Imágenes de páginas

"" O, hinny, ay; I'se be silent or thou sall come to ill," was the corresponding whipser of Mause; "but bethink ye, my dear, them that deny the Word, the Word will deny"

[ocr errors]

Her admonition was cut short by the entrance of the Life Guard'smen, a party of four troopers commanded by Bothwell.

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

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

"We come in behalf of the king," answered Bothwell. "Why the devil did you keep us so long standing at the door?"

"We were at dinner," answered Milnwood, "and the door was locked, as is usual in landward towns in this country. I am sure, gentlemen, if I had kenn'd ony servants of our gude king had stood at the door-But wad ye please to drink some ale-or some brandy-or a cup of canary sack, or claret wine?" making a pause between each offer as long as a stingy bidder at an auction, who is loth to advance his offer for a favourite lot.

"Claret for me," said one fellow.

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

[ocr errors]

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


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


Brandy, ale, wine, sack, and claret,-we'll try them all," said Bothwell," and stick to that which is best. There's good sense in that, if the damn'dest whig in Scotland had said it."-pp. 176, 177.

The military intruder proceeds with much insolence to enforce the King's health, which was one of the various indirect modes they had of ascertaining the political principles of those they conversed with.


Well," said Bothwell," have ye all drunk the toast?—What is that

[blocks in formation]

old wife about? Give her a glass of brandy, she shall drink the king's health, by

[ocr errors]

"If your honour pleases," said Cuddie, with great stolidity of aspect, this is my mither, stir; and she's as deaf as Corralinn; we canna make her hear day nor door; but if your honour pleases, I am ready to drink the King's health for her in as mony glasses of brandy as ye think neshessary."

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

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

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

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

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

[ocr errors]

"Come," said Bothwell, the old dame has come more frankly off than I expected. Another cup round, and then we'll proceed to business. You have all heard, I suppose, of the horrid and barbarous murder committed upon the person of the Archbishop of St. Andrews, by ten or eleven armed fanatics?'-vol. ii. pp. 180, 181.

This question enforced and persisted in, at length produces the discovery, that Morton had privately received Balfour, one of the assassins, into the house of his uncle on the preceding evening. Still, although Bothwell prepares to take him into custody, it appears that the high-born serjeant is not unwilling to overlook this deceit, if the inhabitants of the family will take the test-oath, and if his uncle will pay a fine of twenty pounds, for the use of the party.

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


You-what's your name, woman?”

""Alison Wilson, sir."

"You, Alison Wilson, solemnly swear, certify, and declare, that you judge it unlawful for subjects under pretext of reformation, or any other pretext whatsoever, to enter into Leagues and Covenants"

[ocr errors]


'Here the ceremony was interrupted by a strife between Cuddie and his mother, which long conducted in whispers, now became audible. "O, whisht, mither, whisht! they're upon a communing-Oh! whisht, and they'll agree weel e'enow."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[ocr errors]

Curse the old hag," said one of the dragoons, her to head-quarters."

66 gag her, and take

"For shame, Andrews," said Bothwell; "remember the good lady belongs to the fair sex, and uses only the privileges of her tongue.— But, hark ye, good woman, every Bull of Bashan and Red Dragon will not be so civil as I am, or be contented to leave you to the charge of the constable and ducking-stool. In the mean time, I must neces

[blocks in formation]

sarily carry off this young man to head-quarters. I cannot answer to my commanding officer to leave him in a house where I have heard so much treason and fanaticism."

""See now, mither, what ye hae dune," whispered Cuddie; "there's the Philistines, as ye ca' them, are gaun to whirry awa' Mr. Harry, and a' wi' your nashgab, de'il be on't!"

"Haud ye're tongue, ye cowardly loon," said the mother," and lay na the wyte on me; if you and thae thowless gluttons that are sitting staring like cows bursting on clover, wad testify wi' your hands as I have testified wi' my tongue, they should never harle the precious young lad awa' to captivity."yol. ii, pp. 190-195.

[ocr errors]

This testimony of Mause having fairly broken up the secret treaty, between the serjeant and old Milnwood, the former nevertheless without regard to good faith, does not hesitate to appropriate the subsidy of twenty pounds, on which he had already laid his clutches; and sets off with his party and his prisoner to the castle of Tillietudlem, where he is detained all night by the hospitality of Lady Margaret Bellenden, who conceives she cannot pay too much attention to the soldiers of his most sacred majesty. commanded by a man of such distinguished birth as Bothwell. The scene which we have transcribed seems to have been sketched with considerable attention to the manners. But it is not quite original, and probably the reader will discover the germ of it in the following dialogue, which Daniel Defoe has introduced into his History of the Church of Scotland. It will be remembered that Defoe visited Scotland on a political mission, about the time of the Union, and it is evident that the anecdotes concerning this unhappy period, then fresh in the memory of many, must have been peculiarly interesting to a man of his liveliness of imagination, who excelled all others in dramatizing a story, and presenting it as if in actual speech and action before

[merged small][ocr errors]

They tell us another story of a soldier, not so divested of humanity as most of them were, and who meeting a man upon the road, who he suspected was one of the poor out-lawed proscribed people, as indeed he was; the man was surprized, and would have got from him, but he saw it was in vain, and yet the soldier soon let him know that he was not very much inclined to hurt him, much less to kill him: whereupon the following dialogue, as it is said, happened between them.,

The soldier seeing the countryman willing to shun, and get from him, begins thus:

[ocr errors]

Soldier. Hold, Sir, ye mon no gang frae me, I have muckle business at you.

[ocr errors]

C. Man. Well, what's is your will then? Soldier. I fear ye are one of the Bothwell-Brigg-men, what 'say ye to that?

'C. Man. Indeed, no Sir, I am not.


'Soldier. Well, but I mon spier some questions at you; and ye answer me right, ye and I'll be good friends again,

C. Man. What questions will ye ask at me?
Soldier. First, Sir, will ye pray for the king?

I hope ye

C. Man. Indeed, Sir, I will pray for all good men, think the king a good man, or ye wou'd not serve him. 'Soldier. Indeed do I, Sir, I think him a good man, and ye are all wicked that wo' no' pray for him.* you then to the business of Both well-Brigg. Was not Bothwell-Brigg a rebellion?

[ocr errors]

C. Man.' I wot not weel what to say of Bothwell-Brigg, but and they took up arms there against a good king, without a good cause, it mun be rebellion, I'll own that. if to

Soldier. Nay, then, I hope thou and I'se be friends presently, I think thou'lt be an honest man. But they have killed the Archbishop of St. Andrews, honest man, O that was a sore work, what say you to that, was not that murder?

"C. Man. Alas, poor man, and ha'e they kill'd him, truly and he were an honest man, and they have kill'd him without any cause, weel I wot it mun be murther; what else can I call it ?

Soldier. Weel hast thou said, man: now I have een but ane question more, and ye and I'se tak a drink together.

the Covenant?

Will ye renounce

C. Man. Nay, but, now I mun spier at you too, and ye like. There are twa Covenants, man, which of them do ye mean?

[ocr errors]

Soldier, Twa Covenants, say you, where are they?

6 C. Man. There's the Covenant of Works, man, and the Covenant of Grace.

"Soldier. Fou fa me and I ken, man; but een renounce ane of them, and I am satisfied.

C. Man. With au my heart, Sir, indeed I renounce the Covenant of Works with au my heart.

Upon this dialogue, if the story be true, the soldier let the poor man pass. But be the story true or not true, it serves to give the reader a true idea of the dreadful circumstances every honest man was in at this time, when their life was in the hand of every soldier, nor were the consequences other than might be expected on such occasions.' -Defoe's History of the Church of Scotland.

This story seems to intimate, that the inhumanity of the soldiers did not in all instances keep pace with the severity of their instructions. Indeed even the curates sometimes were said to connive at the recusancy of their parishioners, and held it as a sufficient compliance with the orders of the council, that their parishioners should keep the church, if they occasionally walked in at one door, and out at the other, though without remaining during divine service. To return to our tale.

Morton is visited in the cell to which he is confined, by Miss

By this time the poor man began to see the soldier was not designing to hurt him, and he took the hint, and was encouraged to answer as he did.


« AnteriorContinuar »