‘And wha the deil doubts it,’ quoth the Baron, laughing, ’when ye bring only the cookery and the gude toun must furnish the materials? Weel, I have some business in the toun too; but I’ll join you at three, if the vivers can tarry so long.’
So saying, he took leave of his friends and went to look after the charge which had been assigned him.
A SOLDIER’S DINNER
James of the Needle was a man of his word when whisky was no party to the contract; and upon this occasion Callum Beg, who still thought himself in Waverley’s debt, since he had declined accepting compensation at the expense of mine host of the Candlestick’s person, took the opportunity of discharging the obligation, by mounting guard over the hereditary tailor of Sliochd nan Ivor; and, as he expressed himself, ’targed him tightly’ till the finishing of the job. To rid himself of this restraint, Shemus’s needle flew through the tartan like lightning; and as the artist kept chanting some dreadful skirmish of Fin Macoul, he accomplished at least three stitches to the death of every hero. The dress was, therefore, soon ready, for the short coat fitted the wearer, and the rest of the apparel required little adjustment.