Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

tolerable pain, he continued to assert his innocence, of the principal criminal's practices. He surrendered he spread so favourable an opinion of his case, that himself to the Earl of Abercorn, and was transported the detaining him in prison, instead of bringing him to Edinburgh, where he confessed before the King and to open trial, was censured as severe and oppressive. council all the particulars of the murder of Dalrymple, James, however, remained firmly persuaded of his and the attempt to hide his body by committing it to guilt, and by an exertion of authority quite inconsist- the sea. ent with our present laws, commanded young Auch When Bannatyne was confronted with the two indrane to be still detained in close custody till further Mures before the Privy Council, they denied with light could be thrown on these dark proceedings. He vehemence every part of the evidence he had given, was detained accordingly by the King's express per- and affirmed that the witness had been bribed to desonal command, and against the opinion even of his stroy them by a false tale. Bannatyne's behaviour privy counsellors. This exertion of authority was seemed sincere and simple, that of Auchindrane more much murmured against.

resolute and crafty. The wretched accomplice fell In the meanwhile, old Auchindrane, being, as we upon his knees, invoking God to witness that all the have seen, at liberty on pledges, skulked about in the land in Scotland could not have bribed him to bring west, feeling how little security he had gained by a false accusation against a master whom he had serDalrymple's murder, and that he had placed himself ved, loved, and followed in so many dangers, and callby that crime in the power of Bannatyne, whose evi- ing upon Auchindrane to honour God by confessing dence concerning the death of Dalrymple could not the crime he had committed. Mure the elder, on the be less fatal than what Dalrymple might have told other hand, boldly replied, that he hoped God would concerning Auchindrane’s accession to the conspiracy not so far forsake him as to permit him to confess a against Sir Thomas Kennedy of Cullayne. But though crime of which he was innocent, and exhorted Banthe event had shown the error of his wicked policy, natyne in his turn to confess the practices by which Auchindrane could think of no better mode in this he had been induced to devise such falsehoods against case than that which had failed in relation to Dalrym- him. ple. When any man's life became inconsistent with The two Mures, father and son, were therefore put his own safety, no idea seems to have occurred to this upon their solemn trial, along with Bannatyne, in inveterate ruffian, save to murder the person by whom 1611, and, after a great deal of evidence had been he might himself be in any way endangered. He brought in support of Bannatyne's confession, all three therefore attempted the life of James Bannatyne by were found guilty. The elder Auchindrane was conmore agents than one. Nay, he had nearly ripened a victed of counselling and directing the murder of Sir plan, by which one Pennycuke was to be employed to Thomas Kennedy of Cullayne, and also of the actual slay Bannatyne, while, after the deed was done, it was murder of the lad Dalrymple. Bannatyne and the devised that Mure of Auchnull, a connexion of Ban- younger Mure were found guilty of the latter crime, natyne, should be instigated to slay Pennycuke ; and and all three were sentenced to be beheaded. Banthus close up this train of murders by one, which, natyne, however, the accomplice, received the King's flowing in the ordinary course of deadly feud, should pardon, in consequence of his voluntary surrender have nothing in it so particular as to attract much at- and confession. The two Mures were both executed. tention.

The younger was affected by the remonstrances of the But the justice of Heaven would bear this compli- clergy who attended him, and he confessed the guilt cated train of iniquity no longer. Bannatyne, know- of which he was accused. The father, also, was at ing with what sort of men he had to deal, kept on his length brought to avow the fact, but in other respects guard, and, by his caution, disconcerted more than died as impenitent as he had lived ;-and so ended one attempt to take his life, while another miscarried this dark and extraordinary tragedy. by the remorse of Pennycuke, the agent whom Mure The Lord Advocate of the day, Sir Thomas Hamilemployed. At length Bannatyne, tiring of this state ton, afterwards successively Earl of Melrose and of of insecurity, and in despair of escaping such repeated Haddington, seems to have busied himself much in plots, and also feeling remorse for the crime to which drawing up a statement of this foul transaction, for he had been accessory, resolved rather to submit him- the purpose of vindicating to the people of Scotland self to the severity of the law, than remain the object the severe course of justice observed by King James

: "Efter pronunceing and declairing of the quhilk deter rowmes, possessiones, teyndis, coirnes, cattell, insicht plenismipation and delguerance of the saidis persones of Asgyse, sing, guidis, geir, tytillis, proffeitis, commoditeis, and richtis * The Justice, in respect thairof, be the mouth of Alexander quhatsumcuir, directlie or indirectlie pertening to thame, or Kennydie, dempster of Court, decernit and adiudget the saidis ony of thame, at the committing of the saidis treasonabill Johnne Mure of Auchindrane elder, James Mure of Auchin. Murthouris, or sensyne; or to the quilkis thay, or ony of drane younger, his eldest sone and appeirand air, and James thame, had richt, claim, or actioun, to be forfalt, escheit, and Bannatyne, called of Chapel-Donane, and ilk ane of thame, inbrocht to our souerane lordis vse; as culpable and convict to be tane to the mercat croce of the burcht of Edinburgh, of the saidis treasonabill crymes.' and thair, upon ane scaffold, their heidis to be strukin frome 'Quhilk was pronuncet for Dome." thair bodeyis : And all thair landis, heritages, takis, steidingis,

} TCAIRN'S Criminal Trials, vol. iii., p. 156

VI. He assumes the task in a high tone of preroga trine, which, however, never influence his conduct tive law, and, on the whole, seems at a loss whether He is in danger from the law, owing to his having to attribute to Providence, or to his most sacred Ma

been formerly actire in the assassination of the jesty, the greatest share in bringing to light these

Earl of Cassilis. mysterious villanies, but rather inclines to the latter Philip Mure, his Son, a wild, debauched Profliopinion. There is, 1 believe, no printed copy of the intended tract, which seems never to have been pub

gate, professing and practising a contempt for his lished; but the curious will be enabled to judge of it,

Father's hyrocrisy, while he is as fierce and licenas it appears in the next fasciculus of Mr. Robert Pit

tious as Auchindrane himself. cairn's very interesting publications from the Scottish Gifford, their Relation, a Courtier. Criminal Record."

QUENTIN BLANE, a Youth, educated for a ClergyThe family of Auchindrane did not become extinct man, but sent by A UCHINDRANE to serve in a Band on the death of the two homicides. The last des of Auxiliaries in the Wars of the Netherlands, cendant existed in the eighteenth century, a poor and and lately employed as Clerk or Comptroller to distressed man. The following anecdote shows that the Regiment,Disbanded, however, and on his rehe had a strong feeling of his situation.

turn to his native Country. He is of a mild, genThere was in front of the old castle a huge ash-tree,

tle, and rather feeble character, liable to be incalled the Dule-tree (mourning-tree) of Auchindrane,

fluenced by any person of stronger mind who will probably because it was the place where the Baron

take the trouble to direct him. He is somewhat of executed the criminals who fell under his jurisdiction. It is described as having been the finest tree

a nerrous temperament, tarying from sadness to of the neighbourhood. This last representative of

gaiety, according to the impulse of the moment ; an the family of Auchindrane had the misfortune to

amiable hypochondriac. be arrested for payment of a small debt; and, upable HILDEBRAND, a stout old Englishman, who, by feats to discharge it, was prepared to accompany the mes of courage, has raised himself to the rank of Ser senger (bailiff) to the jail of Ayr. The servant of the geant-Major, (then of greater consequence than at law had compassion for his prisoner, and offered to present.) He, too, has been disbanded, but cannot accept of this remarkable tree as of value adequate to

bring himself to believe that he has lost his command the discharge of the debt. “What!” said the debtor,

over his Regiment. “ Sell the Dule-tree of Aucbindrane! I will sooner

Privates dismissed from the same Redie in the worst dungeon of your prison.” In this

ABRAHAM, giment in which QUENTIN and Hilluckless character the line of Auchindrane ended.

WILLIAMS,

DEBRAND had serred. These are muThe family, blackened with the crimes of its predeces

JENKIN, tinous, and are much disposed to resors, became extinct, and the estate passed into other

And Others, hands.

member former quarrels with their

late Officers. NIEL MACLELLAN, Keeper of Auchindrane Forest

and Game. Earl of Dunbar, commanding an Army as Lieu

tenant of James 1., for execution of Justice on DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.

Offenders. Joun MURE OF AUCHINDRANE, an Ayrshire Baron.

Guards, Attendants, &c. fc. He has been a follower of the Regent, Earl of Morton, during the Civil Wars, and hides an op- Marion, Wife of Niel MacLELLAN. presside, ferocious, and unscrupulous disposition, Isabel, their Daughter, a Girl of six years old. under some pretences to strictness of life and doc- Other Children and Peasant Women.

* See an article in the Quarterly Review, February, 1831, ed with these documents, that he resolved to found a dramaon Mr. Pitcairn's valuable collection, where Sir Walter Scott tic sketch on their terrible story; and the result was a comparticularly dwells on the original documents connected with position far superior to any of his previous attempts of that the story of Auchindrane; and where Mr. Pitcairn's impor- nature. Indeed there are several passages in his ' Ayrshire tant services to the history of his profession, and of Scotland, Tragedy'-especially that where the murdered corpse floats are justly characterised. (1833. )

upright in the wake of the assassin's bark-(an incident sug

gested by a lamentable chapter in Lord Nelson's history)-“Sir Walter's reviewal of the early parts of Mr. Pitcairn's which may bear comparison with anything but Shakspeare. Ancient Criminal Trials had, of course, much gratified the Yet I doubt whether the prose narrative of the preface be not, editor, who sent him, on his arrival in Edinburgh, the proof on the whole, more dramatic than the versified scener. It sheets of the Number then in hand, and directed his atten contains, by the way, some very striking allusions to the retion particularly to its details on the extraordinary case of cent atrocities of Gill's Hill and the West Port."-LockhaRT, Mure of Auchindrane, A. D. 1611. Scott was so much interest vol. ix., p. 334

ABR. Ay, they sing light whose task is telling
Auchinorane:

money,

When dollars clink for chorus.
OR,

QUE. I've done with counting silver,' honest Abra

ham,
THE AYRSHIRE TRAGEDY.

As thou, I fear, with pouching thy small share on't.
But lend your voices, lads, and I will sing

As blithely yet as if a town were won;
ACT I.--SCENE I.

As if upon a field of battle gain'd,

Our banners waved victorious. A rocky Bay on the coast of Carrick, in Ayrshire, not

[He sings, and the rest bear chorus. far from the Point of Turnberry. The Sea comes in upon a bold rocky Shore. The remains of a small half

SONG. ruined Tower are seen on the right hand, overhanging

Hither we come, the Sea. There is a Vessel at a distance in the offing.

Once slaves to the drum, A Boat at the bottom of the Stage lands eight or ten

But no longer we list to its rattle; Persons, dressed like disbanded, and in one or two cases

Adieu to the wars, like disabled Soldiers. They come straggling forward

With their slashes and scars, with their knapsacks and bundles. HILDEBRAND, the

The march, and the storm, and the battle. Sergeant, belonging to the Party, a stout elderly man, stands by the boat, as if superintending the disembarka

There are some of us maim'd, tion. QUENTIN remains apart.

And some that are lamed,

And some of old aches are complaining; ABRAHAM. Farewell, the flats of Holland, and right

But we 'll take up the tools,
welcome

Which we flung by like fools,
The cliffs of Scotland! Fare thee well, black beer
And Schiedam gin! and welcome twopenny,

'Gainst Don Spaniard to go a-campaigning. Oatcakes, and usquebaugh!

Dick Hathorn doth vow WILLIAMS (who wants an arm.) Farewell, the gal

To return to the plough, lant field, and “ Forward, pikemen!”

Jack Steele to his anvil and hammer;
For the bridge-end, the suburb, and the lane;

The weaver shall find room
And, “ Bless your honour, noble gentleman,
Remember a poor soldier !”

At the wight-wapping loom,
ABR. My tongue shall never need to smooth itself

And your clerk shall teach writing and grammar. To such poor sounds, while it can boldly say, “ Stand and deliver!”

ABR. And this is all that thou canst do, gay Quen

tin ! Wil. Hush, the sergeant hears you! ABR. And let him hear; he makes a bustle yonder, Cut cheese or dibble onions with thy poniard,

To swagger o'er a herd of parish brats,
And dreams of his authority, forgetting

And turn the sheath into a ferula ?
We are disbanded men, o'er whom his halberd
Has not such influence as the beadle's baton.

QUE. I am the prodigal in holy, writ;
We are no soldiers now, but every one

I cannot work,—to beg I am ashamed.
The lord of his own person.

Besides, good mates, I care not who may know it,
WIL. A wretched lordship—and our freedom such I'm e’en as fairly tired of this same fighting,
As that of the old cart-horse, when the owner

As the poor cur that 's worried in the shambles
Turns him upon the common. I for one

By all the mastiff dogs of all the butchers; Will still continue to respect the sergeant,

Wherefore, farewell sword, poniard, petronel, And the comptroller, too,—while the cash lasts.

And welcome poverty and peaceful labour. ABR. I scorn them both. I am too stout a Scotsman

ABR. Clerk Quentin, if of fighting thou art tired, To bear a Southron's rule an instant longer

By my good word, thou 'rt quickly satisfied,

For thou 'st seen but little on 't.
Than discipline obliges; and for Quentin,

WIL. Thou dost belie bim-I have seen him fight
Quentin the quillman, Quentin the comptroller,
We have no regiment now; or, if we had,

Bravely enough for one in his condition.

ABR. What he ? that counter-casting, smock-face
Quentin 's no longer clerk to it.
Wil. For shame! for shame! What, shall old com- What was he but the colonel's scribbling drudge,

boy?
rades jar thus,
And on the verge of parting, and for ever?-

With men of straw to stuff the regiment roll;
Nay, keep thy temper, Abraham, though a bad one.-

With cipherings unjust to cheat his comrades,
Good Master Quentin, let thy song last night
Give us once more our welcome to old Scotland. I MS.--" I've done with counting dollars," &c,

[ocr errors]

I look on,

And cloak false musters for our noble captain ? If you have any left, to the same tune,
He bid farewell to sword and petronel!

And we may find a chorus for it still.
He should have said, farewell my pen and standish. ABR. We lose our time.-Tell us at once, old man
These, with the rosin used to hide erasures,

If thou wilt march with us, or stay with Quentin ! Were the best friends he left in camp behind him. SER, Out, mutineers! Dishonour dog your heels !

QUE. The sword you scoff at is not far, but scorns ABR. Wilful will have his way. Adieu, stout HilThe threats of an unmapper'd mutineer.

debrand ! SER. (interposes.) We'll have no brawling-Shall it [The Soldiers go off laughing, and taking leave, e'er be said,

with mockery, of the SERGEANT and QUENThat being comrades six long years together,

TIN, who remain on the Stage. While gulping down the frowsy fogs of Holland, SER. (after a pause.) Fly you not with the rest ?We tilted at each other's throats so soon

fail you to follow As the first draught of native air refresh'd them? Yon goodly fellowship and fair example ? No! by Saint Dunstan, I forbid the combat. Come, take your wild-goose flight. I know you Scots, You all, methinks, do know this trusty halberd ; Like your own sea-fowl, seek your course together. For I opine, that every back amongst you

QUE. Faith, a poor heron I, who wing my flight Hath felt the weight of the tough ashen staff, In loneliness, or with a single partner; Endlong or overthwart. Who is it wishes

And right it is that I should seek for solitude, A remembrancer now?

[Raises his halberd. Bringing but evil luck on them I herd with. ABR.

Comrades, have you ears SER. Thou 'rt thankless. Had we landed on the To hear the old man bully? Eyes to see

coast, His staff rear'd o'er your heads, as o'er the hounds Where our course bore us, thou wert far from home ; The huntsman cracks his whip?

But the fierce wind that drove us round the island, Wil. Well said-stout Abraham has the right Barring each port and inlet that we aim'd at, on 't.

Hath wafted thee to harbour; for I judge I tell thee, sergeant, we do reverence thee,

This is thy native land we disembark on. And pardon the rash humours thou hast caught, QUE. True, worthy friend. Each rock, each stream Like wiser men, from thy authority. 'Tis ended, howsoe'er, and we'll not suffer

Each bosky wood, and every frowning tower, A word of sergeantry, or halberd-staff,

Awakens some young dream of infancy. Nor the most petty threat of discipline.

Yet such is my hard hap, I might more safely If thou wilt lay aside thy pride of office,

Have look'd on Indian cliffs, or Afric's desert, And drop thy wont of swaggering and commanding, Than on my native shores. I'm like a babe, Thou art our comrade still for good or evil.

Doom'd to draw poison from my nurse's bosom, Else take thy course apart, or with the clerk there SER. Thou dream'st, young man.

Unreal terrors A sergeant thou, and he being all thy regiment.

haunt, SER. Is 't come to this, false knaves ? And think | As I have noted, giddy brains like thineyou not,

Flighty, poetic, and imaginativeThat if you bear a name o'er other soldiers,

To whom a minstrel whim gives idle rapture, It was because you follow'd to the charge

And, when it fades, fantastic misery. One that had zeal and skill enough to lead you

QUE. But mine is not fantastic. I can tell thee, Where fame was won by danger ?

Since I have known thee still my faithful friend, WIL. We grant thy skill in leading, noble sergeant; In part at least the dangerous plight I stand in. Witness some empty boots and sleeves amongst us, Ser. And I will hear thee willingly, the rather Which else had still been tenanted with limbs That I would let these vagabonds march on, In the full quantity; and for the arguments

Nor join their troop again. Besides, good sooth, With which you used to back our resolution, I'm wearied with the toil of yesterday, Our shoulders do record them. At a word,

And revel of last night.--And I may aid thee, Will you conform, or must we part our company ? Yes, I may aid thee, comrade, and perchance SER. Conform to you? Base dogs ! I would not | Thou mayst advantage me.

QUE. May it prove well for both !-But note, my A bolt-flight farther to be made a general.

friend, Mean mutineers! when you swill'd off the dregs I can but intimate my mystic story. Of my poor sea-stores, it was, “Noble Sergeant Some of it lies so secret,-even the winds Heaven bless old Hildebrand-we'll follow him, That whistle round us must not know the whole At least, until we safely see him lodged

An oath !-an oath ! Within the merry bounds of his own England !” SER,

That must be kept, of course WIL. Ay, truly, sir; but, mark, the ale was mighty, I ask but that which thou mayst freely tell. And the Geneva potent. Such stout liquor

Que. I was an orphap boy, and first saw light Malies violent protestations. Skink it round, Not far from where we stand---my lineage low,

lead you

me.

But aonest in its poverty. A lord,

Pointed to thrust thee on some desperate service, The master of the soil for many a mile,

Which should most likely end thee. Dreaded and powerful, took a kindly charge

QUE. Bore I such letters l_Surely, comrade, no. For my advance in letters, and the qualities Full deeply was the writer bound to aid me. Of the poor orphan lad drew some applause. Perchance he only meant to prove my mettle ; The knight was proud of me, and, in his balls, And it was but a trick of my bad fortune I had such kind of welcome as the great

That gave his letters ill interpretation. Give to the humble, whom they love to point to SER. Ay, but thy better angel wrought for good, As objects not unworthy their protection,

Whatever ill thy evil fate designed thee. Whose progress is some honour to their patron Montgomery pitied thee, and changed thy service A cure was spoken of, which I might serve,

In the rough field for labour in the tent, My manners, doctrine, and acquirements fitting. More fit for thy green years and peaceful babits. SER. Hitherto thy luck

QUE. Even there his well-meant kindness injured Was of the best, good friend. Few lords had cared If thou couldst read thy grammar or thy psalter. My comrades hated, undervalued me, Thou hadst been valued couldst thou scour a harness, And whatsoe'er of service I could do them, And dress a steed distinctly.

They guerdon'd with ingratitude and envy-
QUE.

My old master Such my strange doom, that if I serve a man
Held different doctrine, at least it seem'd so At deepest risk, he is my foe for ever!
But he was mix'd in many a deadly feud-

SER. Hast thou worse fate than others if it were so ? And here my tale grows mystic. I became, Worse even than me, thy friend, thine officer, Unwitting and unwilling, the depositary

Whom yon ungrateful slaves have pitch'd ashore, Of a dread secret, and the knowledge on 't

As wild waves heap the sea-weed on the beach, Has wreck'd my peace for ever. It became And left him here, as if he had the pest My patron's will, that I, as one who knew

Or leprosy, and death were in his company? More than I should, must leave the realm of Scotland, Que. They think at least you have the worst of And live or die within a distant land.

plagues, SER. Ah ! thou hast done a fault in some wild raid, The worst of leprosies,—they think you poor. As you wild Scotsmen call them.

SER. They think like lying villains then, I 'm rich, QUE.

Comrade, nay; And they too might have felt it. I've a thoughtMine was a peaceful part, and happ'd by chance. But stay–what plans your wisdom for yourself? I must not tell you more. Enough, my presence QUE. My thoughts are wellnigh desperate. But Brought danger to my benefactor's house.

I purpose Tower after tower conceal'd me, willing still

Return to my stern patron—there to tell him To hide my ill-omen'd face with owls and ravens, That wars, and winds, and waves, have cross'd his And let my patron's safety be the purchase

pleasure, Of my severe and desolate captivity.

And cast me on the shore from whence he banish'd So thought I, when dark Arran, with its walls Of native rock, enclosed me. There I lurk’d, Then let him do his will, and destine for me A peaceful stranger amid armed clans,

A dungeon or a grave. Without a friend to love or to defend me,

SER. Now, by the rood, thou art a simple fool ! Where all beside were link'd by close alliances. I can do better for thee. Mark me, Quentin. At length I made my option to take service

I took my license from the noble regiment, In that same legion of auxiliaries

Partly that I was worn with age and warfare,
In which we lately served the Belgian.

Partly that an estate of yeomanry,
Our leader, stout Montgomery, hath been kind Of no great purchase, but enough to live on,
Through full six years of warfare, and assign'd me Has call'd me owner since a kinsman's death.
More peaceful tasks than the rough front of war, It lies in merry Yorkshire, where the wealth.
For which my education little suited me.

Of fold and furrow, proper to Old England,
SER. Ay, therein was Montgomery kind indeed ; Stretches by streams which walk no sluggish pace,
Nay, kinder than you think, my simple Quentin. But dance as light as yours. Now, good friend Quen.
The letters which you brought to the Montgomery,

tin,

me.

1 MS.-" Quentin. My short tale

Grows mystic now. Among the deadly feuds
Which curso our country, something once it chanced
That I unwilling and unwitting, witness'd;
And it became my benefactor's will,

That I should breathe the air of other climes." 2 The MS. here adds :

elefts " And then wild Arran, with its darksome

I walls
Of naked rock received me; till at last
1 yielded to take service in the legion
Which lately has discharged us. Stout Montgomery,
Our colonel, hath been kind through five years' war

fare."

« AnteriorContinuar »