’Answer? why—it is well it is written, “Curse not the king, no, not in thy thought!”—why, he answered that truly he was glad I had made him my confidant, to prevent more grievous disappointment, for he could assure me, upon the word of a prince, that Miss Bradwardine’s affections were engaged, and he was under a particular promise to favour them. “So, my dear Fergus,” said he, with his most gracious cast of smile, “as the marriage is utterly out of question, there need be no hurry, you know, about the earldom.” And so he glided off and left me plante la.’
‘And what did you do?’
’I’ll tell you what I could have done at that moment—sold myself to the devil or the Elector, whichever offered the dearest revenge. However, I am now cool. I know he intends to marry her to some of his rascally Frenchmen or his Irish officers, but I will watch them close; and let the man that would supplant me look well to himself. Bisogna coprirsi, Signor.’
After some further conversation, unnecessary to be detailed, Waverley took leave of the Chieftain, whose fury had now subsided into a deep and strong desire of vengeance, and returned home, scarce able to analyse the mixture of feelings which the narrative had awakened in his own bosom.
‘To one thing constant never’
’I am the very child of caprice,’said Waverley to himself, as he bolted the door of his apartment and paced it with hasty steps. ’What is it to me that Fergus Mac-Ivor should wish to marry Rose Bradwardine? I love her not; I might have been loved by her perhaps; but rejected her simple, natural, and affecting attachment, instead of cherishing it into tenderness, and dedicated myself to one who will never love mortal man, unless old Warwick, the King-maker, should arise from the dead The Baron too —I would not have cared about his estate, and so the name would have been no stumbling-block. The devil might have taken the barren moors and drawn off the royal caligae for anything I would have minded. But, framed as she is for domestic affection and tenderness, for giving and receiving all those kind and quiet attentions which sweeten life to those who pass it together, she is sought by Fergus Mac-Ivor. He will not use her ill, to be sure; of that he is incapable. But he will neglect her after the first month; he will be too intent on subduing some rival chieftain or circumventing some favourite at court, on gaining some heathy hill and lake or adding to his bands some new troop of caterans, to inquire what she does, or how she amuses herself.
And then will canker sorrow
eat her bud,
And chase the native beauty from her cheek;
And she will look as hollow as a ghost,
And dim and meagre as an ague fit,
And so she’ll die.