‘For mere fighting,’ answered Flora,’ I believe all men (that is, who deserve the name) are pretty much alike; there is generally more courage required to run away. They have besides, when confronted with each other, a certain instinct for strife, as we see in other male animals, such as dogs, bulls, and so forth. But high and perilous enterprise is not Waverley’s forte. He would never have been his celebrated ancestor Sir Nigel, but only Sir Nigel’s eulogist and poet. I will tell you where he will be at home, my dear, and in his place—in the quiet circle of domestic happiness, lettered indolence, and elegant enjoyments of Waverley-Honour. And he will refit the old library in the most exquisite Gothic taste, and garnish its shelves with the rarest and most valuable volumes; and he will draw plans and landscapes, and write verses, and rear temples, and dig grottoes; and he will stand in a clear summer night in the colonnade before the hall, and gaze on the deer as they stray in the moonlight, or lie shadowed by the boughs of the huge old fantastic oaks; and he will repeat verses to his beautiful wife, who will hang upon his arm;—and he will be a happy man.’
And she will be a happy woman, thought poor Rose. But she only sighed and dropped the conversation.
FERGUS A SUITOR
Waverley had, indeed, as he looked closer into the state of the Chevalier’s court, less reason to be satisfied with it. It contained, as they say an acorn includes all the ramifications of the future oak, as many seeds of tracasserie and intrigue as might have done honour to the court of a large empire. Every person of consequence had some separate object, which he pursued with a fury that Waverley considered as altogether disproportioned to its importance. Almost all had their reasons for discontent, although the most legitimate was that of the worthy old Baron, who was only distressed on account of the common cause.
‘We shall hardly,’ said he one morning to Waverley when they had been viewing the Castle—’we shall hardly gain the obsidional crown, which you wot well was made of the roots or grain which takes root within the place besieged, or it may be of the herb woodbind, parietaria, or pellitory; we shall not, I say, gain it by this same blockade or leaguer of Edinburgh Castle.’ For this opinion he gave most learned and satisfactory reasons, that the reader may not care to hear repeated.
Having escaped from the old gentleman, Waverley went to Fergus’s lodgings by appointment, to await his return from Holyrood House. ‘I am to have a particular audience to-morrow,’ said Fergus to Waverley overnight, ’and you must meet me to wish me joy of the success which I securely anticipate.’