Old Mortality, Illustrated, Volume 2.
Sir Walter Scott
Part 1 out of 5
Produced by David Widger, with assistance from an etext produced by
By Walter Scott
And look how many Grecian tents do stand
Hollow upon this plain--so many hollow factions.
Troilus and Cressida.
In a hollow of the hill, about a quarter of a mile from the field of
battle, was a shepherd's hut; a miserable cottage, which, as the only
enclosed spot within a moderate distance, the leaders of the presbyterian
army had chosen for their council-house. Towards this spot Burley guided
Morton, who was surprised, as he approached it, at the multifarious
confusion of sounds which issued from its precincts. The calm and anxious
gravity which it might be supposed would have presided in councils held
on such important subjects, and at a period so critical, seemed to have
given place to discord wild, and loud uproar, which fell on the ear of
their new ally as an evil augury of their future measures. As they
approached the door, they found it open indeed, but choked up with the
bodies and heads of countrymen, who, though no members of the council,
felt no scruple in intruding themselves upon deliberations in which they
were so deeply interested. By expostulation, by threats, and even by some
degree of violence, Burley, the sternness of whose character maintained a
sort of superiority over these disorderly forces, compelled the intruders
to retire, and, introducing Morton into the cottage, secured the door
behind them against impertinent curiosity. At a less agitating moment,
the young man might have been entertained with the singular scene of
which he now found himself an auditor and a spectator.
The precincts of the gloomy and ruinous hut were enlightened partly by
some furze which blazed on the hearth, the smoke whereof, having no legal
vent, eddied around, and formed over the heads of the assembled council a
clouded canopy, as opake as their metaphysical theology, through which,
like stars through mist, were dimly seen to twinkle a few blinking
candles, or rather rushes dipped in tallow, the property of the poor
owner of the cottage, which were stuck to the walls by patches of wet
clay. This broken and dusky light showed many a countenance elated with
spiritual pride, or rendered dark by fierce enthusiasm; and some whose
anxious, wandering, and uncertain looks, showed they felt themselves
rashly embarked in a cause which they had neither courage nor conduct to
bring to a good issue, yet knew not how to abandon, for very shame. They
were, indeed, a doubtful and disunited body. The most active of their
number were those concerned with Burley in the death of the Primate, four
or five of whom had found their way to Loudon-hill, together with other
men of the same relentless and uncompromising zeal, who had, in various
ways, given desperate and unpardonable offence to the government.
With them were mingled their preachers, men who had spurned at the
indulgence offered by government, and preferred assembling their flocks
in the wilderness, to worshipping in temples built by human hands, if
their doing the latter should be construed to admit any right on the part
of their rulers to interfere with the supremacy of the Kirk. The other
class of counsellors were such gentlemen of small fortune, and
substantial farmers, as a sense of intolerable oppression had induced to
take arms and join the insurgents. These also had their clergymen with
them, and such divines, having many of them taken advantage of the
indulgence, were prepared to resist the measures of their more violent
brethren, who proposed a declaration in which they should give testimony
against the warrants and instructions for indulgence as sinful and
unlawful acts. This delicate question had been passed over in silence in
the first draught of the manifestos which they intended to publish, of
the reasons of their gathering in arms; but it had been stirred anew
during Balfour's absence, and, to his great vexation, he now found that
both parties had opened upon it in full cry, Macbriar, Kettledrummle, and
other teachers of the wanderers, being at the very spring-tide of
polemical discussion with Peter Poundtext, the indulged pastor of
Milnwood's parish, who, it seems, had e'en girded himself with a
broadsword, but, ere he was called upon to fight for the good cause of
presbytery in the field, was manfully defending his own dogmata in the
council. It was the din of this conflict, maintained chiefly between
Poundtext and Kettledrummle, together with the clamour of their
adherents, which had saluted Morton's ears upon approaching the cottage.
Indeed, as both the divines were men well gifted with words and lungs,
and each fierce, ardent, and intolerant in defence of his own doctrine,
prompt in the recollection of texts wherewith they battered each other
without mercy, and deeply impressed with the importance of the subject of
discussion, the noise of the debate betwixt them fell little short of
that which might have attended an actual bodily conflict.
Burley, scandalized at the disunion implied in this virulent strife of
tongues, interposed between the disputants, and, by some general remarks
on the unseasonableness of discord, a soothing address to the vanity of
each party, and the exertion of the authority which his services in that
day's victory entitled him to assume, at length succeeded in prevailing
upon them to adjourn farther discussion of the controversy. But although
Kettledrummle and Poundtext were thus for the time silenced, they
continued to eye each other like two dogs, who, having been separated by
the authority of their masters while fighting, have retreated, each
beneath the chair of his owner, still watching each other's motions, and
indicating, by occasional growls, by the erected bristles of the back and
ears, and by the red glance of the eye, that their discord is unappeased,
and that they only wait the first opportunity afforded by any general
movement or commotion in the company, to fly once more at each other's
Balfour took advantage of the momentary pause to present to the council
Mr Henry Morton of Milnwood, as one touched with a sense of the evils of
the times, and willing to peril goods and life in the precious cause for
which his father, the renowned Silas Morton, had given in his time a
soul-stirring testimony. Morton was instantly received with the right
hand of fellowship by his ancient pastor, Poundtext, and by those among
the insurgents who supported the more moderate principles. The others
muttered something about Erastianism, and reminded each other in
whispers, that Silas Morton, once a stout and worthy servant of the
Covenant, had been a backslider in the day when the resolutioners had led
the way in owning the authority of Charles Stewart, thereby making a gap
whereat the present tyrant was afterwards brought in, to the oppression
both of Kirk and country. They added, however, that, on this great day of
calling, they would not refuse society with any who should put hand to
the plough; and so Morton was installed in his office of leader and
counsellor, if not with the full approbation of his colleagues, at least
without any formal or avowed dissent. They proceeded, on Burley's motion,
to divide among themselves the command of the men who had assembled, and
whose numbers were daily increasing. In this partition, the insurgents of
Poundtext's parish and congregation were naturally placed under the
command of Morton; an arrangement mutually agreeable to both parties, as
he was recommended to their confidence, as well by his personal qualities
as his having been born among them.
When this task was accomplished, it became necessary to determine what
use was to be made of their victory. Morton's heart throbbed high when he
heard the Tower of Tillietudlem named as one of the most important
positions to be seized upon. It commanded, as we have often noticed, the
pass between the more wild and the more fertile country, and must
furnish, it was plausibly urged, a stronghold and place of rendezvous to
the cavaliers and malignants of the district, supposing the insurgents
were to march onward and leave it uninvested. This measure was
particularly urged as necessary by Poundtext and those of his immediate
followers, whose habitations and families might be exposed to great
severities, if this strong place were permitted to remain in possession
of the royalists.
"I opine," said Poundtext,--for, like the other divines of the period, he
had no hesitation in offering his advice upon military matters of which
he was profoundly ignorant,--"I opine, that we should take in and raze
that stronghold of the woman Lady Margaret Bellenden, even though we
should build a fort and raise a mount against it; for the race is a
rebellious and a bloody race, and their hand has been heavy on the
children of the Covenant, both in the former and the latter times. Their
hook hath been in our noses, and their bridle betwixt our jaws."
"What are their means and men of defence?" said Burley. "The place is
strong; but I cannot conceive that two women can make it good against a
"There is also," said Poundtext, "Harrison the steward, and John Gudyill,
even the lady's chief butler, who boasteth himself a man of war from his
youth upward, and who spread the banner against the good cause with that
man of Belial, James Grahame of Montrose."
"Pshaw!" returned Burley, scornfully, "a butler!"
"Also, there is that ancient malignant," replied Poundtext, "Miles
Bellenden of Charnwood, whose hands have been dipped in the blood of the
"If that," said Burley, "be Miles Bellenden, the brother of Sir Arthur,
he is one whose sword will not turn back from battle; but he must now be
stricken in years."
"There was word in the country as I rode along," said another of the
council, "that so soon as they heard of the victory which has been given
to us, they caused shut the gates of the tower, and called in men, and
collected ammunition. They were ever a fierce and a malignant house."
"We will not, with my consent," said Burley, "engage in a siege which may
consume time. We must rush forward, and follow our advantage by occupying
Glasgow; for I do not fear that the troops we have this day beaten, even
with the assistance of my Lord Ross's regiment, will judge it safe to
await our coming."
"Howbeit," said Poundtext, "we may display a banner before the Tower, and
blow a trumpet, and summon them to come forth. It may be that they will
give over the place into our mercy, though they be a rebellious people.
And we will summon the women to come forth of their stronghold, that is,
Lady Margaret Bellenden and her grand-daughter, and Jenny Dennison, which
is a girl of an ensnaring eye, and the other maids, and we will give them
a safe conduct, and send them in peace to the city, even to the town of
Edinburgh. But John Gudyill, and Hugh Harrison, and Miles Bellenden, we
will restrain with fetters of iron, even as they, in times bypast, have
done to the martyred saints."
"Who talks of safe conduct and of peace?" said a shrill, broken, and
overstrained voice, from the crowd.
"Peace, brother Habakkuk," said Macbriar, in a soothing tone, to the
"I will not hold my peace," reiterated the strange and unnatural voice;
"is this a time to speak of peace, when the earth quakes, and the
mountains are rent, and the rivers are changed into blood, and the
two-edged sword is drawn from the sheath to drink gore as if it were
water, and devour flesh as the fire devours dry stubble?"
While he spoke thus, the orator struggled forward to the inner part of
the circle, and presented to Morton's wondering eyes a figure worthy of
such a voice and such language. The rags of a dress which had once been
black, added to the tattered fragments of a shepherd's plaid, composed a
covering scarce fit for the purposes of decency, much less for those of
warmth or comfort. A long beard, as white as snow, hung down on his
breast, and mingled with bushy, uncombed, grizzled hair, which hung in
elf-locks around his wild and staring visage. The features seemed to be
extenuated by penury and famine, until they hardly retained the likeness
of a human aspect. The eyes, grey, wild, and wandering, evidently
betokened a bewildered imagination. He held in his hand a rusty sword,
clotted with blood, as were his long lean hands, which were garnished at
the extremity with nails like eagle's claws.
"In the name of Heaven! who is he?" said Morton, in a whisper to
Poundtext, surprised, shocked, and even startled, at this ghastly
apparition, which looked more like the resurrection of some cannibal
priest, or druid red from his human sacrifice, than like an earthly
"It is Habakkuk Mucklewrath," answered Poundtext, in the same tone, "whom
the enemy have long detained in captivity in forts and castles, until his
understanding hath departed from him, and, as I fear, an evil demon hath
possessed him. Nevertheless, our violent brethren will have it, that he
speaketh of the spirit, and that they fructify by his pouring forth."
Here he was interrupted by Mucklewrath, who cried in a voice that made
the very beams of the roof quiver--"Who talks of peace and safe conduct?
who speaks of mercy to the bloody house of the malignants? I say take the
infants and dash them against the stones; take the daughters and the
mothers of the house and hurl them from the battlements of their trust,
that the dogs may fatten on their blood as they did on that of Jezabel,
the spouse of Ahab, and that their carcasses may be dung to the face of
the field even in the portion of their fathers!"
"He speaks right," said more than one sullen voice from behind; "we will
be honoured with little service in the great cause, if we already make
fair weather with Heaven's enemies."
"This is utter abomination and daring impiety," said Morton, unable to
contain his indignation.
"What blessing can you expect in a cause, in which you listen to the
mingled ravings of madness and atrocity?"
"Hush, young man!" said Kettledrummle, "and reserve thy censure for that
for which thou canst render a reason. It is not for thee to judge into
what vessels the spirit may be poured."
"We judge of the tree by the fruit," said Poundtext, "and allow not that
to be of divine inspiration that contradicts the divine laws."
"You forget, brother Poundtext," said Macbriar, "that these are the
latter days, when signs and wonders shall be multiplied."
Poundtext stood forward to reply; but, ere he could articulate a word,
the insane preacher broke in with a scream that drowned all competition.
"Who talks of signs and wonders? Am not I Habakkuk Mucklewrath, whose
name is changed to Magor-Missabib, because I am made a terror unto myself
and unto all that are around me?--I heard it--When did I hear it?--Was it
not in the Tower of the Bass, that overhangeth the wide wild sea?--And it
howled in the winds, and it roared in the billows, and it screamed, and
it whistled, and it clanged, with the screams and the clang and the
whistle of the sea-birds, as they floated, and flew, and dropped, and
dived, on the bosom of the waters. I saw it--Where did I see it?--Was it
not from the high peaks of Dunbarton, when I looked westward upon the
fertile land, and northward on the wild Highland hills; when the clouds
gathered and the tempest came, and the lightnings of heaven flashed in
sheets as wide as the banners of an host?--What did I see?--Dead corpses
and wounded horses, the rushing together of battle, and garments rolled
in blood.--What heard I?--The voice that cried, Slay, slay--smite--slay
utterly--let not your eye have pity! slay utterly, old and young, the
maiden, the child, and the woman whose head is grey--Defile the house and
fill the courts with the slain!"
"We receive the command," exclaimed more than one of the company. "Six
days he hath not spoken nor broken bread, and now his tongue is
unloosed:--We receive the command; as he hath said, so will we do."
Astonished, disgusted, and horror-struck, at what he had seen and heard,
Morton turned away from the circle and left the cottage. He was followed
by Burley, who had his eye on his motions.
"Whither are you going?" said the latter, taking him by the arm.
"Any where,--I care not whither; but here I will abide no longer."
"Art thou so soon weary, young man?" answered Burley. "Thy hand is but
now put to the plough, and wouldst thou already abandon it? Is this thy
adherence to the cause of thy father?"
"No cause," replied Morton, indignantly--"no cause can prosper, so
conducted. One party declares for the ravings of a bloodthirsty madman;
another leader is an old scholastic pedant; a third"--he stopped, and his
companion continued the sentence--"Is a desperate homicide, thou wouldst
say, like John Balfour of Burley?--I can bear thy misconstruction without
resentment. Thou dost not consider, that it is not men of sober and
self-seeking minds, who arise in these days of wrath to execute judgment
and to accomplish deliverance. Hadst thou but seen the armies of England,
during her Parliament of 1640, whose ranks were filled with sectaries and
enthusiasts, wilder than the anabaptists of Munster, thou wouldst have
had more cause to marvel; and yet these men were unconquered on the
field, and their hands wrought marvellous things for the liberties of the
"But their affairs," replied Morton, "were wisely conducted, and the
violence of their zeal expended itself in their exhortations and sermons,
without bringing divisions into their counsels, or cruelty into their
conduct. I have often heard my father say so, and protest, that he
wondered at nothing so much as the contrast between the extravagance of
their religious tenets, and the wisdom and moderation with which they
conducted their civil and military affairs. But our councils seem all one
wild chaos of confusion."
"Thou must have patience, Henry Morton," answered Balfour; "thou must not
leave the cause of thy religion and country either for one wild word, or
one extravagant action. Hear me. I have already persuaded the wiser of
our friends, that the counsellors are too numerous, and that we cannot
expect that the Midianites shall, by so large a number, be delivered into
our hands. They have hearkened to my voice, and our assemblies will be
shortly reduced within such a number as can consult and act together; and
in them thou shalt have a free voice, as well as in ordering our affairs
of war, and protecting those to whom mercy should be shown--Art thou now
"It will give me pleasure, doubtless," answered Morton, "to be the means
of softening the horrors of civil war; and I will not leave the post I
have taken, unless I see measures adopted at which my conscience revolts.
But to no bloody executions after quarter asked, or slaughter without
trial, will I lend countenance or sanction; and you may depend on my
opposing them, with both heart and hand, as constantly and resolutely, if
attempted by our own followers, as when they are the work of the enemy."
Balfour waved his hand impatiently.
"Thou wilt find," he said, "that the stubborn and hard-hearted generation
with whom we deal, must be chastised with scorpions ere their hearts be
humbled, and ere they accept the punishment of their iniquity. The word
is gone forth against them, 'I will bring a sword upon you that shall
avenge the quarrel of my Covenant.' But what is done shall be done
gravely, and with discretion, like that of the worthy James Melvin, who
executed judgment on the tyrant and oppressor, Cardinal Beaton."
"I own to you," replied Morton, "that I feel still more abhorrent at
cold-blooded and premeditated cruelty, than at that which is practised in
the heat of zeal and resentment."
"Thou art yet but a youth," replied Balfour, "and hast not learned how
light in the balance are a few drops of blood in comparison to the weight
and importance of this great national testimony. But be not afraid;
thyself shall vote and judge in these matters; it may be we shall see
little cause to strive together anent them."
With this concession Morton was compelled to be satisfied for the
present; and Burley left him, advising him to lie down and get some rest,
as the host would probably move in the morning.
"And you," answered Morton, "do not you go to rest also?"
"No," said Burley; "my eyes must not yet know slumber. This is no work to
be done lightly; I have yet to perfect the choosing of the committee of
leaders, and I will call you by times in the morning to be present at
He turned away, and left Morton to his repose.
The place in which he found himself was not ill adapted for the purpose,
being a sheltered nook, beneath a large rock, well protected from the
prevailing wind. A quantity of moss with which the ground was overspread,
made a couch soft enough for one who had suffered so much hardship and
anxiety. Morton wrapped himself in the horse-man's cloak which he had
still retained, stretched himself on the ground, and had not long
indulged in melancholy reflections on the state of the country, and upon
his own condition, ere he was relieved from them by deep and sound
The rest of the army slept on the ground, dispersed in groups, which
chose their beds on the fields as they could best find shelter and
convenience. A few of the principal leaders held wakeful conference with
Burley on the state of their affairs, and some watchmen were appointed
who kept themselves on the alert by chanting psalms, or listening to the
exercises of the more gifted of their number.
Got with much ease--now merrily to horse.
Henry IV. Part I.
With the first peep of day Henry awoke, and found the faithful Cuddie
standing beside him with a portmanteau in his hand.
"I hae been just putting your honour's things in readiness again ye were
waking," said Cuddie, "as is my duty, seeing ye hae been sae gude as to
tak me into your service."
"I take you into my service, Cuddie?" said Morton, "you must be
"Na, na, stir," answered Cuddie; "didna I say when I was tied on the
horse yonder, that if ever ye gat loose I would be your servant, and ye
didna say no? and if that isna hiring, I kenna what is. Ye gae me nae
arles, indeed, but ye had gien me eneugh before at Milnwood."
"Well, Cuddie, if you insist on taking the chance of my unprosperous
"Ou ay, I'se warrant us a' prosper weel eneugh," answered Cuddie,
cheeringly, "an anes my auld mither was weel putten up. I hae begun the
campaigning trade at an end that is easy eneugh to learn."
"Pillaging, I suppose?" said Morton, "for how else could you come by that
"I wotna if it's pillaging, or how ye ca't," said Cuddie, "but it comes
natural to a body, and it's a profitable trade. Our folk had tirled the
dead dragoons as bare as bawbees before we were loose amaist.--But when I
saw the Whigs a' weel yokit by the lugs to Kettledrummle and the other
chield, I set off at the lang trot on my ain errand and your honour's.
Sae I took up the syke a wee bit, away to the right, where I saw the
marks o'mony a horsefoot, and sure eneugh I cam to a place where there
had been some clean leatherin', and a' the puir chields were lying there
buskit wi' their claes just as they had put them on that morning--naebody
had found out that pose o' carcages--and wha suld be in the midst thereof
(as my mither says) but our auld acquaintance, Sergeant Bothwell?"
"Ay, has that man fallen?" said Morton.
"Troth has he," answered Cuddie; "and his een were open and his brow
bent, and his teeth clenched thegither, like the jaws of a trap for
foumarts when the spring's doun--I was amaist feared to look at him;
however, I thought to hae turn about wi' him, and sae I e'en riped his
pouches, as he had dune mony an honester man's; and here's your ain
siller again (or your uncle's, which is the same) that he got at Milnwood
that unlucky night that made us a' sodgers thegither."
"There can be no harm, Cuddie," said Morton, "in making use of this
money, since we know how he came by it; but you must divide with me."
"Bide a wee, bide a wee," said Cuddie. "Weel, and there's a bit ring he
had hinging in a black ribbon doun on his breast. I am thinking it has
been a love-token, puir fallow--there's naebody sae rough but they hae
aye a kind heart to the lasses--and there's a book wi'a wheen papers, and
I got twa or three odd things, that I'll keep to mysell, forby."
"Upon my word, you have made a very successful foray for a beginner,"
said his new master.
"Haena I e'en now?" said Cuddie, with great exultation. "I tauld ye I
wasna that dooms stupid, if it cam to lifting things.--And forby, I hae
gotten twa gude horse. A feckless loon of a Straven weaver, that has left
his loom and his bein house to sit skirling on a cauld hill-side, had
catched twa dragoon naigs, and he could neither gar them hup nor wind,
sae he took a gowd noble for them baith--I suld hae tried him wi' half
the siller, but it's an unco ill place to get change in--Ye'll find the
siller's missing out o' Bothwell's purse."
"You have made a most excellent and useful purchase, Cuddie; but what is
"The pockmantle?" answered Cuddie, "it was Lord Evandale's yesterday, and
it's yours the day. I fand it ahint the bush o' broom yonder--ilka dog
has its day--Ye ken what the auld sang says,
'Take turn about, mither, quo' Tam o' the Linn.'
"And, speaking o' that, I maun gang and see about my mither, puir auld
body, if your honour hasna ony immediate commands."
"But, Cuddie," said Morton, "I really cannot take these things from you
without some recompense."
"Hout fie, stir," answered Cuddie, "ye suld aye be taking,--for
recompense, ye may think about that some other time--I hae seen gay weel
to mysell wi' some things that fit me better. What could I do wi' Lord
Evandale's braw claes? Sergeant Bothwell's will serve me weel eneugh."
Not being able to prevail on the self-constituted and disinterested
follower to accept of any thing for himself out of these warlike spoils,
Morton resolved to take the first opportunity of returning Lord
Evandale's property, supposing him yet to be alive; and, in the
meanwhile, did not hesitate to avail himself of Cuddie's prize, so far as
to appropriate some changes of linen and other triffling articles amongst
those of more value which the portmanteau contained.
He then hastily looked over the papers which were found in Bothwell's
pocket-book. These were of a miscellaneous description. The roll of his
troop, with the names of those absent on furlough, memorandums of
tavern-bills, and lists of delinquents who might be made subjects of fine
and persecution, first presented themselves, along with a copy of a
warrant from the Privy Council to arrest certain persons of distinction
therein named. In another pocket of the book were one or two commissions
which Bothwell had held at different times, and certificates of his
services abroad, in which his courage and military talents were highly
praised. But the most remarkable paper was an accurate account of his
genealogy, with reference to many documents for establishment of its
authenticity; subjoined was a list of the ample possessions of the
forfeited Earls of Bothwell, and a particular account of the proportions
in which King James VI. had bestowed them on the courtiers and nobility
by whose descendants they were at present actually possessed; beneath
this list was written, in red letters, in the hand of the deceased, Haud
Immemor, F. S. E. B. the initials probably intimating Francis Stewart,
Earl of Bothwell. To these documents, which strongly painted the
character and feelings of their deceased proprietor, were added some
which showed him in a light greatly different from that in which we have
hitherto presented him to the reader.
In a secret pocket of the book, which Morton did not discover without
some trouble, were one or two letters, written in a beautiful female
hand. They were dated about twenty years back, bore no address, and were
subscribed only by initials. Without having time to peruse them
accurately, Morton perceived that they contained the elegant yet fond
expressions of female affection directed towards an object whose jealousy
they endeavoured to soothe, and of whose hasty, suspicious, and impatient
temper, the writer seemed gently to complain. The ink of these
manuscripts had faded by time, and, notwithstanding the great care which
had obviously been taken for their preservation, they were in one or two
places chafed so as to be illegible.
"It matters not," these words were written on the envelope of that which
had suffered most, "I have them by heart."
With these letters was a lock of hair wrapped in a copy of verses,
written obviously with a feeling, which atoned, in Morton's opinion, for
the roughness of the poetry, and the conceits with which it abounded,
according to the taste of the period:
Thy hue, dear pledge, is pure and bright, As in that well-remember'd
night, When first thy mystic braid was wove, And first my Agnes whisper'd
love. Since then, how often hast thou press'd The torrid zone of this
wild breast, Whose wrath and hate have sworn to dwell With the first sin
which peopled hell; A breast whose blood's a troubled ocean, Each throb
the earthquake's wild commotion!--O, if such clime thou canst endure, Yet
keep thy hue unstain'd and pure, What conquest o'er each erring thought
Of that fierce realm had Agnes wrought! I had not wander'd wild and wide,
With such an angel for my guide; Nor heaven nor earth could then reprove
me, If she had lived, and lived to love me. Not then this world's wild
joys had been To me one savage hunting-scene, My sole delight the
headlong race, And frantic hurry of the chase, To start, pursue, and
bring to bay, Rush in, drag down, and rend my prey, Then from the carcass
turn away; Mine ireful mood had sweetness tamed, And soothed each wound
which pride inflamed;--Yes, God and man might now approve me, If thou
hadst lived, and lived to love me!
As he finished reading these lines, Morton could not forbear reflecting
with compassion on the fate of this singular and most unhappy being, who,
it appeared, while in the lowest state of degradation, and almost of
contempt, had his recollections continually fixed on the high station to
which his birth seemed to entitle him; and, while plunged in gross
licentiousness, was in secret looking back with bitter remorse to the
period of his youth, during which he had nourished a virtuous, though
"Alas! what are we," said Morton, "that our best and most praiseworthy
feelings can be thus debased and depraved--that honourable pride can sink
into haughty and desperate indifference for general opinion, and the
sorrow of blighted affection inhabit the same bosom which license,
revenge, and rapine, have chosen for their citadel? But it is the same
throughout; the liberal principles of one man sink into cold and
unfeeling indifference, the religious zeal of another hurries him into
frantic and savage enthusiasm. Our resolutions, our passions, are like
the waves of the sea, and, without the aid of Him who formed the human
breast, we cannot say to its tides, 'Thus far shall ye come, and no
While he thus moralized, he raised his eyes, and observed that Burley
stood before him.
"Already awake?" said that leader--"It is well, and shows zeal to tread
the path before you.--What papers are these?" he continued.
Morton gave him some brief account of Cuddie's successful marauding
party, and handed him the pocket-book of Bothwell, with its contents. The
Cameronian leader looked with some attention on such of the papers as
related to military affairs, or public business; but when he came to the
verses, he threw them from him with contempt.
"I little thought," he said, "when, by the blessing of God, I passed my
sword three times through the body of that arch tool of cruelty and
persecution, that a character so desperate and so dangerous could have
stooped to an art as trifling as it is profane. But I see that Satan can
blend the most different qualities in his well-beloved and chosen agents,
and that the same hand which can wield a club or a slaughter-weapon
against the godly in the valley of destruction, can touch a tinkling
lute, or a gittern, to soothe the ears of the dancing daughters of
perdition in their Vanity Fair."
"Your ideas of duty, then," said Morton, "exclude love of the fine arts,
which have been supposed in general to purify and to elevate the mind?"
"To me, young man," answered Burley, "and to those who think as I do, the
pleasures of this world, under whatever name disguised, are vanity, as
its grandeur and power are a snare. We have but one object on earth, and
that is to build up the temple of the Lord."
"I have heard my father observe," replied Morton, "that many who assumed
power in the name of Heaven, were as severe in its exercise, and as
unwilling to part with it, as if they had been solely moved by the
motives of worldly ambition--But of this another time. Have you succeeded
in obtaining a committee of the council to be nominated?"
"I have," answered Burley. "The number is limited to six, of which you
are one, and I come to call you to their deliberations."
Morton accompanied him to a sequestered grassplot, where their colleagues
awaited them. In this delegation of authority, the two principal factions
which divided the tumultuary army had each taken care to send three of
their own number. On the part of the Cameronians, were Burley, Macbriar,
and Kettledrummle; and on that of the moderate party, Poundtext, Henry
Morton, and a small proprietor, called the Laird of Langcale. Thus the
two parties were equally balanced by their representatives in the
committee of management, although it seemed likely that those of the most
violent opinions were, as is usual in such cases, to possess and exert
the greater degree of energy. Their debate, however, was conducted more
like men of this world than could have been expected from their conduct
on the preceding evening. After maturely considering their means and
situation, and the probable increase of their numbers, they agreed that
they would keep their position for that day, in order to refresh their
men, and give time to reinforcements to join them, and that, on the next
morning, they would direct their march towards Tillietudlem, and summon
that stronghold, as they expressed it, of malignancy. If it was not
surrendered to their summons, they resolved to try the effect of a brisk
assault; and, should that miscarry, it was settled that they should leave
a part of their number to blockade the place, and reduce it, if possible,
by famine, while their main body should march forward to drive
Claverhouse and Lord Ross from the town of Glasgow. Such was the
determination of the council of management; and thus Morton's first
enterprise in active life was likely to be the attack of a castle
belonging to the parent of his mistress, and defended by her relative,
Major Bellenden, to whom he personally owed many obligations! He felt
fully the embarrassment of his situation, yet consoled himself with the
reflection, that his newly-acquired power in the insurgent army would
give him, at all events, the means of extending to the inmates of
Tillietudlem a protection which no other circumstance could have afforded
them; and he was not without hope that he might be able to mediate such
an accommodation betwixt them and the presbyterian army, as should secure
them a safe neutrality during the war which was about to ensue.
There came a knight from the field of slain,
His steed was drench'd in blood and rain.
We must now return to the fortress of Tillietudlem and its inhabitants.
The morning, being the first after the battle of Loudon-hill, had dawned
upon its battlements, and the defenders had already resumed the labours
by which they proposed to render the place tenable, when the watchman,
who was placed in a high turret, called the Warder's Tower, gave the
signal that a horseman was approaching. As he came nearer, his dress
indicated an officer of the Life-Guards; and the slowness of his horse's
pace, as well as the manner in which the rider stooped on the saddle-bow,
plainly showed that he was sick or wounded. The wicket was instantly
opened to receive him, and Lord Evandale rode into the court-yard, so
reduced by loss of blood, that he was unable to dismount without
assistance. As he entered the hall, leaning upon a servant, the ladies
shrieked with surprise and terror; for, pale as death, stained with
blood, his regimentals soiled and torn, and his hair matted and
disordered, he resembled rather a spectre than a human being. But their
next exclamation was that of joy at his escape.
"Thank God!" exclaimed Lady Margaret, "that you are here, and have
escaped the hands of the bloodthirsty murderers who have cut off so many
of the king's loyal servants!"
"Thank God!" added Edith, "that you are here and in safety! We have
dreaded the worst. But you are wounded, and I fear we have little the
means of assisting you."
"My wounds are only sword-cuts," answered the young nobleman, as he
reposed himself on a seat; "the pain is not worth mentioning, and I
should not even feel exhausted but for the loss of blood. But it was not
my purpose to bring my weakness to add to your danger and distress, but
to relieve them, if possible. What can I do for you?--Permit me," he
added, addressing Lady Margaret--"permit me to think and act as your son,
my dear madam--as your brother, Edith!"
He pronounced the last part of the sentence with some emphasis, as if he
feared that the apprehension of his pretensions as a suitor might render
his proffered services unacceptable to Miss Bellenden. She was not
insensible to his delicacy, but there was no time for exchange of
"We are preparing for our defence," said the old lady with great dignity;
"my brother has taken charge of our garrison, and, by the grace of God,
we will give the rebels such a reception as they deserve."
"How gladly," said Evandale, "would I share in the defence of the Castle!
But in my present state, I should be but a burden to you, nay, something
worse; for, the knowledge that an officer of the Life-Guards was in the
Castle would be sufficient to make these rogues more desperately earnest
to possess themselves of it. If they find it defended only by the family,
they may possibly march on to Glasgow rather than hazard an assault."
"And can you think so meanly of us, my lord," said Edith, with the
generous burst of feeling which woman so often evinces, and which becomes
her so well, her voice faltering through eagerness, and her brow
colouring with the noble warmth which dictated her language--"Can you
think so meanly of your friends, as that they would permit such
considerations to interfere with their sheltering and protecting you at a
moment when you are unable to defend yourself, and when the whole country
is filled with the enemy? Is there a cottage in Scotland whose owners
would permit a valued friend to leave it in such circumstances? And can
you think we will allow you to go from a castle which we hold to be
strong enough for our own defence?"
"Lord Evandale need never think of it," said Lady Margaret. "I will dress
his wounds myself; it is all an old wife is fit for in war time; but to
quit the Castle of Tillietudlem when the sword of the enemy is drawn to
slay him,--the meanest trooper that ever wore the king's coat on his back
should not do so, much less my young Lord Evandale.--Ours is not a house
that ought to brook such dishonour. The tower of Tillietudlem has been
too much distinguished by the visit of his most sacred"--
Here she was interrupted by the entrance of the Major.
"We have taken a prisoner, my dear uncle," said Edith--"a wounded
prisoner, and he wants to escape from us. You must help us to keep him by
"Lord Evandale!" exclaimed the veteran. "I am as much pleased as when I
got my first commission. Claverhouse reported you were killed, or missing
"I should have been slain, but for a friend of yours," said Lord
Evandale, speaking with some emotion, and bending his eyes on the ground,
as if he wished to avoid seeing the impression that what he was about to
say would make upon Miss Bellenden. "I was unhorsed and defenceless, and
the sword raised to dispatch me, when young Mr Morton, the prisoner for
whom you interested yourself yesterday morning, interposed in the most
generous manner, preserved my life, and furnished me with the means of
As he ended the sentence, a painful curiosity overcame his first
resolution; he raised his eyes to Edith's face, and imagined he could
read in the glow of her cheek and the sparkle of her eye, joy at hearing
of her lover's safety and freedom, and triumph at his not having been
left last in the race of generosity. Such, indeed, were her feelings; but
they were also mingled with admiration of the ready frankness with which
Lord Evandale had hastened to bear witness to the merit of a favoured
rival, and to acknowledge an obligation which, in all probability, he
would rather have owed to any other individual in the world.
Major Bellenden, who would never have observed the emotions of either
party, even had they been much more markedly expressed, contented himself
with saying, "Since Henry Morton has influence with these rascals, I am
glad he has so exerted it; but I hope he will get clear of them as soon
as he can. Indeed, I cannot doubt it. I know his principles, and that he
detests their cant and hypocrisy. I have heard him laugh a thousand times
at the pedantry of that old presbyterian scoundrel, Poundtext, who, after
enjoying the indulgence of the government for so many years, has now,
upon the very first ruffle, shown himself in his own proper colours, and
set off, with three parts of his cropeared congregation, to join the host
of the fanatics.--But how did you escape after leaving the field, my
"I rode for my life, as a recreant knight must," answered Lord Evandale,
smiling. "I took the route where I thought I had least chance of meeting
with any of the enemy, and I found shelter for several hours--you will
hardly guess where."
"At Castle Bracklan, perhaps," said Lady Margaret, "or in the house of
some other loyal gentleman?"
"No, madam. I was repulsed, under one mean pretext or another, from more
than one house of that description, for fear of the enemy following my
traces; but I found refuge in the cottage of a poor widow, whose husband
had been shot within these three months by a party of our corps, and
whose two sons are at this very moment with the insurgents."
"Indeed?" said Lady Margaret Bellenden; "and was a fanatic woman capable
of such generosity?--but she disapproved, I suppose, of the tenets of her
"Far from it, madam," continued the young nobleman; "she was in principle
a rigid recusant, but she saw my danger and distress, considered me as a
fellow-creature, and forgot that I was a cavalier and a soldier. She
bound my wounds, and permitted me to rest upon her bed, concealed me from
a party of the insurgents who were seeking for stragglers, supplied me
with food, and did not suffer me to leave my place of refuge until she
had learned that I had every chance of getting to this tower without
"It was nobly done," said Miss Bellenden; "and I trust you will have an
opportunity of rewarding her generosity."
"I am running up an arrear of obligation on all sides, Miss Bellenden,
during these unfortunate occurrences," replied Lord Evandale; "but when I
can attain the means of showing my gratitude, the will shall not be
All now joined in pressing Lord Evandale to relinquish his intention of
leaving the Castle; but the argument of Major Bellenden proved the most
"Your presence in the Castle will be most useful, if not absolutely
necessary, my lord, in order to maintain, by your authority, proper
discipline among the fellows whom Claverhouse has left in garrison here,
and who do not prove to be of the most orderly description of inmates;
and, indeed, we have the Colonel's authority, for that very purpose, to
detain any officer of his regiment who might pass this way."
"That," said Lord Evandale, "is an unanswerable argument, since it shows
me that my residence here may be useful, even in my present disabled
"For your wounds, my lord," said the Major, "if my sister, Lady
Bellenden, will undertake to give battle to any feverish symptom, if such
should appear, I will answer that my old campaigner, Gideon Pike, shall
dress a flesh-wound with any of the incorporation of Barber-Surgeons. He
had enough of practice in Montrose's time, for we had few regularly-bred
army chirurgeons, as you may well suppose.--You agree to stay with us,
"My reasons for leaving the Castle," said Lord Evandale, glancing a look
towards Edith, "though they evidently seemed weighty, must needs give way
to those which infer the power of serving you. May I presume, Major, to
enquire into the means and plan of defence which you have prepared? or
can I attend you to examine the works?"
It did not escape Miss Bellenden, that Lord Evandale seemed much
exhausted both in body and mind. "I think, sir," she said, addressing the
Major, "that since Lord Evandale condescends to become an officer of our
garrison, you should begin by rendering him amenable to your authority,
and ordering him to his apartment, that he may take some refreshment ere
he enters on military discussions."
"Edith is right," said the old lady; "you must go instantly to bed, my
lord, and take some febrifuge, which I will prepare with my own hand; and
my lady-in-waiting, Mistress Martha Weddell, shall make some friar's
chicken, or something very light. I would not advise wine.--John Gudyill,
let the housekeeper make ready the chamber of dais. Lord Evandale must
lie down instantly. Pike will take off the dressings, and examine the
state of the wounds."
"These are melancholy preparations, madam," said Lord Evandale, as he
returned thanks to Lady Margaret, and was about to leave the hall,--"but
I must submit to your ladyship's directions; and I trust that your skill
will soon make me a more able defender of your castle than I am at
present. You must render my body serviceable as soon as you can, for you
have no use for my head while you have Major Bellenden."
With these words he left the apartment.
"An excellent young man, and a modest," said the Major.
"None of that conceit," said Lady Margaret, "that often makes young folk
suppose they know better how their complaints should be treated than
people that have had experience."
"And so generous and handsome a young nobleman," said Jenny Dennison, who
had entered during the latter part of this conversation, and was now left
alone with her mistress in the hall, the Major returning to his military
cares, and Lady Margaret to her medical preparations.
Edith only answered these encomiums with a sigh; but, although silent,
she felt and knew better than any one how much they were merited by the
person on whom they were bestowed. Jenny, however, failed not to follow
up her blow.
"After a', it's true that my lady says--there's nae trusting a
presbyterian; they are a' faithless man-sworn louns. Whae wad hae thought
that young Milnwood and Cuddie Headrigg wad hae taen on wi' thae rebel
"What do you mean by such improbable nonsense, Jenny?" said her young
mistress, very much displeased.
"I ken it's no pleasing for you to hear, madam," answered Jenny hardily;
"and it's as little pleasant for me to tell; but as gude ye suld ken a'
about it sune as syne, for the haill Castle's ringing wi't."
"Ringing with what, Jenny? Have you a mind to drive me mad?" answered
"Just that Henry Morton of Milnwood is out wi' the rebels, and ane o'
their chief leaders."
"It is a falsehood!" said Edith--"a most base calumny! and you are very
bold to dare to repeat it to me. Henry Morton is incapable of such
treachery to his king and country--such cruelty to me--to--to all the
innocent and defenceless victims, I mean, who must suffer in a civil
war--I tell you he is utterly incapable of it, in every sense."
"Dear! dear! Miss Edith," replied Jenny, still constant to her text,
"they maun be better acquainted wi' young men than I am, or ever wish to
be, that can tell preceesely what they're capable or no capable o'. But
there has been Trooper Tam, and another chield, out in bonnets and grey
plaids, like countrymen, to recon--reconnoitre--I think John Gudyill ca'd
it; and they hae been amang the rebels, and brought back word that they
had seen young Milnwood mounted on ane o' the dragoon horses that was
taen at Loudon-hill, armed wi' swords and pistols, like wha but him, and
hand and glove wi' the foremost o' them, and dreeling and commanding the
men; and Cuddie at the heels o' him, in ane o' Sergeant Bothwell's laced
waistcoats, and a cockit hat with a bab o' blue ribbands at it for the
auld cause o' the Covenant, (but Cuddie aye liked a blue ribband,) and a
ruffled sark, like ony lord o' the land--it sets the like o' him,
"Jenny," said her young mistress hastily, "it is impossible these men's
report can be true; my uncle has heard nothing of it at this instant."
"Because Tam Halliday," answered the handmaiden, "came in just five
minutes after Lord Evandale; and when he heard his lordship was in the
Castle, he swore (the profane loon!) he would be d--d ere he would make
the report, as he ca'd it, of his news to Major Bellenden, since there
was an officer of his ain regiment in the garrison. Sae he wad have said
naething till Lord Evandale wakened the next morning; only he tauld me
about it," (here Jenny looked a little down,) "just to vex me about
"Poh, you silly girl," said Edith, assuming some courage, "it is all a
trick of that fellow to teaze you."
"Na, madam, it canna be that, for John Gudyill took the other dragoon
(he's an auld hard-favoured man, I wotna his name) into the cellar, and
gae him a tass o' brandy to get the news out o' him, and he said just the
same as Tam Halliday, word for word; and Mr Gudyill was in sic a rage,
that he tauld it a' ower again to us, and says the haill rebellion is
owing to the nonsense o' my Leddy and the Major, and Lord Evandale, that
begged off young Milnwood and Cuddie yesterday morning, for that, if they
had suffered, the country wad hae been quiet--and troth I am muckle o'
that opinion mysell."
This last commentary Jenny added to her tale, in resentment of her
mistress's extreme and obstinate incredulity. She was instantly alarmed,
however, by the effect which her news produced upon her young lady, an
effect rendered doubly violent by the High-church principles and
prejudices in which Miss Bellenden had been educated. Her complexion
became as pale as a corpse, her respiration so difficult that it was on
the point of altogether failing her, and her limbs so incapable of
supporting her, that she sunk, rather than sat, down upon one of the
seats in the hall, and seemed on the eve of fainting. Jenny tried cold
water, burnt feathers, cutting of laces, and all other remedies usual in
hysterical cases, but without any immediate effect.
"God forgie me! what hae I done?" said the repentant fille-de-chambre. "I
wish my tongue had been cuttit out!--Wha wad hae thought o' her taking on
that way, and a' for a young lad?--O, Miss Edith--dear Miss Edith, haud
your heart up about it, it's maybe no true for a' that I hae said--O, I
wish my mouth had been blistered! A' body tells me my tongue will do me a
mischief some day. What if my Leddy comes? or the Major?--and she's
sitting in the throne, too, that naebody has sate in since that weary
morning the King was here!--O, what will I do! O, what will become o'
While Jenny Dennison thus lamented herself and her mistress, Edith slowly
returned from the paroxysm into which she had been thrown by this
"If he had been unfortunate," she said, "I never would have deserted him.
I never did so, even when there was danger and disgrace in pleading his
cause. If he had died, I would have mourned him--if he had been
unfaithful, I would have forgiven him; but a rebel to his King,--a
traitor to his country,--the associate and colleague of cut-throats and
common stabbers,--the persecutor of all that is noble,--the professed and
blasphemous enemy of all that is sacred,--I will tear him from my heart,
if my life-blood should ebb in the effort!"
She wiped her eyes, and rose hastily from the great chair, (or throne, as
Lady Margaret used to call it,) while the terrified damsel hastened to
shake up the cushion, and efface the appearance of any one having
occupied that sacred seat; although King Charles himself, considering the
youth and beauty as well as the affliction of the momentary usurper of
his hallowed chair, would probably have thought very little of the
profanation. She then hastened officiously to press her support on Edith,
as she paced the hall apparently in deep meditation.
"Tak my arm, madam; better just tak my arm; sorrow maun hae its vent, and
"No, Jenny," said Edith, with firmness; "you have seen my weakness, and
you shall see my strength."
"But ye leaned on me the other morning. Miss Edith, when ye were sae sair
"Misplaced and erring affection may require support, Jenny--duty can
support itself; yet I will do nothing rashly. I will be aware of the
reasons of his conduct--and then--cast him off for ever," was the firm
and determined answer of her young lady.
Overawed by a manner of which she could neither conceive the motive, nor
estimate the merit, Jenny muttered between her teeth, "Odd, when the
first flight's ower, Miss Edith taks it as easy as I do, and muckle
easier, and I'm sure I ne'er cared half sae muckle about Cuddie Headrigg
as she did about young Milnwood. Forby that, it's maybe as weel to hae a
friend on baith sides; for, if the whigs suld come to tak the Castle, as
it's like they may, when there's sae little victual, and the dragoons
wasting what's o't, ou, in that case, Milnwood and Cuddie wad hae the
upper hand, and their freendship wad be worth siller--I was thinking sae
this morning or I heard the news."
With this consolatory reflection the damsel went about her usual
occupations, leaving her mistress to school her mind as she best might,
for eradicating the sentiments which she had hitherto entertained towards
Once more into the breach--dear friends, once more!
On the evening of this day, all the information which they could procure
led them to expect, that the insurgent army would be with early dawn on
their march against Tillietudlem. Lord Evandale's wounds had been
examined by Pike, who reported them in a very promising state. They were
numerous, but none of any consequence; and the loss of blood, as much
perhaps as the boasted specific of Lady Margaret, had prevented any
tendency to fever; so that, notwithstanding he felt some pain and great
weakness, the patient maintained that he was able to creep about with the
assistance of a stick. In these circumstances he refused to be confined
to his apartment, both that he might encourage the soldiers by his
presence, and suggest any necessary addition to the plan of defence,
which the Major might be supposed to have arranged upon something of an
antiquated fashion of warfare. Lord Evandale was well qualified to give
advice on such subjects, having served, during his early youth, both in
France and in the Low Countries. There was little or no occasion,
however, for altering the preparations already made; and, excepting on
the article of provisions, there seemed no reason to fear for the defence
of so strong a place against such assailants as those by whom it was
With the peep of day, Lord Evandale and Major Bellenden were on the
battlements again, viewing and re-viewing the state of their
preparations, and anxiously expecting the approach of the enemy. I ought
to observe, that the report of the spies had now been regularly made and
received; but the Major treated the report that Morton was in arms
against the government with the most scornful incredulity.
"I know the lad better," was the only reply he deigned to make; "the
fellows have not dared to venture near enough, and have been deceived by
some fanciful resemblance, or have picked up some story."
"I differ from you, Major," answered Lord Evandale; "I think you will see
that young gentleman at the head of the insurgents; and, though I shall
be heartily sorry for it, I shall not be greatly surprised."
"You are as bad as Claverhouse," said the Major, "who contended yesterday
morning down my very throat, that this young fellow, who is as
high-spirited and gentleman-like a boy as I have ever known, wanted but
an opportunity to place himself at the head of the rebels."
"And considering the usage which he has received, and the suspicions
under which he lies," said Lord Evandale, "what other course is open to
him? For my own part, I should hardly know whether he deserved most blame
"Blame, my lord?--Pity!" echoed the Major, astonished at hearing such
sentiments; "he would deserve to be hanged, that's all; and, were he my
own son, I should see him strung up with pleasure--Blame, indeed! But
your lordship cannot think as you are pleased to speak?"
"I give you my honour, Major Bellenden, that I have been for some time of
opinion, that our politicians and prelates have driven matters to a
painful extremity in this country, and have alienated, by violence of
various kinds, not only the lower classes, but all those in the upper
ranks, whom strong party-feeling, or a desire of court-interest, does not
attach to their standard."
"I am no politician," answered the Major, "and I do not understand nice
distinctions. My sword is the King's, and when he commands, I draw it in
"I trust," replied the young lord, "you will not find me more backward
than yourself, though I heartily wish that the enemy were foreigners. It
is, however, no time to debate that matter, for yonder they come, and we
must defend ourselves as well as we can."
As Lord Evandale spoke, the van of the insurgents began to make their
appearance on the road which crossed the top of the hill, and thence
descended opposite to the Tower. They did not, however, move downwards,
as if aware that, in doing so, their columns would be exposed to the fire
of the artillery of the place. But their numbers, which at first seemed
few, appeared presently so to deepen and concentrate themselves, that,
judging of the masses which occupied the road behind the hill from the
closeness of the front which they presented on the top of it, their force
appeared very considerable. There was a pause of anxiety on both sides;
and, while the unsteady ranks of the Covenanters were agitated, as if by
pressure behind, or uncertainty as to their next movement, their arms,
picturesque from their variety, glanced in the morning sun, whose beams
were reflected from a grove of pikes, muskets, halberds, and battle-axes.
The armed mass occupied, for a few minutes, this fluctuating position,
until three or four horsemen, who seemed to be leaders, advanced from the
front, and occupied the height a little nearer to the Castle. John
Gudyill, who was not without some skill as an artilleryman, brought a gun
to bear on this detached group.
"I'll flee the falcon,"--(so the small cannon was called,)--"I'll flee
the falcon whene'er your honour gies command; my certie, she'll ruffle
their feathers for them!"
The Major looked at Lord Evandale.
"Stay a moment," said the young nobleman, "they send us a flag of truce."
In fact, one of the horsemen at that moment dismounted, and, displaying a
white cloth on a pike, moved forward towards the Tower, while the Major
and Lord Evandale, descending from the battlement of the main fortress,
advanced to meet him as far as the barricade, judging it unwise to admit
him within the precincts which they designed to defend. At the same time
that the ambassador set forth, the group of horsemen, as if they had
anticipated the preparations of John Gudyill for their annoyance,
withdrew from the advanced station which they had occupied, and fell back
to the main body.
The envoy of the Covenanters, to judge by his mien and manner, seemed
fully imbued with that spiritual pride which distinguished his sect. His
features were drawn up to a contemptuous primness, and his half-shut eyes
seemed to scorn to look upon the terrestial objects around, while, at
every solemn stride, his toes were pointed outwards with an air that
appeared to despise the ground on which they trode. Lord Evandale could
not suppress a smile at this singular figure.
"Did you ever," said he to Major Bellenden, "see such an absurd
automaton? One would swear it moves upon springs--Can it speak, think
"O, ay," said the Major; "that seems to be one of my old acquaintance, a
genuine puritan of the right pharisaical leaven.--Stay--he coughs and
hems; he is about to summon the Castle with the but-end of a sermon,
instead of a parley on the trumpet."
The veteran, who in his day had had many an opportunity to become
acquainted with the manners of these religionists, was not far mistaken
in his conjecture; only that, instead of a prose exordium, the Laird of
Langcale--for it was no less a personage--uplifted, with a Stentorian
voice, a verse of the twenty-fourth Psalm:
"Ye gates lift up your heads! ye doors, Doors that do last for aye, Be
"I told you so," said the Major to Evandale, and then presented himself
at the entrance of the barricade, demanding to know for what purpose or
intent he made that doleful noise, like a hog in a high wind, beneath the
gates of the Castle.
"I come," replied the ambassador, in a high and shrill voice, and without
any of the usual salutations or deferences,--"I come from the godly army
of the Solemn League and Covenant, to speak with two carnal malignants,
William Maxwell, called Lord Evandale, and Miles Bellenden of Charnwood."
"And what have you to say to Miles Bellenden and Lord Evandale?" answered
"Are you the parties?" said the Laird of Langcale, in the same sharp,
conceited, disrespectful tone of voice.
"Even so, for fault of better," said the Major.
"Then there is the public summons," said the envoy, putting a paper into
Lord Evandale's hand, "and there is a private letter for Miles Bellenden
from a godly youth, who is honoured with leading a part of our host. Read
them quickly, and God give you grace to fructify by the contents, though
it is muckle to be doubted."
The summons ran thus: "We, the named and constituted leaders of the
gentlemen, ministers, and others, presently in arms for the cause of
liberty and true religion, do warn and summon William Lord Evandale and
Miles Bellenden of Charnwood, and others presently in arms, and keeping
garrison in the Tower of Tillietudlem, to surrender the said Tower upon
fair conditions of quarter, and license to depart with bag and baggage,
otherwise to suffer such extremity of fire and sword as belong by the
laws of war to those who hold out an untenable post. And so may God
defend his own good cause!"
This summons was signed by John Balfour of Burley, as quarter-master
general of the army of the Covenant, for himself, and in name of the
The letter to Major Bellenden was from Henry Morton. It was couched in
the following language:
"I have taken a step, my venerable friend, which, among many painful
consequences, will, I am afraid, incur your very decided disapprobation.
But I have taken my resolution in honour and good faith, and with the
full approval of my own conscience. I can no longer submit to have my own
rights and those of my fellow-subjects trampled upon, our freedom
violated, our persons insulted, and our blood spilt, without just cause
or legal trial. Providence, through the violence of the oppressors
themselves, seems now to have opened a way of deliverance from this
intolerable tyranny, and I do not hold him deserving of the name and
rights of a freeman, who, thinking as I do, shall withold his arm from
the cause of his country. But God, who knows my heart, be my witness,
that I do not share the angry or violent passions of the oppressed and
harassed sufferers with whom I am now acting. My most earnest and anxious
desire is, to see this unnatural war brought to a speedy end, by the
union of the good, wise, and moderate of all parties, and a peace
restored, which, without injury to the King's constitutional rights, may
substitute the authority of equal laws to that of military violence, and,
permitting to all men to worship God according to their own consciences,
may subdue fanatical enthusiasm by reason and mildness, instead of
driving it to frenzy by persecution and intolerance.
"With these sentiments, you may conceive with what pain I appear in arms
before the house of your venerable relative, which we understand you
propose to hold out against us. Permit me to press upon you the
assurance, that such a measure will only lead to the effusion of
blood--that, if repulsed in the assault, we are yet strong enough to
invest the place, and reduce it by hunger, being aware of your
indifferent preparations to sustain a protracted siege. It would grieve
me to the heart to think what would be the sufferings in such a case,
and upon whom they would chiefly fall.
"Do not suppose, my respected friend, that I would propose to you any
terms which could compromise the high and honourable character which you
have so deservedly won, and so long borne. If the regular soldiers (to
whom I will ensure a safe retreat) are dismissed from the place, I trust
no more will be required than your parole to remain neuter during this
unhappy contest; and I will take care that Lady Margaret's property, as
well as yours, shall be duly respected, and no garrison intruded upon
you. I could say much in favour of this proposal; but I fear, as I must
in the present instance appear criminal in your eyes, good arguments
would lose their influence when coming from an unwelcome quarter. I will,
therefore, break off with assuring you, that whatever your sentiments may
be hereafter towards me, my sense of gratitude to you can never be
diminished or erased; and it would be the happiest moment of my life that
should give me more effectual means than mere words to assure you of it.
Therefore, although in the first moment of resentment you may reject the
proposal I make to you, let not that prevent you from resuming the topic,
if future events should render it more acceptable; for whenever, or
howsoever, I can be of service to you, it will always afford the greatest
Having read this long letter with the most marked indignation, Major
Bellenden put it into the hands of Lord Evandale.
"I would not have believed this," he said, "of Henry Morton, if half
mankind had sworn it! The ungrateful, rebellious traitor! rebellious in
cold blood, and without even the pretext of enthusiasm, that warms the
liver of such a crack-brained fop as our friend the envoy there. But I
should have remembered he was a presbyterian--I ought to have been aware
that I was nursing a wolf-cub, whose diabolical nature would make him
tear and snatch at me on the first opportunity. Were Saint Paul on earth
again, and a presbyterian, he would be a rebel in three months--it is in
the very blood of them."
"Well," said Lord Evandale, "I will be the last to recommend surrender;
but, if our provisions fail, and we receive no relief from Edinburgh or
Glasgow, I think we ought to avail ourselves of this opening, to get the
ladies, at least, safe out of the Castle."
"They will endure all, ere they would accept the protection of such a
smooth-tongued hypocrite," answered the Major indignantly; "I would
renounce them for relatives were it otherwise. But let us dismiss the
worthy ambassador.--My friend," he said, turning to Langcale, "tell your
leaders, and the mob they have gathered yonder, that, if they have not a
particular opinion of the hardness of their own skulls, I would advise
them to beware how they knock them against these old walls. And let them
send no more flags of truce, or we will hang up the messenger in
retaliation of the murder of Cornet Grahame."
With this answer the ambassador returned to those by whom he had been
sent. He had no sooner reached the main body than a murmur was heard
amongst the multitude, and there was raised in front of their ranks an
ample red flag, the borders of which were edged with blue. As the signal
of war and defiance spread out its large folds upon the morning wind, the
ancient banner of Lady Margaret's family, together with the royal ensign,
were immediately hoisted on the walls of the Tower, and at the same time,
a round of artillery was discharged against the foremost ranks of the
insurgents, by which they sustained some loss. Their leaders instantly
withdrew them to the shelter of the brow of the hill.
"I think," said John Gudyill, while he busied himself in re-charging his
guns, "they hae fund the falcon's neb a bit ower hard for them--It's no
for nought that the hawk whistles."
But as he uttered these words, the ridge was once more crowded with the
ranks of the enemy. A general discharge of their fire-arms was directed
against the defenders upon the battlements. Under cover of the smoke, a
column of picked men rushed down the road with determined courage, and,
sustaining with firmness a heavy fire from the garrison, they forced
their way, in spite of opposition, to the first barricade by which the
avenue was defended. They were led on by Balfour in person, who displayed
courage equal to his enthusiasm; and, in spite of every opposition,
forced the barricade, killing and wounding several of the defenders, and
compelling the rest to retreat to their second position. The precautions,
however, of Major Bellenden rendered this success unavailing; for no
sooner were the Covenanters in possession of the post, than a close and
destructive fire was poured into it from the Castle, and from those
stations which commanded it in the rear. Having no means of protecting
themselves from this fire, or of returning it with effect against men who
were under cover of their barricades and defences, the Covenanters were
obliged to retreat; but not until they had, with their axes, destroyed
the stockade, so as to render it impossible for the defenders to
Balfour was the last man that retired. He even remained for a short space
almost alone, with an axe in his hand, labouring like a pioneer amid the
storm of balls, many of which were specially aimed against him. The
retreat of the party he commanded was not effected without heavy loss,
and served as a severe lesson concerning the local advantages possessed
by the garrison.
The next attack of the Covenanters was made with more caution. A strong
party of marksmen, (many of them competitors at the game of the
popinjay,) under the command of Henry Morton, glided through the woods
where they afforded them the best shelter, and, avoiding the open road,
endeavoured, by forcing their way through the bushes and trees, and up
the rocks which surrounded it on either side, to gain a position, from
which, without being exposed in an intolerable degree, they might annoy
the flank of the second barricade, while it was menaced in front by a
second attack from Burley. The besieged saw the danger of this movement,
and endeavoured to impede the approach of the marksmen, by firing upon
them at every point where they showed themselves. The assailants, on the
other hand, displayed great coolness, spirit, and judgment, in the manner
in which they approached the defences. This was, in a great measure, to
be ascribed to the steady and adroit manner in which they were conducted
by their youthful leader, who showed as much skill in protecting his own
followers as spirit in annnoying the enemy.
He repeatedly enjoined his marksmen to direct their aim chiefly upon the
red-coats, and to save the others engaged in the defence of the Castle;
and, above all, to spare the life of the old Major, whose anxiety made
him more than once expose himself in a manner, that, without such
generosity on the part of the enemy, might have proved fatal. A dropping
fire of musketry now glanced from every part of the precipitous mount on
which the Castle was founded. From bush to bush--from crag to crag--from
tree to tree, the marksmen continued to advance, availing themselves of
branches and roots to assist their ascent, and contending at once with
the disadvantages of the ground and the fire of the enemy. At length they
got so high on the ascent, that several of them possessed an opportunity
of firing into the barricade against the defenders, who then lay exposed
to their aim, and Burley, profiting by the confusion of the moment, moved
forward to the attack in front. His onset was made with the same
desperation and fury as before, and met with less resistance, the
defenders being alarmed at the progress which the sharp-shooters had made
in turning the flank of their position. Determined to improve his
advantage, Burley, with his axe in his hand, pursued the party whom he
had dislodged even to the third and last barricade, and entered it along
"Kill, kill--down with the enemies of God and his people!--No
quarter--The Castle is ours!" were the cries by which he animated his
friends; the most undaunted of whom followed him close, whilst the
others, with axes, spades, and other implements, threw up earth, cut
down trees, hastily labouring to establish such a defensive cover in the
rear of the second barricade as might enable them to retain possession
of it, in case the Castle was not carried by this coup-de-main.
Lord Evandale could no longer restrain his impatience. He charged with a
few soldiers who had been kept in reserve in the court-yard of the
Castle; and, although his arm was in a sling, encouraged them, by voice
and gesture, to assist their companions who were engaged with Burley. The
combat now assumed an air of desperation. The narrow road was crowded
with the followers of Burley, who pressed forward to support their
companions. The soldiers, animated by the voice and presence of Lord
Evandale, fought with fury, their small numbers being in some measure
compensated by their greater skill, and by their possessing the upper
ground, which they defended desperately with pikes and halberds, as well
as with the but of the carabines and their broadswords. Those within the
Castle endeavoured to assist their companions, whenever they could so
level their guns as to fire upon the enemy without endangering their
friends. The sharp-shooters, dispersed around, were firing incessantly on
each object that was exposed upon the battlement. The Castle was
enveloped with smoke, and the rocks rang to the cries of the combatants.
In the midst of this scene of confusion, a singular accident had nearly
given the besiegers possession of the fortress.
Cuddie Headrigg, who had advanced among the marksmen, being well
acquainted with every rock and bush in the vicinity of the Castle, where
he had so often gathered nuts with Jenny Dennison, was enabled, by such
local knowledge, to advance farther, and with less danger, than most of
his companions, excepting some three or four who had followed him close.
Now Cuddie, though a brave enough fellow upon the whole, was by no means
fond of danger, either for its own sake, or for that of the glory which
attends it. In his advance, therefore, he had not, as the phrase goes,
taken the bull by the horns, or advanced in front of the enemy's fire. On
the contrary, he had edged gradually away from the scene of action, and,
turning his line of ascent rather to the left, had pursued it until it
brought him under a front of the Castle different from that before which
the parties were engaged, and to which the defenders had given no
attention, trusting to the steepness of the precipice. There was,
however, on this point, a certain window belonging to a certain pantry,
and communicating with a certain yew-tree, which grew out of a steep
cleft of the rock, being the very pass through which Goose Gibbie was
smuggled out of the Castle in order to carry Edith's express to
Charnwood, and which had probably, in its day, been used for other
contraband purposes. Cuddie, resting upon the but of his gun, and looking
up at this window, observed to one of his companions,--"There's a place I
ken weel; mony a time I hae helped Jenny Dennison out o' the winnock,
forby creeping in whiles mysell to get some daffin, at e'en after the
pleugh was loosed."
"And what's to hinder us to creep in just now?" said the other, who was a
smart enterprising young fellow.
"There's no muckle to hinder us, an that were a'," answered Cuddie; "but
what were we to do neist?"
"We'll take the Castle," cried the other; "here are five or six o' us,
and a' the sodgers are engaged at the gate."
"Come awa wi' you, then," said Cuddie; "but mind, deil a finger ye maun
lay on Lady Margaret, or Miss Edith, or the auld Major, or, aboon a', on
Jenny Dennison, or ony body but the sodgers--cut and quarter amang them
as ye like, I carena."
"Ay, ay," said the other, "let us once in, and we will make our ain terms
with them a'."
Gingerly, and as if treading upon eggs, Cuddie began to ascend the
well-known pass, not very willingly; for, besides that he was something
apprehensive of the reception he might meet with in the inside, his
conscience insisted that he was making but a shabby requital for Lady
Margaret's former favours and protection. He got up, however, into the
yew-tree, followed by his companions, one after another. The window was
small, and had been secured by stancheons of iron; but these had been
long worn away by time, or forced out by the domestics to possess a free
passage for their own occasional convenience. Entrance was therefore
easy, providing there was no one in the pantry, a point which Cuddie
endeavoured to discover before he made the final and perilous step. While
his companions, therefore, were urging and threatening him behind, and he
was hesitating and stretching his neck to look into the apartment, his
head became visible to Jenny Dennison, who had ensconced herself in said
pantry as the safest place in which to wait the issue of the assault. So
soon as this object of terror caught her eye, she set up a hysteric
scream, flew to the adjacent kitchen, and, in the desperate agony of
fear, seized on a pot of kailbrose which she herself had hung on the fire
before the combat began, having promised to Tam Halliday to prepare his
breakfast for him. Thus burdened, she returned to the window of the
pantry, and still exclaiming, "Murder! murder!--we are a' harried and
ravished--the Castle's taen--tak it amang ye!" she discharged the whole
scalding contents of the pot, accompanied with a dismal yell, upon the
person of the unfortunate Cuddie. However welcome the mess might have
been, if Cuddie and it had become acquainted in a regular manner, the
effects, as administered by Jenny, would probably have cured him of
soldiering for ever, had he been looking upwards when it was thrown upon
him. But, fortunately for our man of war, he had taken the alarm upon
Jenny's first scream, and was in the act of looking down, expostulating
with his comrades, who impeded the retreat which he was anxious to
commence; so that the steel cap and buff coat which formerly belonged to
Sergeant Bothwell, being garments of an excellent endurance, protected
his person against the greater part of the scalding brose. Enough,
however, reached him to annoy him severely, so that in the pain and
surprise he jumped hastily out of the tree, oversetting his followers, to
the manifest danger of their limbs, and, without listening to arguments,
entreaties, or authority, made the best of his way by the most safe road
to the main body of the army whereunto he belonged, and could neither by
threats nor persuasion be prevailed upon to return to the attack.
[Illustration: Jenny Dennison--050]
As for Jenny, when she had thus conferred upon one admirer's outward man
the viands which her fair hands had so lately been in the act of
preparing for the stomach of another, she continued her song of alarm,
running a screaming division upon all those crimes, which the lawyers
call the four pleas of the crown, namely, murder, fire, rape, and
robbery. These hideous exclamations gave so much alarm, and created such
confusion within the Castle, that Major Bellenden and Lord Evandale
judged it best to draw off from the conflict without the gates, and,
abandoning to the enemy all the exterior defences of the avenue, confine
themselves to the Castle itself, for fear of its being surprised on some
unguarded point. Their retreat was unmolested; for the panic of Cuddie
and his companions had occasioned nearly as much confusion on the side
of the besiegers, as the screams of Jenny had caused to the defenders.
There was no attempt on either side to renew the action that day. The
insurgents had suffered most severely; and, from the difficulty which
they had experienced in carrying the barricadoed positions without the
precincts of the Castle, they could have but little hope of storming the
place itself. On the other hand, the situation of the besieged was
dispiriting and gloomy. In the skirmishing they had lost two or three
men, and had several wounded; and though their loss was in proportion
greatly less than that of the enemy, who had left twenty men dead on the
place, yet their small number could much worse spare it, while the
desperate attacks of the opposite party plainly showed how serious the
leaders were in the purpose of reducing the place, and how well seconded
by the zeal of their followers. But, especially, the garrison had to fear
for hunger, in case blockade should be resorted to as the means of
reducing them. The Major's directions had been imperfectly obeyed in
regard to laying in provisions; and the dragoons, in spite of all warning
and authority, were likely to be wasteful in using them. It was,
therefore, with a heavy heart, that Major Bellenden gave directions for
guarding the window through which the Castle had so nearly been
surprised, as well as all others which offered the most remote facility
for such an enterprise.
The King hath drawn
The special head of all the land together.
Henry IV. Part II.
The leaders of the presbyterian army had a serious consultation upon the
evening of the day in which they had made the attack on Tillietudlem.
They could not but observe that their followers were disheartened by the
loss which they had sustained, and which, as usual in such cases, had
fallen upon the bravest and most forward. It was to be feared, that if
they were suffered to exhaust their zeal and efforts in an object so
secondary as the capture of this petty fort, their numbers would melt
away by degrees, and they would lose all the advantages arising out of
the present unprepared state of the government. Moved by these arguments,
it was agreed that the main body of the army should march against
Glasgow, and dislodge the soldiers who were lying in that town. The
council nominated Henry Morton, with others, to this last service, and
appointed Burley to the command of a chosen body of five hundred men, who
were to remain behind, for the purpose of blockading the Tower of
Tillietudlem. Morton testified the greatest repugnance to this
"He had the strongest personal motives," he said, "for desiring to remain
near Tillietudlem; and if the management of the siege were committed to
him, he had little doubt but that he would bring it to such an
accommodation, as, without being rigorous to the besieged, would fully
answer the purpose of the besiegers."
Burley readily guessed the cause of his young colleague's reluctance to
move with the army; for, interested as he was in appreciating the
characters with whom he had to deal, he had contrived, through the
simplicity of Cuddie, and the enthusiasm of old Mause, to get much
information concerning Morton's relations with the family of
Tillietudlem. He therefore took the advantage of Poundtext's arising to
speak to business, as he said, for some short space of time, (which
Burley rightly interpreted to mean an hour at the very least), and seized
that moment to withdraw Morton from the hearing of their colleagues, and
to hold the following argument with him:
"Thou art unwise, Henry Morton, to desire to sacrifice this holy cause to
thy friendship for an uncircumcised Philistine, or thy lust for a
"I neither understand your meaning, Mr Balfour, nor relish your
allusions," replied Morton, indignantly; "and I know no reason you have
to bring so gross a charge, or to use such uncivil language."
"Confess, however, the truth," said Balfour, "and own that there are
those within yon dark Tower, over whom thou wouldst rather be watching
like a mother over her little ones, than thou wouldst bear the banner of
the Church of Scotland over the necks of her enemies."
"If you mean, that I would willingly terminate this war without any
bloody victory, and that I am more anxious to do this than to acquire any
personal fame or power, you may be," replied Morton, "perfectly right."
"And not wholly wrong," answered Burley, "in deeming that thou wouldst
not exclude from so general a pacification thy friends in the garrison of
"Certainly," replied Morton; "I am too much obliged to Major Bellenden
not to wish to be of service to him, as far as the interest of the cause
I have espoused will permit. I never made a secret of my regard for him."
"I am aware of that," said Burley; "but, if thou hadst concealed it, I
should, nevertheless, have found out thy riddle. Now, hearken to my
words. This Miles Bellenden hath means to subsist his garrison for a
"This is not the case," answered Morton; "we know his stores are hardly
equal to a week's consumption."
"Ay, but," continued Burley, "I have since had proof, of the strongest
nature, that such a report was spread in the garrison by that wily and
grey-headed malignant, partly to prevail on the soldiers to submit to a
diminution of their daily food, partly to detain us before the walls of
his fortress until the sword should be whetted to smite and destroy us."
"And why was not the evidence of this laid before the council of war?"
"To what purpose?" said Balfour. "Why need we undeceive Kettledrummle,
Macbriar, Poundtext, and Langcale, upon such a point? Thyself must own,
that whatever is told to them escapes to the host out of the mouth of the
preachers at their next holding-forth. They are already discouraged by
the thoughts of lying before the fort a week. What would be the
consequence were they ordered to prepare for the leaguer of a month?"
"But why conceal it, then, from me? or why tell it me now? and, above
all, what proofs have you got of the fact?" continued Morton.
"There are many proofs," replied Burley; and he put into his hands a
number of requisitions sent forth by Major Bellenden, with receipts on
the back to various proprietors, for cattle, corn, meal, to such an
amount, that the sum total seemed to exclude the possibility of the
garrison being soon distressed for provisions. But Burley did not inform
Morton of a fact which he himself knew full well, namely, that most of
these provisions never reached the garrison, owing to the rapacity of the
dragoons sent to collect them, who readily sold to one man what they took
from another, and abused the Major's press for stores, pretty much as Sir
John Falstaff did that of the King for men.
"And now," continued Balfour, observing that he had made the desired
impression, "I have only to say, that I concealed this from thee no
longer than it was concealed from myself, for I have only received these
papers this morning; and I tell it unto thee now, that thou mayest go on
thy way rejoicing, and work the great work willingly at Glasgow, being
assured that no evil can befall thy friends in the malignant party, since
their fort is abundantly victualled, and I possess not numbers sufficient
to do more against them than to prevent their sallying forth."
"And why," continued Morton, who felt an inexpressible reluctance to
acquiesce in Balfour's reasoning--"why not permit me to remain in the
command of this smaller party, and march forward yourself to Glasgow? It
is the more honourable charge."
"And therefore, young man," answered Burley, "have I laboured that it
should be committed to the son of Silas Morton. I am waxing old, and this
grey head has had enough of honour where it could be gathered by danger.
I speak not of the frothy bubble which men call earthly fame, but the
honour belonging to him that doth not the work negligently. But thy
career is yet to run. Thou hast to vindicate the high trust which has
been bestowed on thee through my assurance that it was dearly
well-merited. At Loudon-hill thou wert a captive, and at the last assault
it was thy part to fight under cover, whilst I led the more open and
dangerous attack; and, shouldst thou now remain before these walls when
there is active service elsewhere, trust me, that men will say, that the
son of Silas Morton hath fallen away from the paths of his father."
Stung by this last observation, to which, as a gentleman and soldier, he
could offer no suitable reply, Morton hastily acquiesced in the proposed
arrangement. Yet he was unable to divest himself of certain feelings of
distrust which he involuntarily attached to the quarter from which he
received this information.
"Mr Balfour," he said, "let us distinctly understand each other. You have
thought it worth your while to bestow particular attention upon my
private affairs and personal attachments; be so good as to understand,
that I am as constant to them as to my political principles. It is
possible, that, during my absence, you may possess the power of soothing
or of wounding those feelings. Be assured, that whatever may be the
consequences to the issue of our present adventure, my eternal gratitude,
or my persevering resentment, will attend the line of conduct you may
adopt on such an occasion; and, however young and inexperienced I am, I
have no doubt of finding friends to assist me in expressing my sentiments
in either case."
"If there be a threat implied in that denunciation," replied Burley,
coldly and haughtily, "it had better have been spared. I know how to
value the regard of my friends, and despise, from my soul, the threats of
my enemies. But I will not take occasion of offence. Whatever happens
here in your absence shall be managed with as much deference to your
wishes, as the duty I owe to a higher power can possibly permit."
With this qualified promise Morton was obliged to rest satisfied.
"Our defeat will relieve the garrison," said he, internally, "ere they
can be reduced to surrender at discretion; and, in case of victory, I
already see, from the numbers of the moderate party, that I shall have a
voice as powerful as Burley's in determining the use which shall be made
He therefore followed Balfour to the council, where they found
Kettledrummle adding to his lastly a few words of practical application.
When these were expended, Morton testified his willingness to accompany
the main body of the army, which was destined to drive the regular troops
from Glasgow. His companions in command were named, and the whole
received a strengthening exhortation from the preachers who were present.
Next morning, at break of day, the insurgent army broke up from their
encampment, and marched towards Glasgow.
It is not our intention to detail at length incidents which may be found
in the history of the period. It is sufficient to say, that Claverhouse
and Lord Ross, learning the superior force which was directed against
them, intrenched, or rather barricadoed themselves, in the centre of the
city, where the town-house and old jail were situated, with the
determination to stand the assault of the insurgents rather than to
abandon the capital of the west of Scotland. The presbyterians made their
attack in two bodies, one of which penetrated into the city in the line
of the College and Cathedral Church, while the other marched up the
Gallowgate, or principal access from the south-east. Both divisions were
led by men of resolution, and behaved with great spirit. But the
advantages of military skill and situation were too great for their
Ross and Claverhouse had carefully disposed parties of their soldiers in
houses, at the heads of the streets, and in the entrances of closes, as
they are called, or lanes, besides those who were intrenched behind
breast-works which reached across the streets. The assailants found their
ranks thinned by a fire from invisible opponents, which they had no means
of returning with effect. It was in vain that Morton and other leaders
exposed their persons with the utmost gallantry, and endeavoured to bring
their antagonists to a close action; their followers shrunk from them in
every direction. And yet, though Henry Morton was one of the very last to
retire, and exerted himself in bringing up the rear, maintaining order in
the retreat, and checking every attempt which the enemy made to improve
the advantage they had gained by the repulse, he had still the
mortification to hear many of those in his ranks muttering to each other,
that "this came of trusting to latitudinarian boys; and that, had honest,
faithful Burley led the attack, as he did that of the barricades of
Tillietudlem, the issue would have been as different as might be."
It was with burning resentment that Morton heard these reflections thrown
out by the very men who had soonest exhibited signs of discouragement.
The unjust reproach, however, had the effect of firing his emulation, and
making him sensible that, engaged as he was in a perilous cause, it was
absolutely necessary that he should conquer or die.
"I have no retreat," he said to himself. "All shall allow--even Major
Bellenden--even Edith--that in courage, at least, the rebel Morton was
not inferior to his father."
The condition of the army after the repulse was so undisciplined, and in
such disorganization, that the leaders thought it prudent to draw off
some miles from the city to gain time for reducing them once more into
such order as they were capable of adopting. Recruits, in the meanwhile,
came fast in, more moved by the extreme hardships of their own condition,
and encouraged by the advantage obtained at Loudon-hill, than deterred by
the last unfortunate enterprise. Many of these attached themselves
particularly to Morton's division. He had, however, the mortification to
see that his unpopularity among the more intolerant part of the
Covenanters increased rapidly. The prudence beyond his years, which he
exhibited in improving the discipline and arrangement of his followers,
they termed a trusting in the arm of flesh, and his avowed tolerance for
those of religious sentiments and observances different from his own,
obtained him, most unjustly, the nickname of Gallio, who cared for none
of those things. What was worse than these misconceptions, the mob of the
insurgents, always loudest in applause of those who push political or
religious opinions to extremity, and disgusted with such as endeavour to
reduce them to the yoke of discipline, preferred avowedly the more
zealous leaders, in whose ranks enthusiasm in the cause supplied the want
of good order and military subjection, to the restraints which Morton
endeavoured to bring them under. In short, while bearing the principal
burden of command, (for his colleagues willingly relinquished in his
favour every thing that was troublesome and obnoxious in the office of
general,) Morton found himself without that authority, which alone could
render his regulations effectual. [Note: These feuds, which tore to
pieces the little army of insurgents, turned merely on the point whether
the king's interest or royal authority was to be owned or not, and
whether the party in arms were to be contented with a free exercise of
their own religion, or insist upon the re-establishment of Presbytery in
its supreme authority, and with full power to predominate over all other
forms of worship. The few country gentlemen who joined the insurrection,
with the most sensible part of the clergy, thought it best to limit their
demands to what it might be possible to attain. But the party who urged
these moderate views were termed by the more zealous bigots, the Erastian
party, men, namely, who were willing to place the church under the
influence of the civil government, and therefore they accounted them, "a
snare upon Mizpah, and a net spread upon Tabor." See the Life of Sir
Robert Hamilton in the Scottish Worthies, and his account of the Battle
of Both-well-bridge, passim.]
Yet, notwithstanding these obstacles, he had, during the course of a few
days, laboured so hard to introduce some degree of discipline into the
army, that he thought he might hazard a second attack upon Glasgow with
every prospect of success.
It cannot be doubted that Morton's anxiety to measure himself with
Colonel Grahame of Claverhouse, at whose hands he had sustained such
injury, had its share in giving motive to his uncommon exertions. But
Claverhouse disappointed his hopes; for, satisfied with having the
advantage in repulsing the first attack upon Glasgow, he determined that
he would not, with the handful of troops under his command, await a
second assault from the insurgents, with more numerous and better
disciplined forces than had supported their first enterprise. He
therefore evacuated the place, and marched at the head of his troops
towards Edinburgh. The insurgents of course entered Glasgow without
resistance, and without Morton having the opportunity, which he so deeply
coveted, of again encountering Claverhouse personally. But, although he
had not an opportunity of wiping away the disgrace which had befallen his
division of the army of the Covenant, the retreat of Claverhouse, and the
possession of Glasgow, tended greatly to animate the insurgent army, and
to increase its numbers. The necessity of appointing new officers, of
organizing new regiments and squadrons, of making them acquainted with at
least the most necessary points of military discipline, were labours,
which, by universal consent, seemed to be devolved upon Henry Morton, and
which he the more readily undertook, because his father had made him
acquainted with the theory of the military art, and because he plainly
saw, that, unless he took this ungracious but absolutely necessary
labour, it was vain to expect any other to engage in it.
In the meanwhile, fortune appeared to favour the enterprise of the
insurgents more than the most sanguine durst have expected. The Privy
Council of Scotland, astonished at the extent of resistance which their
arbitrary measures had provoked, seemed stupified with terror, and
incapable of taking active steps to subdue the resentment which these
measures had excited. There were but very few troops in Scotland, and
these they drew towards Edinburgh, as if to form an army for protection
of the metropolis. The feudal array of the crown vassals in the various
counties, was ordered to take the field, and render to the King the
military service due for their fiefs. But the summons was very slackly
obeyed. The quarrel was not generally popular among the gentry; and even
those who were not unwilling themselves to have taken arms, were deterred
by the repugnance of their wives, mothers, and sisters, to their engaging
in such a cause.
Meanwhile, the inadequacy of the Scottish government to provide for their
own defence, or to put down a rebellion of which the commencement seemed
so trifling, excited at the English court doubts at once of their
capacity, and of the prudence of the severities they had exerted against
the oppressed presbyterians. It was, therefore, resolved to nominate to
the command of the army of Scotland, the unfortunate Duke of Monmouth,
who had by marriage a great interest, large estate, and a numerous
following, as it was called, in the southern parts of that kingdom. The
military skill which he had displayed on different occasions abroad, was
supposed more than adequate to subdue the insurgents in the field; while
it was expected that his mild temper, and the favourable disposition
which he showed to presbyterians in general, might soften men's minds,
and tend to reconcile them to the government. The Duke was, therefore,
invested with a commission, containing high powers for settling the
distracted affairs of Scotland, and dispatched from London with strong
succours to take the principal military command in that country.
I am bound to Bothwell-hill,
Where I maun either do or die.
[Illustration: The Battle of Bothwell Bridge--128
There was now a pause in the military movements on both sides. The
government seemed contented to prevent the rebels advancing towards the
capital, while the insurgents were intent upon augmenting and
strengthening their forces. For this purpose, they established a sort of
encampment in the park belonging to the ducal residence at Hamilton, a
centrical situation for receiving their recruits, and where they were
secured from any sudden attack, by having the Clyde, a deep and rapid
river, in front of their position, which is only passable by a long and
narrow bridge, near the castle and village of Bothwell.
Morton remained here for about a fortnight after the attack on Glasgow,
actively engaged in his military duties. He had received more than one
communication from Burley, but they only stated, in general, that the
Castle of Tillietudlem continued to hold out. Impatient of suspense upon
this most interesting subject, he at length intimated to his colleagues
in command his desire, or rather his intention,--for he saw no reason why
he should not assume a license which was taken by every one else in this
disorderly army,--to go to Milnwood for a day or two to arrange some
private affairs of consequence. The proposal was by no means approved of;
for the military council of the insurgents were sufficiently sensible of
the value of his services to fear to lose them, and felt somewhat
conscious of their own inability to supply his place. They could not,
however, pretend to dictate to him laws more rigid than they submitted to
themselves, and he was suffered to depart on his journey without any
direct objection being stated. The Reverend Mr Poundtext took the same
opportunity to pay a visit to his own residence in the neighbourhood of
Milnwood, and favoured Morton with his company on the journey. As the
country was chiefly friendly to their cause, and in possession of their
detached parties, excepting here and there the stronghold of some old
cavaliering Baron, they travelled without any other attendant than the
It was near sunset when they reached Milnwood, where Poundtext bid adieu
to his companions, and travelled forward alone to his own manse, which
was situated half a mile's march beyond Tillietudlem. When Morton was
left alone to his own reflections, with what a complication of feelings
did he review the woods, banks, and fields, that had been familiar to
him! His character, as well as his habits, thoughts, and occupations, had
been entirely changed within the space of little more than a fortnight,
and twenty days seemed to have done upon him the work of as many years. A
mild, romantic, gentle-tempered youth, bred up in dependence, and
stooping patiently to the control of a sordid and tyrannical relation,
had suddenly, by the rod of oppression and the spur of injured feeling,
been compelled to stand forth a leader of armed men, was earnestly
engaged in affairs of a public nature, had friends to animate and enemies
to contend with, and felt his individual fate bound up in that of a
national insurrection and revolution. It seemed as if he had at once
experienced a transition from the romantic dreams of youth to the labours
and cares of active manhood. All that had formerly interested him was
obliterated from his memory, excepting only his attachment to Edith; and
even his love seemed to have assumed a character more manly and
disinterested, as it had become mingled and contrasted with other duties
and feelings. As he revolved the particulars of this sudden change, the
circumstances in which it originated, and the possible consequences of
his present career, the thrill of natural anxiety which passed along his
mind was immediately banished by a glow of generous and high-spirited
"I shall fall young," he said, "if fall I must, my motives misconstrued,
and my actions condemned, by those whose approbation is dearest to me.
But the sword of liberty and patriotism is in my hand, and I will neither
fall meanly nor unavenged. They may expose my body, and gibbet my limbs;
but other days will come, when the sentence of infamy will recoil against
those who may pronounce it. And that Heaven, whose name is so often
profaned during this unnatural war, will bear witness to the purity of
the motives by which I have been guided."
Upon approaching Milnwood, Henry's knock upon the gate no longer
intimated the conscious timidity of a stripling who has been out of
bounds, but the confidence of a man in full possession of his own rights,
and master of his own actions,--bold, free, and decided. The door was
cautiously opened by his old acquaintance, Mrs Alison Wilson, who started
back when she saw the steel cap and nodding plume of the martial visitor.
"Where is my uncle, Alison?" said Morton, smiling at her alarm.
"Lordsake, Mr Harry! is this you?" returned the old lady. "In troth, ye
garr'd my heart loup to my very mouth--But it canna be your ainsell, for
ye look taller and mair manly-like than ye used to do."
"It is, however, my own self," said Henry, sighing and smiling at the
same time; "I believe this dress may make me look taller, and these
times, Ailie, make men out of boys."
"Sad times indeed!" echoed the old woman; "and O that you suld be
endangered wi'them! but wha can help it?--ye were ill eneugh guided, and,
as I tell your uncle, if ye tread on a worm it will turn."
"You were always my advocate, Ailie," said he, and the housekeeper no
longer resented the familiar epithet, "and would let no one blame me but
yourself, I am aware of that,--Where is my uncle?"
"In Edinburgh," replied Alison; "the honest man thought it was best to
gang and sit by the chimley when the reek rase--a vex'd man he's been and
a feared--but ye ken the Laird as weel as I do."
"I hope he has suffered nothing in health?" said Henry.
"Naething to speak of," answered the housekeeper, "nor in gudes
neither--we fended as weel as we could; and, though the troopers of
Tillietudlem took the red cow and auld Hackie, (ye'll mind them weel;)
yet they sauld us a gude bargain o' four they were driving to the
"Sold you a bargain?" said Morton; "how do you mean?"
"Ou, they cam out to gather marts for the garrison," answered the
housekeeper; "but they just fell to their auld trade, and rade through
the country couping and selling a' that they gat, like sae mony
west-country drovers. My certie, Major Bellenden was laird o' the least
share o' what they lifted, though it was taen in his name."
"Then," said Morton, hastily, "the garrison must be straitened for
"Stressed eneugh," replied Ailie--"there's little doubt o' that."
A light instantly glanced on Morton's mind.
"Burley must have deceived me--craft as well as cruelty is permitted by
his creed." Such was his inward thought; he said aloud, "I cannot stay,
Mrs Wilson, I must go forward directly."
"But, oh! bide to eat a mouthfu'," entreated the affectionate
housekeeper, "and I'll mak it ready for you as I used to do afore thae
sad days," "It is impossible," answered Morton.--"Cuddie, get our horses
"They're just eating their corn," answered the attendant.
"Cuddie!" exclaimed Ailie; "what garr'd ye bring that ill-faur'd, unlucky
loon alang wi' ye?--It was him and his randie mother began a' the
mischief in this house."
"Tut, tut," replied Cuddie, "ye should forget and forgie, mistress.
Mither's in Glasgow wi' her tittie, and sall plague ye nae mair; and I'm
the Captain's wallie now, and I keep him tighter in thack and rape than
ever ye did;--saw ye him ever sae weel put on as he is now?"
"In troth and that's true," said the old housekeeper, looking with great
complacency at her young master, whose mien she thought much improved by
his dress. "I'm sure ye ne'er had a laced cravat like that when ye were
at Milnwood; that's nane o' my sewing."
"Na, na, mistress," replied Cuddie, "that's a cast o' my hand--that's ane
o' Lord Evandale's braws."
"Lord Evandale?" answered the old lady, "that's him that the whigs are
gaun to hang the morn, as I hear say."
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