Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

stop her

any bird."

• Here the ceremony was interrupted by a strife between Cuddie and his mother, which long conducted in whispers, now became audible.

"" 0, whisht, mither, whisht! they're upon a communing-Oh! wbisht, and they'll agree weel e'enow.”

•“ I will not whisht, Cuddie,” replied his mother, “ I will uplist my voice and spare nut --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," sail. Cuddie, wha can- see her cocked up bebint a dragoon con her way to the Tolbooth - I find my ain legs tied below a horse's belly-Ay-she has just mustered up ber sermon, and there--wi'ihat grane-out it comes, and we are a' ruined, borse and foot !”

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

" Eh ! whal, 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 i 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 bé 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 yc, and foxes evening-wolves, that gnaw not the bones till the morrowm-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 ihe old lady stopped; apparently much more from lack of breath than of matter.

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

“ For shame, Andrews,” said Both well; “ 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 necesIr4

sarily

[ocr errors]

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 fanaticisin.” "" 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.".'vol, ii, pp. 190-195.

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 the reader.

• 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 be 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 him, begins thus :

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

6

get from

at you.

[ocr errors]

I hope ye

ye are all

But what say

on to the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

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?

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 wicked that wo'no' pray for him.*

you

then business of Both well-Brigg.-Was not Botliwell-Brigg a rebellion ?

-" C. Man. I wot not weel what to ny of Both well-Brigg, but and they took up arms there against a good king, without a good cauše, it mun be rebellion, I'll own that. Tari Bol 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 l'se tak a drink together. Will ye renounce the Corenant ? os

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

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

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

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 reiurn 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.

Bellenden,

in

Bellenden, and her band-maiden Jenny Dennison, the beloved of the exiled Cuddie. The result of their conference, is an attempt on the part of the young lady to secure her lover's safety, through the mediation of her uncle, Major Bellenden, an old cavalier by whom he was known and well-esteemed. She has an opportunity of trying her influence the next morning, when the celebrated Graham of Claverhouse, afterwards Viscount of Dundee, arrives at the castle with the regiment of horse, which he commanded, in search of the refractory covenanters, who were making head on the moors in the vicinity. We will extract the portrait of this celebrated commander, whom one party exalted into a hero, wbile the other degraded him into a demon, as a favourable specimen of the anthor's powers of description.

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

• The severity of bis character, as well as the higher attributes of undaunted and enterprising valour which even his enemies were compelled to admit, lay concealed under an exterior which seemed adapted to the court or the saloon rather than to the field. The same gentleness and gaiety of expression which reigned in his features seemed to inspire his actions and gestures; and, on the whole, he was generally esteemed, at first sight, rather qualified to be the votary of pleasure than of ambition. But under this soft exterior was hidden a spirit unbounded in daring and in aspiring, yet cautious and prudent as that of Machiavel himself. Profound in politics, and imbued, of course, with that disregard for individual rights which its intrigues usually generate, this leader was cool and collected in danger, fierce and ardent in pursuing success, careless of death himself, and ruthles in inflicting it upon others. Such are the characters formed in times of civil discord, when the highest qualities, perverted by party spirit, and inflamed-by habitual opposition, are too often combined with vices and excesses which deprive them at once of their merit and of their lustre.'-vol.ii. pp. 286-289.

Major Bellenden's intercession in favour of Morton proves in vain. Claverhouse, with all the politeness of a soldier, exhibited the remorseless rigour which characterized one who had so much distinguished himself in the persecution. A file of dragoons is drawn out for summary execution, when Edith, in the distracting emergency, applies to a young nobleman, holding a subordinate

coinmission

commission in Claverhouse's regiment, but possessing, from his rank and political importance, great influence with that officer. Lord Evandale, himself an adinirer of Edith, and more than suspecting her partiality for the rival who is now on the point of destruction, yet generously complies with her request, and makes it a point of personal favour with Claverhouse, that the execution of Morton shall not proceed. The following speech expresses the hard and determined character of the superior officer, and his obduracy in the execution of his supposed duty,

““ Be it so tlien,” replied Grahame; “but, young man, should you wish in your future life to rise to eminence in the service of your king and country, let it be your first task to subject to the public interest, and to the discharge of your duty, your private passions, affections, and feelings. These are not times to sacrifice to the dotage of greybeards, or the tears of silly women, the measures of salutary severity, which the dangers around compel us to adopt. And remember that if I now yield this point, in compliance with your urgency, my present concession must exempt me from future solicitations of the same nature.”

• He then stepped forwards to the table, and bent his eyes keenly on Morton, as if to observe what effect the pause of awful suspense between death and life, which seemed to freeze the by-standers with horror, should produce upon the prisoner himself. Morton maintained a des gree of firmness, which nothing but a mind wbich bad nothing left on earth to love, or to hope, could have supported at such a crisis.

"You see him," said Claverhouse, in a half whisper to Lord Evandale," he is tottering on the verge between time and eternity, a situation more appalling than the most hideous certainty; yet his is the only check unblanched, the only eye that is calm, the only heart that keeps its usual time, the only nerves that are not quivering. Look at him well, Evandale-If that man beads an army of rebels, you will have much to answer for on account of this morning's work."'-vol. ii.. 335-337.

Morton is therefore carried off in the rear of the forces, which now are moving towards a place called Loudoun-hill. He finds himself united with three companions in affliction, namely, Kettledrumınle, a presbyterian preacher, taken in the act of exhorting a conventicle, and Mause with her forlord son Cuddie, who had been apprehended among the audience.

Claverhouse finds the insurgents strongly drawn up. They are summoned to surrender, but fire upon the officer (a nephew of Claverhouse, according to the story) and kill him on the spot. The soldiers then rush to the assault, and the various incidents and Auctnations of the battle are described with clearness and accuracy, The most striking part is the personal encounter between Bothwell aud Balfour, or Burley, in which the former falls,

* 4 You

« AnteriorContinuar »