’I could almost apply to Mr. Bradwardine the character which Henry gives of Fluellen,’ said Waverley, as his friend and he walked towards their bivouac:
’Though it appears a
little out of fashion,
There is much care and valour in this “Scotchman."’
‘He has seen much service,’ answered Fergus, ’and one is sometimes astonished to find how much nonsense and reason are mingled in his composition. I wonder what can be troubling his mind; probably something about Rose. Hark! the English are setting their watch.’
The roll of the drum and shrill accompaniment of the fifes swelled up the hill—died away—resumed its thunder—and was at length hushed. The trumpets and kettle-drums of the cavalry were next heard to perform the beautiful and wild point of war appropriated as a signal for that piece of nocturnal duty, and then finally sunk upon the wind with a shrill and mournful cadence.
The friends, who had now reached their post, stood and looked round them ere they lay down to rest. The western sky twinkled with stars, but a frost-mist, rising from the ocean, covered the eastern horizon, and rolled in white wreaths along the plain where the adverse army lay couched upon their arms. Their advanced posts were pushed as far as the side of the great ditch at the bottom of the descent, and had kindled large fires at different intervals, gleaming with obscure and hazy lustre through the heavy fog which encircled them with a doubtful halo.
The Highlanders,’thick as leaves in Vallombrosa,’ lay stretched upon the ridge of the hill, buried (excepting their sentinels) in the most profound repose. ’How many of these brave fellows will sleep more soundly before to-morrow night, Fergus!’ said Waverley, with an involuntary sigh.
‘You must notthink of that,’ answered Fergus, whose ideas were entirely military. ’You must only think of your sword, and by whom it was given. All other reflections are now too late.’
With the opiate contained in this undeniable remark Edward endeavoured to lull the tumult of his conflicting feelings. The Chieftain and he, combining their plaids, made a comfortable and warm couch. Callum, sitting down at their head (for it was his duty to watch upon the immediate person of the Chief), began a long mournful song in Gaelic, to a low and uniform tune, which, like the sound of the wind at a distance, soon lulled them to sleep.
When Fergus Mac-Ivor and his friend had slept for a few hours, they were awakened and summoned to attend the Prince. The distant village clock was heard to toll three as they hastened to the place where he lay. He was already surrounded by his principal officers and the chiefs of clans. A bundle of pease-straw, which had been lately his couch, now served for his seat. Just as Fergus reached the