Ensign MacCombich having gone to the Highland camp upon duty, and Bailie Macwheeble having retired to digest his dinner and Evan Dhu’s intimation of martial law in some blind change-house, Waverley, with the Baron and the Chieftain, proceeded to Holyrood House. The two last were in full tide of spirits, and the Baron rallied in his way our hero upon the handsome figure which his new dress displayed to advantage. ’If you have any design upon the heart of a bonny Scotch lassie, I would premonish you, when you address her, to remember and quote the words of Virgilius:—
Nunc insanus amor duri me
Martis in armis,
Tela inter media atque adversos detinet hostes;
whilk verses Robertson of Struan, Chief of the Clan Donnochy (unless the claims of Lude ought to be preferred primo loco), has thus elegantly rendered:—
For cruel love had gartan’d
low my leg,
And clad my hurdies in a philabeg.
Although, indeed, ye wear the trews, a garment whilk I approve maist of the twa, as mair ancient and seemly.’ ‘Or rather,’ said Fergus, ’hear my song:—
She wadna hae a Lowland laird,
Nor be an English lady;
But she’s away with Duncan Grame,
And he’s row’d her in his plaidy.’
By this time they reached the palace of Holyrood, and were announced respectively as they entered the apartments.
It is but too well known how many gentlemen of rank, education, and fortune took a concern in the ill-fated and desperate undertaking of 1745. The ladies, also, of Scotland very generally espoused the cause of the gallant and handsome young Prince, who threw himself upon the mercy of his countrymen rather like a hero of romance than a calculating politician. It is not, therefore, to be wondered that Edward, who had spent the greater part of his life in the solemn seclusion of Waverley-Honour, should have been dazzled at the liveliness and elegance of the scene now exhibited in the long deserted halls of the Scottish palace. The accompaniments, indeed, fell short of splendour, being such as the confusion and hurry of the time admitted; still, however, the general effect was striking, and, the rank of the company considered, might well be called brilliant.
It was not long before the lover’s eye discovered the object of his attachment. Flora Mac-Ivor was in the act of returning to her seat, near the top of the room, with Rose Bradwardine by her side. Among much elegance and beauty, they had attracted a great degree of the public attention, being certainly two of the handsomest women present. The Prince took much notice of both, particularly of Flora, with whom he danced, a preference which she probably owed to her foreign education and command of the French and Italian languages.