Old Mortality, Illustrated, Volume 1.
Sir Walter Scott
Part 3 out of 5
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
"Claret for me," said one fellow.
"I like ale better," said another, "provided it is right juice of John
"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
"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
"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
"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
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,"
"I desire to have your opinion more explicitly, my friend," said the
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
"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
"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
"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
"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
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
"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
"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
"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
Here the old lady stopped, apparently much more from lack of breath than
"Curse the old hag!" said one of the dragoons, "gag her, and take her to
"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
"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
"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
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
"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
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
"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!"
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.
"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
"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
"Why, nowhere, I agree with you," said Henry; "but what was your chief
"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
"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
"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
"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
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
"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
"Indeed, sir? Probably," said Lady Margaret, "you have belonged to his
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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.
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?
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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
Jenny Dennison cautioned her mistress once more to let her take her own
"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
"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
"It's no a thing to be spoken o', but a thing to be dune," replied the
"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
"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
"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
"Drinking and driving ower," quoth Jenny, "wi' the Steward and John
"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
"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
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
"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
"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,
"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.
At last comes the troop, by the word of command
Drawn up in our court, where the Captain cries,
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
"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
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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
[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
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
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
[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
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'
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."
Their breakfast so warm to be sure they did eat,
A custom in travellers mighty discreet.
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
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
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
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