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Title: Old Mortality, Complete
Author: Scott, Walter
Language: English
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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 "Old Mortality, Complete" ***

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David Moynihan



[Illustration: Bookcover]


[Illustration: Spines]



OLD MORTALITY

by Sir Walter Scott


Volume I.


[Illustration: Titlepage]


[Illustration: Dedication]


[Illustration: First Series]



EDITOR’S INTRODUCTION TO OLD MORTALITY.

The origin of “Old Mortality,” perhaps the best of Scott’s historical
romances, is well known. In May, 1816, Mr. Joseph Train, the gauger from
Galloway, breakfasted with Scott in Castle Street. He brought gifts in
his hand,--a relic of Rob Roy, and a parcel of traditions. Among these
was a letter from Mr. Broadfoot, schoolmaster in Pennington, who
facetiously signed himself “Clashbottom.” To cleish, or clash, is to
“flog,” in Scots. From Mr. Broadfoot’s joke arose Jedediah Cleishbotham,
the dominie of Gandercleugh; the real place of Broadfoot’s revels was the
Shoulder of Mutton Inn, at Newton Stewart. Mr. Train, much pleased with
the antiques in “the den” of Castle Street, was particularly charmed by
that portrait of Claverhouse which now hangs on the staircase of the
study at Abbotsford. Scott expressed the Cavalier opinions about Dundee,
which were new to Mr. Train, who had been bred in the rural tradition of
“Bloody Claver’se.”

     [The Editor’s first acquaintance with Claverhouse was obtained
     through an old nurse, who had lived on a farm beside a burn where,
     she said, the skulls of Covenanters shot by Bloody Claver’se were
     still occasionally found. The stream was a tributary of the
     Ettrick.]

“Might he not,” asked Mr. Train, “be made, in good hands, the hero of a
national romance as interesting as any about either Wallace or Prince
Charlie?” He suggested that the story should be delivered “as if from the
mouth of Old Mortality.” This probably recalled to Scott his own meeting
with Old Mortality in Dunnottar Churchyard, as described in the
Introduction to the novel.

The account of the pilgrim, as given by Sir Walter from Mr. Train’s
memoranda, needs no addition. About Old Mortality’s son, John, who went
to America in 1776 (? 1774), and settled in Baltimore, a curious romantic
myth has gathered. Mr. Train told Scott more, as his manuscript at
Abbotsford shows, than Scott printed. According to Mr. Train, John
Paterson, of Baltimore, had a son Robert and a daughter Elizabeth. Robert
married an American lady, who, after his decease, was married to the
Marquis of Wellesley. Elizabeth married Jerome Bonaparte! Sir Walter
distrusted these legends, though derived from a Scotch descendant of Old
Mortality. Mr. Ramage, in March, 1871, wrote to “Notes and Queries”
 dispelling the myth.

According to Jerome Bonaparte’s descendant, Madame Bonaparte, her family
were Pattersons, not Patersons. Her Baltimore ancestor’s will is extant,
has been examined by Old Mortality’s great-grandson, and announces in a
kind of preamble that the testator was a native of Donegal; his Christian
name was William (“Notes and Queries,” Fourth Series, vol. vii. p. 219,
and Fifth Series, August, 1874). This, of course, quite settles the
question; but the legend is still current among American descendants of
the old Roxburghshire wanderer.

“Old Mortality,” with its companion, “The Black Dwarf,” was published on
December 1, 1816, by Mr. Murray in London, and Mr. Blackwood in
Edinburgh.

The name of “The Author of ‘Waverley’” was omitted on the title-page. The
reason for a change of publisher may have been chiefly financial
(Lockhart, v. 152). Scott may have also thought it amusing to appear as
his own rival in a new field. He had not yet told his secret to Lady
Abercorn, but he seems to reveal it (for who but he could have known so
much about the subject?) in a letter to her, of November 29, 1816.  “You
must know the Marquis well,--or rather you must be the Marquis himself!”
 quoth Dalgetty. Here follow portions of the letter:

     I do not like the first story, “The Black Dwarf,” at all; but the
     long one which occupies three volumes is a most remarkable
     production. . . . I should like to know if you are of my opinion as
     to these new volumes coming from the same hand. . . . I wander about
     from nine in the morning till five at night with a plaid about my
     shoulders and an immensely large bloodhound at my heels, and stick
     in sprigs which are to become trees when I shall have no eyes to
     look at them. . . .

     I am truly glad that the Tales have amused you. In my poor opinion
     they are the best of the four sets, though perhaps I only think so
     on account of their opening ground less familiar to me than the
     manners of the Highlanders. . . . If Tom--[His brother, Mr. Thomas
     Scott.]--wrote those volumes, he has not put me in his secret. . . .
     General rumour here attributes them to a very ingenious but most
     unhappy man, a clergyman of the Church of Scotland, who, many years
     since, was obliged to retire from his profession, and from society,
     who hides himself under a borrowed name. This hypothesis seems to
     account satisfactorily for the rigid secrecy observed; but from what
     I can recollect of the unfortunate individual, these are not the
     kind of productions I should expect from him. Burley, if I mistake
     not, was on board the Prince of Orange’s own vessel at the time of
     his death. There was also in the Life Guards such a person as
     Francis Stewart, grandson of the last Earl of Bothwell. I have in my
     possession various proceedings at his father’s instance for
     recovering some part of the Earl’s large estates which had been
     granted to the Earls of Buccleugh and Roxburgh. It would appear that
     Charles I. made some attempts to reinstate him in those lands, but,
     like most of that poor monarch’s measures, the attempt only served
     to augment his own enemies, for Buccleugh was one of the first who
     declared against him in Scotland, and raised a regiment of twelve
     hundred men, of whom my grandfather’s grandfather (Sir William Scott
     of Harden) was lieutenant-colonel. This regiment was very active at
     the destruction of Montrose’s Highland army at Philiphaugh. In
     Charles the Second’s time the old knight suffered as much through
     the nonconformity of his wife as Cuddie through that of his mother.
     My father’s grandmother, who lived to the uncommon age of
     ninety-eight years, perfectly remembered being carried, when a
     child, to the field-preachings, where the clergyman thundered from
     the top of a rock, and the ladies sat upon their side-saddles, which
     were placed upon the turf for their accommodation, while the men
     stood round, all armed with swords and pistols. . . . Old Mortality
     was a living person; I have myself seen him about twenty years ago
     repairing the Covenanters’ tombs as far north as Dunnottar.

If Lady Abercorn was in any doubt after this ingenuous communication, Mr.
Murray, the publisher, was in none. (Lockhart, v. 169.) He wrote to Scott
on December 14, 1816, rejoicing in the success of the Tales, “which must
be written either by Walter Scott or the Devil. . . . I never experienced
such unmixed pleasure as the reading of this exquisite work has afforded
me; and if you could see me, as the author’s literary chamberlain,
receiving the unanimous and vehement praises of those who have read it,
and the curses of those whose needs my scanty supply could not satisfy,
you might judge of the sincerity with which I now entreat you to assure
the Author of the most complete success.” Lord Holland had said, when Mr.
Murray asked his opinion, “Opinion! We did not one of us go to bed last
night,--nothing slept but my gout.”

The very Whigs were conquered. But not the Scottish Whigs, the Auld
Leaven of the Covenant,--they were still dour, and offered many
criticisms. Thereon Scott, by way of disproving his authorship, offered
to review the Tales in the “Quarterly.” His true reason for this step was
the wish to reply to Dr. Thomas McCrie, author of the “Life of John
Knox,” who had been criticising Scott’s historical view of the Covenant,
in the “Edinburgh Christian Instructor.” Scott had, perhaps, no better
mode of answering his censor. He was indifferent to reviews, but here his
historical knowledge and his candour had been challenged. Scott always
recognised the national spirit of the Covenanters, which he remarks on in
“The Heart of Mid-Lothian,” and now he was treated as a faithless
Scotsman. For these reasons he reviewed himself; but it is probable, as
Lockhart says, that William Erskine wrote the literary or aesthetic part
of the criticism (Lockhart, v.174, note).

Dr. McCrie’s review may be read, or at least may be found, in the fourth
volume of his collected works (Blackwood, Edinburgh 1857). The critique
amounts to about eighty-five thousand words. Since the “Princesse de
Cleves” was reviewed in a book as long as the original, never was so
lengthy a criticism. As Dr. McCrie’s performance scarcely shares the
popularity of “Old Mortality,” a note on his ideas may not be
superfluous, though space does not permit a complete statement of his
many objections. The Doctor begins by remarks on novels in general, then
descends to the earlier Waverley romances. “The Antiquary” he pronounces
to be “tame and fatiguing.” Acknowledging the merits of the others, he
finds fault with “the foolish lines” (from Burns), “which must have been
foisted without the author’s knowledge into the title page,” and he
denounces the “bad taste” of the quotation from “Don Quixote.” Burns and
Cervantes had done no harm to Dr. McCrie, but his anger was aroused, and
he, like the McCallum More as described by Andrew Fairservice, “got up
wi’ an unto’ bang, and garr’d them a’ look about them.” The view of the
Covenanters is “false and distorted.” These worthies are not to be
“abused with profane wit or low buffoonery.” “Prayers were not read in
the parish churches of Scotland” at that time. As Episcopacy was restored
when Charles II. returned “upon the unanimous petition of the Scottish
Parliament” (Scott’s Collected Works, vol. xix. p. 78) it is not
unnatural for the general reader to suppose that prayers would be read by
the curates. Dr. McCrie maintains that “at the Restoration neither the
one nor the other” (neither the Scotch nor English Prayer Books) “was
imposed,” and that the Presbyterians repeatedly “admitted they had no
such grievance.” No doubt Dr. McCrie is correct. But Mr. James Guthrie,
who was executed on June 1, 1661, said in his last speech, “Oh that there
were not many who study to build again what they did formerly
unwarrantably destroy: I mean Prelacy and the Service Book, a mystery of
iniquity that works amongst us, whose steps lead unto the house of the
great Whore, Babylon, the mother of fornication,” and so forth. Either
this mystery of iniquity, the Book of Common Prayer, “was working amongst
us,” or it was not. If it was not, of what did Mr. Guthrie complain? If
it was “working,” was read by certain curates, as by Burnet, afterwards
Bishop of Salisbury, at Saltoun, Scott is not incorrect. He makes Morton,
in danger of death, pray in the words of the Prayer Book, “a circumstance
which so enraged his murderers that they determined to precipitate his
fate.” Dr. McCrie objects to this incident, which is merely borrowed, one
may conjecture, from the death of Archbishop Sharpe. The assassins told
the Archbishop that they would slay him. “Hereupon he began to think of
death. But (here are just the words of the person who related the story)
behold! God did not give him the grace to pray to Him without the help of
a book. But he pulled out of his pocket a small book, and began to read
over some words to himself, which filled us with amazement and
indignation.” So they fired their pistols into the old man, and then
chopped him up with their swords, supposing that he had a charm against
bullets!  Dr. McCrie seems to have forgotten, or may have disbelieved the
narrative telling how Sharpe’s use of the Prayer Book, like Morton’s,
“enraged” his murderers. The incident does not occur in the story of the
murder by Russell, one of the murderers, a document published in C. K.
Sharpe’s edition of Kirkton. It need not be true, but it may have
suggested the prayer of Morton.

If Scott thought that the Prayer Book was ordained to be read in Scotch
churches, he was wrong; if he merely thought that it might have been read
in some churches, was “working amongst us,” he was right: at least,
according to Mr. James Guthrie.

Dr. McCrie argues that Burley would never have wrestled with a soldier in
an inn, especially in the circumstances. This, he says, was inconsistent
with Balfour’s “character.” Wodrow remarks, “I cannot hear that this
gentleman had ever any great character for religion among those that knew
him, and such were the accounts of him, when abroad, that the reverend
ministers of the Scots congregation at Rotterdam would never allow him to
communicate with them.” In Scott’s reading of Burley’s character, there
was a great deal of the old Adam. That such a man should so resent the
insolence of a soldier is far from improbable, and our sympathies are
with Burley on this occasion.

Mause Headrigg is next criticised. Scott never asserted that she was a
representative of sober Presbyterianism. She had long conducted herself
prudently, but, when she gave way to her indignation, she only used such
language as we find on many pages of Wodrow, in the mouths of many
Covenanters. Indeed, though Manse is undeniably comic, she also commands
as much respect as the Spartan mother when she bids her only son bear
himself boldly in the face of torture. If Scott makes her grotesque, he
also makes her heroic. But Dr. McCrie could not endure the ridiculous
element, which surely no fair critic can fail to observe in the speeches
of the gallant and courageous, but not philosophical, members of the
Covenant’s Extreme Left. Dr. McCrie talks of “the creeping loyalty of the
Cavaliers.” “Staggering” were a more appropriate epithet. Both sides were
loyal to principle, both courageous; but the inappropriate and
promiscuous scriptural language of many Covenanters was, and remains,
ridiculous. Let us admit that the Covenanters were not averse to all
games. In one or two sermons they illustrate religion by phrases derived
from golf!

When Dr. McCrie exclaims, in a rich anger, “Your Fathers!” as if Scott’s
must either have been Presbyterians or Cavaliers, the retort is cleverly
put by Sir Walter in the mouth of Jedediah. His ancestors of these days
had been Quakers, and persecuted by both parties.

Throughout the novel Scott keeps insisting that the Presbyterians had
been goaded into rebellion, and even into revenge, by cruelty of
persecution, and that excesses and bloodthirstiness were confined to the
“High Flyers,” as the milder Covenanters called them. Morton represents
the ideal of a good Scot in the circumstances. He comes to be ashamed of
his passive attitude in the face of oppression. He stands up for “that
freedom from stripes and bondage” which was claimed, as you may read in
Scripture, by the Apostle Paul, and which every man who is free-born is
called upon to defend, for his own sake and that of his countrymen. The
terms demanded by Morton from Monmouth before the battle of Bothwell
Bridge are such as Scott recognises to be fair. Freedom of worship, and a
free Parliament, are included.

Dr. McCrie’s chief charges are that Scott does not insist enough on the
hardships and brutalities of the persecution, and that the ferocity of
the Covenanters is overstated. He does not admit that the picture drawn
of “the more rigid Presbyterians” is just. But it is almost impossible to
overstate the ferocity of the High Flyers’ conduct and creed. Thus
Wodrow, a witness not quite unfriendly to the rigid Presbyterians, though
not high-flying enough for Patrick Walker, writes “Mr. Tate informs me
that he had this account front Mr. Antony Shau, and others of the
Indulged; that at some time, under the Indulgence, there was a meeting of
some people, when they resolved in one night . . . to go to every house
of the Indulged Ministers and kill them, and all in one night.”
 This anecdote was confirmed by Mr. John Millar, to whose father’s house
one of these High Flyers came, on this errand. This massacre was not
aimed at the persecutors, but at the Poundtexts. As to their creed,
Wodrow has an anecdote of one of his own elders, who told a poor woman
with many children that “it would be an uncouth mercy” if they were all
saved.

A pleasant evangel was this, and peacefully was it to have been
propagated!

Scott was writing a novel, not history. In “The Minstrelsy of the
Scottish Border” (1802-3) Sir Walter gave this account of the
persecutions. “Had the system of coercion been continued until our day,
Blair and Robertson would have preached in the wilderness, and only
discovered their powers of eloquence and composition by rolling along a
deeper torrent of gloomy fanaticism. . . . The genius of the persecuted
became stubborn, obstinate, and ferocious.” He did not, in his romance,
draw a complete picture of the whole persecution, but he did show, by
that insolence of Bothwell at Milnwood, which stirs the most sluggish
blood, how the people were misused. This scene, to Dr. McCrie’s mind, is
“a mere farce,” because it is enlivened by Manse’s declamations. Scott
displays the abominable horrors of the torture as forcibly as literature
may dare to do. But Dr. McCrie is not satisfied, because Macbriar, the
tortured man, had been taken in arms. Some innocent person should have
been put in the Boot, to please Dr. McCrie. He never remarks that
Macbriar conquers our sympathy by his fortitude. He complains of what the
Covenanters themselves called “the language of Canaan,” which is put into
their mouths, “a strange, ridiculous, and incoherent jargon compounded of
Scripture phrases, and cant terms peculiar to their own party opinions in
ecclesiastical politics.” But what other language did many of them speak?
“Oh, all ye that can pray, tell all the Lord’s people to try, by mourning
and prayer, if ye can taigle him, taigle him especially in Scotland, for
we fear, he will depart from it.” This is the theology of a savage, in
the style of a clown, but it is quoted by Walker as Mr. Alexander
Peden’s.’ Mr. John Menzie’s “Testimony” (1670) is all about “hardened
men, whom though they walk with you for the present with horns of a lamb,
yet afterward ye may hear them speak with the mouth of a dragon, pricks
in your eyes and thorns in your sides.” Manse Headrigg scarcely
caricatures this eloquence, or Peden’s “many and long seventy-eight years
left-hand defections, and forty-nine years right-hand extremes;” while
“Professor Simson in Glasgow, and Mr. Glass in Tealing, both with Edom’s
children cry Raze, raze the very foundation!” Dr. McCrie is reduced to
supposing that some of the more absurd sermons were incorrectly reported.
Very possibly they were, but the reports were in the style which the
people liked. As if to remove all possible charge of partiality, Scott
made the one faultless Christian of his tale a Covenanting widow, the
admirable Bessie McLure. But she, says the doctor, “repeatedly banns and
minces oaths in her conversation.” This outrageous conduct of Bessie’s
consists in saying “Gude protect us!” and “In Heaven’s name, who are ye?”
 Next the Doctor congratulates Scott on his talent for buffoonery. “Oh, le
grand homme, rien ne lui peut plaire.” Scott is later accused of not
making his peasants sufficiently intelligent.  Cuddie Headrigg and Jenny
Dennison suffice as answers to this censure.

Probably the best points made by Dr. McCrie are his proof that biblical
names were not common among the Covenanteers and that Episcopal eloquence
and Episcopal superstition were often as tardy and as dark as the
eloquence and superstition of the Presbyterians. He carries the war into
the opposite camp, with considerable success. His best answer to “Old
Mortality” would have been a novel, as good and on the whole as fair,
written from the Covenanting side. Hogg attempted this reply, not to
Scott’s pleasure according to the Shepherd, in “The Brownie of Bodsbeck.”
 The Shepherd says that when Scott remarked that the “Brownie” gave an
untrue description of the age, he replied, “It’s a devilish deal truer
than yours!” Scott, in his defence, says that to please the friends of
the Covenanters, “their portraits must be drawn without shadow, and the
objects of their political antipathy be blackened, hooved, and horned ere
they will acknowledge the likeness of either.” He gives examples of
clemency, and even considerateness, in Dundee; for example, he did not
bring with him a prisoner, “who laboured under a disease rendering it
painful to him to be on horseback.” He examines the story of John Brown,
and disproves the blacker circumstances. Yet he appears to hold that
Dundee should have resigned his commission rather than carry out the
orders of Government? Burley’s character for ruthlessness is defended by
the evidence of the “Scottish Worthies.” As Dr. McCrie objects to his
“buffoonery,” it is odd that he palliates the “strong propensity” of Knox
“to indulge his vein of humour,” when describing, with ghoul-like mirth,
the festive circumstances of the murder and burial of Cardinal Beaton.
The odious part of his satire, Scott says, is confined to “the fierce and
unreasonable set of extra-Presbyterians,” Wodrow’s High Flyers. “We have
no delight to dwell either upon the atrocities or absurdities of a people
whose ignorance and fanaticism were rendered frantic by persecution.”
 To sum up the controversy, we may say that Scott was unfair, if at all,
in tone rather than in statement. He grants to the Covenanters dauntless
resolution and fortitude; he admits their wrongs; we cannot see, on the
evidence of their literature, that he exaggerates their grotesqueness,
their superstition, their impossible attitude as of Israelites under a
Theocracy, which only existed as an ideal, or their ruthlessness on
certain occasions. The books of Wodrow, Kirkton, and Patrick Walker, the
sermons, the ghost stories, the dying speeches, the direct testimony of
their own historians, prove all that Scott says, a hundred times over.
The facts are correct, the testimony to the presence of another, an
angelic temper, remains immortal in the figure of Bessie McLure. But an
unfairness of tone may be detected in the choice of such names as
Kettledrummle and Poundtext: probably the “jog-trot” friends of the
Indulgence have more right to complain than the “high-flying” friends of
the Covenant. Scott had Cavalier sympathies, as Macaulay had Covenanting
sympathies. That Scott is more unjust to the Covenanters than Macaulay to
Claverhouse historians will scarcely maintain. Neither history or fiction
would be very delightful if they were warless.  This must serve as an
apology more needed by Macaulay--than by Sir Walter. His reply to Dr.
McCrie is marked by excellent temper, humour, and good humor. The
“Quarterly Review” ends with the well known reference to his brother
Tom’s suspected authorship: “We intended here to conclude this long
article, when a strong report reached us of certain transatlantic
confessions, which, if genuine (though of this we know nothing), assign a
different author to those volumes than the party suspected by our
Scottish correspondents. Yet a critic may be excused for seizing upon the
nearest suspected person, or the principle happily expressed by
Claverhouse in a letter to the Earl of Linlithgow. He had been, it seems,
in search of a gifted weaver who used to hold forth at conventicles: ‘I
sent for the webster, they brought in his brother for him: though he,
maybe, cannot preach like his brother, I doubt not but he is as well
principled as he, wherefore I thought it would be no great fault to give
him the trouble to go to jail with the rest.’”

Nobody who read this could doubt that Scott was, at least, “art and part”
 in the review. His efforts to disguise himself as an Englishman, aided by
a Scotch antiquary, are divertingly futile. He seized the chance of
defending his earlier works from some criticisms on Scotch manners
suggested by the ignorance of Gifford. Nor was it difficult to see that
the author of the review was also the author of the novel. In later years
Lady Louisa Stuart reminded Scott that “Old Mortality,” like the Iliad,
had been ascribed by clever critics to several hands working together. On
December 5, 1816, she wrote to him, “I found something you wot of upon my
table; and as I dare not take it with me to a friend’s house, for fear of
arousing curiosity”--she read it at once. She could not sleep afterwards,
so much had she been excited. “Manse and Cuddie forced me to laugh out
aloud, which one seldom does when alone.” Many of the Scotch words “were
absolutely Hebrew” to her. She not unjustly objected to Claverhouse’s use
of the word “sentimental” as an anachronism. Sentiment, like nerves, had
not been invented in Claverhouse’s day.

The pecuniary success of “Old Mortality” was less, perhaps, than might
have been expected. The first edition was only of two thousand copies.
Two editions of this number were sold in six weeks, and a third was
printed. Constable’s gallant enterprise of ten thousand, in “Rob Roy,”
 throws these figures into the shade.

“Old Mortality” is the first of Scott’s works in which he invades history
beyond the range of what may be called living oral tradition. In
“Waverley,” and even in “Rob Roy,” he had the memories of Invernahyle, of
Miss Nairne, of many persons of the last generation for his guides. In
“Old Mortality” his fancy had to wander among the relics of another age,
among the inscribed tombs of the Covenanters, which are common in the
West Country, as in the churchyards of Balmaclellan and Dalry. There the
dust of these enduring and courageous men, like that of Bessie Bell and
Marion Gray in the ballad, “beiks forenenst the sun,” which shines on
them from beyond the hills of their wanderings, while the brown waters of
the Ken murmur at their feet.

               Here now in peace sweet rest we take,
               Once murdered for religion’s sake,

says the epitaph on the flat table-stone, beneath the wind tormented
trees of Iron Gray. Concerning these _Manes Presbyteriani_, “Guthrie’s
and Giffan’s Passions” and the rest, Scott had a library of rare volumes
full of prophecies, “remarkable Providences,” angelic ministrations,
diabolical persecutions by The Accuser of the Brethren,--in fact, all
that Covenanteers had written or that had been written about
Covenanteers. “I’ll tickle ye off a Covenanter as readily as old Jack
could do a young Prince; and a rare fellow he is, when brought forth in
his true colours,” he says to Terry (November 12, 1816). He certainly was
not an unprejudiced witness, some ten years earlier, when he wrote to
Southey, “You can hardly conceive the perfidy, cruelty, and stupidity of
these people, according to the accounts they have themselves preserved.
But I admit I had many prejudices instilled into me, as my ancestor was a
Killiecrankie man.” He used to tease Grahame of “The Sabbath,” “but never
out of his good humour, by praising Dundee, and laughing at the
Covenanters.” Even as a boy he had been familiar with that godly company
in “the original edition of the lives of Cameron and others, by Patrick
Walker.” The more curious parts of those biographies were excised by the
care of later editors, but they may all be found now in the “Biographia
Presbyteriana” (1827), published by True Jock, chief clerk to “Leein’
Johnnie,” Mr. John Ballantyne. To this work the inquirer may turn, if he
is anxious to see whether Scott’s colouring is correct. The true blue of
the Covenant is not dulled in the “Biographia Presbyteriana.”

With all these materials at his command, Scott was able almost to dwell
in the age of the Covenant hence the extraordinary life and brilliance of
this, his first essay in fiction dealing with a remote time and obsolete
manners. His opening, though it may seem long and uninviting to modern
readers, is interesting for the sympathetic sketch of the gentle
consumptive dominie. If there was any class of men whom Sir Walter could
not away with, it was the race of schoolmasters, “black cattle” whom he
neither trusted nor respected. But he could make or invent exceptions, as
in the uncomplaining and kindly usher of the verbose Cleishbotham. Once
launched in his legend, with the shooting of the Popinjay, he never
falters. The gallant, dauntless, overbearing Bothwell, the dour Burley,
the handful of Preachers, representing every current of opinion in the
Covenant, the awful figure of Habakkuk Mucklewrath, the charm of goodness
in Bessie McLure, are all immortal, deathless as Shakspeare’s men and
women. Indeed here, even more than elsewhere, we admire the life which
Scott breathes into his minor characters, Halliday and Inglis, the
troopers, the child who leads Morton to Burley’s retreat in the cave,
that auld Laird Nippy, old Milnwood (a real “Laird Nippy” was a neighbour
of Scott’s at Ashiestiel), Ailie Wilson, the kind, crabbed old
housekeeper, generous in great things, though habitually niggardly in
things small. Most of these are persons whom we might still meet in
Scotland, as we might meet Cuddie Headrigg--the shrewd, the blithe, the
faithful and humorous Cuddie. As to Miss Jenny Dennison, we can hardly
forgive Scott for making that gayest of soubrettes hard and selfish in
married life. He is too severe on the harmless and even beneficent race
of coquettes, who brighten life so much, who so rapidly “draw up with the
new pleugh lad,” and who do so very little harm when all is said. Jenny
plays the part of a leal and brave lass in the siege of Tillietudlem,
hunger and terror do not subdue her spirit; she is true, in spite of many
temptations, to her Cuddie, and we decline to believe that she was untrue
to his master and friend. Ikuse, no doubt, is a caricature, though Wodrow
makes us acquainted with at least one Mause, Jean Biggart, who “all the
winter over was exceedingly straitened in wrestling and prayer as to the
Parliament, and said that still that place was brought before her, Our
hedges are broken down!” (“Analecta,” ii. 173.) Surely even Dr. McCrie
must have laughed out loud, like Lady Louisa Stuart, when Mause exclaims:
“Neither will I peace for the bidding of no earthly potsherd, though it
be painted as red as a brick from the tower o’ Babel, and ca’ itsel’ a
corporal.” Manse, as we have said, is not more comic than heroic, a
mother in that Sparta of the Covenant. The figure of Morton, as usual, is
not very attractive. In his review, Scott explains the weakness of his
heroes as usually strangers in the land (Waverley, Lovel, Mannering,
Osbaldistone), who need to have everything explained to them, and who are
less required to move than to be the pivots of the general movement. But
Morton is no stranger in the land. His political position in the juste
milieu is unexciting. A schoolboy wrote to Scott at this time, “Oh, Sir
Walter, how could you take the lady from the gallant Cavalier, and give
her to the crop-eared Covenanter?” Probably Scott sympathised with his
young critic, who longed “to be a feudal chief, and to see his retainers
happy around him.” But Edith Bellenden loved Morton, with that love
which, as she said, and thought, “disturbs the repose of the dead.” Scott
had no choice. Besides, Dr. McCrie might have disapproved of so fortunate
an arrangement. The heroine herself does not live in the memory like Di
Vernon; she does not even live like Jenny Dennison. We remember Corporal
Raddlebanes better, the stoutest fighting man of Major Bellenden’s
acquaintance; and the lady of Tillietudlem has admirers more numerous and
more constant. The lovers of the tale chiefly engage our interest by the
rare constancy of their affections.

The most disputed character is, of course, that of Claverhouse. There is
no doubt that, if Claverhouse had been a man of the ordinary mould, he
would never have reckoned so many enthusiastic friends in future ages.
But Beauty, which makes Helen immortal, had put its seal on Bonny Dundee.
With that face “which limners might have loved to paint, and ladies to
look upon,” he still conquers hearts from his dark corner above the
private staircase in Sir Walter’s deserted study. He was brave, he was
loyal when all the world forsook his master; in that reckless age of
revelry he looks on with the austere and noble contempt which he wears in
Hell among the tippling shades of Cavaliers. He died in the arms of
victory, but he lives among

                         The chiefs of ancient names
     Who swore to fight and die beneath the banner of King James,
     And he fell in Killiecrankie Pass, the glory of the Grahames.

Sentiment in romance, not in history, may be excused for pardoning the
rest.

Critics of the time, as Lady Louisa Stuart reminds Sir Walter, did not
believe the book was his, because it lacked his “tedious descriptions.”
 The descriptions, as of the waterfall where Burley had his den, are
indeed far from “tedious.” There is a tendency in Scott to exalt into
mountains “his own grey hills,” the _bosses verdatres_ as Prosper Merimee
called them, of the Border. But the horrors of such linns as that down
which Hab Dab and Davie Dinn “dang the deil” are not exaggerated.

“Old Mortality” was the last novel written by Scott before the malady
which tormented his stoicism in 1817-1820. Every reader has his own
favourite, but few will place this glorious tale lower than second in the
list of his incomparable romances.

ANDREW LANG.



INTRODUCTION TO THE TALES OF MY LANDLORD.

As I may, without vanity, presume that the name and official description
prefixed to this Proem will secure it, from the sedate and reflecting
part of mankind, to whom only I would be understood to address myself,
such attention as is due to the sedulous instructor of youth, and the
careful performer of my Sabbath duties, I will forbear to hold up a
candle to the daylight, or to point out to the judicious those
recommendations of my labours which they must necessarily anticipate from
the perusal of the title-page. Nevertheless, I am not unaware, that, as
Envy always dogs Merit at the heels, there may be those who will whisper,
that albeit my learning and good principles cannot (lauded be the
heavens) be denied by any one, yet that my situation at Gandercleugh hath
been more favourable to my acquisitions in learning than to the
enlargement of my views of the ways and works of the present generation.
To the which objection, if, peradventure, any such shall be started, my
answer shall be threefold:

First, Gandercleugh is, as it were, the central part--the navel (_si fas
sit dicere_) of this our native realm of Scotland; so that men, from
every corner thereof, when travelling on their concernments of business,
either towards our metropolis of law, by which I mean Edinburgh, or
towards our metropolis and mart of gain, whereby I insinuate Glasgow, are
frequently led to make Gandercleugh their abiding stage and place of rest
for the night. And it must be acknowledged by the most sceptical, that I,
who have sat in the leathern armchair, on the left-hand side of the fire,
in the common room of the Wallace Inn, winter and summer, for every
evening in my life, during forty years bypast, (the Christian Sabbaths
only excepted,) must have seen more of the manners and customs of various
tribes and people, than if I had sought them out by my own painful travel
and bodily labour. Even so doth the tollman at the well-frequented
turnpike on the Wellbrae-head, sitting at his ease in his own dwelling,
gather more receipt of custom, than if, moving forth upon the road, he
were to require a contribution from each person whom he chanced to meet
in his journey, when, according to the vulgar adage, he might possibly be
greeted with more kicks than halfpence.

But, secondly, supposing it again urged, that Ithacus, the most wise of
the Greeks, acquired his renown, as the Roman poet hath assured us, by
visiting states and men, I reply to the Zoilus who shall adhere to this
objection,  that, _de facto_, I have seen states and men also; for I have
visited the famous cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, the former twice, and
the latter three times, in the course of my earthly pilgrimage. And,
moreover, I had the honour to sit in the General Assembly (meaning, as an
auditor, in the galleries thereof,) and have heard as much goodly
speaking on the law of patronage, as, with the fructification thereof in
mine own understanding, hath made me be considered as an oracle upon that
doctrine ever since my safe and happy return to Gandercleugh.

Again,--and thirdly, If it be nevertheless pretended that my information
and knowledge of mankind, however extensive, and however painfully
acquired, by constant domestic enquiry, and by foreign travel, is,
natheless, incompetent to the task of recording the pleasant narratives
of my Landlord, I will let these critics know, to their own eternal shame
and confusion, as well as to the abashment and discomfiture of all who
shall rashly take up a song against me, that I am NOT the writer,
redacter, or compiler, of the “Tales of my Landlord;” nor am I, in one
single iota, answerable for their contents, more or less. And now, ye
generation of critics, who raise yourselves up as if it were brazen
serpents, to hiss with your tongues, and to smite with your stings, bow
yourselves down to your native dust, and acknowledge that yours have been
the thoughts of ignorance, and the words of vain foolishness. Lo! ye are
caught in your own snare, and your own pit hath yawned for you. Turn,
then, aside from the task that is too heavy for you; destroy not your
teeth by gnawing a file; waste not your strength by spurning against a
castle wall; nor spend your breath in contending in swiftness with a
fleet steed; and let those weigh the “Tales of my Landlord,” who shall
bring with them the scales of candour cleansed from the rust of prejudice
by the hands of intelligent modesty. For these alone they were compiled,
as will appear from a brief narrative which my zeal for truth compelled
me to make supplementary to the present Proem.

It is well known that my Landlord was a pleasing and a facetious man,
acceptable unto all the parish of Gandercleugh, excepting only the Laird,
the Exciseman, and those for whom he refused to draw liquor upon trust.
Their causes of dislike I will touch separately, adding my own refutation
thereof.

His honour, the Laird, accused our Landlord, deceased, of having
encouraged, in various times and places, the destruction of hares,
rabbits, fowls black and grey, partridges, moor-pouts, roe-deer, and
other birds and quadrupeds, at unlawful seasons, and contrary to the laws
of this realm, which have secured, in their wisdom, the slaughter of such
animals for the great of the earth, whom I have remarked to take an
uncommon (though to me, an unintelligible) pleasure therein. Now, in
humble deference to his honour, and in justifiable defence of my friend
deceased, I reply to this charge, that howsoever the form of such animals
might appear to be similar to those so protected by the law, yet it was a
mere _deceptio visus_; for what resembled hares were, in fact, hill-kids,
and those partaking of the appearance of moor-fowl, were truly wood
pigeons, and consumed and eaten _eo nomine_, and not otherwise.
Again, the Exciseman pretended, that my deceased Landlord did encourage
that species of manufacture called distillation, without having an
especial permission from the Great, technically called a license, for
doing so. Now, I stand up to confront this falsehood; and in defiance of
him, his gauging-stick, and pen and inkhorn, I tell him, that I never
saw, or tasted, a glass of unlawful aqua vitae in the house of my
Landlord; nay, that, on the contrary, we needed not such devices, in
respect of a pleasing and somewhat seductive liquor, which was vended and
consumed at the Wallace Inn, under the name of mountain dew. If there is
a penalty against manufacturing such a liquor, let him show me the
statute; and when he does, I’ll tell him if I will obey it or no.
Concerning those who came to my Landlord for liquor, and went thirsty
away, for lack of present coin, or future credit, I cannot but say it has
grieved my bowels as if the case had been mine own. Nevertheless, my
Landlord considered the necessities of a thirsty soul, and would permit
them, in extreme need, and when their soul was impoverished for lack of
moisture, to drink to the full value of their watches and wearing
apparel, exclusively of their inferior habiliments, which he was
uniformly inexorable in obliging them to retain, for the credit of the
house. As to mine own part, I may well say, that he never refused me that
modicum of refreshment with which I am wont to recruit nature after the
fatigues of my school. It is true, I taught his five sons English and
Latin, writing, book-keeping, with a tincture of mathematics, and that I
instructed his daughter in psalmody. Nor do I remember me of any fee or
honorarium received from him on account of these my labours, except the
compotations aforesaid. Nevertheless this compensation suited my humour
well, since it is a hard sentence to bid a dry throat wait till
quarter-day.

But, truly, were I to speak my simple conceit and belief, I think my
Landlord was chiefly moved to waive in my behalf the usual requisition of
a symbol, or reckoning, from the pleasure he was wont to take in my
conversation, which, though solid and edifying in the main, was, like a
well-built palace, decorated with facetious narratives and devices,
tending much to the enhancement and ornament thereof. And so pleased was
my Landlord of the Wallace in his replies during such colloquies, that
there was no district in Scotland, yea, and no peculiar, and, as it were,
distinctive custom therein practised, but was discussed betwixt us;
insomuch, that those who stood by were wont to say, it was worth a bottle
of ale to hear us communicate with each other. And not a few travellers,
from distant parts, as well as from the remote districts of our kingdom,
were wont to mingle in the conversation, and to tell news that had been
gathered in foreign lands, or preserved from oblivion in this our own.
Now I chanced to have contracted for teaching the lower classes with a
young person called Peter, or Patrick, Pattieson, who had been educated
for our Holy Kirk, yea, had, by the license of presbytery, his voice
opened therein as a preacher, who delighted in the collection of olden
tales and legends, and in garnishing them with the flowers of poesy,
whereof he was a vain and frivolous professor. For he followed not the
example of those strong poets whom I proposed to him as a pattern, but
formed versification of a flimsy and modern texture, to the compounding
whereof was necessary small pains and less thought. And hence I have chid
him as being one of those who bring forward the fatal revolution
prophesied by Mr. Robert Carey, in his Vaticination on the Death of the
celebrated Dr. John Donne:

          Now thou art gone, and thy strict laws will be
          Too hard for libertines in poetry;
          Till verse (by thee refined) in this last age
          Turn ballad rhyme.

I had also disputations with him touching his indulging rather a flowing
and redundant than a concise and stately diction in his prose
exercitations. But notwithstanding these symptoms of inferior taste, and
a humour of contradicting his betters upon passages of dubious
construction in Latin authors, I did grievously lament when Peter
Pattieson was removed from me by death, even as if he had been the
offspring of my own loins. And in respect his papers had been left in my
care, (to answer funeral and death-bed expenses,) I conceived myself
entitled to dispose of one parcel thereof, entitled, “Tales of my
Landlord,” to one cunning in the trade (as it is called) of book
selling. He was a mirthful man, of small stature, cunning in
counterfeiting of voices, and in making facetious tales and responses,
and whom I have to laud for the truth of his dealings towards me.
Now, therefore, the world may see the injustice that charges me with
incapacity to write these narratives, seeing, that though I have proved
that I could have written them if I would, yet, not having done so, the
censure will deservedly fall, if at all due, upon the memory of Mr. Peter
Pattieson; whereas I must be justly entitled to the praise, when any is
due, seeing that, as the Dean of St. Patrick’s wittily and logically
expresseth it,

               That without which a thing is not,
               Is Causa sine qua non.

The work, therefore, is unto me as a child is to a parent; in the which
child, if it proveth worthy, the parent hath honour and praise; but, if
otherwise, the disgrace will deservedly attach to itself alone.

I have only further to intimate, that Mr. Peter Pattieson, in arranging
these Tales for the press, hath more consulted his own fancy than the
accuracy of the narrative; nay, that he hath sometimes blended two or
three stories together for the mere grace of his plots. Of which
infidelity, although I disapprove and enter my testimony against it, yet
I have not taken upon me to correct the same, in respect it was the will
of the deceased, that his manuscript should be submitted to the press
without diminution or alteration. A fanciful nicety it was on the part of
my deceased friend, who, if thinking wisely, ought rather to have
conjured me, by all the tender ties of our friendship and common
pursuits, to have carefully revised, altered, and augmented, at my
judgment and discretion. But the will of the dead must be scrupulously
obeyed, even when we weep over their pertinacity and self-delusion. So,
gentle reader, I bid you farewell, recommending you to such fare as the
mountains of your own country produce; and I will only farther premise,
that each Tale is preceded by a short introduction, mentioning the
persons by whom, and the circumstances under which, the materials thereof
were collected.
                                   JEDEDIAH CLEISHBOTHAM.



INTRODUCTION TO OLD MORTALITY.

The remarkable person, called by the title of Old Mortality, was we’ll
known in Scotland about the end of the last century. His real name was
Robert Paterson. He was a native, it is said, of the parish of Closeburn,
in Dumfries-shire, and probably a mason by profession--at least educated
to the use of the chisel. Whether family dissensions, or the deep and
enthusiastic feeling of supposed duty, drove him to leave his dwelling,
and adopt the singular mode of life in which he wandered, like a palmer,
through Scotland, is not known. It could not be poverty, however, which
prompted his journeys, for he never accepted anything beyond the
hospitality which was willingly rendered him, and when that was not
proffered, he always had money enough to provide for his own humble
wants. His personal appearance, and favourite, or rather sole occupation,
are accurately described in the preliminary chapter of the following
work.

It is about thirty years since, or more, that the author met this
singular person in the churchyard of Dunnottar, when spending a day or
two with the late learned and excellent clergyman, Mr. Walker, the
minister of that parish, for the purpose of a close examination of the
ruins of the Castle of Dunnottar, and other subjects of antiquarian
research in that neighbourhood. Old Mortality chanced to be at the same
place, on the usual business of his pilgrimage; for the Castle of
Dunnottar, though lying in the anti-covenanting district of the Mearns,
was, with the parish churchyard, celebrated for the oppressions sustained
there by the Cameronians in the time of James II.

It was in 1685, when Argyle was threatening a descent upon Scotland, and
Monmouth was preparing to invade the west of England, that the Privy
Council of Scotland, with cruel precaution, made a general arrest of more
than a hundred persons in the southern and western provinces, supposed,
from their religious principles, to be inimical to Government, together
with many women and children. These captives were driven northward like a
flock of bullocks, but with less precaution to provide for their wants,
and finally penned up in a subterranean dungeon in the Castle of
Dunnottar, having a window opening to the front of a precipice which
overhangs the German Ocean. They had suffered not a little on the
journey, and were much hurt both at the scoffs of the northern
prelatists, and the mocks, gibes, and contemptuous tunes played by the
fiddlers and pipers who had come from every quarter as they passed, to
triumph over the revilers of their calling. The repose which the
melancholy dungeon afforded them, was anything but undisturbed. The
guards made them pay for every indulgence, even that of water; and when
some of the prisoners resisted a demand so unreasonable, and insisted on
their right to have this necessary of life untaxed, their keepers emptied
the water on the prison floor, saying, “If they were obliged to bring
water for the canting whigs, they were not bound to afford them the use
of bowls or pitchers gratis.”

In this prison, which is still termed the Whig’s Vault, several died of
the diseases incidental to such a situation; and others broke their
limbs, and incurred fatal injury, in desperate attempts to escape from
their stern prison-house. Over the graves of these unhappy persons, their
friends, after the Revolution, erected a monument with a suitable
inscription.

This peculiar shrine of the Whig martyrs is very much honoured by their
descendants, though residing at a great distance from the land of their
captivity and death. My friend, the Rev. Mr. Walker, told me, that being
once upon a tour in the south of Scotland, probably about forty years
since, he had the bad luck to involve himself in the labyrinth of
passages and tracks which cross, in every direction, the extensive waste
called Lochar Moss, near Dumfries, out of which it is scarcely possible
for a stranger to extricate himself; and there was no small difficulty in
procuring a guide, since such people as he saw were engaged in digging
their peats--a work of paramount necessity, which will hardly brook
interruption. Mr. Walker could, therefore, only procure unintelligible
directions in the southern brogue, which differs widely from that of the
Mearns. He was beginning to think himself in a serious dilemma, when he
stated his case to a farmer of rather the better class, who was employed,
as the others, in digging his winter fuel. The old man at first made the
same excuse with those who had already declined acting as the traveller’s
guide; but perceiving him in great perplexity, and paying the respect due
to his profession, “You are a clergyman, sir?” he said. Mr. Walker
assented. “And I observe from your speech, that you are from the
north?”--“You are right, my good friend,” was the reply. “And may I ask
if you have ever heard of a place called Dunnottar?”--“I ought to know
something about it, my friend,” said Mr. Walker, “since I have been
several years the minister of the parish.”--“I am glad to hear it,” said
the Dumfriesian, “for one of my near relations lies buried there, and
there is, I believe, a monument over his grave. I would give half of what
I am aught, to know if it is still in existence.”--“He was one of those
who perished in the Whig’s Vault at the castle?” said the minister; “for
there are few southlanders besides lying in our churchyard, and none, I
think, having monuments.”--“Even sae--even sae,” said the old Cameronian,
for such was the farmer. He then laid down his spade, cast on his coat,
and heartily offered to see the minister out of the moss, if he should
lose the rest of the _day’s dargue_. Mr. Walker was able to requite him
amply, in his opinion, by reciting the epitaph, which he remembered by
heart. The old man was enchanted with finding the memory of his
grandfather or great-grandfather faithfully recorded amongst the names of
brother sufferers; and rejecting all other offers of recompense, only
requested, after he had guided Mr. Walker to a safe and dry road, that he
would let him have a written copy of the inscription.

It was whilst I was listening to this story, and looking at the monument
referred to, that I saw Old Mortality engaged in his daily task of
cleaning and repairing the ornaments and epitaphs upon the tomb. His
appearance and equipment were exactly as described in the Novel. I was
very desirous to see something of a person so singular, and expected to
have done so, as he took up his quarters with the hospitable and
liberal-spirited minister. But though Mr. Walker invited him up after
dinner to partake of a glass of spirits and water, to which he was
supposed not to be very averse, yet he would not speak frankly upon the
subject of his occupation. He was in bad humour, and had, according to
his phrase, no freedom for conversation with us.

His spirit had been sorely vexed by hearing, in a certain Aberdonian
kirk, the psalmody directed by a pitch-pipe, or some similar instrument,
which was to Old Mortality the abomination of abominations. Perhaps,
after all, he did not feel himself at ease with his company; he might
suspect the questions asked by a north-country minister and a young
barrister to savour more of idle curiosity than profit. At any rate, in
the phrase of John Bunyan, Old Mortality went on his way, and I saw him
no more.

The remarkable figure and occupation of this ancient pilgrim was recalled
to my memory by an account transmitted by my friend Mr. Joseph Train,
supervisor of excise at Dumfries, to whom I owe many obligations of a
similar nature. From this, besides some other circumstances, among which
are those of the old man’s death, I learned the particulars described in
the text. I am also informed, that the old palmer’s family, in the third
generation, survives, and is highly respected both for talents and worth.
While these sheets were passing through the press, I received the
following communication from Mr. Train, whose undeviating kindness had,
during the intervals of laborious duty, collected its materials from an
indubitable source.

     “In the course of my periodical visits to the Glenkens, I have
     become intimately acquainted with Robert Paterson, a son of Old
     Mortality, who lives in the little village of Balmaclellan; and
     although he is now in the 70th year of his age, preserves all the
     vivacity of youth--has a most retentive memory, and a mind stored
     with information far above what could be expected from a person in
     his station of life. To him I am indebted for the following
     particulars relative to his father, and his descendants down to the
     present time.

     “Robert Paterson, alias Old Mortality, was the son of Walter
     Paterson and Margaret Scott, who occupied the farm of Ilaggisha, in
     the parish of Hawick, during nearly the first half of the eighteenth
     century. Here Robert was born, in the memorable year 1715.

     “Being the youngest son of a numerous family, he, at an early age,
     went to serve with an elder brother, named Francis, who rented, from
     Sir John Jardine of Applegarth, a small tract in Comcockle Moor,
     near Lochmaben. During his residence there, he became acquainted
     with Elizabeth Gray, daughter of Robert Gray, gardener to Sir John
     Jardine, whom he afterwards married. His wife had been, for a
     considerable time, a cook-maid to Sir Thomas Kirkpatrick of
     Closeburn, who procured for her husband, from the Duke of
     Queensberry, an advantageous lease of the freestone quarry of
     Gatelowbrigg, in the parish of Morton. Here he built a house, and
     had as much land as kept a horse and cow. My informant cannot say,
     with certainty, the year in which his father took up his residence
     at Gatelowbrigg, but he is sure it must have been only a short time
     prior to the year 1746, as, during the memorable frost in 1740, he
     says his mother still resided in the service of Sir Thomas
     Kirkpatrick. When the Highlanders were returning from England on
     their route to Glasgow, in the year 1745-6, they plundered Mr.
     Paterson’s house at Gatelowbrigg, and carried him a prisoner as far
     as Glenbuck, merely because he said to one of the straggling army,
     that their retreat might have been easily foreseen, as the strong
     arm of the Lord was evidently raised, not only against the bloody
     and wicked house of Stewart, but against all who attempted to
     support the abominable heresies of the Church of Rome. From this
     circumstance it appears that Old Mortality had, even at that early
     period of his life, imbibed the religious enthusiasm by which he
     afterwards became so much distinguished.

     “The religious sect called Hill-men, or Cameronians, was at that
     time much noted for austerity and devotion, in imitation of Cameron,
     their founder, of whose tenets Old Mortality became a most strenuous
     supporter. He made frequent journeys into Galloway to attend their
     conventicles, and occasionally carried with him gravestones from his
     quarry at Gatelowbrigg, to keep in remembrance the righteous whose
     dust had been gathered to their fathers. Old Mortality was not one
     of those religious devotees, who, although one eye is seemingly
     turned towards heaven, keep the other steadfastly fixed on some
     sublunary object. As his enthusiasm increased, his journeys into
     Galloway became more frequent; and he gradually neglected even the
     common prudential duty of providing for his offspring. From about
     the year 1758, he neglected wholly to return from Galloway to his
     wife and five children at Gatelowbrigg, which induced her to send
     her eldest son Walter, then only twelve years of age, to Galloway,
     in search of his father. After traversing nearly the whole of that
     extensive district, from the Nick of Benncorie to the Fell of
     Barullion, he found him at last working on the Cameronian monuments,
     in the old kirkyard of Kirkchrist, on the west side of the Dee,
     opposite the town of Kirkcudbright. The little wanderer used all the
     influence in his power to induce his father to return to his family;
     but in vain. Mrs. Paterson sent even some of her female children
     into Galloway in search of their father, for the same purpose of
     persuading him to return home; but without any success. At last, in
     the summer of 1768, she removed to the little upland village of
     Balmaclellan, in the Glenkens of Galloway, where, upon the small
     pittance derived from keeping a little school, she supported her
     numerous family in a respectable manner.

     “There is a small monumental stone in the farm of the Caldon, near
     the House of the Hill, in Wigtonshire, which is highly venerated as
     being the first erected, by Old Mortality, to the memory of several
     persons who fell at that place in defence of their religious tenets
     in the civil war, in the reign of Charles Second.

     “From the Caldon, the labours of Old Mortality, in the course of
     time, spread over nearly all the Lowlands of Scotland. There are few
     churchyards in Ayrshire, Galloway, or Dumfries-shire, where the work
     of his chisel is not yet to be seen. It is easily distinguished from
     the work of any other artist by the primitive rudeness of the
     emblems of death, and of the inscriptions which adorn the ill-formed
     blocks of his erection. This task of repairing and erecting
     gravestones, practised without fee or reward, was the only
     ostensible employment of this singular person for upwards of forty
     years. The door of every Cameronian’s house was indeed open to him
     at all times when he chose to enter, and he was gladly received as
     an inmate of the family; but he did not invariably accept of these
     civilities, as may be seen by the following account of his frugal
     expenses, found, amongst other little papers, (some of which I have
     likewise in my possession,) in his pocket-book after his death.

          Gatehouse of Fleet, 4th February, 1796.
          ROBERT PATERBON debtor to MARGARET CHRYSTALE.
          To drye Lodginge for seven weeks,....... 0  4  1
          To Four Auchlet of Ait Meal,............ 0  3  4
          To 6 Lippies of Potatoes................ 0  1  3
          To Lent Money at the time of Mr. Reid’s
               Sacrament,......................... 0  6  0
          To 3 Chappins of Yell with Sandy the
               Keelman,*.......................... 0  0  9

                                                 L.0 15  5
          Received in part,....................... 0 10  0
          Unpaid,............................... L.0  5  5


     *[“A well-known humourist, still alive, popularly called by the name
     of Old Keelybags, who deals in the keel or chalk with which farmers
     mark their flocks.”]

“This statement shows the religious wanderer to have been very poor in
his old age; but he was so more by choice than through necessity, as at
the period here alluded to, his children were all comfortably situated,
and were most anxious to keep their father at home, but no entreaty could
induce him to alter his erratic way of life. He travelled from one
churchyard to another, mounted on his old white pony, till the last day
of his existence, and died, as you have described, at Bankhill, near
Lockerby, on the 14th February, 1801, in the 86th year of his age. As
soon as his body was found, intimation was sent to his sons at
Balmaclellan; but from the great depth of the snow at that time, the
letter communicating the particulars of his death was so long detained by
the way, that the remains of the pilgrim were interred before any of his
relations could arrive at Bankhill.

“The following is an exact copy of the account of his funeral
expenses,--the original of which I have in my possession:--

          “Memorandum of the Funral Charges of Robert Paterson,
          who dyed at Bankhill on the 14th day of February, 1801.
          To a Coffon................... L.0 12  0
          To Munting for do............... 0  2  8
          To a Shirt for him.............. 0  5  6
          To a pair of Cotten Stockings... 0  2  0
          To Bread at the Founral......... 0  2  6
          To Chise at ditto............... 0  3  0
          To 1 pint Rume.................. 0  4  6
          To I pint Whiskie............... 0  4  0
          To a man going to Annam......... 0  2  0
          To the grave diger.............. 0  1  0
          To Linnen for a sheet to him.... 0  2  8
                                         L.2  1 10
          Taken off him when dead,.........1  7  6
                                         L.0 14  4

“The above account is authenticated by the son of the deceased.

“My friend was prevented by indisposition from even going to Bankhill to
attend the funeral of his father, which I regret very much, as he is not
aware in what churchyard he was interred.

“For the purpose of erecting a small monument to his memory, I have made
every possible enquiry, wherever I thought there was the least chance of
finding out where Old Mortality was laid; but I have done so in vain, as
his death is not registered in the session-book of any of the
neighbouring parishes. I am sorry to think, that in all probability, this
singular person, who spent so many years of his lengthened existence in
striving with his chisel and mallet to perpetuate the memory of many less
deserving than himself, must remain even without a single stone to mark
out the resting place of his mortal remains.

“Old Mortality had three sons, Robert, Walter, and John; the former, as
has been already mentioned, lives in the village of Balmaclellan, in
comfortable circumstances, and is much respected by his neighbours.
Walter died several years ago, leaving behind him a family now
respectably situated in this point. John went to America in the year
1776, and, after various turns of fortune, settled at Baltimore.”

Old Nol himself is said to have loved an innocent jest. (See Captain
Hodgson’s Memoirs.) Old Mortality somewhat resembled the Protector in
this turn to festivity. Like Master Silence, he had been merry twice and
once in his time; but even his jests were of a melancholy and sepulchral
nature, and sometimes attended with inconvenience to himself, as will
appear from the following anecdote:--

The old man was at one time following his wonted occupation of repairing
the tombs of the martyrs, in the churchyard of Girthon, and the sexton of
the parish was plying his kindred task at no small distance. Some roguish
urchins were sporting near them, and by their noisy gambols disturbing
the old men in their serious occupation. The most petulant of the
juvenile party were two or three boys, grandchildren of a person well
known by the name of Cooper Climent. This artist enjoyed almost a
monopoly in Girthon and the neighbouring parishes, for making and selling
ladles, caups, bickers, bowls, spoons, cogues, and trenchers, formed of
wood, for the use of the country people. It must be noticed, that
notwithstanding the excellence of the Cooper’s vessels, they were apt,
when new, to impart a reddish tinge to whatever liquor was put into them,
a circumstance not uncommon in like cases.

The grandchildren of this dealer in wooden work took it into their head
to ask the sexton, what use he could possibly make of the numerous
fragments of old coffins which were thrown up in opening new graves. “Do
you not know,” said Old Mortality, “that he sells them to your
grandfather, who makes them into spoons, trenchers, bickers, bowies, and
so forth?” At this assertion, the youthful group broke up in great
confusion and disgust, on reflecting how many meals they had eaten out of
dishes which, by Old Mortality’s account, were only fit to be used at a
banquet of witches or of ghoules. They carried the tidings home, when
many a dinner was spoiled by the loathing which the intelligence
imparted; for the account of the materials was supposed to explain the
reddish tinge which, even in the days of the Cooper’s fame, had seemed
somewhat suspicious. The ware of Cooper Climent was rejected in horror,
much to the benefit of his rivals the muggers, who dealt in earthenware.
The man of cutty-spoon and ladle saw his trade interrupted, and learned
the reason, by his quondam customers coming upon him in wrath to return
the goods which were composed of such unhallowed materials, and demand
repayment of their money. In this disagreeable predicament, the forlorn
artist cited Old Mortality into a court of justice, where he proved that
the wood he used in his trade was that of the staves of old wine-pipes
bought from smugglers, with whom the country then abounded, a
circumstance which fully accounted for their imparting a colour to their
contents. Old Mortality himself made the fullest declaration, that he had
no other purpose in making the assertion, than to check the petulance of
the children. But it is easier to take away a good name than to restore
it. Cooper Climent’s business continued to languish, and he died in a
state of poverty.


[Illustration: Frontispiece]



VOLUME I.



CHAPTER I.

Preliminary.

                    Why seeks he with unwearied toil
                    Through death’s dim walks to urge his way,
                    Reclaim his long-asserted spoil,
                    And lead oblivion into day?
                                        Langhorne.

“Most readers,” says the Manuscript of Mr Pattieson, “must have witnessed
with delight the joyous burst which attends the dismissing of a
village-school on a fine summer evening. The buoyant spirit of childhood,
repressed with so much difficulty during the tedious hours of discipline,
may then be seen to explode, as it were, in shout, and song, and frolic,
as the little urchins join in groups on their play-ground, and arrange
their matches of sport for the evening. But there is one individual who
partakes of the relief afforded by the moment of dismission, whose
feelings are not so obvious to the eye of the spectator, or so apt to
receive his sympathy. I mean the teacher himself, who, stunned with the
hum, and suffocated with the closeness of his school-room, has spent the
whole day (himself against a host) in controlling petulance, exciting
indifference to action, striving to enlighten stupidity, and labouring to
soften obstinacy; and whose very powers of intellect have been confounded
by hearing the same dull lesson repeated a hundred times by rote, and
only varied by the various blunders of the reciters. Even the flowers of
classic genius, with which his solitary fancy is most gratified, have
been rendered degraded, in his imagination, by their connexion with
tears, with errors, and with punishment; so that the Eclogues of Virgil
and Odes of Horace are each inseparably allied in association with the
sullen figure and monotonous recitation of some blubbering school-boy. If
to these mental distresses are added a delicate frame of body, and a mind
ambitious of some higher distinction than that of being the tyrant of
childhood, the reader may have some slight conception of the relief which
a solitary walk, in the cool of a fine summer evening, affords to the
head which has ached, and the nerves which have been shattered, for so
many hours, in plying the irksome task of public instruction.

“To me these evening strolls have been the happiest hours of an unhappy
life; and if any gentle reader shall hereafter find pleasure in perusing
these lucubrations, I am not unwilling he should know, that the plan of
them has been usually traced in those moments, when relief from toil and
clamour, combined with the quiet scenery around me, has disposed my mind
to the task of composition.

“My chief haunt, in these hours of golden leisure, is the banks of the
small stream, which, winding through a ‘lone vale of green bracken,’
passes in front of the village school-house of Gandercleugh. For the
first quarter of a mile, perhaps, I may be disturbed from my meditations,
in order to return the scrape, or doffed bonnet, of such stragglers among
my pupils as fish for trouts or minnows in the little brook, or seek
rushes and wild-flowers by its margin. But, beyond the space I have
mentioned, the juvenile anglers do not, after sunset, voluntarily extend
their excursions. The cause is, that farther up the narrow valley, and in
a recess which seems scooped out of the side of the steep heathy bank,
there is a deserted burial-ground, which the little cowards are fearful
of approaching in the twilight. To me, however, the place has an
inexpressible charm. It has been long the favourite termination of my
walks, and, if my kind patron forgets not his promise, will (and probably
at no very distant day) be my final resting-place after my mortal
pilgrimage. [Note: Note, by Mr Jedediah Cleishbotham.--That I kept my
plight in this melancholy matter with my deceased and lamented friend,
appeareth from a handsome headstone, erected at my proper charges in this
spot, bearing the name and calling of Peter Pattieson, with the date of
his nativity and sepulture; together also with a testimony of his merits,
attested by myself, as his superior and patron.--J. C.]

“It is a spot which possesses all the solemnity of feeling attached to a
burial-ground, without exciting those of a more unpleasing description.
Having been very little used for many years, the few hillocks which rise
above the level plain are covered with the same short velvet turf. The
monuments, of which there are not above seven or eight, are half sunk in
the ground, and overgrown with moss. No newly-erected tomb disturbs the
sober serenity of our reflections by reminding us of recent calamity, and
no rank-springing grass forces upon our imagination the recollection,
that it owes its dark luxuriance to the foul and festering remnants of
mortality which ferment beneath. The daisy which sprinkles the sod, and
the harebell which hangs over it, derive their pure nourishment from the
dew of heaven, and their growth impresses us with no degrading or
disgusting recollections. Death has indeed been here, and its traces are
before us; but they are softened and deprived of their horror by our
distance from the period when they have been first impressed. Those who
sleep beneath are only connected with us by the reflection, that they
have once been what we now are, and that, as their relics are now
identified with their mother earth, ours shall, at some future period,
undergo the same transformation.

“Yet, although the moss has been collected on the most modern of these
humble tombs during four generations of mankind, the memory of some of
those who sleep beneath them is still held in reverent remembrance. It is
true, that, upon the largest, and, to an antiquary, the most interesting
monument of the group, which bears the effigies of a doughty knight in
his hood of mail, with his shield hanging on his breast, the armorial
bearings are defaced by time, and a few worn-out letters may be read at
the pleasure of the decipherer, Dns. Johan--de Hamel,--or Johan--de
Lamel--And it is also true, that of another tomb, richly sculptured with
an ornamental cross, mitre, and pastoral staff, tradition can only aver,
that a certain nameless bishop lies interred there. But upon other two
stones which lie beside, may still be read in rude prose, and ruder
rhyme, the history of those who sleep beneath them. They belong, we are
assured by the epitaph, to the class of persecuted Presbyterians who
afforded a melancholy subject for history in the times of Charles II. and
his successor. [Note: James, Seventh King of Scotland of that name, and
Second according to the numeration of the Kings of England.--J. C.] In
returning from the battle of Pentland Hills, a party of the insurgents
had been attacked in this glen by a small detachment of the King’s
troops, and three or four either killed in the skirmish, or shot after
being made prisoners, as rebels taken with arms in their hands. The
peasantry continued to attach to the tombs of those victims of prelacy an
honour which they do not render to more splendid mausoleums; and, when
they point them out to their sons, and narrate the fate of the sufferers,
usually conclude, by exhorting them to be ready, should times call for
it, to resist to the death in the cause of civil and religious liberty,
like their brave forefathers.

“Although I am far from venerating the peculiar tenets asserted by those
who call themselves the followers of those men, and whose intolerance and
narrow-minded bigotry are at least as conspicuous as their devotional
zeal, yet it is without depreciating the memory of those sufferers, many
of whom united the independent sentiments of a Hampden with the suffering
zeal of a Hooper or Latimer. On the other hand, it would be unjust to
forget, that many even of those who had been most active in crushing what
they conceived the rebellious and seditious spirit of those unhappy
wanderers, displayed themselves, when called upon to suffer for their
political and religious opinions, the same daring and devoted zeal,
tinctured, in their case, with chivalrous loyalty, as in the former with
republican enthusiasm. It has often been remarked of the Scottish
character, that the stubbornness with which it is moulded shows most to
advantage in adversity, when it seems akin to the native sycamore of
their hills, which scorns to be biassed in its mode of growth even by the
influence of the prevailing wind, but, shooting its branches with equal
boldness in every direction, shows no weather-side to the storm, and may
be broken, but can never be bended. It must be understood that I speak of
my countrymen as they fall under my own observation. When in foreign
countries, I have been informed that they are more docile. But it is time
to return from this digression.

“One summer evening, as in a stroll, such as I have described, I
approached this deserted mansion of the dead, I was somewhat surprised to
hear sounds distinct from those which usually soothe its solitude, the
gentle chiding, namely, of the brook, and the sighing of the wind in the
boughs of three gigantic ash-trees, which mark the cemetery. The clink of
a hammer was, on this occasion, distinctly heard; and I entertained some
alarm that a march-dike, long meditated by the two proprietors whose
estates were divided by my favourite brook, was about to be drawn up the
glen, in order to substitute its rectilinear deformity for the graceful
winding of the natural boundary. [Note: I deem it fitting that the reader
should be apprised that this limitary boundary between the conterminous
heritable property of his honour the Laird of Gandercleugh, and his
honour the Laird of Gusedub, was to have been in fashion an agger, or
rather murus of uncemented granite, called by the vulgar a drystane dyke,
surmounted, or coped, _cespite viridi_, i.e. with a sodturf. Truly their
honours fell into discord concerning two roods of marshy ground, near the
cove called the Bedral’s Beild; and the controversy, having some years
bygone been removed from before the judges of the land, (with whom it
abode long,) even unto the Great City of London and the Assembly of the
Nobles therein, is, as I may say, adhuc in pendente.--J. C.] As I
approached, I was agreeably undeceived. An old man was seated upon the
monument of the slaughtered presbyterians, and busily employed in
deepening, with his chisel, the letters of the inscription, which,
announcing, in scriptural language, the promised blessings of futurity to
be the lot of the slain, anathematized the murderers with corresponding
violence. A blue bonnet of unusual dimensions covered the grey hairs of
the pious workman. His dress was a large old-fashioned coat of the coarse
cloth called hoddingrey, usually worn by the elder peasants, with
waistcoat and breeches of the same; and the whole suit, though still in
decent repair, had obviously seen a train of long service. Strong clouted
shoes, studded with hobnails, and gramoches or leggins, made of thick
black cloth, completed his equipment. Beside him, fed among the graves a
pony, the companion of his journey, whose extreme whiteness, as well as
its projecting bones and hollow eyes, indicated its antiquity. It was
harnessed in the most simple manner, with a pair of branks, a hair
tether, or halter, and a sunk, or cushion of straw, instead of bridle and
saddle. A canvass pouch hung around the neck of the animal, for the
purpose, probably, of containing the rider’s tools, and any thing else he
might have occasion to carry with him. Although I had never seen the old
man before, yet from the singularity of his employment, and the style of
his equipage, I had no difficulty in recognising a religious itinerant
whom I had often heard talked of, and who was known in various parts of
Scotland by the title of Old Mortality.


[Illustration: The Graveyard--006]


“Where this man was born, or what was his real name, I have never been
able to learn; nor are the motives which made him desert his home, and
adopt the erratic mode of life which he pursued, known to me except very
generally. According to the belief of most people, he was a native of
either the county of Dumfries or Galloway, and lineally descended from
some of those champions of the Covenant, whose deeds and sufferings were
his favourite theme. He is said to have held, at one period of his life,
a small moorland farm; but, whether from pecuniary losses, or domestic
misfortune, he had long renounced that and every other gainful calling.
In the language of Scripture, he left his house, his home, and his
kindred, and wandered about until the day of his death, a period of
nearly thirty years.

“During this long pilgrimage, the pious enthusiast regulated his circuit
so as annually to visit the graves of the unfortunate Covenanters, who
suffered by the sword, or by the executioner, during the reigns of the
two last monarchs of the Stewart line. These are most numerous in the
western districts of Ayr, Galloway, and Dumfries; but they are also to be
found in other parts of Scotland, wherever the fugitives had fought, or
fallen, or suffered by military or civil execution. Their tombs are often
apart from all human habitation, in the remote moors and wilds to which
the wanderers had fled for concealment. But wherever they existed, Old
Mortality was sure to visit them when his annual round brought them
within his reach. In the most lonely recesses of the mountains, the
moor-fowl shooter has been often surprised to find him busied in cleaning
the moss from the grey stones, renewing with his chisel the half-defaced
inscriptions, and repairing the emblems of death with which these simple
monuments are usually adorned. Motives of the most sincere, though
fanciful devotion, induced the old man to dedicate so many years of
existence to perform this tribute to the memory of the deceased warriors
of the church. He considered himself as fulfilling a sacred duty, while
renewing to the eyes of posterity the decaying emblems of the zeal and
sufferings of their forefathers, and thereby trimming, as it were, the
beacon-light, which was to warn future generations to defend their
religion even unto blood.

“In all his wanderings, the old pilgrim never seemed to need, or was
known to accept, pecuniary assistance. It is true, his wants were very
few; for wherever he went, he found ready quarters in the house of some
Cameronian of his own sect, or of some other religious person. The
hospitality which was reverentially paid to him he always acknowledged,
by repairing the gravestones (if there existed any) belonging to the
family or ancestors of his host. As the wanderer was usually to be seen
bent on this pious task within the precincts of some country churchyard,
or reclined on the solitary tombstone among the heath, disturbing the
plover and the black-cock with the clink of his chisel and mallet, with
his old white pony grazing by his side, he acquired, from his converse
among the dead, the popular appellation of Old Mortality.

“The character of such a man could have in it little connexion even with
innocent gaiety. Yet, among those of his own religious persuasion, he is
reported to have been cheerful. The descendants of persecutors, or those
whom he supposed guilty of entertaining similar tenets, and the scoffers
at religion by whom he was sometimes assailed, he usually termed the
generation of vipers. Conversing with others, he was grave and
sententious, not without a cast of severity. But he is said never to have
been observed to give way to violent passion, excepting upon one
occasion, when a mischievous truant-boy defaced with a stone the nose of
a cherub’s face, which the old man was engaged in retouching. I am in
general a sparer of the rod, notwithstanding the maxim of Solomon, for
which school-boys have little reason to thank his memory; but on this
occasion I deemed it proper to show that I did not hate the child.--But I
must return to the circumstances attending my first interview with this
interesting enthusiast.

“In accosting Old Mortality, I did not fail to pay respect to his years
and his principles, beginning my address by a respectful apology for
interrupting his labours. The old man intermitted the operation of the
chisel, took off his spectacles and wiped them, then, replacing them on
his nose, acknowledged my courtesy by a suitable return. Encouraged by
his affability, I intruded upon him some questions concerning the
sufferers on whose monument he was now employed. To talk of the exploits
of the Covenanters was the delight, as to repair their monuments was the
business, of his life. He was profuse in the communication of all the
minute information which he had collected concerning them, their wars,
and their wanderings. One would almost have supposed he must have been
their contemporary, and have actually beheld the passages which he
related, so much had he identified his feelings and opinions with theirs,
and so much had his narratives the circumstantiality of an eye-witness.

“‘We,’ he said, in a tone of exultation,--‘we are the only true whigs.
Carnal men have assumed that triumphant appellation, following him whose
kingdom is of this world. Which of them would sit six hours on a wet
hill-side to hear a godly sermon? I trow an hour o’t wad staw them. They
are ne’er a hair better than them that shamena to take upon themsells the
persecuting name of bludethirsty tories. Self-seekers all of them,
strivers after wealth, power, and worldly ambition, and forgetters alike
of what has been dree’d and done by the mighty men who stood in the gap
in the great day of wrath. Nae wonder they dread the accomplishment of
what was spoken by the mouth of the worthy Mr Peden, (that precious
servant of the Lord, none of whose words fell to the ground,) that the
French monzies [Note: Probably monsieurs. It would seem that this was
spoken during the apprehensions of invason from France.--Publishers.]
sall rise as fast in the glens of Ayr, and the kenns of Galloway, as ever
the Highlandmen did in 1677. And now they are gripping to the bow and to
the spear, when they suld be mourning for a sinfu’ land and a broken
covenant.’

“Soothing the old man by letting his peculiar opinions pass without
contradiction, and anxious to prolong conversation with so singular a
character, I prevailed upon him to accept that hospitality, which Mr
Cleishbotham is always willing to extend to those who need it. In our way
to the schoolmaster’s house, we called at the Wallace Inn, where I was
pretty certain I should find my patron about that hour of the evening.
After a courteous interchange of civilities, Old Mortality was, with
difficulty, prevailed upon to join his host in a single glass of liquor,
and that on condition that he should be permitted to name the pledge,
which he prefaced with a grace of about five minutes, and then, with
bonnet doffed and eyes uplifted, drank to the memory of those heroes of
the Kirk who had first uplifted her banner upon the mountains. As no
persuasion could prevail on him to extend his conviviality to a second
cup, my patron accompanied him home, and accommodated him in the
Prophet’s Chamber, as it is his pleasure to call the closet which holds a
spare bed, and which is frequently a place of retreat for the poor
traveller. [Note: He might have added, and for the rich also; since, I
laud my stars, the great of the earth have also taken harbourage in my
poor domicile. And, during the service of my hand-maiden, Dorothy, who
was buxom and comely of aspect, his Honour the Laird of Smackawa, in his
peregrinations to and from the metropolis, was wont to prefer my
Prophet’s Chamber even to the sanded chamber of dais in the Wallace Inn,
and to bestow a mutchkin, as he would jocosely say, to obtain the freedom
of the house, but, in reality, to assure himself of my company during the
evening.--J. C.]

“The next day I took leave of Old Mortality, who seemed affected by the
unusual attention with which I had cultivated his acquaintance and
listened to his conversation. After he had mounted, not without
difficulty, the old white pony, he took me by the hand and said, ‘The
blessing of our Master be with you, young man! My hours are like the ears
of the latter harvest, and your days are yet in the spring; and yet you
may be gathered into the garner of mortality before me, for the sickle of
death cuts down the green as oft as the ripe, and there is a colour in
your cheek, that, like the bud of the rose, serveth oft to hide the worm
of corruption. Wherefore labour as one who knoweth not when his master
calleth. And if it be my lot to return to this village after ye are gane
hame to your ain place, these auld withered hands will frame a stane of
memorial, that your name may not perish from among the people.’

“I thanked Old Mortality for his kind intentions in my behalf, and heaved
a sigh, not, I think, of regret so much as of resignation, to think of
the chance that I might soon require his good offices. But though, in all
human probability, he did not err in supposing that my span of life may
be abridged in youth, he had over-estimated the period of his own
pilgrimage on earth. It is now some years since he has been missed in all
his usual haunts, while moss, lichen, and deer-hair, are fast covering
those stones, to cleanse which had been the business of his life. About
the beginning of this century he closed his mortal toils, being found on
the highway near Lockerby, in Dumfries-shire, exhausted and just
expiring. The old white pony, the companion of all his wanderings, was
standing by the side of his dying master. There was found about his
person a sum of money sufficient for his decent interment, which serves
to show that his death was in no ways hastened by violence or by want.
The common people still regard his memory with great respect; and many
are of opinion, that the stones which he repaired will not again require
the assistance of the chisel. They even assert, that on the tombs where
the manner of the martyrs’ murder is recorded, their names have remained
indelibly legible since the death of Old Mortality, while those of the
persecutors, sculptured on the same monuments, have been entirely
defaced. It is hardly necessary to say that this is a fond imagination,
and that, since the time of the pious pilgrim, the monuments which were
the objects of his care are hastening, like all earthly memorials, into
ruin or decay.

“My readers will of course understand, that in embodying into one
compressed narrative many of the anecdotes which I had the advantage of
deriving from Old Mortality, I have been far from adopting either his
style, his opinions, or even his facts, so far as they appear to have
been distorted by party prejudice. I have endeavoured to correct or
verify them from the most authentic sources of tradition, afforded by the
representatives of either party.

“On the part of the Presbyterians, I have consulted such moorland farmers
from the western districts, as, by the kindness of their landlords, or
otherwise, have been able, during the late general change of property, to
retain possession of the grazings on which their grandsires fed their
flocks and herds. I must own, that of late days, I have found this a
limited source of information. I have, therefore, called in the
supplementary aid of those modest itinerants, whom the scrupulous
civility of our ancestors denominated travelling merchants, but whom, of
late, accommodating ourselves in this as in more material particulars, to
the feelings and sentiments of our more wealthy neighbours, we have
learned to call packmen or pedlars. To country weavers travelling in
hopes to get rid of their winter web, but more especially to tailors,
who, from their sedentary profession, and the necessity, in our country,
of exercising it by temporary residence in the families by whom they are
employed, may be considered as possessing a complete register of rural
traditions, I have been indebted for many illustrations of the narratives
of Old Mortality, much in the taste and spirit of the original.

“I had more difficulty in finding materials for correcting the tone of
partiality which evidently pervaded those stores of traditional learning,
in order that I might be enabled to present an unbiassed picture of the
manners of that unhappy period, and, at the same time, to do justice to
the merits of both parties. But I have been enabled to qualify the
narratives of Old Mortality and his Cameronian friends, by the reports of
more than one descendant of ancient and honourable families, who,
themselves decayed into the humble vale of life, yet look proudly back on
the period when their ancestors fought and fell in behalf of the exiled
house of Stewart. I may even boast right reverend authority on the same
score; for more than one nonjuring bishop, whose authority and income
were upon as apostolical a scale as the greatest abominator of Episcopacy
could well desire, have deigned, while partaking of the humble cheer of
the Wallace Inn, to furnish me with information corrective of the facts
which I learned from others. There are also here and there a laird or
two, who, though they shrug their shoulders, profess no great shame in
their fathers having served in the persecuting squadrons of Earlshall and
Claverhouse. From the gamekeepers of these gentlemen, an office the most
apt of any other to become hereditary in such families, I have also
contrived to collect much valuable information.

“Upon the whole, I can hardly fear, that, at this time, in describing the
operation which their opposite principles produced upon the good and bad
men of both parties, I can be suspected of meaning insult or injustice to
either. If recollection of former injuries, extra-loyalty, and contempt
and hatred of their adversaries, produced rigour and tyranny in the one
party, it will hardly be denied, on the other hand, that, if the zeal for
God’s house did not eat up the conventiclers, it devoured at least, to
imitate the phrase of Dryden, no small portion of their loyalty, sober
sense, and good breeding. We may safely hope, that the souls of the brave
and sincere on either side have long looked down with surprise and pity
upon the ill-appreciated motives which caused their mutual hatred and
hostility, while in this valley of darkness, blood, and tears. Peace to
their memory! Let us think of them as the heroine of our only Scottish
tragedy entreats her lord to think of her departed sire:--

               ‘O rake not up the ashes of our fathers!
               Implacable resentment was their crime,
               And grievous has the expiation been.’”



CHAPTER II.

               Summon an hundred horse, by break of day,
               To wait our pleasure at the castle gates.
                                                  Douglas.

Under the reign of the last Stewarts, there was an anxious wish on the
part of government to counteract, by every means in their power, the
strict or puritanical spirit which had been the chief characteristic of
the republican government, and to revive those feudal institutions which
united the vassal to the liege lord, and both to the crown. Frequent
musters and assemblies of the people, both for military exercise and for
sports and pastimes, were appointed by authority. The interference, in
the latter case, was impolitic, to say the least; for, as usual on such
occasions, the consciences which were at first only scrupulous, became
confirmed in their opinions, instead of giving way to the terrors of
authority; and the youth of both sexes, to whom the pipe and tabor in
England, or the bagpipe in Scotland, would have been in themselves an
irresistible temptation, were enabled to set them at defiance, from the
proud consciousness that they were, at the same time, resisting an act of
council. To compel men to dance and be merry by authority, has rarely
succeeded even on board of slave-ships, where it was formerly sometimes
attempted by way of inducing the wretched captives to agitate their limbs
and restore the circulation, during the few minutes they were permitted
to enjoy the fresh air upon deck. The rigour of the strict Calvinists
increased, in proportion to the wishes of the government that it should
be relaxed. A judaical observance of the Sabbath--a supercilious
condemnation of all manly pastimes and harmless recreations, as well as
of the profane custom of promiscuous dancing, that is, of men and women
dancing together in the same party (for I believe they admitted that
the exercise might be inoffensive if practised by the parties
separately)--distinguishing those who professed a more than ordinary
share of sanctity, they discouraged, as far as lay in their power, even
the ancient wappen-schaws, as they were termed, when the feudal array of
the county was called out, and each crown-vassal was required to appear
with such muster of men and armour as he was bound to make by his fief,
and that under high statutory penalties. The Covenanters were the more
jealous of those assemblies, as the lord lieutenants and sheriffs under
whom they were held had instructions from the government to spare no
pains which might render them agreeable to the young men who were thus
summoned together, upon whom the military exercise of the morning, and
the sports which usually closed the evening, might naturally be supposed
to have a seductive effect.

The preachers and proselytes of the more rigid presbyterians laboured,
therefore, by caution, remonstrance, and authority, to diminish the
attendance upon these summonses, conscious that in doing so, they
lessened not only the apparent, but the actual strength of the
government, by impeding the extension of that esprit de corps which soon
unites young men who are in the habit of meeting together for manly
sport, or military exercise. They, therefore, exerted themselves
earnestly to prevent attendance on these occasions by those who could
find any possible excuse for absence, and were especially severe upon
such of their hearers as mere curiosity led to be spectators, or love of
exercise to be partakers, of the array and the sports which took place.
Such of the gentry as acceded to these doctrines were not always,
however, in a situation to be ruled by them. The commands of the law were
imperative; and the privy council, who administered the executive power
in Scotland, were severe in enforcing the statutory penalties against the
crown-vassals who did not appear at the periodical wappen-schaw. The
landholders were compelled, therefore, to send their sons, tenants, and
vassals to the rendezvous, to the number of horses, men, and spears, at
which they were rated; and it frequently happened, that notwithstanding
the strict charge of their elders, to return as soon as the formal
inspection was over, the young men-at-arms were unable to resist the
temptation of sharing in the sports which succeeded the muster, or to
avoid listening to the prayers read in the churches on these occasions,
and thus, in the opinion of their repining parents, meddling with the
accursed thing which is an abomination in the sight of the Lord.

The sheriff of the county of Lanark was holding the wappen-schaw of a
wild district, called the Upper Ward of Clydesdale, on a haugh or level
plain, near to a royal borough, the name of which is no way essential to
my story, on the morning of the 5th of May, 1679, when our narrative
commences. When the musters had been made, and duly reported, the young
men, as was usual, were to mix in various sports, of which the chief was
to shoot at the popinjay, an ancient game formerly practised with
archery, but at this period with fire-arms.

     [Note: Festival of the Popinjay. The Festival of the Popinjay is
     still, I believe, practised at Maybole, in Ayrshire. The following
     passage in the history of the Somerville family, suggested the
     scenes in the text. The author of that curious manuscript thus
     celebrates his father’s demeanour at such an assembly.

     “Having now passed his infancie, in the tenth year of his age, he
     was by his grandfather putt to the grammar school, ther being then
     att the toune of Delserf a very able master that taught the grammar,
     and fitted boyes for the colledge. Dureing his educating in this
     place, they had then a custome every year to solemnize the first
     Sunday of May with danceing about a May-pole, fyreing of pieces, and
     all manner of ravelling then in use. Ther being at that tyme feu or
     noe merchants in this pettie village, to furnish necessaries for the
     schollars sports, this youth resolves to provide himself elsewhere,
     so that he may appear with the bravest. In order to this, by break
     of day he ryses and goes to Hamiltoune, and there bestowes all the
     money that for a long tyme before he had gotten from his freinds, or
     had otherwayes purchased, upon ribbones of diverse coloures, a new
     hatt and gloves. But in nothing he bestowed his money more
     liberallie than upon gunpowder, a great quantitie whereof he buyes
     for his owne use, and to supplie the wantes of his comerades; thus
     furnished with these commodities, but ane empty purse, he returnes
     to Delserf by seven a clock, (haveing travelled that Sabbath morning
     above eight myles,) puttes on his cloathes and new hatt, flying with
     ribbones of all culloures; and in this equipage, with his little
     phizie (fusee) upon his shoulder, he marches to the church yaird,
     where the May-pole was sett up, and the solemnitie of that day was
     to be kept. There first at the foot-ball he equalled any one that
     played; but in handleing his piece, in chargeing and dischargeing,
     he was so ready, and shott so near the marke, that he farre
     surpassed all his fellow schollars, and became a teacher of that art
     to them before the thretteenth year of his oune age. And really, I
     have often admired his dexterity in this, both at the exercizeing of
     his soulders, and when for recreatione. I have gone to the gunning
     with him when I was but a stripeling myself; and albeit that
     passetyme was the exercize I delighted most in, yet could I never
     attaine to any perfectione comparable to him. This dayes sport being
     over, he had the applause of all the spectatores, the kyndnesse of
     his fellow-condisciples, and the favour of the whole inhabitants of
     that little village.”]

This was the figure of a bird, decked with party-coloured feathers, so as
to resemble a popinjay or parrot. It was suspended to a pole, and served
for a mark, at which the competitors discharged their fusees and
carabines in rotation, at the distance of sixty or seventy paces. He
whose ball brought down the mark, held the proud title of Captain of the
Popinjay for the remainder of the day, and was usually escorted in
triumph to the most reputable change-house in the neighbourhood, where
the evening was closed with conviviality, conducted under his auspices,
and, if he was able to sustain it, at his expense.

It will, of course, be supposed, that the ladies of the country assembled
to witness this gallant strife, those excepted who held the stricter
tenets of puritanism, and would therefore have deemed it criminal to
afford countenance to the profane gambols of the malignants. Landaus,
barouches, or tilburies, there were none in those simple days. The lord
lieutenant of the county (a personage of ducal rank) alone pretended to
the magnificence of a wheel-carriage, a thing covered with tarnished
gilding and sculpture, in shape like the vulgar picture of Noah’s ark,
dragged by eight long-tailed Flanders mares, bearing eight insides and
six outsides. The insides were their graces in person, two maids of
honour, two children, a chaplain stuffed into a sort of lateral recess,
formed by a projection at the door of the vehicle, and called, from its
appearance, the boot, and an equerry to his Grace ensconced in the
corresponding convenience on the opposite side. A coachman and three
postilions, who wore short swords, and tie-wigs with three tails, had
blunderbusses slung behind them, and pistols at their saddle-bow,
conducted the equipage. On the foot-board, behind this moving
mansion-house, stood, or rather hung, in triple file, six lacqueys in
rich liveries, armed up to the teeth. The rest of the gentry, men and
women, old and young, were on horseback followed by their servants; but
the company, for the reasons already assigned, was rather select than
numerous.

Near to the enormous leathern vehicle which we have attempted to
describe, vindicating her title to precedence over the untitled gentry of
the country, might be seen the sober palfrey of Lady Margaret Bellenden,
bearing the erect and primitive form of Lady Margaret herself, decked in
those widow’s weeds which the good lady had never laid aside, since the
execution of her husband for his adherence to Montrose.

Her grand-daughter, and only earthly care, the fair-haired Edith, who was
generally allowed to be the prettiest lass in the Upper Ward, appeared
beside her aged relative like Spring placed close to Winter. Her black
Spanish jennet, which she managed with much grace, her gay riding-dress,
and laced side-saddle, had been anxiously prepared to set her forth to
the best advantage. But the clustering profusion of ringlets, which,
escaping from under her cap, were only confined by a green ribbon from
wantoning over her shoulders; her cast of features, soft and feminine,
yet not without a certain expression of playful archness, which redeemed
their sweetness from the charge of insipidity, sometimes brought against
blondes and blue-eyed beauties,--these attracted more admiration from the
western youth than either the splendour of her equipments or the figure
of her palfrey.

The attendance of these distinguished ladies was rather inferior to their
birth and fashion in those times, as it consisted only of two servants on
horseback. The truth was, that the good old lady had been obliged to make
all her domestic servants turn out to complete the quota which her barony
ought to furnish for the muster, and in which she would not for the
universe have been found deficient. The old steward, who, in steel cap
and jack-boots, led forth her array, had, as he said, sweated blood and
water in his efforts to overcome the scruples and evasions of the
moorland farmers, who ought to have furnished men, horse, and harness, on
these occasions. At last, their dispute came near to an open declaration
of hostilities, the incensed episcopalian bestowing on the recusants the
whole thunders of the commination, and receiving from them, in return,
the denunciations of a Calvinistic excommunication. What was to be done?
To punish the refractory tenants would have been easy enough. The privy
council would readily have imposed fines, and sent a troop of horse to
collect them. But this would have been calling the huntsman and hounds
into the garden to kill the hare.

“For,” said Harrison to himself, “the carles have little eneugh gear at
ony rate, and if I call in the red-coats and take away what little they
have, how is my worshipful lady to get her rents paid at Candlemas, which
is but a difficult matter to bring round even in the best of times?”

So he armed the fowler, and falconer, the footman, and the ploughman, at
the home farm, with an old drunken cavaliering butler, who had served
with the late Sir Richard under Montrose, and stunned the family nightly
with his exploits at Kilsythe and Tippermoor, and who was the only man in
the party that had the smallest zeal for the work in hand. In this
manner, and by recruiting one or two latitudinarian poachers and
black-fishers, Mr Harrison completed the quota of men which fell to the
share of Lady Margaret Bellenden, as life-rentrix of the barony of
Tillietudlem and others. But when the steward, on the morning of the
eventful day, had mustered his _troupe dore_ before the iron gate of the
tower, the mother of Cuddie Headrigg the ploughman appeared, loaded with
the jackboots, buff coat, and other accoutrements which had been issued
forth for the service of the day, and laid them before the steward;
demurely assuring him, that “whether it were the colic, or a qualm of
conscience, she couldna tak upon her to decide, but sure it was, Cuddie
had been in sair straits a’ night, and she couldna say he was muckle
better this morning. The finger of Heaven,” she said, “was in it, and her
bairn should gang on nae sic errands.” Pains, penalties, and threats of
dismission, were denounced in vain; the mother was obstinate, and Cuddie,
who underwent a domiciliary visitation for the purpose of verifying his
state of body, could, or would, answer only by deep groans. Mause, who
had been an ancient domestic in the family, was a sort of favourite with
Lady Margaret, and presumed accordingly. Lady Margaret had herself set
forth, and her authority could not be appealed to. In this dilemma, the
good genius of the old butler suggested an expedient.

“He had seen mony a braw callant, far less than Guse Gibbie, fight brawly
under Montrose. What for no tak Guse Gibbie?”

This was a half-witted lad, of very small stature, who had a kind of
charge of the poultry under the old henwife; for in a Scottish family of
that day there was a wonderful substitution of labour. This urchin being
sent for from the stubble-field, was hastily muffled in the buff coat,
and girded rather to than with the sword of a full-grown man, his little
legs plunged into jack-boots, and a steel cap put upon his head, which
seemed, from its size, as if it had been intended to extinguish him. Thus
accoutred, he was hoisted, at his own earnest request, upon the quietest
horse of the party; and, prompted and supported by old Gudyill the
butler, as his front file, he passed muster tolerably enough; the sheriff
not caring to examine too closely the recruits of so well-affected a
person as Lady Margaret Bellenden.

To the above cause it was owing that the personal retinue of Lady
Margaret, on this eventful day, amounted only to two lacqueys, with which
diminished train she would, on any other occasion, have been much ashamed
to appear in public. But, for the cause of royalty, she was ready at any
time to have made the most unreserved personal sacrifices. She had lost
her husband and two promising sons in the civil wars of that unhappy
period; but she had received her reward, for, on his route through the
west of Scotland to meet Cromwell in the unfortunate field of Worcester,
Charles the Second had actually breakfasted at the Tower of Tillietudlem;
an incident which formed, from that moment, an important era in the life
of Lady Margaret, who seldom afterwards partook of that meal, either at
home or abroad, without detailing the whole circumstances of the royal
visit, not forgetting the salutation which his majesty conferred on each
side of her face, though she sometimes omitted to notice that he bestowed
the same favour on two buxom serving-wenches who appeared at her back,
elevated for the day into the capacity of waiting gentlewomen.


[Illustration: Tillietudlem Castle--128]


These instances of royal favour were decisive; and if Lady Margaret had
not been a confirmed royalist already, from sense of high birth,
influence of education, and hatred to the opposite party, through whom
she had suffered such domestic calamity, the having given a breakfast to
majesty, and received the royal salute in return, were honours enough of
themselves to unite her exclusively to the fortunes of the Stewarts.
These were now, in all appearance, triumphant; but Lady Margaret’s zeal
had adhered to them through the worst of times, and was ready to sustain
the same severities of fortune should their scale once more kick the
beam. At present she enjoyed, in full extent, the military display of the
force which stood ready to support the crown, and stifled, as well as she
could, the mortification she felt at the unworthy desertion of her own
retainers.

Many civilities passed between her ladyship and the representatives of
sundry ancient loyal families who were upon the ground, by whom she was
held in high reverence; and not a young man of rank passed by them in the
course of the muster, but he carried his body more erect in the saddle,
and threw his horse upon its haunches, to display his own horsemanship
and the perfect bitting of his steed to the best advantage in the eyes of
Miss Edith Bellenden. But the young cavaliers, distinguished by high
descent and undoubted loyalty, attracted no more attention from Edith
than the laws of courtesy peremptorily demanded; and she turned an
indifferent ear to the compliments with which she was addressed, most of
which were little the worse for the wear, though borrowed for the nonce
from the laborious and long-winded romances of Calprenede and Scuderi,
the mirrors in which the youth of that age delighted to dress themselves,
ere Folly had thrown her ballast overboard, and cut down her vessels of
the first-rate, such as the romances of Cyrus, Cleopatra, and others,
into small craft, drawing as little water, or, to speak more plainly,
consuming as little time as the little cockboat in which the gentle
reader has deigned to embark. It was, however, the decree of fate that
Miss Bellenden should not continue to evince the same equanimity till the
conclusion of the day.



CHAPTER III.

               Horseman and horse confess’d the bitter pang,
               And arms and warrior fell with heavy clang.
                                             Pleasures of Hope.

When the military evolutions had been gone through tolerably well,
allowing for the awkwardness of men and of horses, a loud shout announced
that the competitors were about to step forth for the game of the
popinjay already described. The mast, or pole, having a yard extended
across it, from which the mark was displayed, was raised amid the
acclamations of the assembly; and even those who had eyed the evolutions
of the feudal militia with a sort of malignant and sarcastic sneer, from
disinclination to the royal cause in which they were professedly
embodied, could not refrain from taking considerable interest in the
strife which was now approaching. They crowded towards the goal, and
criticized the appearance of each competitor, as they advanced in
succession, discharged their pieces at the mark, and had their good or
bad address rewarded by the laughter or applause of the spectators. But
when a slender young man, dressed with great simplicity, yet not without
a certain air of pretension to elegance and gentility, approached the
station with his fusee in his hand, his dark-green cloak thrown back over
his shoulder, his laced ruff and feathered cap indicating a superior rank
to the vulgar, there was a murmur of interest among the spectators,
whether altogether favourable to the young adventurer, it was difficult
to discover.

“Ewhow, sirs, to see his father’s son at the like o’ thae fearless
follies!” was the ejaculation of the elder and more rigid puritans, whose
curiosity had so far overcome their bigotry as to bring them to the
play-ground. But the generality viewed the strife less morosely, and were
contented to wish success to the son of a deceased presbyterian leader,
without strictly examining the propriety of his being a competitor for
the prize.

Their wishes were gratified. At the first discharge of his piece the
green adventurer struck the popinjay, being the first palpable hit of the
day, though several balls had passed very near the mark. A loud shout of
applause ensued. But the success was not decisive, it being necessary
that each who followed should have his chance, and that those who
succeeded in hitting the mark, should renew the strife among themselves,
till one displayed a decided superiority over the others. Two only of
those who followed in order succeeded in hitting the popinjay. The first
was a young man of low rank, heavily built, and who kept his face muffled
in his grey cloak; the second a gallant young cavalier, remarkable for a
handsome exterior, sedulously decorated for the day. He had been since
the muster in close attendance on Lady Margaret and Miss Bellenden, and
had left them with an air of indifference, when Lady Margaret had asked
whether there was no young man of family and loyal principles who would
dispute the prize with the two lads who had been successful. In half a
minute, young Lord Evandale threw himself from his horse, borrowed a gun
from a servant, and, as we have already noticed, hit the mark. Great was
the interest excited by the renewal of the contest between the three
candidates who had been hitherto successful. The state equipage of the
Duke was, with some difficulty, put in motion, and approached more near
to the scene of action. The riders, both male and female, turned their
horses’ heads in the same direction, and all eyes were bent upon the
issue of the trial of skill.

It was the etiquette in the second contest, that the competitors should
take their turn of firing after drawing lots. The first fell upon the
young plebeian, who, as he took his stand, half-uncloaked his rustic
countenance, and said to the gallant in green, “Ye see, Mr Henry, if it
were ony other day, I could hae wished to miss for your sake; but Jenny
Dennison is looking at us, sae I maun do my best.”

He took his aim, and his bullet whistled past the mark so nearly, that
the pendulous object at which it was directed was seen to shiver. Still,
however, he had not hit it, and, with a downcast look, he withdrew
himself from further competition, and hastened to disappear from the
assembly, as if fearful of being recognised. The green chasseur next
advanced, and his ball a second time struck the popinjay. All shouted;
and from the outskirts of the assembly arose a cry of, “The good old
cause for ever!”

While the dignitaries bent their brows at these exulting shouts of the
disaffected, the young Lord Evandale advanced again to the hazard, and
again was successful. The shouts and congratulations of the well-affected
and aristocratical part of the audience attended his success, but still a
subsequent trial of skill remained.

The green marksman, as if determined to bring the affair to a decision,
took his horse from a person who held him, having previously looked
carefully to the security of his girths and the fitting of his saddle,
vaulted on his back, and motioning with his hand for the bystanders to
make way, set spurs, passed the place from which he was to fire at a
gallop, and, as he passed, threw up the reins, turned sideways upon his
saddle, discharged his carabine, and brought down the popinjay. Lord
Evandale imitated his example, although many around him said it was an
innovation on the established practice, which he was not obliged to
follow. But his skill was not so perfect, or his horse was not so well
trained. The animal swerved at the moment his master fired, and the ball
missed the popinjay. Those who had been surprised by the address of the
green marksman were now equally pleased by his courtesy. He disclaimed
all merit from the last shot, and proposed to his antagonist that it
should not be counted as a hit, and that they should renew the contest on
foot.

“I would prefer horseback, if I had a horse as well bitted, and,
probably, as well broken to the exercise, as yours,” said the young Lord,
addressing his antagonist.

“Will you do me the honour to use him for the next trial, on condition
you will lend me yours?” said the young gentleman.

Lord Evandale was ashamed to accept this courtesy, as conscious how much
it would diminish the value of victory; and yet, unable to suppress his
wish to redeem his reputation as a marksman, he added, “that although he
renounced all pretensions to the honour of the day,” (which he said
some-what scornfully,) “yet, if the victor had no particular objection,
he would willingly embrace his obliging offer, and change horses with
him, for the purpose of trying a shot for love.”

As he said so, he looked boldly towards Miss Bellenden, and tradition
says, that the eyes of the young tirailleur travelled, though more
covertly, in the same direction. The young Lord’s last trial was as
unsuccessful as the former, and it was with difficulty that he preserved
the tone of scornful indifference which he had hitherto assumed. But,
conscious of the ridicule which attaches itself to the resentment of a
losing party, he returned to his antagonist the horse on which he had
made his last unsuccessful attempt, and received back his own; giving, at
the same time, thanks to his competitor, who, he said, had re-established
his favourite horse in his good opinion, for he had been in great danger
of transferring to the poor nag the blame of an inferiority, which every
one, as well as himself, must now be satisfied remained with the rider.
Having made this speech in a tone in which mortification assumed the veil
of indifference, he mounted his horse and rode off the ground.

As is the usual way of the world, the applause and attention even of
those whose wishes had favoured Lord Evandale, were, upon his decisive
discomfiture, transferred to his triumphant rival.

“Who is he? what is his name?” ran from mouth to mouth among the gentry
who were present, to few of whom he was personally known. His style and
title having soon transpired, and being within that class whom a great
man might notice without derogation, four of the Duke’s friends, with the
obedient start which poor Malvolio ascribes to his imaginary retinue,
made out to lead the victor to his presence. As they conducted him in
triumph through the crowd of spectators, and stunned him at the same time
with their compliments on his success, he chanced to pass, or rather to
be led, immediately in front of Lady Margaret and her grand-daughter. The
Captain of the popinjay and Miss Bellenden coloured like crimson, as the
latter returned, with embarrassed courtesy, the low inclination which the
victor made, even to the saddle-bow, in passing her.

“Do you know that young person?” said Lady Margaret.

“I--I--have seen him, madam, at my uncle’s, and--and elsewhere
occasionally,” stammered Miss Edith Bellenden.

“I hear them say around me,” said Lady Margaret, “that the young spark is
the nephew of old Milnwood.”

“The son of the late Colonel Morton of Milnwood, who commanded a regiment
of horse with great courage at Dunbar and Inverkeithing,” said a
gentleman who sate on horseback beside Lady Margaret.

“Ay, and who, before that, fought for the Covenanters both at
Marston-Moor and Philiphaugh,” said Lady Margaret, sighing as she
pronounced the last fatal words, which her husband’s death gave her such
sad reason to remember.

“Your ladyship’s memory is just,” said the gentleman, smiling, “but it
were well all that were forgot now.”

“He ought to remember it, Gilbertscleugh,” returned Lady Margaret, “and
dispense with intruding himself into the company of those to whom his
name must bring unpleasing recollections.”

“You forget, my dear lady,” said her nomenclator, “that the young
gentleman comes here to discharge suit and service in name of his uncle.
I would every estate in the country sent out as pretty a fellow.”

“His uncle, as well as his umquhile father, is a roundhead, I presume,”
 said Lady Margaret.

“He is an old miser,” said Gilbertscleugh, “with whom a broad piece would
at any time weigh down political opinions, and, therefore, although
probably somewhat against the grain, he sends the young gentleman to
attend the muster to save pecuniary pains and penalties. As for the rest,
I suppose the youngster is happy enough to escape here for a day from the
dulness of the old house at Milnwood, where he sees nobody but his
hypochondriac uncle and the favourite housekeeper.”

“Do you know how many men and horse the lands of Milnwood are rated at?”
 said the old lady, continuing her enquiry.

“Two horsemen with complete harness,” answered Gilbertscleugh.

“Our land,” said Lady Margaret, drawing herself up with dignity, “has
always furnished to the muster eight men, cousin Gilbertscleugh, and
often a voluntary aid of thrice the number. I remember his sacred Majesty
King Charles, when he took his disjune at Tillietudlem, was particular in
enquiring”--“I see the Duke’s carriage in motion,” said Gilbertscleugh,
partaking at the moment an alarm common to all Lady Margaret’s friends,
when she touched upon the topic of the royal visit at the family
mansion,--“I see the Duke’s carriage in motion; I presume your ladyship
will take your right of rank in leaving the field. May I be permitted to
convoy your ladyship and Miss Bellenden home?--Parties of the wild whigs
have been abroad, and are said to insult and disarm the well-affected who
travel in small numbers.”

“We thank you, cousin Gilbertscleugh,” said Lady Margaret; “but as we
shall have the escort of my own people, I trust we have less need than
others to be troublesome to our friends. Will you have the goodness to
order Harrison to bring up our people somewhat more briskly; he rides
them towards us as if he were leading a funeral procession.”

The gentleman in attendance communicated his lady’s orders to the trusty
steward.

Honest Harrison had his own reasons for doubting the prudence of this
command; but, once issued and received, there was a necessity for obeying
it. He set off, therefore, at a hand-gallop, followed by the butler, in
such a military attitude as became one who had served under Montrose, and
with a look of defiance, rendered sterner and fiercer by the inspiring
fumes of a gill of brandy, which he had snatched a moment to bolt to the
king’s health, and confusion to the Covenant, during the intervals of
military duty. Unhappily this potent refreshment wiped away from the
tablets of his memory the necessity of paying some attention to the
distresses and difficulties of his rear-file, Goose Gibbie. No sooner had
the horses struck a canter, than Gibbie’s jack-boots, which the poor
boy’s legs were incapable of steadying, began to play alternately against
the horse’s flanks, and, being armed with long-rowelled spurs, overcame
the patience of the animal, which bounced and plunged, while poor
Gibbie’s entreaties for aid never reached the ears of the too heedless
butler, being drowned partly in the concave of the steel cap in which his
head was immersed, and partly in the martial tune of the Gallant Grames,
which Mr Gudyill whistled with all his power of lungs.

The upshot was, that the steed speedily took the matter into his own
hands, and having gambolled hither and thither to the great amusement of
all spectators, set off at full speed towards the huge family-coach
already described. Gibbie’s pike, escaping from its sling, had fallen to
a level direction across his hands, which, I grieve to say, were seeking
dishonourable safety in as strong a grasp of the mane as their muscles
could manage. His casque, too, had slipped completely over his face, so
that he saw as little in front as he did in rear. Indeed, if he could, it
would have availed him little in the circumstances; for his horse, as if
in league with the disaffected, ran full tilt towards the solemn equipage
of the Duke, which the projecting lance threatened to perforate from
window to window, at the risk of transfixing as many in its passage as
the celebrated thrust of Orlando, which, according to the Italian epic
poet, broached as many Moors as a Frenchman spits frogs.

On beholding the bent of this misdirected career, a panic shout of
mingled terror and wrath was set up by the whole equipage, insides and
outsides, at once, which had the happy effect of averting the threatened
misfortune. The capricious horse of Goose Gibbie was terrified by the
noise, and stumbling as he turned short round, kicked and plunged
violently as soon as he recovered. The jack-boots, the original cause of
the disaster, maintaining the reputation they had acquired when worn by
better cavaliers, answered every plunge by a fresh prick of the spurs,
and, by their ponderous weight, kept their place in the stirrups. Not so
Goose Gibbie, who was fairly spurned out of those wide and ponderous
greaves, and precipitated over the horse’s head, to the infinite
amusement of all the spectators. His lance and helmet had forsaken him in
his fall, and, for the completion of his disgrace, Lady Margaret
Bellenden, not perfectly aware that it was one of her warriors who was
furnishing so much entertainment, came up in time to see her diminutive
man-at-arms stripped of his lion’s hide,--of the buff-coat, that is, in
which he was muffled.

As she had not been made acquainted with this metamorphosis, and could
not even guess its cause, her surprise and resentment were extreme, nor
were they much modified by the excuses and explanations of her steward
and butler. She made a hasty retreat homeward, extremely indignant at the
shouts and laughter of the company, and much disposed to vent her
displeasure on the refractory agriculturist whose place Goose Gibbie had
so unhappily supplied. The greater part of the gentry now dispersed, the
whimsical misfortune which had befallen the gens d’armerie of
Tillietudlem furnishing them with huge entertainment on their road
homeward. The horsemen also, in little parties, as their road lay
together, diverged from the place of rendezvous, excepting such as,
having tried their dexterity at the popinjay, were, by ancient custom,
obliged to partake of a grace-cup with their captain before their
departure.



CHAPTER IV.

          At fairs he play’d before the spearmen,
          And gaily graithed in their gear then,
          Steel bonnets, pikes, and swords shone clear then
          As ony bead;  Now wha sall play before sic weir men,
                    Since Habbie’s dead!
                                        Elegy on Habbie Simpson.

The cavalcade of horsemen on their road to the little borough-town were
preceded by Niel Blane, the town-piper, mounted on his white galloway,
armed with his dirk and broadsword, and bearing a chanter streaming with
as many ribbons as would deck out six country belles for a fair or
preaching. Niel, a clean, tight, well-timbered, long-winded fellow, had
gained the official situation of town-piper of--by his merit, with all
the emoluments thereof; namely, the Piper’s Croft, as it is still called,
a field of about an acre in extent, five merks, and a new livery-coat of
the town’s colours, yearly; some hopes of a dollar upon the day of the
election of magistrates, providing the provost were able and willing to
afford such a gratuity; and the privilege of paying, at all the
respectable houses in the neighbourhood, an annual visit at spring-time,
to rejoice their hearts with his music, to comfort his own with their ale
and brandy, and to beg from each a modicum of seed-corn.

In addition to these inestimable advantages, Niel’s personal, or
professional, accomplishments won the heart of a jolly widow, who then
kept the principal change-house in the borough. Her former husband having
been a strict presbyterian, of such note that he usually went among his
sect by the name of Gaius the publican, many of the more rigid were
scandalized by the profession of the successor whom his relict had chosen
for a second helpmate. As the browst (or brewing) of the Howff retained,
nevertheless, its unrivalled reputation, most of the old customers
continued to give it a preference. The character of the new landlord,
indeed, was of that accommodating kind, which enabled him, by close
attention to the helm, to keep his little vessel pretty steady amid the
contending tides of faction. He was a good-humoured, shrewd, selfish sort
of fellow, indifferent alike to the disputes about church and state, and
only anxious to secure the good-will of customers of every description.
But his character, as well as the state of the country, will be best
understood by giving the reader an account of the instructions which he
issued to his daughter, a girl about eighteen, whom he was initiating in
those cares which had been faithfully discharged by his wife, until about
six months before our story commences, when the honest woman had been
carried to the kirkyard.

“Jenny,” said Niel Blane, as the girl assisted to disencumber him of his
bagpipes, “this is the first day that ye are to take the place of your
worthy mother in attending to the public; a douce woman she was, civil to
the customers, and had a good name wi’ Whig and Tory, baith up the street
and down the street. It will be hard for you to fill her place,
especially on sic a thrang day as this; but Heaven’s will maun be
obeyed.--Jenny, whatever Milnwood ca’s for, be sure he maun hae’t, for
he’s the Captain o’ the Popinjay, and auld customs maun be supported; if
he canna pay the lawing himsell, as I ken he’s keepit unco short by the
head, I’ll find a way to shame it out o’ his uncle.--The curate is
playing at dice wi’ Cornet Grahame. Be eident and civil to them
baith--clergy and captains can gie an unco deal o’ fash in thae times,
where they take an ill-will.--The dragoons will be crying for ale, and
they wunna want it, and maunna want it--they are unruly chields, but
they pay ane some gate or other. I gat the humle-cow, that’s the best in
the byre, frae black Frank Inglis and Sergeant Bothwell, for ten pund
Scots, and they drank out the price at ae downsitting.”

“But, father,” interrupted Jenny, “they say the twa reiving loons drave
the cow frae the gudewife o’ Bell’s-moor, just because she gaed to hear a
field-preaching ae Sabbath afternoon.”

“Whisht! ye silly tawpie,” said her father, “we have naething to do how
they come by the bestial they sell--be that atween them and their
consciences.--Aweel--Take notice, Jenny, of that dour, stour-looking
carle that sits by the cheek o’ the ingle, and turns his back on a’ men.
He looks like ane o’ the hill-folk, for I saw him start a wee when he saw
the red-coats, and I jalouse he wad hae liked to hae ridden by, but his
horse (it’s a gude gelding) was ower sair travailed; he behoved to stop
whether he wad or no. Serve him cannily, Jenny, and wi’ little din, and
dinna bring the sodgers on him by speering ony questions at him; but let
na him hae a room to himsell, they wad say we were hiding him.--For
yoursell, Jenny, ye’ll be civil to a’ the folk, and take nae heed o’ ony
nonsense and daffing the young lads may say t’ye. Folk in the hostler
line maun put up wi’ muckle. Your mither, rest her saul, could pit up wi’
as muckle as maist women--but aff hands is fair play; and if ony body be
uncivil ye may gie me a cry--Aweel,--when the malt begins to get aboon
the meal, they’ll begin to speak about government in kirk and state, and
then, Jenny, they are like to quarrel--let them be doing--anger’s a
drouthy passion, and the mair they dispute, the mair ale they’ll drink;
but ye were best serve them wi’ a pint o’ the sma’ browst, it will heat
them less, and they’ll never ken the difference.”

“But, father,” said Jenny, “if they come to lounder ilk ither, as they
did last time, suldna I cry on you?”

“At no hand, Jenny; the redder gets aye the warst lick in the fray. If
the sodgers draw their swords, ye’ll cry on the corporal and the guard.
If the country folk tak the tangs and poker, ye’ll cry on the bailie and
town-officers. But in nae event cry on me, for I am wearied wi’ doudling
the bag o’ wind a’ day, and I am gaun to eat my dinner quietly in the
spence.--And, now I think on’t, the Laird of Lickitup (that’s him that
was the laird) was speering for sma’ drink and a saut herring--gie him a
pu’ be the sleeve, and round into his lug I wad be blithe o’ his company
to dine wi’ me; he was a gude customer anes in a day, and wants naething
but means to be a gude ane again--he likes drink as weel as e’er he did.
And if ye ken ony puir body o’ our acquaintance that’s blate for want o’
siller, and has far to gang hame, ye needna stick to gie them a waught o’
drink and a bannock--we’ll ne’er miss’t, and it looks creditable in a
house like ours. And now, hinny, gang awa’, and serve the folk, but first
bring me my dinner, and twa chappins o’ yill and the mutchkin stoup o’
brandy.”

Having thus devolved his whole cares on Jenny as prime minister, Niel
Blane and the ci-devant laird, once his patron, but now glad to be his
trencher-companion, sate down to enjoy themselves for the remainder of
the evening, remote from the bustle of the public room.

All in Jenny’s department was in full activity. The knights of the
popinjay received and requited the hospitable entertainment of their
captain, who, though he spared the cup himself, took care it should go
round with due celerity among the rest, who might not have otherwise
deemed themselves handsomely treated. Their numbers melted away by
degrees, and were at length diminished to four or five, who began to talk
of breaking up their party. At another table, at some distance, sat two
of the dragoons, whom Niel Blane had mentioned, a sergeant and a private
in the celebrated John Grahame of Claverhouse’s regiment of Life-Guards.
Even the non-commissioned officers and privates in these corps were not
considered as ordinary mercenaries, but rather approached to the rank of
the French mousquetaires, being regarded in the light of cadets, who
performed the duties of rank-and-file with the prospect of obtaining
commissions in case of distinguishing themselves.

Many young men of good families were to be found in the ranks, a
circumstance which added to the pride and self-consequence of these
troops. A remarkable instance of this occurred in the person of the
non-commissioned officer in question. His real name was Francis Stewart,
but he was universally known by the appellation of Bothwell, being
lineally descended from the last earl of that name; not the infamous
lover of the unfortunate Queen Mary, but Francis Stewart, Earl of
Bothwell, whose turbulence and repeated conspiracies embarrassed the
early part of James Sixth’s reign, and who at length died in exile in
great poverty. The son of this Earl had sued to Charles I. for the
restitution of part of his father’s forfeited estates, but the grasp of
the nobles to whom they had been allotted was too tenacious to be
unclenched. The breaking out of the civil wars utterly ruined him, by
intercepting a small pension which Charles I. had allowed him, and he
died in the utmost indigence. His son, after having served as a soldier
abroad and in Britain, and passed through several vicissitudes of
fortune, was fain to content himself with the situation of a
non-commissioned officer in the Life-Guards, although lineally descended
from the royal family, the father of the forfeited Earl of Bothwell
having been a natural son of James VI.

     [Note: Sergeant Bothwell. The history of the restless and ambitious
     Francis Stewart, Earl of Bothwell, makes a considerable figure in
     the reign of James VI. of Scotland, and First of England. After
     being repeatedly pardoned for acts of treason, he was at length
     obliged to retire abroad, where he died in great misery. Great part
     of his forfeited estate was bestowed on Walter Scott, first Lord of
     Buccleuch, and on the first Earl of Roxburghe.

     Francis Stewart, son of the forfeited Earl, obtained from the favour
     of Charles I. a decreet-arbitral, appointing the two noblemen,
     grantees of his father’s estate, to restore the same, or make some
     compensation for retaining it. The barony of Crichton, with its
     beautiful castle, was surrendered by the curators of Francis, Earl
     of Buccleuch, but he retained the far more extensive property in
     Liddesdale. James Stewart also, as appears from writings in the
     author’s possession, made an advantageous composition with the Earl
     of Roxburghe. “But,” says the satirical Scotstarvet, “male parta
     pejus dilabuntur;” for he never brooked them, (enjoyed them,) nor was
     any thing the richer, since they accrued to his creditors, and are
     now in the possession of Dr Seaton. His eldest son Francis became a
     trooper in the late war; as for the other brother John, who was
     Abbot of Coldingham, he also disposed all that estate, and now has
     nothing, but lives on the charity of his friends. “The Staggering
     State of the Scots Statesmen for One Hundred Years,” by Sir John
     Scot of Scotstarvet. Edinburgh, 1754. P. 154.

     Francis Stewart, who had been a trooper during the great Civil War,
     seems to have received no preferment, after the Restoration, suited
     to his high birth, though, in fact, third cousin to Charles II.
     Captain Crichton, the friend of Dean Swift, who published his
     Memoirs, found him a private gentleman in the King’s Life-Guards. At
     the same time this was no degrading condition; for Fountainhall
     records a duel fought between a Life-Guardsman and an officer in the
     militia, because the latter had taken upon him to assume superior
     rank as an officer, to a gentleman private in the Life-Guards. The
     Life-Guards man was killed in the rencontre, and his antagonist was
     executed for murder.

     The character of Bothwell, except in relation to the name, is
     entirely ideal.]

Great personal strength, and dexterity in the use of his arms, as well as
the remarkable circumstances of his descent, had recommended this man to
the attention of his officers. But he partook in a great degree of the
licentiousness and oppressive disposition, which the habit of acting as
agents for government in levying fines, exacting free quarters, and
otherwise oppressing the Presbyterian recusants, had rendered too general
among these soldiers. They were so much accustomed to such missions, that
they conceived themselves at liberty to commit all manner of license with
impunity, as if totally exempted from all law and authority, excepting
the command of their officers. On such occasions Bothwell was usually the
most forward.

It is probable that Bothwell and his companions would not so long have
remained quiet, but for respect to the presence of their Cornet, who
commanded the small party quartered in the borough, and who was engaged
in a game at dice with the curate of the place. But both of these being
suddenly called from their amusement to speak with the chief magistrate
upon some urgent business, Bothwell was not long of evincing his contempt
for the rest of the company.

“Is it not a strange thing, Halliday,” he said to his comrade, “to see a
set of bumpkins sit carousing here this whole evening, without having
drank the king’s health?”

“They have drank the king’s health,” said Halliday. “I heard that green
kail-worm of a lad name his majesty’s health.”

“Did he?” said Bothwell. “Then, Tom, we’ll have them drink the Archbishop
of St Andrew’s health, and do it on their knees too.”

“So we will, by G--,” said Halliday; “and he that refuses it, we’ll have
him to the guard-house, and teach him to ride the colt foaled of an
acorn, with a brace of carabines at each foot to keep him steady.”

“Right, Tom,” continued Bothwell; “and, to do all things in order, I’ll
begin with that sulky blue-bonnet in the ingle-nook.”

He rose accordingly, and taking his sheathed broadsword under his arm to
support the insolence which he meditated, placed himself in front of the
stranger noticed by Niel Blane, in his admonitions to his daughter, as
being, in all probability, one of the hill-folk, or refractory
presbyterians.

“I make so bold as to request of your precision, beloved,” said the
trooper, in a tone of affected solemnity, and assuming the snuffle of a
country preacher, “that you will arise from your seat, beloved, and,
having bent your hams until your knees do rest upon the floor, beloved,
that you will turn over this measure (called by the profane a gill) of
the comfortable creature, which the carnal denominate brandy, to the
health and glorification of his Grace the Archbishop of St Andrews, the
worthy primate of all Scotland.”

All waited for the stranger’s answer.--His features, austere even to
ferocity, with a cast of eye, which, without being actually oblique,
approached nearly to a squint, and which gave a very sinister expression
to his countenance, joined to a frame, square, strong, and muscular,
though something under the middle size, seemed to announce a man unlikely
to understand rude jesting, or to receive insults with impunity.

“And what is the consequence,” said he, “if I should not be disposed to
comply with your uncivil request?”

“The consequence thereof, beloved,” said Bothwell, in the same tone of
raillery, “will be, firstly, that I will tweak thy proboscis or nose.
Secondly, beloved, that I will administer my fist to thy distorted visual
optics; and will conclude, beloved, with a practical application of the
flat of my sword to the shoulders of the recusant.”

“Is it even so?” said the stranger; “then give me the cup;” and, taking
it in his hand, he said, with a peculiar expression of voice and manner,
“The Archbishop of St Andrews, and the place he now worthily holds;--may
each prelate in Scotland soon be as the Right Reverend James Sharpe!”

“He has taken the test,” said Halliday, exultingly.

“But with a qualification,” said Bothwell; “I don’t understand what the
devil the crop-eared whig means.”

“Come, gentlemen,” said Morton, who became impatient of their insolence,
“we are here met as good subjects, and on a merry occasion; and we have a
right to expect we shall not be troubled with this sort of discussion.”

Bothwell was about to make a surly answer, but Halliday reminded him in a
whisper, that there were strict injunctions that the soldiers should give
no offence to the men who were sent out to the musters agreeably to the
council’s orders. So, after honouring Morton with a broad and fierce
stare, he said, “Well, Mr Popinjay, I shall not disturb your reign; I
reckon it will be out by twelve at night.--Is it not an odd thing,
Halliday,” he continued, addressing his companion, “that they should make
such a fuss about cracking off their birding-pieces at a mark which any
woman or boy could hit at a day’s practice? If Captain Popinjay now, or
any of his troop, would try a bout, either with the broadsword,
backsword, single rapier, or rapier and dagger, for a gold noble, the
first-drawn blood, there would be some soul in it,--or, zounds, would the
bumpkins but wrestle, or pitch the bar, or putt the stone, or throw the
axle-tree, if (touching the end of Morton’s sword scornfully with his
toe) they carry things about them that they are afraid to draw.”

Morton’s patience and prudence now gave way entirely, and he was about to
make a very angry answer to Bothwell’s insolent observations, when the
stranger stepped forward.

“This is my quarrel,” he said, “and in the name of the good cause, I will
see it out myself.--Hark thee, friend,” (to Bothwell,) “wilt thou wrestle
a fall with me?”

“With my whole spirit, beloved,” answered Bothwell; “yea I will strive
with thee, to the downfall of one or both.”

“Then, as my trust is in Him that can help,” retorted his antagonist, “I
will forthwith make thee an example to all such railing Rabshakehs!”

With that he dropped his coarse grey horseman’s coat from his shoulders,
and, extending his strong brawny arms with a look of determined
resolution, he offered himself to the contest. The soldier was nothing
abashed by the muscular frame, broad chest, square shoulders, and hardy
look of his antagonist, but, whistling with great composure, unbuckled
his belt, and laid aside his military coat. The company stood round them,
anxious for the event.

In the first struggle the trooper seemed to have some advantage, and also
in the second, though neither could be considered as decisive. But it was
plain he had put his whole strength too suddenly forth, against an
antagonist possessed of great endurance, skill, vigour, and length of
wind. In the third close, the countryman lifted his opponent fairly from
the floor, and hurled him to the ground with such violence, that he lay
for an instant stunned and motionless. His comrade Halliday immediately
drew his sword; “You have killed my sergeant,” he exclaimed to the
victorious wrestler, “and by all that is sacred you shall answer it!”

“Stand back!” cried Morton and his companions, “it was all fair play;
your comrade sought a fall, and he has got it.”

“That is true enough,” said Bothwell, as he slowly rose; “put up your
bilbo, Tom. I did not think there was a crop-ear of them all could have
laid the best cap and feather in the King’s Life-Guards on the floor of a
rascally change-house.--Hark ye, friend, give me your hand.” The stranger
held out his hand. “I promise you,” said Bothwell, squeezing his hand
very hard, “that the time will come when we shall meet again, and try
this game over in a more earnest manner.”

“And I’ll promise you,” said the stranger, returning the grasp with equal
firmness, “that when we next meet, I will lay your head as low as it lay
even now, when you shall lack the power to lift it up again.”

“Well, beloved,” answered Bothwell, “if thou be’st a whig, thou art a
stout and a brave one, and so good even to thee--Hadst best take thy nag
before the Cornet makes the round; for, I promise thee, he has stay’d
less suspicious-looking persons.”

The stranger seemed to think that the hint was not to be neglected; he
flung down his reckoning, and going into the stable, saddled and brought
out a powerful black horse, now recruited by rest and forage, and turning
to Morton, observed, “I ride towards Milnwood, which I hear is your home;
will you give me the advantage and protection of your company?”

“Certainly,” said Morton; although there was something of gloomy and
relentless severity in the man’s manner from which his mind recoiled. His
companions, after a courteous good-night, broke up and went off in
different directions, some keeping them company for about a mile, until
they dropped off one by one, and the travellers were left alone.

The company had not long left the Howff, as Blane’s public-house was
called, when the trumpets and kettle-drums sounded. The troopers got
under arms in the market-place at this unexpected summons, while, with
faces of anxiety and earnestness, Cornet Grahame, a kinsman of
Claverhouse, and the Provost of the borough, followed by half-a-dozen
soldiers, and town-officers with halberts, entered the apartment of Niel
Blane.

“Guard the doors!” were the first words which the Cornet spoke; “let no
man leave the house.--So, Bothwell, how comes this? Did you not hear them
sound boot and saddle?”

“He was just going to quarters, sir,” said his comrade; “he has had a bad
fall.”

“In a fray, I suppose?” said Grahame. “If you neglect duty in this way,
your royal blood will hardly protect you.”

“How have I neglected duty?” said Bothwell, sulkily.

“You should have been at quarters, Sergeant Bothwell,” replied the
officer; “you have lost a golden opportunity. Here are news come that the
Archbishop of St Andrews has been strangely and foully assassinated by a
body of the rebel whigs, who pursued and stopped his carriage on
Magus-Muir, near the town of St Andrews, dragged him out, and dispatched
him with their swords and daggers.” [Note: The general account of this
act of assassination is to be found in all histories of the period. A
more particular narrative may be found in the words of one of the actors,
James Russell, in the Appendix to Kirkton’s History of the Church of
Scotland, published by Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe, Esquire. 4to,
Edinburgh, 1817.]

All stood aghast at the intelligence.

“Here are their descriptions,” continued the Cornet, pulling out a
proclamation, “the reward of a thousand merks is on each of their heads.”

“The test, the test, and the qualification!” said Bothwell to Halliday;
“I know the meaning now--Zounds, that we should not have stopt him! Go
saddle our horses, Halliday.--Was there one of the men, Cornet, very
stout and square-made, double-chested, thin in the flanks, hawk-nosed?”

“Stay, stay,” said Cornet Grahame, “let me look at the paper.--Hackston
of Rathillet, tall, thin, black-haired.”

“That is not my man,” said Bothwell.

“John Balfour, called Burley, aquiline nose, red-haired, five feet
eight inches in height”--“It is he--it is the very man!” said
Bothwell,--“skellies fearfully with one eye?”

“Right,” continued Grahame, “rode a strong black horse, taken from the
primate at the time of the murder.”

“The very man,” exclaimed Bothwell, “and the very horse! he was in this
room not a quarter of an hour since.”

A few hasty enquiries tended still more to confirm the opinion, that the
reserved and stern stranger was Balfour of Burley, the actual commander
of the band of assassins, who, in the fury of misguided zeal, had
murdered the primate, whom they accidentally met, as they were searching
for another person against whom they bore enmity. [Note: One Carmichael,
sheriff-depute in Fife, who had been active in enforcing the penal
measures against non-conformists. He was on the moors hunting, but
receiving accidental information that a party was out in quest of him, he
returned home, and escaped the fate designed for him, which befell his
patron the Archbishop.] In their excited imagination the casual
rencounter had the appearance of a providential interference, and they
put to death the archbishop, with circumstances of great and cold-blooded
cruelty, under the belief, that the Lord, as they expressed it, had
delivered him into their hands.

     [Note:  Murderers of Archbishop Sharpe. The leader of this party was
     David Hackston, of Rathillet, a gentleman of ancient birth and good
     estate. He had been profligate in his younger days, but having been
     led from curiosity to attend the conventicles of the nonconforming
     clergy, he adopted their principles in the fullest extent. It
     appears, that Hackston had some personal quarrel with Archbishop
     Sharpe, which induced him to decline the command of the party when
     the slaughter was determined upon, fearing his acceptance might be
     ascribed to motives of personal enmity. He felt himself free in
     conscience, however, to be present; and when the archbishop, dragged
     from his carriage, crawled towards him on his knees for protection,
     he replied coldly, “Sir, I will never lay a finger on you.” It is
     remarkable that Hackston, as well as a shepherd who was also
     present, but passive, on the occasion, were the only two of the
     party of assassins who suffered death by the hands of the
     executioner.

     On Hackston refusing the command, it was by universal suffrage
     conferred on John Balfour of Kinloch, called Burley, who was
     Hackston’s brother-in-law. He is described “as a little man,
     squint-eyed, and of a very fierce aspect.”--“He was,” adds the same
     author, “by some reckoned none of the most religious; yet he was
     always reckoned zealous and honest-hearted, courageous in every
     enterprise, and a brave soldier, seldom any escaping that came into
     his hands. He was the principal actor in killing that arch-traitor
     to the Lord and his church, James Sharpe.” See Scottish Worthies.
     8vo. Leith, 1816. Page 522.]

“Horse, horse, and pursue, my lads!” exclaimed Cornet Grahame; “the
murdering dog’s head is worth its weight in gold.”



CHAPTER V.

               Arouse thee, youth!--it is no human call--
               God’s church is leaguer’d--haste to man the wall;
               Haste where the Redcross banners wave on high,
               Signal of honour’d death, or victory!
                                                  James Duff.

Morton and his companion had attained some distance from the town before
either of them addressed the other. There was something, as we have
observed, repulsive in the manner of the stranger, which prevented Morton
from opening the conversation, and he himself seemed to have no desire to
talk, until, on a sudden, he abruptly demanded, “What has your father’s
son to do with such profane mummeries as I find you this day engaged in?”

“I do my duty as a subject, and pursue my harmless recreations according
to my own pleasure,” replied Morton, somewhat offended.

“Is it your duty, think you, or that of any Christian young man, to bear
arms in their cause who have poured out the blood of God’s saints in the
wilderness as if it had been water? or is it a lawful recreation to waste
time in shooting at a bunch of feathers, and close your evening with
winebibbing in public-houses and market-towns, when He that is mighty is
come into the land with his fan in his hand, to purge the wheat from the
chaff?”

“I suppose from your style of conversation,” said Morton, “that you are
one of those who have thought proper to stand out against the government.
I must remind you that you are unnecessarily using dangerous language in
the presence of a mere stranger, and that the times do not render it safe
for me to listen to it.”

“Thou canst not help it, Henry Morton,” said his companion; “thy Master
has his uses for thee, and when he calls, thou must obey. Well wot I thou
hast not heard the call of a true preacher, or thou hadst ere now been
what thou wilt assuredly one day become.”

“We are of the presbyterian persuasion, like yourself,” said Morton; for
his uncle’s family attended the ministry of one of those numerous
presbyterian clergymen, who, complying with certain regulations, were
licensed to preach without interruption from the government. This
indulgence, as it was called, made a great schism among the
presbyterians, and those who accepted of it were severely censured by the
more rigid sectaries, who refused the proffered terms. The stranger,
therefore, answered with great disdain to Morton’s profession of faith.

“That is but an equivocation--a poor equivocation. Ye listen on the
Sabbath to a cold, worldly, time-serving discourse, from one who forgets
his high commission so much as to hold his apostleship by the favour of
the courtiers and the false prelates, and ye call that hearing the word!
Of all the baits with which the devil has fished for souls in these days
of blood and darkness, that Black Indulgence has been the most
destructive. An awful dispensation it has been, a smiting of the shepherd
and a scattering of the sheep upon the mountains--an uplifting of one
Christian banner against another, and a fighting of the wars of darkness
with the swords of the children of light!”

“My uncle,” said Morton, “is of opinion, that we enjoy a reasonable
freedom of conscience under the indulged clergymen, and I must
necessarily be guided by his sentiments respecting the choice of a place
of worship for his family.”

“Your uncle,” said the horseman, “is one of those to whom the least lamb
in his own folds at Milnwood is dearer than the whole Christian flock. He
is one that could willingly bend down to the golden-calf of Bethel, and
would have fished for the dust thereof when it was ground to powder and
cast upon the waters. Thy father was a man of another stamp.”

“My father,” replied Morton, “was indeed a brave and gallant man. And you
may have heard, sir, that he fought for that royal family in whose name I
was this day carrying arms.”

“Ay; and had he lived to see these days, he would have cursed the hour he
ever drew sword in their cause. But more of this hereafter--I promise
thee full surely that thy hour will come, and then the words thou hast
now heard will stick in thy bosom like barbed arrows. My road lies
there.”

He pointed towards a pass leading up into a wild extent of dreary and
desolate hills; but as he was about to turn his horse’s head into the
rugged path, which led from the high-road in that direction, an old woman
wrapped in a red cloak, who was sitting by the cross-way, arose, and
approaching him, said, in a mysterious tone of voice, “If ye be of our
ain folk, gangna up the pass the night for your lives. There is a lion in
the path, that is there. The curate of Brotherstane and ten soldiers hae
beset the pass, to hae the lives of ony of our puir wanderers that
venture that gate to join wi’ Hamilton and Dingwall.”

“Have the persecuted folk drawn to any head among themselves?” demanded
the stranger.

“About sixty or seventy horse and foot,” said the old dame; “but, ewhow!
they are puirly armed, and warse fended wi’ victual.”

“God will help his own,” said the horseman. “Which way shall I take to
join them?”

“It’s a mere impossibility this night,” said the woman, “the troopers
keep sae strict a guard; and they say there’s strange news come frae the
east, that makes them rage in their cruelty mair fierce than ever--Ye
maun take shelter somegate for the night before ye get to the muirs, and
keep yoursell in hiding till the grey o’ the morning, and then you may
find your way through the Drake Moss. When I heard the awfu’ threatenings
o’ the oppressors, I e’en took my cloak about me, and sate down by the
wayside, to warn ony of our puir scattered remnant that chanced to come
this gate, before they fell into the nets of the spoilers.”

“Have you a house near this?” said the stranger; “and can you give me
hiding there?”

“I have,” said the old woman, “a hut by the way-side, it may be a mile
from hence; but four men of Belial, called dragoons, are lodged therein,
to spoil my household goods at their pleasure, because I will not wait
upon the thowless, thriftless, fissenless ministry of that carnal man,
John Halftext, the curate.”

“Good night, good woman, and thanks for thy counsel,” said the stranger,
as he rode away.

“The blessings of the promise upon you,” returned the old dame; “may He
keep you that can keep you.”

“Amen!” said the traveller; “for where to hide my head this night, mortal
skill cannot direct me.”

“I am very sorry for your distress,” said Morton; “and had I a house or
place of shelter that could be called my own, I almost think I would risk
the utmost rigour of the law rather than leave you in such a strait. But
my uncle is so alarmed at the pains and penalties denounced by the laws
against such as comfort, receive, or consort with intercommuned persons,
that he has strictly forbidden all of us to hold any intercourse with
them.”

“It is no less than I expected,” said the stranger; “nevertheless, I
might be received without his knowledge;--a barn, a hay-loft, a
cart-shed,--any place where I could stretch me down, would be to my
habits like a tabernacle of silver set about with planks of cedar.”

“I assure you,” said Morton, much embarrassed, “that I have not the means
of receiving you at Milnwood without my uncle’s consent and knowledge;
nor, if I could do so, would I think myself justifiable in engaging him
unconsciously in danger, which, most of all others, he fears and
deprecates.”

“Well,” said the traveller, “I have but one word to say. Did you ever
hear your father mention John Balfour of Burley?”

“His ancient friend and comrade, who saved his life, with almost the loss
of his own, in the battle of Longmarston-Moor?--Often, very often.”

“I am that Balfour,” said his companion. “Yonder stands thy uncle’s
house; I see the light among the trees. The avenger of blood is behind
me, and my death certain unless I have refuge there. Now, make thy
choice, young man; to shrink from the side of thy father’s friend, like a
thief in the night, and to leave him exposed to the bloody death from
which he rescued thy father, or to expose thine uncle’s wordly goods to
such peril, as, in this perverse generation, attends those who give a
morsel of bread or a draught of cold water to a Christian man, when
perishing for lack of refreshment!”

A thousand recollections thronged on the mind of Morton at once. His
father, whose memory he idolized, had often enlarged upon his obligations
to this man, and regretted, that, after having been long comrades, they
had parted in some unkindness at the time when the kingdom of Scotland
was divided into Resolutioners and Protesters; the former of whom adhered
to Charles II. after his father’s death upon the scaffold, while the
Protesters inclined rather to a union with the triumphant republicans.
The stern fanaticism of Burley had attached him to this latter party, and
the comrades had parted in displeasure, never, as it happened, to meet
again. These circumstances the deceased Colonel Morton had often
mentioned to his son, and always with an expression of deep regret, that
he had never, in any manner, been enabled to repay the assistance, which,
on more than one occasion, he had received from Burley.

To hasten Morton’s decision, the night-wind, as it swept along, brought
from a distance the sullen sound of a kettle-drum, which, seeming to
approach nearer, intimated that a body of horse were upon their march
towards them.

“It must be Claverhouse, with the rest of his regiment. What can have
occasioned this night-march? If you go on, you fall into their hands--if
you turn back towards the borough-town, you are in no less danger from
Cornet Grahame’s party.--The path to the hill is beset. I must shelter
you at Milnwood, or expose you to instant death;--but the punishment of
the law shall fall upon myself, as in justice it should, not upon my
uncle.--Follow me.”

Burley, who had awaited his resolution with great composure, now followed
him in silence.

The house of Milnwood, built by the father of the present proprietor, was
a decent mansion, suitable to the size of the estate, but, since the
accession of this owner, it had been suffered to go considerably into
disrepair. At some little distance from the house stood the court of
offices. Here Morton paused.

“I must leave you here for a little while,” he whispered, “until I can
provide a bed for you in the house.”

“I care little for such delicacy,” said Burley; “for thirty years this
head has rested oftener on the turf, or on the next grey stone, than upon
either wool or down. A draught of ale, a morsel of bread, to say my
prayers, and to stretch me upon dry hay, were to me as good as a painted
chamber and a prince’s table.”

It occurred to Morton at the same moment, that to attempt to introduce
the fugitive within the house, would materially increase the danger of
detection. Accordingly, having struck a light with implements left in the
stable for that purpose, and having fastened up their horses, he assigned
Burley, for his place of repose, a wooden bed, placed in a loft half-full
of hay, which an out-of-door domestic had occupied until dismissed by his
uncle in one of those fits of parsimony which became more rigid from day
to day. In this untenanted loft Morton left his companion, with a caution
so to shade his light that no reflection might be seen from the window,
and a promise that he would presently return with such refreshments as he
might be able to procure at that late hour. This last, indeed, was a
subject on which he felt by no means confident, for the power of
obtaining even the most ordinary provisions depended entirely upon the
humour in which he might happen to find his uncle’s sole confidant, the
old housekeeper. If she chanced to be a-bed, which was very likely, or
out of humour, which was not less so, Morton well knew the case to be at
least problematical.

Cursing in his heart the sordid parsimony which pervaded every part of
his uncle’s establishment, he gave the usual gentle knock at the bolted
door, by which he was accustomed to seek admittance, when accident had
detained him abroad beyond the early and established hours of rest at the
house of Milnwood. It was a sort of hesitating tap, which carried an
acknowledgment of transgression in its very sound, and seemed rather to
solicit than command attention. After it had been repeated again and
again, the housekeeper, grumbling betwixt her teeth as she rose from the
chimney corner in the hall, and wrapping her checked handkerchief round
her head to secure her from the cold air, paced across the stone-passage,
and repeated a careful “Wha’s there at this time o’ night?” more than
once before she undid the bolts and bars, and cautiously opened the door.

“This is a fine time o’ night, Mr Henry,” said the old dame, with the
tyrannic insolence of a spoilt and favourite domestic;--“a braw time o’
night and a bonny, to disturb a peaceful house in, and to keep quiet folk
out o’ their beds waiting for you. Your uncle’s been in his maist three
hours syne, and Robin’s ill o’ the rheumatize, and he’s to his bed too,
and sae I had to sit up for ye mysell, for as sair a hoast as I hae.”

Here she coughed once or twice, in further evidence of the egregious
inconvenience which she had sustained.

“Much obliged to you, Alison, and many kind thanks.”

“Hegh, sirs, sae fair-fashioned as we are! Mony folk ca’ me Mistress
Wilson, and Milnwood himsell is the only ane about this town thinks o’
ca’ing me Alison, and indeed he as aften says Mrs Alison as ony other
thing.”

“Well, then, Mistress Alison,” said Morton, “I really am sorry to have
kept you up waiting till I came in.”

“And now that you are come in, Mr Henry,” said the cross old woman, “what
for do you no tak up your candle and gang to your bed? and mind ye dinna
let the candle sweal as ye gang alang the wainscot parlour, and haud a’
the house scouring to get out the grease again.”

“But, Alison, I really must have something to eat, and a draught of ale,
before I go to bed.”

“Eat?--and ale, Mr Henry?--My certie, ye’re ill to serve! Do ye think we
havena heard o’ your grand popinjay wark yonder, and how ye bleezed away
as muckle pouther as wad hae shot a’ the wild-fowl that we’ll want atween
and Candlemas--and then ganging majoring to the piper’s Howff wi’ a’ the
idle loons in the country, and sitting there birling, at your poor
uncle’s cost, nae doubt, wi’ a’ the scaff and raff o’ the water-side,
till sun-down, and then coming hame and crying for ale, as if ye were
maister and mair!”

Extremely vexed, yet anxious, on account of his guest, to procure
refreshments if possible, Morton suppressed his resentment, and
good-humouredly assured Mrs Wilson, that he was really both hungry and
thirsty; “and as for the shooting at the popinjay, I have heard you say
you have been there yourself, Mrs Wilson--I wish you had come to look at
us.”

“Ah, Maister Henry,” said the old dame, “I wish ye binna beginning to
learn the way of blawing in a woman’s lug wi’ a’ your whilly-wha’s!--
Aweel, sae ye dinna practise them but on auld wives like me, the less
matter. But tak heed o’ the young queans, lad.--Popinjay--ye think
yoursell a braw fellow enow; and troth!” (surveying him with the candle,)
“there’s nae fault to find wi’ the outside, if the inside be conforming.
But I mind, when I was a gilpy of a lassock, seeing the Duke, that was
him that lost his head at London--folk said it wasna a very gude ane, but
it was aye a sair loss to him, puir gentleman--Aweel, he wan the
popinjay, for few cared to win it ower his Grace’s head--weel, he had a
comely presence, and when a’ the gentles mounted to show their capers,
his Grace was as near to me as I am to you; and he said to me, ‘Tak tent
o’ yoursell, my bonny lassie, (these were his very words,) for my horse
is not very chancy.’--And now, as ye say ye had sae little to eat or
drink, I’ll let you see that I havena been sae unmindfu’ o’ you; for I
dinna think it’s safe for young folk to gang to their bed on an empty
stamach.”

To do Mrs Wilson justice, her nocturnal harangues upon such occasions not
unfrequently terminated with this sage apophthegm, which always prefaced
the producing of some provision a little better than ordinary, such as
she now placed before him. In fact, the principal object of her
maundering was to display her consequence and love of power; for Mrs
Wilson was not, at the bottom, an illtempered woman, and certainly loved
her old and young master (both of whom she tormented extremely) better
than any one else in the world. She now eyed Mr Henry, as she called him,
with great complacency, as he partook of her good cheer.

“Muckle gude may it do ye, my bonny man. I trow ye dinna get sic a
skirl-in-the-pan as that at Niel Blane’s. His wife was a canny body, and
could dress things very weel for ane in her line o’ business, but no like
a gentleman’s housekeeper, to be sure. But I doubt the daughter’s a silly
thing--an unco cockernony she had busked on her head at the kirk last
Sunday. I am doubting that there will be news o’ a’ thae braws. But my
auld een’s drawing thegither--dinna hurry yoursell, my bonny man, tak
mind about the putting out the candle, and there’s a horn of ale, and a
glass of clow-gillie-flower water; I dinna gie ilka body that; I keep it
for a pain I hae whiles in my ain stamach, and it’s better for your young
blood than brandy. Sae, gude-night to ye, Mr Henry, and see that ye tak
gude care o’ the candle.”

Morton promised to attend punctually to her caution, and requested her
not to be alarmed if she heard the door opened, as she knew he must
again, as usual, look to his horse, and arrange him for the night. Mrs
Wilson then retreated, and Morton, folding up his provisions, was about
to hasten to his guest, when the nodding head of the old housekeeper was
again thrust in at the door, with an admonition, to remember to take an
account of his ways before he laid himself down to rest, and to pray for
protection during the hours of darkness.

Such were the manners of a certain class of domestics, once common in
Scotland, and perhaps still to be found in some old manor-houses in its
remote counties. They were fixtures in the family they belonged to; and
as they never conceived the possibility of such a thing as dismissal to
be within the chances of their lives, they were, of course, sincerely
attached to every member of it. [Note: A masculine retainer of this kind,
having offended his master extremely, was commanded to leave his service
instantly. “In troth and that will I not,” answered the domestic; “if
your honour disna ken when ye hae a gude servant, I ken when I hae a gude
master, and go away I will not.” On another occasion of the same nature,
the master said, “John, you and I shall never sleep under the same roof
again;” to which John replied, with much, “Whare the deil can your honour
be ganging?”] On the other hand, when spoiled by the indulgence or
indolence of their superiors, they were very apt to become ill-tempered,
self-sufficient, and tyrannical; so much so, that a mistress or master
would sometimes almost have wished to exchange their crossgrained
fidelity for the smooth and accommodating duplicity of a modern menial.



CHAPTER VI.

               Yea, this man’s brow, like to a tragic leaf,
               Foretells the nature of a tragic volume.
                                                  Shakspeare.

Being at length rid of the housekeeper’s presence, Morton made a
collection of what he had reserved from the provisions set before him,
and prepared to carry them to his concealed guest. He did not think it
necessary to take a light, being perfectly acquainted with every turn of
the road; and it was lucky he did not do so, for he had hardly stepped
beyond the threshold ere a heavy trampling of horses announced, that the
body of cavalry, whose kettle-drums [Note: Regimental music is never
played at night. But who can assure us that such was not the custom in
Charles the Second’s time? Till I am well informed on this point, the
kettle-drums shall clash on, as adding something to the picturesque
effect of the night march.] they had before heard, were in the act of
passing along the high-road which winds round the foot of the bank on
which the house of Milnwood was placed. He heard the commanding officer
distinctly give the word halt. A pause of silence followed, interrupted
only by the occasional neighing or pawing of an impatient charger.

“Whose house is this?” said a voice, in a tone of authority and command.

“Milnwood, if it like your honour,” was the reply.

“Is the owner well affected?” said the enquirer.

“He complies with the orders of government, and frequents an indulged
minister,” was the response.

“Hum! ay! indulged? a mere mask for treason, very impolitically allowed
to those who are too great cowards to wear their principles barefaced.--
Had we not better send up a party and search the house, in case some of
the bloody villains concerned in this heathenish butchery may be
concealed in it?”

Ere Morton could recover from the alarm into which this proposal had
thrown him, a third speaker rejoined, “I cannot think it at all
necessary; Milnwood is an infirm, hypochondriac old man, who never
meddles with politics, and loves his moneybags and bonds better than any
thing else in the world. His nephew, I hear, was at the wappenschaw
to-day, and gained the popinjay, which does not look like a fanatic. I
should think they are all gone to bed long since, and an alarm at this
time of night might kill the poor old man.”

“Well,” rejoined the leader, “if that be so, to search the house would be
lost time, of which we have but little to throw away. Gentlemen of the
Life-Guards, forward--March!”

A few notes on the trumpet, mingled with the occasional boom of the
kettle-drum, to mark the cadence, joined with the tramp of hoofs and the
clash of arms, announced that the troop had resumed its march. The moon
broke out as the leading files of the column attained a hill up which the
road winded, and showed indistinctly the glittering of the steel-caps;
and the dark figures of the horses and riders might be imperfectly traced
through the gloom. They continued to advance up the hill, and sweep over
the top of it in such long succession, as intimated a considerable
numerical force.

When the last of them had disappeared, young Morton resumed his purpose
of visiting his guest. Upon entering the place of refuge, he found him
seated on his humble couch with a pocket Bible open in his hand, which he
seemed to study with intense meditation. His broadsword, which he had
unsheathed in the first alarm at the arrival of the dragoons, lay naked
across his knees, and the little taper that stood beside him upon the old
chest, which served the purpose of a table, threw a partial and imperfect
light upon those stern and harsh features, in which ferocity was rendered
more solemn and dignified by a wild cast of tragic enthusiasm. His brow
was that of one in whom some strong o’ermastering principle has
overwhelmed all other passions and feelings, like the swell of a high
spring-tide, when the usual cliffs and breakers vanish from the eye, and
their existence is only indicated by the chasing foam of the waves that
burst and wheel over them. He raised his head, after Morton had
contemplated him for about a minute.

“I perceive,” said Morton, looking at his sword, “that you heard the
horsemen ride by; their passage delayed me for some minutes.”

“I scarcely heeded them,” said Balfour; “my hour is not yet come. That I
shall one day fall into their hands, and be honourably associated with
the saints whom they have slaughtered, I am full well aware. And I would,
young man, that the hour were come; it should be as welcome to me as ever
wedding to bridegroom. But if my Master has more work for me on earth, I
must not do his labour grudgingly.”

“Eat and refresh yourself,” said Morton; “tomorrow your safety requires
you should leave this place, in order to gain the hills, so soon as you
can see to distinguish the track through the morasses.”

“Young man,” returned Balfour, “you are already weary of me, and would be
yet more so, perchance, did you know the task upon which I have been
lately put. And I wonder not that it should be so, for there are times
when I am weary of myself. Think you not it is a sore trial for flesh and
blood, to be called upon to execute the righteous judgments of Heaven
while we are yet in the body, and continue to retain that blinded sense
and sympathy for carnal suffering, which makes our own flesh thrill when
we strike a gash upon the body of another? And think you, that when some
prime tyrant has been removed from his place, that the instruments of his
punishment can at all times look back on their share in his downfall with
firm and unshaken nerves? Must they not sometimes even question the truth
of that inspiration which they have felt and acted under? Must they not
sometimes doubt the origin of that strong impulse with which their
prayers for heavenly direction under difficulties have been inwardly
answered and confirmed, and confuse, in their disturbed apprehensions,
the responses of Truth itself with some strong delusion of the enemy?”

“These are subjects, Mr Balfour, on which I am ill qualified to converse
with you,” answered Morton; “but I own I should strongly doubt the origin
of any inspiration which seemed to dictate a line of conduct contrary to
those feelings of natural humanity, which Heaven has assigned to us as
the general law of our conduct.”

Balfour seemed somewhat disturbed, and drew himself hastily up, but
immediately composed himself, and answered coolly, “It is natural you
should think so; you are yet in the dungeon-house of the law, a pit
darker than that into which Jeremiah was plunged, even the dungeon of
Malcaiah the son of Hamelmelech, where there was no water but mire. Yet
is the seal of the covenant upon your forehead, and the son of the
righteous, who resisted to blood where the banner was spread on the
mountains, shall not be utterly lost, as one of the children of darkness.
Trow ye, that in this day of bitterness and calamity, nothing is required
at our hands but to keep the moral law as far as our carnal frailty will
permit? Think ye our conquests must be only over our corrupt and evil
affections and passions? No; we are called upon, when we have girded up
our loins, to run the race boldly, and when we have drawn the sword, we
are enjoined to smite the ungodly, though he be our neighbour, and the
man of power and cruelty, though he were of our own kindred, and the
friend of our own bosom.”

“These are the sentiments,” said Morton, “that your enemies impute to
you, and which palliate, if they do not vindicate, the cruel measures
which the council have directed against you. They affirm, that you
pretend to derive your rule of action from what you call an inward light,
rejecting the restraints of legal magistracy, of national law, and even
of common humanity, when in opposition to what you call the spirit within
you.”

“They do us wrong,” answered the Covenanter; “it is they, perjured as
they are, who have rejected all law, both divine and civil, and who now
persecute us for adherence to the Solemn League and Covenant between God
and the kingdom of Scotland, to which all of them, save a few popish
malignants, have sworn in former days, and which they now burn in the
market-places, and tread under foot in derision. When this Charles
Stewart returned to these kingdoms, did the malignants bring him back?
They had tried it with strong hand, but they failed, I trow. Could James
Grahame of Montrose, and his Highland caterans, have put him again in the
place of his father? I think their heads on the Westport told another
tale for many a long day. It was the workers of the glorious work--the
reformers of the beauty of the tabernacle, that called him again to the
high place from which his father fell. And what has been our reward? In
the words of the prophet, ‘We looked for peace, but no good came; and for
a time of health, and behold trouble--The snorting of his horses was
heard from Dan; the whole land trembled at the sound of the neighing of
his strong ones; for they are come, and have devoured the land and all
that is in it.’”

“Mr Balfour,” answered Morton, “I neither undertake to subscribe to or
refute your complaints against the government. I have endeavoured to
repay a debt due to the comrade of my father, by giving you shelter in
your distress, but you will excuse me from engaging myself either in your
cause, or in controversy. I will leave you to repose, and heartily wish
it were in my power to render your condition more comfortable.”

“But I shall see you, I trust, in the morning, ere I depart?--I am not a
man whose bowels yearn after kindred and friends of this world. When I
put my hand to the plough, I entered into a covenant with my worldly
affections that I should not look back on the things I left behind me.
Yet the son of mine ancient comrade is to me as mine own, and I cannot
behold him without the deep and firm belief, that I shall one day see him
gird on his sword in the dear and precious cause for which his father
fought and bled.”

With a promise on Morton’s part that he would call the refugee when it
was time for him to pursue his journey, they parted for the night.

Morton retired to a few hours’ rest; but his imagination, disturbed by
the events of the day, did not permit him to enjoy sound repose. There
was a blended vision of horror before him, in which his new friend seemed
to be a principal actor. The fair form of Edith Bellenden also mingled in
his dream, weeping, and with dishevelled hair, and appearing to call on
him for comfort and assistance, which he had not in his power to render.
He awoke from these unrefreshing slumbers with a feverish impulse, and a
heart which foreboded disaster. There was already a tinge of dazzling
lustre on the verge of the distant hills, and the dawn was abroad in all
the freshness of a summer morning.

“I have slept too long,” he exclaimed to himself, “and must now hasten to
forward the journey of this unfortunate fugitive.”

He dressed himself as fast as possible, opened the door of the house with
as little noise as he could, and hastened to the place of refuge occupied
by the Covenanter. Morton entered on tiptoe, for the determined tone and
manner, as well as the unusual language and sentiments of this singular
individual, had struck him with a sensation approaching to awe. Balfour
was still asleep. A ray of light streamed on his uncurtained couch, and
showed to Morton the working of his harsh features, which seemed agitated
by some strong internal cause of disturbance. He had not undressed. Both
his arms were above the bed-cover, the right hand strongly clenched, and
occasionally making that abortive attempt to strike which usually attends
dreams of violence; the left was extended, and agitated, from time to
time, by a movement as if repulsing some one. The perspiration stood on
his brow, “like bubbles in a late disturbed stream,” and these marks of
emotion were accompanied with broken words which escaped from him at
intervals--“Thou art taken, Judas--thou art taken--Cling not to my
knees--cling not to my knees--hew him down!--A priest? Ay, a priest of
Baal, to be bound and slain, even at the brook Kishon.--Fire arms will
not prevail against him--Strike--thrust with the cold iron--put him out
of pain--put him out of pain, were it but for the sake of his grey
hairs.”

Much alarmed at the import of these expressions, which seemed to burst
from him even in sleep with the stern energy accompanying the
perpetration of some act of violence, Morton shook his guest by the
shoulder in order to awake him. The first words he uttered were, “Bear me
where ye will, I will avouch the deed!”

His glance around having then fully awakened him, he at once assumed all
the stern and gloomy composure of his ordinary manner, and throwing
himself on his knees, before speaking to Morton, poured forth an
ejaculatory prayer for the suffering Church of Scotland, entreating that
the blood of her murdered saints and martyrs might be precious in the
sight of Heaven, and that the shield of the Almighty might be spread over
the scattered remnant, who, for His name’s sake, were abiders in the
wilderness. Vengeance--speedy and ample vengeance on the oppressors, was
the concluding petition of his devotions, which he expressed aloud in
strong and emphatic language, rendered more impressive by the Orientalism
of Scripture.

When he had finished his prayer he arose, and, taking Morton by the arm,
they descended together to the stable, where the Wanderer (to give Burley
a title which was often conferred on his sect) began to make his horse
ready to pursue his journey. When the animal was saddled and bridled,
Burley requested Morton to walk with him a gun-shot into the wood, and
direct him to the right road for gaining the moors. Morton readily
complied, and they walked for some time in silence under the shade of
some fine old trees, pursuing a sort of natural path, which, after
passing through woodland for about half a mile, led into the bare and
wild country which extends to the foot of the hills.

There was little conversation between them, until at length Burley
suddenly asked Morton, “Whether the words he had spoken over-night had
borne fruit in his mind?”

Morton answered, “That he remained of the same opinion which he had
formerly held, and was determined, at least as far and as long as
possible, to unite the duties of a good Christian with those of a
peaceful subject.”

“In other words,” replied Burley, “you are desirous to serve both God and
Mammon--to be one day professing the truth with your lips, and the next
day in arms, at the command of carnal and tyrannic authority, to shed the
blood of those who for the truth have forsaken all things? Think ye,” he
continued, “to touch pitch and remain undefiled? to mix in the ranks of
malignants, papists, papa-prelatists, latitudinarians, and scoffers; to
partake of their sports, which are like the meat offered unto idols; to
hold intercourse, perchance, with their daughters, as the sons of God
with the daughters of men in the world before the flood--Think you, I
say, to do all these things, and yet remain free from pollution? I say
unto you, that all communication with the enemies of the Church is the
accursed thing which God hateth! Touch not--taste not--handle not! And
grieve not, young man, as if you alone were called upon to subdue your
carnal affections, and renounce the pleasures which are a snare to your
feet--I say to you, that the Son of David hath denounced no better lot on
the whole generation of mankind.”

He then mounted his horse, and, turning to Morton, repeated the text of
Scripture, “An heavy yoke was ordained for the sons of Adam from the day
they go out of their mother’s womb, till the day that they return to the
mother of all things; from him who is clothed in blue silk and weareth a
crown, even to him who weareth simple linen,--wrath, envy, trouble, and
unquietness, rigour, strife, and fear of death in the time of rest.”

Having uttered these words he set his horse in motion, and soon
disappeared among the boughs of the forest.

“Farewell, stern enthusiast,” said Morton, looking after him; “in some
moods of my mind, how dangerous would be the society of such a companion!
If I am unmoved by his zeal for abstract doctrines of faith, or rather
for a peculiar mode of worship, (such was the purport of his
reflections,) can I be a man, and a Scotchman, and look with indifference
on that persecution which has made wise men mad? Was not the cause of
freedom, civil and religious, that for which my father fought; and shall
I do well to remain inactive, or to take the part of an oppressive
government, if there should appear any rational prospect of redressing
the insufferable wrongs to which my miserable countrymen are subjected?--
And yet, who shall warrant me that these people, rendered wild by
persecution, would not, in the hour of victory, be as cruel and as
intolerant as those by whom they are now hunted down? What degree of
moderation, or of mercy, can be expected from this Burley, so
distinguished as one of their principal champions, and who seems even now
to be reeking from some recent deed of violence, and to feel stings of
remorse, which even his enthusiasm cannot altogether stifle? I am weary
of seeing nothing but violence and fury around me--now assuming the mask
of lawful authority, now taking that of religious zeal. I am sick of my
country--of myself--of my dependent situation--of my repressed
feelings--of these woods--of that river--of that house--of all
but--Edith, and she can never be mine! Why should I haunt her walks?--Why
encourage my own delusion, and perhaps hers?--She can never be mine. Her
grandmother’s pride--the opposite principles of our families--my
wretched state of dependence--a poor miserable slave, for I have not
even the wages of a servant--all circumstances give the lie to the vain
hope that we can ever be united. Why then protract a delusion so
painful?

“But I am no slave,” he said aloud, and drawing himself up to his full
stature--“no slave, in one respect, surely. I can change my abode--my
father’s sword is mine, and Europe lies open before me, as before him and
hundreds besides of my countrymen, who have filled it with the fame of
their exploits. Perhaps some lucky chance may raise me to a rank with our
Ruthvens, our Lesleys, our Monroes, the chosen leaders of the famous
Protestant champion, Gustavus Adolphus, or, if not, a soldier’s life or a
soldier’s grave.”

When he had formed this determination, he found himself near the door of
his uncle’s house, and resolved to lose no time in making him acquainted
with it.

“Another glance of Edith’s eye, another walk by Edith’s side, and my
resolution would melt away. I will take an irrevocable step, therefore,
and then see her for the last time.”

In this mood he entered the wainscotted parlour, in which his uncle was
already placed at his morning’s refreshment, a huge plate of oatmeal
porridge, with a corresponding allowance of butter-milk. The favourite
housekeeper was in attendance, half standing, half resting on the back of
a chair, in a posture betwixt freedom and respect. The old gentleman had
been remarkably tall in his earlier days, an advantage which he now lost
by stooping to such a degree, that at a meeting, where there was some
dispute concerning the sort of arch which should be thrown over a
considerable brook, a facetious neighbour proposed to offer Milnwood a
handsome sum for his curved backbone, alleging that he would sell any
thing that belonged to him. Splay feet of unusual size, long thin hands,
garnished with nails which seldom felt the steel, a wrinkled and puckered
visage, the length of which corresponded with that of his person,
together with a pair of little sharp bargain-making grey eyes, that
seemed eternally looking out for their advantage, completed the highly
unpromising exterior of Mr Morton of Milnwood. As it would have been very
injudicious to have lodged a liberal or benevolent disposition in such an
unworthy cabinet, nature had suited his person with a mind exactly in
conformity with it, that is to say, mean, selfish, and covetous.

When this amiable personage was aware of the presence of his nephew, he
hastened, before addressing him, to swallow the spoonful of porridge
which he was in the act of conveying to his mouth, and, as it chanced to
be scalding hot, the pain occasioned by its descent down his throat and
into his stomach, inflamed the ill-humour with which he was already
prepared to meet his kinsman.

“The deil take them that made them!” was his first ejaculation,
apostrophizing his mess of porridge.

“They’re gude parritch eneugh,” said Mrs Wilson, “if ye wad but take time
to sup them. I made them mysell; but if folk winna hae patience, they
should get their thrapples causewayed.”

“Haud your peace, Alison! I was speaking to my nevoy.--How is this, sir?
And what sort o’ scampering gates are these o’ going on? Ye were not at
hame last night till near midnight.”

“Thereabouts, sir, I believe,” answered Morton, in an indifferent tone.

“Thereabouts, sir?--What sort of an answer is that, sir? Why came ye na
hame when other folk left the grund?”

“I suppose you know the reason very well, sir,” said Morton; “I had the
fortune to be the best marksman of the day, and remained, as is usual, to
give some little entertainment to the other young men.”

“The deevil ye did, sir! And ye come to tell me that to my face? You
pretend to gie entertainments, that canna come by a dinner except by
sorning on a carefu’ man like me? But if ye put me to charges, I’se work
it out o’ye. I seena why ye shouldna haud the pleugh, now that the
pleughman has left us; it wad set ye better than wearing thae green duds,
and wasting your siller on powther and lead; it wad put ye in an honest
calling, and wad keep ye in bread without being behadden to ony ane.”

“I am very ambitious of learning such a calling, sir, but I don’t
understand driving the plough.”

“And what for no? It’s easier than your gunning and archery that ye like
sae weel. Auld Davie is ca’ing it e’en now, and ye may be goadsman for
the first twa or three days, and tak tent ye dinna o’erdrive the owsen,
and then ye will be fit to gang betweeu the stilts. Ye’ll ne’er learn
younger, I’ll be your caution. Haggie-holm is heavy land, and Davie is
ower auld to keep the coulter down now.”

“I beg pardon for interrupting you, sir, but I have formed a scheme for
myself, which will have the same effect of relieving you of the burden
and charge attending my company.”

“Ay? Indeed? a scheme o’ yours? that must be a denty ane!” said the
uncle, with a very peculiar sneer; “let’s hear about it, lad.”

“It is said in two words, sir. I intend to leave this country, and serve
abroad, as my father did before these unhappy troubles broke out at home.
His name will not be so entirely forgotten in the countries where he
served, but that it will procure his son at least the opportunity of
trying his fortune as a soldier.”

“Gude be gracious to us!” exclaimed the housekeeper; “our young Mr Harry
gang abroad? na, na! eh, na! that maun never be.”

Milnwood, entertaining no thought or purpose of parting with his nephew,
who was, moreover, very useful to him in many respects, was thunderstruck
at this abrupt declaration of independence from a person whose deference
to him had hitherto been unlimited. He recovered himself, however,
immediately.

“And wha do you think is to give you the means, young man, for such a
wild-goose chase? Not I, I am sure. I can hardly support you at hame. And
ye wad be marrying, I’se warrant, as your father did afore ye, too, and
sending your uncle hame a pack o’ weans to be fighting and skirling
through the house in my auld days, and to take wing and flee aff like
yoursell, whenever they were asked to serve a turn about the town?”

“I have no thoughts of ever marrying,” answered Henry.

“Hear till him now!” said the housekeeper. “It’s a shame to hear a douce
young lad speak in that way, since a’ the warld kens that they maun
either marry or do waur.”

“Haud your peace, Alison,” said her master; “and you, Harry,” (he added
more mildly,) “put this nonsense out o’ your head--this comes o’ letting
ye gang a-sodgering for a day--mind ye hae nae siller, lad, for ony sic
nonsense plans.”

“I beg your pardon, sir, my wants shall be very few; and would you please
to give me the gold chain, which the Margrave gave to my father after the
battle of Lutzen”--“Mercy on us! the gowd chain?” exclaimed his uncle.

“The chain of gowd!” re-echoed the housekeeper, both aghast with
astonishment at the audacity of the proposal.

--“I will keep a few links,” continued the young man, “to remind me of
him by whom it was won, and the place where he won it,” continued Morton;
“the rest shall furnish me the means of following the same career in
which my father obtained that mark of distinction.”

“Mercifu’ powers!” exclaimed the governante, “my master wears it every
Sunday!”

“Sunday and Saturday,” added old Milnwood, “whenever I put on my black
velvet coat; and Wylie Mactrickit is partly of opinion it’s a kind of
heir-loom, that rather belangs to the head of the house than to the
immediate descendant. It has three thousand links; I have counted them a
thousand times. It’s worth three hundred pounds sterling.”

“That is more than I want, sir; if you choose to give me the third part
of the money, and five links of the chain, it will amply serve my
purpose, and the rest will be some slight atonement for the expense and
trouble I have put you to.”

“The laddie’s in a creel!” exclaimed his uncle. “O, sirs, what will
become o’ the rigs o’ Milnwood when I am dead and gane! He would fling
the crown of Scotland awa, if he had it.”

“Hout, sir,” said the old housekeeper, “I maun e’en say it’s partly your
ain faut. Ye maunna curb his head ower sair in neither; and, to be sure,
since he has gane doun to the Howff, ye maun just e’en pay the lawing.”

“If it be not abune twa dollars, Alison,” said the old gentleman, very
reluctantly.

“I’ll settle it myself wi’Niel Blane, the first time I gang down to the
clachan,” said Alison, “cheaper than your honour or Mr Harry can do;” and
then whispered to Henry, “Dinna vex him onymair; I’ll pay the lave out o’
the butter siller, and nae mair words about it.” Then proceeding aloud,
“And ye maunna speak o’ the young gentleman hauding the pleugh; there’s
puir distressed whigs enow about the country will be glad to do that for
a bite and a soup--it sets them far better than the like o’ him.”

“And then we’ll hae the dragoons on us,” said Milnwood, “for comforting
and entertaining intercommuned rebels; a bonny strait ye wad put us in!--
But take your breakfast, Harry, and then lay by your new green coat, and
put on your Raploch grey; it’s a mair mensfu’ and thrifty dress, and a
mair seemly sight, than thae dangling slops and ribbands.”

Morton left the room, perceiving plainly that he had at present no chance
of gaining his purpose, and, perhaps, not altogether displeased at the
obstacles which seemed to present themselves to his leaving the
neighbourhood of Tillietudlem. The housekeeper followed him into the next
room, patting him on the back, and bidding him “be a gude bairn, and pit
by his braw things.”

“And I’ll loop doun your hat, and lay by the band and ribband,” said the
officious dame; “and ye maun never, at no hand, speak o’ leaving the
land, or of selling the gowd chain, for your uncle has an unco pleasure
in looking on you, and in counting the links of the chainzie; and ye ken
auld folk canna last for ever; sae the chain, and the lands, and a’ will
be your ain ae day; and ye may marry ony leddy in the country-side ye
like, and keep a braw house at Milnwood, for there’s enow o’ means; and
is not that worth waiting for, my dow?”

There was something in the latter part of the prognostic which sounded so
agreeably in the ears of Morton, that he shook the old dame cordially by
the hand, and assured her he was much obliged by her good advice, and
would weigh it carefully before he proceeded to act upon his former
resolution.



CHAPTER VII.

               From seventeen years till now, almost fourscore,
               Here lived I, but now live here no more.
               At seventeen years many their fortunes seek,
               But at fourscore it is too late a week.
                                                  As You Like it.

We must conduct our readers to the Tower of Tillietudlem, to which Lady
Margaret Bellenden had returned, in romantic phrase, malecontent and full
of heaviness, at the unexpected, and, as she deemed it, indelible
affront, which had been brought upon her dignity by the public
miscarriage of Goose Gibbie. That unfortunate man-at-arms was forthwith
commanded to drive his feathered charge to the most remote parts of the
common moor, and on no account to awaken the grief or resentment of his
lady, by appearing in her presence while the sense of the affront was yet
recent.

The next proceeding of Lady Margaret was to hold a solemn court of
justice, to which Harrison and the butler were admitted, partly on the
footing of witnesses, partly as assessors, to enquire into the recusancy
of Cuddie Headrigg the ploughman, and the abetment which he had received
from his mother--these being regarded as the original causes of the
disaster which had befallen the chivalry of Tillietudlem. The charge
being fully made out and substantiated, Lady Margaret resolved to
reprimand the culprits in person, and, if she found them impenitent, to
extend the censure into a sentence of expulsion from the barony. Miss
Bellenden alone ventured to say any thing in behalf of the accused, but
her countenance did not profit them as it might have done on any other
occasion. For so soon as Edith had heard it ascertained that the
unfortunate cavalier had not suffered in his person, his disaster had
affected her with an irresistible disposition to laugh, which, in spite
of Lady Margaret’s indignation, or rather irritated, as usual, by
restraint, had broke out repeatedly on her return homeward, until her
grandmother, in no shape imposed upon by the several fictitious causes
which the young lady assigned for her ill-timed risibility, upbraided her
in very bitter terms with being insensible to the honour of her family.
Miss Bellenden’s intercession, therefore, had, on this occasion, little
or no chance to be listened to.

As if to evince the rigour of her disposition, Lady Margaret, on this
solemn occasion, exchanged the ivory-headed cane with which she commonly
walked, for an immense gold-headed staff which had belonged to her
father, the deceased Earl of Torwood, and which, like a sort of mace of
office, she only made use of on occasions of special solemnity. Supported
by this awful baton of command, Lady Margaret Bellenden entered the
cottage of the delinquents.

There was an air of consciousness about old Mause, as she rose from her
wicker chair in the chimney-nook, not with the cordial alertness of
visage which used, on other occasions, to express the honour she felt in
the visit of her lady, but with a certain solemnity and embarrassment,
like an accused party on his first appearance in presence of his judge,
before whom he is, nevertheless, determined to assert his innocence. Her
arms were folded, her mouth primmed into an expression of respect,
mingled with obstinacy, her whole mind apparently bent up to the solemn
interview. With her best curtsey to the ground, and a mute motion of
reverence, Mause pointed to the chair, which, on former occasions, Lady
Margaret (for the good lady was somewhat of a gossip) had deigned to
occupy for half an hour sometimes at a time, hearing the news of the
county and of the borough. But at present her mistress was far too
indignant for such condescension. She rejected the mute invitation with a
haughty wave of her hand, and drawing herself up as she spoke, she
uttered the following interrogatory in a tone calculated to overwhelm the
culprit.

“Is it true, Mause, as I am informed by Harrison, Gudyill, and others of
my people, that you hae taen it upon you, contrary to the faith you owe
to God and the king, and to me, your natural lady and mistress, to keep
back your son frae the wappen-schaw, held by the order of the sheriff,
and to return his armour and abulyiements at a moment when it was
impossible to find a suitable delegate in his stead, whereby the barony
of Tullietudlem, baith in the person of its mistress and indwellers, has
incurred sic a disgrace and dishonour as hasna befa’en the family since
the days of Malcolm Canmore?”

Mause’s habitual respect for her mistress was extreme; she hesitated, and
one or two short coughs expressed the difficulty she had in defending
herself.

“I am sure--my leddy--hem, hem!--I am sure I am sorry--very sorry that
ony cause of displeasure should hae occurred--but my son’s illness”--
“Dinna tell me of your son’s illness, Mause! Had he been sincerely
unweel, ye would hae been at the Tower by daylight to get something that
wad do him gude; there are few ailments that I havena medical recipes
for, and that ye ken fu’ weel.”

“O ay, my leddy! I am sure ye hae wrought wonderful cures; the last thing
ye sent Cuddie, when he had the batts, e’en wrought like a charm.”

“Why, then, woman, did ye not apply to me, if there was only real
need?--but there was none, ye fause-hearted vassal that ye are!”

“Your leddyship never ca’d me sic a word as that before. Ohon! that I
suld live to be ca’d sae,” she continued, bursting into tears, “and me a
born servant o’ the house o’ Tillietudlem! I am sure they belie baith
Cuddie and me sair, if they said he wadna fight ower the boots in blude
for your leddyship and Miss Edith, and the auld Tower--ay suld he, and I
would rather see him buried beneath it, than he suld gie way--but thir
ridings and wappenschawings, my leddy, I hae nae broo o’ them ava. I can
find nae warrant for them whatsoever.”

“Nae warrant for them?” cried the high-born dame. “Do ye na ken, woman,
that ye are bound to be liege vassals in all hunting, hosting, watching,
and warding, when lawfully summoned thereto in my name? Your service is
not gratuitous. I trow ye hae land for it.--Ye’re kindly tenants; hae a
cot-house, a kale-yard, and a cow’s grass on the common.--Few hae been
brought farther ben, and ye grudge your son suld gie me a day’s service
in the field?”

“Na, my leddy--na, my leddy, it’s no that,” exclaimed Mause, greatly
embarrassed, “but ane canna serve twa maisters; and, if the truth maun
e’en come out, there’s Ane abune whase commands I maun obey before your
leddyship’s. I am sure I would put neither king’s nor kaisar’s, nor ony
earthly creature’s, afore them.”

“How mean ye by that, ye auld fule woman?--D’ye think that I order ony
thing against conscience?”

“I dinna pretend to say that, my leddy, in regard o’ your leddyship’s
conscience, which has been brought up, as it were, wi’ prelatic
principles; but ilka ane maun walk by the light o’ their ain; and mine,”
 said Mause, waxing bolder as the conference became animated, “tells me
that I suld leave a’--cot, kale-yard, and cow’s grass--and suffer a’,
rather than that I or mine should put on harness in an unlawfu’ cause,”

“Unlawfu’!” exclaimed her mistress; “the cause to which you are called by
your lawful leddy and mistress--by the command of the king--by the writ
of the privy council--by the order of the lordlieutenant--by the warrant
of the sheriff?”

“Ay, my leddy, nae doubt; but no to displeasure your leddyship, ye’ll
mind that there was ance a king in Scripture they ca’d Nebuchadnezzar,
and he set up a golden image in the plain o’ Dura, as it might be in the
haugh yonder by the water-side, where the array were warned to meet
yesterday; and the princes, and the governors, and the captains, and the
judges themsells, forby the treasurers, the counsellors, and the
sheriffs, were warned to the dedication thereof, and commanded to fall
down and worship at the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut,
psaltery, and all kinds of music.”

“And what o’ a’ this, ye fule wife? Or what had Nebuchadnezzar to do with
the wappen-schaw of the Upper Ward of Clydesdale?”

“Only just thus far, my leddy,” continued Mause, firmly, “that prelacy is
like the great golden image in the plain of Dura, and that as Shadrach,
Meshach, and Abednego, were borne out in refusing to bow down and
worship, so neither shall Cuddy Headrigg, your leddyship’s poor
pleughman, at least wi’ his auld mither’s consent, make murgeons or
Jenny-flections, as they ca’ them, in the house of the prelates and
curates, nor gird him wi’ armour to fight in their cause, either at the
sound of kettle-drums, organs, bagpipes, or ony other kind of music
whatever.”

Lady Margaret Bellenden heard this exposition of Scripture with the
greatest possible indignation, as well as surprise.

“I see which way the wind blaws,” she exclaimed, after a pause of
astonishment; “the evil spirit of the year sixteen hundred and forty-twa
is at wark again as merrily as ever, and ilka auld wife in the
chimley-neuck will be for knapping doctrine wi’ doctors o’ divinity and
the godly fathers o’ the church.”

“If your leddyship means the bishops and curates, I’m sure they hae been
but stepfathers to the Kirk o’ Scotland. And, since your leddyship is
pleased to speak o’ parting wi’ us, I am free to tell you a piece o’ my
mind in another article. Your leddyship and the steward hae been pleased
to propose that my son Cuddie suld work in the barn wi’ a new-fangled
machine [Note: Probably something similar to the barn-fanners now used
for winnowing corn, which were not, however, used in their present shape
until about 1730. They were objected to by the more rigid sectaries on
their first introduction, upon such reasoning as that of honest Mause in
the text.] for dighting the corn frae the chaff, thus impiously thwarting
the will of Divine Providence, by raising wind for your leddyship’s ain
particular use by human art, instead of soliciting it by prayer, or
waiting patiently for whatever dispensation of wind Providence was
pleased to send upon the sheeling-hill. Now, my leddy”--“The woman would
drive ony reasonable being daft!” said Lady Margaret; then resuming her
tone of authority and indifference, she concluded, “Weel, Mause, I’ll
just end where I sud hae begun--ye’re ower learned and ower godly for me
to dispute wi’; sae I have just this to say,--either Cuddie must attend
musters when he’s lawfully warned by the ground officer, or the sooner he
and you flit and quit my bounds the better; there’s nae scarcity o’ auld
wives or ploughmen; but, if there were, I had rather that the rigs of
Tillietudlem bare naething but windle-straes and sandy lavrocks [Note:
Bent-grass and sand-larks.] than that they were ploughed by rebels to the
king.”

“Aweel, my leddy,” said Mause, “I was born here, and thought to die where
my father died; and your leddyship has been a kind mistress, I’ll ne’er
deny that, and I’se ne’er cease to pray for you, and for Miss Edith, and
that ye may be brought to see the error of your ways. But still”--“The
error of my ways!” interrupted Lady Margaret, much incensed--“The error
of my ways, ye uncivil woman?”

“Ou, ay, my leddy, we are blinded that live in this valley of tears and
darkness, and hae a’ ower mony errors, grit folks as weel as sma’--but,
as I said, my puir bennison will rest wi’ you and yours wherever I am. I
will be wae to hear o’ your affliction, and blithe to hear o’ your
prosperity, temporal and spiritual. But I canna prefer the commands of an
earthly mistress to those of a heavenly master, and sae I am e’en ready
to suffer for righteousness’ sake.”

“It is very well,” said Lady Margaret, turning her back in great
displeasure; “ye ken my will, Mause, in the matter. I’ll hae nae whiggery
in the barony of Tillietudlem--the next thing wad be to set up a
conventicle in my very withdrawing room.”

Having said this, she departed, with an air of great dignity; and Mause,
giving way to feelings which she had suppressed during the
interview,--for she, like her mistress, had her own feeling of
pride,--now lifted up her voice and wept aloud.

Cuddie, whose malady, real or pretended, still detained him in bed, lay
perdu during all this conference, snugly ensconced within his boarded
bedstead, and terrified to death lest Lady Margaret, whom he held in
hereditary reverence, should have detected his presence, and bestowed on
him personally some of those bitter reproaches with which she loaded his
mother. But as soon as he thought her ladyship fairly out of hearing, he
bounced up in his nest.

“The foul fa’ ye, that I suld say sae,” he cried out to his mother, “for
a lang-tongued clavering wife, as my father, honest man, aye ca’d ye!
Couldna ye let the leddy alane wi’ your whiggery? And I was e’en as great
a gomeral to let ye persuade me to lie up here amang the blankets like a
hurcheon, instead o’ gaun to the wappen-schaw like other folk. Odd, but I
put a trick on ye, for I was out at the window-bole when your auld back
was turned, and awa down by to hae a baff at the popinjay, and I shot
within twa on’t. I cheated the leddy for your clavers, but I wasna gaun
to cheat my joe. But she may marry whae she likes now, for I’m clean dung
ower. This is a waur dirdum than we got frae Mr Gudyill when ye garr’d me
refuse to eat the plum-porridge on Yule-eve, as if it were ony matter to
God or man whether a pleughman had suppit on minched pies or sour
sowens.”

“O, whisht, my bairn, whisht,” replied Mause; “thou kensna about thae
things--It was forbidden meat, things dedicated to set days and holidays,
which are inhibited to the use of protestant Christians.”

“And now,” continued her son, “ye hae brought the leddy hersell on our
hands!--An I could but hae gotten some decent claes in, I wad hae spanged
out o’ bed, and tauld her I wad ride where she liked, night or day, an
she wad but leave us the free house and the yaird, that grew the best
early kale in the haill country, and the cow’s grass.”

“O wow! my winsome bairn, Cuddie,” continued the old dame, “murmur not at
the dispensation; never grudge suffering in the gude cause.”

“But what ken I if the cause is gude or no, mither,” rejoined Cuddie,
“for a’ ye bleeze out sae muckle doctrine about it? It’s clean beyond my
comprehension a’thegither. I see nae sae muckle difference atween the twa
ways o’t as a’ the folk pretend. It’s very true the curates read aye the
same words ower again; and if they be right words, what for no? A gude
tale’s no the waur o’ being twice tauld, I trow; and a body has aye the
better chance to understand it. Every body’s no sae gleg at the uptake as
ye are yoursell, mither.”

“O, my dear Cuddie, this is the sairest distress of a’,” said the anxious
mother--“O, how aften have I shown ye the difference between a pure
evangelical doctrine, and ane that’s corrupt wi’ human inventions? O, my
bairn, if no for your ain saul’s sake, yet for my grey hairs”--“Weel,
mither,” said Cuddie, interrupting her, “what need ye mak sae muckle din
about it? I hae aye dune whate’er ye bade me, and gaed to kirk whare’er
ye likit on the Sundays, and fended weel for ye in the ilka days besides.
And that’s what vexes me mair than a’ the rest, when I think how I am to
fend for ye now in thae brickle times. I am no clear if I can pleugh ony
place but the Mains and Mucklewhame, at least I never tried ony other
grund, and it wadna come natural to me. And nae neighbouring heritors
will daur to take us, after being turned aff thae bounds for
non-enormity.”

“Non-conformity, hinnie,” sighed Mause, “is the name that thae warldly
men gie us.”

“Weel, aweel--we’ll hae to gang to a far country, maybe twall or fifteen
miles aff. I could be a dragoon, nae doubt, for I can ride and play wi’
the broadsword a bit, but ye wad be roaring about your blessing and your
grey hairs.” (Here Mause’s exclamations became extreme.) “Weel, weel, I
but spoke o’t; besides, ye’re ower auld to be sitting cocked up on a
baggage-waggon wi’ Eppie Dumblane, the corporal’s wife. Sae what’s to
come o’ us I canna weel see--I doubt I’ll hae to tak the hills wi’ the
wild whigs, as they ca’ them, and then it will be my lo to be shot down
like a mawkin at some dikeside, or to be sent to heaven wi’ a Saint
Johnstone’s tippit about my hause.”

“O, my bonnie Cuddie,” said the zealous Mause, “forbear sic carnal,
self-seeking language, whilk is just a misdoubting o’ Providence--I have
not seen the son of the righteous begging his bread, sae says the text;
and your father was a douce honest man, though somewhat warldly in his
dealings, and cumbered about earthly things, e’en like yoursell, my jo!”

“Aweel,” said Cuddie, after a little consideration, “I see but ae gate
for’t, and that’s a cauld coal to blaw at, mither. Howsomever, mither, ye
hae some guess o’ a wee bit kindness that’s atween Miss Edith and young
Mr Henry Morton, that suld be ca’d young Milnwood, and that I hae whiles
carried a bit book, or maybe a bit letter, quietly atween them, and made
believe never to ken wha it cam frae, though I kend brawly. There’s
whiles convenience in a body looking a wee stupid--and I have aften seen
them walking at e’en on the little path by Dinglewood-burn; but naebody
ever kend a word about it frae Cuddie; I ken I’m gay thick in the head,
but I’m as honest as our auld fore-hand ox, puir fallow, that I’ll ne’er
work ony mair--I hope they’ll be as kind to him that come ahint me as I
hae been.--But, as I was saying, we’ll awa down to Milnwood and tell Mr
Harry our distress They want a pleughman, and the grund’s no unlike our
ain--I am sure Mr Harry will stand my part, for he’s a kind-hearted
gentleman.--I’ll get but little penny-fee, for his uncle, auld Nippie
Milnwood, has as close a grip as the deil himsell. But we’l, aye win a
bit bread, and a drap kale, and a fire-side and theeking ower our heads,
and that’s a’ we’ll want for a season.--Sae get up, mither, and sort your
things to gang away; for since sae it is that gang we maun, I wad like
ill to wait till Mr Harrison and auld Gudyill cam to pu’ us out by the
lug and the horn.”



CHAPTER VIII.

     The devil a puritan, or any thing else he is, but a time-server.
                                                  Twelfth Night.

It was evening when Mr Henry Morton perceived an old woman, wrapped in
her tartan plaid, supported by a stout, stupid-looking fellow, in
hoddin-grey, approach the house of Milnwood. Old Mause made her courtesy,
but Cuddie took the lead in addressing Morton. Indeed, he had previously
stipulated with his mother that he was to manage matters his own way; for
though he readily allowed his general inferiority of understanding, and
filially submitted to the guidance of his mother on most ordinary
occasions, yet he said, “For getting a service, or getting forward in the
warld, he could somegate gar the wee pickle sense he had gang muckle
farther than hers, though she could crack like ony minister o’ them a’.”

Accordingly, he thus opened the conversation with young Morton: “A braw
night this for the rye, your honour; the west park will be breering
bravely this e’en.”

“I do not doubt it, Cuddie; but what can have brought your mother--this
is your mother, is it not?” (Cuddie nodded.) “What can have brought your
mother and you down the water so late?”

“Troth, stir, just what gars the auld wives trot--neshessity, stir--I’m
seeking for service, stir.”

“For service, Cuddie, and at this time of the year? how comes that?”

Mause could forbear no longer. Proud alike of her cause and her
sufferings, she commenced with an affected humility of tone, “It has
pleased Heaven, an it like your honour, to distinguish us by a
visitation”--“Deil’s in the wife and nae gude!” whispered Cuddie to his
mother, “an ye come out wi’ your whiggery, they’ll no daur open a door to
us through the haill country!” Then aloud and addressing Morton, “My
mother’s auld, stir, and she has rather forgotten hersell in speaking to
my leddy, that canna weel bide to be contradickit, (as I ken nae-body
likes it if they could help themsells,) especially by her ain folk,--and
Mr Harrison the steward, and Gudyill the butler, they’re no very fond o’
us, and it’s ill sitting at Rome and striving wi’ the Pope; sae I thought
it best to flit before ill came to waur--and here’s a wee bit line to
your honour frae a friend will maybe say some mair about it.”

Morton took the billet, and crimsoning up to the ears, between joy and
surprise, read these words: “If you can serve these poor helpless people,
you will oblige E. B.”

It was a few instants before he could attain composure enough to ask,
“And what is your object, Cuddie? and how can I be of use to you?”

“Wark, stir, wark, and a service, is my object--a bit beild for my mither
and mysell--we hae gude plenishing o’ our ain, if we had the cast o’ a
cart to bring it down--and milk and meal, and greens enow, for I’m gay
gleg at meal-time, and sae is my mither, lang may it be sae--And, for the
penny-fee and a’ that, I’ll just leave it to the laird and you. I ken
ye’ll no see a poor lad wranged, if ye can help it.”

Morton shook his head. “For the meat and lodging, Cuddie, I think I can
promise something; but the penny-fee will be a hard chapter, I doubt.”

“I’ll tak my chance o’t, stir,” replied the candidate for service,
“rather than gang down about Hamilton, or ony sic far country.”

“Well; step into the kitchen, Cuddie, and I’ll do what I can for you.”

The negotiation was not without difficulties. Morton had first to bring
over the housekeeper, who made a thousand objections, as usual, in order
to have the pleasure of being besought and entreated; but, when she was
gained over, it was comparatively easy to induce old Milnwood to accept
of a servant, whose wages were to be in his own option. An outhouse was,
therefore, assigned to Mause and her son for their habitation, and it was
settled that they were for the time to be admitted to eat of the frugal
fare provided for the family, until their own establishment should be
completed. As for Morton, he exhausted his own very slender stock of
money in order to make Cuddie such a present, under the name of arles, as
might show his sense of the value of the recommendation delivered to him.

“And now we’re settled ance mair,” said: Cuddie to his mother, “and if
we’re no sae bien and comfortable as we were up yonder, yet life’s life
ony gate, and we’re wi’ decent kirk-ganging folk o’ your ain persuasion,
mither; there will be nae quarrelling about that.”

“Of my persuasion, hinnie!” said the too-enlightened Mause; “wae’s me for
thy blindness and theirs. O, Cuddie, they are but in the court of the
Gentiles, and will ne’er win farther ben, I doubt; they are but little
better than the prelatists themsells. They wait on the ministry of that
blinded man, Peter Poundtext, ance a precious teacher of the Word, but
now a backsliding pastor, that has, for the sake of stipend and family
maintenance, forsaken the strict path, and gane astray after the black
Indulgence. O, my son, had ye but profited by the gospel doctrines ye hae
heard in the Glen of Bengonnar, frae the dear Richard Rumbleberry, that
sweet youth, who suffered martyrdom in the Grassmarket, afore Candlemas!
Didna ye hear him say, that Erastianism was as bad as Prelacy, and that
the Indulgence was as bad as Erastianism?”

“Heard ever ony body the like o’ this!” interrupted Cuddie; “we’ll be
driven out o’ house and ha’ again afore we ken where to turn oursells.
Weej, mither, I hae just ae word mair--An I hear ony mair o’ your
din--afore folk, that is, for I dinna mind your clavers mysell, they aye
set me sleeping--but if I hear ony mair din afore folk, as I was saying,
about Poundtexts and Rumbleberries, and doctrines and malignants, I’se
e’en turn a single sodger mysell, or maybe a sergeant or a captain, if ye
plague me the mair, and let Rumbleberry and you gang to the deil
thegither. I ne’er gat ony gude by his doctrine, as ye ca’t, but a sour
fit o’ the batts wi’ sitting amang the wat moss-hags for four hours at a
yoking, and the leddy cured me wi’ some hickery-pickery; mair by token,
an she had kend how I came by the disorder, she wadna hae been in sic a
hurry to mend it.”

Although groaning in spirit over the obdurate and impenitent state, as
she thought it, of her son Cuddie, Mause durst neither urge him farther
on the topic, nor altogether neglect the warning he had given her. She
knew the disposition of her deceased helpmate, whom this surviving pledge
of their union greatly resembled, and remembered, that although
submitting implicitly in most things to her boast of superior acuteness,
he used on certain occasions, when driven to extremity, to be seized with
fits of obstinacy, which neither remonstrance, flattery, nor threats,
were capable of overpowering. Trembling, therefore, at the very
possibility of Cuddie’s fulfilling his threat, she put a guard over her
tongue, and even when Poundtext was commended in her presence, as an able
and fructifying preacher, she had the good sense to suppress the
contradiction which thrilled upon her tongue, and to express her
sentiments no otherwise than by deep groans, which the hearers charitably
construed to flow from a vivid recollection of the more pathetic parts of
his homilies. How long she could have repressed her feelings it is
difficult to say. An unexpected accident relieved her from the necessity.

The Laird of Milnwood kept up all old fashions which were connected with
economy. It was, therefore, still the custom in his house, as it had been
universal in Scotland about fifty years before, that the domestics, after
having placed the dinner on the table, sate down at the lower end of the
board, and partook of the share which was assigned to them, in company
with their masters. On the day, therefore, after Cuddie’s arrival, being
the third from the opening of this narrative, old Robin, who was butler,
valet-de-chambre, footman, gardener, and what not, in the house of
Milnwood, placed on the table an immense charger of broth, thickened with
oatmeal and colewort, in which ocean of liquid was indistinctly
discovered, by close observers, two or three short ribs of lean mutton
sailing to and fro. Two huge baskets, one of bread made of barley and
pease, and one of oat-cakes, flanked this standing dish. A large boiled
salmon would now-a-days have indicated more liberal house-keeping; but at
that period salmon was caught in such plenty in the considerable rivers
in Scotland, that instead of being accounted a delicacy, it was generally
applied to feed the servants, who are said sometimes to have stipulated
that they should not be required to eat a food so luscious and surfeiting
in its quality above five times a-week. The large black jack, filled with
very small beer of Milnwood’s own brewing, was allowed to the company at
discretion, as were the bannocks, cakes, and broth; but the mutton was
reserved for the heads of the family, Mrs Wilson included: and a measure
of ale, somewhat deserving the name, was set apart in a silver tankard
for their exclusive use. A huge kebbock, (a cheese, that is, made with
ewemilk mixed with cow’s milk,) and a jar of salt butter, were in common
to the company.

To enjoy this exquisite cheer, was placed, at the head of the table, the
old Laird himself, with his nephew on the one side, and the favourite
housekeeper on the other. At a long interval, and beneath the salt of
course, sate old Robin, a meagre, half-starved serving-man, rendered
cross and cripple by rheumatism, and a dirty drab of a housemaid, whom
use had rendered callous to the daily exercitations which her temper
underwent at the hands of her master and Mrs Wilson. A barnman, a
white-headed cow-herd boy, with Cuddie the new ploughman and his mother,
completed the party. The other labourers belonging to the property
resided in their own houses, happy at least in this, that if their cheer
was not more delicate than that which we have described, they could eat
their fill, unwatched by the sharp, envious grey eyes of Milnwood, which
seemed to measure the quantity that each of his dependents swallowed, as
closely as if their glances attended each mouthful in its progress from
the lips to the stomach. This close inspection was unfavourable to
Cuddie, who sustained much prejudice in his new master’s opinion, by the
silent celerity with which he caused the victuals to disappear before
him. And ever and anon Milnwood turned his eyes from the huge feeder to
cast indignant glances upon his nephew, whose repugnance to rustic labour
was the principal cause of his needing a ploughman, and who had been the
direct means of his hiring this very cormorant.

“Pay thee wages, quotha?” said Milnwood to himself,--“Thou wilt eat in a
week the value of mair than thou canst work for in a month.”

These disagreeable ruminations were interrupted by a loud knocking at the
outer-gate. It was a universal custom in Scotland, that, when the family
was at dinner, the outer-gate of the courtyard, if there was one, and if
not, the door of the house itself, was always shut and locked, and only
guests of importance, or persons upon urgent business, sought or received
admittance at that time.

     [Note:  Locking the Door during Dinner. The custom of keeping the
     door of a house or chateau locked during the time of dinner,
     probably arose from the family being anciently assembled in the hall
     at that meal, and liable to surprise. But it was in many instances
     continued as a point of high etiquette, of which the following is an
     example:

     A considerable landed proprietor in Dumfries-shire, being a
     bachelor, without near relations, and determined to make his will,
     resolved previously to visit his two nearest kinsmen, and decide
     which should be his heir, according to the degree of kindness with
     which he should be received. Like a good clansman, he first visited
     his own chief, a baronet in rank, descendant and representative of
     one of the oldest families in Scotland. Unhappily the dinner-bell
     had rung, and the door of the castle had been locked before his
     arrival. The visitor in vain announced his name and requested
     admittance; but his chief adhered to the ancient etiquette, and
     would on no account suffer the doors to be unbarred. Irritated at
     this cold reception, the old Laird rode on to Sanquhar Castle, then
     the residence of the Duke of Queensberry, who no sooner heard his
     name, than, knowing well he had a will to make, the drawbridge
     dropped, and the gates flew open--the table was covered anew--his
     grace’s bachelor and intestate kinsman was received with the utmost
     attention and respect; and it is scarcely necessary to add, that
     upon his death some years after, the visitor’s considerable landed
     property went to augment the domains of the Ducal House of
     Queensberry. This happened about the end of the seventeenth
     century.]

The family of Milnwood were therefore surprised, and, in the unsettled
state of the times, something alarmed, at the earnest and repeated
knocking with which the gate was now assailed. Mrs Wilson ran in person
to the door, and, having reconnoitred those who were so clamorous for
admittance, through some secret aperture with which most Scottish
door-ways were furnished for the express purpose, she returned wringing
her hands in great dismay, exclaiming, “The red-coats! the red-coats!”

“Robin--Ploughman--what ca’ they ye?--Barnsman--Nevoy Harry--open the
door, open the door!” exclaimed old Milnwood, snatching up and slipping
into his pocket the two or three silver spoons with which the upper end
of the table was garnished, those beneath the salt being of goodly horn.
“Speak them fair, sirs--Lord love ye, speak them fair--they winna bide
thrawing--we’re a’ harried--we’re a’ harried!”

While the servants admitted the troopers, whose oaths and threats already
indicated resentment at the delay they had been put to, Cuddie took the
opportunity to whisper to his mother, “Now, ye daft auld carline, mak
yoursell deaf--ye hae made us a’ deaf ere now--and let me speak for ye. I
wad like ill to get my neck raxed for an auld wife’s clashes, though ye
be our mither.”

“O, hinny, ay; I’se be silent or thou sall come to ill,” was the
corresponding whisper of Mause “but bethink ye, my dear, them that deny
the Word, the Word will deny”--Her admonition was cut short by the
entrance of the Life-Guardsmen, a party of four troopers, commanded by
Bothwell.

In they tramped, making a tremendous clatter upon the stone-floor with
the iron-shod heels of their large jack-boots, and the clash and clang of
their long, heavy, basket-hilted broadswords. Milnwood and his
housekeeper trembled, from well-grounded apprehensions of the system of
exaction and plunder carried on during these domiciliary visits. Henry
Morton was discomposed with more special cause, for he remembered that he
stood answerable to the laws for having harboured Burley. The widow Mause
Headrigg, between fear for her son’s life and an overstrained and
enthusiastic zeal, which reproached her for consenting even tacitly to
belie her religious sentiments, was in a strange quandary. The other
servants quaked for they knew not well what. Cuddie alone, with the look
of supreme indifference and stupidity which a Scottish peasant can at
times assume as a mask for considerable shrewdness and craft, continued
to swallow large spoonfuls of his broth, to command which he had drawn
within his sphere the large vessel that contained it, and helped himself,
amid the confusion, to a sevenfold portion.

“What is your pleasure here, gentlemen?” said Milnwood, humbling himself
before the satellites of power.

“We come in behalf of the king,” answered Bothwell; “why the devil did
you keep us so long standing at the door?”

“We were at dinner,” answered Milnwood, “and the door was locked, as is
usual in landward towns [Note: The Scots retain the use of the word town
in its comprehensive Saxon meaning, as a place of habitation. A mansion
or a farm house, though solitary, is called the town. A landward town is
a dwelling situated in the country.] in this country. I am sure,
gentlemen, if I had kend ony servants of our gude king had stood at the
door--But wad ye please to drink some ale--or some brandy--or a cup of
canary sack, or claret wine?” making a pause between each offer as long
as a stingy bidder at an auction, who is loath to advance his offer for a
favourite lot.

“Claret for me,” said one fellow.

“I like ale better,” said another, “provided it is right juice of John
Barleycorn.”

“Better never was malted,” said Milnwood; “I can hardly say sae muckle
for the claret. It’s thin and cauld, gentlemen.”

“Brandy will cure that,” said a third fellow; “a glass of brandy to three
glasses of wine prevents the curmurring in the stomach.”

“Brandy, ale, sack, and claret?--we’ll try them all,” said Bothwell, “and
stick to that which is best. There’s good sense in that, if the damn’dest
whig in Scotland had said it.”

Hastily, yet with a reluctant quiver of his muscles, Milnwood lugged out
two ponderous keys, and delivered them to the governante.

“The housekeeper,” said Bothwell, taking a seat, and throwing himself
upon it, “is neither so young nor so handsome as to tempt a man to follow
her to the gauntrees, and devil a one here is there worth sending in her
place.--What’s this?--meat?” (searching with a fork among the broth, and
fishing up a cutlet of mutton)--“I think I could eat a bit--why, it’s as
tough as if the devil’s dam had hatched it.”

“If there is any thing better in the house, sir,” said Milnwood, alarmed
at these symptoms of disapprobation--“No, no,” said Bothwell, “it’s not
worth while, I must proceed to business.--You attend Poundtext, the
presbyterian parson, I understand, Mr Morton?”

Mr Morton hastened to slide in a confession and apology.

“By the indulgence of his gracious majesty and the government, for I wad
do nothing out of law--I hae nae objection whatever to the establishment
of a moderate episcopacy, but only that I am a country-bred man, and the
ministers are a hamelier kind of folk, and I can follow their doctrine
better; and, with reverence, sir, it’s a mair frugal establishment for
the country.”

“Well, I care nothing about that,” said Bothwell; “they are indulged, and
there’s an end of it; but, for my part, if I were to give the law, never
a crop-ear’d cur of the whole pack should bark in a Scotch pulpit.
However, I am to obey commands.--There comes the liquor; put it down, my
good old lady.”

He decanted about one-half of a quart bottle of claret into a wooden
quaigh or bicker, and took it off at a draught.

“You did your good wine injustice, my friend;--it’s better than your
brandy, though that’s good too. Will you pledge me to the king’s health?”

“With pleasure,” said Milnwood, “in ale,--but I never drink claret, and
keep only a very little for some honoured friends.”

“Like me, I suppose,” said Bothwell; and then, pushing the bottle to
Henry, he said, “Here, young man, pledge you the king’s health.”

Henry filled a moderate glass in silence, regardless of the hints and
pushes of his uncle, which seemed to indicate that he ought to have
followed his example, in preferring beer to wine.

“Well,” said Bothwell, “have ye all drank the toast?--What is that old
wife about? Give her a glass of brandy, she shall drink the king’s
health, by”--“If your honour pleases,” said Cuddie, with great stolidity
of aspect, “this is my mither, stir; and she’s as deaf as Corra-linn; we
canna mak her hear day nor door; but if your honour pleases, I am ready
to drink the king’s health for her in as mony glasses of brandy as ye
think neshessary.”

“I dare swear you are,” answered Bothwell; “you look like a fellow that
would stick to brandy--help thyself, man; all’s free where’er I come.--
Tom, help the maid to a comfortable cup, though she’s but a dirty jilt
neither. Fill round once more--Here’s to our noble commander, Colonel
Graham of Claverhouse!--What the devil is the old woman groaning for? She
looks as very a whig as ever sate on a hill-side--Do you renounce the
Covenant, good woman?”

“Whilk Covenant is your honour meaning? Is it the Covenant of Works, or
the Covenant of Grace?” said Cuddie, interposing.

“Any covenant; all covenants that ever were hatched,” answered the
trooper.

“Mither,” cried Cuddie, affecting to speak as to a deaf person, “the
gentleman wants to ken if ye will renunce the Covenant of Works?”

“With all my heart, Cuddie,” said Mause, “and pray that my feet may be
delivered from the snare thereof.”

“Come,” said Bothwell, “the old dame has come more frankly off than I
expected. Another cup round, and then we’ll proceed to business.--You
have all heard, I suppose, of the horrid and barbarous murder committed
upon the person of the Archbishop of St Andrews, by ten or eleven armed
fanatics?”

All started and looked at each other; at length Milnwood himself
answered, “They had heard of some such misfortune, but were in hopes it
had not been true.”

“There is the relation published by government, old gentleman; what do
you think of it?”

“Think, sir? Wh--wh--whatever the council please to think of it,”
 stammered Milnwood.

“I desire to have your opinion more explicitly, my friend,” said the
dragoon, authoritatively.

Milnwood’s eyes hastily glanced through the paper to pick out the
strongest expressions of censure with which it abounded, in gleaning
which he was greatly aided by their being printed in italics.

“I think it a--bloody and execrable--murder and parricide--devised by
hellish and implacable cruelty--utterly abominable, and a scandal to the
land.”

“Well said, old gentleman!” said the querist--“Here’s to thee, and I wish
you joy of your good principles. You owe me a cup of thanks for having
taught you them; nay, thou shalt pledge me in thine own sack--sour ale
sits ill upon a loyal stomach.--Now comes your turn, young man; what
think you of the matter in hand?”

“I should have little objection to answer you,” said Henry, “if I knew
what right you had to put the question.”

“The Lord preserve us!” said the old housekeeper, “to ask the like o’
that at a trooper, when a’ folk ken they do whatever they like through
the haill country wi’ man and woman, beast and body.”

The old gentleman exclaimed, in the same horror at his nephew’s audacity,
“Hold your peace, sir, or answer the gentleman discreetly. Do you mean to
affront the king’s authority in the person of a sergeant of the
Life-Guards?”

“Silence, all of you!” exclaimed Bothwell, striking his hand fiercely on
the table--“Silence, every one of you, and hear me!--You ask me for my
right to examine you, sir (to Henry); my cockade and my broadsword are my
commission, and a better one than ever Old Nol gave to his roundheads;
and if you want to know more about it, you may look at the act of council
empowering his majesty’s officers and soldiers to search for, examine,
and apprehend suspicious persons; and, therefore, once more, I ask you
your opinion of the death of Archbishop Sharpe--it’s a new touch-stone we
have got for trying people’s metal.”

Henry had, by this time, reflected upon the useless risk to which he
would expose the family by resisting the tyrannical power which was
delegated to such rude hands; he therefore read the narrative over, and
replied, composedly, “I have no hesitation to say, that the perpetrators
of this assassination have committed, in my opinion, a rash and wicked
action, which I regret the more, as I foresee it will be made the cause
of proceedings against many who are both innocent of the deed, and as far
from approving it as myself.”

While Henry thus expressed himself, Bothwell, who bent his eyes keenly
upon him, seemed suddenly to recollect his features.

“Aha! my friend Captain Popinjay, I think I have seen you before, and in
very suspicious company.”

“I saw you once,” answered Henry, “in the public-house of the town of--.”

“And with whom did you leave that public-house, youngster?--Was it not
with John Balfour of Burley, one of the murderers of the Archbishop?”

“I did leave the house with the person you have named,” answered Henry,
“I scorn to deny it; but, so far from knowing him to be a murderer of the
primate, I did not even know at the time that such a crime had been
committed.”

“Lord have mercy on me, I am ruined!--utterly ruined and undone!”
 exclaimed Milnwood. “That callant’s tongue will rin the head aff his ain
shoulders, and waste my gudes to the very grey cloak on my back!”

“But you knew Burley,” continued Bothwell, still addressing Henry, and
regardless of his uncle’s interruption, “to be an intercommuned rebel and
traitor, and you knew the prohibition to deal with such persons. You
knew, that, as a loyal subject, you were prohibited to reset, supply, or
intercommune with this attainted traitor, to correspond with him by word,
writ, or message, or to supply him with meat, drink, house, harbour, or
victual, under the highest pains--you knew all this, and yet you broke
the law.” (Henry was silent.) “Where did you part from him?” continued
Bothwell; “was it in the highway, or did you give him harbourage in this
very house?”

“In this house!” said his uncle; “he dared not for his neck bring ony
traitor into a house of mine.”

“Dare he deny that he did so?” said Bothwell.

“As you charge it to me as a crime,” said Henry, “you will excuse my
saying any thing that will criminate myself.”

“O, the lands of Milnwood!--the bonny lands of Milnwood, that have been
in the name of Morton twa hundred years!” exclaimed his uncle; “they are
barking and fleeing, outfield and infield, haugh and holme!”

“No, sir,” said Henry, “you shall not suffer on my account.--I own,” he
continued, addressing Bothwell, “I did give this man a night’s lodging,
as to an old military comrade of my father. But it was not only without
my uncle’s knowledge, but contrary to his express general orders. I
trust, if my evidence is considered as good against myself, it will have
some weight in proving my uncle’s innocence.”

“Come, young man,” said the soldier, in a somewhat milder tone, “you’re a
smart spark enough, and I am sorry for you; and your uncle here is a fine
old Trojan, kinder, I see, to his guests than himself, for he gives us
wine and drinks his own thin ale--tell me all you know about this Burley,
what he said when you parted from him, where he went, and where he is
likely now to be found; and, d--n it, I’ll wink as hard on your share of
the business as my duty will permit. There’s a thousand merks on the
murdering whigamore’s head, an I could but light on it--Come, out with
it--where did you part with him?”

“You will excuse my answering that question, sir,” said Morton; “the same
cogent reasons which induced me to afford him hospitality at considerable
risk to myself and my friends, would command me to respect his secret,
if, indeed, he had trusted me with any.”

“So you refuse to give me an answer?” said Bothwell.

“I have none to give,” returned Henry.

“Perhaps I could teach you to find one, by tying a piece of lighted match
betwixt your fingers,” answered Bothwell.

“O, for pity’s sake, sir,” said old Alison apart to her master, “gie them
siller--it’s siller they’re seeking--they’ll murder Mr Henry, and
yoursell next!”

Milnwood groaned in perplexity and bitterness of spirit, and, with a tone
as if he was giving up the ghost, exclaimed, “If twenty p--p--punds would
make up this unhappy matter”--“My master,” insinuated Alison to the
sergeant, “would gie twenty punds sterling”--“Punds Scotch, ye b--h!”
 interrupted Milnwood; for the agony of his avarice overcame alike his
puritanic precision and the habitual respect he entertained for his
housekeeper.

“Punds sterling,” insisted the housekeeper, “if ye wad hae the gudeness
to look ower the lad’s misconduct; he’s that dour ye might tear him to
pieces, and ye wad ne’er get a word out o’ him; and it wad do ye little
gude, I’m sure, to burn his bonny fingerends.”

“Why,” said Bothwell, hesitating, “I don’t know--most of my cloth would
have the money, and take off the prisoner too; but I bear a conscience,
and if your master will stand to your offer, and enter into a bond to
produce his nephew, and if all in the house will take the test-oath, I do
not know but”--“O ay, ay, sir,” cried Mrs Wilson, “ony test, ony oaths ye
please!” And then aside to her master, “Haste ye away, sir, and get the
siller, or they will burn the house about our lugs.”

Old Milnwood cast a rueful look upon his adviser, and moved off, like a
piece of Dutch clockwork, to set at liberty his imprisoned angels in this
dire emergency. Meanwhile, Sergeant Bothwell began to put the test-oath
with such a degree of solemn reverence as might have been expected, being
just about the same which is used to this day in his majesty’s
custom-house.

“You--what’s your name, woman?”

“Alison Wilson, sir.”

“You, Alison Wilson, solemnly swear, certify, and declare, that you judge
it unlawful for subjects, under pretext of reformation, or any other
pretext whatsoever, to enter into Leagues and Covenants”--Here the
ceremony was interrupted by a strife between Cuddie and his mother,
which, long conducted in whispers, now became audible.

“Oh, whisht, mither, whisht! they’re upon a communing--Oh! whisht, and
they’ll agree weel eneuch e’enow.”

“I will not whisht, Cuddie,” replied his mother, “I will uplift my voice
and spare not--I will confound the man of sin, even the scarlet man, and
through my voice shall Mr Henry be freed from the net of the fowler.”

“She has her leg ower the harrows now,” said Cuddie, “stop her wha can--I
see her cocked up behint a dragoon on her way to the Tolbooth--I find my
ain legs tied below a horse’s belly--Ay--she has just mustered up her
sermon, and there--wi’ that grane--out it comes, and we are a’ruined,
horse and foot!”

“And div ye think to come here,” said Mause, her withered hand shaking in
concert with her keen, though wrinkled visage, animated by zealous wrath,
and emancipated, by the very mention of the test, from the restraints of
her own prudence, and Cuddie’s admonition--“Div ye think to come here,
wi’ your soul-killing, saint-seducing, conscience-confounding oaths, and
tests, and bands--your snares, and your traps, and your gins?--Surely it
is in vain that a net is spread in the sight of any bird.”

“Eh! what, good dame?” said the soldier. “Here’s a whig miracle, egad!
the old wife has got both her ears and tongue, and we are like to be
driven deaf in our turn.--Go to, hold your peace, and remember whom you
talk to, you old idiot.”

“Whae do I talk to! Eh, sirs, ower weel may the sorrowing land ken what
ye are. Malignant adherents ye are to the prelates, foul props to a
feeble and filthy cause, bloody beasts of prey, and burdens to the
earth.”

“Upon my soul,” said Bothwell, astonished as a mastiff-dog might be
should a hen-partridge fly at him in defence of her young, “this is the
finest language I ever heard! Can’t you give us some more of it?”

“Gie ye some mair o’t?” said Mause, clearing her voice with a preliminary
cough, “I will take up my testimony against you ance and again.--
Philistines ye are, and Edomites--leopards are ye, and foxes--evening
wolves, that gnaw not the bones till the morrow--wicked dogs, that
compass about the chosen--thrusting kine, and pushing bulls of
Bashan--piercing serpents ye are, and allied baith in name and nature
with the great Red Dragon; Revelations, twalfth chapter, third and
fourth verses.”

Here the old lady stopped, apparently much more from lack of breath than
of matter.

“Curse the old hag!” said one of the dragoons, “gag her, and take her to
head-quarters.”

“For shame, Andrews,” said Bothwell; “remember the good lady belongs to
the fair sex, and uses only the privilege of her tongue.--But, hark ye,
good woman, every bull of Bashan and Red Dragon will not be so civil as I
am, or be contented to leave you to the charge of the constable and
ducking-stool. In the meantime I must necessarily carry off this young
man to head-quarters. I cannot answer to my commanding-officer to leave
him in a house where I have heard so much treason and fanaticism.”

“Se now, mither, what ye hae dune,” whispered Cuddie; “there’s the
Philistines, as ye ca’ them, are gaun to whirry awa’ Mr Henry, and a’ wi’
your nash-gab, deil be on’t!”

“Haud yere tongue, ye cowardly loon,” said the mother, “and layna the
wyte on me; if you and thae thowless gluttons, that are sitting staring
like cows bursting on clover, wad testify wi’ your hands as I have
testified wi’ my tongue, they should never harle the precious young lad
awa’ to captivity.”

While this dialogue passed, the soldiers had already bound and secured
their prisoner. Milnwood returned at this instant, and, alarmed at the
preparations he beheld, hastened to proffer to Bothwell, though with many
a grievous groan, the purse of gold which he had been obliged to rummage
out as ransom for his nephew. The trooper took the purse with an air of
indifference, weighed it in his hand, chucked it up into the air, and
caught it as it fell, then shook his head, and said, “There’s many a
merry night in this nest of yellow boys, but d--n me if I dare venture
for them--that old woman has spoken too loud, and before all the men
too.--Hark ye, old gentleman,” to Milnwood, “I must take your nephew to
head-quarters, so I cannot, in conscience, keep more than is my due as
civility-money;” then opening the purse, he gave a gold piece to each of
the soldiers, and took three to himself. “Now,” said he, “you have the
comfort to know that your kinsman, young Captain Popinjay, will be
carefully looked after and civilly used; and the rest of the money I
return to you.”

Milnwood eagerly extended his hand.

“Only you know,” said Bothwell, still playing with the purse, “that every
landholder is answerable for the conformity and loyalty of his household,
and that these fellows of mine are not obliged to be silent on the
subject of the fine sermon we have had from that old puritan in the
tartan plaid there; and I presume you are aware that the consequences of
delation will be a heavy fine before the council.”

“Good sergeant,--worthy captain!” exclaimed the terrified miser, “I am
sure there is no person in my house, to my knowledge, would give cause of
offence.”

“Nay,” answered Bothwell, “you shall hear her give her testimony, as she
calls it, herself.--You fellow,” (to Cuddie,) “stand back, and let your
mother speak her mind. I see she’s primed and loaded again since her
first discharge.”

“Lord! noble sir,” said Cuddie, “an auld wife’s tongue’s but a feckless
matter to mak sic a fash about. Neither my father nor me ever minded
muckle what our mither said.”

“Hold your peace, my lad, while you are well,” said Bothwell; “I promise
you I think you are slyer than you would like to be supposed.--Come, good
dame, you see your master will not believe that you can give us so bright
a testimony.”

Mause’s zeal did not require this spur to set her again on full career.

“Woe to the compliers and carnal self-seekers,” she said, “that daub over
and drown their consciences by complying with wicked exactions, and
giving mammon of unrighteousness to the sons of Belial, that it may make
their peace with them! It is a sinful compliance, a base confederacy with
the Enemy. It is the evil that Menahem did in the sight of the Lord, when
he gave a thousand talents to Pul, King of Assyria, that his hand might
be with him; Second Kings, feifteen chapter, nineteen verse. It is the
evil deed of Ahab, when he sent money to Tiglath-Peleser; see the saame
Second Kings, saxteen and aught. And if it was accounted a backsliding
even in godly Hezekiah, that he complied with Sennacherib, giving him
money, and offering to bear that which was put upon him, (see the saame
Second Kings, aughteen chapter, fourteen and feifteen verses,) even so it
is with them that in this contumacious and backsliding generation pays
localities and fees, and cess and fines, to greedy and unrighteous
publicans, and extortions and stipends to hireling curates, (dumb dogs
which bark not, sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber,) and gives gifts
to be helps and hires to our oppressors and destroyers. They are all like
the casters of a lot with them--like the preparing of a table for the
troop, and the furnishing a drink-offering to the number.”

“There’s a fine sound of doctrine for you, Mr Morton! How like you that?”
 said Bothwell; “or how do you think the Council will like it? I think we
can carry the greatest part of it in our heads without a kylevine pen and
a pair of tablets, such as you bring to conventicles. She denies paying
cess, I think, Andrews?”

“Yes, by G--,” said Andrews; “and she swore it was a sin to give a
trooper a pot of ale, or ask him to sit down to a table.”

“You hear,” said Bothwell, addressing Milnwood; “but it’s your own
affair;” and he proffered back the purse with its diminished contents,
with an air of indifference.

Milnwood, whose head seemed stunned by the accumulation of his
misfortunes, extended his hand mechanically to take the purse.

“Are ye mad?” said his housekeeper, in a whisper; “tell them to keep
it;--they will keep it either by fair means or foul, and it’s our only
chance to make them quiet.”

“I canna do it, Ailie--I canna do it,” said Milnwood, in the bitterness
of his heart. “I canna part wi’ the siller I hae counted sae often ower,
to thae blackguards.”

“Then I maun do it mysell, Milnwood,” said the housekeeper, “or see a’
gang wrang thegither.--My master, sir,” she said, addressing Bothwell,
“canna think o’ taking back ony thing at the hand of an honourable
gentleman like you; he implores ye to pit up the siller, and be as kind
to his nephew as ye can, and be favourable in reporting our dispositions
to government, and let us tak nae wrang for the daft speeches of an auld
jaud,” (here she turned fiercely upon Mause, to indulge herself for the
effort which it cost her to assume a mild demeanour to the soldiers,) “a
daft auld whig randy, that ne’er was in the house (foul fa’ her) till
yesterday afternoon, and that sall ne’er cross the door-stane again an
anes I had her out o’t.”

“Ay, ay,” whispered Cuddie to his parent, “e’en sae! I kend we wad be put
to our travels again whene’er ye suld get three words spoken to an end. I
was sure that wad be the upshot o’t, mither.”

“Whisht, my bairn,” said she, “and dinna murmur at the cross--cross their
door-stane! weel I wot I’ll ne’er cross their door-stane. There’s nae
mark on their threshold for a signal that the destroying angel should
pass by. They’ll get a back-cast o’ his hand yet, that think sae muckle
o’ the creature and sae little o’ the Creator--sae muckle o’ warld’s gear
and sae little o’ a broken covenant--sae muckle about thae wheen pieces
o’ yellow muck, and sae little about the pure gold o’ the Scripture--sae
muckle about their ain friend and kinsman, and sae little about the
elect, that are tried wi’ hornings, harassings, huntings, searchings,
chasings, catchings, imprisonments, torturings, banishments, headings,
hangings, dismemberings, and quarterings quick, forby the hundreds forced
from their ain habitations to the deserts, mountains, muirs, mosses,
moss-flows, and peat-hags, there to hear the word like bread eaten in
secret.”

“She’s at the Covenant now, sergeant, shall we not have her away?” said
one of the soldiers.

“You be d--d!” said Bothwell, aside to him; “cannot you see she’s better
where she is, so long as there is a respectable, sponsible, money-broking
heritor, like Mr Morton of Milnwood, who has the means of atoning her
trespasses? Let the old mother fly to raise another brood, she’s too
tough to be made any thing of herself--Here,” he cried, “one other round
to Milnwood and his roof-tree, and to our next merry meeting with
him!--which I think will not be far distant, if he keeps such a fanatical
family.”

He then ordered the party to take their horses, and pressed the best in
Milnwood’s stable into the king’s service to carry the prisoner. Mrs
Wilson, with weeping eyes, made up a small parcel of necessaries for
Henry’s compelled journey, and as she bustled about, took an opportunity,
unseen by the party, to slip into his hand a small sum of money. Bothwell
and his troopers, in other respects, kept their promise, and were civil.
They did not bind their prisoner, but contented themselves with leading
his horse between a file of men. They then mounted, and marched off with
much mirth and laughter among themselves, leaving the Milnwood family in
great confusion. The old Laird himself, overpowered by the loss of his
nephew, and the unavailing outlay of twenty pounds sterling, did nothing
the whole evening but rock himself backwards and forwards in his great
leathern easy-chair, repeating the same lamentation, of “Ruined on a’
sides, ruined on a’ sides--harried and undone--harried and undone--body
and gudes, body and gudes!”

Mrs Alison Wilson’s grief was partly indulged and partly relieved by the
torrent of invectives with which she accompanied Mause and Cuddie’s
expulsion from Milnwood.

“Ill luck be in the graning corse o’ thee! the prettiest lad in
Clydesdale this day maun be a sufferer, and a’ for you and your daft
whiggery!”

“Gae wa’,” replied Mause; “I trow ye are yet in the bonds of sin, and in
the gall of iniquity, to grudge your bonniest and best in the cause of
Him that gave ye a’ ye hae--I promise I hae dune as muckle for Mr Harry
as I wad do for my ain; for if Cuddie was found worthy to bear testimony
in the Grassmarket”--“And there’s gude hope o’t,” said Alison, “unless
you and he change your courses.”

“--And if,” continued Mause, disregarding the interruption, “the bloody
Doegs and the flattering Ziphites were to seek to ensnare me with a
proffer of his remission upon sinful compliances, I wad persevere,
natheless, in lifting my testimony against popery, prelacy,
antinomianism, erastianism, lapsarianism, sublapsarianism, and the sins
and snares of the times--I wad cry as a woman in labour against the black
Indulgence, that has been a stumbling-block to professors--I wad uplift
my voice as a powerful preacher.”

“Hout tout, mither,” cried Cuddie, interfering and dragging her off
forcibly, “dinna deave the gentlewoman wi’ your testimony! ye hae
preached eneugh for sax days. Ye preached us out o’ our canny free-house
and gude kale-yard, and out o’ this new city o’ refuge afore our hinder
end was weel hafted in it; and ye hae preached Mr Harry awa to the
prison; and ye hae preached twenty punds out o’ the Laird’s pocket that
he likes as ill to quit wi’; and sae ye may haud sae for ae wee while,
without preaching me up a ladder and down a tow. Sae, come awa, come awa;
the family hae had eneugh o’ your testimony to mind it for ae while.”

So saying he dragged off Mause, the words,
“Testimony--Covenant--malignants--indulgence,” still thrilling upon her
tongue, to make preparations for instantly renewing their travels in
quest of an asylum.

“Ill-fard, crazy, crack-brained gowk, that she is!” exclaimed the
housekeeper, as she saw them depart, “to set up to be sae muckle better
than ither folk, the auld besom, and to bring sae muckle distress on a
douce quiet family! If it hadna been that I am mair than half a
gentlewoman by my station, I wad hae tried my ten nails in the wizen’d
hide o’ her!”



CHAPTER IX.

          I am a son of Mars who have been in many wars,
          And show my cuts and scars wherever I come;
          This here was for a wench, and that other in a trench,
          When welcoming the French at the sound of the drum.
                                                            Burns.

“Don’t be too much cast down,” said Sergeant Bothwell to his prisoner as
they journeyed on towards the head-quarters; “you are a smart pretty lad,
and well connected; the worst that will happen will be strapping up for
it, and that is many an honest fellow’s lot. I tell you fairly your
life’s within the compass of the law, unless you make submission, and get
off by a round fine upon your uncle’s estate; he can well afford it.”

“That vexes me more than the rest,” said Henry. “He parts with his money
with regret; and, as he had no concern whatever with my having given this
person shelter for a night, I wish to Heaven, if I escape a capital
punishment, that the penalty may be of a kind I could bear in my own
person.”

“Why, perhaps,” said Bothwell, “they will propose to you to go into one
of the Scotch regiments that are serving abroad. It’s no bad line of
service; if your friends are active, and there are any knocks going, you
may soon get a commission.”

“I am by no means sure,” answered Morton, “that such a sentence is not
the best thing that can happen to me.”

“Why, then, you are no real whig after all?” said the sergeant.

“I have hitherto meddled with no party in the state,” said Henry, “but
have remained quietly at home; and sometimes I have had serious thoughts
of joining one of our foreign regiments.”

“Have you?” replied Bothwell; “why, I honour you for it; I have served in
the Scotch French guards myself many a long day; it’s the place for
learning discipline, d--n me. They never mind what you do when you are
off duty; but miss you the roll-call, and see how they’ll arrange
you--D--n me, if old Captain Montgomery didn’t make me mount guard upon
the arsenal in my steel-back and breast, plate-sleeves and head-piece,
for six hours at once, under so burning a sun, that gad I was baked like
a turtle at Port Royale. I swore never to miss answering to Francis
Stewart again, though I should leave my hand of cards upon the
drum-head--Ah! discipline is a capital thing.”

“In other respects you liked the service?” said Morton,

“Par excellence,” said Bothwell; “women, wine, and wassail, all to be had
for little but the asking; and if you find it in your conscience to let a
fat priest think he has some chance to convert you, gad he’ll help you to
these comforts himself, just to gain a little ground in your good
affection. Where will you find a crop-eared whig parson will be so
civil?”

“Why, nowhere, I agree with you,” said Henry; “but what was your chief
duty?”

“To guard the king’s person,” said Bothwell, “to look after the safety of
Louis le Grand, my boy, and now and then to take a turn among the
Huguenots (protestants, that is.) And there we had fine scope; it brought
my hand pretty well in for the service in this country. But, come, as you
are to be a bon camerado, as the Spaniards say, I must put you in cash
with some of your old uncle’s broad-pieces. This is cutter’s law; we must
not see a pretty fellow want, if we have cash ourselves.”

Thus speaking, he pulled out his purse, took out some of the contents,
and offered them to Henry without counting them. Young Morton declined
the favour; and, not judging it prudent to acquaint the sergeant,
notwithstanding his apparent generosity, that he was actually in
possession of some money, he assured him he should have no difficulty in
getting a supply from his uncle.

“Well,” said Bothwell, “in that case these yellow rascals must serve to
ballast my purse a little longer. I always make it a rule never to quit
the tavern (unless ordered on duty) while my purse is so weighty that I
can chuck it over the signpost. [Note: A Highland laird, whose
peculiarities live still in the recollection of his countrymen, used to
regulate his residence at Edinburgh in the following manner: Every day he
visited the Water-gate, as it is called, of the Canongate, over which is
extended a wooden arch. Specie being then the general currency, he threw
his purse over the gate, and as long as it was heavy enough to be thrown
over, he continued his round of pleasure in the metropolis; when it was
too light, he thought it time to retire to the Highlands. Query--How
often would he have repeated this experiment at Temple Bar?] When it is
so light that the wind blows it back, then, boot and saddle,--we must
fall on some way of replenishing.--But what tower is that before us,
rising so high upon the steep bank, out of the woods that surround it on
every side?”

“It is the tower of Tillietudlem,” said one of the soldiers. “Old Lady
Margaret Bellenden lives there. She’s one of the best affected women in
the country, and one that’s a soldier’s friend. When I was hurt by one of
the d--d whig dogs that shot at me from behind a fauld-dike, I lay a
month there, and would stand such another wound to be in as good quarters
again.”

“If that be the case,” said Bothwell, “I will pay my respects to her as
we pass, and request some refreshment for men and horses; I am as thirsty
already as if I had drunk nothing at Milnwood. But it is a good thing in
these times,” he continued, addressing himself to Henry, “that the King’s
soldier cannot pass a house without getting a refreshment. In such houses
as Tillie--what d’ye call it? you are served for love; in the houses of
the avowed fanatics you help yourself by force; and among the moderate
presbyterians and other suspicious persons, you are well treated from
fear; so your thirst is always quenched on some terms or other.”

“And you purpose,” said Henry, anxiously, “to go upon that errand up to
the tower younder?”

“To be sure I do,” answered Bothwell. “How should I be able to report
favourably to my officers of the worthy lady’s sound principles, unless I
know the taste of her sack, for sack she will produce--that I take for
granted; it is the favourite consoler of your old dowager of quality, as
small claret is the potation of your country laird.”

“Then, for heaven’s sake,” said Henry, “if you are determined to go
there, do not mention my name, or expose me to a family that I am
acquainted with. Let me be muffled up for the time in one of your
soldier’s cloaks, and only mention me generally as a prisoner under your
charge.”

“With all my heart,” said Bothwell; “I promised to use you civilly, and I
scorn to break my word.--Here, Andrews, wrap a cloak round the prisoner,
and do not mention his name, nor where we caught him, unless you would
have a trot on a horse of wood.”

     [Note:  Wooden Mare. The punishment of riding the wooden mare was,
     in the days of Charles and long after, one of the various and cruel
     modes of enforcing military discipline. In front of the old
     guard-house in the High Street of Edinburgh, a large horse of this
     kind was placed, on which now and then, in the more ancient times, a
     veteran might be seen mounted, with a firelock tied to each foot,
     atoning for some small offence.

     There is a singular work, entitled Memoirs of Prince William Henry,
     Duke of Gloucester, (son of Queen Anne,) from his birth to his ninth
     year, in which Jenkin Lewis, an honest Welshman in attendance on the
     royal infant’s person, is pleased to record that his Royal Highness
     laughed, cried, crow’d, and said Gig and Dy, very like a babe of
     plebeian descent. He had also a premature taste for the discipline
     as well as the show of war, and had a corps of twenty-two boys,
     arrayed with paper caps and wooden swords. For the maintenance of
     discipline in this juvenile corps, a wooden horse was established in
     the Presence-chamber, and was sometimes employed in the punishment
     of offences not strictly military. Hughes, the Duke’s tailor, having
     made him a suit of clothes which were too tight, was appointed, in
     an order of the day issued by the young prince, to be placed on this
     penal steed. The man of remnants, by dint of supplication and
     mediation, escaped from the penance, which was likely to equal the
     inconveniences of his brother artist’s equestrian trip to Brentford.
     But an attendant named Weatherly, who had presumed to bring the
     young Prince a toy, (after he had discarded the use of them,) was
     actually mounted on the wooden horse without a saddle, with his face
     to the tail, while he was plied by four servants of the household
     with syringes and squirts, till he had a thorough wetting. “He was a
     waggish fellow,” says Lewis, “and would not lose any thing for the
     joke’s sake when he was putting his tricks upon others, so he was
     obliged to submit cheerfully to what was inflicted upon him, being
     at our mercy to play him off well, which we did accordingly.” Amid
     much such nonsense, Lewis’s book shows that this poor child, the
     heir of the British monarchy, who died when he was eleven years old,
     was, in truth, of promising parts, and of a good disposition. The
     volume, which rarely occurs, is an octavo, published in 1789, the
     editor being Dr Philip Hayes of Oxford.]

They were at this moment at an arched gateway, battlemented and flanked
with turrets, one whereof was totally ruinous, excepting the lower story,
which served as a cow-house to the peasant, whose family inhabited the
turret that remained entire. The gate had been broken down by Monk’s
soldiers during the civil war, and had never been replaced, therefore
presented no obstacle to Bothwell and his party. The avenue, very steep
and narrow, and causewayed with large round stones, ascended the side of
the precipitous bank in an oblique and zigzag course, now showing now
hiding a view of the tower and its exterior bulwarks, which seemed to
rise almost perpendicularly above their heads. The fragments of Gothic
defences which it exhibited were upon such a scale of strength, as
induced Bothwell to exclaim, “It’s well this place is in honest and loyal
hands. Egad, if the enemy had it, a dozen of old whigamore wives with
their distaffs might keep it against a troop of dragoons, at least if
they had half the spunk of the old girl we left at Milnwood. Upon my
life,” he continued, as they came in front of the large double tower and
its surrounding defences and flankers, “it is a superb place, founded,
says the worn inscription over the gate--unless the remnant of my Latin
has given me the slip--by Sir Ralph de Bellenden in 1350--a respectable
antiquity. I must greet the old lady with due honour, though it should
put me to the labour of recalling some of the compliments that I used to
dabble in when I was wont to keep that sort of company.”

As he thus communed with himself, the butler, who had reconnoitred the
soldiers from an arrowslit in the wall, announced to his lady, that a
commanded party of dragoons, or, as he thought, Life-Guardsmen, waited at
the gate with a prisoner under their charge.

“I am certain,” said Gudyill, “and positive, that the sixth man is a
prisoner; for his horse is led, and the two dragoons that are before have
their carabines out of their budgets, and rested upon their thighs. It
was aye the way we guarded prisoners in the days of the great Marquis.”

“King’s soldiers?” said the lady; “probably in want of refreshment. Go,
Gudyill, make them welcome, and let them be accommodated with what
provision and forage the Tower can afford.--And stay, tell my gentlewoman
to bring my black scarf and manteau. I will go down myself to receive
them; one cannot show the King’s Life-Guards too much respect in times
when they are doing so much for royal authority. And d’ye hear, Gudyill,
let Jenny Dennison slip on her pearlings to walk before my niece and me,
and the three women to walk behind; and bid my niece attend me
instantly.”

Fully accoutred, and attended according to her directions, Lady Margaret
now sailed out into the court-yard of her tower with great courtesy and
dignity. Sergeant Bothwell saluated the grave and reverend lady of the
manor with an assurance which had something of the light and careless
address of the dissipated men of fashion in Charles the Second’s time,
and did not at all savour of the awkward or rude manners of a
non-commissioned officer of dragoons. His language, as well as his
manners, seemed also to be refined for the time and occasion; though the
truth was, that, in the fluctuations of an adventurous and profligate
life, Bothwell had sometimes kept company much better suited to his
ancestry than to his present situation of life. To the lady’s request to
know whether she could be of service to them, he answered, with a
suitable bow, “That as they had to march some miles farther that night,
they would be much accommodated by permission to rest their horses for an
hour before continuing their journey.”

“With the greatest pleasure,” answered Lady Margaret; “and I trust that
my people will see that neither horse nor men want suitable refreshment.”

“We are well aware, madam,” continued Bothwell, “that such has always
been the reception, within the walls of Tillietudlem, of those who served
the King.”

“We have studied to discharge our duty faithfully and loyally on all
occasions, sir,” answered Lady Margaret, pleased with the compliment,
“both to our monarchs and to their followers, particularly to their
faithful soldiers. It is not long ago, and it probably has not escaped
the recollection of his sacret majesty, now on the throne, since he
himself honoured my poor house with his presence and breakfasted in a
room in this castle, Mr Sergeant, which my waiting-gentlewoman shall show
you; we still call it the King’s room.”

Bothwell had by this time dismounted his party, and committed the horses
to the charge of one file, and the prisoner to that of another; so that
he himself was at liberty to continue the conversation which the lady had
so condescendingly opened.

“Since the King, my master, had the honour to experience your
hospitality, I cannot wonder that it is extended to those that serve him,
and whose principal merit is doing it with fidelity. And yet I have a
nearer relation to his majesty than this coarse red coat would seem to
indicate.”

“Indeed, sir? Probably,” said Lady Margaret, “you have belonged to his
household?”

“Not exactly, madam, to his household, but rather to his house; a
connexion through which I may claim kindred with most of the best
families in Scotland, not, I believe, exclusive of that of Tillietudlem.”

“Sir?” said the old lady, drawing herself up with dignity at hearing what
she conceived an impertinent jest, “I do not understand you.”

“It’s but a foolish subject for one in my situation to talk of, madam,”
 answered the trooper; “but you must have heard of the history and
misfortunes of my grandfather Francis Stewart, to whom James I., his
cousin-german, gave the title of Bothwell, as my comrades give me the
nickname. It was not in the long run more advantageous to him than it is
to me.”

“Indeed?” said Lady Margaret, with much sympathy and surprise; “I have
indeed always understood that the grandson of the last Earl was in
necessitous circumstances, but I should never have expected to see him so
low in the service. With such connexions, what ill fortune could have
reduced you”--

“Nothing much out of the ordinary course, I believe, madam,” said
Bothwell, interrupting and anticipating the question. “I have had my
moments of good luck like my neighbours--have drunk my bottle with
Rochester, thrown a merry main with Buckingham, and fought at Tangiers
side by side with Sheffield. But my luck never lasted; I could not make
useful friends out of my jolly companions--Perhaps I was not sufficiently
aware,” he continued, with some bitterness, “how much the descendant of
the Scottish Stewarts was honoured by being admitted into the
convivialities of Wilmot and Villiers.”

“But your Scottish friends, Mr Stewart, your relations here, so numerous
and so powerful?”

“Why, ay, my lady,” replied the sergeant, “I believe some of them might
have made me their gamekeeper, for I am a tolerable shot--some of them
would have entertained me as their bravo, for I can use my sword
well--and here and there was one, who, when better company was not to
be had, would have made me his companion, since I can drink my three
bottles of wine.--But I don’t know how it is--between service and
service among my kinsmen, I prefer that of my cousin Charles as the most
creditable of them all, although the pay is but poor, and the livery far
from splendid.”

“It is a shame, it is a burning scandal!” said Lady Margaret. “Why do you
not apply to his most sacred majesty? he cannot but be surprised to hear
that a scion of his august family”--

“I beg your pardon, madam,” interrupted the sergeant, “I am but a blunt
soldier, and I trust you will excuse me when I say, his most sacred
majesty is more busy in grafting scions of his own, than with nourishing
those which were planted by his grandfather’s grandfather.”

“Well, Mr Stewart,” said Lady Margaret, “one thing you must promise
me--remain at Tillietudlem to-night; to-morrow I expect your
commanding-officer, the gallant Claverhouse, to whom king and country
are so much obliged for his exertions against those who would turn the
world upside down. I will speak to him on the subject of your speedy
promotion; and I am certain he feels too much, both what is due to the
blood which is in your veins, and to the request of a lady so highly
distinguished as myself by his most sacred majesty, not to make better
provision for you than you have yet received.”

“I am much obliged to your ladyship, and I certainly will remain her with
my prisoner, since you request it, especially as it will be the earliest
way of presenting him to Colonel Grahame, and obtaining his ultimate
orders about the young spark.”

“Who is your prisoner, pray you?” said Lady Margaret.

“A young fellow of rather the better class in this neighbourhood, who has
been so incautious as to give countenance to one of the murderers of the
primate, and to facilitate the dog’s escape.”

“O, fie upon him!” said Lady Margaret; “I am but too apt to forgive the
injuries I have received at the hands of these rogues, though some of
them, Mr Stewart, are of a kind not like to be forgotten; but those who
would abet the perpetrators of so cruel and deliberate a homicide on a
single man, an old man, and a man of the Archbishop’s sacred
profession--O fie upon him! If you wish to make him secure, with little
trouble to your people, I will cause Harrison, or Gudyill, look for the
key of our pit, or principal dungeon. It has not been open since the
week after the victory of Kilsythe, when my poor Sir Arthur Bellenden
put twenty whigs into it; but it is not more than two stories beneath
ground, so it cannot be unwholesome, especially as I rather believe
there is somewhere an opening to the outer air.”

“I beg your pardon, madam,” answered the sergeant; “I daresay the dungeon
is a most admirable one; but I have promised to be civil to the lad, and
I will take care he is watched, so as to render escape impossible. I’ll
set those to look after him shall keep him as fast as if his legs were in
the boots, or his fingers in the thumbikins.”

“Well, Mr Stewart,” rejoined the lady, “you best know your own duty. I
heartily wish you good evening, and commit you to the care of my steward,
Harrison. I would ask you to keep ourselves company, but a--a--a--”

“O, madam, it requires no apology; I am sensible the coarse red coat of
King Charles II. does and ought to annihilate the privileges of the red
blood of King James V.”

“Not with me, I do assure you, Mr Stewart; you do me injustice if you
think so. I will speak to your officer to-morrow; and I trust you shall
soon find yourself in a rank where there shall be no anomalies to be
reconciled.”

“I believe, madam,” said Bothwell, “your goodness will find itself
deceived; but I am obliged to you for your intention, and, at all events,
I will have a merry night with Mr Harrison.”

Lady Margaret took a ceremonious leave, with all the respect which she
owed to royal blood, even when flowing in the veins of a sergeant of the
Life-Guards; again assuring Mr Stewart, that whatever was in the Tower of
Tillietudlem was heartily at his service and that of his attendants.

Sergeant Bothwell did not fail to take the lady at her word, and readily
forgot the height from which his family had descended, in a joyous
carousal, during which Mr Harrison exerted himself to produce the best
wine in the cellar, and to excite his guest to be merry by that seducing
example, which, in matters of conviviality, goes farther than precept.
Old Gudyill associated himself with a party so much to his taste, pretty
much as Davy, in the Second Part of Henry the Fourth, mingles in the
revels of his master, Justice Shallow. He ran down to the cellar at the
risk of breaking his neck, to ransack some private catacomb, known, as he
boasted, only to himself, and which never either had, or should, during
his superintendence, renden forth a bottle of its contents to any one but
a real king’s friend.

“When the Duke dined here,” said the butler, seating himself at a
distance from the table, being somewhat overawed by Bothwell’s genealogy,
but yet hitching his seat half a yard nearer at every clause of his
speech, “my leddy was importunate to have a bottle of that
Burgundy,”--(here he advanced his seat a little,)--“but I dinna ken how
it was, Mr Stewart, I misdoubted him. I jaloused him, sir, no to be the
friend to government he pretends: the family are not to lippen to. That
auld Duke James lost his heart before he lost his head; and the
Worcester man was but wersh parritch, neither gude to fry, boil, nor sup
cauld.” (With this witty observation, he completed his first parallel,
and commenced a zigzag after the manner of an experienced engineer, in
order to continue his approaches to the table.) “Sae, sir, the faster my
leddy cried ‘Burgundy to his Grace--the auld Burgundy--the choice
Burgundy--the Burgundy that came ower in the thirty-nine’--the mair did
I say to mysell, Deil a drap gangs down his hause unless I was mair
sensible o’ his principles; sack and claret may serve him. Na, na,
gentlemen, as lang as I hae the trust o’butler in this house
o’Tillietudlem, I’ll tak it upon me to see that nae disloyal or doubtfu’
person is the better o’ our binns. But when I can find a true friend to
the king and his cause, and a moderate episcopacy; when I find a man, as
I say, that will stand by church and crown as I did mysell in my
master’s life, and all through Montrose’s time, I think there’s naething
in the cellar ower gude to be spared on him.”

By this time he had completed a lodgment in the body of the place, or, in
other words, advanced his seat close to the table.

“And now, Mr Francis Stewart of Bothwell, I have the honour to drink your
gude health, and a commission t’ye, and much luck may ye have in raking
this country clear o’whigs and roundheads, fanatics and Covenanters.”

Bothwell, who, it may well be believed, had long ceased to be very
scrupulous in point of society, which he regulated more by his
convenience and station in life than his ancestry, readily answered the
butler’s pledge, acknowledging, at the same time, the excellence of the
wine; and Mr Gudyill, thus adopted a regular member of the company,
continued to furnish them with the means of mirth until an early hour in
the next morning.



CHAPTER X.

               Did I but purpose to embark with thee
               On the smooth surface of a summer sea,
               And would forsake the skiff and make the shore
               When the winds whistle and the tempests roar?
                                                  Prior.

While Lady Margaret held, with the high-descended sergeant of dragoons,
the conference which we have detailed in the preceding pages, her
grand-daughter, partaking in a less degree her ladyship’s enthusiasm for
all who were sprung of the blood-royal, did not honour Sergeant Bothwell
with more attention than a single glance, which showed her a tall
powerful person, and a set of hardy weather-beaten features, to which
pride and dissipation had given an air where discontent mingled with the
reckless gaiety of desperation. The other soldiers offered still less to
detach her consideration; but from the prisoner, muffled and disguised as
he was, she found it impossible to withdraw her eyes. Yet she blamed
herself for indulging a curiosity which seemed obviously to give pain to
him who was its object.

“I wish,” she said to Jenny Dennison, who was the immediate attendant on
her person, “I wish we knew who that poor fellow is.”

“I was just thinking sae mysell, Miss Edith,” said the waiting woman,
“but it canna be Cuddie Headrigg, because he’s taller and no sae stout.”

“Yet,” continued Miss Bellenden, “it may be some poor neigbour, for whom
we might have cause to interest ourselves.”

“I can sune learn wha he is,” said the enterprising Jenny, “if the
sodgers were anes settled and at leisure, for I ken ane o’ them very
weel--the best-looking and the youngest o’ them.”

“I think you know all the idle young fellows about the country,” answered
her mistress.

“Na, Miss Edith, I am no sae free o’ my acquaintance as that,” answered
the fille-de-chambre. “To be sure, folk canna help kenning the folk by
head-mark that they see aye glowring and looking at them at kirk and
market; but I ken few lads to speak to unless it be them o’ the family,
and the three Steinsons, and Tam Rand, and the young miller, and the five
Howisons in Nethersheils, and lang Tam Gilry, and”--

“Pray cut short a list of exceptions which threatens to be a long one,
and tell me how you come to know this young soldier,” said Miss
Bellenden.

“Lord, Miss Edith, it’s Tam Halliday, Trooper Tam, as they ca’ him, that
was wounded by the hill-folk at the conventicle at Outer-side Muir, and
lay here while he was under cure. I can ask him ony thing, and Tam will
no refuse to answer me, I’ll be caution for him.”

“Try, then,” said Miss Edith, “if you can find an opportunity to ask him
the name of his prisoner, and come to my room and tell me what he says.”

Jenny Dennison proceeded on her errand, but soon returned with such a
face of surprise and dismay as evinced a deep interest in the fate of the
prisoner.

“What is the matter?” said Edith, anxiously; “does it prove to be Cuddie,
after all, poor fellow?”

“Cuddie, Miss Edith? Na! na! it’s nae Cuddie,” blubbered out the faithful
fille-de-chambre, sensible of the pain which her news were about to
inflict on her young mistress. “O dear, Miss Edith, it’s young Milnwood
himsell!”

“Young Milnwood!” exclaimed Edith, aghast in her turn; “it is
impossible--totally impossible!--His uncle attends the clergyman
indulged by law, and has no connexion whatever with the refractory
people; and he himself has never interfered in this unhappy dissension;
he must be totally innocent, unless he has been standing up for some
invaded right.”

“O, my dear Miss Edith,” said her attendant, “these are not days to ask
what’s right or what’s wrang; if he were as innocent as the new-born
infant, they would find some way of making him guilty, if they liked; but
Tam Halliday says it will touch his life, for he has been resetting ane
o’ the Fife gentlemen that killed that auld carle of an Archbishop.”

“His life!” exclaimed Edith, starting hastily up, and speaking with a
hurried and tremulous accent,--“they cannot--they shall not--I will speak
for him--they shall not hurt him!”

“O, my dear young leddy, think on your grandmother; think on the danger
and the difficulty,” added Jenny; “for he’s kept under close confinement
till Claverhouse comes up in the morning, and if he doesna gie him full
satisfaction, Tam Halliday says there will be brief wark wi’ him--Kneel
down--mak ready--present--fire--just as they did wi’ auld deaf John
Macbriar, that never understood a single question they pat till him, and
sae lost his life for lack o’ hearing.”

“Jenny,” said the young lady, “if he should die, I will die with him;
there is no time to talk of danger or difficulty--I will put on a plaid,
and slip down with you to the place where they have kept him--I will
throw myself at the feet of the sentinel, and entreat him, as he has a
soul to be saved”--

“Eh, guide us!” interrupted the maid, “our young leddy at the feet o’
Trooper Tam, and speaking to him about his soul, when the puir chield
hardly kens whether he has ane or no, unless that he whiles swears by
it--that will never do; but what maun be maun be, and I’ll never desert a
true-love cause--And sae, if ye maun see young Milnwood, though I ken nae
gude it will do, but to make baith your hearts the sairer, I’ll e’en tak
the risk o’t, and try to manage Tam Halliday; but ye maun let me hae my
ain gate and no speak ae word--he’s keeping guard o’er Milnwood in the
easter round of the tower.”

“Go, go, fetch me a plaid,” said Edith. “Let me but see him, and I will
find some remedy for his danger--Haste ye, Jenny, as ever ye hope to have
good at my hands.”

Jenny hastened, and soon returned with a plaid, in which Edith muffled
herself so as completely to screen her face, and in part to disguise her
person. This was a mode of arranging the plaid very common among the
ladies of that century, and the earlier part of the succeeding one; so
much so, indeed, that the venerable sages of the Kirk, conceiving that
the mode gave tempting facilities for intrigue, directed more than one
act of Assembly against this use of the mantle. But fashion, as usual,
proved too strong for authority, and while plaids continued to be worn,
women of all ranks occasionally employed them as a sort of muffler or
veil. [Note: Concealment of an individual, while in public or promiscuous
society, was then very common. In England, where no plaids were worn, the
ladies used vizard masks for the same purpose, and the gallants drew the
skirts of their cloaks over the right shoulder, so as to cover part of
the face. This is repeatedly alluded to in Pepys’s Diary.] Her face and
figure thus concealed, Edith, holding by her attendant’s arm, hastened
with trembling steps to the place of Morton’s confinement.

This was a small study or closet, in one of the turrets, opening upon a
gallery in which the sentinel was pacing to and fro; for Sergeant
Bothwell, scrupulous in observing his word, and perhaps touched with some
compassion for the prisoner’s youth and genteel demeanour, had waved the
indignity of putting his guard into the same apartment with him.
Halliday, therefore, with his carabine on his arm, walked up and down the
gallery, occasionally solacing himself with a draught of ale, a huge
flagon of which stood upoon the table at one end of the apartment, and at
other times humming the lively Scottish air,

“Between Saint Johnstone and Bonny Dundee, I’ll gar ye be fain to follow
me.”

Jenny Dennison cautioned her mistress once more to let her take her own
way.

“I can manage the trooper weel eneugh,” she said, “for as rough as he
is--I ken their nature weel; but ye maunna say a single word.”

She accordingly opened the door of the gallery just as the sentinel had
turned his back from it, and taking up the tune which he hummed, she sung
in a coquettish tone of rustic raillery,

“If I were to follow a poor sodger lad, My friends wad be angry, my
minnie be mad; A laird, or a lord, they were fitter for me, Sae I’ll
never be fain to follow thee.”--

“A fair challenge, by Jove,” cried the sentinel, turning round, “and from
two at once; but it’s not easy to bang the soldier with his bandoleers;”
 then taking up the song where the damsel had stopt,

“To follow me ye weel may be glad, A share of my supper, a share of my
bed, To the sound of the drum to range fearless and free, I’ll gar ye be
fain to follow me.”--

“Come, my pretty lass, and kiss me for my song.”

“I should not have thought of that, Mr Halliday,” answered Jenny, with a
look and tone expressing just the necessary degree of contempt at the
proposal, “and, I’se assure ye, ye’ll hae but little o’ my company unless
ye show gentler havings--It wasna to hear that sort o’nonsense that
brought me here wi’ my friend, and ye should think shame o’ yoursell, ‘at
should ye.”

“Umph! and what sort of nonsense did bring you here then, Mrs Dennison?”

“My kinswoman has some particular business with your prisoner, young Mr
Harry Morton, and I am come wi’ her to speak till him.”

“The devil you are!” answered the sentinel; “and pray, Mrs Dennison, how
do your kinswoman and you propose to get in? You are rather too plump to
whisk through a keyhole, and opening the door is a thing not to be spoke
of.”

“It’s no a thing to be spoken o’, but a thing to be dune,” replied the
persevering damsel.

“We’ll see about that, my bonny Jenny;” and the soldier resumed his
march, humming, as he walked to and fro along the gallery,

“Keek into the draw-well, Janet, Janet, Then ye’ll see your bonny sell,
My joe Janet.”

“So ye’re no thinking to let us in, Mr Halliday? Weel, weel; gude e’en to
you--ye hae seen the last o’ me, and o’ this bonny die too,” said Jenny,
holding between her finger and thumb a splendid silver dollar.

“Give him gold, give him gold,” whispered the agitated young lady.

“Silver’s e’en ower gude for the like o’ him,” replied Jenny, “that disna
care for the blink o’ a bonny lassie’s ee--and what’s waur, he wad think
there was something mair in’t than a kinswoman o’ mine. My certy!
siller’s no sae plenty wi’ us, let alane gowd.” Having addressed this
advice aside to her mistress, she raised her voice, and said, “My cousin
winna stay ony langer, Mr Halliday; sae, if ye please, gude e’en t’ye.”

“Halt a bit, halt a bit,” said the trooper; “rein up and parley, Jenny.
If I let your kinswoman in to speak to my prisoner, you must stay here
and keep me company till she come out again, and then we’ll all be well
pleased you know.”

“The fiend be in my feet then,” said Jenny; “d’ye think my kinswoman and
me are gaun to lose our gude name wi’ cracking clavers wi’ the like o’
you or your prisoner either, without somebody by to see fair play? Hegh,
hegh, sirs, to see sic a difference between folk’s promises and
performance! Ye were aye willing to slight puir Cuddie; but an I had
asked him to oblige me in a thing, though it had been to cost his
hanging, he wadna hae stude twice about it.”

“D--n Cuddie!” retorted the dragoon, “he’ll be hanged in good earnest, I
hope. I saw him today at Milnwood with his old puritanical b--of a
mother, and if I had thought I was to have had him cast in my dish, I
would have brought him up at my horse’s tail--we had law enough to bear
us out.”

“Very weel, very weel--See if Cuddie winna hae a lang shot at you ane o’
thae days, if ye gar him tak the muir wi’ sae mony honest folk. He can
hit a mark brawly; he was third at the popinjay; and he’s as true of his
promise as of ee and hand, though he disna mak sic a phrase about it as
some acquaintance o’ yours--But it’s a’ ane to me--Come, cousin, we’ll
awa’.”

“Stay, Jenny; d--n me, if I hang fire more than another when I have said
a thing,” said the soldier, in a hesitating tone. “Where is the
sergeant?”

“Drinking and driving ower,” quoth Jenny, “wi’ the Steward and John
Gudyill.”

“So, so--he’s safe enough--and where are my comrades?” asked Halliday.

“Birling the brown bowl wi’ the fowler and the falconer, and some o’ the
serving folk.”

“Have they plenty of ale?”

“Sax gallons, as gude as e’er was masked,” said the maid.

“Well, then, my pretty Jenny,” said the relenting sentinel, “they are
fast till the hour of relieving guard, and perhaps something later; and
so, if you will promise to come alone the next time”--“Maybe I will, and
maybe I winna,” said Jenny; “but if ye get the dollar, ye’ll like that
just as weel.”

“I’ll be d--n’d if I do,” said Halliday, taking the money, howeve; “but
it’s always something for my risk; for, if Claverhouse hears what I have
done, he will build me a horse as high as the Tower of Tillietudlem. But
every one in the regiment takes what they can come by; I am sure Bothwell
and his blood-royal shows us a good example. And if I were trusting to
you, you little jilting devil, I should lose both pains and powder;
whereas this fellow,” looking at the piece, “will be good as far as he
goes. So, come, there is the door open for you; do not stay groaning and
praying with the young whig now, but be ready, when I call at the door,
to start, as if they were sounding ‘Horse and away.’”

So speaking, Halliday unlocked the door of the closet, admitted Jenny and
her pretended kinswoman, locked it behind them, and hastily reassumed the
indifferent measured step and time-killing whistle of a sentinel upon his
regular duty.

The door, which slowly opened, discovered Morton with both arms reclined
upon a table, and his head resting upon them in a posture of deep
dejection. He raised his face as the door opened, and, perceiving the
female figures which it admitted, started up in great surprise. Edith, as
if modesty had quelled the courage which despair had bestowed, stood
about a yard from the door without having either the power to speak or to
advance. All the plans of aid, relief, or comfort, which she had proposed
to lay before her lover, seemed at once to have vanished from her
recollection, and left only a painful chaos of ideas, with which was
mingled a fear that she had degraded herself in the eyes of Morton by a
step which might appear precipitate and unfeminine. She hung motionless
and almost powerless upon the arm of her attendant, who in vain
endeavoured to reassure and inspire her with courage, by whispering, “We
are in now, madam, and we maun mak the best o’ our time; for, doubtless,
the corporal or the sergeant will gang the rounds, and it wad be a pity
to hae the poor lad Halliday punished for his civility.”

Morton, in the meantime, was timidly advancing, suspecting the truth; for
what other female in the house, excepting Edith herself, was likely to
take an interest in his misfortunes? and yet afraid, owing to the
doubtful twilight and the muffled dress, of making some mistake which
might be prejudicial to the object of his affections. Jenny, whose ready
wit and forward manners well qualified her for such an office, hastened
to break the ice.

“Mr Morton, Miss Edith’s very sorry for your present situation, and”--

It was needless to say more; he was at her side, almost at her feet,
pressing her unresisting hands, and loading her with a profusion of
thanks and gratitude which would be hardly intelligible from the mere
broken words, unless we could describe the tone, the gesture, the
impassioned and hurried indications of deep and tumultuous feeling, with
which they were accompanied.

For two or three minutes, Edith stood as motionless as the statue of a
saint which receives the adoration of a worshipper; and when she
recovered herself sufficiently to withdraw her hands from Henry’s grasp,
she could at first only faintly articulate, “I have taken a strange step,
Mr Morton--a step,” she continued with more coherence, as her ideas
arranged themselves in consequence of a strong effort, “that perhaps may
expose me to censure in your eyes--But I have long permitted you to use
the language of friendship--perhaps I might say more--too long to leave
you when the world seems to have left you. How, or why, is this
imprisonment? what can be done? can my uncle, who thinks so highly of
you--can your own kinsman, Milnwood, be of no use? are there no means?
and what is likely to be the event?”

“Be what it will,” answered Henry, contriving to make himself master of
the hand that had escaped from him, but which was now again abandoned to
his clasp, “be what it will, it is to me from this moment the most
welcome incident of a weary life. To you, dearest Edith--forgive me, I
should have said Miss Bellenden, but misfortune claims strange
privileges--to you I have owed the few happy moments which have gilded a
gloomy existence; and if I am now to lay it down, the recollection of
this honour will be my happiness in the last hour of suffering.”

“But is it even thus, Mr Morton?” said Miss Bellenden. “Have you, who
used to mix so little in these unhappy feuds, become so suddenly and
deeply implicated, that nothing short of”--

She paused, unable to bring out the word which should have come next.

“Nothing short of my life, you would say?” replied Morton, in a calm, but
melancholy tone; “I believe that will be entirely in the bosoms of my
judges. My guards spoke of a possibility of exchanging the penalty for
entry into foreign service. I thought I could have embraced the
alternative; and yet, Miss Bellenden, since I have seen you once more, I
feel that exile would be more galling than death.”

“And is it then true,” said Edith, “that you have been so desperately
rash as to entertain communication with any of those cruel wretches who
assassinated the primate?”

“I knew not even that such a crime had been committed,” replied Morton,
“when I gave unhappily a night’s lodging and concealment to one of those
rash and cruel men, the ancient friend and comrade of my father. But my
ignorance will avail me little; for who, Miss Bellenden, save you, will
believe it? And, what is worse, I am at least uncertain whether, even if
I had known the crime, I could have brought my mind, under all the
circumstances, to refuse a temporary refuge to the fugitive.”

“And by whom,” said Edith, anxiously, “or under what authority, will the
investigation of your conduct take place?”

“Under that of Colonel Grahame of Claverhouse, I am given to understand,”
 said Morton; “one of the military commission, to whom it has pleased our
king, our privy council, and our parliament, that used to be more
tenacious of our liberties, to commit the sole charge of our goods and of
our lives.”

“To Claverhouse?” said Edith, faintly; “merciful Heaven, you are lost ere
you are tried! He wrote to my grandmother that he was to be here
to-morrow morning, on his road to the head of the county, where some
desperate men, animated by the presence of two or three of the actors in
the primate’s murder, are said to have assembled for the purpose of
making a stand against the government. His expressions made me shudder,
even when I could not guess that--that--a friend”--

“Do not be too much alarmed on my account, my dearest Edith,” said Henry,
as he supported her in his arms; “Claverhouse, though stern and
relentless, is, by all accounts, brave, fair, and honourable. I am a
soldier’s son, and will plead my cause like a soldier. He will perhaps
listen more favourably to a blunt and unvarnished defence than a
truckling and time-serving judge might do. And, indeed, in a time when
justice is, in all its branches, so completely corrupted, I would rather
lose my life by open military violence, than be conjured out of it by the
hocus-pocus of some arbitrary lawyer, who lends the knowledge he has of
the statutes made for our protection, to wrest them to our destruction.”

“You are lost--you are lost, if you are to plead your cause with
Claverhouse!” sighed Edith; “root and branchwork is the mildest of his
expressions. The unhappy primate was his intimate friend and early
patron. ‘No excuse, no subterfuge,’ said his letter, ‘shall save either
those connected with the deed, or such as have given them countenance and
shelter, from the ample and bitter penalty of the law, until I shall have
taken as many lives in vengeance of this atrocious murder, as the old man
had grey hairs upon his venerable head.’ There is neither ruth nor favour
to be found with him.”

Jenny Dennison, who had hitherto remained silent, now ventured, in the
extremity of distress which the lovers felt, but for which they were
unable to devise a remedy, to offer her own advice.

“Wi’ your leddyship’s pardon, Miss Edith, and young Mr Morton’s, we
maunna waste time. Let Milnwood take my plaid and gown; I’ll slip them
aff in the dark corner, if he’ll promise no to look about, and he may
walk past Tam Halliday, who is half blind with his ale, and I can tell
him a canny way to get out o’ the Tower, and your leddyship will gang
quietly to your ain room, and I’ll row mysell in his grey cloak, and pit
on his hat, and play the prisoner till the coast’s clear, and then I’ll
cry in Tam Halliday, and gar him let me out.”

“Let you out?” said Morton; “they’ll make your life answer it.”

“Ne’er a bit,” replied Jenny; “Tam daurna tell he let ony body in, for
his ain sake; and I’ll gar him find some other gate to account for the
escape.”

“Will you, by G--?” said the sentinel, suddenly opening the door of the
apartment; “if I am half blind, I am not deaf, and you should not plan an
escape quite so loud, if you expect to go through with it. Come, come,
Mrs Janet--march, troop--quick time--trot, d--n me!--And you, madam
kinswoman,--I won’t ask your real name, though you were going to play me
so rascally a trick,--but I must make a clear garrison; so beat a
retreat, unless you would have me turn out the guard.”

“I hope,” said Morton, very anxiously, “you will not mention this
circumstance, my good friend, and trust to my honour to acknowledge your
civility in keeping the secret. If you overheard our conversation, you
must have observed that we did not accept of, or enter into, the hasty
proposal made by this good-natured girl.”

“Oh, devilish good-natured, to be sure,” said Halliday. “As for the rest,
I guess how it is, and I scorn to bear malice, or tell tales, as much as
another; but no thanks to that little jilting devil, Jenny Dennison, who
deserves a tight skelping for trying to lead an honest lad into a scrape,
just because he was so silly as to like her good-for-little chit face.”

Jenny had no better means of justification than the last apology to which
her sex trust, and usually not in vain; she pressed her handkerchief to
her face, sobbed with great vehemence, and either wept, or managed, as
Halliday might have said, to go through the motions wonderfully well.

“And now,” continued the soldier, somewhat mollified, “if you have any
thing to say, say it in two minutes, and let me see your backs turned;
for if Bothwell take it into his drunken head to make the rounds half an
hour too soon, it will be a black business to us all.”

“Farewell, Edith,” whispered Morton, assuming a firmness he was far from
possessing; “do not remain here--leave me to my fate--it cannot be beyond
endurance since you are interested in it.--Good night, good night!--Do
not remain here till you are discovered.”

Thus saying, he resigned her to her attendant, by whom she was quietly
led and partly supported out of the apartment.

“Every one has his taste, to be sure,” said Halliday; “but d--n me if I
would have vexed so sweet a girl as that is, for all the whigs that ever
swore the Covenant.”

When Edith had regained her apartment, she gave way to a burst of grief
which alarmed Jenny Dennison, who hastened to administer such scraps of
consolation as occurred to her.

“Dinna vex yoursell sae muckle, Miss Edith,” said that faithful
attendant; “wha kens what may happen to help young Milnwood? He’s a brave
lad, and a bonny, and a gentleman of a good fortune, and they winna
string the like o’ him up as they do the puir whig bodies that they catch
in the muirs, like straps o’ onions; maybe his uncle will bring him aff,
or maybe your ain grand-uncle will speak a gude word for him--he’s weel
acquent wi’ a’ the red-coat gentlemen.”

“You are right, Jenny! you are right,” said Edith, recovering herself
from the stupor into which she had sunk; “this is no time for despair,
but for exertion. You must find some one to ride this very night to my
uncle’s with a letter.”

“To Charnwood, madam? It’s unco late, and it’s sax miles an’ a bittock
doun the water; I doubt if we can find man and horse the night, mair
especially as they hae mounted a sentinel before the gate. Puir Cuddie!
he’s gane, puir fallow, that wad hae dune aught in the warld I bade him,
and ne’er asked a reason--an’ I’ve had nae time to draw up wi’ the new
pleugh-lad yet; forby that, they say he’s gaun to be married to Meg
Murdieson, illfaur’d cuttie as she is.”

“You must find some one to go, Jenny; life and death depend upon it.”

“I wad gang mysell, my leddy, for I could creep out at the window o’ the
pantry, and speel down by the auld yew-tree weel eneugh--I hae played
that trick ere now. But the road’s unco wild, and sae mony red-coats
about, forby the whigs, that are no muckle better (the young lads o’
them) if they meet a fraim body their lane in the muirs. I wadna stand
for the walk--I can walk ten miles by moonlight weel eneugh.”

“Is there no one you can think of, that, for money or favour, would serve
me so far?” asked Edith, in great anxiety.

“I dinna ken,” said Jenny, after a moment’s consideration, “unless it be
Guse Gibbie; and he’ll maybe no ken the way, though it’s no sae difficult
to hit, if he keep the horse-road, and mind the turn at the Cappercleugh,
and dinna drown himsell in the Whomlekirn-pule, or fa’ ower the scaur at
the Deil’s Loaning, or miss ony o’ the kittle steps at the Pass o’
Walkwary, or be carried to the hills by the whigs, or be taen to the
tolbooth by the red-coats.”

“All ventures must be run,” said Edith, cutting short the list of chances
against Goose Gibbie’s safe arrival at the end of his pilgrimage; “all
risks must be run, unless you can find a better messenger.--Go, bid the
boy get ready, and get him out of the Tower as secretly as you can. If he
meets any one, let him say he is carrying a letter to Major Bellenden of
Charnwood, but without mentioning any names.”

“I understand, madam,” said Jenny Dennison; “I warrant the callant will
do weel eneugh, and Tib the hen-wife will tak care o’ the geese for a
word o’ my mouth; and I’ll tell Gibbie your leddyship will mak his peace
wi’ Lady Margaret, and we’ll gie him a dollar.”

“Two, if he does his errand well,” said Edith.

Jenny departed to rouse Goose Gibbie out of his slumbers, to which he was
usually consigned at sundown, or shortly after, he keeping the hours of
the birds under his charge. During her absence, Edith took her writing
materials, and prepared against her return the following letter,
superscribed, For the hands of Major Bellenden of Charnwood, my much
honoured uncle, These: “My dear Uncle--This will serve to inform you I am
desirous to know how your gout is, as we did not see you at the
wappen-schaw, which made both my grandmother and myself very uneasy. And
if it will permit you to travel, we shall be happy to see you at our poor
house to-morrow at the hour of breakfast, as Colonel Grahame of
Claverhouse is to pass this way on his march, and we would willingly have
your assistance to receive and entertain a military man of such
distinction, who, probably, will not be much delighted with the company
of women. Also, my dear uncle, I pray you to let Mrs Carefor’t, your
housekeeper, send me my double-trimmed paduasoy with the hanging sleeves,
which she will find in the third drawer of the walnut press in the green
room, which you are so kind as to call mine. Also, my dear uncle, I pray
you to send me the second volume of the Grand Cyrus, as I have only read
as far as the imprisonment of Philidaspes upon the seven hundredth and
thirty-third page; but, above all, I entreat you to come to us to-morrow
before eight of the clock, which, as your pacing nag is so good, you may
well do without rising before your usual hour. So, praying to God to
preserve your health, I rest your dutiful and loving niece,

“Edith Bellenden.

“Postscriptum. A party of soldiers have last night brought your friend,
young Mr Henry Morton of Milnwood, hither as a prisoner. I conclude you
will be sorry for the young gentleman, and, therefore, let you know this,
in case you may think of speaking to Colonel Grahame in his behalf. I
have not mentioned his name to my grandmother, knowing her prejudice
against the family.”

This epistle being duly sealed and delivered to Jenny, that faithful
confidant hastened to put the same in the charge of Goose Gibbie, whom
she found in readiness to start from the castle. She then gave him
various instructions touching the road, which she apprehended he was
likely to mistake, not having travelled it above five or six times, and
possessing only the same slender proportion of memory as of judgment.
Lastly, she smuggled him out of the garrison through the pantry window
into the branchy yew-tree which grew close beside it, and had the
satisfaction to see him reach the bottom in safety, and take the right
turn at the commencement of his journey. She then returned to persuade
her young mistress to go to bed, and to lull her to rest, if possible,
with assurances of Gibbie’s success in his embassy, only qualified by a
passing regret that the trusty Cuddie, with whom the commission might
have been more safely reposed, was no longer within reach of serving her.

More fortunate as a messenger than as a cavalier, it was Gibbie’s good
hap rather than his good management, which, after he had gone astray not
oftener than nine times, and given his garments a taste of the variation
of each bog, brook, and slough, between Tillietudlem and Charnwood,
placed him about daybreak before the gate of Major Bellenden’s mansion,
having completed a walk of ten miles (for the bittock, as usual, amounted
to four) in little more than the same number of hours.



CHAPTER XI.

               At last comes the troop, by the word of command
               Drawn up in our court, where the Captain cries,
               Stand!
                                             Swift

Major Bellenden’s ancient valet, Gideon Pike as he adjusted his master’s
clothes by his bedside, preparatory to the worthy veteran’s toilet,
acquainted him, as an apology for disturbing him an hour earlier than his
usual time of rising, that there was an express from Tillietudlem.

“From Tillietudlem?” said the old gentleman, rising hastily in his bed,
and sitting bolt upright,--“Open the shutters, Pike--I hope my
sister-in-law is well--furl up the bed-curtain.--What have we all here?”
 (glancing at Edith’s note.) “The gout? why, she knows I have not had a
fit since Candlemas.--The wappen-schaw? I told her a month since I was
not to be there.--Paduasoy and hanging sleeves? why, hang the gipsy
herself!--Grand Cyrus and Philipdastus?--Philip Devil!--is the wench gone
crazy all at once? was it worth while to send an express and wake me
at five in the morning for all this trash?--But what says her
postscriptum?--Mercy on us!” he exclaimed on perusing it,--“Pike, saddle
old Kilsythe instantly, and another horse for yourself.”

“I hope nae ill news frae the Tower, sir?” said Pike, astonished at his
master’s sudden emotion.

“Yes--no--yes--that is, I must meet Claverhouse there on some express
business; so boot and saddle, Pike, as fast as you can.--O, Lord! what
times are these!--the poor lad--my old cronie’s son!--and the silly wench
sticks it into her postscriptum, as she calls it, at the tail of all this
trumpery about old gowns and new romances!”

In a few minutes the good old officer was fully equipped; and having
mounted upon his arm-gaunt charger as soberly as Mark Antony himself
could have done, he paced forth his way to the Tower of Tillietudlem.

On the road he formed the prudent resolution to say nothing to the old
lady (whose dislike to presbyterians of all kinds he knew to be
inveterate) of the quality and rank of the prisoner detained within her
walls, but to try his own influence with Claverhouse to obtain Morton’s
liberation.

“Being so loyal as he is, he must do something for so old a cavalier as I
am,” said the veteran to himself; “and if he is so good a soldier as the
world speaks of, why, he will be glad to serve an old soldier’s son. I
never knew a real soldier that was not a frank-hearted, honest fellow;
and I think the execution of the laws (though it’s a pity they find it
necessary to make them so severe) may be a thousand times better
intrusted with them than with peddling lawyers and thick-skulled country
gentlemen.”

Such were the ruminations of Major Miles Bellenden, which were terminated
by John Gudyill (not more than half-drunk) taking hold of his bridle, and
assisting him to dismount in the roughpaved court of Tillietudlem.

“Why, John,” said the veteran, “what devil of a discipline is this you
have been keeping? You have been reading Geneva print this morning
already.”

“I have been reading the Litany,” said John, shaking his head with a look
of drunken gravity, and having only caught one word of the Major’s
address to him; “life is short, sir; we are flowers of the field,
sir--hiccup--and lilies of the valley.”

“Flowers and lilies? Why, man, such carles as thou and I can hardly be
called better than old hemlocks, decayed nettles, or withered rag-weed;
but I suppose you think that we are still worth watering.”

“I am an old soldier, sir, I thank Heaven--hiccup”--

“An old skinker, you mean, John. But come, never mind, show me the way to
your mistress, old lad.”

John Gudyill led the way to the stone hall, where Lady Margaret was
fidgeting about, superintending, arranging, and re-forming the
preparations made for the reception of the celebrated Claverhouse, whom
one party honoured and extolled as a hero, and another execrated as a
bloodthirsty oppressor.

“Did I not tell you,” said Lady Margaret to her principal female
attendant--“did I not tell you, Mysie, that it was my especial pleasure
on this occasion to have every thing in the precise order wherein it was
upon that famous morning when his most sacred majesty partook of his
disjune at Tillietudlem?”

“Doubtless, such were your leddyship’s commands, and to the best of my
remembrance”--was Mysie answering, when her ladyship broke in with, “Then
wherefore is the venison pasty placed on the left side of the throne, and
the stoup of claret upon the right, when ye may right weel remember,
Mysie, that his most sacred majesty with his ain hand shifted the pasty
to the same side with the flagon, and said they were too good friends to
be parted?”

“I mind that weel, madam,” said Mysie; “and if I had forgot, I have heard
your leddyship often speak about that grand morning sin’ syne; but I
thought every thing was to be placed just as it was when his majesty, God
bless him, came into this room, looking mair like an angel than a man, if
he hadna been sae black-a-vised.”

“Then ye thought nonsense, Mysie; for in whatever way his most sacred
majesty ordered the position of the trenchers and flagons, that, as weel
as his royal pleasure in greater matters, should be a law to his
subjects, and shall ever be to those of the house of Tillietudlem.”

“Weel, madam,” said Mysie, making the alterations required, “it’s easy
mending the error; but if every thing is just to be as his majesty left
it, there should be an unco hole in the venison pasty.”

At this moment the door opened.

“Who is that, John Gudyill?” exclaimed the old lady. “I can speak to no
one just now.--Is it you, my dear brother?” she continued, in some
surprise, as the Major entered; “this is a right early visit.”

“Not more early than welcome, I hope,” replied Major Bellenden, as he
saluted the widow of his deceased brother; “but I heard by a note which
Edith sent to Charnwood about some of her equipage and books, that you
were to have Claver’se here this morning, so I thought, like an old
firelock as I am, that I should like to have a chat with this rising
soldier. I caused Pike saddle Kilsythe, and here we both are.”

“And most kindly welcome you are,” said the old lady; “it is just what I
should have prayed you to do, if I had thought there was time. You see I
am busy in preparation. All is to be in the same order as when”--“The
king breakfasted at Tillietudlem,” said the Major, who, like all Lady
Margaret’s friends, dreaded the commencement of that narrative, and was
desirous to cut it short,--“I remember it well; you know I was waiting on
his majesty.”

“You were, brother,” said Lady Margaret; “and perhaps you can help me to
remember the order of the entertainment.”

“Nay, good sooth,” said the Major, “the damnable dinner that Noll gave us
at Worcester a few days afterwards drove all your good cheer out of my
memory.--But how’s this?--you have even the great Turkey-leather
elbow-chair, with the tapestry cushions, placed in state.”

“The throne, brother, if you please,” said Lady Margaret, gravely.

“Well, the throne be it, then,” continued the Major. “Is that to be
Claver’se’s post in the attack upon the pasty?”

“No, brother,” said the lady; “as these cushions have been once honoured
by accommodating the person of our most sacred Monarch, they shall never,
please Heaven, during my life-time, be pressed by any less dignified
weight.”

“You should not then,” said the old soldier, “put them in the way of an
honest old cavalier, who has ridden ten miles before breakfast; for, to
confess the truth, they look very inviting. But where is Edith?”

“On the battlements of the warder’s turret,” answered the old lady,
“looking out for the approach of our guests.”

“Why, I’ll go there too; and so should you, Lady Margaret, as soon as you
have your line of battle properly formed in the hall here. It’s a pretty
thing, I can tell you, to see a regiment of horse upon the march.”

Thus speaking, he offered his arm with an air of old-fashioned gallantry,
which Lady Margaret accepted with such a courtesy of acknowledgment as
ladies were wont to make in Holyroodhouse before the year 1642, which,
for one while, drove both courtesies and courts out of fashion.

Upon the bartizan of the turret, to which they ascended by many a winding
passage and uncouth staircase, they found Edith, not in the attitude of a
young lady who watches with fluttering curiosity the approach of a smart
regiment of dragoons, but pale, downcast, and evincing, by her
countenance, that sleep had not, during the preceding night, been the
companion of her pillow. The good old veteran was hurt at her appearance,
which, in the hurry of preparation, her grandmother had omitted to
notice.

“What is come over you, you silly girl?” he said; “why, you look like an
officer’s wife when she opens the News-letter after an action, and
expects to find her husband among the killed and wounded. But I know the
reason--you will persist in reading these nonsensical romances, day and
night, and whimpering for distresses that never existed. Why, how the
devil can you believe that Artamines, or what d’ye call him, fought
singlehanded with a whole battalion? One to three is as great odds as
ever fought and won, and I never knew any body that cared to take that,
except old Corporal Raddlebanes. But these d--d books put all pretty
men’s actions out of countenance. I daresay you would think very little
of Raddlebanes, if he were alongside of Artamines.--I would have the
fellows that write such nonsense brought to the picquet for
leasing-making.”

     [Note:  Romances of the Seventeenth Century. As few, in the present
     age, are acquainted with the ponderous folios to which the age of
     Louis XIV. gave rise, we need only say, that they combine the
     dulness of the metaphysical courtship with all the improbabilities
     of the ancient Romance of Chivalry. Their character will be most
     easily learned from Boileau’s Dramatic Satire, or Mrs Lennox’s
     Female Quixote.]

Lady Margaret, herself somewhat attached to the perusal of romances, took
up the cudgels. “Monsieur Scuderi,” she said, “is a soldier, brother;
and, as I have heard, a complete one, and so is the Sieur d’Urfe.”

“More shame for them; they should have known better what they were
writing about. For my part, I have not read a book these twenty years
except my Bible, The Whole Duty of Man, and, of late days, Turner’s
Pallas Armata, or Treatise on the Ordering of the Pike Exercise, and I
don’t like his discipline much neither.

     [Note:  Sir James Turner. Sir James Turner was a soldier of fortune,
     bred in the civil wars. He was intrusted with a commission to levy
     the fines imposed by the Privy Council for non-conformity, in the
     district of Dumfries and Galloway. In this capacity he vexed the
     country so much by his exactions, that the people rose and made him
     prisoner, and then proceeded in arms towards Mid-Lothian, where they
     were defeated at Pentland Hills, in 1666. Besides his treatise on
     the Military Art, Sir James Turner wrote several other works; the
     most curious of which is his Memoirs of his own Life and Times,
     which has just been printed, under the charge of the Bannatyne
     Club.]

He wants to draw up the cavalry in front of a stand of pikes, instead of
being upon the wings. Sure am I, if we had done so at Kilsythe, instead
of having our handful of horse on the flanks, the first discharge would
have sent them back among our Highlanders.--But I hear the kettle-drums.”

All heads were now bent from the battlements of the turret, which
commanded a distant prospect down the vale of the river. The Tower of
Tillietudlem stood, or perhaps yet stands, upon the angle of a very
precipitous bank, formed by the junction of a considerable brook with the
Clyde.

     [Note: The Castle of Tillietudlem is imaginary; but the ruins of
     Craignethan Castle, situated on the Nethan, about three miles from
     its junction with the Clyde, have something of the character of the
     description in the text].

There was a narrow bridge of one steep arch, across the brook near its
mouth, over which, and along the foot of the high and broken bank, winded
the public road; and the fortalice, thus commanding both bridge and pass,
had been, in times of war, a post of considerable importance, the
possession of which was necessary to secure the communication of the
upper and wilder districts of the country with those beneath, where the
valley expands, and is more capable of cultivation. The view downwards is
of a grand woodland character; but the level ground and gentle slopes
near the river form cultivated fields of an irregular shape, interspersed
with hedgerow-trees and copses, the enclosures seeming to have been
individually cleared out of the forest which surrounds them, and which
occupies, in unbroken masses, the steeper declivities and more distant
banks. The stream, in colour a clear and sparkling brown, like the hue of
the Cairngorm pebbles, rushes through this romantic region in bold sweeps
and curves, partly visible and partly concealed by the trees which clothe
its banks. With a providence unknown in other parts of Scotland, the
peasants have, in most places, planted orchards around their cottages,
and the general blossom of the appletrees at this season of the year gave
all the lower part of the view the appearance of a flower-garden.

Looking up the river, the character of the scene was varied considerably
for the worse. A hilly, waste, and uncultivated country approached close
to the banks; the trees were few, and limited to the neighbourhood of the
stream, and the rude moors swelled at a little distance into shapeless
and heavy hills, which were again surmounted in their turn by a range of
lofty mountains, dimly seen on the horizon. Thus the tower commanded two
prospects, the one richly cultivated and highly adorned, the other
exhibiting the monotonous and dreary character of a wild and inhospitable
moorland.

The eyes of the spectators on the present occasion were attracted to the
downward view, not alone by its superior beauty, but because the distant
sounds of military music began to be heard from the public high-road
which winded up the vale, and announced the approach of the expected body
of cavalry. Their glimmering ranks were shortly afterwards seen in the
distance, appearing and disappearing as the trees and the windings of the
road permitted them to be visible, and distinguished chiefly by the
flashes of light which their arms occasionally reflected against the sun.
The train was long and imposing, for there were about two hundred and
fifty horse upon the march, and the glancing of the swords and waving of
their banners, joined to the clang of their trumpets and kettle-drums,
had at once a lively and awful effect upon the imagination. As they
advanced still nearer and nearer, they could distinctly see the files of
those chosen troops following each other in long succession, completely
equipped and superbly mounted.

“It’s a sight that makes me thirty years younger,” said the old cavalier;
“and yet I do not much like the service that these poor fellows are to be
engaged in. Although I had my share of the civil war, I cannot say I had
ever so much real pleasure in that sort of service as when I was employed
on the Continent, and we were hacking at fellows with foreign faces and
outlandish dialect. It’s a hard thing to hear a hamely Scotch tongue cry
quarter, and be obliged to cut him down just the same as if he called out
_misricorde_.--So, there they come through the Netherwood haugh; upon my
word, fine-looking fellows, and capitally mounted.--He that is gallopping
from the rear of the column must be Claver’se himself;--ay, he gets into
the front as they cross the bridge, and now they will be with us in less
than five minutes.”


[Illustration: Edith on the Battlements--frontispiece]


At the bridge beneath the tower the cavalry divided, and the greater
part, moving up the left bank of the brook and crossing at a ford a
little above, took the road of the Grange, as it was called, a large set
of farm-offices belonging to the Tower, where Lady Margaret had ordered
preparation to be made for their reception and suitable entertainment.
The officers alone, with their colours and an escort to guard them, were
seen to take the steep road up to the gate of the Tower, appearing by
intervals as they gained the ascent, and again hidden by projections of
the bank and of the huge old trees with which it is covered. When they
emerged from this narrow path, they found themselves in front of the old
Tower, the gates of which were hospitably open for their reception. Lady
Margaret, with Edith and her brother-in-law, having hastily descended
from their post of observation, appeared to meet and to welcome their
guests, with a retinue of domestics in as good order as the orgies of the
preceding evening permitted. The gallant young cornet (a relation as well
as namesake of Claverhouse, with whom the reader has been already made
acquainted) lowered the standard amid the fanfare of the trumpets, in
homage to the rank of Lady Margaret and the charms of her grand-daughter,
and the old walls echoed to the flourish of the instruments, and the
stamp and neigh of the chargers.

     [Note:  John Grahame of Claverhouse. This remarkable person united
     the seemingly inconsistent qualities of courage and cruelty, a
     disinterested and devoted loyalty to his prince, with a disregard of
     the rights of his fellow-subjects. He was the unscrupulous agent of
     the Scottish Privy Council in executing the merciless severities of
     the government in Scotland during the reigns of Charles II. and
     James II.; but he redeemed his character by the zeal with which he
     asserted the cause of the latter monarch after the Revolution, the
     military skill with which he supported it at the battle of
     Killiecrankie, and by his own death in the arms of victory.

     It is said by tradition, that he was very desirous to see, and be
     introduced to, a certain Lady Elphinstoun, who had reached the
     advanced age of one hundred years and upwards. The noble matron,
     being a stanch whig, was rather unwilling to receive Claver’se, (as
     he was called from his title,) but at length consented. After the
     usual compliments, the officer observed to the lady, that having
     lived so much beyond the usual term of humanity, she must in her
     time have seen many strange changes. “Hout na, sir,” said Lady
     Elphinstoun, “the world is just to end with me as it began. When I
     was entering life, there was ane Knox deaving us a’ wi’ his clavers,
     and now I am ganging out, there is ane Claver’se deaving us a’ wi’
     his knocks.”

     Clavers signifying, in common parlance, idle chat, the double pun
     does credit to the ingenuity of a lady of a hundred years old.]

Claverhouse himself alighted from a black horse, the most beautiful
perhaps in Scotland. He had not a single white hair upon his whole body,
a circumstance which, joined to his spirit and fleetness, and to his
being so frequently employed in pursuit of the presbyterian recusants,
caused an opinion to prevail among them, that the steed had been
presented to his rider by the great Enemy of Mankind, in order to assist
him in persecuting the fugitive wanderers. When Claverhouse had paid his
respects to the ladies with military politeness, had apologized for the
trouble to which he was putting Lady Margaret’s family, and had received
the corresponding assurances that she could not think any thing an
inconvenience which brought within the walls of Tillietudlem so
distinguished a soldier, and so loyal a servant of his sacred majesty;
when, in short, all forms of hospitable and polite ritual had been duly
complied with, the Colonel requested permission to receive the report of
Bothwell, who was now in attendance, and with whom he spoke apart for a
few minutes. Major Bellenden took that opportunity to say to his niece,
without the hearing of her grandmother, “What a trifling foolish girl you
are, Edith, to send me by express a letter crammed with nonsense about
books and gowns, and to slide the only thing I cared a marvedie about
into the postscript!”

“I did not know,” said Edith, hesitating very much, “whether it would be
quite--quite proper for me to”--“I know what you would say--whether it
would be right to take any interest in a presbyterian. But I knew this
lad’s father well. He was a brave soldier; and, if he was once wrong, he
was once right too. I must commend your caution, Edith, for having said
nothing of this young gentleman’s affair to your grandmother--you may
rely on it I shall not--I will take an opportunity to speak to Claver’se.
Come, my love, they are going to breakfast. Let us follow them.”



CHAPTER XII.

               Their breakfast so warm to be sure they did eat,
               A custom in travellers mighty discreet.
                                                  Prior.

The breakfast of Lady Margaret Bellenden no more resembled a modern
_dejune_, than the great stone-hall at Tillietudlem could brook
comparison with a modern drawing-room. No tea, no coffee, no variety of
rolls, but solid and substantial viands,--the priestly ham, the knightly
sirloin, the noble baron of beef, the princely venison pasty; while
silver flagons, saved with difficulty from the claws of the Covenanters,
now mantled, some with ale, some with mead, and some with generous wine
of various qualities and descriptions. The appetites of the guests were
in correspondence to the magnificence and solidity of the preparation--no
piddling--no boy’s-play, but that steady and persevering exercise of the
jaws which is best learned by early morning hours, and by occasional hard
commons.

Lady Margaret beheld with delight the cates which she had provided
descending with such alacrity into the persons of her honoured guests,
and had little occasion to exercise, with respect to any of the company
saving Claverhouse himself, the compulsory urgency of pressing to eat, to
which, as to the peine forte et dure, the ladies of that period were in
the custom of subjecting their guests.

But the leader himself, more anxious to pay courtesy to Miss Bellenden,
next whom he was placed, than to gratify his appetite, appeared somewhat
negligent of the good cheer set before him. Edith heard, without reply,
many courtly speeches addressed to her, in a tone of voice of that happy
modulation which could alike melt in the low tones of interesting
conversation, and rise amid the din of battle, “loud as a trumpet with a
silver sound.” The sense that she was in the presence of the dreadful
chief upon whose fiat the fate of Henry Morton must depend--the
recollection of the terror and awe which were attached to the very name
of the commander, deprived her for some time, not only of the courage to
answer, but even of the power of looking upon him. But when, emboldened
by the soothing tones of his voice, she lifted her eyes to frame some
reply, the person on whom she looked bore, in his appearance at least,
none of the terrible attributes in which her apprehensions had arrayed
him.

Grahame of Claverhouse was in the prime of life, rather low of stature,
and slightly, though elegantly, formed; his gesture, language, and
manners, were those of one whose life had been spent among the noble and
the gay. His features exhibited even feminine regularity. An oval face, a
straight and well-formed nose, dark hazel eyes, a complexion just
sufficiently tinged with brown to save it from the charge of effeminacy,
a short upper lip, curved upward like that of a Grecian statue, and
slightly shaded by small mustachios of light brown, joined to a profusion
of long curled locks of the same colour, which fell down on each side of
his face, contributed to form such a countenance as limners love to paint
and ladies to look upon.

The severity of his character, as well as the higher attributes of
undaunted and enterprising valour which even his enemies were compelled
to admit, lay concealed under an exterior which seemed adapted to the
court or the saloon rather than to the field. The same gentleness and
gaiety of expression which reigned in his features seemed to inspire his
actions and gestures; and, on the whole, he was generally esteemed, at
first sight, rather qualified to be the votary of pleasure than of
ambition. But under this soft exterior was hidden a spirit unbounded in
daring and in aspiring, yet cautious and prudent as that of Machiavel
himself. Profound in politics, and embued, of course, with that disregard
for individual rights which its intrigues usually generate, this leader
was cool and collected in danger, fierce and ardent in pursuing success,
careless of facing death himself, and ruthless in inflicting it upon
others. Such are the characters formed in times of civil discord, when
the highest qualities, perverted by party spirit, and inflamed by
habitual opposition, are too often combined with vices and excesses which
deprive them at once of their merit and of their lustre.

In endeavouring to reply to the polite trifles with which Claverhouse
accosted her, Edith showed so much confusion, that her grandmother
thought it necessary to come to her relief.

“Edith Bellenden,” said the old lady, “has, from my retired mode of
living, seen so little of those of her own sphere, that truly she can
hardly frame her speech to suitable answers. A soldier is so rare a sight
with us, Colonel Grahame, that unless it be my young Lord Evandale, we
have hardly had an opportunity of receiving a gentleman in uniform. And,
now I talk of that excellent young nobleman, may I enquire if I was not
to have had the honour of seeing him this morning with the regiment?”

“Lord Evandale, madam, was on his march with us,” answered the leader,
“but I was obliged to detach him with a small party to disperse a
conventicle of those troublesome scoundrels, who have had the impudence
to assemble within five miles of my head-quarters.”

“Indeed!” said the old lady; “that is a height of presumption to which I
would have thought no rebellious fanatics would have ventured to aspire.
But these are strange times! There is an evil spirit in the land, Colonel
Grahame, that excites the vassals of persons of rank to rebel against the
very house that holds and feeds them. There was one of my able-bodied men
the other day who plainly refused to attend the wappen-schaw at my
bidding. Is there no law for such recusancy, Colonel Grahame?”

“I think I could find one,” said Claverhouse, with great composure, “if
your ladyship will inform me of the name and residence of the culprit.”

“His name,” said Lady Margaret, “is Cuthbert Headrigg; I can say nothing
of his domicile, for ye may weel believe, Colonel Grahame, he did not
dwell long in Tillietudlem, but was speedily expelled for his contumacy.
I wish the lad no severe bodily injury; but incarceration, or even a few
stripes, would be a good example in this neighbourhood. His mother, under
whose influence I doubt he acted, is an ancient domestic of this family,
which makes me incline to mercy; although,” continued the old lady,
looking towards the pictures of her husband and her sons, with which the
wall was hung, and heaving, at the same time, a deep sigh, “I, Colonel
Grahame, have in my ain person but little right to compassionate that
stubborn and rebellious generation. They have made me a childless widow,
and, but for the protection of our sacred sovereign and his gallant
soldiers, they would soon deprive me of lands and goods, of hearth and
altar. Seven of my tenants, whose joint rent-mail may mount to wellnigh a
hundred merks, have already refused to pay either cess or rent, and had
the assurance to tell my steward that they would acknowledge neither king
nor landlord but who should have taken the Covenant.”

“I will take a course with them--that is, with your ladyship’s
permission,” answered Claverhouse; “it would ill become me to neglect the
support of lawful authority when it is lodged in such worthy hands as
those of Lady Margaret Bellenden. But I must needs say this country grows
worse and worse daily, and reduces me to the necessity of taking measures
with the recusants that are much more consonant with my duty than with my
inclinations. And, speaking of this, I must not forget that I have to
thank your ladyship for the hospitality you have been pleased to extend
to a party of mine who have brought in a prisoner, charged with having
resetted [Note: Resetted, i.e. received or harboured.] the murdering
villain, Balfour of Burley.”

“The house of Tillietudlem,” answered the lady, “hath ever been open to
the servants of his majesty, and I hope that the stones of it will no
longer rest on each other when it surceases to be as much at their
command as at ours. And this reminds me, Colonel Grahame, that the
gentleman who commands the party can hardly be said to be in his proper
place in the army, considering whose blood flows in his veins; and if I
might flatter myself that any thing would be granted to my request, I
would presume to entreat that he might be promoted on some favourable
opportunity.”

“Your ladyship means Sergeant Francis Stewart, whom we call Bothwell?”
 said Claverhouse, smiling. “The truth is, he is a little too rough in the
country, and has not been uniformly so amenable to discipline as the
rules of the service require. But to instruct me how to oblige Lady
Margaret Bellenden, is to lay down the law to me.--Bothwell,” he
continued, addressing the sergeant, who just then appeared at the door,
“go kiss Lady Margaret Bellenden’s hand, who interests herself in your
promotion, and you shall have a commission the first vacancy.”

Bothwell went through the salutation in the manner prescribed, but not
without evident marks of haughty reluctance, and, when he had done so,
said aloud, “To kiss a lady’s hand can never disgrace a gentleman; but I
would not kiss a man’s, save the king’s, to be made a general.”

“You hear him,” said Claverhouse, smiling, “there’s the rock he splits
upon; he cannot forget his pedigree.”

“I know, my noble colonel,” said Bothwell, in the same tone, “that you
will not forget your promise; and then, perhaps, you may permit Cornet
Stewart to have some recollection of his grandfather, though the Sergeant
must forget him.”

“Enough of this, sir,” said Claverhouse, in the tone of command which was
familiar to him; “and let me know what you came to report to me just
now.”

“My Lord Evandale and his party have halted on the high-road with some
prisoners,” said Bothwell.

“My Lord Evandale?” said Lady Margaret. “Surely, Colonel Grahame, you
will permit him to honour me with his society, and to take his poor
disjune here, especially considering, that even his most sacred Majesty
did not pass the Tower of Tillietudlem without halting to partake of some
refreshment.”

As this was the third time in the course of the conversation that Lady
Margaret had adverted to this distinguished event, Colonel Grahame, as
speedily as politeness would permit, took advantage of the first pause to
interrupt the farther progress of the narrative, by saying, “We are
already too numerous a party of guests; but as I know what Lord Evandale
will suffer (looking towards Edith) if deprived of the pleasure which we
enjoy, I will run the risk of overburdening your ladyship’s
hospitality.--Bothwell, let Lord Evandale know that Lady Margaret
Bellenden requests the honour of his company.”

“And let Harrison take care,” added Lady Margaret, “that the people and
their horses are suitably seen to.”

Edith’s heart sprung to her lips during this conversation; for it
instantly occurred to her, that, through her influence over Lord
Evandale, she might find some means of releasing Morton from his present
state of danger, in case her uncle’s intercession with Claverhouse should
prove ineffectual. At any other time she would have been much averse to
exert this influence; for, however inexperienced in the world, her native
delicacy taught her the advantage which a beautiful young woman gives to
a young man when she permits him to lay her under an obligation. And she
would have been the farther disinclined to request any favour of Lord
Evandale, because the voice of the gossips in Clydesdale had, for reasons
hereafter to be made known, assigned him to her as a suitor, and because
she could not disguise from herself that very little encouragement was
necessary to realize conjectures which had hitherto no foundation. This
was the more to be dreaded, that, in the case of Lord Evandale’s making a
formal declaration, he had every chance of being supported by the
influence of Lady Margaret and her other friends, and that she would have
nothing to oppose to their solicitations and authority, except a
predilection, to avow which she knew would be equally dangerous and
unavailing. She determined, therefore, to wait the issue of her uncle’s
intercession, and, should it fail, which she conjectured she should soon
learn, either from the looks or language of the open-hearted veteran, she
would then, as a last effort, make use in Morton’s favour of her interest
with Lord Evandale. Her mind did not long remain in suspense on the
subject of her uncle’s application.

Major Bellenden, who had done the honours of the table, laughing and
chatting with the military guests who were at that end of the board, was
now, by the conclusion of the repast, at liberty to leave his station,
and accordingly took an opportunity to approach Claverhouse, requesting
from his niece, at the same time, the honour of a particular
introduction. As his name and character were well known, the two military
men met with expressions of mutual regard; and Edith, with a beating
heart, saw her aged relative withdraw from the company, together with his
new acquaintance, into a recess formed by one of the arched windows of
the hall. She watched their conference with eyes almost dazzled by the
eagerness of suspense, and, with observation rendered more acute by the
internal agony of her mind, could guess, from the pantomimic gestures
which accompanied the conversation, the progress and fate of the
intercession in behalf of Henry Morton.

The first expression of the countenance of Claverhouse betokened that
open and willing courtesy, which, ere it requires to know the nature of
the favour asked, seems to say, how happy the party will be to confer an
obligation on the suppliant. But as the conversation proceeded, the brow
of that officer became darker and more severe, and his features, though
still retaining the expression of the most perfect politeness, assumed,
at least to Edith’s terrified imagination, a harsh and inexorable
character. His lip was now compressed as if with impatience; now curled
slightly upward, as if in civil contempt of the arguments urged by Major
Bellenden. The language of her uncle, as far as expressed in his manner,
appeared to be that of earnest intercession, urged with all the
affectionate simplicity of his character, as well as with the weight
which his age and reputation entitled him to use. But it seemed to have
little impression upon Colonel Grahame, who soon changed his posture, as
if about to cut short the Major’s importunity, and to break up their
conference with a courtly expression of regret, calculated to accompany a
positive refusal of the request solicited. This movement brought them so
near Edith, that she could distinctly hear Claverhouse say, “It cannot
be, Major Bellenden; lenity, in his case, is altogether beyond the bounds
of my commission, though in any thing else I am heartily desirous to
oblige you.--And here comes Evandale with news, as I think.--What tidings
do you bring us, Evandale?” he continued, addressing the young lord, who
now entered in complete uniform, but with his dress disordered, and his
boots spattered, as if by riding hard.


[Illustration: Claverhouse--176]


“Unpleasant news, sir,” was his reply. “A large body of whigs are in arms
among the hills, and have broken out into actual rebellion. They have
publicly burnt the Act of Supremacy, that which established episcopacy,
that for observing the martyrdom of Charles I., and some others, and have
declared their intention to remain together in arms for furthering the
covenanted work of reformation.”

This unexpected intelligence struck a sudden and painful surprise into
the minds of all who heard it, excepting Claverhouse.

“Unpleasant news call you them?” replied Colonel Grahame, his dark eyes
flashing fire, “they are the best I have heard these six months. Now that
the scoundrels are drawn into a body, we will make short work with them.
When the adder crawls into daylight,” he added, striking the heel of his
boot upon the floor, as if in the act of crushing a noxious reptile, “I
can trample him to death; he is only safe when he remains lurking in his
den or morass.--Where are these knaves?” he continued, addressing Lord
Evandale.

“About ten miles off among the mountains, at a place called Loudon-hill,”
 was the young nobleman’s reply. “I dispersed the conventicle against
which you sent me, and made prisoner an old trumpeter of rebellion,--an
intercommuned minister, that is to say,--who was in the act of exhorting
his hearers to rise and be doing in the good cause, as well as one or two
of his hearers who seemed to be particularly insolent; and from some
country people and scouts I learned what I now tell you.”

“What may be their strength?” asked his commander.

“Probably a thousand men, but accounts differ widely.”

“Then,” said Claverhouse, “it is time for us to be up and be doing
also--Bothwell, bid them sound to horse.”

Bothwell, who, like the war-horse of scripture, snuffed the battle afar
off, hastened to give orders to six negroes, in white dresses richly
laced, and having massive silver collars and armlets. These sable
functionaries acted as trumpeters, and speedily made the castle and the
woods around it ring with their summons.

“Must you then leave us?” said Lady Margaret, her heart sinking under
recollection of former unhappy times; “had ye not better send to learn
the force of the rebels?--O, how many a fair face hae I heard these
fearfu’ sounds call away frae the Tower of Tillietudlem, that my auld een
were ne’er to see return to it!”

“It is impossible for me to stop,” said Claverhouse; “there are rogues
enough in this country to make the rebels five times their strength, if
they are not checked at once.”

“Many,” said Evandale, “are flocking to them already, and they give out
that they expect a strong body of the indulged presbyterians, headed by
young Milnwood, as they call him, the son of the famous old roundhead,
Colonel Silas Morton.”

This speech produced a very different effect upon the hearers. Edith
almost sunk from her seat with terror, while Claverhouse darted a glance
of sarcastic triumph at Major Bellenden, which seemed to imply--“You see
what are the principles of the young man you are pleading for.”

“It’s a lie--it’s a d--d lie of these rascally fanatics,” said the Major
hastily. “I will answer for Henry Morton as I would for my own son. He is
a lad of as good church-principles as any gentleman in the Life-Guards. I
mean no offence to any one. He has gone to church service with me fifty
times, and I never heard him miss one of the responses in my life. Edith
Bellenden can bear witness to it as well as I. He always read on the same
Prayer-book with her, and could look out the lessons as well as the
curate himself. Call him up; let him be heard for himself.”

“There can be no harm in that,” said Claverhouse, “whether he be innocent
or guilty.--Major Allan,” he said, turning to the officer next in
command, “take a guide, and lead the regiment forward to Loudon-hill by
the best and shortest road. Move steadily, and do not let the men blow
the horses; Lord Evandale and I will overtake you in a quarter of an
hour. Leave Bothwell with a party to bring up the prisoners.”

Allan bowed, and left the apartment, with all the officers, excepting
Claverhouse and the young nobleman. In a few minutes the sound of the
military music and the clashing of hoofs announced that the horsemen were
leaving the castle. The sounds were presently heard only at intervals,
and soon died away entirely.

While Claverhouse endeavoured to soothe the terrors of Lady Margaret, and
to reconcile the veteran Major to his opinion of Morton, Evandale,
getting the better of that conscious shyness which renders an ingenuous
youth diffident in approaching the object of his affections, drew near to
Miss Bellenden, and accosted her in a tone of mingled respect and
interest.

“We are to leave you,” he said, taking her hand, which he pressed with
much emotion--“to leave you for a scene which is not without its dangers.
Farewell, dear Miss Bellenden;--let me say for the first, and perhaps the
last time, dear Edith! We part in circumstances so singular as may excuse
some solemnity in bidding farewell to one, whom I have known so long, and
whom I--respect so highly.”

The manner differing from the words, seemed to express a feeling much
deeper and more agitating than was conveyed in the phrase he made use of.
It was not in woman to be utterly insensible to his modest and deep-felt
expression of tenderness. Although borne down by the misfortunes and
imminent danger of the man she loved, Edith was touched by the hopeless
and reverential passion of the gallant youth, who now took leave of her
to rush into dangers of no ordinary description.

“I hope--I sincerely trust,” she said, “there is no danger. I hope there
is no occasion for this solemn ceremonial--that these hasty insurgents
will be dispersed rather by fear than force, and that Lord Evandale will
speedily return to be what he must always be, the dear and valued friend
of all in this castle.”

“Of all,” he repeated, with a melancholy emphasis upon the word. “But be
it so--whatever is near you is dear and valued to me, and I value their
approbation accordingly. Of our success I am not sanguine. Our numbers
are so few, that I dare not hope for so speedy, so bloodless, or so safe
an end of this unhappy disturbance. These men are enthusiastic, resolute,
and desperate, and have leaders not altogether unskilled in military
matters. I cannot help thinking that the impetuosity of our Colonel is
hurrying us against them rather prematurely. But there are few that have
less reason to shun danger than I have.”

Edith had now the opportunity she wished to bespeak the young nobleman’s
intercession and protection for Henry Morton, and it seemed the only
remaining channel of interest by which he could be rescued from impending
destruction. Yet she felt at that moment as if, in doing so, she was
abusing the partiality and confidence of the lover, whose heart was as
open before her, as if his tongue had made an express declaration. Could
she with honour engage Lord Evandale in the service of a rival? or could
she with prudence make him any request, or lay herself under any
obligation to him, without affording ground for hopes which she could
never realize? But the moment was too urgent for hesitation, or even for
those explanations with which her request might otherwise have been
qualified.

“I will but dispose of this young fellow,” said Claverhouse, from the
other side of the hall, “and then, Lord Evandale--I am sorry to interrupt
again your conversation--but then we must mount.--Bothwell, why do not
you bring up the prisoner? and, hark ye, let two files load their
carabines.”

In these words, Edith conceived she heard the death-warrant of her lover.
She instantly broke through the restraint which had hitherto kept her
silent.

“My Lord Evandale,” she said, “this young gentleman is a particular
friend of my uncle’s--your interest must be great with your colonel--let
me request your intercession in his favour--it will confer on my uncle a
lasting obligation.”

“You overrate my interest, Miss Bellenden,” said Lord Evandale; “I have
been often unsuccessful in such applications, when I have made them on
the mere score of humanity.”

“Yet try once again for my uncle’s sake.”

“And why not for your own?” said Lord Evandale. “Will you not allow me to
think I am obliging you personally in this matter?--Are you so diffident
of an old friend that you will not allow him even the satisfaction of
thinking that he is gratifying your wishes?”

“Surely--surely,” replied Edith; “you will oblige me infinitely--I am
interested in the young gentleman on my uncle’s account--Lose no time,
for God’s sake!”

She became bolder and more urgent in her entreaties, for she heard the
steps of the soldiers who were entering with their prisoner.

“By heaven! then,” said Evandale, “he shall not die, if I should die in
his place!--But will not you,” he said, resuming the hand, which in the
hurry of her spirits she had not courage to withdraw, “will not you grant
me one suit, in return for my zeal in your service?”

“Any thing you can ask, my Lord Evandale, that sisterly affection can
give.”

“And is this all,” he continued, “all you can grant to my affection
living, or my memory when dead?”

“Do not speak thus, my lord,” said Edith, “you distress me, and do
injustice to yourself. There is no friend I esteem more highly, or to
whom I would more readily grant every mark of regard--providing--But”--A
deep sigh made her turn her head suddenly, ere she had well uttered the
last word; and, as she hesitated how to frame the exception with which
she meant to close the sentence, she became instantly aware she had been
overheard by Morton, who, heavily ironed and guarded by soldiers, was now
passing behind her in order to be presented to Claverhouse. As their eyes
met each other, the sad and reproachful expression of Morton’s glance
seemed to imply that he had partially heard, and altogether
misinterpreted, the conversation which had just passed. There wanted but
this to complete Edith’s distress and confusion. Her blood, which rushed
to her brow, made a sudden revulsion to her heart, and left her as pale
as death. This change did not escape the attention of Evandale, whose
quick glance easily discovered that there was between the prisoner and
the object of his own attachment, some singular and uncommon connexion.
He resigned the hand of Miss Bellenden, again surveyed the prisoner with
more attention, again looked at Edith, and plainly observed the confusion
which she could no longer conceal.

“This,” he said, after a moment’s gloomy silence, “is, I believe, the
young gentleman who gained the prize at the shooting match.”

“I am not sure,” hesitated Edith--“yet--I rather think not,” scarce
knowing what she replied.

“It is he,” said Evandale, decidedly; “I know him well. A victor,” he
continued, somewhat haughtily, “ought to have interested a fair spectator
more deeply.”

He then turned from Edith, and advancing towards the table at which
Claverhouse now placed himself, stood at a little distance, resting on
his sheathed broadsword, a silent, but not an unconcerned, spectator of
that which passed.



CHAPTER XIII.

                    O, my Lord, beware of jealousy!
                                        Othello.

To explain the deep effect which the few broken passages of the
conversation we have detailed made upon the unfortunate prisoner by whom
they were overheard, it is necessary to say something of his previous
state of mind, and of the origin of his acquaintance with Edith.

Henry Morton was one of those gifted characters, which possess a force of
talent unsuspected by the owner himself. He had inherited from his father
an undaunted courage, and a firm and uncompromising detestation of
oppression, whether in politics or religion. But his enthusiasm was
unsullied by fanatic zeal, and unleavened by the sourness of the
puritanical spirit. From these his mind had been freed, partly by the
active exertions of his own excellent understanding, partly by frequent
and long visits at Major Bellenden’s, where he had an opportunity of
meeting with many guests whose conversation taught him, that goodness and
worth were not limited to those of any single form of religious
observance.

The base parsimony of his uncle had thrown many obstacles in the way of
his education; but he had so far improved the opportunities which offered
themselves, that his instructors as well as his friends were surprised at
his progress under such disadvantages. Still, however, the current of his
soul was frozen by a sense of dependence, of poverty, above all, of an
imperfect and limited education. These feelings impressed him with a
diffidence and reserve which effectually concealed from all but very
intimate friends, the extent of talent and the firmness of character,
which we have stated him to be possessed of. The circumstances of the
times had added to this reserve an air of indecision and of indifference;
for, being attached to neither of the factions which divided the kingdom,
he passed for dull, insensible, and uninfluenced by the feeling of
religion or of patriotism. No conclusion, however, could be more unjust;
and the reasons of the neutrality which he had hitherto professed had
root in very different and most praiseworthy motives. He had formed few
congenial ties with those who were the objects of persecution, and was
disgusted alike by their narrow-minded and selfish party-spirit, their
gloomy fanaticism, their abhorrent condemnation of all elegant studies or
innocent exercises, and the envenomed rancour of their political hatred.
But his mind was still more revolted by the tyrannical and oppressive
conduct of the government, the misrule, license, and brutality of the
soldiery, the executions on the scaffold, the slaughters in the open
field, the free quarters and exactions imposed by military law, which
placed the lives and fortunes of a free people on a level with Asiatic
slaves. Condemning, therefore, each party as its excesses fell under his
eyes, disgusted with the sight of evils which he had no means of
alleviating, and hearing alternate complaints and exultations with which
he could not sympathize, he would long ere this have left Scotland, had
it not been for his attachment to Edith Bellenden.

The earlier meetings of these young people had been at Charnwood, when
Major Bellenden, who was as free from suspicion on such occasions as
Uncle Toby himself, had encouraged their keeping each other constant
company, without entertaining any apprehension of the natural
consequences. Love, as usual in such cases, borrowed the name of
friendship, used her language, and claimed her privileges. When Edith
Bellenden was recalled to her mother’s castle, it was astonishing by what
singular and recurring accidents she often met young Morton in her
sequestered walks, especially considering the distance of their places of
abode. Yet it somehow happened that she never expressed the surprise
which the frequency of these rencontres ought naturally to have excited,
and that their intercourse assumed gradually a more delicate character,
and their meetings began to wear the air of appointments. Books,
drawings, letters, were exchanged between them, and every trifling
commission, given or executed, gave rise to a new correspondence. Love
indeed was not yet mentioned between them by name, but each knew the
situation of their own bosom, and could not but guess at that of the
other. Unable to desist from an intercourse which possessed such charms
for both, yet trembling for its too probable consequences, it had been
continued without specific explanation until now, when fate appeared to
have taken the conclusion into its own hands.

It followed, as a consequence of this state of things, as well as of the
diffidence of Morton’s disposition at this period, that his confidence in
Edith’s return of his affection had its occasional cold fits. Her
situations was in every respect so superior to his own, her worth so
eminent, her accomplishments so many, her face so beautiful, and her
manners so bewitching, that he could not but entertain fears that some
suitor more favoured than himself by fortune, and more acceptable to
Edith’s family than he durst hope to be, might step in between him and
the object of his affections. Common rumour had raised up such a rival in
Lord Evandale, whom birth, fortune, connexions, and political principles,
as well as his frequent visits at Tillietudlem, and his attendance upon
Lady Bellenden and her niece at all public places, naturally pointed out
as a candidate for her favour. It frequently and inevitably happened,
that engagements to which Lord Evandale was a party, interfered with the
meeting of the lovers, and Henry could not but mark that Edith either
studiously avoided speaking of the young nobleman, or did so with obvious
reserve and hesitation.

These symptoms, which, in fact, arose from the delicacy of her own
feelings towards Morton himself, were misconstrued by his diffident
temper, and the jealousy which they excited was fermented by the
occasional observations of Jenny Dennison. This true-bred serving-damsel
was, in her own person, a complete country coquette, and when she had no
opportunity of teasing her own lovers, used to take some occasional
opportunity to torment her young lady’s. This arose from no ill-will to
Henry Morton, who, both on her mistress’s account and his own handsome
form and countenance, stood high in her esteem. But then Lord Evandale
was also handsome; he was liberal far beyond what Morton’s means could
afford, and he was a lord, moreover, and, if Miss Edith Bellenden should
accept his hand, she would become a baron’s lady, and, what was more,
little Jenny Dennison, whom the awful housekeeper at Tillietudlem huffed
about at her pleasure, would be then Mrs Dennison, Lady Evandale’s own
woman, or perhaps her ladyship’s lady-in-waiting. The impartiality of
Jenny Dennison, therefore, did not, like that of Mrs Quickly, extend to a
wish that both the handsome suitors could wed her young lady; for it must
be owned that the scale of her regard was depressed in favour of Lord
Evandale, and her wishes in his favour took many shapes extremely
tormenting to Morton; being now expressed as a friendly caution, now as
an article of intelligence, and anon as a merry jest, but always tending
to confirm the idea, that, sooner or later, his romantic intercourse with
her young mistress must have a close, and that Edith Bellenden would, in
spite of summer walks beneath the greenwood tree, exchange of verses, of
drawings, and of books, end in becoming Lady Evandale.

These hints coincided so exactly with the very point of his own
suspicions and fears, that Morton was not long of feeling that jealousy
which every one has felt who has truly loved, but to which those are most
liable whose love is crossed by the want of friends’ consent, or some
other envious impediment of fortune. Edith herself, unwittingly, and in
the generosity of her own frank nature, contributed to the error into
which her lover was in danger of falling. Their conversation once chanced
to turn upon some late excesses committed by the soldiery on an occasion
when it was said (inaccurately however) that the party was commanded by
Lord Evandale. Edith, as true in friendship as in love, was somewhat hurt
at the severe strictures which escaped from Morton on this occasion, and
which, perhaps, were not the less strongly expressed on account of their
supposed rivalry. She entered into Lord Evandale’s defence with such
spirit as hurt Morton to the very soul, and afforded no small delight to
Jenny Dennison, the usual companion of their walks. Edith perceived her
error, and endeavoured to remedy it; but the impression was not so easily
erased, and it had no small effect in inducing her lover to form that
resolution of going abroad, which was disappointed in the manner we have
already mentioned.

The visit which he received from Edith during his confinement, the deep
and devoted interest which she had expressed in his fate, ought of
themselves to have dispelled his suspicions; yet, ingenious in tormenting
himself, even this he thought might be imputed to anxious friendship, or,
at most, to a temporary partiality, which would probably soon give way to
circumstances, the entreaties of her friends, the authority of Lady
Margaret, and the assiduities of Lord Evandale.

“And to what do I owe it,” he said, “that I cannot stand up like a man,
and plead my interest in her ere I am thus cheated out of it?--to what,
but to the all-pervading and accursed tyranny, which afflicts at once our
bodies, souls, estates, and affections! And is it to one of the pensioned
cut-throats of this oppressive government that I must yield my
pretensions to Edith Bellenden?--I will not, by Heaven!--It is a just
punishment on me for being dead to public wrongs, that they have visited
me with their injuries in a point where they can be least brooked or
borne.”

As these stormy resolutions boiled in his bosom, and while he ran over
the various kinds of insult and injury which he had sustained in his own
cause and in that of his country, Bothwell entered the tower, followed by
two dragoons, one of whom carried handcuffs.

“You must follow me, young man,” said he, “but first we must put you in
trim.”

“In trim!” said Morton. “What do you mean?”

“Why, we must put on these rough bracelets. I durst not--nay, d--n it, I
durst do any thing--but I would not for three hours’ plunder of a stormed
town bring a whig before my Colonel without his being ironed. Come, come,
young man, don’t look sulky about it.”

He advanced to put on the irons; but, seizing the oaken-seat upon which
he had rested, Morton threatened to dash out the brains of the first who
should approach him.

“I could manage you in a moment, my youngster,” said Bothwell, “but I had
rather you would strike sail quietly.”

Here indeed he spoke the truth, not from either fear or reluctance to
adopt force, but because he dreaded the consequences of a noisy scuffle,
through which it might probably be discovered that he had, contrary to
express orders, suffered his prisoner to pass the night without being
properly secured.

“You had better be prudent,” he continued, in a tone which he meant to be
conciliatory, “and don’t spoil your own sport. They say here in the
castle that Lady Margaret’s niece is immediately to marry our young
Captain, Lord Evandale. I saw them close together in the hall yonder, and
I heard her ask him to intercede for your pardon. She looked so devilish
handsome and kind upon him, that on my soul--But what the devil’s the
matter with you?--You are as pale as a sheet--Will you have some brandy?”

“Miss Bellenden ask my life of Lord Evandale?” said the prisoner,
faintly.

“Ay, ay; there’s no friend like the women--their interest carries all in
court and camp.--Come, you are reasonable now--Ay, I thought you would
come round.”

Here he employed himself in putting on the fetters, against which,
Morton, thunderstruck by this intelligence, no longer offered the least
resistance.

“My life begged of him, and by her!--ay--ay--put on the irons--my limbs
shall not refuse to bear what has entered into my very soul--My life
begged by Edith, and begged of Evandale!”

“Ay, and he has power to grant it too,” said Bothwell--“He can do more
with the Colonel than any man in the regiment.”

And as he spoke, he and his party led their prisoner towards the hall. In
passing behind the seat of Edith, the unfortunate prisoner heard enough,
as he conceived, of the broken expressions which passed between Edith and
Lord Evandale, to confirm all that the soldier had told him. That moment
made a singular and instantaneous revolution in his character. The depth
of despair to which his love and fortunes were reduced, the peril in
which his life appeared to stand, the transference of Edith’s affections,
her intercession in his favour, which rendered her fickleness yet more
galling, seemed to destroy every feeling for which he had hitherto lived,
but, at the same time, awakened those which had hitherto been smothered
by passions more gentle though more selfish. Desperate himself, he
determined to support the rights of his country, insulted in his person.
His character was for the moment as effectually changed as the appearance
of a villa, which, from being the abode of domestic quiet and happiness,
is, by the sudden intrusion of an armed force, converted into a
formidable post of defence.

We have already said that he cast upon Edith one glance in which reproach
was mingled with sorrow, as if to bid her farewell for ever; his next
motion was to walk firmly to the table at which Colonel Grahame was
seated.

“By what right is it, sir,” said he firmly, and without waiting till he
was questioned,--“By what right is it that these soldiers have dragged me
from my family, and put fetters on the limbs of a free man?”

“By my commands,” answered Claverhouse; “and I now lay my commands on you
to be silent and hear my questions.”

“I will not,” replied Morton, in a determined tone, while his boldness
seemed to electrify all around him. “I will know whether I am in lawful
custody, and before a civil magistrate, ere the charter of my country
shall be forfeited in my person.”

“A pretty springald this, upon my honour!” said Claverhouse.

“Are you mad?” said Major Bellenden to his young friend. “For God’s sake,
Henry Morton,” he continued, in a tone between rebuke and entreaty,
“remember you are speaking to one of his majesty’s officers high in the
service.”

“It is for that very reason, sir,” returned Henry, firmly, “that I desire
to know what right he has to detain me without a legal warrant. Were he a
civil officer of the law I should know my duty was submission.”

“Your friend, here,” said Claverhouse to the veteran, coolly, “is one of
those scrupulous gentlemen, who, like the madman in the play, will not
tie his cravat without the warrant of Mr Justice Overdo; but I will let
him see, before we part, that my shoulder-knot is as legal a badge of
authority as the mace of the Justiciary. So, waving this discussion, you
will be pleased, young man, to tell me directly when you saw Balfour of
Burley.”

“As I know no right you have to ask such a question,” replied Morton, “I
decline replying to it.”

“You confessed to my sergeant,” said Claverhouse, “that you saw and
entertained him, knowing him to be an intercommuned traitor; why are you
not so frank with me?”

“Because,” replied the prisoner, “I presume you are, from education,
taught to understand the rights upon which you seem disposed to trample;
and I am willing you should be aware there are yet Scotsmen who can
assert the liberties of Scotland.”

“And these supposed rights you would vindicate with your sword, I
presume?” said Colonel Grahame.

“Were I armed as you are, and we were alone upon a hill-side, you should
not ask me the question twice.”

“It is quite enough,” answered Claverhouse, calmly; “your language
corresponds with all I have heard of you;--but you are the son of a
soldier, though a rebellious one, and you shall not die the death of a
dog; I will save you that indignity.”

“Die in what manner I may,” replied Morton, “I will die like the son of a
brave man; and the ignominy you mention shall remain with those who shed
innocent blood.”

“Make your peace, then, with Heaven, in five minutes’ space.--Bothwell,
lead him down to the court-yard, and draw up your party.”

The appalling nature of this conversation, and of its result, struck the
silence of horror into all but the speakers. But now those who stood
round broke forth into clamour and expostulation. Old Lady Margaret, who,
with all the prejudices of rank and party, had not laid aside the
feelings of her sex, was loud in her intercession.

“O, Colonel Grahame,” she exclaimed, “spare his young blood! Leave him to
the law--do not repay my hospitality by shedding men’s blood on the
threshold of my doors!”

“Colonel Grahame,” said Major Bellenden, “you must answer this violence.
Don’t think, though I am old and feckless, that my friend’s son shall be
murdered before my eyes with impunity. I can find friends that shall make
you answer it.”

“Be satisfied, Major Bellenden, I will answer it,” replied Claverhouse,
totally unmoved; “and you, madam, might spare me the pain the resisting
this passionate intercession for a traitor, when you consider the noble
blood your own house has lost by such as he is.”

“Colonel Grahame,” answered the lady, her aged frame trembling with
anxiety, “I leave vengeance to God, who calls it his own. The shedding of
this young man’s blood will not call back the lives that were dear to me;
and how can it comfort me to think that there has maybe been another
widowed mother made childless, like mysell, by a deed done at my very
door-stane!”

“This is stark madness,” said Claverhouse; “I must do my duty to church
and state. Here are a thousand villains hard by in open rebellion, and
you ask me to pardon a young fanatic who is enough of himself to set a
whole kingdom in a blaze! It cannot be--Remove him, Bothwell.”

She who was most interested in this dreadful decision, had twice strove
to speak, but her voice had totally failed her; her mind refused to
suggest words, and her tongue to utter them. She now sprung up and
attempted to rush forward, but her strength gave way, and she would have
fallen flat upon the pavement had she not been caught by her attendant.

“Help!” cried Jenny,--“Help, for God’s sake! my young lady is dying.”

At this exclamation, Evandale, who, during the preceding part of the
scene, had stood motionless, leaning upon his sword, now stepped forward,
and said to his commanding-officer, “Colonel Grahame, before proceeding
in this matter, will you speak a word with me in private?”

Claverhouse looked surprised, but instantly rose and withdrew with the
young nobleman into a recess, where the following brief dialogue passed
between them:

“I think I need not remind you, Colonel, that when our family interest
was of service to you last year in that affair in the privy-council, you
considered yourself as laid under some obligation to us?”

“Certainly, my dear Evandale,” answered Claverhouse, “I am not a man who
forgets such debts; you will delight me by showing how I can evince my
gratitude.”

“I will hold the debt cancelled,” said Lord Evandale, “if you will spare
this young man’s life.”

“Evandale,” replied Grahame, in great surprise, “you are mad--absolutely
mad--what interest can you have in this young spawn of an old
roundhead?--His father was positively the most dangerous man in all
Scotland, cool, resolute, soliderly, and inflexible in his cursed
principles. His son seems his very model; you cannot conceive the
mischief he may do. I know mankind, Evandale--were he an insignificant,
fanatical, country booby, do you think I would have refused such a
trifle as his life to Lady Margaret and this family? But this is a lad
of fire, zeal, and education--and these knaves want but such a leader to
direct their blind enthusiastic hardiness. I mention this, not as
refusing your request, but to make you fully aware of the possible
consequences--I will never evade a promise, or refuse to return an
obligation--if you ask his life, he shall have it.”

“Keep him close prisoner,” answered Evandale, “but do not be surprised if
I persist in requesting you will not put him to death. I have most urgent
reasons for what I ask.”

“Be it so then,” replied Grahame;--“but, young man, should you wish in
your future life to rise to eminence in the service of your king and
country, let it be your first task to subject to the public interest, and
to the discharge of your duty, your private passions, affections, and
feelings. These are not times to sacrifice to the dotage of greybeards,
or the tears of silly women, the measures of salutary severity which the
dangers around compel us to adopt. And remember, that if I now yield this
point, in compliance with your urgency, my present concession must exempt
me from future solicitations of the same nature.”

He then stepped forward to the table, and bent his eyes keenly on Morton,
as if to observe what effect the pause of awful suspense between death
and life, which seemed to freeze the bystanders with horror, would
produce upon the prisoner himself. Morton maintained a degree of
firmness, which nothing but a mind that had nothing left upon earth to
love or to hope, could have supported at such a crisis.

“You see him?” said Claverhouse, in a half whisper to Lord Evandale; “he
is tottering on the verge between time and eternity, a situation more
appalling than the most hideous certainty; yet his is the only cheek
unblenched, the only eye that is calm, the only heart that keeps its
usual time, the only nerves that are not quivering. Look at him well,
Evandale--If that man shall ever come to head an army of rebels, you will
have much to answer for on account of this morning’s work.” He then said
aloud, “Young man, your life is for the present safe, through the
intercession of your friends--Remove him, Bothwell, and let him be
properly guarded, and brought along with the other prisoners.”

“If my life,” said Morton, stung with the idea that he owed his respite
to the intercession of a favoured rival, “if my life be granted at Lord
Evandale’s request”--

“Take the prisoner away, Bothwell,” said Colonel Grahame, interrupting
him; “I have neither time to make nor to hear fine speeches.”

Bothwell forced off Morton, saying, as he conducted him into the
court-yard, “Have you three lives in your pocket, besides the one in your
body, my lad, that you can afford to let your tongue run away with them
at this rate? Come, come, I’ll take care to keep you out of the Colonel’s
way; for, egad, you will not be five minutes with him before the next
tree or the next ditch will be the word. So, come along to your
companions in bondage.”

Thus speaking, the sergeant, who, in his rude manner, did not altogether
want sympathy for a gallant young man, hurried Morton down to the
courtyard, where three other prisoners, (two men and a woman,) who had
been taken by Lord Evandale, remained under an escort of dragoons.

Meantime, Claverhouse took his leave of Lady Margaret. But it was
difficult for the good lady to forgive his neglect of her intercession.

“I have thought till now,” she said, “that the Tower of Tillietudlem
might have been a place of succour to those that are ready to perish,
even if they werena sae deserving as they should have been--but I see
auld fruit has little savour--our suffering and our services have been of
an ancient date.”

“They are never to be forgotten by me, let me assure your ladyship,” said
Claverhouse. “Nothing but what seemed my sacred duty could make me
hesitate to grant a favour requested by you and the Major. Come, my good
lady, let me hear you say you have forgiven me, and, as I return
to-night, I will bring a drove of two hundred whigs with me, and pardon
fifty head of them for your sake.”

“I shall be happy to hear of your success, Colonel,” said Major
Bellenden; “but take an old soldier’s advice, and spare blood when
battle’s over,--and once more let me request to enter bail for young
Morton.”

“We will settle that when I return,” said Claverhouse. “Meanwhile, be
assured his life shall be safe.”

During this conversation, Evandale looked anxiously around for Edith; but
the precaution of Jenny Dennison had occasioned her mistress being
transported to her own apartment.

Slowly and heavily he obeyed the impatient summons of Claverhouse, who,
after taking a courteous leave of Lady Margaret and the Major, had
hastened to the court-yard. The prisoners with their guard were already
on their march, and the officers with their escort mounted and followed.
All pressed forward to overtake the main body, as it was supposed they
would come in sight of the enemy in little more than two hours.



CHAPTER XIV.

                    My hounds may a’ rin masterless,
                    My hawks may fly frae tree to tree,
                    My lord may grip my vassal lands,
                    For there again maun I never be!
                    Old Ballad.

We left Morton, along with three companions in captivity, travelling in
the custody of a small body of soldiers, who formed the rear-guard of the
column under the command of Claverhouse, and were immediately under the
charge of Sergeant Bothwell. Their route lay towards the hills in which
the insurgent presbyterians were reported to be in arms. They had not
prosecuted their march a quarter of a mile ere Claverhouse and Evandale
galloped past them, followed by their orderly-men, in order to take their
proper places in the column which preceded them. No sooner were they past
than Bothwell halted the body which he commanded, and disencumbered
Morton of his irons.

“King’s blood must keep word,” said the dragoon. “I promised you should
be civilly treated as far as rested with me.--Here, Corporal Inglis, let
this gentleman ride alongside of the other young fellow who is prisoner;
and you may permit them to converse together at their pleasure, under
their breath, but take care they are guarded by two files with loaded
carabines. If they attempt an escape, blow their brains out.--You cannot
call that using you uncivilly,” he continued, addressing himself to
Morton, “it’s the rules of war, you know.--And, Inglis, couple up the
parson and the old woman, they are fittest company for each other, d--n
me; a single file may guard them well enough. If they speak a word of
cant or fanatical nonsense, let them have a strapping with a
shoulder-belt. There’s some hope of choking a silenced parson; if he is
not allowed to hold forth, his own treason will burst him.”

Having made this arrangement, Bothwell placed himself at the head of the
party, and Inglis, with six dragoons, brought up the rear. The whole then
set forward at a trot, with the purpose of overtaking the main body of
the regiment.

Morton, overwhelmed with a complication of feelings, was totally
indifferent to the various arrangements made for his secure custody, and
even to the relief afforded him by his release from the fetters. He
experienced that blank and waste of the heart which follows the hurricane
of passion, and, no longer supported by the pride and conscious rectitude
which dictated his answers to Claverhouse, he surveyed with deep
dejection the glades through which he travelled, each turning of which
had something to remind him of past happiness and disappointed love. The
eminence which they now ascended was that from which he used first and
last to behold the ancient tower when approaching or retiring from it;
and, it is needless to add, that there he was wont to pause, and gaze
with a lover’s delight on the battlements, which, rising at a distance
out of the lofty wood, indicated the dwelling of her, whom he either
hoped soon to meet or had recently parted from. Instinctively he turned
his head back to take a last look of a scene formerly so dear to him, and
no less instinctively he heaved a deep sigh. It was echoed by a loud
groan from his companion in misfortune, whose eyes, moved, perchance, by
similar reflections, had taken the same direction. This indication of
sympathy, on the part of the captive, was uttered in a tone more coarse
than sentimental; it was, however, the expression of a grieved spirit,
and so far corresponded with the sigh of Morton. In turning their heads
their eyes met, and Morton recognised the stolid countenance of Cuddie
Headrigg, bearing a rueful expression, in which sorrow for his own lot
was mixed with sympathy for the situation of his companion.

“Hegh, sirs!” was the expression of the ci-devant ploughman of the mains
of Tillietudlem; “it’s an unco thing that decent folk should be harled
through the country this gate, as if they were a warld’s wonder.”

“I am sorry to see you here, Cuddie,” said Morton, who, even in his own
distress, did not lose feeling for that of others.

“And sae am I, Mr Henry,” answered Cuddie, “baith for mysell and you; but
neither of our sorrows will do muckle gude that I can see. To be sure,
for me,” continued the captive agriculturist, relieving his heart by
talking, though he well knew it was to little purpose,--“to be sure, for
my part, I hae nae right to be here ava’, for I never did nor said a word
against either king or curate; but my mither, puir body, couldna haud the
auld tongue o’ her, and we maun baith pay for’t, it’s like.”

“Your mother is their prisoner likewise?” said Morton, hardly knowing
what he said.

“In troth is she, riding ahint ye there like a bride, wi’ that auld carle
o’ a minister that they ca’ Gabriel Kettledrummle--Deil that he had been
in the inside of a drum or a kettle either, for my share o’ him! Ye see,
we were nae sooner chased out o’ the doors o’ Milnwood, and your uncle
and the housekeeper banging them to and barring them ahint us, as if we
had had the plague on our bodies, that I says to my mother, What are we
to do neist? for every hole and bore in the country will be steekit
against us, now that ye hae affronted my auld leddy, and gar’t the
troopers tak up young Milnwood. Sae she says to me, Binna cast doun, but
gird yoursell up to the great task o’ the day, and gie your testimony
like a man upon the mount o’ the Covenant.”

“And so I suppose you went to a conventicle?” said Morton.

“Ye sall hear,” continued Cuddie.--“Aweel, I kendna muckle better what to
do, sae I e’en gaed wi’ her to an auld daft carline like hersell, and we
got some water-broo and bannocks; and mony a weary grace they said, and
mony a psalm they sang, or they wad let me win to, for I was amaist
famished wi’ vexation. Aweel, they had me up in the grey o’ the morning,
and I behoved to whig awa wi’ them, reason or nane, to a great gathering
o’ their folk at the Miry-sikes; and there this chield, Gabriel
Kettledrummle, was blasting awa to them on the hill-side, about lifting
up their testimony, nae doubt, and ganging down to the battle of Roman
Gilead, or some sic place. Eh, Mr Henry! but the carle gae them a screed
o’ doctrine! Ye might hae heard him a mile down the wind--He routed like
a cow in a fremd loaning.--Weel, thinks I, there’s nae place in this
country they ca’ Roman Gilead--it will be some gate in the west
muirlands; and or we win there I’ll see to slip awa wi’ this mither o’
mine, for I winna rin my neck into a tether for ony Kettledrummle in the
country side--Aweel,” continued Cuddie, relieving himself by detailing
his misfortunes, without being scrupulous concerning the degree of
attention which his companion bestowed on his narrative, “just as I was
wearying for the tail of the preaching, cam word that the dragoons were
upon us.--Some ran, and some cried, Stand! and some cried, Down wi’ the
Philistines!--I was at my mither to get her awa sting and ling or the
red-coats cam up, but I might as weel hae tried to drive our auld
fore-a-hand ox without the goad--deil a step wad she budge.--Weel, after
a’, the cleugh we were in was strait, and the mist cam thick, and there
was good hope the dragoons wad hae missed us if we could hae held our
tongues; but, as if auld Kettledrummle himsell hadna made din eneugh to
waken the very dead, they behoved a’ to skirl up a psalm that ye wad hae
heard as far as Lanrick!--Aweel, to mak a lang tale short, up cam my
young Lord Evandale, skelping as fast as his horse could trot, and twenty
red-coats at his back. Twa or three chields wad needs fight, wi’ the
pistol and the whinger in the tae hand, and the Bible in the tother, and
they got their crouns weel cloured; but there wasna muckle skaith dune,
for Evandale aye cried to scatter us, but to spare life.”

“And did you not resist?” said Morton, who probably felt, that, at that
moment, he himself would have encountered Lord Evandale on much slighter
grounds.

“Na, truly,” answered Cuddie, “I keepit aye before the auld woman, and
cried for mercy to life and limb; but twa o’ the red-coats cam up, and
ane o’ them was gaun to strike my mither wi’ the side o’ his
broadsword--So I got up my kebbie at them, and said I wad gie them as
gude. Weel, they turned on me, and clinked at me wi’ their swords, and I
garr’d my hand keep my head as weel as I could till Lord Evandale came
up, and then I cried out I was a servant at Tillietudlem--ye ken
yoursell he was aye judged to hae a look after the young leddy--and he
bade me fling down my kent, and sae me and my mither yielded oursells
prisoners. I’m thinking we wad hae been letten slip awa, but
Kettledrummle was taen near us--for Andrew Wilson’s naig that he was
riding on had been a dragooner lang syne, and the sairer Kettledrummle
spurred to win awa, the readier the dour beast ran to the dragoons when
he saw them draw up.--Aweel, when my mother and him forgathered, they
set till the sodgers, and I think they gae them their kale through the
reek! Bastards o’ the hure o’ Babylon was the best words in their wame.
Sae then the kiln was in a bleeze again, and they brought us a’ three on
wi’ them to mak us an example, as they ca’t.”

“It is most infamous and intolerable oppression!” said Morton, half
speaking to himself; “here is a poor peaceable fellow, whose only motive
for joining the conventicle was a sense of filial piety, and he is
chained up like a thief or murderer, and likely to die the death of one,
but without the privilege of a formal trial, which our laws indulge to
the worst malefactor! Even to witness such tyranny, and still more to
suffer under it, is enough to make the blood of the tamest slave boil
within him.”

“To be sure,” said Cuddie, hearing, and partly understanding, what had
broken from Morton in resentment of his injuries, “it is no right to
speak evil o’ dignities--my auld leddy aye said that, as nae doubt she
had a gude right to do, being in a place o’ dignity hersell; and troth I
listened to her very patiently, for she aye ordered a dram, or a sowp
kale, or something to us, after she had gien us a hearing on our duties.
But deil a dram, or kale, or ony thing else--no sae muckle as a cup o’
cauld water--do thae lords at Edinburgh gie us; and yet they are heading
and hanging amang us, and trailing us after thae blackguard troopers, and
taking our goods and gear as if we were outlaws. I canna say I tak it
kind at their hands.”

“It would be very strange if you did,” answered Morton, with suppressed
emotion.

“And what I like warst o’ a’,” continued poor Cuddie, “is thae ranting
red-coats coming amang the lasses, and taking awa our joes. I had a sair
heart o’ my ain when I passed the Mains down at Tillietudlem this morning
about parritch-time, and saw the reek comin’ out at my ain lum-head, and
kend there was some ither body than my auld mither sitting by the
ingle-side. But I think my heart was e’en sairer, when I saw that
hellicat trooper, Tam Halliday, kissing Jenny Dennison afore my face. I
wonder women can hae the impudence to do sic things; but they are a’ for
the red-coats. Whiles I hae thought o’ being a trooper mysell, when I
thought naething else wad gae down wi’ Jenny--and yet I’ll no blame her
ower muckle neither, for maybe it was a’ for my sake that she loot Tam
touzle her tap-knots that gate.”

“For your sake?” said Morton, unable to refrain from taking some interest
in a story which seemed to bear a singular coincidence with his own.

“E’en sae, Milnwood,” replied Cuddie; “for the puir quean gat leave to
come near me wi’ speaking the loun fair, (d--n him, that I suld say sae!)
and sae she bade me God speed, and she wanted to stap siller into my
hand;--I’se warrant it was the tae half o’ her fee and bountith, for she
wared the ither half on pinners and pearlings to gang to see us shoot yon
day at the popinjay.”

“And did you take it, Cuddie?” said Morton.

“Troth did I no, Milnwood; I was sic a fule as to fling it back to
her--my heart was ower grit to be behadden to her, when I had seen that
loon slavering and kissing at her. But I was a great fule for my pains;
it wad hae dune my mither and me some gude, and she’ll ware’t a’ on duds
and nonsense.”

There was here a deep and long pause. Cuddie was probably engaged in
regretting the rejection of his mistress’s bounty, and Henry Morton in
considering from what motives, or upon what conditions, Miss Bellenden
had succeeded in procuring the interference of Lord Evandale in his
favour.

Was it not possible, suggested his awakening hopes, that he had construed
her influence over Lord Evandale hastily and unjustly? Ought he to
censure her severely, if, submitting to dissimulation for his sake, she
had permitted the young nobleman to entertain hopes which she had no
intention to realize? Or what if she had appealed to the generosity which
Lord Evandale was supposed to possess, and had engaged his honour to
protect the person of a favoured rival?

Still, however, the words which he had overheard recurred ever and anon
to his remembrance, with a pang which resembled the sting of an adder.

“Nothing that she could refuse him!--was it possible to make a more
unlimited declaration of predilection? The language of affection has not,
within the limits of maidenly delicacy, a stronger expression. She is
lost to me wholly, and for ever; and nothing remains for me now, but
vengeance for my own wrongs, and for those which are hourly inflicted on
my country.”

Apparently, Cuddie, though with less refinement, was following out a
similar train of ideas; for he suddenly asked Morton in a low
whisper--“Wad there be ony ill in getting out o’ thae chields’ hands an
ane could compass it?”

“None in the world,” said Morton; “and if an opportunity occurs of doing
so, depend on it I for one will not let it slip.”

“I’m blythe to hear ye say sae,” answered Cuddie. “I’m but a puir silly
fallow, but I canna think there wad be muckle ill in breaking out by
strength o’ hand, if ye could mak it ony thing feasible. I am the lad
that will ne’er fear to lay on, if it were come to that; but our auld
leddy wad hae ca’d that a resisting o’ the king’s authority.”

“I will resist any authority on earth,” said Morton, “that invades
tyrannically my chartered rights as a freeman; and I am determined I will
not be unjustly dragged to a jail, or perhaps a gibbet, if I can possibly
make my escape from these men either by address or force.”

“Weel, that’s just my mind too, aye supposing we hae a feasible
opportunity o’ breaking loose. But then ye speak o’ a charter; now these
are things that only belang to the like o’ you that are a gentleman, and
it mightna bear me through that am but a husbandman.”

“The charter that I speak of,” said Morton, “is common to the meanest
Scotchman. It is that freedom from stripes and bondage which was claimed,
as you may read in Scripture, by the Apostle Paul himself, and which
every man who is free-born is called upon to defend, for his own sake and
that of his countrymen.”

“Hegh, sirs!” replied Cuddie, “it wad hae been lang or my Leddy Margaret,
or my mither either, wad hae fund out sic a wiselike doctrine in the
Bible! The tane was aye graning about giving tribute to Caesar, and the
tither is as daft wi’ her whiggery. I hae been clean spoilt, just wi’
listening to twa blethering auld wives; but if I could get a gentleman
that wad let me tak on to be his servant, I am confident I wad be a clean
contrary creature; and I hope your honour will think on what I am saying,
if ye were ance fairly delivered out o’ this house of bondage, and just
take me to be your ain wally-de-shamble.”

“My valet, Cuddie?” answered Morton; “alas! that would be sorry
preferment, even if we were at liberty.”

“I ken what ye’re thinking--that because I am landward-bred, I wad be
bringing ye to disgrace afore folk; but ye maun ken I’m gay gleg at the
uptak; there was never ony thing dune wi’ hand but I learned gay readily,
‘septing reading, writing, and ciphering; but there’s no the like o’ me
at the fit-ba’, and I can play wi’ the broadsword as weel as Corporal
Inglis there. I hae broken his head or now, for as massy as he’s riding
ahint us.--And then ye’ll no be gaun to stay in this country?”--said he,
stopping and interrupting himself.

“Probably not,” replied Morton.

“Weel, I carena a boddle. Ye see I wad get my mither bestowed wi’ her
auld graning tittie, auntie Meg, in the Gallowgate o’ Glasgow, and then I
trust they wad neither burn her for a witch, or let her fail for fau’t o’
fude, or hang her up for an auld whig wife; for the provost, they say, is
very regardfu’ o’ sic puir bodies. And then you and me wad gang and pouss
our fortunes, like the folk i’ the daft auld tales about Jock the
Giant-killer and Valentine and Orson; and we wad come back to merry
Scotland, as the sang says, and I wad tak to the stilts again, and turn
sic furs on the bonny rigs o’ Milnwood holms, that it wad be worth a pint
but to look at them.”

“I fear,” said Morton, “there is very little chance, my good friend
Cuddie, of our getting back to our old occupation.”

“Hout, stir--hout, stir,” replied Cuddie, “it’s aye gude to keep up a
hardy heart--as broken a ship’s come to land.--But what’s that I hear?
never stir, if my auld mither isna at the preaching again! I ken the
sough o’ her texts, that sound just like the wind blawing through the
spence; and there’s Kettledrummle setting to wark, too--Lordsake, if the
sodgers anes get angry, they’ll murder them baith, and us for company!”

Their farther conversation was in fact interrupted by a blatant noise
which rose behind them, in which the voice of the preacher emitted, in
unison with that of the old woman, tones like the grumble of a bassoon
combined with the screaking of a cracked fiddle. At first, the aged pair
of sufferers had been contented to condole with each other in smothered
expressions of complaint and indignation; but the sense of their injuries
became more pungently aggravated as they communicated with each other,
and they became at length unable to suppress their ire.

“Woe, woe, and a threefold woe unto you, ye bloody and violent
persecutors!” exclaimed the Reverend Gabriel Kettledrummle--“Woe, and
threefold woe unto you, even to the breaking of seals, the blowing of
trumpets, and the pouring forth of vials!”

“Ay--ay--a black cast to a’ their ill-fa’ur’d faces, and the outside o’
the loof to them at the last day!” echoed the shrill counter-tenor of
Mause, falling in like the second part of a catch.

“I tell you,” continued the divine, “that your rankings and your
ridings--your neighings and your prancings--your bloody, barbarous,
and inhuman cruelties--your benumbing, deadening, and debauching
the conscience of poor creatures by oaths, soul-damning and
self-contradictory, have arisen from earth to Heaven like a foul and
hideous outcry of perjury for hastening the wrath to come--hugh! hugh!
hugh!”

“And I say,” cried Mause, in the same tune, and nearly at the same time,
“that wi’ this auld breath o’ mine, and it’s sair taen down wi’ the
asthmatics and this rough trot”--

“Deil gin they would gallop,” said Cuddie, “wad it but gar her haud her
tongue!”

“--Wi’ this auld and brief breath,” continued Mause, “will I testify
against the backslidings, defections, defalcations, and declinings of the
land--against the grievances and the causes of wrath!”

“Peace, I pr’ythee--Peace, good woman,” said the preacher, who had just
recovered from a violent fit of coughing, and found his own anathema
borne down by Mause’s better wind; “peace, and take not the word out of
the mouth of a servant of the altar.--I say, I uplift my voice and tell
you, that before the play is played out--ay, before this very sun gaes
down, ye sall learn that neither a desperate Judas, like your prelate
Sharpe that’s gane to his place; nor a sanctuary-breaking Holofernes,
like bloody-minded Claverhouse; nor an ambitious Diotrephes, like the lad
Evandale; nor a covetous and warld-following Demas, like him they ca’
Sergeant Bothwell, that makes every wife’s plack and her meal-ark his
ain; neither your carabines, nor your pistols, nor your broadswords, nor
your horses, nor your saddles, bridles, surcingles, nose-bags, nor
martingales, shall resist the arrows that are whetted and the bow that is
bent against you!”

“That shall they never, I trow,” echoed Mause; “castaways are they ilk
ane o’ them--besoms of destruction, fit only to be flung into the fire
when they have sweepit the filth out o’ the Temple--whips of small cords,
knotted for the chastisement of those wha like their warldly gudes and
gear better than the Cross or the Covenant, but when that wark’s done,
only meet to mak latchets to the deil’s brogues.”

“Fiend hae me,” said Cuddie, addressing himself to Morton, “if I dinna
think our mither preaches as weel as the minister!--But it’s a sair pity
o’ his hoast, for it aye comes on just when he’s at the best o’t, and
that lang routing he made air this morning, is sair again him too--Deil
an I care if he wad roar her dumb, and then he wad hae’t a’ to answer for
himsell--It’s lucky the road’s rough, and the troopers are no taking
muckle tent to what they say, wi’ the rattling o’ the horse’s feet; but
an we were anes on saft grund, we’ll hear news o’ a’ this.”

Cuddie’s conjecture were but too true. The words of the prisoners had not
been much attended to while drowned by the clang of horses’ hoofs on a
rough and stony road; but they now entered upon the moorlands, where the
testimony of the two zealous captives lacked this saving accompaniment.
And, accordingly, no sooner had their steeds begun to tread heath and
green sward, and Gabriel Kettledrummle had again raised his voice with,
“Also I uplift my voice like that of a pelican in the wilderness”--

“And I mine,” had issued from Mause, “like a sparrow on the house-tops”--

When “Hollo, ho!” cried the corporal from the rear; “rein up your
tongues, the devil blister them, or I’ll clap a martingale on them.”

“I will not peace at the commands of the profane,” said Gabriel.

“Nor I neither,” said Mause, “for the bidding of no earthly potsherd,
though it be painted as red as a brick from the Tower of Babel, and ca’
itsell a corporal.”

“Halliday,” cried the corporal, “hast got never a gag about thee,
man?--We must stop their mouths before they talk us all dead.”

Ere any answer could be made, or any measure taken in consequence of the
corporal’s motion, a dragoon galloped towards Sergeant Bothwell, who was
considerably a-head of the party he commanded. On hearing the orders
which he brought, Bothwell instantly rode back to the head of his party,
ordered them to close their files, to mend their pace, and to move with
silence and precaution, as they would soon be in presence of the enemy.



CHAPTER XV.

               Quantum in nobis, we’ve thought good
               To save the expense of Christian blood,
               And try if we, by mediation
               Of treaty, and accommodation,
               Can end the quarrel, and compose
               This bloody duel without blows.
                                             Butler.

The increased pace of the party of horsemen soon took away from their
zealous captives the breath, if not the inclination, necessary for
holding forth. They had now for more than a mile got free of the
woodlands, whose broken glades had, for some time, accompanied them after
they had left the woods of Tillietudlem. A few birches and oaks still
feathered the narrow ravines, or occupied in dwarf-clusters the hollow
plains of the moor. But these were gradually disappearing; and a wide and
waste country lay before them, swelling into bare hills of dark heath,
intersected by deep gullies; being the passages by which torrents forced
their course in winter, and during summer the disproportioned channels
for diminutive rivulets that winded their puny way among heaps of stones
and gravel, the effects and tokens of their winter fury;--like so many
spendthrifts dwindled down by the consequences of former excesses and
extravagance. This desolate region seemed to extend farther than the eye
could reach, without grandeur, without even the dignity of mountain
wildness, yet striking, from the huge proportion which it seemed to bear
to such more favoured spots of the country as were adapted to
cultivation, and fitted for the support of man; and thereby impressing
irresistibly the mind of the spectator with a sense of the omnipotence of
nature, and the comparative inefficacy of the boasted means of
amelioration which man is capable of opposing to the disadvantages of
climate and soil.

It is a remarkable effect of such extensive wastes, that they impose an
idea of solitude even upon those who travel through them in considerable
numbers; so much is the imagination affected by the disproportion between
the desert around and the party who are traversing it. Thus the members
of a caravan of a thousand souls may feel, in the deserts of Africa or
Arabia, a sense of loneliness unknown to the individual traveller, whose
solitary course is through a thriving and cultivated country.

It was not, therefore, without a peculiar feeling of emotion, that Morton
beheld, at the distance of about half a mile, the body of the cavalry to
which his escort belonged, creeping up a steep and winding path which
ascended from the more level moor into the hills. Their numbers, which
appeared formidable when they crowded through narrow roads, and seemed
multiplied by appearing partially, and at different points, among the
trees, were now apparently diminished by being exposed at once to view,
and in a landscape whose extent bore such immense proportion to the
columns of horses and men, which, showing more like a drove of black
cattle than a body of soldiers, crawled slowly along the face of the
hill, their force and their numbers seeming trifling and contemptible.

“Surely,” said Morton to himself, “a handful of resolute men may defend
any defile in these mountains against such a small force as this is,
providing that their bravery is equal to their enthusiasm.”

While he made these reflections, the rapid movement of the horsemen who
guarded him, soon traversed the space which divided them from their
companions; and ere the front of Claverhouse’s column had gained the brow
of the hill which they had been seen ascending, Bothwell, with his
rearguard and prisoners, had united himself, or nearly so, with the main
body led by his commander. The extreme difficulty of the road, which was
in some places steep, and in others boggy, retarded the progress of the
column, especially in the rear; for the passage of the main body, in many
instances, poached up the swamps through which they passed, and rendered
them so deep, that the last of their followers were forced to leave the
beaten path, and find safer passage where they could.

On these occasions, the distresses of the Reverend Gabriel Kettledrummle
and of Mause Headrigg, were considerably augmented, as the brutal
troopers, by whom they were guarded, compelled them, at all risks which
such inexperienced riders were likely to incur, to leap their horses over
drains and gullies, or to push them through morasses and swamps.

“Through the help of the Lord I have luppen ower a wall,” cried poor
Mause, as her horse was, by her rude attendants, brought up to leap the
turf enclosure of a deserted fold, in which feat her curch flew off,
leaving her grey hairs uncovered.

“I am sunk in deep mire where there is no standing--I am come into deep
waters where the floods overflow me,” exclaimed Kettledrummle, as the
charger on which he was mounted plunged up to the saddle-girths in a
well-head, as the springs are called which supply the marshes, the sable
streams beneath spouting over the face and person of the captive
preacher.

These exclamations excited shouts of laughter among their military
attendants; but events soon occurred which rendered them all sufficiently
serious.

The leading files of the regiment had nearly attained the brow of the
steep hill we have mentioned, when two or three horsemen, speedily
discovered to be a part of their own advanced guard, who had acted as a
patrol, appeared returning at full gallop, their horses much blown, and
the men apparently in a disordered flight. They were followed upon the
spur by five or six riders, well armed with sword and pistol, who halted
upon the top of the hill, on observing the approach of the Life-Guards.
One or two who had carabines dismounted, and, taking a leisurely and
deliberate aim at the foremost rank of the regiment, discharged their
pieces, by which two troopers were wounded, one severely. They then
mounted their horses, and disappeared over the ridge of the hill,
retreating with so much coolness as evidently showed, that, on the one
hand, they were undismayed by the approach of so considerable a force as
was moving against them, and conscious, on the other, that they were
supported by numbers sufficient for their protection. This incident
occasioned a halt through the whole body of cavalry; and while
Claverhouse himself received the report of his advanced guard, which had
been thus driven back upon the main body, Lord Evandale advanced to the
top of the ridge over which the enemy’s horsemen had retired, and Major
Allan, Cornet Grahame, and the other officers, employed themselves in
extricating the regiment from the broken ground, and drawing them up on
the side of the hill in two lines, the one to support the other.

The word was then given to advance; and in a few minutes the first lines
stood on the brow and commanded the prospect on the other side. The
second line closed upon them, and also the rear-guard with the prisoners;
so that Morton and his companions in captivity could, in like manner, see
the form of opposition which was now offered to the farther progress of
their captors.

The brow of the hill, on which the royal Life-Guards were now drawn up,
sloped downwards (on the side opposite to that which they had ascended)
with a gentle declivity, for more than a quarter of a mile, and presented
ground, which, though unequal in some places, was not altogether
unfavourable for the manoeuvres of cavalry, until near the bottom, when
the slope terminated in a marshy level, traversed through its whole
length by what seemed either a natural gully, or a deep artificial drain,
the sides of which were broken by springs, trenches filled with water,
out of which peats and turf had been dug, and here and there by some
straggling thickets of alders which loved the moistness so well, that
they continued to live as bushes, although too much dwarfed by the sour
soil and the stagnant bog-water to ascend into trees. Beyond this ditch,
or gully, the ground arose into a second heathy swell, or rather hill,
near to the foot of which, and’ as if with the object of defending the
broken ground and ditch that covered their front, the body of insurgents
appeared to be drawn up with the purpose of abiding battle.

Their infantry was divided into three lines. The first, tolerably
provided with fire-arms, were advanced almost close to the verge of the
bog, so that their fire must necessarily annoy the royal cavalry as they
descended the opposite hill, the whole front of which was exposed, and
would probably be yet more fatal if they attempted to cross the morass.
Behind this first line was a body of pikemen, designed for their support
in case the dragoons should force the passage of the marsh. In their rear
was their third line, consisting of countrymen armed with scythes set
straight on poles, hay-forks, spits, clubs, goads, fish-spears, and such
other rustic implements as hasty resentment had converted into
instruments of war. On each flank of the infantry, but a little backward
from the bog, as if to allow themselves dry and sound ground whereon to
act in case their enemies should force the pass, there was drawn up a
small body of cavalry, who were, in general, but indifferently armed, and
worse mounted, but full of zeal for the cause, being chiefly either
landholders of small property, or farmers of the better class, whose
means enabled them to serve on horseback. A few of those who had been
engaed in driving back the advanced guard of the royalists, might now be
seen returning slowly towards their own squadrons. These were the only
individuals of the insurgent army which seemed to be in motion. All the
others stood firm and motionless, as the grey stones that lay scattered
on the heath around them.

The total number of the insurgents might amount to about a thousand men;
but of these there were scarce a hundred cavalry, nor were the half of
them even tolerably armed. The strength of their position, however, the
sense of their having taken a desperate step, the superiority of their
numbers, but, above all, the ardour of their enthusiasm, were the means
on which their leaders reckoned, for supplying the want of arms,
equipage, and military discipline.

On the side of the hill that rose above the array of battle which they
had adopted, were seen the women and even the children, whom zeal,
opposed to persecution, had driven into the wilderness. They seemed
stationed there to be spectators of the engagement, by which their own
fate, as well as that of their parents, husbands, and sons, was to be
decided. Like the females of the ancient German tribes, the shrill cries
which they raised, when they beheld the glittering ranks of their enemy
appear on the brow of the opposing eminence, acted as an incentive to
their relatives to fight to the last in defence of that which was dearest
to them. Such exhortations seemed to have their full and emphatic effect;
for a wild halloo, which went from rank to rank on the appearance of the
soldiers, intimated the resolution of the insurgents to fight to the
uttermost.

As the horsemen halted their lines on the ridge of the hill, their
trumpets and kettle-drums sounded a bold and warlike flourish of menace
and defiance, that rang along the waste like the shrill summons of a
destroying angel. The wanderers, in answer, united their voices, and sent
forth, in solemn modulation, the two first verses of the seventy-sixth
Psalm, according to the metrical version of the Scottish Kirk:

                    “In Judah’s land God is well known,
                    His name’s in Israel great:
                    In Salem is his tabernacle,
                    In Zion is his seat.
                    There arrows of the bow he brake,
                    The shield, the sword, the war.
                    More glorious thou than hills of prey,
                    More excellent art far.”

A shout, or rather a solemn acclamation, attended the close of the
stanza; and after a dead pause, the second verse was resumed by the
insurgents, who applied the destruction of the Assyrians as prophetical
of the issue of their own impending contest:--

               “Those that were stout of heart are spoil’d,
               They slept their sleep outright;
               And none of those their hands did find,
               That were the men of might.

               When thy rebuke, O Jacob’s God,
               Had forth against them past,
               Their horses and their chariots both
               Were in a deep sleep cast.”

There was another acclamation, which was followed by the most profound
silence.

While these solemn sounds, accented by a thousand voices, were prolonged
amongst the waste hills, Claverhouse looked with great attention on the
ground, and on the order of battle which the wanderers had adopted, and
in which they determined to await the assault.

“The churls,” he said, “must have some old soldiers with them; it was no
rustic that made choice of that ground.”

“Burley is said to be with them for certain,” answered Lord Evandale,
“and also Hackston of Rathillet, Paton of Meadowhead, Cleland, and some
other men of military skill.”

“I judged as much,” said Claverhouse, “from the style in which these
detached horsemen leapt their horses over the ditch, as they returned to
their position. It was easy to see that there were a few roundheaded
troopers amongst them, the true spawn of the old Covenant. We must manage
this matter warily as well as boldly. Evandale, let the officers come to
this knoll.”

He moved to a small moss-grown cairn, probably the resting-place of some
Celtic chief of other times, and the call of “Officers to the front,”
 soon brought them around their commander.

“I do not call you around me, gentlemen,” said Claverhouse, “in the
formal capacity of a council of war, for I will never turn over on others
the responsibility which my rank imposes on myself. I only want the
benefit of your opinions, reserving to myself, as most men do when they
ask advice, the liberty of following my own.--What say you, Cornet
Grahame? Shall we attack these fellows who are bellowing younder? You are
youngest and hottest, and therefore will speak first whether I will or
no.”

“Then,” said Cornet Grahame, “while I have the honour to carry the
standard of the Life-Guards, it shall never, with my will, retreat before
rebels. I say, charge, in God’s name and the King’s!”

“And what say you, Allan?” continued Claverhouse, “for Evandale is so
modest, we shall never get him to speak till you have said what you have
to say.”

“These fellows,” said Major Allan, an old cavalier officer of experience,
“are three or four to one--I should not mind that much upon a fair field,
but they are posted in a very formidable strength, and show no
inclination to quit it. I therefore think, with deference to Cornet
Grahame’s opinion, that we should draw back to Tillietudlem, occupy the
pass between the hills and the open country, and send for reinforcements
to my Lord Ross, who is lying at Glasgow with a regiment of infantry. In
this way we should cut them off from the Strath of Clyde, and either
compel them to come out of their stronghold, and give us battle on fair
terms, or, if they remain here, we will attack them so soon as our
infantry has joined us, and enabled us to act with effect among these
ditches, bogs, and quagmires.”

“Pshaw!” said the young Cornet, “what signifies strong ground, when it is
only held by a crew of canting, psalm-singing old women?”

“A man may fight never the worse,” retorted Major Allan, “for honouring
both his Bible and Psalter. These fellows will prove as stubborn as
steel; I know them of old.”

“Their nasal psalmody,” said the Cornet, “reminds our Major of the race
of Dunbar.”

“Had you been at that race, young man,” retorted Allan, “you would have
wanted nothing to remind you of it for the longest day you have to live.”

“Hush, hush, gentlemen,” said Claverhouse, “these are untimely
repartees.--I should like your advice well, Major Allan, had our rascally
patrols (whom I will see duly punished) brought us timely notice of the
enemy’s numbers and position. But having once presented ourselves before
them in line, the retreat of the Life-Guards would argue gross timidity,
and be the general signal for insurrection throughout the west. In which
case, so far from obtaining any assistance from my Lord Ross, I promise
you I should have great apprehensions of his being cut off before we can
join him, or he us. A retreat would have quite the same fatal effect upon
the king’s cause as the loss of a battle--and as to the difference of
risk or of safety it might make with respect to ourselves, that, I am
sure, no gentleman thinks a moment about. There must be some gorges or
passes in the morass through which we can force our way; and, were we
once on firm ground, I trust there is no man in the Life-Guards who
supposes our squadrons, though so weak in numbers, are unable to trample
into dust twice the number of these unpractised clowns.--What say you, my
Lord Evandale?”

“I humbly think,” said Lord Evandale, “that, go the day how it will, it
must be a bloody one; and that we shall lose many brave fellows, and
probably be obliged to slaughter a great number of these misguided men,
who, after all, are Scotchmen and subjects of King Charles as well as we
are.”

“Rebels! rebels! and undeserving the name either of Scotchmen or of
subjects,” said Claverhouse; “but come, my lord, what does your opinion
point at?”

“To enter into a treaty with these ignorant and misled men,” said the
young nobleman.

“A treaty! and with rebels having arms in their hands? Never while I
live,” answered his commander.

“At least send a trumpet and flag of truce, summoning them to lay down
their weapons and disperse,” said Lord Evandale, “upon promise of a free
pardon--I have always heard, that had that been done before the battle of
Pentland hills, much blood might have been saved.”

“Well,” said Claverhouse, “and who the devil do you think would carry a
summons to these headstrong and desperate fanatics? They acknowledge no
laws of war. Their leaders, who have been all most active in the murder
of the Archbishop of St Andrews, fight with a rope round their necks, and
are likely to kill the messenger, were it but to dip their followers in
loyal blood, and to make them as desperate of pardon as themselves.”

“I will go myself,” said Evandale, “if you will permit me. I have often
risked my blood to spill that of others, let me do so now in order to
save human lives.”

“You shall not go on such an errand, my lord,” said Claverhouse; “your
rank and situation render your safety of too much consequence to the
country in an age when good principles are so rare.--Here’s my brother’s
son Dick Grahame, who fears shot or steel as little as if the devil had
given him armour of proof against it, as the fanatics say he has given to
his uncle.

     [Note:  Cornet Grahame. There was actually a young cornet of the
     Life-Guards named Grahame, and probably some relation of
     Claverhouse, slain in the skirmish of Drumclog. In the old ballad on
     the Battle of Bothwell Bridge, Claverhouse is said to have continued
     the slaughter of the fugitives in revenge of this gentleman’s death.

     “Haud up your hand,” then Monmouth said; “Gie quarters to these men
     for me;” But bloody Claver’se swore an oath, His kinsman’s death
     avenged should be.

     The body of this young man was found shockingly mangled after the
     battle, his eyes pulled out, and his features so much defaced, that
     it was impossible to recognise him. The Tory writers say that this
     was done by the Whigs; because, finding the name Grahame wrought in
     the young gentleman’s neckcloth, they took the corpse for that of
     Claver’se himself. The Whig authorities give a different account,
     from tradition, of the cause of Cornet Grahame’s body being thus
     mangled. He had, say they, refused his own dog any food on the
     morning of the battle, affirming, with an oath, that he should have
     no breakfast but upon the flesh of the Whigs. The ravenous animal,
     it is said, flew at his master as soon as he fell, and lacerated his
     face and throat.

     These two stories are presented to the reader, leaving it to him to
     judge whether it is most likely that a party of persecuted and
     insurgent fanatics should mangle a body supposed to be that of their
     chief enemy, in the same manner as several persons present at
     Drumclog had shortly before treated the person of Archbishop Sharpe;
     or that a domestic dog should, for want of a single breakfast,
     become so ferocious as to feed on his own master, selecting his body
     from scores that were lying around, equally accessible to his
     ravenous appetite.]

He shall take a flag of truce and a trumpet, and ride down to the edge of
the morass to summon them to lay down their arms and disperse.”

“With all my soul, Colonel,” answered the Cornet; “and I’ll tie my cravat
on a pike to serve for a white flag--the rascals never saw such a pennon
of Flanders lace in their lives before.”

“Colonel Grahame,” said Evandale, while the young officer prepared for
his expedition, “this young gentleman is your nephew and your apparent
heir; for God’s sake, permit me to go. It was my counsel, and I ought to
stand the risk.”

“Were he my only son,” said Claverhouse, “this is no cause and no time to
spare him. I hope my private affections will never interfere with my
public duty. If Dick Grahame falls, the loss is chiefly mine; were your
lordship to die, the King and country would be the sufferers.--Come,
gentlemen, each to his post. If our summons is unfavourably received, we
will instantly attack; and, as the old Scottish blazon has it, God shaw
the right!”



CHAPTER XVI.

               With many a stout thwack and many a bang,
               Hard crab-tree and old iron rang.
                                             Hudibras.

Cornet Richard Grahame descended the hill, bearing in his hand the
extempore flag of truce, and making his managed horse keep time by bounds
and curvets to the tune which he whistled. The trumpeter followed. Five
or six horsemen, having something the appearance of officers, detached
themselves from each flank of the Presbyterian army, and, meeting in the
centre, approached the ditch which divided the hollow as near as the
morass would permit. Towards this group, but keeping the opposite side of
the swamp, Cornet Grahame directed his horse, his motions being now the
conspicuous object of attention to both armies; and, without
disparagement to the courage of either, it is probable there was a
general wish on both sides that this embassy might save the risks and
bloodshed of the impending conflict.

When he had arrived right opposite to those, who, by their advancing to
receive his message, seemed to take upon themselves as the leaders of the
enemy, Cornet Grahame commanded his trumpeter to sound a parley. The
insurgents having no instrument of martial music wherewith to make the
appropriate reply, one of their number called out with a loud, strong
voice, demanding to know why he approached their leaguer.

“To summon you in the King’s name, and in that of Colonel John Grahame of
Claverhouse, specially commissioned by the right honourable Privy Council
of Scotland,” answered the Cornet, “to lay down your arms, and dismiss
the followers whom ye have led into rebellion, contrary to the laws of
God, of the King, and of the country.”

“Return to them that sent thee,” said the insurgent leader, “and tell
them that we are this day in arms for a broken Covenant and a persecuted
Kirk; tell them that we renounce the licentious and perjured Charles
Stewart, whom you call king, even as he renounced the Covenant, after
having once and again sworn to prosecute to the utmost of his power all
the ends thereof, really, constantly, and sincerely, all the days of his
life, having no enemies but the enemies of the Covenant, and no friends
but its friends. Whereas, far from keeping the oath he had called God and
angels to witness, his first step, after his incoming into these
kingdoms, was the fearful grasping at the prerogative of the Almighty, by
that hideous Act of Supremacy, together with his expulsing, without
summons, libel, or process of law, hundreds of famous faithful preachers,
thereby wringing the bread of life out of the mouth of hungry, poor
creatures, and forcibly cramming their throats with the lifeless,
saltless, foisonless, lukewarm drammock of the fourteen false prelates,
and their sycophantic, formal, carnal, scandalous creature-curates.”

“I did not come to hear you preach,” answered the officer, “but to know,
in one word, if you will disperse yourselves, on condition of a free
pardon to all but the murderers of the late Archbishop of St Andrews; or
whether you will abide the attack of his majesty’s forces, which will
instantly advance upon you.”

“In one word, then,” answered the spokesman, “we are here with our swords
on our thighs, as men that watch in the night. We will take one part and
portion together, as brethren in righteousness. Whosoever assails us in
our good cause, his blood be on his own head. So return to them that sent
thee, and God give them and thee a sight of the evil of your ways!”

“Is not your name,” said the Cornet, who began to recollect having seen
the person whom he was now speaking with, “John Balfour of Burley?”

“And if it be,” said the spokesman, “hast thou aught to say against it?”

“Only,” said the Cornet, “that, as you are excluded from pardon in the
name of the King and of my commanding officer, it is to these country
people, and not to you, that I offer it; and it is not with you, or such
as you, that I am sent to treat.”

“Thou art a young soldier, friend,” said Burley, “and scant well learned
in thy trade, or thou wouldst know that the bearer of a flag of truce
cannot treat with the army but through their officers; and that if he
presume to do otherwise, he forfeits his safe conduct.”

While speaking these words, Burley unslung his carabine, and held it in
readiness.

“I am not to be intimidated from the discharge of my duty by the menaces
of a murderer,” said Cornet Grahame.--“Hear me, good people; I proclaim,
in the name of the King and of my commanding officer, full and free
pardon to all, excepting”--

“I give thee fair warning,” said Burley, presenting his piece.

“A free pardon to all,” continued the young officer, still addressing the
body of the insurgents--“to all but”--

“Then the Lord grant grace to thy soul--amen!” said Burley.

With these words he fired, and Cornet Richard Grahame dropped from his
horse. The shot was mortal. The unfortunate young gentleman had only
strength to turn himself on the ground and mutter forth, “My poor
mother!” when life forsook him in the effort. His startled horse fled
back to the regiment at the gallop, as did his scarce less affrighted
attendant.

“What have you done?” said one of Balfour’s brother officers.

“My duty,” said Balfour, firmly. “Is it not written, Thou shalt be
zealous even to slaying? Let those, who dare, now venture to speak of
truce or pardon!”

Claverhouse saw his nephew fall. He turned his eye on Evandale, while a
transitory glance of indescribable emotion disturbed, for a second’s
space, the serenity of his features, and briefly said, “You see the
event.”

“I will avenge him, or die!” exclaimed Evandale; and, putting his horse
into motion, rode furiously down the hill, followed by his own troop, and
that of the deceased Cornet, which broke down without orders; and, each
striving to be the foremost to revenge their young officer, their ranks
soon fell into confusion. These forces formed the first line of the
royalists. It was in vain that Claverhouse exclaimed, “Halt! halt! this
rashness will undo us.” It was all that he could accomplish, by galloping
along the second line, entreating, commanding, and even menacing the men
with his sword, that he could restrain them from following an example so
contagious.

“Allan,” he said, as soon as he had rendered the men in some degree more
steady, “lead them slowly down the hill to support Lord Evandale, who is
about to need it very much.--Bothwell, thou art a cool and a daring
fellow”--

“Ay,” muttered Bothwell, “you can remember that in a moment like this.”

“Lead ten file up the hollow to the right,” continued his commanding
officer, “and try every means to get through the bog; then form and
charge the rebels in flank and rear, while they are engaged with us in
front.”

Bothwell made a signal of intelligence and obedience, and moved off with
his party at a rapid pace.

Meantime, the disaster which Claverhouse had apprehended, did not fail to
take place. The troopers, who, with Lord Evandale, had rushed down upon
the enemy, soon found their disorderly career interrupted by the
impracticable character of the ground. Some stuck fast in the morass as
they attempted to struggle through, some recoiled from the attempt and
remained on the brink, others dispersed to seek a more favourable place
to pass the swamp. In the midst of this confusion, the first line of the
enemy, of which the foremost rank knelt, the second stooped, and the
third stood upright, poured in a close and destructive fire that emptied
at least a score of saddles, and increased tenfold the disorder into
which the horsemen had fallen. Lord Evandale, in the meantime, at the
head of a very few well-mounted men, had been able to clear the ditch,
but was no sooner across than he was charged by the left body of the
enemy’s cavalry, who, encouraged by the small number of opponents that
had made their way through the broken ground, set upon them with the
utmost fury, crying, “Woe, woe to the uncircumcised Philistines! down
with Dagon and all his adherents!”

The young nobleman fought like a lion; but most of his followers were
killed, and he himself could not have escaped the same fate but for a
heavy fire of carabines, which Claverhouse, who had now advanced with the
second line near to the ditch, poured so effectually upon the enemy, that
both horse and foot for a moment began to shrink, and Lord Evandale,
disengaged from his unequal combat, and finding himself nearly alone,
took the opportunity to effect his retreat through the morass. But
notwithstanding the loss they had sustained by Claverhouse’s first fire,
the insurgents became soon aware that the advantage of numbers and of
position were so decidedly theirs, that, if they could but persist in
making a brief but resolute defence, the Life-Guards must necessarily be
defeated. Their leaders flew through their ranks, exhorting them to stand
firm, and pointing out how efficacious their fire must be where both men
and horse were exposed to it; for the troopers, according to custom,
fired without having dismounted. Claverhouse, more than once, when he
perceived his best men dropping by a fire which they could not
effectually return, made desperate efforts to pass the bog at various
points, and renew the battle on firm ground and fiercer terms. But the
close fire of the insurgents, joined to the natural difficulties of the
pass, foiled his attempts in every point.

“We must retreat,” he said to Evandale, “unless Bothwell can effect a
diversion in our favour. In the meantime, draw the men out of fire, and
leave skirmishers behind these patches of alderbushes to keep the enemy
in check.”

These directions being accomplished, the appearance of Bothwell with his
party was earnestly expected. But Bothwell had his own disadvantages to
struggle with. His detour to the right had not escaped the penetrating
observation of Burley, who made a corresponding movement with the left
wing of the mounted insurgents, so that when Bothwell, after riding a
considerable way up the valley, found a place at which the bog could be
passed, though with some difficulty, he perceived he was still in front
of a superior enemy. His daring character was in no degree checked by
this unexpected opposition.

“Follow me, my lads!” he called to his men; “never let it be said that we
turned our backs before these canting roundheads!”

With that, as if inspired by the spirit of his ancestors, he shouted,
“Bothwell! Bothwell!” and throwing himself into the morass, he struggled
through it at the head of his party, and attacked that of Burley with
such fury, that he drove them back above a pistol-shot, killing three men
with his own hand. Burley, perceiving the consequences of a defeat on
this point, and that his men, though more numerous, were unequal to the
regulars in using their arms and managing their horses, threw himself
across Bothwell’s way, and attacked him hand to hand. Each of the
combatants was considered as the champion of his respective party, and a
result ensued more usual in romance than in real story. Their followers,
on either side, instantly paused, and looked on as if the fate of the day
were to be decided by the event of the combat between these two redoubted
swordsmen. The combatants themselves seemed of the same opinion; for,
after two or three eager cuts and pushes had been exchanged, they paused,
as if by joint consent, to recover the breath which preceding exertions
had exhausted, and to prepare for a duel in which each seemed conscious
he had met his match.


[Illustration: The Duel--230]


“You are the murdering villain, Burley,” said Bothwell, griping his sword
firmly, and setting his teeth close--“you escaped me once, but”--(he
swore an oath too tremendous to be written down)--“thy head is worth its
weight of silver, and it shall go home at my saddle-bow, or my saddle
shall go home empty for me.”

“Yes,” replied Burley, with stern and gloomy deliberation, “I am that
John Balfour, who promised to lay thy head where thou shouldst never lift
it again; and God do so unto me, and more also, if I do not redeem my
word!”

“Then a bed of heather, or a thousand merks!” said Bothwell, striking at
Burley with his full force.

“The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!” answered Balfour, as he parried
and returned the blow.

There have seldom met two combatants more equally matched in strength of
body, skill in the management of their weapons and horses, determined
courage, and unrelenting hostility. After exchanging many desperate
blows, each receiving and inflicting several wounds, though of no great
consequence, they grappled together as if with the desperate impatience
of mortal hate, and Bothwell, seizing his enemy by the shoulder-belt,
while the grasp of Balfour was upon his own collar, they came headlong to
the ground. The companions of Burley hastened to his assistance, but were
repelled by the dragoons, and the battle became again general. But
nothing could withdraw the attention of the combatants from each other,
or induce them to unclose the deadly clasp in which they rolled together
on the ground, tearing, struggling, and foaming, with the inveteracy of
thorough-bred bull-dogs.

Several horses passed over them in the melee without their quitting hold
of each other, until the sword-arm of Bothwell was broken by the kick of
a charger. He then relinquished his grasp with a deep and suppressed
groan, and both combatants started to their feet. Bothwell’s right hand
dropped helpless by his side, but his left griped to the place where his
dagger hung; it had escaped from the sheath in the struggle,--and, with a
look of mingled rage and despair, he stood totally defenceless, as
Balfour, with a laugh of savage joy, flourished his sword aloft, and then
passed it through his adversary’s body. Bothwell received the thrust
without falling--it had only grazed on his ribs. He attempted no farther
defence, but, looking at Burley with a grin of deadly hatred,
exclaimed--“Base peasant churl, thou hast spilt the blood of a line
of kings!”

“Die, wretch!--die!” said Balfour, redoubling the thrust with better aim;
and, setting his foot on Bothwell’s body as he fell, he a third time
transfixed him with his sword.--“Die, bloodthirsty dog! die as thou hast
lived!--die, like the beasts that perish--hoping nothing--believing
nothing--”

“And fearing nothing!” said Bothwell, collecting the last effort of
respiration to utter these desperate words, and expiring as soon as they
were spoken.

To catch a stray horse by the bridle, throw himself upon it, and rush to
the assistance of his followers, was, with Burley, the affair of a
moment. And as the fall of Bothwell had given to the insurgents all the
courage of which it had deprived his comrades, the issue of this partial
contest did not remain long undecided. Several soldiers were slain, the
rest driven back over the morass and dispersed, and the victorious
Burley, with his party, crossed it in their turn, to direct against
Claverhouse the very manoeuvre which he had instructed Bothwell to
execute. He now put his troop in order, with the view of attacking the
right wing of the royalists; and, sending news of his success to the main
body, exhorted them, in the name of Heaven, to cross the marsh, and work
out the glorious work of the Lord by a general attack upon the enemy.

Meanwhile, Claverhouse, who had in some degree remedied the confusion
occasioned by the first irregular and unsuccessful attack, and reduced
the combat in front to a distant skirmish with firearms, chiefly
maintained by some dismounted troopers whom he had posted behind the
cover of the shrub-by copses of alders, which in some places covered the
edge of the morass, and whose close, cool, and well-aimed fire
greatly annoyed the enemy, and concealed their own deficiency of
numbers,--Claverhouse, while he maintained the contest in this manner,
still expecting that a diversion by Bothwell and his party might
facilitate a general attack, was accosted by one of the dragoons, whose
bloody face and jaded horse bore witness he was come from hard service.

“What is the matter, Halliday?” said Claverhouse, for he knew every man
in his regiment by name--“Where is Bothwell?”

“Bothwell is down,” replied Halliday, “and many a pretty fellow with
him.”

“Then the king,” said Claverhouse, with his usual composure, “has lost a
stout soldier.--The enemy have passed the marsh, I suppose?”

“With a strong body of horse, commanded by the devil incarnate that
killed Bothwell,” answered the terrified soldier.

“Hush! hush!” said Claverhouse, putting his finger on his lips, “not a
word to any one but me.--Lord Evandale, we must retreat. The fates will
have it so. Draw together the men that are dispersed in the skirmishing
work. Let Allan form the regiment, and do you two retreat up the hill in
two bodies, each halting alternately as the other falls back. I’ll keep
the rogues in check with the rear-guard, making a stand and facing from
time to time. They will be over the ditch presently, for I see their
whole line in motion and preparing to cross; therefore lose no time.”

“Where is Bothwell with his party?” said Lord Evandale, astonished at the
coolness of his commander.

“Fairly disposed of,” said Claverhouse, in his ear--“the king has lost a
servant, and the devil has got one. But away to business, Evandale--ply
your spurs and get the men together. Allan and you must keep them steady.
This retreating is new work for us all; but our turn will come round
another day.”

Evandale and Allan betook themselves to their task; but ere they had
arranged the regiment for the purpose of retreating in two alternate
bodies, a considerable number of the enemy had crossed the marsh.
Claverhouse, who had retained immediately around his person a few of his
most active and tried men, charged those who had crossed in person, while
they were yet disordered by the broken ground. Some they killed, others
they repulsed into the morass, and checked the whole so as to enable the
main body, now greatly diminished, as well as disheartened by the loss
they had sustained, to commence their retreat up the hill.

But the enemy’s van being soon reinforced and supported, compelled
Claverhouse to follow his troops. Never did man, however, better maintain
the character of a soldier than he did that day. Conspicuous by his black
horse and white feather, he was first in the repeated charges which he
made at every favourable opportunity, to arrest the progress of the
pursuers, and to cover the retreat of his regiment. The object of aim to
every one, he seemed as if he were impassive to their shot. The
superstitious fanatics, who looked upon him as a man gifted by the Evil
Spirit with supernatural means of defence, averred that they saw the
bullets recoil from his jack-boots and buff-coat like hailstones from a
rock of granite, as he galloped to and fro amid the storm of the battle.
Many a whig that day loaded his musket with a dollar cut into slugs, in
order that a silver bullet (such was their belief) might bring down the
persecutor of the holy kirk, on whom lead had no power.

“Try him with the cold steel,” was the cry at every renewed
charge--“powder is wasted on him. Ye might as weel shoot at the Auld
Enemy himsell.”

     [Note: Proof against Shot given by Satan. The belief of the
     Covenanters that their principal enemies, and Claverhouse in
     particular, had obtained from the Devil a charm which rendered them
     proof against leaden bullets, led them to pervert even the
     circumstances of his death. Howie of Lochgoin, after giving some
     account of the battle of Killicrankie, adds:

     “The battle was very bloody, and by Mackay’s third fire, Claverhouse
     fell, of whom historians give little account; but it has been said
     for certain, that his own waiting-servant, taking a resolution to
     rid the world of this truculent bloody monster, and knowing he had
     proof of lead, shot him with a silver button he had before taken off
     his own coat for that purpose. However, he fell, and with him
     Popery, and King James’s interest in Scotland.”--God’s Judgment on
     Persecutors, p. xxxix.

     Original note.--“Perhaps some may think this anent proof of a shot a
     paradox, and be ready to object here, as formerly, concerning Bishop
     Sharpe and Dalziel--‘How can the Devil have or give a power to save
     life?’ Without entering upon the thing in its reality, I shall only
     observe, 1st, That it is neither in his power, or of his nature, to
     be a saviour of men’s lives; he is called Apollyon the destroyer.
     2d, That even in this case he is said only to give enchantment
     against one kind of metal, and this does not save life: for the lead
     would not take Sharpe or Claverhouse’s lives, yet steel and silver
     would do it; and for Dalziel, though he died not on the field, he
     did not escape the arrows of the Almighty.”--Ibidem.]

But though this was loudly shouted, yet the awe on the insurgents’ minds
was such, that they gave way before Claverhouse as before a supernatural
being, and few men ventured to cross swords with him. Still, however, he
was fighting in retreat, and with all the disadvantages attending that
movement. The soldiers behind him, as they beheld the increasing number
of enemies who poured over the morass, became unsteady; and, at every
successive movement, Major Allan and Lord Evandale found it more and more
difficult to bring them to halt and form line regularly, while, on the
other hand, their motions in the act of retreating became, by degrees,
much more rapid than was consistent with good order. As the retiring
soldiers approached nearer to the top of the ridge, from which in so
luckless an hour they had descended, the panic began to increase. Every
one became impatient to place the brow of the hill between him and the
continued fire of the pursuers; nor could any individual think it
reasonable that he should be the last in the retreat, and thus sacrifice
his own safety for that of others. In this mood, several troopers set
spurs to their horses and fled outright, and the others became so
unsteady in their movements and formations, that their officers every
moment feared they would follow the same example.

Amid this scene of blood and confusion, the trampling of the horses, the
groans of the wounded, the continued fire of the enemy, which fell in a
succession of unintermitted musketry, while loud shouts accompanied each
bullet which the fall of a trooper showed to have been successfully
aimed--amid all the terrors and disorders of such a scene, and when it
was dubious how soon they might be totally deserted by their dispirited
soldiery, Evandale could not forbear remarking the composure of his
commanding officer. Not at Lady Margaret’s breakfast-table that morning
did his eye appear more lively, or his demeanour more composed. He had
closed up to Evandale for the purpose of giving some orders, and picking
out a few men to reinforce his rear-guard.

“If this bout lasts five minutes longer,” he said, in a whisper, “our
rogues will leave you, my lord, old Allan, and myself, the honour of
fighting this battle with our own hands. I must do something to disperse
the musketeers who annoy them so hard, or we shall be all shamed. Don’t
attempt to succour me if you see me go down, but keep at the head of your
men; get off as you can, in God’s name, and tell the king and the council
I died in my duty!”

So saying, and commanding about twenty stout men to follow him, he gave,
with this small body, a charge so desperate and unexpected, that he drove
the foremost of the pursuers back to some distance. In the confusion of
the assault he singled out Burley, and, desirous to strike terror into
his followers, he dealt him so severe a blow on the head, as cut through
his steel head-piece, and threw him from his horse, stunned for the
moment, though unwounded. A wonderful thing it was afterwards thought,
that one so powerful as Balfour should have sunk under the blow of a man,
to appearance so slightly made as Claverhouse; and the vulgar, of course,
set down to supernatural aid the effect of that energy, which a
determined spirit can give to a feebler arm. Claverhouse had, in this
last charge, however, involved himself too deeply among the insurgents,
and was fairly surrounded.

Lord Evandale saw the danger of his commander, his body of dragoons being
then halted, while that commanded by Allan was in the act of retreating.
Regardless of Claverhouse’s disinterested command to the contrary, he
ordered the party which he headed to charge down hill and extricate their
Colonel. Some advanced with him--most halted and stood uncertain--many
ran away. With those who followed Evandale, he disengaged Claverhouse.
His assistance just came in time, for a rustic had wounded his horse in a
most ghastly manner by the blow of a scythe, and was about to repeat the
stroke when Lord Evandale cut him down. As they got out of the press,
they looked round them. Allan’s division had ridden clear over the hill,
that officer’s authority having proved altogether unequal to halt them.
Evandale’s troop was scattered and in total confusion.

“What is to be done, Colonel?” said Lord Evandale.

“We are the last men in the field, I think,” said Claverhouse; “and when
men fight as long as they can, there is no shame in flying. Hector
himself would say, ‘Devil take the hindmost,’ when there are but twenty
against a thousand.--Save yourselves, my lads, and rally as soon as you
can.--Come, my lord, we must e’en ride for it.”

So saying, he put spurs to his wounded horse; and the generous animal, as
if conscious that the life of his rider depended on his exertions,
pressed forward with speed, unabated either by pain or loss of blood.

     [Note:  Claverhouse’s Charger. It appears, from the letter of
     Claverhouse afterwards quoted, that the horse on which he rode at
     Drumclog was not black, but sorrel. The author has been misled as to
     the colour by the many extraordinary traditions current in Scotland
     concerning Claverhouse’s famous black charger, which was generally
     believed to have been a gift to its rider from the Author of Evil,
     who is said to have performed the Caesarean operation upon its dam.
     This horse was so fleet, and its rider so expert, that they are said
     to have outstripped and coted, or turned, a hare upon the Bran-Law,
     near the head of Moffat Water, where the descent is so precipitous,
     that no merely earthly horse could keep its feet, or merely mortal
     rider could keep the saddle.

     There is a curious passage in the testimony of John Dick, one of the
     suffering Presbyterians, in which the author, by describing each of
     the persecutors by their predominant qualities or passions, shows
     how little their best-loved attributes would avail them in the great
     day of judgment. When he introduces Claverhouse, it is to reproach
     him with his passion for horses in general, and for that steed in
     particular, which was killed at Drumclog, in the manner described in
     the text:

     “As for that bloodthirsty wretch, Claverhouse, how thinks he to
     shelter himself that day? Is it possible the pitiful thing can be so
     mad as to think to secure himself by the fleetness of his horse, (a
     creature he has so much respect for, that he regarded more the loss
     of his horse at Drumclog, than all the men that fell there, and sure
     there fell prettier men on either side than himself?) No,
     sure--could he fall upon a chemist that could extract the spirit
     out of all the horses in the world, and infuse them into his one,
     though he were on that horse never so well mounted, he need not
     dream of escaping.”--The Testimony to the Doctrine, Worship,
     Discipline, and Government of the Church of Scotland, as it was
     left in write by that truly pious and eminently faithful, and now
     glorified Martyr, Mr John Dick. To which is added, his last Speech
     and Behaviour on the Scaffold, on 5th March, 1684, which day he
     sealed this testimony. 57 pp. 4to. No year or place of publication.

     The reader may perhaps receive some farther information on the
     subject of Cornet Grahame’s death and the flight of Claverhouse,
     from the following Latin lines, a part of a poem entitled, Bellum
     Bothuellianum, by Andrew Guild, which exists in manuscript in the
     Advocates’ Library.]

A few officers and soldiers followed him, but in a very irregular and
tumultuary manner. The flight of Claverhouse was the signal for all the
stragglers, who yet offered desultory resistance, to fly as fast as they
could, and yield up the field of battle to the victorious insurgents.



CHAPTER XVII.

          But see! through the fast-flashing lightnings of war,
          What steed to the desert flies frantic and far?
                                                  Campbell.

During the severe skirmish of which we have given the details, Morton,
together with Cuddie and his mother, and the Reverend Gabriel
Kettledrummle, remained on the brow of the hill, near to the small cairn,
or barrow, beside which Claverhouse had held his preliminary council of
war, so that they had a commanding view of the action which took place in
the bottom. They were guarded by Corporal Inglis and four soldiers, who,
as may readily be supposed, were much more intent on watching the
fluctuating fortunes of the battle, than in attending to what passed
among their prisoners.

“If you lads stand to their tackle,” said Cuddie, “we’ll hae some chance
o’ getting our necks out o’ the brecham again; but I misdoubt them--they
hae little skeel o’ arms.”

“Much is not necessary, Cuddie,” answered Morton; “they have a strong
position, and weapons in their hands, and are more than three times the
number of their assailants. If they cannot fight for their freedom now,
they and theirs deserve to lose it for ever.”

“O, sirs,” exclaimed Mause, “here’s a goodly spectacle indeed! My spirit
is like that of the blessed Elihu, it burns within me--my bowels are as
wine which lacketh vent--they are ready to burst like new bottles. O,
that He may look after His ain people in this day of judgment and
deliverance!--And now, what ailest thou, precious Mr Gabriel
Kettledrummle? I say, what ailest thou, that wert a Nazarite purer than
snow, whiter than milk, more ruddy than sulphur,” (meaning, perhaps,
sapphires,)--“I say, what ails thee now, that thou art blacker than a
coal, that thy beauty is departed, and thy loveliness withered like a dry
potsherd? Surely it is time to be up and be doing, to cry loudly and to
spare not, and to wrestle for the puir lads that are yonder testifying
with their ain blude and that of their enemies.”

This expostulation implied a reproach on Mr Kettledrummle, who, though an
absolute Boanerges, or son of thunder, in the pulpit, when the enemy were
afar, and indeed sufficiently contumacious, as we have seen, when in
their power, had been struck dumb by the firing, shouts, and shrieks,
which now arose from the valley, and--as many an honest man might have
been, in a situation where he could neither fight nor fly--was too much
dismayed to take so favourable an opportunity to preach the terrors of
presbytery, as the courageous Mause had expected at his hand, or even to
pray for the successful event of the battle. His presence of mind was
not, however, entirely lost, any more than his jealous respect for his
reputation as a pure and powerful preacher of the word.

“Hold your peace, woman!” he said, “and do not perturb my inward
meditations and the wrestlings wherewith I wrestle.--But of a verity the
shooting of the foemen doth begin to increase! peradventure, some pellet
may attain unto us even here. Lo! I will ensconce me behind the cairn, as
behind a strong wall of defence.”

“He’s but a coward body after a’,” said Cuddie, who was himself by no
means deficient in that sort of courage which consists in insensibility
to danger; “he’s but a daidling coward body. He’ll never fill
Rumbleberry’s bonnet.--Odd! Rumbleberry fought and flyted like a fleeing
dragon. It was a great pity, puir man, he couldna cheat the woodie. But
they say he gaed singing and rejoicing till’t, just as I wad gang to a
bicker o’ brose, supposing me hungry, as I stand a gude chance to be.--
Eh, sirs! yon’s an awfu’ sight, and yet ane canna keep their een aff frae
it!”

Accordingly, strong curiosity on the part of Morton and Cuddie, together
with the heated enthusiasm of old Mause, detained them on the spot from
which they could best hear and see the issue of the action, leaving to
Kettledrummle to occupy alone his place of security. The vicissitudes of
combat, which we have already described, were witnessed by our spectators
from the top of the eminence, but without their being able positively to
determine to what they tended. That the presbyterians defended themselves
stoutly was evident from the heavy smoke, which, illumined by frequent
flashes of fire, now eddied along the valley, and hid the contending
parties in its sulphureous shade. On the other hand, the continued firing
from the nearer side of the morass indicated that the enemy persevered in
their attack, that the affair was fiercely disputed, and that every thing
was to be apprehended from a continued contest in which undisciplined
rustics had to repel the assaults of regular troops, so completely
officered and armed.

At length horses, whose caparisons showed that they belonged to the
Life-Guards, began to fly masterless out of the confusion. Dismounted
soldiers next appeared, forsaking the conflict, and straggling over the
side of the hill, in order to escape from the scene of action. As the
numbers of these fugitives increased, the fate of the day seemed no
longer doubtful. A large body was then seen emerging from the smoke,
forming irregularly on the hill-side, and with difficulty kept stationary
by their officers, until Evandale’s corps also appeared in full retreat.
The result of the conflict was then apparent, and the joy of the
prisoners was corresponding to their approaching deliverance.

“They hae dune the job for anes,” said Cuddie, “an they ne’er do’t
again.”

“They flee!--they flee!” exclaimed Mause, in ecstasy. “O, the truculent
tyrants! they are riding now as they never rode before. O, the false
Egyptians--the proud Assyrians--the Philistines--the Moabites--the
Edomites--the Ishmaelites!--The Lord has brought sharp swords upon them,
to make them food for the fowls of heaven and the beasts of the field.
See how the clouds roll, and the fire flashes ahint them, and goes forth
before the chosen of the Covenant, e’en like the pillar o’ cloud and the
pillar o’ flame that led the people of Israel out o’ the land of Egypt!
This is indeed a day of deliverance to the righteous, a day of pouring
out of wrath to the persecutors and the ungodly!”

“Lord save us, mither,” said Cuddie, “haud the clavering tongue o’ ye,
and lie down ahint the cairn, like Kettledrummle, honest man! The
whigamore bullets ken unco little discretion, and will just as sune knock
out the harns o’ a psalm-singing auld wife as a swearing dragoon.”

“Fear naething for me, Cuddie,” said the old dame, transported to ecstasy
by the success of her party; “fear naething for me! I will stand, like
Deborah, on the tap o’ the cairn, and tak up my sang o’ reproach against
these men of Harosheth of the Gentiles, whose horse-hoofs are broken by
their prancing.”

The enthusiastic old woman would, in fact, have accomplished her purpose,
of mounting on the cairn, and becoming, as she said, a sign and a banner
to the people, had not Cuddie, with more filial tenderness than respect,
detained her by such force as his shackled arms would permit him to
exert.

“Eh, sirs!” he said, having accomplished this task, “look out yonder,
Milnwood; saw ye ever mortal fight like the deevil Claver’se?--Yonder
he’s been thrice doun amang them, and thrice cam free aff.--But I think
we’ll soon be free oursells, Milnwood. Inglis and his troopers look ower
their shouthers very aften, as if they liked the road ahint them better
than the road afore.”

Cuddie was not mistaken; for, when the main tide of fugitives passed at a
little distance from the spot where they were stationed, the corporal and
his party fired their carabines at random upon the advancing insurgents,
and, abandoning all charge of their prisoners, joined the retreat of
their comrades. Morton and the old woman, whose hands were at liberty,
lost no time in undoing the bonds of Cuddie and of the clergyman, both of
whom had been secured by a cord tied round their arms above the elbows.
By the time this was accomplished, the rear-guard of the dragoons, which
still preserved some order, passed beneath the hillock or rising ground
which was surmounted by the cairn already repeatedly mentioned. They
exhibited all the hurry and confusion incident to a forced retreat, but
still continued in a body. Claverhouse led the van, his naked sword
deeply dyed with blood, as were his face and clothes. His horse was all
covered with gore, and now reeled with weakness. Lord Evandale, in not
much better plight, brought up the rear, still exhorting the soldiers to
keep together and fear nothing. Several of the men were wounded, and one
or two dropped from their horses as they surmounted the hill.

Mause’s zeal broke forth once more at this spectacle, while she stood on
the heath with her head uncovered, and her grey hairs streaming in the
wind, no bad representation of a superannuated bacchante, or Thessalian
witch in the agonies of incantation. She soon discovered Claverhouse at
the head of the fugitive party, and exclaimed with bitter irony, “Tarry,
tarry, ye wha were aye sae blithe to be at the meetings of the saints,
and wad ride every muir in Scotland to find a conventicle! Wilt thou not
tarry, now thou hast found ane? Wilt thou not stay for one word mair?
Wilt thou na bide the afternoon preaching?--Wae betide ye!” she said,
suddenly changing her tone, “and cut the houghs of the creature whase
fleetness ye trust in!--Sheugh--sheugh!--awa wi’ye, that hae spilled sae
muckle blude, and now wad save your ain--awa wi’ye for a railing
Rabshakeh, a cursing Shimei, a bloodthirsty Doeg!--The swords drawn now
that winna be lang o’ o’ertaking ye, ride as fast as ye will.”

Claverhouse, it may be easily supposed, was too busy to attend to her
reproaches, but hastened over the hill, anxious to get the remnant of his
men out of gun-shot, in hopes of again collecting the fugitives round his
standard. But as the rear of his followers rode over the ridge, a shot
struck Lord Evandale’s horse, which instantly sunk down dead beneath him.
Two of the whig horsemen, who were the foremost in the pursuit, hastened
up with the purpose of killing him, for hitherto there had been no
quarter given. Morton, on the other hand, rushed forward to save his
life, if possible, in order at once to indulge his natural generosity,
and to requite the obligation which Lord Evandale had conferred on him
that morning, and under which circumstances had made him wince so
acutely. Just as he had assisted Evandale, who was much wounded, to
extricate himself from his dying horse, and to gain his feet, the two
horsemen came up, and one of them exclaiming, “Have at the red-coated
tyrant!” made a blow at the young nobleman, which Morton parried with
difficulty, exclaiming to the rider, who was no other than Burley
himself, “Give quarter to this gentleman, for my sake--for the sake,” he
added, observing that Burley did not immediately recognise him, “of Henry
Morton, who so lately sheltered you.”

“Henry Morton?” replied Burley, wiping his bloody brow with his bloodier
hand; “did I not say that the son of Silas Morton would come forth out of
the land of bondage, nor be long an indweller in the tents of Ham? Thou
art a brand snatched out of the burning--But for this booted apostle of
prelacy, he shall die the death!--We must smite them hip and thigh, even
from the rising to the going down of the sun. It is our commission to
slay them like Amalek, and utterly destroy all they have, and spare
neither man nor woman, infant nor suckling; therefore, hinder me not,” he
continued, endeavouring again to cut down Lord Evandale, “for this work
must not be wrought negligently.”

“You must not, and you shall not, slay him, more especially while
incapable of defence,” said Morton, planting himself before Lord Evandale
so as to intercept any blow that should be aimed at him; “I owed my life
to him this morning--my life, which was endangered solely by my having
sheltered you; and to shed his blood when he can offer no effectual
resistance, were not only a cruelty abhorrent to God and man, but
detestable ingratitude both to him and to me.”

Burley paused.--“Thou art yet,” he said, “in the court of the Gentiles,
and I compassionate thy human blindness and frailty. Strong meat is not
fit for babes, nor the mighty and grinding dispensation under which I
draw my sword, for those whose hearts are yet dwelling in huts of clay,
whose footsteps are tangled in the mesh of mortal sympathies, and who
clothe themselves in the righteousness that is as filthy rags. But to
gain a soul to the truth is better than to send one to Tophet; therefore
I give quarter to this youth, providing the grant is confirmed by the
general council of God’s army, whom he hath this day blessed with so
signal a deliverance.--Thou art unarmed--Abide my return here. I must yet
pursue these sinners, the Amalekites, and destroy them till they be
utterly consumed from the face of the land, even from Havilah unto Shur.”

So saying, he set spurs to his horse, and continued to pursue the chase.

“Cuddie,” said Morton, “for God’s sake catch a horse as quickly as you
can. I will not trust Lord Evandale’s life with these obdurate men.--You
are wounded, my lord.--Are you able to continue your retreat?” he
continued, addressing himself to his prisoner, who, half-stunned by the
fall, was but beginning to recover himself.

“I think so,” replied Lord Evandale. “But is it possible?--Do I owe my
life to Mr Morton?”

“My interference would have been the same from common humanity,” replied
Morton; “to your lordship it was a sacred debt of gratitude.”

Cuddie at this instant returned with a horse.

“God-sake, munt--munt, and ride like a fleeing hawk, my lord,” said the
good-natured fellow, “for ne’er be in me, if they arena killing every ane
o’ the wounded and prisoners!”

Lord Evandale mounted the horse, while Cuddie officiously held the
stirrup.

“Stand off, good fellow, thy courtesy may cost thy life.--Mr Morton,” he
continued, addressing Henry, “this makes us more than even--rely on it, I
will never forget your generosity--Farewell.”

He turned his horse, and rode swiftly away in the direction which seemed
least exposed to pursuit.

Lord Evandale had just rode off, when several of the insurgents, who were
in the front of the pursuit, came up, denouncing vengeance on Henry
Morton and Cuddie for having aided the escape of a Philistine, as they
called the young nobleman.

“What wad ye hae had us to do?” cried Cuddie. “Had we aught to stop a man
wi’ that had twa pistols and a sword? Sudna ye hae come faster up
yoursells, instead of flyting at huz?”

This excuse would hardly have passed current; but Kettledrummle, who now
awoke from his trance of terror, and was known to, and reverenced by,
most of the wanderers, together with Mause, who possessed their
appropriate language as well as the preacher himself, proved active and
effectual intercessors.

“Touch them not, harm them not,” exclaimed Kettledrummle, in his very
best double-bass tones; “this is the son of the famous Silas Morton, by
whom the Lord wrought great things in this land at the breaking forth of
the reformation from prelacy, when there was a plentiful pouring forth of
the Word and a renewing of the Covenant; a hero and champion of those
blessed days, when there was power and efficacy, and convincing and
converting of sinners, and heart-exercises, and fellowships of saints,
and a plentiful flowing forth of the spices of the garden of Eden.”

“And this is my son Cuddie,” exclaimed Mause, in her turn, “the son of
his father, Judden Headrigg, wha was a douce honest man, and of me, Mause
Middlemas, an unworthy professor and follower of the pure gospel, and ane
o’ your ain folk. Is it not written, ‘Cut ye not off the tribe of the
families of the Kohathites from among the Levites?’ Numbers, fourth and
aughteenth--O! sirs! dinna be standing here prattling wi’ honest folk,
when ye suld be following forth your victory with which Providence has
blessed ye.”

This party having passed on, they were immediately beset by another, to
whom it was necessary to give the same explanation. Kettledrummle, whose
fear was much dissipated since the firing had ceased, again took upon him
to be intercessor, and grown bold, as he felt his good word necessary for
the protection of his late fellow-captives, he laid claim to no small
share of the merit of the victory, appealing to Morton and Cuddie,
whether the tide of battle had not turned while he prayed on the Mount of
Jehovah-Nissi, like Moses, that Israel might prevail over Amalek; but
granting them, at the same time, the credit of holding up his hands when
they waxed heavy, as those of the prophet were supported by Aaron and
Hur. It seems probable that Kettledrummle allotted this part in the
success to his companions in adversity, lest they should be tempted to
disclose his carnal self-seeking and falling away, in regarding too
closely his own personal safety. These strong testimonies in favour of
the liberated captives quickly flew abroad, with many exaggerations,
among the victorious army. The reports on the subject were various; but
it was universally agreed, that young Morton of Milnwood, the son of the
stout soldier of the Covenant, Silas Morton, together with the precious
Gabriel Kettledrummle, and a singular devout Christian woman, whom many
thought as good as himself at extracting a doctrine or an use, whether of
terror or consolation, had arrived to support the good old cause, with a
reinforcement of a hundred well-armed men from the Middle Ward.

     [Note: Skirmish at Drumclog. This affair, the only one in which
     Claverhouse was defeated, or the insurgent Cameronians successful,
     was fought pretty much in the manner mentioned in the text. The
     Royalists lost about thirty or forty men. The commander of the
     Presbyterian, or rather Convenanting party, was Mr Robert Hamilton,
     of the honourable House of Preston, brother of Sir William Hamilton,
     to whose title and estate he afterwards succeeded; but, according to
     his biographer, Howie of Lochgoin, he never took possession of
     either, as he could not do so without acknowledging the right of
     King William (an uncovenanted monarch) to the crown. Hamilton had
     been bred by Bishop Burnet, while the latter lived at Glasgow; his
     brother, Sir Thomas, having married a sister of that historian. “He
     was then,” says the Bishop, “a lively, hopeful young man; but
     getting into that company, and into their notions, he became a
     crack-brained enthusiast.”

     Several well-meaning persons have been much scandalized at the
     manner in which the victors are said to have conducted themselves
     towards the prisoners at Drumclog. But the principle of these poor
     fanatics, (I mean the high-flying, or Cameronian party,) was to
     obtain not merely toleration for their church, but the same
     supremacy which Presbytery had acquired in Scotland after the treaty
     of Rippon, betwixt Charles I. and his Scottish subjects, in 1640.

     The fact is, that they conceived themselves a chosen people, sent
     forth to extirpate the heathen, like the Jews of old, and under a
     similar charge to show no quarter.

     The historian of the Insurrection of Bothwell makes the following
     explicit avowal of the principles on which their General acted:--

     “Mr Hamilton discovered a great deal of bravery and valour, both in
     the conflict with, and pursuit of, the enemy; but when he and some
     other were pursuing the enemy, others flew too greedily upon the
     spoil, small as it was, instead of pursuing the victory; and some,
     without Mr Hamilton’s knowledge, and directly contrary to his
     express command, gave five of those bloody enemies quarter, and then
     let them go; this greatly grieved Mr Hamilton when he saw some of
     Babel’s brats spared, after that the Lord had delivered them into
     their hands, that they might dash them against the stones. Psalm
     cxxxvii., 9. In his own account of this, he reckons the sparing of
     these enemies, and letting them go, to be among their first
     steppings aside, for which he feared that the Lord would not honour
     them to do much more for him; and says, that he was neither for
     taking favours from, nor giving favours to, the Lord’s enemies.” See
     A true and impartial Account of the persecuted Presbyterians in
     Scotland, their being in arms, and defeat at Bothwell Brigg, in
     1679, by William Wilson, late Schoolmaster in the parish of Douglas.
     The reader who would authenticate the quotation, must not consult
     any other edition than that of 1697; for somehow or other the
     publisher of the last edition has omitted this remarkable part of
     the narrative.

     Sir Robert Hamilton himself felt neither remorse nor shame for
     having put to death one of the prisoners after the battle with his
     own hand, which appears to have been a charge against him, by some
     whose fanaticism was less exalted than his own.

     “As for that accusation they bring against me of killing that poor
     man (as they call him) at Drumclog, I may easily guess that my
     accusers can be no other but some of the house of Saul or Shimei, or
     some such risen again to espouse that poor gentleman (Saul) his
     quarrel against honest Samuel, for his offering to kill that poor
     man Agag, after the king’s giving him quarter. But I, being to
     command that day, gave out the word that no quarter should be given;
     and returning from pursuing Claverhouse, one or two of these fellows
     were standing in the midst of a company of our friends, and some
     were debating for quarter, others against it. None could blame me to
     decide the controversy, and I bless the Lord for it to this day.
     There were five more that without my knowledge got quarter, who were
     brought to me after we were a mile from the place as having got
     quarter, which I reckoned among the first steppings aside; and
     seeing that spirit amongst us at that time, I then told it to some
     that were with me, (to my best remembrance, it was honest old John
     Nisbet,) that I feared the Lord would not honour us to do much more
     for him. I shall only say this,--I desire to bless his holy name,
     that since ever he helped me to set my face to his work, I never
     had, nor would take, a favour from enemies, either on right or left
     hand, and desired to give as few.”

     The preceding passage is extracted from a long vindication of his
     own conduct, sent by Sir Robert Hamilton, 7th December, 1685,
     addressed to the anti-Popish, anti-Prelatic, anti-Erastian,
     anti-sectarian true Presbyterian remnant of the Church of Scotland;
     and the substance is to be found in the work or collection, called,
     “Faithful Contendings Displayed, collected and transcribed by John
     Howie.”

     As the skirmish of Drumclog has been of late the subject of some
     enquiry, the reader may be curious to see Claverhouse’s own account
     of the affair, in a letter to the Earl of Linlithgow, written
     immediately after the action. This gazette, as it may be called,
     occurs in the volume called Dundee’s Letters, printed by Mr Smythe
     of Methven, as a contribution to the Bannatyne Club. The original is
     in the library of the Duke of Buckingham. Claverhouse, it may be
     observed, spells like a chambermaid.

     “FOR THE EARLE OF LINLITHGOW. [COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF KING CHARLES
     II.’s FORCES IN SCOTLAND.]

     “Glaskow, Jun. the 1, 1679.

     “My Lord,--Upon Saturday’s night, when my Lord Rosse came into this
     place, I marched out, and because of the insolency that had been
     done tue nights before at Ruglen, I went thither and inquyred for
     the names. So soon as I got them, I sent our partys to sease on
     them, and found not only three of those rogues, but also ane
     intercomend minister called King. We had them at Strevan about six
     in the morning yesterday, and resolving to convey them to this, I
     thought that we might make a little tour to see if we could fall
     upon a conventicle; which we did, little to our advantage; for when
     we came in sight of them, we found them drawn up in batell, upon a
     most adventageous ground, to which there was no coming but through
     mosses and lakes. They wer not preaching, and had got away all there
     women and shildring. They consisted of four battaillons of foot, and
     all well armed with fusils and pitchforks, and three squadrons of
     horse. We sent both partys to skirmish, they of foot and we of
     dragoons; they run for it, and sent down a battaillon of foot
     against them; we sent threescore of dragoons, who made them run
     again shamfully; but in end they percaiving that we had the better
     of them in skirmish, they resolved a generall engadgment, and
     imediately advanced with there foot, the horse folowing; they came
     throght the lotche; the greatest body of all made up against my
     troupe; we keeped our fyre till they wer within ten pace of us: they
     recaived our fyr, and advanced to shok; the first they gave us
     broght down the Coronet Mr Crafford and Captain Bleith, besides that
     with a pitchfork they made such an openeing in my rone horse’s
     belly, that his guts hung out half an elle, and yet he caryed me af
     an myl; which so discoraged our men, that they sustained not the
     shok, but fell into disorder. There horse took the occasion of this,
     and purseued us so hotly that we had no tym to rayly. I saved the
     standarts, but lost on the place about aight or ten men, besides
     wounded; but he dragoons lost many mor. They ar not com esily af on
     the other side, for I sawe severall of them fall befor we cam to the
     shok. I mad the best retraite the confusion of our people would
     suffer, and I am now laying with my Lord Rosse. The toun of Streven
     drew up as we was making our retrait, and thoght of a pass to cut us
     off, but we took courage and fell to them, made them run, leaving a
     dousain on the place. What these rogues will dou yet I know not, but
     the contry was flocking to them from all hands. This may be counted
     the begining of the rebellion, in my opinion.

     “I am, my lord,

     “Your lordship’s most humble servant,

     “J. Grahame.

     “My lord, I am so wearied, and so sleapy, that I have wryton this
     very confusedly.”]



CHAPTER XVIII.

               When pulpit, drum ecclesiastic,
               Was beat with fist instead of a stick.
                                                  Hudibras.

In the meantime, the insurgent cavalry returned from the pursuit, jaded
and worn out with their unwonted efforts, and the infantry assembled on
the ground which they had won, fatigued with toil and hunger. Their
success, however, was a cordial to every bosom, and seemed even to serve
in the stead of food and refreshment. It was, indeed, much more brilliant
than they durst have ventured to anticipate; for, with no great loss on
their part, they had totally routed a regiment of picked men, commanded
by the first officer in Scotland, and one whose very name had long been a
terror to them. Their success seemed even to have upon their spirits the
effect of a sudden and violent surprise, so much had their taking up arms
been a measure of desperation rather than of hope. Their meeting was also
casual, and they had hastily arranged themselves under such commanders as
were remarkable for zeal and courage, without much respect to any other
qualities. It followed, from this state of disorganization, that the
whole army appeared at once to resolve itself into a general committee
for considering what steps were to be taken in consequence of their
success, and no opinion could be started so wild that it had not some
favourers and advocates. Some proposed they should march to Glasgow, some
to Hamilton, some to Edinburgh, some to London. Some were for sending a
deputation of their number to London to convert Charles II. to a sense of
the error of his ways; and others, less charitable, proposed either to
call a new successor to the crown, or to declare Scotland a free
republic. A free parliament of the nation, and a free assembly of the
Kirk, were the objects of the more sensible and moderate of the party. In
the meanwhile, a clamour arose among the soldiers for bread and other
necessaries, and while all complained of hardship and hunger, none took
the necessary measures to procure supplies. In short, the camp of the
Covenanters, even in the very moment of success, seemed about to dissolve
like a rope of sand, from want of the original principles of combination
and union.

Burley, who had now returned from the pursuit, found his followers in
this distracted state. With the ready talent of one accustomed to
encounter exigences, he proposed, that one hundred of the freshest men
should be drawn out for duty--that a small number of those who had
hitherto acted as leaders, should constitute a committee of direction
until officers should be regularly chosen--and that, to crown the
victory, Gabriel Kettledrummle should be called upon to improve the
providential success which they had obtained, by a word in season
addressed to the army. He reckoned very much, and not without reason, on
this last expedient, as a means of engaging the attention of the bulk of
the insurgents, while he himself, and two or three of their leaders, held
a private council of war, undisturbed by the discordant opinions, or
senseless clamour, of the general body.

Kettledrummle more than answered the expectations of Burley. Two mortal
hours did he preach at a breathing; and certainly no lungs, or doctrine,
excepting his own, could have kept up, for so long a time, the attention
of men in such precarious circumstances. But he possessed in perfection a
sort of rude and familiar eloquence peculiar to the preachers of that
period, which, though it would have been fastidiously rejected by an
audience which possessed any portion of taste, was a cake of the right
leaven for the palates of those whom he now addressed. His text was from
the forty-ninth chapter of Isaiah, “Even the captives of the mighty shall
be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I
will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy
children.

“And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they
shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh
shall know that I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the Mighty
One of Jacob.”

The discourse which he pronounced upon this subject was divided into
fifteen heads, each of which was garnished with seven uses of
application, two of consolation, two of terror, two declaring the causes
of backsliding and of wrath, and one announcing the promised and expected
deliverance. The first part of his text he applied to his own deliverance
and that of his companions; and took occasion to speak a few words in
praise of young Milnwood, of whom, as of a champion of the Covenant, he
augured great things. The second part he applied to the punishments which
were about to fall upon the persecuting government. At times he
was familiar and colloquial; now he was loud, energetic, and
boisterous;--some parts of his discourse might be called sublime, and
others sunk below burlesque. Occasionally he vindicated with great
animation the right of every freeman to worship God according to his own
conscience; and presently he charged the guilt and misery of the people
on the awful negligence of their rulers, who had not only failed to
establish presbytery as the national religion, but had tolerated
sectaries of various descriptions, Papists, Prelatists, Erastians,
assuming the name of Presbyterians, Independents, Socinians, and
Quakers: all of whom Kettledrummle proposed, by one sweeping act, to
expel from the land, and thus re-edify in its integrity the beauty of
the sanctuary. He next handled very pithily the doctrine of defensive
arms and of resistance to Charles II., observing, that, instead of a
nursing father to the Kirk, that monarch had been a nursing father to
none but his own bastards. He went at some length through the life and
conversation of that joyous prince, few parts of which, it must be
owned, were qualified to stand the rough handling of so uncourtly an
orator, who conferred on him the hard names of Jeroboam, Omri, Ahab,
Shallum, Pekah, and every other evil monarch recorded in the Chronicles,
and concluded with a round application of the Scripture, “Tophet is
ordained of old; yea, for the King it is provided: he hath made it deep
and large; the pile thereof is fire and much wood: the breath of the
Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it.”

Kettledrummle had no sooner ended his sermon, and descended from the huge
rock which had served him for a pulpit, than his post was occupied by a
pastor of a very different description. The reverend Gabriel was advanced
in years, somewhat corpulent, with a loud voice, a square face, and a set
of stupid and unanimated features, in which the body seemed more to
predominate over the spirit than was seemly in a sound divine. The youth
who succeeded him in exhorting this extraordinary convocation, Ephraim
Macbriar by name, was hardly twenty years old; yet his thin features
already indicated, that a constitution, naturally hectic, was worn out by
vigils, by fasts, by the rigour of imprisonment, and the fatigues
incident to a fugitive life. Young as he was, he had been twice
imprisoned for several months, and suffered many severities, which gave
him great influence with those of his own sect. He threw his faded eyes
over the multitude and over the scene of battle; and a light of triumph
arose in his glance, his pale yet striking features were coloured with a
transient and hectic blush of joy. He folded his hands, raised his face
to heaven, and seemed lost in mental prayer and thanksgiving ere he
addressed the people. When he spoke, his faint and broken voice seemed at
first inadequate to express his conceptions. But the deep silence of the
assembly, the eagerness with which the ear gathered every word, as the
famished Israelites collected the heavenly manna, had a corresponding
effect upon the preacher himself. His words became more distinct, his
manner more earnest and energetic; it seemed as if religious zeal was
triumphing over bodily weakness and infirmity. His natural eloquence was
not altogether untainted with the coarseness of his sect; and yet, by the
influence of a good natural taste, it was freed from the grosser and more
ludicrous errors of his contemporaries; and the language of Scripture,
which, in their mouths, was sometimes degraded by misapplication, gave,
in Macbriar’s exhortation, a rich and solemn effect, like that which is
produced by the beams of the sun streaming through the storied
representation of saints and martyrs on the Gothic window of some ancient
cathedral.

He painted the desolation of the church, during the late period of her
distresses, in the most affecting colours. He described her, like Hagar
watching the waning life of her infant amid the fountainless desert; like
Judah, under her palm-tree, mourning for the devastation of her temple;
like Rachel, weeping for her children and refusing comfort. But he
chiefly rose into rough sublimity when addressing the men yet reeking
from battle. He called on them to remember the great things which God had
done for them, and to persevere in the career which their victory had
opened.

“Your garments are dyed--but not with the juice of the wine-press; your
swords are filled with blood,” he exclaimed, “but not with the blood of
goats or lambs; the dust of the desert on which ye stand is made fat with
gore, but not with the blood of bullocks, for the Lord hath a sacrifice
in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Idumea. These were not
the firstlings of the flock, the small cattle of burnt-offerings, whose
bodies lie like dung on the ploughed field of the husbandman; this is not
the savour of myrrh, of frankincense, or of sweet herbs, that is steaming
in your nostrils; but these bloody trunks are the carcasses of those who
held the bow and the lance, who were cruel and would show no mercy, whose
voice roared like the sea, who rode upon horses, every man in array as if
to battle--they are the carcasses even of the mighty men of war that came
against Jacob in the day of his deliverance, and the smoke is that of the
devouring fires that have consumed them. And those wild hills that
surround you are not a sanctuary planked with cedar and plated with
silver; nor are ye ministering priests at the altar, with censers and
with torches; but ye hold in your hands the sword, and the bow, and the
weapons of death. And yet verily, I say unto you, that not when the
ancient Temple was in its first glory was there offered sacrifice more
acceptable than that which you have this day presented, giving to the
slaughter the tyrant and the oppressor, with the rocks for your altars,
and the sky for your vaulted sanctuary, and your own good swords for the
instruments of sacrifice. Leave not, therefore, the plough in the
furrow--turn not back from the path in which you have entered like the
famous worthies of old, whom God raised up for the glorifying of his
name and the deliverance of his afflicted people--halt not in the race
you are running, lest the latter end should be worse than the beginning.
Wherefore, set up a standard in the land; blow a trumpet upon the
mountains; let not the shepherd tarry by his sheepfold, or the seedsman
continue in the ploughed field; but make the watch strong, sharpen the
arrows, burnish the shields, name ye the captains of thousands, and
captains of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens; call the footmen like the
rushing of winds, and cause the horsemen to come up like the sound of
many waters; for the passages of the destroyers are stopped, their rods
are burned, and the face of their men of battle hath been turned to
flight. Heaven has been with you, and has broken the bow of the mighty;
then let every man’s heart be as the heart of the valiant Maccabeus,
every man’s hand as the hand of the mighty Sampson, every man’s sword as
that of Gideon, which turned not back from the slaughter; for the banner
of Reformation is spread abroad on the mountains in its first
loveliness, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

“Well is he this day that shall barter his house for a helmet, and sell
his garment for a sword, and cast in his lot with the children of the
Covenant, even to the fulfilling of the promise; and woe, woe unto him
who, for carnal ends and self-seeking, shall withhold himself from the
great work, for the curse shall abide with him, even the bitter curse of
Meroz, because he came not to the help of the Lord against the mighty.
Up, then, and be doing; the blood of martyrs, reeking upon scaffolds, is
crying for vengeance; the bones of saints, which lie whitening in the
highways, are pleading for retribution; the groans of innocent captives
from desolate isles of the sea, and from the dungeons of the tyrants’
high places, cry for deliverance; the prayers of persecuted Christians,
sheltering themselves in dens and deserts from the sword of their
persecutors, famished with hunger, starving with cold, lacking fire,
food, shelter, and clothing, because they serve God rather than man--all
are with you, pleading, watching, knocking, storming the gates of heaven
in your behalf. Heaven itself shall fight for you, as the stars in their
courses fought against Sisera. Then whoso will deserve immortal fame in
this world, and eternal happiness in that which is to come, let them
enter into God’s service, and take arles at the hand of his servant,--a
blessing, namely, upon him and his household, and his children, to the
ninth generation, even the blessing of the promise, for ever and ever!
Amen.”

The eloquence of the preacher was rewarded by the deep hum of stern
approbation which resounded through the armed assemblage at the
conclusion of an exhortation, so well suited to that which they had done,
and that which remained for them to do. The wounded forgot their pain,
the faint and hungry their fatigues and privations, as they listened to
doctrines which elevated them alike above the wants and calamities of the
world, and identified their cause with that of the Deity. Many crowded
around the preacher, as he descended from the eminence on which he stood,
and, clasping him with hands on which the gore was not yet hardened,
pledged their sacred vow that they would play the part of Heaven’s true
soldiers. Exhausted by his own enthusiasm, and by the animated fervour
which he had exerted in his discourse, the preacher could only reply, in
broken accents,--“God bless you, my brethren--it is his cause.--Stand
strongly up and play the men--the worst that can befall us is but a brief
and bloody passage to heaven.”

Balfour, and the other leaders, had not lost the time which was employed
in these spiritual exercises. Watch-fires were lighted, sentinels were
posted, and arrangements were made to refresh the army with such
provisions as had been hastily collected from the nearest farm-houses and
villages. The present necessity thus provided for, they turned their
thoughts to the future. They had dispatched parties to spread the news of
their victory, and to obtain, either by force or favour, supplies of what
they stood most in need of. In this they had succeeded beyond their
hopes, having at one village seized a small magazine of provisions,
forage, and ammunition, which had been provided for the royal forces.
This success not only gave them relief at the time, but such hopes for
the future, that whereas formerly some of their number had begun to
slacken in their zeal, they now unanimously resolved to abide together in
arms, and commit themselves and their cause to the event of war.

And whatever may be thought of the extravagance or narrow-minded bigotry
of many of their tenets, it is impossible to deny the praise of devoted
courage to a few hundred peasants, who, without leaders, without money,
without magazines, without any fixed plan of action, and almost without
arms, borne out only by their innate zeal, and a detestation of the
oppression of their rulers, ventured to declare open war against an
established government, supported by a regular army and the whole force
of three kingdoms.



CHAPTER XIX.

               Why, then, say an old man can do somewhat.
                                             Henry IV. Part II.

We must now return to the tower of Tillietudlem, which the march of the
Life-Guards, on the morning of this eventful day, had left to silence and
anxiety. The assurances of Lord Evandale had not succeeded in quelling
the apprehensions of Edith. She knew him generous, and faithful to his
word; but it seemed too plain that he suspected the object of her
intercession to be a successful rival; and was it not expecting from him
an effort above human nature, to suppose that he was to watch over
Morton’s safety, and rescue him from all the dangers to which his state
of imprisonment, and the suspicions which he had incurred, must
repeatedly expose him? She therefore resigned herself to the most
heart-rending apprehensions, without admitting, and indeed almost without
listening to, the multifarious grounds of consolation which Jenny
Dennison brought forward, one after another, like a skilful general who
charges with the several divisions of his troops in regular succession.

First, Jenny was morally positive that young Milnwood would come to no
harm--then, if he did, there was consolation in the reflection, that Lord
Evandale was the better and more appropriate match of the two--then,
there was every chance of a battle, in which the said Lord Evandale might
be killed, and there wad be nae mair fash about that job--then, if the
whigs gat the better, Milnwood and Cuddie might come to the Castle, and
carry off the beloved of their hearts by the strong hand.

“For I forgot to tell ye, madam,” continued the damsel, putting her
handkerchief to her eyes, “that puir Cuddie’s in the hands of the
Philistines as weel as young Milnwood, and he was brought here a prisoner
this morning, and I was fain to speak Tam Halliday fair, and fleech him
to let me near the puir creature; but Cuddie wasna sae thankfu’ as he
needed till hae been neither,” she added, and at the same time changed
her tone, and briskly withdrew the handkerchief from her face; “so I will
ne’er waste my een wi’ greeting about the matter. There wad be aye enow
o’ young men left, if they were to hang the tae half o’ them.”

The other inhabitants of the Castle were also in a state of
dissatisfaction and anxiety. Lady Margaret thought that Colonel Grahame,
in commanding an execution at the door of her house, and refusing to
grant a reprieve at her request, had fallen short of the deference due to
her rank, and had even encroached on her seignorial rights.

“The Colonel,” she said, “ought to have remembered, brother, that the
barony of Tillietudlem has the baronial privilege of pit and gallows; and
therefore, if the lad was to be executed on my estate, (which I consider
as an unhandsome thing, seeing it is in the possession of females, to
whom such tragedies cannot be acceptable,) he ought, at common law, to
have been delivered up to my bailie, and justified at his sight.”

“Martial law, sister,” answered Major Bellenden, “supersedes every other.
But I must own I think Colonel Grahame rather deficient in attention to
you; and I am not over and above pre-eminently flattered by his granting
to young Evandale (I suppose because he is a lord, and has interest with
the privy-council) a request which he refused to so old a servant of the
king as I am. But so long as the poor young fellow’s life is saved, I can
comfort myself with the fag-end of a ditty as old as myself.” And
therewithal, he hummed a stanza:

‘And what though winter will pinch severe Through locks of grey and a
cloak that’s old? Yet keep up thy heart, bold cavalier, For a cup of sack
shall fence the cold.’

“I must be your guest here to-day, sister. I wish to hear the issue of
this gathering on Loudon-hill, though I cannot conceive their standing a
body of horse appointed like our guests this morning.--Woe’s me, the time
has been that I would have liked ill to have sate in biggit wa’s waiting
for the news of a skirmish to be fought within ten miles of me! But, as
the old song goes,

               ‘For time will rust the brightest blade,
               And years will break the strongest bow;
               Was ever wight so starkly made,
               But time and years would overthrow?’”

“We are well pleased you will stay, brother,” said Lady Margaret; “I will
take my old privilege to look after my household, whom this collation has
thrown into some disorder, although it is uncivil to leave you alone.”

“O, I hate ceremony as I hate a stumbling horse,” replied the Major.
“Besides, your person would be with me, and your mind with the cold meat
and reversionary pasties.--Where is Edith?”

“Gone to her room a little evil-disposed, I am informed, and laid down in
her bed for a gliff,” said her grandmother; “as soon as she wakes, she
shall take some drops.”

“Pooh! pooh! she’s only sick of the soldiers,” answered Major Bellenden.
“She’s not accustomed to see one acquaintance led out to be shot, and
another marching off to actual service, with some chance of not finding
his way back again. She would soon be used to it, if the civil war were
to break out again.”

“God forbid, brother!” said Lady Margaret.

“Ay, Heaven forbid, as you say--and, in the meantime, I’ll take a hit at
trick-track with Harrison.”

“He has ridden out, sir,” said Gudyill, “to try if he can hear any
tidings of the battle.”

“D--n the battle,” said the Major; “it puts this family as much out of
order as if there had never been such a thing in the country before--and
yet there was such a place as Kilsythe, John.”

“Ay, and as Tippermuir, your honour,” replied Gudyill, “where I was his
honour my late master’s rear-rank man.”

“And Alford, John,” pursued the Major, “where I commanded the horse; and
Innerlochy, where I was the Great Marquis’s aid-de-camp; and Auld Earn,
and Brig o’ Dee.”

“And Philiphaugh, your honour,” said John.

“Umph!” replied the Major; “the less, John, we say about that matter, the
better.”

However, being once fairly embarked on the subject of Montrose’s
campaigns, the Major and John Gudyill carried on the war so stoutly, as
for a considerable time to keep at bay the formidable enemy called Time,
with whom retired veterans, during the quiet close of a bustling life,
usually wage an unceasing hostility.

It has been frequently remarked, that the tidings of important events fly
with a celerity almost beyond the power of credibility, and that reports,
correct in the general point, though inaccurate in details, precede the
certain intelligence, as if carried by the birds of the air. Such rumours
anticipate the reality, not unlike to the “shadows of coming events,”
 which occupy the imagination of the Highland Seer. Harrison, in his ride,
encountered some such report concerning the event of the battle, and
turned his horse back to Tillietudlem in great dismay. He made it his
first business to seek out the Major, and interrupted him in the midst of
a prolix account of the siege and storm of Dundee, with the ejaculation,
“Heaven send, Major, that we do not see a siege of Tillietudlem before we
are many days older!”

“How is that, Harrison?--what the devil do you mean?” exclaimed the
astonished veteran.

“Troth, sir, there is strong and increasing belief that Claver’se is
clean broken, some say killed; that the soldiers are all dispersed, and
that the rebels are hastening this way, threatening death and devastation
to a’ that will not take the Covenant.”

“I will never believe that,” said the Major, starting on his feet--“I
will never believe that the Life-Guards would retreat before rebels;--and
yet why need I say that,” he continued, checking himself, “when I have
seen such sights myself?--Send out Pike, and one or two of the servants,
for intelligence, and let all the men in the Castle and in the village
that can be trusted take up arms. This old tower may hold them play a
bit, if it were but victualled and garrisoned, and it commands the pass
between the high and low countries.--It’s lucky I chanced to be
here.--Go, muster men, Harrison.--You, Gudyill, look what provisions you
have, or can get brought in, and be ready, if the news be confirmed, to
knock down as many bullocks as you have salt for.--The well never goes
dry.--There are some old-fashioned guns on the battlements; if we had
but ammunition, we should do well enough.”

“The soldiers left some casks of ammunition at the Grange this morning,
to bide their return,” said Harrison.

“Hasten, then,” said the Major, “and bring it into the Castle, with every
pike, sword, pistol, or gun, that is within our reach; don’t leave so
much as a bodkin--Lucky that I was here!--I will speak to my sister
instantly.”

Lady Margaret Bellenden was astounded at intelligence so unexpected and
so alarming. It had seemed to her that the imposing force which had that
morning left her walls, was sufficient to have routed all the disaffected
in Scotland, if collected in a body; and now her first reflection was
upon the inadequacy of their own means of resistance, to an army strong
enough to have defeated Claverhouse and such select troops. “Woe’s me!
woe’s me!” said she; “what will all that we can do avail us, brother?--
What will resistance do but bring sure destruction on the house, and on
the bairn Edith! for, God knows, I thinkna on my ain auld life.”

“Come, sister,” said the Major, “you must not be cast down; the place is
strong, the rebels ignorant and ill-provided: my brother’s house shall
not be made a den of thieves and rebels while old Miles Bellenden is in
it. My hand is weaker than it was, but I thank my old grey hairs that I
have some knowledge of war yet. Here comes Pike with intelligence.--What
news, Pike? Another Philiphaugh job, eh?”

“Ay, ay,” said Pike, composedly; “a total scattering.--I thought this
morning little gude would come of their newfangled gate of slinging their
carabines.”

“Whom did you see?--Who gave you the news?” asked the Major.

“O, mair than half-a-dozen dragoon fellows that are a’ on the spur whilk
to get first to Hamilton. They’ll win the race, I warrant them, win the
battle wha like.”

“Continue your preparations, Harrison,” said the alert veteran; “get your
ammunition in, and the cattle killed. Send down to the borough-town for
what meal you can gather. We must not lose an instant.--Had not Edith and
you, sister, better return to Charnwood, while we have the means of
sending you there?”

“No, brother,” said Lady Margaret, looking very pale, but speaking with
the greatest composure; “since the auld house is to be held out, I will
take my chance in it. I have fled twice from it in my days, and I have
aye found it desolate of its bravest and its bonniest when I returned;
sae that I will e’en abide now, and end my pilgrimage in it.”

“It may, on the whole, be the safest course both for Edith and you,” said
the Major; “for the whigs will rise all the way between this and Glasgow,
and make your travelling there, or your dwelling at Charnwood, very
unsafe.”

“So be it then,” said Lady Margaret; “and, dear brother, as the nearest
blood-relation of my deceased husband, I deliver to you, by this
symbol,”--(here she gave into his hand the venerable goldheaded staff of
the deceased Earl of Torwood,)--“the keeping and government and
seneschalship of my Tower of Tillietudlem, and the appurtenances thereof,
with full power to kill, slay, and damage those who shall assail the
same, as freely as I might do myself. And I trust you will so defend it,
as becomes a house in which his most sacred majesty has not disdained”--

“Pshaw! sister,” interrupted the Major, “we have no time to speak about
the king and his breakfast just now.”

And, hastily leaving the room, he hurried, with all the alertness of a
young man of twenty-five, to examine the state of his garrison, and
superintend the measures which were necessary for defending the place.

The Tower of Tillietudlem, having very thick walls, and very narrow
windows, having also a very strong court-yard wall, with flanking turrets
on the only accessible side, and rising on the other from the very verge
of a precipice, was fully capable of defence against any thing but a
train of heavy artillery.

Famine or escalade was what the garrison had chiefly to fear. For
artillery, the top of the Tower was mounted with some antiquated
wall-pieces, and small cannons, which bore the old-fashioned names of
culverins, sakers, demi-sakers, falcons, and falconets. These, the Major,
with the assistance of John Gudyill, caused to be scaled and loaded, and
pointed them so as to command the road over the brow of the opposite hill
by which the rebels must advance, causing, at the same time, two or three
trees to be cut down, which would have impeded the effect of the
artillery when it should be necessary to use it. With the trunks of these
trees, and other materials, he directed barricades to be constructed upon
the winding avenue which rose to the Tower along the high-road, taking
care that each should command the other. The large gate of the court-yard
he barricadoed yet more strongly, leaving only a wicket open for the
convenience of passage. What he had most to apprehend, was the
slenderness of his garrison; for all the efforts of the steward were
unable to get more than nine men under arms, himself and Gudyill
included, so much more popular was the cause of the insurgents than that
of the government Major Bellenden, and his trusty servant Pike, made the
garrison eleven in number, of whom one-half were old men. The round dozen
might indeed have been made up, would Lady Margaret have consented that
Goose Gibbie should again take up arms. But she recoiled from the
proposal, when moved by Gudyill, with such abhorrent recollection of the
former achievements of that luckless cavalier, that she declared she
would rather the Castle were lost than that he were to be enrolled in the
defence of it. With eleven men, however, himself included, Major
Bellenden determined to hold out the place to the uttermost.

The arrangements for defence were not made without the degree of fracas
incidental to such occasions. Women shrieked, cattle bellowed, dogs
howled, men ran to and fro, cursing and swearing without intermission,
the lumbering of the old guns backwards and forwards shook the
battlements, the court resounded with the hasty gallop of messengers who
went and returned upon errands of importance, and the din of warlike
preparation was mingled with the sound of female laments.

Such a Babel of discord might have awakened the slumbers of the very
dead, and, therefore, was not long ere it dispelled the abstracted
reveries of Edith Bellenden. She sent out Jenny to bring her the cause of
the tumult which shook the castle to its very basis; but Jenny, once
engaged in the bustling tide, found so much to ask and to hear, that she
forgot the state of anxious uncertainty in which she had left her young
mistress. Having no pigeon to dismiss in pursuit of information when her
raven messenger had failed to return with it, Edith was compelled to
venture in quest of it out of the ark of her own chamber into the deluge
of confusion which overflowed the rest of the Castle. Six voices speaking
at once, informed her, in reply to her first enquiry, that Claver’se and
all his men were killed, and that ten thousand whigs were marching to
besiege the castle, headed by John Balfour of Burley, young Milnwood, and
Cuddie Headrigg. This strange association of persons seemed to infer the
falsehood of the whole story, and yet the general bustle in the Castle
intimated that danger was certainly apprehended.

“Where is Lady Margaret?” was Edith’s second question.

“In her oratory,” was the reply: a cell adjoining to the chapel, in which
the good old lady was wont to spend the greater part of the days destined
by the rules of the Episcopal Church to devotional observances, as also
the anniversaries of those on which she had lost her husband and her
children, and, finally, those hours, in which a deeper and more solemn
address to Heaven was called for, by national or domestic calamity.

“Where, then,” said Edith, much alarmed, “is Major Bellenden?”

“On the battlements of the Tower, madam, pointing the cannon,” was the
reply.

To the battlements, therefore, she made her way, impeded by a thousand
obstacles, and found the old gentleman in the midst of his natural
military element, commanding, rebuking, encouraging, instructing, and
exercising all the numerous duties of a good governor.

“In the name of God, what is the matter, uncle?” exclaimed Edith.

“The matter, my love?” answered the Major coolly, as, with spectacles on
his nose, he examined the position of a gun--“The matter? Why,--raise her
breech a thought more, John Gudyill--the matter? Why, Claver’se is
routed, my dear, and the whigs are coming down upon us in force, that’s
all the matter.”

“Gracious powers!” said Edith, whose eye at that instant caught a glance
of the road which ran up the river, “and yonder they come!”

“Yonder? where?” said the veteran; and, his eyes taking the same
direction, he beheld a large body of horsemen coming down the path.
“Stand to your guns, my lads!” was the first exclamation; “we’ll make
them pay toll as they pass the heugh.--But stay, stay, these are
certainly the Life-Guards.”

“O no, uncle, no,” replied Edith; “see how disorderly they ride, and how
ill they keep their ranks; these cannot be the fine soldiers who left us
this morning.”

“Ah, my dear girl!” answered the Major, “you do not know the difference
between men before a battle and after a defeat; but the Life-Guards it
is, for I see the red and blue and the King’s colours. I am glad they
have brought them off, however.”

His opinion was confirmed as the troopers approached nearer, and finally
halted on the road beneath the Tower; while their commanding officer,
leaving them to breathe and refresh their horses, hastily rode up the
hill.

“It is Claverhouse, sure enough,” said the Major; “I am glad he has
escaped, but he has lost his famous black horse. Let Lady Margaret know,
John Gudyill; order some refreshments; get oats for the soldiers’ horses;
and let us to the hall, Edith, to meet him. I surmise we shall hear but
indifferent news.”



CHAPTER XX.

                    With careless gesture, mind unmoved,
                    On rade he north the plain,
                    His seem in thrang of fiercest strife,
                    When winner aye the same.
                                             Hardyknute.

Colonel Grahame of Claverhouse met the family, assembled in the hall of
the Tower, with the same serenity and the same courtesy which had graced
his manners in the morning. He had even had the composure to rectify in
part the derangement of his dress, to wash the signs of battle from his
face and hands, and did not appear more disordered in his exterior than
if returned from a morning ride.

“I am grieved, Colonel Grahame,” said the reverend old lady, the tears
trickling down her face, “deeply grieved.”

“And I am grieved, my dear Lady Margaret,” replied Claverhouse, “that
this misfortune may render your remaining at Tillietudlem dangerous for
you, especially considering your recent hospitality to the King’s troops,
and your well-known loyalty. And I came here chiefly to request Miss
Bellenden and you to accept my escort (if you will not scorn that of a
poor runaway) to Glasgow, from whence I will see you safely sent either
to Edinburgh or to Dunbarton Castle, as you shall think best.”

“I am much obliged to you, Colonel Grahame,” replied Lady Margaret; “but
my brother, Major Bellenden, has taken on him the responsibility of
holding out this house against the rebels; and, please God, they shall
never drive Margaret Bellenden from her ain hearth-stane while there’s a
brave man that says he can defend it.”

“And will Major Bellenden undertake this?” said Claverhouse hastily, a
joyful light glancing from his dark eye as he turned it on the
veteran,--“Yet why should I question it? it is of a piece with the rest
of his life.--But have you the means, Major?”

“All, but men and provisions, with which we are ill supplied,” answered
the Major.

“As for men,” said Claverhouse, “I will leave you a dozen or twenty
fellows who will make good a breach against the devil. It will be of the
utmost service, if you can defend the place but a week, and by that time
you must surely be relieved.”

“I will make it good for that space, Colonel,” replied the Major, “with
twenty-five good men and store of ammunition, if we should gnaw the soles
of our shoes for hunger; but I trust we shall get in provisions from the
country.”

“And, Colonel Grahame, if I might presume a request,” said Lady Margaret,
“I would entreat that Sergeant Francis Stewart might command the
auxiliaries whom you are so good as to add to the garrison of our people;
it may serve to legitimate his promotion, and I have a prejudice in
favour of his noble birth.”

“The sergeant’s wars are ended, madam,” said Grahame, in an unaltered
tone, “and he now needs no promotion that an earthly master can give.”

“Pardon me,” said Major Bellenden, taking Claverhouse by the arm, and
turning him away from the ladies, “but I am anxious for my friends; I
fear you have other and more important loss. I observe another officer
carries your nephew’s standard.”

“You are right, Major Bellenden,” answered Claverhouse firmly; “my nephew
is no more. He has died in his duty, as became him.”

“Great God!” exclaimed the Major, “how unhappy!--the handsome, gallant,
high-spirited youth!”

“He was indeed all you say,” answered Claverhouse; “poor Richard was to
me as an eldest son, the apple of my eye, and my destined heir; but he
died in his duty, and I--I--Major Bellenden”--(he wrung the Major’s hand
hard as he spoke)--“I live to avenge him.”

“Colonel Grahame,” said the affectionate veteran, his eyes filling with
tears, “I am glad to see you bear this misfortune with such fortitude.”

“I am not a selfish man,” replied Claverhouse, “though the world will
tell you otherwise; I am not selfish either in my hopes or fears, my joys
or sorrows. I have not been severe for myself, or grasping for myself, or
ambitious for myself. The service of my master and the good of the
country are what I have tried to aim at. I may, perhaps, have driven
severity into cruelty, but I acted for the best; and now I will not yield
to my own feelings a deeper sympathy than I have given to those of
others.”

“I am astonished at your fortitude under all the unpleasant circumstances
of this affair,” pursued the Major.

“Yes,” replied Claverhouse, “my enemies in the council will lay this
misfortune to my charge--I despise their accusations. They will
calumniate me to my sovereign--I can repel their charge. The public enemy
will exult in my flight--I shall find a time to show them that they exult
too early. This youth that has fallen stood betwixt a grasping kinsman
and my inheritance, for you know that my marriage-bed is barren; yet,
peace be with him! the country can better spare him than your friend Lord
Evandale, who, after behaving very gallantly, has, I fear, also fallen.”

“What a fatal day!” ejaculated the Major. “I heard a report of this, but
it was again contradicted; it was added, that the poor young nobleman’s
impetuosity had occasioned the loss of this unhappy field.”

“Not so, Major,” said Grahame; “let the living officers bear the blame,
if there be any; and let the laurels flourish untarnished on the grave of
the fallen. I do not, however, speak of Lord Evandale’s death as certain;
but killed, or prisoner, I fear he must be. Yet he was extricated from
the tumult the last time we spoke together. We were then on the point of
leaving the field with a rear-guard of scarce twenty men; the rest of the
regiment were almost dispersed.”

“They have rallied again soon,” said the Major, looking from the window
on the dragoons, who were feeding their horses and refreshing themselves
beside the brook.

“Yes,” answered Claverhouse, “my blackguards had little temptation either
to desert, or to straggle farther than they were driven by their first
panic. There is small friendship and scant courtesy between them and the
boors of this country; every village they pass is likely to rise on them,
and so the scoundrels are driven back to their colours by a wholesome
terror of spits, pike-staves, hay-forks, and broomsticks.--But now let us
talk about your plans and wants, and the means of corresponding with you.
To tell you the truth, I doubt being able to make a long stand at
Glasgow, even when I have joined my Lord Ross; for this transient and
accidental success of the fanatics will raise the devil through all the
western counties.”

They then discussed Major Bellenden’s means of defence, and settled a
plan of correspondence, in case a general insurrection took place, as was
to be expected. Claverhouse renewed his offer to escort the ladies to a
place of safety; but, all things considered, Major Bellenden thought they
would be in equal safety at Tillietudlem.

The Colonel then took a polite leave of Lady Margaret and Miss Bellenden,
assuring them, that, though he was reluctantly obliged to leave them for
the present in dangerous circumstances, yet his earliest means should be
turned to the redemption of his character as a good knight and true, and
that they might speedily rely on hearing from or seeing him.

Full of doubt and apprehension, Lady Margaret was little able to reply to
a speech so much in unison with her usual expressions and feelings, but
contented herself with bidding Claverhouse farewell, and thanking him for
the succours which he had promised to leave them. Edith longed to enquire
the fate of Henry Morton, but could find no pretext for doing so, and
could only hope that it had made a subject of some part of the long
private communication which her uncle had held with Claverhouse. On this
subject, however, she was disappointed; for the old cavalier was so
deeply immersed in the duties of his own office, that he had scarce said
a single word to Claverhouse, excepting upon military matters, and most
probably would have been equally forgetful, had the fate of his own son,
instead of his friend’s, lain in the balance.

Claverhouse now descended the bank on which the castle is founded, in
order to put his troops again in motion, and Major Bellenden accompanied
him to receive the detachment who were to be left in the tower.

“I shall leave Inglis with you,” said Claverhouse, “for, as I am
situated, I cannot spare an officer of rank; it is all we can do, by our
joint efforts, to keep the men together. But should any of our missing
officers make their appearance, I authorize you to detain them; for my
fellows can with difficulty be subjected to any other authority.”

His troops being now drawn up, he picked out sixteen men by name, and
committed them to the command of Corporal Inglis, whom he promoted to the
rank of sergeant on the spot.

“And hark ye, gentlemen,” was his concluding harangue, “I leave you to
defend the house of a lady, and under the command of her brother, Major
Bellenden, a faithful servant to the king. You are to behave bravely,
soberly, regularly, and obediently, and each of you shall be handsomely
rewarded on my return to relieve the garrison. In case of mutiny,
cowardice, neglect of duty, or the slightest excess in the family, the
provost-marshal and cord--you know I keep my word for good and evil.”

He touched his hat as he bade them farewell, and shook hands cordially
with Major Bellenden.

“Adieu,” he said, “my stout-hearted old friend! Good luck be with you,
and better times to us both.”

The horsemen whom he commanded had been once more reduced to tolerable
order by the exertions of Major Allan; and, though shorn of their
splendour, and with their gilding all besmirched, made a much more
regular and military appearance on leaving, for the second time, the
tower of Tillietudlem, than when they returned to it after their rout.

Major Bellenden, now left to his own resources sent out several videttes,
both to obtain supplies of provisions, and especially of meal, and to get
knowledge of the motions of the enemy. All the news he could collect on
the second subject tended to prove that the insurgents meant to remain on
the field of battle for that night. But they, also, had abroad their
detachments and advanced guards to collect supplies, and great was the
doubt and distress of those who received contrary orders, in the name of
the King and in that of the Kirk; the one commanding them to send
provisions to victual the Castle of Tillietudlem, and the other enjoining
them to forward supplies to the camp of the godly professors of true
religion, now in arms for the cause of covenanted reformation, presently
pitched at Drumclog, nigh to Loudon-hill. Each summons closed with a
denunciation of fire and sword if it was neglected; for neither party
could confide so far in the loyalty or zeal of those whom they addressed,
as to hope they would part with their property upon other terms. So that
the poor people knew not what hand to turn themselves to; and, to say
truth, there were some who turned themselves to more than one.

“Thir kittle times will drive the wisest o’ us daft,” said Niel Blane,
the prudent host of the Howff; “but I’se aye keep a calm sough.--Jenny,
what meal is in the girnel?”

“Four bows o’ aitmeal, twa bows o’ bear, and twa bows o’ pease,” was
Jenny’s reply.

“Aweel, hinny,” continued Niel Blane, sighing deeply, “let Bauldy drive
the pease and bear meal to the camp at Drumclog--he’s a whig, and was the
auld gudewife’s pleughman--the mashlum bannocks will suit their muirland
stamachs weel. He maun say it’s the last unce o’ meal in the house, or,
if he scruples to tell a lie, (as it’s no likely he will when it’s for
the gude o’ the house,) he may wait till Duncan Glen, the auld drucken
trooper, drives up the aitmeal to Tillietudlem, wi’ my dutifu’ service to
my Leddy and the Major, and I haena as muckle left as will mak my
parritch; and if Duncan manage right, I’ll gie him a tass o’ whisky shall
mak the blue low come out at his mouth.”

“And what are we to eat oursells then, father,” asked Jenny, “when we hae
sent awa the haill meal in the ark and the girnel?”

“We maun gar wheat-flour serve us for a blink,” said Niel, in a tone of
resignation; “it’s no that ill food, though far frae being sae hearty or
kindly to a Scotchman’s stamach as the curney aitmeal is; the Englishers
live amaist upon’t; but, to be sure, the pock-puddings ken nae better.”

While the prudent and peaceful endeavoured, like Niel Blane, to make fair
weather with both parties, those who had more public (or party) spirit
began to take arms on all sides. The royalists in the country were not
numerous, but were respectable from their fortune and influence, being
chiefly landed proprietors of ancient descent, who, with their brothers,
cousins, and dependents to the ninth generation, as well as their
domestic servants, formed a sort of militia, capable of defending their
own peel-houses against detached bodies of the insurgents, of resisting
their demand of supplies, and intercepting those which were sent to the
presbyterian camp by others. The news that the Tower of Tillietudlem was
to be defended against the insurgents, afforded great courage and support
to these feudal volunteers, who considered it as a stronghold to which
they might retreat, in case it should become impossible for them to
maintain the desultory war they were now about to wage.

On the other hand, the towns, the villages, the farm-houses, the
properties of small heritors, sent forth numerous recruits to the
presbyterian interest. These men had been the principal sufferers during
the oppression of the time. Their minds were fretted, soured, and driven
to desperation, by the various exactions and cruelties to which they had
been subjected; and, although by no means united among themselves, either
concerning the purpose of this formidable insurrection, or the means by
which that purpose was to be obtained, most of them considered it as a
door opened by Providence to obtain the liberty of conscience of which
they had been long deprived, and to shake themselves free of a tyranny,
directed both against body and soul. Numbers of these men, therefore,
took up arms; and, in the phrase of their time and party, prepared to
cast in their lot with the victors of Loudon-hill.



CHAPTER XXI.

          Ananias. I do not like the man: He is a heathen,
          And speaks the language of Canaan truly.

          Tribulation. You must await his calling, and the coming
          Of the good spirit. You did ill to upbraid him.
                                             The Alchemist.

We return to Henry Morton, whom we left on the field of battle. He was
eating, by one of the watch-fires, his portion of the provisions which
had been distributed to the army, and musing deeply on the path which he
was next to pursue, when Burley suddenly came up to him, accompanied by
the young minister, whose exhortation after the victory had produced such
a powerful effect.

“Henry Morton,” said Balfour abruptly, “the council of the army of the
Covenant, confiding that the son of Silas Morton can never prove a
lukewarm Laodicean, or an indifferent Gallio, in this great day, have
nominated you to be a captain of their host, with the right of a vote in
their council, and all authority fitting for an officer who is to command
Christian men.”

“Mr Balfour,” replied Morton, without hesitation, “I feel this mark of
confidence, and it is not surprising that a natural sense of the injuries
of my country, not to mention those I have sustained in my own person,
should make me sufficiently willing to draw my sword for liberty and
freedom of conscience. But I will own to you, that I must be better
satisfied concerning the principles on which you bottom your cause ere I
can agree to take a command amongst you.”

“And can you doubt of our principles,” answered Burley, “since we have
stated them to be the reformation both of church and state, the
rebuilding of the decayed sanctuary, the gathering of the dispersed
saints, and the destruction of the man of sin?”

“I will own frankly, Mr Balfour,” replied Morton, “much of this sort of
language, which, I observe, is so powerful with others, is entirely lost
on me. It is proper you should be aware of this before we commune further
together.” (The young clergyman here groaned deeply.) “I distress you,
sir,” said Morton; “but, perhaps, it is because you will not hear me out.
I revere the Scriptures as deeply as you or any Christian can do. I look
into them with humble hope of extracting a rule of conduct and a law of
salvation. But I expect to find this by an examination of their general
tenor, and of the spirit which they uniformly breathe, and not by
wresting particular passages from their context, or by the application of
Scriptural phrases to circumstances and events with which they have often
very slender relation.”

The young divine seemed shocked and thunderstruck with this declaration,
and was about to remonstrate.

“Hush, Ephraim!” said Burley, “remember he is but as a babe in swaddling
clothes.--Listen to me, Morton. I will speak to thee in the worldly
language of that carnal reason, which is, for the present, thy blind and
imperfect guide. What is the object for which thou art content to draw
thy sword? Is it not that the church and state should be reformed by the
free voice of a free parliament, with such laws as shall hereafter
prevent the executive government from spilling the blood, torturing and
imprisoning the persons, exhausting the estates, and trampling upon the
consciences of men, at their own wicked pleasure?”

“Most certainly,” said Morton; “such I esteem legitimate causes of
warfare, and for such I will fight while I can wield a sword.”

“Nay, but,” said Macbriar, “ye handle this matter too tenderly; nor will
my conscience permit me to fard or daub over the causes of divine wrath.”

“Peace, Ephraim Macbriar!” again interrupted Burley.

“I will not peace,” said the young man. “Is it not the cause of my Master
who hath sent me? Is it not a profane and Erastian destroying of his
authority, usurpation of his power, denial of his name, to place either
King or Parliament in his place as the master and governor of his
household, the adulterous husband of his spouse?”

“You speak well,” said Burley, dragging him aside, “but not wisely; your
own ears have heard this night in council how this scattered remnant are
broken and divided, and would ye now make a veil of separation between
them? Would ye build a wall with unslaked mortar?--if a fox go up, it
will breach it.”

“I know,” said the young clergyman, in reply, “that thou art faithful,
honest, and zealous, even unto slaying; but, believe me, this worldly
craft, this temporizing with sin and with infirmity, is in itself a
falling away; and I fear me Heaven will not honour us to do much more for
His glory, when we seek to carnal cunning and to a fleshly arm. The
sanctified end must be wrought by sanctified means.”

“I tell thee,” answered Balfour, “thy zeal is too rigid in this matter;
we cannot yet do without the help of the Laodiceans and the Erastians; we
must endure for a space the indulged in the midst of the council--the
sons of Zeruiah are yet too strong for us.”

“I tell thee I like it not,” said Macbriar; “God can work deliverance by
a few as well as by a multitude. The host of the faithful that was broken
upon Pentland-hills, paid but the fitting penalty of acknowledging the
carnal interest of that tyrant and oppressor, Charles Stewart.”

“Well, then,” said Balfour, “thou knowest the healing resolution that the
council have adopted,--to make a comprehending declaration, that may suit
the tender consciences of all who groan under the yoke of our present
oppressors. Return to the council if thou wilt, and get them to recall
it, and send forth one upon narrower grounds. But abide not here to
hinder my gaining over this youth, whom my soul travails for; his name
alone will call forth hundreds to our banners.”

“Do as thou wilt, then,” said Macbriar; “but I will not assist to mislead
the youth, nor bring him into jeopardy of life, unless upon such grounds
as will ensure his eternal reward.”

The more artful Balfour then dismissed the impatient preacher, and
returned to his proselyte.

That we may be enabled to dispense with detailing at length the arguments
by which he urged Morton to join the insurgents, we shall take this
opportunity to give a brief sketch of the person by whom they were used,
and the motives which he had for interesting himself so deeply in the
conversion of young Morton to his cause.

John Balfour of Kinloch, or Burley, for he is designated both ways in the
histories and proclamations of that melancholy period, was a gentleman of
some fortune, and of good family, in the county of Fife, and had been a
soldier from his youth upwards. In the younger part of his life he had
been wild and licentious, but had early laid aside open profligacy, and
embraced the strictest tenets of Calvinism. Unfortunately, habits of
excess and intemperance were more easily rooted out of his dark,
saturnine, and enterprising spirit, than the vices of revenge and
ambition, which continued, notwithstanding his religious professions, to
exercise no small sway over his mind. Daring in design, precipitate and
violent in execution, and going to the very extremity of the most rigid
recusancy, it was his ambition to place himself at the head of the
presbyterian interest.

To attain this eminence among the whigs, he had been active in attending
their conventicles, and more than once had commanded them when they
appeared in arms, and beaten off the forces sent to disperse them. At
length, the gratification of his own fierce enthusiasm, joined, as some
say, with motives of private revenge, placed him at the head of that
party who assassinated the Primate of Scotland, as the author of the
sufferings of the presbyterians. The violent measures adopted by
government to revenge this deed, not on the perpetrators only, but on the
whole professors of the religion to which they belonged, together with
long previous sufferings, without any prospect of deliverance, except by
force of arms, occasioned the insurrection, which, as we have already
seen, commenced by the defeat of Claverhouse in the bloody skirmish of
Loudon-hill.

But Burley, notwithstanding the share he had in the victory, was far from
finding himself at the summit which his ambition aimed at. This was
partly owing to the various opinions entertained among the insurgents
concerning the murder of Archbishop Sharpe. The more violent among them
did, indeed, approve of this act as a deed of justice, executed upon a
persecutor of God’s church through the immediate inspiration of the
Deity; but the greater part of the presbyterians disowned the deed as a
crime highly culpable, although they admitted, that the Archbishop’s
punishment had by no means exceeded his deserts. The insurgents differed
in another main point, which has been already touched upon. The more warm
and extravagant fanatics condemned, as guilty of a pusillanimous
abandonment of the rights of the church, those preachers and
congregations who were contented, in any manner, to exercise their
religion through the permission of the ruling government. This, they
said, was absolute Erastianism, or subjection of the church of God to the
regulations of an earthly government, and therefore but one degree better
than prelacy or popery.--Again, the more moderate party were content to
allow the king’s title to the throne, and in secular affairs to
acknowledge his authority, so long as it was exercised with due regard to
the liberties of the subject, and in conformity to the laws of the realm.
But the tenets of the wilder sect, called, from their leader Richard
Cameron, by the name of Cameronians, went the length of disowning the
reigning monarch, and every one of his successors, who should not
acknowledge the Solemn League and Covenant. The seeds of disunion were,
therefore, thickly sown in this ill-fated party; and Balfour, however
enthusiastic, and however much attached to the most violent of those
tenets which we have noticed, saw nothing but ruin to the general cause,
if they were insisted on during this crisis, when unity was of so much
consequence. Hence he disapproved, as we have seen, of the honest,
downright, and ardent zeal of Macbriar, and was extremely desirous to
receive the assistance of the moderate party of presbyterians in the
immediate overthrow of the government, with the hope of being hereafter
able to dictate to them what should be substituted in its place.

He was, on this account, particularly anxious to secure the accession of
Henry Morton to the cause of the insurgents. The memory of his father was
generally esteemed among the presbyterians; and as few persons of any
decent quality had joined the insurgents, this young man’s family and
prospects were such as almost ensured his being chosen a leader. Through
Morton’s means, as being the son of his ancient comrade, Burley conceived
he might exercise some influence over the more liberal part of the army,
and ultimately, perhaps, ingratiate himself so far with them, as to be
chosen commander-in-chief, which was the mark at which his ambition
aimed. He had, therefore, without waiting till any other person took up
the subject, exalted to the council the talents and disposition of
Morton, and easily obtained his elevation to the painful rank of a leader
in this disunited and undisciplined army.

The arguments by which Balfour pressed Morton to accept of this dangerous
promotion, as soon as he had gotten rid of his less wary and
uncompromising companion, Macbriar, were sufficiently artful and urgent.
He did not affect either to deny or to disguise that the sentiments which
he himself entertained concerning church government, went as far as those
of the preacher who had just left them; but he argued, that when the
affairs of the nation were at such a desperate crisis, minute difference
of opinion should not prevent those who, in general, wished well to their
oppressed country, from drawing their swords in its behalf. Many of the
subjects of division, as, for example, that concerning the Indulgence
itself, arose, he observed, out of circumstances which would cease to
exist, provided their attempt to free the country should be successful,
seeing that the presbytery, being in that case triumphant, would need to
make no such compromise with the government, and, consequently, with the
abolition of the Indulgence all discussion of its legality would be at
once ended. He insisted much and strongly upon the necessity of taking
advantage of this favourable crisis, upon the certainty of their being
joined by the force of the whole western shires, and upon the gross guilt
which those would incur, who, seeing the distress of the country, and the
increasing tyranny with which it was governed, should, from fear or
indifference, withhold their active aid from the good cause.

Morton wanted not these arguments to induce him to join in any
insurrection, which might appear to have a feasible prospect of freedom
to the country. He doubted, indeed, greatly, whether the present attempt
was likely to be supported by the strength sufficient to ensure success,
or by the wisdom and liberality of spirit necessary to make a good use of
the advantages that might be gained. Upon the whole, however, considering
the wrongs he had personally endured, and those which he had seen daily
inflicted on his fellow-subjects; meditating also upon the precarious and
dangerous situation in which he already stood with relation to the
government, he conceived himself, in every point of view, called upon to
join the body of presbyterians already in arms.

But while he expressed to Burley his acquiescence in the vote which had
named him a leader among the insurgents, and a member of their council of
war, it was not without a qualification.

“I am willing,” he said, “to contribute every thing within my limited
power to effect the emancipation of my country. But do not mistake me. I
disapprove, in the utmost degree, of the action in which this rising
seems to have originated; and no arguments should induce me to join it,
if it is to be carried on by such measures as that with which it has
commenced.”

Burley’s blood rushed to his face, giving a ruddy and dark glow to his
swarthy brow.

“You mean,” he said, in a voice which he designed should not betray any
emotion--“You mean the death of James Sharpe?”

“Frankly,” answered Morton, “such is my meaning.”

“You imagine, then,” said Burley, “that the Almighty, in times of
difficulty, does not raise up instruments to deliver his church from her
oppressors? You are of opinion that the justice of an execution consists,
not in the extent of the sufferer’s crime, or in his having merited
punishment, or in the wholesome and salutary effect which that example is
likely to produce upon other evil-doers, but hold that it rests solely in
the robe of the judge, the height of the bench, and the voice of the
doomster? Is not just punishment justly inflicted, whether on the
scaffold or the moor? And where constituted judges, from cowardice, or
from having cast in their lot with transgressors, suffer them not only to
pass at liberty through the land, but to sit in the high places, and dye
their garments in the blood of the saints, is it not well done in any
brave spirits who shall draw their private swords in the public cause?”

“I have no wish to judge this individual action,” replied Morton,
“further than is necessary to make you fully aware of my principles. I
therefore repeat, that the case you have supposed does not satisfy my
judgment. That the Almighty, in his mysterious providence, may bring a
bloody man to an end deservedly bloody, does not vindicate those who,
without authority of any kind, take upon themselves to be the instruments
of execution, and presume to call them the executors of divine
vengeance.”

“And were we not so?” said Burley, in a tone of fierce enthusiasm. “Were
not we--was not every one who owned the interest of the Covenanted Church
of Scotland, bound by that covenant to cut off the Judas who had sold the
cause of God for fifty thousand merks a-year? Had we met him by the way
as he came down from London, and there smitten him with the edge of the
sword, we had done but the duty of men faithful to our cause, and to our
oaths recorded in heaven. Was not the execution itself a proof of our
warrant? Did not the Lord deliver him into our hands, when we looked out
but for one of his inferior tools of persecution? Did we not pray to be
resolved how we should act, and was it not borne in on our hearts as if
it had been written on them with the point of a diamond, ‘Ye shall surely
take him and slay him?’--Was not the tragedy full half an hour in acting
ere the sacrifice was completed, and that in an open heath, and within
the patrols of their garrisons--and yet who interrupted the great work?--
What dog so much as bayed us during the pursuit, the taking, the slaying,
and the dispersing? Then, who will say--who dare say, that a mightier arm
than ours was not herein revealed?”

“You deceive yourself, Mr Balfour,” said Morton; “such circumstances of
facility of execution and escape have often attended the commission of
the most enormous crimes.--But it is not mine to judge you. I have not
forgotten that the way was opened to the former liberation of Scotland by
an act of violence which no man can justify,--the slaughter of Cumming by
the hand of Robert Bruce; and, therefore, condemning this action, as I do
and must, I am not unwilling to suppose that you may have motives
vindicating it in your own eyes, though not in mine, or in those of sober
reason. I only now mention it, because I desire you to understand, that I
join a cause supported by men engaged in open war, which it is proposed
to carry on according to the rules of civilized nations, without, in any
respect, approving of the act of violence which gave immediate rise to
it.”

Balfour bit his lip, and with difficulty suppressed a violent answer. He
perceived, with disappointment, that, upon points of principle, his young
brother-in-arms possessed a clearness of judgment, and a firmness of
mind, which afforded but little hope of his being able to exert that
degree of influence over him which he had expected to possess. After a
moment’s pause, however, he said, with coolness, “My conduct is open to
men and angels. The deed was not done in a corner; I am here in arms to
avow it, and care not where, or by whom, I am called on to do so; whether
in the council, the field of battle, the place of execution, or the day
of the last great trial. I will not now discuss it further with one who
is yet on the other side of the veil. But if you will cast in your lot
with us as a brother, come with me to the council, who are still sitting,
to arrange the future march of the army, and the means of improving our
victory.”

Morton arose and followed him in silence; not greatly delighted with his
associate, and better satisfied with the general justice of the cause
which he had espoused, than either with the measures or the motives of
many of those who were embarked in it.


[Illustration: Abbotsford--295]



OLD MORTALITY

By Walter Scott


[Illustration: Titlepage]



VOLUME II.


[Illustration: Bookcover]


[Illustration: Spines]



CHAPTER I.

               And look how many Grecian tents do stand
               Hollow upon this plain--so many hollow factions.
                                        Troilus and Cressida.

In a hollow of the hill, about a quarter of a mile from the field of
battle, was a shepherd’s hut; a miserable cottage, which, as the only
enclosed spot within a moderate distance, the leaders of the presbyterian
army had chosen for their council-house. Towards this spot Burley guided
Morton, who was surprised, as he approached it, at the multifarious
confusion of sounds which issued from its precincts. The calm and anxious
gravity which it might be supposed would have presided in councils held
on such important subjects, and at a period so critical, seemed to have
given place to discord wild, and loud uproar, which fell on the ear of
their new ally as an evil augury of their future measures. As they
approached the door, they found it open indeed, but choked up with the
bodies and heads of countrymen, who, though no members of the council,
felt no scruple in intruding themselves upon deliberations in which they
were so deeply interested. By expostulation, by threats, and even by some
degree of violence, Burley, the sternness of whose character maintained a
sort of superiority over these disorderly forces, compelled the intruders
to retire, and, introducing Morton into the cottage, secured the door
behind them against impertinent curiosity. At a less agitating moment,
the young man might have been entertained with the singular scene of
which he now found himself an auditor and a spectator.

The precincts of the gloomy and ruinous hut were enlightened partly by
some furze which blazed on the hearth, the smoke whereof, having no legal
vent, eddied around, and formed over the heads of the assembled council a
clouded canopy, as opake as their metaphysical theology, through which,
like stars through mist, were dimly seen to twinkle a few blinking
candles, or rather rushes dipped in tallow, the property of the poor
owner of the cottage, which were stuck to the walls by patches of wet
clay. This broken and dusky light showed many a countenance elated with
spiritual pride, or rendered dark by fierce enthusiasm; and some whose
anxious, wandering, and uncertain looks, showed they felt themselves
rashly embarked in a cause which they had neither courage nor conduct to
bring to a good issue, yet knew not how to abandon, for very shame. They
were, indeed, a doubtful and disunited body. The most active of their
number were those concerned with Burley in the death of the Primate, four
or five of whom had found their way to Loudon-hill, together with other
men of the same relentless and uncompromising zeal, who had, in various
ways, given desperate and unpardonable offence to the government.

With them were mingled their preachers, men who had spurned at the
indulgence offered by government, and preferred assembling their flocks
in the wilderness, to worshipping in temples built by human hands, if
their doing the latter should be construed to admit any right on the part
of their rulers to interfere with the supremacy of the Kirk. The other
class of counsellors were such gentlemen of small fortune, and
substantial farmers, as a sense of intolerable oppression had induced to
take arms and join the insurgents. These also had their clergymen with
them, and such divines, having many of them taken advantage of the
indulgence, were prepared to resist the measures of their more violent
brethren, who proposed a declaration in which they should give testimony
against the warrants and instructions for indulgence as sinful and
unlawful acts. This delicate question had been passed over in silence in
the first draught of the manifestos which they intended to publish, of
the reasons of their gathering in arms; but it had been stirred anew
during Balfour’s absence, and, to his great vexation, he now found that
both parties had opened upon it in full cry, Macbriar, Kettledrummle, and
other teachers of the wanderers, being at the very spring-tide of
polemical discussion with Peter Poundtext, the indulged pastor of
Milnwood’s parish, who, it seems, had e’en girded himself with a
broadsword, but, ere he was called upon to fight for the good cause of
presbytery in the field, was manfully defending his own dogmata in the
council. It was the din of this conflict, maintained chiefly between
Poundtext and Kettledrummle, together with the clamour of their
adherents, which had saluted Morton’s ears upon approaching the cottage.
Indeed, as both the divines were men well gifted with words and lungs,
and each fierce, ardent, and intolerant in defence of his own doctrine,
prompt in the recollection of texts wherewith they battered each other
without mercy, and deeply impressed with the importance of the subject of
discussion, the noise of the debate betwixt them fell little short of
that which might have attended an actual bodily conflict.

Burley, scandalized at the disunion implied in this virulent strife of
tongues, interposed between the disputants, and, by some general remarks
on the unseasonableness of discord, a soothing address to the vanity of
each party, and the exertion of the authority which his services in that
day’s victory entitled him to assume, at length succeeded in prevailing
upon them to adjourn farther discussion of the controversy. But although
Kettledrummle and Poundtext were thus for the time silenced, they
continued to eye each other like two dogs, who, having been separated by
the authority of their masters while fighting, have retreated, each
beneath the chair of his owner, still watching each other’s motions, and
indicating, by occasional growls, by the erected bristles of the back and
ears, and by the red glance of the eye, that their discord is unappeased,
and that they only wait the first opportunity afforded by any general
movement or commotion in the company, to fly once more at each other’s
throats.

Balfour took advantage of the momentary pause to present to the council
Mr Henry Morton of Milnwood, as one touched with a sense of the evils of
the times, and willing to peril goods and life in the precious cause for
which his father, the renowned Silas Morton, had given in his time a
soul-stirring testimony. Morton was instantly received with the right
hand of fellowship by his ancient pastor, Poundtext, and by those among
the insurgents who supported the more moderate principles. The others
muttered something about Erastianism, and reminded each other in
whispers, that Silas Morton, once a stout and worthy servant of the
Covenant, had been a backslider in the day when the resolutioners had led
the way in owning the authority of Charles Stewart, thereby making a gap
whereat the present tyrant was afterwards brought in, to the oppression
both of Kirk and country. They added, however, that, on this great day of
calling, they would not refuse society with any who should put hand to
the plough; and so Morton was installed in his office of leader and
counsellor, if not with the full approbation of his colleagues, at least
without any formal or avowed dissent. They proceeded, on Burley’s motion,
to divide among themselves the command of the men who had assembled, and
whose numbers were daily increasing. In this partition, the insurgents of
Poundtext’s parish and congregation were naturally placed under the
command of Morton; an arrangement mutually agreeable to both parties, as
he was recommended to their confidence, as well by his personal qualities
as his having been born among them.

When this task was accomplished, it became necessary to determine what
use was to be made of their victory. Morton’s heart throbbed high when he
heard the Tower of Tillietudlem named as one of the most important
positions to be seized upon. It commanded, as we have often noticed, the
pass between the more wild and the more fertile country, and must
furnish, it was plausibly urged, a stronghold and place of rendezvous to
the cavaliers and malignants of the district, supposing the insurgents
were to march onward and leave it uninvested. This measure was
particularly urged as necessary by Poundtext and those of his immediate
followers, whose habitations and families might be exposed to great
severities, if this strong place were permitted to remain in possession
of the royalists.

“I opine,” said Poundtext,--for, like the other divines of the period, he
had no hesitation in offering his advice upon military matters of which
he was profoundly ignorant,--“I opine, that we should take in and raze
that stronghold of the woman Lady Margaret Bellenden, even though we
should build a fort and raise a mount against it; for the race is a
rebellious and a bloody race, and their hand has been heavy on the
children of the Covenant, both in the former and the latter times. Their
hook hath been in our noses, and their bridle betwixt our jaws.”

“What are their means and men of defence?” said Burley. “The place is
strong; but I cannot conceive that two women can make it good against a
host.”

“There is also,” said Poundtext, “Harrison the steward, and John Gudyill,
even the lady’s chief butler, who boasteth himself a man of war from his
youth upward, and who spread the banner against the good cause with that
man of Belial, James Grahame of Montrose.”

“Pshaw!” returned Burley, scornfully, “a butler!”

“Also, there is that ancient malignant,” replied Poundtext, “Miles
Bellenden of Charnwood, whose hands have been dipped in the blood of the
saints.”

“If that,” said Burley, “be Miles Bellenden, the brother of Sir Arthur,
he is one whose sword will not turn back from battle; but he must now be
stricken in years.”

“There was word in the country as I rode along,” said another of the
council, “that so soon as they heard of the victory which has been given
to us, they caused shut the gates of the tower, and called in men, and
collected ammunition. They were ever a fierce and a malignant house.”

“We will not, with my consent,” said Burley, “engage in a siege which may
consume time. We must rush forward, and follow our advantage by occupying
Glasgow; for I do not fear that the troops we have this day beaten, even
with the assistance of my Lord Ross’s regiment, will judge it safe to
await our coming.”

“Howbeit,” said Poundtext, “we may display a banner before the Tower, and
blow a trumpet, and summon them to come forth. It may be that they will
give over the place into our mercy, though they be a rebellious people.
And we will summon the women to come forth of their stronghold, that is,
Lady Margaret Bellenden and her grand-daughter, and Jenny Dennison, which
is a girl of an ensnaring eye, and the other maids, and we will give them
a safe conduct, and send them in peace to the city, even to the town of
Edinburgh. But John Gudyill, and Hugh Harrison, and Miles Bellenden, we
will restrain with fetters of iron, even as they, in times bypast, have
done to the martyred saints.”

“Who talks of safe conduct and of peace?” said a shrill, broken, and
overstrained voice, from the crowd.

“Peace, brother Habakkuk,” said Macbriar, in a soothing tone, to the
speaker.

“I will not hold my peace,” reiterated the strange and unnatural voice;
“is this a time to speak of peace, when the earth quakes, and the
mountains are rent, and the rivers are changed into blood, and the
two-edged sword is drawn from the sheath to drink gore as if it were
water, and devour flesh as the fire devours dry stubble?”

While he spoke thus, the orator struggled forward to the inner part of
the circle, and presented to Morton’s wondering eyes a figure worthy of
such a voice and such language. The rags of a dress which had once been
black, added to the tattered fragments of a shepherd’s plaid, composed a
covering scarce fit for the purposes of decency, much less for those of
warmth or comfort. A long beard, as white as snow, hung down on his
breast, and mingled with bushy, uncombed, grizzled hair, which hung in
elf-locks around his wild and staring visage. The features seemed to be
extenuated by penury and famine, until they hardly retained the likeness
of a human aspect. The eyes, grey, wild, and wandering, evidently
betokened a bewildered imagination. He held in his hand a rusty sword,
clotted with blood, as were his long lean hands, which were garnished at
the extremity with nails like eagle’s claws.

“In the name of Heaven! who is he?” said Morton, in a whisper to
Poundtext, surprised, shocked, and even startled, at this ghastly
apparition, which looked more like the resurrection of some cannibal
priest, or druid red from his human sacrifice, than like an earthly
mortal.

“It is Habakkuk Mucklewrath,” answered Poundtext, in the same tone, “whom
the enemy have long detained in captivity in forts and castles, until his
understanding hath departed from him, and, as I fear, an evil demon hath
possessed him. Nevertheless, our violent brethren will have it, that he
speaketh of the spirit, and that they fructify by his pouring forth.”

Here he was interrupted by Mucklewrath, who cried in a voice that made
the very beams of the roof quiver--“Who talks of peace and safe conduct?
who speaks of mercy to the bloody house of the malignants? I say take the
infants and dash them against the stones; take the daughters and the
mothers of the house and hurl them from the battlements of their trust,
that the dogs may fatten on their blood as they did on that of Jezabel,
the spouse of Ahab, and that their carcasses may be dung to the face of
the field even in the portion of their fathers!”

“He speaks right,” said more than one sullen voice from behind; “we will
be honoured with little service in the great cause, if we already make
fair weather with Heaven’s enemies.”

“This is utter abomination and daring impiety,” said Morton, unable to
contain his indignation.

“What blessing can you expect in a cause, in which you listen to the
mingled ravings of madness and atrocity?”

“Hush, young man!” said Kettledrummle, “and reserve thy censure for that
for which thou canst render a reason. It is not for thee to judge into
what vessels the spirit may be poured.”

“We judge of the tree by the fruit,” said Poundtext, “and allow not that
to be of divine inspiration that contradicts the divine laws.”

“You forget, brother Poundtext,” said Macbriar, “that these are the
latter days, when signs and wonders shall be multiplied.”

Poundtext stood forward to reply; but, ere he could articulate a word,
the insane preacher broke in with a scream that drowned all competition.

“Who talks of signs and wonders? Am not I Habakkuk Mucklewrath, whose
name is changed to Magor-Missabib, because I am made a terror unto myself
and unto all that are around me?--I heard it--When did I hear it?--Was it
not in the Tower of the Bass, that overhangeth the wide wild sea?--And it
howled in the winds, and it roared in the billows, and it screamed, and
it whistled, and it clanged, with the screams and the clang and the
whistle of the sea-birds, as they floated, and flew, and dropped, and
dived, on the bosom of the waters. I saw it--Where did I see it?--Was it
not from the high peaks of Dunbarton, when I looked westward upon the
fertile land, and northward on the wild Highland hills; when the clouds
gathered and the tempest came, and the lightnings of heaven flashed in
sheets as wide as the banners of an host?--What did I see?--Dead corpses
and wounded horses, the rushing together of battle, and garments rolled
in blood.--What heard I?--The voice that cried, Slay, slay--smite--slay
utterly--let not your eye have pity! slay utterly, old and young, the
maiden, the child, and the woman whose head is grey--Defile the house and
fill the courts with the slain!”

“We receive the command,” exclaimed more than one of the company. “Six
days he hath not spoken nor broken bread, and now his tongue is
unloosed:--We receive the command; as he hath said, so will we do.”

Astonished, disgusted, and horror-struck, at what he had seen and heard,
Morton turned away from the circle and left the cottage. He was followed
by Burley, who had his eye on his motions.

“Whither are you going?” said the latter, taking him by the arm.

“Any where,--I care not whither; but here I will abide no longer.”

“Art thou so soon weary, young man?” answered Burley. “Thy hand is but
now put to the plough, and wouldst thou already abandon it? Is this thy
adherence to the cause of thy father?”

“No cause,” replied Morton, indignantly--“no cause can prosper, so
conducted. One party declares for the ravings of a bloodthirsty madman;
another leader is an old scholastic pedant; a third”--he stopped, and his
companion continued the sentence--“Is a desperate homicide, thou wouldst
say, like John Balfour of Burley?--I can bear thy misconstruction without
resentment. Thou dost not consider, that it is not men of sober and
self-seeking minds, who arise in these days of wrath to execute judgment
and to accomplish deliverance. Hadst thou but seen the armies of England,
during her Parliament of 1640, whose ranks were filled with sectaries and
enthusiasts, wilder than the anabaptists of Munster, thou wouldst have
had more cause to marvel; and yet these men were unconquered on the
field, and their hands wrought marvellous things for the liberties of the
land.”

“But their affairs,” replied Morton, “were wisely conducted, and the
violence of their zeal expended itself in their exhortations and sermons,
without bringing divisions into their counsels, or cruelty into their
conduct. I have often heard my father say so, and protest, that he
wondered at nothing so much as the contrast between the extravagance of
their religious tenets, and the wisdom and moderation with which they
conducted their civil and military affairs. But our councils seem all one
wild chaos of confusion.”

“Thou must have patience, Henry Morton,” answered Balfour; “thou must not
leave the cause of thy religion and country either for one wild word, or
one extravagant action. Hear me. I have already persuaded the wiser of
our friends, that the counsellors are too numerous, and that we cannot
expect that the Midianites shall, by so large a number, be delivered into
our hands. They have hearkened to my voice, and our assemblies will be
shortly reduced within such a number as can consult and act together; and
in them thou shalt have a free voice, as well as in ordering our affairs
of war, and protecting those to whom mercy should be shown--Art thou now
satisfied?”

“It will give me pleasure, doubtless,” answered Morton, “to be the means
of softening the horrors of civil war; and I will not leave the post I
have taken, unless I see measures adopted at which my conscience revolts.
But to no bloody executions after quarter asked, or slaughter without
trial, will I lend countenance or sanction; and you may depend on my
opposing them, with both heart and hand, as constantly and resolutely, if
attempted by our own followers, as when they are the work of the enemy.”

Balfour waved his hand impatiently.

“Thou wilt find,” he said, “that the stubborn and hard-hearted generation
with whom we deal, must be chastised with scorpions ere their hearts be
humbled, and ere they accept the punishment of their iniquity. The word
is gone forth against them, ‘I will bring a sword upon you that shall
avenge the quarrel of my Covenant.’ But what is done shall be done
gravely, and with discretion, like that of the worthy James Melvin, who
executed judgment on the tyrant and oppressor, Cardinal Beaton.”

“I own to you,” replied Morton, “that I feel still more abhorrent at
cold-blooded and premeditated cruelty, than at that which is practised in
the heat of zeal and resentment.”

“Thou art yet but a youth,” replied Balfour, “and hast not learned how
light in the balance are a few drops of blood in comparison to the weight
and importance of this great national testimony. But be not afraid;
thyself shall vote and judge in these matters; it may be we shall see
little cause to strive together anent them.”

With this concession Morton was compelled to be satisfied for the
present; and Burley left him, advising him to lie down and get some rest,
as the host would probably move in the morning.

“And you,” answered Morton, “do not you go to rest also?”

“No,” said Burley; “my eyes must not yet know slumber. This is no work to
be done lightly; I have yet to perfect the choosing of the committee of
leaders, and I will call you by times in the morning to be present at
their consultation.”

He turned away, and left Morton to his repose.

The place in which he found himself was not ill adapted for the purpose,
being a sheltered nook, beneath a large rock, well protected from the
prevailing wind. A quantity of moss with which the ground was overspread,
made a couch soft enough for one who had suffered so much hardship and
anxiety. Morton wrapped himself in the horse-man’s cloak which he had
still retained, stretched himself on the ground, and had not long
indulged in melancholy reflections on the state of the country, and upon
his own condition, ere he was relieved from them by deep and sound
slumber.

The rest of the army slept on the ground, dispersed in groups, which
chose their beds on the fields as they could best find shelter and
convenience. A few of the principal leaders held wakeful conference with
Burley on the state of their affairs, and some watchmen were appointed
who kept themselves on the alert by chanting psalms, or listening to the
exercises of the more gifted of their number.



CHAPTER II.

               Got with much ease--now merrily to horse.
                                             Henry IV. Part I.

With the first peep of day Henry awoke, and found the faithful Cuddie
standing beside him with a portmanteau in his hand.

“I hae been just putting your honour’s things in readiness again ye were
waking,” said Cuddie, “as is my duty, seeing ye hae been sae gude as to
tak me into your service.”

“I take you into my service, Cuddie?” said Morton, “you must be
dreaming.”

“Na, na, stir,” answered Cuddie; “didna I say when I was tied on the
horse yonder, that if ever ye gat loose I would be your servant, and ye
didna say no? and if that isna hiring, I kenna what is. Ye gae me nae
arles, indeed, but ye had gien me eneugh before at Milnwood.”

“Well, Cuddie, if you insist on taking the chance of my unprosperous
fortunes”--

“Ou ay, I’se warrant us a’ prosper weel eneugh,” answered Cuddie,
cheeringly, “an anes my auld mither was weel putten up. I hae begun the
campaigning trade at an end that is easy eneugh to learn.”

“Pillaging, I suppose?” said Morton, “for how else could you come by that
portmanteau?”

“I wotna if it’s pillaging, or how ye ca’t,” said Cuddie, “but it comes
natural to a body, and it’s a profitable trade. Our folk had tirled the
dead dragoons as bare as bawbees before we were loose amaist.--But when I
saw the Whigs a’ weel yokit by the lugs to Kettledrummle and the other
chield, I set off at the lang trot on my ain errand and your honour’s.
Sae I took up the syke a wee bit, away to the right, where I saw the
marks o’mony a horsefoot, and sure eneugh I cam to a place where there
had been some clean leatherin’, and a’ the puir chields were lying there
buskit wi’ their claes just as they had put them on that morning--naebody
had found out that pose o’ carcages--and wha suld be in the midst thereof
(as my mither says) but our auld acquaintance, Sergeant Bothwell?”

“Ay, has that man fallen?” said Morton.

“Troth has he,” answered Cuddie; “and his een were open and his brow
bent, and his teeth clenched thegither, like the jaws of a trap for
foumarts when the spring’s doun--I was amaist feared to look at him;
however, I thought to hae turn about wi’ him, and sae I e’en riped his
pouches, as he had dune mony an honester man’s; and here’s your ain
siller again (or your uncle’s, which is the same) that he got at Milnwood
that unlucky night that made us a’ sodgers thegither.”

“There can be no harm, Cuddie,” said Morton, “in making use of this
money, since we know how he came by it; but you must divide with me.”

“Bide a wee, bide a wee,” said Cuddie. “Weel, and there’s a bit ring he
had hinging in a black ribbon doun on his breast. I am thinking it has
been a love-token, puir fallow--there’s naebody sae rough but they hae
aye a kind heart to the lasses--and there’s a book wi’a wheen papers, and
I got twa or three odd things, that I’ll keep to mysell, forby.”

“Upon my word, you have made a very successful foray for a beginner,”
 said his new master.

“Haena I e’en now?” said Cuddie, with great exultation. “I tauld ye I
wasna that dooms stupid, if it cam to lifting things.--And forby, I hae
gotten twa gude horse. A feckless loon of a Straven weaver, that has left
his loom and his bein house to sit skirling on a cauld hill-side, had
catched twa dragoon naigs, and he could neither gar them hup nor wind,
sae he took a gowd noble for them baith--I suld hae tried him wi’ half
the siller, but it’s an unco ill place to get change in--Ye’ll find the
siller’s missing out o’ Bothwell’s purse.”

“You have made a most excellent and useful purchase, Cuddie; but what is
that portmanteau?”

“The pockmantle?” answered Cuddie, “it was Lord Evandale’s yesterday, and
it’s yours the day. I fand it ahint the bush o’ broom yonder--ilka dog
has its day--Ye ken what the auld sang says,

          ‘Take turn about, mither, quo’ Tam o’ the Linn.’

“And, speaking o’ that, I maun gang and see about my mither, puir auld
body, if your honour hasna ony immediate commands.”

“But, Cuddie,” said Morton, “I really cannot take these things from you
without some recompense.”

“Hout fie, stir,” answered Cuddie, “ye suld aye be taking,--for
recompense, ye may think about that some other time--I hae seen gay weel
to mysell wi’ some things that fit me better. What could I do wi’ Lord
Evandale’s braw claes? Sergeant Bothwell’s will serve me weel eneugh.”

Not being able to prevail on the self-constituted and disinterested
follower to accept of any thing for himself out of these warlike spoils,
Morton resolved to take the first opportunity of returning Lord
Evandale’s property, supposing him yet to be alive; and, in the
meanwhile, did not hesitate to avail himself of Cuddie’s prize, so far as
to appropriate some changes of linen and other triffling articles amongst
those of more value which the portmanteau contained.

He then hastily looked over the papers which were found in Bothwell’s
pocket-book. These were of a miscellaneous description. The roll of his
troop, with the names of those absent on furlough, memorandums of
tavern-bills, and lists of delinquents who might be made subjects of fine
and persecution, first presented themselves, along with a copy of a
warrant from the Privy Council to arrest certain persons of distinction
therein named. In another pocket of the book were one or two commissions
which Bothwell had held at different times, and certificates of his
services abroad, in which his courage and military talents were highly
praised. But the most remarkable paper was an accurate account of his
genealogy, with reference to many documents for establishment of its
authenticity; subjoined was a list of the ample possessions of the
forfeited Earls of Bothwell, and a particular account of the proportions
in which King James VI. had bestowed them on the courtiers and nobility
by whose descendants they were at present actually possessed; beneath
this list was written, in red letters, in the hand of the deceased, Haud
Immemor, F. S. E. B. the initials probably intimating Francis Stewart,
Earl of Bothwell. To these documents, which strongly painted the
character and feelings of their deceased proprietor, were added some
which showed him in a light greatly different from that in which we have
hitherto presented him to the reader.

In a secret pocket of the book, which Morton did not discover without
some trouble, were one or two letters, written in a beautiful female
hand. They were dated about twenty years back, bore no address, and were
subscribed only by initials. Without having time to peruse them
accurately, Morton perceived that they contained the elegant yet fond
expressions of female affection directed towards an object whose jealousy
they endeavoured to soothe, and of whose hasty, suspicious, and impatient
temper, the writer seemed gently to complain. The ink of these
manuscripts had faded by time, and, notwithstanding the great care which
had obviously been taken for their preservation, they were in one or two
places chafed so as to be illegible.

“It matters not,” these words were written on the envelope of that which
had suffered most, “I have them by heart.”

With these letters was a lock of hair wrapped in a copy of verses,
written obviously with a feeling, which atoned, in Morton’s opinion, for
the roughness of the poetry, and the conceits with which it abounded,
according to the taste of the period:

Thy hue, dear pledge, is pure and bright, As in that well-remember’d
night, When first thy mystic braid was wove, And first my Agnes whisper’d
love. Since then, how often hast thou press’d The torrid zone of this
wild breast, Whose wrath and hate have sworn to dwell With the first sin
which peopled hell; A breast whose blood’s a troubled ocean, Each throb
the earthquake’s wild commotion!--O, if such clime thou canst endure, Yet
keep thy hue unstain’d and pure, What conquest o’er each erring thought
Of that fierce realm had Agnes wrought! I had not wander’d wild and wide,
With such an angel for my guide; Nor heaven nor earth could then reprove
me, If she had lived, and lived to love me. Not then this world’s wild
joys had been To me one savage hunting-scene, My sole delight the
headlong race, And frantic hurry of the chase, To start, pursue, and
bring to bay, Rush in, drag down, and rend my prey, Then from the carcass
turn away; Mine ireful mood had sweetness tamed, And soothed each wound
which pride inflamed;--Yes, God and man might now approve me, If thou
hadst lived, and lived to love me!

As he finished reading these lines, Morton could not forbear reflecting
with compassion on the fate of this singular and most unhappy being, who,
it appeared, while in the lowest state of degradation, and almost of
contempt, had his recollections continually fixed on the high station to
which his birth seemed to entitle him; and, while plunged in gross
licentiousness, was in secret looking back with bitter remorse to the
period of his youth, during which he had nourished a virtuous, though
unfortunate attachment.

“Alas! what are we,” said Morton, “that our best and most praiseworthy
feelings can be thus debased and depraved--that honourable pride can sink
into haughty and desperate indifference for general opinion, and the
sorrow of blighted affection inhabit the same bosom which license,
revenge, and rapine, have chosen for their citadel? But it is the same
throughout; the liberal principles of one man sink into cold and
unfeeling indifference, the religious zeal of another hurries him into
frantic and savage enthusiasm. Our resolutions, our passions, are like
the waves of the sea, and, without the aid of Him who formed the human
breast, we cannot say to its tides, ‘Thus far shall ye come, and no
farther.”’

While he thus moralized, he raised his eyes, and observed that Burley
stood before him.

“Already awake?” said that leader--“It is well, and shows zeal to tread
the path before you.--What papers are these?” he continued.

Morton gave him some brief account of Cuddie’s successful marauding
party, and handed him the pocket-book of Bothwell, with its contents. The
Cameronian leader looked with some attention on such of the papers as
related to military affairs, or public business; but when he came to the
verses, he threw them from him with contempt.

“I little thought,” he said, “when, by the blessing of God, I passed my
sword three times through the body of that arch tool of cruelty and
persecution, that a character so desperate and so dangerous could have
stooped to an art as trifling as it is profane. But I see that Satan can
blend the most different qualities in his well-beloved and chosen agents,
and that the same hand which can wield a club or a slaughter-weapon
against the godly in the valley of destruction, can touch a tinkling
lute, or a gittern, to soothe the ears of the dancing daughters of
perdition in their Vanity Fair.”

“Your ideas of duty, then,” said Morton, “exclude love of the fine arts,
which have been supposed in general to purify and to elevate the mind?”

“To me, young man,” answered Burley, “and to those who think as I do, the
pleasures of this world, under whatever name disguised, are vanity, as
its grandeur and power are a snare. We have but one object on earth, and
that is to build up the temple of the Lord.”

“I have heard my father observe,” replied Morton, “that many who assumed
power in the name of Heaven, were as severe in its exercise, and as
unwilling to part with it, as if they had been solely moved by the
motives of worldly ambition--But of this another time. Have you succeeded
in obtaining a committee of the council to be nominated?”

“I have,” answered Burley. “The number is limited to six, of which you
are one, and I come to call you to their deliberations.”

Morton accompanied him to a sequestered grassplot, where their colleagues
awaited them. In this delegation of authority, the two principal factions
which divided the tumultuary army had each taken care to send three of
their own number. On the part of the Cameronians, were Burley, Macbriar,
and Kettledrummle; and on that of the moderate party, Poundtext, Henry
Morton, and a small proprietor, called the Laird of Langcale. Thus the
two parties were equally balanced by their representatives in the
committee of management, although it seemed likely that those of the most
violent opinions were, as is usual in such cases, to possess and exert
the greater degree of energy. Their debate, however, was conducted more
like men of this world than could have been expected from their conduct
on the preceding evening. After maturely considering their means and
situation, and the probable increase of their numbers, they agreed that
they would keep their position for that day, in order to refresh their
men, and give time to reinforcements to join them, and that, on the next
morning, they would direct their march towards Tillietudlem, and summon
that stronghold, as they expressed it, of malignancy. If it was not
surrendered to their summons, they resolved to try the effect of a brisk
assault; and, should that miscarry, it was settled that they should leave
a part of their number to blockade the place, and reduce it, if possible,
by famine, while their main body should march forward to drive
Claverhouse and Lord Ross from the town of Glasgow. Such was the
determination of the council of management; and thus Morton’s first
enterprise in active life was likely to be the attack of a castle
belonging to the parent of his mistress, and defended by her relative,
Major Bellenden, to whom he personally owed many obligations! He felt
fully the embarrassment of his situation, yet consoled himself with the
reflection, that his newly-acquired power in the insurgent army would
give him, at all events, the means of extending to the inmates of
Tillietudlem a protection which no other circumstance could have afforded
them; and he was not without hope that he might be able to mediate such
an accommodation betwixt them and the presbyterian army, as should secure
them a safe neutrality during the war which was about to ensue.



CHAPTER III.

               There came a knight from the field of slain,
               His steed was drench’d in blood and rain.
                                             Finlay.

We must now return to the fortress of Tillietudlem and its inhabitants.
The morning, being the first after the battle of Loudon-hill, had dawned
upon its battlements, and the defenders had already resumed the labours
by which they proposed to render the place tenable, when the watchman,
who was placed in a high turret, called the Warder’s Tower, gave the
signal that a horseman was approaching. As he came nearer, his dress
indicated an officer of the Life-Guards; and the slowness of his horse’s
pace, as well as the manner in which the rider stooped on the saddle-bow,
plainly showed that he was sick or wounded. The wicket was instantly
opened to receive him, and Lord Evandale rode into the court-yard, so
reduced by loss of blood, that he was unable to dismount without
assistance. As he entered the hall, leaning upon a servant, the ladies
shrieked with surprise and terror; for, pale as death, stained with
blood, his regimentals soiled and torn, and his hair matted and
disordered, he resembled rather a spectre than a human being. But their
next exclamation was that of joy at his escape.

“Thank God!” exclaimed Lady Margaret, “that you are here, and have
escaped the hands of the bloodthirsty murderers who have cut off so many
of the king’s loyal servants!”

“Thank God!” added Edith, “that you are here and in safety! We have
dreaded the worst. But you are wounded, and I fear we have little the
means of assisting you.”

“My wounds are only sword-cuts,” answered the young nobleman, as he
reposed himself on a seat; “the pain is not worth mentioning, and I
should not even feel exhausted but for the loss of blood. But it was not
my purpose to bring my weakness to add to your danger and distress, but
to relieve them, if possible. What can I do for you?--Permit me,” he
added, addressing Lady Margaret--“permit me to think and act as your son,
my dear madam--as your brother, Edith!”

He pronounced the last part of the sentence with some emphasis, as if he
feared that the apprehension of his pretensions as a suitor might render
his proffered services unacceptable to Miss Bellenden. She was not
insensible to his delicacy, but there was no time for exchange of
sentiments.

“We are preparing for our defence,” said the old lady with great dignity;
“my brother has taken charge of our garrison, and, by the grace of God,
we will give the rebels such a reception as they deserve.”

“How gladly,” said Evandale, “would I share in the defence of the Castle!
But in my present state, I should be but a burden to you, nay, something
worse; for, the knowledge that an officer of the Life-Guards was in the
Castle would be sufficient to make these rogues more desperately earnest
to possess themselves of it. If they find it defended only by the family,
they may possibly march on to Glasgow rather than hazard an assault.”

“And can you think so meanly of us, my lord,” said Edith, with the
generous burst of feeling which woman so often evinces, and which becomes
her so well, her voice faltering through eagerness, and her brow
colouring with the noble warmth which dictated her language--“Can you
think so meanly of your friends, as that they would permit such
considerations to interfere with their sheltering and protecting you at a
moment when you are unable to defend yourself, and when the whole country
is filled with the enemy? Is there a cottage in Scotland whose owners
would permit a valued friend to leave it in such circumstances? And can
you think we will allow you to go from a castle which we hold to be
strong enough for our own defence?”

“Lord Evandale need never think of it,” said Lady Margaret. “I will dress
his wounds myself; it is all an old wife is fit for in war time; but to
quit the Castle of Tillietudlem when the sword of the enemy is drawn to
slay him,--the meanest trooper that ever wore the king’s coat on his back
should not do so, much less my young Lord Evandale.--Ours is not a house
that ought to brook such dishonour. The tower of Tillietudlem has been
too much distinguished by the visit of his most sacred”--

Here she was interrupted by the entrance of the Major.

“We have taken a prisoner, my dear uncle,” said Edith--“a wounded
prisoner, and he wants to escape from us. You must help us to keep him by
force.”

“Lord Evandale!” exclaimed the veteran. “I am as much pleased as when I
got my first commission. Claverhouse reported you were killed, or missing
at least.”

“I should have been slain, but for a friend of yours,” said Lord
Evandale, speaking with some emotion, and bending his eyes on the ground,
as if he wished to avoid seeing the impression that what he was about to
say would make upon Miss Bellenden. “I was unhorsed and defenceless, and
the sword raised to dispatch me, when young Mr Morton, the prisoner for
whom you interested yourself yesterday morning, interposed in the most
generous manner, preserved my life, and furnished me with the means of
escaping.”

As he ended the sentence, a painful curiosity overcame his first
resolution; he raised his eyes to Edith’s face, and imagined he could
read in the glow of her cheek and the sparkle of her eye, joy at hearing
of her lover’s safety and freedom, and triumph at his not having been
left last in the race of generosity. Such, indeed, were her feelings; but
they were also mingled with admiration of the ready frankness with which
Lord Evandale had hastened to bear witness to the merit of a favoured
rival, and to acknowledge an obligation which, in all probability, he
would rather have owed to any other individual in the world.

Major Bellenden, who would never have observed the emotions of either
party, even had they been much more markedly expressed, contented himself
with saying, “Since Henry Morton has influence with these rascals, I am
glad he has so exerted it; but I hope he will get clear of them as soon
as he can. Indeed, I cannot doubt it. I know his principles, and that he
detests their cant and hypocrisy. I have heard him laugh a thousand times
at the pedantry of that old presbyterian scoundrel, Poundtext, who, after
enjoying the indulgence of the government for so many years, has now,
upon the very first ruffle, shown himself in his own proper colours, and
set off, with three parts of his cropeared congregation, to join the host
of the fanatics.--But how did you escape after leaving the field, my
lord?”

“I rode for my life, as a recreant knight must,” answered Lord Evandale,
smiling. “I took the route where I thought I had least chance of meeting
with any of the enemy, and I found shelter for several hours--you will
hardly guess where.”

“At Castle Bracklan, perhaps,” said Lady Margaret, “or in the house of
some other loyal gentleman?”

“No, madam. I was repulsed, under one mean pretext or another, from more
than one house of that description, for fear of the enemy following my
traces; but I found refuge in the cottage of a poor widow, whose husband
had been shot within these three months by a party of our corps, and
whose two sons are at this very moment with the insurgents.”

“Indeed?” said Lady Margaret Bellenden; “and was a fanatic woman capable
of such generosity?--but she disapproved, I suppose, of the tenets of her
family?”

“Far from it, madam,” continued the young nobleman; “she was in principle
a rigid recusant, but she saw my danger and distress, considered me as a
fellow-creature, and forgot that I was a cavalier and a soldier. She
bound my wounds, and permitted me to rest upon her bed, concealed me from
a party of the insurgents who were seeking for stragglers, supplied me
with food, and did not suffer me to leave my place of refuge until she
had learned that I had every chance of getting to this tower without
danger.”

“It was nobly done,” said Miss Bellenden; “and I trust you will have an
opportunity of rewarding her generosity.”

“I am running up an arrear of obligation on all sides, Miss Bellenden,
during these unfortunate occurrences,” replied Lord Evandale; “but when I
can attain the means of showing my gratitude, the will shall not be
wanting.”

All now joined in pressing Lord Evandale to relinquish his intention of
leaving the Castle; but the argument of Major Bellenden proved the most
effectual.

“Your presence in the Castle will be most useful, if not absolutely
necessary, my lord, in order to maintain, by your authority, proper
discipline among the fellows whom Claverhouse has left in garrison here,
and who do not prove to be of the most orderly description of inmates;
and, indeed, we have the Colonel’s authority, for that very purpose, to
detain any officer of his regiment who might pass this way.”

“That,” said Lord Evandale, “is an unanswerable argument, since it shows
me that my residence here may be useful, even in my present disabled
state.”

“For your wounds, my lord,” said the Major, “if my sister, Lady
Bellenden, will undertake to give battle to any feverish symptom, if such
should appear, I will answer that my old campaigner, Gideon Pike, shall
dress a flesh-wound with any of the incorporation of Barber-Surgeons. He
had enough of practice in Montrose’s time, for we had few regularly-bred
army chirurgeons, as you may well suppose.--You agree to stay with us,
then?”

“My reasons for leaving the Castle,” said Lord Evandale, glancing a look
towards Edith, “though they evidently seemed weighty, must needs give way
to those which infer the power of serving you. May I presume, Major, to
enquire into the means and plan of defence which you have prepared? or
can I attend you to examine the works?”

It did not escape Miss Bellenden, that Lord Evandale seemed much
exhausted both in body and mind. “I think, sir,” she said, addressing the
Major, “that since Lord Evandale condescends to become an officer of our
garrison, you should begin by rendering him amenable to your authority,
and ordering him to his apartment, that he may take some refreshment ere
he enters on military discussions.”

“Edith is right,” said the old lady; “you must go instantly to bed, my
lord, and take some febrifuge, which I will prepare with my own hand; and
my lady-in-waiting, Mistress Martha Weddell, shall make some friar’s
chicken, or something very light. I would not advise wine.--John Gudyill,
let the housekeeper make ready the chamber of dais. Lord Evandale must
lie down instantly. Pike will take off the dressings, and examine the
state of the wounds.”

“These are melancholy preparations, madam,” said Lord Evandale, as he
returned thanks to Lady Margaret, and was about to leave the hall,--“but
I must submit to your ladyship’s directions; and I trust that your skill
will soon make me a more able defender of your castle than I am at
present. You must render my body serviceable as soon as you can, for you
have no use for my head while you have Major Bellenden.”

With these words he left the apartment.

“An excellent young man, and a modest,” said the Major.

“None of that conceit,” said Lady Margaret, “that often makes young folk
suppose they know better how their complaints should be treated than
people that have had experience.”

“And so generous and handsome a young nobleman,” said Jenny Dennison, who
had entered during the latter part of this conversation, and was now left
alone with her mistress in the hall, the Major returning to his military
cares, and Lady Margaret to her medical preparations.

Edith only answered these encomiums with a sigh; but, although silent,
she felt and knew better than any one how much they were merited by the
person on whom they were bestowed. Jenny, however, failed not to follow
up her blow.

“After a’, it’s true that my lady says--there’s nae trusting a
presbyterian; they are a’ faithless man-sworn louns. Whae wad hae thought
that young Milnwood and Cuddie Headrigg wad hae taen on wi’ thae rebel
blackguards?”

“What do you mean by such improbable nonsense, Jenny?” said her young
mistress, very much displeased.

“I ken it’s no pleasing for you to hear, madam,” answered Jenny hardily;
“and it’s as little pleasant for me to tell; but as gude ye suld ken a’
about it sune as syne, for the haill Castle’s ringing wi’t.”

“Ringing with what, Jenny? Have you a mind to drive me mad?” answered
Edith, impatiently.

“Just that Henry Morton of Milnwood is out wi’ the rebels, and ane o’
their chief leaders.”

“It is a falsehood!” said Edith--“a most base calumny! and you are very
bold to dare to repeat it to me. Henry Morton is incapable of such
treachery to his king and country--such cruelty to me--to--to all the
innocent and defenceless victims, I mean, who must suffer in a civil
war--I tell you he is utterly incapable of it, in every sense.”

“Dear! dear! Miss Edith,” replied Jenny, still constant to her text,
“they maun be better acquainted wi’ young men than I am, or ever wish to
be, that can tell preceesely what they’re capable or no capable o’. But
there has been Trooper Tam, and another chield, out in bonnets and grey
plaids, like countrymen, to recon--reconnoitre--I think John Gudyill ca’d
it; and they hae been amang the rebels, and brought back word that they
had seen young Milnwood mounted on ane o’ the dragoon horses that was
taen at Loudon-hill, armed wi’ swords and pistols, like wha but him, and
hand and glove wi’ the foremost o’ them, and dreeling and commanding the
men; and Cuddie at the heels o’ him, in ane o’ Sergeant Bothwell’s laced
waistcoats, and a cockit hat with a bab o’ blue ribbands at it for the
auld cause o’ the Covenant, (but Cuddie aye liked a blue ribband,) and a
ruffled sark, like ony lord o’ the land--it sets the like o’ him,
indeed!”

“Jenny,” said her young mistress hastily, “it is impossible these men’s
report can be true; my uncle has heard nothing of it at this instant.”

“Because Tam Halliday,” answered the handmaiden, “came in just five
minutes after Lord Evandale; and when he heard his lordship was in the
Castle, he swore (the profane loon!) he would be d--d ere he would make
the report, as he ca’d it, of his news to Major Bellenden, since there
was an officer of his ain regiment in the garrison. Sae he wad have said
naething till Lord Evandale wakened the next morning; only he tauld me
about it,” (here Jenny looked a little down,) “just to vex me about
Cuddie.”

“Poh, you silly girl,” said Edith, assuming some courage, “it is all a
trick of that fellow to teaze you.”

“Na, madam, it canna be that, for John Gudyill took the other dragoon
(he’s an auld hard-favoured man, I wotna his name) into the cellar, and
gae him a tass o’ brandy to get the news out o’ him, and he said just the
same as Tam Halliday, word for word; and Mr Gudyill was in sic a rage,
that he tauld it a’ ower again to us, and says the haill rebellion is
owing to the nonsense o’ my Leddy and the Major, and Lord Evandale, that
begged off young Milnwood and Cuddie yesterday morning, for that, if they
had suffered, the country wad hae been quiet--and troth I am muckle o’
that opinion mysell.”

This last commentary Jenny added to her tale, in resentment of her
mistress’s extreme and obstinate incredulity. She was instantly alarmed,
however, by the effect which her news produced upon her young lady, an
effect rendered doubly violent by the High-church principles and
prejudices in which Miss Bellenden had been educated. Her complexion
became as pale as a corpse, her respiration so difficult that it was on
the point of altogether failing her, and her limbs so incapable of
supporting her, that she sunk, rather than sat, down upon one of the
seats in the hall, and seemed on the eve of fainting. Jenny tried cold
water, burnt feathers, cutting of laces, and all other remedies usual in
hysterical cases, but without any immediate effect.

“God forgie me! what hae I done?” said the repentant fille-de-chambre. “I
wish my tongue had been cuttit out!--Wha wad hae thought o’ her taking on
that way, and a’ for a young lad?--O, Miss Edith--dear Miss Edith, haud
your heart up about it, it’s maybe no true for a’ that I hae said--O, I
wish my mouth had been blistered! A’ body tells me my tongue will do me a
mischief some day. What if my Leddy comes? or the Major?--and she’s
sitting in the throne, too, that naebody has sate in since that weary
morning the King was here!--O, what will I do! O, what will become o’
us!”

While Jenny Dennison thus lamented herself and her mistress, Edith slowly
returned from the paroxysm into which she had been thrown by this
unexpected intelligence.

“If he had been unfortunate,” she said, “I never would have deserted him.
I never did so, even when there was danger and disgrace in pleading his
cause. If he had died, I would have mourned him--if he had been
unfaithful, I would have forgiven him; but a rebel to his King,--a
traitor to his country,--the associate and colleague of cut-throats and
common stabbers,--the persecutor of all that is noble,--the professed and
blasphemous enemy of all that is sacred,--I will tear him from my heart,
if my life-blood should ebb in the effort!”

She wiped her eyes, and rose hastily from the great chair, (or throne, as
Lady Margaret used to call it,) while the terrified damsel hastened to
shake up the cushion, and efface the appearance of any one having
occupied that sacred seat; although King Charles himself, considering the
youth and beauty as well as the affliction of the momentary usurper of
his hallowed chair, would probably have thought very little of the
profanation. She then hastened officiously to press her support on Edith,
as she paced the hall apparently in deep meditation.

“Tak my arm, madam; better just tak my arm; sorrow maun hae its vent, and
doubtless”--

“No, Jenny,” said Edith, with firmness; “you have seen my weakness, and
you shall see my strength.”

“But ye leaned on me the other morning. Miss Edith, when ye were sae sair
grieved.”

“Misplaced and erring affection may require support, Jenny--duty can
support itself; yet I will do nothing rashly. I will be aware of the
reasons of his conduct--and then--cast him off for ever,” was the firm
and determined answer of her young lady.

Overawed by a manner of which she could neither conceive the motive, nor
estimate the merit, Jenny muttered between her teeth, “Odd, when the
first flight’s ower, Miss Edith taks it as easy as I do, and muckle
easier, and I’m sure I ne’er cared half sae muckle about Cuddie Headrigg
as she did about young Milnwood. Forby that, it’s maybe as weel to hae a
friend on baith sides; for, if the whigs suld come to tak the Castle, as
it’s like they may, when there’s sae little victual, and the dragoons
wasting what’s o’t, ou, in that case, Milnwood and Cuddie wad hae the
upper hand, and their freendship wad be worth siller--I was thinking sae
this morning or I heard the news.”

With this consolatory reflection the damsel went about her usual
occupations, leaving her mistress to school her mind as she best might,
for eradicating the sentiments which she had hitherto entertained towards
Henry Morton.



CHAPTER IV.

          Once more into the breach--dear friends, once more!
                                                  Henry V.

On the evening of this day, all the information which they could procure
led them to expect, that the insurgent army would be with early dawn on
their march against Tillietudlem. Lord Evandale’s wounds had been
examined by Pike, who reported them in a very promising state. They were
numerous, but none of any consequence; and the loss of blood, as much
perhaps as the boasted specific of Lady Margaret, had prevented any
tendency to fever; so that, notwithstanding he felt some pain and great
weakness, the patient maintained that he was able to creep about with the
assistance of a stick. In these circumstances he refused to be confined
to his apartment, both that he might encourage the soldiers by his
presence, and suggest any necessary addition to the plan of defence,
which the Major might be supposed to have arranged upon something of an
antiquated fashion of warfare. Lord Evandale was well qualified to give
advice on such subjects, having served, during his early youth, both in
France and in the Low Countries. There was little or no occasion,
however, for altering the preparations already made; and, excepting on
the article of provisions, there seemed no reason to fear for the defence
of so strong a place against such assailants as those by whom it was
threatened.

With the peep of day, Lord Evandale and Major Bellenden were on the
battlements again, viewing and re-viewing the state of their
preparations, and anxiously expecting the approach of the enemy. I ought
to observe, that the report of the spies had now been regularly made and
received; but the Major treated the report that Morton was in arms
against the government with the most scornful incredulity.

“I know the lad better,” was the only reply he deigned to make; “the
fellows have not dared to venture near enough, and have been deceived by
some fanciful resemblance, or have picked up some story.”

“I differ from you, Major,” answered Lord Evandale; “I think you will see
that young gentleman at the head of the insurgents; and, though I shall
be heartily sorry for it, I shall not be greatly surprised.”

“You are as bad as Claverhouse,” said the Major, “who contended yesterday
morning down my very throat, that this young fellow, who is as
high-spirited and gentleman-like a boy as I have ever known, wanted but
an opportunity to place himself at the head of the rebels.”

“And considering the usage which he has received, and the suspicions
under which he lies,” said Lord Evandale, “what other course is open to
him? For my own part, I should hardly know whether he deserved most blame
or pity.”

“Blame, my lord?--Pity!” echoed the Major, astonished at hearing such
sentiments; “he would deserve to be hanged, that’s all; and, were he my
own son, I should see him strung up with pleasure--Blame, indeed! But
your lordship cannot think as you are pleased to speak?”

“I give you my honour, Major Bellenden, that I have been for some time of
opinion, that our politicians and prelates have driven matters to a
painful extremity in this country, and have alienated, by violence of
various kinds, not only the lower classes, but all those in the upper
ranks, whom strong party-feeling, or a desire of court-interest, does not
attach to their standard.”

“I am no politician,” answered the Major, “and I do not understand nice
distinctions. My sword is the King’s, and when he commands, I draw it in
his cause.”

“I trust,” replied the young lord, “you will not find me more backward
than yourself, though I heartily wish that the enemy were foreigners. It
is, however, no time to debate that matter, for yonder they come, and we
must defend ourselves as well as we can.”

As Lord Evandale spoke, the van of the insurgents began to make their
appearance on the road which crossed the top of the hill, and thence
descended opposite to the Tower. They did not, however, move downwards,
as if aware that, in doing so, their columns would be exposed to the fire
of the artillery of the place. But their numbers, which at first seemed
few, appeared presently so to deepen and concentrate themselves, that,
judging of the masses which occupied the road behind the hill from the
closeness of the front which they presented on the top of it, their force
appeared very considerable. There was a pause of anxiety on both sides;
and, while the unsteady ranks of the Covenanters were agitated, as if by
pressure behind, or uncertainty as to their next movement, their arms,
picturesque from their variety, glanced in the morning sun, whose beams
were reflected from a grove of pikes, muskets, halberds, and battle-axes.
The armed mass occupied, for a few minutes, this fluctuating position,
until three or four horsemen, who seemed to be leaders, advanced from the
front, and occupied the height a little nearer to the Castle. John
Gudyill, who was not without some skill as an artilleryman, brought a gun
to bear on this detached group.

“I’ll flee the falcon,”--(so the small cannon was called,)--“I’ll flee
the falcon whene’er your honour gies command; my certie, she’ll ruffle
their feathers for them!”

The Major looked at Lord Evandale.

“Stay a moment,” said the young nobleman, “they send us a flag of truce.”

In fact, one of the horsemen at that moment dismounted, and, displaying a
white cloth on a pike, moved forward towards the Tower, while the Major
and Lord Evandale, descending from the battlement of the main fortress,
advanced to meet him as far as the barricade, judging it unwise to admit
him within the precincts which they designed to defend. At the same time
that the ambassador set forth, the group of horsemen, as if they had
anticipated the preparations of John Gudyill for their annoyance,
withdrew from the advanced station which they had occupied, and fell back
to the main body.

The envoy of the Covenanters, to judge by his mien and manner, seemed
fully imbued with that spiritual pride which distinguished his sect. His
features were drawn up to a contemptuous primness, and his half-shut eyes
seemed to scorn to look upon the terrestial objects around, while, at
every solemn stride, his toes were pointed outwards with an air that
appeared to despise the ground on which they trode. Lord Evandale could
not suppress a smile at this singular figure.

“Did you ever,” said he to Major Bellenden, “see such an absurd
automaton? One would swear it moves upon springs--Can it speak, think
you?”

“O, ay,” said the Major; “that seems to be one of my old acquaintance, a
genuine puritan of the right pharisaical leaven.--Stay--he coughs and
hems; he is about to summon the Castle with the but-end of a sermon,
instead of a parley on the trumpet.”

The veteran, who in his day had had many an opportunity to become
acquainted with the manners of these religionists, was not far mistaken
in his conjecture; only that, instead of a prose exordium, the Laird of
Langcale--for it was no less a personage--uplifted, with a Stentorian
voice, a verse of the twenty-fourth Psalm:

“Ye gates lift up your heads! ye doors, Doors that do last for aye, Be
lifted up”--

“I told you so,” said the Major to Evandale, and then presented himself
at the entrance of the barricade, demanding to know for what purpose or
intent he made that doleful noise, like a hog in a high wind, beneath the
gates of the Castle.

“I come,” replied the ambassador, in a high and shrill voice, and without
any of the usual salutations or deferences,--“I come from the godly army
of the Solemn League and Covenant, to speak with two carnal malignants,
William Maxwell, called Lord Evandale, and Miles Bellenden of Charnwood.”

“And what have you to say to Miles Bellenden and Lord Evandale?” answered
the Major.

“Are you the parties?” said the Laird of Langcale, in the same sharp,
conceited, disrespectful tone of voice.

“Even so, for fault of better,” said the Major.

“Then there is the public summons,” said the envoy, putting a paper into
Lord Evandale’s hand, “and there is a private letter for Miles Bellenden
from a godly youth, who is honoured with leading a part of our host. Read
them quickly, and God give you grace to fructify by the contents, though
it is muckle to be doubted.”

The summons ran thus: “We, the named and constituted leaders of the
gentlemen, ministers, and others, presently in arms for the cause of
liberty and true religion, do warn and summon William Lord Evandale and
Miles Bellenden of Charnwood, and others presently in arms, and keeping
garrison in the Tower of Tillietudlem, to surrender the said Tower upon
fair conditions of quarter, and license to depart with bag and baggage,
otherwise to suffer such extremity of fire and sword as belong by the
laws of war to those who hold out an untenable post. And so may God
defend his own good cause!”

This summons was signed by John Balfour of Burley, as quarter-master
general of the army of the Covenant, for himself, and in name of the
other leaders.

The letter to Major Bellenden was from Henry Morton. It was couched in
the following language:

“I have taken a step, my venerable friend, which, among many painful
consequences, will, I am afraid, incur your very decided disapprobation.
But I have taken my resolution in honour and good faith, and with the
full approval of my own conscience. I can no longer submit to have my own
rights and those of my fellow-subjects trampled upon, our freedom
violated, our persons insulted, and our blood spilt, without just cause
or legal trial. Providence, through the violence of the oppressors
themselves, seems now to have opened a way of deliverance from this
intolerable tyranny, and I do not hold him deserving of the name and
rights of a freeman, who, thinking as I do, shall withold his arm from
the cause of his country. But God, who knows my heart, be my witness,
that I do not share the angry or violent passions of the oppressed and
harassed sufferers with whom I am now acting. My most earnest and anxious
desire is, to see this unnatural war brought to a speedy end, by the
union of the good, wise, and moderate of all parties, and a peace
restored, which, without injury to the King’s constitutional rights, may
substitute the authority of equal laws to that of military violence, and,
permitting to all men to worship God according to their own consciences,
may subdue fanatical enthusiasm by reason and mildness, instead of
driving it to frenzy by persecution and intolerance.

“With these sentiments, you may conceive with what pain I appear in arms
before the house of your venerable relative, which we understand you
propose to hold out against us. Permit me to press upon you the
assurance, that such a measure will only lead to the effusion of
blood--that, if repulsed in the assault, we are yet strong enough to
invest the place, and reduce it by hunger, being aware of your
indifferent preparations to sustain a protracted siege. It would grieve
me to the heart to think what would be the sufferings in such a case,
and upon whom they would chiefly fall.

“Do not suppose, my respected friend, that I would propose to you any
terms which could compromise the high and honourable character which you
have so deservedly won, and so long borne. If the regular soldiers (to
whom I will ensure a safe retreat) are dismissed from the place, I trust
no more will be required than your parole to remain neuter during this
unhappy contest; and I will take care that Lady Margaret’s property, as
well as yours, shall be duly respected, and no garrison intruded upon
you. I could say much in favour of this proposal; but I fear, as I must
in the present instance appear criminal in your eyes, good arguments
would lose their influence when coming from an unwelcome quarter. I will,
therefore, break off with assuring you, that whatever your sentiments may
be hereafter towards me, my sense of gratitude to you can never be
diminished or erased; and it would be the happiest moment of my life that
should give me more effectual means than mere words to assure you of it.
Therefore, although in the first moment of resentment you may reject the
proposal I make to you, let not that prevent you from resuming the topic,
if future events should render it more acceptable; for whenever, or
howsoever, I can be of service to you, it will always afford the greatest
satisfaction to
                                     “Henry Morton.”

Having read this long letter with the most marked indignation, Major
Bellenden put it into the hands of Lord Evandale.

“I would not have believed this,” he said, “of Henry Morton, if half
mankind had sworn it! The ungrateful, rebellious traitor! rebellious in
cold blood, and without even the pretext of enthusiasm, that warms the
liver of such a crack-brained fop as our friend the envoy there. But I
should have remembered he was a presbyterian--I ought to have been aware
that I was nursing a wolf-cub, whose diabolical nature would make him
tear and snatch at me on the first opportunity. Were Saint Paul on earth
again, and a presbyterian, he would be a rebel in three months--it is in
the very blood of them.”

“Well,” said Lord Evandale, “I will be the last to recommend surrender;
but, if our provisions fail, and we receive no relief from Edinburgh or
Glasgow, I think we ought to avail ourselves of this opening, to get the
ladies, at least, safe out of the Castle.”

“They will endure all, ere they would accept the protection of such a
smooth-tongued hypocrite,” answered the Major indignantly; “I would
renounce them for relatives were it otherwise. But let us dismiss the
worthy ambassador.--My friend,” he said, turning to Langcale, “tell your
leaders, and the mob they have gathered yonder, that, if they have not a
particular opinion of the hardness of their own skulls, I would advise
them to beware how they knock them against these old walls. And let them
send no more flags of truce, or we will hang up the messenger in
retaliation of the murder of Cornet Grahame.”

With this answer the ambassador returned to those by whom he had been
sent. He had no sooner reached the main body than a murmur was heard
amongst the multitude, and there was raised in front of their ranks an
ample red flag, the borders of which were edged with blue. As the signal
of war and defiance spread out its large folds upon the morning wind, the
ancient banner of Lady Margaret’s family, together with the royal ensign,
were immediately hoisted on the walls of the Tower, and at the same time,
a round of artillery was discharged against the foremost ranks of the
insurgents, by which they sustained some loss. Their leaders instantly
withdrew them to the shelter of the brow of the hill.

“I think,” said John Gudyill, while he busied himself in re-charging his
guns, “they hae fund the falcon’s neb a bit ower hard for them--It’s no
for nought that the hawk whistles.”

But as he uttered these words, the ridge was once more crowded with the
ranks of the enemy. A general discharge of their fire-arms was directed
against the defenders upon the battlements. Under cover of the smoke, a
column of picked men rushed down the road with determined courage, and,
sustaining with firmness a heavy fire from the garrison, they forced
their way, in spite of opposition, to the first barricade by which the
avenue was defended. They were led on by Balfour in person, who displayed
courage equal to his enthusiasm; and, in spite of every opposition,
forced the barricade, killing and wounding several of the defenders, and
compelling the rest to retreat to their second position. The precautions,
however, of Major Bellenden rendered this success unavailing; for no
sooner were the Covenanters in possession of the post, than a close and
destructive fire was poured into it from the Castle, and from those
stations which commanded it in the rear. Having no means of protecting
themselves from this fire, or of returning it with effect against men who
were under cover of their barricades and defences, the Covenanters were
obliged to retreat; but not until they had, with their axes, destroyed
the stockade, so as to render it impossible for the defenders to
re-occupy it.

Balfour was the last man that retired. He even remained for a short space
almost alone, with an axe in his hand, labouring like a pioneer amid the
storm of balls, many of which were specially aimed against him. The
retreat of the party he commanded was not effected without heavy loss,
and served as a severe lesson concerning the local advantages possessed
by the garrison.

The next attack of the Covenanters was made with more caution. A strong
party of marksmen, (many of them competitors at the game of the
popinjay,) under the command of Henry Morton, glided through the woods
where they afforded them the best shelter, and, avoiding the open road,
endeavoured, by forcing their way through the bushes and trees, and up
the rocks which surrounded it on either side, to gain a position, from
which, without being exposed in an intolerable degree, they might annoy
the flank of the second barricade, while it was menaced in front by a
second attack from Burley. The besieged saw the danger of this movement,
and endeavoured to impede the approach of the marksmen, by firing upon
them at every point where they showed themselves. The assailants, on the
other hand, displayed great coolness, spirit, and judgment, in the manner
in which they approached the defences. This was, in a great measure, to
be ascribed to the steady and adroit manner in which they were conducted
by their youthful leader, who showed as much skill in protecting his own
followers as spirit in annnoying the enemy.

He repeatedly enjoined his marksmen to direct their aim chiefly upon the
red-coats, and to save the others engaged in the defence of the Castle;
and, above all, to spare the life of the old Major, whose anxiety made
him more than once expose himself in a manner, that, without such
generosity on the part of the enemy, might have proved fatal. A dropping
fire of musketry now glanced from every part of the precipitous mount on
which the Castle was founded. From bush to bush--from crag to crag--from
tree to tree, the marksmen continued to advance, availing themselves of
branches and roots to assist their ascent, and contending at once with
the disadvantages of the ground and the fire of the enemy. At length they
got so high on the ascent, that several of them possessed an opportunity
of firing into the barricade against the defenders, who then lay exposed
to their aim, and Burley, profiting by the confusion of the moment, moved
forward to the attack in front. His onset was made with the same
desperation and fury as before, and met with less resistance, the
defenders being alarmed at the progress which the sharp-shooters had made
in turning the flank of their position. Determined to improve his
advantage, Burley, with his axe in his hand, pursued the party whom he
had dislodged even to the third and last barricade, and entered it along
with them.

“Kill, kill--down with the enemies of God and his people!--No
quarter--The Castle is ours!” were the cries by which he animated his
friends; the most undaunted of whom followed him close, whilst the
others, with axes, spades, and other implements, threw up earth, cut
down trees, hastily labouring to establish such a defensive cover in the
rear of the second barricade as might enable them to retain possession
of it, in case the Castle was not carried by this coup-de-main.

Lord Evandale could no longer restrain his impatience. He charged with a
few soldiers who had been kept in reserve in the court-yard of the
Castle; and, although his arm was in a sling, encouraged them, by voice
and gesture, to assist their companions who were engaged with Burley. The
combat now assumed an air of desperation. The narrow road was crowded
with the followers of Burley, who pressed forward to support their
companions. The soldiers, animated by the voice and presence of Lord
Evandale, fought with fury, their small numbers being in some measure
compensated by their greater skill, and by their possessing the upper
ground, which they defended desperately with pikes and halberds, as well
as with the but of the carabines and their broadswords. Those within the
Castle endeavoured to assist their companions, whenever they could so
level their guns as to fire upon the enemy without endangering their
friends. The sharp-shooters, dispersed around, were firing incessantly on
each object that was exposed upon the battlement. The Castle was
enveloped with smoke, and the rocks rang to the cries of the combatants.
In the midst of this scene of confusion, a singular accident had nearly
given the besiegers possession of the fortress.

Cuddie Headrigg, who had advanced among the marksmen, being well
acquainted with every rock and bush in the vicinity of the Castle, where
he had so often gathered nuts with Jenny Dennison, was enabled, by such
local knowledge, to advance farther, and with less danger, than most of
his companions, excepting some three or four who had followed him close.
Now Cuddie, though a brave enough fellow upon the whole, was by no means
fond of danger, either for its own sake, or for that of the glory which
attends it. In his advance, therefore, he had not, as the phrase goes,
taken the bull by the horns, or advanced in front of the enemy’s fire. On
the contrary, he had edged gradually away from the scene of action, and,
turning his line of ascent rather to the left, had pursued it until it
brought him under a front of the Castle different from that before which
the parties were engaged, and to which the defenders had given no
attention, trusting to the steepness of the precipice. There was,
however, on this point, a certain window belonging to a certain pantry,
and communicating with a certain yew-tree, which grew out of a steep
cleft of the rock, being the very pass through which Goose Gibbie was
smuggled out of the Castle in order to carry Edith’s express to
Charnwood, and which had probably, in its day, been used for other
contraband purposes. Cuddie, resting upon the but of his gun, and looking
up at this window, observed to one of his companions,--“There’s a place I
ken weel; mony a time I hae helped Jenny Dennison out o’ the winnock,
forby creeping in whiles mysell to get some daffin, at e’en after the
pleugh was loosed.”

“And what’s to hinder us to creep in just now?” said the other, who was a
smart enterprising young fellow.

“There’s no muckle to hinder us, an that were a’,” answered Cuddie; “but
what were we to do neist?”

“We’ll take the Castle,” cried the other; “here are five or six o’ us,
and a’ the sodgers are engaged at the gate.”

“Come awa wi’ you, then,” said Cuddie; “but mind, deil a finger ye maun
lay on Lady Margaret, or Miss Edith, or the auld Major, or, aboon a’, on
Jenny Dennison, or ony body but the sodgers--cut and quarter amang them
as ye like, I carena.”

“Ay, ay,” said the other, “let us once in, and we will make our ain terms
with them a’.”

Gingerly, and as if treading upon eggs, Cuddie began to ascend the
well-known pass, not very willingly; for, besides that he was something
apprehensive of the reception he might meet with in the inside, his
conscience insisted that he was making but a shabby requital for Lady
Margaret’s former favours and protection. He got up, however, into the
yew-tree, followed by his companions, one after another. The window was
small, and had been secured by stancheons of iron; but these had been
long worn away by time, or forced out by the domestics to possess a free
passage for their own occasional convenience. Entrance was therefore
easy, providing there was no one in the pantry, a point which Cuddie
endeavoured to discover before he made the final and perilous step. While
his companions, therefore, were urging and threatening him behind, and he
was hesitating and stretching his neck to look into the apartment, his
head became visible to Jenny Dennison, who had ensconced herself in said
pantry as the safest place in which to wait the issue of the assault. So
soon as this object of terror caught her eye, she set up a hysteric
scream, flew to the adjacent kitchen, and, in the desperate agony of
fear, seized on a pot of kailbrose which she herself had hung on the fire
before the combat began, having promised to Tam Halliday to prepare his
breakfast for him. Thus burdened, she returned to the window of the
pantry, and still exclaiming, “Murder! murder!--we are a’ harried and
ravished--the Castle’s taen--tak it amang ye!” she discharged the whole
scalding contents of the pot, accompanied with a dismal yell, upon the
person of the unfortunate Cuddie. However welcome the mess might have
been, if Cuddie and it had become acquainted in a regular manner, the
effects, as administered by Jenny, would probably have cured him of
soldiering for ever, had he been looking upwards when it was thrown upon
him. But, fortunately for our man of war, he had taken the alarm upon
Jenny’s first scream, and was in the act of looking down, expostulating
with his comrades, who impeded the retreat which he was anxious to
commence; so that the steel cap and buff coat which formerly belonged to
Sergeant Bothwell, being garments of an excellent endurance, protected
his person against the greater part of the scalding brose. Enough,
however, reached him to annoy him severely, so that in the pain and
surprise he jumped hastily out of the tree, oversetting his followers, to
the manifest danger of their limbs, and, without listening to arguments,
entreaties, or authority, made the best of his way by the most safe road
to the main body of the army whereunto he belonged, and could neither by
threats nor persuasion be prevailed upon to return to the attack.


[Illustration: Jenny Dennison--050]


As for Jenny, when she had thus conferred upon one admirer’s outward man
the viands which her fair hands had so lately been in the act of
preparing for the stomach of another, she continued her song of alarm,
running a screaming division upon all those crimes, which the lawyers
call the four pleas of the crown, namely, murder, fire, rape, and
robbery. These hideous exclamations gave so much alarm, and created such
confusion within the Castle, that Major Bellenden and Lord Evandale
judged it best to draw off from the conflict without the gates, and,
abandoning to the enemy all the exterior defences of the avenue, confine
themselves to the Castle itself, for fear of its being surprised on some
unguarded point. Their retreat was unmolested; for the panic of Cuddie
and his companions had occasioned nearly as much confusion on the side
of the besiegers, as the screams of Jenny had caused to the defenders.

There was no attempt on either side to renew the action that day. The
insurgents had suffered most severely; and, from the difficulty which
they had experienced in carrying the barricadoed positions without the
precincts of the Castle, they could have but little hope of storming the
place itself. On the other hand, the situation of the besieged was
dispiriting and gloomy. In the skirmishing they had lost two or three
men, and had several wounded; and though their loss was in proportion
greatly less than that of the enemy, who had left twenty men dead on the
place, yet their small number could much worse spare it, while the
desperate attacks of the opposite party plainly showed how serious the
leaders were in the purpose of reducing the place, and how well seconded
by the zeal of their followers. But, especially, the garrison had to fear
for hunger, in case blockade should be resorted to as the means of
reducing them. The Major’s directions had been imperfectly obeyed in
regard to laying in provisions; and the dragoons, in spite of all warning
and authority, were likely to be wasteful in using them. It was,
therefore, with a heavy heart, that Major Bellenden gave directions for
guarding the window through which the Castle had so nearly been
surprised, as well as all others which offered the most remote facility
for such an enterprise.



CHAPTER V.

               The King hath drawn
               The special head of all the land together.
                                   Henry IV. Part II.

The leaders of the presbyterian army had a serious consultation upon the
evening of the day in which they had made the attack on Tillietudlem.
They could not but observe that their followers were disheartened by the
loss which they had sustained, and which, as usual in such cases, had
fallen upon the bravest and most forward. It was to be feared, that if
they were suffered to exhaust their zeal and efforts in an object so
secondary as the capture of this petty fort, their numbers would melt
away by degrees, and they would lose all the advantages arising out of
the present unprepared state of the government. Moved by these arguments,
it was agreed that the main body of the army should march against
Glasgow, and dislodge the soldiers who were lying in that town. The
council nominated Henry Morton, with others, to this last service, and
appointed Burley to the command of a chosen body of five hundred men, who
were to remain behind, for the purpose of blockading the Tower of
Tillietudlem. Morton testified the greatest repugnance to this
arrangement.

“He had the strongest personal motives,” he said, “for desiring to remain
near Tillietudlem; and if the management of the siege were committed to
him, he had little doubt but that he would bring it to such an
accommodation, as, without being rigorous to the besieged, would fully
answer the purpose of the besiegers.”

Burley readily guessed the cause of his young colleague’s reluctance to
move with the army; for, interested as he was in appreciating the
characters with whom he had to deal, he had contrived, through the
simplicity of Cuddie, and the enthusiasm of old Mause, to get much
information concerning Morton’s relations with the family of
Tillietudlem. He therefore took the advantage of Poundtext’s arising to
speak to business, as he said, for some short space of time, (which
Burley rightly interpreted to mean an hour at the very least), and seized
that moment to withdraw Morton from the hearing of their colleagues, and
to hold the following argument with him:

“Thou art unwise, Henry Morton, to desire to sacrifice this holy cause to
thy friendship for an uncircumcised Philistine, or thy lust for a
Moabitish woman.”

“I neither understand your meaning, Mr Balfour, nor relish your
allusions,” replied Morton, indignantly; “and I know no reason you have
to bring so gross a charge, or to use such uncivil language.”

“Confess, however, the truth,” said Balfour, “and own that there are
those within yon dark Tower, over whom thou wouldst rather be watching
like a mother over her little ones, than thou wouldst bear the banner of
the Church of Scotland over the necks of her enemies.”

“If you mean, that I would willingly terminate this war without any
bloody victory, and that I am more anxious to do this than to acquire any
personal fame or power, you may be,” replied Morton, “perfectly right.”

“And not wholly wrong,” answered Burley, “in deeming that thou wouldst
not exclude from so general a pacification thy friends in the garrison of
Tillietudlem.”

“Certainly,” replied Morton; “I am too much obliged to Major Bellenden
not to wish to be of service to him, as far as the interest of the cause
I have espoused will permit. I never made a secret of my regard for him.”

“I am aware of that,” said Burley; “but, if thou hadst concealed it, I
should, nevertheless, have found out thy riddle. Now, hearken to my
words. This Miles Bellenden hath means to subsist his garrison for a
month.”

“This is not the case,” answered Morton; “we know his stores are hardly
equal to a week’s consumption.”

“Ay, but,” continued Burley, “I have since had proof, of the strongest
nature, that such a report was spread in the garrison by that wily and
grey-headed malignant, partly to prevail on the soldiers to submit to a
diminution of their daily food, partly to detain us before the walls of
his fortress until the sword should be whetted to smite and destroy us.”

“And why was not the evidence of this laid before the council of war?”
 said Morton.

“To what purpose?” said Balfour. “Why need we undeceive Kettledrummle,
Macbriar, Poundtext, and Langcale, upon such a point? Thyself must own,
that whatever is told to them escapes to the host out of the mouth of the
preachers at their next holding-forth. They are already discouraged by
the thoughts of lying before the fort a week. What would be the
consequence were they ordered to prepare for the leaguer of a month?”

“But why conceal it, then, from me? or why tell it me now? and, above
all, what proofs have you got of the fact?” continued Morton.

“There are many proofs,” replied Burley; and he put into his hands a
number of requisitions sent forth by Major Bellenden, with receipts on
the back to various proprietors, for cattle, corn, meal, to such an
amount, that the sum total seemed to exclude the possibility of the
garrison being soon distressed for provisions. But Burley did not inform
Morton of a fact which he himself knew full well, namely, that most of
these provisions never reached the garrison, owing to the rapacity of the
dragoons sent to collect them, who readily sold to one man what they took
from another, and abused the Major’s press for stores, pretty much as Sir
John Falstaff did that of the King for men.

“And now,” continued Balfour, observing that he had made the desired
impression, “I have only to say, that I concealed this from thee no
longer than it was concealed from myself, for I have only received these
papers this morning; and I tell it unto thee now, that thou mayest go on
thy way rejoicing, and work the great work willingly at Glasgow, being
assured that no evil can befall thy friends in the malignant party, since
their fort is abundantly victualled, and I possess not numbers sufficient
to do more against them than to prevent their sallying forth.”

“And why,” continued Morton, who felt an inexpressible reluctance to
acquiesce in Balfour’s reasoning--“why not permit me to remain in the
command of this smaller party, and march forward yourself to Glasgow? It
is the more honourable charge.”

“And therefore, young man,” answered Burley, “have I laboured that it
should be committed to the son of Silas Morton. I am waxing old, and this
grey head has had enough of honour where it could be gathered by danger.
I speak not of the frothy bubble which men call earthly fame, but the
honour belonging to him that doth not the work negligently. But thy
career is yet to run. Thou hast to vindicate the high trust which has
been bestowed on thee through my assurance that it was dearly
well-merited. At Loudon-hill thou wert a captive, and at the last assault
it was thy part to fight under cover, whilst I led the more open and
dangerous attack; and, shouldst thou now remain before these walls when
there is active service elsewhere, trust me, that men will say, that the
son of Silas Morton hath fallen away from the paths of his father.”

Stung by this last observation, to which, as a gentleman and soldier, he
could offer no suitable reply, Morton hastily acquiesced in the proposed
arrangement. Yet he was unable to divest himself of certain feelings of
distrust which he involuntarily attached to the quarter from which he
received this information.

“Mr Balfour,” he said, “let us distinctly understand each other. You have
thought it worth your while to bestow particular attention upon my
private affairs and personal attachments; be so good as to understand,
that I am as constant to them as to my political principles. It is
possible, that, during my absence, you may possess the power of soothing
or of wounding those feelings. Be assured, that whatever may be the
consequences to the issue of our present adventure, my eternal gratitude,
or my persevering resentment, will attend the line of conduct you may
adopt on such an occasion; and, however young and inexperienced I am, I
have no doubt of finding friends to assist me in expressing my sentiments
in either case.”

“If there be a threat implied in that denunciation,” replied Burley,
coldly and haughtily, “it had better have been spared. I know how to
value the regard of my friends, and despise, from my soul, the threats of
my enemies. But I will not take occasion of offence. Whatever happens
here in your absence shall be managed with as much deference to your
wishes, as the duty I owe to a higher power can possibly permit.”

With this qualified promise Morton was obliged to rest satisfied.

“Our defeat will relieve the garrison,” said he, internally, “ere they
can be reduced to surrender at discretion; and, in case of victory, I
already see, from the numbers of the moderate party, that I shall have a
voice as powerful as Burley’s in determining the use which shall be made
of it.”

He therefore followed Balfour to the council, where they found
Kettledrummle adding to his lastly a few words of practical application.
When these were expended, Morton testified his willingness to accompany
the main body of the army, which was destined to drive the regular troops
from Glasgow. His companions in command were named, and the whole
received a strengthening exhortation from the preachers who were present.
Next morning, at break of day, the insurgent army broke up from their
encampment, and marched towards Glasgow.

It is not our intention to detail at length incidents which may be found
in the history of the period. It is sufficient to say, that Claverhouse
and Lord Ross, learning the superior force which was directed against
them, intrenched, or rather barricadoed themselves, in the centre of the
city, where the town-house and old jail were situated, with the
determination to stand the assault of the insurgents rather than to
abandon the capital of the west of Scotland. The presbyterians made their
attack in two bodies, one of which penetrated into the city in the line
of the College and Cathedral Church, while the other marched up the
Gallowgate, or principal access from the south-east. Both divisions were
led by men of resolution, and behaved with great spirit. But the
advantages of military skill and situation were too great for their
undisciplined valour.

Ross and Claverhouse had carefully disposed parties of their soldiers in
houses, at the heads of the streets, and in the entrances of closes, as
they are called, or lanes, besides those who were intrenched behind
breast-works which reached across the streets. The assailants found their
ranks thinned by a fire from invisible opponents, which they had no means
of returning with effect. It was in vain that Morton and other leaders
exposed their persons with the utmost gallantry, and endeavoured to bring
their antagonists to a close action; their followers shrunk from them in
every direction. And yet, though Henry Morton was one of the very last to
retire, and exerted himself in bringing up the rear, maintaining order in
the retreat, and checking every attempt which the enemy made to improve
the advantage they had gained by the repulse, he had still the
mortification to hear many of those in his ranks muttering to each other,
that “this came of trusting to latitudinarian boys; and that, had honest,
faithful Burley led the attack, as he did that of the barricades of
Tillietudlem, the issue would have been as different as might be.”

It was with burning resentment that Morton heard these reflections thrown
out by the very men who had soonest exhibited signs of discouragement.
The unjust reproach, however, had the effect of firing his emulation, and
making him sensible that, engaged as he was in a perilous cause, it was
absolutely necessary that he should conquer or die.

“I have no retreat,” he said to himself. “All shall allow--even Major
Bellenden--even Edith--that in courage, at least, the rebel Morton was
not inferior to his father.”

The condition of the army after the repulse was so undisciplined, and in
such disorganization, that the leaders thought it prudent to draw off
some miles from the city to gain time for reducing them once more into
such order as they were capable of adopting. Recruits, in the meanwhile,
came fast in, more moved by the extreme hardships of their own condition,
and encouraged by the advantage obtained at Loudon-hill, than deterred by
the last unfortunate enterprise. Many of these attached themselves
particularly to Morton’s division. He had, however, the mortification to
see that his unpopularity among the more intolerant part of the
Covenanters increased rapidly. The prudence beyond his years, which he
exhibited in improving the discipline and arrangement of his followers,
they termed a trusting in the arm of flesh, and his avowed tolerance for
those of religious sentiments and observances different from his own,
obtained him, most unjustly, the nickname of Gallio, who cared for none
of those things. What was worse than these misconceptions, the mob of the
insurgents, always loudest in applause of those who push political or
religious opinions to extremity, and disgusted with such as endeavour to
reduce them to the yoke of discipline, preferred avowedly the more
zealous leaders, in whose ranks enthusiasm in the cause supplied the want
of good order and military subjection, to the restraints which Morton
endeavoured to bring them under. In short, while bearing the principal
burden of command, (for his colleagues willingly relinquished in his
favour every thing that was troublesome and obnoxious in the office of
general,) Morton found himself without that authority, which alone could
render his regulations effectual. [Note: These feuds, which tore to
pieces the little army of insurgents, turned merely on the point whether
the king’s interest or royal authority was to be owned or not, and
whether the party in arms were to be contented with a free exercise of
their own religion, or insist upon the re-establishment of Presbytery in
its supreme authority, and with full power to predominate over all other
forms of worship. The few country gentlemen who joined the insurrection,
with the most sensible part of the clergy, thought it best to limit their
demands to what it might be possible to attain. But the party who urged
these moderate views were termed by the more zealous bigots, the Erastian
party, men, namely, who were willing to place the church under the
influence of the civil government, and therefore they accounted them, “a
snare upon Mizpah, and a net spread upon Tabor.” See the Life of Sir
Robert Hamilton in the Scottish Worthies, and his account of the Battle
of Both-well-bridge, passim.]

Yet, notwithstanding these obstacles, he had, during the course of a few
days, laboured so hard to introduce some degree of discipline into the
army, that he thought he might hazard a second attack upon Glasgow with
every prospect of success.

It cannot be doubted that Morton’s anxiety to measure himself with
Colonel Grahame of Claverhouse, at whose hands he had sustained such
injury, had its share in giving motive to his uncommon exertions. But
Claverhouse disappointed his hopes; for, satisfied with having the
advantage in repulsing the first attack upon Glasgow, he determined that
he would not, with the handful of troops under his command, await a
second assault from the insurgents, with more numerous and better
disciplined forces than had supported their first enterprise. He
therefore evacuated the place, and marched at the head of his troops
towards Edinburgh. The insurgents of course entered Glasgow without
resistance, and without Morton having the opportunity, which he so deeply
coveted, of again encountering Claverhouse personally. But, although he
had not an opportunity of wiping away the disgrace which had befallen his
division of the army of the Covenant, the retreat of Claverhouse, and the
possession of Glasgow, tended greatly to animate the insurgent army, and
to increase its numbers. The necessity of appointing new officers, of
organizing new regiments and squadrons, of making them acquainted with at
least the most necessary points of military discipline, were labours,
which, by universal consent, seemed to be devolved upon Henry Morton, and
which he the more readily undertook, because his father had made him
acquainted with the theory of the military art, and because he plainly
saw, that, unless he took this ungracious but absolutely necessary
labour, it was vain to expect any other to engage in it.

In the meanwhile, fortune appeared to favour the enterprise of the
insurgents more than the most sanguine durst have expected. The Privy
Council of Scotland, astonished at the extent of resistance which their
arbitrary measures had provoked, seemed stupified with terror, and
incapable of taking active steps to subdue the resentment which these
measures had excited. There were but very few troops in Scotland, and
these they drew towards Edinburgh, as if to form an army for protection
of the metropolis. The feudal array of the crown vassals in the various
counties, was ordered to take the field, and render to the King the
military service due for their fiefs. But the summons was very slackly
obeyed. The quarrel was not generally popular among the gentry; and even
those who were not unwilling themselves to have taken arms, were deterred
by the repugnance of their wives, mothers, and sisters, to their engaging
in such a cause.

Meanwhile, the inadequacy of the Scottish government to provide for their
own defence, or to put down a rebellion of which the commencement seemed
so trifling, excited at the English court doubts at once of their
capacity, and of the prudence of the severities they had exerted against
the oppressed presbyterians. It was, therefore, resolved to nominate to
the command of the army of Scotland, the unfortunate Duke of Monmouth,
who had by marriage a great interest, large estate, and a numerous
following, as it was called, in the southern parts of that kingdom. The
military skill which he had displayed on different occasions abroad, was
supposed more than adequate to subdue the insurgents in the field; while
it was expected that his mild temper, and the favourable disposition
which he showed to presbyterians in general, might soften men’s minds,
and tend to reconcile them to the government. The Duke was, therefore,
invested with a commission, containing high powers for settling the
distracted affairs of Scotland, and dispatched from London with strong
succours to take the principal military command in that country.



CHAPTER VI.

                    I am bound to Bothwell-hill,
                    Where I maun either do or die.
                                             Old Ballad.


[Illustration: The Battle of Bothwell Bridge--128


There was now a pause in the military movements on both sides. The
government seemed contented to prevent the rebels advancing towards the
capital, while the insurgents were intent upon augmenting and
strengthening their forces. For this purpose, they established a sort of
encampment in the park belonging to the ducal residence at Hamilton, a
centrical situation for receiving their recruits, and where they were
secured from any sudden attack, by having the Clyde, a deep and rapid
river, in front of their position, which is only passable by a long and
narrow bridge, near the castle and village of Bothwell.

Morton remained here for about a fortnight after the attack on Glasgow,
actively engaged in his military duties. He had received more than one
communication from Burley, but they only stated, in general, that the
Castle of Tillietudlem continued to hold out. Impatient of suspense upon
this most interesting subject, he at length intimated to his colleagues
in command his desire, or rather his intention,--for he saw no reason why
he should not assume a license which was taken by every one else in this
disorderly army,--to go to Milnwood for a day or two to arrange some
private affairs of consequence. The proposal was by no means approved of;
for the military council of the insurgents were sufficiently sensible of
the value of his services to fear to lose them, and felt somewhat
conscious of their own inability to supply his place. They could not,
however, pretend to dictate to him laws more rigid than they submitted to
themselves, and he was suffered to depart on his journey without any
direct objection being stated. The Reverend Mr Poundtext took the same
opportunity to pay a visit to his own residence in the neighbourhood of
Milnwood, and favoured Morton with his company on the journey. As the
country was chiefly friendly to their cause, and in possession of their
detached parties, excepting here and there the stronghold of some old
cavaliering Baron, they travelled without any other attendant than the
faithful Cuddie.

It was near sunset when they reached Milnwood, where Poundtext bid adieu
to his companions, and travelled forward alone to his own manse, which
was situated half a mile’s march beyond Tillietudlem. When Morton was
left alone to his own reflections, with what a complication of feelings
did he review the woods, banks, and fields, that had been familiar to
him! His character, as well as his habits, thoughts, and occupations, had
been entirely changed within the space of little more than a fortnight,
and twenty days seemed to have done upon him the work of as many years. A
mild, romantic, gentle-tempered youth, bred up in dependence, and
stooping patiently to the control of a sordid and tyrannical relation,
had suddenly, by the rod of oppression and the spur of injured feeling,
been compelled to stand forth a leader of armed men, was earnestly
engaged in affairs of a public nature, had friends to animate and enemies
to contend with, and felt his individual fate bound up in that of a
national insurrection and revolution. It seemed as if he had at once
experienced a transition from the romantic dreams of youth to the labours
and cares of active manhood. All that had formerly interested him was
obliterated from his memory, excepting only his attachment to Edith; and
even his love seemed to have assumed a character more manly and
disinterested, as it had become mingled and contrasted with other duties
and feelings. As he revolved the particulars of this sudden change, the
circumstances in which it originated, and the possible consequences of
his present career, the thrill of natural anxiety which passed along his
mind was immediately banished by a glow of generous and high-spirited
confidence.

“I shall fall young,” he said, “if fall I must, my motives misconstrued,
and my actions condemned, by those whose approbation is dearest to me.
But the sword of liberty and patriotism is in my hand, and I will neither
fall meanly nor unavenged. They may expose my body, and gibbet my limbs;
but other days will come, when the sentence of infamy will recoil against
those who may pronounce it. And that Heaven, whose name is so often
profaned during this unnatural war, will bear witness to the purity of
the motives by which I have been guided.”

Upon approaching Milnwood, Henry’s knock upon the gate no longer
intimated the conscious timidity of a stripling who has been out of
bounds, but the confidence of a man in full possession of his own rights,
and master of his own actions,--bold, free, and decided. The door was
cautiously opened by his old acquaintance, Mrs Alison Wilson, who started
back when she saw the steel cap and nodding plume of the martial visitor.

“Where is my uncle, Alison?” said Morton, smiling at her alarm.

“Lordsake, Mr Harry! is this you?” returned the old lady. “In troth, ye
garr’d my heart loup to my very mouth--But it canna be your ainsell, for
ye look taller and mair manly-like than ye used to do.”

“It is, however, my own self,” said Henry, sighing and smiling at the
same time; “I believe this dress may make me look taller, and these
times, Ailie, make men out of boys.”

“Sad times indeed!” echoed the old woman; “and O that you suld be
endangered wi’them! but wha can help it?--ye were ill eneugh guided, and,
as I tell your uncle, if ye tread on a worm it will turn.”

“You were always my advocate, Ailie,” said he, and the housekeeper no
longer resented the familiar epithet, “and would let no one blame me but
yourself, I am aware of that,--Where is my uncle?”

“In Edinburgh,” replied Alison; “the honest man thought it was best to
gang and sit by the chimley when the reek rase--a vex’d man he’s been and
a feared--but ye ken the Laird as weel as I do.”

“I hope he has suffered nothing in health?” said Henry.

“Naething to speak of,” answered the housekeeper, “nor in gudes
neither--we fended as weel as we could; and, though the troopers of
Tillietudlem took the red cow and auld Hackie, (ye’ll mind them weel;)
yet they sauld us a gude bargain o’ four they were driving to the
Castle.”

“Sold you a bargain?” said Morton; “how do you mean?”

“Ou, they cam out to gather marts for the garrison,” answered the
housekeeper; “but they just fell to their auld trade, and rade through
the country couping and selling a’ that they gat, like sae mony
west-country drovers. My certie, Major Bellenden was laird o’ the least
share o’ what they lifted, though it was taen in his name.”

“Then,” said Morton, hastily, “the garrison must be straitened for
provisions?”

“Stressed eneugh,” replied Ailie--“there’s little doubt o’ that.”

A light instantly glanced on Morton’s mind.

“Burley must have deceived me--craft as well as cruelty is permitted by
his creed.” Such was his inward thought; he said aloud, “I cannot stay,
Mrs Wilson, I must go forward directly.”

“But, oh! bide to eat a mouthfu’,” entreated the affectionate
housekeeper, “and I’ll mak it ready for you as I used to do afore thae
sad days,” “It is impossible,” answered Morton.--“Cuddie, get our horses
ready.”

“They’re just eating their corn,” answered the attendant.

“Cuddie!” exclaimed Ailie; “what garr’d ye bring that ill-faur’d, unlucky
loon alang wi’ ye?--It was him and his randie mother began a’ the
mischief in this house.”

“Tut, tut,” replied Cuddie, “ye should forget and forgie, mistress.
Mither’s in Glasgow wi’ her tittie, and sall plague ye nae mair; and I’m
the Captain’s wallie now, and I keep him tighter in thack and rape than
ever ye did;--saw ye him ever sae weel put on as he is now?”

“In troth and that’s true,” said the old housekeeper, looking with great
complacency at her young master, whose mien she thought much improved by
his dress. “I’m sure ye ne’er had a laced cravat like that when ye were
at Milnwood; that’s nane o’ my sewing.”

“Na, na, mistress,” replied Cuddie, “that’s a cast o’ my hand--that’s ane
o’ Lord Evandale’s braws.”

“Lord Evandale?” answered the old lady, “that’s him that the whigs are
gaun to hang the morn, as I hear say.”

“The whigs about to hang Lord Evandale?” said Morton, in the greatest
surprise.

“Ay, troth are they,” said the housekeeper. “Yesterday night he made a
sally, as they ca’t, (my mother’s name was Sally--I wonder they gie
Christian folk’s names to sic unchristian doings,)--but he made an
outbreak to get provisions, and his men were driven back and he was taen,
‘an’ the whig Captain Balfour garr’d set up a gallows, and swore, (or
said upon his conscience, for they winna swear,) that if the garrison was
not gien ower the morn by daybreak, he would hing up the young lord, poor
thing, as high as Haman.--These are sair times!--but folk canna help
them--sae do ye sit down and tak bread and cheese until better meat’s
made ready. Ye suldna hae kend a word about it, an I had thought it was
to spoil your dinner, hinny.”

“Fed, or unfed,” exclaimed Morton, “saddle the horses instantly, Cuddie.
We must not rest until we get before the Castle.”

And, resisting all Ailie’s entreaties, they instantly resumed their
journey.

Morton failed not to halt at the dwelling of Poundtext, and summon him to
attend him to the camp. That honest divine had just resumed for an
instant his pacific habits, and was perusing an ancient theological
treatise, with a pipe in his mouth, and a small jug of ale beside him, to
assist his digestion of the argument. It was with bitter ill-will that he
relinquished these comforts (which he called his studies) in order to
recommence a hard ride upon a high-trotting horse. However, when he knew
the matter in hand, he gave up, with a deep groan, the prospect of
spending a quiet evening in his own little parlour; for he entirely
agreed with Morton, that whatever interest Burley might have in rendering
the breach between the presbyterians and the government irreconcilable,
by putting the young nobleman to death, it was by no means that of the
moderate party to permit such an act of atrocity. And it is but doing
justice to Mr Poundtext to add, that, like most of his own persuasion, he
was decidedly adverse to any such acts of unnecessary violence; besides,
that his own present feelings induced him to listen with much complacence
to the probability held out by Morton, of Lord Evandale’s becoming a
mediator for the establishment of peace upon fair and moderate terms.
With this similarity of views, they hastened their journey, and arrived
about eleven o’clock at night at a small hamlet adjacent to the Castle at
Tillietudlem, where Burley had established his head-quarters.

They were challenged by the sentinel, who made his melancholy walk at the
entrance of the hamlet, and admitted upon declaring their names and
authority in the army. Another soldier kept watch before a house, which
they conjectured to be the place of Lord Evandale’s confinement, for a
gibbet of such great height as to be visible from the battlements of the
Castle, was erected before it, in melancholy confirmation of the truth of
Mrs Wilson’s report. [Note: The Cameronians had suffered persecution, but
it was without learning mercy. We are informed by Captain Crichton, that
they had set up in their camp a huge gibbet, or gallows, having many
hooks upon it, with a coil of new ropes lying beside it, for the
execution of such royalists as they might make prisoners. Guild, in his
Bellum Bothuellianum, describes this machine particularly.] Morton
instantly demanded to speak with Burley, and was directed to his
quarters. They found him reading the Scriptures, with his arms lying
beside him, as if ready for any sudden alarm. He started upon the
entrance of his colleagues in office.

“What has brought ye hither?” said Burley, hastily. “Is there bad news
from the army?”

“No,” replied Morton; “but we understand that there are measures adopted
here in which the safety of the army is deeply concerned--Lord Evandale
is your prisoner?”

“The Lord,” replied Burley, “hath delivered him into our hands.”

“And you will avail yourself of that advantage, granted you by Heaven, to
dishonour our cause in the eyes of all the world, by putting a prisoner
to an ignominious death?”

“If the house of Tillietudlem be not surrendered by daybreak,” replied
Burley, “God do so to me and more also, if he shall not die that death to
which his leader and patron, John Grahame of Claverhouse, hath put so
many of God’s saints.”

“We are in arms,” replied Morton, “to put down such cruelties, and not to
imitate them, far less to avenge upon the innocent the acts of the
guilty. By what law can you justify the atrocity you would commit?”

“If thou art ignorant of it,” replied Burley, “thy companion is well
aware of the law which gave the men of Jericho to the sword of Joshua,
the son of Nun.”

“But we,” answered the divine, “live under a better dispensation, which
instructeth us to return good for evil, and to pray for those who
despitefully use us and persecute us.”

“That is to say,” said Burley, “that thou wilt join thy grey hairs to his
green youth to controvert me in this matter?”

“We are,” rejoined Poundtext, “two of those to whom, jointly with
thyself, authority is delegated over this host, and we will not permit
thee to hurt a hair of the prisoner’s head. It may please God to make him
a means of healing these unhappy breaches in our Israel.”

“I judged it would come to this,” answered Burley, “when such as thou
wert called into the council of the elders.”

“Such as I?” answered Poundtext,--“And who am I, that you should name me
with such scorn?--Have I not kept the flock of this sheep-fold from the
wolves for thirty years? Ay, even while thou, John Balfour, wert fighting
in the ranks of uncircumcision, a Philistine of hardened brow and bloody
hand--Who am I, say’st thou?”

“I will tell thee what thou art, since thou wouldst so fain know,” said
Burley. “Thou art one of those, who would reap where thou hast not sowed,
and divide the spoil while others fight the battle--thou art one of those
that follow the gospel for the loaves and for the fishes--that love their
own manse better than the Church of God, and that would rather draw their
stipends under prelatists or heathens, than be a partaker with those
noble spirits who have cast all behind them for the sake of the
Covenant.”

“And I will tell thee, John Balfour,” returned Poundtext, deservedly
incensed, “I will tell thee what thou art. Thou art one of those, for
whose bloody and merciless disposition a reproach is flung upon the whole
church of this suffering kingdom, and for whose violence and
blood-guiltiness, it is to be feared, this fair attempt to recover our
civil and religious rights will never be honoured by Providence with the
desired success.”

“Gentlemen,” said Morton, “cease this irritating and unavailing
recrimination; and do you, Mr Balfour, inform us, whether it is your
purpose to oppose the liberation of Lord Evandale, which appears to us a
profitable measure in the present position of our affairs?”

“You are here,” answered Burley, “as two voices against one; but you will
not refuse to tarry until the united council shall decide upon this
matter?”

“This,” said Morton, “we would not decline, if we could trust the hands
in whom we are to leave the prisoner.--But you know well,” he added,
looking sternly at Burley, “that you have already deceived me in this
matter.”

“Go to,” said Burley, disdainfully,--“thou art an idle inconsiderate boy,
who, for the black eyebrows of a silly girl, would barter thy own faith
and honour, and the cause of God and of thy country.”

“Mr Balfour,” said Morton, laying his hand on his sword, “this language
requires satisfaction.”

“And thou shalt have it, stripling, when and where thou darest,” said
Burley; “I plight thee my good word on it.”

Poundtext, in his turn, interfered to remind them of the madness of
quarrelling, and effected with difficulty a sort of sullen
reconciliation.

“Concerning the prisoner,” said Burley, “deal with him as ye think fit. I
wash my hands free from all consequences. He is my prisoner, made by my
sword and spear, while you, Mr Morton, were playing the adjutant at
drills and parades, and you, Mr Poundtext, were warping the Scriptures
into Erastianism. Take him unto you, nevertheless, and dispose of him as
ye think meet.--Dingwall,” he continued, calling a sort of aid-de-camp,
who slept in the next apartment, “let the guard posted on the malignant
Evandale give up their post to those whom Captain Morton shall appoint to
relieve them.--The prisoner,” he said, again addressing Poundtext and
Morton, “is now at your disposal, gentlemen. But remember, that for all
these things there will one day come a term of heavy accounting.”

So saying, he turned abruptly into an inner apartment, without bidding
them good evening. His two visitors, after a moment’s consideration,
agreed it would be prudent to ensure the prisoner’s personal safety, by
placing over him an additional guard, chosen from their own parishioners.
A band of them happened to be stationed in the hamlet, having been
attached, for the time, to Burley’s command, in order that the men might
be gratified by remaining as long as possible near to their own homes.
They were, in general, smart, active young fellows, and were usually
called by their companions, the Marksmen of Milnwood. By Morton’s desire,
four of these lads readily undertook the task of sentinels, and he left
with them Headrigg, on whose fidelity he could depend, with instructions
to call him, if any thing remarkable happened.

This arrangement being made, Morton and his colleague took possession,
for the night, of such quarters as the over-crowded and miserable hamlet
could afford them. They did not, however, separate for repose till they
had drawn up a memorial of the grievances of the moderate presbyterians,
which was summed up with a request of free toleration for their religion
in future, and that they should be permitted to attend gospel ordinances
as dispensed by their own clergymen, without oppression or molestation.
Their petition proceeded to require that a free parliament should be
called for settling the affairs of church and state, and for redressing
the injuries sustained by the subject; and that all those who either now
were, or had been, in arms, for obtaining these ends, should be
indemnified. Morton could not but strongly hope that these terms, which
comprehended all that was wanted, or wished for, by the moderate party
among the insurgents, might, when thus cleared of the violence of
fanaticism, find advocates even among the royalists, as claiming only the
ordinary rights of Scottish freemen.

He had the more confidence of a favourable reception, that the Duke of
Monmouth, to whom Charles had intrusted the charge of subduing this
rebellion, was a man of gentle, moderate, and accessible disposition,
well known to be favourable to the presbyterians, and invested by the
king with full powers to take measures for quieting the disturbances in
Scotland. It seemed to Morton, that all that was necessary for
influencing him in their favour was to find a fit and sufficiently
respectable channel of communication, and such seemed to be opened
through the medium of Lord Evandale. He resolved, therefore, to visit the
prisoner early in the morning, in order to sound his dispositions to
undertake the task of mediator; but an accident happened which led him to
anticipate his purpose.



CHAPTER VII.

                    Gie ower your house, lady, he said,--
                    Gie ower your house to me.
                                        Edom of Gordon.

Morton had finished the revisal and the making out of a fair copy of the
paper on which he and Poundtext had agreed to rest as a full statement of
the grievances of their party, and the conditions on which the greater
part of the insurgents would be contented to lay down their arms; and he
was about to betake himself to repose, when there was a knocking at the
door of his apartment.

“Enter,” said Morton; and the round bullethead of Cuddie Headrigg was
thrust into the room. “Come in,” said Morton, “and tell me what you want.
Is there any alarm?”

“Na, stir; but I hae brought ane to speak wi’ you.”

“Who is that, Cuddie?” enquired Morton.

“Ane o’ your auld acquaintance,” said Cuddie; and, opening the door more
fully, he half led, half dragged in a woman, whose face was muffled in
her plaid.--“Come, come, ye needna be sae bashfu’ before auld
acquaintance, Jenny,” said Cuddie, pulling down the veil, and discovering
to his master the well-remembered countenance of Jenny Dennison. “Tell
his honour, now--there’s a braw lass--tell him what ye were wanting to
say to Lord Evandale, mistress.”

“What was I wanting to say,” answered Jenny, “to his honour himsell the
other morning, when I visited him in captivity, ye muckle hash?--D’ye
think that folk dinna want to see their friends in adversity, ye dour
crowdy-eater?”

This reply was made with Jenny’s usual volubility; but her voice
quivered, her cheek was thin and pale, the tears stood in her eyes, her
hand trembled, her manner was fluttered, and her whole presence bore
marks of recent suffering and privation, as well as nervous and
hysterical agitation.

“What is the matter, Jenny?” said Morton, kindly. “You know how much I
owe you in many respects, and can hardly make a request that I will not
grant, if in my power.”

“Many thanks, Milnwood,” said the weeping damsel; “but ye were aye a kind
gentleman, though folk say ye hae become sair changed now.”

“What do they say of me?” answered Morton.

“A’ body says,” replied Jenny, “that you and the whigs hae made a vow to
ding King Charles aff the throne, and that neither he, nor his posteriors
from generation to generation, shall sit upon it ony mair; and John
Gudyill threeps ye’re to gie a’ the church organs to the pipers, and burn
the Book o’ Common-prayer by the hands of the common hangman, in revenge
of the Covenant that was burnt when the king cam hame.”

“My friends at Tillietudlem judge too hastily and too ill of me,”
 answered Morton. “I wish to have free exercise of my own religion,
without insulting any other; and as to your family, I only desire an
opportunity to show them I have the same friendship and kindness as
ever.”

“Bless your kind heart for saying sae,” said Jenny, bursting into a flood
of tears; “and they never needed kindness or friendship mair, for they
are famished for lack o’ food.”

“Good God!” replied Morton, “I have heard of scarcity, but not of famine!
It is possible?--Have the ladies and the Major”--

“They hae suffered like the lave o’ us,” replied Jenny; “for they shared
every bit and sup wi’ the whole folk in the Castle--I’m sure my poor een
see fifty colours wi’ faintness, and my head’s sae dizzy wi’ the
mirligoes that I canna stand my lane.”

The thinness of the poor girl’s cheek, and the sharpness of her features,
bore witness to the truth of what she said. Morton was greatly shocked.

“Sit down,” he said, “for God’s sake!” forcing her into the only chair
the apartment afforded, while he himself strode up and down the room in
horror and impatience. “I knew not of this,” he exclaimed in broken
ejaculations,--“I could not know of it.--Cold-blooded, iron-hearted
fanatic--deceitful villain!--Cuddie, fetch refreshments--food--wine, if
possible--whatever you can find.”

“Whisky is gude eneugh for her,” muttered Cuddie; “ane wadna hae thought
that gude meal was sae scant amang them, when the quean threw sae muckle
gude kail-brose scalding het about my lugs.”

Faint and miserable as Jenny seemed to be, she could not hear the
allusion to her exploit during the storm of the Castle, without bursting
into a laugh which weakness soon converted into a hysterical giggle.
Confounded at her state, and reflecting with horror on the distress which
must have been in the Castle, Morton repeated his commands to Headrigg in
a peremptory manner; and when he had departed, endeavoured to soothe his
visitor.

“You come, I suppose, by the orders of your mistress, to visit Lord
Evandale?--Tell me what she desires; her orders shall be my law.”

Jenny appeared to reflect a moment, and then said, “Your honour is sae
auld a friend, I must needs trust to you, and tell the truth.”

“Be assured, Jenny,” said Morton, observing that she hesitated, “that you
will best serve your mistress by dealing sincerely with me.”

“Weel, then, ye maun ken we’re starving, as I said before, and have been
mair days than ane; and the Major has sworn that he expects relief daily,
and that he will not gie ower the house to the enemy till we have eaten
up his auld boots,--and they are unco thick in the soles, as ye may weel
mind, forby being teugh in the upper-leather. The dragoons, again, they
think they will be forced to gie up at last, and they canna bide hunger
weel, after the life they led at free quarters for this while bypast; and
since Lord Evandale’s taen, there’s nae guiding them; and Inglis says
he’ll gie up the garrison to the whigs, and the Major and the leddies
into the bargain, if they will but let the troopers gang free themsells.”

“Scoundrels!” said Morton; “why do they not make terms for all in the
Castle?”

“They are fear’d for denial o’ quarter to themsells, having dune sae
muckle mischief through the country; and Burley has hanged ane or twa o’
them already--sae they want to draw their ain necks out o’ the collar at
hazard o’ honest folk’s.”

“And you were sent,” continued Morton, “to carry to Lord Evandale the
unpleasant news of the men’s mutiny?”

“Just e’en sae,” said Jenny; “Tam Halliday took the rue, and tauld me a’
about it, and gat me out o’ the Castle to tell Lord Evandale, if possibly
I could win at him.”

“But how can he help you?” said Morton; “he is a prisoner.”

“Well-a-day, ay,” answered the afflicted damsel; “but maybe he could mak
fair terms for us--or, maybe, he could gie us some good advice--or,
maybe, he might send his orders to the dragoons to be civil--or”--

“Or, maybe,” said Morton, “you were to try if it were possible to set him
at liberty?”

“If it were sae,” answered Jenny with spirit, “it wadna be the first time
I hae done my best to serve a friend in captivity.”

“True, Jenny,” replied Morton, “I were most ungrateful to forget it. But
here comes Cuddie with refreshments--I will go and do your errand to Lord
Evandale, while you take some food and wine.”

“It willna be amiss ye should ken,” said Cuddie to his master, “that this
Jenny--this Mrs Dennison, was trying to cuittle favour wi’ Tam Rand, the
miller’s man, to win into Lord Evandale’s room without ony body kennin’.
She wasna thinking, the gipsy, that I was at her elbow.”

“And an unco fright ye gae me when ye cam ahint and took a grip o’ me,”
 said Jenny, giving him a sly twitch with her finger and her thumb--“if ye
hadna been an auld acquaintance, ye daft gomeril”--

Cuddie, somewhat relenting, grinned a smile on his artful mistress, while
Morton wrapped himself up in his cloak, took his sword under his arm, and
went straight to the place of the young nobleman’s confinement. He asked
the sentinels if any thing extraordinary had occurred.

“Nothing worth notice,” they said, “excepting the lass that Cuddie took
up, and two couriers that Captain Balfour had dispatched, one to the
Reverend Ephraim Macbriar, another to Kettledrummle,” both of whom were
beating the drum ecclesiastic in different towns between the position of
Burley and the head-quarters of the main army near Hamilton.

“The purpose, I presume,” said Morton, with an affectation of
indifference, “was to call them hither.”

“So I understand,” answered the sentinel, who had spoke with the
messengers.

He is summoning a triumphant majority of the council, thought Morton to
himself, for the purpose of sanctioning whatever action of atrocity he
may determine upon, and thwarting opposition by authority. I must be
speedy, or I shall lose my opportunity.

When he entered the place of Lord Evandale’s confinement, he found him
ironed, and reclining on a flock bed in the wretched garret of a
miserable cottage. He was either in a slumber, or in deep meditation,
when Morton entered, and turned on him, when aroused, a countenance so
much reduced by loss of blood, want of sleep, and scarcity of food, that
no one could have recognised in it the gallant soldier who had behaved
with so much spirit at the skirmish of Loudon-hill. He displayed some
surprise at the sudden entrance of Morton.

“I am sorry to see you thus, my lord,” said that youthful leader.

“I have heard you are an admirer of poetry,” answered the prisoner; “in
that case, Mr Morton, you may remember these lines,--

              ‘Stone walls do not a prison make,
               Or iron bars a cage;
               A free and quiet mind can take
               These for a hermitage.’

But, were my imprisonment less endurable, I am given to expect to-morrow
a total enfranchisement.”

“By death?” said Morton.

“Surely,” answered Lord Evandale; “I have no other prospect. Your
comrade, Burley, has already dipped his hand in the blood of men whose
meanness of rank and obscurity of extraction might have saved them. I
cannot boast such a shield from his vengeance, and I expect to meet its
extremity.”

“But Major Bellenden,” said Morton, “may surrender, in order to preserve
your life.”

“Never, while there is one man to defend the battlement, and that man has
one crust to eat. I know his gallant resolution, and grieved should I be
if he changed it for my sake.”

Morton hastened to acquaint him with the mutiny among the dragoons, and
their resolution to surrender the Castle, and put the ladies of the
family, as well as the Major, into the hands of the enemy. Lord Evandale
seemed at first surprised, and something incredulous, but immediately
afterwards deeply affected.

“What is to be done?” he said--“How is this misfortune to be averted?”

“Hear me, my lord,” said Morton. “I believe you may not be unwilling to
bear the olive branch between our master the King, and that part of his
subjects which is now in arms, not from choice, but necessity.”

“You construe me but justly,” said Lord Evandale; “but to what does this
tend?”

“Permit me, my lord”--continued Morton. “I will set you at liberty upon
parole; nay, you may return to the Castle, and shall have a safe conduct
for the ladies, the Major, and all who leave it, on condition of its
instant surrender. In contributing to bring this about you will only
submit to circumstances; for, with a mutiny in the garrison, and without
provisions, it will be found impossible to defend the place twenty-four
hours longer. Those, therefore, who refuse to accompany your lordship,
must take their fate. You and your followers shall have a free pass to
Edinburgh, or where-ever the Duke of Monmouth may be. In return for your
liberty, we hope that you will recommend to the notice of his Grace, as
Lieutenant-General of Scotland, this humble petition and remonstrance,
containing the grievances which have occasioned this insurrection, a
redress of which being granted, I will answer with my head, that the
great body of the insurgents will lay down their arms.”

Lord Evandale read over the paper with attention.

“Mr Morton,” he said, “in my simple judgment, I see little objection that
can be made to the measure here recommended; nay, farther, I believe, in
many respects, they may meet the private sentiments of the Duke of
Monmouth: and yet, to deal frankly with you, I have no hopes of their
being granted, unless, in the first place, you were to lay down your
arms.”

“The doing so,” answered Morton, “would be virtually conceding that we
had no right to take them up; and that, for one, I will never agree to.”

“Perhaps it is hardly to be expected you should,” said Lord Evandale;
“and yet on that point I am certain the negotiations will be wrecked. I
am willing, however, having frankly told you my opinion, to do all in my
power to bring about a reconciliation.”

“It is all we can wish or expect,” replied Morton; “the issue is in God’s
hands, who disposes the hearts of princes.--You accept, then, the safe
conduct?”

“Certainly,” answered Lord Evandale; “and if I do not enlarge upon the
obligation incurred by your having saved my life a second time, believe
that I do not feel it the less.”

“And the garrison of Tillietudlem?” said Morton.

“Shall be withdrawn as you propose,” answered the young nobleman. “I am
sensible the Major will be unable to bring the mutineers to reason; and I
tremble to think of the consequences, should the ladies and the brave old
man be delivered up to this bloodthirsty ruffian, Burley.”

“You are in that case free,” said Morton. “Prepare to mount on horseback;
a few men whom I can trust shall attend you till you are in safety from
our parties.”

Leaving Lord Evandale in great surprise and joy at this unexpected
deliverance, Morton hastened to get a few chosen men under arms and on
horseback, each rider holding the rein of a spare horse. Jenny, who,
while she partook of her refreshment, had contrived to make up her breach
with Cuddie, rode on the left hand of that valiant cavalier. The tramp of
their horses was soon heard under the window of Lord Evandale’s prison.
Two men, whom he did not know, entered the apartment, disencumbered him
of his fetters, and, conducting him down stairs, mounted him in the
centre of the detachment. They set out at a round trot towards
Tillietudlem.

The moonlight was giving way to the dawn when they approached that
ancient fortress, and its dark massive tower had just received the first
pale colouring of the morning. The party halted at the Tower barrier, not
venturing to approach nearer for fear of the fire of the place. Lord
Evandale alone rode up to the gate, followed at a distance by Jenny
Dennison. As they approached the gate, there was heard to arise in the
court-yard a tumult, which accorded ill with the quiet serenity of a
summer dawn. Cries and oaths were heard, a pistol-shot or two were
discharged, and every thing announced that the mutiny had broken out. At
this crisis Lord Evandale arrived at the gate where Halliday was
sentinel. On hearing Lord Evandale’s voice, he instantly and gladly
admitted him, and that nobleman arrived among the mutinous troopers like
a man dropped from the clouds. They were in the act of putting their
design into execution, of seizing the place into their own hands, and
were about to disarm and overpower Major Bellenden and Harrison, and
others of the Castle, who were offering the best resistance in their
power.

The appearance of Lord Evandale changed the scene. He seized Inglis by
the collar, and, upbraiding him with his villainy, ordered two of his
comrades to seize and bind him, assuring the others, that their only
chance of impunity consisted in instant submission. He then ordered the
men into their ranks. They obeyed. He commanded them to ground their
arms. They hesitated; but the instinct of discipline, joined to their
persuasion that the authority of their officer, so boldly exerted, must
be supported by some forces without the gate, induced them to submit.

“Take away those arms,” said Lord Evandale to the people of the Castle;
“they shall not be restored until these men know better the use for which
they are intrusted with them.--And now,” he continued, addressing the
mutineers, “begone!--Make the best use of your time, and of a truce of
three hours, which the enemy are contented to allow you. Take the road to
Edinburgh, and meet me at the House-of-Muir. I need not bid you beware of
committing violence by the way; you will not, in your present condition,
provoke resentment for your own sakes. Let your punctuality show that you
mean to atone for this morning’s business.”

The disarmed soldiers shrunk in silence from the presence of their
officer, and, leaving the Castle, took the road to the place of
rendezvous, making such haste as was inspired by the fear of meeting with
some detached party of the insurgents, whom their present defenceless
condition, and their former violence, might inspire with thoughts of
revenge. Inglis, whom Evandale destined for punishment, remained in
custody. Halliday was praised for his conduct, and assured of succeeding
to the rank of the culprit. These arrangements being hastily made, Lord
Evandale accosted the Major, before whose eyes the scene had seemed to
pass like the change of a dream.

“My dear Major, we must give up the place.”

“Is it even so?” said Major Bellenden. “I was in hopes you had brought
reinforcements and supplies.”

“Not a man--not a pound of meal,” answered Lord Evandale.

“Yet I am blithe to see you,” returned the honest Major; “we were
informed yesterday that these psalm-singing rascals had a plot on your
life, and I had mustered the scoundrelly dragoons ten minutes ago in
order to beat up Burley’s quarters and get you out of limbo, when the dog
Inglis, instead of obeying me, broke out into open mutiny.--But what is
to be done now?”

“I have, myself, no choice,” said Lord Evandale; “I am a prisoner,
released on parole, and bound for Edinburgh. You and the ladies must take
the same route. I have, by the favour of a friend, a safe conduct and
horses for you and your retinue--for God’s sake make haste--you cannot
propose to hold out with seven or eight men, and without provisions--
Enough has been done for honour, and enough to render the defence of the
highest consequence to government. More were needless, as well as
desperate. The English troops are arrived at Edinburgh, and will speedily
move upon Hamilton. The possession of Tillietudlem by the rebels will be
but temporary.”

“If you think so, my lord,” said the veteran, with a reluctant sigh,--“I
know you only advise what is honourable--if, then, you really think the
case inevitable, I must submit; for the mutiny of these scoundrels would
render it impossible to man the walls.--Gudyill, let the women call up
their mistresses, and all be ready to march--But if I could believe that
my remaining in these old walls, till I was starved to a mummy, could do
the King’s cause the least service, old Miles Bellenden would not leave
them while there was a spark of life in his body!”

The ladies, already alarmed by the mutiny, now heard the determination of
the Major, in which they readily acquiesced, though not without some
groans and sighs on the part of Lady Margaret, which referred, as usual,
to the _dejeune_; of his Most Sacred Majesty in the halls which were now
to be abandoned to rebels. Hasty preparations were made for evacuating
the Castle; and long ere the dawn was distinct enough for discovering
objects with precision, the ladies, with Major Bellenden, Harrison,
Gudyill, and the other domestics, were mounted on the led horses, and
others which had been provided in the neighbourhood, and proceeded
towards the north, still escorted by four of the insurgent horsemen. The
rest of the party who had accompanied Lord Evandale from the hamlet, took
possession of the deserted Castle, carefully forbearing all outrage or
acts of plunder. And when the sun arose, the scarlet and blue colours of
the Scottish Covenant floated from the Keep of Tillietudlem.



CHAPTER VIII.

               And, to my breast, a bodkin in her hand
               Were worth a thousand daggers.
                                             Marlow.

The cavalcade which left the Castle of Tillietudlem, halted for a few
minutes at the small town of Bothwell, after passing the outposts of the
insurgents, to take some slight refreshments which their attendants had
provided, and which were really necessary to persons who had suffered
considerably by want of proper nourishment. They then pressed forward
upon the road towards Edinburgh, amid the lights of dawn which were now
rising on the horizon. It might have been expected, during the course of
the journey, that Lord Evandale would have been frequently by the side of
Miss Edith Bellenden. Yet, after his first salutations had been
exchanged, and every precaution solicitously adopted which could serve
for her accommodation, he rode in the van of the party with Major
Bellenden, and seemed to abandon the charge of immediate attendance upon
his lovely niece to one of the insurgent cavaliers, whose dark military
cloak, with the large flapped hat and feather, which drooped over his
face, concealed at once his figure and his features. They rode side by
side in silence for more than two miles, when the stranger addressed Miss
Bellenden in a tremulous and suppressed voice.

“Miss Bellenden,” he said, “must have friends wherever she is known; even
among those whose conduct she now disapproves. Is there any thing that
such can do to show their respect for her, and their regret for her
sufferings?”

“Let them learn for their own sakes,” replied Edith, “to venerate the
laws, and to spare innocent blood. Let them return to their allegiance,
and I can forgive them all that I have suffered, were it ten times more.”

“You think it impossible, then,” rejoined the cavalier, “for any one to
serve in our ranks, having the weal of his country sincerely at heart,
and conceiving himself in the discharge of a patriotic duty?”

“It might be imprudent, while so absolutely in your power,” replied Miss
Bellenden, “to answer that question.”

“Not in the present instance, I plight you the word of a soldier,”
 replied the horseman.

“I have been taught candour from my birth,” said Edith; “and, if I am to
speak at all, I must utter my real sentiments. God only can judge the
heart--men must estimate intentions by actions. Treason, murder by the
sword and by gibbet, the oppression of a private family such as ours, who
were only in arms for the defence of the established government, and of
our own property, are actions which must needs sully all that have
accession to them, by whatever specious terms they may be gilded over.”

“The guilt of civil war,” rejoined the horseman--“the miseries which it
brings in its train, lie at the door of those who provoked it by illegal
oppression, rather than of such as are driven to arms in order to assert
their natural rights as freemen.”

“That is assuming the question,” replied Edith, “which ought to be
proved. Each party contends that they are right in point of principle,
and therefore the guilt must lie with them who first drew the sword; as,
in an affray, law holds those to be the criminals who are the first to
have recourse to violence.”

“Alas!” said the horseman, “were our vindication to rest there, how easy
would it be to show that we have suffered with a patience which almost
seemed beyond the power of humanity, ere we were driven by oppression
into open resistance!--But I perceive,” he continued, sighing deeply,
“that it is vain to plead before Miss Bellenden a cause which she has
already prejudged, perhaps as much from her dislike of the persons as of
the principles of those engaged in it.”

“Pardon me,” answered Edith; “I have stated with freedom my opinion
of the principles of the insurgents; of their persons I know
nothing--excepting in one solitary instance.”

“And that instance,” said the horseman, “has influenced your opinion of
the whole body?”

“Far from it,” said Edith; “he is--at least I once thought him--one in
whose scale few were fit to be weighed--he is--or he seemed--one of early
talent, high faith, pure morality, and warm affections. Can I approve of
a rebellion which has made such a man, formed to ornament, to enlighten,
and to defend his country, the companion of gloomy and ignorant fanatics,
or canting hypocrites,--the leader of brutal clowns,--the brother-in-arms
to banditti and highway murderers?--Should you meet such an one in your
camp, tell him that Edith Bellenden has wept more over his fallen
character, blighted prospects, and dishonoured name, than over the
distresses of her own house,--and that she has better endured that famine
which has wasted her cheek and dimmed her eye, than the pang of heart
which attended the reflection by and through whom these calamities were
inflicted.”

As she thus spoke, she turned upon her companion a countenance, whose
faded cheek attested the reality of her sufferings, even while it glowed
with the temporary animation which accompanied her language. The horseman
was not insensible to the appeal; he raised his hand to his brow with the
sudden motion of one who feels a pang shoot along his brain, passed it
hastily over his face, and then pulled the shadowing hat still deeper on
his forehead. The movement, and the feelings which it excited, did not
escape Edith, nor did she remark them without emotion.

“And yet,” she said, “should the person of whom I speak seem to you too
deeply affected by the hard opinion of--of--an early friend, say to him,
that sincere repentance is next to innocence;--that, though fallen from a
height not easily recovered, and the author of much mischief, because
gilded by his example, he may still atone in some measure for the evil he
has done.”

“And in what manner?” asked the cavalier, in the same suppressed, and
almost choked voice.

“By lending his efforts to restore the blessings of peace to his
distracted countrymen, and to induce the deluded rebels to lay down their
arms. By saving their blood, he may atone for that which has been already
spilt;--and he that shall be most active in accomplishing this great end,
will best deserve the thanks of this age, and an honoured remembrance in
the next.”

“And in such a peace,” said her companion, with a firm voice, “Miss
Bellenden would not wish, I think, that the interests of the people were
sacrificed unreservedly to those of the crown?”

“I am but a girl,” was the young lady’s reply; “and I scarce can speak on
the subject without presumption. But, since I have gone so far, I will
fairly add, I would wish to see a peace which should give rest to all
parties, and secure the subjects from military rapine, which I detest as
much as I do the means now adopted to resist it.”

“Miss Bellenden,” answered Henry Morton, raising his face, and speaking
in his natural tone, “the person who has lost such a highly-valued place
in your esteem, has yet too much spirit to plead his cause as a criminal;
and, conscious that he can no longer claim a friend’s interest in your
bosom, he would be silent under your hard censure, were it not that he
can refer to the honoured testimony of Lord Evandale, that his earnest
wishes and most active exertions are, even now, directed to the
accomplishment of such a peace as the most loyal cannot censure.”

He bowed with dignity to Miss Bellenden, who, though her language
intimated that she well knew to whom she had been speaking, probably had
not expected that he would justify himself with so much animation. She
returned his salute, confused and in silence. Morton then rode forward to
the head of the party.

“Henry Morton!” exclaimed Major Bellenden, surprised at the sudden
apparition.

“The same,” answered Morton; “who is sorry that he labours under the
harsh construction of Major Bellenden and his family. He commits to my
Lord Evandale,” he continued, turning towards the young nobleman, and
bowing to him, “the charge of undeceiving his friends, both regarding the
particulars of his conduct and the purity of his motives. Farewell, Major
Bellenden--All happiness attend you and yours--May we meet again in
happier and better times!”

“Believe me,” said Lord Evandale, “your confidence, Mr Morton, is not
misplaced; I will endeavour to repay the great services I have received
from you by doing my best to place your character on its proper footing
with Major Bellenden, and all whose esteem you value.”

“I expected no less from your generosity, my lord,” said Morton.

He then called his followers, and rode off along the heath in the
direction of Hamilton, their feathers waving and their steel caps
glancing in the beams of the rising sun. Cuddie Headrigg alone remained
an instant behind his companions to take an affectionate farewell of
Jenny Dennison, who had contrived, during this short morning’s ride, to
re-establish her influence over his susceptible bosom. A straggling tree
or two obscured, rather than concealed, their _tete-a-tete_, as they
halted their horses to bid adieu.

“Fare ye weel, Jenny,” said Cuddie, with a loud exertion of his lungs,
intended perhaps to be a sigh, but rather resembling the intonation of a
groan,--“Ye’ll think o’ puir Cuddie sometimes--an honest lad that lo’es
ye, Jenny; ye’ll think o’ him now and then?”

“Whiles--at brose-time,” answered the malicious damsel, unable either to
suppress the repartee, or the arch smile which attended it.


[Illustration: Whiles--at Brose-Time--pa098]


Cuddie took his revenge as rustic lovers are wont, and as Jenny probably
expected,--caught his mistress round the neck, kissed her cheeks and lips
heartily, and then turned his horse and trotted after his master.

“Deil’s in the fallow,” said Jenny, wiping her lips and adjusting her
head-dress, “he has twice the spunk o’ Tam Halliday, after a’.--Coming,
my leddy, coming--Lord have a care o’ us, I trust the auld leddy didna
see us!”

“Jenny,” said Lady Margaret, as the damsel came up, “was not that young
man who commanded the party the same that was captain of the popinjay,
and who was afterwards prisoner at Tillietudlem on the morning
Claverhouse came there?”

Jenny, happy that the query had no reference to her own little matters,
looked at her young mistress, to discover, if possible, whether it was
her cue to speak truth or not. Not being able to catch any hint to guide
her, she followed her instinct as a lady’s maid, and lied.

“I dinna believe it was him, my leddy,” said Jenny, as confidently as if
she had been saying her catechism; “he was a little black man, that.”

“You must have been blind, Jenny,” said the Major: “Henry Morton is tall
and fair, and that youth is the very man.”

“I had ither thing ado than be looking at him,” said Jenny, tossing her
head; “he may be as fair as a farthing candle, for me.”

“Is it not,” said Lady Margaret, “a blessed escape which we have made,
out of the hands of so desperate and bloodthirsty a fanatic?”

“You are deceived, madam,” said Lord Evandale; “Mr Morton merits such a
title from no one, but least from us. That I am now alive, and that you
are now on your safe retreat to your friends, instead of being prisoners
to a real fanatical homicide, is solely and entirely owing to the prompt,
active, and energetic humanity of this young gentleman.”

He then went into a particular narrative of the events with which the
reader is acquainted, dwelling upon the merits of Morton, and expatiating
on the risk at which he had rendered them these important services, as if
he had been a brother instead of a rival.

“I were worse than ungrateful,” he said, “were I silent on the merits of
the man who has twice saved my life.”

“I would willingly think well of Henry Morton, my lord,” replied Major
Bellenden; “and I own he has behaved handsomely to your lordship and to
us; but I cannot have the same allowances which it pleases your lordship
to entertain for his present courses.”

“You are to consider,” replied Lord Evandale, “that he has been partly
forced upon them by necessity; and I must add, that his principles,
though differing in some degree from my own, are such as ought to command
respect. Claverhouse, whose knowledge of men is not to be disputed, spoke
justly of him as to his extraordinary qualities, but with prejudice, and
harshly, concerning his principles and motives.”

“You have not been long in learning all his extraordinary qualities, my
lord,” answered Major Bellenden. “I, who have known him from boyhood,
could, before this affair, have said much of his good principles and
good-nature; but as to his high talents”--

“They were probably hidden, Major,” replied the generous Lord Evandale,
“even from himself, until circumstances called them forth; and, if I have
detected them, it was only because our intercourse and conversation
turned on momentous and important subjects. He is now labouring to bring
this rebellion to an end, and the terms he has proposed are so moderate,
that they shall not want my hearty recommendation.”

“And have you hopes,” said Lady Margaret, “to accomplish a scheme so
comprehensive?”

“I should have, madam, were every whig as moderate as Morton, and every
loyalist as disinterested as Major Bellenden. But such is the fanaticism
and violent irritation of both parties, that I fear nothing will end this
civil war save the edge of the sword.”

It may be readily supposed, that Edith listened with the deepest interest
to this conversation. While she regretted that she had expressed herself
harshly and hastily to her lover, she felt a conscious and proud
satisfaction that his character was, even in the judgment of his
noble-minded rival, such as her own affection had once spoke it.

“Civil feuds and domestic prejudices,” she said, “may render it necessary
for me to tear his remembrance from my heart; but it is not small relief
to know assuredly, that it is worthy of the place it has so long retained
there.”

While Edith was thus retracting her unjust resentment, her lover arrived
at the camp of the insurgents, near Hamilton, which he found in
considerable confusion. Certain advices had arrived that the royal army,
having been recruited from England by a large detachment of the King’s
Guards, were about to take the field. Fame magnified their numbers and
their high state of equipment and discipline, and spread abroad other
circumstances, which dismayed the courage of the insurgents. What favour
they might have expected from Monmouth, was likely to be intercepted by
the influence of those associated with him in command. His
lieutenant-general was the celebrated General Thomas Dalzell, who, having
practised the art of war in the then barbarous country of Russia, was as
much feared for his cruelty and indifference to human life and human
sufferings, as respected for his steady loyalty and undaunted valour.
This man was second in command to Monmouth, and the horse were commanded
by Claverhouse, burning with desire to revenge the death of his nephew,
and his defeat at Drumclog. To these accounts was added the most
formidable and terrific description of the train of artillery and the
cavalry force with which the royal army took the field.

     [Note:  Royal Army at Bothwell Bridge. A Cameronian muse was
     awakened from slumber on this doleful occasion, and gave the
     following account of the muster of the royal forces, in poetry
     nearly as melancholy as the subject:--

                    They marched east through Lithgow-town
                    For to enlarge their forces;
                    And sent for all the north-country
                    To come, both foot and horses.

                    Montrose did come and Athole both,
                    And with them many more;
                    And all the Highland Amorites
                    That had been there before.

                    The Lowdien Mallisha--Lothian Militia they
                    Came with their coats of blew;
                    Five hundred men from London came,
                    Claid in a reddish hue.

                    When they were assembled one and all,
                    A full brigade were they;
                    Like to a pack of hellish hounds,
                    Roreing after their prey.

                    When they were all provided well,
                    In armour and amonition,
                    Then thither wester did they come,
                    Most cruel of intention.

     The royalists celebrated their victory in stanzas of equal merit.
     Specimens of both may be found in the curious collection of Fugitive
     Scottish Poetry, principally of the Seventeenth Century, printed for
     the Messrs Laing, Edinburgh.]

Large bodies, composed of the Highland clans, having in language,
religion, and manners, no connexion with the insurgents, had been
summoned to join the royal army under their various chieftains; and these
Amorites, or Philistines, as the insurgents termed them, came like eagles
to the slaughter. In fact, every person who could ride or run at the
King’s command, was summoned to arms, apparently with the purpose of
forfeiting and fining such men of property whom their principles might
deter from joining the royal standard, though prudence prevented them
from joining that of the insurgent Presbyterians. In short, everyrumour
tended to increase the apprehension among the insurgents, that the King’s
vengeance had only been delayed in order that it might fall more certain
and more heavy.

Morton endeavoured to fortify the minds of the common people by pointing
out the probable exaggeration of these reports, and by reminding them of
the strength of their own situation, with an unfordable river in front,
only passable by a long and narrow bridge. He called to their remembrance
their victory over Claverhouse when their numbers were few, and then much
worse disciplined and appointed for battle than now; showed them that the
ground on which they lay afforded, by its undulation, and the thickets
which intersected it, considerable protection against artillery, and even
against cavalry, if stoutly defended; and that their safety, in fact,
depended on their own spirit and resolution.

But while Morton thus endeavoured to keep up the courage of the army at
large, he availed himself of those discouraging rumours to endeavour to
impress on the minds of the leaders the necessity of proposing to the
government moderate terms of accommodation, while they were still
formidable as commanding an unbroken and numerous army. He pointed out to
them, that, in the present humour of their followers, it could hardly be
expected that they would engage, with advantage, the well-appointed and
regular force of the Duke of Monmouth; and that if they chanced, as was
most likely, to be defeated and dispersed, the insurrection in which they
had engaged, so far from being useful to the country, would be rendered
the apology for oppressing it more severely.

Pressed by these arguments, and feeling it equally dangerous to remain
together, or to dismiss their forces, most of the leaders readily agreed,
that if such terms could be obtained as had been transmitted to the Duke
of Monmouth by the hands of Lord Evandale, the purpose for which they had
taken up arms would be, in a great measure, accomplished. They then
entered into similar resolutions, and agreed to guarantee the petition
and remonstrance which had been drawn up by Morton. On the contrary,
there were still several leaders, and those men whose influence with the
people exceeded that of persons of more apparent consequence, who
regarded every proposal of treaty which did not proceed on the basis of
the Solemn League and Covenant of 1640, as utterly null and void,
impious, and unchristian. These men diffused their feelings among the
multitude, who had little foresight, and nothing to lose, and persuaded
many that the timid counsellors who recommended peace upon terms short of
the dethronement of the royal family, and the declared independence of
the church with respect to the state, were cowardly labourers, who were
about to withdraw their hands from the plough, and despicable trimmers,
who sought only a specious pretext for deserting their brethren in arms.
These contradictory opinions were fiercely argued in each tent of the
insurgent army, or rather in the huts or cabins which served in the place
of tents. Violence in language often led to open quarrels and blows, and
the divisions into which the army of sufferers was rent served as too
plain a presage of their future fate.



CHAPTER IX.

               The curse of growing factions and divisions
               Still vex your councils!
                                   Venice Preserved.

The prudence of Morton found sufficient occupation in stemming the
furious current of these contending parties, when, two days after his
return to Hamilton, he was visited by his friend and colleague, the
Reverend Mr Poundtext, flying, as he presently found, from the face of
John Balfour of Burley, whom he left not a little incensed at the share
he had taken in the liberation of Lord Evandale. When the worthy divine
had somewhat recruited his spirits, after the hurry and fatigue of his
journey, he proceeded to give Morton an account of what had passed in the
vicinity of Tillietudlem after the memorable morning of his departure.

The night march of Morton had been accomplished with such dexterity,
and the men were so faithful to their trust, that Burley received no
intelligence of what had happened until the morning was far advanced.
His first enquiry was, whether Macbriar and Kettledrummle had arrived,
agreeably to the summons which he had dispatched at midnight. Macbriar
had come, and Kettledrummle, though a heavy traveller, might, he was
informed, be instantly expected. Burley then dispatched a messenger to
Morton’s quarters to summon him to an immediate council. The messenger
returned with news that he had left the place. Poundtext was next
summoned; but he thinking, as he said himself, that it was ill dealing
with fractious folk, had withdrawn to his own quiet manse, preferring a
dark ride, though he had been on horseback the whole preceding day, to a
renewal in the morning of a controversy with Burley, whose ferocity
overawed him when unsupported by the firmness of Morton. Burley’s next
enquiries were directed after Lord Evandale; and great was his rage when
he learned that he had been conveyed away over night by a party of the
marksmen of Milnwood, under the immediate command of Henry Morton
himself.

“The villain!” exclaimed Burley, addressing himself to Macbriar; “the
base, mean-spirited traitor, to curry favour for himself with the
government, hath set at liberty the prisoner taken by my own right hand,
through means of whom, I have little doubt, the possession of the place
of strength which hath wrought us such trouble, might now have been in
our hands!”

“But is it not in our hands?” said Macbriar, looking up towards the Keep
of the Castle; “and are not these the colours of the Covenant that float
over its walls?”

“A stratagem--a mere trick,” said Burley, “an insult over our
disappointment, intended to aggravate and embitter our spirits.”

He was interrupted by the arrival of one of Morton’s followers, sent to
report to him the evacuation of the place, and its occupation by the
insurgent forces. Burley was rather driven to fury than reconciled by the
news of this success.

“I have watched,” he said--“I have fought--I have plotted--I have striven
for the reduction of this place--I have forborne to seek to head
enterprises of higher command and of higher honour--I have narrowed their
outgoings, and cut off the springs, and broken the staff of bread within
their walls; and when the men were about to yield themselves to my hand,
that their sons might be bondsmen, and their daughters a laughing-stock
to our whole camp, cometh this youth, without a beard on his chin, and
takes it on him to thrust his sickle into the harvest, and to rend the
prey from the spoiler! Surely the labourer is worthy of his hire, and the
city, with its captives, should be given to him that wins it?”

“Nay,” said Macbriar, who was surprised at the degree of agitation which
Balfour displayed, “chafe not thyself because of the ungodly. Heaven will
use its own instruments; and who knows but this youth”--

“Hush! hush!” said Burley; “do not discredit thine own better judgment.
It was thou that first badest me beware of this painted sepulchre--this
lacquered piece of copper, that passed current with me for gold. It fares
ill, even with the elect, when they neglect the guidance of such pious
pastors as thou. But our carnal affections will mislead us--this
ungrateful boy’s father was mine ancient friend. They must be as earnest
in their struggles as thou, Ephraim Macbriar, that would shake themselves
clear of the clogs and chains of humanity.”

This compliment touched the preacher in the most sensible part; and
Burley deemed, therefore, he should find little difficulty in moulding
his opinions to the support of his own views, more especially as they
agreed exactly in their high-strained opinions of church government.

“Let us instantly,” he said, “go up to the Tower; there is that among the
records in yonder fortress, which, well used as I can use it, shall be
worth to us a valiant leader and an hundred horsemen.”

“But will such be the fitting aids of the children of the Covenant?” said
the preacher. “We have already among us too many who hunger after lands,
and silver and gold, rather than after the Word; it is not by such that
our deliverance shall be wrought out.”

“Thou errest,” said Burley; “we must work by means, and these worldly men
shall be our instruments. At all events, the Moabitish woman shall be
despoiled of her inheritance, and neither the malignant Evandale, nor the
erastian Morton, shall possess yonder castle and lands, though they may
seek in marriage the daughter thereof.”

So saying, he led the way to Tillietudlem, where he seized upon the plate
and other valuables for the use of the army, ransacked the charter-room,
and other receptacles for family papers, and treated with contempt the
remonstrances of those who reminded him, that the terms granted to the
garrison had guaranteed respect to private property.

Burley and Macbriar, having established themselves in their new
acquisition, were joined by Kettledrummle in the course of the day, and
also by the Laird of Langcale, whom that active divine had contrived to
seduce, as Poundtext termed it, from the pure light in which he had been
brought up. Thus united, they sent to the said Poundtext an invitation,
or rather a summons, to attend a council at Tillietudlem. He remembered,
however, that the door had an iron grate, and the Keep a dungeon, and
resolved not to trust himself with his incensed colleagues. He therefore
retreated, or rather fled, to Hamilton, with the tidings, that Burley,
Macbriar, and Kettledrummle, were coming to Hamilton as soon as they
could collect a body of Cameronians sufficient to overawe the rest of the
army.

“And ye see,” concluded Poundtext, with a deep sigh, “that they will then
possess a majority in the council; for Langcale, though he has always
passed for one of the honest and rational party, cannot be suitably or
preceesely termed either fish, or flesh, or gude red-herring--whoever has
the stronger party has Langcale.”

Thus concluded the heavy narrative of honest Poundtext, who sighed
deeply, as he considered the danger in which he was placed betwixt
unreasonable adversaries amongst themselves and the common enemy from
without. Morton exhorted him to patience, temper, and composure; informed
him of the good hope he had of negotiating for peace and indemnity
through means of Lord Evandale, and made out to him a very fair prospect
that he should again return to his own parchment-bound Calvin, his
evening pipe of tobacco, and his noggin of inspiring ale, providing
always he would afford his effectual support and concurrence to the
measures which he, Morton, had taken for a general pacification.

     [Note:  Moderate Presbyterians. The author does not, by any means,
     desire that Poundtext should be regarded as a just representation of
     the moderate presbyterians, among whom were many ministers whose
     courage was equal to their good sense and sound views of religion.
     Were he to write the tale anew, he would probably endeavour to give
     the character a higher turn. It is certain, however, that the
     Cameronians imputed to their opponents in opinion concerning the
     Indulgence, or others of their strained and fanatical notions, a
     disposition not only to seek their own safety, but to enjoy
     themselves. Hamilton speaks of three clergymen of this description
     as follows:--

     “They pretended great zeal against the Indulgence; but alas! that
     was all their practice, otherwise being but very gross, which I
     shall but hint at in short. When great Cameron and those with him
     were taking many a cold blast and storm in the fields and among the
     cot-houses in Scotland, these three had for the most part their
     residence in Glasgow, where they found good quarter and a full
     table, which I doubt not but some bestowed upon them from real
     affection to the Lord’s cause; and when these three were together,
     their greatest work was who should make the finest and sharpest
     roundel, and breathe the quickest jests upon one another, and to
     tell what valiant acts they were to do, and who could laugh loudest
     and most heartily among them; and when at any time they came out to
     the country, whatever other things they had, they were careful each
     of them to have a great flask of brandy with them, which was very
     heavy to some, particularly to Mr Cameron, Mr Cargill, and Henry
     Hall--I shall name no more.”--Faithful Contendings, p. 198.]

Thus backed and comforted, Poundtext resolved magnanimously to await the
coming of the Cameronians to the general rendezvous.

Burley and his confederates had drawn together a considerable body of
these sectaries, amounting to a hundred horse and about fifteen hundred
foot, clouded and severe in aspect, morose and jealous in communication,
haughty of heart, and confident, as men who believed that the pale of
salvation was open for them exclusively; while all other Christians,
however slight were the shades of difference of doctrine from their own,
were in fact little better than outcasts or reprobates. These men entered
the presbyterian camp, rather as dubious and suspicious allies, or
possibly antagonists, than as men who were heartily embarked in the same
cause, and exposed to the same dangers, with their more moderate brethren
in arms. Burley made no private visits to his colleagues, and held no
communication with them on the subject of the public affairs, otherwise
than by sending a dry invitation to them to attend a meeting of the
general council for that evening.

On the arrival of Morton and Poundtext at the place of assembly, they
found their brethren already seated. Slight greeting passed between them,
and it was easy to see that no amicable conference was intended by those
who convoked the council. The first question was put by Macbriar, the
sharp eagerness of whose zeal urged him to the van on all occasions. He
desired to know by whose authority the malignant, called Lord Evandale,
had been freed from the doom of death, justly denounced against him.

“By my authority and Mr Morton’s,” replied Poundtext; who, besides being
anxious to give his companion a good opinion of his courage, confided
heartily in his support, and, moreover, had much less fear of
encountering one of his own profession, and who confined himself to the
weapons of theological controversy, in which Poundtext feared no man,
than of entering into debate with the stern homicide Balfour.

“And who, brother,” said Kettledrummle, “who gave you authority to
interpose in such a high matter?”

“The tenor of our commission,” answered Poundtext, “gives us authority to
bind and to loose. If Lord Evandale was justly doomed to die by the voice
of one of our number, he was of a surety lawfully redeemed from death by
the warrant of two of us.”

“Go to, go to,” said Burley; “we know your motives; it was to send that
silkworm--that gilded trinket--that embroidered trifle of a lord, to bear
terms of peace to the tyrant.”

“It was so,” replied Morton, who saw his companion begin to flinch before
the fierce eye of Balfour--“it was so; and what then?--Are we to plunge
the nation in endless war, in order to pursue schemes which are equally
wild, wicked, and unattainable?”

“Hear him!” said Balfour; “he blasphemeth.”

“It is false,” said Morton; “they blaspheme who pretend to expect
miracles, and neglect the use of the human means with which Providence
has blessed them. I repeat it--Our avowed object is the re-establishment
of peace on fair and honourable terms of security to our religion and our
liberty. We disclaim any desire to tyrannize over those of others.”

The debate would now have run higher than ever, but they were interrupted
by intelligence that the Duke of Monmouth had commenced his march towards
the west, and was already advanced half way from Edinburgh. This news
silenced their divisions for the moment, and it was agreed that the next
day should be held as a fast of general humiliation for the sins of the
land; that the Reverend Mr Poundtext should preach to the army in the
morning, and Kettledrummle in the afternoon; that neither should touch
upon any topics of schism or of division, but animate the soldiers to
resist to the blood, like brethren in a good cause. This healing overture
having been agreed to, the moderate party ventured upon another proposal,
confiding that it would have the support of Langcale, who looked
extremely blank at the news which they had just received, and might be
supposed reconverted to moderate measures. It was to be presumed, they
said, that since the King had not intrusted the command of his forces
upon the present occasion to any of their active oppressors, but, on the
contrary, had employed a nobleman distinguished by gentleness of temper,
and a disposition favourable to their cause, there must be some better
intention entertained towards them than they had yet experienced. They
contended, that it was not only prudent but necessary to ascertain, from
a communication with the Duke of Monmouth, whether he was not charged
with some secret instructions in their favour. This could only be learned
by dispatching an envoy to his army.

“And who will undertake the task?” said Burley, evading a proposal too
reasonable to be openly resisted--“Who will go up to their camp, knowing
that John Grahame of Claverhouse hath sworn to hang up whomsoever we
shall dispatch towards them, in revenge of the death of the young man his
nephew?”

“Let that be no obstacle,” said Morton; “I will with pleasure encounter
any risk attached to the bearer of your errand.”

“Let him go,” said Balfour, apart to Macbriar; “our councils will be well
rid of his presence.”

The motion, therefore, received no contradiction even from those who were
expected to have been most active in opposing it; and it was agreed that
Henry Morton should go to the camp of the Duke of Monmouth, in order to
discover upon what terms the insurgents would be admitted to treat with
him. As soon as his errand was made known, several of the more moderate
party joined in requesting him to make terms upon the footing of the
petition intrusted to Lord Evandale’s hands; for the approach of the
King’s army spread a general trepidation, by no means allayed by the high
tone assumed by the Cameronians, which had so little to support it,
excepting their own headlong zeal. With these instructions, and with
Cuddie as his attendant, Morton set forth towards the royal camp, at all
the risks which attend those who assume the office of mediator during the
heat of civil discord.

Morton had not proceeded six or seven miles, before he perceived that he
was on the point of falling in with the van of the royal forces; and, as
he ascended a height, saw all the roads in the neighbourhood occupied by
armed men marching in great order towards Bothwell-muir, an open common,
on which they proposed to encamp for that evening, at the distance of
scarcely two miles from the Clyde, on the farther side of which river the
army of the insurgents was encamped. He gave himself up to the first
advanced-guard of cavalry which he met, as bearer of a flag of truce, and
communicated his desire to obtain access to the Duke of Monmouth. The
non-commissioned officer who commanded the party made his report to his
superior, and he again to another in still higher command, and both
immediately rode to the spot where Morton was detained.

“You are but losing your time, my friend, and risking your life,” said
one of them, addressing Morton; “the Duke of Monmouth will receive no
terms from traitors with arms in their hands, and your cruelties have
been such as to authorize retaliation of every kind. Better trot your nag
back and save his mettle to-day, that he may save your life to-morrow.”

“I cannot think,” said Morton, “that even if the Duke of Monmouth should
consider us as criminals, he would condemn so large a body of his
fellow-subjects without even hearing what they have to plead for
themselves. On my part I fear nothing. I am conscious of having consented
to, or authorized, no cruelty, and the fear of suffering innocently for
the crimes of others shall not deter me from executing my commission.”

The two officers looked at each other.

“I have an idea,” said the younger, “that this is the young man of whom
Lord Evandale spoke.”

“Is my Lord Evandale in the army?” said Morton.

“He is not,” replied the officer; “we left him at Edinburgh, too much
indisposed to take the field.--Your name, sir, I presume, is Henry
Morton?”

“It is, sir,” answered Morton.

“We will not oppose your seeing the Duke, sir,” said the officer, with
more civility of manner; “but you may assure yourself it will be to no
purpose; for, were his Grace disposed to favour your people, others are
joined in commission with him who will hardly consent to his doing so.”

“I shall be sorry to find it thus,” said Morton; “but my duty requires
that I should persevere in my desire to have an interview with him.”

“Lumley,” said the superior officer, “let the Duke know of Mr Morton’s
arrival, and remind his Grace that this is the person of whom Lord
Evandale spoke so highly.”

The officer returned with a message that the General could not see Mr
Morton that evening, but would receive him by times in the ensuing
morning. He was detained in a neighbouring cottage all night, but treated
with civility, and every thing provided for his accommodation. Early on
the next morning the officer he had first seen came to conduct him to his
audience.

The army was drawn out, and in the act of forming column for march, or
attack. The Duke was in the centre, nearly a mile from the place where
Morton had passed the night. In riding towards the General, he had an
opportunity of estimating the force which had been assembled for the
suppression of the hasty and ill-concerted insurrection. There were three
or four regiments of English, the flower of Charles’s army--there were
the Scottish Life-Guards, burning with desire to revenge their late
defeat--other Scottish regiments of regulars were also assembled, and a
large body of cavalry, consisting partly of gentlemen-volunteers, partly
of the tenants of the crown who did military duty for their fiefs. Morton
also observed several strong parties of Highlanders drawn from the points
nearest to the Lowland frontiers, a people, as already mentioned,
particularly obnoxious to the western whigs, and who hated and despised
them in the same proportion. These were assembled under their chiefs, and
made part of this formidable array. A complete train of field-artillery
accompanied these troops; and the whole had an air so imposing, that it
seemed nothing short of an actual miracle could prevent the ill-equipped,
ill-modelled, and tumultuary army of the insurgents from being utterly
destroyed. The officer who accompanied Morton endeavoured to gather from
his looks the feelings with which this splendid and awful parade of
military force had impressed him. But, true to the cause he had espoused,
he laboured successfully to prevent the anxiety which he felt from
appearing in his countenance, and looked around him on the warlike
display as on a sight which he expected, and to which he was indifferent.

“You see the entertainment prepared for you,” said the officers.

“If I had no appetite for it,” replied Morton, “I should not have been
accompanying you at this moment. But I shall be better pleased with a
more peaceful regale, for the sake of all parties.”

As they spoke thus, they approached the commander-in-chief, who,
surrounded by several officers, was seated upon a knoll commanding an
extensive prospect of the distant country, and from which could be easily
discovered the windings of the majestic Clyde, and the distant camp of
the insurgents on the opposite bank. The officers of the royal army
appeared to be surveying the ground, with the purpose of directing an
immediate attack. When Captain Lumley, the officer who accompanied
Morton, had whispered in Monmouth’s ear his name and errand, the Duke
made a signal for all around him to retire, excepting only two general
officers of distinction. While they spoke together in whispers for a few
minutes before Morton was permitted to advance, he had time to study the
appearance of the persons with whom he was to treat.

It was impossible for any one to look upon the Duke of Monmouth without
being captivated by his personal graces and accomplishments, of which the
great High-Priest of all the Nine afterwards recorded--

“Whate’er he did was done with so much ease, In him alone ‘twas natural
to please; His motions all accompanied with grace, And Paradise was
open’d in his face.” Yet to a strict observer, the manly beauty of
Monmouth’s face was occasionally rendered less striking by an air of
vacillation and uncertainty, which seemed to imply hesitation and doubt
at moments when decisive resolution was most necessary.

Beside him stood Claverhouse, whom we have already fully described, and
another general officer whose appearance was singularly striking. His
dress was of the antique fashion of Charles the First’s time, and
composed of shamoy leather, curiously slashed, and covered with antique
lace and garniture. His boots and spurs might be referred to the same
distant period. He wore a breastplate, over which descended a grey beard
of venerable length, which he cherished as a mark of mourning for Charles
the First, having never shaved since that monarch was brought to the
scaffold. His head was uncovered, and almost perfectly bald. His high and
wrinkled forehead, piercing grey eyes, and marked features, evinced age
unbroken by infirmity, and stern resolution unsoftened by humanity. Such
is the outline, however feebly expressed, of the celebrated General
Thomas Dalzell,

     [Note:  Usually called Tom Dalzell. In Crichton’s Memoirs, edited by
     Swift, where a particular account of this remarkable person’s dress
     and habits is given, he is said never to have worn boots. The
     following account of his rencounter with John Paton of Meadowhead,
     showed, that in action at least he wore pretty stout ones, unless
     the reader be inclined to believe in the truth of his having a
     charm, which made him proof against lead.

     “Dalzell,” says Paton’s biographer, “advanced the whole left wing of
     his army on Colonel Wallace’s right. Here Captain Paton behaved with
     great courage and gallantry. Dalzell, knowing him in the former
     wars, advanced upon him himself, thinking to take him prisoner. Upon
     his approach, each presented his pistol. On their first discharge,
     Captain Paton, perceiving his pistol ball to hop upon Dalzell’s
     boots, and knowing what was the cause, (he having proof,) put his
     hand in his pocket for some small pieces of silver he had there for
     the purpose, and put one of them into his other pistol. But Dalzell,
     having his eye upon him in the meanwhile, retired behind his own
     man, who by that means was slain.”]

a man more feared and hated by the whigs than even Claverhouse himself,
and who executed the same violences against them out of a detestation of
their persons, or perhaps an innate severity of temper, which Grahame
only resorted to on political accounts, as the best means of intimidating
the followers of presbytery, and of destroying that sect entirely.

The presence of these two generals, one of whom he knew by person, and
the other by description, seemed to Morton decisive of the fate of his
embassy. But, notwithstanding his youth and inexperience, and the
unfavourable reception which his proposals seemed likely to meet with, he
advanced boldly towards them upon receiving a signal to that purpose,
determined that the cause of his country, and of those with whom he had
taken up arms, should suffer nothing from being intrusted to him.
Monmouth received him with the graceful courtesy which attended even his
slightest actions; Dalzell regarded him with a stern, gloomy, and
impatient frown; and Claverhouse, with a sarcastic smile and inclination
of his head, seemed to claim him as an old acquaintance.

“You come, sir, from these unfortunate people, now assembled in arms,”
 said the Duke of Monmouth, “and your name, I believe, is Morton; will you
favour us with the pupport of your errand?”

“It is contained, my lord,” answered Morton, “in a paper, termed a
Remonstrance and Supplication, which my Lord Evandale has placed, I
presume, in your Grace’s hands?”

“He has done so, sir,” answered the Duke; “and I understand, from Lord
Evandale, that Mr Morton has behaved in these unhappy matters with much
temperance and generosity, for which I have to request his acceptance of
my thanks.”

Here Morton observed Dalzell shake his head indignantly, and whisper
something into Claverhouse’s ear, who smiled in return, and elevated his
eyebrows, but in a degree so slight as scarce to be perceptible. The
Duke, taking the petition from his pocket, proceeded, obviously
struggling between the native gentleness of his own disposition, and
perhaps his conviction that the petitioners demanded no more than their
rights, and the desire, on the other hand, of enforcing the king’s
authority, and complying with the sterner opinions of the colleagues in
office, who had been assigned for the purpose of controlling as well as
advising him.

“There are, Mr Morton, in this paper, proposals, as to the abstract
propriety of which I must now waive delivering any opinion. Some of them
appear to me reasonable and just; and, although I have no express
instructions from the King upon the subject, yet I assure you, Mr Morton,
and I pledge my honour, that I will interpose in your behalf, and use my
utmost influence to procure you satisfaction from his Majesty. But you
must distinctly understand, that I can only treat with supplicants, not
with rebels; and, as a preliminary to every act of favour on my side, I
must insist upon your followers laying down their arms and dispersing
themselves.”

“To do so, my Lord Duke,” replied Morton, undauntedly, “were to
acknowledge ourselves the rebels that our enemies term us. Our swords are
drawn for recovery of a birthright wrested from us; your Grace’s
moderation and good sense has admitted the general justice of our
demand,--a demand which would never have been listened to had it not been
accompanied with the sound of the trumpet. We cannot, therefore, and dare
not, lay down our arms, even on your Grace’s assurance of indemnity,
unless it were accompanied with some reasonable prospect of the redress
of the wrongs which we complain of.”

“Mr Morton,” replied the Duke, “you are young, but you must have seen
enough of the world to perceive, that requests, by no means dangerous or
unreasonable in themselves, may become so by the way in which they are
pressed and supported.”

“We may reply, my lord,” answered Morton, “that this disagreeable mode
has not been resorted to until all others have failed.”

“Mr Morton,” said the Duke, “I must break this conference short. We are
in readiness to commence the attack; yet I will suspend it for an hour,
until you can communicate my answer to the insurgents. If they please to
disperse their followers, lay down their arms, and send a peaceful
deputation to me, I will consider myself bound in honour to do all I can
to procure redress of their grievances; if not, let them stand on their
guard and expect the consequences.--I think, gentlemen,” he added,
turning to his two colleagues, “this is the utmost length to which I can
stretch my instructions in favour of these misguided persons?”

“By my faith,” answered Dalzell, suddenly, “and it is a length to which
my poor judgment durst not have stretched them, considering I had both
the King and my conscience to answer to! But, doubtless, your Grace knows
more of the King’s private mind than we, who have only the letter of our
instructions to look to.”

Monmouth blushed deeply. “You hear,” he said, addressing Morton, “General
Dalzell blames me for the length which I am disposed to go in your
favour.”

“General Dalzell’s sentiments, my lord,” replied Morton, “are such as we
expected from him; your Grace’s such as we were prepared to hope you
might please to entertain. Indeed I cannot help adding, that, in the case
of the absolute submission upon which you are pleased to insist, it might
still remain something less than doubtful how far, with such counsellors
around the King, even your Grace’s intercession might procure us
effectual relief. But I will communicate to our leaders your Grace’s
answer to our supplication; and, since we cannot obtain peace, we must
bid war welcome as well as we may.”

“Good morning, sir,” said the Duke; “I suspend the movements of attack
for one hour, and for one hour only. If you have an answer to return
within that space of time, I will receive it here, and earnestly entreat
it may be such as to save the effusion of blood.”

At this moment another smile of deep meaning passed between Dalzell and
Claverhouse. The Duke observed it, and repeated his words with great
dignity.

“Yes, gentlemen, I said I trusted the answer might be such as would save
the effusion of blood. I hope the sentiment neither needs your scorn, nor
incurs your displeasure.”

Dalzell returned the Duke’s frown with a stern glance, but made no
answer. Claverhouse, his lip just curled with an ironical smile, bowed,
and said, “It was not for him to judge the propriety of his Grace’s
sentiments.”

The Duke made a signal to Morton to withdraw. He obeyed; and, accompanied
by his former escort, rode slowly through the army to return to the camp
of the non-conformists. As he passed the fine corps of Life-Guards, he
found Claverhouse was already at their head. That officer no sooner saw
Morton, than he advanced and addressed him with perfect politeness of
manner.

“I think this is not the first time I have seen Mr Morton of Milnwood?”

“It is not Colonel Grahame’s fault,” said Morton, smiling sternly, “that
he or any one else should be now incommoded by my presence.”

“Allow me at least to say,” replied Claverhouse, “that Mr Morton’s
present situation authorizes the opinion I have entertained of him, and
that my proceedings at our last meeting only squared to my duty.”

“To reconcile your actions to your duty, and your duty to your
conscience, is your business, Colonel Grahame, not mine,” said Morton,
justly offended at being thus, in a manner, required to approve of the
sentence under which he had so nearly suffered.

“Nay, but stay an instant,” said Claverhouse; “Evandale insists that I
have some wrongs to acquit myself of in your instance. I trust I shall
always make some difference between a high-minded gentleman, who, though
misguided, acts upon generous principles, and the crazy fanatical clowns
yonder, with the bloodthirsty assassins who head them. Therefore, if they
do not disperse upon your return, let me pray you instantly come over to
our army and surrender yourself, for, be assured, they cannot stand our
assault for half an hour. If you will be ruled and do this, be sure to
enquire for me. Monmouth, strange as it may seem, cannot protect
you--Dalzell will not--I both can and will; and I have promised to
Evandale to do so if you will give me an opportunity.”

“I should owe Lord Evandale my thanks,” answered Morton, coldly, “did not
his scheme imply an opinion that I might be prevailed on to desert those
with whom I am engaged. For you, Colonel Grahame, if you will honour me
with a different species of satisfaction, it is probable, that, in an
hour’s time, you will find me at the west end of Bothwell Bridge with my
sword in my hand.”

“I shall be happy to meet you there,” said Claverhouse, “but still more
so should you think better on my first proposal.”

They then saluted and parted.

“That is a pretty lad, Lumley,” said Claverhouse, addressing himself to
the other officer; “but he is a lost man--his blood be upon his head.”

So saying, he addressed himself to the task of preparation for instant
battle.



CHAPTER X.

               But, hark! the tent has changed its voice,
               There’s peace and rest nae langer.
                                                  Burns.

               The Lowdien Mallisha they
               Came with their coats of blew;
               Five hundred men from London came,
               Claid in a reddish hue.
                                        Bothwell Lines.

When Morton had left the well-ordered outposts of the regular army, and
arrived at those which were maintained by his own party, he could not but
be peculiarly sensible of the difference of discipline, and entertain a
proportional degree of fear for the consequences. The same discords which
agitated the counsels of the insurgents, raged even among their meanest
followers; and their picquets and patrols were more interested and
occupied in disputing the true occasion and causes of wrath, and defining
the limits of Erastian heresy, than in looking out for and observing the
motions of their enemies, though within hearing of the royal drums and
trumpets.

There was a guard, however, of the insurgent army, posted at the long and
narrow bridge of Bothwell, over which the enemy must necessarily advance
to the attack; but, like the others, they were divided and disheartened;
and, entertaining the idea that they were posted on a desperate service,
they even meditated withdrawing themselves to the main body. This would
have been utter ruin; for, on the defence or loss of this pass the
fortune of the day was most likely to depend. All beyond the bridge was a
plain open field, excepting a few thickets of no great depth, and,
consequently, was ground on which the undisciplined forces of the
insurgents, deficient as they were in cavalry, and totally unprovided
with artillery, were altogether unlikely to withstand the shock of
regular troops.

Morton, therefore, viewed the pass carefully, and formed the hope, that
by occupying two or three houses on the left bank of the river, with the
copse and thickets of alders and hazels that lined its side, and by
blockading the passage itself, and shutting the gates of a portal, which,
according to the old fashion, was built on the central arch of the bridge
of Bothwell, it might be easily defended against a very superior force.
He issued directions accordingly, and commanded the parapets of the
bridge, on the farther side of the portal, to be thrown down, that they
might afford no protection to the enemy when they should attempt the
passage. Morton then conjured the party at this important post to be
watchful and upon their guard, and promised them a speedy and strong
reinforcement. He caused them to advance videttes beyond the river to
watch the progress of the enemy, which outposts he directed should be
withdrawn to the left bank as soon as they approached; finally, he
charged them to send regular information to the main body of all that
they should observe. Men under arms, and in a situation of danger, are
usually sufficiently alert in appreciating the merit of their officers.
Morton’s intelligence and activity gained the confidence of these men,
and with better hope and heart than before, they began to fortify their
position in the manner he recommended, and saw him depart with three loud
cheers.

Morton now galloped hastily towards the main body of the insurgents, but
was surprised and shocked at the scene of confusion and clamour which it
exhibited, at the moment when good order and concord were of such
essential consequence. Instead of being drawn up in line of battle, and
listening to the commands of their officers, they were crowding together
in a confused mass, that rolled and agitated itself like the waves of the
sea, while a thousand tongues spoke, or rather vociferated, and not a
single ear was found to listen. Scandalized at a scene so extraordinary,
Morton endeavoured to make his way through the press to learn, and, if
possible, to remove, the cause of this so untimely disorder. While he is
thus engaged, we shall make the reader acquainted with that which he was
some time in discovering.

The insurgents had proceeded to hold their day of humiliation, which,
agreeably to the practice of the puritans during the earlier civil war,
they considered as the most effectual mode of solving all difficulties,
and waiving all discussions. It was usual to name an ordinary week-day
for this purpose, but on this occasion the Sabbath itself was adopted,
owing to the pressure of the time and the vicinity of the enemy. A
temporary pulpit, or tent, was erected in the middle of the encampment;
which, according to the fixed arrangement, was first to be occupied by
the Reverend Peter Poundtext, to whom the post of honour was assigned, as
the eldest clergyman present. But as the worthy divine, with slow and
stately steps, was advancing towards the rostrum which had been prepared
for him, he was prevented by the unexpected apparition of Habakkuk
Mucklewrath, the insane preacher, whose appearance had so much startled
Morton at the first council of the insurgents after their victory at
Loudon-hill. It is not known whether he was acting under the influence
and instigation of the Cameronians, or whether he was merely compelled by
his own agitated imagination, and the temptation of a vacant pulpit
before him, to seize the opportunity of exhorting so respectable a
congregation. It is only certain that he took occasion by the forelock,
sprung into the pulpit, cast his eyes wildly round him, and, undismayed
by the murmurs of many of the audience, opened the Bible, read forth as
his text from the thirteenth chapter of Deuteronomy, “Certain men, the
children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the
inhabitants of their city, saying, let us go and serve other gods, which
you have not known;” and then rushed at once into the midst of his
subject.

The harangue of Mucklewrath was as wild and extravagant as his intrusion
was unauthorized and untimely; but it was provokingly coherent, in so far
as it turned entirely upon the very subjects of discord, of which it had
been agreed to adjourn the consideration until some more suitable
opportunity. Not a single topic did he omit which had offence in it; and,
after charging the moderate party with heresy, with crouching to tyranny,
with seeking to be at peace with God’s enemies, he applied to Morton, by
name, the charge that he had been one of those men of Belial, who, in the
words of his text, had gone out from amongst them, to withdraw the
inhabitants of his city, and to go astray after false gods. To him, and
all who followed him, or approved of his conduct, Mucklewrath denounced
fury and vengeance, and exhorted those who would hold themselves pure and
undefiled to come up from the midst of them.

“Fear not,” he said, “because of the neighing of horses, or the
glittering of breastplates. Seek not aid of the Egyptians, because of the
enemy, though they may be numerous as locusts, and fierce as dragons.
Their trust is not as our trust, nor their rock as our rock; how else
shall a thousand fly before one, and two put ten thousand to the flight!
I dreamed it in the visions of the night, and the voice said, ‘Habakkuk,
take thy fan and purge the wheat from the chaff, that they be not both
consumed with the fire of indignation and the lightning of fury.’
Wherefore, I say, take this Henry Morton--this wretched Achan, who hath
brought the accursed thing among ye, and made himself brethren in the
camp of the enemy--take him and stone him with stones, and thereafter
burn him with fire, that the wrath may depart from the children of the
Covenant. He hath not taken a Babylonish garment, but he hath sold the
garment of righteousness to the woman of Babylon--he hath not taken two
hundred shekels of fine silver, but he hath bartered the truth, which is
more precious than shekels of silver or wedges of gold.”

At this furious charge, brought so unexpectedly against one of their most
active commanders, the audience broke out into open tumult, some
demanding that there should instantly be a new election of officers, into
which office none should hereafter be admitted who had, in their phrase,
touched of that which was accursed, or temporized more or less with the
heresies and corruptions of the times. While such was the demand of the
Cameronians, they vociferated loudly, that those who were not with them
were against them,--that it was no time to relinquish the substantial
part of the covenanted testimony of the Church, if they expected a
blessing on their arms and their cause; and that, in their eyes, a
lukewarm Presbyterian was little better than a Prelatist, an
Anti-Covenanter, and a Nullifidian.

The parties accused repelled the charge of criminal compliance and
defection from the truth with scorn and indignation, and charged their
accusers with breach of faith, as well as with wrong-headed and
extravagant zeal in introducing such divisions into an army, the joint
strength of which could not, by the most sanguine, be judged more than
sufficient to face their enemies. Poundtext, and one or two others, made
some faint efforts to stem the increasing fury of the factious,
exclaiming to those of the other party, in the words of the
Patriarch,--“Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee,
and between thy herdsmen and my herdsmen, for we be brethren.” No
pacific overture could possibly obtain audience. It was in vain that
even Burley himself, when he saw the dissension proceed to such ruinous
lengths, exerted his stern and deep voice, commanding silence and
obedience to discipline. The spirit of insubordination had gone forth,
and it seemed as if the exhortation of Habakkuk Mucklewrath had
communicated a part of his frenzy to all who heard him. The wiser, or
more timid part of the assembly, were already withdrawing themselves
from the field, and giving up their cause as lost. Others were
moderating a harmonious call, as they somewhat improperly termed it, to
new officers, and dismissing those formerly chosen, and that with a
tumult and clamour worthy of the deficiency of good sense and good order
implied in the whole transaction. It was at this moment when Morton
arrived in the field and joined the army, in total confusion, and on the
point of dissolving itself. His arrival occasioned loud exclamations of
applause on the one side, and of imprecation on the other.

“What means this ruinous disorder at such a moment?” he exclaimed to
Burley, who, exhausted with his vain exertions to restore order, was now
leaning on his sword, and regarding the confusion with an eye of resolute
despair.

“It means,” he replied, “that God has delivered us into the hands of our
enemies.”

“Not so,” answered Morton, with a voice and gesture which compelled many
to listen; “it is not God who deserts us, it is we who desert him, and
dishonour ourselves by disgracing and betraying the cause of freedom and
religion.--Hear me,” he exclaimed, springing to the pulpit which
Mucklewrath had been compelled to evacuate by actual exhaustion--“I bring
from the enemy an offer to treat, if you incline to lay down your arms. I
can assure you the means of making an honourable defence, if you are of
more manly tempers. The time flies fast on. Let us resolve either for
peace or war; and let it not be said of us in future days, that six
thousand Scottish men in arms had neither courage to stand their ground
and fight it out, nor prudence to treat for peace, nor even the coward’s
wisdom to retreat in good time and with safety. What signifies
quarrelling on minute points of church-discipline, when the whole edifice
is threatened with total destruction? O, remember, my brethren, that the
last and worst evil which God brought upon the people whom he had once
chosen--the last and worst punishment of their blindness and hardness of
heart, was the bloody dissensions which rent asunder their city, even
when the enemy were thundering at its gates!”

Some of the audience testified their feeling of this exhortation, by loud
exclamations of applause; others by hooting, and exclaiming--“To your
tents, O Israel!”

Morton, who beheld the columns of the enemy already beginning to appear
on the right bank, and directing their march upon the bridge, raised his
voice to its utmost pitch, and, pointing at the same time with his hand,
exclaimed,--“Silence your senseless clamours, yonder is the enemy! On
maintaining the bridge against him depend our lives, as well as our hope
to reclaim our laws and liberties.--There shall at least one Scottishman
die in their defence.--Let any one who loves his country follow me!”

The multitude had turned their heads in the direction to which he
pointed. The sight of the glittering files of the English Foot-Guards,
supported by several squadrons of horse, of the cannon which the
artillerymen were busily engaged in planting against the bridge, of the
plaided clans who seemed to search for a ford, and of the long succession
of troops which were destined to support the attack, silenced at once
their clamorous uproar, and struck them with as much consternation as if
it were an unexpected apparition, and not the very thing which they ought
to have been looking out for. They gazed on each other, and on their
leaders, with looks resembling those that indicate the weakness of a
patient when exhausted by a fit of frenzy. Yet when Morton, springing
from the rostrum, directed his steps towards the bridge, he was followed
by about an hundred of the young men who were particularly attached to
his command.

Burley turned to Macbriar--“Ephraim,” he said, “it is Providence points
us the way, through the worldly wisdom of this latitudinarian youth.--He
that loves the light, let him follow Burley!”

“Tarry,” replied Macbriar; “it is not by Henry Morton, or such as he,
that our goings-out and our comings-in are to be meted; therefore tarry
with us. I fear treachery to the host from this nullifidian Achan--Thou
shalt not go with him. Thou art our chariots and our horsemen.”

“Hinder me not,” replied Burley; “he hath well said that all is lost, if
the enemy win the bridge--therefore let me not. Shall the children of
this generation be called wiser or braver than the children of the
sanctuary?--Array yourselves under your leaders--let us not lack supplies
of men and ammunition; and accursed be he who turneth back from the work
on this great day!”

Having thus spoken, he hastily marched towards the bridge, and was
followed by about two hundred of the most gallant and zealous of his
party. There was a deep and disheartened pause when Morton and Burley
departed. The commanders availed themselves of it to display their lines
in some sort of order, and exhorted those who were most exposed to throw
themselves upon their faces to avoid the cannonade which they might
presently expect. The insurgents ceased to resist or to remonstrate; but
the awe which had silenced their discords had dismayed their courage.
They suffered themselves to be formed into ranks with the docility of a
flock of sheep, but without possessing, for the time, more resolution or
energy; for they experienced a sinking of the heart, imposed by the
sudden and imminent approach of the danger which they had neglected to
provide against while it was yet distant. They were, however, drawn out
with some regularity; and as they still possessed the appearance of an
army, their leaders had only to hope that some favourable circumstance
would restore their spirits and courage.

Kettledrummle, Poundtext, Macbriar, and other preachers, busied
themselves in their ranks, and prevailed on them to raise a psalm. But
the superstitious among them observed, as an ill omen, that their song of
praise and triumph sunk into “a quaver of consternation,” and resembled
rather a penitentiary stave sung on the scaffold of a condemned criminal,
than the bold strain which had resounded along the wild heath of
Loudon-hill, in anticipation of that day’s victory. The melancholy melody
soon received a rough accompaniment; the royal soldiers shouted, the
Highlanders yelled, the cannon began to fire on one side, and the
musketry on both, and the bridge of Bothwell, with the banks adjacent,
were involved in wreaths of smoke.



CHAPTER XI.

                    As e’er ye saw the rain doun fa’,
                    Or yet the arrow from the bow,
                    Sae our Scots lads fell even down,
                    And they lay slain on every knowe.
                                        Old Ballad.

Ere Morton or Burley had reached the post to be defended, the enemy had
commenced an attack upon it with great spirit. The two regiments of
Foot-Guards, formed into a close column, rushed forward to the river; one
corps, deploying along the right bank, commenced a galling fire on the
defenders of the pass, while the other pressed on to occupy the bridge.
The insurgents sustained the attack with great constancy and courage; and
while part of their number returned the fire across the river, the rest
maintained a discharge of musketry upon the further end of the bridge
itself, and every avenue by which the soldiers endeavoured to approach
it. The latter suffered severely, but still gained ground, and the head
of their column was already upon the bridge, when the arrival of Morton
changed the scene; and his marksmen, commencing upon the pass a fire as
well aimed as it was sustained and regular, compelled the assailants to
retire with much loss. They were a second time brought up to the charge,
and a second time repulsed with still greater loss, as Burley had now
brought his party into action. The fire was continued with the utmost
vehemence on both sides, and the issue of the action seemed very dubious.

Monmouth, mounted on a superb white charger, might be discovered on the
top of the right bank of the river, urging, entreating, and animating the
exertions of his soldiers. By his orders, the cannon, which had hitherto
been employed in annoying the distant main body of the presbyterians,
were now turned upon the defenders of the bridge. But these tremendous
engines, being wrought much more slowly than in modern times, did not
produce the effect of annoying or terrifying the enemy to the extent
proposed. The insurgents, sheltered by copsewood along the bank of the
river, or stationed in the houses already mentioned, fought under cover,
while the royalists, owing to the precautions of Morton, were entirely
exposed. The defence was so protracted and obstinate, that the royal
generals began to fear it might be ultimately successful. While Monmouth
threw himself from his horse, and, rallying the Foot-Guards, brought them
on to another close and desperate attack, he was warmly seconded
by Dalzell, who, putting himself at the head of a body of
Lennox-Highlanders, rushed forward with their tremendous war-cry of
Loch-sloy.

     [Note: This was the slogan or war-cry of the MacFarlanes, taken from
     a lake near the head of Loch Lomond, in the centre of their ancient
     possessions on the western banks of that beautiful inland sea.]

The ammunition of the defenders of the bridge began to fail at this
important crisis; messages, commanding and imploring succours and
supplies, were in vain dispatched, one after the other, to the main body
of the presbyterian army, which remained inactively drawn up on the open
fields in the rear. Fear, consternation, and misrule, had gone abroad
among them, and while the post on which their safety depended required
to be instantly and powerfully reinforced, there remained none either to
command or to obey.

As the fire of the defenders of the bridge began to slacken, that of the
assailants increased, and in its turn became more fatal. Animated by the
example and exhortations of their generals, they obtained a footing upon
the bridge itself, and began to remove the obstacles by which it was
blockaded. The portal-gate was broke open, the beams, trunks of trees,
and other materials of the barricade, pulled down and thrown into the
river. This was not accomplished without opposition. Morton and Burley
fought in the very front of their followers, and encouraged them with
their pikes, halberds, and partisans, to encounter the bayonets of the
Guards, and the broadswords of the Highlanders. But those behind the
leaders began to shrink from the unequal combat, and fly singly, or in
parties of two or three, towards the main body, until the remainder were,
by the mere weight of the hostile column as much as by their weapons,
fairly forced from the bridge. The passage being now open, the enemy
began to pour over. But the bridge was long and narrow, which rendered
the manoeuvre slow as well as dangerous; and those who first passed had
still to force the houses, from the windows of which the Covenanters
continued to fire. Burley and Morton were near each other at this
critical moment.

“There is yet time,” said the former, “to bring down horse to attack
them, ere they can get into order; and, with the aid of God, we may thus
regain the bridge--hasten thou to bring them down, while I make the
defence good with this old and wearied body.”

Morton saw the importance of the advice, and, throwing himself on the
horse which cuddie held in readiness for him behind the thicket, galloped
towards a body of cavalry which chanced to be composed entirely of
Cameronians. Ere he could speak his errand, or utter his orders, he was
saluted by the execrations of the whole body.

“He flies!” they exclaimed--“the cowardly traitor flies like a hart from
the hunters, and hath left valiant Burley in the midst of the slaughter!”

“I do not fly,” said Morton. “I come to lead you to the attack. Advance
boldly, and we shall yet do well.”

“Follow him not!--Follow him not!”--such were the tumultuous exclamations
which resounded from the ranks;--“he hath sold you to the sword of the
enemy!”

And while Morton argued, entreated, and commanded in vain, the moment was
lost in which the advance might have been useful; and the outlet from the
bridge, with all its defences, being in complete possession of the enemy,
Burley and his remaining followers were driven back upon the main body,
to whom the spectacle of their hurried and harassed retreat was far from
restoring the confidence which they so much wanted.

In the meanwhile, the forces of the King crossed the bridge at their
leisure, and, securing the pass, formed in line of battle; while
Claverhouse, who, like a hawk perched on a rock, and eyeing the time to
pounce on its prey, had watched the event of the action from the opposite
bank, now passed the bridge at the head of his cavalry, at full trot,
and, leading them in squadrons through the intervals and round the flanks
of the royal infantry, formed them in line on the moor, and led them to
the charge, advancing in front with one large body, while other two
divisions threatened the flanks of the Covenanters. Their devoted army
was now in that situation when the slightest demonstration towards an
attack was certain to inspire panic. Their broken spirits and
disheartened courage were unable to endure the charge of the cavalry,
attended with all its terrible accompaniments of sight and sound;--the
rush of the horses at full speed, the shaking of the earth under their
feet, the glancing of the swords, the waving of the plumes, and the
fierce shouts of the cavaliers. The front ranks hardly attempted one
ill-directed and disorderly fire, and their rear were broken and flying
in confusion ere the charge had been completed; and in less than five
minutes the horsemen were mixed with them, cutting and hewing without
mercy. The voice of Claverhouse was heard, even above the din of
conflict, exclaiming to his soldiers--“Kill, kill--no quarter--think on
Richard Grahame!” The dragoons, many of whom had shared the disgrace of
Loudon-hill, required no exhortations to vengeance as easy as it was
complete. Their swords drank deep of slaughter among the unresisting
fugitives. Screams for quarter were only answered by the shouts with
which the pursuers accompanied their blows, and the whole field presented
one general scene of confused slaughter, flight, and pursuit.

About twelve hundred of the insurgents who remained in a body a little
apart from the rest, and out of the line of the charge of cavalry, threw
down their arms and surrendered at discretion, upon the approach of the
Duke of Monmouth at the head of the infantry. That mild-tempered nobleman
instantly allowed them the quarter which they prayed for; and, galloping
about through the field, exerted himself as much to stop the slaughter as
he had done to obtain the victory. While busied in this humane task he
met with General Dalzell, who was encouraging the fierce Highlanders and
royal volunteers to show their zeal for King and country, by quenching
the flame of the rebellion with the blood of the rebels.

“Sheathe your sword, I command you, General!” exclaimed the Duke, “and
sound the retreat. Enough of blood has been shed; give quarter to the
King’s misguided subjects.”

“I obey your Grace,” said the old man, wiping his bloody sword and
returning it to the scabbard; “but I warn you, at the same time, that
enough has not been done to intimidate these desperate rebels. Has not
your Grace heard that Basil Olifant has collected several gentlemen and
men of substance in the west, and is in the act of marching to join
them?”

“Basil Olifant?” said the Duke; “who, or what is he?”

“The next male heir to the last Earl of Torwood. He is disaffected to
government from his claim to the estate being set aside in favour of Lady
Margaret Bellenden; and I suppose the hope of getting the inheritance has
set him in motion.”

“Be his motives what they will,” replied Monmouth, “he must soon disperse
his followers, for this army is too much broken to rally again.
Therefore, once more, I command that the pursuit be stopped.”

“It is your Grace’s province to command, and to be responsible for your
commands,” answered Dalzell, as he gave reluctant orders for checking the
pursuit.

But the fiery and vindictive Grahame was already far out of hearing of
the signal of retreat, and continued with his cavalry an unwearied and
bloody pursuit, breaking, dispersing, and cutting to pieces all the
insurgents whom they could come up with.

Burley and Morton were both hurried off the field by the confused tide of
fugitives. They made some attempt to defend the streets of the town of
Hamilton; but, while labouring to induce the fliers to face about and
stand to their weapons. Burley received a bullet which broke his
sword-arm.

“May the hand be withered that shot the shot!” he exclaimed, as the sword
which he was waving over his head fell powerless to his side. “I can
fight no longer.” [Note: This incident, and Burley’s exclamation, are
taken from the records.]

Then turning his horse’s head, he retreated out of the confusion. Morton
also now saw that the continuing his unavailing efforts to rally the
fliers could only end in his own death or captivity, and, followed by the
faithful Cuddie, he extricated himself from the press, and, being well
mounted, leaped his horse over one or two enclosures, and got into the
open country.

From the first hill which they gained in their flight, they looked back,
and beheld the whole country covered with their fugitive companions, and
with the pursuing dragoons, whose wild shouts and halloo, as they did
execution on the groups whom they overtook, mingled with the groans and
screams of their victims, rose shrilly up the hill.

“It is impossible they can ever make head again,” said Morton.

“The head’s taen aff them, as clean as I wad bite it aff a sybo!”
 rejoined Cuddie. “Eh, Lord! see how the broadswords are flashing! war’s
a fearsome thing. They’ll be cunning that catches me at this wark
again.--But, for God’s sake, sir, let us mak for some strength!”

Morton saw the necessity of following the advice of his trusty squire.
They resumed a rapid pace, and continued it without intermission,
directing their course towards the wild and mountainous country, where
they thought it likely some part of the fugitives might draw together,
for the sake either of making defence, or of obtaining terms.



CHAPTER XII.

                            They require
               Of Heaven the hearts of lions, breath of tigers,
               Yea and the fierceness too.
                                             Fletcher.

Evening had fallen; and, for the last two hours, they had seen none of
their ill-fated companions, when Morton and his faithful attendant gained
the moorland, and approached a large and solitary farmhouse, situated in
the entrance of a wild glen, far remote from any other habitation.

“Our horses,” said Morton, “will carry us no farther without rest or
food, and we must try to obtain them here, if possible.”

So speaking, he led the way to the house. The place had every appearance
of being inhabited. There was smoke issuing from the chimney in a
considerable volume, and the marks of recent hoofs were visible around
the door. They could even hear the murmuring of human voices within the
house. But all the lower windows were closely secured; and when they
knocked at the door, no answer was returned. After vainly calling and
entreating admittance, they withdrew to the stable, or shed, in order to
accommodate their horses, ere they used farther means of gaining
admission. In this place they found ten or twelve horses, whose state of
fatigue, as well as the military yet disordered appearance of their
saddles and accoutrements, plainly indicated that their owners were
fugitive insurgents in their own circumstances.

“This meeting bodes luck,” said Cuddie; “and they hae walth o’ beef,
that’s ae thing certain, for here’s a raw hide that has been about the
hurdies o’ a stot not half an hour syne--it’s warm yet.”

Encouraged by these appearances, they returned again to the house, and,
announcing themselves as men in the same predicament with the inmates,
clamoured loudly for admittance.

“Whoever ye be,” answered a stern voice from the window, after a long and
obdurate silence, “disturb not those who mourn for the desolation and
captivity of the land, and search out the causes of wrath and of
defection, that the stumbling-blocks may be removed over which we have
stumbled.”

“They are wild western whigs,” said Cuddie, in a whisper to his master,
“I ken by their language. Fiend hae me, if I like to venture on them!”

Morton, however, again called to the party within, and insisted on
admittance; but, finding his entreaties still disregarded, he opened one
of the lower windows, and pushing asunder the shutters, which were but
slightly secured, stepped into the large kitchen from which the voice had
issued. Cuddie followed him, muttering betwixt his teeth, as he put his
head within the window, “That he hoped there was nae scalding brose on
the fire;” and master and servant both found themselves in the company of
ten or twelve armed men, seated around the fire, on which refreshments
were preparing, and busied apparently in their devotions.

In the gloomy countenances, illuminated by the fire-light, Morton had no
difficulty in recognising several of those zealots who had most
distinguished themselves by their intemperate opposition to all moderate
measures, together with their noted pastor, the fanatical Ephraim
Macbriar, and the maniac, Habakkuk Mucklewrath. The Cameronians neither
stirred tongue nor hand to welcome their brethren in misfortune, but
continued to listen to the low murmured exercise of Macbriar, as he
prayed that the Almighty would lift up his hand from his people, and not
make an end in the day of his anger. That they were conscious of the
presence of the intruders only appeared from the sullen and indignant
glances which they shot at them, from time to time, as their eyes
encountered.

Morton, finding into what unfriendly society he had unwittingly intruded,
began to think of retreating; but, on turning his head, observed with
some alarm, that two strong men had silently placed themselves beside the
window, through which they had entered. One of these ominous sentinels
whispered to Cuddie, “Son of that precious woman, Mause Headrigg, do not
cast thy lot farther with this child of treachery and perdition--Pass on
thy way, and tarry not, for the avenger of blood is behind thee.”

With this he pointed to the window, out of which Cuddie jumped without
hesitation; for the intimation he had received plainly implied the
personal danger he would otherwise incur.

“Winnocks are no lucky wi’ me,” was his first reflection when he was in
the open air; his next was upon the probable fate of his master. “They’ll
kill him, the murdering loons, and think they’re doing a gude turn! but
I’se tak the back road for Hamilton, and see if I canna get some o’ our
ain folk to bring help in time of needcessity.”

So saying, Cuddie hastened to the stable, and taking the best horse he
could find instead of his own tired animal, he galloped off in the
direction he proposed.

The noise of his horse’s tread alarmed for an instant the devotion of the
fanatics. As it died in the distance, Macbriar brought his exercise to a
conclusion, and his audience raised themselves from the stooping posture,
and louring downward look, with which they had listened to it, and all
fixed their eyes sternly on Henry Morton.

“You bend strange countenances on me, gentlemen,” said he, addressing
them. “I am totally ignorant in what manner I can have deserved them.”

“Out upon thee! out upon thee!” exclaimed Mucklewrath, starting up: “the
word that thou hast spurned shall become a rock to crush and to bruise
thee; the spear which thou wouldst have broken shall pierce thy side; we
have prayed, and wrestled, and petitioned for an offering to atone the
sins of the congregation, and lo! the very head of the offence is
delivered into our hand. He hath burst in like a thief through the
window; he is a ram caught in the thicket, whose blood shall be a
drink-offering to redeem vengeance from the church, and the place shall
from henceforth be called Jehovah-Jireh, for the sacrifice is provided.
Up then, and bind the victim with cords to the horns of the altar!”

There was a movement among the party; and deeply did Morton regret at
that moment the incautious haste with which he had ventured into their
company. He was armed only with his sword, for he had left his pistols at
the bow of his saddle; and, as the whigs were all provided with
fire-arms, there was little or no chance of escaping from them by
resistance. The interposition, however, of Macbriar protected him for the
moment.

“Tarry yet a while, brethren--let us not use the sword rashly, lest the
load of innocent blood lie heavy on us.--Come,” he said, addressing
himself to Morton, “we will reckon with thee ere we avenge the cause thou
hast betrayed.--Hast thou not,” he continued, “made thy face as hard as
flint against the truth in all the assemblies of the host?”

“He has--he has,” murmured the deep voices of the assistants.

“He hath ever urged peace with the malignants,” said one.

“And pleaded for the dark and dismal guilt of the Indulgence,” said
another.

“And would have surrendered the host into the hands of Monmouth,” echoed
a third; “and was the first to desert the honest and manly Burley, while
he yet resisted at the pass. I saw him on the moor, with his horse bloody
with spurring, long ere the firing had ceased at the bridge.”

“Gentlemen,” said Morton, “if you mean to bear me down by clamour, and
take my life without hearing me, it is perhaps a thing in your power; but
you will sin before God and man by the commission of such a murder.”

“I say, hear the youth,” said Macbriar; “for Heaven knows our bowels have
yearned for him, that he might be brought to see the truth, and exert his
gifts in its defence. But he is blinded by his carnal knowledge, and has
spurned the light when it blazed before him.”

Silence being obtained, Morton proceeded to assert the good faith which
he had displayed in the treaty with Monmouth, and the active part he had
borne in the subsequent action.

“I may not, gentlemen,” he said, “be fully able to go the lengths you
desire, in assigning to those of my own religion the means of tyrannizing
over others; but none shall go farther in asserting our own lawful
freedom. And I must needs aver, that had others been of my mind in
counsel, or disposed to stand by my side in battle, we should this
evening, instead of being a defeated and discordant remnant, have
sheathed our weapons in an useful and honourable peace, or brandished
them triumphantly after a decisive victory.”

“He hath spoken the word,” said one of the assembly--“he hath avowed his
carnal self-seeking and Erastianism; let him die the death!”

“Peace yet again,” said Macbriar, “for I will try him further.--Was it
not by thy means that the malignant Evandale twice escaped from death and
captivity? Was it not through thee that Miles Bellenden and his garrison
of cut-throats were saved from the edge of the sword?”

“I am proud to say, that you have spoken the truth in both instances,”
 replied Morton.

“Lo! you see,” said Macbriar, “again hath his mouth spoken it.--And didst
thou not do this for the sake of a Midianitish woman, one of the spawn of
prelacy, a toy with which the arch-enemy’s trap is baited? Didst thou not
do all this for the sake of Edith Bellenden?”

“You are incapable,” answered Morton, boldly, “of appreciating my
feelings towards that young lady; but all that I have done I would have
done had she never existed.”

“Thou art a hardy rebel to the truth,” said another dark-brow’d man; “and
didst thou not so act, that, by conveying away the aged woman, Margaret
Bellenden, and her grand-daughter, thou mightest thwart the wise and
godly project of John Balfour of Burley for bringing forth to battle
Basil Olifant, who had agreed to take the field if he were insured
possession of these women’s worldly endowments?”

“I never heard of such a scheme,” said Morton, “and therefore I could not
thwart it.--But does your religion permit you to take such uncreditable
and immoral modes of recruiting?”

“Peace,” said Macbriar, somewhat disconcerted; “it is not for thee to
instruct tender professors, or to construe Covenant obligations. For the
rest, you have acknowledged enough of sin and sorrowful defection, to
draw down defeat on a host, were it as numerous as the sands on the
sea-shore. And it is our judgment, that we are not free to let you pass
from us safe and in life, since Providence hath given you into our hands
at the moment that we prayed with godly Joshua, saying, ‘What shall we
say when Israel turneth their backs before their enemies?’--Then camest
thou, delivered to us as it were by lot, that thou mightest sustain the
punishment of one that hath wrought folly in Israel. Therefore, mark my
words. This is the Sabbath, and our hand shall not be on thee to spill
thy blood upon this day; but, when the twelfth hour shall strike, it is a
token that thy time on earth hath run! Wherefore improve thy span, for it
flitteth fast away.--Seize on the prisoner, brethren, and take his
weapon.”

The command was so unexpectedly given, and so suddenly executed by those
of the party who had gradually closed behind and around Morton, that he
was overpowered, disarmed, and a horse-girth passed round his arms,
before he could offer any effectual resistance. When this was
accomplished, a dead and stern silence took place. The fanatics ranged
themselves around a large oaken table, placing Morton amongst them bound
and helpless, in such a manner as to be opposite to the clock which was
to strike his knell. Food was placed before them, of which they offered
their intended victim a share; but, it will readily be believed, he had
little appetite. When this was removed, the party resumed their
devotions. Macbriar, whose fierce zeal did not perhaps exclude some
feelings of doubt and compunction, began to expostulate in prayer, as if
to wring from the Deity a signal that the bloody sacrifice they proposed
was an acceptable service. The eyes and ears of his hearers were
anxiously strained, as if to gain some sight or sound which might be
converted or wrested into a type of approbation, and ever and anon dark
looks were turned on the dial-plate of the time-piece, to watch its
progress towards the moment of execution.

Morton’s eye frequently took the same course, with the sad reflection,
that there appeared no posibility of his life being expanded beyond the
narrow segment which the index had yet to travel on the circle until it
arrived at the fatal hour. Faith in his religion, with a constant
unyielding principle of honour, and the sense of conscious innocence,
enabled him to pass through this dreadful interval with less agitation
than he himself could have expected, had the situation been prophesied to
him. Yet there was a want of that eager and animating sense of right
which supported him in similar circumstances, when in the power of
Claverhouse. Then he was conscious, that, amid the spectators, were many
who were lamenting his condition, and some who applauded his conduct. But
now, among these pale-eyed and ferocious zealots, whose hardened brows
were soon to be bent, not merely with indifference, but with triumph,
upon his execution,--without a friend to speak a kindly word, or give a
look either of sympathy or encouragement,--awaiting till the sword
destined to slay him crept out of the scabbard gradually, and as it were
by strawbreadths, and condemned to drink the bitterness of death drop by
drop,--it is no wonder that his feelings were less composed than they had
been on any former occasion of danger. His destined executioners, as he
gazed around them, seemed to alter their forms and features, like
spectres in a feverish dream; their figures became larger, and their
faces more disturbed; and, as an excited imagination predominated over
the realities which his eyes received, he could have thought himself
surrounded rather by a band of demons than of human beings; the walls
seemed to drop with blood, and the light tick of the clock thrilled on
his ear with such loud, painful distinctness, as if each sound were the
prick of a bodkin inflicted on the naked nerve of the organ.


[Illustration: Morton Awaiting Death--frontispiece2]


It was with pain that he felt his mind wavering, while on the brink
between this and the future world. He made a strong effort to compose
himself to devotional exercises, and unequal, during that fearful strife
of nature, to arrange his own thoughts into suitable expressions, he had,
instinctively, recourse to the petition for deliverance and for composure
of spirit which is to be found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Church
of England. Macbriar, whose family were of that persuasion, instantly
recognised the words, which the unfortunate prisoner pronounced half
aloud.

“There lacked but this,” he said, his pale cheek kindling with
resentment, “to root out my carnal reluctance to see his blood spilt. He
is a prelatist, who has sought the camp under the disguise of an
Erastian, and all, and more than all, that has been said of him must
needs be verity. His blood be on his head, the deceiver!--let him go down
to Tophet, with the ill-mumbled mass which he calls a prayer-book, in his
right hand!”

“I take up my song against him!” exclaimed the maniac. “As the sun went
back on the dial ten degrees for intimating the recovery of holy
Hezekiah, so shall it now go forward, that the wicked may be taken away
from among the people, and the Covenant established in its purity.”

He sprang to a chair with an attitude of frenzy, in order to anticipate
the fatal moment by putting the index forward; and several of the party
began to make ready their slaughter-weapons for immediate execution, when
Mucklewrath’s hand was arrested by one of his companions.

“Hist!” he said--“I hear a distant noise.”

“It is the rushing of the brook over the pebbles,” said one.

“It is the sough of the wind among the bracken,” said another.

“It is the galloping of horse,” said Morton to himself, his sense of
hearing rendered acute by the dreadful situation in which he stood; “God
grant they may come as my deliverers!”

The noise approached rapidly, and became more and more distinct.

“It is horse,” cried Macbriar. “Look out and descry who they are.”

“The enemy are upon us!” cried one who had opened the window, in
obedience to his order.

A thick trampling and loud voices were heard immediately round the house.
Some rose to resist, and some to escape; the doors and windows were
forced at once, and the red coats of the troopers appeared in the
apartment.

“Have at the bloody rebels!--Remember Cornet Grahame!” was shouted on
every side.

The lights were struck down, but the dubious glare of the fire enabled
them to continue the fray. Several pistol-shots were fired; the whig who
stood next to Morton received a shot as he was rising, stumbled against
the prisoner, whom he bore down with his weight, and lay stretched above
him a dying man. This accident probably saved Morton from the damage he
might otherwise have received in so close a struggle, where fire-arms
were discharged and sword-blows given for upwards of five minutes.

“Is the prisoner safe?” exclaimed the well-known voice of Claverhouse;
“look about for him, and dispatch the whig dog who is groaning there.”

Both orders were executed. The groans of the wounded man were silenced by
a thrust with a rapier, and Morton, disencumbered of his weight, was
speedily raised and in the arms of the faithful Cuddie, who blubbered for
joy when he found that the blood with which his master was covered had
not flowed from his own veins. A whisper in Morton’s ear, while his
trusty follower relieved him from his bonds, explained the secret of the
very timely appearance of the soldiers.

“I fell into Claverhouse’s party when I was seeking for some o’ our ain
folk to help ye out o’ the hands of the whigs, sae being atween the deil
and the deep sea, I e’en thought it best to bring him on wi’ me, for
he’ll be wearied wi’ felling folk the night, and the morn’s a new day,
and Lord Evandale awes ye a day in ha’arst; and Monmouth gies quarter,
the dragoons tell me, for the asking. Sae haud up your heart, an’ I’se
warrant we’ll do a’ weel eneugh yet.”

     [Note: NOTE TO
CHAPTER XII. The principal incident of the foregoing
     Chapter was suggested by an occurrence of a similar kind, told me by
     a gentleman, now deceased, who held an important situation in the
     Excise, to which he had been raised by active and resolute exertions
     in an inferior department. When employed as a supervisor on the
     coast of Galloway, at a time when the immunities of the Isle of Man
     rendered smuggling almost universal in that district, this gentleman
     had the fortune to offend highly several of the leaders in the
     contraband trade, by his zeal in serving the revenue.

     This rendered his situation a dangerous one, and, on more than one
     occasion, placed his life in jeopardy. At one time in particular, as
     he was riding after sunset on a summer evening, he came suddenly
     upon a gang of the most desperate smugglers in that part of the
     country. They surrounded him, without violence, but in such a manner
     as to show that it would be resorted to if he offered resistance,
     and gave him to understand he must spend the evening with them,
     since they had met so happily. The officer did not attempt
     opposition, but only asked leave to send a country lad to tell his
     wife and family that he should be detained later than he expected.
     As he had to charge the boy with this message in the presence of the
     smugglers, he could found no hope of deliverance from it, save what
     might arise from the sharpness of the lad’s observation, and the
     natural anxiety and affection of his wife. But if his errand should
     be delivered and received literally, as he was conscious the
     smugglers expected, it was likely that it might, by suspending alarm
     about his absence from home, postpone all search after him till it
     might be useless. Making a merit of necessity, therefore, he
     instructed and dispatched his messenger, and went with the
     contraband traders, with seeming willingness, to one of their
     ordinary haunts. He sat down at table with them, and they began to
     drink and indulge themselves in gross jokes, while, like Mirabel in
     the “Inconstant,” their prisoner had the heavy task of receiving
     their insolence as wit, answering their insults with good-humour,
     and withholding from them the opportunity which they sought of
     engaging him in a quarrel, that they might have a pretence for
     misusing him. He succeeded for some time, but soon became satisfied
     it was their purpose to murder him out-right, or else to beat him in
     such a manner as scarce to leave him with life. A regard for the
     sanctity of the Sabbath evening, which still oddly subsisted among
     these ferocious men, amidst their habitual violation of divine and
     social law, prevented their commencing their intended cruelty until
     the Sabbath should be terminated. They were sitting around their
     anxious prisoner, muttering to each other words of terrible import,
     and watching the index of a clock, which was shortly to strike the
     hour at which, in their apprehension, murder would become lawful,
     when their intended victim heard a distant rustling like the wind
     among withered leaves. It came nearer, and resembled the sound of a
     brook in flood chafing within its banks; it came nearer yet, and was
     plainly distinguished as the galloping of a party of horse. The
     absence of her husband, and the account given by the boy of the
     suspicious appearance of those with whom he had remained, had
     induced Mrs--to apply to the neighbouring town for a party of
     dragoons, who thus providentially arrived in time to save him from
     extreme violence, if not from actual destruction.]



CHAPTER XIII.

               Sound, sound the clarion, fill the fife!
               To all the sensual world proclaim,
               One crowded hour of glorious life
               Is worth an age without a name.
                                        Anonymous.

When the desperate affray had ceased, Claverhouse commanded his soldiers
to remove the dead bodies, to refresh themselves and their horses, and
prepare for passing the night at the farm-house, and for marching early
in the ensuing morning. He then turned his attention to Morton, and there
was politeness, and even kindness, in the manner in which he addressed
him.

“You would have saved yourself risk from both sides, Mr Morton, if you
had honoured my counsel yesterday morning with some attention; but I
respect your motives. You are a prisoner-of-war at the disposal of the
king and council, but you shall be treated with no incivility; and I will
be satisfied with your parole that you will not attempt an escape.”

When Morton had passed his word to that effect, Claverhouse bowed
civilly, and, turning away from him, called for his sergeant-major.

“How many prisoners, Halliday, and how many killed?”

“Three killed in the house, sir, two cut down in the court, and one in
the garden--six in all; four prisoners.”

“Armed or unarmed?” said Claverhouse.

“Three of them armed to the teeth,” answered Halliday; “one without
arms--he seems to be a preacher.”

“Ay--the trumpeter to the long-ear’d rout, I suppose,” replied
Claverhouse, glancing slightly round upon his victims, “I will talk with
him tomorrow. Take the other three down to the yard, draw out two files,
and fire upon them; and, d’ye hear, make a memorandum in the orderly book
of three rebels taken in arms and shot, with the date and name of the
place--Drumshinnel, I think, they call it.--Look after the preacher till
to-morrow; as he was not armed, he must undergo a short examination. Or
better, perhaps, take him before the Privy Council; I think they should
relieve me of a share of this disgusting drudgery.--Let Mr Morton be
civilly used, and see that the men look well after their horses; and let
my groom wash Wild-blood’s shoulder with some vinegar, the saddle has
touched him a little.”

All these various orders,--for life and death, the securing of his
prisoners, and the washing his charger’s shoulder,--were given in the
same unmoved and equable voice, of which no accent or tone intimated that
the speaker considered one direction as of more importance than another.

The Cameronians, so lately about to be the willing agents of a bloody
execution, were now themselves to undergo it. They seemed prepared alike
for either extremity, nor did any of them show the least sign of fear,
when ordered to leave the room for the purpose of meeting instant death.
Their severe enthusiasm sustained them in that dreadful moment, and they
departed with a firm look and in silence, excepting that one of them, as
he left the apartment, looked Claverhouse full in the face, and
pronounced, with a stern and steady voice,--“Mischief shall haunt the
violent man!” to which Grahame only answered by a smile of contempt.

They had no sooner left the room than Claverhouse applied himself to some
food, which one or two of his party had hastily provided, and invited
Morton to follow his example, observing, it had been a busy day for them
both. Morton declined eating; for the sudden change of circumstances--the
transition from the verge of the grave to a prospect of life, had
occasioned a dizzy revulsion in his whole system. But the same confused
sensation was accompanied by a burning thirst, and he expressed his wish
to drink.

“I will pledge you, with all my heart,” said Claverhouse; “for here is a
black jack full of ale, and good it must be, if there be good in the
country, for the whigs never miss to find it out.--My service to you, Mr
Morton,” he said, filling one horn of ale for himself, and handing
another to his prisoner.

Morton raised it to his head, and was just about to drink, when the
discharge of carabines beneath the window, followed by a deep and hollow
groan, repeated twice or thrice, and more faint at each interval,
announced the fate of the three men who had just left them. Morton
shuddered, and set down the untasted cup.

“You are but young in these matters, Mr Morton,” said Claverhouse, after
he had very composedly finished his draught; “and I do not think the
worse of you as a young soldier for appearing to feel them acutely. But
habit, duty, and necessity, reconcile men to every thing.”

“I trust,” said Morton, “they will never reconcile me to such scenes as
these.”

“You would hardly believe,” said Claverhouse in reply, “that, in the
beginning of my military career, I had as much aversion to seeing blood
spilt as ever man felt; it seemed to me to be wrung from my own heart;
and yet, if you trust one of those whig fellows, he will tell you I drink
a warm cup of it every morning before I breakfast. [Note: The author is
uncertain whether this was ever said of Claverhouse. But it was currently
reported of Sir Robert Grierson of Lagg, another of the persecutors, that
a cup of wine placed in his hand turned to clotted blood.] But in truth,
Mr Morton, why should we care so much for death, light upon us or around
us whenever it may? Men die daily--not a bell tolls the hour but it is
the death-note of some one or other; and why hesitate to shorten the span
of others, or take over-anxious care to prolong our own? It is all a
lottery--when the hour of midnight came, you were to die--it has struck,
you are alive and safe, and the lot has fallen on those fellows who were
to murder you. It is not the expiring pang that is worth thinking of in
an event that must happen one day, and may befall us on any given
moment--it is the memory which the soldier leaves behind him, like the
long train of light that follows the sunken sun--that is all which is
worth caring for, which distinguishes the death of the brave or the
ignoble. When I think of death, Mr Morton, as a thing worth thinking of,
it is in the hope of pressing one day some well-fought and hard-won
field of battle, and dying with the shout of victory in my ear--that
would be worth dying for, and more, it would be worth having lived for!”

At the moment when Grahame delivered these sentiments, his eye glancing
with the martial enthusiasm which formed such a prominent feature in his
character, a gory figure, which seemed to rise out of the floor of the
apartment, stood upright before him, and presented the wild person and
hideous features of the maniac so often mentioned. His face, where it was
not covered with blood-streaks, was ghastly pale, for the hand of death
was on him. He bent upon Claverhouse eyes, in which the grey light of
insanity still twinkled, though just about to flit for ever, and
exclaimed, with his usual wildness of ejaculation, “Wilt thou trust in
thy bow and in thy spear, in thy steed and in thy banner? And shall not
God visit thee for innocent blood?--Wilt thou glory in thy wisdom, and in
thy courage, and in thy might? And shall not the Lord judge thee?--Behold
the princes, for whom thou hast sold thy soul to the destroyer, shall be
removed from their place, and banished to other lands, and their names
shall be a desolation, and an astonishment, and a hissing, and a curse.
And thou, who hast partaken of the wine-cup of fury, and hast been
drunken and mad because thereof, the wish of thy heart shall be granted
to thy loss, and the hope of thine own pride shall destroy thee. I summon
thee, John Grahame, to appear before the tribunal of God, to answer for
this innocent blood, and the seas besides which thou hast shed.”

He drew his right hand across his bleeding face, and held it up to heaven
as he uttered these words, which he spoke very loud, and then added more
faintly, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge
the blood of thy saints!”

As he uttered the last word, he fell backwards without an attempt to save
himself, and was a dead man ere his head touched the floor.

Morton was much shocked at this extraordinary scene, and the prophecy of
the dying man, which tallied so strangely with the wish which Claverhouse
had just expressed; and he often thought of it afterwards when that wish
seemed to be accomplished. Two of the dragoons who were in the apartment,
hardened as they were, and accustomed to such scenes, showed great
consternation at the sudden apparition, the event, and the words which
preceded it. Claverhouse alone was unmoved. At the first instant of
Mucklewrath’s appearance, he had put his hand to his pistol, but on
seeing the situation of the wounded wretch, he immediately withdrew it,
and listened with great composure to his dying exclamation.

When he dropped, Claverhouse asked, in an unconcerned tone of voice--“How
came the fellow here?--Speak, you staring fool!” he added, addressing the
nearest dragoon, “unless you would have me think you such a poltroon as
to fear a dying man.”

The dragoon crossed himself, and replied with a faltering voice,--“That
the dead fellow had escaped their notice when they removed the other
bodies, as he chanced to have fallen where a cloak or two had been flung
aside, and covered him.”

“Take him away now, then, you gaping idiot, and see that he does not bite
you, to put an old proverb to shame.--This is a new incident, Mr. Morton,
that dead men should rise and push us from our stools. I must see that my
blackguards grind their swords sharper; they used not to do their work so
slovenly.--But we have had a busy day; they are tired, and their blades
blunted with their bloody work; and I suppose you, Mr Morton, as well as
I, are well disposed for a few hours’ repose.”

So saying, he yawned, and taking a candle which a soldier had placed
ready, saluted Morton courteously, and walked to the apartment which had
been prepared for him.

Morton was also accommodated, for the evening, with a separate room.
Being left alone, his first occupation was the returning thanks to Heaven
for redeeming him from danger, even through the instrumentality of those
who seemed his most dangerous enemies; he also prayed sincerely for the
Divine assistance in guiding his course through times which held out so
many dangers and so many errors. And having thus poured out his spirit in
prayer before the Great Being who gave it, he betook himself to the
repose which he so much required.



CHAPTER XIV.

               The charge is prepared, the lawyers are met,
               The judges all ranged--a terrible show!
                                        Beggar’s Opera.

So deep was the slumber which succeeded the agitation and embarrassment
of the preceding day, that Morton hardly knew where he was when it was
broken by the tramp of horses, the hoarse voice of men, and the wild
sound of the trumpets blowing the _reveille_. The sergeant-major
immediately afterwards came to summon him, which he did in a very
respectful manner, saying the General (for Claverhouse now held that
rank) hoped for the pleasure of his company upon the road. In some
situations an intimation is a command, and Morton considered that the
present occasion was one of these. He waited upon Claverhouse as speedily
as he could, found his own horse saddled for his use, and Cuddie in
attendance. Both were deprived of their fire-arms, though they seemed,
otherwise, rather to make part of the troop than of the prisoners; and
Morton was permitted to retain his sword, the wearing which was, in those
days, the distinguishing mark of a gentleman. Claverhouse seemed also to
take pleasure in riding beside him, in conversing with him, and in
confounding his ideas when he attempted to appreciate his real character.
The gentleness and urbanity of that officer’s general manners, the high
and chivalrous sentiments of military devotion which he occasionally
expressed, his deep and accurate insight into the human bosom, demanded
at once the approbation and the wonder of those who conversed with him;
while, on the other hand, his cold indifference to military violence and
cruelty seemed altogether inconsistent with the social, and even
admirable qualities which he displayed. Morton could not help, in his
heart, contrasting him with Balfour of Burley; and so deeply did the idea
impress him, that he dropped a hint of it as they rode together at some
distance from the troop.

“You are right,” said Claverhouse, with a smile; “you are very right--we
are both fanatics; but there is some distinction between the fanaticism
of honour and that of dark and sullen superstition.”

“Yet you both shed blood without mercy or remorse,” said Morton, who
could not suppress his feelings.

“Surely,” said Claverhouse, with the same composure; “but of what
kind?--There is a difference, I trust, between the blood of learned and
reverend prelates and scholars, of gallant soldiers and noble gentlemen,
and the red puddle that stagnates in the veins of psalm-singing
mechanics, crackbrained demagogues, and sullen boors;--some distinction,
in short, between spilling a flask of generous wine, and dashing down a
can full of base muddy ale?”

“Your distinction is too nice for my comprehension,” replied Morton. “God
gives every spark of life--that of the peasant as well as of the prince;
and those who destroy his work recklessly or causelessly, must answer in
either case. What right, for example, have I to General Grahame’s
protection now, more than when I first met him?”

“And narrowly escaped the consequences, you would say?” answered
Claverhouse--“why, I will answer you frankly. Then I thought I had to do
with the son of an old roundheaded rebel, and the nephew of a sordid
presbyterian laird; now I know your points better, and there is that
about you which I respect in an enemy as much as I like in a friend. I
have learned a good deal concerning you since our first meeting, and I
trust that you have found that my construction of the information has not
been unfavourable to you.”

“But yet,” said Morton--

“But yet,” interrupted Grahame, taking up the word, “you would say you
were the same when I first met you that you are now? True; but then, how
could I know that? though, by the by, even my reluctance to suspend your
execution may show you how high your abilities stood in my estimation.”

“Do you expect, General,” said Morton, “that I ought to be particularly
grateful for such a mark of your esteem?”

“Poh! poh! you are critical,” returned Claverhouse. “I tell you I thought
you a different sort of person. Did you ever read Froissart?”

“No,” was Morton’s answer.

“I have half a mind,” said Claverhouse, “to contrive you should have six
months’ imprisonment in order to procure you that pleasure. His chapters
inspire me with more enthusiasm than even poetry itself. And the noble
canon, with what true chivalrous feeling he confines his beautiful
expressions of sorrow to the death of the gallant and high-bred knight,
of whom it was a pity to see the fall, such was his loyalty to his king,
pure faith to his religion, hardihood towards his enemy, and fidelity to
his lady-love!--Ah, benedicite! how he will mourn over the fall of such a
pearl of knighthood, be it on the side he happens to favour, or on the
other. But, truly, for sweeping from the face of the earth some few
hundreds of villain churls, who are born but to plough it, the high-born
and inquisitive historian has marvellous little sympathy,--as little, or
less, perhaps, than John Grahame of Claverhouse.”

“There is one ploughman in your possession, General, for whom,” said
Morton, “in despite of the contempt in which you hold a profession which
some philosophers have considered as useful as that of a soldier, I would
humbly request your favour.”

“You mean,” said Claverhouse, looking at a memorandum book, “one
Hatherick--Hedderick--or--or--Headrigg. Ay, Cuthbert, or Cuddie
Headrigg--here I have him. O, never fear him, if he will be but
tractable. The ladies of Tillietudlem made interest with me on his
account some time ago. He is to marry their waiting-maid, I think. He
will be allowed to slip off easy, unless his obstinacy spoils his good
fortune.”

“He has no ambition to be a martyr, I believe,” said Morton.

“‘Tis the better for him,” said Claverhouse. “But, besides, although the
fellow had more to answer for, I should stand his friend, for the sake of
the blundering gallantry which threw him into the midst of our ranks last
night, when seeking assistance for you. I never desert any man who trusts
me with such implicit confidence. But, to deal sincerely with you, he has
been long in our eye.--Here, Halliday; bring me up the black book.”

The sergeant, having committed to his commander this ominous record of
the disaffected, which was arranged in alphabetical order, Claverhouse,
turning over the leaves as he rode on, began to read names as they
occurred.

“Gumblegumption, a minister, aged 50, indulged, close, sly, and so
forth--Pooh! pooh!--He--He--I have him here--Heathercat; outlawed--a
preacher--a zealous Cameronian--keeps a conventicle among the Campsie
hills--Tush!--O, here is Headrigg--Cuthbert; his mother a bitter
puritan--himself a simple fellow--like to be forward in action, but of
no genius for plots--more for the hand than the head, and might be drawn
to the right side, but for his attachment to”--(Here Claverhouse looked
at Morton, and then shut the book and changed his tone.) “Faithful and
true are words never thrown away upon me, Mr Morton. You may depend on
the young man’s safety.”

“Does it not revolt a mind like yours,” said Morton, “to follow a system
which is to be supported by such minute enquiries after obscure
individuals?”

“You do not suppose we take the trouble?” said the General, haughtily.
“The curates, for their own sakes, willingly collect all these materials
for their own regulation in each parish; they know best the black sheep
of the flock. I have had your picture for three years.”

“Indeed?” replied Morton. “Will you favour me by imparting it?”

“Willingly,” said Claverhouse; “it can signify little, for you cannot
avenge yourself on the curate, as you will probably leave Scotland for
some time.”

This was spoken in an indifferent tone. Morton felt an involuntary
shudder at hearing words which implied a banishment from his native land;
but ere he answered, Claverhouse proceeded to read, “Henry Morton, son of
Silas Morton, Colonel of horse for the Scottish Parliament, nephew and
apparent heir of Morton of Milnwood--imperfectly educated, but with
spirit beyond his years--excellent at all exercises--indifferent to forms
of religion, but seems to incline to the presbyterian--has high-flown and
dangerous notions about liberty of thought and speech, and hovers between
a latitudinarian and an enthusiast. Much admired and followed by the
youth of his own age--modest, quiet, and unassuming in manner, but in his
heart peculiarly bold and intractable. He is--Here follow three red
crosses, Mr Morton, which signify triply dangerous. You see how important
a person you are.--But what does this fellow want?”

A horseman rode up as he spoke, and gave a letter. Claverhouse glanced it
over, laughed scornfully, bade him tell his master to send his prisoners
to Edinburgh, for there was no answer; and, as the man turned back, said
contemptuously to Morton--“Here is an ally of yours deserted from you, or
rather, I should say, an ally of your good friend Burley--Hear how he
sets forth--‘Dear Sir,’ (I wonder when we were such intimates,) ‘may it
please your Excellency to accept my humble congratulations on the
victory’--hum--hum--‘blessed his Majesty’s army. I pray you to understand
I have my people under arms to take and intercept all fugitives, and have
already several prisoners,’ and so forth. Subscribed Basil Olifant--You
know the fellow by name, I suppose?”

“A relative of Lady Margaret Bellenden,” replied Morton, “is he not?”

“Ay,” replied Grahame, “and heir-male of her father’s family, though a
distant one, and moreover a suitor to the fair Edith, though discarded as
an unworthy one; but, above all, a devoted admirer of the estate of
Tillietudlem, and all thereunto belonging.”

“He takes an ill mode of recommending himself,” said Morton, suppressing
his feelings, “to the family at Tillietudlem, by corresponding with our
unhappy party.”

“O, this precious Basil will turn cat in pan with any man!” replied
Claverhouse. “He was displeased with the government, because they would
not overturn in his favour a settlement of the late Earl of Torwood, by
which his lordship gave his own estate to his own daughter; he was
displeased with Lady Margaret, because she avowed no desire for his
alliance, and with the pretty Edith, because she did not like his tall
ungainly person. So he held a close correspondence with Burley, and
raised his followers with the purpose of helping him, providing always he
needed no help, that is, if you had beat us yesterday. And now the rascal
pretends he was all the while proposing the King’s service, and, for
aught I know, the council will receive his pretext for current coin, for
he knows how to make friends among them--and a dozen scores of poor
vagabond fanatics will be shot, or hanged, while this cunning scoundrel
lies hid under the double cloak of loyalty, well-lined with the fox-fur
of hypocrisy.”

With conversation on this and other matters they beguiled the way,
Claverhouse all the while speaking with great frankness to Morton, and
treating him rather as a friend and companion than as a prisoner; so
that, however uncertain of his fate, the hours he passed in the company
of this remarkable man were so much lightened by the varied play of his
imagination, and the depth of his knowledge of human nature, that since
the period of his becoming a prisoner of war, which relieved him at once
from the cares of his doubtful and dangerous station among the
insurgents, and from the consequences of their suspicious resentment, his
hours flowed on less anxiously than at any time since his having
commenced actor in public life. He was now, with respect to his fortune,
like a rider who has flung his reins on the horse’s neck, and, while he
abandoned himself to circumstances, was at least relieved from the task
of attempting to direct them. In this mood he journeyed on, the number of
his companions being continually augmented by detached parties of horse
who came in from every quarter of the country, bringing with them, for
the most part, the unfortunate persons who had fallen into their power.
At length they approached Edinburgh.

“Our council,” said Claverhouse, “being resolved, I suppose, to testify
by their present exultation the extent of their former terror, have
decreed a kind of triumphal entry to us victors and our captives; but as
I do not quite approve the taste of it, I am willing to avoid my own part
in the show, and, at the same time, to save you from yours.”

So saying, he gave up the command of the forces to Allan, (now a
Lieutenant-colonel,) and, turning his horse into a by-lane, rode into the
city privately, accompanied by Morton and two or three servants. When
Claverhouse arrived at the quarters which he usually occupied in the
Canongate, he assigned to his prisoner a small apartment, with an
intimation, that his parole confined him to it for the present.

After about a quarter of an hour spent in solitary musing on the strange
vicissitudes of his late life, the attention of Morton was summoned to
the window by a great noise in the street beneath. Trumpets, drums, and
kettle-drums, contended in noise with the shouts of a numerous rabble,
and apprised him that the royal cavalry were passing in the triumphal
attitude which Claverhouse had mentioned. The magistrates of the city,
attended by their guard of halberds, had met the victors with their
welcome at the gate of the city, and now preceded them as a part of the
procession. The next object was two heads borne upon pikes; and before
each bloody head were carried the hands of the dismembered sufferers,
which were, by the brutal mockery of those who bore them, often
approached towards each other as if in the attitude of exhortation or
prayer. These bloody trophies belonged to two preachers who had fallen at
Bothwell Bridge. After them came a cart led by the executioner’s
assistant, in which were placed Macbriar, and other two prisoners, who
seemed of the same profession. They were bareheaded, and strongly bound,
yet looked around them with an air rather of triumph than dismay, and
appeared in no respect moved either by the fate of their companions, of
which the bloody evidences were carried before them, or by dread of their
own approaching execution, which these preliminaries so plainly
indicated.

Behind these prisoners, thus held up to public infamy and derision, came
a body of horse, brandishing their broadswords, and filling the wide
street with acclamations, which were answered by the tumultuous outcries
and shouts of the rabble, who, in every considerable town, are too happy
in being permitted to huzza for any thing whatever which calls them
together. In the rear of these troopers came the main body of the
prisoners, at the head of whom were some of their leaders, who were
treated with every circumstance of inventive mockery and insult. Several
were placed on horseback with their faces to the animal’s tail; others
were chained to long bars of iron, which they were obliged to support in
their hands, like the galleyslaves in Spain when travelling to the port
where they are to be put on shipboard. The heads of others who had fallen
were borne in triumph before the survivors, some on pikes and halberds,
some in sacks, bearing the names of the slaughtered persons labelled on
the outside. Such were the objects who headed the ghastly procession, who
seemed as effectually doomed to death as if they wore the sanbenitos of
the condemned heretics in an auto-da-fe. [Note: David Hackston of
Rathillet, who was wounded and made prisoner in the skirmish of
Air’s-Moss, in which the celebrated Cameron fell, was, on entering
Edinburgh, “by order of the Council, received by the Magistrates at the
Watergate, and set on a horse’s bare back with his face to the tail, and
the other three laid on a goad of iron, and carried up the street, Mr
Cameron’s head being on a halberd before them.”]

Behind them came on the nameless crowd to the number of several hundreds,
some retaining under their misfortunes a sense of confidence in the cause
for which they suffered captivity, and were about to give a still more
bloody testimony; others seemed pale, dispirited, dejected, questioning
in their own minds their prudence in espousing a cause which Providence
seemed to have disowned, and looking about for some avenue through which
they might escape from the consequences of their rashness. Others there
were who seemed incapable of forming an opinion on the subject, or of
entertaining either hope, confidence, or fear, but who, foaming with
thirst and fatigue, stumbled along like over-driven oxen, lost to every
thing but their present sense of wretchedness, and without having any
distinct idea whether they were led to the shambles or to the pasture.
These unfortunate men were guarded on each hand by troopers, and behind
them came the main body of the cavalry, whose military music resounded
back from the high houses on each side of the street, and mingled with
their own songs of jubilee and triumph, and the wild shouts of the
rabble.

Morton felt himself heart-sick while he gazed on the dismal spectacle,
and recognised in the bloody heads, and still more miserable and agonized
features of the living sufferers, faces which had been familiar to him
during the brief insurrection. He sunk down in a chair in a bewildered
and stupified state, from which he was awakened by the voice of Cuddie.

“Lord forgie us, sir!” said the poor fellow, his teeth chattering like a
pair of nut-crackers, his hair erect like boar’s bristles, and his face
as pale as that of a corpse--“Lord forgie us, sir! we maun instantly gang
before the Council!--O Lord, what made them send for a puir bodie like
me, sae mony braw lords and gentles!--and there’s my mither come on the
lang tramp frae Glasgow to see to gar me testify, as she ca’s it, that is
to say, confess and be hanged; but deil tak me if they mak sic a guse o’
Cuddie, if I can do better. But here’s Claverhouse himsell--the Lord
preserve and forgie us, I say anes mair!”

“You must immediately attend the Council Mr Morton,” said Claverhouse,
who entered while Cuddie spoke, “and your servant must go with you. You
need be under no apprehension for the consequences to yourself
personally. But I warn you that you will see something that will give you
much pain, and from which I would willingly have saved you, if I had
possessed the power. My carriage waits us--shall we go?”

It will be readily supposed that Morton did not venture to dispute this
invitation, however unpleasant. He rose and accompanied Claverhouse.

“I must apprise you,” said the latter, as he led the way down stairs,
“that you will get off cheap; and so will your servant, provided he can
keep his tongue quiet.”

Cuddie caught these last words to his exceeding joy.

“Deil a fear o’ me,” said he, “an my mither disna pit her finger in the
pie.”

At that moment his shoulder was seized by old Mause, who had contrived to
thrust herself forward into the lobby of the apartment.

“O, hinny, hinny!” said she to Cuddie, hanging upon his neck, “glad and
proud, and sorry and humbled am I, a’in ane and the same instant, to see
my bairn ganging to testify for the truth gloriously with his mouth in
council, as he did with his weapon in the field!”

“Whisht, whisht, mither!” cried Cuddie impatiently. “Odd, ye daft wife,
is this a time to speak o’ thae things? I tell ye I’ll testify naething
either ae gate or another. I hae spoken to Mr Poundtext, and I’ll tak the
declaration, or whate’er they ca’it, and we’re a’ to win free off if we
do that--he’s gotten life for himsell and a’ his folk, and that’s a
minister for my siller; I like nane o’ your sermons that end in a psalm
at the Grassmarket.” [Note: Then the place of public execution.]

“O, Cuddie, man, laith wad I be they suld hurt ye,” said old Mause,
divided grievously between the safety of her son’s soul and that of his
body; “but mind, my bonny bairn, ye hae battled for the faith, and dinna
let the dread o’ losing creature-comforts withdraw ye frae the gude
fight.”

“Hout tout, mither,” replied Cuddie, “I hae fought e’en ower muckle
already, and, to speak plain, I’m wearied o’the trade. I hae swaggered
wi’ a’ thae arms, and muskets, and pistols, buffcoats, and bandoliers,
lang eneugh, and I like the pleughpaidle a hantle better. I ken naething
suld gar a man fight, (that’s to say, when he’s no angry,) by and
out-taken the dread o’being hanged or killed if he turns back.”

“But, my dear Cuddie,” continued the persevering Mause, “your bridal
garment--Oh, hinny, dinna sully the marriage garment!”

“Awa, awa, mither,” replied. Cuddie; “dinna ye see the folks waiting for
me?--Never fear me--I ken how to turn this far better than ye do--for
ye’re bleezing awa about marriage, and the job is how we are to win by
hanging.”

So saying, he extricated himself out of his mother’s embraces, and
requested the soldiers who took him in charge to conduct him to the place
of examination without delay. He had been already preceded by Claverhouse
and Morton.



CHAPTER XV.

                    My native land, good night!
                                        Lord Byron.

The Privy Council of Scotland, in whom the practice since the union of
the crowns vested great judicial powers, as well as the general
superintendence of the executive department, was met in the ancient dark
Gothic room, adjoining to the House of Parliament in Edinburgh, when
General Grahame entered and took his place amongst the members at the
council table.

“You have brought us a leash of game to-day, General,” said a nobleman of
high place amongst them. “Here is a craven to confess--a cock of the game
to stand at bay--and what shall I call the third, General?”

“Without further metaphor, I will entreat your Grace to call him a person
in whom I am specially interested,” replied Claverhouse.

“And a whig into the bargain?” said the nobleman, lolling out a tongue
which was at all times too big for his mouth, and accommodating his
coarse features to a sneer, to which they seemed to be familiar.

“Yes, please your Grace, a whig; as your Grace was in 1641,” replied
Claverhouse, with his usual appearance of imperturbable civility.

“He has you there, I think, my Lord Duke,” said one of the Privy
Councillors.

“Ay, ay,” returned the Duke, laughing, “there’s no speaking to him since
Drumclog--but come, bring in the prisoners--and do you, Mr Clerk, read
the record.”

The clerk read forth a bond, in which General Grahame of Claverhouse and
Lord Evandale entered themselves securities, that Henry Morton, younger
of Milnwood, should go abroad and remain in foreign parts, until his
Majesty’s pleasure was further known, in respect of the said Henry
Morton’s accession to the late rebellion, and that under penalty of life
and limb to the said Henry Morton, and of ten thousand marks to each of
his securities.

“Do you accept of the King’s mercy upon these terms, Mr Morton?” said the
Duke of Lauderdale, who presided in the Council.

“I have no other choice, my lord,” replied Morton.

“Then subscribe your name in the record.”

Morton did so without reply, conscious that, in the circumstances of his
case, it was impossible for him to have escaped more easily. Macbriar,
who was at the same instant brought to the foot of the council-table,
bound upon a chair, for his weakness prevented him from standing, beheld
Morton in the act of what he accounted apostasy.

“He hath summed his defection by owning the carnal power of the tyrant!”
 he exclaimed, with a deep groan--“A fallen star!--a fallen star!”

“Hold your peace, sir,” said the Duke, “and keep your ain breath to cool
your ain porridge--ye’ll find them scalding hot, I promise you.--Call in
the other fellow, who has some common sense. One sheep will leap the
ditch when another goes first.”

Cuddie was introduced unbound, but under the guard of two halberdiers,
and placed beside Macbriar at the foot of the table. The poor fellow cast
a piteous look around him, in which were mingled awe for the great men in
whose presence he stood, and compassion for his fellow-sufferers, with no
small fear of the personal consequences which impended over himself. He
made his clownish obeisances with a double portion of reverence, and then
awaited the opening of the awful scene.

“Were you at the battle of Bothwell Brigg?” was the first question which
was thundered in his ears.

Cuddie meditated a denial, but had sense enough, upon reflection, to
discover that the truth would be too strong for him; so he replied, with
true Caledonian indirectness of response, “I’ll no say but it may be
possible that I might hae been there.”

“Answer directly, you knave--yes, or no?--You know you were there.”

“It’s no for me to contradict your Lordship’s Grace’s honour,” said
Cuddie.

“Once more, sir, were you there?--yes, or no?” said the Duke,
impatiently.

“Dear stir,” again replied Cuddie, “how can ane mind preceesely where
they hae been a’ the days o’ their life?”

“Speak out, you scoundrel,” said General Dalzell, “or I’ll dash your
teeth out with my dudgeonhaft!--Do you think we can stand here all day to
be turning and dodging with you, like greyhounds after a hare?” [Note:
The General is said to have struck one of the captive whigs, when under
examination, with the hilt of his sabre, so that the blood gushed out.
The provocation for this unmanly violence was, that the prisoner had
called the fierce veteran “a Muscovy beast, who used to roast men.”
 Dalzell had been long in the Russian service, which in those days was no
school of humanity.]

“Aweel, then,” said Cuddie, “since naething else will please ye, write
down that I cannot deny but I was there.”

“Well, sir,” said the Duke, “and do you think that the rising upon that
occasion was rebellion or not?”

“I’m no just free to gie my opinion, stir,” said the cautious captive,
“on what might cost my neck; but I doubt it will be very little better.”

“Better than what?”

“Just than rebellion, as your honour ca’s it,” replied Cuddie.

“Well, sir, that’s speaking to the purpose,” replied his Grace. “And are
you content to accept of the King’s pardon for your guilt as a rebel, and
to keep the church, and pray for the King?”

“Blithely, stir,” answered the unscrupulous Cuddie; “and drink his health
into the bargain, when the ale’s gude.”

“Egad,” said the Duke, “this is a hearty cock.--What brought you into
such a scrape, mine honest friend?”

“Just ill example, stir,” replied the prisoner, “and a daft auld jaud of
a mither, wi’ reverence to your Grace’s honour.”

“Why, God-a-mercy, my friend,” replied the Duke, “take care of bad advice
another time; I think you are not likely to commit treason on your own
score.--Make out his free pardon, and bring forward the rogue in the
chair.”

Macbriar was then moved forward to the post of examination.

“Were you at the battle of Bothwell Bridge?” was, in like manner,
demanded of him.

“I was,” answered the prisoner, in a bold and resolute tone.

“Were you armed?”

“I was not--I went in my calling as a preacher of God’s word, to
encourage them that drew the sword in His cause.”

“In other words, to aid and abet the rebels?” said the Duke.

“Thou hast spoken it,” replied the prisoner.

“Well, then,” continued the interrogator, “let us know if you saw John
Balfour of Burley among the party?--I presume you know him?”

“I bless God that I do know him,” replied Macbriar; “he is a zealous and
a sincere Christian.”

“And when and where did you last see this pious personage?” was the query
which immediately followed.

“I am here to answer for myself,” said Macbriar, in the same dauntless
manner, “and not to endanger others.”

“We shall know,” said Dalzell, “how to make you find your tongue.”

“If you can make him fancy himself in a conventicle,” answered
Lauderdale, “he will find it without you.--Come, laddie, speak while the
play is good--you’re too young to bear the burden will be laid on you
else.”

“I defy you,” retorted Macbriar. “This has not been the first of my
imprisonments or of my sufferings; and, young as I may be, I have lived
long enough to know how to die when I am called upon.”

“Ay, but there are some things which must go before an easy death, if you
continue obstinate,” said Lauderdale, and rung a small silver bell which
was placed before him on the table.

A dark crimson curtain, which covered a sort of niche, or Gothic recess
in the wall, rose at the signal, and displayed the public executioner, a
tall, grim, and hideous man, having an oaken table before him, on which
lay thumb-screws, and an iron case, called the Scottish boot, used in
those tyrannical days to torture accused persons. Morton, who was
unprepared for this ghastly apparition, started when the curtain arose,
but Macbriar’s nerves were more firm. He gazed upon the horrible
apparatus with much composure; and if a touch of nature called the blood
from his cheek for a second, resolution sent it back to his brow with
greater energy.

“Do you know who that man is?” said Lauderdale, in a low, stern voice,
almost sinking into a whisper.

“He is, I suppose,” replied Macbriar, “the infamous executioner of your
bloodthirsty commands upon the persons of God’s people. He and you are
equally beneath my regard; and, I bless God, I no more fear what he can
inflict than what you can command. Flesh and blood may shrink under the
sufferings you can doom me to, and poor frail nature may shed tears, or
send forth cries; but I trust my soul is anchored firmly on the rock of
ages.”

“Do your duty,” said the Duke to the executioner.

The fellow advanced, and asked, with a harsh and discordant voice, upon
which of the prisoner’s limbs he should first employ his engine.

“Let him choose for himself,” said the Duke; “I should like to oblige him
in any thing that is reasonable.”

“Since you leave it to me,” said the prisoner, stretching forth his right
leg, “take the best--I willingly bestow it in the cause for which I
suffer.” [Note: This was the reply actually made by James Mitchell when
subjected to the torture of the boot, for an attempt to assassinate
Archbishop Sharpe.]

The executioner, with the help of his assistants, enclosed the leg and
knee within the tight iron boot, or case, and then placing a wedge of the
same metal between the knee and the edge of the machine, took a mallet in
his hand, and stood waiting for farther orders. A well-dressed man, by
profession a surgeon, placed himself by the other side of the prisoner’s
chair, bared the prisoner’s arm, and applied his thumb to the pulse in
order to regulate the torture according to the strength of the patient.
When these preparations were made, the President of the Council repeated
with the same stern voice the question, “When and where did you last see
John Balfour of Burley?”

The prisoner, instead of replying to him, turned his eyes to heaven as if
imploring Divine strength, and muttered a few words, of which the last
were distinctly audible, “Thou hast said thy people shall be willing in
the day of thy power!”

The Duke of Lauderdale glanced his eye around the council as if to
collect their suffrages, and, judging from their mute signs, gave on his
own part a nod to the executioner, whose mallet instantly descended on
the wedge, and, forcing it between the knee and the iron boot, occasioned
the most exquisite pain, as was evident from the flush which instantly
took place on the brow and on the cheeks of the sufferer. The fellow then
again raised his weapon, and stood prepared to give a second blow.

“Will you yet say,” repeated the Duke of Lauderdale, “where and when you
last parted from Balfour of Burley?”

“You have my answer,” said the sufferer resolutely, and the second blow
fell. The third and fourth succeeded; but at the fifth, when a larger
wedge had been introduced, the prisoner set up a scream of agony.

Morton, whose blood boiled within him at witnessing such cruelty, could
bear no longer, and, although unarmed and himself in great danger, was
springing forward, when Claverhouse, who observed his emotion, withheld
him by force, laying one hand on his arm and the other on his mouth,
while he whispered, “For God’s sake, think where you are!”

This movement, fortunately for him, was observed by no other of the
councillors, whose attention was engaged with the dreadful scene before
them.

“He is gone,” said the surgeon--“he has fainted, my Lords, and human
nature can endure no more.”

“Release him,” said the Duke; and added, turning to Dalzell, “He will
make an old proverb good, for he’ll scarce ride to-day, though he has had
his boots on. I suppose we must finish with him?”

“Ay, dispatch his sentence, and have done with him; we have plenty of
drudgery behind.”

Strong waters and essences were busily employed to recall the senses of
the unfortunate captive; and, when his first faint gasps intimated a
return of sensation, the Duke pronounced sentence of death upon him, as a
traitor taken in the act of open rebellion, and adjudged him to be
carried from the bar to the common place of execution, and there hanged
by the neck; his head and hands to be stricken off after death, and
disposed of according to the pleasure of the Council, [Note: The pleasure
of the Council respecting the relics of their victims was often as savage
as the rest of their conduct. The heads of the preachers were frequently
exposed on pikes between their two hands, the palms displayed as in the
attitude of prayer. When the celebrated Richard Cameron’s head was
exposed in this manner, a spectator bore testimony to it as that of one
who lived praying and preaching, and died praying and fighting.] and all
and sundry his movable goods and gear escheat and inbrought to his
Majesty’s use.

“Doomster,” he continued, “repeat the sentence to the prisoner.”

The office of Doomster was in those days, and till a much later period,
held by the executioner in commendam, with his ordinary functions. [Note:
See a note on the subject of this office in the Heart of Mid-Lothian.]
The duty consisted in reciting to the unhappy criminal the sentence of
the law as pronounced by the judge, which acquired an additional and
horrid emphasis from the recollection, that the hateful personage by whom
it was uttered was to be the agent of the cruelties he denounced.
Macbriar had scarce understood the purport of the words as first
pronounced by the Lord President of the Council; but he was sufficiently
recovered to listen and to reply to the sentence when uttered by the
harsh and odious voice of the ruffian who was to execute it, and at the
last awful words, “And this I pronounce for doom,” he answered boldly--
“My Lords, I thank you for the only favour I looked for, or would accept
at your hands, namely, that you have sent the crushed and maimed carcass,
which has this day sustained your cruelty, to this hasty end. It were
indeed little to me whether I perish on the gallows or in the
prison-house; but if death, following close on what I have this day
suffered, had found me in my cell of darkness and bondage, many might
have lost the sight how a Christian man can suffer in the good cause. For
the rest, I forgive you, my Lords, for what you have appointed and I have
sustained--And why should I not?--Ye send me to a happy exchange--to the
company of angels and the spirits of the just, for that of frail dust
and ashes--Ye send me from darkness into day--from mortality to
immortality--and, in a word, from earth to heaven!--If the thanks,
therefore, and pardon of a dying man can do you good, take them at my
hand, and may your last moments be as happy as mine!”

As he spoke thus, with a countenance radiant with joy and triumph, he was
withdrawn by those who had brought him into the apartment, and executed
within half an hour, dying with the same enthusiastic firmness which his
whole life had evinced.

The Council broke up, and Morton found himself again in the carriage with
General Grahame.

“Marvellous firmness and gallantry!” said Morton, as he reflected upon
Macbriar’s conduct; “what a pity it is that with such self-devotion and
heroism should have been mingled the fiercer features of his sect!”

“You mean,” said Claverhouse, “his resolution to condemn you to death?--
To that he would have reconciled himself by a single text; for example,
‘And Phinehas arose and executed judgment,’ or something to the same
purpose.--But wot ye where you are now bound, Mr Morton?”

“We are on the road to Leith, I observe,” answered Morton. “Can I not be
permitted to see my friends ere I leave my native land?”

“Your uncle,” replied Grahame, “has been spoken to, and declines visiting
you. The good gentleman is terrified, and not without some reason, that
the crime of your treason may extend itself over his lands and
tenements--he sends you, however, his blessing, and a small sum of money.
Lord Evandale continues extremely indisposed. Major Bellenden is at
Tillietudlem putting matters in order. The scoundrels have made great
havoc there with Lady Margaret’s muniments of antiquity, and have
desecrated and destroyed what the good lady called the Throne of his most
Sacred Majesty. Is there any one else whom you would wish to see?”

Morton sighed deeply as he answered, “No--it would avail nothing.--But my
preparations,--small as they are, some must be necessary.”

“They are all ready for you,” said the General. “Lord Evandale has
anticipated all you wish. Here is a packet from him with letters of
recommendation for the court of the Stadtholder Prince of Orange, to
which I have added one or two. I made my first campaigns under him, and
first saw fire at the battle of Seneff. [Note: August 1674. Claverhouse
greatly distinguished himself in this action, and was made Captain.]
There are also bills of exchange for your immediate wants, and more will
be sent when you require it.”

Morton heard all this and received the parcel with an astounded and
confused look, so sudden was the execution of the sentence of banishment.

“And my servant?” he said.

“He shall be taken care of, and replaced, if it be practicable, in the
service of Lady Margaret Bellenden; I think he will hardly neglect the
parade of the feudal retainers, or go a-whigging a second time.--But here
we are upon the quay, and the boat waits you.”

It was even as Claverhouse said. A boat waited for Captain Morton, with
the trunks and baggage belonging to his rank. Claverhouse shook him by
the hand, and wished him good fortune, and a happy return to Scotland in
quieter times.

“I shall never forget,” he said, “the gallantry of your behaviour to my
friend Evandale, in circumstances when many men would have sought to rid
him out of their way.”

Another friendly pressure, and they parted. As Morton descended the pier
to get into the boat, a hand placed in his a letter folded up in very
small space. He looked round. The person who gave it seemed much muffled
up; he pressed his finger upon his lip, and then disappeared among the
crowd. The incident awakened Morton’s curiosity; and when he found
himself on board of a vessel bound for Rotterdam, and saw all his
companions of the voyage busy making their own arrangements, he took an
opportunity to open the billet thus mysteriously thrust upon him. It ran
thus:--“Thy courage on the fatal day when Israel fled before his
enemies, hath, in some measure, atoned for thy unhappy owning of the
Erastian interest. These are not days for Ephraim to strive with Israel.
--I know thy heart is with the daughter of the stranger. But turn from
that folly; for in exile, and in flight, and even in death itself, shall
my hand be heavy against that bloody and malignant house, and Providence
hath given me the means of meting unto them with their own measure of
ruin and confiscation. The resistance of their stronghold was the main
cause of our being scattered at Bothwell Bridge, and I have bound it upon
my soul to visit it upon them. Wherefore, think of her no more, but join
with our brethren in banishment, whose hearts are still towards this
miserable land to save and to relieve her. There is an honest remnant in
Holland whose eyes are looking out for deliverance. Join thyself unto
them like the true son of the stout and worthy Silas Morton, and thou
wilt have good acceptance among them for his sake and for thine own
working. Shouldst thou be found worthy again to labour in the vineyard,
thou wilt at all times hear of my in-comings and out-goings, by enquiring
after Quintin Mackell of Irongray, at the house of that singular
Christian woman, Bessie Maclure, near to the place called the Howff,
where Niel Blane entertaineth guests. So much from him who hopes to hear
again from thee in brotherhood, resisting unto blood, and striving
against sin. Meanwhile, possess thyself in patience. Keep thy sword
girded, and thy lamp burning, as one that wakes in the night; for He who
shall judge the Mount of Esau, and shall make false professors as straw,
and malignants as stubble, will come in the fourth watch with garments
dyed in blood, and the house of Jacob shall be for spoil, and the house
of Joseph for fire. I am he that hath written it, whose hand hath been on
the mighty in the waste field.”

This extraordinary letter was subscribed J. B. of B.; but the signature
of these initials was not necessary for pointing out to Morton that it
could come from no other than Burley. It gave him new occasion to admire
the indomitable spirit of this man, who, with art equal to his courage
and obstinacy, was even now endeavouring to re-establish the web of
conspiracy which had been so lately torn to pieces. But he felt no sort
of desire, in the present moment, to sustain a correspondence which must
be perilous, or to renew an association, which, in so many ways, had been
nearly fatal to him. The threats which Burley held out against the family
of Bellenden, he considered as a mere expression of his spleen on account
of their defence of Tillietudlem; and nothing seemed less likely than
that, at the very moment of their party being victorious, their fugitive
and distressed adversary could exercise the least influence over their
fortunes.

Morton, however, hesitated for an instant, whether he should not send
the Major or Lord Evandale intimation of Burley’s threats. Upon
consideration, he thought he could not do so without betraying his
confidential correspondence; for to warn them of his menaces would have
served little purpose, unless he had given them a clew to prevent them,
by apprehending his person; while, by doing so, he deemed he should
commit an ungenerous breach of trust to remedy an evil which seemed
almost imaginary. Upon mature consideration, therefore, he tore the
letter, having first made a memorandum of the name and place where the
writer was to be heard of, and threw the fragments into the sea.

While Morton was thus employed the vessel was unmoored, and the white
sails swelled out before a favourable north-west wind. The ship leaned
her side to the gale, and went roaring through the waves, leaving a long
and rippling furrow to track her course. The city and port from which he
had sailed became undistinguishable in the distance; the hills by which
they were surrounded melted finally into the blue sky, and Morton was
separated for several years from the land of his nativity.



CHAPTER XVI.

                    Whom does time gallop withal?
                                        As You Like It.

It is fortunate for tale-tellers that they are not tied down like
theatrical writers to the unities of time and place, but may conduct
their personages to Athens and Thebes at their pleasure, and bring them
back at their convenience. Time, to use Rosalind’s simile, has hitherto
paced with the hero of our tale; for betwixt Morton’s first appearance as
a competitor for the popinjay and his final departure for Holland hardly
two months elapsed. Years, however, glided away ere we find it possible
to resume the thread of our narrative, and Time must be held to have
galloped over the interval. Craving, therefore, the privilege of my cast,
I entreat the reader’s attention to the continuation of the narrative, as
it starts from a new era, being the year immediately subsequent to the
British Revolution.

Scotland had just begun to repose from the convulsion occasioned by a
change of dynasty, and, through the prudent tolerance of King William,
had narrowly escaped the horrors of a protracted civil war. Agriculture
began to revive, and men, whose minds had been disturbed by the violent
political concussions, and the general change of government in Church and
State, had begun to recover their ordinary temper, and to give the usual
attention to their own private affairs, in lieu of discussing those of
the public. The Highlanders alone resisted the newly established order of
things, and were in arms in a considerable body under the Viscount of
Dundee, whom our readers have hitherto known by the name of Grahame of
Claverhouse. But the usual state of the Highlands was so unruly that
their being more or less disturbed was not supposed greatly to affect the
general tranquillity of the country, so long as their disorders were
confined within their own frontiers. In the Lowlands, the Jacobites, now
the undermost party, had ceased to expect any immediate advantage by open
resistance, and were, in their turn, driven to hold private meetings, and
form associations for mutual defence, which the government termed
treason, while they cried out persecution.

The triumphant Whigs, while they re-established Presbytery as the
national religion, and assigned to the General Assemblies of the Kirk
their natural influence, were very far from going the lengths which the
Cameronians and more extravagant portion of the nonconformists under
Charles and James loudly demanded. They would listen to no proposal for
re-establishing the Solemn League and Covenant; and those who had
expected to find in King William a zealous Covenanted Monarch, were
grievously disappointed when he intimated, with the phlegm peculiar to
his country, his intention to tolerate all forms of religion which were
consistent with the safety of the State. The principles of indulgence
thus espoused and gloried in by the Government gave great offence to the
more violent party, who condemned them as diametrically contrary to
Scripture,--for which narrow-spirited doctrine they cited various texts,
all, as it may well be supposed, detached from their context, and most of
them derived from the charges given to the Jews in the Old Testament
dispensation to extirpate idolaters out of the Promised Land. They also
murmured highly against the influence assumed by secular persons in
exercising the rights of patronage, which they termed a rape upon the
chastity of the Church. They censured and condemned as Erastian many of
the measures by which Government after the Revolution showed an
inclination to interfere with the management of the Church, and they
positively refused to take the oath of allegiance to King William and
Queen Mary until they should, on their part, have sworn to the Solemn
League--and Covenant, the Magna Charta, as they termed it, of the
Presbyterian Church.

This party, therefore, remained grumbling and dissatisfied, and made
repeated declarations against defections and causes of wrath, which, had
they been prosecuted as in the two former reigns, would have led to the
same consequence of open rebellion. But as the murmurers were allowed to
hold their meetings uninterrupted, and to testify as much as they pleased
against Socinianism, Erastianism, and all the compliances and defections
of the time, their zeal, unfanned by persecution, died gradually away,
their numbers became diminished, and they sunk into the scattered remnant
of serious, scrupulous, and harmless enthusiasts, of whom Old Mortality,
whose legends have afforded the groundwork of my tale, may be taken as no
bad representative. But in the years which immediately succeeded the
Revolution, the Cameronians continued a sect strong in numbers and
vehement in their political opinions, whom Government wished to
discourage, while they prudently temporised with them. These men formed
one violent party in the State; and the Episcopalian and Jacobite
interest, notwithstanding their ancient and national animosity, yet
repeatedly endeavoured to intrigue among them, and avail themselves of
their discontents, to obtain their assistance in recalling the Stewart
family. The Revolutionary Government in the mean while, was supported by
the great bulk of the Lowland interest, who were chiefly disposed to a
moderate Presbytery, and formed in a great measure the party who in the
former oppressive reigns were stigmatized by the Cameronians for having
exercised that form of worship under the declaration of Indulgence issued
by Charles II. Such was the state of parties in Scotland immediately
subsequent to the Revolution.

It was on a delightful summer evening that a stranger, well mounted, and
having the appearance of a military man of rank, rode down a winding
descent which terminated in view of the romantic ruins of Bothwell Castle
and the river Clyde, which winds so beautifully between rocks and woods
to sweep around the towers formerly built by Aymer de Valence. Bothwell
Bridge was at a little distance, and also in sight. The opposite field,
once the scene of slaughter and conflict, now lay as placid and quiet as
the surface of a summer lake. The trees and bushes, which grew around in
romantic variety of shade, were hardly seen to stir under the influence
of the evening breeze. The very murmur of the river seemed to soften
itself into unison with the stillness of the scene around.

The path through which the traveller descended was occasionally shaded by
detached trees of great size, and elsewhere by the hedges and boughs of
flourishing orchards, now laden with summer fruits.

The nearest object of consequence was a farmhouse, or, it might be, the
abode of a small proprietor, situated on the side of a sunny bank which
was covered by apple and pear trees. At the foot of the path which led up
to this modest mansion was a small cottage, pretty much in the situation
of a porter’s lodge, though obviously not designed for such a purpose.
The hut seemed comfortable, and more neatly arranged than is usual in
Scotland. It had its little garden, where some fruit-trees and bushes
were mingled with kitchen herbs; a cow and six sheep fed in a paddock
hard by; the cock strutted and crowed, and summoned his family around him
before the door; a heap of brushwood and turf, neatly made up, indicated
that the winter fuel was provided; and the thin blue smoke which ascended
from the straw-bound chimney, and winded slowly out from among the green
trees, showed that the evening meal was in the act of being made ready.
To complete the little scene of rural peace and comfort, a girl of about
five years old was fetching water in a pitcher from a beautiful fountain
of the purest transparency, which bubbled up at the root of a decayed old
oak-tree about twenty yards from the end of the cottage.

The stranger reined up his horse and called to the little nymph, desiring
to know the way to Fairy Knowe. The child set down her water-pitcher,
hardly understanding what was said to her, put her fair flaxen hair apart
on her brows, and opened her round blue eyes with the wondering “What’s
your wull?” which is usually a peasant’s first answer, if it can be
called one, to all questions whatever.

“I wish to know the way to Fairy Knowe.”

“Mammie, mammie,” exclaimed the little rustic, running towards the door
of the hut, “come out and speak to the gentleman.”

Her mother appeared,--a handsome young country-woman, to whose features,
originally sly and espiegle in expression, matrimony had given that
decent matronly air which peculiarly marks the peasant’s wife of
Scotland. She had an infant in one arm, and with the other she smoothed
down her apron, to which hung a chubby child of two years old. The elder
girl, whom the traveller had first seen, fell back behind her mother as
soon as she appeared, and kept that station, occasionally peeping out to
look at the stranger.

“What was your pleasure, sir?” said the woman, with an air of respectful
breeding not quite common in her rank of life, but without anything
resembling forwardness.

The stranger looked at her with great earnestness for a moment, and then
replied, “I am seeking a place called Fairy Knowe, and a man called
Cuthbert Headrigg. You can probably direct me to him?”

“It’s my gudeman, sir,” said the young woman, with a smile of welcome.
“Will you alight, sir, and come into our puir dwelling?--Cuddie,
Cuddie,”--a white-headed rogue of four years appeared at the door of the
hut--“rin awa, my bonny man, and tell your father a gentleman wants him.
Or, stay,--Jenny, ye’ll hae mair sense: rin ye awa and tell him; he’s
down at the Four-acres Park.--Winna ye light down and bide a blink, sir?
Or would ye take a mouthfu’ o’ bread and cheese, or a drink o’ ale, till
our gudeman comes. It’s gude ale, though I shouldna say sae that brews
it; but ploughmanlads work hard, and maun hae something to keep their
hearts abune by ordinar, sae I aye pit a gude gowpin o’ maut to the
browst.”

As the stranger declined her courteous offers, Cuddie, the reader’s old
acquaintance, made his appearance in person. His countenance still
presented the same mixture of apparent dulness with occasional sparkles,
which indicated the craft so often found in the clouted shoe. He looked
on the rider as on one whom he never had before seen, and, like his
daughter and wife, opened the conversation with the regular query,
“What’s your wull wi’ me, sir?”

“I have a curiosity to ask some questions about this country,” said the
traveller, “and I was directed to you as an intelligent man who can
answer them.”

“Nae doubt, sir,” said Cuddie, after a moment’s hesitation. “But I would
first like to ken what sort of questions they are. I hae had sae mony
questions speered at me in my day, and in sic queer ways, that if ye kend
a’, ye wadna wonder at my jalousing a’ thing about them. My mother gar ‘d
me learn the Single Carritch, whilk was a great vex; then I behoved to
learn about my godfathers and godmothers to please the auld leddy; and
whiles I jumbled them thegether and pleased nane o’ them; and when I cam
to man’s yestate, cam another kind o’ questioning in fashion that I liked
waur than Effectual Calling; and the ‘did promise and vow’ of the tape
were yokit to the end o’ the tother. Sae ye see, sir, I aye like to hear
questions asked befor I answer them.”

“You have nothing to apprehend from mine, my good friend; they only
relate to the state of the country.”

“Country?” replied Cuddie; “ou, the country’s weel eneugh, an it werena
that dour deevil, Claver’se (they ca’ him Dundee now), that’s stirring
about yet in the Highlands, they say, wi’ a’ the Donalds and Duncans and
Dugalds, that ever wore bottomless breeks, driving about wi’ him, to set
things asteer again, now we hae gotten them a’ reasonably weel settled.
But Mackay will pit him down, there’s little doubt o’ that; he’ll gie him
his fairing, I’ll be caution for it.”

“What makes you so positive of that, my friend?” asked the horseman.

“I heard it wi’ my ain lugs,” answered Cuddie, “foretauld to him by a man
that had been three hours stane dead, and came back to this earth again
just to tell him his mind. It was at a place they ca’ Drumshinnel.”

“Indeed?” said the stranger. “I can hardly believe you, my friend.”

“Ye might ask my mither, then, if she were in life,” said Cuddie; “it was
her explained it a’ to me, for I thought the man had only been wounded.
At ony rate, he spake of the casting out of the Stewarts by their very
names, and the vengeance that was brewing for Claver’se and his dragoons.
They ca’d the man Habakkuk Mucklewrath; his brain was a wee ajee, but he
was a braw preacher for a’ that.”

“You seem,” said the stranger, “to live in a rich and peaceful country.”

“It’s no to compleen o’, sir, an we get the crap weel in,” quoth Cuddie;
“but if ye had seen the blude rinnin’ as fast on the tap o’ that brigg
yonder as ever the water ran below it, ye wadna hae thought it sae bonnie
a spectacle.”

“You mean the battle some years since? I was waiting upon Monmouth that
morning, my good friend, and did see some part of the action,” said the
stranger.

“Then ye saw a bonny stour,” said Cuddie, “that sail serve me for
fighting a’ the days o’ my life. I judged ye wad be a trooper, by your
red scarlet lace-coat and your looped hat.”

“And which side were you upon, my friend?” continued the inquisitive
stranger.

“Aha, lad?” retorted Cuddie, with a knowing look, or what he designed for
such,--“there ‘s nae use in telling that, unless I kend wha was asking
me.”

“I commend your prudence, but it is unnecessary; I know you acted on that
occasion as servant to Henry Morton.”

“Ay!” said Cuddie, in surprise, “how came ye by that secret? No that I
need care a bodee about it, for the sun’s on our side o’ the hedge now. I
wish my master were living to get a blink o’t.”

“And what became of him?” said the rider.

“He was lost in the vessel gaun to that weary Holland,--clean lost; and
a’ body perished, and my poor master amang them. Neither man nor mouse
was ever heard o’ mair.” Then Cuddie uttered a groan.

“You had some regard for him, then?” continued the stranger.

“How could I help it? His face was made of a fiddle, as they say, for a’
body that looked on him liked him. And a braw soldier he was. Oh, an ye
had but seen him down at the brigg there, fleeing about like a fleeing
dragon to gar folk fight that had unto little will till ‘t! There was he
and that sour Whigamore they ca’d Burley: if twa men could hae won a
field, we wadna hae gotten our skins paid that day.”

“You mention Burley: do you know if he yet lives?”

“I kenna muckle about him. Folk say he was abroad, and our sufferers wad
hold no communion wi’ him, because o’ his having murdered the archbishop.
Sae he cam hame ten times dourer than ever, and broke aff wi’ mony o’ the
Presbyterians; and at this last coming of the Prince of Orange he could
get nae countenance nor command for fear of his deevilish temper, and he
hasna been heard of since; only some folk say that pride and anger hae
driven him clean wud.”

“And--and,” said the traveller, after considerable hesitation,--“do you
know anything of Lord Evan dale?”

“Div I ken onything o’ Lord Evandale? Div I no? Is not my young leddy up
by yonder at the house, that’s as gude as married to him?”

“And are they not married, then?” said the rider, hastily.

“No, only what they ca’ betrothed,--me and my wife were witnesses. It’s
no mony months bypast; it was a lang courtship,--few folk kend the reason
by Jenny and mysell. But will ye no light down? I downa bide to see ye
sitting up there, and the clouds are casting up thick in the west ower
Glasgow-ward, and maist skeily folk think that bodes rain.”

In fact, a deep black cloud had already surmounted the setting sun; a few
large drops of rain fell, and the murmurs of distant thunder were heard.

“The deil’s in this man,” said Cuddie to himself; “I wish he would either
light aff or ride on, that he may quarter himsell in Hamilton or the
shower begin.”

But the rider sate motionless on his horse for two or three moments after
his last question, like one exhausted by some uncommon effort. At length,
recovering himself as if with a sudden and painful effort, he asked
Cuddie “if Lady Margaret Bellenden still lived.”

“She does,” replied Cuddie, “but in a very sma’ way. They hae been a sad
changed family since thae rough times began; they hae suffered eneugh
first and last,--and to lose the auld Tower and a’ the bonny barony and
the holms that I hae pleughed sae often, and the Mains, and my kale-yard,
that I suld hae gotten back again, and a’ for naething, as ‘a body may
say, but just the want o’ some bits of sheep-skin that were lost in the
confusion of the taking of Tillietudlem.”

“I have heard something of this,” said the stranger, deepening his voice
and averting his head. “I have some interest in the family, and would
willingly help them if I could. Can you give me a bed in your house
to-night, my friend?”

“It’s but a corner of a place, sir,” said Cuddie, “but we’se try, rather
than ye suld ride on in the rain and thunner; for, to be free wi’ ye,
sir, I think ye seem no that ower weel.”

“I am liable to a dizziness,” said the stranger, “but it will soon wear
off.”

“I ken we can gie ye a decent supper, sir,” said Cuddie; “and we’ll see
about a bed as weel as we can. We wad be laith a stranger suld lack what
we have, though we are jimply provided for in beds rather; for Jenny has
sae mony bairns (God bless them and her) that troth I maun speak to Lord
Evandale to gie us a bit eik, or outshot o’ some sort, to the onstead.”

“I shall be easily accommodated,” said the stranger, as he entered the
house.

“And ye may rely on your naig being weel sorted,” said Cuddie; “I ken
weel what belangs to suppering a horse, and this is a very gude ane.”
 Cuddie took the horse to the little cow-house, and called to his wife to
attend in the mean while to the stranger’s accommodation. The officer
entered, and threw himself on a settle at some distance from the fire,
and carefully turning his back to the little lattice window. Jenny, or
Mrs. Headrigg, if the reader pleases, requested him to lay aside the
cloak, belt, and flapped hat which he wore upon his journey, but he
excused himself under pretence of feeling cold, and, to divert the time
till Cuddie’s return, he entered into some chat with the children,
carefully avoiding, during the interval, the inquisitive glances of his
landlady.



CHAPTER XVII.

                    What tragic tears bedim the eye!
                    What deaths we suffer ere we die!
                    Our broken friendships we deplore,
                    And loves of youth that are no more.
                                        LOGAN.

Cuddie soon returned, assuring the stranger, with a cheerful voice, “that
the horse was properly suppered up, and that the gudewife should make a
bed up for him at the house, mair purpose-like and comfortable than the
like o’ them could gie him.”

“Are the family at the house?” said the stranger, with an interrupted and
broken voice.

“No, stir, they’re awa wi’ a’ the servants,--they keep only twa nowadays,
and my gudewife there has the keys and the charge, though she’s no a
fee’d servant. She has been born and bred in the family, and has a’ trust
and management. If they were there, we behovedna to take sic freedom
without their order; but when they are awa, they will be weel pleased we
serve a stranger gentleman. Miss Bellenden wad help a’ the haill warld,
an her power were as gude as her will; and her grandmother, Leddy
Margaret, has an unto respect for the gentry, and she’s no ill to the
poor bodies neither.--And now, wife, what for are ye no getting forrit
wi’ the sowens?”

“Never mind, lad,” rejoined Jenny, “ye sall hae them in gude time; I ken
weel that ye like your brose het.”

Cuddie fidgeted and laughed with a peculiar expression of intelligence at
this repartee, which was followed by a dialogue of little consequence
betwixt his wife and him, in which the stranger took no share. At length
he suddenly interrupted them by the question: “Can you tell me when Lord
Evandale’s marriage takes place?”

“Very soon, we expect,” answered Jenny, before it was possible for her
husband to reply; “it wad hae been ower afore now, but for the death o’
auld Major Bellenden.”

“The excellent old man!” said the stranger; “I heard at Edinburgh he was
no more. Was he long ill?”

“He couldna be said to haud up his head after his brother’s wife and his
niece were turned out o’ their ain house; and he had himsell sair
borrowing siller to stand the law,--but it was in the latter end o’ King
James’s days; and Basil Olifant, who claimed the estate, turned a papist
to please the managers, and then naething was to be refused him. Sae the
law gaed again the leddies at last, after they had fought a weary sort o’
years about it; and, as I said before, the major ne’er held up his head
again. And then cam the pitting awa o’ the Stewart line; and, though he
had but little reason to like them, he couldna brook that, and it clean
broke the heart o’ him; and creditors cam to Charnwood and cleaned out a’
that was there,--he was never rich, the gude auld man, for he dow’d na
see onybody want.”

“He was indeed,” said the stranger, with a faltering voice, “an admirable
man,--that is, I have heard that he was so. So the ladies were left
without fortune, as well as without a protector?”

“They will neither want the tane nor the tother while Lord Evandale
lives,” said Jenny; “he has been a true friend in their griefs. E’en to
the house they live in is his lordship’s; and never man, as my auld
gudemother used to say, since the days of the Patriarch Jacob, served sae
lang and sae sair for a wife as gude Lord Evandale has dune.”

“And why,” said the stranger, with a voice that quivered with emotion,
“why was he not sooner rewarded by the object of his attachment?”

“There was the lawsuit to be ended,” said Jenny readily, “forby many
other family arrangements.”

“Na, but,” said Cuddie, “there was another reason forby; for the young
leddy--”

“Whisht, hand your tongue, and sup your sowens,” said his wife; “I see
the gentleman’s far frae weel, and downa eat our coarse supper. I wad
kill him a chicken in an instant.”

“There is no occasion,” said the stranger; “I shall want only a glass of
water, and to be left alone.”

“You’ll gie yoursell the trouble then to follow me,” said Jenny, lighting
a small lantern, “and I’ll show you the way.”

Cuddie also proffered his assistance; but his wife reminded him, “That
the bairns would be left to fight thegither, and coup ane anither into
the fire,” so that he remained to take charge of the menage.
His wife led the way up a little winding path, which, after threading
some thickets of sweetbrier and honeysuckle, conducted to the back-door
of a small garden. Jenny undid the latch, and they passed through an
old-fashioned flower-garden, with its clipped yew hedges and formal
parterres, to a glass-sashed door, which she opened with a master-key,
and lighting a candle, which she placed upon a small work-table, asked
pardon for leaving him there for a few minutes, until she prepared his
apartment. She did not exceed five minutes in these preparations; but
when she returned, was startled to find that the stranger had sunk
forward with his head upon the table, in what she at first apprehended to
be a swoon. As she advanced to him, however, she could discover by his
short-drawn sobs that it was a paroxysm of mental agony. She prudently
drew back until he raised his head, and then showing herself, without
seeming to have observed his agitation, informed him that his bed was
prepared. The stranger gazed at her a moment, as if to collect the sense
of her words. She repeated them; and only bending his head, as an
indication that he understood her, he entered the apartment, the door of
which she pointed out to him. It was a small bedchamber, used, as she
informed him, by Lord Evandale when a guest at Fairy Knowe, connecting,
on one side, with a little china-cabinet which opened to the garden, and
on the other, with a saloon, from which it was only separated by a thin
wainscot partition. Having wished the stranger better health and good
rest, Jenny descended as speedily as she could to her own mansion.

“Oh, Cuddie!” she exclaimed to her helpmate as she entered, “I doubt
we’re ruined folk!”

“How can that be? What’s the matter wi’ ye?” returned the imperturbed
Cuddie, who was one of those persons who do not easily take alarm at
anything.

“Wha d’ ye think yon gentleman is? Oh that ever ye suld hae asked him to
light here!” exclaimed Jenny.

“Why, wha the muckle deil d’ye say he is? There’s nae law against
harbouring and intercommunicating now,” said Cuddie; “sae, Whig or Tory,
what need we care wha he be?”

“Ay, but it’s ane will ding Lord Evandale’s marriage ajee yet, if it ‘s
no the better looked to,” said Jenny; “it’s Miss Edith’s first joe, your
ain auld maister, Cuddie.”

“The deil, woman!” exclaimed Cuddie, starting up, “Crow ye that I am
blind? I wad hae kend Mr. Harry Morton amang a hunder.”

“Ay, but, Cuddie lad,” replied Jenny, “though ye are no blind, ye are no
sae notice-taking as I am.”

“Weel, what for needs ye cast that up to me just now; or what did ye see
about the man that was like our Maister Harry?”

“I will tell ye,” said Jenny. “I jaloused his keeping his face frae us,
and speaking wi’ a madelike voice, sae I e’en tried him wi’ some tales
o lang syne; and when I spake o’ the brose, ye ken, he didna just
laugh,--he’s ower grave for that nowadays, but he gae a gledge wi’ his
ee that I kend he took up what I said. And a’ his distress is about Miss
Edith’s marriage; and I ne’er saw a man mair taen down wi’ true love in
my days,--I might say man or woman, only I mind how ill Miss Edith was
when she first gat word that him and you (ye muckle graceless loon) were
coming against Tillietudlem wi’ the rebels.--But what’s the matter wi’
the man now?”

“What’s the matter wi’ me indeed!” said Cuddie, who was again hastily
putting on some of the garments he had stripped himself of; “am I no gaun
up this instant to see my maister?”

“Atweel, Cuddie, ye are gaun nae sic gate,” said Jenny, coolly and
resolutely.

“The deil’s in the wife!” said Cuddie. “D ‘ye think I am to be John
Tamson’s man, and maistered by women a’ the days o’ my life?”

“And whase man wad ye be? And wha wad ye hae to maister ye but me,
Cuddie, lad?” answered Jenny. “I’ll gar ye comprehend in the making of a
hay-band. Naebody kens that this young gentleman is living but oursells;
and frae that he keeps himsell up sae close, I am judging that he’s
purposing, if he fand Miss Edith either married, or just gaun to be
married, he wad just slide awa easy, and gie them nae mair trouble. But
if Miss Edith kend that he was living, and if she were standing before
the very minister wi’ Lord Evandale when it was tauld to her, I’se
warrant she wad say No when she suld say Yes.”

“Weel,” replied Cuddie, “and what’s my business wi’ that? If Miss Edith
likes her auld joe better than her new ane, what for suld she no be free
to change her mind like other folk? Ye ken, Jenny, Halliday aye threeps
he had a promise frae yoursell.”

“Halliday’s a liar, and ye’re naething but a gomeril to hearken till him,
Cuddie. And then for this leddy’s choice, lack-a-day! ye may be sure a’
the gowd Mr. Morton has is on the outside o’ his coat; and how can he
keep Leddy Margaret and the young leddy?”

“Isna there Milnwood?” said Cuddie. “Nae doubt the auld laird left his
housekeeper the liferent, as he heard nought o’ his nephew; but it’s but
speaking the auld wife fair, and they may a’ live brawly thegither, Leddy
Margaret and a’.”

“Rout tout, lad,” replied Jenny; “ye ken them little to think leddies o’
their rank wad set up house wi’ auld Ailie Wilson, when they’re maist
ower proud to take favours frae Lord Evandale himsell. Na, na, they maun
follow the camp, if she tak Morton.”

“That wad sort ill wi’ the auld leddy, to be sure,” said Cuddie; “she wad
hardly win ower a lang day in the baggage-wain.”

“Then sic a flyting as there wad be between them, a’ about Whig and
Tory,” continued Jenny.

“To be sure,” said Cuddie, “the auld leddy ‘s unto kittle in thae
points.”

“And then, Cuddie,” continued his helpmate, who had reserved her
strongest argument to the last, “if this marriage wi’ Lord Evandale is
broken off, what comes o’ our ain bit free house, and the kale-yard, and
the cow’s grass? I trow that baith us and thae bonny bairns will be
turned on the wide warld!”

Here Jenny began to whimper; Cuddie writhed himself this way and that
way, the very picture of indecision. At length he broke out, “Weel,
woman, canna ye tell us what we suld do, without a’ this din about it?”

“Just do naething at a’,” said Jenny. “Never seem to ken onything about
this gentleman, and for your life say a word that he suld hae been here,
or up at the house! An I had kend, I wad hae gien him my ain bed, and
sleepit in the byre or he had gane up by; but it canna be helpit now. The
neist thing’s to get him cannily awa the morn, and I judge he’ll be in
nae hurry to come back again.”

“My puir maister!” said Cuddie; “and maun I no speak to him, then?”

“For your life, no,” said Jenny. “Ye’re no obliged to ken him; and I
wadna hae tauld ye, only I feared ye wad ken him in the morning.”

“Aweel,” said Cuddie, sighing heavily, “I ‘se awa to pleugh the outfield
then; for if I am no to speak to him, I wad rather be out o’ the gate.”

“Very right, my dear hinny,” replied Jenny. “Naebody has better sense than
you when ye crack a bit wi’ me ower your affairs; but ye suld ne’er do
onything aff hand out o’ your ain head.”

“Ane wad think it’s true,” quoth Cuddie; “for I hae aye had some carline
or quean or another to gar me gang their gate instead o’ my ain. There
was first my mither,” he continued, as he undressed and tumbled himself
into bed; “then there was Leddy Margaret didna let me ca’ my soul my ain;
then my mither and her quarrelled, and pu’ed me twa ways at anes, as if
ilk ane had an end o’ me, like Punch and the Deevil rugging about the
Baker at the fair; and now I hae gotten a wife,” he murmured in
continuation, as he stowed the blankets around his person, “and she’s
like to tak the guiding o’ me a’ thegither.”

“And amna I the best guide ye ever had in a’ your life?” said Jenny, as
she closed the conversation by assuming her place beside her husband and
extinguishing the candle.

Leaving this couple to their repose, we have next to inform the reader
that, early on the next morning, two ladies on horseback, attended by
their servants, arrived at the house of Fairy Knowe, whom, to Jenny’s
utter confusion, she instantly recognised as Miss Bellenden and Lady
Emily Hamilton, a sister of Lord Evandale.

“Had I no better gang to the house to put things to rights?” said Jenny,
confounded with this unexpected apparition.

“We want nothing but the pass-key,” said Miss Bellenden; “Gudyill will
open the windows of the little parlour.”

“The little parlour’s locked, and the lock’s, spoiled,” answered Jenny,
who recollected the local spmpathy between that apartment and the
bedchamber of her guest.

“In the red parlour, then,” said Miss Bellenden, and rode up to the front
of the house, but by an approach different from that through which Morton
had been conducted.

“All will be out,” thought Jenny, “unless I can get him smuggled out of
the house the back way.”

So saying, she sped up the bank in great tribulation and uncertainty.

“I had better hae said at ante there was a stranger there,” was her next
natural reflection. “But then they wad hae been for asking him to
breakfast. Oh, safe us! what will I do?--And there’s Gudyill walking in
the garden too!” she exclaimed internally on approaching the wicket; “and
I daurna gang in the back way till he’s aff the coast. Oh, sirs! what
will become of us?”

In this state of perplexity she approached the cidevant butler, with the
purpose of decoying him out of the garden. But John Gudyill’s temper was
not improved by his decline in rank and increase in years. Like many
peevish people, too, he seemed to have an intuitive perception as to what
was most likely to teaze those whom he conversed with; and, on the
present occasion, all Jenny’s efforts to remove him from the garden
served only to root him in it as fast as if he had been one of the
shrubs.

Unluckily, also, he had commenced florist during his residence at Fairy
Knowe; and, leaving all other things to the charge of Lady Emily’s
servant, his first care was dedicated to the flowers, which he had taken
under his special protection, and which he propped, dug, and watered,
prosing all the while upon their respective merits to poor Jenny, who
stood by him trembling and almost crying with anxiety, fear, and
impatience.

Fate seemed determined to win a match against Jenny this unfortunate
morning. As soon as the ladies entered the house, they observed that the
door of the little parlour--the very apartment out of which she was
desirous of excluding them on account of its contiguity to the room in
which Morton slept--was not only unlocked, but absolutely ajar. Miss
Bellenden was too much engaged with her own immediate subjects of
reflection to take much notice of the circumstance, but, desiring the
servant to open the window-shutters, walked into the room along with her
friend.

“He is not yet come,” she said. “What can your brother possibly mean? Why
express so anxious a wish that we should meet him here? And why not come
to Castle Dinnan, as he proposed? I own, my dear Emily, that, even
engaged as we are to each other, and with the sanction of your presence,
I do not feel that I have done quite right in indulging him.”

“Evandale was never capricious,” answered his sister; “I am sure he will
satisfy us with his reasons, and if he does not, I will help you to scold
him.”

“What I chiefly fear,” said Edith, “is his having engaged in some of the
plots of this fluctuating and unhappy time. I know his heart is with that
dreadful Claverhouse and his army, and I believe he would have joined
them ere now but for my uncle’s death, which gave him so much additional
trouble on our account. How singular that one so rational and so deeply
sensible of the errors of the exiled family should be ready to risk all
for their restoration!”

“What can I say?” answered Lady Emily,--“it is a point of honour with
Evandale. Our family have always been loyal; he served long in the
Guards; the Viscount of Dundee was his commander and his friend for
years; he is looked on with an evil eye by many of his own relations, who
set down his inactivity to the score of want of spirit. You must be
aware, my dear Edith, how often family connections and early
predilections influence our actions more than abstract arguments. But I
trust Evandale will continue quiet,--though, to tell you truth, I believe
you are the only one who can keep him so.”

“And how is it in my power?” said Miss Bellenden.

“You can furnish him with the Scriptural apology for not going forth with
the host,--‘he has married a wife, and therefore cannot come.’”

“I have promised,” said Edith, in a faint voice; “but I trust I shall not
be urged on the score of time.”

“Nay,” said Lady Emily, “I will leave Evandale (and here he comes) to
plead his own cause.”

“Stay, stay, for God’s sake!” said Edith, endeavouring to detain her.

“Not I, not I,” said the young lady, making her escape; “the third person
makes a silly figure on such occasions. When you want me for breakfast, I
will be found in the willow-walk by the river.”

As she tripped out of the room, Lord Evandale entered. “Good-morrow,
Brother, and good-by till breakfast-time,” said the lively young lady;
“I trust you will give Miss Bellenden some good reasons for disturbing
her rest so early in the morning.”

And so saying, she left them together, without waiting a reply.

“And now, my lord,” said Edith, “may I desire to know the meaning of your
singular request to meet you here at so early an hour?”

She was about to add that she hardly felt herself excusable in having
complied with it; but upon looking at the person whom she addressed, she
was struck dumb by the singular and agitated expression of his
countenance, and interrupted herself to exclaim, “For God’s sake, what is
the matter?”

“His Majesty’s faithful subjects have gained a great and most decisive
victory near Blair of Athole; but, alas! my gallant friend Lord Dundee--”

“Has fallen?” said Edith, anticipating the rest of his tidings.

“True, most true: he has fallen in the arms of victory, and not a man
remains of talents and influence sufficient to fill up his loss in King
James’s service. This, Edith, is no time for temporizing with our duty. I
have given directions to raise my followers, and I must take leave of you
this evening.”

“Do not think of it, my lord,” answered Edith; “your life is--essential
to your friends,--do not throw it away in an adventure so rash. What can
your single arm, and the few tenants or servants who might follow you, do
against the force of almost all Scotland, the Highland clans only
excepted?”

“Listen to me, Edith,” said Lord Evandale. “I am not so rash as you may
suppose me, nor are my present motives of such light importance as to
affect only those personally dependent on myself. The Life Guards, with
whom I served so long, although new-modelled and new-officered by the
Prince of Orange, retain a predilection for the cause of their rightful
master; and “--and here he whispered as if he feared even the walls of
the apartment had ears--“when my foot is known to be in the stirrup, two
regiments of cavalry have sworn to renounce the usurper’s service, and
fight under my orders. They delayed only till Dundee should descend into
the Lowlands; but since he is no more, which of his successors dare take
that decisive step, unless encouraged by the troops declaring themselves!
Meantime, the zeal of the soldiers will die away. I must bring them to a
decision while their hearts are glowing with the victory their old leader
has obtained, and burning to avenge his untimely death.”

“And will you, on the faith of such men as you know these soldiers to
be,” said Edith, “take a part of such dreadful moment?”

“I will,” said Lord Evandale,--“I must; my honour and loyalty are both
pledged for it.”

“And all for the sake,” continued Miss Bellenden, “of a prince whose
measures, while he was on the throne, no one could condemn more than Lord
Evandale?”

“Most true,” replied Lord Evandale; “and as I resented, even during the
plenitude of his power, his innovations on Church and State, like a
freeborn subject, I am determined I will assert his real rights, when he
is in adversity, like a loyal one. Let courtiers and sycophants flatter
power and desert misfortune; I will neither do the one nor the other.”

“And if you are determined to act what my feeble judgment must still term
rashly, why give yourself the pain of this untimely meeting?”

“Were it not enough to answer,” said Lord Evandale, “that, ere rushing on
battle, I wished to bid adieu to my betrothed bride? Surely it is judging
coldly of my feelings, and showing too plainly the indifference of your
own, to question my motive for a request so natural.”

“But why in this place, my lord,” said Edith; “and why with such peculiar
circumstances of mystery?”

“Because,” he replied, putting a letter into her hand, “I have yet
another request, which I dare hardly proffer, even when prefaced by these
credentials.”

In haste and terror, Edith glanced over the letter, which was from her
grandmother.

     “My dearest childe,” such was its tenor in style and spelling, “I
     never more deeply regretted the reumatizm, which disqualified me
     from riding on horseback, than at this present writing, when I would
     most have wished to be where this paper will soon be, that is at
     Fairy Knowe, with my poor dear Willie’s only child. But it is the
     will of God I should not be with her, which I conclude to be the
     case, as much for the pain I now suffer, as because it hath now not
     given way either to cammomile poultices or to decoxion of wild
     mustard, wherewith I have often relieved others. Therefore, I must
     tell you, by writing instead of word of mouth, that, as my young
     Lord Evandale is called to the present campaign, both by his honour
     and his duty, he hath earnestly solicited me that the bonds of holy
     matrimony be knitted before his departure to the wars between you
     and him, in implement of the indenture formerly entered into for
     that effeck, whereuntill, as I see no raisonable objexion, so I
     trust that you, who have been always a good and obedient childe,
     will not devize any which has less than raison. It is trew that the
     contrax of our house have heretofore been celebrated in a manner
     more befitting our Rank, and not in private, and with few witnesses,
     as a thing done in a corner. But it has been Heaven’s own free will,
     as well as those of the kingdom where we live, to take away from us
     our estate, and from the King his throne. Yet I trust He will yet
     restore the rightful heir to the throne, and turn his heart to the
     true Protestant Episcopal faith, which I have the better right to
     expect to see even with my old eyes, as I have beheld the royal
     family when they were struggling as sorely with masterful usurpers
     and rebels as they are now; that is to say, when his most sacred
     Majesty, Charles the Second of happy memory, honoured our poor house
     of Tillietudlem by taking his _disjune_ therein,” etc., etc., etc.

We will not abuse the reader’s patience by quoting more of Lady
Margaret’s prolix epistle. Suffice it to say that it closed by laying her
commands on her grandchild to consent to the solemnization of her
marriage without loss of time.

“I never thought till this instant,” said Edith, dropping the letter from
her hand, “that Lord Evandale would have acted ungenerously.”

“Ungenerously, Edith!” replied her lover. “And how can you apply such a
term to my desire to call you mine, ere I part from you, perhaps for
ever?”

“Lord Evandale ought to have remembered,” said Edith, “that when his
perseverance, and, I must add, a due sense of his merit and of the
obligations we owed him, wrung from me a slow consent that I would one
day comply with his wishes, I made it my condition that I should not be
pressed to a hasty accomplishment of my promise; and now he avails
himself of his interest with my only remaining relative to hurry me with
precipitate and even indelicate importunity. There is more selfishness
than generosity, my lord, in such eager and urgent solicitation.”

Lord Evandale, evidently much hurt, took two or three turns through the
apartment ere he replied to this accusation; at length he spoke: “I
should have escaped this painful charge, durst I at once have mentioned
to Miss Bellendon my principal reason for urging this request. It is one
which she will probably despise on her own account, but which ought to
weigh with her for the sake of Lady Margaret. My death in battle must
give my whole estate to my heirs of entail; my forfeiture as a traitor,
by the usurping Government, may vest it in the Prince of Orange or some
Dutch favourite. In either case, my venerable friend and betrothed bride
must remain unprotected and in poverty. Vested with the rights and
provisions of Lady Evandale, Edith will find, in the power of supporting
her aged parent, some consolation for having condescended to share the
titles and fortunes of one who does not pretend to be worthy of her.”

Edith was struck dumb by an argument which she had not expected, and was
compelled to acknowledge that Lord Evandale’s suit was urged with
delicacy as well as with consideration.

“And yet,” she said, “such is the waywardness with which my heart reverts
to former times that I cannot,” she burst into tears, “suppress a degree
of ominous reluctance at fulfilling my engagement upon such a brief
summons.”

“We have already fully considered this painful subject,” said Lord
Evandale; “and I hoped, my dear Edith, your own inquiries, as well as
mine, had fully convinced you that these regrets were fruitless.”

“Fruitless indeed!” said Edith, with a deep sigh, which, as if by an
unexpected echo, was repeated from the adjoining apartment. Miss
Bellenden started at the sound, and scarcely composed herself upon Lord
Evandale’s assurances that she had heard but the echo of her own
respiration.

“It sounded strangely distinct,” she said, “and almost ominous; but my
feelings are so harassed that the slightest trifle agitates them.”

Lord Evandale eagerly attempted to soothe her alarm, and reconcile her to
a measure which, however hasty, appeared to him the only means by which
he could secure her independence. He urged his claim in virtue of the
contract, her grandmother’s wish and command, the propriety of insuring
her comfort and independence, and touched lightly on his own long
attachment, which he had evinced by so many and such various services.
These Edith felt the more, the less they were insisted upon; and at
length, as she had nothing to oppose to his ardour, excepting a causeless
reluctance which she herself was ashamed to oppose against so much
generosity, she was compelled to rest upon the impossibility of having
the ceremony performed upon such hasty notice, at such a time and place.
But for all this Lord Evandale was prepared, and he explained, with
joyful alacrity, that the former chaplain of his regiment was in
attendance at the Lodge with a faithful domestic, once a non-commissioned
officer in the same corps; that his sister was also possessed of the
secret; and that Headrigg and his wife might be added to the list of
witnesses, if agreeable to Miss Bellenden. As to the place, he had chosen
it on very purpose. The marriage was to remain a secret, since Lord
Evandale was to depart in disguise very soon after it was solemnized,--a
circumstance which, had their union been public, must have drawn upon him
the attention of the Government, as being altogether unaccountable,
unless from his being engaged in some dangerous design. Having hastily
urged these motives and explained his arrangements, he ran, without
waiting for an answer, to summon his sister to attend his bride, while he
went in search of the other persons whose presence was necessary.
When Lady Emily arrived, she found her friend in an agony of tears, of
which she was at some loss to comprehend the reason, being one of those
damsels who think there is nothing either wonderful or terrible in
matrimony, and joining with most who knew him in thinking that it could
not be rendered peculiarly alarming by Lord Evandale being the
bridegroom. Influenced by these feelings, she exhausted in succession all
the usual arguments for courage, and all the expressions of sympathy and
condolence ordinarily employed on such occasions. But when Lady Emily
beheld her future sister-in-law deaf to all those ordinary topics of
consolation; when she beheld tears follow fast and without intermission
down cheeks as pale as marble; when she felt that the hand which she
pressed in order to enforce her arguments turned cold within her grasp,
and lay, like that of a corpse, insensible and unresponsive to her
caresses, her feelings of sympathy gave way to those of hurt pride and
pettish displeasure.

“I must own,” she said, “that I am something at a loss to understand all
this, Miss Bellenden. Months have passed since you agreed to marry my
brother, and you have postponed the fulfilment of your engagement from
one period to another, as if you had to avoid some dishonourable or
highly disagreeable connection. I think I can answer for Lord Evandale
that he will seek no woman’s hand against her inclination; and, though
his sister, I may boldly say that he does not need to urge any lady
further than her inclinations carry her. You will forgive me, Miss
Bellenden; but your present distress augurs ill for my brother’s future
happiness, and I must needs say that he does not merit all these
expressions of dislike and dolour, and that they seem an odd return for
an attachment which he has manifested so long, and in so many ways.”

“You are right, Lady Emily,” said Edith, drying her eyes and endeavouring
to resume her natural manner, though still betrayed by her faltering
voice and the paleness of her cheeks,--“you are quite right; Lord
Evandale merits such usage from no one, least of all from her whom he has
honoured with his regard. But if I have given way, for the last time, to
a sudden and irresistible burst of feeling, it is my consolation, Lady
Emily, that your brother knows the cause, that I have hid nothing from
him, and that he at least is not apprehensive of finding in Edith
Bellenden a wife undeserving of his affection. But still you are right,
and I merit your censure for indulging for a moment fruitless regret and
painful remembrances. It shall be so no longer; my lot is cast with
Evandale, and with him I am resolved to bear it. Nothing shall in future
occur to excite his complaints or the resentment of his relations; no
idle recollections of other days shall intervene to prevent the zealous
and affectionate discharge of my duty; no vain illusions recall the
memory of other days--”

As she spoke these words, she slowly raised her eyes, which had before
been hidden by her hand, to the latticed window of her apartment, which
was partly open, uttered a dismal shriek, and fainted. Lady Emily turned
her eyes in the same direction, but saw only the shadow of a man, which
seemed to disappear from the window, and, terrified more by the state of
Edith than by the apparition she had herself witnessed, she uttered
shriek upon shriek for assistance. Her brother soon arrived, with the
chaplain and Jenny Dennison; but strong and vigorous remedies were
necessary ere they could recall Miss Bellenden to sense and motion. Even
then her language was wild and incoherent.


[Illustration: Uttered A Dismal Shriek, And Fainted--224]


“Press me no farther,” she said to Lord Evandale,--“it cannot be; Heaven
and earth, the living and the dead, have leagued themselves against this
ill-omened union. Take all I can give,--my sisterly regard, my devoted
friendship. I will love you as a sister and serve you as a bondswoman,
but never speak to me more of marriage.”

The astonishment of Lord Evandale may easily be conceived.
“Emily,” he said to his sister, “this is your doing. I was accursed when
I thought of bringing you here; some of your confounded folly has driven
her mad!”

“On my word, Brother,” answered Lady Emily, “you’re sufficient to drive
all the women in Scotland mad. Because your mistress seems much disposed
to jilt you, you quarrel with your sister, who has been arguing in your
cause, and had brought her to a quiet hearing, when, all of a sudden, a
man looked in at a window, whom her crazed sensibility mistook either for
you or some one else, and has treated us gratis with an excellent tragic
scene.”

“What man?  What window?” said Lord Evandale, in impatient displeasure.
“Miss Bellenden is incapable of trifling with me; and yet what else could
have--”

“Hush! hush!” said Jenny, whose interest lay particularly in shifting
further inquiry; “for Heaven’s sake, my lord, speak low, for my lady
begins to recover.”

Edith was no sooner somewhat restored to herself than she begged, in a
feeble voice, to be left alone with Lord Evandale. All retreated,--Jenny
with her usual air of officious simplicity, Lady Emily and the chaplain
with that of awakened curiosity. No sooner had they left the apartment
than Edith beckoned Lord Evandale to sit beside her on the couch; her
next motion was to take his hand, in spite of his surprised resistance,
to her lips; her last was to sink from her seat and to clasp his knees.
“Forgive me, my lord!” she exclaimed, “forgive me! I must deal most
untruly by you, and break a solemn engagement. You have my friendship, my
highest regard, my most sincere gratitude; you have more,--you have my
word and my faith; but--oh, forgive me, for the fault is not mine--you
have not my love, and I cannot marry you without a sin!”

“You dream, my dearest Edith!” said Evandale, perplexed in the utmost
degree, “you let your imagination beguile you; this is but some delusion
of an over-sensitive mind. The person whom you preferred to me has been
long in a better world, where your unavailing regret cannot follow him,
or, if it could, would only diminish his happiness.”

“You are mistaken, Lord Evandale,” said Edith, solemnly; “I am not a
sleep-walker or a madwoman. No, I could not have believed from any one
what I have seen. But, having seen him, I must believe mine own eyes.”

“Seen him,--seen whom?” asked Lord Evandale, in great anxiety.

“Henry Morton,” replied Edith, uttering these two words as if they were
her last, and very nearly fainting when she had done so.

“Miss Bellenden,” said Lord Evandale, “you treat me like a fool or a
child. If you repent your engagement to me,” he continued, indignantly,
“I am not a man to enforce it against your inclination; but deal with me
as a man, and forbear this trifling.”

He was about to go on, when he perceived, from her quivering eye and
pallid cheek, that nothing less than imposture was intended, and that by
whatever means her imagination had been so impressed, it was really
disturbed by unaffected awe and terror. He changed his tone, and exerted
all his eloquence in endeavouring to soothe and extract from her the
secret cause of such terror.

“I saw him!” she repeated,--“I saw Henry Morton stand at that window, and
look into the apartment at the moment I was on the point of abjuring him
for ever. His face was darker, thinner, and paler than it was wont to be;
his dress was a horseman’s cloak, and hat looped down over his face; his
expression was like that he wore on that dreadful morning when he was
examined by Claverhouse at Tillietudlem. Ask your sister, ask Lady Emily,
if she did not see him as well as I. I know what has called him up,--he
came to upbraid me, that, while my heart was with him in the deep and
dead sea, I was about to give my hand to another. My lord, it is ended
between you and me; be the consequences what they will, she cannot marry
whose union disturbs the repose of the dead.”

“Good Heaven!” said Evandale, as he paced the room, half mad himself with
surprise and vexation, “her fine understanding must be totally
overthrown, and that by the effort which she has made to comply with my
ill-timed, though well-meant, request. Without rest and attention her
health is ruined for ever.”

At this moment the door opened, and Halliday, who had been Lord
Evandale’s principal personal attendant since they both left the Guards
on the Revolution, stumbled into the room with a countenance as pale and
ghastly as terror could paint it.

“What is the matter next, Halliday?” cried his master, starting up. “Any
discovery of the--”

He had just recollection sufficient to stop short in the midst of the
dangerous sentence.

“No, sir,” said Halliday, “it is not that, nor anything like that; but I
have seen a ghost!”

“A ghost, you eternal idiot!” said Lord Evandale, forced altogether out
of his patience. “Has all mankind sworn to go mad in order to drive me
so? What ghost, you simpleton?”

“The ghost of Henry Morton, the Whig captain at Bothwell Bridge,” replied
Halliday. “He passed by me like a fire-flaught when I was in the garden!”

“This is midsummer madness,” said Lord Evandale, “or there is some
strange villainy afloat. Jenny, attend your lady to her chamber, while I
endeavour to find a clue to all this.”

But Lord Evandale’s inquiries were in vain. Jenny, who might have given
(had she chosen) a very satisfactory explanation, had an interest to
leave the matter in darkness; and interest was a matter which now weighed
principally with Jenny, since the possession of an active and
affectionate husband in her own proper right had altogether allayed her
spirit of coquetry. She had made the best use of the first moments of
confusion hastily to remove all traces of any one having slept in the
apartment adjoining to the parlour, and even to erase the mark of
footsteps beneath the window, through which she conjectured Morton’s face
had been seen, while attempting, ere he left the garden, to gain one look
at her whom he had so long loved, and was now on the point of losing for
ever. That he had passed Halliday in the garden was equally clear; and
she learned from her elder boy, whom she had employed to have the
stranger’s horse saddled and ready for his departure, that he had rushed
into the stable, thrown the child a broad gold piece, and, mounting his
horse, had ridden with fearful rapidity down towards the Clyde. The
secret was, therefore, in their own family, and Jenny was resolved it
should remain so.

“For, to be sure,” she said, “although her lady and Halliday kend Mr.
Morton by broad daylight, that was nae reason I suld own to kenning him
in the gloaming and by candlelight, and him keeping his face frae Cuddie
and me a’ the time.”

So she stood resolutely upon the negative when examined by Lord Evandale.
As for Halliday, he could only say that as he entered the garden-door,
the supposed apparition met him, walking swiftly, and with a visage on
which anger and grief appeared to be contending.

“He knew him well,” he said, “having been repeatedly guard upon him, and
obliged to write down his marks of stature and visage in case of escape.
And there were few faces like Mr. Morton’s.” But what should make him
haunt the country where he was neither hanged nor shot, he, the said
Halliday, did not pretend to conceive.

Lady Emily confessed she had seen the face of a man at the window, but
her evidence went no farther. John Gudyill deponed _nil novit in causa_.
He had left his gardening to get his morning dram just at the time when
the apparition had taken place. Lady Emily’s servant was waiting orders
in the kitchen, and there was not another being within a quarter of a
mile of the house.

Lord Evandale returned perplexed and dissatisfied in the highest degree
at beholding a plan which he thought necessary not less for the
protection of Edith in contingent circumstances, than for the assurance
of his own happiness, and which he had brought so very near perfection,
thus broken off without any apparent or rational cause. His knowledge of
Edith’s character set her beyond the suspicion of covering any capricious
change of determination by a pretended vision. But he would have set the
apparition down to the influence of an overstrained imagination, agitated
by the circumstances in which she had so suddenly been placed, had it not
been for the coinciding testimony of Halliday, who had no reason for
thinking of Morton more than any other person, and knew nothing of Miss
Bellenden’s vision when he promulgated his own. On the other hand, it
seemed in the highest degree improbable that Morton, so long and so
vainly sought after, and who was, with such good reason, supposed to be
lost when the “Vryheid” of Rotterdam went down with crew and passengers,
should be alive and lurking in this country, where there was no longer
any reason why he should not openly show himself, since the present
Government favoured his party in politics. When Lord Evandale reluctantly
brought himself to communicate these doubts to the chaplain, in order to
obtain his opinion, he could only obtain a long lecture on demonology, in
which, after quoting Delrio and Burthoog and De L’Ancre on the subject of
apparitions, together with sundry civilians and common lawyers on the
nature of testimony, the learned gentleman expressed his definite and
determined opinion to be, either that there had been an actual apparition
of the deceased Henry Morton’s spirit, the possibility of which he was,
as a divine and a philosopher, neither fully prepared to admit or to
deny; or else that the said Henry Morton, being still in _rerum natura_,
had appeared in his proper person that morning; or, finally, that some
strong _deceptio visus_, or striking similitude of person, had deceived
the eyes of Miss Bellenden and of Thomas Halliday. Which of these was the
most probable hypothesis, the doctor declined to pronounce, but expressed
himself ready to die in the opinion that one or other of them had
occasioned that morning’s disturbance.

Lord Evandale soon had additional cause for distressful anxiety. Miss
Bellenden was declared to be dangerously ill.

“I will not leave this place,” he exclaimed, “till she is pronounced to
be in safety. I neither can nor ought to do so; for whatever may have
been the immediate occasion of her illness, I gave the first cause for it
by my unhappy solicitation.”

He established himself, therefore, as a guest in the family, which the
presence of his sister, as well as of Lady Margaret Bellenden (who, in
despite of her rheumatism, caused herself to be transported thither when
she heard of her granddaughter’s illness), rendered a step equally
natural and delicate. And thus he anxiously awaited until, without injury
to her health, Edith could sustain a final explanation ere his departure
on his expedition.

“She shall never,” said the generous young man, “look on her engagement
with me as the means of fettering her to a union, the idea of which seems
almost to unhinge her understanding.”



CHAPTER XVIII.

               Ah, happy hills! ah, pleasing shades!
               Ah, fields beloved in vain!
               Where once my careless childhood strayed,
               A stranger yet to pain.
                       Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College.

It is not by corporal wants and infirmities only that men of the most
distinguished talents are levelled, during their lifetime, with the
common mass of mankind. There are periods of mental agitation when the
firmest of mortals must be ranked with the weakest of his brethren, and
when, in paying the general tax of humanity, his distresses are even
aggravated by feeling that he transgresses, in the indulgence of his
grief, the rules of religion and philosophy by which he endeavours in
general to regulate his passions and his actions. It was during such a
paroxysm that the unfortunate Morton left Fairy Knowe. To know that his
long-loved and still-beloved Edith, whose image had filled his mind for
so many years, was on the point of marriage to his early rival, who had
laid claim to her heart by so many services as hardly left her a title to
refuse his addresses, bitter as the intelligence was, yet came not as an
unexpected blow.

During his residence abroad he had once written to Edith. It was to bid
her farewell for ever, and to conjure her to forget him. He had requested
her not to answer his letter; yet he half hoped, for many a day, that she
might transgress his injunction. The letter never reached her to whom it
was addressed, and Morton, ignorant of its miscarriage, could only
conclude himself laid aside and forgotten, according to his own
self-denying request. All that he had heard of their mutual relations
since his return to Scotland prepared him to expect that he could only
look upon Miss Bellenden as the betrothed bride of Lord Evandale; and
even if freed from the burden of obligation to the latter, it would still
have been inconsistent with Morton’s generosity of disposition to disturb
their arrangements, by attempting the assertion of a claim proscribed by
absence, never sanctioned by the consent of friends, and barred by a
thousand circumstances of difficulty. Why then did he seek the cottage
which their broken fortunes had now rendered the retreat of Lady Margaret
Bellenden and her granddaughter? He yielded, we are under the necessity
of acknowledging, to the impulse of an inconsistent wish which many might
have felt in his situation.

Accident apprised him, while travelling towards his native district, that
the ladies, near whose mansion he must necessarily pass, were absent; and
learning that Cuddie and his wife acted as their principal domestics, he
could not resist pausing at their cottage to learn, if possible, the real
progress which Lord Evandale had made in the affections of Miss Bellen
den--alas! no longer his Edith. This rash experiment ended as we have
related, and he parted from the house of Fairy Knowe, conscious that he
was still beloved by Edith, yet compelled, by faith and honour, to
relinquish her for ever. With what feelings he must have listened to the
dialogue between Lord Evandale and Edith, the greater part of which he
involuntarily overheard, the reader must conceive, for we dare not
attempt to describe them. An hundred times he was tempted to burst upon
their interview, or to exclaim aloud, “Edith, I yet live!” and as often
the recollection of her plighted troth, and of the debt of gratitude
which he owed Lord Evandale (to whose influence with Claverhouse he
justly ascribed his escape from torture and from death), withheld him
from a rashness which might indeed have involved all in further distress,
but gave little prospect of forwarding his own happiness. He repressed
forcibly these selfish emotions, though with an agony which thrilled his
every nerve.

“No, Edith!” was his internal oath, “never will I add a thorn to thy
pillow. That which Heaven has ordained, let it be; and let me not add, by
my selfish sorrows, one atom’s weight to the burden thou hast to bear. I
was dead to thee when thy resolution was adopted; and never, never shalt
thou know that Henry Morton still lives!”

As he formed this resolution, diffident of his own power to keep it, and
seeking that firmness in flight which was every moment shaken by his
continuing within hearing of Edith’s voice, he hastily rushed from his
apartment by the little closet and the sashed door which led to the
garden.

But firmly as he thought his resolution was fixed, he could not leave the
spot where the last tones of a voice so beloved still vibrated on his
ear, without endeavouring to avail himself of the opportunity which the
parlour window afforded to steal one last glance at the lovely speaker.
It was in this attempt, made while Edith seemed to have her eyes
unalterably bent upon the ground, that Morton’s presence was detected by
her raising them suddenly. So soon as her wild scream made this known to
the unfortunate object of a passion so constant, and which seemed so
ill-fated, he hurried from the place as if pursued by the furies. He
passed Halliday in the garden without recognising or even being sensible
that he had seen him, threw himself on his horse, and, by a sort of
instinct rather than recollection, took the first by-road in preference
to the public route to Hamilton.

In all probability this prevented Lord Evandale from learning that he was
actually in existence; for the news that the Highlanders had obtained a
decisive victory at Killiecrankie had occasioned an accurate look-out to
be kept, by order of the Government, on all the passes, for fear of some
commotion among the Lowland Jacobites. They did not omit to post
sentinels on Bothwell Bridge; and as these men had not seen any traveller
pass westward in that direction, and as, besides, their comrades
stationed in the village of Bothwell were equally positive that none had
gone eastward, the apparition, in the existence of which Edith and
Halliday were equally positive, became yet more mysterious in the
judgment of Lord Evandale, who was finally inclined to settle in the
belief that the heated and disturbed imagination of Edith had summoned up
the phantom she stated herself to have seen, and that Halliday had, in
some unaccountable manner, been infected by the same superstition.
Meanwhile, the by-path which Morton pursued, with all the speed which his
vigorous horse could exert, brought him in a very few seconds to the
brink of the Clyde, at a spot marked with the feet of horses, who were
conducted to it as a watering-place. The steed, urged as he was to the
gallop, did not pause a single instant, but, throwing himself into the
river, was soon beyond his depth. The plunge which the animal made as his
feet quitted the ground, with the feeling that the cold water rose above
his swordbelt, were the first incidents which recalled Morton, whose
movements had been hitherto mechanical, to the necessity of taking
measures for preserving himself and the noble animal which he bestrode. A
perfect master of all manly exercises, the management of a horse in water
was as familiar to him as when upon a meadow. He directed the animal’s
course somewhat down the stream towards a low plain, or holm, which
seemed to promise an easy egress from the river. In the first and second
attempt to get on shore, the horse was frustrated by the nature of the
ground, and nearly fell backwards on his rider. The instinct of
self-preservation seldom fails, even in the most desperate circumstances,
to recall the human mind to some degree of equipoise, unless when
altogether distracted by terror, and Morton was obliged to the danger in
which he was placed for complete recovery of his self-possession. A third
attempt, at a spot more carefully and judiciously selected, succeeded
better than the former, and placed the horse and his rider in safety upon
the farther and left-hand bank of the Clyde.

“But whither,” said Morton, in the bitterness of his heart, “am I now to
direct my course? or rather, what does it signify to which point of the
compass a wretch so forlorn betakes himself? I would to God, could the
wish be without a sin, that these dark waters had flowed over me, and
drowned my recollection of that which was, and that which is!”
 The sense of impatience, which the disturbed state of his feelings had
occasioned, scarcely had vented itself in these violent expressions, ere
he was struck with shame at having given way to such a paroxysm. He
remembered how signally the life which he now held so lightly in the
bitterness of his disappointment had been preserved through the almost
incessant perils which had beset him since he entered upon his public
career.

“I am a fool!” he said, “and worse than a fool, to set light by that
existence which Heaven has so often preserved in the most marvellous
manner. Something there yet remains for me in this world, were it only to
bear my sorrows like a man, and to aid those who need my assistance. What
have I seen, what have I heard, but the very conclusion of that which I
knew was to happen? They”--he durst not utter their names even in
soliloquy--“they are embarrassed and in difficulties. She is stripped of
her inheritance, and he seems rushing on some dangerous career, with
which, but for the low voice in which he spoke, I might have become
acquainted. Are there no means to aid or to warn them?”

As he pondered upon this topic, forcibly withdrawing his mind from his
own disappointment, and compelling his attention to the affairs of Edith
and her betrothed husband, the letter of Burley, long forgotten, suddenly
rushed on his memory, like a ray of light darting through a mist.
“Their ruin must have been his work,” was his internal conclusion. “If it
can be repaired, it must be through his means, or by information obtained
from him. I will search him out. Stern, crafty, and enthusiastic as he
is, my plain and downright rectitude of purpose has more than once
prevailed with him. I will seek him out, at least; and who knows what
influence the information I may acquire from him may have on the fortunes
of those whom I shall never see more, and who will probably never learn
that I am now suppressing my own grief, to add, if possible, to their
happiness.”

Animated by these hopes, though the foundation was but slight, he sought
the nearest way to the high-road; and as all the tracks through the
valley were known to him since he hunted through them in youth, he had no
other difficulty than that of surmounting one or two enclosures, ere he
found himself on the road to the small burgh where the feast of the
popinjay had been celebrated. He journeyed in a state of mind sad indeed
and dejected, yet relieved from its earlier and more intolerable state of
anguish; for virtuous resolution and manly disinterestedness seldom fail
to restore tranquillity even where they cannot create happiness. He
turned his thoughts with strong effort upon the means of discovering
Burley, and the chance there was of extracting from him any knowledge
which he might possess favourable to her in whose cause he interested
himself; and at length formed the resolution of guiding himself by the
circumstances in which he might discover the object of his quest,
trusting that, from Cuddie’s account of a schism betwixt Burley and his
brethren of the Presbyterian persuasion, he might find him less
rancorously disposed against Miss Bellenden, and inclined to exert the
power which he asserted himself to possess over her fortunes, more
favourably than heretofore.

Noontide had passed away when our traveller found himself in the
neighbourhood of his deceased uncle’s habitation of Milnwood. It rose
among glades and groves that were chequered with a thousand early
recollections of joy and sorrow, and made upon Morton that mournful
impression, soft and affecting, yet, withal, soothing, which the
sensitive mind usually receives from a return to the haunts of childhood
and early youth, after having experienced the vicissitudes and tempests
of public life. A strong desire came upon him to visit the house itself.
“Old Alison,” he thought, “will not know me, more than the honest couple
whom I saw yesterday. I may indulge my curiosity, and proceed on my
journey, without her having any knowledge of my existence. I think they
said my uncle had bequeathed to her my family mansion,--well, be it so. I
have enough to sorrow for, to enable me to dispense with lamenting such a
disappointment as that; and yet methinks he has chosen an odd successor
in my grumbling old dame, to a line of respectable, if not distinguished,
ancestry. Let it be as it may, I will visit the old mansion at least once
more.”

The house of Milnwood, even in its best days, had nothing cheerful about
it; but its gloom appeared to be doubled under the auspices of the old
housekeeper. Everything, indeed, was in repair; there were no slates
deficient upon the steep grey roof, and no panes broken in the narrow
windows. But the grass in the court-yard looked as if the foot of man had
not been there for years; the doors were carefully locked, and that which
admitted to the hall seemed to have been shut for a length of time, since
the spiders had fairly drawn their webs over the door-way and the
staples. Living sight or sound there was none, until, after much
knocking, Morton heard the little window, through which it was
usual to reconnoitre visitors, open with much caution. The face of
Alison, puckered with some score of wrinkles in addition to those with
which it was furrowed when Morton left Scotland, now presented itself,
enveloped in a _toy_, from under the protection of which some of her grey
tresses had escaped in a manner more picturesque than beautiful, while
her shrill, tremulous voice demanded the cause of the knocking.
“I wish to speak an instant with one Alison Wilson, who resides here,”
 said Henry.

“She’s no at hame the day,” answered Mrs. Wilson, _in propria persona_,
the state of whose headdress, perhaps, inspired her with this direct mode
of denying herself; “and ye are but a mislear’d person to speer for her
in sic a manner. Ye might hae had an M under your belt for Mistress
Wilson of Milnwood.”

“I beg pardon,” said Morton, internally smiling at finding in old Ailie
the same jealousy of disrespect which she used to exhibit upon former
occasions,--“I beg pardon; I am but a stranger in this country, and have
been so long abroad that I have almost forgotten my own language.”
 “Did ye come frae foreign parts?” said Ailie; “then maybe ye may hae
heard of a young gentleman of this country that they ca’ Henry Morton?”

“I have heard,” said Morton, “of such a name in Germany.”

“Then bide a wee bit where ye are, friend; or stay,--gang round by the
back o’ the house, and ye’ll find a laigh door; it’s on the latch, for
it’s never barred till sunset. Ye ‘ll open ‘t,--and tak care ye dinna fa’
ower the tub, for the entry’s dark,--and then ye’ll turn to the right,
and then ye’ll hand straught forward, and then ye’ll turn to the right
again, and ye ‘ll tak heed o’ the cellarstairs, and then ye ‘ll be at the
door o’ the little kitchen,--it’s a’ the kitchen that’s at Milnwood
now,--and I’ll come down t’ye, and whate’er ye wad say to Mistress
Wilson ye may very safely tell it to me.”

A stranger might have had some difficulty, notwithstanding the minuteness
of the directions supplied by Ailie, to pilot himself in safety through
the dark labyrinth of passages that led from the back-door to the little
kitchen; but Henry was too well acquainted with the navigation of these
straits to experience danger, either from the Scylla which lurked on one
side in shape of a bucking tub, or the Charybdis which yawned on the
other in the profundity of a winding cellar-stair. His only impediment
arose from the snarling and vehement barking of a small cocking spaniel,
once his own property, but which, unlike to the faithful Argus, saw his
master return from his wanderings without any symptom of recognition.

“The little dogs and all!” said Morton to himself, on being disowned by
his former favourite. “I am so changed that no breathing creature that I
have known and loved will now acknowledge me!”

At this moment he had reached the kitchen; and soon after, the tread of
Alison’s high heels, and the pat of the crutch-handled cane which served
at once to prop and to guide her footsteps, were heard upon the
stairs,--an annunciation which continued for some time ere she fairly
reached the kitchen.

Morton had, therefore, time to survey the slender preparations for
housekeeping which were now sufficient in the house of his ancestors. The
fire, though coals are plenty in that neighbourhood, was husbanded with
the closest attention to economy of fuel, and the small pipkin, in which
was preparing the dinner of the old woman and her maid-of-all-work, a
girl of twelve years old, intimated, by its thin and watery vapour, that
Ailie had not mended her cheer with her improved fortune.

When she entered, the head, which nodded with self-importance; the
features, in which an irritable peevishness, acquired by habit and
indulgence, strove with a temper naturally affectionate and good-natured;
the coif; the apron; the blue-checked gown,--were all those of old Ailie;
but laced pinners, hastily put on to meet the stranger, with some other
trifling articles of decoration, marked the difference between Mrs.
Wilson, life-rentrix of Milnwood, and the housekeeper of the late
proprietor.

“What were ye pleased to want wi’ Mrs. Wilson, sir? I am Mrs. Wilson,”
 was her first address; for the five minutes time which she had gained for
the business of the toilet entitled her, she conceived, to assume the
full merit of her illustrious name, and shine forth on her guest in
unchastened splendour. Morton’s sensations, confounded between the past
and present, fairly confused him so much that he would have had
difficulty in answering her, even if he had known well what to say. But
as he had not determined what character he was to adopt while concealing
that which was properly his own, he had an additional reason for
remaining silent. Mrs. Wilson, in perplexity, and with some apprehension,
repeated her question.

“What were ye pleased to want wi’ me, sir? Ye said ye kend Mr. Harry
Morton?”

“Pardon me, madam,” answered Henry, “it was of one Silas Morton I spoke.”
 The old woman’s countenance fell.

“It was his father, then, ye kent o’, the brother o’ the late Milnwood?
Ye canna mind him abroad, I wad think,--he was come hame afore ye were
born. I thought ye had brought me news of poor Maister Harry.”

“It was from my father I learned to know Colonel Morton,” said Henry; “of
the son I know little or nothing,--rumour says he died abroad on his
passage to Holland.”

“That’s ower like to be true,” said the old woman with a sigh, “and mony
a tear it’s cost my auld een. His uncle, poor gentleman, just sough’d awa
wi’ it in his mouth. He had been gieing me preceeze directions anent the
bread and the wine and the brandy at his burial, and how often it was to
be handed round the company (for, dead or alive, he was a prudent,
frugal, painstaking man), and then he said, said he, ‘Ailie,’ (he aye
ca’d me Ailie; we were auld acquaintance), ‘Ailie, take ye care and haud
the gear weel thegither; for the name of Morton of Milnwood ‘s gane out
like the last sough of an auld sang.’ And sae he fell out o’ ae dwam into
another, and ne’er spak a word mair, unless it were something we cou’dna
mak out, about a dipped candle being gude eneugh to see to dee wi’. He
cou’d ne’er bide to see a moulded ane, and there was ane, by ill luck, on
the table.”

While Mrs. Wilson was thus detailing the last moments of the old miser,
Morton was pressingly engaged in diverting the assiduous curiosity of the
dog, which, recovered from his first surprise, and combining former
recollections, had, after much snuffing and examination, begun a course
of capering and jumping upon the stranger which threatened every instant
to betray him. At length, in the urgency of his impatience, Morton could
not forbear exclaiming, in a tone of hasty impatience, “Down, Elphin!
down, sir!”

“Ye ken our dog’s name,” said the old lady, struck with great and sudden
surprise,--“ye ken our dog’s name, and it’s no a common ane. And the
creature kens you too,” she continued, in a more agitated and shriller
tone,--“God guide us! it’s my ain bairn!”

So saying, the poor old woman threw herself around Morton’s neck, cling
to him, kissed him as if he had been actually her child, and wept for
joy. There was no parrying the discovery, if he could have had the heart
to attempt any further disguise. He returned the embrace with the most
grateful warmth, and answered,--

“I do indeed live, dear Ailie, to thank you for all your kindness, past
and present, and to rejoice that there is at least one friend to welcome
me to my native country.”

“Friends!” exclaimed Ailie, “ye’ll hae mony friends,--ye ‘ll hae mony
friends; for ye will hae gear, hinny,--ye will hae gear. Heaven mak ye a
gude guide o’t! But eh, sirs!” she continued, pushing him back from her
with her trembling hand and shrivelled arm, and gazing in his face as if
to read, at more convenient distance, the ravages which sorrow rather
than time had made on his face,--“Eh, sirs! ye’re sair altered, hinny;
your face is turned pale, and your een are sunken, and your bonny
red-and-white cheeks are turned a’ dark and sun-burnt. Oh, weary on the
wars! mony ‘s the comely face they destroy.--And when cam ye here, hinny?
And where hae ye been? And what hae ye been doing? And what for did ye na
write to us? And how cam ye to pass yoursell for dead? And what for did
ye come creepin’ to your ain house as if ye had been an unto body, to gie
poor auld Ailie sic a start?” she concluded, smiling through her tears.
It was some time ere Morton could overcome his own emotion so as to give
the kind old woman the information which we shall communicate to our
readers in the next chapter.



CHAPTER XIX.

               Aumerle that was,
               But that is gone for being Richard’s friend;
               And, madam, you must call him Rutland now.
                                      Richard II.

The scene of explanation was hastily removed from the little kitchen to
Mrs. Wilson’s own matted room,--the very same which she had occupied as
housekeeper, and which she continued to retain. “It was,” she said,
“better secured against sifting winds than the hall, which she had found
dangerous to her rheumatisms, and it was more fitting for her use than
the late Milnwood’s apartment, honest man, which gave her sad thoughts;”
 and as for the great oak parlour, it was never opened but to be aired,
washed, and dusted, according to the invariable practice of the family,
unless upon their most solemn festivals. In the matted room, therefore,
they were settled, surrounded by pickle-pots and conserves of all kinds,
which the ci-devant housekeeper continued to compound, out of mere habit,
although neither she herself, nor any one else, ever partook of the
comfits which she so regularly prepared.

Morton, adapting his narrative to the comprehension of his auditor,
informed her briefly of the wreck of the vessel and the loss of all
hands, excepting two or three common seamen who had early secured the
skiff, and were just putting off from the vessel when he leaped from the
deck into their boat, and unexpectedly, as well as contrary to their
inclination, made himself partner of their voyage and of their safety.
Landed at Flushing, he was fortunate enough to meet with an old officer
who had been in service with his father. By his advice, he shunned going
immediately to the Hague, but forwarded his letters to the court of the
Stadtholder.

“Our prince,” said the veteran, “must as yet keep terms with his
father-in-law and with your King Charles; and to approach him in the
character of a Scottish malecontent would render it imprudent for him to
distinguish you by his favour. Wait, therefore, his orders, without
forcing yourself on his notice; observe the strictest prudence and
retirement; assume for the present a different name; shun the company of
the British exiles; and, depend upon it, you will not repent your
prudence.”

The old friend of Silas Morton argued justly. After a considerable time
had elapsed, the Prince of Orange, in a progress through the United
States, came to the town where Morton, impatient at his situation and the
incognito which he was obliged to observe, still continued, nevertheless,
to be a resident. He had an hour of private interview assigned, in which
the prince expressed himself highly pleased with his intelligence, his
prudence, and the liberal view which he seemed to take of the factions of
his native country, their motives and their purposes.

“I would gladly,” said William, “attach you to my own person; but that
cannot be without giving offence in England. But I will do as much for
you, as well out of respect for the sentiments you have expressed, as for
the recommendations you have brought me. Here is a commission in a Swiss
regiment at present in garrison in a distant province, where you will
meet few or none of your countrymen. Continue to be Captain Melville, and
let the name of Morton sleep till better days.”

“Thus began my fortune,” continued Morton; “and my services have, on
various occasions, been distinguished by his Royal Highness, until the
moment that brought him to Britain as our political deliverer. His
commands must excuse my silence to my few friends in Scotland; and I
wonder not at the report of my death, considering the wreck of the
vessel, and that I found no occasion to use the letters of exchange with
which I was furnished by the liberality of some of them,--a circumstance
which must have confirmed the belief that I had perished.”

“But, dear hinny,” asked Mrs. Wilson, “did ye find nae Scotch body at the
Prince of Oranger’s court that kend ye? I wad hae thought Morton o’
Milnwood was kend a’ through the country.”

“I was purposely engaged in distant service,” said Morton, “until a
period when few, without as deep and kind a motive of interest as yours,
Ailie, would have known the stripling Morton in Major-General Melville.”

“Malville was your mother’s name,” said Mrs. Wilson; “but Morton sounds
far bonnier in my auld lugs. And when ye tak up the lairdship, ye maun
tak the auld name and designation again.”

“I am like to be in no haste to do either the one or the other, Ailie,
for I have some reasons for the present to conceal my being alive from
every one but you; and as for the lairdship of Milnwood, it is in as good
hands.”

“As gude hands, hinny!” re-echoed Ailie; “I’m hopefu’ ye are no meaning
mine? The rents and the lands are but a sair fash to me. And I’m ower
failed to tak a helpmate, though Wylie Mactrickit the writer was very
pressing, and spak very civilly; but I ‘m ower auld a cat to draw that
strae before me. He canna whilliwhaw me as he’s dune mony a ane. And then
I thought aye ye wad come back, and I wad get my pickle meal and my soup
milk, and keep a’ things right about ye as I used to do in your puir
uncle’s time, and it wad be just pleasure eneugh for me to see ye thrive
and guide the gear canny. Ye’ll hae learned that in Holland, I’se
warrant, for they’re thrifty folk there, as I hear tell.--But ye’ll be
for keeping rather a mair house than puir auld Milnwood that’s gave; and,
indeed, I would approve o’ your eating butchermeat maybe as aften as
three times a-week,--it keeps the wind out o’ the stamack.”

“We will talk of all this another time,” said Morton, surprised at the
generosity upon a large scale which mingled in Ailie’s thoughts and
actions with habitual and sordid parsimony, and at the odd contrast
between her love of saving and indifference to self-acquisition. “You
must know,” he continued, “that I am in this country only for a few days
on some special business of importance to the Government, and therefore,
Ailie, not a word of having seen me. At some other time I will acquaint
you fully with my motives and intentions.”

“E’en be it sae, my jo,” replied Ailie, “I can keep a secret like my
neighbours; and weel auld Milnwood kend it, honest man, for he tauld me
where he keepit his gear, and that’s what maist folk like to hae as
private as possibly may be.--But come awa wi’ me, hinny, till I show ye
the oak-parlour how grandly it’s keepit, just as if ye had been expected
haine every day,--I loot naebody sort it but my ain hands. It was a kind
o’ divertisement to me, though whiles the tear wan into my ee, and I said
to mysell, What needs I fash wi’ grates and carpets and cushions and the
muckle brass candlesticks ony mair? for they’ll ne’er come hame that
aught it rightfully.”

With these words she hauled him away to this sanctum sanctorum, the
scrubbing and cleaning whereof was her daily employment, as its high
state of good order constituted the very pride of her heart. Morton, as
he followed her into the room, underwent a rebuke for not “dighting his
shune,” which showed that Ailie had not relinquished her habits of
authority. On entering the oak-parlour he could not but recollect the
feelings of solemn awe with which, when a boy, he had been affected at
his occasional and rare admission to an apartment which he then supposed
had not its equal save in the halls of princes. It may be readily
supposed that the worked-worsted chairs, with their short ebony legs and
long upright backs, had lost much of their influence over his mind; that
the large brass andirons seemed diminished in splendour; that the green
worsted tapestry appeared no masterpiece of the Arras loom; and that the
room looked, on the whole, dark, gloomy, and disconsolate. Yet there were
two objects, “The counterfeit presentment of two brothers,” which,
dissimilar as those described by Hamlet, affected his mind with a variety
of sensations. One full-length portrait represented his father in
complete armour, with a countenance indicating his masculine and
determined character; and the other set forth his uncle, in velvet and
brocade, looking as if he were ashamed of his own finery, though entirely
indebted for it to the liberality of the painter.

“It was an idle fancy,” Ailie said, “to dress the honest auld man in thae
expensive fal-lalls that he ne’er wore in his life, instead o’ his douce
Raploch grey, and his band wi’ the narrow edging.”

In private, Morton could not help being much of her opinion; for anything
approaching to the dress of a gentleman sate as ill on the ungainly
person of his relative as an open or generous expression would have done
on his mean and money-making features. He now extricated himself from
Ailie to visit some of his haunts in the neighbouring wood, while her own
hands made an addition to the dinner she was preparing,--an incident no
otherwise remarkable than as it cost the life of a fowl, which, for any
event of less importance than the arrival of Henry Morton, might have
cackled on to a good old age ere Ailie could have been guilty of the
extravagance of killing and dressing it. The meal was seasoned by talk of
old times and by the plans which Ailie laid out for futurity, in which
she assigned her young master all the prudential habits of her old one,
and planned out the dexterity with which she was to exercise her duty as
governante. Morton let the old woman enjoy her day-dreams and
castle-building during moments of such pleasure, and deferred till some
fitter occasion the communication of his purpose again to return and
spend his life upon the Continent.

His next care was to lay aside his military dress, which he considered
likely to render more difficult his researches after Burley. He exchanged
it--for a grey doublet and cloak, formerly his usual attire at Milnwood,
and which Mrs. Wilson produced from a chest of walnut-tree, wherein she
had laid them aside, without forgetting carefully to brush and air them
from time to time. Morton retained his sword and fire-arms, without which
few persons travelled in those unsettled times. When he appeared in his
new attire, Mrs. Wilson was first thankful “that they fitted him sae
decently, since, though he was nae fatter, yet he looked mair manly than
when he was taen frae Milnwood.”

Next she enlarged on the advantage of saving old clothes to be what she
called “beet-masters to the new,” and was far advanced in the history of
a velvet cloak belonging to the late Milnwood, which had first been
converted to a velvet doublet, and then into a pair of breeches, and
appeared each time as good as new, when Morton interrupted her account of
its transmigration to bid her good-by.

He gave, indeed, a sufficient shock to her feelings, by expressing the
necessity he was under of proceeding on his journey that evening.

“And where are ye gaun? And what wad ye do that for? And whar wad ye
sleep but in your ain house, after ye hae been sae mony years frae hame?”

“I feel all the unkindness of it, Ailie, but it must be so; and that was
the reason that I attempted to conceal myself from you, as I suspected
you would not let me part from you so easily.”

“But whar are ye gaun, then?” said Ailie, once more. “Saw e’er mortal een
the like o’ you, just to come ae moment, and flee awa like an arrow out
of a bow the neist?”

“I must go down,” replied Morton, “to Niel Blane the Piper’s Howff; he
can give me a bed, I suppose?”

“A bed? I’se warrant can he,” replied Ailie, “and gar ye pay weel for ‘t
into the bargain. Laddie, I daresay ye hae lost your wits in thae foreign
parts, to gang and gie siller for a supper and a bed, and might hae baith
for naething, and thanks t’ ye for accepting them.”

“I assure you, Ailie,” said Morton, desirous to silence her
remonstrances, “that this is a business of great importance, in which I
may be a great gainer, and cannot possibly be a loser.”

“I dinna see how that can be, if ye begin by gieing maybe the feck o’
twal shillings Scots for your supper; but young folks are aye
venturesome, and think to get siller that way. My puir auld master took
a surer gate, and never parted wi’ it when he had anes gotten ‘t.”

Persevering in his desperate resolution, Morton took leave of Ailie, and
mounted his horse to proceed to the little town, after exacting a solemn
promise that she would conceal his return until she again saw or heard
from him.

“I am not very extravagant,” was his natural reflection, as he trotted
slowly towards the town; “but were Ailie and I to set up house together,
as she proposes, I think my profusion would break the good old creature’s
heart before a week were out.”



CHAPTER XX.

               Where’s the jolly host
               You told me of? ‘T has been my custom ever
               To parley with mine host.
                                  Lover’s Progress.

Morton reached the borough town without meeting with any remarkable
adventure, and alighted at the little inn. It had occurred to him more
than once, while upon his journey, that his resumption of the dress which
he had worn while a youth, although favourable to his views in other
respects, might render it more difficult for him to remain incognito. But
a few years of campaigns and wandering had so changed his appearance that
he had great confidence that in the grown man, whose brows exhibited the
traces of resolution and considerate thought, none would recognise the
raw and bashful stripling who won the game of the popinjay. The only
chance was that here and there some Whig, whom he had led to battle,
might remember the Captain of the Milnwood Marksmen; but the risk, if
there was any, could not be guarded against.

The Howff seemed full and frequented as if possessed of all its old
celebrity. The person and demeanour of Niel Blane, more fat and less
civil than of yore, intimated that he had increased as well in purse as
in corpulence; for in Scotland a landlord’s complaisance for his guests
decreases in exact proportion to his rise in the world. His daughter had
acquired the air of a dexterous barmaid, undisturbed by the circumstances
of love and war, so apt to perplex her in the exercise of her vocation.
Both showed Morton the degree of attention which could have been expected
by a stranger travelling without attendants, at a time when they were
particularly the badges of distinction. He took upon himself exactly the
character his appearance presented, went to the stable and saw his horse
accommodated, then returned to the house, and seating himself in the
public room (for to request one to himself would, in those days, have
been thought an overweening degree of conceit), he found himself in the
very apartment in which he had some years before celebrated his victory
at the game of the popinjay,--a jocular preferment which led to so many
serious consequences.

He felt himself, as may well be supposed, a much changed man since that
festivity; and yet, to look around him, the groups assembled in the Howff
seemed not dissimilar to those which the same scene had formerly
presented. Two or three burghers husbanded their “dribbles o’ brandy;”
 two or three dragoons lounged over their muddy ale, and cursed the
inactive times that allowed them no better cheer. Their cornet did not,
indeed, play at backgammon with the curate in his cassock, but he drank
a little modicum of _aqua mirabilis_ with the grey-cloaked Presbyterian
minister. The scene was another, and yet the same, differing only in
persons, but corresponding in general character.

Let the tide of the world wax or wane as it will, Morton thought as he
looked around him, enough will be found to fill the places which chance
renders vacant; and in the usual occupations and amusements of life,
human beings will succeed each other as leaves upon the same tree, with
the same individual difference and the same general resemblance.

After pausing a few minutes, Morton, whose experience had taught him the
readiest mode of securing attention, ordered a pint of claret; and as the
smiling landlord appeared with the pewter measure foaming fresh from the
tap (for bottling wine was not then in fashion), he asked him to sit down
and take a share of the good cheer. This invitation was peculiarly
acceptable to Niel Blane, who, if he did not positively expect it from
every guest not provided with better company, yet received it from many,
and was not a whit abashed or surprised at the summons. He sat down,
along with his guest, in a secluded nook near the chimney; and while he
received encouragement to drink by far the greater share of the liquor
before them, he entered at length, as a part of his expected functions,
upon the news of the country,--the births, deaths, and marriages; the
change of property; the downfall of old families, and the rise of new.
But politics, now the fertile source of eloquence, mine host did not care
to mingle in his theme; and it was only in answer to a question of Morton
that he replied, with an air of indifference, “Um! ay! we aye hae sodgers
amang us, mair or less. There’s a wheen German horse down at Glasgow
yonder; they ca’ their commander Wittybody, or some sic name, though he’s
as grave and grewsome an auld Dutchman as e’er I saw.”

“Wittenbold, perhaps?” said Morton,--“an old man, with grey hair and
short black moustaches; speaks seldom?”

“And smokes for ever,” replied Niel Blane. “I see your honour kens the
man. He may be a very gude man too, for aught I see,--that is,
considering he is a sodger and a Dutchman; but if he were ten generals,
and as mony Wittybodies, he has nae skill in the pipes; he gar’d me stop
in the middle of Torphichen’s Rant,--the best piece o’ music that ever
bag gae wind to.”

“But these fellows,” said Morton, glancing his eye towards the soldiers
“that were in the apartment, are not of his corps?”

“Na, na, these are Scotch dragoons,” said mine host,--“our ain auld
caterpillars; these were Claver’se’s lads a while syne, and wad be again,
maybe, if he had the lang ten in his hand.”

“Is there not a report of his death?” inquired Morton.

“Troth is there,” said the landlord; “your honour is right,--there is sic
a fleeing rumour; but, in my puir opinion, it’s lang or the deil die. I
wad hae the folks here look to themsells. If he makes an outbreak, he’ll
be doun frae the Hielands or I could drink this glass,--and whare are
they then? A’ thae hell-rakers o’ dragoons wad be at his whistle in a
moment. Nae doubt they’re Willie’s men e’en now, as they were James’s a
while syne; and reason good,--they fight for their pay; what else hae
they to fight for? They hae neither lands nor houses, I trow. There’s ae
gude thing o’ the change, or the Revolution, as they ca’ it,--folks may
speak out afore thae birkies now, and nae fear o’ being hauled awa to the
guard-house, or having the thumikins screwed on your finger-ends, just as
I wad drive the screw through a cork.”

There was a little pause, when Morton, feeling confident in the progress
he had made in mine host’s familiarity, asked, though with the hesitation
proper to one who puts a question on the answer to which rests something
of importance, “Whether Blane knew a woman in that neighbourhood called
Elizabeth Maclure?”

“Whether I ken Bessie Maclure?” answered the landlord, with a landlord’s
laugh,--“How can I but ken my ain wife’s (haly be her rest!)--my ain
wife’s first gudeman’s sister, Bessie Maclure? An honest wife she is, but
sair she’s been trysted wi’ misfortunes,--the loss o’ twa decent lads o’
sons, in the time o’ the persecution, as they ca’ it nowadays; and
doucely and decently she has borne her burden, blaming nane and
condemning nane. If there’s an honest woman in the world, it’s Bessie
Maclure. And to lose her twa sons, as I was saying, and to hae dragoons
clinked down on her for a month bypast,--for, be Whig or Tory uppermost,
they aye quarter thae loons on victuallers,--to lose, as I was saying--”

“This woman keeps an inn, then?” interrupted Morton.

“A public, in a puir way,” replied Blane, looking round at his own
superior accommodations,--“a sour browst o’ sma’ ale that she sells to
folk that are over drouthy wi’ travel to be nice; but naething to ca’ a
stirring trade or a thriving changehouse.”

“Can you get me a guide there?” said Morton.

“Your honour will rest here a’ the night? Ye’ll hardly get accommodation
at Bessie’s,” said Niel, whose regard for his deceased wife’s relative by
no means extended to sending company from his own house to hers.

“There is a friend,” answered Morton, “whom I am to meet with there, and
I only called here to take a stirrup-cup and inquire the way.”

“Your honour had better,” answerd the landlord, with the perseverance of
his calling, “send some ane to warn your friend to come on here.”

“I tell you, landlord,” answered Morton, impatiently, “that will not
serve my purpose; I must go straight to this woman Maclure’s house, and
I desire you to find me a guide.”

“Aweel, sir, ye’ll choose for yoursell, to be sure,” said Niel Blane,
somewhat disconcerted; “but deil a guide ye’ll need if ye gae doun the
water for twa mile or sae, as gin ye were bound for Milnwoodhouse, and
then tak the first broken disjasked-looking road that makes for the
hills,--ye’ll ken ‘t by a broken ash-tree that stands at the side o’ a
burn just where the roads meet; and then travel out the path,--ye canna
miss Widow Maclure’s public, for deil another house or hauld is on the
road for ten lang Scots miles, and that’s worth twenty English. I am
sorry your honour would think o’ gaun out o’ my house the night. But my
wife’s gude-sister is a decent woman, and it’s no lost that a friend
gets.”

Morton accordingly paid his reckoning and departed. The sunset of the
summer day placed him at the ash-tree, where the path led up towards the
moors.

“Here,” he said to himself, “my misfortunes commenced; for just here,
when Burley and I were about to separate on the first night we ever met,
he was alarmed by the intelligence that the passes were secured by
soldiers lying in wait for him. Beneath that very ash sate the old woman
who apprised him of his danger. How strange that my whole fortunes should
have become inseparably interwoven with that man’s, without anything more
on my part than the discharge of an ordinary duty of humanity! Would to
Heaven it were possible I could find my humble quiet and tranquillity of
mind upon the spot where I lost them!”

Thus arranging his reflections betwixt speech and thought, he turned his
horse’s head up the path.

Evening lowered around him as he advanced up the narrow dell which had
once been a wood, but was now a ravine divested of trees, unless where a
few, from their inaccessible situation on the edge of precipitous banks,
or clinging among rocks and huge stones, defied the invasion of men and
of cattle, like the scattered tribes of a conquered country, driven to
take refuge in the barren strength of its mountains. These too, wasted
and decayed, seemed rather to exist than to flourish, and only served to
indicate what the landscape had once been. But the stream brawled down
among them in all its freshness and vivacity, giving the life and
animation which a mountain rivulet alone can confer on the barest and
most savage scenes, and which the inhabitants of such a country miss when
gazing even upon the tranquil winding of a majestic stream through plains
of fertility, and beside palaces of splendour. The track of the road
followed the course of the brook, which was now visible, and now only to
be distinguished by its brawling heard among the stones or in the clefts
of the rock that occasionally interrupted its course.

“Murmurer that thou art,” said Morton, in the enthusiasm of his reverie,
“why chafe with the rocks that stop thy course for a moment? There is a
sea to receive thee in its bosom; and there is an eternity for man when
his fretful and hasty course through the vale of time shall be ceased and
over. What thy petty fuming is to the deep and vast billows of a
shoreless ocean, are our cares, hopes, fears, joys, and sorrows to the
objects which must occupy us through the awful and boundless succession
of ages!”

Thus moralizing, our traveller passed on till the dell opened, and the
banks, receding from the brook, left a little green vale, exhibiting a
croft, or small field, on which some corn was growing, and a cottage,
whose walls were not above five feet high, and whose thatched roof, green
with moisture, age, houseleek, and grass, had in some places suffered
damage from the encroachment of two cows, whose appetite this appearance
of verdure had diverted from their more legitimate pasture. An ill-spelt
and worse-written inscription intimated to the traveller that he might
here find refreshment for man and horse,--no unacceptable intimation,
rude as the hut appeared to be, considering the wild path he had trod in
approaching it, and the high and waste mountains which rose in desolate
dignity behind this humble asylum.

It must indeed have been, thought Morton, in some such spot as this that
Burley was likely to find a congenial confident.

As he approached, he observed the good dame of the house herself, seated
by the door; she had hitherto been concealed from him by a huge
alder-bush.

“Good evening, Mother,” said the traveller. “Your name is Mistress
Maclure?”

“Elizabeth Maclure, sir, a poor widow,” was the reply.

“Can you lodge a stranger for a night?”

“I can, sir, if he will be pleased with the widow’s cake and the widow’s
cruse.”

“I have been a soldier, good dame,” answered Morton, “and nothing can
come amiss to me in the way of entertainment.”

“A sodger, sir?” said the old woman, with a sigh,--“God send ye a better
trade!”

“It is believed to be an honourable profession, my good dame; I hope you
do not think the worse of me for having belonged to it?”

“I judge no one, sir,” replied the woman, “and your voice sounds like
that of a civil gentleman; but I hae witnessed sae muckle ill wi’
sodgering in this puir land that I am e’en content that I can see nae
mair o’t wi’ these sightless organs.”

As she spoke thus, Morton observed that she was blind.

“Shall I not be troublesome to you, my good dame?” said he,
compassionately; “your infirmity seems ill calculated for your
profession.”

“Na, sir,” answered the old woman, “I can gang about the house readily
eneugh; and I hae a bit lassie to help me, and the dragoon lads will look
after your horse when they come hame frae their patrol, for a sma’
matter; they are civiller now than lang syne.”

Upon these assurances, Morton alighted.

“Peggy, my bonny bird,” continued the hostess, addressing a little girl
of twelve years old, who had by this time appeared, “tak the gentleman’s
horse to the stable, and slack his girths, and tak aff the bridle, and
shake down a lock o’ hay before him, till the dragoons come back.--Come
this way, sir,” she continued; “ye’ll find my house clean, though it’s a
puir ane.”

Morton followed her into the cottage accordingly.



CHAPTER XXI.

               Then out and spake the auld mother,
               And fast her tears did fa
               “Ye wadna be warn’d, my son Johnie,
               Frae the hunting to bide awa!”
                                           Old Ballad.

When he entered the cottage, Morton perceived that the old hostess had
spoken truth. The inside of the hut belied its outward appearance, and
was neat, and even comfortable, especially the inner apartment, in which
the hostess informed her guest that he was to sup and sleep. Refreshments
were placed before him such as the little inn afforded; and though he had
small occasion for them, he accepted the offer, as the means of
maintaining some discourse with the landlady. Notwithstanding her
blindness, she was assiduous in her attendance, and seemed, by a sort of
instinct, to find her way to what she wanted.

“Have you no one but this pretty little girl to assist you in waiting on
your guests?” was the natural question.

“None, sir,” replied his old hostess; “I dwell alone, like the widow of
Zarephath. Few guests come to this puir place, and I haena custom eneugh
to hire servants. I had anes twa fine sons that lookit after a’ thing.
--But God gives and takes away,--His name be praised!” she continued,
turning her clouded eyes towards Heaven.--“I was anes better off, that
is, waridly speaking, even since I lost them; but that was before this
last change.”

“Indeed!” said Morton; “and yet you are a Presbyterian, my good mother?”

“I am, sir; praised be the light that showed me the right way,” replied
the landlady.

“Then I should have thought,” continued the guest, “the Revolution would
have brought you nothing but good.”

“If,” said the old woman, “it has brought the land gude, and freedom of
worship to tender consciences, it’s little matter what it has brought to
a puir blind worm like me.”

“Still,” replied Morton, “I cannot see how it could possibly injure you.”

“It’s a lang story, sir,” answered his hostess, with a sigh. “But ae
night, sax weeks or thereby afore Bothwell Brigg, a young gentleman
stopped at this puir cottage, stiff and bloody with wounds, pale and dune
out wi’ riding, and his horse sae weary he couldna drag ae foot after the
other, and his foes were close ahint him, and he was ane o’ our enemies.
What could I do, sir? You that’s a sodger will think me but a silly auld
wife; but I fed him, and relieved him, and keepit him hidden till the
pursuit was ower.”

“And who,” said Morton, “dares disapprove of your having done so?”

“I kenna,” answered the blind woman; “I gat ill-will about it amang some
o’ our ain folk. They said I should hae been to him what Jael was to
Sisera. But weel I wot I had nae divine command to shed blood, and to
save it was baith like a woman and a Christian. And then they said I
wanted natural affection, to relieve ane that belanged to the band that
murdered my twa sons.”

“That murdered your two sons?”

“Ay, sir; though maybe ye’ll gie their deaths another name. The tane fell
wi’ sword in hand, fighting for a broken national Covenant; the
tother,--oh, they took him and shot him dead on the green before his
mother’s face! My auld een dazzled when the shots were looten off, and,
to my thought, they waxed weaker and weaker ever since that weary day;
and sorrow, and heart-break, and tears that would not be dried, might
help on the disorder. But, alas! betraying Lord Evandale’s young blood
to his enemies’ sword wad ne’er hae brought my Ninian and Johnie alive
again.”

“Lord Evandale?” said Morton, in surprise. “Was it Lord Evandale whose
life you saved?”

“In troth, even his,” she replied. “And kind he was to me after, and gae
me a cow and calf, malt, meal, and siller, and nane durst steer me when
he was in power. But we live on an outside bit of Tillietudlem land, and
the estate was sair plea’d between Leddy Margaret Bellenden and the
present laird, Basil Olifant, and Lord Evandale backed the auld leddy for
love o’ her daughter Miss Edith, as the country said, ane o’ the best and
bonniest lassies in Scotland. But they behuved to gie way, and Basil gat
the Castle and land, and on the back o’ that came the Revolution, and wha
to turn coat faster than the laird? for he said he had been a true Whig
a’ the time, and turned papist only for fashion’s sake. And then he got
favour, and Lord Evandale’s head was under water; for he was ower proud
and manfu’ to bend to every blast o’ wind, though mony a ane may ken as
weel as me that be his ain principles as they might, he was nae ill
friend to our folk when he could protect us, and far kinder than Basil
Olifant, that aye keepit the cobble head doun the stream. But he was set
by and ill looked on, and his word ne’er asked; and then Basil, wha’s a
revengefu’ man, set himsell to vex him in a’ shapes, and especially by
oppressing and despoiling the auld blind widow, Bessie Maclure, that
saved Lord Evandale’s life, and that he was sae kind to. But he’s mistaen
if that’s his end; for it will be lang or Lord Evandale hears a word frae
me about the selling my kye for rent or e’er it was due, or the putting
the dragoons on me when the country’s quiet, or onything else that will
vex him,--I can bear my ain burden patiently, and warld’s loss is the
least part o’t.”

Astonished and interested at this picture of patient, grateful, and
high-minded resignation, Morton could not help bestowing an execration
upon the poor-spirited rascal who had taken such a dastardly course of
vengeance.

“Dinna curse him, sir,” said the old woman; “I have heard a good man say
that a curse was like a stone flung up to the heavens, and maist like to
return on the head that sent it. But if ye ken Lord Evandale, bid him
look to himsell, for I hear strange words pass atween the sodgers that
are lying here, and his name is often mentioned; and the tane o’ them has
been twice up at Tillietudlem. He’s a kind of favourite wi’ the laird,
though he was in former times ane o’ the maist cruel oppressors ever rade
through a country (out-taken Sergeant Bothwell),--they ca’ him Inglis.”

“I have the deepest interest in Lord Evandale’s safety,” said Morton,
“and you may depend on my finding some mode to apprise him of these
suspicious circumstances. And, in return, my good friend, will you
indulge me with another question? Do you know anything of Quintin Mackell
of Irongray?”

“Do I know whom?” echoed the blind woman, in a tone of great surprise and
alarm.

“Quintin Mackell of Irongray,” repeated Morton. “Is there anything so
alarming in the sound of that name?”

“Na, na,” answered the woman, with hesitation; “but to hear him asked
after by a stranger and a sodger,--Gude protect us, what mischief is
to come next!”

“None by my means, I assure you,” said Morton; “the subject of my inquiry
has nothing to fear from me if, as I suppose, this Quintin Mackell is the
same with John Bal-----.”

“Do not mention his name,” said the widow, pressing his lips with her
fingers. “I see you have his secret and his pass-word, and I’ll be free
wi’ you. But, for God’s sake, speak lound and low. In the name of Heaven,
I trust ye seek him not to his hurt! Ye said ye were a sodger?”

“I said truly; but one he has nothing to fear from. I commanded a party
at Bothwell Bridge.”

“Indeed?” said the woman. “And verily there is something in your voice I
can trust. Ye speak prompt and readily, and like an honest man.”

“I trust I am so,” said Morton.

“But nae displeasure to you, sir, in thae waefu’ times,” continued Mrs.
Maclure, “the hand of brother is against brother, and he fears as mickle
almaist frae this Government as e’er he did frae the auld persecutors.”

“Indeed?” said Morton, in a tone of inquiry; “I was not aware of that. But
I am only just now returned from abroad.”

“I’ll tell ye,” said the blind woman, first assuming an attitude of
listening that showed how effectually her powers of collecting
intelligence had been transferred from the eye to the ear; for, instead
of casting a glance of circumspection around, she stooped her face, and
turned her head slowly around, in such a manner as to insure that there
was not the slightest sound stirring in the neighbourhood, and then
continued,--“I’ll tell ye. Ye ken how he has laboured to raise up again
the Covenant, burned, broken, and buried in the hard hearts and selfish
devices of this stubborn people. Now, when he went to Holland, far from
the countenance and thanks of the great, and the comfortable fellowship
of the godly, both whilk he was in right to expect, the Prince of Orange
wad show him no favour, and the ministers no godly communion. This was
hard to bide for ane that had suffered and done mickle,--ower mickle, it
may be; but why suld I be a judge? He came back to me and to the auld
place o’ refuge that had often received him in his distresses, mair
especially before the great day of victory at Drumclog, for I sail ne’er
forget how he was bending hither of a’ nights in the year on that e’ening
after the play when young Milnwood wan the popinjay; but I warned him off
for that time.”

“What!” exclaimed Morton, “it was you that sat in your red cloak by the
high-road, and told him there was a lion in the path?”

“In the name of Heaven! wha are ye?” said the old woman, breaking off her
narrative in astonishment. “But be wha ye may,” she continued, resuming
it with tranquillity, “ye can ken naething waur o’ me than that I hae
been willing to save the life o’ friend and foe.”

“I know no ill of you, Mrs. Maclure, and I mean no ill by you; I only
wished to show you that I know so much of this person’s affairs that I
might be safely intrusted with the rest. Proceed, if you please, in your
narrative.”

“There is a strange command in your voice,” said the blind woman, “though
its tones are sweet. I have little mair to say. The Stewarts hae been
dethroned, and William and Mary reign in their stead; but nae mair word
of the Covenant than if it were a dead letter. They hae taen the indulged
clergy, and an Erastian General Assembly of the ante pure and triumphant
Kirk of Scotland, even into their very arms and bosoms. Our faithfu’
champions o’ the testimony agree e’en waur wi’ this than wi’ the open
tyranny and apostasy of the persecuting times, for souls are hardened and
deadened, and the mouths of fasting multitudes are crammed wi’ fizenless
bran instead of the sweet word in season; and mony an hungry, starving
creature, when he sits down on a Sunday forenoon to get something that
might warm him to the great work, has a dry clatter o’ morality driven
about his lugs, and--”

“In short,” said Morton, desirous to stop a discussion which the good old
woman, as enthusiastically attached to her religious profession as to the
duties of humanity, might probably have indulged longer,--“In short, you
are not disposed to acquiesce in this new government, and Burley is of
the same opinion?”

“Many of our brethren, sir, are of belief we fought for the Covenant, and
fasted and prayed and suffered for that grand national league, and now we
are like neither to see nor hear tell of that which we suffered and
fought and fasted and prayed for. And anes it was thought something might
be made by bringing back the auld family on a new bargain and a new
bottom, as, after a’, when King James went awa, I understand the great
quarrel of the English against him was in behalf of seven unhallowed
prelates; and sae, though ae part of our people were free to join wi’ the
present model, and levied an armed regiment under the Yerl of Angus, yet
our honest friend, and others that stude up for purity of doctrine and
freedom of conscience, were determined to hear the breath o’ the
Jacobites before they took part again them, fearing to fa’ to the ground
like a wall built with unslaked mortar, or from sitting between twa
stools.”

“They chose an odd quarter,” said Morton, “from which to expect freedom
of conscience and purity of doctrine.”

“Oh, dear sir!” said the landlady, “the natural day-spring rises in the
east, but the spiritual dayspring may rise in the north, for what we
blinded mortals ken.”

“And Burley went to the north to seek it?” replied the guest.

“Truly ay, sir; and he saw Claver’se himsell, that they ca’ Dundee now.”

“What!” exclaimed Morton, in amazement; “I would have sworn that meeting
would have been the last of one of their lives.”

“Na, na, sir; in troubled times, as I understand,” said Mrs. Maclure,
“there’s sudden changes,--Montgomery and Ferguson and mony ane mair that
were King James’s greatest faes are on his side now. Claver’se spake our
friend fair, and sent him to consult with Lord Evandale. But then there
was a break-off, for Lord Evandale wadna look at, hear, or speak wi’ him;
and now he’s anes wud and aye waur, and roars for revenge again Lord
Evandale, and will hear nought of onything but burn and slay. And oh,
thae starts o’ passion! they unsettle his mind, and gie the Enemy sair
advantages.”

“The enemy?” said Morton; “What enemy?”

“What enemy? Are ye acquainted familiarly wi’ John Balfour o’ Burley, and
dinna ken that he has had sair and frequent combats to sustain against
the Evil One? Did ye ever see him alone but the Bible was in his hand,
and the drawn sword on his knee? Did ye never sleep in the same room wi’
him, and hear him strive in his dreams with the delusions of Satan? Oh,
ye ken little o’ him if ye have seen him only in fair daylight; for nae
man can put the face upon his doleful visits and strifes that he can do.
I hae seen him, after sic a strife of agony, tremble that an infant might
hae held him, while the hair on his brow was drapping as fast as ever my
puir thatched roof did in a heavy rain.” As she spoke, Morton began to
recollect the appearance of Burley during his sleep in the hay-loft at
Milnwood, the report of Cuddie that his senses had become impaired, and
some whispers current among the Cameronians, who boasted frequently of
Burley’s soul-exercises and his strifes with the foul fiend,--which
several circumstances led him to conclude that this man himself was a
victim to those delusions, though his mind, naturally acute and forcible,
not only disguised his superstition from those in whose opinion it might
have discredited his judgment, but by exerting such a force as is said to
be proper to those afflicted with epilepsy, could postpone the fits which
it occasioned until he was either freed from superintendence, or
surrounded by such as held him more highly on account of these
visitations. It was natural to suppose, and could easily be inferred from
the narrative of Mrs. Maclure, that disappointed ambition, wrecked hopes,
and the downfall of the party which he had served with such desperate
fidelity, were likely to aggravate enthusiasm into temporary insanity. It
was, indeed, no uncommon circumstance in those singular times that men
like Sir Harry Vane, Harrison, Overton, and others, themselves slaves to
the wildest and most enthusiastic dreams, could, when mingling with the
world, conduct themselves not only with good sense in difficulties, and
courage in dangers, but with the most acute sagacity and determined
valour. The subsequent part of Mrs. Maclure’s information confirmed
Morton in these impressions.

“In the grey of the morning,” she said, “my little Peggy sail show ye the
gate to him before the sodgers are up. But ye maun let his hour of
danger, as he ca’s it, be ower, afore ye venture on him in his place of
refuge. Peggy will tell ye when to venture in. She kens his ways weel,
for whiles she carries him some little helps that he canna do
without to sustain life.”

“And in what retreat, then,” said Morton, “has this unfortunate person
found refuge?”

“An awsome place,” answered the blind woman, “as ever living creature
took refuge in; they ca it the Black Linn of Linklater. It’s a doleful
place, but he loves it abune a’ others, because he has sae often been in
safe hiding there; and it’s my belief he prefers it to a tapestried
chamber and a down bed. But ye’ll see ‘t. I hae seen it mysell mony a day
syne. I was a daft hempie lassie then, and little thought what was to
come o’t.--Wad ye choose ony thing, sir, ere ye betake yoursell to your
rest, for ye maun stir wi’ the first dawn o’ the grey light?”

“Nothing more, my good mother,” said Morton; and they parted for the
evening.

Morton recommended himself to Heaven, threw himself on the bed, heard,
between sleeping and waking, the trampling of the dragoon horses at the
riders’ return from their patrol, and then slept soundly after such
painful agitation.



CHAPTER XXII.

               The darksome cave they enter, where they found
               The accursed man low sitting on the ground,
               Musing full sadly in his sullen mind.
                                      SPENSER.

As the morning began to appear on the mountains, a gentle knock was heard
at the door of the humble apartment in which Morton slept, and a girlish
treble voice asked him, from without, “If he wad please gang to the Linn
or the folk raise?”

He arose upon the invitation, and, dressing himself hastily, went forth
and joined his little guide. The mountain maid tript lightly before him,
through the grey haze, over hill and moor. It was a wild and varied walk,
unmarked by any regular or distinguishable track, and keeping, upon the
whole, the direction of the ascent of the brook, though without tracing
its windings. The landscape, as they advanced, became waster and more
wild, until nothing but heath and rock encumbered the side of the valley.

“Is the place still distant?” said Morton. “Nearly a mile off,” answered
the girl. “We’ll be there belive.”

“And do you often go this wild journey, my little maid?”

“When grannie sends me wi’ milk and meal to the Linn,” answered the
child.

“And are you not afraid to travel so wild a road alone?”

“Hout na, sir,” replied the guide; “nae living creature wad touch sic a
bit thing as I am, and grannie says we need never fear onything else when
we are doing a gude turn.”

“Strong in innocence as in triple mail!” said Morton to himself, and
followed her steps in silence.

They soon came to a decayed thicket, where brambles and thorns supplied
the room of the oak and birches of which it had once consisted. Here the
guide turned short off the open heath, and, by a sheep-track, conducted
Morton to the brook. A hoarse and sullen roar had in part prepared him
for the scene which presented itself, yet it was not to be viewed without
surprise and even terror. When he emerged from the devious path which
conducted him through the thicket, he found himself placed on a ledge of
flat rock projecting over one side of a chasm not less than a hundred
feet deep, where the dark mountain-stream made a decided and rapid shoot
over the precipice, and was swallowed up by a deep, black, yawning gulf.
The eye in vain strove to see the bottom of the fall; it could catch but
one sheet of foaming uproar and sheer descent, until the view was
obstructed by the proecting crags which enclosed the bottom of the
waterfall, and hid from sight the dark pool which received its tortured
waters; far beneath, at the distance of perhaps a quarter of a mile, the
eye caught the winding of the stream as it emerged into a more open
course. But, for that distance, they were lost to sight as much as if a
cavern had been arched over them; and indeed the steep and projecting
ledges of rock through which they wound their way in darkness were very
nearly closing and over-roofing their course.

While Morton gazed at this scene of tumult, which seemed, by the
surrounding thickets and the clefts into which the waters descended, to
seek to hide itself from every eye, his little attendant as she stood
beside him on the platform of rock which commanded the best view of the
fall, pulled him by the sleeve, and said, in a tone which he could not
hear without stooping his ear near the speaker, “Hear till him! Eh! hear
till him!”

Morton listened more attentively; and out of the very abyss into which
the brook fell, and amidst the turnultuary sounds of the cataract,
thought he could distinguish shouts, screams, and even articulate words,
as if the tortured demon of the stream had been mingling his complaints
with the roar of his broken waters.

“This is the way,” said the little girl; “follow me, gin ye please, sir,
but tak tent to your feet;” and, with the daring agility which custom had
rendered easy, she vanished from the platform on which she stood, and, by
notches and slight projections in the rock, scrambled down its face into
the chasm which it overhung. Steady, bold, and active, Morton hesitated
not to follow her; but the necessary attention to secure his hold and
footing in a descent where both foot and hand were needful for security,
prevented him from looking around him, till, having descended nigh twenty
feet, and being sixty or seventy above the pool which received the fall,
his guide made a pause, and he again found himself by her side in a
situation that appeared equally romantic and precarious. They were nearly
opposite to the waterfall, and in point of level situated at about
one-quarter’s depth from the point of the cliff over which it thundered,
and three-fourths of the height above the dark, deep, and restless pool
which received its fall. Both these tremendous points--the first shoot,
namely, of the yet unbroken stream, and the deep and sombre abyss into
which it was emptied--were full before him, as well as the whole
continuous stream of billowy froth, which, dashing from the one, was
eddying and boiling in the other. They were so near this grand phenomenon
that they were covered with its spray, and well-nigh deafened by the
incessant roar. But crossing in the very front of the fall, and at scarce
three yards distance from the cataract, an old oak-tree, flung across the
chasm in a manner that seemed accidental, formed a bridge of fearfully
narrow dimensions and uncertain footing. The upper end of the tree rested
on the platform on which they stood; the lower or uprooted extremity
extended behind a projection on the opposite side, and was secured,
Morton’s eye could not discover where. From behind the same projection
glimmered a strong red light, which, glancing in the waves of the falling
water, and tinging them partially with crimson, had a strange
preternatural and sinister effect when contrasted with the beams of the
rising sun, which glanced on the first broken waves of the fall, though
even its meridian splendour could not gain the third of its full depth.
When he had looked around him for a moment, the girl again pulled his
sleeve, and, pointing to the oak and the projecting point beyond it (for
hearing speech was now out of the question), indicated that there lay his
farther passage.

Morton gazed at her with surprise; for although he well knew that the
persecuted Presbyterians had in the preceding reigns sought refuge among
dells and thickets, caves and cataracts, in spots the most extraordinary
and secluded; although he had heard of the champions of the Covenant, who
had long abidden beside Dobs-lien on the wild heights of Polmoodie, and
others who had been concealed in the yet more terrific cavern called
Creehope-linn, in the parish of Closeburn,--yet his imagination had never
exactly figured out the horrors of such a residence, and he was surprised
how the strange and romantic scene which he now saw had remained
concealed from him, while a curious investigator of such natural
phenomena. But he readily conceived that, lying in a remote and wild
district, and being destined as a place of concealment to the persecuted
preachers and professors of nonconformity, the secret of its existence
was carefully preserved by the few shepherds to whom it might be known.
As, breaking from these meditations, he began to consider how he should
traverse the doubtful and terrific bridge, which, skirted by the cascade,
and rendered wet and slippery by its constant drizzle, traversed the
chasm above sixty feet from the bottom of the fall, his guide, as if to
give him courage, tript over and back without the least hesitation.
Envying for a moment the little bare feet which caught a safer hold of
the rugged side of the oak than he could pretend to with his heavy boots,
Morton nevertheless resolved to attempt the passage, and, fixing his eye
firm on a stationary object on the other side, without allowing his head
to become giddy, or his attention to be distracted by the flash, the
foam, and the roar of the waters around him, he strode steadily and
safely along the uncertain bridge, and reached the mouth of a small
cavern on the farther side of the torrent. Here he paused; for a light,
proceeding from a fire of red-hot charcoal, permitted him to see the
interior of the cave, and enabled him to contemplate the appearance of
its inhabitant, by whom he himself could not be so readily distinguished,
being concealed by the shadow of the rock. What he observed would by no
means have encouraged a less determined man to proceed with the task
which he had undertaken.

Burley, only altered from what he had been formerly by the addition of a
grisly beard, stood in the midst of the cave, with his clasped Bible in
one hand, and his drawn sword in the other. His figure, dimly ruddied by
the light of the red charcoal, seemed that of a fiend in the lurid
atmosphere of Pandemonium, and his gestures and words, as far as they
could be heard, seemed equally violent and irregular. All alone, and in a
place of almost unapproachable seclusion, his demeanour was that of
a man who strives for life and death with a mortal enemy. “Ha!
ha!--there--there!” he exclaimed, accompanying each word with a thrust,
urged with his whole force against the impassible and empty air, “Did I
not tell thee so?--I have resisted, and thou fleest from me!--Coward as
thou art, come in all thy terrors; come with mine own evil deeds, which
render thee most terrible of all,--there is enough betwixt the boards of
this book to rescue me!--What mutterest thou of grey hairs? It was well
done to slay him,--the more ripe the corn, the readier for the sickle.--
Art gone? Art gone?--I have ever known thee but a coward--ha! ha! ha!”

With these wild exclamations he sunk the point of his sword, and remained
standing still in the same posture, like a maniac whose fit is over.

“The dangerous time is by now,” said the little girl who had followed;
“it seldom lasts beyond the time that the sun’s ower the hill; ye may
gang in and speak wi’ him now. I’ll wait for you at the other side of the
linn; he canna bide to see twa folk at anes.”

Slowly and cautiously, and keeping constantly upon his guard, Morton
presented himself to the view of his old associate in command.

“What! comest thou again when thine hour is over?” was his first
exclamation; and flourishing his sword aloft, his countenance assumed an
expression in which ghastly terror seemed mingled with the rage of a
demoniac.

“I am come, Mr. Balfour,” said Morton, in a steady and composed tone,
“to renew an acquaintance which has been broken off since the fight of
Bothwell Bridge.”

As soon as Burley became aware that Morton was before him in person,--an
idea which he caught with marvellous celerity,--he at once exerted that
mastership over his heated and enthusiastic imagination, the power of
enforcing which was a most striking part of his extraordinary character.
He sunk his sword-point at once, and as he stole it composedly into the
scabbard, he muttered something of the damp and cold which sent an old
soldier to his fencing exercise, to prevent his blood from chilling. This
done, he proceeded in the cold, determined manner which was peculiar to
his ordinary discourse:--

“Thou hast tarried long, Henry Morton, and hast not come to the vintage
before the twelfth hour has struck. Art thou yet willing to take the
right hand of fellowship, and be one with those who look not to thrones
or dynasties, but to the rule of Scripture, for their directions?”


[Illustration: Morton and Black Linn--272]


“I am surprised,” said Morton, evading the direct answer to his question,
“that you should have known me after so many years.”

“The features of those who ought to act with me are engraved on my
heart,” answered Burley; “and few but Silas Morton’s son durst have
followed me into this my castle of retreat. Seest thou that drawbridge of
Nature’s own construction?” he added, pointing to the prostrate
oak-tree,--“one spurn of my foot, and it is overwhelmed in the abyss
below, bidding foeman on the farther side stand at defiance, and leaving
enemies on this at the mercy of one who never yet met his equal in single
fight.”

“Of such defences,” said Morton, “I should have thought you would now
have had little need.”

“Little need?” said Burley impatiently. “What little need, when incarnate
fiends are combined against me on earth, and Sathan himself--But it
matters not,” added he, checking himself. “Enough that I like my place
of refuge, my cave of Adullam, and would not change its rude ribs of
limestone rock for the fair chambers of the castle of the earls of
Torwood, with their broad bounds and barony. Thou, unless the foolish
fever-fit be over, mayst think differently.”

“It was of those very possessions I came to speak,” said Morton; “and I
doubt not to find Mr. Balfour the same rational and reflecting person
which I knew him to be in times when zeal disunited brethren.”

“Ay?” said Burley; “indeed? Is such truly your hope? Wilt thou express it
more plainly?”

“In a word, then,” said Morton, “you have exercised, by means at which I
can guess, a secret, but most prejudicial, influence over the fortunes of
Lady Margaret Bellenden and her granddaughter, and in favour of that
base, oppressive apostate, Basil Olifant, whom the law, deceived by thy
operations, has placed in possession of their lawful property.”

“Sayest thou?” said Balfour.

“I do say so,” replied Morton; “and face to face you will not deny what
you have vouched by your handwriting.”

“And suppose I deny it not,” said Balfour; “and suppose that
thy--eloquence were found equal to persuade me to retrace the steps I
have taken on matured resolve,--what will be thy meed? Dost thou still
hope to possess the fair-haired girl, with her wide and rich
inheritance?”

“I have no such hope,” answered Morton, calmly.

“And for whom, then, hast thou ventured to do this great thing,--to seek
to rend the prey from the valiant, to bring forth food from the den of
the lion, and to extract sweetness from the maw of the devourer? For
whose sake hast thou undertaken to read this riddle, more hard than
Samson’s?”

“For Lord Evandale’s and that of his bride,” replied Morton, firmly.
“Think better of mankind, Mr. Balfour, and believe there are some who are
willing to sacrifice their happiness to that of others.”

“Then, as my soul liveth,” replied Balfour, “thou art, to wear beard and
back a horse and draw a sword, the tamest and most gall-less puppet that
ever sustained injury unavenged. What! thou wouldst help that accursed
Evandale to the arms of the woman that thou lovest; thou wouldst endow
them with wealth and with heritages, and thou think’st that there lives
another man, offended even more deeply than thou, yet equally
cold-livered and mean-spirited, crawling upon the face of the earth,
and hast dared to suppose that one other to be John Balfour?”

“For my own feelings,” said Morton, composedly, “I am answerable to none
but Heaven; to you, Mr. Balfour, I should suppose it of little
consequence whether Basil Olifant or Lord Evandale possess these
estates.”

“Thou art deceived,” said Burley; “both are indeed in outer darkness,
and strangers to the light, as he whose eyes have never been opened to
the day. But this Basil Olifant is a Nabal, a Demas, a base churl whose
wealth and power are at the disposal of him who can threaten to deprive
him of them. He became a professor because he was deprived of these lands
of Tillietudlem; he turned a papist to obtain possession of them; he
called himself an Erastian, that he might not again lose them; and he
will become what I list while I have in my power the document that may
deprive him of them. These lands are a bit between his jaws and a hook in
his nostrils, and the rein and the line are in my hands to guide them as
I think meet; and his they shall therefore be, unless I had assurance of
bestowing them on a sure and sincere friend. But Lord Evandale is a
malignant, of heart like flint, and brow like adamant; the goods of the
world fall on him like leaves on the frost-bound earth, and unmoved he
will see them whirled off by the first wind. The heathen virtues of such
as he are more dangerous to us than the sordid cupidity of those who,
governed by their interest, must follow where it leads, and who,
therefore, themselves the slaves of avarice, may be compelled to work
in the vineyard, were it but to earn the wages of sin.”

“This might have been all well some years since,” replied Morton, “and I
could understand your argument, although I could never acquiesce in its
justice. But at this crisis it seems useless to you to persevere in
keeping up an influence which can no longer be directed to an useful
purpose. The land has peace, liberty, and freedom of conscience,--and
what would you more?”

“More!” exclaimed Burley, again unsheathing his sword, with a vivacity
which nearly made Morton start. “Look at the notches upon that weapon
they are three in number, are they not?”

“It seems so,” answered Morton; “but what of that?”

“The fragment of steel that parted from this first gap rested on the
skull of the perjured traitor who first introduced Episcopacy into
Scotland; this second notch was made in the rib-bone of an impious
villain, the boldest and best soldier that upheld the prelatic cause at
Drumclog; this third was broken on the steel head-piece of the captain
who defended the Chapel of Holyrood when the people rose at the
Revolution. I cleft him to the teeth, through steel and bone. It has done
great deeds, this little weapon, and each of these blows was a
deliverance to the Church. This sword,” he said, again sheathing it,
“has yet more to do,--to weed out this base and pestilential heresy of
Erastianism; to vindicate the true liberty of the Kirk in her purity;
to restore the Covenant in its glory,--then let it moulder and rust
beside the bones of its master.”

“You have neither men nor means, Mr. Balfour, to disturb the Government
as now settled,” argued Morton; “the people are in general satisfied,
excepting only the gentlemen of the Jacobite interest; and surely you
would not join with those who would only use you for their own purposes?”

“It is they,” answered Burley, “that should serve ours. I went to the
camp of the malignant Claver’se, as the future King of Israel sought the
land of the Philistines; I arranged with him a rising; and but for the
villain Evandale, the Erastians ere now had been driven from the West.--
I could slay him,” he added, with a vindictive scowl, “were he grasping
the horns of t