Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Tales of the Covenanters
Author: Guthrie, Ellen Jane
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Tales of the Covenanters" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



                                 TALES

                                 OF THE

                              COVENANTERS


                                   BY

                           ELLEN JANE GUTHRIE



                            ELEVENTH EDITION



                                 LONDON
                 SIMPKIN, MARSHALL, HAMILTON, KENT & CO
                       GLASGOW: THOMAS B. MORISON
                                  1920



                              *CONTENTS.*


A Tale of Bothwell Bridge
The Laird of Culzean
Peden’s Stone
The Murder of Inchdarnie
The Laird of Lag
The Sutor’s Seat



                            *INTRODUCTION.*


    The kings of old have shrine and tomb
    In many a minster’s haughty gloom;
    And green along the ocean’s side
    The mounds arise where heroes died;
    But show me on thy flowery breast.
    Earth! where thy nameless martyrs rest!

    The thousands that, uncheer’d by praise,
    Have made one offering of their days;
    For Truth, for Heaven, for Freedom’s sake.
    Resigned the bitter cup to take;
    And silently, in fearless faith,
    Bowing their noble souls to death.

    Where sleep they, Earth?—by no proud stone
    Their narrow couch of rest is known;
    The still, sad glory of their name
    Hallows no mountain into fame.
    No—not a tree the record bears
    Of their deep thoughts and lonely prayers.

    Yet haply all around lie strew’d
    The ashes of that multitude.
    It may be that each day we tread
    Where thus devoted hearts have bled;
    And the young flowers our children sow
    Take root in holy dust below.

    O, that the many rustling leaves,
    Which round our home the summer weaves,
    Or that the streams, in whose glad voice
    Our own familiar paths rejoice,
    Might whisper through the starry sky,
    To tell where those blest slumberers lie

    Would not our inmost Hearts be thrill’d
    With notice of their presence fill’d,
    And by its breathings taught to prize
    The meekness of self-sacrifice?—
    But the old woods and sounding waves
    Are silent of these hidden graves.

    Yet, what if no light footstep there
    In pilgrim love and awe repair.
    So let it be!—like him whose clay,
    Deep buried by his Maker lay.
    They sleep in secret—but their sod,
    Unknown to man, is marked of God!

    Mrs. Hemans.

Scotland is indeed a land of romance.  Her mouldering ruins are linked
with legends and historical associations which must ever enhance their
interest in the eyes of those who love to gaze on these the

    Standing mementos of another age;

and the pages of her history teem with deeds of chivalry and renown that
have won for Scotland a mighty name. Thus, while the annals of our
country are emblazoned with the deathless names of those mighty heroes
who fought and bled in defence of her freedom from spiritual bondage,
the nameless mound, or simple cairn of stones, still to be met with on
the solitary heath or sequestered dell, marks the spot where rests some
humble champion of her religious liberties.

Although three hundred years have passed away—marked in their flight by
great and startling events—since the reign of persecution in Scotland,
yet the hearts of her peasantry cling with fondness to the remembrance
of those hallowed days sealed by the blood of her faithful martyrs.
Still is the name of Claverhouse execrated by them, and the story of
"John Brown" is related from children to children while seated around
the cottage hearth, in illustration of the lawless doings of the
Covenanters’ foes.

It must strike the mind of every unprejudiced observer, who reads the
various histories of that stirring time, that the shocking and barbarous
cruelties practised on the defenders of the Covenant by their relentless
enemies, will ever remain a stain on the memories of those who
countenanced or took an active part in such proceedings.  Scarcely is
there a churchyard extant in Scotland, laying claim to antiquity, that
does not contain one or more stones, the half-obliterated inscriptions
of which attest the fact, that underneath lies some poor victim of
persecuting zeal.

Having lately visited different parts of Scotland intimately connected
with many of the events which took place at that memorable time, I
experienced an inexpressible satisfaction in the reception I met with at
the different farm-houses in the neighbourhood, and hearing from the
lips of their simple inhabitants the story of the cruel wrongs inflicted
on the Covenanters in the days of their persecution.

During these pleasant wanderings, I gathered information sufficient to
furnish the Tales contained in the present volume, in which the reader
will, I trust, find much that is calculated to awaken fresh interest in
those benefactors of our country, whose magnanimity and patient
endurance were worthy of all praise, and who, for the cause of Christ
and his Crown, laid down their lives on the scaffold or amidst the
burning faggots.



                      *THE SCOTTISH COVENANTERS.*



                      *A TALE OF BOTHWELL BRIDGE.*


While staying at ——, in the parish of W——, I discovered that a standard,
borne by the Covenanters at Bothwell Bridge, was still to be seen at the
farm of Westcroft.  Being very desirous of viewing this interesting
relic, I set off one fine morning in the hope of obtaining a glimpse of
the time-honoured banner.  On reaching the village of H——, which lay on
my way, I observed a very portly-looking woman standing by the side of
the road, apparently enjoying the grateful breeze, as she looked east
and then west, evidently in search of something amusing or exciting.
Being now somewhat at a loss in what direction to turn my steps, I
crossed over to where she was standing, in the expectation of obtaining
from her the requisite information, when the following dialogue ensued:—

"Would you be so kind as to tell me the way to Westcroft?"

"That I will.  I’ll just go wi’ you a step or two and show you the farm
itsel’.  But what are ye wanting at Westcroft, if I may ask the
question?"

"I wish to see Mr. Anderson, as I understand he has got a standard that
was borne at Bothwell Bridge."

"He has that—he has that; but it’s often away frae hame, ta’en to
Glasgow and the like, for ye see it’s something to say, a body has seen
the like o’ that."

"From what I have heard, this seems to have been a great part of the
country for the Covenanters to take refuge in."

"’Deed an’ it was, but for my part I dinna ken much _aboot_ them; my
brother, again, was a great _antiquarian_, and rale ta’en up about these
auld affairs."

"Does he live near here?"

"Oh! mam, he’s dead;" and after a short pause added, "Now, you see that
white house forenent the road?"

"Yes."

"Well, that’s Westcroft; and if Willie Anderson be at hame, ye’ll get
plenty o’ cracks about the Covenanters, for he has lots o’ bees in his
bonnet, him."

After thanking the good humoured dame for her information—upon which she
replied I was welcome—I turned up the path leading to Westcroft.  In
answer to my request to see Mr. Anderson, I was informed he was in the
fields; but that Mrs. A. was within, upon which a very
intelligent-looking woman came forward, and, on my expressing a wish to
see the standard, desired me to come ben, and I should have a sight o’
the colours.

Following the mistress of the house, I was speedily ushered into a tidy
little room, the walls of which were adorned with pictures, the most
striking of which was one entitled "The Guardsman’s Farewell,"
representing a gallant son of Mars in a most gorgeous uniform, on
horseback, taking leave of a stout woman, attired in a yellow
polka-jacket and a crimson petticoat, who was gazing upwards in the face
of the departing soldier, with a look of agony impossible to describe.

"Here are the colours!" and, as she spoke, Mrs. A. produced from a
drawer on old piece of linen covered with stains as dark as those
exhibited in Holyrood—the surface of which displayed unmistakable
bullet-holes, and bearing the following inscription in large red
letters:—

    "For the parish of Shotts,
    For Reformation of Church and State;
    According to the Word of God, and
    Our Covenants."

Above was the thistle of Scotland, surmounted by a crown and an open
Bible.

And this standard was borne at Bothwell Bridge! How my thoughts reverted
to that fearful time, when the plains of Scotland resounded with the
cries of the wounded and the oppressed; when men, embittered by party
spirit and misguided zeal, wrought deeds of cruelty and shame, over
which angels well might weep; when fathers were murdered in presence of
their wives and children; and the widow slain while weeping over the
dead body of her husband!

In thought I was traversing the bloody plains of Bothwell, when——but
here I must present the reader with an account of that fearful fight, as
related by the Laird of Orfort to his brother, while standing on the
spot where was fought the last battle against the enemies of the good
old cause:—

"On that moor," said the Laird, who, after a long silence, and without
being conscious of it, by a kind of instinct, natural enough to a
soldier, had drawn his sword, and was pointing with it.  "On that moor
the enemy first formed under Monmouth.  There, on the right, Clavers led
on the Life Guards, breaching fury, and resolute to wipe off the
disgrace of the affair of Drumclog.  Dalziel formed his men on that
knoll. Lord Livingstone led the van of the foemen.  We had taken care to
have Bothwell Bridge strongly secured by a barricade, and our little
battery of cannon was planted on that spot below us, in order to sweep
the bridge.  And we did rake it.  The foemen’s blood streamed there.
Again and again the troops of the tyrant marched on, and our cannon
annihilated their columns.  Sir Robert Hamilton was our
commander-in-chief. The gallant General Hackston stood on that spot with
his brave men.  Along the river, and above the bridge, Burley’s foot and
Captain Nisbet’s dragoons were stationed.  For one hour we kept the
enemy in check; they were defeated in every attempt to cross the Clyde.
Livingstone sent another strong column to storm the bridge.  I shall
never forget the effect of one fire from our battery, where my men
stood.  We saw the line of the foe advance in all the military glory of
brave and beautiful men—the horses pranced—the armour gleamed.  In one
moment nothing was seen but a shocking mass of mortality.  Human limbs
and the bodies and limbs of horses were mingled in one huge heap, or
blown to a great distance.  Another column attempted to cross above the
bridge.  Some threw themselves into the current.  One well-directed fire
from Burley’s troops threw them into disorder, and drove them back.
Meantime, while we were thus warmly engaged, Hamilton was labouring to
bring down the different divisions of our main body into action; but in
vain he called on Colonel Clelland’s troop—in vain he ordered
Henderson’s to fall in—in vain he called on Colonel Fleming’s.  Hackston
flew from troop to troop—all was confusion; in vain he besought, he
entreated, he threatened.  Our disputes and fiery misguided zeal, my
brother, contracted a deep and deadly guilt that day.

"The Whig turned his arm in fierce hate that day against his own vitals.
Our chaplains, Cargil, and King, and Kid, and Douglas interposed again
and again. Cargil mounted the pulpit he preached concord; he called
aloud for mutual forbearance.  ’Behold the banners of the enemy!’ cried
he, ’hear ye not the fire of the foe, and of our own brethren?  Our
brothers and fathers are falling beneath the sword!  Hasten to their
aid!  See the flag of the Covenant!  See the motto in letters of
gold—"Christ’s Crown and the Covenant."  Hear the voice of your weeping
country!  Hear the wailings fof the bleeding Kirk!  Banish discord; and
let us, as a band of brothers, present a bold front to the foeman!
Follow me, all ye who love your country and the Covenant!  I go to die
in the fore-front of the battle!’  All the ministers and officers
followed him—amidst a flourish of trumpets—but the great body remained
to listen to the harangues of the factions. We sent again and again for
ammunition.  My men were at the last round.  Treachery, or a fatal
error, had sent a barrel of raisins instead of powder![#]  My heart sank
within me—while I beheld the despair on the faces of my brave fellows—as
I struck out the head of the vessel.  Hackston called his officers to
him. We throw ourselves around him.  ’What must be done?’ said he, in an
agony of despair.  ’Conquer or die,’ we said, as if with one voice.  ’We
have our swords yet.’  ’Lead back the men, then, to their places, and
let the ensign bear down the blue and scarlet colours. Our God and our
country be the word,’ Hackston rushed forward.  We ran to our respective
corps; we cheered our men, but they were languid and dispirited. Their
ammunition was nearly expended, and they seemed anxious to husband what
remained.  They fought only with their carabines.  The cannons could no
more be loaded.  The enemy soon perceived this. We saw a troop of horse
approach the bridge.  It was that of the Life Guards; I recognised the
plume of Clavers.  They approached in rapid march.  A solid column of
infantry followed.  I sent a request to Captain Nisbet to join his
troops to mine.  He was in an instant with us.  We charged the Life
Guards.  Our swords rang on their steel caps.—Many of my brave lads fell
on all sides of me.  But we hewed down the foe.  They began to reel.
The whole column was kept stationary on the bridge.  Clavers’ dreadful
voice was heard—more like the yell of a savage than the commanding voice
of a soldier.  He pushed forward his men, and again we hewed them down.
A third mass was pushed up.  Our exhausted dragoons fled. Unsupported, I
found myself by the brave Nisbet, and Paton, and Hackston.  We looked
for a moment’s space in silence on each other.  We galloped in front of
our retreating men.  We rallied them.  We pointed to the General almost
alone.  We pointed to the white and scarlet colours floating near him.
We cried, ’God and our country!’  They faced about.  We charged Clavers
once more.  ’Torfoot,’ cried Nisbet, ’I dare you to the fore-front of
the battle.’  We rushed up at full gallop.  Our men seeing this,
followed also at full speed.  We broke the enemy’s line, bearing down
those files which we encountered.  We cut our way through their ranks.
But they had now lengthened their front.  Superior numbers drove us in.
They had gained entire possession of the bridge.  Livingstone and
Dalziel were actually taking us on the flank.  A band had got between us
and Burley’s infantry.  ’My friends,’ said Hackston to his officers, ’we
are last on the field.  We can do no more.  We must retreat. Let us
attempt, at least, to bring aid to these deluded men behind us.  They
have brought ruin on themselves and on us.  Not Monmouth, but our own
divisions have scattered us.’  At this moment, one of the Life Guards
aimed a blow at Hackston.  My sword received it; and a stroke from
Nisbet laid the foeman’s hand and sword in the dust.  He fainted and
tumbled from the saddle.  We reined our horses, and galloped to our main
body.  But what a scene presented itself here!  These misguided men had
their eyes now fully open to their own errors.  The enemy were bringing
up their whole force against them.  I was not long a near spectator of
it; for a ball grazed my courser. He plunged and reared, then shot off
like an arrow. Several of our officers drew to the same place.  On a
knoll we faced about; the battle raged below us. We beheld our commander
doing everything that a brave soldier could do with factious men against
an overpowering foe.  Burley and his troops were in close conflict with
Clavers’ dragoons.  We saw him dismount three troopers with his own
hand.  He could not turn the tide of battle; but he was covering the
retreat of these misguided men.  Before we could rejoin him, a party
threw themselves in our way.  Hennoway, one of Clavers’ officers, led
them on.  ’Would to God that this was Grahame himself,’ some of my
companions ejaculated aloud.  ’He falls to my share,’ said I, ’whosver
the officer be.’  I advanced—he met me. I parried several thrusts.  He
received a cut on the left arm; and the same sword, by the same stroke,
shore off one of the horse’s ears; it plunged and reared.  We closed
again.  I received a stroke on the left shoulder. My blow fell on his
sword arm.  He reined his horse around, retreated a few paces, then
returned at full gallop.  My courser reared instinctively as his
approached.  I received his stroke on the back of my Ferrar; and, by a
back stroke, I gave him a deep cut on the cheek.  And, before he could
recover a position of defence, my sword fell with a terrible blow on his
steel cap.  Stunned by the blow, he bent himself forward, and, grasping
the mane, he tumbled from the saddle, and his steed galloped over the
field.  I did not repeat the blow.  His left hand presented his sword;
his right arm was disabled; his life was given to him.  My companions
having disposed of their adversaries (and some of them had two a-piece),
we paused to see the fate of the battle.  Dalziel and Livingstone were
riding over the field, like furies, cutting down all in their way.
Monmouth was galloping from rank to rank, and calling on his men to give
quarter.  Clavers, to wipe off the disgrace of Drumclog, was committing
fearful havoc.  ’Can we not find Clavers?’ said Haugh-head.  ’No,’ said
Captain Paton, ’the gallant Colonel takes care to have a solid guard of
his rogues around him.  I have sought him over the field; but I found
him, as I now perceive him, with a mass of his Guards about him.’  At
this instant we saw our General at some distance, disentangling himself
from the men who had tumbled over him in the mélé.  His face, and hands,
and clothes, were covered with gore.  He had been dismounted, and was
fighting on foot.  We rushed to the spot, and cheered him.  Our party
drove back the scattered band of Dalziel.  ’My friends,’ said Sir
Robert, as we mounted him on a stray horse, ’the day is lost!  But—you,
Paton; you, Brownlee of Torfoot; and you, Haugh-head, let not that flag
fall into the hands of these incarnate devils.  We have lost the battle;
but, by the grace of God, neither Dalziel nor Clavers shall say that he
took our colours.  My ensign has done his duty.  He is down.  This sword
has saved it twice. I leave it to your care: you see its perilous
situation.’  He pointed with his sword to the spot.  We collected some
of our scattered troops, and flew to the place. The standard-bearer was
down, but he was still fearlessly grasping the flag-staff; while he was
borne uprightly by the mass of men who had thrown themselves in fierce
contest around it.  Its well-known blue scarlet colours, and its motto,
Christ’s Crown and Covenant, in brilliant gold letters, inspired us with
a sacred enthusiasm.  We gave a loud cheer to the wounded ensign, and
rushed into the combat.  The redemption of that flag cost the foe many a
gallant man.  They fell beneath our broad swords, and with horrible
execrations dying on their lips, they gave up their souls to their
Judge.  Here I met in front that ferocious dragoon of Clavers, named Tom
Kalliday, who had more than once, in his raids, plundered my halls, and
had snatched the bread from my weeping babes.  He had just seized the
white staff of the flag. But his tremendous oath of exultation had
scarcely passed its polluted threshold, when this Andro Ferrara fell on
the guard of his steel, and shivered it to pieces. ’Recreant loon,’ said
I, ’thou shalt this day remember thy evil deeds.’  Another blow on his
helmit laid him at his huge length, and made him bite the dust.  In the
mélé that followed, I lost sight of him.  We fought like lions, but with
the hearts of Christians.  While my gallant companions stemmed the tide
of battle, the standard, rent to tatters, fell across my breast.  I tore
it from the staff, and wrapt it round my body.  We cut our way through
the enemy, and carried our General off the field.


[#] The natives of Hamilton have preserved, by tradition, the name of
the merchant who did this disservice to the Covenanters.


"Having gained a small knoll, we beheld once more the dreadful spectacle
below.  Thick volumes of smoke and dust rolled in a lazy cloud over the
dark bands mingled in deadly affray.  It was no longer a battle, but a
massacre.  In the struggle of my feelings, ’I turned my eyes on the
General and Paton.  I saw in the face of the latter an indescribable
conflict of emotions.  His long and shaggy eyebrows were drawn over his
eyes.  His hand grasped his sword.  I cannot yet leave the field,’ said
the undaunted Paton; ’with the General’s permission, I shall try to save
some of our wretched men beset by those hell-hounds. Who will go?  At
Kilsyth I saw service.  When deserted by my troops, I cut my way through
Montrose’s men and reached the spot where Colonels Halket and Strachan
were.  We left the field together.  Fifteen Dragoons attacked us, we cut
down thirteen and two fled.  Thirteen next assailed us.  We left ten on
the field, and three fled.  Eleven Highlanders next met us. We paused
and cheered each other.  ’Now, Johnny,’ cried Halket to me, ’put forth
your metal, else we are gone.’  Nine others we sent after their
comrades, and two fled.[#]  ’Now, who will join this raid?’  ’I will be
your leader,’ said Sir Robert, as we fell into the ranks. We marched on
the enemy’s flank.  ’Yonder is Clavers,’ said Paton, while he directed
his courser on him.  The bloody man was at that moment, nearly alone,
hacking to pieces some poor fellows already on their knees disarmed and
imploring him by the common feelings of humanity to spare their lives.
He had just finished his usual oath against their feelings of humanity,
when Paton presented himself.  He instantly let go his prey and slunk
back into the midst of his troopers.  Having formed them, he advanced.
We formed and made a furious onset.  At our first charge his troop
reeled. Clavers was dismounted.  But at that moment Dalziel assailed us
on the flank and rear.  Our men fell around us like grass before the
mower.  The buglemen sounded a retreat.  Once more in the mélé, I fell
in with the General and Paton.  We were covered with wounds. We directed
our flight in the rear of the broken troops, By the direction of the
General I had unfurled the standard.  It was borne off the field flying
at the sword’s point.  But that honour cost me much.  I was assailed by
three fierce dragoons, five followed close in the rear. I called to
Paton—in a moment he was by my side.  I threw the standard to the
General, and we rushed on the foe.  They fell beneath our swords; but my
faithful steed, which had carried me through all my dangers, was
mortally wounded.  He fell.  I was thrown in among the fallen enemy.  I
fainted.  I opened my eyes on misery.  I found myself in the presence of
Monmouth—a prisoner—with other wretched creatures, awaiting in awful
suspense their ultimate destiny." * * *


[#] This chivalrous defence is recorded in the life of Captain Paton.


And this standard had been borne at Bothwell Bridge; borne at early morn
by the Covenanters, when hopes of victory animated their souls, urging
them on to deeds of daring; and at evening, when the bright rays of the
setting sun fell upon the deserted bridge—deserted by all save the dead
and the dying—this banner blood-stained and riven, had been borne by
some weary, perchance, wounded Covenanter, from the disastrous field,
where perished the hopes of the Covenanting party.

I was roused from my momentary fit of abstraction by hearing Mrs.
Anderson observe, as if in answer to her own thoughts, "Ay, it’s rale
dirty! but I was on the point of washing it the other day, when my
husband said it was much better to let it remain as it was."  Wash the
standard stained with the blood of her forefathers! Convert the
time-honoured relic into a clean piece of linen which would no longer
bear the slightest resemblance to a banner that had been engaged in
_such honourable service_!  Surely she was joking.  But no. There was no
twinkle of merriment in those large grey eyes, which were fixed on mine,
as if anticipating a glance of approbation for her thwarted intentions;
not the slightest approach to a smile at the corners of the mouth, that
had given utterance to the astounding declaration.  I repressed a strong
desire to laugh, and answered with becoming gravity, that I thought on
the whole Mr. Anderson was right; and that it would be better to spare
it the cleansing process, upon which she said, "May be ay;" and the
venerable banner was replaced in the drawer.

Observing an old sword suspended from a nail on the wall, I inquired of
Mrs. Anderson if there was any particular history attached to it?
"’Deed there is," she replied, taking it down from the wall and placing
it in my hands; that sword was employed in the killing o’ two or three
Royalists down by M—— yonder in the time o’ the persecution.  You see,
the dragoons were drinking in a public-house that used to stand by the
side o’ the road near till M——.  They were going on the next day to L——
to levy fines frae the Covenanters, a thing they had no business to do.
And as they drank, their hearts were opened, and they boasted to the
landlord that the wine-stoupa wadna contain the gold they should bring
wi’ them on their return.

"Now ye must know, that some one who was na’ very friendly to their side
of the question, happened to be in the house at that time, and heard
their foolish talk; and what does he do, think ye, but rins awa’ to some
o’ the nearest farms and collects several others like himself; for ye
see people in these days were na’ deterred by fear o’ the laws frae just
doing as they liket; and they all marched to the public-house, with the
wicked intention o’ killing the soldiers.  Some say an old miller, o’
the name o’ Baird, who lived near here, and who had been a sore enemy to
the Royalists, and had obtained a free pardon frae the Government, when
aince he fell into their hands, headed the party. Wi’ blackened faces,
and guns, and swords, in their hands, they rushed into the room where
sat the men. One of them, on perceiving their entrance, caught up a
chair to defend hinself, but one o’ the Covenanters thrust his sword wi’
such force through his body, that it stuck in the wall behind him; while
the others were finished wi’ the butt-ends of their guns.  Eh, sirs, but
these were wild times.  And this part o’ the country was in a very
disturbed state about that time; for just before the battle o’ Bothwell
Bridge, the royal army lay encamped all over the Muirhead up on the hill
yonder; for it being a high situation, they had a good view o’ all the
country round; and whenever they ran out o’ provisions, the soldiers
just gaed to a’ the farm-houses round about, and took away cattle, meal,
butter, and everything they could lay their hands on without saying by
your leave, or thank ye kindly for what they got.  Ye must know that
that standard belonged to the Telfords of Muirhead; it was one o’ them
that carried it to the battle o’ Bothwell Bridge, and my husband’s
mother being one o’ that family, he kens plenty _aboot_ the Covenanters.
Well, as I was saying, the dragoons went to all places they could think
on to procure provisions for themselves, and provender for their horses,
and they honoured Mrs. Telford often wi’ a visit at these times—for she
was well off in this world’s gear; and I’ve heard my husband say—he had
it from his mother, and she had it again from hers—that whenever the
soldiers found there was more meal than they could conveniently carry
away, they thought nothing o’ tumbling the lave (remainder) a’ doon the
hill, not caring one straw how _they were to be served_ that came ahint
them.  "However," continued Mrs. Anderson with a laugh, "they sometimes
were cheated too, when they came to clear the byres and stables o’ them
that could ill afford to lose their cattle, as ye will hear by the
following story o’ the then mistress o’ this house, who was sorely
troubled by visits frae the thieving dragoons, who were sure never to go
away empty-handed.  Well, one day they came for the purpose o’ stealing
her cattle, when, just as they were conveying them away, she ran after
them, telling them it was as much as their lives were worth, to take
away her cows, as she had an order frae one of their officers,
threatening with death the person who should touch them; so saying, she
displayed an old receipt.  The soldiers, as the woman suspected, not
being able to read writing, and afraid of incurring the displeasure of
their superiors, allowed the receipt to pass unchallenged, and departed,
for once, empty-handed. Another time, they came to take her horses; and
after they had removed them out of the stable, all except one old horse,
which they did not consider worth the trouble of taking, and left them
standing at the door, they entered the house, for the purpose of
obtaining some refreshment.  The mistress of the farm, on being informed
of their intentions, managed, on some pretext or other, to slip away,
after she had seen them seated round a loaded table, preparing to
discuss the good things set before them, and entering the stable,
loosened the sole remaining horse, and, mounting him, dashed off at a
gallop, the others following in the rear. The dragoons hearing the noise
attendant upon the departure of their stolen steeds, rushed out of the
house, but too late to recover possession of the coveted horses, which
in the most commendable manner followed their leader until they reached
a place of safety. The soldiers returned to the camp highly incensed at
being done out by a woman, and fully resolved never to venter near
Westcroft farm again."

"Wicked people lived in these times," I observed.

"Ay," said Mrs. Anderson, "and good ones too; for I mind well o’ my
mother telling me, that even in her youth, people were far more strict
and better in their conduct, than they were in my young days—ay," she
added, with a shake of her head, "there is mony a strange sect started
up now; and if a’ are right that think they are, we maun be far wrong.
But, as I was saying, my mother told me, that when young and able for
the walk, she thought nothing of going ten miles to church.  And one day
she went to the kirk at O——, accompanied by a man and his wife; and
while they were walking along the road, the man was standing pretty
often, and looking at the crops, when his wife turned round and said—my
mother told me she would never forget it—’James, are you not ashamed of
yoursel’, for casting your e’en at’oure the fields on the Lord’s-day?’
And for my own part, I mind well as a child, never being allowed to be
seen out on a Sunday, binna it was when going to the kirk."

"I suppose you have frequently read the ’Scotch Worthies?’" I inquired.

"That I have, often and many a time," replied Mrs. Anderson, "eh, but
these were the noble men—it’s hard to say who were the best, they were
all so good. There’s Mr. Peden, what a bright example he gave to his
people!  Oh, but they were privileged who could hear the gospel preached
by such a man!  And eh, sirs, but he was sair, sair persecuted.  I mind
o’ my mother telling me, when a little bit lassie, she had been shown a
house near here, where that worthy man had a narrow escape for his life.
You see he was coming to preach at an appointed place on the moors, and
was spending the evening before-hand wi’ a farmer who was a great friend
o’ the persecuted clergy, and never was known to turn one frae his door,
even although certain death was the consequence o’ its being found out.
Well, just as Mr. Peden was seated at his supper, in the best room, the
master o’ the farm, frae the kitchen window, saw the red-coats advancing
in the direction of the house.  ’Wife, wife,’ cried he, ’Mr. Peden is
lost!  Here are the dragoons come to take him.  What can we do to save
him?’  Ye see, Mr. Peden was held in great veneration by them a’.  ’Oh,’
replied his wife, ’whenever the dragoons are within hearing, just you
call out, Jock, put on your smock frock, and go off instantly to B—— for
coals, and maybe the soldiers winna stop him.’  The man did as he was
desired, at the same time throwing the smock into the room where Mr.
Peden was sitting. The latter perceiving the great danger he was in,
instantly put on the carter’s frock, and pulling his cap down over his
forehead, put on as lubberly an appearance as possible, in order to look
like the character he was assuming; and in this way passed his enemies
without in the least exciting their suspicions; and very leisurely
yoking the horse to the cart, he set off on his expedition.  Thus, while
the dragoons were searching the house for Mr. Peden, he was, through the
mercy of God, far beyond their reach.

After a few remarks about the wicked deeds that were done in those days,
the conversation turned upon the murder of Archbishop Sharpe, which Mrs.
Anderson allowed was a cruel doing on the part of the Covenanters,
although the Archbishop himself had caused the destruction of many of
their body.  "Ay," she said, "talking about that, I mind well o’ a
minister coming in here one night, who had just come frae Fife, and he
told us that, in the house where he had been staying, the conversation
one evening had turned upon the Covenanters, and the murder o’ the
Archbishop; and as they were speaking about him, the mistress o’ the
house went till a drawer, and pulling out two letters frae the King to
Archbishop Sharpe, threw them on the table wi’ a great air of
consequence—for ye must know that she prided herself on her descent frae
the Archbishop.  The minister read the letters carefully, and having
observed the look of importance with which the woman had produced them,
he said to her, ’My good woman, I do not see any use in your keeping
letters that belonged to that evil man, who did our forefathers such bad
service; with your leave I shall put them into the fire.’  ’You shall do
no such thing!’ replied the woman; ’these letters hae been in my
possession this mony a day, and it’s not very likely I kept them so long
to allow them to be burned in the end.’  Now for my own part," said Mrs.
Anderson, "I think she did perfectly right; for losh pity me! if people
were to be condemned for the evil doings o’ their ancestors, we might a’
hide our heads thegither; and besides, I think it a nice thing to hae
these auld relics in one’s ain house: there, now, a gentleman was very
anxious, a short time ago, for me to send the banner and sword into the
Antiquarian Society in Edinburgh; but no, no, says I, I’ll just e’en
keep them, were it only to show that my forefathers were fighting for
the good old cause; but here comes my husband, and he will be able to
tell ye plenty about the Covenanters."

Scarcely had Mrs. Anderson finished speaking, when her husband entered.
"Here, Willie," she said, addressing him, "I am so glad you have come,
for this lady is very anxious to hear some of your stories about the
Covenanters."

"Indeed, ma’m," replied Mr. Anderson, taking off his hat on observing
me, "it’s not much that I know about them, but the little I have came
from my forefathers, and you’re welcome to it, if you think it would
interest you; in the meantime," he added, "I suppose you have seen the
standard and sword?"

"Indeed I have; it was the knowledge that you had such things that
brought me here to-day."

Mr. Anderson smiled as he observed, that "the standard itself was
nothing to look at, being made of such humble materials, but that the
silk ones borne by the wealthy farmers and lairds were splendid indeed.
Now, for instance, there was Mr. G——, of Green Hill, the standard he had
was of the finest yellow silk, with the motto, ’Christ’s Crown and
Covenant,’ engraved in letters of gold; ay, but it was bonnie to see!
And I mind well, when the great meetings in connection with the Reform
Bill were held throughout the country, that there was one at B——, and
the people wished to get all the banners that could be procured, as
there was to be a grand procession. Well, as I knew of Mr. G—— having
this one, away I went to Green Hill, to see if he would let me have it
for the above purpose; and as I was not personally acquainted with him,
I got a line from the minister of the parish, testifying that I was
trustworthy.  Armed with this, I made my request known to Mr. G——, who
received me very kindly, saying, that the banner was sadly torn and
destroyed, but, if I could manage to get it repaired, I was welcome to
it.  Accordingly, I brought away the standard, and my wife having got it
patched up a little, I took it to B——; and, oh, had you but seen the
people’s faces, as I laid before them the venerable banner: there was
not a dry eye in the whole assembly.  Men, women, and children mourned
and wept; while gazing on the standard stained with the blood of their
forefathers, who nobly fought and died for the cause of the Covenant."

"And who, pray, bore the standard, now in your possession, at Bothwell
Bridge?"

"A young man of the name of Telford, who lived up at the Muirhead
yonder.  My mother was one of that family, and they had many a thing
that belonged to the Covenanters; amongst other articles, the musical
instruments they made use of when going to battle. My mother kept them
until they fell to pieces with age; and the last time I saw the drum, it
was holding rowans that the children had gathered; while the bugles
which sounded the retreat at Bothwell were devoted to purposes equally
peaceful and innocent."

"Can you give me any account of the young man who carried the standard
on that occasion?"

"Yes ma’m," replied Mr. Anderson, and after a moment’s pause, as if to
collect his thoughts, he furnished me with the particulars comprised in
the following story:—

On the evening of the 21st of June, 1679, while the royal army lay
encamped on Bothwell Moor, a young man might have been observed stealing
round the base of the hill, on which the farm of Muirhead was situated,
apparently anxious to avoid being seen by any of the hostile army that
lay around.  He paused every few moments in his progress, as if to
assure himself that he remained undetected, and listened eagerly to
catch the least sound that gave warning of impending danger. But all was
silent.  No sound broke in upon the almost Sabbath stillness of the
scene, save the voices of the sentinels as they went their solitary
rounds.

Young Telford, for it was he, succeeded in gaining the farm-house in
safety, and gently raising the latch, was speedily clasped in the arms
of his mother, who had started to her feet, apprehensive of danger, on
hearing her house entered at that unseasonable hour.

"My son! my son!" exclaimed the delighted woman, "’the Lord be praised,
who in his great mercy hath spared you to gladden my eyes once more; but
where is Thomas?  Why came he not with you?"

"He could not, mother," replied her son, "else had he flown to see you!
He stays to guard the banner committed to his care, and as we expect to
encounter the foe to-morrow, he charged me to tell you, that never while
he lives shall it fall into the hands of the enemy."  The mother’s eyes
glistened at this proof of bravery on the part of her absent son, and
gazing fondly in the face of the one now beside her, she inquired with a
faltering voice, "and where have you been since last we met?  For it
seems to me an age since you and Thomas departed to join the ranks of
the Covenanters."

"I have but shortly returned from Morayshire," replied her son, "where I
sped with the fiery cross through moor and valley, terrifying the
inhabitants with the false alarm that the Macdonalds were preparing to
descend upon them, in order to prevent them from advancing to aid the
royal forces.  The peasant was aroused from his slumber, when the
unearthly glare streamed in at his cottage window, as onwards I sped.
Armed forces who were marching thitherward, swiftly returned to their
homes, on hearing the appalling cry! "the Macdonald’s are coming!"  The
bold Highlander turned pale with apprehension as I passed with the fatal
symbol of war and desolation, and the fond mother pressed still closer
to her bosom, the child who might soon be fatherless, on beholding the
fiery track of the herald of woe."

"Oh, Willie!" cried Mrs. Telford, clasping her hands as she spoke.

"Still onwards I sped.  Terror was visible on the faces of all, as again
the warning voice proclaimed amidst the stillness of night the approach
of the Macdonalds.  At that dread name, the alarm flew from house to
house; signal fires flamed upward from each mountain summit; all
thoughts of leaving their country were abandoned, and the King may in
vain expect men from thence."

At this moment a low tap at the door interrupted young Telford in the
midst of his narration. Without one moment’s hesitation, he darted
towards the entrance, and presently returned with his arm round the neck
of a young girl, whose lovely countenance was almost hid beneath the
shepherd’s plaid which she had hastily donned to protect her head from
the cool breezes of evening.

"Jeanie!" exclaimed Mrs. Telford, warmly embracing the blushing
stranger, "how fortunate! just to think you should chance to come
when——!"

"It was no chance, mother," interrupted her son, "I durst not venture
near Jeanie’s house, in case the soldiers might send a bullet after me;
so I bade a little boy go to the farm, and tell her that there was one
she might wish to see in this house to-night, and, as he could remain
but a few minutes, the sooner she came, the better for us both."

"Oh, Willie!" sobbed the weeping girl, "could you but know the cruel
state of suspense I have been in these three months back, not knowing
where you were, or what might be your fate, you would never, never go
away again!  Oh! say you winna leave me," she implored, gazing upwards
in his face with eager beseeching eyes, while tears coursed rapidly down
her cheeks; "say you winna go!"

"Tempt me not, dearest," replied her lover in a voice expressive of the
deepest anguish, as he drew her fondly to his bosom, "I cannot—must not
remain. To-morrow we may chance to encounter the foe, and I could not
endure the thoughts of entering the field, without again obtaining a
mother’s blessing, and one more glance from those bright eyes; so I
stole from the camp, while my brother remained behind to guard the
banner.  And now I must return, for I may be missed; and I should not
like to be long absent at a time like this.  Mother, your blessing on me
and my absent brother, that we prosper in the fight," so saying, he
knelt to receive the desired benediction.

"May the God of battles, in whose hands are the issues of life and
death, be unto you both as a rock of defence in the hour of danger, and
restore you once more to me, my beloved son," exclaimed his mother,
placing her hands on his lowly bent head, and weeping as she spoke; "the
Lord knows," she continued, "the bitterness of my heart this night, and
yet why should I grudge you in so good a cause?  Rise, my son, rise; and
may the Power above, who is able and willing to help us in the time of
need, guide you in all safety, and strengthen me in the hour of trial."

Young Telford sprang to his feet, and clasping his betrothed in his
arms, was about to comfort her with assurances of his speedy return,
when he perceived she had fainted.

"My poor Jeanie!" exclaimed Mrs. Telford tenderly, then pointing to the
door, she conjured her son to hasten away ere his betrothed recovered
her consciousness, and thus spare her the agony of witnessing his
departure.

"Ay, far better it should be so, mother," replied her son, "and yet it
is hard to leave my Jeanie thus; but tell her I only went to spare her
further pain;" so saying, he placed the unconscious girl gently in a
chair, imprinted a kiss on her clay-cold forehead, wrung his mother’s
hand, and was gone.

Scarcely had he disappeared, ere Jeanie Irving, with a deep-drawn sigh
of anguish, opened her eyes, and fixing them with a wandering vacant
look upon Mrs. Telford, who had placed her upon her own bed, and was now
bending over her with almost maternal solicitude depicted upon her
benevolent countenance, inquired where she was, and if she had been only
dreaming he had seen her Willie.

"’Deed and it was no fancy," replied Mrs. Telford; "Willie was here sure
enough, but don’t speak any more about him just at present, like a dear,
good girl; he will be back to-morrow evening to tell you all about
himself, and where he has been; so just remain quiet for a little while,
and I will go to Mr. Irving and tell him that you will stay here a day
or two, to comfort me in the absence of my sons;" so saying, and without
tarrying for an answer, away she ran to execute her mission.

Early on the following morning, Jeanie Irving, whom no reasoning on the
part of Mrs. Telford could induce to remain in bed, posted herself at
the door of the cottage, eager to obtain the first glimpse of him she
loved, should he return according to his promise. In the meantime the
royal army had advanced towards Bothwell, where the Covenanting party
was stationed, and soon the mighty roar of cannon proclaimed to the
startled ears of Jeanie that the fighting had commenced. In her wild
eagerness to ascertain the fate of her lover. she was about to rush
madly forward in the direction from whence the sounds proceeded, and the
almost frantic efforts of Mrs. Telford were scarce sufficient to
restrain her from executing her purpose.  For a few hours the thunder of
the cannon, mingled with the firing of musketry, struck terror to the
hearts of the affrighted women, who clung to each other, pale and
speechless; while pealed forth the death-knell of many a gallant heart.
Then came a lull, even more dreadful in its terrific calmness, for it
proclaimed the battle was over—that the fate of their loved ones was
decided.  And now might be seen riderless horses galloping wildly across
the plain, and mounted horsemen spurring their jaded steeds beyond their
powers of endurance; while more slowly, and dragging his weary steps
along, the wounded Covenanter strove to find safety in flight from the
disastrous field.  With a scream of delight, Jeanie bounded forward on
observing the figure of a young man, evidently making towards them; but,
on nearing him, she found to her consternation it was Thomas, and not
William Telford, who now approached, staggering under the load of the
banner, which, soiled and torn, he laid at his mother’s feet.

"Thomas!" screamed Mrs. Telford; "but where is Willie?  Oh! wherefore so
silent?"

"Speak, I implore you, speak," gasped forth Jeanie Irving, "is he
killed?  Is he wounded?"

"He is a prisoner!" was the sad reply.

"God be praised it is no worse!" fervently ejaculated the weeping girl;
"I shall yet save him, or perish in the attempt."

"And you, Thomas, what of yourself?" demanded Mrs. Telford, observing
the ghastly expression of her son’s face, while traces of blood were yet
apparent on his coat and hands.  The young man, without a reply,
uncovered his head, and displayed, in so doing, a frightful gash on his
forehead.  "My son, my son!" groaned forth the afflicted mother, "Oh!
this is hard—hard to bear.  I thought I had taught myself to say with
resignation, ’the Lord’s will be done;’ but, oh my rebellious heart!"

"’I said I should bring it back to you, mother, if life were spared me
to perform my promise, and I have done it," proudly exclaimed her son.
"I have brought it in safety; but, alas! from a dishonoured field.
Treachery has lost us the day, and ruined our cause for ever.  But
Willie and I did our duty.  While a ray of hope still animated the
bosoms of our leaders, we would not quit the field.  Willie was mad with
rage.  He fought like a lion.  Every soldier he encountered fell beneath
his sword.  My care was the banner.  Three dragoons attacked me.
Encumbered with the standard, I called upon Willie for assistance.  He
came hewing down all in his way. A musket was upraised to shoot him.  I
struck it down, and, in so doing, received this wound on my forehead
from a cowardly ruffian, who took advantage of my being engaged with
another, to inflict the dastardly blow.  I fell with the banner beneath
me. Then the dragoons, aided by two others, rushed upon Willie, and bore
him away.  They would have killed him, but for the Duke of Monmouth, who
commanded them to spare his life.  I struggled to regain my feet; but
fainted away through loss of blood.  On recovering my senses, I observed
a dragoon stealing up to deprive me of my standard; but one blow from
the butt-end of my musket despatched him, and, grasping my banner in my
hand, I made another effort to rise, and succeeded.  Captain Paton
advanced.  ’My poor fellow,’ he said, ’you are sadly wounded; get off
the field as swiftly as possible;’ so saying, he took some herbs from
his pocket, and applying them to the wound, staunched the blood; then,
taking me by the arm, he moved onwards a few paces by my side, as though
to protect me from further injury—the road in this direction being clear
of the Royalists, who were murdering my comrades right and left at the
other end of the field.  I thanked the noble Captain—whose eyes gleamed
with pleasure on observing the uncaptured standard—and proceeded on my
way in safety.  Having ascended an eminence, I turned to look on the
bloody plain.  There stood Captain Paton, as I had left him, leaning on
his sword, and gazing on the fearful scene around him, apparently
overwhelmed with grief.  General Hamilton, with a party of officers, was
advancing towards him.  I looked again.  They were slowly quitting the
field.  And I continued my solitary flight."

Mrs. Telford, at the close of her son’s narrative, threw her arms around
his neck, and wept aloud. "My poor Thomas," she exclaimed, "grateful
should I be to the Lord, who hath spared you to return this day to your
home; but, oh! when I think on my noble Willie a captive in the hands of
these cruel, blood-thirsty men, my heart feels like to burst with its
load of sorrow; and, yet, what can I do to save him?"

"Mother," said Jeanie Irving, "for such you have been to me, do not
despair.  A voice whispers in my heart that Willie will soon be
free—that he will yet live to bless and comfort us all.  Do not give way
to grief, but trust in God, who, I feel assured, will grant the wishes
of our hearts in this matter."

"The widow—for such Mrs. Telford was—soothed and comforted by the
earnest assurances of the kind-hearted and hopeful maiden, embraced her
warmly, and blessed her for her dutiful resignation to the will of
Providence.  But a high and noble purpose had filled the loving heart of
the simple Scottish girl; and it was the determination to free her lover
that caused her eye to sparkle, and her cheek to burn, with the sweet
anticipations of hope, as she dwelt on the triumph of obtaining her
lover’s pardon, even should she kneel at the feet of the Duke of
Monmouth to obtain it.  Accordingly, at an early hour on the following
morning, when Mrs. Telford and her son were locked in the arms of
slumber, Jeanie Irving, acting on a previously adopted resolution, stole
gently from her couch and dressed herself hastily; then, kissing Mrs.
Telford silently on the forehead, she knelt down and prayed fervently
for guidance and protection during her absence; and, snatching a small
bundle of necessaries prepared over-night for her journey, and placing a
letter—informing Mrs. Telford of the step she was about to take—on the
table, she noiselessly opened the door, stood for one moment, while her
lips moved as if she was engaged in mental prayer, shut it slowly, and
departed. Having been informed by Thomas Telford that the prisoners were
to be taken to Edinburgh, thither Jeanie determined to proceed; but on
arriving at Linlithgow, she heard no tidings of their having passed that
way.  Fearful lest some change had been made regarding their
destination, Jeanie Irving stood irresolute, not knowing what to do,
but, on second thoughts, she proceeded to the house of her aunt, a
sister of her mother, who resided in Linlithgow, there to await their
coming, lest something might have occurred to delay their progress.
Mrs. Johnstone—which was the name of her aunt—received her niece very
kindly; but on her expressing her surprise at seeing her enter so
unexpectedly, the long-sustained fortitude of Jeanie Irving gave way,
and she burst into a passionate flood of tears.  Amazed and distressed
at the sight of her niece’s grief, Mrs. Johnstone soothed and comforted
her to the best of her ability, and was rewarded for her kind sympathy
by the recital of Jeanie’s hopes, fears, and intentions respecting her
lover’s escape, which she confided to the willing ears of her aunt, when
her sorrow allowed her the power of utterance.

"Oh, my dear lassie!" said Mrs. Johnstone, at the close of her niece’s
narration, "you do not know the difficulty of the course you mean to
pursue; you never can succeed.  Willie Telford will be so closely
guarded that you will not get near him; do not go on, but stay with me
at least until we hear something regarding the destination of the
unfortunate men."

At this moment a distant murmur of voices was heard, mingled with the
trampling of many feet. Nearer came the sounds; louder swelled the
tumult, till none could mistake its meaning.  Poor Jeanie turned as pale
as death; her heart told her the prisoners were approaching.  Grasping
her aunt by the arm, she staggered towards the window, and what a dismal
sight greeted her eager eyes!  Onwards came the dragoons—their plumes
waving—their horses prancing.  Next advanced a body of men, to the
number of about five hundred, foot-sore and weary; wounded, and
prisoners.  Jeanie Irving groaned in agony.  The quick glance of
affection soon descried the stately form of William Telford.  Amidst the
motley crowd, he walked erect and proudly, as though he were marching
onwards to victory—not to a prison—perchance to death.

The eyes of Jeanie Irving seemed about to start from their sockets on
beholding the sad procession; but new horrors awaited her.  She beheld
some of the sympathising spectators, while advancing with cups of cold
water to moisten the lips of the wounded portion of the prisoners, and a
morsel of bread to comfort their weary hearts, beaten back with oaths,
and contumely by the rude soldiers, who, insensible to all the softer
emotions of humanity, seemed determined to make their captives feel the
wretchedness of their lot. She saw her beloved William stunned by a blow
from the butt-end of a musket, while endeavouring to procure nourishment
for a sinking comrade.

On beholding this outrage inflicted on the object of her affections,
Jeanie Irving screamed and struggled to free herself from her aunt’s
grasp, as if for the purpose of springing out into the street, in order
to join her lover.  Indeed, so excited did she become in her endeavours
to carry out her wishes, that her aunt, fearful of the consequences that
might ensue, should she be permitted to retain her station at the
window, seized her in her arms, and dragged her away from beholding the
dismal spectacle.  On the disappearance of the melancholy cavalcade,
Mrs. Johnstone placed Jeanie Irving on her bed, and would on no account
hear of her attempting to rise until she had partaken of some repose;
and, indeed, poor Jeanie, overcome as she was with fatigue and anxiety,
felt the necessity of obeying her aunt’s wishes in this respect.
Shortly after lying down she fell into a sleep, apparently broken at
first by the agitating thoughts that chased each other through her mind,
for she moaned and shivered in such a manner that Mrs. Johnstone grew
apprehensive lest the distress under which she laboured might yet throw
her into a fever.  Gradually, however, she grew calmer, and at length,
to her aunt’s delight, all the sad events of the day seemed forgotten in
a tranquil slumber.  On her awaking, refreshed and strengthened from her
long repose, Mrs. Johnstone, who now perceived the danger of thwarting
her in her intentions of endeavouring to free William Telford,
represented the strong necessity there was of her remaining quiet, for a
few days longer, as, should she set off instantly on her journey, she
might get herself into trouble, and thus by her rashness lose the only
chance of saving her lover.  This last argument, skillfully introduced
by Mrs. Johnstone, had great weight with her impatient niece; and she
accordingly remained with her aunt five days, during which period she
carefully abstained from alluding to the topic which so entirely
engrossed her thoughts.  But on the morning of the sixth day she again
expressed her intention of proceeding to Edinburgh, in order to learn
the destination of the prisoners.  This time Mrs. Johnstone threw no
obstacles in the way of her niece’s departure, but going to a closet she
took from thence two bundles, one of which she handed to Jeanie Irving,
while the other she retained in her own possession.  Jeanie eyed her
aunt with astonishment, while that worthy person proceeded very
leisurely to donn her bonnet and shawl, and at length ventured to
inquire the meaning of such preparations.

"It is just this, my dear lassie," said Mrs. Johnstone in answer to her
niece’s inquiry, "I am a lone widow with no one here to care for me, or
to mind whether I go or stay, so I have determined upon accompanying you
to Edinburgh, in order to protect and assist you as far as lies in my
power.  When you came here and told me your sad story, I resolved upon
going with you, and laid my plans accordingly.  Two days ago a boy was
dispatched to tell your father and Mrs. Telford where you were, and that
they need not feel anxious about you, as I should tend and love you as
though you were mine own child.  Now, don’t say one word against this,
Jeanie, for my mind is made up on this subject."

Poor Jeanie Irving, quite overcome with this proof of affection and kind
interest on the part of her aunt, threw herself into her arms, and
sobbed aloud, thanking her through her tears for her promised
protection, which she assured her would prove invaluable, as she should
require a faithful guide and counsellor to cheer and advise her ’mid all
the trials and disappointments she was prepared to encounter.  All being
thus satisfactorily arranged, Mrs. Johnstone proceeded to settle some
little household affairs prior to departing with her niece—such as
stopping the clock, locking up closets, throwing water on the fire, and
sundry other little arrangements which all careful housekeepers know to
be essential before leaving home.  The rays of the setting sun were
gilding the towers of the ancient fortress of Dunedin, as Mrs. Johnstone
and her niece entered the Scottish capital.  All was terror and
confusion.  Dragoons marched along the streets with all the insolence of
petty power which subordinates know so well how to assume;—members of
the opposite faction stole noiselessly on their way, as if afraid of
attracting the notice of the swaggering soldiers, who seemed fully aware
of, and to enjoy the terror they inspired; while aged citizens, whose
care-worn faces betrayed the anxiety under which they laboured, stood
together in groups as if discussing the events of the day.  Jeanie, with
the natural modesty of her sex, drew the shepherd’s plaid still closer
around her, to screen her face in some measure from the insolent gaze of
the dragoons, some of whom peered underneath the covering as they passed
in the hopes of obtaining a glimpse of the carefully-shrouded face.

"Pull it off her, George," said a soldier to his comrade, one of these
who failed in their attempts to get a look of Jeanie Irving, "pull it
off her, and let us see what she’s like; what in the name of wonder
makes her hide her face in that manner?  Pull it off her, I say."

"No, no, don’t do that: let the woman alone," exclaimed another of the
party, observing that the one named George was about to obey his
friend’s instructions; "she is not annoying us; and see that party of
men, yonder, watching us with threatening looks, as if eager to take
advantage of the slightest provocation on our part, to commence an
affray.  Come, let us be peaceful."  The soldier thus admonished
abandoned his purpose, and allowed Jeanie and her aunt to pass on their
way unmolested.

"Thank God!" inwardly ejaculated the trembling women on finding
themselves freed from the rude grasp of the dragoon, and quickening
their steps, they turned into a less noisy and crowded street.  But soon
a new alarm struck fresh terror to their trembling souls, for the deep
roll of a drum was now, distinctly heard.  Onwards it came; and Jeanie
Irving, trembling in every limb, fearing, she knew not what, grasped her
aunt by the arm, as she stood breathless and agitated, waiting the
result.  Soon a large party of soldiers appeared in sight, one of them
bearing a huge drum, which he beat at regular intervals; while another
read aloud a proclamation, warning the citizens of Edinburgh, under pain
of death, to abstain from visiting the prisoners at present stationed in
the Greyfriars Church-yard, save when bringing them provisions, such as
should be approved of by the sentinels.  Jeanie’s heart beat wildly with
renewed hope on hearing that the prisoners were merely confined in an
open churchyard, and that their friends would be permitted to take them
food at stated intervals.  It was true that sentinels were stationed
there, who would no doubt keep a strict watch over all comers; but what
can youth and ingenuity not achieve?  Thus full of sanguine
anticipations respecting the ultimate success of her scheme, Jeanie
Irving accompanied her aunt to the house of a mutual friend, with whom
Mrs. Johnstone meant to stay during their sojourn in Edinburgh, which
she now devoutly hoped might prove a short one.  Mrs. Hamilton received
her visitors very graciously; expressed her satisfaction when Mrs.
Johnstone informed her that their visit was likely to prove a longer one
than she, under present circumstances, could have wished; and
steadfastly refused all offers of remuneration, which Mrs. Johnstone was
anxious she should receive, to compensate in some measure for the
trouble they were likely to occasion her.

"No, no, my dear friend," said Mrs. Hamilton, while she proceeded to
make preparations for her evening meal, "don’t—if you please, say any
more on that subject; it’s little I have, but, please God, that little
shall always be at the service of the few friends I have now remaining;
losh pity me, are you not my cousin, thrice removed on my mother’s side,
and just to think o’ one relation taking money off another?  I never
heard tell o’ such a like thing; no, no, stay wi’ me as long as you
like, and welcome;" so saying, Mrs. Hamilton proceeded leisurely to put
one of her best damask cloths on the table, which she soon covered with
plates of bread and butter, some newly-made jelly, etc; in short, the
best of everything the house could afford, was brought forth to do
honour to her welcome guests.  "Now, sit your ways down," said Mrs.
Hamilton, after she had completed the arrangements to her own
satisfaction, and, taking Mrs. Johnstone by the arm, she seated her at
the head of the table, motioning Jeanie to sit beside her, "sit your
ways down, and partake of what is before you."  Mrs. Johnstone
proceeded, greatly to the delight of Mrs. Hamilton, to make an active
onslaught on the good things with which the table was abundantly
supplied. "That’s right, my dear," exclaimed the hospitable widow, her
eyes beaming with pleasure, "but, Jeanie Irving, what has come over you,
lassie?" she enquired, astonished beyond measure on perceiving that the
maiden in question evinced not the slightest disposition to assist her
aunt in the arduous undertaking of demolishing the huge pile of bread
and butter placed so temptingly within her reach.  Jeanie, by way of
answer to this anxious inquiry, hastened to assure Mrs. Hamilton that
she was indeed making an excellent meal; and wishing to turn the
conversation into another channel, she expressed a desire to know whose
was the sword hanging on the opposite wall. Mrs. Hamilton’s good-natured
face lengthened considerably as she replied with a faltering accent,
that it had belonged to her husband, who perished at the battle o’
Pentland Hills.  "Indeed," said Jeanie Irving, greatly interested in
hearing that her kind hostess had also been a sufferer from those sad
religious differences; "and pray"—here she suddenly stopped short, on
observing Mrs. Hamilton raise her apron to her eyes, and apparently wipe
away an unbidden tear.  After a pause of a few moments, during which
time Jeanie Irving remained mute, with her eyes fixed on the sword, Mrs.
Hamilton inquired of her friend what it was that had brought her to
Edinburgh in these stormy times. In reply to this rather confusing
question, Mrs. Johnstone pressed Mrs. Hamilton’s foot under the table,
at the same time darting a glance in the direction of her niece, who
entirely engrossed by her own sad thoughts, did not overhear the
question, as if to warn Mrs. Hamilton against alluding to that subject
in her presence.

Shortly afterwards the eyelids of Jeanie Irving displayed symptoms of
closing, observing which, her thoughtful hostess offered to conduct her
to her sleeping apartment; a proposal which poor Jeanie, overcome as she
was with a load of anxiety and grief, but too gladly accepted; so,
bidding her aunt an affectionate good night, she followed Mrs. Hamilton,
who led the way into a small but neat bed-room, &c.  After expressing
her wishes for the comfort of her guest, left her to repose. On Mrs.
Hamilton’s return to the parlour, both she and Mrs. Johnstone drew in
their seats considerably nearer the hearth, with the evident intention
of enjoying a nice, comfortable gossip over the glowing embers; and Mrs.
Johnstone, as the reader will be prepared to hear, regaled her friend
with a long and circumstantial account of her niece’s love-affair,
together with the sad circumstances attending it, which had occasioned
their sudden visit to the Scottish capital.  "Wae’s me," exclaimed Mrs.
Hamilton, at the close of her friend’s sad recital; "to think o’ a
bonnie young creature having gone through sae much sorrow already, and
likely to suffer a hantle more ere she’s by wi’ it! Oh! are’na the ways
o’ Providence dark and unscrutable to the like o’ us, poor blind mortals
as we are?  Dearie me, Mrs. Johnstone, but I sadly fear your niece winna
get much to comfort her here.  I fear it’s a doomed boat she’s embarked
in.  Willie Telford will never be able to escape from his cruel captors.
Oh, but my heart’s wae for the poor sweet lassie; and ye say her life’s
bound up in his?"  Mrs. Johnstone replied in the affirmative, adding,
"that it would be much better not to damp the bright hopes entertained
by Jeanie Irving regarding her lover’s escape."  "Don’t be afraid o’ me
saying anything that would harm the winsome bit lassie," interrupted
Mrs. Hamilton, raising the corner of her apron to her eyes, "no, no; I
know too well what it is to suffer, ever to add to the distress o’ a’
fellow-creature.  Well do I mind the day when my husband gaed awa to the
Pentlands.  ’Jeanie,’ says he, ’I feel uncommon sad at leaving you this
day, my woman,’ says he; and says I, ’Why John?’ for ye see I didna
quite take up his meaning, ’why should ye be so grieved, when ye’re
going to fight a good fight for the Covenant?’ says I.  ’Oh,’ quo’ he,
’I feel as if I never should see you again,’ says he; and wi’ that I
took to the shivering all over.  ’If that be your thought,’ says I,
’John, do bide wi’ me, for I’ve many a time heard people wiser than me
say, it’s ill going away frae hame wi’ sic gloomy thoughts in one’s
mind.’  ’Ah, na, Jeanie, my woman,’ says he, ’may be it’s a foolish
fancy on my part, an’ it wadna do to yield to it;’ an wi’ that he gaed
awa, an’ I never set my eyes on him since syne.  Was’na that a sad, sad
thing! an’ many’s the time I’ve blamed mysel’ since then for not making
him bide at hame, but ye see, it was a’ in the cards, an’ what will be
maun be."  Thus having testified her submission to the stern decrees of
fate, Mrs. Hamilton turning to Mrs. Johnstone, abruptly demanded of her
if she was a believer in dreams?

"Well," said Mrs. Johnstone in reply, "I really do not know what to say
on that point, for I have had one or two very strange dreams in my
lifetime, which have been fulfilled to the very letter; but whether it
was that my mind had been running so much on these matters during the
day-time, and that this caused them to form the subjects of my dreams by
night; or, that they were sent to me as warnings of what was to happen,
I cannot tell; but what makes you ask that question, Mrs. Hamilton?"

"Oh, nothing, but just that I had a most extraordinary dream the night
before I heard tell o’ my husband’s death, which, if you will not laugh
at me for relating such a thing, I should like to tell you."

On Mrs. Johnstone assuring her that the opinion she herself entertained
on the subject of her own dreams was much too serious for her ever to
ridicule those narrated by other people, Mrs. Hamilton commenced as
follows:—

"Well, as I told you before, it was the night preceding the day on which
I heard tell o’ the death of my husband, and I could not well account
for it; but the whole o’ that day I had been rale douie and dispirited,
just as one often feels before hearing bad news o’ some sort or other;
so much so, that I gaed away early to my bed, in hopes that a good sleep
would do me good. For a long time, not one wink o’ sleep could I get, do
what I could, until at length, in a fit of desperation, I sprang out of
bed, and took a turn or two up and down the room, to see if that would
cool the fever of my blood.  It did so, and shortly after I fell into a
deep slumber.  Well, Mrs. Johnstone, during that sleep I had the
following dream, which even yet impresses me more than I should like to
tell.  Methought the door of my room suddenly opened, and in stepped a
figure all clad in white, and o’ a fair and beauteous countenance,
which, approaching the side o’ my bed, said in a sweet mournful voice,
which sounded just like the sighing wind, ’Jeanie Hamilton, you must
this instant rise and follow me!’  Upon which I replied, ’And wherefore
am I to follow you?’  ’Ask no questions,’ said the beautiful vision,
’but come away.’  Well, wi’ that I raise out o’ my bed, almost as it
were in spite o’ myself, and away I gaed after the figure, which seemed
to me to flee swiftly as a soul, when freed from its mortal coil, would
cleave the air in its passage to another world.  Onwards we went, until
we came to a dark dismal plain; and never did I see anything so dreary
as the aspect o’ that place!  Then my guide stopt, and taking me by the
hand, said, ’now I must lead you; our way lies through this moor;’ and I
thought in my sleep that I trembled all over, as hand in hand with the
radiant figure I traversed the desolate-looking plain, which to my
horror I perceived to be thickly strewn with dead bodies.  Oh, how my
heart sickened at that fearful sight! there they lay, the old and the
young, all huddled together, sleeping the last long sleep of death.
’Stop, stop,’ I said to my guide; ’oh, do let me turn back—I cannot go
onwards; what means this? why have you brought me here?’  The vision
smiled sadly, and without a reply, still motioned me onwards.  I could
not resist.  A mysterious indescribable power, as it were, impelled me
to follow, until at length it paused, and pointing to the prostrate form
of a man, whom to my horror I discovered to be my husband, lying cold
and stiff, with a deep wound on his forehead, said, ’It was to take a
last look of him you loved so well that I brought you here,’ and with
that it disappeared.  The cry of anguish which I uttered on hearing this
awoke me from my slumber: and oh, Mrs. Johnstone, you cannot think what
I suffered from the remembrance of that dream, for, from that moment, I
felt convinced that my husband had perished on the battle field.  Well,
in the course of the following day, when a near neighbour, who had been
at the Pentlands, came to apprise me of John Hamilton’s death, I told
him, so convinced was I of the truth of my dream of the previous night,
before ever he had spoken a word, that I knew he had come to tell me o’
my husband’s death.  The man stood staring at me in breathless
astonishment, apparently at a loss to comprehend my meaning, until I
told him o’ the strange dream I had had; and what do you think, Mrs.
Johnstone," added Mrs. Hamilton, sinking her voice to a whisper, "my
husband had been killed on the previous day, and by a sabre wound on his
forehead."

"Bless me," exclaimed Mrs. Johnstone, at the close of her friend’s
narration, "that is the most singular thing I ever heard; undoubtedly it
was a warning sent to prepare you for the sad news you were about to
hear."

"That is just my own opinion on the matter," said Mrs. Hamilton, as she
proceeded to put a huge piece o’ coal on the top of the smouldering
embers; after which signal of preparation for departure, the friends
retired to rest.

Immediately after partaking of breakfast on the following morning,
Jeanie Irving expressed her intention of at once proceeding to the
Greyfriars’ Church-yard, to see if she could by any means obtain
admittance to William Telford.  Accordingly, accompanied by her aunt,
who would on no account permit her to go forth alone—and carrying in her
hand a small basket of provisions, which the kindness of Mrs. Hamilton
supplied—she set forth on her mission.  The nearer they advanced towards
their destination, the more did poor Jeanie Irving’s heart sink within
her; for the first time since leaving home she dwelt cooly and calmly on
the arduous undertaking before her, and realized the real difficulty of
the task she had determined to achieve. Mrs. Johnstone perceiving how
much her niece was engrossed by her own thoughts, abstained from
addressing her until they arrived at the Greyfriars’ Church-yard, the
gate of which was surrounded by a numerous crowd of men and women
clamorous to obtain admission to the prisoners.

The sentinels apparently took advantage of their situation to annoy and
insult the trembling petitioners, many of whom they bade go about their
business, after having deprived them of the provisions they carried;
others, again, they permitted to enter, but not until they had taken
from them the greater portion of the food and clothing they had brought
to comfort and assist their friends.  With a trembling heart and
faltering steps, Jeanie Irving was advancing towards the sentinels, when
a sweet feminine voice whispered in her ear, "For God’s sake! leave that
worthy woman behind, and take me with you; three going in at once would
excite suspicion, and there is one in that church-yard I must see
to-day, yet I lack courage to venture in alone."  Jeanie Irving turned
and looked on the speaker, whom, although clad in the meanest attire,
and having her face concealed beneath a coarse woollen shawl, she
perceived by her graceful bearing to be some person of consequence, and
being of a kind sympathising nature, she at once acceded to the wishes
of the stranger, and turning to her aunt, explained the necessity there
was of her remaining without until she returned.  Mrs. Johnstone, who
had also arrived at her own conclusions regarding the individual who was
addressing her niece, expressed her willingness to comply with her
request; accordingly, Jeanie Irving, whose arm was instantly grasped by
the trembling hand of her new acquaintance, continued her way towards
the gate.  Fortunately, the sentinel who stood nearest the shrinking
maidens proved to be less strict than the others, and allowed them to
enter the church-yard without interruption.  With eager eyes did Jeanie
Irving and her companion scan each group of men as they passed, in order
to discover the faces of those so fondly loved.  Apparently the stranger
soon discovered him she sought, for suddenly disengaging her arm from
that of Jeanie’s, she bade God bless her! for her kindness, and darted
towards an elegant young man, evidently of high birth, who stood a
little way apart from the others.  Jeanie Irving paused for a few
seconds to witness the rapturous greeting exchanged between the pair,
and again continued her wistful search.

In the meantime, William Telford was standing in a remote corner of the
church-yard engaged in earnest conversation with three others, when the
trembling shrinking form of a young girl advancing towards them caught
his eye.  One glance was sufficient; and Jeanie Irving was that instant
clasped in the arms of her lover.

"Jeanie," gasped forth William Telford, as again and again he kissed the
cold lips of her who lay speechless on his shoulder.  He could say no
more.  Both were overcome with an excess of joy almost painful in its
intensity, but hearts and eyes were busy during the time that speech was
denied them.

Those individuals who were standing near them, respecting the feelings
of the lovers, withdrew a little aside, in order that they might enjoy
uninterrupted intercourse.

"Willie!" at length Jeanie Irving found voice to say. "is it only a
dream, or am I indeed gazing once more on your dear face, which has
never for one moment been absent from me?  it has haunted my thoughts by
day, and my dreams by night; but oh, Willie," she continued, "I must and
will get you from hence; my heart will break in twain should you remain
much longer in this damp unwholesome place; but how can it be managed?"

"Think not of such a thing, my dearest girl," replied William Telford;
"any efforts on your part would only entail destruction on your own
head, and add fresh misery to that I am called upon to endure."

Perceiving an expression of intense anguish pass across the face of the
disappointed maiden, as he attempted to dissuade her from her purpose,
William Telford forbore saying any more on the subject, but turned the
conversation into another channel, by demanding of Jeanie Irving how she
had been since last he saw her, and whether his mother and brother were
well.  To these inquires on the part of her lover, Jeanie replied, by
giving him a detailed account of all that had happened since his
departure; dwelling on the grief she experienced on beholding the sad
procession pass along the streets of Linlithgow, and how she longed to
spring from the window to embrace him again, and, if need be, share his
imprisonment. To all of which proofs of love on the part of her he
idolised, William Telford could only reply, by straining her still
closer to his bosom, and imprinting a dozen kisses on her forehead and
lips.

"My poor Willie, how thin and pale you are!" said Jeanie Irving, gazing
tenderly in her lover’s face, while tears ran down her cheeks as she
spoke, "but sit your ways down and partake of what I have brought you,
for it is easy to see from your appearance that many suns have risen and
set since you have eaten a good meal;" so saying, she uncovered her
basket, and making William Telford seat himself on a neighbouring mound,
supplied him with eatables from her store.  "And now," she said after
her lover had finished his repast, "you must in your turn inform me how
you and your companions have been treated since you came to this horrid
place."

"Like brute beasts," was the indignant reply, "and not like men
possessing immortal souls.  Night after night have we been forced to lie
in the open air without a covering of any kind to protect us from the
rain or the unwholesome dews of evening.  And should any of us chance to
raise our heads, in order to change our position, or to look about us,
we are fired at immediately.  Only last night there was a poor fellow
shot beside me for merely raising his head, forgetful for a moment of
the savages who were near him watching with lynx eyes his slightest
movement."

"Oh, Jeanie," continued her lover, "many and many a time have I lain
down cold and supperless, with nought in the world to comfort me but
thoughts of you; when the calm cold stars shone above my head like so
many bright spirits watching over and pitying us in our loneliness and
misery.  Oft have I for hours gazed and gazed, while my companions
around me were locked in slumber, wishing myself an inhabitant of the
brighter world beyond.  But now, dearest Jeanie, the sight of your sweet
face has in a great measure restored me to myself, and I would fain live
for your sake."

"And you shall live," passionately exclaimed the enthusiastic girl; "I
will throw myself at the feet of the Duke of Monmouth, nor rise from
that posture until he has granted my request."

"You would never be allowed to see him," sadly replied her lover; "there
are those around the Duke’s person who would jealously exclude any of
our party from the presence of his Grace.  He is a noble fellow,"
continued William Telford, "and were every one like him, we should not
have been pining here like so many cattle in a pen."

"Promise me, Willie," suddenly interrupted Jeanie Irving, "that should I
contrive means of escape from this horrid place, you will take advantage
of them."

William Telford paused one moment ere he replied, but at length he said,
placing his hand in hers, "For your sake, clearest, and that of my
widowed mother, I will; but oh, take care, Jeanie, both for your own
sake and mine, what you do; consider how precious you are to me; plunge
not yourself into difficulties on my account; it may be that our captors
may relent, and and I may yet be free."

"Trust them not," replied Jeanie Irving, "they resemble the tiger, which
once having tasted blood, thirsteth for more; no, no, my Willie," she
continued, "a woman’s wit must save you here; so trust to me for speedy
deliverance—but in the meantime I must be going, for I left my kind aunt
at the gate, who will necessarily feel anxious should I not return
soon."

"Why came she not in with you?" inquired her lover.

Whereupon, Jeanie Irving recounted to him the singular adventure she had
met with at the gate, and asked of him who the handsome young man was
the stranger had flown to, on entering the church-yard, but William
Telford could afford her no information on the subject.

After a warm embrace, and an assurance on the part of Jeanie Irving that
she should, without fail, return on the morrow, the lovers parted, and
hastening past the sentinels, who did not seek to detain her, Jeanie
rejoined her aunt, who was awaiting her return with the utmost
impatience.  On the following morning. Mrs. Johnstone and her niece
again set off for the Greyfriars’ Church-yard, the latter with a heart
lightened of half its former load of grief, and indulging in sweet
anticipations respecting the approaching interview.  On nearing the
gate, they observed groups of people standing conversing together,
evidently discussing some important piece of news, many of them with
smiles of satisfaction on their faces, while the sentinels walked their
rounds with gloomy dissatisfied countenances, as if something had
occurred to make them more than usually sullen.  Mrs. Johnstone having
inquired of a bystander the reason of the prevailing excitement, was
informed that, on the previous evening, young Lord C—— had escaped from
the church-yard, disguised as a female, and that the sentinels were
dreadfully annoyed at the occurrence, as they had received particular
directions regarding his safety.  The thoughts of Jeanie Irving
instantly reverted to the interesting couple of the preceding day; and
she fervently thanked the Almighty that she had in some measure been
instrumental in the young man’s escape, while the idea, instantly
occurred to her, that in a similar manner might William Telford be
conveyed from thence.  This time, on advancing to the gate to seek
admittance, the sentinels gathered round them, uncovered the basket,
helped themselves pretty largely to a portion of its contents, and
examined both women closely in order to as certain that they carried no
disguises about with them after which precautions they permitted them to
pass. Jeanie Irving immediately made her lover acquainted with the
escape of Lord C——, and informed him as to her intentions, of taking him
from thence in a similar disguise.  Sick and enfeebled from his close
confinement in the damp church-yard, William Telford listened eagerly to
Jeanie’s proposals, and it was finally agreed upon between them that she
should watch well her opportunity when the attention of the sentinels
was otherwise occupied, to steal in with a bundle of women’s clothes,
array her lover in the feminine garb, and embrace a favourable moment to
lead him forth.  In pursuance of this arrangement, each morning beheld
Jeanie Irving stationed near the gate watching with eager eyes the least
symptom of abated vigilance on the part of the sentinels to venture in.
During the space of five days no suitable opportunity presented itself,
but on the morning of the sixth the sentinels being attracted from their
posts by a street broil, Jeanie darted past them with the rapidity of
lightning, and flew towards her beloved William, bearing the precious
burthen. Withdrawing a little apart from his companions, young Telford
was speedily arrayed in his disguise, and many of those who witnessed
the proceeding bade God bless and prosper him in his attempt.  All being
now in readiness, Jeanie Irving, whose nerves were strung up to the
highest degree of tension, took the arm of her lover and advanced toward
the outer gate.  Oh, what a moment was this!  They had passed two of the
sentinels in safety, but just as they arrived within reach of the other,
whose back was at that moment turned towards them, he wheeled suddenly
round, and staring Jeanie full in the face, advanced towards her,
exclaiming, "So, ho, my pretty maiden, you would fain retreat without
paying toll; come now, don’t be in such haste, but just tarry a moment,
and let us become better acquainted."  So saying, the soldier put his
arm around her waist and attempted to snatch a kiss.  At sight of this
indignity offered to the woman he loved, the blood rushed to William
Telford’s brow, and darting on the brutal fellow, he dealt him such a
blow on the head as felled him to the ground.

"What, ho, treachery, treachery!" shouted the other sentinels, suddenly
apprized of the real state of affairs, and darting upon William Telford,
they tore off his disguise, and dragged him back to the church-yard,
kicking and swearing at him the while.  Pale and speechless, with horror
at the failure of her scheme, Jeanie Irving attempted to rejoin her
lover, but was rudely pushed back by the infuriated sentinels, who
threatened that, if she ever dared to show her face there again, they
should tear her limb from limb.  In an agony of feeling impossible to
describe, Jeanie Irving dragged her fainting steps to her temporary
home, and scarcely had she crossed the threshold ere her trembling limbs
gave way, and she fell senseless on the floor. With a cry of grief, Mrs.
Johnstone flew to her side, and raising her tenderly in her arms, with
the assistance of Mrs. Hamilton, conveyed her to her bed, and strove by
every means in her power to soothe and comfort her in her distress.  But
the fearful excitement the poor girl had undergone during the last few
weeks proved to have been too much for her delicate nature to sustain;
reason forsook her throne, and for weeks her life trembled in the
balance.  We must now leave Jeanie Irving stretched on her bed of
sickness, and return once more to her unfortunate lover, whose situation
was rendered even more wretched than before on account of the brutal
treatment of his captors, who incensed beyond measure at his attempted
escape, strove by every possible means to embitter his already
unbearable lot.

About this time a bond, by permission of the king, was presented for the
prisoners to sign, certifying that they should under no pretext whatever
take up arms in future against His Majesty; and those who appended their
names to this document were instantly to be set free.  Many of the poor
men pining for their homes, and weary of their long confinement, signed
it readily, in order to obtain their freedom.

Yet a numerous body, amongst whom was William Telford, refused to sign
the paper, and, indeed, many of them were denied the opportunity of
doing so.  Then an order arrived from King Charles, to the effect, that
thirteen of the ringleaders of the rebellion, and who approved of the
murder of Archbishop Sharpe, were to be placed in prison for a time, and
then executed. Twelve had been already selected from amongst the
prisoners, and either accidentally or designedly, the fatal paper was
placed in the hands of young Telford; he took it with an untrembling
hand, and with the fear of death before his eyes, wrote, that he could
not on his conscience declare that he esteemed himself wrong in taking
up arms in the cause of the Covenant, or, that he considered the killing
of the perjured prelate, Archbishop Sharpe, a murder; and this done, he
was marched off with his companions.  The determination of these devoted
men to suffer death in support of their opinions created a great
sensation among the more moderate portion of their party; and
immediately on their arrival at the prison, they were awaited upon by
several of their clergymen, who impressed upon them the folly, not to
say criminality, of sacrificing their lives, when, by merely signing the
required bond, they might long be spared to comfort their weeping
friends.  Eleven of them, persuaded by their ministers, appended their
names to the document, but the remaining two, one of whom was William
Telford—whose pride would not allow him to retract his opinions—remained
firm in their determination to suffer death rather than yield the
required submission.

These two prisoners were supported in their inflexible resolution by
their companions, who while visiting them in prison, expressed their
sorrow and repentance at having signed the bond, stating that since
then, they had neither known peace nor happiness as their inhuman
adversaries treated them, in consequence of their having done so, with
the utmost cruelty and contempt, styling them turn-coats, and doing all
in their power to render them wretched at the thoughts of what they had
done.

Shortly afterwards, the companion of William Telford was publicly
executed, while he himself, from some unknown cause, was led back to his
old quarters in the Greyfriars’ Church-yard.

Months rolled on, and as the winter advanced the prisoners began to
experience the bad effects of their long exposure in the open air;
indeed, so sick and enfeebled did they become, that the public
authorities at once saw the necessity of adopting means for their
removal.  A memorial to that effect was despatched to the King, who gave
orders that a ship should immediately be provided to transport the
prisoners to Barbadoes, where they were to be sold as slaves; yet so
little were His Majesty’s orders obeyed in this respect, that it was the
fifteenth of November ere the captain declared the ship in readiness to
receive them.  In order to get the prisoners removed to the ship without
the knowledge of their friends, they were conveyed away at an early hour
in the morning, and on their arrival on deck they were instantly stowed
away under the hatches, which were carefully chained and locked, in
order to prevent their escape.  Twelve days was the ship detained in
Leith Roads, and during that time the poor men were treated with the
greatest inhumanity.

The narrow space in which they were enclosed was scarcely of size
sufficient to contain a hundred men, and yet nearly thrice that number
were thrust in by their unfeeling jailors; men, regardless alike of the
safety and misery of those entrusted to their care. Several of the poor
fellows were so dreadfully ill, that their more robust companions were
obliged to stand upright, in order to afford their sick companions room
to stretch their tortured limbs.  The prayers and entreaties addressed
to the captain by the almost stifled prisoners that some of their party
might be allowed to go upon deck, were for a long time unheeded, until
at length he was obliged, from the continued indisposition of the men,
to accede to their request.  Accordingly, about fifty of the strongest
were removed to upper deck, where they soon recovered from the sad
effects of their late confinement.  The weather hitherto had been
favourable for their voyage, but soon a succession of fearful storms
arose, and the ship seemed entirely at the mercy of the waves.  On the
tenth of December the crew found themselves lying off Orkney, a coast
dreaded by sailors, on account of the stormy sea surrounding it.
Perceiving for the first time the full extent of their danger, the
captain, as the ship was already within reach of the shore, ordered the
sailors to cast anchor, which being done, they awaited with impatience
the abating of the storm.  But towards evening the hurricane increased
in intensity, and about ten o’clock at night the sea, lashed into fury
by the terrific violence of the wind, forced the ill-fated ship from its
anchor, and dashed it in twain on the rocks. Hearing the dreadful crash,
the wretched prisoners, fearing shipwreck, implored to be put on shore,
wherever the captain pleased, but their request was denied; and the
sailors in terror and dismay tore down the mast, and laying it between
the vessel and the rocks, prepared to save themselves from impending
shipwreck.  "My God," exclaimed William Telford, who was one of those
placed upon deck, horrified on seeing that the crew made no attempts to
open the hatches, which, chained and locked, confined the suffering
inmates in a living tomb, "are you going to leave your prisoners thus?"
At this instant a huge wave dashed over the ship, and overwhelming
several of the men exposed to its fury in its fearful embrace, consigned
them to a watery grave.  "Men, fiends!" reiterated young Telford, making
frantic efforts to break open the hatches as he spoke, "there will be a
fearful reckoning to pay for this night’s work."  With shouts of
derisive laughter, the sailors crossed the prostrate mast, and reached
the shore in safety.  Some of the poor fellows who imitated their
example were thrown back by them into the sea, but about forty, in spite
of all efforts made to destroy them, wore successful in their attempt.

Perceiving the imminent danger in remaining where he was, William
Telford, having abandoned all hopes of freeing the prisoners, prepared
to follow his companions along the mast.  On his reaching the beach, one
of the sailors strove to prevent his landing, but greatly his superior
in strength and agility, young Telford seized the ruffian by the throat,
and dashed him senseless on the ground.  And now was accomplished one of
the most fearful tragedies ever recorded in history.  The storm at this
moment seemed to have reached the climax of its fury; the thunder
rolled, and the blue lightning danced around the sinking vessel, while
foam crested waves rose mountains high, and then dashed with terrific
violence over her yielding spars.  But louder than the crash of the
pealing thunder—far above the roaring of the mighty billows was heard
the death-wail of the wretched prisoners, as they sunk beneath the
heaving tallows; there to remain until that dread day when the murdered
and their murderers shall stand before the great white throne—when the
sea, at the command of its Creator, shall yield up the dead which have
slept for ages in its mighty depths.

Months have elapsed since the fearful event we have just narrated took
place, and Jeanie Irving is once more seated by her father’s fireside,
still pale and exhausted from the effects of her late severe illness.
She has heard of the fatal shipwreck—she knows that her lover is no
more, and has learned to say with resignation, "Not my will, but thine
be done!"  It is Sunday evening, and the grey-haired father is seated at
the table with the Bible before him, from which he reads aloud words of
joy and consolation.  It is the fourteenth chapter of John, and Jeanie,
her eyes filled with tears, is listening with breathless attention to
the beautiful words of inspiration, when a low tap at the door arrests
their attention.  No answer is vouchsafed in return to the invitation to
enter, but a quick step is heard in the passage, it approaches nearer,
the door opens, and Jeanie Irving falls fainting into the arms of
William Telford.

Now, added Mr. Anderson, at the conclusion of his story, you must not
imagine, although I have dwelt at a considerable length on the
sufferings causelessly inflicted on the Covenanters, that I altogether
take their part, far from it; as I think in some instances they were
much to blame.  For instance, when they assembled together for the
purpose of having divine worship, instead of going quietly and
respectably with only their Bibles in their hands as beseemeth
Christians, there they were armed with swords and guns, only too ready
to use them should occasion require, that was entirely going against the
doctrine of St. Paul, who says, "For though we walk in the flesh, we do
not war after the flesh.  (For the weapons of our warfare are not
carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.")
Why, if we were to assemble in that way now-a-days, singing psalms of
defiance in the glens, with fire-arms beside us, wouldn’t the present
government be down upon us in no time? and quite right too, say I; for I
am quite of opinion they were as much to blame as the royalists, and if
they could, would have been quite as cruel.  Look, for instance, at the
murder of Archbishop Sharpe, although there can be no doubt he was a
cruel, relentless foe to their cause, yet they should have respected his
grey hairs, and spared him at the request of his daughter. And, again, I
do not believe all the stories told in the Scotch Worthies, such as that
one of Peden and some of his friends being saved while on the moors,
just at the moment the dragoons were coming down upon them, by his
praying that a mist might surround them to the discomfiture of their
enemies, and that instantly, on his ceasing to pray, they were enveloped
in a fog. I do not mean to say that a mist did not conceal them from
their enemies, but that it was chance, and not a miracle, as they
pretended.  For many a time, when on the heights myself, have I been
overtaken by these fogs, which come down so suddenly that there is no
escaping from them, and very disagreeable things they are when one is
far removed from a house of any kind, and there is not light sufficient
to guide one on one’s way.

"Ay, ay," said Mrs. Anderson, addressing her husband, "but for all that
ye say, Mr. Peden was a great prophet;" then turning towards me, she
continued. "when I was a little girl I resided for some time wi’ a
farmer who lived on the celebrated farm of Wellwood, near Airdsmoss, and
used to hear a great deal about Mr. Peden.  You must know that he is
buried at Cumnock.  He was first interred in the Laird of Affleck’s
aisle (Auchenleck), a mile distant, but was lifted, as he predicted, by
soldiers, and conveyed to the foot of Cumnock gallows, which stands near
the village. That spot soon came to be used as the public
burying-grouud, and, in my younger days, was a very pretty rustic
graveyard.  But it is said that before his death, Peden stated that
after his second burial a _thorn bush_ should grow at his head, and an
_ash tree_ at his feet; and when the branches of each met, there should
be a bloody battle in Shankson wood (about a mile distant), where the
blood would be up to the horse’s bridles.  The thorn did grow, and is
there yet, I believe, and many slips have been taken from it by
strangers, but the ash is said to have been pulled up ere it was large
enough to touch the thorn, so the battle never took place.  And I mind
weel o’ a strange epitaph that was on an ancient tomb-stone beside
Peden’s grave, which, if I remember rightly, was something like
this:—’Here lies David Dun and Simon Paterson, who _was_ shot in this
place for their adherence to the word of God and the covenanting work of
reformation, 1685,’ (the black year.)  There was also another stone,
just in front of Peden’s grave, but I forget the precise words; they
ran, however, nearly as follows:—

    ’Halt, passengers, and I will tell to thee
      For what and how I here did dee,
        For always in my station.
        Adhering to the work of reformation,
      I was in on time of prayer
        By Douglas (Colonel) shot;
        O, cruelty, ne’er to be forgot.’

Now ye see," she continued, "there are no less than three poor men,
there may be more for all that I mind o’, lying in Cumnock
burying-ground who were shot by the royalists, and I think, Willie," she
said, again addressing her husband, "seeing that your own forefathers
all fought in the good cause, you need’na say just sae much in favour o’
their adversaries."

"Dear me," said Mr. Anderson, in reply to this rebuke, "I am not denying
that there were many cruel actions done in these sad times, but I am
just saying that I don’t believe all the stories told in the Scots’
Worthies: do you imagine for one moment that I can credit that one about
open, open to the Duke o’ Drumlanrig?  No, nor any other sensible
person."

"What one was that?" I inquired.

"Oh, just some idle tale not worth repeating——"

"Here it is; let the lady read it," interrupted Mrs. Anderson, taking as
she spoke a book from the shelf, which, after cleansing off a vast
accumulation of dust she handed to me, saying as she did so, "maybe it
is true, and maybe it is no, but the like o’ us canna pretend to ken
onything about it."

After a little research, in which I was aided by Mrs. Anderson’s
directions, I at length came to the following:—"Concerning the death of
the Duke of Drumlanrig _alias_ Queensbury, we have this curious
relation—that a young man, perfectly well acquainted with the Duke,
(probably one of those he had formerly banished,) being now a sailor,
and in foreign countries, while the ship was upon the coast of Naples or
Sicily, near one of the burning mountains, one day espied a coach and
six all in black going towards the mount with great velocity; when it
passed them they were so near that they could perceive the dimensions
and features of one that sat in it.

"The young man said to the others, ’If I could believe my own eyes, or
if ever I saw one like another, I would say, that is the Duke.’  In an
instant they heard an audible voice echo from the mount, ’Open to the
Duke of Drumlanrig!’ upon which the coach, now near the mount,
evanished.

"The young man took pen and paper, and marked down the month, day, and
hour of the apparition; and upon his return, found it exactly answer the
day and hour the Duke died."



                        *THE LAIRD OF CULZEAN.*


"I think," said Mrs. Anderson, as she carefully restored the Scots’
Worthies to its late position on the book-shelf, "that whoever got the
disposal of the souls and bodies of these persecutors after their death
seems to have treated them wi’ a’ the respect becoming their high
station in this world, for it was always coaches and six, and coaches
and four that came for them. You see, it was a coach and six that came
for the Duke o’ Drumlanrig, and there was the Laird of Culzean, a
wickeder old fellow never lived, and just the same kind o’ thing
occurred at the time o’ his death."

"Tush, nonsense, wife," interrupted Mr. Anderson.

"But it’s no nonsense," rejoined the dame, "for my forefathers lived a
long time near Culzean Castle, and many and many a time have they told
me when a child of what was seen the night the Laird died; and as the
lady seems to wish to hear all she can about these things, I’ll just
give her the account given me by my grandfather, who was as decent an
old man as ever lived, though I say it that shouldna’ say it."

Having expressed the pleasure I should feel in listening to her story,
Mrs. Anderson put away her sewing, and, resting her arms comfortably on
her knees, related the following wild tale, which, illustrating as it
does the strange superstitions of the times in which these men lived, I
here render as nearly as possible in the words of the narrator:—

The old Castle of Culzean, standing as it does on a rock rising two or
three hundred feet above the level of the sea, is probably one of the
finest marine seats in the kingdom.  At the foot of the rock on which
the castle stands, there are some romantic caves, more familiarly known
as the "Fairy coves of Culzean."  Many and many a night have I played
about there, when the setting sun caused the dancing waves to glitter
like gold, as they rippled over the pebbled beach towards the entrance
to the caves.  It was said that King Robert Bruce and his followers took
refuge there, after landing from Arran, until all was in readiness for
their enterprise.  They are also particularly mentioned by Burns in his
well-known "Hallowe’en."  But still, for all that they were so
beautiful, there were few o’ the country people that cared to venture
near them after it was dark, on account of the many strange things that
were said to have been done there during the time of the wicked Laird of
Culzean.  Ay, but it was he that was the cruel man!  It would make the
very hairs on your head stand on end could ye but hear tell of all the
cruelties he practised towards the Covenanters, while permitted to
remain on earth. Oh, dearie me, how people in these days could dare to
ask the Almighty’s blessing on their dark deeds beats my comprehension
altogether; but now to begin wi’ my tale:—In the parish of Kirkmichael
there lived an aged widow, called Mrs. M’Adam, who had an only son named
Gilbert; and a nice quiet young man he was, and greatly beloved of his
mother, for she was a lone woman, and had no one in the world to look to
but him; and well did he repay her affection, poor lad, for there was
nothing he thought too good for his mother. When these dreadful
religious disturbances broke out, like many other young men who were at
all given to think seriously about their spiritual welfare, Gilbert
M’Adam was a Covenanter; but he did not join the body, as numbers did,
merely for diversion, or from a hatred to the higher authorities, but
simply from a sincere belief in the soundness of their doctrine and
sympathy for their wrongs.  His mother was also o’ that way o’ thinking,
and, being a godly living person, she was greatly respected in the
neighbourhood where she resided.  Well, one wild stormy night, as Mrs.
M’Adam and her son were seated by the side of the kitchen fire, the door
opened and in entered their minister, a most worthy man, who had been
forced, like many others, to leave his church, and wander up and down
the country, teaching and ministering to the spiritual wants of his
people whenever an opportunity presented itself.  Greeting them with the
blessing of peace, Mr. Weir—I think that was the minister’s
name—proceeded to encumber himself of his dripping cloak, while Gilbert
flew to place a chair for him near the blazing hearth, and Mrs. M’Adam
proceeded to put on the table the best her store afforded, to succour
her esteemed guest.  After having partaken of the eatables set before
him, Mr. Weir informed his kind entertainers that he intended holding a
prayer meeting on the following morning, in a retired glen near
Kirkmichael, where he expected a numerous attendance, as the inhabitants
of the surrounding districts had been apprized of his intention, and
expressed great joy at the intelligence, as they had lately been like
sheep without a shepherd.  In reply to some anxious inquiries on the
part of Mrs. M’Adam, regarding the aspect of affairs throughout the
country.  Mr. Weir informed her that as yet the hand of the smiter was
not stayed, but rather on the contrary, as their persecutors seemed more
than ever zealous in their bloody work; and that, in the course of his
wanderings in Dumfriesshire, many cruel murders had come under his
knowledge, two of which, from the melancholy circumstances attending
them, had made an indelible impression on his mind.  At the request of
Mrs. M’Adam, Mr. Weir related the following:—

"Late one evening, during the month of last February, while an aged
woman of the name of Martin, who resides in the parish of Barr, was
sitting by her hearth conversing with her son David, and a young man
named Edward Kyan, who had but recently come from Galloway, a party of
dragoons, under the command of Lieutenant Douglas, surrounded the house.
Kyan, on being made aware of their approach, leaped through a side
window, and took refuge behind the wall of the cottage.  But his retreat
being discovered by the soldiers, they dragged him forth into an
adjoining yard.  After being asked where he lived, without any further
questions, or even being allowed to prepare for eternity, the said
lieutenant shot him through the head, and then discharging his other
pistol, shot him again as he lay on the ground quivering in the agonies
of death.  Not contented with this, one of the dragoons, pretending he
was still alive, shot him again.  After having glutted their vengeance
on this unfortunate youth—whose only crime was that of concealing
himself—the dragoons rushed into the house, and, bringing forth David
Martin, tore off his coat, and placed him beside the mangled body of his
friend. One of the soldiers more compassionate than the others, and
moved at the sight of the mother’s tears, besought his officer to spare
him another day, and stepped in between the kneeling man and his
executioners, who stood with their pieces levelled, awaiting the signal
of destruction.  After much entreaty, the lieutenant was prevailed upon
to spare his life; but so great was the terror of the poor man, that he
lost his reason, and is now a helpless bed-ridden maniac.  And now,"
continued Mr. Weir, "the other sad affair I am about to relate—the
particulars of which came under my own observation—will serve, in some
measure, to enlighten you as to the manner in which these cruel men
perform their bloody work:—

"In the course of the same month, I went with a friend, in whose house I
was then staying, to attend communion service in a secluded part of the
parish of Irongray.  The morning was cold and damp, and a dull leaden
mist overshadowed the landscape, as if nature had donned her saddest
garments on this melancholy occasion—still the meeting was numerously
attended.  It was indeed an impressive sight to witness these poor
people—many of whom seemed overcome with fatigue from the distance they
had travelled—assembled on this sequestered heath, to hear the word of
God, and partake of his blessed ordinance.

"The service had just commenced, when the sentinels stationed on the
heights gave notice that a party of dragoons were approaching.

"On receipt of this warning, the meeting instantly dispersed.  Some fled
towards the banks of the Cairn, and others towards the moor of
Lochen-Kit, in the parish of Uir.  Here the six poor men who suffered on
this occasion were captured by their pursuers. Four of them were shot
dead on the spot.  The other two, whose names were Alexander M’Cubbin,
of the parish of Glencairn, and Edward Gordon, from Galloway, were taken
by the captain to the bridge of Orr, where the Laird of Lag was busily
employed in carrying on the work of persecution.  Immediately on their
arrival, Lag wished to pass sentence of death upon them, because they
refused to swear; but the captain insisted that, as four of them had
been summarily despatched, an assize should be called to judge and
condemn them.  Lag swore fiercely that he should call no assizes, still
the captain got the matter deferred till another day.  On the following
morning they were conveyed to the parish of Irongray, by Lag and his
party, and hanged on an oak tree near the church of Irongray, at the
foot of which they lie interred.  When about to suffer death, an
acquaintance of M’Cubin’s inquired of him if he had any message to send
to his wife, upon which he answered, that he commended her and his two
children to the care of a merciful God; and, having bestowed his
forgiveness on the person employed to hang him, he, with his companion,
suffered death with much cheerfulness.

"Immediately on the departure of the soldiers, the bodies of these
martyrs received Christian burial, and a simple stone was erected on the
solitary heath to mark the spot where they fell."[#]


[#] Epitaph upon a stone in a moor near Lochon-Kit, on the grave of John
Gordon, William Stuart, William Heron, and John Wallace, shot by Captain
Bruce:—

"Behold here in this Wilderness we lie,
Four Witnesses of hellish cruelty.
Our eyes and blood could not their ire assuage
But when we’re dead they did against us rage,
That match the like we think ye scarcely can;
Except the Turks, or Duke de Alva’s men."

Epitaph on the grave-stone lying on Edward Gordon, and Alexander
M’Cubin, executed at the Church of Irongray, at the command of the laird
of Lag and Captain Bruce:—

"As Lag and bloody Bruce command,
We were hung up by hellish hand,
And thus their furious rage to stay,
We died at Kirk of Irongray.
Here now in peace sweet rest we take,
Once murder’d for religion’s sake."



"Puir murdered things," sobbed forth Mrs. M’Adam at the close of the
minister’s narration, raising her handkerchief to her eyes as she spoke.
"Oh dear, dear! is’na it sad to think that religion, whilk ought to make
men sae peaceful and godly in their lives, should, in many cases, just
hae the contrary effect. See now at the present time, a’ men are set by
the ears, and what is it all about?—a mere trifle—just a difference o’
opinion.  How true are the words of Him that knew all things, ’I am come
not to bring peace on earth, but a sword!’"

"Yes," was the reply, "but I am afraid religion is often made a cloak to
cover bitter feelings engendered by party strife.  No one possessing the
meek Christian feeling of brotherly love and charity towards all men,
could thus wantonly imbrue his hands in the blood of a fellow-creature."

"’Deed no, Mr. Weir, you say very true; they are no’ the richt sort o’
Christians who delight in bloodshed and warfare; a wheen apostates are
they; wolves in sheep’s clothing, whom we are expressly warned
against——"

Here Gilbert, who knew from experience that whenever his mother got upon
these topics she could continue, without pausing to draw her breath,
until pretty near midnight, suggested to her the propriety of Mr. Weir
retiring early to rest, as he would need to rise betimes in the
following morning.  The worthy minister, homeless and ill-provided for
as he was, accepted with gratitude the humble accommodation offered to
him by the poor but hospitable widow, and shortly afterwards withdrew to
his sleeping apartment.  By the early hour of six o’clock, Mr. Weir,
accompanied by Mrs. M’Adam and her son, was on his way to the place of
meeting.  The morning was fine, and a numerous concourse of people, many
of whom had come from a great distance, were assembled to hear their
beloved Clergyman.  The incense of praise had been offered up, and Mr.
Weir was about to commence his sermon, when a party of soldiers appeared
in sight.  These proved to be a body of militia, under the command of
Sir Archibald Kennedy of Culzean, then scouring the country in search of
prey.  Mr. Weir on perceiving their approach, closed his Bible, and
exhorting his hearers to remain quietly in their seats, went forward to
meet the hostile band.

"Why come ye thus to interrupt us in our devotions?" he inquired, when
the rapid advance of the soldiers brought them within hearing.

"You shall soon see that, you old canting hypocrite," thundered forth
Sir Archibald Kennedy in his fiercest tones.  "I’ll teach you to come
here with your psalm-singing, dismal faced companions.  Come, be off
with you, or I will this instant send a brace of bullets through that
thick head-piece of yours!"

"Not at thy command, thou man of Belial," said Mr. Weir, "shall I
abandon my post in the hour of danger!  These are the souls the Lord
hath committed to my charge, and woe be unto me or any other of my
brethren who shall neglect their sacred trust——"

"Cease your prating, you old dotard: soldiers, do your duty;" so saying,
the fiery leader wheeled his horse round, and stood with his back
purposely placed towards Mr. Weir, who, seizing him by the arm,
exclaimed, "Do unto me even as ye list, but let these go their way.  Oh,
slay them not!"

"Men, do your duty!" was the only answer vouchsafed to this request; and
Sir Archibald Kennedy, as if to set an example to his followers, drew
his sword from its scabbard, and advanced towards the Covenanters, who,
in accordance with their minister’s wishes, had remained quietly seated,
awaiting the issue in breathless suspense.

"Fly, my children, fly!" cried Mr. Weir, perceiving that offensive
measures were about to be taken by the soldiers.  "Oh God! it is too
late," he exclaimed, as the blood-thirsty men rushed eagerly on the
helpless group; and covering his face with his hands, to shut out the
bloody scene about to ensue, he remained for a few moments motionless as
a statue, while his lips moved, as though he was engaged in prayer.

In the meantime, Gilbert M’Adam, armed with a stout walking-stick,
prepared to defend his aged mother, who clung to his arm in an agony of
terror; but just as he raised it to ward off a blow from the butt-end of
a musket, it was stricken from his grasp, and he was left at the mercy
of his foe.  Fortunately for his safety, a man stationed near him that
instant darted on the soldier, and wrenched the gun out of his hand,
which went off in the struggle, wounding a woman standing near the
combatants.  Perceiving the folly of attempting self-defence, Gilbert
M’Adam seized his mother in his arms, and, making his way out of the
affray, ran hastily towards a hill, situated a little way off.  He had
gained the foot of the eminence, when the clatter of a horse’s feet
behind them causing the young man to turn round, a pistol bullet,
discharged by the advancing horseman, entered his brain, and Gilbert
M’Adam fell dead at his mother’s feet.  With a loud laugh of insolent
triumph, Sir Archibald Kennedy—for it was he who fired the deadly
shot—was about to return to the scene of action, when, with a scream
that in its agony resembled nothing earthly, the frenzied mother, with a
strength almost supernatural, seized the horse’s bridle, and compelled
him to remain stationary, while she burst forth thus:—

"Hence to your stronghold, you cruel bird of prey! Back to your proud
towers, ye accursed of the Lord! but think not, in the pride of your
heart, that this day’s work will pass unavenged, for a day of
retribution awaits you.  In the silence of the night, when the meanest
hind in the land is locked in slumber, shall a mother’s curse ring in
your ears till ye madden at the thought.  From this day henceforward
life shall be a burden to you: then—then, when the hour of death
approaches, shall your horrors be redoubled ten-fold. No priest will be
able to quench the ceaseless flames which burn in your bosom, and no
words of affection soothe your dying pillow; for the torments of a lost
soul will be yours, and in your last moments let the thoughts of this
day’s work add another drop to your cup of misery."

[Illustration: "Having given vent to these terrible maledictions, Mrs
M’Adam withdrew her hand from the horse’s bridle, and motioning Sir
Archbald Kennedy to begone, threw himself sobbing and screaming on the
corpse of her son."]

Having given vent to these terrible maledictions, Mrs. M’Adam withdrew
her hand from the horse’s bridle, and motioning Sir Archibald Kennedy to
begone, threw herself sobbing and screaming on the corpse of her son.
It was noticed by many then present that Sir Archibald looked scared and
discomposed on his return to join his men; and that, contrary to his
general mode of acting, he contented himself with taking a few
prisoners, and rode off at a much slower and more thoughtful pace, than
was his wont.  Well, the persecuting work went on with unabated zeal,
and Sir Archibald Kennedy, or, as he was more commonly styled, the Laird
o’ Culzean, was a noted man among them all.  Wherever blood was to be
shed, there was the Laird, grim and dark, wi’ the marks o’ an evil
conscience on his face.  (Some people said that the older he got, the
more crimes he committed, just to drown his remorse for some cruel deeds
he had done in his youth; but if that was the case, it was a queer way
he took to do it, for as the old proverb has it, "every single stick
adds to a burden.")  Although the Laird was, to all outward appearances,
as bold and daring like as ever, yet the servants about the house said
it was a very different thing wi’ him when alone; for many and many a
time in the long winter nights, did they see him pacing up and down his
hall, as if he would fain, by the loudness of his step, drown the voice
of conscience within; and often, when the wind rose louder than usual,
and moaned and shrieked through the passages, he would start hastily
from his seat and demand in a furious tone what woman it was who dared
to scream so within the walls o’ Culzean Castle.  These are the kind o’
things his servants told about him, so my grandfather said; but whether
they were true or false, I canna pretend to say.  Well, time rolled on,
and the decree was sent forth that the wicked Laird o’ Culzean must
prepare to meet his Maker—a summons which the now aged persecutor seemed
in no way anxious to obey, for them that were near him declared that he
threatened to knock off the doctors’ heads, because they couldna promise
him that he should get better.  The people who went about his room at
that time, recalled to mind the curse of the bereaved widow, for,
somehow or another, the story had got about, and many wondered when it
came to the push, how the Laird would meet his end.  Sir Archibald, as
Mrs. M’Adam prophesied, seemed in his last moments to derive comfort
from nothing.  In vain the physicians exercised their skill to the
utmost; in vain the attendant clergymen whispered words of consolation
and hope, he scorned them all, and drove them from the room because they
could not quench the flames which burned in his breast.  (You see the
widow’s curse was beginning to work.)  As the hour of death approached
his agony was fearful.  The drops of perspiration stood like beads on
his brow; and his eyes which seemed like to start from their sockets wi’
mortal agony, were fixed wi’ a horrible stare on the foot o’ his bed.
Some who were present at that time said they were convinced that
something, not meant for other e’en to see, was standing there, for
every now and again he pointed wi’ his finger and laughed; but the laugh
was like that o’ ane in despair.  At length he died, and the night o’
his death was one of the most fearful that ever occurred in the memory
of man.  The wind roared round the castle wi’ a force that threathened
to lay it in ruins; while the thunder rolled, and the lightning flashed
in a manner awful to witness.  The servants always maintained that the
powers of darkness were let loose that night; for at the moment the
Laird died, such shrieks of laughter, mingled with wild screams of
agony, rang through the whole house, that overwhelmed with fear, they
fell on their knees and prayed for protection against the horrors which
surrounded them.  Then came the day of his funeral; and, by all
accounts, sair, sair work they had to get the hearse from the door.
First there were four white horses put to the bier; but no sooner were
they yoked-to, than one of them fell dead on the spot, and the others
kicked and plunged so, they had to be taken out. Then four black ones
were put in their place; but still they wadna go, until the coffin was
taken from the hearse, and the priest muttered some prayers over it.
Then, when they had proceeded a few steps wi’ their burden, a dreadful
tempest of thunder arose to the terror and amazement of all present—many
of whom talked of returning; but the storm having now ceased, they were
dissuaded from doing so.  However, on nearing the place of interment, it
again burst forth in such a fearful manner that the flashes of fire
seemed to run along the coffin.  Owing to the extreme lightness of the
bier after this terrific outburst of the elements, it was conjectured,
either that the body had been consumed by the lightning, or that it had
been taken away by the master whom the Laird served so well while on
earth, from among their hands, ere ever they got to the church-yard.

But now I must tell you o’ what took place on the night o’ the Laird’s
death, to the great horror of a ship’s crew who chanced to be at sea.
Just as they were sailing past the coves of Culzean, the fearful
tempest, I mentioned before, arose, and the ship was tossed by the waves
in such a manner, that the sailors gave themselves up for lost.  Well,
in the very midst of this awful turmoil o’ the elements, when even the
mightiest vessel was in danger of perishing, the man at the helm cried
aloud, "a boat, a boat!"

"Nonsense," replied the Captain, "what boat could live in a night like
this?"

Just as they were speaking, a fearful flash of lightning lit up the
darkness, thereby permitting the terror-stricken crew to perceive a
coach and four coming along the sea.  Again the blue lightning flew down
the mast, while onward pranced the horses, whose black plumes waved, as
the ghastly-looking driver urged them onwards.  The hair of each
individual sailor stood on end as he gazed on the appalling sight; when,
just as they were passing the side of the vessel, the Captain hailed the
spectral-looking coachman with, "From whence to were?"

And the answer was, "From h—ll to Culzean’s burial!"

"Well done," said Mr. Anderson, at the close of this harrowing
narration; "this is indeed a most probable story, and quite in keeping
with ’open, open to the Duke of Drumlanrig.’  Surely," he added more
seriously, "you do not believe any such nonsense?"

"Never you mind whether I do or not," replied Mrs. Anderson, evidently
enjoying her husband’s look of astonishment; "but just go your ways to
that small drawer on the left there, and bring me the little box tied
round wi’ red tape, which you will find in the farthest back corner."

Mr. Anderson, in obedience to his wife’s request, proceeded to the
drawer, and in a few seconds placed in her hands the wished-for article.

After fumbling for a short space of time amongst its varied contents,
Mrs. Anderson succeeded in fishing out, from its mysterious depths, a
sheet of paper carefully folded up, which she opened and placed in my
hands, saying, "there now, that was written by a friend of mine while
studying at the College of Edinburgh."  Glancing my eyes over the
verses, I perceived that they bore immediate reference to the legend
Mrs. A. had just been narrating, and so wrote them down, as an
appropriate finish to the Legend of Culzean:—

    THE LAIRD OF CULZEAN.

    Around Culzean Castle the wild winds did howl,
      And the trees bent like leaves to the blast;
    Whilst the heavens looked black with an angry scowl,
      The wild clouds were careering on fast.

    Dark, dark was that night, and yet darker the hour
      When Culzean’s lord did yield up his breath;
    You’d have thought that the fiends of hell had power
      To preside o’er the wizard’s death!

    The thunder roll’d loud, while the lightning flashed,
      And by tempest the Castle was shook;
    Wild shrieks of despair echo’d loud in the blast,
      And from fear none dared upward to look.

    The dying man toss’d, and oft did he turn,
      But for him was no rest or sleep;
    Fierce flames of remorse in his breast did burn,
      And his curses were loud and deep.

    When reverend fathers sought to cheer,
      And smooth down the way to heaven,
    He mocked them all with a taunt and jeer;
      They from the room were driven.

    He died—though for him the black banner wav’d
      And nodded the sable plume;
    By no rich nor poor was a blessing craved
      For him who that night met his doom.

    *      *      *      *      *

    The wild winds rag’d and the lightnings flashed,
      While the sea ran mountains high;
    And the good ship’s crew all stood aghast
      As they gaz’d on the stormy sky.

    "Haste haste, my men," the bold Captain cried,
      "Haste, haste! make no delay!
    We’ll bravely steer through the foaming tide,
      And trust in God our stay."

    The death lights do burn this night in Culzean,
      The old lord is dead at last;
    And the powers of darkness are there I ween.
      Careering on the blast!

    With a crash the thunder o’er them peal’d,
      And its harsh and sullen roar;
    Though to fear the sailors hearts were steel’d,
      Caus’d them tremble more and more.

    "A boat! a boat!" the steersman cried,
      "I see by the flashes bright."
    "NO BOAT," the Captain quick replied,
      "Could live on this awful night!"

    Then the heavens burst, and a flood of light
      Lit up all with its ghastly glare;
    And the ship’s crew gaz’d on a fearful sight,
      For a funeral train was there!

    Four coal-black horses drew each coach,
      And they pranced upon the sea;
    As each driver caus’d them swift approach,
      What a ghastly look had he!

    Soon as they reach’d the vessel’s side,
      That awful train funereal,
    "FROM WHENCE—to where?" the Captain cried
      "From H—ll to Culzean’s burial!"



                            *PEDEN’S STONE.*


Having been informed that a stone, familiarly known throughout the
country as "Peden’s Stone," from the fact that that prime favourite of
the Scottish peasantry used there to delight his hearers with his
eloquence, was still to be seen on the moor, I determined upon paying a
visit to this sequestered spot.  It was on a lovely morning in the month
of September that I started on my expedition.  The sun was shining
brightly, and the air was of that exhilarating nature which blends the
softness of summer with the least possible tinge of autumn coolness.
The Robin red-breast, sole remaining songster of the grove, poured its
gushing notes of melody from hedge-row and tree, while, with each motion
of the breeze, the now yellow leaves fell trembling on my path.

The reapers, in many places, were yet busy in the fields—the harvest
being generally late in this part of Scotland—and their merry bursts of
laughter sounded gaily from amid the fields of waving corn.  My way
again lay through H—— village, near the entrance of which, on precisely
the same spot as formerly, stood the previously mentioned
pleasant-looking dame, but not alone.  Two little olive branches clung
for protection to the parent stem, in a manner beautiful to witness.  I
could not resist a smile as my quondam acquaintance came forward with
outstretched hand, exclaiming, while a broad laugh sat upon her honest
features, "Losh me, isn’t it funny we twa should always foregather on
the same bit?"

"Indeed it is!" was the reply.

"And you are still gaun about here?"

"Yes; and picking up all the information I can get about the
Covenanters."

"Oh, mam!" was the pathetic response, "had my brother only been
living!—but that’s by; eh sirs me, but that makes an unco difference wi’
us a’!  And where may ye be gaun the day?"

"To visit Peden’s Stone; likewise to call on a Mr. Brown, who, I
understand, is able to give me some information regarding it."

"Peden’s Stone," re-echoed Mrs. Black—such she afterwards informed me
was her designation—"a weel, mam, it’s just up by there, an’ a solitary
bit it is. Many a one has gone to visit Peden’s Stone.  There’s my
daughter; a few weeks ago she was spending the day with some friends
that live near there, and they took her away to see it.  On her return
home, she says to me, ’Oh, mother! just to think o’ my being twenty
years old, and never to have been at Peden’s Stone afore.’  ’Hoots,
lassie!’ says I, ’I’m a hantle mair than that, and I have never seen it!
ha, ha, ha!’  And so you’re going to Sandy Brown’s to get information;
weel I’ll no say but he’ll be able to tell you something canny, for
folks say that he speaks like ony minister.  Aweel, aweel, I mind the
day when I could have told you lots o’ stories mysel’; but that’s a’ by!
And you’re rale ta’en up about the Covenanters, are you?" demanded the
loquacious dame, and, without waiting for an answer, away she went on.
"Ay, weel, so was I at ae time o’ my life; for when I was at the
sewing-school in Strathaven, I was rale anxious to see Loudon hill—may
be you’ll ken Loudon hill, where the battle o’ Drumclog was fought?  Ay,
I thought sae; it’s a queer-looking place, I fancy, and I was many a
time going to see it, but I never could win, and the time just gaed by.
Losh me, but there was a curious story told about that hill—a most
ex-tre-orner thing indeed; for, when I was at the sewing-school, many
and many a time ha’e I heard tell o’ a heap o’ siller being buried
there; and when any person went to dig it up, an awful voice ahint them
cried—’Clog’s in a low!’ and on their turning round to see what was
wrong, the sight o’ a great bull rushing at them gar’d them rin, and the
hole instantly closed, so that they couldna win at it again.  But maybe
you’ll think that’s a lee; and I wadna say but it is."

"Is it true," I inquired, "that your brother, who lives near here, has a
sword that belonged to Captain Paton?"

"He has that, he has that! but stop noo, I’m foolish to say sae"—here
Mrs. Black put her finger into her mouth and appeared to reflect a
little—"Did you say Captain Paton?"

"Yes."

"Weel, I’m no sae sure about that; but I ken brawly he has an ’_Andrew
Ferrara_’ that belonged to some o’ thae fechting folk.  However, ye
should just gang and ask him about it, he’ll be blythe to see ye, and
I’ll show ye a heap o’ curiosities, for he is rale ta’en up about
auld-fashioned things.  And ye can just say I sent ye."

Thanking Mrs. Black for her instructions, I proceeded towards the house
indicated, and Mr. Graham being within, I was ushered into a room, where
a huge sword lay upon the table.  From its appearance, I should have
judged it rather to be a relic of the forty-five than of the days of
persecution.  Mr. Graham, in answer to my inquiries, stated that it was
said to have been one of Captain Paton’s swords, but that he could not
give me any true account of it, as it had formerly belonged to his
brother, and at his death came into the hands of its present possessor.
Amongst other curiosities, Mr. G. produced two coins of the reign of
David the First, which had been found with a great many more at the foot
of a hill, about a mile or two on the moor at the back of his house.
The tradition told concerning them in the neighbourhood is, that a man,
whose Christian name was Tom, while returning at that remote period of
time from a marriage party, missed his footing, and fell over a quarry
which lay in his path, and was killed on the spot, the money falling out
of his pocket during his too rapid descent. In consequence of this sad
disaster, the spot is known as "Tam’s leap" to this day.

While speaking about the persecuting times Mr. Graham informed me that a
particular part of the moor was known by the name of the "Headless
Cross," and that the circumstance which gave rise to its singular
designation was this:—A persecutor of that name, who had rendered
himself particularly obnoxious to the Covenanting party, on account of
his many cruelties, took refuge from their anger in this part of the
moor.  The Covenanters, having been apprised of his whereabouts, set off
instantly in pursuit of their intended victim.  On arriving at the place
where they expected to find their enemy, their astonishment may be
conceived on seeing him without his head!  It appeared that the
unfortunate man had fallen into the hands of another hostile party, who,
depriving him of his head, rendered him in truth a "Headless Cross."  A
large stone, likewise on the moor, familiarly known as "Pack Stone," was
said to have been thrown down there by the celebrated wizard, Michael
Scott, when in4 company with his Satanic majesty.  These worthies, it is
believed, were employed in carrying stones suitable for the erection of
a bridge over the Firth of Forth. During this benevolent employment, a
dispute took place between them—words ran high; and Michael Scott, in a
fit of rage, threw down the stone then borne on his back, declaring that
not one foot further should he carry it.  How the quarrel ended is not
related; but the stone, which is of an immense size, still remains in
confirmation of the truth of this legend.  The most probable version of
the story is, that there the wearied pedlar used to rest with his pack
while journeying between Glasgow and Edinburgh, as the wheel tracts of
the old Glasgow Road are still visible near the spot.

After a minute inspection of Mr. Graham’s little museum, I set off to
visit Mr. Brown.  The farm towards which I directed my steps was
prettily situated near a "gleaming wood," the trees of which, now clad
in autumn’s russet brown, peacefully waved over the cottage roof, before
the grateful breeze, as it sped along the moor on its trackless way;
while a few plants of Indian cress, trained up against the wall evinced
a greater predilection for neatness than is generally to be seen in the
farm-houses of Scotland.  A cleanly-dressed, pleasant-looking woman—whom
I afterwards ascertained to be Mrs. Brown—was standing near the
entrance; and on my inquiring if Mr. Brown was within, she invited me to
take a seat, as he was in the fields, and should be in presently.
Availing myself of the kind invitation, I entered, and taking possession
of the proffered chair, I amused myself with inspecting the cottage
interior, until the arrival of Mr. Brown.  It presented the nicest
little picture of a moorland farm I had ever seen.  Rows of
nicely-cleaned dishes, bright pewter plates, and spotless chairs, all
indicated the careful housewife.

In a few minutes Mr. Brown entered; and on my informing him of the
nature of my visit, he said, with a smile, that he did know a little
regarding these times, and should only be too happy were it in his power
to give me any information that might chance to be of service.  This was
encouraging, so I at once began the conversation by remarking, "that
this seemed to have been a great part of the country for the Covenanters
in former times."  Upon which he replied that it was, more particularly
the west end of the parish, where Peden and Cargill used to preach,
adding, "I suppose you have seen Peden’s Stone?"  On my informing him
that I was then on my way to visit it, he said it was not above a mile
distant.

On my inquiring if there had been many conventicles held about there,
Mr. Brown informed me of several, more particularly mentioning one held
near Bathgate, where a Mr. Riddel officiated.  There was a large
assemblage present, and just as they were in the middle of their
devotions the cry arose that the dragoons were upon them.  The soldiers,
however, not making their appearance, the Covenanters thought it had
been a false alarm, and continued their religious exercises in fancied
security.  Scarcely had a few minutes elapsed ere a large party of
red-coats, under the command of Lieutenant Inglis, then stationed at
Mid-Calder, galloped swiftly up to the place of meeting.  On perceiving
their approach, many of the Covenanters fled through a moss where no
horse could follow.  But not to be outwitted, the soldiers remained on
the opposite side, and fired promiscuously amongst the helpless group,
thereby wounding many.  One of their bullets pierced the head of an
heritor in the parish of Bathgate, named John Davie, and killed him on
the spot. Then they carried a great many men and women as prisoners,
with an immense quantity of booty, back with them to Mid-Calder, the
same as if they had been attacking a foreign enemy, and not men born on
British soil.

"Oh, dear me! but the Covenanters were hardly used in these times—were
they not, mam?" inquired Mrs. Brown, appealing directly to me, "for you
see, a very great number of those who suffered were poor bits o’
innocent creatures who had neither the power nor the inclination to do
harm to any one.  And the power with which Dalziel, Claverhouse, and
many others of these cruel men were invested was really dreadful.  No
person was safe while in their hands.  There are men who think that some
of the Covenanters were too strict in their opinions, still, as I have
often read, it was then that Scotland earned for herself a distinguished
name; for at the King’s return, every parish had a minister, every
village had a school, every family almost had a Bible, and all children
of age could read.  Now, that was just as it should be."

"I fancy you will have heard all about the murder of Kennoway and
Stuart, two of the lifeguard’s-men, at Swine Abbey, just down by
yonder?" inquired Mr. Brown, at the conclusion of his wife’s remarks.

I replied "that I had heard it slightly mentioned, and should be very
glad to hear a more lengthened account of the affair," upon which he
commenced thus:—

"About Stuart very little or nothing is known, but Kennoway was
universally detested on account of his horrid cruelties and shameless
exactions from poor people who could but ill afford to pay his unjust
demands.  Kennoway had displayed great activity under General Dalziel at
Pentland, and he it was who captured that zealous preacher Hugh M’Kail,
who was executed at the cross of Edinburgh in the twenty-sixth year of
his age.  He likewise surprised numerous conventicles, and treated the
Covenanters with great barbarity.  On one occasion he attacked a party
of unarmed people who were quietly hearing sermon in a field near
East-Calder, and shot one through the leg, beating and robbing several
others.  At the meeting which took place near Bathgate, his was the hand
that shot John Davie; in short, so zealous did he show himself in the
cause of persecution that the government showed him great favour, and
gave him several commissions to execute.  Each day he scoured the
country in search of prey, and those unfortunate enough to fell into his
hands were treated with such brutality that several people went into
Edinburgh to complain to the General of his cruelty.  On receipt of a
letter from his superior officer threatening him with punishment for his
illegal acts, he forced an aged man, whom he had abused most shamefully,
under pain of death, to sign a paper, stating that Thomas Kennoway had
never injured him in any way whatever.  Being greatly addicted to
liquor, he would remain for days at the public-house, called Swine
Abbey, indulging his evil propensity until all the money he had was
spent.  On one occasion having imbibed more than he had money to pay
for, and the landlord pressing him for a settlement, he went out to the
road, along which an old man was coming with a heavy load of oats on his
back.  Kennoway at once seized on the bag, and threatening the bearer
with all manner of punishments if he dared to look after his property,
returned to Swine Abbey, and discharged his bill with part of the
proceeds, reserving the remainder for the further indulgence of his
favourite vice.  In the month of November he went into Edinburgh, from
whence he returned bearing with him a roll which contained the names of
one hundred and fifty persons he was commissioned to apprehend.  On
alighting at Livingstone he encountered his ill-fated companion, Stuart,
to whom he displayed the roll, boasting that in a few days he should be
as rich as any laird in the country. On their way to Swine Abbey, he
pointed out to Stuart the lands he meant to possess.  Arriving there,
they commenced drinking, and continued doing so until pretty near the
end of the month, when they were killed one night as they were leaving
the house.  Some thought they had been slain in self-defence, but it was
generally supposed that, roused to madness by the continued persecutions
of Kennoway, a party of people in the neighbourhood had planned his
destruction. So violent were many of the blows exchanged on this
occasion that the stone above the door was almost cleft in twain.  I
have heard it said," continued Mr. Brown, "that one or two persons
suspected of having had a hand in the murder were openly rebuked by
others of the Covenanting body, for thus having sent a man laden with
such crimes into the presence of his Maker without one moment’s warning,
when long years of penitence would scarce suffice to atone for the evil
he had wrought."

"It was a cruel deed," I said in reply to Mr. Brown’s inquiry as to what
I thought of the affair, "and one of those blameable acts on the part of
some of the Covenanters which made their enemies say that a suitable
opportunity would have found them only too ready to shed blood."

"Oh, no," was the reply; "that would never have been the case!  The
thoughts of the Covenanters did not dwell much on the shedding of blood;
but rather on the restoration of their rights.  No doubt, as there are
good and bad in every class, so the Covenanters were not exempted from
the rest in this respect; but had amongst them men who thought it no sin
to pour forth the blood of the wicked.  But still, as a whole, they were
a harmless suffering body of Christians."

"Don’t you think, mam," said Mrs. Brown, "that some of the clergy did
not conduct themselves altogether with the meek Christian spirit
becoming their high vocation? for I have often heard it said that, had
they evinced a more forbearing disposition towards those—whose only
fault consisted in their preferring to hear their own ministers—things
would not have gone so hard with the Covenanters.  Now, for instance,
take Mr. Honeyman, who was at that time curate in Livingstone; what kind
of example did he set those who were neither so learned, nor pretended
to be so good as himself? one which no real Christian would ever seek to
follow."

"Did you ever hear," inquired her husband, "an account of the manner in
which he treated some of his parishioners who came to him for assistance
in the time of their distress?"

Replying in the negative, Mr. Brown related the following:—"Mr.
Honeyman, the then curate in Livingstone, was in truth a terrible
scourge to those of his hearers who did not attend his meetings as he
could have wished.  Whenever any of his flock came under his
displeasure, away went an order to Bathgate, and out came, in return, a
troop of dragoons, who apprehended all marked down in the curate’s black
book, as it was styled.  The parishes of Livingstone, Calder, Carnwath,
and several others, were diligently ransacked by these men; and many
remarkable instances occurred in which the Lord heard the prayers of the
oppressed, and delivered them from their persecutors.  I have heard tell
of one young man who escaped from among their hands, for whose
apprehension Honeyman had offered a large sum of money.  Well, amongst
others upon whom Mr. Honeyman sent down the soldiers, the Russels of
Fallhouse—whose descendants are still living there—were particularly
mentioned in the black book as being worthy of stripes.  Fortunately,
their horses contented the fierce Highlanders, and they themselves were
uninjured.  In great distress at the loss of their valuable cattle, the
Russels came to Mr. Honeyman, who was their minister—indeed one of them
was an elder in his congregation—and besought his interference in their
behalf.  At first, Mr. Honeyman abused and threatened them most
dreadfully for their not appearing at courts, or taking the oath,
thereby setting such a bad example to others.  The suppliants bore this
tirade with great patience; but insisted that he should use his
influence for the recovery of their property.  After a little while he
appeared to yield, and wrote a letter to the commander of the forces
stationed at Lanark, which, he gave to them, desiring that they should
themselves deliver it.  Overjoyed at having succeeded so well with their
minister, the Russels set off immediately for Lanark; but, on arriving
at Carluke, they chanced to encounter some acquaintances, and adjourned
with them to a public-house, in order to procure some refreshment.
Having informed their friends of the nature of their errand, these men,
being rather suspicious as to the good intentions of Mr. Honeyman,
advised the Russels, before proceeding farther, to open the letter.
They did so, and found to their consternation, that instead of
containing what they expected, namely, an order for the restoration of
their horses, it was an injunction to the General to hold the bearers
fast, as being two notorious rebels, from whom all that was taken was
too little.  In a mighty rage against their perfidious minister, and yet
thankful to Providence that they had escaped his snare, the Russels
speedily returned home, nor did they ever again enter Curate Honeyman’s
church, except on compulsion."

"Eh, dear!" exclaimed Mrs. Brown at the conclusion of this amusing
anecdote, "wasna that an unco like thing for any minister to do, more
especially one living in a Christian country; but ’deed these werena’
Christian times, so that they may serve as some excuse for the man!"

"By all accounts, the district about Linlithgow seems to have been a
great part of the country for conventicles," said I, addressing Mr.
Brown, who replied—"Ay, but Linlithgow itself hadna much to boast of in
these days; that was indeed a sad falling away!"

"How?" I inquired; "what occurred to distinguish Linlithgow from the
other parts of Scotland?"

"What!" exclaimed Mr. Brown, staring at me in amazement, "have you never
heard of the disgraceful ceremony of the burning of the Solemn League
and Covenant which took place within its walls on the 29th of May, 1661,
it being the anniversary of King Charles the Second’s birth-day?"

"Never," I replied; upon which Mrs. Brown at once proceeded to the
book-shelf, and taking from thence a little old book, she placed it in
my hands, saying, "there now, mam; read the two last pages of this work,
and see if you can approve of that proceeding."

The book was entitled, "A Cloud of Witnesses for the Royal Prerogatives
of Jesus Christ."  And turning over to the part indicated, the following
description of the affair mentioned by Mr. Brown met my gaze.  It was
headed, "A Dismal Account of the form of Burning the Solemn League and
National Covenant with God and one another, at Linlithgow, May 29th,
1661, being the Birth-day of King Charles the Second," and ran as
follows:—

"Divine service being ended, the streets were so filled with bonfires on
every side, that it was not without hazard to go along them.  The
magistrates about four o’clock in the afternoon went to the Earl of
Linlithgow’s lodging, inviting his Lordship to honour them with his
presence at the solemnity of the day. So he came with the magistrates,
accompanied by many gentleman, to the market-place, where a table was
covered with confections.  Then the curate met them, and prayed, and
sang a psalm, and so eating some of the confections, they threw the rest
among the people; the fountain all that time running French and Spanish
wine of divers colours, and continued running for three or four hours.
The Earl, the magistrates, and gentlemen, did drink the King and Queen
their good health, and all royal healths, not forgetting His Majesty’s
Commissioner his health, Lord Middleton, and breaking several baskets
full of glasses.  At the market-place was erected an arch standing upon
four pillars, on the one side whereof was placed a statue in form of an
old hag mare, having the Covenant in her bands, with this
superscription, ’A Glorious Reformation;’ on the other side was placed a
statue in form of a whiggie mare, having the Remonstrance in her hands,
with this superscription, ’No Association with Malignants;’ within the
arch, on the right hand, was drawn a Committee of Estates, with this
superscription, ’An Act for delivering up the King;’ upon the left hand
was drawn the Commission of the Kirk, with this superscription, ’A
Commission of the Kirk, and Committee of Estates, and Act of the West
Kirk of Edinburgh;’ and upon the top of the arch stood the devil as an
angel of light, with this superscription, ’Stand to the Cause;’ and on
the top of the arch hung a tablet with this—

    ’From Covenantors, with their uplifted hands;
    From Remonstrators, with their associate bands;
    From such Committees as govern this nation;
    From Kirk Commissions, and from their possession.
      Good Lord deliver us.’


"On the pillar of the arch, beneath the Covenants, were drawn
kirk-stools, rocks, and reels; upon the pillar, beneath the
Remonstrance, were drawn brechams, cogs, and spoons; on the back of the
arch was drawn a picture of rebellion in a religious habit, with turned
up eyes and with a fanatic gesture, and in its right hand holding _Lex
Rex_, that infamous book maintaining defensive arms, and in the left
hand holding that pitiful pamphlet, ’The Causes of God’s Wrath,’ and
about its waste lying all the Acts of Parliament, Committee of Estates,
and Acts of General Assemblies, and Commissions of the Kirk, their
Protestations and Declarations during these twenty-two years’
rebellion,’ and above with this superscription, ’Rebellion is as the Sin
of Witchcraft.’  Then, at the drinking of the King’s health, fire was
put to the frame, which gave many fine reports, and soon burnt all to
ashes; which being consumed, there suddenly appeared a table supported
by two angels, carrying this superscription—

    ’Great Britain’s Monarch on this day was born,
      And to his kingdom happily restored;
    His Queen’s arrived, the matter now is known.
      Let us rejoice, this day is from the Lord:
    Flee hence all traitors that did mar our peace;
      Flee hence all schismatics who our church did rent;
    Flee hence Covenanting, Remonstrating race;
      Let us rejoice that God this day hath sent.’


"Then the magistrates accompanied the noble Earl to his palace, where
the said Earl had a bonfire very magnificent.  Then the Earl and
magistrates, and all the rest, did drink the King and Queen and all
royal healths; then the magistrates made procession through the burgh,
and saluted every man of account, and so they spent the day rejoicing in
their labour."

"Surely," I said, after having perused the above account, "the people of
Linlithgow were anything but friends to the cause of the Covenant."

"That they were not," replied Mrs. Brown; "but is it not an
extraordinary thing that, some years afterwards, Linlithgow should lose
its liberties as a burgh, entirely on account of some of the poor
prisoners, while passing through the town on their way from Bothwell to
Edinburgh, having been treated with some degree of kindness by the more
tender-hearted portion of its inhabitants."

"That was indeed very cruel."

"It was that, mam," replied Mr. Brown, "and just shows the terrible
degree of animosity entertained by the government towards the
Covenanting party and all inclined to be friendly to it, which is not a
thing to be admired."

"Ay, you see," replied her husband, "the Presbyterians made themselves
enemies among the great of the land, and there’s no doubt but that they
were represented to King Charles, who was himself an easy tempered man,
as being much more unmanageable and rebellious than they really were, so
that he fancied the more severe his measures were, the sooner would all
things be put to rights."

After a few general observations, the conversation turned upon Peden,
who seems to have retained a strong hold on the affections of the
Scottish peasantry. It is universally allowed by them that he possessed,
to an uncommon degree, the spirit of prophecy, and many anecdotes are
still current of his wonderful foreknowledge of things, either occurring
at a considerable distance at the time he was prophecying concerning
them, or which were to take place at some future period.  As an instance
of his extraordinary gift:—In the year 1684, he spent a few days in the
house of one John Slowan, who resided in the parish of Conert, in the
county of Antrim.  One evening while seated by the fire-side conversing
with some friends, he suddenly started to his feet, exclaiming—"Go hide
yourself, Sandy, for Colonel —— is coming to this house to apprehend
you; and I advise every one here to do the same, and that speedily, for
they will be here within the hour."  Which accordingly came to pass.
After the soldiers had made a most diligent search without and within
the house, actually passing in their eagerness the very bush where he
was lying praying, and want off without their prey, Mr. Peden came in
and said, "And this gentleman giving poor Sandy such a fright; for this
night’s work God will give him such a blow within a a very few days that
all the physicians on earth shall not be able to cure."  Which also took
place, for Colonel —— soon afterwards died in great misery.

Likewise, on the 22d of June, 1679, that day so fatal to the Covenanting
party, Mr. Peden was at a place near the borders, distant about sixty
miles from Bothwell Bridge.  While there, some one came to inform him
that vast crowds of people were collected in the hopes of his preaching,
it being the Lord’s-day, upon which he gave utterance to these
remarkable words:—"Let the people go to their prayers; for me, I neither
can nor will preach any this day; for our friends are fallen and fled
before the enemy at Hamilton, and they are hashing and hagging them
down, and their blood is running down like water."

Peden is likewise regarded by his humble admirers as having been
peculiarly favoured by the Master whom he so zealously served on earth;
and they relate, with sparkling eyes, how the Lord was pleased, at his
earnest entreaties, to fill the lagging sails of a boat, which was
destined to convey him and several of his companions from Ireland to the
then bloody shores of Scotland, with a favourable breeze, whereby they
arrived at their destination in safety; while, on his cry to the Lord
that the cloak of his almighty power might once more be thrown around
him, and those who were then listening to the voice of his petition,
when about to fall into the hands of the dragoons, who were rapidly
advancing towards them, a thick mist descended on the face of the
mountains, and effectually shielded them from their enemies.

Having received from Mr. Brown the necessary directions for finding my
way to Peden’s Stone, I once more resumed my walk.  After leaving the
high-road, my way lay along a wide extent of moor, whose only
inhabitants were the curlews and pee-wits which flew around my head in
rapid circles, uttering their wild and solitary cries.  I experienced an
indescribable feeling of nameless horror, although it was broad
day-light, on arriving at a post stuck in the centre of four cross roads
which marked—a suicide’s grave.  There is something revolting in the
idea, that there lies a human being, one like ourselves, who, by the
commission of an act, perhaps executed while labouring under a temporary
fit of insanity, is put as it were without the pale of humanity.  The
wretched woman thus consigned to a nameless, dishonoured grave, was the
wife of a smith who resided a few miles distant from the spot where she
was interred.  For a few days before the sad occurrence, which took
place some thirty or forty years ago, she was observed by those around
her to be rather drooping in spirits, but on the morning of her
perpetrating the rash act, she seemed restored to her former
cheerfulness, and set about putting the house in order. Towards the
middle of the day, one of her children came running into its father’s
workshop, exclaiming, "Oh, father! come and look at mother, she’s
standing on the kirn."  The smith immediately ran to ascertain the truth
of the child’s statement, and to his unspeakable horror found his wife
hanging suspended by the neck, with her feet resting on the churn.
Immediately in the vicinity of her lonely grave, there resided a doctor,
who, for the benefit of science, caused her bones to be dug up and
conveyed under the cloud of night to his residence, in the garden of
which they lay bleaching for days.  This circumstance was of itself
quite sufficient to excite the superstitious fear of the country people,
and immediately that place was invested with "shadows wild and quaint."
Indeed, the woman from whom I had the above account, assured me most
solemnly that while residing in that neighbourhood, she had frequently
observed strange lights dancing about in the woods, when the more
natural light of day had departed.  Hurrying past the spot with a
nervous shudder, I proceeded as swiftly as possible across the moor.
The day, as is often the case at this advanced period of the year, had
changed considerably since the morning; dark clouds now scudded along
the face of the sky, and wild gusts of wind careered over the heath. Not
one human being appeared in sight, save a solitary figure clad in the
now almost obsolete scarlet mantle of Scotland, who, considerably in
advance of me, walked briskly onwards, looking peculiarly witch-like as
the voluminous folds of her cloak swayed backwards and forwards in the
wind.  Had it been Hallowe’en, I should certainly have mistaken her for
one of those merry old ladies, who, wearied of the monotony of walking,
cleave the air on broomsticks in a manner wonderful to behold; but as
that (to children) enchanting day had not yet arrived, I concluded that
it was some aged dame either returning from her market-making in H——
village, or bound, like myself, on a pilgrimage to Peden’s Stone.  The
rapid pace at which she was walking soon carried her beyond the range of
my vision, and I pursued my way lost in conjecture as to who or what she
might be.

Nothing more than an incident of this kind serves to illustrate the
startling difference between town and country.  Hundreds of such beings
might pass and re-pass along the crowded streets of a great city
unnoticed and uncared for, and yet one such individual, seen on a quiet
country road or solitary heath, often affords matter for speculation and
amusement during an entire day.  Having now arrived at the farm-house to
which I was specially directed as being near the spot where stood the
memorable stone, I requested of a female, then busily engaged in farming
operations, that I might be shown the precise locality of this venerable
relic.  Being kindly invited to take a seat until a guide could be
procured to conduct me thither, I entered, and certainly was not a
little astonished at the unwonted aspect of the interior.  The roof of
the kitchen consisted entirely of huge beams of wood placed across each
other while the chimney, also built of wood, reminded one forcibly of
those now seldom seen, save in the ruined halls of bygone generations,
so capacious were its dimensions; and on one side of the grate, which
was sufficiently distant from the chimney to prevent the catastrophe of
ignition, was placed the settle, one reads of in Scottish story.  It was
indeed a veritable "inglenook."  As if in answer to the look of
astonishment with which I was regarding the enormous chimney, the female
who had followed my footsteps said, with an air of complacency, "Ay,
it’s no every day ye’ll see sic a hoose as this; it’s rale
auld-fashioned!"  Shortly afterwards the young woman who was to act as
my conductor on this occasion made her appearance, and we set off on our
expedition.  Having pointed out to me the locality where lay the object
of my search, she returned to the farm, while I pursued my way along the
side of Benharr Burn, on the banks of which stood Peden’s Stone.  It was
indeed a solitary spot, and one well suited for the secret meetings of
the persecuted Covenanters.  No sound broke in upon the almost
oppressive silence that reigned around, save the rippling of the water,
which washed the base of the huge piece of rock on which formerly stood
the mighty preacher. Surrounding heights concealed this sequestered dell
from the observation of those seemingly intent on their destruction, and
there would the sentinels be stationed who were to apprise those engaged
in this forbidden mode of worship of the approach of their foes.  There
is something in the aspect of this little ravine which must speak
forcibly to the imaginations and feelings of those who love to
contemplate aught that is connected with a vanished time.  The cold grey
stone on which I was now gazing seemed to me a link uniting the remote
past and the present, over the mighty gulf that intervened.  Nearly two
hundred years have passed away since this green turf was pressed by the
foot of one who stood foremost amongst the champions of the Covenant.
Here, as we are told—it might have been on a lovely summer’s morn, when
even to breathe the free air of heaven seemed happiness too exquisite
for sinful man to enjoy—when the blue vault of heaven formed a glorious
canopy over their pastor’s head, and all nature breathed sweet harmony
around; or it might be in the more sober season of autumn, when the
deepening russet of the surrounding moor, the falling leaf, and the
stillness of the atmosphere—so often perceptible in that season which
harbingers the coming winter—seemed more in unison with the gloom which
pervaded the Covenanters’ souls, there assembled a mighty crowd to
listen to the truths which fell from the lips of Peden. And what spot
more suited to their holy purpose!  On all sides were they surrounded by
scenes famous for their connection with the stirring events of that
stormy period.  Directly opposite, the mighty Grampians towered
majestically in the distance, amid whose solitudes, according to the
traditions of the times, the Covenanters, while listening to an
impassioned discourse of the zealous Wellwood, were protected from their
enemies’ bullets by a man of lofty stature, who stood in the air with
his drawn sword extended over the heads of the panic-stricken hearers of
the Word of God; while, stretching away on their right hand, the blue
range of the Pentlands, so linked with the misfortunes of the devoted
party of the Covenant, stood out in bold relief against the sky; and on
their left lay the disastrous plain of Bothwell.  The whole scene was
pictured as though in a mirror before me.  Here stood the dauntless
preacher of the Word, his grey hairs floating on the breeze, his eye
bright with sacred enthusiasm, and his hand, which clasped the sacred
Scriptures, raised aloft to heaven as though invoking the presence of
Him who hath promised to bless the assemblies of His servants, while the
surrounding heights were peopled by a dense mass of human beings, hushed
into breathless silence, save when aroused to passionate bursts of
sorrow, as the speaker brought home to their hearts the sufferings of
those who fought and bled in defence of the Church of Scotland.  While
indulging thus in reminiscences of the past, I was somewhat startled by
the pressure of a hand on my shoulder, and, turning suddenly round, to
my no small astonishment I found myself confronted by the wearer of the
scarlet mantle, who, coming from what direction I knew not, proceeded to
inquire, while she peered up in my face with two small penetrating eyes,
"Whether I had come any great distance that morning?"

Having satisfied her curiosity upon that point, I proceeded to make some
reflections on the subject of Peden, evidently to the great delight of
the antiquated-looking stranger, for, seizing me by the arm, she
exclaimed, with kindling eyes—

"O, mam, it does my old heart good to meet with one in these degenerate
days who professes an interest in the old Covenanting stock; for, alas!
new-fangled notions are rapidly taking possession of people’s minds, old
customs are abolished, a love for those sacred rites, so revered by our
forefathers, is entertained now but by few, and (a deep sigh) times are
changed in Scotland.

"What!" I said, "do you not esteem it an unspeakable blessing that in
these days each one is permitted, nay, invited, to enter the house of
God, there to worship Him without incurring the risk of imprisonment,
ay, even death for doing so?"

The old woman shook her head as she replied, "To say truly, liberty is
indeed granted to all who choose to accept of the gracious invitation to
hear the Word of God, but few, few there are who avail themselves of the
gracious privilege afforded them.  Look at your mighty cities; see the
multitudes there who never enter a church-door.  And of those who do
attend, note the very few attracted thither by sentiments of real
devotion.  No, no; the old spirit of religion is fast dying out of
Scotland, and when it becomes extinct, then may we weep for our country.
Far different was it thirty years ago," continued the old woman.  "Oh,
well do I mind one bonnie summer’s morning, when the sky was without a
cloud, and the caller air cam’ blithely over the heather, while the lark
was singing sae cheerily aboon our heads, as if it too was joining in
the hymn of praise, at that instant ascending from the lips of three
thousand people then assembled on this very spot to hear a sermon
preached in remembrance of Peden.  Oh, that was indeed a glorious sight,
and one never to be forgotten.  There was the minister, the saut tears
trickling down his cheeks as he spoke of him in honour of whose memory
they were that day gathered together—of his zeal, and his love for the
mighty cause he had espoused; and there were the hearers, so absorbed in
listening to his pious exhortations, that a pin might have been heard to
fall in that vast assemblage."  Here the old woman paused for an
instant, and then continued: "Ay, ay, there was mair religion in one’s
thoughts when seated on the bonnie hill-side, or aneath the shade o’ a
nodding beach, imbibing the pure gospel truths as given them by some
persecuted servant of God, than when seated between four walls of stone
and lime, the perishable work o’ men’s hands."

Here I broke in upon the stranger’s half-muttered observations by
inquiring of her "if she belonged to that part of the country?"

"Oh, no!" she replied, "I come from Fifeshire, (I no longer wondered at
her resemblance to a broomstick lady,) but am at present on a visit to
some friends who reside near here."

"Indeed," I said; "yours was a noted part of the country in the time of
the Covenanters; no wonder you still retain a strong predilection for
aught that savours of the Covenant.  And, pray, to what district of
Fifeshire do you belong?"

"To the parish of Kinlassie," was the reply.

"Then you will know Inchdarnie?"

"Do I not," replied the old woman, her eyes sparkling with pleasure;
"that name recalls to my remembrance all that was pleasing in the time
gone by. It is linked with the sweet days of childhood, and the faces of
those long vanished from my sight; ay, many and many a day have I roamed
along the winding banks of the Lochty, and listened to the songs of the
birds in the woods of Inchdarnie; oh, it is a bonnie, bonnie spot!"

"Was there not," I inquired, "a young gentleman of the name of Ayton,
who was implicated in the murder of Archbishop Sharpe——?"

"He knew nought of it," interrupted the stranger. "Andrew Ayton was as
innocent of that deed, or of any circumstance connected with it, as the
babe unborn; no, no," she continued; "poor young man! he hadna the
weight of blood on his soul when he gaed to his long account; oh but his
was a cruel death!"

"In what light is the memory of Archbishop Sharpe regarded in
Fifeshire?" I inquired.

"As that of a Judas; as that of one who was a traitor to the very cause
he swore to protect."

"Then you approve of his death?"

"No," said the stranger,  "I winna say that; for it is a fearful thing
to shed blood.  And although he merited but small mercy at the hands of
those he would fain have crushed and trampled under foot as one would a
poisonous reptile, yet they should have spared his grey hairs and left
him to his God; but ye mauna think," she continued, "that those who
suffered on account of his death had in reality anything to do with the
perpetration of the crime; no.  The stone which is still to be seen on
Magus Moor covers the bodies of four murdered men, whose souls will yet
cry aloud for vengeance on their murderers, for they were indeed
innocent.  My great-grandfather," pursued the old woman, "was one of the
number, and until very lately I had in my possession a letter which
effectually cleared his memory of the stain of having shed the blood of
the treacherous prelate.  Have you ever seen the stone?" she abruptly
demanded after a moment’s pause.

"No."

"Then you’ll not know the epitaph inscribed thereon?"

I answered in the negative, upon which she recited the following:—

    "’Cause we at Bothwell did appear,
    Perjurious oaths refused to swear;
    ’Cause we Christ’s cause would not condemn,
    We were sentenc’d to death by men
    Who rag’d against us in such fury,
    Our dead bodies they did not bury,
    But upon poles did hing us high,
    Triumphs of Babel’s victory.
    Our lives we fear’d not to the death,
    But constant prov’d to the last breath."


"And you say these men are buried in Magus Moor?" I inquired, while
noting the inscription down in my pocket-book.

"They lie in an adjacent field," replied the old woman; "and many’s the
time I have stood by the stone when the winter’s wind was howling along
the heath in such a wild key that I could almost have fancied the
spirits of the dead were murmuring around me, and conversing——"

"Probably with the murdered Archbishop!" I ventured to remark.

"May be," said the lady in the scarlet mantle, quite seriously; "there
is no saying what takes place in the unseen world!"

I then inquired "if she was at all acquainted with any stories relating
to the persecuting period?"

"That I am," said the old woman in reply, then passing her hand
thoughtfully across her brow, she exclaimed sadly, "No, no, I daurna
trust to my memory—that too has deserted me.  Come to Fifeshire," she
added after a moment’s pause, "and you will gather much information
about young Inchdarnie, that may chance to prove interesting!"  On a
subsequent occasion, I acted on the old woman’s suggestion, and the
following story is the result of my gleanings.



                      *THE MURDER OF INCHDARNIE.*


It was evening, and the rays of the setting sun were gilding the lofty
spires of the ancient city of St. Andrews, causing the windows of the
venerable university to glance like diamonds in the golden light; while
the huge waves, gradually decreasing as they rolled along, broke with a
gentle murmur on the shore, creating a harmony in unison with the
pensive beauty of the hour.  Apparently enjoying this interval of calm
repose, a young man—whose extreme youthfulness of features contrasted
strangely with the dejection seated on his brow—might have been observed
seated in a musing attitude amongst the rocks on the seashore.  The eyes
of this solitary being were fixed with a melancholy earnest gaze
alternately on the setting sun, which, having completed its appointed
journey, descended rapidly into the empurpled west, and on the swiftly
gliding vessels as they passed proudly on their way, their white sails
flapping in the evening breeze. This dreaming youth—for he numbered only
seventeen years of age—was Andrew Ayton, younger of Inchdarnie, then
studying at the ancient university of St. Andrews. He was a young man
possessed of graceful and winning manners—upright and honourable in his
conduct; while his constant attention to his studies, and fervent,
unobtrusive piety, endeared him alike to his instructors and to his
fellow-students.  His thoughts, at the moment of his being introduced to
the reader, seemed not of that gentle kind which one might have expected
from the soft serenity of the surrounding scene, for alternately his
face flushed, and then waxed pale as death, according to the nature of
the images presented to his mind.

"Oh, my unhappy country!" at length he exclaimed aloud in impassioned
anguish, "how long are thy saints called upon to endure the miseries
heaped upon them? How long must they continue to fall beneath the
oppressor’s rod——?"

At this moment a loud derisive burst of laughter grated harshly on his
ear, interrupting him in the midst of his reverie.  Starting hastily
from his seat—his face covered with blushes in being thus detected in
his solitary musings—young Ayton turning an inquiring eye in all
directions in order to spy out the mocking intruder.  For some little
time his endeavours proved fruitless, and he was on the point of giving
up the search, when a head cautiously protruded from behind a jutting
piece of rock disclosed to view the laughing face of his cousin, William
Auchmutie, who, perceiving himself detected, came forward and addressed
young Ayton thus:—

"Come, come, my gentle coz; art not done dreaming yet, that thou starest
so strangely on me, thy well beloved and right trusty cousin, as if
forsooth I had indeed come with the intention of shedding some of the
precious blood thou wert raving about, as I chanced, so opportunely, to
stumble upon thy secret lurking-place? for I am certainly of opinion
that another instant had seen thee plunge thyself in the boiling waters,
in order to obtain an effectual remedy for thy hapless state of mind.
Why, what new crotchet is this that has taken such forcible possession
of thy most worshipful brain, that thou seemest so utterly prostrated in
soul and body?  Art thou rehearsing some bloody ode to excite the
commiseration of thy lady-love? or has she turned a deaf ear to thy
tenderly-urged suit? Speak, most valiant sir, and——"

"A truce to thy nonsense, William," interrupted his less volatile
cousin; "thou knowest right well the reason for my clouded brow—look on
this unhappy land——"

Here William Auchmutie gave utterance to a loud laugh, at the same time
exclaiming, "and what hast thou got to do with this unhappy country?
Dost thou imagine that thy single arm can in any way stay the course of
bloodshed, or turn aside the inevitable shafts of fate?  Pooh, pooh;
give up thy day-dreaming—join in the sports of other young men, and
leave thy countrymen to fight it out as they best can."

"Thou talkest foolishly, William," said young Ayton mildly, "can any one
possessed of the least spark of religious feeling stand by a careless
and unmoved spectator of the fearful scenes daily enacted around him?
Look at the sufferings of the poor Covenanters; see how nobly they stand
up in defence of their rights and liberties; behold them, as it were,
with one voice, one heart, declaring their mighty purpose of suffering
death rather than yield submission to the cruel laws imposed upon them.
Oh, how I admire and venerate such noble heroism!  Trusting in a
strength not their own, the brave defenders of a national Covenant go
forth from their homes rejoicing in the race set before them, and
committing their weeping wives and helpless babes to the care of One who
has promised to be a father to the fatherless, and a husband to the
widow; relying, I say, on His gracious promise, these soldiers of the
cross go forth to fight beneath the banners of the Covenant, and woe be
to the man who shall despise them, or the cause for which they fight!"

"Andrew," exclaimed his cousin, scornfully, "thou an what I have long
suspected thee to be—a heretic! No true churchman would ever espouse the
side of these canting hypocrites, men whom, for my own part, I utterly
despise.  I have spent too many years in merry England not to have
arrived at pretty correct notions regarding the Puritans, and should
feel delighted beyond measure were the whole race exterminated from the
face of the earth."

"I speak not of the English Puritans," replied young Ayton; "with
Cromwell and his party I have little or no sympathy; it is of the poor
simple peasantry of Scotland, than whom a more peaceable and orderly
class of men does not exist, and yet they are represented by some knaves
in office as being all that is vile and despicable, for whom hanging is
too good.  It is of such wanton cruelties as are now being perpetrated
that I complain, outrages which must yet bring a fearful retaliation on
the heads of those who so mercilessly use the lash of power——"

"Lash of power," re-echoed William Auchmutie in a deriding tone, "I
would it were in my hands for a few short hours, then I would show thee
the esteem in which I hold all such rebellious hypocrites.  What
business have they, I should like to know, with laws and regulations of
their own!  Anything which the King proposes for their benefit is only
too good for the like of them; a set of cropped-eared malignants, whose
long dismal faces would sour all the cream in the country——"

"Hold!" cried young Ayton warmly; "use not such intemperate language in
my presence; if thou canst not respect the privileges of dear old
Scotland, which if not the country of thy birth, is entitled to thy
esteem as being the land of thy forefathers, decry them not for love of
me.  William Auchmutie," continued his cousin, "thou wert born and
reared for some few years in England, during which time thou hast
imbibed notions and adopted opinions at variance with the more simple
manners and customs of our northern clime; but for me—I glory in the
land of my birth.  Every breeze that is wafted over her heath-clad hills
breathes but of freedom and renown.  As I gaze on the wild emblem of my
country, surrounded by its glorious motto, and reflect, that in defence
of that country heroes and patriots died, my heart swells and throbs
within me exulting in the thought.  Wallace, that mighty chieftain of
old, who perished in defence of our civil liberties, has left a glorious
example for us to follow.  He rose as a giant in his strength, and,
under the guidance and protection of a far mightier arm, burst asunder
the iron shackles of slavery, which till then had crushed the souls and
weighed down the heads of his wretched countrymen.  In like manner shall
the present defenders of the Covenant, trusting in the righteousness and
justice of their cause, trample once more on the tyrant’s chains."

"Whom term ye a tyrant?" demanded William Auchmutie haughtily.

"Charles the Second," replied his cousin firmly.

"And wherefore?"

"On account of his base desertion of a party whom he had sworn to
protect and maintain to the best of his ability; and for the cruel and
heartless measures he has adopted for their destruction.  Oh, William,"
pursued his cousin eagerly, "do not defend such iniquitous proceedings
as are now taking place at the instigation of the government!  What has
Charles’ conduct been throughout but one mass of treachery and deceit?
Look how the poor Presbyterians rejoiced at his return to the throne of
his fathers; who more than they were eager to testify their love and
loyalty, trusting as they did in his specious promises; and how were
they repaid? by foul treachery and calumny!"

"Thou ravest, Andrew," was the cold reply; and after a short pause,
during which each seemed engrossed with his own thoughts, William
Auchmutie continued: "And I, as thou sayest, not having been born on
Scottish soil, cannot boast of that mighty love for her glorious
institutions—since thou must needs have them termed such—which seems to
animate thy bosom; no, I was born in a more kindly, liberal land, and
feel that, to me, the fertile plains of glorious old England are fairer
and dearer than the barren hills of gloomy, fanatical Scotland.  But
hark ye, Andrew," added his cousin, laughing gaily, "a truce to this
nonsense; it was not to argue on the merits of either country or cause
that I sought out thy tragedy face, O most wise philosopher! but to
acquaint thee with the glorious news that my father hath at length
consented to my becoming a soldier, and next year I am to don the
buff-coat, the lengthy rapier, the steel helmet, and the waving plume of
a Scottish cavalier!  Ha, there’s for you!" exclaimed the exulting
youth, tossing his cap up in the air and catching it on the point of his
foot as it fell; "oh, won’t I make my good sword rattle on the backs of
these sour-faced loons, till they bellow, like so many pigs in the
shambles, for quarter, but none shall be given them, no; and if I chance
to encounter thy worthy self some of these odd mornings, cousin Andrew,"
pursued the thoughtless boy, "I shall kill thee just for thy having
espoused so rascally a cause."

As William Auchmutie gave utterance to these heedless words, a strange,
unaccountable feeling took possession of young Ayton’s soul, while a
cold shiver passed through his frame, and he remained motionless and
unable to speak.  His emotion was not lost upon his companion, who
instantly exclaimed—

"Good gracious, Andrew, what is the matter with thee? thou lookest as
scared as though I had spoken in good earnest."

Young Ayton smiled faintly, and muttered some few words by way of a
reply, but they were unheard and unheeded by his thoughtless cousin, who
at that instant was threading his way up among the rocks, humming some
popular cavalier song.

Andrew Ayton remained stationary a while, gazing after the retreating
figure of William Auchmutie, until rousing himself, as with a mighty
effort, from his momentary fit of abstraction, he murmured, half aloud,
"and now for a bitter task;" then pulling his cap still lower over his
forehead, he strode off rapidly in a contrary direction to that pursued
by his cousin.  After proceeding a short distance along the sea-shore,
he struck into a narrow path amongst the rocks, which led towards a fine
old avenue surrounded by aged elms, whose dusky foliage lent an air of
sadness to the scene, in keeping with the impressive silence which
reigned around.

The house approached by this avenue was an ancient, venerable-looking
edifice, which, during the time of the haughty Cardinal Beaton, had been
the residence of one of the popish dignitaries then holding office in
the cathedral of St. Andrews.  There was an air of monastic seclusion
about the mansion which accorded well with the gloomy nature of the
approach. The walls were overgrown with ivy, whose luxuriant growth
almost concealed from view the windows designed to impart light to its
inhabitants, while the dreamy murmurs of a fountain stationed near the
entrance attuned the heart of the listener to melancholy yet pleasing
reflection.  Andrew Ayton stood still a while beneath the shade of one
of the lofty elms, to gaze unseen on this picture of peaceful seclusion,
until finding his thoughts too painful for long indulgence, he walked
hastily onwards, and opening a wicker-gate which stood at some little
distance from the mansion, was admitted into the old-fashioned garden
belonging to the place, where a youthful maiden was seated, working
embroidery, under the umbrageous boughs of one of the apple-trees with
which the garden abounded. At sight of the intruder the young girl
uttered a cry of joy, and bounded eagerly forward, exclaiming—

"Why so late, Andrew, why so late?  Here have I been seated all alone
for hours in this dreary old garden, which, with its quaint devices,
reminds me so forcibly of the one attached to the convent where I
resided in France, only"—but here, for the first time, observing the
sad, troubled expression of young Ayton’s face, she paused in her
description to inquire what ailed him, adding, "I am sure you study far
too closely at that nasty university; aunt says so too, but she has been
noticing how wretchedly out of spirits you have been for some time past,
and wonders what can be the reason of it; do tell me, Andrew," she
implored, placing her hand confidingly in his, while two of the
loveliest eyes in the world were fixed on his face with a look of tender
entreaty impossible to withstand.  Andrew Ayton smiled faintly, and
pleading some slight excuse for his apparent depression of spirits,
passed his hand caressingly over her luxuriant black tresses, which hung
in massy folds over her swan-like neck, while he led her towards a seat
placed beneath an old yew-tree, whose mournful hue harmonised well with
the nature of the communication he was about to make.

"Oh, not there, not there!" exclaimed the young maiden shudderingly,
dragging young Ayton away from the tree as she spoke.

"Wherefore?" was the inquiry.

"O, it is so gloomy, and there is a strange tradition told in connection
with it which makes me shudder whenever I look on it."

"And pray what is the tradition?" inquired Andrew Ayton, endeavouring by
every means in his power to delay the moment of explanation.

"I know not the circumstances which gave rise to the prediction,"
replied the maiden, "but it bodes approaching death to one or both of
those who beneath its venerable boughs breathe of aught save of that
pertaining to holy things."

"Why, then, have a seat placed there at all?" said young Ayton, smiling
at the strange superstition.

"It has been there from time immemorial," was the reply, "and no one
would be found hardy enough to attempt its removal."  Then evidently
with a wish to change the subject, she said, in a livelier tone, "but
come hither, you lagging knight, and see what I have been doing for you
in your absence."  So saying, she led him by the hand towards the tree
where she had herself been seated, and holding up for his admiration the
piece of embroidery she had just finished on his entrance, representing
a Venetian lady singing her evening hymn to the Virgin, said laughingly,
"I have worked this at the request of my worthy aunt, who desires that
you will immediately hang it up in your chamber at the university, in
order that, by feasting your eyes on this holy subject, and your mind
with the thoughts it must give rise to, you may be preserved from the
fatal errors of Protestantism."

The lips of her lover—for that Andrew Ayton was such the reader must by
this time have discovered—became ashen white during this playful sally
of the merry-hearted girl, and, seizing her by the hand, he constrained
her to seat herself by his side, while he exclaimed, in a voice rendered
husky by intense emotion—

"Mary Cunninghame, is it not true that we have loved each other since
the days of our childhood?"

"Yes," was the faint reply of the startled maiden, who sat with her eyes
rivetted on the pale face of the inquirer, awaiting the issue of this
strange address, in speechless anxiety.

"Ere ever you went to France," continued her lover, "when we roamed hand
in hand through the bonnie woods of Craigeholm, seeking for wild flowers
with which to adorn thy curling tresses, I sighed for the day which I
hoped would see us united.  I thought of it—dreamed of it.  When you
left me to go to France, then was I miserable indeed.  My only happiness
consisted in re-visiting the old familiar haunts of my happier hours.
And yet they seemed changed to me, for the angel presence which diffused
a charm around these hallowed spots was gone; and I fled with an aching
heart from those scenes which reminded me so forcibly of you.  Every
trifle bestowed by you on me in these halcyon days was treasured up by
me as a gem of the most priceless value.  They were watered by my
tears—they were the confidants of my sorrows; and look, Mary, I have
worn this even till now."  So saying, young Ayton took from off his neck
a narrow piece of blue ribbon, to which was attached a small amber
cross.  Mary Cunninghame gazed on this small token of affection with
eyes suffused with tears, and, unable to speak, motioned her lover to
proceed with his disclosure, which he did as follows:—

"Such being my constancy during your absence, you will in some measure
be able to guess the intensity of my happiness on your return.  You were
restored to me more beautiful than ever—my wildest dreams had never
dared to picture aught so fair; and oh, what pleased me more than all,
was the knowledge you were still unchanged towards me.  I read your
affection in one glance of those sweet truthful eyes, and I was
overwhelmed with joy.  As you may remember, shortly alter your return I
came hither, and you—from a desire to be near me, and to enliven with
your bright smiles the hours not devoted to study—accepted your aunt’s
invitation to stay with her during the absence of your parents in
England.  You came, and expressed your surprise at the change which had
taken place in me in the space of the few months we had been separated;
then, Mary, was the commencement of the struggle between duty and my
love for you.  Formerly I was a sincere believer in the doctrines of the
Romish Church, and would have repelled the charge with indignation had
any one ventured to assert that I should yet be a Protestant.  But now
things are altered. I chanced one day, during my leisure hours, to take
up a pamphlet entitled, ’The Sufferings of God’s Children,’ and opening
it carelessly, I read one or two pages, without reflecting on what I was
reading; suddenly a passage struck me with overwhelming force, and
becoming then deeply interested, I went on and on, and the farther I
proceeded, the more I was convinced of the truth of the statements
therein contained.  I read of the dreadful cruelties inflicted on the
hapless members of the Church of Scotland; how her children are driven
to the wilds and fastnesses of their native country, there to worship,
in silence and in solitude, the God of their fathers.  I wept over the
numberless atrocities that have been committed, and I arose from the
perusal of the book with the firm resolution of inquiring farther into
the doctrines of the Protestant Church, persuaded, as I then was, that
they must be of a truly elevating and comforting character thus to
render their holders superior to all attempts made to torn them from
their revered yet simple faith.  Mary," continued young Ayton, "from
that day I have been an altered being.  At first I was torn with doubts
and apprehensions as to the line of conduct I should pursue, knowing, as
I did, the love you entertained for the Romish religion; but a voice
kept always whispering in mine ear—search, search, and I did search
until I found peace and consolation in the blessed light of
Protestantism.  Mary, I am now a Protestant; are we to part?"

With a sharp cry as though an adder had stung her, Mary Cunninghame
darted from her lover’s side, her lips quivering with emotion, and her
face white as marble, so overcome was she by the shock she had received
on hearing this communication.

"Oh!" she wildly exclaimed, pressing her hand to her heart as though to
still its beatings, "tell me anything—anything but that.  Say you are a
beggar; convince me, if you will, that you are no longer worthy of my
affection, my esteem, yet I should regard you as I have ever done, but
oh! not that you have abandoned the only true Church.  Tell me," she
continued, the rapidity of her utterance attesting the intense
excitement under which she laboured, "that it is false—that you have
wilfully, cruelly deceived me, and I shall bless you for the
words—speak!"

"Mary," said her lover, calmly and sorrowfully. "I have indeed told you
the truth: I am now a convert to Protestantism; and God alone knows the
agony I have endured while telling you this, knowing, for I see it in
your eyes, that we must part.  But Mary, ever fondly-beloved Mary, we
are both young; let us therefore pray to God that he may grant us time,
and a portion of his Holy Spirit, to do that required of us. You"—here
he paused for a moment overcome with emotion—"will be courted by the
rich and the great of your own faith, and may soon find one to console
you for the lover lost, while I——"

"You!" scornfully interrupted Mary Cunninghame, her eyes flashing with
indignation as she spoke, "will, I suppose, comfort yourself in a
similar manner; the recreant in religion will soon prove a recreant in
love; but learn this, fair sir, that from this day henceforward, Mary
Cunninghame ceases to regard Andrew Ayton in any other light than that
of a base apostate, and will tear him from her heart as easily as she
now tramples under foot what hitherto she had valued above anything in
her possession."  So saying, the indignant girl hastily withdrew from
its hiding-place a ribbon similar to that worn by her lover, to which
was attached a small gold heart, a present from him in younger and
happier days, and dashed it with violence on the ground.

The lips of Andrew Ayton trembled with agitation during this proceeding
on the part of her he loved so fondly, and more than once he was on the
point of throwing himself at her feet and surrendering all save his
hopes of her, but a higher power restrained him, and he muttered half
audibly, "far better thus; if she deems me so faithless she will forget
me all the sooner.  Poor Mary, she knows not what I suffer; God grant me
strength to bear the burden imposed on me."  Then turning to Mary
Cunninghame, who, more than half repenting of what she had done, stood
gazing on the beloved and till that day cherished ornament, as it lay
bruised upon the ground, addressed her thus:—"God bless you, my darling
Mary, and grant you a lighter heart than I bear away with me this night;
and oh! if in his great goodness and mercy he sees fit to turn you from
that Church to which you now so fondly cling, send for me, should you
feel your heart in any degree softened towards one whose only grief at
this moment is his losing you;" so saying, he darted towards her, and
seizing her hand ere ever she was made aware of his intention, he
pressed it again and again to his lips, gazed for a moment wildly in her
face—and tore himself away.  For days after this occurrence, Andrew
Ayton remained shut up in his chamber, permitting no one to intrude on
his privacy save William Auchmutie, who came to take leave of him before
quitting St. Andrews.  This latter personage was as gay and lively as
ever, but not even his brilliant sallies of wit could extract from his
cousin the faintest shadow of a smile, so that he soon withdrew in
indignation at his failure.  Young Ayton was indeed almost
broken-hearted at what had taken place.  He felt as many others do when
similarly situated, that he never knew the real extent of his love for
Mary Cunninghame until she was lost to him for ever.  The circumstance
of her having so carefully preserved the little golden heart he had
placed round her neck on the morning of her departure for France,
affected him deeply, and the look of indignant grief with which she tore
it from its sanctuary during their last interview, was indelibly
engraven on his imagination.  His only resort now was the sea-shore,
where he would sit for hours gazing with vacant eyes on the mighty waves
as they dashed with violence against the rock on which the ancient
castle of St. Andrews is situated.

One day, while indulging in his wonted reverie, he observed an aged man
coming swiftly down amongst the rocks who, when he had seated himself on
a neighbouring stone, fixed his eyes with a melancholy gaze on the
brilliant sunbeams as they danced on the heaving waters.  There was
something in the appearance of the stranger at once striking and
commanding. In figure he was tall and slender, while a slight stoop at
the shoulders indicated a tendency to constitutional delicacy, in some
measure counteracted by the bronzed hue of his cheek, which betokened
constant exposure to the elements; while the vigorous strides with which
he had descended the tortuous path leading to the shore, proved his
capabilities for undergoing great and enduring fatigue.  Andrew Ayton
felt as if attracted by some invisible power towards the venerable
stranger, and he gazed on him with a feeling of awe and reverence for
which he was in some measure unable to account.  After the lapse of a
few moments spent thus in meditation, the stranger turned his mild yet
penetrating eye full on the face of his companion, and pointing with the
stick which he held in his hand towards the glittering sunbeams,
addressed him thus:—

"Young man, these sparkling messengers resemble the hopes and joyful
aspirations of youth, gladdening with their presence the dull waters of
life.  The spring-time of existence beneath their bright influence is
indeed as a beautiful dream, but ah! how different the awakening.  The
youthful traveller goes forth into the world eager to run the race and
win the goal. All nature seems to rejoice with him in his sweet
anticipations regarding the future.  The blue sky smiles above him—the
green earth teems with glowing beauties around him—the song of the birds
is more thrilling and tender; all serves as it were, to feed the fond
delusions of youth.  But soon there comes a change.  Dark threatening
clouds obscure the bright sunbeams.  The aspect of the heavens is
changed; fierce storms arise, the smooth waters swell into mighty
billows, and man awakes from the dreams of his youthful hours to arm him
for the combat—is it not so?"

"Yes, father," said young Ayton with a deep-drawn sigh, for he felt the
full force of the simile.

The dejected air with which these simple words were uttered did not
escape the observation of the stranger, for he quickly resumed, eyeing
his companion keenly as he spoke: "But, on the other hand again, youth
is prone to be easily dejected.  According to the bright and sanguine
anticipations of that season of hope, so is there a corresponding amount
of depression, should anything occur to mar or lessen the amount of
happiness we expected to enjoy in our progress through life.  But he is
not worthy of the prize who thus faints and succumbs at the outset of
his career; no, the youthful warrior, like the Christian of old, must
arm him for the fight.  He must rise superior to all the crosses and
afflictions he is called upon to endure.  He must fix his thoughts on
the mighty end to be achieved, which will guide him as a beacon through
the darkness and difficulties which surround his path; and although the
object to be attained may seem far beyond his reach, yet assuredly he
will triumph in the end."

Andrew Ayton recognised the justice of the stranger’s observations, and
being desirous to repose implicit confidence in one who seemed, from the
wisdom of his counsels, to be able to direct him as to his future walk
in life, he recounted to him the history of his love and subsequent
conversion to Protestantism.

"My son," exclaimed the stranger, warmly grasping the hand of his
companion, "God has indeed been gracious to you in bringing you thus
early in life to a knowledge of what is to be desired above all earthly
things, and although the sacrifice of your youthful affections may
appear at first a burden hard and grievous to be borne, yet He is
faithful who promised we will not be tempted above that we we able to
bear. We are all called upon to suffer; and it is the duty of the
Christian to say with resignation, ’The Lord’s will be done.’  None of
us are exempted from sorrow and trial, and it is wisely ordained that it
should be so, in order that we may be prepared for another and a
brighter world."

Here the stranger paused for a moment, and then resumed with inquiry,
"perhaps you are not aware, my son, that I am a minister of the
suffering Church of Scotland?"

"I deemed, father, that you belonged to the Covenanting body," said
young Ayton, "from the air of deep sadness seated on your brow."

"Yes," said the stranger sadly; "every true member of the Presbyterian
religion must, in these fearful times, bear on their countenances the
tokens of a sorrowing heart within.  Oh! my son," continued the aged
man, "unite with me in prayer that the destruction which at present
menaces our beloved Church may be averted, and that God in the greatness
of his strength may visit and relieve his people."

Andrew Ayton, deeply overcome at sight of the old man’s sorrow, knelt
with him on the sand, and prayed that He who had promised grace to help
in every time of need might look down from his throne on high, and
strengthen those about to go forth in defence of their Covenants.

"O God of Battles," exclaimed the venerable stranger aloud, in the
fervour of his devotion, "behold and visit us in our affliction; stretch
out thy right hand and save us from the dangers which threaten us, that
a remnant may be saved to worship thee according to the ways of our
fathers.  O heavenly Father, the mighty ones of the earth are arrayed
against us, but if thou, our Father, art with us, what have we to fear
from the hate and malice of our enemies."  The petitioner then went on
to pray for those appointed to suffer martyrdom in the cause of their
religion, that their faith might be strengthened in the last hours of
their sojourn on earth, that no tortures inflicted on them by their
merciless persecutors might have the power of inducing them in their
agony to yield up their glorious privileges; that those ministers
unjustly deprived of their churches might be enabled to preach the
blessed doctrine of salvation with comfort and edification to those who
hungered and thirsted after the truths of the gospel amongst the
mountains and valleys of Scotland; and that the Almighty would be
graciously pleased to hear the prayers and petitions of his children.
Towards the conclusion of his supplication, he besought the blessing of
the Lord on the head of him who had so recently become a convert to
Protestantism—that he might long be spared to labour in the Lord’s
vineyard, and his hands be strengthened for the work he had yet to
perform; but if the Almighty, in his wisdom, was pleased to remove him
from thence in the spring-time of life, that there might be laid up for
him a crown of glory, such as is promised to those who have fought the
good fight. Thus prayed the venerable stranger; and it was an affecting
sight to view the grey-haired soldier of the cross, who had grown aged
in the battles of the Lord, and the golden-haired youth, who had newly
donned his armour for the fight, kneeling side by side on the solitary
shore, with no ear to hearken to the voice of their petition, save His
to whom all hearts are open—all desires known; and no sound to disturb
the tenor of their thoughts save the wild roar of ocean, as it rolled
along, obedient to the commands of its creator—"Thus far shalt thou come
and no farther."

"By what name shall I for the future address one with whom I have become
so singularly acquainted?" inquired the stranger on rising from his
kneeling posture.

"I am Andrew Ayton; and you?"

"Am styled Walter Denoon."

Young Ayton was delighted beyond measure at having formed a friendship
with one whom he had so frequently heard, and expressed an earnest
desire that the acquaintanceship so auspiciously commenced might be
continued during their lifetime.  Mr. Denoon save utterance to a similar
wish, adding that he had but a few days to remain in St. Andrews,
whither he had come for the purpose of visiting some near and dear
friends, before proceeding to Morayshire, where he had much labour to
accomplish.  In the course of conversation, Andrew Ayton ventured to
express a hope that the cause of the Church of Scotland was not so
desperate as they had been led to imagine; but in reply to this, Mr.
Denoon informed him that, instead of the accounts they had received
having been exaggerated, they had in many cases come far short of the
sad reality; and the sanguinary acts on the part of the government had
everywhere filled men’s minds with terror and consternation.  As an
example of what he alluded to, Mr. Denoon proceeded to make his
companion acquainted with much that had taken place during the time he
had remained in retirement; how government had placed the price of four
hundred pounds sterling on the heads of the most celebrated
field-preachers, and issued letters of intercommuning against all those
persons who had neglected or declined to appear in court and take the
oath of abjuration.  How the father was forced to give evidence against
the son, and the son against the father—the daughter against the mother,
and the husband against the wife; and that driven to madness by the
inveterate persecution of the government, the people had forsaken their
homes and fled to the wilds and solitudes of their country, or sought in
a foreign land that peace and safety no longer to be found in Scotland;
preferring to encounter any degree of hardship, even death itself, to
the horrors of miserable incarceration in dungeons, or the tortures of
perpetual apprehension.  "The King," continued Mr. Denoon, "is evidently
dreadfully embittered against the Covenanting party, regarding them as
morose, sullen, blood-thirsty fanatics, on whom all his benefits are
entirely thrown away.  He has been led to believe by the prelatic body
that the hierarchy is in danger, and is therefore determined to bear the
Presbyterians down by every means in his power.  They are, as he terms
them, the enemies of his unhallowed pleasures, and must needs suffer for
being so."

Young Ayton sighed deeply on being made aware of the gloom and dejection
which pervaded his beloved country.  "Alas!" he cried, "that such things
are permitted to take place; but surely," he continued, "sooner or later
there must come a day of reckoning."

"There will come a day of retribution," said Mr. Denoon solemnly, "and
the consequences thereof may be dreadful.  The persecuted adherers of
the Covenant may indeed suffer long, but in the end they will turn on
their oppressors, and a general rising take place throughout Scotland to
repel the invaders of their rights; but God grant that such a fearful
alternative may be avoided, and Scotland spared the horrors of a bloody
civil war."

"Amen," said his companion; "but should necessity require it, may every
true Scotchman be found enrolled beneath the banner of the Covenant!"
then he quickly added, while the faltering tones of his voice betrayed
his agitation, "Reverend father, I would to heaven you could ever meet
with Mary Cunninghame, so persuaded am I that you might under the mercy
of God, be the instrument of her conversion.  She is young and
enthusiastic; ardent and zealous, it is true, in favour of her religion,
but then, what other has she ever known?  All her friends are Roman
Catholics, and have early inculcated in her youthful mind the doctrines
of their Church, to the exclusion of all others: but were she instructed
by some sincere and devoted servant of God in the pure and glowing
truths of our simple faith, she might indeed become a sincere
Protestant.  Oh, father," he continued, "do this, and you will overwhelm
me with gratitude, for every moment that passes over my head is fraught
with sweet remembrance of her!"

"My son," said Mr. Denoon in a tone of tender sympathy, "you are very
young, and your heart and affection still retain all the exquisite
tenderness of one’s early days, while the generous feelings of your
nature are aroused within you at the thought that she whom you so deeply
love must regard you as faithless, and unworthy of the confidence
formerly reposed in you; but who amongst us have not, at some period of
their lives, been liable to misconception?  In many cases all has been
made right in the end; and please God, should I have an opportunity,
Mary Cunninghame shall not remain long in ignorance of your real worth
and steadfast devotion towards her.  Remember, however, as I told you
before, affliction falls to the lot of every man on earth; and as for
me, sorrow has been my companion since childhood.  I too loved a maiden
with all the fervour of youth, but it pleased the Almighty to remove her
from this scene of trial ere ever I had called her mine; while one by
one my parents and brethren fell around me, until I stood alone, even as
the oak survives the stormy blast which laid its companions prostrate in
the dust.  But," continued the venerable patriarch, raising his hat
reverently as he spoke, and allowing his grey hairs to float in the
breeze, "even in the midst of my afflictions I recognised the wisdom and
goodness of the hand that smote me; for, deprived at one fell stroke of
all whom I loved, perchance too well, on earth, I but clung the more
closely to Him who sticketh closer than a brother.  Yes, my son, it is
when bowed down beneath a load of sorrow, such as seemeth to mortal eyes
too grievous to be borne, that the real confiding Christian experiences
the unspeakable blessings to be derived from a firm belief in the
doctrines of Christianity.  Amid the darkness and gloom which surrounds
him, he beholds his Father’s face bright with pitying love; he
recognises the benevolence of the motive even while smarting under the
weight of the infliction, and is supported amid the dangers and
difficulties which encompass his path through life by the comforting
assurance to be derived from the gracious words, ’whom the Lord loveth
he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.’"

Just at the moment Andrew Ayton had framed a suitable reply to this
address on the part of his companion, the hour of three rung out from
the city churches.  Uttering an exclamation of regret at the arrival of
the hour when he must return to the university, he darted hastily from
his seat, and expressing his disappointment at this unseasonable
interruption to their conference, ventured to express a hope that it
would be resumed on the following day.  Mr. Denoon having cheerfully
responded to the wish, they shook hands and parted.

At an early hour on the following morning, Inchdarnie once more retraced
his steps to the sea-shore, where he was shortly afterwards joined by
Mr. Denoon.  In the course of conversation, Andrew Ayton informed his
companion that it was his intention at once to quit the university of
St. Andrews, and to endeavour, by every means in his power, to aid those
whose cause he now so warmly espoused; adding that it was his most
earnest desire that Presbyterian ministers might be induced to visit
Fifeshire, in order that those poor people who were deprived of all
opportunity of hearing Episcopalian clergymen, might not be altogether
left without a preacher.  Mr. Denoon replied to this wish on the part of
his young friend, by placing in his hands a letter that morning received
from the Rev. Mr. Blackader, in which he made known his intention of
presiding over a meeting shortly to be held at Divan.

"Oh, merciful Father!" cried Inchdarnie in a transport of joy, "and
shall I then have an opportunity of seeing that good and holy man whose
noble bearing during his great and unmerited misfortunes has already
filled my soul with admiration and esteem, and awakened in my breast the
most ardent desire to know him, and if possible receive from him some
counsel necessary for the guidance of my own steps through the dark and
tangled mazes of life?"

"Yes, my young friend," said Mr. Denoon; "he has indeed given us a
bright example to follow.  Never shall I forget the holy, pious
resignation depicted on his countenance that morning when, with many
others of his brethren, he was constrained to abandon the flock the Lord
had committed to his care.  It was on a Sabbath morn—the last on which
he should ever address his parishioners from the pulpit of Traquair
Church.  Saddened but not utterly cast down, he entered his little
garden, there to strengthen himself to bear the burden imposed upon him
by private communion with his Maker.  In a little while I ventured forth
to join him.  He was standing in a contemplative attitude, his head
leaning on his hand, and his eyes rivetted on the ground.  My dear
friend!" I exclaimed.

"Hush, hush," he said; "list to these bells—these sacred bells now
inviting those to enter the house of God who may never again worship
within its walls."

I stood and listened.  There they came pealing through the air, these
hallowed chimes, the heavy stillness of the atmosphere rendering them
painfully distinct, as they knelled forth the expiring liberties of the
Church of God. Mr. Blackader remained mute and motionless while they
lasted, and then when the last faint note died away on the passing
breeze, he started suddenly from his reverie, and ringing my hand
convulsively, withdrew to his chamber, there to fortify himself by
earnest prayer for the coming trial.

"All the surrounding heights," continued Mr. Denoon, "were thronged with
people, eager, and yet afraid to press into the church, lest it might
chance to hurt their minister, as it would be termed by their enemies a
breach of good order.  At length many of them gathered together in small
groups in the church-yard, and conversed in whispers, while they
anxiously awaited the appearance of their beloved pastor.  The object of
their solicitude soon came forth from the manse, his step firm, his
bearing erect, as that of one who had nought to fear from the malice of
men. True, there was deep sorrow written on his brow, but it was mingled
with an expression of almost cheerful serenity, for he had placed his
faith and hopes in Him whom he had chosen as his guide and ruler even
unto death.  He ascended the pulpit; he gave forth the psalm in a loud
clear voice, and his prayer was delivered with his wonted firmness and
composure.  As he proceeded with his discourse every eye was moist with
tears, and many gave way to involuntary bursts of sorrow.  In the midst
of the sermon an alarm was raised that a party of soldiers were on their
way from Dumfries to seize him, and that already they had crossed the
bridge.  Upon receipt of this intelligence, Mr. Blackader hastily
pronounced the benediction, dismissed the congregation, and withdrew to
his manse, there to await the arrival of the soldiers.  They came, but
contented themselves with merely taking down the names of those who were
absent from their own churches, and then returned to head-quarters.
After their departure, Mr. Blackader collected the remains of the
congregation in his own house, and finished the sermon.  The people
remained lingering about the door, unwilling to leave their pastor while
in danger of being arrested.  Some of them implored his b;essing, while
others again expressed their willingness to die in his defence.  Mr.
Blackader thanked them for their ready zeal in his behalf, but conjured
them to avoid giving their enemies cause of offence."

"Go," said he, "and fend for yourselves: the hour is come when the
shepherd is smitten, and the flock shall by scattered.  Many are this
day mourning the desolations of Israel, and weeping, like the prophet,
between the porch and the altar.  God’s heritage has become the prey of
the spoiler; the mountain of the house of the Lord as the high places of
the forest. When the faithful pastors are removed, hirelings will
intrude whom the Great Shepherd never sent, who will devour the flock,
and tread down the residue with their feet.  As for me, I have done my
duty, and now there is no time to evade.  I recommend you to him who is
able to keep you from falling, and am ready, through grace, to be
disposed of as the Lord pleases."

"During the following week," continued Mr. Denoon, "a party of rude
soldiers attacked the manse of Traquair, and Mr. Blackader was forced to
seek safety in flight; since which time he has been wandering through
Scotland, preaching the gospel of peace, and everywhere exhorting the
people to sobriety and gentleness of conduct."

Young Ayton’s face flushed, and he enthusiastically exclaimed, "O that I
were accounted worthy to stand at the helm with those mighty leaders who
present so dauntless a front to the furious waves which threaten every
instant to overwhelm them in destruction!"

"Courage, Inchdarnie," replied his reverend friend; "there is that in
you which, through the grace of God, must yet render you distinguished;
but be watchful and diligent, and follow the counsels of those who
possess knowledge and wisdom sufficient to guide you in the way
everlasting."

After much interesting conversation regarding the disturbed aspect of
affairs, it was finally agreed upon between them that Mr. Denoon should,
on the following Saturday, proceed to Kirkcaldy, there to meet Mr.
Blackader and conduct him to Inchdarnie, where young Ayton should be in
attendance to receive him. All being thus arranged for their future
meeting, the two friends bade each other farewell for the present, as
Mr. Denoon was about to proceed to Cupar, there to meet with some other
devoted friends of the cause.

While on his way hack to the university, Inchdarnie encountered a young
man whom he had frequently seen in the house of Mrs. Cunninghame, the
aunt of Mary Cunninghame, and who immediately inquired if he could
afford him any information respecting their mutual friends, who had
suddenly quitted St. Andrews, and gone, no one knew whither.  Young
Ayton stammered forth some incoherent reply, and greatly to the
astonishment of his friend, who stood staring after him in speechless
amazement as if utterly at a loss to comprehend such extraordinary
conduct, he broke from him and darted into an adjoining street, where he
stood for some minutes leaning against the wall, pale and motionless as
a statue.  Having at length summoned up strength sufficient to proceed
on his way, he regained his apartments, where he gave way to a
passionate burst of grief.  Mary Cunninghame was gone—gone from him for
ever.  She had willingly deserted him, and cast him from her thoughts as
a thing too worthless to be remembered.  It was indeed a bitter pang to
hear.  He felt his own weakness, and offered up an earnest supplication,
in the deep solitude of his chamber, that grace might be given him from
above.  The hours flew on in their rapid flight, unmarked, unheeded in
their progress, for he was seeking for comfort where it alone may be
found—at the foot of the cross of Christ.

At a late hour on the same evening a young man, whose form was closely
enveloped in the folds of a large cloak, and his cap drawn over his
brow, so as in some measure to conceal his features, might have been
seen slowly wending his way up the long dark avenue which led to the
Priory, the late residence of Mary Cunninghame.  This, as the reader may
have already conjectured, was no other than Andrew Ayton, who had come
in order to take a farewell look at a place linked with so many sad and
tender memories.  The hour and the scene were alike attuned to
melancholy. The rays of the sun, now rapidly sinking behind the distant
hills, were transmitted through the leafy boughs of the aged elms, and
threw a dim cathedral light over the otherwise darkened avenue.  On
approaching the house, Inchdarnie was painfully struck with the air of
desolation which reigned around.  The Naiad still threw upwards a
silvery shower of crystal drops from each uplifted hand, but the flowers
which once bloomed in rich and grateful profusion now hung their
graceful heads disconsolate and forlorn, as if they too were aware that
the kind hand which formerly cherished them was gone.  The casements
were no longer open to admit the grateful breeze which wantoned amongst
the ivy-clusters clinging to the walls, and an ill-omened magpie,
rendered bold through long possession, now croaked forth a fierce
defiance at the unwelcome intruder, from the jessamine bower where
formerly he had held sweet converse with Mary Cunninghame. His heart
wrung with untold anguish.  Inchdarnie advanced with faltering steps
towards the little gate which led into the garden.  He opened it
gently—he entered.  All was unchanged, and yet, to him, how changed.
Although the garden lay bathed in the glorious light of sunset, it
seemed as though light had in reality departed, no more to cheer him
with its gladdening beams.  There was the seat from which Mary
Cunninghame had started with a joyous exclamation to greet him on his
entrance that fatal night. The chair remained, but the occupant—where
was she? The funereal boughs of the old yew-tree waved noiselessly in
the breeze, and seemed, to the excited imagination of young Ayton, like
so many demons tossing their great arms to and fro, as if inviting him
to enter within the charmed circle of the traditionary yew. At this
instant the noise created by the opening of the gate caused Inchdarnie
to turn suddenly round, when his eyes fell on the stooping form of an
aged woman, who had evidently came with the intention of making all
secure for the night.

"Holy Mary!" she exclaimed, crossing herself devoutly on observing the
tall shrouded form of Andrew Ayton, who, recognising in her a retainer
of the Cunninghames, advanced towards her for the purpose of making
inquiries regarding her absent employers.

"The saints above he praised!" cried the aged domestic, "that it is you,
Mr. Ayton, and no midnight marauder; oh, how you did startle me!  When
first I saw you standing beneath the shade of the trees I took you for
some robber, who being made aware of the absence of the lady of the
house, had taken advantage of the circumstance to steal into the garden
with the intention of making his way into the priory. Holy St.
Jerome,——"

"Whither has Mrs. Cunninghame gone?" impatiently interrupted Inchdarnie.

"Have you not been made aware?" exclaimed the old woman with an air of
astonishment; "but I forget," she added; "you had ceased coming about
the house for some little time before Miss Mary took so badly——"

"What!" cried young Ayton in an agonised tone of voice, "was Mary—I mean
Miss Cunninghame—ill before she left the priory?"

"Holy mother! yes," was the reply; "so much so, that at one time we
feared she never should have been able to quit the house alive."

Inchdarnie smote his hand on his forehead, and paced hurriedly to and
fro for the space of a few moments. When he returned, he was, to all
appearance, calm and collected, but his voice was husky with emotion,
and sounded deep and hollow as he again demanded "whither they had
gone?"

"To England," replied his informer, "there to join Miss Cunninghame’s
parents, who propose taking her to Italy on account of her weak state of
health.  I this morning," she continued, "received a letter from her
aunt, which contained this intelligence, as also that poor Miss Mary was
still very weak and languid."

"O God! and have I then killed her?" groaned forth young Ayton, almost
frantic at the thought. At this instant he raised his eyes; they
encountered the dark green boughs of the sepulchral-looking yew; he
started, for the sight of that tree recalled to his memory the doom
which, as Mary Cunninghame had informed him, was denounced on the person
who ventured within its sacred precincts, or vowed aught save holy vows
beneath its hallowed shade.  The old woman perceived the steadfast gaze
with which he was regarding the gloomy-looking tree, and again she
crossed herself devoutly and mumbled over some half-dozen Paternosters,
as if for protection against some unseen foe.

"Knowest thou aught concerning the legend told in connection with that
yew?" at length inquired young Ayton.

"The saints be between us and harm! for it is not good to speak of
things above our comprehension, but still——"  Here the old woman paused
as though in doubt as to whether she should proceed or not.  At length
her love for relating aught pertaining to the marvellous overcame all
prudential resolves, and she commenced thus:—"You must know that once
upon a time it pleased the blessed Mary to appear in a vision by night
to St. Regulus, a holy man of Achaia, and inform him that he must
instantly set sail for this then benighted country—bearing with him the
arm-bone, three fingers, and three toes of the most holy apostle St.
Andrew—where work should be given him to do. Delighted beyond measure at
having been the instrument chosen by his most blessed patroness to
execute so mighty a mission, St. Regulus set sail with some chosen
companions in obedience to the celestial mandate.  For some days,"
continued the narrator, "they were wafted on their way by a favouring
breeze, but during the latter part of their voyage the foul fiend
(jealous no doubt of the devout saint and his precious relics) caused
such a hurricane to sweep over the deep that all on board speedily gave
themselves up for lost, with the exception of St. Regulus, who again in
the watches of the night, was visited by our holy mother, who addressed
him in the most comforting terms, and assured him of her gracious
protection, adding as she touched the three fingers of the martyred St.
Andrew, which glowed at the contact with a lambent flame, ’I have much
labour for these to accomplish.’  Overcome with joy at this renewed
proof of his favour with heaven, St. Regulus lost no time in making his
companions aware of his second visitation, who immediately thereupon
regained their ancient courage and faith in their leader’s mission.
After being tossed for many days by the winds and the waves, the ship at
length struck on these shores, then named Otholania, but all on board
were saved. The then King, on being made acquainted with the arrival of
these holy men with their precious relics, instantly gave orders for
their being received with all possible honours.  Indeed he afterwards
bestowed his own palace, which then occupied the present site of the
priory, on St. Regulus, and built the church which still bears the name
of the saint.  Perhaps you are not aware," she continued, "that at that
remote period of time all round here was one vast forest, abounding with
boars, noted for their immense size and uncommon ferocity.  Well, one
night as the blessed St. Regulus (Holy Mary protect us!) was walking in
the garden which surrounded the house, praising the saints with a joyful
voice for their watchful care in bringing him through so many dangers
into so safe and comfortable a haven, all of a sudden he was started by
observing two large fiery eyes gleaming on him from among the trees.
Unable to seek for safety in flight, and no one being within call, the
reverend father gave himself up for lost, when, just as the boar was
about to spring forth on him, there rose up from his very feet (so the
tradition says) this miraculous yew with branches growing down to the
ground, so that the saint, recovering his presence of mind, was enabled
to ascend the tree, where he remained seated in safety, while an armed
warrior, hitherto invisible, darted forth as it were from the root of
the tree, at once finished the enraged animal by a stroke from his
spear, and then disappeared ere ever St. Regulus had time to recover his
astonishment; so sudden had been the whole proceeding. On that same
night the blessed Mary again visited the reverend father in a dream, and
warned him that that tree must be consecrated and dedicated to the most
holy St. Andrew, who had himself appeared in his defence and slain the
boar, adding that the yew was possessed of the most miraculous
qualities; and that by applying a small piece of one of its branches to
any wound or bruise, the sufferer, after having fasted two days and two
nights, and given to the Church a portion of his worldly goods, should
immediately be cured; but that whenever aught but holy vows had been
breathed beneath its hallowed shade, its virtue should depart.  St.
Regulus, as legends tell, rose in an ecstacy of delight, and lost no
time in proceeding at the head of a splendid procession to the tree,
which was at once consecrated and dedicated to St. Andrew, who thereupon
testified his gratitude by causing the yew to perform the most
miraculous cures; indeed to such celebrity did it afterwards attain that
pious pilgrims traversed sea and land to obtain evidence of its virtues,
having heard in far distant countries that the good and pious King
Hergustus had himself been cured, through its wonderful properties, of a
malady hitherto deemed incurable.  Well, centuries after the blessed St.
Regulus had received his heavenly crown, the prior of the holy
establishment founded here by order of the departed saint, was one night
aroused from slumber by a terrible cry proceeding from the garden.  Lost
in amazement, he listened for a few seconds in order to hear if it would
be repeated, but no, all continued silent; and fancying himself the
sport of some evil dream, he returned to his pallet, from whence he was
summoned at the dawn of morning by a loud knocking at the door of his
chamber.  In answer to his invitation, a pious brother entered,
apparently overcome with horror, for he remained motionless and unable
to speak.  The heart of the prior misgave him, and he eagerly demanded
what had happened.  Father Anselmo said nought, but pointed with his
finger to the garden.  Fearing he knew not what, the prior rushed forth,
in his anxiety oblivious of the fact that the wind was cold and his
shaven head defenceless.  Holy Mary! and what a sight greeted the eyes
of the aged prior!  There lay his own nephew, a youth of great promise,
and hitherto deemed possessed of superior sanctity, cold and stiff, his
hand clasping that of a young and beauteous lady who had shared his fate
under the boughs of the sainted yew.  The pious men, who then crowded
round the sorrow-stricken prior, informed him that when found they were
standing upright, and seemed as though they had been struck by a bolt
from heaven, as all around the ground was blackened and scorched.  Since
that sad day," said the old woman with a sigh, "all sacred virtue has
departed from the tree; but it is still affirmed and believed that some
terrible doom awaits those who dare to murmur vows of earthly love
within its consecrated precincts."

"Truly a gloomy enough tale," said young Ayton at the conclusion of the
legend, the bare narration of which had chased all colour from the
cheeks of the old woman, who again made the sign of the cross, as if in
atonement for having yielded to the temptation of relating so horrible a
story.  Both remained silent for a little while, each being busy with
his and her own individual thoughts, until at length the silence was
broken by young Ayton’s inquiring, in a low tone of voice, "if Miss
Cunninghame seemed sorry on leaving the priory?"

"Oh, yes! the poor sweet creature," said the garrulous dame, "she was
indeed overwhelmed with sorrow; and just before setting off she came
hither and wept, and sobbed most bitterly for longer than I can
remember, and always kept exclaiming, ’Farewell happiness! Farewell to
all trust and confidence in mankind.’  Then she would take something
that hung from her neck—probably some sainted relic—kiss it
passionately, and then weep more bitterly than before.  (This was when
she thought no one was observing her.)  On her return she seemed
crushed-like and broken, but still calm and collected, until entering
the carriage, when she again gave way to tears.  All this time Mrs.
Cunninghame endeavoured to soothe and comfort her to the best of her
ability, and whispered words of consolation, but in vain; she seemed
deaf to them all.  Never while I live shall I forget the look of agony
with which she gazed on the house; it was like that of one who should
never more behold it."

Here the feelings of Andrew Ayton overcome him; he could listen no
longer, and dashing away the tears which almost blinded him, he fled
from the spot, greatly to the astonishment of his informer, who gazed
after him as if in doubt whether he would return or not.  At length she
exclaimed, "Holy Mary! could it be that——"

Here she paused for a moment as if lost in thought. Whatever was the
result of her cogitations to this day remains a mystery, for on
recovering in some measure from her surprise, she simply shrugged her
shoulders, and muttering an ave, proceeded leisurely to lock the gate,
and with many a weary sigh retraced her steps to the house.

Early on the following morning young Ayton quitted St. Andrews and
repaired to Inchdarnie, there to await the coming of Mr. Blackader, who
arrived on the day appointed in company with Mr. Denoon.  On the ensuing
morning (Sunday) they set out for Divan, distant about eight miles,
where a great concourse of people were assembled to greet one of whom
they had heard so much.  Greatly to the astonishment of Mr. Blackader,
on arriving at the place of meeting he perceived a large pile of arms
lying ready in case of necessity.  On demanding the reason for such
unusual preparation, he was informed that Prelate Sharpe—at the mention
of whose name a groan of execration passed through the assembly—had
ordered out a band of militia to apprehend any minister who had the
temerity to venture within his bounds.  The service then commenced, and
while Mr. Blackader was dispensing the holy communion, there arose a cry
that the militia were upon them, upon which Balfour of Burly placed
himself at the head of a small party of horse, and went forth to obtain
a view of the soldiers, who, apprehensive of the Covenanters being
armed, kept themselves aloof with the intention of capturing some of the
people on the dismissal of the congregation. When the service was
finished, and the hearers dispersed, with the exception of the
body-guard headed by Inchdarnie, who remained to protect Mr. Blackader,
a new alarm was raised that the soldiers were again advancing upon them.
On receipt of this intelligence, the Laird of Kinkel and Balfour of
Burly, with some few horsemen, rode up the face of the hill where the
militia were pouring down in the expectation of making an easy prey of
those remaining.  The alarm having reached the ears of the young men,
who, fancying all danger at an end, were quietly wending their way
homewards, they instantly returned and joined themselves to the party
commanded by Andrew Ayton, who earnestly entreated Mr. Blackader to be
allowed to pursue the soldiers, who had immediately taken to flight on
perceiving the preparations made to receive them, which, had he agreed
to, the Covenanters must have gained a complete victory, as the
militiamen had resolved, if overtaken by their enemies, to throw down
their arms and surrender at discretion.  But Mr. Blackader strongly
opposed all hostile measures, and at length dissuaded them from it.  "My
friends," said he, "your part is chiefly to defend yourselves from
hazard, and not to pursue: your enemies have fled—let their flight
sheath your weapons and disarm your passions.  I may add, without
offence, that men in your case are more formidable to see at a distance
than to engage hand in hand.  But since you are in a warlike and
defensive posture, remain so, at least till your brethren be all
dismissed.  Conduct them through their enemies, and be their safeguard
until they get beyond their reach; but, except in case of violence,
offer injury to none."  On receiving assurance that the soldiers had
fled towards Cupar, the armed Covenanters quietly retired to their
homes, with the exception of nine, who remained to conduct Mr.
Blackader, to his sleeping quarters, at an inn situated in the parish of
Portmoak.  Here the three friends parted. Mr. Blackader returned to
Edinburgh, Mr. Denoon, after an affectionate farewell with his young
friend, set off for Morayshire, and Andrew Ayton, sore distressed at
having lost his kind preceptor, once more retraced his steps to
Inchdarnie.  His parents soon afterwards returned from Perthshire, where
they had been visiting some relations; and grieved as they were at the
step their son had taken, they forbore addressing him on the subject,
being convinced that he had done so from a sincere belief in its
rectitude.  He was, as his amiable dispositions merited, fondly beloved
by them, and in return he strove by every means in his power to testify
his filial love and reverence towards the authors of his being. But
their domestic happiness was soon to be invaded. The names of those
present at so celebrated a conventicle as that recently held at Divan
could not, nor was it wished that they should, long remain a secret; and
young Ayton was specially mentioned as having been foremost among the
hearers on that day.  Since then he had made the most strenuous efforts
to bring other holy men to Fifeshire, firmly persuaded of the
incalculable benefits it would confer on the people in whom he took so
deep an interest; consequently he must be punished.  One evening on his
return from his accustomed ramble in the romantic woods of Inchdarnie, a
packet was placed in his hands.  He opened it; it contained one of those
letters of intercommuning then so fearfully common throughout Scotland.
He must therefore fly; the doors of his father’s house must henceforward
be closed against him—the light of his mother’s countenance openly
withdrawn from him for ever; for according to these terrible missives,
not only the individuals mentioned therein, but those of their relations
who showed them the least kindness, or sheltered them when oppressed,
were treated with equal severity. In one letter alone, as we read in a
book written on these times, "above ninety clergymen, gentlemen, and
even ladies of distinction, were interdicted from the common intercourse
of social life.  All who received them or supplied them with sustenance,
intelligence, or relief—who conversed or held communication with
them—were made equally criminal."  In order to procure evidence of the
guilt of those they wished to criminate, all persons were forced, under
the highest penalties, to inform against offenders, and made to swear
upon oath whatever they knew regarding them. If they refused to do so,
they were subject, at the pleasure of the counsel, to fines,
incarceration, or banishment to the American plantations.  Immediately
on receipt of this letter, Andrew Ayton determined upon setting out for
Morayshire, where he thought he should be safe from pursuit.  In an
agony of grief his mother clasped him in her arms, and besought him, for
her sake, not to expose himself to needless danger. This be faithfully
promised, and after a sad farewell, set out on his journey.

The friends with whom Inchdarnie resided during his sojourn in
Morayshire lived near Pluscardine, a ruined priory founded by Alexander
the Second in the year 1230.  It was dedicated to the honour of St.
Andrew, and named Valles St. Andrea.  Amongst its sacred ruins did young
Ayton love to wander, when the moon’s bright beams sparkled like
diamonds on the bosom of the river Lossie, which seemed like some silver
mirror, so still, so placid were its waters. One lovely morning, while
rambling along the soft green walks which surrounded the ancient gardens
attached to the priory, he was startled by hearing a footstep behind
him.  He turned hastily, and perceived Mr. Denoon advancing towards him.
Overcome with joy on again beholding his reverend friend, Inchdarnie
eagerly advanced to meet him, his eyes sparkling with pleasure, and his
hand extended to grasp the one outstretched to meet it.  After an
interchange of warm and affectionate greetings, Mr. Denoon informed
Andrew Ayton that he had been apprized of his arrival in Morayshire
while visiting in Elgin, and had lost no time in coming to see him, as
he had longed much to converse with him again on the subject that lay
nearest his heart; whereupon he gave Inchdarnie a long and
circumstantial account of all that he had done and laboured to do since
his arrival in Morayshire. How he had frequently preached, both in rooms
and on open moors, greatly to the delight of the poor people, who had
assembled in crowds to hear him; and that everywhere much sympathy had
been expressed and felt on behalf of those of their brethren who had
been called upon to suffer for their adherence to the Covenant; and
prayers were daily offered up that the Lord might strengthen their
hearts and hands, adding, "that both in Cromarty and Morayshire many of
the inhabitants evinced a fellow-feeling for the persecuted Covenanters,
and that he trusted they would not be backward when the time came for
their testifying their faith and determination to do that which was
right."

In answer to an inquiry on the part of Mr. Denoon as to how things had
fared with himself since last they met, Andrew Ayton informed him
regarding the letter of intercommuning which had forced him to visit
Morayshire much sooner than he otherwise would have done, being desirous
of remaining in Fifeshire some little time longer, in order that he
might, if possible, labour in conjunction with others in behalf of those
who desired to have the pure gospel preached unto them.

"You are now," said Mr. Denoon with a sigh, "called upon to share in the
trials and sorrows of those who have as it were cast the world behind
them. But fear not; there is One who will guide thy bark upon the
waters, and still the waves which threaten to engulph thee.  Cast,
therefore, thy care upon Him, and should thy path through life be
compassed with thorns, yet thy reward hereafter will be great."

As they walked to and fro amongst the venerable ruins, Mr. Denoon
attracted the attention of his youthful companion towards the beautiful
and elaborate carving with which the walls of the interior were adorned.
"See," said he, "that exquisite tracery on yonder cornice; mark that
curiously-defined cross; how strange that such things should still
exist, when those who grudged not the time and labour bestowed on
perishable works such as these have long been mouldering in the dust.
What changes are produced by the flight of years!  At no very distant
period," he continued, "this priory was inhabited by a body of monks,
who, according to their constitution, were obliged to lead a lonely and
austere life.  For some time they religiously adhered to the rules of
their order, until at length grown weary of so restricting themselves,
they gave way to riotous excesses, and from being an independent house,
Pluscardine was degraded to a cell dependent on the Abbey of
Dunfermline. Years rolled on, and the tide of Reformation resistlessly
rushed over the hills and valleys of Scotland.  All gave way before it.
The walls of the monasteries and cathedrals then existing in our country
were razed to the ground, the monks fled to less hostile shores, and
now"—here Mr. Denoon paused for a moment, as if overwhelmed by painful
thoughts—"this green turf once pressed by the sandalled foot, is trod by
the feet of those who are at this moment trembling for the safety of
that Church our fathers strove to establish in our land."

"Was it not," said Andrew Ayton, "in reference to the gay doings of the
monks of Pluscardine that the verses I am about to repeat were written?"
So saying, he recited the following:—

    A right merry set were the monks of old,
      They lived on the best of cheer;
    They drank the red wine out of cups of gold,
      And hunted the fallow-deer.
    Quoth father Anselmo, "I wot that we,
    Thrive right well on the faithful’s charity."

    As they gazed on the walls of their Abbey,
      All fair with carved work within,
    "’Tis better to live where one may pray,
      Than dwell in proud tents of sin."
    Quoth father Anselmo, "Yes," said he,
    "And thrive on the faithful’s charity."

    The Prior he raised his glass on high,
      With the grape’s juice mantling o’er;
    He view’d the red wine with a critical eye.
      And laughed as he call’d for more.
    "Yes, Brother Anselmo, yes," said he,
    "We thrive on the faithful’s charity!"


Mr. Denoon could scarcely forbear smiling at the satirical nature of the
song, as he answered, "that they might indeed be so; the monks no doubt
having afforded, by their luxurious style of living, much cause for
censure amongst those who were in some measure acquainted with the
revelries held within the walls of Pluscardine;" adding, "ay, even
within the walls of a sanctuary such as this, where men profess to
devote themselves exclusively to the service of God, worldly thoughts
and human feelings will intrude."

Inchdarnie, while gazing on the remains of former grandeur, could not
help expressing his admiration of the buildings these men erected in
honour of their God, and his regret that such splendid cathedrals as
existed in Scotland at the time of the Reformation should have been so
recklessly destroyed.

"It is certainly to be regretted," said Mr. Denoon in reply; "but at
that time strong measures were deemed necessary for the expulsion of the
Romish faith from Scotland, and the destruction of all connected
therewith was deemed a proceeding requisite for the safety of the
people.  But, my son," he continued, "it is not the place where one
worship, but the heart of the worshipper that God values.  Believe me, a
heart-felt prayer uttered by a soldier on the bloody field of battle, a
few words of earnest supplication breathed on the solitary moor or
sequestered glen, are more acceptable in his sight than the prayers of
those kneeling in the lofty cathedral aisle, if their souls are not in
unison with the scene around them."

In company with his reverend friend, Andrew Ayton visited numbers of the
poorer class of people inhabiting the shire of Moray, and attended
several meetings where Mr. Denoon officiated as clergyman.  Before
quitting Elgin, the latter, in accordance with a wish expressed to that
effect, made known his intention of holding a conventicle in the ruins
of Pluscardine.  The morning of the day appointed for the meeting having
arrived, Mr. Denoon and Andrew Ayton set off for the ruined priory.  The
day was beautiful, and on their arrival they found the interior of the
ruins thronged with an eager multitude in readiness to receive them.
Inchdarnie was impressed beyond imagination with the touching solemnity
of the scene, as Mr. Denoon, taking his stand on a huge fragment of
stone dislodged from the building by the relentless hand of time,
proceeded to address the congregation.  The rays of the sun at this
moment penetrating through the ivy-clad windows, tinged with a golden
lustre his venerable locks, and imparted an air of majesty to his
countenance, in harmony with the heavenly messages he was entrusted to
deliver.  He spoke, and as his voice resounded through the vast space
with the force of a trumpet, arousing his hearers to a sense of their
danger, young Ayton felt the incapacity of the most gorgeous pageantry
to add to the grandeur of words like these.  While all eyes and ears
were fixed on the preacher with an earnestness that precluded all other
sights and sounds, Inchdarnie was startled on observing a strange face,
almost shrouded beneath a brass helmet, gazing in at one of the windows.
Unable to credit his senses, he kept his eyes fastened on the spot with
an eagerness that was almost painful.  His suspense was not of long
duration.  Again the same form presented itself, but this time
accompanied by several others, who stationed themselves near every
possible outlet, so as to shut out all hopes of escape.  His worst fears
realised, Andrew Ayton sprung from his seat, and shouting, "Betrayed,
betrayed!" he drew his sword, and dashing through the midst of the
terror-stricken congregation, placed himself by the side of Mr. Denoon
as though determined to share his fate. The latter stood calm and
resolute, while those by whom he was surrounded evinced their readiness
to fight in their own and his defence.  At this instant a soldier, who
from his proud bearing and superior style of dress appeared to be the
leader of the party, entered, and approaching Mr. Denoon, politely
uncovered his head, while he expressed his regret that so unpleasant a
duty as that of arresting Mr. Denoon should have devolved upon him; but
that, however repugnant it might be to his own feelings to do so, yet
his orders must be obeyed, and Mr. Denoon must therefore prepare to
accompany them, adding that no harm was intended to any of the
congregation, who were at liberty to retire if so inclined.

"Arrest Mr. Denoon!" cried Inchdarnie, "never!" so saying, he raised his
sword on high, and was about to rush on the officer, when Mr. Denoon,
throwing his arms around him, besought him to forbear; then turning to
the commander, he demanded of him whither he had orders to take him?

"To Dundee," was the reply, "there to await further instructions."

"The Lord’s will be done!" piously exclaimed Mr. Denoon, raising his
hands and eyes to heaven as he spoke; then turning to the people, who
loudly expressed their sympathy, he bade them be of good cheer, as the
Lord would soon find them another and more zealous pastor.

While parting with Inchdarnie, many tears were shed on both sides, but
to all his young friend’s entreaties that he would permit him to strike
one blow in his defence, he simply replied: "My son, it is the duty of a
Christian to suffer, and to suffer meekly; if it please the Lord we
shall meet again, and till then farewell;" so saying he expressed his
readiness to depart, whereupon the officer, his head still uncovered,
courteously led the way to the spot where his men stood armed to receive
the prisoner.

For some little time after the departure of the soldiers, Andrew Ayton
remained motionless, and apparently overwhelmed with grief.  He had lost
his kind, sympathising friend, and that at the very moment when he stood
most in need of his assistance. What was to be done?  At this moment the
thought darted through his head, could he not be rescued? Regarding the
suggestion as a sunbeam sent by the Almighty to comfort him in the midst
of his affliction, and heedless of the numbers who stood around watching
his every motion, Inchdarnie knelt for one moment in silent prayer, and
then starting to his feet, hurried from the ruins.  His resolution was
taken; he would follow the soldiers until such time as he could meet
with some friends who would aid him in the attempted rescue.  Having
informed the relations with whom he had been staying, of his intentions,
Andrew Ayton threw himself on horseback, and galloped off in the
direction pursued by the dragoons. He soon came within sight of the
party, and observed, to his great satisfaction, that they were few in
number, and evidently not over-anxious regarding the safety of their
prisoner, whose venerable form young Ayton could plainly descry
stationed in midst of the dragoons. As an Indian unceasingly follows in
the track of his intended victim, so Andrew Ayton kept in the wake of
the soldiers, riding when they rode, halting when they halted, until at
length they arrived at Dundee.  After having carefully marked the house,
to which Mr. Denoon was conducted, Inchdarnie put spurs to his horse’s
sides and galloped straight to Cupar, where he expected to obtain the
necessary assistance.  Having speedily collected together a number of
young men eager to undertake anything that promised them some amusement,
he retraced his steps to Dundee. All remained the same as when he had
left.  The two soldiers still kept guard before the house in which Mr.
Denoon was confined.  Leaving his companions in a little wood near the
entrance to the town, Andrew Ayton, having disguised himself so as to
preclude all possibility of recognition, proceeded to reconnoitre the
premises, in order to discover the most feasible plan for effecting Mr.
Denoon’s escape.  He soon satisfied himself that the back part of the
house, which looked into a little garden, was totally defenceless.  No
soldier was stationed there to keep watch, and the windows were easy of
access and without protection of any kind. Having made himself
acquainted with these particulars, Inchdarnie rejoined his friends in
the wood, where they determined to remain until night should further
their scheme.  When the shades of evening had closed around them, the
party issued from the wood, and advanced singly, so as to excite no
suspicions of their real purpose in the breasts of those they might
chance to encounter towards the back of the house indicated by
Inchdarnie, which, standing as it did a little apart from the others,
occupied a position highly favourable for their purpose.  Having
stationed all his companions save one at the foot of the garden, so as
to be ready in case of danger, Andrew Ayton advanced towards one of the
lower windows, and with the assistance of his friend succeeded in
reaching it. After pausing a moment to recover breath, he gently
endeavoured to raise the sash.  This was an anxious moment with them
all, and the beatings of Andrew Ayton’s heart were painfully audible, so
fearful was he lest their plan should prove a failure.  To their
inexpressible delight, however, it yielded to his touch. The first step
was now gained, but the worst remained behind.  He entered and found
himself in a small unfurnished room, having a door at the extreme end;
this he also perceived to be open, and marvelling much at the
carelessness of those in charge, he threaded his way along a narrow
passage, on both sides of which were stationed doors.  This was rather
puzzling to one unacquainted as young Ayton was with the geography of
the house, but summoning up all the courage of which he was possessed,
he placed his hand on the handle of the one nearest him; it opened, and
he saw at one glance that it was also uninhabited.  In like manner he
tried another equally yielding to his touch; he entered, and seated by a
small wooden table, on which burned a solitary candle, he beheld his
venerable friend.  With difficulty suppressing a cry of joy at sight of
one whom he almost feared was lost to him for ever, Andrew Ayton rushed
forward, while Mr. Denoon, equally delighted and astonished at the
unexpected appearance of one whom he regarded in the light of a son,
started from his seat, and clasping him to his bosom, mingled his tears
with his.

"Father!" at length said young Ayton in a whisper, "you must this
instant fly with me—all is in readiness; I have faithful friends, who
are at this moment waiting my return with anxious impatience.  Oh, do
not delay, but hasten to gladden their eyes with your presence!"

Mr. Denoon sadly shook his head while he replied, "Would it not be a
cowardly action, and unlike that of One who gave up his own life as a
ransom for many, were a minister to fly from his earthly foes?  Would it
not seem as if——?"

"Oh, do not say no, reverend father!" interrupted Inchdarnie: "do not
neglect the opportunity God hath given you of making your escape from
the hands of your enemies, in order that you may yet preach to those in
need of a shepherd.  Of what use are you here?" he continued.  "What
lost souls are there you can reclaim from perdition? and were you once
to regain your liberty, what unspeakable comfort might you not be able
to render those who require consolation?"

"My son, in that you say truly; there may be much for me to do, and the
word liberty soundeth sweet in the ears of a captive;" so saying, Mr.
Denoon expressed his willingness to depart.

Rejoicing in the success which had hitherto attended his plan,
Inchdarnie conducted Mr. Denoon to the window where his friend was
stationed, who received the aged man in his arms and placed him in
safety on the ground.  Treading as noiselessly as possible, the party,
employing the same precautionary measures in their retreat as during
their approach, retraced their steps to the wood where horses were ready
saddled and bridled to conduct them to Cupar, whither Inchdarnie
determined at once to proceed.  On their way thither Andrew Ayton
apprized Mr. Denoon of all that had taken place since the morning of his
capture in the priory, and in his turn was made acquainted with what had
befallen his reverend friend since his imprisonment.

"How fortunate," said Mr. Denoon in continuation, "that you should have
fixed on this night for effecting my deliverance.  Had you delayed
another day, I should have been removed from Dundee, to go I know not
whither; and to that circumstance is to be attributed the fact of there
being so few precautions taken as regarded my safety; for in general
every door and window was carefully fastened ere night had closed in."

Inwardly returning thanks to the Almighty for the kindness he had
evinced towards them in thus disarming the soldiers of all suspicion of
danger, they pursued the rest of their journey in silence.  On arriving
at Cupar, the two friends deemed it essential for their safety to part.
Mr. Denoon determined upon going to St. Andrews, where he had some
trusty friends; while Inchdarnie, fearful of remaining longer in
Fifeshire, expressed his intention of at once proceeding to Perth, there
to visit Mr. Wellwood, whose acquaintance he was most anxious to make.

"God bless and prosper you! my dear young friend," said Mr. Denoon,
warmly grasping Andrew Ayton by the hand as he bade him adieu; "under
the providence of God I this night owe my life to you; and oh, that I
may spend it in the service of Him to whom it by right belongs!"

"Farewell, my noble, kind preceptor," replied Inchdarnie, "and should we
never meet again in this valley of time, God grant I may so follow in
your steps that we may spend eternity together;" so saying, they
parted—and for ever.  As Andrew Ayton pursued his solitary way towards
Perth, he was attracted by sounds of lamentation which appeared to
proceed from a house situated at a short distance from the road along
which he was proceeding.  Always ready to hearken to the voice of
suffering—and judging that in this case some assistance might be
necessary—he leapt from his horse and knocked gently at the door.
Finding that no notice was being taken of his repeated demands for
admission, he fastened the impatient animal to a ring in the wall, and,
raising the latch, entered the house, where he beheld a sight that made
him tremble.  Stretched on the cottage floor lay the apparently lifeless
body of a man bathed in a pool of blood, while at his head sat an aged
female ghastly with despair.  No wail of sorrow burst from her bloodless
lips, but her eyes were fixed on the face of the dead man with that
stony gaze which bespeaks the bitterest anguish, and near her was seated
the wife of the deceased, whose passionate bursts of sorrow had first
attracted the notice of Andrew Ayton.

"Good God!" he exclaimed, on beholding this terrible spectacle; "what
means this?"

On hearing the voice of a stranger, the younger female lifted her head,
but unable to speak, she merely pointed to the deceased, and then
burying her face in her hands, gave way to fresh bursts of sorrow.

"O do not grieve thus," said Inchdarnie, "but tell me, in heaven’s name,
who has been the author of this bloody outrage; and if it should be in
my power to render you any assistance——"

"Assistance!" screamed the old woman in a shrill voice of agony, and
starting to her feet as she spoke, "can you restore us the dead?  Can
you bring back light to the eyeballs, and life to the stiffening frame?
Can you blast with heaven’s lightning——?"

"Oh, hush mother, hush! use not these awful words!" exclaimed the
anguished wife; "it is not for us to curse our——"

[Illustration: "Stretched on the cottage floor lay the apparently
lifeless body of a man, bathed in a pool of blood, while at his head sat
an aged female, ghastly with despair."]

"Interrupt me not!" cried the aged matron.  "Can you blast with heaven’s
lightnings," she continued, "the mitred head of him who ordered the deed
to be done—that rendered me childless in my old age? O may the curses of
a bereaved mother cling to his soul, and drag him down—down!  But I will
be avenged," she continued, the frenzied light of madness blazing in her
sunken eyes, "I will be avenged, and that right soon; God has promised
it; the heavens frown not in wrath when I cry for revenge!  And when
that day comes, when he, the bloody prelate, kneels in the very dust
begging for that mercy he this day denied to me, then—then will he know
the bitterness of kneeling at the foot of man, and kneeling in vain."
Here, thoroughly exhausted by her own violence, the heart-stricken
mother threw herself on the body of her child, screaming aloud, "My son!
my son!"

Overcome with horror at the wretched scene, and perceiving that
assistance could not be of any avail, Andrew Ayton, after he had thrust
some money into the passive hand of the more gentle mourner, quickly
regained the door, and mounting his horse, which stood pawing the ground
with impatience to be gone, galloped hastily onwards to Perth.  Now that
the excitement which had hitherto sustained him had in some measure
subsided, Andrew Ayton began to experience the effects of the fatigue
arising from the scenes through which he had passed, and to realise the
necessity there was of his obtaining some repose; accordingly he
alighted at the first public-house that afforded hopes of entertainment
for man and beast. In the course of the following morning he resumed his
journey, and entered the "Fair City" as the light of day was departing.
Being very desirous of seeing Mr. Wellwood, who was then thought to be
dying, he made at once for the house in which he resided. It was a
humble apartment into which he was ushered; no signs of luxury, barely
of comfort, greeted the stranger’s eye.  The ceiling was low and dark,
and the casement small; yet through that narrow aperture the sun’s rays
entered wooingly and kissed the pallid brow of a young man—sole tenant
of the solitary apartment—who instantly rose from his chair and advanced
a few steps, although with apparent difficulty, so much was he wasted by
sickness, to welcome Andrew Ayton.  As each of the young men had heard
frequent and favourable mention made of the other, both paused for one
moment as if by mutual consent, and earnestly gazed in each other’s
face.  What a contrast did they at this moment present!  There stood
young Ayton, his long fair hair hanging in waving masses on his
shoulders; youth written on his brow—his blue eyes bright with
enthusiasm, and his tall elegant figure erect and bold; while opposite
to him was one on whose forehead the cold band of death had set its
seal.  Although comparatively young in years, he was old with anxiety
and suffering; his flushed cheek and lustrous eye, his damp forehead and
short dry cough, all attesting the fatal presence of consumption.  To
gaze on them thus was to imagine a meeting between life and death, or
that between two warriors; the one bravely arming for the coming fight,
and the other, weary of the strife, about to repose after having borne
the burden and heat of the day.  At length Mr. Wellwood spoke, and his
voice was low and sweet as he expressed the pleasure it gave him to see
Mr. Ayton; while the latter grieved beyond measure on beholding Mr.
Wellwood so feeble and attenuated, could scarce command his voice
sufficiently to make a suitable reply.  After the lapse of some little
time, during which both sat silent, Mr. Wellwood, who had been gazing in
a dreamy manner on the few blighted flowers adorning his window, emblems
of his own untimely fate, demanded of Andrew Ayton if Archbishop Sharpe
had committed any further outrages on the Presbyterians.

"Oh!  Mr. Wellwood," burst forth Inchdarnie, "words cannot paint the
deep hatred that haughty prelate bears towards us; he would, if
possible, blot our names from the book of life; the wholesale murders
committed by his orders are terrible beyond imagination; and not
contented with what has been already done, he daily devises fresh means
of torture. Had you seen what I witnessed while coming hither, it would
never have been effaced from your memory; the lifeless corpse, the
bereaved wife, and the maniac mother—all are before me even now.  That
such men are permitted to live only to commit crimes revolting to
humanity is indeed strange!"

As Mr. Wellwood gazed on the countenance of the noble youth, which
glowed with a beauty almost unearthly in its brightness, and marked as
it was by an expression of melancholy sometimes seen on the faces of
those who are not destined to remain long in this world, the mysterious
veil which conceals the future from our sight was for one moment drawn
aside.  His dying eyes beheld what was soon to be accomplished, and he
exclaimed, "You will shortly be quit of him; he will get a sudden and
sharp off-going, and you will be the first to take the news of his death
to heaven."

Inchdarnie reverently bowed his head in token of submission to the
decrees of the Almighty.  So pleased was he with the gentle bearing and
pious exhortations of Mr. Well wood, that he remained with him until
pretty near his decease, which occurred not long afterwards, when he was
obliged to return to Inchdarnie, there to comfort with his presence his
beloved mother, then labouring under severe indisposition.  In danger of
being imprisoned should his presence be discovered in the neighbourhood,
Andrew Ayton durst not continue long in his father’s house; but during
the winter months and the ensuing spring he kept himself concealed in
one of the cottar’s houses, where he ran little risk of being detected.

It was now the fifth of May, 1679, and Andrew Ayton still lurked in the
neighbourhood of Inchdarnie. On the morning of the day in question, a
letter was placed in his hands; he glanced at the superscription, turned
pale as death, and tearing it open, perused its contents with eyes whose
wild expression would have terrified the beholder, while the trembling
of the paper attested the agitation under which he laboured.  The
contents were as follows:—


MY DEAREST ANDREW,—I have struggled, and struggled in vain, to banish
your image from my heart; wherever I have been, in England or in Italy,
still you were present, and the words you last uttered on that fearful
night have rung in my ears till they almost maddened me.  All this weary
time, in spite of my better judgment, I indulged in the fond delusion
that you would endeavour to find me out, and that all should be made
right again—vain hope.  Months rolled on without any proof on your part
of continued affection, and at last I was constrained to believe you had
indeed forgotten me.  In spite of all my assumed composure, despair took
possession of my heart. Numberless suitors addressed me in all the
glowing language of the sunny south, but I turned a deaf ear to their
honied vows, and sighed in secret over the remembrance of one still too
dear to me.  At length, greatly to my delight, we returned to Scotland;
and in the expectation of seeing you, I accompanied my aunt to the dear
old priory.  You were gone, but I heard from Deborah of your grief in
the garden, and my heart melted within me at the recital.  Again, I
encountered one day during my accustomed walk a dear friend of yours,
named Mr. Denoon (here Andrew Ayton’s face glowed with delight); he
seemed to know me—how I cannot tell—for he stopt and spoke to me of you.
O! what sweet words of comfort he breathed to my anguished soul!  He did
not seek to undermine my faith (and for that I love him), but he told me
of your love, your sorrow, and unaltered constancy, and prayed me to
relent.  Dear old man; he said although he grieved for my sake that I
was not a Protestant, yet that should not prove an obstacle to our
earthly happiness, for (and this rejoiced me more than anything)
although the outward forms of our religion were so wholly at variance
with each other, yet if our hearts were right in the sight of God, and
we were sincere in our love towards him, they should always be
acceptable in his sight.  O Inchdarnie! whether it was that I really
believed him or wished to do so for your dear sake, I know not, but I
wept from joy; and he, dear, kind old man, was almost as much affected
as myself.  He then told me of your having aided his escape, and I
listened with pride to the narration.  We parted, soon to meet again.
With the knowledge of my friends, I flew to your dear, venerable aunt,
the Lady Murdocairnie (in whose house I am now residing), and told her
of all that had passed between us, upon which she took me in her arms
and blessed me, and advised me to write you, stating my unaltered love
and anxiety to behold you.  Come then, Inchdarnie; gladden me once more
with your presence, and tell me with your own lips whether you will
forgive, your loving

MARY CUNNINGHAME.


With a cry of joy Andrew Ayton started to his feet, rushed to the
stable, and too impatient to wait for the tardy groom, he saddled his
horse, sprang on its back, and darted off as if on the wings of the
wind.  Away he sped on his errand of love.  The birds sung sweet above
his head, he felt as blythe as they; he was going to join his Mary—his
darling Mary.  On, on, on; mountains, streams, and fields seemed to rush
madly past him, so rapid was his course.  All grief for him was at an
end; Mary had forgiven him—Mary still loved him—they should yet be
happy—alas!

Andrew Ayton, while lurking in the peaceful shades of Inchdarnie, was
not made aware of the late fearful event, news of which at that instant
was resounding through the land, convulsing England with horror, and
ringing at the gates of heaven.  Andrew Ayton knew not that two days
previously Archbishop Sharpe had been slain—murdered on the lonely Magus
Moor. Wholly ignorant of the affair, and of the pursuit to which it had
given rise, young Ayton dashed onwards full of hope and joy, when an
abrupt turning of the road revealed to his gaze a party of dragoons
riding furiously towards Cupar.  Anxious if possible to avoid
encountering so numerous a body, Andrew Ayton quitted the high-road and
galloped briskly through some fields, hoping thereby to escape notice;
when suddenly a horseman detaches himself from the party and darts
across the plain in pursuit of him.  A flash, followed by a report, and
the horse which bears young Ayton rears in the air; another and another,
and he himself is mortally wounded.  This done, the soldier without
question or challenge of any kind, rejoins his comrades, exulting in the
success of his exploit.  The poor young man thus stricken down at the
very moment in which life seemed most desirable, in spite of his
dreadful wounds, managed, although with great difficulty, to preserve
his seat on horseback until he arrived at the nearest house, where he
alighted and begged that he might have a bed, also that his uncle, Sir
John Ayton of Ayton, whose house was in the immediate neighbourhood,
might be apprized of his condition.  Deeply grieved on beholding the
fatal injuries he had received. the mistress of the house supported his
fainting form, and conducting him to her bust bedroom, made him as
comfortable as circumstances would permit, until his uncle should
arrive.  On receipt of this sad intelligence. Sir John Ayton lost not a
moment in hastening to his nephew’s bedside; and so shocked was he at
the appearance he presented, that he ordered a man-servant whom he had
brought with him to start instantly for Cupar, and fetch a surgeon.  The
man returned with the intelligence that the dragoons had given positive
orders to the effect that no medical man was to leave Cupar on any
pretext whatever; upon which Sir John Ayton, frantic at the delay,
despatched another messenger to appeal to the dragoons in behalf of the
dying man.  In answer to this, a party of soldiers was sent with
instructions to convey him to Cupar. In vain Sir John Ayton protested
against the cruelty, not to say impossibility, of removing a man in his
condition to Cupar, which was distant three miles; in vain he offered
them bail, or to entertain them until surgeons were brought who could
advise them what to do.  Deaf to all his entreaties, and utterly
regardless of the consequences, they placed the unfortunate young man on
horseback and hurried him away to Cupar.  Four times during the journey
Andrew Ayton fainted through loss of blood, but still no emotions of
pity were excited in the breasts of his conductor. On arriving at their
destination, the magistrates, in consideration of his enfeebled state of
health, permitted him to be conveyed to an inn, instead of a prison. Mr.
and Mrs. Ayton, who had also been made aware of what had happened, set
off instantly for Cupar. On entering the room where her son lay
apparently in the agonies of death, Mrs. Ayton’s fortitude gave way, and
she threw herself on his breast, sobbing as if her heart would break.

"Do not grieve, dearest mother," said Andrew Ayton; "my time on earth
has indeed been short, but God has willed it so, and we must not
repine."

"My son! my beloved son!" was all the anguished mother could utter,
while his father stood the image of mute despair.

"And must I then die without seeing Mary Cunninghame?" continued the
dying man, "her whom I was flying to rejoin when the cruel ball
penetrated as it were to my very heart? ..... Oh, it seems hard, hard to
be thus cut off in early youth, when hope shone the brightest, and
happiness seemed within my reach.  Mother, mother!" he gasped, "I must
see her once more; methinks I could close my eyes in peace could I but
gaze for one short moment in her sweet face, and tell her we should meet
again."

"Oh send for her!" cried the distracted mother; "lose not one instant in
bringing her hither;" and the messenger, having received the necessary
directions, galloped furiously away.

It was a solemn scene that chamber of death; and beautiful to witness
was the dying youth’s resignation to the decree of God, while he strove
with all his accustomed gentleness to soothe his mother’s sorrow.

"Oh do not weep thus," he said; "our parting will not be for long.
Consider, dear mother, the shortness of time and the duration of
eternity.  It is, indeed, a solemn thing," he continued, "to be standing
thus at the portals of an unknown world, and yet not unknown; God having
in his goodness revealed to us hidden glimpses of that lovely shore——"

At this instant the chamber door flew open, and to the consternation of
all present a young man, in the garb of an officer, rushed into the
room.

With a scream of terror Mrs. Ayton started to her feet.  "Intrude not
your presence in the chamber of death," she said, addressing the
dragoon; "what more would you have? you have killed his body, would you
also destroy his soul?"

Heeding her not, the stranger stood for one moment gazing on the
sufferer, with horror depicted on his countenance; then dashing his
helmet on the ground, he threw himself on his knees by the side of the
bed, exclaiming in a voice broken with sobs, "Andrew, Andrew, can you
forgive me? can you forgive your guilty cousin? mine was the hand that
did the deed."

The voice was that of William Auchmutie.  Inchdarnie was silent.  His
thoughts were far away.  The venerable city of St. Andrews rose up
before him.  He marked its glittering spires—the waves which dashed on
the rocky shore, and the stately vessels gliding to and fro.  Again he
is standing there with his thoughtless young cousin, he who is now
kneeling as a suppliant by his bed-side.  Again the words ring in his
ears, "I will kill thee, just for thy having espoused so rascally a
cause;" and he remembers the strange unaccountable feeling which then
passed through his heart as the words were uttered; and now all was
fulfilled.  Little more than twelve short months had rolled over their
heads since that sad night; he was lying on a bed of death, and the hand
that had inflicted the fatal wound was that of his cousin.

"Then you won’t forgive me?" groaned forth William Auchmutie, fearing
from his cousin’s silence that he could not extend pardon to the man who
had inflicted a mortal injury; but he knew not the gentle, loving nature
he had to deal with.

"Forgive thee, William!" said Andrew Ayton, recalled by the question to
what was passing around him; "yes, from the bottom of my soul, and may
He above blot it out of the book of his remembrance, and lay it not to
thy account.  But O, William!" he continued, "withdraw thyself, while
there is yet time, from the bloody course thou art pursuing; let this
thou hast done serve as a warning to thee.  It may be that the Almighty
has permitted it that the arrow of conviction might pierce thy heart."

Here the dying man paused for a moment, apparently overcome with
emotion, and then continued, grasping his cousin’s hand while he spoke,
"My dear cousin, thou art very young, and this scene may soon cease to
be remembered by thee; but when old age comes upon thee, when thy
strength fails thee, and thou art no longer able to pursue thy
accustomed employment, then in the solitude of thy chamber will the evil
deeds of thy youth rise up in judgment against thee, and remorse, like
an avenging angel, sit scowling on thee from amongst the ruins thou hast
made of the talents God committed to thy care."

Overcome with exhaustion and loss of blood, Andrew Ayton sunk back on
his pillow, and William Auchmutie, overwhelmed with despair, staggered
from the chamber.  It was now evident that the few remaining hours
Andrew Ayton was to spend on earth were rapidly drawing to a close.  He
lay in a sort of stupor, with his eyes fixed on the clock, as if
counting the moments till the arrival of Mary Cunninghame; and the
slightest move caused him to turn his eyes to the door in the
expectation of seeing her for whose presence he longed.  At length the
sound of carriage wheels is heard rolling rapidly along the street; they
pause before the inn; footsteps are heard on the stair, the door opens,
and almost as death-like as himself, and supported by his aunt, enters
Mary Cunninghame.

"Mary, my darling Mary!" gasped Andrew Ayton as he clasped her to his
breast, "God is good—he has heard my prayer—we meet again——"  His head
fell back on the pillow.

"Help, help!" screamed Mary Cunninghame, "he is fainting—he is dead!"
and fell senseless on the couch beside him........

No uncommon event in Paris—a novice is about to take the veil.  But in
this case curiosity is excited to the highest pitch, for the young lady
about to be professed is a native of the cold north, and remarkable for
her extreme beauty.  The day appointed for the ceremony at length
arrives, and the Church of St. Genevieve is crowded to the very doors,
every inch of standing room is occupied, and hundreds are obliged to
depart murmuring and dissatisfied.  The organ peals forth its grandest
music, but all ears are inattentive; ladies are there attired in the
most costly dresses; but on this occasion their beauty and elegance are
unheeded; all eyes are turned towards the door; every ear is on the
alert to catch the faintest murmur which tells of her approach.  Still
she enters not, and murmurs of impatience are beginning to be heard,
when cries of "she comes, she comes!" arrest all other sounds, and a
general movement takes place throughout the stately edifice, as each
individual, heedless of obstructing his neighbour’s view, stands on
tip-toe, or mounts the seat, in order to obtain the first glimpse of the
procession.  The words, "beautiful, how beautiful!" are uttered by many
as onward comes the youthful novice arrayed in the most costly bridal
attire. Jewels flash from amongst her braided hair; magnificent the veil
which shrouds her slender figure; but conspicuous above all is the deep
air of sadness impressed on her lovely countenance.

The vows are uttered; the bride, not of man, but of heaven, retires, and
many are the sighs which accompany her.  When next she enters, she is
arrayed in the dismal garb of a professed nun, and is greeted by those
who kneel around as a sister.  And hath she then left all which breathes
of the past behind her? no; she still retains, and oft bedews with her
tears, the little gold heart, now suspended from a black ribbon, placed
by the boyish hands of Andrew Ayton around the neck of sister Agnes—when
Mary Cunninghame.



                          *THE LAIRD OF LAG.*


One fine morning in April, as I was sauntering along the high-road
leading to Dumfries, I observed a little way on the right-hand a small
burying-ground, jealously protected from intrusion by a high wall and
shaded by trees, whose boughs drooped in a half pensive manner, as if in
sympathy with the memorials of the dead which were scattered around.
Struck with the singularity of the situation, and the fact of there
being no church within view, I turned my footsteps in the direction of
the solitary burying-ground.  Fortunately for the gratification of my
curiosity, the old sexton—all sextons are old—was busily employed in
digging a grave.  While inspecting the various tombstones, some of which
seemed very ancient, my attention was attracted towards a mass of
ruins—apparently the remains of what had been a family burying-place.
Unable to derive any information from the broken fragments that lay
strewn around, I advanced towards the sexton, in order to have my
curiosity gratified.

The old man raised his head at my approach, and in answer to my inquiry
as to whose resting-place it was that was lying in ruins, whilst those
around seemed in a state of good preservation, replied—pausing in the
midst of his work and wiping his face with a handkerchief—"you must be a
stranger in this part of the country, not to know that that is the grave
of the Laird of Lag."

"The Laird of Lag!" I exclaimed; "what! is he buried here?"

"O yes ma’m," replied the sexton, "the Laird lies here."

"How comes it?" I inquired, smiling at the old man’s sagacious look and
still more mysterious shake of the head, "that his grave is in such a
ruined state, whilst those around, bearing dates anterior to Lag’s time,
are still in good repair?"

The sexton remained mute for a moment or so, then approaching nearer,
inquired of me in a confidential whisper, "whether I had observed the
violence of the wind in the burying-ground, when elsewhere there reigned
a perfect calm?"

I replied, "I had indeed remarked the circumstance, but supposed it was
owing to the exposed situation in which the burying-ground was placed."

The old man shook his head as he answered, "Oh, no! that cannot be the
reason; for even up amongst these hills, when not a leaf is stirring in
the breeze, the wind there howls and tears along in the most boisterous
manner."  Then after a pause he added, "no, no; that’s not the true
explanation!"

"Well, then," I said, "but what has your theory of the high wind to do
with the ruined state of Lag’s grave?"

"Everything," he replied; "and if you will just have a little patience
I’ll explain it to you; but you must excuse my homely way of speaking,
for I’m not good at the story-telling."  Then sticking his spade into
the ground and seating himself on a neighbouring stone, he supported his
arm on the handle of his spade, in the attitude of one about to make
some mysterious communication, and began as follows:—

It was in the winter time that Lag’s grave was destroyed; and the night
on which the occurrence took place was wild and stormy enough, but
nothing to the like of me, who have seen many a fearful night in my
young days, when—but let that pass, as it has nothing to do with my
story.  Well, as I was saying, it was rather a stormy evening, and the
wind had an eerie sound as it moaned in the chimney and caused the
window-frame to rattle in an odd sort of way; and my wife observed to
me, just as I was on the point of falling asleep, "Oh, John, but this is
an awful night for ony puir body to be out in!"

"Nonsense, wife," I replied; "I trust they may never be out in worse
weather; it’s a mere capful of wind, as the sailors say."

"May the Lord forgive ye, John, for you livity (levity);" so saying she
gave me a push with her elbow, as a kind of rebuke for my light way of
speaking.

Well, mim, I was awoke about the middle of the night by my wife giving
me a pull of the arm, whilst she exclaimed in a voice almost inaudible
through fear, "Oh!  John, hear till that in the auld grave-yard; isn’t
that awful? what can it mean?"

I listened for a moment, and never in the whole course of my life had I
heard such strange sounds—they were like nothing earthly.  Up I got and
ran to the window, which commands a view of this place, and suoh a sight
as I then saw!  May the Lord forgive me for the thought, but I was
convinced all the devils were let loose that night.  It was perfectly
dark, and the trees were shaking and groaning in the blast, in a manner
awful to hear; and every now and then a glimmering light appeared, as if
some one was carrying a light in the grave-yard.  You must know there’s
an idle story in the country, that Lag walks about in the night-time
with a lighted taper in his hand, but I don’t believe the like of that.
Well, as I told you before, every now and again that strange light,
which I took to be a "will-o’-the-wisp," appeared dancing about, and the
flashes of lightning were bright and frequent; whilst strange wild
sounds seemed borne on the blast, that shook the cottage to its
foundation. Overcome with fright and amazement, I went back to my bed;
but not much sleep did I get that night—neither did my wife; and mighty
glad were we when the bright rays of the morning sun streamed through
the window shutter.  The first thing I did was to come here, in case any
damage had been done in the course of the night; and sure enough, when I
arrived, I found everything as I had left it on the preceding day,
except Lag’s burial-place, which was thrown to the ground, and the
stones lying about just as you see them. Ever since that fearful night,
the wind has never ceased blowing in this place; but, even in the
calmest summer’s day it howls and rushes along, as if rejoicing over the
ruin it had made of the wicked persecutor’s grave.

There was a pause after the sexton had finished his wild tale; the old
man apparently was overcome at the remembrance of the horrors of that
night, and I more than half-puzzled to account for the strange
circumstance, supported by the evidence which the wreck around me
attested in favour of the sexton’s recital, at length inquired, after
expressing the pleasure his narration had afforded me, "Why there was no
church attached to the burying-ground, and what was its designation?"

To which he replied, "That the old parish church of Dunscore formerly
stood here, but the heritors of the parish had found fault with its
situation, it being too far removed from the more distant parts of
Dunscore parish; consequently, it had been taken down, and a new church
erected in a more convenient position."

I again demanded if he was acquainted with any old legends told in
connection with the Laird of Lag, thinking there must be a good many
extant which treated of his wild doings.

The sexton shook his head, and replied, No, ma’m, I cannot say that I do
know anything of him in particular, not having paid much attention to
the idle stories told in the parish; but, as I seemed fond of these kind
of tales, he recommended me to visit an old woman, named Mrs. Walker,
who was about ninety years of age, and who might be able to afford me
some information on that subject.

After thanking the old man, and expressing my regret at having
interrupted his labours, I turned to depart, when he called me back, for
the purpose of attracting my attention to the fact that nothing but
nettles and the rank weeds were growing around Lag’s grave; and, said
he, with emphasis, "Nothing in the shape of flowers ever would grow
there, do what I could."  After expressing my surprise at this singular
occurrence, I bade him good morning, and directed my steps towards the
habitation of Mrs. Walker.  I found the old woman very comfortably
seated in her arm-chair, by the kitchen fire, watching a piece of bread
undergoing the process of toasting.  This, and the fact of a brown delf
tea-pot standing upon the hob, satisfied me that Mrs. Walker was about
to regale herself with a comforting cup of tea.

Before proceeding further, I shall relate rather an amusing circumstance
told in connection with a Mr. G——, who came to this part of the country
for the express purpose of making good his claim to be one of the
descendants of the Laird of Lag.  Being very desirous of collecting all
the information he could concerning his progenitor, he called upon all
the old people whom he thought likely to assist him in his endeavours.
Amongst others, he honoured Mrs. Walker with a visit.  After having made
a few inquiries concerning the object of his call, he abruptly demanded
of her, "Well, Mrs. Walker, and what do you think of Lag?"  "Oh, dear
sirs!" she replied, "I never saw him!"  "I am quite aware of that; but
what have you heard of him?"  "Nae gude, sir—nae gude!"

On entering the kitchen, I accosted Mrs. Walker, and informed her that,
as I was desirous of hearing some of the wild tales that were told about
the Laird of Lag, and understanding she was acquainted with many of the
stories told in connection with that famous persecutor, I had taken the
liberty of calling upon her, hoping she might be induced to relate one
or two of the many with which her memory was stored.  The old dame
smiled complacently, at the same time observing, "That she was now an
aged woman, entering upon her ninetieth year, consequently her memory
was rather failing, and many of the tales she had heard regarding Lag in
her youth had faded from her remembrance, like a vanished dream; but,"
she added, "if you will only wait until I have had my cup of tea,
something may come across my mind that may chance to interest you."
Cordially agreeing to the old dame’s proposition, and refusing a cup of
the exhilarating beverage, I amused myself with gazing at the numerous
prints adorning the walls, which had evidently been chosen more with an
eye to gaudy colouring than artistic merit.

Mrs. Walker, after having finished her meal, replaced the tea-pot near
the fire, and arranging her dress—as is often the custom with
story-tellers—commenced the following account of the Laird of Lag:—

"Well, ma’am, you see, Sir Robert Grierson, commonly called the Laird of
Lag—more briefly Lag—was a noted persecutor, and dreaded by all who
espoused the side of the Kirk and Covenant.  A bad cruel man was he, and
many were the bloody deeds he did in his day.  Some said he wasn’t so
bad as people said, and others, again maintained he was worse; but let
that pass, he did enough to win himself a bad name, and he got it, as
was but justice.  Well, Sir Robert married a daughter of the second Earl
of Queensberry, who rejoiced in the appellation of the ’Deil o’
Drumlanrig;’ and what good could be expected from Sir Robert after
forming a connection like that? If the laird was bad, his father-in-law
was counted worse, as along with other bad qualities, he was a mad
gamester, and it was not very long ere he made Sir Robert as noted as
himself in that respect.  Many were the nights they spent over the
’devil’s books,’ as they are justly called.  In the end, the Laird was
cleared out of all his property, except Rockhall, which, being strictly
entailed, could not be touched."

Here Mrs. Walker paused for a moment, drew a deep breath, and then
inquired, "If I had ever seen the account given of Lag in the ’People’s
Edition of the Scots’ Worthies?’"  Upon my answering in the negative,
she immediately rose from her seat, and proceeded towards another
apartment, when she presently returned with one or two numbers of this
much-relished work, and once more seating herself in her comfortable
chair, she donned her spectacles, and read aloud the following:—

"Sir Robert Grierson of Lag was another prime hero for the promoting of
Satan’s kingdom.  We think that it was some time after Bothwell that he
was made sheriff or sheriff-depute of Dumfries.  But to relate all the
fining, spoiling, oppression, and murders committed by this worthy of
Satan, or champion of his kingdom, were beyond our intention.  Besides
£1200 of fines exacted in Galloway and Nithsdale shires, he was
accessory to the murdering, under colour of their iniquitous laws, of
Margaret M’Lachlan, aged sixty-three years, and Margaret Wilson, a young
woman, whom they drowned at two stakes within the sea-mark at the water
of Baldnook.  For his cold-blood murders, he caused hang Gordon and Mr.
Cubin on a growing tree near Irongray, and left them hanging there,
1686.

"The same year he apprehended Mr. Bell of Whiteside, D. Halliday of
Mayfield, and three more, and without giving them time to pray, shot
them dead on the spot.  Mr. Bell, whom Sir Robert Grierson knew,
earnestly entreated but a quarter of an hour to prepare for eternity;
but this was refused.

"The reply was, ’What the devil, have you not had time to prepare since
Bothwell?’  (Here Mrs. Walker shook her head.)  He was, therefore,
instantly shot with the rest; and so far did this persecuting renegado
push his revenge, that he even denied interment to their lifeless
dust![#]  Shortly after this, Lord Kenmuir happening to meet Lag with
Claverhouse in Kirkcudbright, called him to account for his cruelty to
Mr. Bell, and more especially for his inhumanity in refusing burial to
his remains.  Sir Robert answered with an oath, ’Take him, if you will,
and salt him in your beef barrel.’  The insulted nobleman immediately
drew his sword, and must have ran him through the body, had not
Claverhouse interposed.  And surely such a death had been too honourable
for such a villain.


[#] This epitaph engraved upon the tombstone in the churchyard of Anwith
lying on the corpse of John Bell of Whiteside, who was most barbarously
shot to death at the command of Douglass of Morton and Grierson of Lag,
in the parish of Tongland, in Galloway, anno 1685.

"This monument shall tell posterity
That blessed Bell of Whiteside here doth ly;
Who by command of bloody Lag was shot,
A murther strange, which should not be forgot.
Douglass of Morton did him quarters give,
Yet cruel Lag would not let him survive,
This martyr sought some time to recommend.
The tyrant said, ’What devil? ye’ve pray’d eneugh,
Those long seven years on mountain and in clough,
So instantly caused him and other four
Be shot to death upon Kirkconnel Muir.
So this did end the lives of these brave saints,
For their adhering to the Covenants."



"The same summer, Annandale having apprehended G. Short and D. Halliday,
and having bound them, after quarters granted, the monster Lag came up,
and as they lay on the ground, under the cloud of night, caused shoot
them immediately, leaving their bodies thus all blood and gore; nay,
such was their audacious impiety, that he, with the rest of his boon
companions and persecutors would, over their drunken bowls, feign
themselves divils and those whom they supposed in hell, and then whip
one another as a jest upon that place of torment.  When he could serve
his master this way no longer, he wallowed in all manner of atheism,
drunkenness, and swearing, for which he was excommunicated by the church
after the Revolution; and yet by the then powers was made Justice of the
Peace, some time before 1714, a disgrace to any civilised nation, not to
mention a Presbyterian profession.  Death’s pangs at last arresting him,
and all other refuges failing him, under the views of his former wicked
life, in imitation of his master Charles, he feigned himself of the
popish profession, because a popish priest made him believe for money he
could pardon his sins, and even when in purgatory for them he could
bring him to heaven.  He died December 23, 1733, and there is little
doubt went down to Tophet with a lie in his mouth, and so remains in
spite of all the priest could mutter over him, as the author of his
elegy in his master’s name well expresses it:—

    "For when I heard that he was dead,
    A legion of my den did lead
    Him to my place of residence,
    And there he’ll stay and not go hence.
    This Lag will know and all the rest,
    Who of my lodging are possesst;
    On earth no more they can serve me,
    But still I’ll have their company," etc.


"This is what is said of him in the ’Scots’ Worthies,’" said Mrs.
Walker, as she placed the numbers on a table beside her, "and it’s not
much in his favour as you will perceive.  I suppose," she continued,
"you will have heard of many other cruelties he committed—such as
putting the poor Covenanters into barrels stuck round in the inside with
knives, dagger-points, etc., then causing the barrels to be rolled down
a steep hill, so that the persons inside were all cut to pieces in the
descent; and shooting and stabbing others, so that his name became a
by-word in the country."

Answering in the affirmative, I then inquired of her "if there had been
any picture taken of the Laird?"

"Oh! yes," she replied, "there was one at Rockhall, but it was stolen
from thence by some person in the time of one of the late baronets."

"Did you ever hear any description of his personal appearance?"

"Well," she replied, "I have heard it said that he was a fair man with
long yellow hair which hung in ringlets down to his shoulders, but I
cannot believe that any fair person ever possessed such a black soul as
he must have had.  However, he might have been a bonnie man for all
that."

Begging pardon for the interruption, I prayed her to continue, which she
did as follows:—

"Well ma’m, as I told you before, my memory is not so good as it was,
and there are many things told of the Laird of Lag that I have quite
forgotten; yet one thing I still remember, and that is the account of
what took place at the time of his burial.  My Thomas told me his
grandfather remembered that day well, and such a one he never saw.  It
was in the winter time and bitterly cold; yet notwithstanding, there was
a storm of thunder and lightning the like of which never occurred in the
memory of man.  As Lag died in Dumfries, horses were brought from the
Kings’ Arms Inn in order to bring his body to Dunscore.  I suppose you
have seen his grave?"

"Yes," I replied, "and very sorry I am to see it all in ruins!"

"Ay," she, said, "Lag is in a sad state!"

After this sage remark, Mrs. Walker continued: "As I was saying, horses
were brought from the inn at Dumfries, for the purpose of driving the
hearse to the burial-ground; but when they were yoked, and the driver
endeavoured to set them in motion, not one foot would they stir.  All
this time the thunder rolled and the lightning flashed in an awful
manner.  Half-blinded by the vivid flashes that played around, and
smarting under the furious strokes of the driver’s whip, the poor horses
trembled in every limb; yet no power on earth was capable of causing
them to proceed with their burden.  Well, Sir Thomas of Closeburn was
there, and he swore a great oath that he would drive Lag to his grave,
although the devil was in him.  So, unyoking the horses from his own
carriage, he fastened them to the hearse, and mounting himself on the
driver’s seat, prepared to urge them forward.  At this moment, a large
black rook, that had been seated on one of the housetops, apparently
watching the whole proceedings with the deepest interest, flew down from
its elevated situation, and, with a loud caw, seated itself on the top
of the hearse.  Strange to say, whenever it placed itself there, the
horses set off at a gallop; and the roads being rough and heavy with the
recent rains, the hearse was jolted about in a fearful manner; still the
rook kept its seat, and cawed every now and again.  Whenever it did so
the horses went faster and faster, until at length on arriving at the
churchyard, they fell down dead, from sheer exhaustion.  Then the
strange bird rose up from its seat, and, with a loud scream and a flap
of its wings, flew away and was soon out of sight.  The people about
maintain to this day that it was the devil who had come in person to
superintend the funeral of his colleague.  At the time I speak of there
were copies of an elegy on the Laird of Lag—a verse of which I read to
you from the ’Scots’ Worthies’—distributed throughout the country; and
as no one knew the composer, it was universally believed that the devil
himself wrote it, as a lament for having lost so good a servant as Lag
had been to him while on earth.  All the copies that could be procured
were bought up by by Sir Robert’s granddaughter, who could not bear that
her grandfather’s memory should be held in such detestation, and I doubt
if there is a copy now in existence."

"How far is Lag Tower from here?" I inquired, after thanking her for the
tale.

"About four miles," replied Mrs. Walker, "and an easy road it is to find
out.  You go past the Free Church Manse, and turn up the Barjarg Road:
then go through Glen Midge, and you will soon see the old tower.  It is
a wild place, and well worth visiting."

Whilst pursuing my way along the path which led to the ancient residence
of the Laird of Lag, a sudden turning in the road revealed to my gaze
the form of an aged man, who pursued, with praiseworthy assiduity, his
laborious employment of stone-breaking.  There was something at once
pleasing and impressive in the physiognomy of the venerable labourer.
From beneath the Kilmarnock bonnet which surmounted his grey hairs, his
blue eyes sparkled with yet unsubdued fire and animation; while the
ruddy glow on his weather-beaten cheek, and the vigorous strokes with
which his hammer descended on the stony pile before him, betokened
energy of character and a total absence of those ailments so often
attendant on the footsteps of age.

Being now somewhat at a loss how to arrive at the object of my wishes,
the road at this point branching off in different directions, I inquired
of the labourer whither I should direct my steps, so as to avoid losing
my way amongst the surrounding morasses.  The old man, thus accosted,
paused in his labour, and replied to my inquiry, in the usual Scotch
fashion, by putting another, "And so you are going to visit the old Toor
o’ Lag?"  I answered in the affirmative.  "Ay ay! well it’s a queer
solitary place."  "From all accounts, the Laird must have been a very
extraordinary man," I observed.  "You may well say so," said the old
stone-breaker, as ceasing from his arduous task, he stood with one hand
on the handle of his implement, while with the other he uncovered his
head, to allow the cool breezes to refresh his heated temples, "he was
just a most ex-tre-or-nary man, if all be true that is said about him."
"Are you inclined to doubt the truth of those stories told concerning
him in Dumfriesshire?"

"No," was the reply, accompanied by a sagacious shake of the head, "I
cannot say that I do.  Many of them may be enlarged on, for, as one
knows, a story always gathers in the telling; but still in the main they
are true enough, and certainly reflect little honour on him about whom
they are told.  A-well-a-day!" he continued, "these were indeed sad
times when men, left to their own inventions, played such a cruel and
unworthy part; the persecutors were, in general, a cold-blooded,
relentless sect, and at the head o’ the tribe you may put the Laird of
Lag, for none of the others, in my opinion, were fit to hold a candle to
him for pure malice and steadfastness of purpose in the shedding of
blood.  There was Claverhouse, evil spirit as he was, it is well known
he felt some compunction of consciences for having murdered that godly
person, John Brown, and seldom or never refused his intended victim a
few moments to commend his departing spirit to Him who save it; but, as
related of Sir Robert Grierson, he laughed to scorn the tearful
entreaties of the captured Covenanter, and turning a deaf ear to all the
poor man’s agonised appeals for only one moment to make his peace with
God, or to implore a blessing on his country, sent him straight to that
bourne from whence no traveller returns."

There was a pause for a few moments, which was at length broken by the
old man.

"This was a great part of the country for the Laird’s exploits: the
militia, with him at their head, were constantly riding up and down
Dumfriesshire and Galloway, and woe to the unlucky wight who fell into
their hands: guilty or not guilty, it was all one—shot or hanged he must
be.  The Laird sent forth the iniquitous decree, ’Soldiers, do your
duty!  Prisoner, prepare for death! not one word!’  Bang, bang! he is
dead; and away rides Sir Robert, priding himself in no small degree on
his strict adherence to the laws of vengeance, and taking no pains to
conceal his exultation at the summary punishment he had inflicted on one
of the canting rebels, as he was pleased, in common with his
fellow-labourers in the vineyard of iniquity, to designate the hapless
body of men he had sworn to exterminate."

"Have you read much about the Covenanters?" I inquired of the labourer,
whose eyes burned like coals of living fire while dwelling on the
misfortunes of those whose cause he evidently espoused with no small
amount of zeal.

"Every book that I can lay my hands on, from the ’Scots’ Worthies’ down
to ’Helen of the Glen,’ and not only once, but over and over again,
until I could repeat the most of them off by heart.  Next to the lives
of these good and holy men, whose names are an honour and glory to
Scotland," pursued the labourer, "James Renwick’s sermons is the book
most prized by me—ay! there are no preachers like him now-a-days! What
would I not have given to have been with him on some bonnie hill-side
when he was holding forth to the faithful few privileged to hear him!
Have you ever read his sermons?" he inquired.

I replied in the negative.

He then continued, "Well, all I can say is, you have missed something
good, so full are they of sound, wholesome doctrine and Christian
principles; how he must have been inspired by the cause he espoused, to
be able to preach such truly comforting doctrines!"

"It is a pity," I said, "but Sir Robert Grierson had heard him, he might
have been converted——"

"Him!" interrupted the old man; "no, no; he was a brand reserved for the
burning; no sermons, however forcible, would have had the slightest
effect on his black nature; his heart would have resisted the knocks of
the minister, as the stone resisteth the hammer."

Here the labourer, by way of illustration, inflicted with his implement
a vigorous stroke on an obdurate piece of rock, which effectually
resisted all his attempts to reduce its dimensions.

"That hill," I observed, alluding to the one previously mentioned by
Mrs. Walker, "seems to have been the theatre of many an evil deed; was
it not there that the Laird executed judgment on many of the poor men
who chanced to fall into his power?"

The old man gazed for a moment on the hill in question, then with a
shake of the head, accompanied by a deep-drawn sigh, confirmed Mrs.
Walker’s statements to their fullest extent, dwelling at considerable
length on the many acts of butchery perpetrated on the summit of the
eminence, which, covered with a sombre mass of dark firs, frowned
gloomily upon us.

"Is there no story you can recall to remembrance connected with some of
Sir Robert Grierson’s wild exploits?" I inquired, fully persuaded from
the old man’s garrulity that his memory was like a well-stored garner in
respect to these matters, and that a little time and leisure were all
that was necessary to produce some thrilling narration of horror—some
marvellous tale still treasured up in the breasts of a few, relating to
the days of persecution.  I was not disappointed. The old man, thus
appealed to, stood silent for a moment, as if buried in deep thought,
then throwing his hammer carelessly from him, he leisurely seated
himself on the pile of stones beside him, and after a few preparatory
hems, commenced the following tale, which clothed in my own language is
now presented to the reader.

On a fine spring evening in the year sixteen hundred and eighty-five,
that year so fraught with gloom and disaster to all espousing the
Covenanting cause, a young man, who, judging from his military garb and
martial appearance, belonged to one of those militia regiments then
scouring the country in search of those they were commissioned to kill
or make captive, came riding slowly along the road leading from Irongray
to Dunscore.  He was evidently in a thoughtful mood, for his forehead
was contracted by a deep frown and his eyes were bent steadily on the
ground so as to render him oblivious to the motions of his charger,
which, finding from the slackened rein and idle spur that his former
impatient master had ceased to hasten his onward progress, speedily took
advantage of this discovery to snatch a few mouthfuls of grass which
grew in wild luxuriance along the sides of the road.  This little
indulgence of his inclinations being allowed to pass unpunished, the
poor animal, apparently worn out by his previous hard work, finally came
to a stand-still and proceeded leisurely to crop the tempting herbage
presented to his view.  This sudden stoppage on the part of his charger,
speedily aroused the soldier from the absorbing reverie into which he
had fallen, and snatching up the neglected reins, he thrust his rowels
into his sides and forced him into a hand-gallop.  For some little time
he pursued his rapid career, until his horse, accidentally treading on a
stone, stumbled, and being unable to recover his lost footing, fell
heavily on the road, bearing his rider with him.  For one moment, the
horseman lay stunned and motionless from the force of the shock; but
speedily recovering his scattered senses, he extricated his feet from
the stirrups, and proceeded to raise his fallen charger.  Greatly to his
annoyance, the soldier perceived from the halting gait of his faithful
steed that further use of his services was for the present impossible.
Uttering an exclamation of disappointment, he gathered the reins in his
hands, and leading the horse off the highway, struck into a wild,
solitary path, winding away amongst the hills which lay to the right
hand of the road leading to Dunscore.  The gloaming was now advancing
with rapid strides; and anxious to reach his destination without further
delay, the young man pressed onwards as swiftly as the disabled state of
his horse would allow; but soon the lameness of the poor animal
increased to such a degree that he was fain to pause for a few moments,
in order to discover, if possible, the extent of the injury inflicted.
The horse, with the natural instinct of its race, seemed at once aware
of the nature of the service about to be rendered, and placing his
swollen foot in the outstretched hand of his master rubbed his head
against his shoulder, as if to evince his gratitude for the kindly
feelings which prompted the examination.  Whilst inspecting the bruised
leg, the natural buoyancy of the soldier’s spirits, which had been in no
small measure disturbed by the untoward events of the day, returned in
full vigour; and with all the joyous gaiety of youth, which rises
superior to the frowns of adversity, he commenced singing the song so
popular with his party, namely, that which related to King Charles’
return.  He had not proceeded farther than the words—

    "Oh, the twenty-ninth of May,
    It was a glorious day
    When the king did enjoy his own again!"

when a slight cough behind made him pause in the midst of his ditty,
and, greatly to his surprise, on turning round he perceived an aged man,
whose broad, blue bonnet and dress of hodden-grey betokened his
adherence to the cause of the Kirk and Covenant leaning on the butt-end
of a musket, and regarding him attentively with a look of stern
displeasure, which seemed rather to amuse than terrify the object of his
scrutiny, who, noways daunted by the ominous-looking weapon upon which
the stranger leaned, returned his scowling glance with one of haughty
defiance for he instantly exclaimed, "How now, old wiseacre! wer’t
nourished on vinegar, that thou lookest so sour? Why, man alive! one
would fancy from thy rueful visage that things are not so well with thee
as thou fain wouldst wish; speak out, man, and tell us at once the cause
of thy disturbed aspect."

The aged wanderer smiled grimly, but vouchsafed no further reply to the
scoffing inquiries of the soldier, who, somewhat nettled by the
contemptuous silence maintained by the stranger, burst forth into one of
the many songs then so much in vogue amongst the cavaliers, and which
consigned to (in their eyes) condign punishment all those who ventured
to differ from them so essentially as did the Puritans.  The eyes of the
Covenanter flashed sparks of fire on hearing this scornful ballad, and
grasping his musket, he seemed as if about to rush on the object of his
wrath, then, apparently by a mighty effort, conquering his disposition
for violence, he regained his original position, and continued gazing
with a gloomy brow on the performer, who heedless of its effects on the
person before him, pursued his ditty with admirable coolness, repeating
over and over again with marked emphasis, the verses he thought most
likely to annoy and irritate the grey-haired Covenanter.

"Young man," said the stranger at the conclusion of the song, "you have
verily moved me to anger by your unwarrantable attack on our poor,
afflicted body; and yet fain would I argue with you in all soberness and
good-will on the evil doings of the party with whom you consort, for
that you are one of these cruel persecutors of our church, now ranging
the country, I make bold to believe, therefore——"

"Now, cease your fanatical jargon," interrupted the soldier, "I care not
to bandy words with one pertaining to that rebellious sect I am bound to
molest by every means in my power, and to despise as being utterly
incapable of listening to a word of sense, even although delivered in
season," (this was said by the soldier in a snivelling tone); "so leave
me in peace to attend my good steed, which well merits all the attention
I have to bestow."

"The horse," rejoined the old man, "has more sense than its master, and
faints in the bloody service to which you have doomed it; but since you
despise the good counsel I would bestow, even on an enemy, I will
content myself by simply inquiring from whence you come and whither you
are bound?"

"I do not see," was the reply, "by what right you presume to question me
as regards my movements; but still I will not refuse to satisfy you on
that point, so make answer that I have come from Drumlanrig, burdened
with a special message from the Earl of Queensbury to Sir Robert
Grierson, whom I serve, as in duty bound, having been born on his
estate, and whom I am willing to follow to the death should he please so
to lead me."

The brows of the stranger contracted into a frown of fearful import,
and, grasping his gun with frantic violence, he hissed through his
clenched teeth, "You are a servant of his, are you?  Then, you belong to
one whom I have sworn to dispatch should he cross my path—he, the
inhuman monster!" (here the soldier started to his feet, and drawing his
sword, sprang towards the Covenanter, but waving him off with his hand,
the stranger continued), "he, I say, has this day deprived me of my
faithful and loving brother—one who had never injured him in thought,
word, or deed. He lived in his secluded home—peaceful and happy in the
bosom of his family.  Fortune smiled upon him. He was rich, yet he was
humble; he was prosperous, yet no one envied him; and why? because of
his abundance he gave to them who were in want, and never said to the
hungry—Depart; I have nought for thee. In midst of these religious
grievances which have racked our native land, Elias Henderson displayed
no symptoms of fear and dismay.  Claverhouse, with his bloodhounds,
overran Galloway; Johnstone of Westerraw, with his myrmidons, scoured
the plains of Annandale; Grierson of Lag, the worst of them all,
traversed the hilly country of Dumfriesshire; yet was he tranquil.  ’I
have harmed none of these men,’ was his reply, on being questioned as to
the reason of his undisturbed serenity of countenance, when all around
him were tortured with gloomy apprehensions; ’It is true I espouse the
side of the Covenant, but what of that? is not liberty of conscience the
prerogative of every British subject? then wherefore injure one for
worshipping the God of his fathers in the way that seemeth him best?’
Ah, my poor Elias! little recked he of the awful fate which awaited him.
This morning," here the speaker paused for a moment overcome with
emotion, "my brother was walking in the vicinity of his farm; suddenly a
band of horsemen appeared in sight, with the redoubted Sir Robert
Grierson at their head; they approached the spot where my brother stood.
Unconscious of fear, Elias walked bravely forward, and uncovering his
head, inquired of the fierce baronet the reason of his coming."

"You shall soon learn that," was the mocking reply; and without further
parley, the cruel relentless demon drew from his pocket a loaded pistol,
and levelled it at the head of my unsuspecting brother.

"’Mercy, mercy!’ he cried, perceiving the cruel intent with which Sir
Robert had visited his farm; ’only five minutes to make my peace with
God, to beg a blessing on my wife and children!’

"’Not one second,’ was the stern rejoinder; and that instant my
brother—my poor brother, fell a lifeless corpse; he is dead, but I live
to avenge him!" so saying, the wanderer leant his head on his gun and
sobbed aloud.  There was a momentary pause, during which the soldier
stood motionless, gazing on the speaker, apparently astonished at the
wild frenzy which so powerfully characterised his every movement.  He
seemed as if about to speak, when, dashing away the tears which almost
blinded him, the stranger, or, as we may now term him, Walter Henderson,
started from his drooping posture, and raising his hands and eyes to
heaven, thundered forth with vehemence, "Before God I swear that I live
for nothing but revenge on him who has rendered my brother’s house
desolate and forlorn; who has transformed the happy wife into a bereaved
widow, and smiling children into wailing mourners. From this day
henceforward shall Walter Henderson be an alien to his house and
kindred, until he has gratified his thirst for vengeance, and the bones
of his enemy are left to bleach beneath the wasting winds of heaven!"

"Come, cease your foolish bragging," replied the soldier, "Sir Robert
Grierson may not be accountable to you or any man for the justice he
pleases to administer to these bog-hunting fellows, who have thrown the
whole of Scotland, ay, and England to boot, into a state of uproar and
confusion by their fanatical nonsense.  I doubt not but that he had some
powerful reasons for dispatching your brother a little before his time,
indeed, according to your own reasoning, that the day of a man’s death
is appointed at the instant of his birth—my most worshipful leader was
merely an instrument under Providence to fulfil the verdict that had
gone forth against your brother, therefore——"

"And does that lessen his guilt?" sternly interrupted Walter Henderson;
"think you that Pontius Pilate will stand at the judgment-seat with an
undaunted front, because it was decreed he should condemn his Lord and
Master?  Think you that the precious blood of the saints and martyrs,
which now reddens the heaths and valleys of our native land, will not be
avenged because the day for its shedding had arrived? In not blood for
blood the decree of One who holds the scales of justice in his bands?
Hath he not said, ’Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be
shed?’  Then woe to him, who, by the strict performance of the bloody
duty imposed upon him by those whom he professes to hold himself bound
to obey, encourages the wicked in their evil counsels, and for his own
reward heaps up endless misery, if not in this present world, in _that_
which is to come!  Young man," pursued Walter Henderson, advancing
nearer to the astonished soldier, and speaking in a tone of kindlier
import than that he had adopted while dwelling on his brother’s death,
"it grieveth me much to see one apparently so young in years following
so readily in the footsteps of him who is, alas! but too truly believed
to bear a most deadly hatred to all espousing the side of our Kirk and
Covenant; and I would fain address to you a few words of warning, for
which you may yet learn to thank me, as it may be you have a mother
whose stay you are, therefore be guided by me in this matter, and
advance no farther on your road; it is beset with perils of which you
wot not; beneath the shade of each leafy tree; recline armed men; every
cottage which you pass contains a foe.  Aroused to madness by fresh acts
of cruelty daily perpetrated against them, the inhabitants of this
district have risen to a man in defence of their civil and religious
liberties; more than this, they have determined upon attacking the
stronghold of the ungodly leader whom you serve; and soon, we trust,
under the favour of Almighty God, to see the Tower of Lag a heap of
smouldering ruins.

"Now, as sure as my name is John Kirsop," exclaimed the soldier,
overwhelmed with anger, and seizing his horse’s bridle as he spoke,
"shall this communication reach the ears of him who is likely to feel
most interested in it;" so saying he made a motion to depart, when
Walter Henderson with a grim smile instantly laid his hand on the bridle
as if to restrain him.  In a transport of fury, young Kirsop drew his
sword and prepared to rush on the aged Covenanter, who thereupon started
hastily back and gave utterance to a shrill whistle, in answer to which
about a dozen men rushed forth from their various places of concealment
and surrounded the infuriated soldier, who, bewildered by this sudden
change in the aspect of affairs, quietly surrendered himself their
prisoner.

"Now, most valiant sir," said Walter Henderson, who appeared to be the
leader of the party, "as you have despised the warning, I, out of
kindness and consideration for your youth was foolish enough to give
you, you must prepare to accompany us as our captive.  No evil is
intended you, but should you evince the slightest disposition to
escape—that moment shall be your last;" so saying, he gave orders for
the party to set themselves in motion.  The moon had risen, and her pale
crest appeared over the summits of the surrounding hills, throwing a dim
and shadowy light on the path trod by the Covenanters, as they silently,
and with many precautions against surprise, pursued their way along the
rough-winding road leading in the direction of Lag Tower.  Suddenly they
were startled in the midst of their progress by a scream, so shrill and
wild in its death-like agony, that all paused to listen, awestruck by
the heart-rending burst of sorrow which sounded painfully distinct amid
the deep and impressive silence that reigned around. Again and again it
was repeated; now floating on the breeze like the wail of some restless
spirit, and anon dying away in sounds resembling the mournful cadence
produced by the wind sweeping the chords of an Æolian harp.  The party,
at the orders of Walter Henderson, made a sudden halt, and, with
deepened gloom on their faces, awaited an explanation of the harrowing
sounds which now saluted their ears.  Nearer and nearer sounded the
voice of lamentation, and in a few minutes a small procession appeared
in sight, and approached the spot where stood the wanderers, some of
whom instantly rushed forward to ascertain the meaning of what they saw.
The first object that met their eyes was a rude bier constructed of
green boughs, on which lay the lifeless body of a young man, supported
on the shoulders of four men; while at his head, with streaming eyes and
dishevelled locks, walked an aged woman, the mother of the deceased. She
it was who gave utterance to these terrible bursts of sorrow that first
attracted the attention of Walter Henderson and his party.

"What new horror is this?" cried the aged leader, gazing with distended
eyes on the bloody object before him, and addressing himself to the
woman, who, totally unable to speak, merely pointed to the lifeless
corpse, and again gave utterance to a shriek which froze the blood of
those who stood speechless around. Perceiving that the wretched mother
was wholly incapable of replying to his inquiry, Walter Henderson then
turned to one of the four men supporting the bier, and begged to be
informed as to the cause of the sad occurrence, and by whose hands the
unfortunate man had perished.

"Just the old story!" was the reply; "a poor innocent lad done to death
by the blood-hounds of the opposite party; and all for refusing the oath
of abjuration.  Four of us" continued the speaker, "were this morning
seated on the brow of a hill near Dunscore; James Wishart, he who lies
on this stretcher, was reading aloud from the Bible, and we were lying
beside him listening to the comforting words, when suddenly four or five
dragoons appeared at the base of the hill on which we were stationed.
Seeing, from their threatening gestures, that harm was intended us, we
prepared for flight.  ’Pursue different directions,’ cried James
Wishart, who was himself an excellent runner, throwing off his coat as
he spoke.  We shook each other by the hand and commended ourselves to
God.  Away went James Wishart fleet as the wind, and after him, with the
fire of hate in their breasts, sped the dragoons. Finding ourselves
unmolested, we stood as if spellbound, in breathless anxiety gazing
after the retreating figure of our comrade.  On he went, swift as the
roe-deer. ’He will escape,’ murmured one who stood by my side; at that
instant he stumbled and fell.  ’Oh, God protect him!’ cried we all.  In
an instant he regained his footing, and darted on swifter than ever.
Soon he disappeared in the distance.  Anxious concerning our own safety,
we parted and set off in different directions. This took place in the
morning.  Towards the hour of noon, prompted by anxiety regarding the
fate of young Wishart, I, who had remained concealed beneath a cairn of
stones near the spot where my friends left me, sought by a circuitous
route to approach the place where last we saw him in advance of the
dragoons. Alas! a few paces distant from thence there he lay extended on
the ground.  Observing, however, some portion of his garments in motion,
I hastened joyfully forward, hoping to find him alive; but no; it was
only the wind which stirred his yellow hair and a pocket-handkerchief
that lay deluged in blood beside him. He was gone!  His young life had
ebbed away through a gun-shot wound in his breast.  I sat down beside
him, devoutly hoping my late companions would also return to ascertain
the fate of their comrade, as I did not wish to leave his lifeless body
to the mercy of the hungry ravens which hovered in circles around our
heads, watching for their prey.  Soon they rejoined me, another
accompanying them.  The dragoons, they informed me, satisfied with their
morning’s work, had galloped off in another direction, therefore we
might with safety convey the body of James Wishart to his mother’s
cottage, which stood not far distant.  Having constructed this rude
bier, we laid his body upon it, and bore it on our shoulders along this
path; just about a mile from thence we encountered his mother, who,
alarmed at the protracted absence of her son, had set forth in search of
him——"

"Yes!" screamed forth the distracted parent, "the spirit of my murdered
boy drove me forth to meet his mangled body.  I sat in my house,
bewailing my solitary widowhood—alone with my foreboding fears
concerning my son, and brooding with tortured soul over the fearful
calamities that has befallen the faithful of the land.  Suddenly I was
seized with a trembling and sinking of the heart—an indescribable
feeling of awe, as if some mysterious being invisible, yet distinctly
felt, hovered around, overcame me, and I bowed my head in acknowledgment
of its presence.  Then a voice, which I instantly knew to be that of my
son, although sweet and low, whispered the name of—mother! Distracted
with fear, I fled from the cottage; and led by my mysterious guide, my
footsteps turned in this direction.  Maddened by cruel uncertainty, I
ran swiftly onwards until I encountered the bier which bore all that
remained of my murdered son."

Here the mother ended her sad recital, and weeping afresh, resumed her
station at the head of the procession.

"Men, and fellow-sufferers in the good cause!" shouted Walter Henderson
at the conclusion of the widow’s tale, "what merits the man, who, on
account of his high position and influence in this county, has it in his
power to succour those overwhelmed by dangers and miseries of every
description, and to befriend the followers of the Covenant, but who,
instead of shielding these poor afflicted ones under the strong arm of
his might, reduces them to the bonds of slavery, and exercises his
authority over the minds of his friends and dependants to the
furtherance of every evil work, whereby the blood of innocent and
inoffensive men is poured out like water on the hills and valleys of
Scotland?"

"Death!" was the rejoinder.

"What punishment should be inflicted on him," pursued their leader, "who
has driven the labourer from his kindred and home, and the patriot from
his country?"

"Let him perish in the midst of his ungodliness, and let his stronghold
be razed; yea even to the ground!"

"Comrades," shouted Walter Henderson, "It is Sir Robert Grierson whom ye
have with one accord denounced; he it is who has clad the green hills of
Dumfriesshire in mourning, and caused the wail of widows and orphans to
ascend up to heaven for a testimony against him; then let us, trusting
in the help of the Almighty God, call upon him to account for his
iniquities, and burn down the stronghold of his cruelties.

"Amen," said they all.

"Who is this? how comes it to pass that you have one of the ungodly in
your company?" inquired one of the bier-bearers, addressing Walter
Henderson, and pointing to John Kirsop as he spoke.

"He is a soldier I chanced to encounter on my way hither," replied the
person addressed, "and not having succeeded in bringing him to reason, I
have taken the liberty of making him captive lest he interfere in some
measure with the projects we have in view.  But come along," he added,
"night wears apace, and the work we have in hand brooks not of delay;
here, Thompson, a word with you."  So saying, he beckoned to one of the
party, and withdrawing a few paces apart from the others, entered into a
whispered conversation, which, greatly to the annoyance of young Kirsop,
who strained every nerve to catch a few syllables of what tvas passing,
proved wholly inaudible to the rest of the group.

His private conference with Thompson being ended, Walter Henderson once
more joined his companions, and addressed them as follows:—"My friends,
it is agreed upon between us that this night must witness the
destruction of Lag Tower; then, let us hasten with resolute hearts and
hands to our appointed task. Danger menaces us in every direction, for
the tramplers of the Covenant lie lurking in secret places, seeking whom
they may devour, and certain destruction awaits us should we fail in our
attempt, or Sir Robert Grierson be made aware of our purpose;
nevertheless, let us have faith in Him (here Walter Henderson uncovered
his head) who is strong in might, and able and willing to save all those
whose trust is placed in His word.  It is true we are few in number; but
when the soul is animated by steady and devoted zeal in the good cause,
much that to us poor frail mortals seems almost impossible, may under
the blessing of God be accomplished.  You are all of you aware," he
continued "of the motives which have induced me to embark in this
hazardous enterprise, namely, to revenge the death of my beloved
brother, and to prevent, if possible, by the destruction of his
stronghold, the perpetration of fresh crimes—the bare contemplation of
which excites the inmost soul with horror—by that wicked Laird, against
whom there has ascended a warning cry to heaven proclaiming that the
measure of his iniquities is completed; then, let us press forward in
this most blessed work, the execution of which promises us so great a
reward."

Here Walter Henderson paused for a moment, then turning to another of
the party, named Andrew Hamilton, he requested him to accompany the body
of James Wishart to the dwelling of the bereaved mother, in case of any
surprise by the way, taking with him their prisoner, whose company would
only prove an annoyance in the difficult enterprise they were about to
undertake.  The man thus addressed took no pains to conceal his
displeasure at being prevented from attending and sharing with them in
so daring an exploit as the burning of Lag Tower; but Walter Henderson
represented to him the importance of the duty committed to his care, and
adjured him to maintain the prisoner in all safety until the morrow,
when his fate should be decided.  His instructions finished, the brave
old Covenanter placed himself at the head of the small but resolute
party, all eager to do his bidding, and uttering a few hurried words of
sympathy and farewell to the weeping widow, who now turned her steps in
an opposite direction, he commenced his rapid march towards the feudal
Tower of Lag, whose outline was even then dimly discernible, amid the
darkness now rapidly closing around them.

We must now leave Walter Henderson and his followers pursuing their way
towards the residence of Sir Robert Grierson, and return to Andrew
Hamilton, who, in accordance with the wishes of his leader, walked
alongside the sad procession, his hand holding the bridle of the
disabled steed, on whose back, his hands tied in such a manner so as
effectually to prevent his making any efforts to escape, rode John
Kirsop, his cheeks glowing with ill-concealed annoyance, and his eyes,
burning with impatience, resting alternately, and with no very benign
expression on the faces of the different individuals composing the
group.  As there still remained about a mile of their journey to
accomplish, Andrew Hamilton seized the opportunity to express his
surprise and regret at the unworthy part chosen by John Kirsop, which he
did as follows:—"It really astonishes me beyond measure to see a young
man, apparently possessed of a good understanding, and in appearance not
unlike the rest of us, amongst the ranks of those we have but too much
reason to style the natural enemies of all who uphold the Kirk and
Covenant.  O dearie me, man! but you are wandering far far from the
paths of sobriety and well-doing when thus espousing the cause of the
mortal antagonists of sound spiritual doctrines and church freedom;
really, I am grieved to behold you thus treading the path that leadeth
to destruction, with eyes blindfolded and ears shut to the words of
wisdom. And what kind of amusement is this, think you, to be hunting a
parcel of your fellow-creatures from bog to bog, and from hill to
valley, as if the Almighty had created the one-half of mankind to be
meet sport for the other?  No, no, my friend; true religion does’na
begin with a chase and end with a murder; far more profitable would it
be for the like of you, and those whom you serve with so much zeal and
devotion, to be chasing pride, vain-glory, hypocrisy, and every evil
tenant from your cold stubborn hearts, than to be hanging and shooting
those who are manly enough to stand up for their civil and religious
liberties in the face of the assembled world."

"Cease your foolish prating," sternly interrupted the irritated soldier.

"’Deed and I will not!" rejoined Andrew Hamilton, who, like many of his
brethern, was fond of indulging in a little disputation; "at least not
until I have endeavoured to convince you of the base unworthy part you
are acting towards those whose side you should have espoused with all
the alacrity of a true Christian and the patriotic feelings of a
Scotchman.  What are you at the present time," he continued, "but a tool
in the hands of one who would dispatch you to-morrow did you give him
the slightest cause for provocation or distrust?  Why, then, continue in
his service to the utter ruin of your immortal soul?  Has not the
fearful occurrence of to-day made some impression on your youthful
heart?  Think you that men who thus wantonly imbrue their hands in the
blood of the innocent can be held guiltless in the presence of Him who
abhorreth the wicked and cruel man? or that mercy will be bestowed on
those who know it not, and who, by the cruel measures they have adopted
towards the adherents of a stricken Church, have brought down woe and
desolation on our beloved land?"

"Why, then," said John Kirsop, "will you still remain hostile to
Government?  You cannot expect, if you set the whole country in a state
of revolt by your fanatical and impious jargon, but that such measures
as our leaders may deem proper to employ will be taken to reduce your
strength and restore you to reason——"

"Reason!" wrathfully exclaimed Andrew Hamilton, "I think, friend, you
are a little mistaken on that point; it is the Government that must be
brought both to hear and understand reason, likewise to take care how
they offend and ridicule those both able and willing to stand to their
arms when their rights are trampled on and their freedom assailed."

"Miserable fanatic," said the soldier in reply, "I would avoid wasting
words on one so narrow-minded and bigoted as thou art; so, pri’thee
cease, and permit me to indulge in my own thoughts, which are much more
likely to prove profitable than any arguments proceeding out of thy
mouth.  I quarrel not with thee for the part thou has taken in these
unhappy disturbances which now agitate our land; nor will I, in spite of
all the abuse thou has been pleased to heap on our devoted heads for our
cruelty and revenge, dwell on the atrocious act thy companions are,
perchance even now, engaged in; but were I free of these bonds I should
teach thee to keep a civil tongue in that thick head of thine, and not
thus waste thy breath in giving advice unasked and unwished for."

Here the prisoner relapsed into moody silence; and Andrew Hamilton,
somewhat disconcerted at the haughty tone assumed by his new
acquaintance, forbore to press the conversation further.  They had now
arrived at the cottage inhabited by old Mrs. Wishart; it was a dwelling
situated on the bank of a rippling stream, which shone like molten
silver in the pale moonlight, while the dusky foliage of a few
pine-trees overtopping the roof of the straw-thatched cottage harmonised
well with the procession now advancing beneath their gloomy boughs.  On
reaching the threshold, the sorrowing mother paused for a moment, as if
dreading to enter the desolate home, whose blazing hearth would never
more be enlivened by the cheerful voice now hushed for ever—never more!
She sighed deeply; and after engaging in mental prayer that she might be
endowed with fresh strength to support this fearful trial, she raised
the latch and entered, beckoning on the others to follow.  All was as
she had left.  The fire smouldered in the grate, the clock ticked on the
wall; while the kettle gave forth its cheerful song, unheeded in the
midst of the general desolation.  Opening a side-door which led into a
little sleeping-room, Mrs. Wishart, her face ghastly with intense
emotion, signed to the bier-bearers thither to convey the body of her
murdered son.  The men obeyed; and placing the corpse, at the mother’s
desire, on the snow-white counterpane, they retired with noiseless steps
and uncovered heads to the adjacent apartment, leaving her alone in the
chamber with the dead.  In the meanwhile, Andrew Hamilton, who had been
busily occupied in searching out a place of security in which to deposit
his prisoner, of whose company he was, to own the truth, heartily tired,
at length discovered a barn which he at once chose as being adapted in
every respect for the present purpose. Windows there were none; and the
door being secured by a double lock, rendered all attempts at escape
fruitless—so Andrew Hamilton thought; and acting upon his hastily-formed
opinion, he thrust in the hand-bound prisoner, and double-locking the
door, proceeded to stable the exhausted steed.  This done, he retraced
his steps to the kitchen, where he found his four companions seated
around the hearth, conversing in subdued whispers on the sad occurrences
of the day.

"I really wonder how Walter Henderson and his party are getting on," at
length observed one of the party, and he shook his head as he spoke.

"Not very well, I fear," replied another, "for if all tales be true, Sir
Robert Grierson keeps up too much correspondence with the powers of
darkness not to be made acquainted beforehand with so important an event
as the burning of his tower; and should he catch any of the unfortunate
wights engaged in the act, their time on earth will be but short.  Sir
Robert understands not mercy at any time, and an attempt such as this
will be enough to drive him mad; nor will he be appeased until the
perpetrators are hanged as high as Haman."

"In verity, he is a terrible man," said a third. "I never saw him but
once, nor do I wish to behold him again; his eye as it rested on me
seemed to read my very thoughts at a single glance, and his brow had a
gloom I have never seen equalled.  Off went my bonnet in a trice, and my
head stooped to the very ground as he approached, so anxious was I to do
him all honour, while I strove to look calm and collected, although
Heaven knows I was trembling like an aspen leaf, so great was my terror
of the noted Laird.  ’Ho, ho!’ he shouted as he came alongside of me,
and his voice went through me like a sword, and seemed to take all the
strength, as it were, out of my back.  ’Ho, ho! but you seem a well
mannered knave; and could you wield a sword or fire a gun as quickly as
you can lower that bullet-head of yours, I would make your fortune; say,
are you willing, provided you excel in these accomplishments, to enter
my service?’  ’Most worshipful sir,’ I replied, with a joyous expression
of face and an inward shudder, ’I should indeed have esteemed it a
favour far above my humble deserts to have ranked even amongst the
humblest of your retainers, but——’  ’No buts,’ roared Sir Robert, with a
fierce glance and a scowling brow; ’yes, or no, for me!’  ’Pray hear
me,’ I replied in an imploring voice, fearful of incurring the deadly
auger of so unscrupulous a person as Sir Robert was reported to be, ’I
only intended to assure you of my regrets that circumstances——’  ’Cease
your abominable falsehoods,’ he again sternly interrupted, ’and own the
truth at once, you unshaven rascal; speak out like an honest man and
tell me, what you know to be the case, that you are not ambitious to be
enrolled amongst the "Laird’s Devils."’  So saying, he made a cut at me
with his whip and rode off, laughing heartily, as if considering the
whole affair an excellent joke; while I, delighted to have escaped so
easily, made the best of my way homewards; and ever since that day I
have taken especial care always to keep a good stone wall between me and
Sir Robert, for fear the second meeting should not terminate quite so
pleasantly."

"Ay, Ay," chimed in a fourth, "but were you to see the Laird suffering
from an attack of the gout, such as my father once witnessed, you would
then have reason to remember the meeting."

On his being urged to give them an account of the interview in question,
the speaker narrated the following:—

"One day my poor father, who is a staunch old Covenanter, and cares not
to avow the fact, was taken up on suspicion of having secreted some
rebels who had rendered themselves particularly obnoxious to Government,
and nothing would satisfy his accusers but his going before Sir Robert
Grierson to answer the charge preferred against him.  My father said,
the very idea of facing that fearful man, as he styled the Laird, made
him feel ready to faint; but he was determined to show no signs of fear,
lest it might be construed against him; so putting a bold face on the
matter, he not only expressed his willingness, but his anxiety, to meet
Sir Robert; and, in accordance with his desire, he was instantly
conveyed to Lag Tower.  It happened, very unfortunately for my father,
that very day on which he went to abide his trial, Sir Robert was
confined to bed from a dreadful attack of his old enemy, the gout, which
had rendered him so savage that his domestics were afraid to venture
near him; but no sooner was he made aware of the fact of there being a
prisoner awaiting his pleasure, than he left his couch; and dressing
himself as speedily as repeated twinges of the gout would permit, he
hobbled down stairs, blaspheming the while in a manner horrible to
listen to. On entering the room where stood my father, with his accusers
beside him, Sir Robert darted a keen glance at him from beneath his
shaggy eyebrows, and then proceeded to question those present regarding
the offence alleged to have been committed by my father. A grim smile
played at the corners of his mouth, and a fiery gleam shot from his eyes
as he listened to the rather complicated statement regarding my father’s
conduct in the affair of the late concealment.  He then thanked them for
the ready zeal they had displayed in the king’s service, and desired
that they should retire to another apartment, ’For,’ said he, with a
hoarse laugh, ’I should like to have a little private conversation with
the old Whig, and I dare say I shall manage to make him sensible of the
heinous crime he has committed, thereby rendering himself amenable to
the laws of his country.’  The room being cleared of all save my father,
who stood boldly confronting the Laird, his head erect and his hands
folded across his breast, in the attitude of one who fears no evil and
is conscious of having performed none, Sir Robert seated himself at the
head of the table, and motioning to my father to approach nearer to the
judgment-seat, as he styled his huge arm-chair, he addressed him in the
following language:—’Is it not a downright disgrace for an old man like
you, whose grey hairs ought to have covered a head of wisdom, to be
arraigned before us, charged with having aided in the secreting of a
parcel of knaves, rebels in fact, against their king and country;
thereby frustrating the ends of justice, which required the lives of
these men, and not these only, but of all who similarly transgress the
righteous laws established by our most gracious sovereign King Charles
the Second, whom may Heaven long preserve to the utter confusion of all
who wish him harm?  What have you to say for yourself, that we may be
satisfied of your innocence in this matter, and permit you to depart in
peace?’  My father, to tell you the honest truth, was in no small degree
puzzled how to reply to this strange mode of address adopted by Sir
Robert; but reflecting for a moment on the character of the man he had
to deal with, he arrived at the conclusion that the best way to avoid
giving a direct answer to so startling a question would be to propound
another, so he said, ’Well, Sir Robert, since you have desired me to
reply to the question you were pleased to put as regarded my complicity
in this aflair of the secreting of these poor unfortunate men, whom I
cannot look upon in the light of malefactors, I shall do so firmly, and
without reserve, feeling assured that no real blame can be attached to
the part I have acted throughout; but, before proceeding to enter into
details, I would simply ask in return, if any of those belonging to the
side you espouse so warmly were in grievous distress, and in imminent
danger of being deprived of their lives, should they fall into the hands
of their enemies, who were eagerly following on their track, would you
not esteem it a positive duty to harbour these unhappy fugitives?  Would
you not, I say, rejoice in the good deed you had accomplished, on
beholding their foes depart cheated of their expected prey, and seek no
other reward than the happiness arising from a self-approving
conscience?’  ’Then you acknowledge having aided these men to escape
from the just doom awaiting them,’ roared Sir Robert, his brow black
with ungovernable wrath.  ’You cannot prove that I did,’ coolly replied
my father, nowise daunted by the terrible looks of the fiery Laird; for
his blood was up, and when once he had got over his natural timidity of
character, he could have faced the old gentleman himself.  ’I will make
you prove it, however,’ was the fierce rejoinder; ’reach me hither that
Bible.’  My father did so.   Now, you old solemn-faced hypocrite,’ said
Sir Robert, accompanying these words with a hideous grimace, occasioned
by a sudden and severe twinge of the gout, ’as you value your life, you
must swear by this blessed book that you are entirely innocent of the
offence alleged against you, and that you know nothing of the
whereabouts of these men.’  ’But what if I do know something of the
whereabouts of these men?’ demanded my father, who was fully determined
to display no coward spirit, or evade the truth, even though death
should pay the penalty. ’Then your last hour has come,’ replied the
Laird, in a somewhat milder tone, for he was not a little astonished at
my father’s boldness of speech; ’so you may at once say your prayers.’
’That is rather an unusual favour for you to bestow,’ said my father,
with a smile; ’for if all is true that’s said of you, praying does not
come within your province; and instead of your victim’s soul being borne
aloft on the incense of prayer, it is generally dismissed with something
the very reverse of a blessing.’  ’No insolence, you ungrateful varlet,’
thundered forth Sir Robert, while his brow contracted into the most
fearful frown, my father said, he had ever witnessed; ’and since you
sneer at the boon I was pleased to offer you, your prayer shall be of my
framing; so down on your knees this instant, and mark you, every word
you utter must be in an audible tone of voice that I may be able to hear
and judge of the same.  You must pray as if your soul was in every word
you give forth, for the welfare of Church and State, dwelling at
considerable length on the goodness of his most gracious Majesty in
adopting such lenient measures towards those who have so justly offended
him, likewise on the wisdom he has displayed in his choice of leaders to
execute his commands.’  ’Not at your desire will I kneel, you bloody
man!’ stoutly replied my father, his eyes flashing and his colour rising
as he spoke; ’nor shall my lips be polluted with such words as you may
devise. If death be the decree sent forth against me, I will meet it as
becometh one who hath endeavoured to prepare himself to meet his
Maker,—therefore, do your worst; and learn from me, that not to win an
empire, should I say aught of the king than that he is a perjured——’
’Hold!’ screamed Sir Robert in a transport of fury, ’how dare you
venture to attack his most blessed Majesty in my presence?  This moment
is your last!’  So saying, and forgetful of the malady under which he
laboured, he darted from his chair and seizing hold of a loaded pistol,
which lay on an adjoining table, levelled it at my father.  But,
fortunately for him, just as Sir Robert was on the point of firing, he
was suddenly seized with a most dreadful attack of his irresistible
enemy.  His agony was so great that the pistol dropped from his hand;
and after vainly endeavouring to preserve his footing, he gave utterance
to a wild scream of mingled rage and pain, and fell prostrate on the
floor.  Taking advantage of the opportunity afforded him for escape, my
father rushed to the door, opened it, and fled along the passage,
shouting at the top of his voice, ’Help, help!  Sir Robert is dead, or
dying!’  Overcome with terror and dismay, the domestics at once rushed
to the assistance of their master, thereby permitting my father to leave
the castle unquestioned—a feat he took not long to accomplish—and
considering this part of the country no longer safe for him, he speedily
removed to a retired spot in Annandale, where he now resides."

"Do you think there is any truth in the stories they tell about Lag
Tower being haunted?" inquired Andrew Hamilton, who was not a little
prone to indulge in the superstitious fears so generally entertained by
his countrymen.

Just as one of his companions was about to reply, a loud crash in the
yard, as if some heavy substance was thrown to the ground, at once
arrested their attention. The men instantly started to their feet, and
eagerly listened for a repetition of the sound; but nothing more was
heard.

"What can it be?" said one of the party, whose pallid face and faltering
voice betokened the agitation. under which he laboured.

"O! it is just the wind that has blown down something about the barn,"
replied one of his comrades.

At the mention of the word barn Andrew Hamilton gave utterance to a loud
exclamation, and seizing a lantern that stood on the table, darted
towards the door, closely followed by his astonished companions.  With a
sinking heart, he pursued his way; and to his unspeakable horror, the
first object that greeted his eyesight, on his arriving at the spot, was
the door—the key of which he was carrying for safety in his pocket—lying
prostrate on the ground, bereft of its hinges. Impatient to learn the
worst, he rushed into the barn; it was empty—the prisoner was gone.

The reader must now please to accompany us into the interior of Lag
Tower, in the banqueting hall of which several gentlemen are seated
round a long oaken table, strewn with the remains of dessert,
half-emptied bottles of wine, drinking cups, etc.  The gentleman
presiding over the entertainment, and whose hoarse laugh even now
resounds through the hall, is the dreaded persecutor, Sir Robert
Grierson; on his right hand are seated Captain Bruce and Captain
Dalziel, also notorious for their dreadful cruelties practised towards
the Covenanters; while Lieutenant Livingstone, Cornet Douglas, and
others of lesser note, occupy the remaining seats.  The hall, which is
long and narrow in its proportions, is lighted up by the aid of
pine-torches stuck in the wall, and the huge fire, as it roars in the
capacious chimney, casts a ruddy glow over the swarthy faces of the
revellers, and dances fantastically over the suits of time-honoured
armour, swords, guns, pistols and other warlike weapons with which the
walls of the apartment are adorned.

A pause has ensued in the conversation—it is the Laird who breaks it.
"Well, Dalziel, and so you managed to make the old Whig swallow the oath
after all, ha, ha, ha!  Upon my word, it is well worth all the trouble
we have been put to during these troublous times, just to witness the
rare state of terror into which some of these canting knaves are thrown
when they imagine their last hour is come.  Down they go smack upon
their knees, turning up their eyes, and if you only permitted them, they
would spend at least three hours in praying for the steadfast upholding
of the most blessed Kirk and Covenant; and, for my part, I don’t believe
one out of twenty understands the precise meaning of the words; it is
just the fact of their having them so constantly dinned into their ears
by these old maundering hypocrites, whom they regard as the precious
salt of the earth, that impresses them with the belief of their
embracing everything that ought to be prayed for.  Little encouragement
do they get from me in that line.  At the bare whisper of the words
’Covenants of Grace’ I discharge my pistol close to their ears, and they
very soon come down to earth again, and endeavour to enter into a
covenant of mercy with me, whom they style the Man of Sin; but they soon
discover temporising does not do for me: my words are few and plain.
Take the oath at once or suffer the penalty.  ’Mercy, mercy, Sir Robert!
remember our wives and helpless little ones at home; what will become of
them should we be deprived of our lives?’  Then take the oath!  I find
this peremptory mode of speech does my business far more effectually
than any long-winded discourse; that’s what they are accustomed to, and
they would willingly listen for hours, if we had only breath sufficient
to hold out so long, to any amount of rubbish with which it might please
us to cram them; but the brevity of speech with which I issue forth my
demands puts them at once to the rout; and the short and the long of the
matter is, they are either brought to hear reason, or look their last
upon the sun."

"It is really extraordinary how many maintain their firmness even to the
last," said Captain Dalziel, as he filled his goblet to the brim and
drained it at a single draught; "they seem to take a pride in suffering
death, and I firmly believe would rather lose fifty lives, or endure any
amount of torture, than allow the oath of abjuration to pass their
lips."

"Ha, ha! my friend," exclaimed Sir Robert Grierson with a loud laugh, "I
think I am the only one of you all who can manage these skulking fellows
and compel them to take the oath in spite of themselves.  Never shall I
forget that scene in the church of Dairy, should I live to be an
hundred; how horror-stricken the whole pack were!"

"Why, what did you do to them?" inquired Lieutenant Livingstone.  "I
have never heard what I considered to be a true version of that affair,
although I have often wished to learn what really occurred on that
occasion, as it seems to have made a great noise throughout the
country."

"Why, you see," said the Laird in reply, "towards the beginning of last
year I chanced to be in Galloway holding courts throughout the different
parishes—and a fatiguing time I had of it, I can tell you.  The Courts
were wretchedly attended.  Of course, ill-affected people did not come
of their own accord, and there was not sufficient force to compel them
to do so.  Determined, however, not to be defeated, I one day assembled
a large concourse of men and women—in fact, every one belonging to
Dairy—in the parish church, without assigning any ostensible reason for
so doing.  After the church was filled to overflowing, I caused the door
to be locked; and at the blast of my bugle, a band of trusty
followers—previously made acquainted with my plans—came galloping up and
instantly surrounded the church.  This done I put my head in at one of
the windows, and gazing with a wrathful countenance—though I could
scarce forbear laughing outright—on the astonished group within, I
shouted aloud, ’He or she, who wishes to leave this place alive, must
instantly take the oath of abjuration!’  Had a bombshell fallen in the
midst of the assembled company, scattering death and ruin around, they
could not have looked more appalled than they did on hearing these awful
words.  To all their prayers and entreaties—and they were not a few—I
vouchsafed but the same reply—free egress and pardon to all those to
whom I administer the oath.  This was accompanied by a loud flourish of
trumpets which seemed to complete the general consternation.  ’O, Sir
Robert, hae ye nae conscience, man, that ye tak sic a pleasure in making
folks’ lives a burden to them?’ whined out an old witch, raising her
apron to the corner of one eye, and looking at me hard from the other;
’do let me out; I am an auld woman——’  ’The greater reason for your
being a sensible one,’ I replied; but she continued as though she heard
me not.  ’I have a large family, some of whom are biding at hame; and it
would be an unco-like thing for the likes o’ me to have it to say on my
return that I had been and taken a non-juring oath, or some ither thing
equally wicked.  What chance, think ye, wad there be o’ my getting to
heaven after doing the likes o’ that?’  ’There appears to be very little
chance of your getting there at present,’ I said in reply; ’for, if you
are an attentive reader of your Bible, as I trust you are, you must have
observed the strict injunction to honour the king.  And I think you will
allow there is not much consideration for the person of his most
gracious Majesty in your composition, or you would not refuse to take
the oath which would at once prove to my satisfaction that you are a
true and loyal subject.’ ’Ay, ay,’ she rejoined, ’that may be all very
true; but it is not an earthly monarch we are bound to obey, when our
consciences testify against his proceedings; and you know brawly
yoursel’, that the king has slipped away sadly from the straight line it
behoved him to keep till, if not for his own sake, at least for the
sakes of these pious and now persecuted men wha wad fain hae regarded
him in the light o’ a parent. But, oh, he is, indeed, a sad example
o’——’  ’Enough, enough, my good woman!’ I exclaimed in an angry tone,
for I was waxing wroth at the pertinacity with which she eluded the
subject of the oath; and pulling a pistol out of my pocket, I affected
to be examining the priming as though to make ready to fire should she
not yield obedience to my wishes.  The sight of the ugly weapon was
enough.  With a loud exclamation betwixt a groan and a howl, the old
beldame testified her willingness to do my bidding; adding, she hoped
she might not be held accountable for that day’s work, as it was only to
prevent the crime of murder she had given in.  A few of those present,
seeing how greatly things were against them, imitated her good example;
while others, again, possessing the stubborn old Covenanting spirit,
repelled with scorn all offers of pardon purchased at such a price.
However, they soon discovered that if they were obstinate so were we;
and being, moreover, thoroughly wearied of their confinement, and
alarmed at the prospect of a still longer imprisonment, they gradually
gave in one by one, until the whole had consented to come to terms.
After having duly administered the oath—which seemed indeed a terrible
ordeal for the most of them—I wound up the affair by exclaiming, ’Now
you are a fold full of clean beasts—you may go away home;’ upon which
the doors were thrown open, and amid loud shouts of derisive laughter,
the crest-fallen Covenanters issued forth, looking and muttering
unutterable things."

Here Sir Robert ended his narration, and the loud shouts of approving
merriment with which the recital was received, testified how much the
listeners relished hearing of any practical joke that had for its object
any one of the party who had rendered themselves so obnoxious to the
then existing Government.

"And did the varlets keep true to their oath?" inquired Lieutenant
Livingstone, after he had in some measure recovered his wonted composure
of countenance.

"I understood not, from some spies whom I had placed in and about
Dairy," answered the Laird, "whereupon I immediately set out at the head
of some chosen followers and traversed the whole extent of the parish.
Having very good reasons to believe that my spies were correct in their
information, I took the liberty of exacting some pretty considerable
fines from the richer portion of the community, greatly to their
astonishment and indignation, they having fancied themselves secure from
all further molestation.  No less a sum than seven hundred pounds was
extorted by me from three persons who had been bewailing at a sad rate
their defalcation in the church of Dairy; and, as you may fancy, their
hearts were not lightened by the loss of so much money."

"By the bye, Laird, how did you get on with that beggarly fellow also
residing in Galloway?" inquired Captain Dalziel, when Sir Robert had
finished speaking. "You may remember the last time I saw you, you were
on the point of starting off in pursuit of him. Did you manage to catch
him, or is he still lurking in some secret place? if so, we shall ferret
him out."

"There are no such proceedings necessary," replied Sir Robert with a
grim smile; "we have had many a peck at him since that eventful day, the
cowardly skulking fellow that he is.  Why, we spent nearly a fortnight
in search of him; but, my word! his goods and chattels paid toll for all
the annoyance he gave us. I wish you could have seen his wife’s face as
we ripped up the mattresses, scattered the contents on the floor, and
carried off the ticken, as well as every other thing capable of being
transported; how she did wring her hands and tear her hair; yet for all
we did and threatened to do, she would not betray her husband’s
lurking-place.  Women are so obstinate in cases like these.  However,
while ransacking the house, we came upon a young damsel, whom we
concluded to be the daughter of the person we were in quest of.  To all
my inquiries regarding her father, she turned a deaf ear, protesting she
knew nought of his whereabouts.  Determined to try another plan, I then
inquired of her where she had spent the previous evening?  Entirely
thrown off her guard, and suspecting no evil, she answered, in the house
of Mrs. ——, naming an elderly gentlewoman, whose name I have at this
instant forgotten.  Thither we instantly went, and were rewarded for our
trouble by the discovery of two other rebels of whom we were also in
search. Suspecting the other would not be far distant, we then galloped
to the sea-shore and ransacked the caves amongst the rocks, in one of
which we came upon our friend, and also another who had taken refuge
with him.  In accordance with my orders, all four were instantly
conveyed to Bangor prison, where the proper authorities tendered to them
the oath of abjuration, which was taken by one and refused by the
others. Then a court of assize was held and indictments served on the
remaining rebels, two of whom also gave in. On being informed that the
fourth still held out, I went thither, determined to reduce him to
reason.  He remained steadfast to his purpose, declaring nothing should
tempt him to swerve from his duty, upon hearing which I broke out into a
fearful passion, and swore by the bones of my father that if he did not
take the oath in the space of five minutes, he should be barking and
flying on his way to another world.  This produced the desired effect,
and the fellow, who seemed most horribly afraid, at length succumbed.
But I can tell you it was all they could do to get me to spare his life
I was so indignant with the rascal."

Here Sir Robert paused and replenished his goblet.

"Is there any truth in the report that the Whigs are arming themselves
in this part of the country?" inquired Captain Bruce of Sir Robert
Grierson, who replied in the negative, adding that the sneaking
poltroons had suffered too much at the Pentlands and Bothwell Bridge
ever to attempt anything like a formal stand against the Government
soldiers; besides the stringent measures he had thought proper to adopt
in Dumfriesshire and Galloway would effectually prevent any of the
opposite faction from attempting aught like retaliation in the
neighbourhood.  He then proceeded to give them a detailed account of the
summary manner in which he had, that morning, dispatched old Elias
Henderson—a proceeding on his part which met with unqualified
approbation from the assembled revellers, who each in his turn related
some memorable exploit in which they had in a special manner signalised
themselves by their unheard of atrocities.

"Ha! ha!" shouted Sir Robert Greirson, "what a fine set of fellows we
are to be sure! come, let us drink each other’s good health in a goblet
of sparkling Burgundy.  There’s myself, whom the rascals have nicknamed
’the bloody Lag.’  There’s you, my worthy friend on the right, who
rejoice in the appellation of ’the fiery Dalziel;’ and Bruce, who is
termed ’the ungodly;’ and you, Livingstone, ’the wicked lieutenant.’
And pray, what are you styled?" he added, turning towards Cornet
Douglas, who replied with a frightful grimace, "the black cornet," an
answer which convulsed the hearers with laughter, as the young man in
question rejoiced in an unwonted sallowness of complexion.

"I wonder, Sir Robert," observed Captain Dalziel, after they had duly
honoured the proposed pledge, "that you do not feel apprehensive of
these exasperated men attacking you some night in this old castle.  It
strikes me that you are rather incautious in thus making enemies so near
your own threshold.  This is a wild, solitary place; and were these
wandering, psalm-singing fellows to unite together, they might work
serious damage ere you could possibly have time to aprize your nearest
friends.  I am not joking, I assure you," pursued Captain Dalziel; "the
idea just came into my head this evening while riding through the glen;
more particularly, as I observed some rather grim-looking rascals
hovering near the bye-roads.  I paused for a moment in order to observe
their motions more closely; but guessing my evident intentions, they
addressed a few words to each other, and then sauntered carelessly away
across the heath.

"What! attack Lag Tower!" cried Sir Robert, with a loud burst of
incredulous laughter.  "I only wish the knaves would try it.  But, no;
they are too well aware of what the consequences would be to brave the
lion in his den.  But should they come, they will find a cold, if not a
warm reception; for, in the twinkling of an eye, I can, by means only
known to myself, surround the castle with a lake which it would rather
puzzle these canting Whigs to get across.  Ha! ha! there is nothing I
should like better than to see a whole troop of them immersed in such a
slough of despond. What say you, Livingstone? would you not think it a
transporting sight to see our most worthy friends—all clad in
hodden-grey and Kilmarnock bonnets—floundering in the water like so many
porpoises, while you stood on the castle-wall with your musket, in
readiness to pop them off one by one as they showed their heads above
water?  On my life, Dalziel, I would willingly lose the best suit of
armour in my possession should——"

At this instant, while loud shouts of laughter resounded through the
hall, the door was flung open to its widest extent, and John Kirsop, his
face haggard with emotion, staggered into the room.

"How now, sirrah!" exclaimed Sir Robert Grierson indignantly; "how
darest thou enter our presence after this fashion?"

"Pardon, pardon!  Sir Robert," broke in John Kirsop, his voice trembling
through apprehension; "but this is no time for ceremony."

"What meanest thou, knave?"

"The rascally Whigs have flown to arms, and even now are but a few paces
distant, threatening all manner of vengeance against you and yours.
Their present plan, so far as I could learn, is to destroy the castle by
fire.  This they propose doing this very night."

"Ha!" cried Sir Robert, starting to his feet, an example that was
speedily followed by the others; "have the traitors presumed thus far?
Saw ye aught of these bold conspirators?" he continued; "how many may
they number?  Speak out, knave, and let us lose no time in dallying;
even now the villains may have commenced their operations.  Livingstone,
do you run to the loop-hole facing the north, and keep a look out from
that quarter; and you, Douglas, hasten to the one on the right hand as
you ascend the stair, where you may be able to perceive what is going
on; and now, Kirsop, proceed with your narration, and that as briefly us
possible."

Thus admonished, Kirsop related all that had befallen him since leaving
Drumlanrig.  When he came to mention his interview with Walter
Henderson, Sir Robert smiled grimly, and nodded his head towards Captain
Dalziel, as though he recognised the truth of his warning.

At the conclusion of the story, Sir Robert exclaimed, while filling a
goblet with wine, which he handed to the exhausted soldier, "Thou art an
honest fellow, Kirsop, and shalt not lose thy reward when once we get
this troublesome affair arranged to our satisfaction."

Scarcely had Sir Robert Grierson finished speaking, when Lieutenant
Livingstone rushed into the hall, exclaiming in a hurried whisper, "They
are here! they are here! even now I perceived them stealing round the
corner."

"How many may there be?" demanded Sir Robert.

"A dozen or more, I should fancy," was the reply.

"A dozen!" cried Sir Robert, with a scornful laugh, "why, from the way
that fellow Kirsop spoke, one would have imagined that a hundred men at
least were at the gates."

"I but told the truth," said Kirsop doggedly; "they numbered a few when
they started, but they spoke of reinforcements; and that old Whig,
Walter Henderson, declared the whole country-side were in arms in
defence of their liberties, so——"

"Enough, enough!" exclaimed Sir Robert impatiently, "and now, my
friends, let us hasten to crush these rebels.  A dozen men!  Why, we
ourselves would be sufficient to cope with thrice that number."

"What mean you to do, Sir Robert?" inquired Captain Dalziel.

"Mean to do!" re-echoed the fiery Laird.  "Why, roast the knaves alive,
to be sure! ay, every mother’s son of them."

"Will you open the flood-gates on this occasion?" said Lieutenant
Livingstone, laughing as he spoke.

"No, no," was the stern reply; "that were too speedy a death for these
undisciplined rascals; a more lingering doom awaits them.  Lag Hill
shall witness their last agonies."  So saying, Sir Robert Grierson
strode across the hall, and detaching a sword from a pin on which it
hung, fastened it to his belt.  While thus engaged, Cornet Douglas
entered, and, in addition to Lieutenant Livingstone’s information, told
Sir Robert that the assailants were even then engaged in piling up huge
logs of wood, obtained from the supply set apart for the use of the
castle against the outer walls.

"Then no farther time must be lost," broke in Sir Robert.  "Do you,
Livingstone, Bruce, and Douglas station yourselves at the three windows
overlooking the scene of action; and the instant the rascals attempt to
set fire to the wood, send a volley amongst them, whilst we steal round
by the side postern and attack them on the rear.  I think that will
settle the business," said Sir Robert with a laugh, as he cautiously
descended the stair, closely followed by his companions. In the
meantime, as notified by Cornet Douglas, Walter Henderson and his party
were proceeding noiselessly and rapidly with their operations, and
already a considerable portion of their labour had been accomplished.
The increasing darkness of the night favoured their project, the moon,
which in the former part of the evening shone with a brilliancy that in
some measure threatened to frustrate their schemes, having veiled her
brightness behind huge masses of leaden-coloured clouds which slowly
drifted along the sky.  It formed a strange and striking picture this
old castle of Lag, rising, as it did, amid a wide extent of flat,
desolate moor-land which stretched away in the distance until relieved
by a range of bare irregular looking hills bounding the prospect.  So
thought one of the party, William Hislop by name, as in common with his
comrades, he proceeded leisurely to pile up around the castle walls huge
blocks of wood destined, as he imagined, to level it with the ground.
In conjunction with this thought, he remarked to one of his companions
that it was a lonesome-looking place, and that for his part he did not
quite like the task they were engaged in, adding, by way of consolation,
"if that old vulture, Lag, gets us atween his claws, it’s little flesh
we’ll hae on our backs when aince we get out o’ them."

"Why, then, did you join us if such were your feelings?" said the person
addressed.  "I am sure had Walter Henderson known you had no love for
the undertaking, he would not have pressed you to come hither."

"It’s not that I think we are doing anything wrong in burning doon the
castle—no, no; the bloody persecutor, as he is, weel deserves it at our
hands, and I felt rale brave and anxious about the doing o’ the same,
when Walter Henderson brought it hame to our souls in the manner he did;
but somehow or another the case looks different now, and it’s such an
eerie-looking bit to be meddling wi’ at this time o’ night, that——"

"Hear till that, man!" suddenly exclaimed his by no means comfortable
companion in a low tone of voice.

"Hear till what?" cried William Hislop, now fairly started out of all
composure by this sudden exclamation.  "Tush, man," he said after a
moment’s pause, "it’s only an owlet screaming; do you no’ see it up by
yonder?" and they both stood still a while to observe the bird which
wheeled in rapid circles around the castle, screaming and flapping its
wings as though to apprise the inmates of the terrible danger that
menaced them.

"Do you think that can be ain of Lag’s familiar spirits?" he continued,
addressing his companion; "for ye ken it is reported through the country
that he keeps a wheen evil spirits to tell him all that he wants to
know."

"That I canna’ pretend to say," answered his comrade, whose eyes still
followed the excited bird; "but it seems in a terrible state o’ flutter:
what can it mean by going on at that gait?"

"Did you see that strange light dancing along the moor as we came across
the road?" inquired William Hislop, who was evidently a firm believer in
ought that savoured of the supernatural.

"Yes I did," was the reply.

"And what do you think it was?"

"A will-o’-the-wisp, to be sure!"

"Aweel, may be!" was the doubting reply; "truly may I say that never yet
has that same twinkling light cam’ across my path, but something most
terrible has happened to me afterwards!"

"Silence!" cried Walter Henderson in a low stern voice.  At this instant
a cock, which had taken up its quarters for the night on a neighbouring
tree, apparently cheated into the belief from the unusual stir that
prevailed around its generally peaceful domicil, that morning had
already dawned, gave forth its usual challenge to the sun; a proceeding
which so thoroughly alarmed William Hislop, that he exclaimed aloud,
regardless of time and place, "Gude save us a’!  The cock to be crowing
at this time o’ night; it’s easy seen what ’ill be the end o’ this fine
work!"

"Have you a mind to ruin yourself and us, that you thus indulge in such
untimely remarks?" whispered Walter Henderson, and he grasped William
Hislop tightly by the arm as he spoke.  "The greatest caution is
necessary," he continued, "lest we be discovered and our plans thereby
frustrated.  Now cease your apologies and attend to me.  The wood is all
ready; and it but remains for us to apply the light, and our labour will
be accomplished.  I will advance first, and do you follow; here are the
necessary materials;" so saying, he placed a piece of flint and tinder
in the trembling hands of William Hislop, who rather unwillingly
proceeded to fulfil the duty imposed upon him.  But scarcely had the
match been ignited, when, according to the commands of Sir Robert
Grierson, a volley of musketry was discharged from the windows overhead,
which stretched several of the assailants upon the ground.  On hearing
this dreadful sound, the forerunner of yet more terrifying alarms, the
lighted match fell from William Hislop’s Land, and giving utterance to a
loud exclamation of horror, he fell forward, as though he had been shot,
on the pile of wood before him.

"Betrayed! betrayed!" shouted Walter Henderson, drawing his sword as
bespoke; "fly, my friends, fly, while there is yet time!"

In obedience to his commands, the panic-stricken men rushed to the outer
gate; but scarcely had the foremost reached it, when a firm grasp was
laid on his collar, and he found himself a prisoner.  The others were
captured in a similar manner; the darkness of the night preventing their
being able to distinguish friends from foes.  The terrible voice of Sir
Robert Grierson was then heard, ordering lights to be brought that the
faces of the prisoners might be discernible. Eager to do his bidding,
several of his retainers rushed to the banqueting hall, and snatching
the pine-torches from off the walls, brought them to Sir Robert, who,
seizing the one borne by John Kirsop, waved it aloft in the air over the
heads of the terrified prisoners, as they stood motionless in the hands
of their captors awaiting the doom they feared to be inevitable. By the
ruddy glow of the lights, Sir Robert at once distinguished the venerable
form of Walter Henderson.  "Ha, thou hoary-headed traitor!" he exclaimed
in a furious tone; "and is this the way in which you seek to follow
after _that_ which is good?  Is it by deeds like these that you would
fain hope to build up the walls of your crumbling kirk, and patch up
anew your broken Covenant!  Covenant forsooth! Who would seek to enter
into terms with traitors such as you?  Not I for one, and that you will
learn right speedily; dearly shall all of you rue this night’s work. And
you thought to catch the lion asleep," he pursued in a mocking tone;
"ha, ha! then you made a slight mistake, that is all; and were it not
that business, which brooks no delay, requires my presence in another
part of the country, to-morrow should witness your final agonies; but
ere the sun has thrice completed its circuit of the heavens, shall you,
and your partners in iniquity, cease to cumber the earth.  Away with the
villains," he cried, addressing his retainers, "throw them into the
deepest and darkest dungeons beneath the castle, and there, amid the
gloom that surrounds them, let them comfort themselves with the thoughts
of a speedy doom awaiting them."

"Murderer of my brother!" shouted Walter Henderson, struggling to free
himself; "this night’s work is a fitting termination to a day so begun;
but think not, though thy infernal arts have prevented the completion of
our purpose, that thou wilt always escape.  No; a terrible day of
retribution awaits thee, and when it does arrive, thou wilt remember the
innocent blood thou hast shed, and cease to hope.  In what had my poor
brother wronged thee that thou must basely deprive him of life?  In what
manner had he infringed the laws that his blood must pay the forfeit?
Oh, Judas, that thou art!——"

"How darest thou speak to Sir Robert Grierson thus?" cried Lieutenant
Livingstone, at the same time dealing him a buffet on the side of the
head.

"Away with the old hypocrite!" thundered forth Sir Robert Grierson with
an impatient wave of the hand; "convey him to his quarters, and feed him
on coarse bread and water during the remainder of his sojourn on earth;
it will, in some measure, cool the fever of his blood, and enable him to
view things in a clearer light than he has hitherto done.  Kirsop, to
your watchful care I commit the prisoner."

"Kirsop!" exclaimed Walter Henderson in a tone of dismay, "ha, that
explains it all!  Fool, fool that I was to trust him for one moment out
of my sight!"

"Don’t blame yourself, old fellow," said the soldier with a grin,
"because fortune has given the scales a turn in our favour; but rather
rejoice in the thoughts that you will leave the world with your
conscience freed from the heavy crime which would otherwise have
rendered it top-heavy, and prevented your getting out of purgatory quite
so soon as you would have wished, had I not escaped from the hands of
the person to whose care you commended me."

This last stroke of bad fortune quite overcame Walter Henderson, and
muttering "God’s will be done!" he suffered his captor to lead him away,
to the loathsome dungeon appointed for his reception.

The remains of the unfortunate Covenanters who had perished at the
outset of the affair had long been removed from the court yard, and Sir
Robert Grierson and his friends were again seated at the festive board,
carousing and blaspheming according to their wont; still William Hislop
had not yet mustered up courage sufficient to emerge from his
hiding-place. It was, to say the least of it, rather a hard bed he had
chosen on which to repose his wearied limbs, still, as he himself
expressed it, anything was preferable to lying dead on the courtyard or
sickening in a dungeon; and it would be the height of ingratitude for
him to complain who had, without doubt, fared the best of the party.
True he was still, in some measure, within the "Laird’s grasp;" yet as
he listened to the wild bursts of revelry which ever and anon fell upon
his ear, he felt assured that soon the whole party would be laid
prostrate beneath the table, and then he might venture forth in safety.
An hour or two, which seemed to William Hislop, in his anxious state of
mind, like so many ages, passed away without producing the desired
change in the banqueting hall; on the contrary, mirth seemed on the
increase; and William Hislop, from his hiding-place, could distinctly
hear Sir Robert Grierson, whose voice he had reason to remember, deliver
a song, which, judging from the uproarious shouts of laughter that
followed each verse, seemed of an unusually joyous character.

"The auld vagabond that he is!" muttered the incensed listener, "to be
going on in that daft manner just after he has doomed a wheen
fellow-creatures to death; it really astonishes me that the walls o’ the
castle dinna’ come doon about his ears and finish him in the midst o’
his evil on-goings.  Truly the Lord is merciful!  Nae wonder cauld water
takes to the boil whenever he puts his foot in’t!  I am sure I wad gin
he cam near me, the nasty fellow that he is.  My very blood rins cauld
till hear him going on at that gait; it’s like naething human.  Gude
sake! how I pity these poor fellows at this moment in the power o’ sic a
character; indeed, I may just as well pity myself when I’m at it, for
I’m no that far out o’ the wood that I can afford to waste time in
talking to mysel’ like some auld spaewife—the more especially when I may
be able to do something a hantle better, than a wheen useless words, for
my comrades in captivity."  So saying, William Hislop thrust aside a
huge block of wood which somewhat obstructed his exit, and prepared to
issue forth.  Scarcely had he ventured a few steps across the courtyard,
when, with a loud scream, the owl darted forth from its hiding-place
amongst the ivy, and again commenced wheeling in rapid circles around
the castle; but this time in such close proximity as almost to strike
him with its wings. Horrified beyond measure at the sight of this
unexpected apparition, and fully persuaded of its being nothing else
than an emissary of Satan’s, William Hislop crept back to his retreat
amongst the wood, where he lay for several minutes, gazing with
distended eyes on the ill-omened bird as it pursued its wayward flight.

"I am a gone man!" he muttered; "a gone man! that owl will be the death
o’ me!  It has discovered I am here, and the next thing will be the
Laird coming his ain sell to pull me out o’ my hiding-place. Whist ye
there wi’ your crying!  I am sure ye might be contented wi’ the lot that
has fallen to your share and let me alane.  O sirs me! had I but
foreseen the tae half o’ the misfortunes that were to befall us this
dreadful night, I wad hae been sitting by my mother’s hearthstane,
supping my porritch wi’ a thankfu’ heart, instead o’ lying here,
expecting every moment to be my last."

While William Hislop was thus indulging in soliloquy, one of the windows
of the banqueting hall was thrown open, and a voice exclaimed, evidently
in reply to a question from within, "Morning breaks, and ere another
hour has passed, we must be in our saddles;" then the casement was
closed, and once more the festivity was resumed.

"Now, William Hislop, now or never!"  With these words, addressed to
himself, the impatient Covenanter again ventured forth from the place of
his concealment.  This time the owl kindly forebore screaming; but
stationed itself on the branch of a tree overhanging the courtyard, from
which elevation it gazed on the intruder with eyes that seemed to emit
sparks of fire, as though questioning his right to depart. Creeping
cautiously along, under shadow of the wall, William Hislop managed to
gain, unobserved, that portion of it which admitted of an easy descent
on the other side.  This position attained, his courage in some measure
revived, and pausing a moment to shake his hand at the owl before taking
his final leap, he muttered between his teeth, "There now, ye may gang
and tell your hopeful master, from me, that maybe there ’ill be mair
company assembled on Lag Hill, on the morning o’ the execution, than he
wots o’," and with these mysterious words, accompanied by another
gesture of defiance, William Hislop darted from off the wall, and
rapidly disappeared amidst the gloom of the early morning.

About two miles to the south of the village of Dunscore, in a little
valley, sheltered by mountains from every blast that swept over the
neighbouring heath, stood the form belonging to the deceased Elias
Henderson.  The house pertaining to the farm partook of the usual
appearance of farm-houses in Scotland, at the period of which we write,
and was scrupulously clean and attractive in its exterior; while the
well-stocked yard and barns bespoke the thrifty farmer. Indeed, few
persons following this precarious occupation could boast of greater
success than had fallen to the lot of Elias Henderson.

It was the evening of the second day from that on which our story opens,
and the deep air of silence that reigned in and around the farm-house of
Westercleugh, told in language more expressive than the most eloquent
words, that death had laid its ice-cold hand on one of the inmates.  In
the kitchen, close to the window, is seated an aged woman, the mother of
the deceased; her hands are crossed on her breast, and her eyes remain
immovably fixed on the open pages of the Bible lying on her knee.  In
appearance she is calm and resigned, for more than three-score years and
ten have passed over her head, and old age has somewhat chilled the
current of human affection, yet she mourns her sad bereavement; and
while lamenting that death should have taken him who was in the prime of
manhood and spared the aged, she turns to the Word of God for
consolation in her affliction.  In another corner of the apartment is
seated, or rather reclining, for her head is thrown over the back of her
chair, the bereaved wife, in an utter abandonment of grief.  Her
children stand grouped around her; the elder ones sharing their mother’s
sorrow; while the youngest, an infant of not more than two years old,
sits smiling and crowing in its little chair.  Silence is everywhere
maintained; and the servants belonging to the farm tread with the utmost
caution as they go in and out in the execution of their accustomed
duties, so truly do they sympathise with their mistress in the loss of
her husband, and no less deep and sincere is their grief for the loss of
a kind and indulgent master.  The rays of the setting sun streamed
through the casement, lighting up the venerable features of the matron,
as though to comfort her, in midst of her grief, with the blissful
promise of a future state, where those for ever separated in this world
should be re-united in the bonds of love.  After gazing for a moment on
the brilliant messenger, she arose from her seat, and putting aside her
Bible, crossed over to where Mrs. Henderson lay absorbed in grief, and
placing her hand on her shoulder, said in a sad, yet firm voice—"Marion,
grieve no more for him who has now gone from amongst us!  Rouse yourself
from that state of useless sorrow; it is the living who require our
sympathy and care—the dead need it not.  No amount of weeping ran ever
restore those who have once crossed the river of death.  But, oh!
bethink you, Marion, of the happiness, we may humbly venture to hope,
our beloved one is now enjoying in the presence of his Maker, for he was
a sincere Christian, and strove to do ins duty manfully.  Think not,"
she continued, "because my poor old eyes refuse to weep, that I lightly
esteem the irreparable loss I have sustained.  During the long period of
years it has pleased the Lord that I should sojourn in this vale of
tears, I have seen the young whom I loved and the aged fall around me
like the leaves of autumn.  And what, think you, has strengthened me in
all my affliction?  Nothing but the hope of a cloudless hereafter.
Think on that, Marion.  Think on the promises of the Gospel, and
endeavour, while on earth, so to do your duty to yourself and your
children, that no link may be awanting in the chain, which will, I
trust, unite us all in the regions above."  At the mention of her
children, Mrs. Henderson started up from her recumbent posture, and
throwing her arms around their necks, clasped them to her bosom, weeping
passionately, and exclaiming the while, "Oh my poor fatherless
children!"  In the midst of this ungovernable burst of sorrow, the latch
of the outer door was gently lifted, and a slow and cautious footstep
was heard advancing along the passage leading to the kitchen. On her
turning round, old Mrs. Henderson was surprised, and in some degree
terrified, to perceive it was the wife of her son Walter who at that
moment entered.

"What has happened, Sarah? in the name of heaven, speak!" she cried,
observing the look of hopeless misery with which her daughter-in-law
advanced towards her.

"Walter!  Walter! have ye seen nought of my Walter?" exclaimed the
fainting woman as she sank upon the nearest chair.  "He left me on the
morning of his brother’s death, and has never returned. Yesterday," she
continued in a choking voice, "my son set off in search of him, and he,
too, has failed to come back.  Oh, what shall I do if they also have
fallen into the hands of that wicked Lag!"

This sad intelligence struck the hearers dumb, and they remained
motionless, gazing on one another with eyes that revealed the horror
their tongues refused to express.  At length, with a noble effort, the
sorrowing mistress of Eastercleugh roused herself from her hitherto
inactive grief, and strove, by every means in her power, to alleviate
the uncontrollable distress of her sister-in-law, who having recently
arisen from a sick bed, was thoroughly exhausted by the fatigue and
anxiety she had undergone.

"And have you heard nothing concerning your husband since his departure
from home?" inquired old Mrs. Henderson, who stood with her arm
supporting the aching head of her daughter-in-law.

"Nothing," was the weeping reply; "but yesterday morning strange reports
reached us concerning some desperate encounter that had taken place
between the Laird and some of our party.  This alarmed me dreadfully,
and my son, seeing the sad state to which I was reduced by anxiety
regarding the prolonged absence of Walter, went off at an early hour
with the intention of seeking him.  Up to the time at which I left home
he had not returned, and too anxious to remain longer without news of
some kind, I instantly resolved, spite of the distance, and my own
weakness, to come hither, hoping he might be with you, or that you would
be able to give me some information respecting him."

"Now may God, in his infinite mercy, grant that this new and exceeding
bitter trial be averted from us," piously exclaimed the venerable
matron, throwing her arms around the necks of her weeping daughters;
"but let us not murmur, my children, should it be otherwise decreed by
Him whose goodness and loving-kindness are beyond all praise.  Our
heart’s dearest treasures are but lent us for a season—soon, soon must
they be restored; then let us, recognising the unspeakable love which
prompts the removal of our choicest blessings that our thoughts may be
weaned from earth to heaven, exclaim with the bereaved King of Israel,
’The Lord gave, and the Lord taketh away; blessed be the name of the
Lord!’"

Scarcely had old Mrs. Henderson finished her pious exhortation, ere the
door again opened—but this time it was a man’s eager footstep which
paced the passage, and the voice of Walter Henderson’s son that saluted
their ears.  He entered; his countenance looked worn and haggard, and he
tossed back his dishevelled hair from his forehead with an air of
despondency that escaped not the eyes of the watchful mother.

"My son! my son!" she exclaimed, throwing herself on his neck; "what of
your father? speak, I can bear it all; only speak, my son!"

"You here, mother!" he gasped forth, and his voice died away in a broken
murmur.

"Oh, my Walter!  I see it all; thou art dead!  I, too, am a widow!"

"No, mother, no!  he is not yet dead, and while there is life there is
hope—comfort yourself, my mother!"

"Where is he, that we may try and save him?" demanded his grandmother.

The young man shook his head as he answered, "He lies in a dungeon
beneath Lag Castle, and to-morrow’s sunrise sees him suffer on Lag
Hill!"

"To-morrow!" screamed forth the distracted wife, and fell prostrate on
the floor.

"He shall not die; oh, mother, speak to me!" cried her almost distracted
son; and raising her tenderly in his arms, he gazed in her face with a
look of unspeakable anguish, fearful lest she too might be snatched from
him.  Then seeing her recover a little, he continued pouring in words of
consolation into her ears, such as were dictated by love and hope.

"Oh! can ye do nought to save him?" cried his aged grandmother, "I fear
me her life will go, should he suffer death.  Poor thing; oh my helpless
children, you have indeed suffered much!  God in his mercy succour you,
for I fear man can do but little."

"Mother, he shall not die!  God will never permit such an atrocious deed
to sully the face of his beautiful earth," cried John Henderson, his
eyes beaming with renewed hope; "so do not despair—all will yet be well.
Yesterday," he continued hurriedly, "I fell in with William Hislop
wending his way towards our house. On seeing me he expressed his
satisfaction at the meeting, and informed me that my father was a
prisoner in Lag Castle.  It appeared, from his statement, that, driven
to the verge of madness by my uncle’s death, my father had determined
upon burning the castle to the ground.  This he proceeded to do in
company with some friends; but information of their coming was conveyed
to the Laird by a soldier who had been taken prisoner by my father, and
managed to escape, so that he entrapped them all, with the exception of
William Hislop, who fortunately succeeded in secreting himself among
some wood, from which retreat he overheard the bloody Lag declare his
intention of murdering them to-morrow. The hour sun-rise; the place Lag
Hill.  We are determined, if possible, to prevent this dastardly deed.
Even now William Hislop is scouring the country in search of aid, and I
have managed to secure some bold youths who are only too willing to
assist in so good a cause.  Being in this neighbourhood, I came to
acquaint you with my purpose, hoping that my dear mother would hear
nothing of it until all had been decided; but ’tis better thus, the
sight of her pale suffering face has nerved me anew for the combat." So
saying, he embraced her tenderly, and again exclaiming "Mother, he shall
not die!" rushed forth from the dwelling.

The fatal morning at length arrived; and scarcely had the appearance of
a few streaks of red in the east betrayed the early dawn, ere Sir Robert
Grierson and his companions were pursuing their way, on horseback,
towards Lag Hill, whither the prisoners had already gone.  Owing to the
unavoidable absence of Captain Bruce, with a considerable portion of the
Laird’s followers, the guard in charge of the Covenanters was composed
of but few men; yet, trusting in the terror of his name, and the secrecy
with which the whole affair had been conducted throughout, Sir Robert
was not apprehensive of any attempt at rescue being made.  On gaining
the summit of the hill where stood the prisoners, Sir Robert Grierson,
placing his hand on a barrel all stuck round with sharp-pointed weapons,
demanded of Walter Henderson how he relished the thoughts of quitting
the world in so terrible a manner; adding, with a hoarse laugh in which
his companions joined, "that it would enable him to judge whether the
Word was indeed sharper than any two-edged sword!"

"Sir Robert Grierson," replied Walter Henderson mildly, "jest not thus
with one about to bid farewell to this world, and who would fain compose
his mind that he might be able to reflect on the joys pertaining to a
better.  But before suffering death," he continued, "I would wish to
obtain your forgiveness for the sinful attempt I made to destroy your
castle.  In the darkness and solitude of my dungeon I had time to
reflect on the crime I had been guilty of, in taking vengeance into my
hand instead of leaving it to Him who hath said, ’Vengeance is mine; I
will repay!’ but you had foully slain my brother, and I was mad. At the
best we are but poor erring mortals; for a time Satan got possession of
my heart, and I thirsted for revenge.  I am now about to pay the penalty
of my presumptuous sin—would God it were alone!—and I would fain leave
the world at peace with you and all men."

"Bravo, old hodden-grey!" cried Sir Robert with a loud laugh of
derision.  "Thou hast mistaken thy vocation; the pulpit were a fitting
place for thee, and had I but known of thy talents in this line, I
should have had one erected for thee that thou mightest have held forth
in a style becoming thy merits."

Walter Henderson turned from the speaker with a look of mingled contempt
and pity, and gazing on his companions with the deepest sorrow expressed
on his countenance, seemed as if about to address them, when Captain
Dalziel interposed, exclaiming in a stern voice, "Now cease your canting
nonsense; we want none of your conventicle phrases!"

"No, no," said Sir Robert Grierson; "pray let him go on; I never was at
a field-preaching, and should like to hear how they conduct matters
there; besides, there is plenty of time, and the rascals will have
leisure to examine our playthings.  So now, old Round-bonnet, proceed—we
are all attention!"

"My friends," said Walter Henderson, heedless alike of their remarks and
the jeers that accompanied them, "we have been brought here to suffer
death, and I trust we shall meet it with the calm serenity of men who
are travellers towards a better country. Of the cruelty of him who hath
decreed that we should perish by such unheard-of tortures I shall say
nought, lest, by dwelling on the subject, I should forget my
recently-acquired spirit of Christian forgiveness, and heap such curses
on his head as might endanger my own salvation.  Let us not, then, dwell
on the sufferings we must experience ere we can win repose in death, but
rather let us rejoice that we are thus called upon to suffer, and in the
glorious prospect that lies before us of our being accepted in the sight
of God."  ("Prophesy, prophesy, old fellow!" shouted Cornet Douglas.)
"Oh, my friends," pursued the aged Covenanter, his face flushed with
enthusiasm, "even now, as I stand at the gates of death, the thin veil
which separates the future from us is torn from my sight, and I behold a
scene which gladdens my old eyes."  ("Out with it, out with it, hurrah!"
cried the Laird and his party, amid shouts of laughter.)  "I see," he
continued, "a prosperous and happy country smiling around me, the
inhabitants of which live in peace one with another, and the hand of the
persecutor is no longer lifted to smite.  The village bell sounds
sweetly on the Sabbath morn, and the faithful preacher of the Word of
God, no longer fearing to teach his little flock in the sight of all
men, instructs his hearers in the simple doctrines of their beloved
faith; while aged matrons, as together they cross the peaceful
churchyard, pause for a moment, ere entering the house of God, to gaze
on the simple stone which marks the Covenanted grave. My brethren, we
shall not be forgotten.  In the bosoms of our countrymen, we shall live
for ever. Till remotest ages, shall our wrongs and our sufferings form a
soul-stirring theme; and the aged parent, as with kindling eyes he
rehearses in the ears of his children the tales that have descended to
him of our untiring zeal in the cause of the Covenant, shall point to
the rusted sword hanging sheathed on the wall, and bless God that his
forefathers were amongst the number of those who fought and bled in
defence of the rights and privileges of the Church of Scotland."

"Thine hour has come!" said Sir Robert Grierson, making a signal for him
to prepare for death.

The sun had now arisen, and its bright rays tinted with a roseate hue
the summit of the mighty Criffel, and lit up the wild and desolate hill
on which the bloody deed was about to be enacted.  At the sight of the
brilliant luminary, which never more should rise for him, Walter
Henderson seemed for an instant overcome, but it was only for an
instant, and soon he regained his wonted composure.

"Now, we shall soon see how the old rascal will face death," cried Sir
Robert, in a tone of fiendish delight; "here, bring hither the barrel,
and see that all the weapons are properly arranged so that he shall lose
nothing of his punishment.  That’s it; in with him, and whenever I fire
off this pistol send him head-long down the hill!"

Scarcely had the soldiers advanced to do their leader’s bidding, when,
with a deafening cheer which awoke the echoes amongst the neighbouring
hills, a large body of men, headed by William Hislop and John Henderson,
and armed with scythes, pitch-forks, spades, and every other available
weapon, rushed in amongst them, and ere they had time to recover from
their astonishment, drove them right down the hill.

"Cowards!" shouted Sir Robert, in a transport of rage, on beholding the
sudden onslaught made on his retainers, "dare you thus molest us in the
rightful discharge of our duty?  Dalziel!—Livingstone! stand by me, and
we will teach these knaves a lesson."

With these words, Sir Robert Grierson struggled to regain his former
position on the summit of the mountain, but all in vain.  The dense
crowd came pouring on, bearing all before them.

"That’s the way; that’s the way, my lads, to serve these bloody
tyrants!" cried Andrew Hamilton, as several soldiers fell beneath the
weapons of their adversaries.

At this instant, his eye encountered the form of John Kirsop, who was
vainly endeavouring to force his way towards Sir Robert Grierson.  With
a cheer of satisfaction he threw himself instantly upon him, and so
great was the force of the shock that they both lost their balance and
rolled together to the foot of the hill, where they lay cuffing and
tearing each other until fairly exhausted by their mutual efforts.  The
contest was but of short duration.  In vain did Sir Robert Grierson
threaten with death the first man who evinced a desire to escape.  In
vain did Captain Dalziel and Lieutenant Livingstone endeavour to recall
the panic-stricken soldiers.  Fruitless were all their efforts to
maintain order.  Overpowered by numbers, their followers were driven
from the field; while they themselves, unable to make anything like a
stand against so superior a force, were also obliged to seek safety in
flight.

"Father, O father! and have I then saved you?" cried John Henderson, as
he clasped the old man in his arms.  "God in heaven be praised for his
kindness unto us this day."

"Hurrah!" shouted William Hislop, tossing up his cap in the air, as he
gazed after the fugitives, "flee awa, Laird, to your castle; and the
next time ye gie orders for an execution see that there’s no listeners
near to circumvent ye in your evil doings."

Little more remains to be told.  But few hours had elapsed since the
above scene was enacted ere Mrs. Henderson was weeping on her husband’s
neck; and their son, as he clasped them alternately in his stalwart
arms, cared not to conceal the tears which coursed down his cheeks,
while he exclaimed, "Mother, I told you my father should not die!"

It was now considerably past the middle of the day, and the sun was
shining in all its wonted splendour. The hedges bursting forth into
vernal beauty, and the "lark at heaven’s gate singing," together with
the melody of less-aspiring songsters, proclaimed the presence of
spring; while the soft freshness of the air imparted an invigorating
elasticity to the spirits. After a walk of about an hour and a half’s
duration, I at length arrived at the glen in which Lag Tower is
situated.  The nearer I advanced to my journey’s end, the more wild and
solitary the scenery became. The road wound past the foot of a hill—the
scene of many of the Laird’s wild exploits; for it is related of him
that when tired of the comparative tameness of riding upon a level road,
he was in the habit of ascending the face of the mountain upon
horseback—a circumstance which contributed not a little towards
preserving the country people’s belief in his supernatural powers.

The ground in the vicinity of the tower is marshy, thereby affording
evidence of the truth of the statement, that when Lag was in fear of
being attacked in his stronghold, he could, by some secret process, at
any time lay the surrounding country under water, thus preventing his
enemies from approaching the tower. With affection, still constant
amidst decay and ruin, the ivy clings to the old walls of Lag Tower, as
though to preserve it from the further inroads of Time. Alas! unavailing
protection.  The heap of broken fragments which lie strewn around attest
the fact that Time—that ruthless destroyer—has marked it for its prey.
Whilst indulging in these melancholy reflections, the sound of footsteps
behind me caused me to turn my head, in order to discover who thus
intruded upon my privacy.  The good-humoured face of one of the servant
girls belonging to a neighbouring farm, coupled with the inquiry, "Had I
come to take a look at the auld toor?"—the steadfast gaze with which I
was regarding the said tower might have satisfied her that I had come
for that special purpose—disarmed me of any feeling of momentary anger I
might have entertained at thus being disturbed in the midst of my
pleasing reverie; and I replied that I was there with the intention of
seeing all that remained of Lag Tower, adding, "I suppose you find it
very lonely here in the long winter nights?"

"Ay," she replied, "it’s rale eerie when the owls flee about flapping
their wings and screaming from amongst the ivy."

"Do you ever hear any strange sounds in the tower?"

"Many and many a time; every one about here thinks the auld place
haunted, and I am certain it is. Often I canna get sleeping at night for
the queer sounds ower here."

"Are there any owls now in the ivy?"

"O yes!" she replied; "there is an owl that has built its nest up there,
and it has twa wee anes.  It flees ower to the wood ye see yonder, and
hides there the whole day; then it comes back at night and makes an
awfu’ disturbance—hissing and the like, so that we are feared to gae
oot."

I pursued my inquiries still farther, and heard it was currently
reported that whatever liquid Lag raised to his lips turned to blood!
and that whenever he put his feet into cold water it boiled!  She
thought he must have been a dreadfu’ man!  She said she would now show
me the place where he put all the bodies of the people he murdered, and,
so saying, she called a man to assist her in removing a stone from the
mouth of what had evidently been the draw-well for supplying the inmates
of Lag Tower with water.  This regular "murder hole" both the girl and
her companion evidently regarded with the greatest horror.

"Wasna’ that an unco-like place to put the puir bodies in?" inquired the
girl, gazing intently in my face, evidently expecting to read there the
consternation depicted in her own.

I could not repress a smile, as I answered that I thought Lag would not
be so foolish as to pollute with dead bodies the water he and his
friends drank in the tower.

"What wad he mind what he took?" replied the girl, evidently rather
offended at her statement being doubted.  "Na, na; that’s just the place
where he threw the murdered folk!"

After a little more conversation, she was called away to her work, and I
was left alone.  There is something indescribably melancholy in
wandering among the ruins of some ancient castle, whose inmates, in days
gone by, bore a conspicuous part in the annals of their country, when
the courtyard, which once resounded with the trampling of steeds and the
shrill sound of the trumpet, now only re-echoes to the tread of some
passing stranger, whom perchance curiosity has brought out of his way to
inspect a ruin leagued with historical associations. _I_ experienced
this sensation strongly as I stood gazing on the setting sun pouring its
bright rays fully on the old Tower of Lag.  A gentle breeze had sprung
up, and the ivy bent low its head before the welcome visitor, as if to
woo its tender embraces; whilst the low sighing of the wind amongst the
crevices and openings in the ruined walls seemed like some departing
spirit’s wail o’er the bloody deeds of the wicked persecutor.

The adventurous tourist, while exploring the romantic valleys of
Dumfriesshire, would do well to visit this solitary spot, where lived
the author of many an evil deed, professedly done in the cause of
religion, which all who recognise the mild and gentle precepts it
inculcates, would be the first to grieve over and condemn.

How pleasing to relate that a lineal descendant of this famous
persecutor is revered for her many deeds of Christian charity and active
benevolence, throughout the country which formerly rung with the evil
doings of the Laird of Lag!



                          *THE SUTOR’S SEAT.*


Having ascertained, during a recent visit in Dumfriesshire, that Crichup
Linn—celebrated on account of its wild sublimity, but more especially
for the refuge it afforded to the Covenanters during the days of their
persecution—was distant about seven miles from the house where I was
then staying, I set off one fine morning, with a friend, to explore the
dark recesses of that romantic spot.

Dear to the heart of the Scottish peasant is the remembrance of those
bloody days; when the mountains and valleys of their native country
resounded with the voice of lamentation as Claverhouse and his dragoons
darted like eagles on their prey; and the incense of praise ascended on
high from the lonely hill-side and solitary moor, uttered by the lips of
those dauntless men who took up arms in defence of a broken Covenant and
persecuted Kirk.

Of the many places of refuge sought after by the Covenanters of
Dumfriesshire in their hour of danger, Crichup Linn was the most
frequently resorted to by them, as its narrow and tortuous paths
afforded little scope for the mounted dragoon; while all along the base
of the rocks, which rose dark and frowning from the depths of the abyss,
Nature had formed a series of caves, as if with a view of sheltering
those suffering children who fled to her bosom for protection.

A guide being procured—in the person of a grey-haired labourer, to point
out the precise spots where lurked those hapless defenders of Scotland’s
spiritual freedom—we entered the sequestered shades of Crichup Linn.
Few persons could visit this picturesque solitude without being deeply
impressed by the almost terrific grandeur of the scene presented to
their view while traversing the narrow path along which we followed our
venerable guide, who, staff in hand, strode slowly onwards, with head
and eyes bent towards the ground, as though he was ruminating, sadly
perhaps, on the vanished past.  Above our heads gigantic masses of rock
towered upward, dark and menacing in their rugged strength, from whose
crevices burst forth some withered-looking trees, which wreathed their
distorted limbs into fantastic shapes around the huge blocks of stone to
which they clung; while at an immeasurable distance beneath, the
water—from whence the linn derives its name—fell with a murmuring sound
into the basins Nature had formed to receive it.

Evidently enjoying the delighted surprise with which we gazed on the
startling scene, our guide exclaimed, as if in answer to his own
thoughts, while he pointed with his stick to the gloomy depths
below:—"Yes! beneath the shade of these frowning rocks the persecuted
Covenanter—friendless and homeless, heart-sick and weary—could lay
himself down to rest in as much security as the sleeping child reposing
on its mother’s breast!"  The old man’s colour rose as he gave utterance
to these words; his eyes flashed, and he grasped his staff with a
firmness which convinced me that he himself, had he lived in those
times, would have been a staunch supporter of the Covenanting cause.  I
ventured to hint as much, upon which he replied—"Maybe, maybe! there is
no saying what either of us might have been had we lived in those wild
days; but praise be to God! they are gone—I trust never to return in
Scotland."

Re-echoing this heartfelt prayer, we pursued our way along the giddy
ledge of the precipice which stretched beneath.  The farther we
advanced, the more wild and gloomy the scenery became, until at length
we paused, mutually overcome with the stern sublimity of the, formerly
believed to be, haunted linn.  By means of fissures in the rocks, worn
away in some places so as to resemble huge skeletons, we beheld winding
passages and numberless cascades—the noise of whose falling waters alone
broke upon the stillness of the scene; while in the abyss beneath,
gigantic masses of hyperstein-looking rock, jutting boldly out from each
bank, seemed to form, what well might have been, the entrance to some
subterranean palace of the Genii.  So perfect was the resemblance, that,
as we gazed affrighted on the towering portals and listened to the
murmurs of the water gurgling along its pebbled bed, we almost feared to
see some of its terrible inhabitants issue forth, and with denouncing
gestures, compel us to enter their unblest abode.  After pointing out
for our observation the numerous caves which formerly sheltered the
adherents of the Covenant, our guide attracted our attention to a seat,
in the form of a chair, hollowed out in the solid rock, remarking, as he
did so, "You told me you thought from my appearance that I would have
been a Covenanter had I lived in their time, and well might you say so,
for my forefathers were staunch in the rightful cause; and for many a
long hour did my great-grandfather sit in that seat, when Claverhouse
and his dragoons were guarding the entrance to the linn.  He was a
shoemaker in this parish, and from that circumstance alone it is still
known as the ’Sutor’s Seat.’"

"Is there any tradition handed down in connection with your
great-grandfather?" I inquired.

"Yes, ma’m, there is; and if you would care to hear it, you are welcome
to all that I can remember."  So saying, the old man seated himself on a
neighbouring stone and related the story which, clothed in my own
language, is now presented to the reader under the name of the

                             SUTOR’S SEAT.


It was late on the evening of the first of June, sixteen hundred and
seventy-nine, and the wife and family of Abel Armstrong, who resided in
the parish of Closeburn, were engaged in offering up fervent
supplications at the throne of mercy in behalf of all those who had gone
forth to fight the battles of the Lord; but the face of the mother waxed
pale, and her lips trembled with emotion as she prayed, more especially
for the safety of her husband and her son, who had also enrolled
themselves beneath the banners of the Covenant.  While thus engaged, a
low knocking at the outer door caused them to start hastily to their
feet, and they stood gazing on each other with looks of eager alarm, at
a loss to comprehend the meaning of this unwelcome summons.  Again it
was repeated; but this time a feeble voice was heard entreating for
admission in the name of God.  Unable to withstand this earnest appeal,
Mrs. Armstrong ran to the door and undid the bar; it flew open, and an
officer of dragoons staggered into the cottage.  At the sight of the
armed intruder, Mrs. Armstrong and her daughters uttered wild screams of
alarm; while the sole male inmate of the kitchen, a youth of not more
than fifteen years of age, darted to the farthest, corner where stood a
loaded gun, and grasping it in his hand, gazed on the soldier with
scowling brows, irresolute how to act.

"Fear nought from me," faintly exclaimed the dragoon, observing the
hostile attitude assumed by the boy; "I mean you no harm, nor have I the
power to inflict an injury, even had I the inclination."

As he spoke, a stream of blood, welling from a deep wound in his side,
dyed the cottage floor with a crimson stain.

"Water! water!" he murmured, and sank fainting into the nearest chair.

With all their womanly sympathies aroused within them at the sight of
the helpless condition of the stranger who had thus thrown himself upon
their hospitality, Mrs. Armstrong and her eldest daughter, Lucy, ran to
his assistance; the one to bathe his forehead with vinegar, and the
other to fetch bandages to bind up anew his bleeding wound.

"O but he has a bonnie sweet face o’ his ain!" said Mrs. Armstrong in
pitying accents, as she undid his helmet and stroked down his long fair
hair, which, in obedience to the prevailing custom of the Cavaliers,
descended in ringlets to his shoulders, "and so young too!  My poor lad,
what could have tempted you to leave your home to engage in such
unprofitable warfare?"

As she spoke, a faint smile stole over the pallid features of the
wounded dragoon; he opened his eyes, and warmly pressing the kind hand
at that instant engaged in staunching the blood which still flowed from
his side, he murmured the name of mother.

"O, an’ it’s maybe you have a lady mother who is even now praying for
the safety of her darling son, as I have done for that of mine this
night!" exclaimed Mrs. Armstrong, the tears coursing down her cheeks as
she spoke; "but fear ye nought, for although you are far from home and
kindred, and in the house of one who is hostile to your cause, yet are
you as safe beneath the humble roof-tree of Abel Armstrong as though you
were lying in your stately hall with your mother’s arms around your
neck."

The exhausted youth again pressed her hand in token of his gratitude for
her promised protection, and speedily relapsed into insensibility.
Deeply moved on beholding his extreme weakness, Mrs. Armstrong, with the
assistance of Lucy, relieved him of his armour, and raising him gently
in her arms, conveyed him into their sole remaining apartment, where,
according to the usual Scottish custom, two beds were placed in the
wall, in one of which they laid the dragoon. Having succeeded, by means
of a reviving cordial, in restoring him to consciousness, the
tender-hearted woman hastened to examine his bandages, fearful lest they
might have slipped during his removal; but their fears proving
groundless, they bade God bless him, and left him to repose.

Scarcely had Mrs. Armstrong and her daughter resumed their seats by the
kitchen fire, when a low tap on the window pane caused them to tremble
anew with apprehension.  But soon their fears were allayed when the
well-known voice of Abel Armstrong was heard demanding admittance.

With a scream of joy, Mrs. Armstrong darted towards the door which
speedily opened to admit her husband and son, accompanied by several
others of the Covenanting party.

"My husband! my son!" was all the weeping woman could exclaim, as the
clasped them alternately in her arms.

"Father! oh thank God you have returned in safety! but where is William
Crosbie? speak!" cried Lucy, as she turned to greet her brother; "Oh,
Jamie, is he wounded or dead?"

"Neither!" said her brother, smiling fondly in the face upturned to his
with a look of wistful inquiry; "only have patience, and you will see
him presently; he is tending his horse, and will be here ere many
minutes have elapsed."

"Oh God in heaven be praised for his goodness in thus having lent an
attentive ear to the humble petitions of his servants, which ascended
from afflicted, yet trusting hearts!" piously exclaimed both mother and
daughter; and they gazed upwards with streaming eyes and hearts full of
thankfulness for the safe return of those beloved ones whose absence had
paled their cheeks and filled their bosoms with apprehensions of evil.

"Yes, let us praise Him!" said Abel Armstrong, uncovering his head as he
spoke, "who hath this day upheld the cause of his saints, and scattered
their foes as the dust flies before the winds of heaven."

"What mean you, Abel?"

"That our arms have been victorious in battle. This morning we
encountered the enemy on the moor of Drumclog.  We beheld them advancing
towards us with helmets glancing and banners waving.  We noticed the
proud scorn with which they regarded us as we prayed that our cause
might be blessed and our hands guided in the fight; and we marked well
the contempt written on their countenances as they beheld us drawn up to
meet them.  But they knew not our hearts.  _They_ could not understand
the mighty spell that bound us together, and animated our souls with
hopes of victory.  The bloody Claverhouse, secure in the power of his
might, boasted ’He would soon lay the psalm-singing caitiffs low!’ but
we, trusting only in One whose arm is mighty to save, commended our
cause to Him, and went forth to battle.  We met; they were scattered.
Some fled; others lay stretched on the plain.  Then we raised our
standards aloft, and returned thanks to the God of heaven."

"The Lord be praised!" said Mrs. Armstrong, "for he hath indeed showered
rich blessings on our sinful heads this day; he hath blessed our arms in
the field, and restored those dear ones who went forth to fight in his
service.  Oh, Abel," she continued, again clasping him in her arms, "God
in his mercy grant that you may long be spared; for were you to be taken
away from me, the trial would indeed be greater than I could bear."

"Do not speak thus," said Abel Armstrong, fondly returning his wife’s
embrace: "we are all in the Lord’s keeping; that life we enjoy came from
him, and at his command we must resign it.  We have, therefore, no right
to murmur when those we love are taken from us. At all times let us
commend ourselves to him, and he will give us strength to endure the
severest trials, and cause us to come forth purified from the furnace of
affliction."

Scarcely had Abel Armstrong finished speaking, when the door opened, and
a young man entered. This was William Crosbie, who, at the time of the
breaking out of the religious disturbances then agitating Scotland, had
followed the occupation of a shoe-maker in the neighbourhood of Abel
Armstrong’s cottage.  He and Lucy had been lovers since the days of
their childhood, and were to have been married some months previously;
but on the morning of the day appointed for the wedding, the aged
minister, engaged to perform the ceremony, was taken prisoner by some of
Claverhouse’s dragoons, and lodged in Dumfries jail. As no one could be
procured to supply his place, the marriage was necessarily postponed
until the return of more tranquil days.  The disappointment of his
hopes, coupled with the imprisonment of one whom he had always regarded
in the light of a parent, so wrought upon the hitherto peaceful
disposition of William Crosbie, that he, long taught to regard the
measures adopted by the then existing Government as being in the highest
degree tyrannical, at length threw up his employment, and went forth to
fight on the aide of the Covenanters.

On the entrance of her lover, Lucy darted towards him, and
exclaiming—"William, you too are safe!" threw herself sobbing on his
neck.  With a low cry of pain young Crosbie disengaged himself from
Lucy’s embrace, and staggered back against the wall; while the excessive
pallor overspreading his countenance attested the agony under which he
laboured.

"William!" shrieked Lucy, gazing on her lover’s face with lips white and
trembling as his own, "you are wounded—perhaps mortally!"

"Oh, no, dearest, it is nothing!" replied her lover, struggling manfully
to regain his composure; "it is only a mere scratch in the shoulder; but
a sudden twinge of pain caused me to wax somewhat faint——"

"Ha, then; he hit you after all!" said Abel Armstrong, his brows
contracting as he spoke.

"How chanced it, William? by whom were you wounded?" anxiously inquired
Lucy, who had in some measure regained her composure on being assured by
one of the men who had proceeded to examine the wound, that it was not
of a serious nature—the ball having merely grazed the fleshy part of the
arm.

"It was a cowardly dragoon who fired the shot," replied Abel Armstrong;
"the fellow fled in this direction, and we pursued him on horses taken
from the enemy.  William Crosbie, who was far ahead of us all, called
upon him to surrender; when, for answer, the dastardly fellow turned
round in the saddle, and discharged his pistol at him, wounding him, as
it now appears, in the shoulder.  We soon lost sight of the fugitive in
the darkness; but he seems to have found refuge somewhere in this
neighbourhood, for we discovered his horse grazing at no very great
distance from hence; but of the dragoon himself we saw nothing.

"Why, how came these things here?" suddenly exclaimed one of the party,
pointing, as he spoke, to the pieces of armour Mrs. Armstrong had taken
off the person of her wounded guest ere removing him from the kitchen,
and which, till that instant, had remained unobserved in a corner of the
apartment. Mrs. Armstrong and Lucy exchanged quick glances of alarm, but
vouchsafed no answer to the startling inquiry.

"The fellow must be here!" said several of his companions; handling the
triggers of their guns in a manner which boded no good to the
unfortunate youth, should he fall into their hands.

"Wife!" exclaimed Abel Armstrong in a low stern whisper, "you hear the
inquiry—’How came these things here?’  Why answer ye not?  Speak—I
command you."

"Oh, Abel, press me not to tell; indeed I cannot!" said the distracted
woman, wringing her hands and gazing beseechingly in her husband’s face.

"What!" he cried in wrath; "have you then dared to shelter one of our
foes beneath this roof of mine? Woman, you have done me a foul wrong;
but tell us instantly where you have concealed him, that we may yet
revenge ourselves."

"He lies there," said Mrs. Armstrong in trembling accents, and shrinking
from the fiery glance of her husband’s eye.

"Ha, then, he dies!" shouted divers others of the party; and they rushed
towards the door as they spoke.

"You shall not touch him," cried Mrs. Armstrong, throwing herself on her
knees before them, and endeavouring to prevent their egress; "you dare
not pollute my threshold with a stranger’s blood!  Oh, spare his young
life!" she continued, in tones of earnest entreaty, "and crush not your
own souls with the crime of murder——"

"Woman, prevent us not," was the stern reply; "he is the foe of the
Covenant, and as such must die!" and the speaker threw Mrs. Armstrong
from him, and darted into the next apartment, followed by several of his
companions, eager to wreak their vengeance on the wounded youth.

"Abel!  Abel! will you stand idly by and see murder committed beneath
your roof.  Oh, save him!" and as she uttered these words Mrs. Armstrong
seized her husband by the arm, and dragged him from the kitchen.  It was
a strange wild scene that greeted her eyes on gaining the door of the
sleeping apartment. The sterner portion of the Covenanters stood grouped
together; their hands grasping their ready muskets, their eyes, whose
glances were dark and menacing, glared on the wounded youth, who,
aroused from his slumbers by the stormy entrance of the party, sat
upright in his bed, and, with undaunted mien, repaid their scowling
regards with looks of haughty scorn, while he indignantly exclaimed,
"Come you here with the purpose of murder in your hearts that you gaze
thus gloomily on me!  If so, approach and do your bloody work; I fear
you not.  It will be a deed worthy of your base-born natures to slay a
youth, and he a defenceless one.  I despise you from the depths of my
heart," he continued, in tones of withering scorn, heedless of the fiery
glances and threatening gestures of the infuriated men who surrounded
him; "and learn this, if you need an incentive to urge you to the deed,
that on the plain of Drumclog my good broadsword caused one or more of
your body to bite the dust."

"Ha! boastest thou of thy evil doings! villain, thou diest."  And with
these words several of the Covenanters rushed towards the undaunted
youth, with their guns uplifted, as if to strike him dead where he lay,
when Mrs. Armstrong, with a scream of terror, threw her arms around the
neck of the wounded dragoon, to shield him from danger, while she
exclaimed, "Oh, forbear to slay him!  How can you condemn your enemies
for their cruelties, if you do such evil deeds as this?  Shame on your
manhood, ever to dream of harming a defenceless foe, and he a mere boy.
You shall not touch him," she cried, pushing back the men who stood
nearest her; "he came to my house, wounded and bleeding, and begged
admission in the name of God.  Could I refuse to listen to the voice of
suffering, even when coming from the lips of an enemy? No; I tended him
as though he were mine own child. He spoke of his mother.  I too am a
mother.  And I thought on my husband and son, who even at that instant
might be entreating aid from the hands of strangers, and my heart melted
within me.  Will you be less kind—less forgiving?  It is true you heard
it from his own mouth that this day his hand was raised against the
soldiers of the Covenant, and that to the destruction of some of our
party; but did you spare those who fell into your hands?  Think ye on
that, and forgive the part he hath chosen."

As Mrs. Armstrong finished her touching address, William Crosbie, who
had been speaking apart with Lucy, advanced towards her, and placing one
hand in hers, grasped with the other that of the young soldier, and
turning round to his still frowning companions, said in a stern voice,
"Now look you, my friends, if I, who this evening barely escaped being
killed by the hands of this misguided youth, can say I freely forgive
and mean him no injury, surely you may do the same. Mrs. Armstrong is
right.  It is with men like ourselves we should wage war, and not with
beardless boys.  On the open field and in the broad daylight we should
attack our enemy; not in the darkness of night and beneath the roof of
one who hath promised him protection.  Let the lad go.  Remember with
what horror we regard the cold-blooded murders daily committed by those
who are opposed to our cause; and in what respect should we differ from
them did we yield to the dictates of our baser natures, and stain our
hearths with the sacred blood of a guest?  No, no; let us act as men who
have the fear of God before their eyes, and if an enemy fall into our
hands, friendless and wounded, as this poor youth is, let us succour him
till he is well, and then bid him go in peace from our dwelling."

"You are right, William," cried Abel Armstrong, dropping his gun on the
floor, and motioning on the others to imitate his example, "let us do
good even to an enemy; and if this poor lad hath shed some of our blood
this day, his own hath flowed freely in exchange. So come, my friends,
let us mount and ride; there is yet much for us to perform, and we must
hasten to rejoin our comrades, lest they be uneasy concerning our
safety.  Nay, nay, now; look not thus sullen at being deprived of your
revenge!  Remember the nobler purpose that brought us together, namely,
to fight for the spiritual freedom of Scotland, and abandon all thoughts
which would lead away the heart from the mighty end to be accomplished."
The men hesitated a moment ere they obeyed the voice of their leader;
but the command being repeated in a sterner tone, they reluctantly
quitted the room, casting, as they did so, lowering glances in the
direction of the young soldier, who, wholly overcome by the excitement
of the scene, coupled with his late fearful loss of blood, sunk back
exhausted on his pillow.  As William Crosbie was preparing to follow his
companions, the dragoon called him to his bed-side, and clasping his
hand in his, said in a faltering voice,—"Young man, under the providence
of God, I this night owe to you a life which is precious to me for my
mother’s sake.  I am her only remaining son, and it would have killed
her had anything happened unto me.  I will not insult you by offering
you money; but, should the chances of war ever throw you into the power
of our party, inquire for Lieutenant Musgrave of Claverhouse’s dragoons,
and display this chain; it will secure you safety and attention in the
meanwhile; and if spared to redeem my promise, I will procure your
pardon, even should I die to obtain it."

With these words, the grateful youth threw a massive gold chain around
the neck of William Crosbie, who, after warmly thanking the dragoon for
his promised aid, rejoined his companions.

"God bless and protect you both in the midst of battle," sobbed Mrs.
Armstrong, her voice failed her and she turned weeping from the door as
her husband and son once more departed from their home to join the
Covenanting host.

"And must we then part?" cried Lucy, gazing with tearful eyes in the
face of her lover, who had lingered on the threshold to exchange a few
parting words with her, as she now clung to him in all the abandonment
of grief.

"Yes, dearest; but only for a time; ere the song of the reapers is heard
in the fields, I will return—never more to leave you."

As William Crosbie uttered these words, a dark cloud passed over the
face of the moon; and as Lucy beheld the sudden eclipse of its bright
rays, a sense of coming evil smote her heart, and a shudder passed
through her slender frame, as though the hope of future happiness she
ventured to entertain was doomed to wither ere it bloomed.  The voice of
Abel Armstrong was now heard calling on William Crosbie to join the
party.  On hearing the fatal summons, Lucy clung yet closer to her
lover; and her lips trembled as she bade God guard him from all danger
and restore him in safety to her, in company with her father and her
brother.

"Think on the coming harvest," whispered William Crosbie, as he clasped
Lucy again and again to his throbbing heart; then resigning her almost
inanimate form into the arms of her mother, he mounted his horse, and
without daring to turn his head in the direction of her from whom it was
almost death to part, galloped after his companions.

Under the fostering care of his kind hostess and her daughter, the
soldier speedily recovered from the effects of his wound; the glow of
returning health mantled on his cheek, and in the course of a few days
he declared his intention of proceeding to Dumfries, there to join his
regiment, commanded by the redoubted Claverhouse in person.  Mrs.
Armstrong was deeply moved as she bade farewell to the departing
dragoon, and said, raising the corner of her apron to her eyes as she
spoke, "That although a follower of the bloody Clavers, and a dweller in
the tents of the wicked, he had such a kindly heart and gentle manners
that she loved him as if he were her own son.  And oh!" she exclaimed,
gazing imploringly in his face, "should you chance to encounter in
battle those who are dearer to rue than life, remember the night you
found shelter in my house, and spare them for the sake of one who tended
you with a mother’s care."

"I will; I will!" answered the soldier, wringing her hand in the fervour
of his gratitude.  "God is my witness that I will protect them with my
latest breath; and rest assured, my sweet maiden," he said, addressing
Lucy, "your lover’s interference on my behalf, when the hearts of his
cowardly companions were intent on my destruction, will never fade from
my memory.  I have sworn to save him should his life be in danger; and
if at any time you think of quitting this part of the country, come to
Cumberland; there I will give you a home, and my mother will be the
first to welcome those who succoured and befriended her wounded son.
Farewell.  God grant we may meet again, and that I may be able to
testify my gratitude for kindness which can never be repaid and will
never be forgotten."

"Farewell, farewell!" said the gentle-hearted women, and with tearful
eyes they stood on the threshold gazing after the departing soldier till
his nodding plume disappeared in the distance.

Barely three short weeks had elapsed since the victory of Drumclog, when
the fatal battle of Bothwell Bridge extinguished, it seemed, almost for
ever, the hopes of the Covenanting party in Scotland.  A prey to
treachery, and divided among themselves, the soldiers of the Covenant
were slaughtered without mercy by Claverhouse and his dragoons, who
burned to wipe out the stain of their defeat on the moor of Drumclog.
Tidings that a great battle had been fought, and the Covenanters
defeated, found their way to the sequestered home of Abel Armstrong,
filling the minds of both mother and daughter with fearful apprehensions
lest those they loved might be among the number of the slain.  Each
succeeding day beheld Lucy—trembling, yet hopeful—stationed at the door,
eager to obtain the first glimpse of their well-known forms—but she
looked in vain.  At distant intervals a few way-worn
Covenanters—fugitives from the disastrous field of Bothwell—might be
seen dragging their weary steps along, but all passed on their way,
unable to afford any information regarding the missing men.  Then hope
for ever fled from the mother’s breast, and she wept in the solitude of
her dwelling for those whom she felt she should never more behold on
earth.  The younger portion of her children—whose tender years did not
permit of their sharing in their mother’s grief—stood gazing in
wondering silence on beholding her bitter sorrow; while Lucy strove to
reassure her by comforting words regarding the speedy return of her
father and brother, the tears running down her own pale cheeks as she
thought on the probable fate of one still more loved than they.  Weeks
rolled on.  The vernal tints of summer had given place to the more sober
hues of autumn, still they came not.  Then she too ceased to hope, and
mourned for her absent relatives and lover as one mourneth for the dead.

One lovely evening, towards the end of August, Lucy—too wretched to
enjoy the childish prattle of her younger brothers and sisters—went
forth from the cottage to indulge, in solitude, in her own sad thoughts.
She paused on the threshold, overcome with the tranquil beauty of the
scene.  The sun was slowly sinking behind the distant hills, and its
bright rays tinged with a yet richer hue the now golden corn as it
slowly waved to and fro in the grateful breeze.  With a heart torn with
anguish, Lucy recalled her lover’s parting words—"Ere the song of the
reapers is heard in the fields, I will return!" and she wept, for the
harvest was come—but where was he?  Unconsciously, as it were, she
lifted her eyes to traverse the far-stretching plain, when the figure of
a young man, approaching in the direction of the cottage, at once
arrested her attention.  For the quick eye of affection one glance
sufficed. It was William Crosbie who was rapidly advancing towards her.
With a scream of "Mother, he is come!" Lucy darted forward to meet him.
Already she is within two hundred paces of him.  He sees her—he quickens
his pace—their arms are outstretched to embrace each other, when, oh,
horror! the sun’s bright rays flash on the brass helmets of two mounted
dragoons as they gallop swiftly across the plain.  Paralysed at the
sight, Lucy endeavours in vain to apprise her lover of his danger.  She
warns him back.  He notices them not.  Thinking only of her, he rushes
eagerly forward. Suddenly the stern command—"Halt, in the King’s name!"
rings out in the silence of the night.  He staggers at the awful sound.
He turns to fly—too late.  The soldiers dismount from their horses, and
with unslung carbines, command him to yield—or die!

"O, Lucy! and is it thus we meet?" groaned forth William Crosbie, as the
frantic girl rushed madly forward, and throwing herself on her knees
before the dragoons, besought them in the most moving terms to free her
lover.  "For many a weary day, when hungry and homeless, and forced to
seek refuge in the caves of the earth, did I comfort myself with
thoughts of my return to claim you as mine.  I dreamt of it—prayed for
it; and now I have seen you, but to lose you for ever."

"Say not so, William!  Men, men! you have hearts—God gave you
them—hearts to feel—to share in another’s sorrow.  O think on mine—close
not your breasts to the voice of pity; free him—let him go, and I will
bless you!" and the distracted girl clung in her agony to the knees of
the rude soldiers, who repulsed her with violence, and laughed at all
her efforts to move their stern natures to compassion.

"Waste not your breath on us!" one of them exclaimed, "you will require
it soon; there are those behind us to whom you may kneel for mercy——"

"But to little purpose I fear," said the other with a laugh, in which
his companion joined.  "Sir Robert Grierson, not to mention our own
worthy leader, is by no means fond of being bothered by praying women
when in the discharge of duty; so you need not expect to obtain any
favour from him," he said, addressing Lucy, who became deadly pale on
hearing those dreadful words, and with one more frantic appeal for
mercy, she sank senseless on the ground.

"Lucy! oh heavens, you have killed her by your brutal speech!" cried
William Crosbie in an agony of fear, on beholding her death-like
countenance, "let me go—let me—men, devils! will you not release me?"
and he made violent efforts to free himself from their grasp, but in
vain.  And incensed by his stout resistance, the soldiers seized him by
the throat, and beat him with the butt-end of their muskets till he
reeled beneath their blows.  At this instant a large party of dragoons,
headed by the stern Claverhouse, rode up to the spot.

"What is the meaning of this?" said the dreaded leader, gazing
alternately on William Crosbie and Lucy Armstrong, who, in some measure
recovered from her faint, lay on the ground, her hair dishevelled, and
her eyes fixed on the dragoons with a vacant stare, as though unable to
comprehend the nature of the scene.

"Why, most noble Colonel," said one of the soldiers, "as we, in
obedience to your commands, were scouring the fields in search of
rebels, we came upon this young fellow who was running to meet his
sweetheart.  It appears he was returning to marry her, and——"

"So, ho! then we have arrived most opportunely to witness a bridal!"
said Sir Robert Grierson, who accompanied Claverhouse on this occasion;
"what say you, my friend," addressing Sir James Graham, "to hanging them
both on a tree, and having a stone placed beneath, bearing this
inscription—’They were lovely in their lives, and in death they were not
divided?’"  And the speaker laughed long and loudly.

"Surely I have seen this fellow before," said Claverhouse, gazing
sternly on William Crosbie, who met his eye with a gaze unflinching as
his own. "Tell me, young man, were you at Bothwell?"

"I was."

"You confess it?"

"I do."

"And you were one of those who slew the dragoon and bore back your
colours from the bridge?"

"I did the deed myself!" said William Crosbie proudly.

"Ha!  I thought so!  Soldiers, unsling your carbines—he dies!"

[Illustration: "Mercy, mercy!" cried Lucy, now fully alive to the
horrors of her lover’s situation; and dragging herself to the feet of
Claverhouse, she seized his hand and besought him in the most
heart-rending terms to spare her lover.]

"Mercy, mercy!" cried Lucy, now fully alive to the horrors of her
lover’s situation; and dragging herself to the feet of Claverhouse, she
seized his hand and besought him in the most heart-rending terms to
spare her lover.  "He will never more fight against the King," she said,
"he was returning here to live in peace—oh let him go!"

With a calm, cold smile, Claverhouse withdrew his hand from her hold,
and made a signal to his men to prepare their arms.

"Mother, mother!" shrieked Lucy, as Mrs. Armstrong, almost breathless
from her exertions, reached the spot where she knelt, "kneel with me
before these men.  The sight of your grey hairs may move their hearts to
compassion, and they may grant you the mercy they have denied me."

"William!" exclaimed Mrs. Armstrong in faltering accents, "what of my
husband and son—where are they?"

Young Crosbie’s lips trembled.  He sadly shook his head.  She was
answered—both had fallen at Bothwell Bridge.

"Now may I indeed kneel—kneel in sorrow and in anguish, for I am
bereaved!"  And with these words the weeping widow threw herself on her
knees, and with clasped hands and upturned eyes, besought pardon for the
youth about to suffer.

"O!" she exclaimed, "if your hearts still retain one human feeling; if
they are not yet wholly seared by the bloody scenes through which you
have passed, hearken unto me this night.  It is a heart-broken woman who
addresses you—one who is sorrowful even unto death.  Husband and son
have fallen.  The lover of my youth, and he who would have been the stay
of mine old age, are taken from me; and yet, I trust, in the midst of my
affliction, I can say, God’s will, not mine, be done!  Will not, then,
the blood of two suffice you——?"

"Two!" shouted Sir Robert Grierson, "though you had lost twenty such
rebellious knaves, what matters it to us? death to all such rascals!"

"Surely," continued the widow, regardless of the interruption, "you will
feel for me, and grant my prayer.  Kill not the prisoner.  I have grown
old and gray with affliction, and my time on earth may not be long; but
my daughter is young in years, and her happiness is bound up in the life
of this young man. O spare her the fearful trial of losing him—bring not
down her youthful hairs with sorrow to the grave. Pardon him, I beseech
you!"

Claverhouse sternly answered "No!" and impatiently waved his hand for
them to be gone.

"Lucy, Lucy!" cried William Crosbie, "let not your mother kneel to these
cold-blooded wretches! Do not debase yourself by imploring mercy from
creatures who know it not.  I can face death like a man.  I do not fear
it.  Farewell, Lucy, we shall, I trust, meet in another and a better
world where none can part us."  Then bidding the soldiers do their
worst, the brave youth uncovered his head, and stood prepared to receive
the fatal fire.  These last words, uttered in a louder tone, reached the
ears of a young officer who stood at some little distance from his
companions, as though unwilling to witness the bloody tragedy about to
be enacted.  He started on hearing the familiar voice; and coming
hastily forward, gazed earnestly on the prisoner as he stood bold and
erect before the dragoons.  A flush passed over the officer’s face, and
advancing to the spot where Claverhouse stood conversing with Sir Robert
Grierson, he requested to speak a few words with him in private.
Claverhouse at once complied with the request; and withdrawing his horse
a little apart from the others, a long and earnest conversation ensued.
The conference seemed to terminate unfavourably, for a darker frown sat
upon Claverhouse’s brow, and his voice sounded harsh and cruel as he
uttered these last words aloud—"I am sorry to refuse your request; but
his life is forfeited by the laws of this land, and my conscience would
for ever upbraid me should I fail in my duty to my king and my country."
The red blood mantled on the cheeks of the supplicant; and he seemed
about to make an angry reply, but instantly checking the impulse, he
bowed his head, and then added carelessly, "As you please, Colonel; but
since the poor fellow must suffer, have I your permission to exchange a
few words with him ere he dies?  I should like to tell him I have done
what I could to procure his pardon, as I promised faithfully to save
him."

"Most certainly!" said Claverhouse with a courtly smile, apparently well
satisfied to get off with so small a concession.  "Soldiers, down
muskets!  Lieutenant Musgrave wishes to speak with the prisoner."

At mention of the name, Lucy, who had been weeping passionately on her
mother’s shoulder, raised her head, a ray of hope animated her
countenance, and she watched the young officer’s movements in breathless
anxiety—William Crosbie also looked disturbed and anxious.  With a
swaggering gait and careless mien, young Musgrave approached the
prisoner, and taking him by the arm, led him some little distance apart,
when he addressed him as follows:—"I have vainly endeavoured to procure
your pardon.  I vowed to save you; and my oath must be kept.  Therefore
listen to me.  Accept this purse; you may stand in need of money, and
when I say aloud farewell! dart off as quickly as you can in the
direction of Crichup Linn.  The darkness will favour your escape, and I
will, if necessary, prevent the soldiers from following, until you are
beyond their reach.  Fear not for Lucy! I will protect her as though she
were mine own sister. God bless you—farewell!"  Scarcely had the word
escaped Lieutenant Musgrave’s lips, ere William Crosbie was speeding
along the plain towards Crichup Linn; and so thoroughly was the whole
party overwhelmed with astonishment at this unlooked-for proceeding on
the part of the prisoner, that ere the soldiers could mount their horses
and set off in pursuit, he was already lost in the gloom.  With a cry of
thankfulness Lucy fell down on her knees; but not to man she knelt.  She
was breathing a prayer of gratitude to Heaven for her lover’s safety.

"Traitor!" shouted Claverhouse, his eyes sparkling with fury, "how dare
you do this?  By heavens! you shall answer for it, and that presently."

"When and where you please," said Lieutenant Musgrave haughtily; "you
have yourself to blame for what I have done.  I begged the young man’s
life.  I told you this good woman and her daughter had sheltered me when
wounded, and that William Crosbie had prevented my blood being shed by
his companions.  In return, I vowed I would protect him if ever he fell
into your hands.  You refused to listen to my petition.  It was the
first request I had ever made, and I told you it should be the last; but
you scorned my entreaties, and now you have reaped the fruits of your
cruel refusal.  Disgusted by your cold-blooded murders,——"

"Ha! this insolence to your commanding officer? Consider yourself under
arrest!  Captain Lennox, relieve Lieutenant Musgrave of his sword."

"Never!" said young Musgrave; "here I resign my commission, and for ever
abandon a cause characterised only by cruelty and oppression."

With these words he drew his sword from its sheath, and breaking it
across his knee, threw the pieces on the ground.  Then taking Mrs.
Armstrong by the hand, he led her and Lucy from the spot.  Claverhouse
remained motionless with rage on beholding himself deprived of his
revenge; while Sir Robert Grierson exclaimed with a shrug of his
shoulders—"We are well rid of the fellow.  He has been too long in the
society of these psalm-singing rascals not to have imbibed some of their
notions.  Let him go. He is not fit for the society of loyal-hearted
subjects like ourselves; his place is the conventicle; there he will
have whining and praying enough."  Unwilling to exhibit any further
annoyance before his soldiers, Ciaverhouse joined in the laugh
occasioned by this speech of Sir Robert’s, and after issuing a command
to one of his men to follow in the direction of the dragoons and
ascertain whether they had discovered any traces of the fugitive, he set
out on his return to Dumfries.  Favoured by the darkness which now
enveloped the earth like a mantle, William Crosbie succeeded in baffling
the dragoons.  More than once their bullets whistled close past his
ears, and their voices sounded ominously near, still he held on his way;
and at length, when nearly exhausted, he gained the entrance to Crichup
Linn.  With a shout of triumph, which sounded in the ears of his
pursuers like the yell of a demon, William Crosbie darted into its
friendly shades; and, as he sped along its narrow path, he heard with
unmingled pleasure the voices of the dragoons—who, unwilling to
encounter the evil spirits said to infest the linn, had turned back from
the pursuit—grow faint in the distance.  The first act of the grateful
Covenanter, on reaching a place of safety, was to fall on his knees and
return thanks to God for his deliverance.  This done, he proceeded, so
far as the increasing darkness would permit, to examine the nature of
the place he had chosen as a refuge against his enemies.  For never
before had he dared to venture within the haunted precincts of Crichup
Linn.

The shades of night lent a still deeper gloom to the savage character of
the linn; and as William Crosbie gazed on the huge rocks, which seemed
from their tottering appearance as though the slightest touch would
dislodge them, and listened to the noise of the ceaseless cascades, as
they fell from rock to rock, a feeling of wonder, not unmixed with awe,
took possession of his breast.  As he stood beneath the shade of a
beetling crag, his eyes striving to penetrate the darkness below, all
the strange tales he had heard told around the cottager’s ingle-nook
regarding the linn, rose up, unbidden guests, in his imagination.  He
remembered, with cold shudderings, the weird dance described by his
uncle as having been seen by him when forced, from adverse
circumstances, to seek refuge among its caves; and how the precise spot
where he beheld the midnight revelry of the unearthly crew was still
familiarly known as the "Elf’s Kirk,"[#] and the strange lights
frequently seen leaping from crag to crag by those whom necessity had
forced to be unwilling spectators of the unnatural flame.  All these and
more did fancy conjure up, like spectral demons, to haunt him with their
presence, until at length, excited beyond measure at their remembrance
and the thought of spending an entire night in a place so infested with
horrors, William Crosbie wrought himself up to believe that he too was
about to become the victim of supernatural agency.  The air seemed
filled with wild unearthly sounds.  The blasted trees which burst forth
from the rocks above his head appeared like so many hideous forms
pointing at him with warning gestures from amid the gloom, while the
abyss beneath was peopled with gigantic beings, who, as they issued
forth from the portals of their unhallowed mansion, regarded him with
malignant eyes, and tossed their menacing arms aloft in the air, as
though invoking the elements to lash themselves into fury and descend on
the doomed head of him who had thus dared to invade their dominions.  As
if in obedience to their call, a loud peal of thunder suddenly broke
overhead, announcing an approaching storm.  Another and another
succeeded, and the blue electric fluid, fraught with death and disaster,
quivered in the air like the sword of Divine wrath suspended over a
guilty world. William Crosbie stood trembling and aghast as the storm,
which had now reached the climax of its fury, rolled along the sky in
terrible majesty.  Crash followed crash with incredible velocity, while
the forked lightning darted through the gloom like some heavenly
messenger sent from the realms of bliss on an errand of mercy to the pit
of woe.  Appalled at the scene, the terror-stricken Covenanter, in
acknowledgment of the Almighty’s power to preserve him in this awful
hour, fell on his knees amid the fierce strife of the elements, and
raised his right arm on high as though appealing for protection against
the horrors that surrounded him.  To his inexpressible relief, the
storm-cloud, having spent its fury, at length passed over the linn.  The
flashes of lightning became less frequent; the peals of thunder waxed
fainter and fainter, and then died away in broken murmurs in the
distance.


[#] Crichup Linn, _vide_ Fordyce’s Beauties at Scotland, vol. 2, page
312.


Under cover of a protecting rock, William Crosbie passed, what seemed to
his terror-struck imagination, an eternal night; and, as soon as the
early beams of the rising sun proclaimed the presence of morning, he
forsook his hard couch and made for the nearest outlet; determined
rather to face Claverhouse and all his host, than be doomed again to
encounter the horrors of a night spent in Crichup Linn.  While threading
his way through the tangled brushwood, which then almost obscured the
entrance to the linn, William Crosbie was startled on observing several
persons running in his direction.  Apprehensive of danger, he screened
his person behind some bushes, in order that he might ascertain their
purpose ere discovering himself to them.  On they came, panting and
breathless, evidently making for the linn.  On their nearer approach,
William Crosbie discovered them to be friends of his own, and staunch
adherents of the Covenanting party. He then came forth from his place of
concealment, and addressed them by their names.

"Back! back!" they cried with one voice, "he is coming! he is coming!"

"Who is coming?"

"Claverhouse! do you not see him yonder?"

William Crosbie turned his eyes in the indicated direction, and there he
beheld the dreaded persecutor, mounted on a splendid black charger,
galloping furiously towards them, followed by his dragoons.

"Come back with us!" said one of the new-comers, addressing William
Crosbie, "we know the way to the caves; there we shall be safe."

"You need not fear pursuit now!" said one of his companions, "not even
the evil spirit, were he mounted on horse-back, would dare to follow us
hither!"

As he spoke, a crashing of the boughs behind them caused them to start
and look back, when to their unutterable horror they beheld their
terrible enemy dashing through amidst the trees.  William Crosbie stood
transfixed at the sight.  He had neither power to move nor speak, while
Claverhouse, with dishevelled locks and flashing eyes, rode towards him,
with his sword uplifted in the air as if to hew him down.

"Have you a mind to be killed that you stand there while the arch-fiend
himself is within a few paces of you?" said one of the men, and seizing
William Crosbie by the arm he dragged him onwards to the verge of the
precipice.  "Down, down!" he cried, "we will cheat him yet!" and with
these words the man, still holding young Crosbie by the hand, slid down
among the rocks, whither his companions had gone before. "He has lost
his prey; he dare not follow us."

The speaker was interrupted by a cry of horror proceeding from his
companions.  He looked up, and beheld the horse with its rider bounding
over the chasm.  In his eager haste to capture the men, Claverhouse did
not perceive the danger which lay in his path, until too late to
retreat; so clapping spurs to his steed, which equalled in spirit its
fiery master, he urged it to the leap.  His horse cleared the chasm at a
single bound, and landed its rider safe on the opposite side.  The noble
animal fared not so well; one of its legs was broken in the effort; and
from his seat in the face of the rock William Crosbie beheld with
admiration the feat achieved by the gallant charger, and witnessed with
sorrow its death inflicted by the hands of his master.  The dragoons on
foot now rushed into the linn, and discharged their muskets down the
abyss, thereby hoping to kill or wound some of the men who had taken
refuge there. But their bullets glanced harmlessly off the rocks; and at
length, wearied with their futile attempts to capture the Covenanters,
they departed, venting maledictions on all such rebels.  For the space
of four days and nights did William Crosbie and his companions remained
concealed in Crichup Linn.  Their food was regularly supplied by a
shepherd boy, who always managed to visit them unseen, and to furnish
them with information regarding the movements of the dragoons.

On the morning of the fifth day he brought the welcome tidings that the
soldiers, wearied of guarding the entrance to the linn, had abandoned
their post, and gone off in search of a more promising expedition. This
was indeed joyful news to the oppressed hearts of the Covenanters; and
when the shades of evening rendered their escape easy, they abandoned
their hiding-places, and set out for their respective habitations.
William Crosbie at once directed his steps towards Mrs. Armstrong’s
cottage; the door of which was opened by Lucy in person.  The meeting of
the lovers, after the fearful scene through which they had so lately
passed, may be better imagined than described. Suffice it to say that
Lucy clung to her lover’s neck, and cried and laughed alternately; while
William Crosbie kissed the tears away, and whispered sweet words of
affection, which soon restored the rose to Lucy’s cheek.  During this
affecting scene, Mrs. Armstrong stood a little apart; her eyes were
filled with tears, and her lips moved as though engaged in mental
prayer.  It was so.  Her tears were to the memory of her husband and
son; while her prayer was for the continued happiness of those who had,
through the providence of God, been permitted to taste of joy after
having drunk so deeply of the cup of affliction. Lucy listened in
breathless awe as William Crosbie recounted the horrors he had
experienced during his solitary vigil in Crichup Linn; and in her turn
she related all that had befallen her since that fearful evening,
dwelling at considerable length on the more than brotherly kindness of
Lieutenant Musgrave, who had done everything in his power to render her
happy during the absence of her lover.  "And what do you think,
William?" she said at the conclusion of her recital, "he has offered us
all a home in Cumberland; and my mother, to whom this part of the
country has now became unbearable, has decided upon accepting his kind
offer, so it only remains for you to consent to accompany us."

The answer her lover gave is not recorded; but that it was in the
affirmative may be gathered from the fact that in the course of a few
days Mrs. Armstrong, her family and her future son-in-law, set out on
their journey to another home.  As the humble vehicle, which bore the
travellers, proceeded on its way, the eyes of Lucy, beaming with love
and happiness, were fixed on the blue hills of Cumberland, as they rose
up before her in yet distant beauty, while the tear-stained eyes of the
widow wandered back to the lowly cottage, which never seemed so dear to
her as at that instant when she was leaving it for ever.  Youth was
looking hopefully to the future—age was ruminating sadly on the past.

On their arrival at their destination, they found Mr., no longer
Lieutenant, Musgrave in waiting to receive them; who, taking Mrs.
Armstrong by the hand, led her towards a lovely little cottage embowered
in woodbine and roses.

"This," he said, "is your home; and yonder," pointing as he spoke to a
smiling farm-house peeping out from amongst some venerable poplar-trees,
"stands the future residence of William and Lucy."

"O, sir!" exclaimed Mrs. Armstrong with streaming eyes, "your
kindness——"

"Nay, thank not me!" he replied with a smile, "it is the gift——"

"Of a grateful mother," said a soft womanly voice, and the speaker, a
mild-benevolent looking lady—whom Mr. Musgrave speedily introduced as
his mother—came forth from the cottage, and, with deep emotion, welcomed
the Scottish Covenanters to their English home.

At her bridal, which took place shortly after her arrival in Cumberland,
Lucy looked more than usually pretty in her simple white muslin dress;
while her neck was adorned with the gold chain given to her lover by the
grateful benefactor, to whom, they were proud to say, they owed all
their present happiness.  Long and happily did William Crosbie and his
Lucy live on the shores of Cumberland; and even Mrs. Armstrong forgot,
for a while, the sorrows of the past, as she dandled her fair-haired
grandchildren on her knee.  Some of the descendants of this worthy
family are still to be found on the banks of the Solway; and in their
possession may be seen the massive gold chain, which is carefully
treasured up by them in remembrance of the sufferings their forefathers
were called upon to endure in the dark and dismal days of persecution.

Still is the story of Claverhouse’s daring leap related in the parish of
Closeburn; and the natural chair in which the young shoemaker sat during
his brief sojourn in Crichup Linn is pointed out to the curious visitor,
as

                           THE SUTOR’S SEAT.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Tales of the Covenanters" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home