The Spaewife - Volume 2
IN the meantime, Bishop Finlay, who had fled with the Lord James to Carrickfergus in Ireland, having been seized with a sore malady, departed this life; and the young Lord had, after his obsequies, passed over the sea to the castle of the Macdonald in Skye, to seek the aid of his help and means against their common enemy the King; for so they both wrathfully accounted his Majesty. - The Lord James, because of the dreadful devastation which his austere justice had brought upon his father's house, and Macdonald, not only as an adherent of the faction of the Albanies
but for the prejudice which his daughter, the Lady Sibilla, had suffered in the frustration of her betrothment.
The Lord James, on reaching the shores of Skye, was informed, by certain persons who had come from the mainland, that Macdonald was then at Inverlochy with his kith, kin, and allies, having returned thither from an expedition which he had taken to avenge the fate of his old friend, Duke Murdoch. In which inroad, finding himself none succoured by those on whose swords he had reckoned, for they were of the party for whom Sir Robert Graeme had so unprofitably made himself spokesman, he was fain to profess contrition to the King for his rashness, in order that he might be clemently permitted, as he in the end was, to return scaithless home.
On hearing these tidings, the Lord James forthwith ordered the bark wherein he had come from Ireland to make for Inverlochy, where he was welcomed by the Macdonald, as
if the rites and benediction of holy church had made him indeed his son-in-law. Nor was it long till they had concerted a new enterprise; to the which the Lord of the Isles was the more easily incited, by the assurances which he received from his guest, that the mutations of fortune had none changed the sincerity of the love and devotion which he had professed for the Lady Sibilla.
"Could we," said the Lord James, "but drive this tyrant King back to England, I doubt not the estates of the realm would speedily reverse my attainder, and restore me to the rights and rank of my family. Then should I prove before the world with what unimpaired affection I am in heart wedded to Sibilla; or if we meet in battle, and he be slain or taken, shall I not be king, and Sibilla share with me the dignity royal?'
These sanguine anticipations of youthful adventure, together with his own sense of baffled enterprise, and the native turbulence
of his temper, so worked upon Macdonald, that next morning he marched with his clansmen, accompanied by the Lord James, for Inverness; where, no later than the third day after having received the King's clement permission to return home unmolested, he arrived, and where, to shew how resolute he was to set at nought the royal authority, the first thing he did was to burn the town and lay siege to the castle.
Now it had so chanced, that the Lady Sibilla, by the exhortations of her aunt, the discreet Countess of Ross, with the sisterly solicitations of her royal mistress, about this time came back to the court, and was then abiding with the Queen in the Abbey of Holyrood at Edinburgh, where, in the judgment of all the gallants, her beauty, albeit faded in its virgin bloom, had received new lustre by the virtue of her endeavouring to avert the doom of the ill-fated princes. - To no eye did it shine so bright and fair as to
that of Stuart, who was become her openly professed lover - seconded in his suit by the gentle recommendations both of the King and Queen, and by many a laudatory advertisement of his worth and knighthood from the Countess of Ross, who was won to favour him by the courtesies which he administered, as it were with the left-hand, to the weak side of her vanities.
Sibilla, however, heeded not the fond admiration with which she was followed, but abandoned herself to bitter ruminations on the disappointment of her early affection, and the ruined fortunes of her first lover. For though she shunned not the pastimes of the court, yet was her spirit, amidst the most joyful revels, ever far away; and her eyes wandered with a cold and aimless restlessness, that often touched the observer with the sympathy of a melancholy wonder and sorrow. She had plainly no pleasure in any kind of companionship; but, as often as she could
pass forth unheeded, she chose her solitary walks among the lonely places of the neighbouring mountain; sitting sometimes on the perilous brink of the precipices, like the white sea-bird that perches on the ocean cliffs, at others hovering in the still of the evening twilight amidst the shadows and lowering rocks that overhang the chapel of St Anthony.
It came to pass one morning, as she went forth from the Abbey to indulge her mournful cogitations in that manner in the King's Park, that she saw Anniple of Dunblane standing at a little distance on the green sward, resting her hands on the top of the rough sapling, which, though a burden, she had long used as a staff. - She was leaning forward, and her eyes were cast down, earnestly commercing with something that she contemplated on the ground.
"Good morrow, Anniple," said the pale and pensive Sibilla; "what seest thou on the grass to make thee read it so earnestly?"
The Spaewife, without raising her eyes, gave a quick and impatient intimation with her hand, that she did not wish to be disturbed.
"I would give a merk for thy fancies," said the lady.
Anniple, without making any reply, or changing her position, held out her hand to accept the gift.
"Nay, that may not be - no work, no wage, Anniple - and if you will not tell me, I shall at once say again, good morrow.
The fantastical creature still made no reply; but, looking up, she beckoned with her finger to the Lady Sibilla to draw near. She then pointed to the ground, and said -
"See ye that, Lady Sibilla? - see ye that there?"
"I see nothing, Anniple, but a beetle crawling."
"It's a clok-leddy in her scarlet cardinal."
"What then ?"
"Is't no a sinful injustice, Sibilla Macdonald, that the hand o' Heaven should have ta'en such pains to mak and adorn that loathsome thing, and let the fairies make the like of me out o' a ben-weed, that the very kine have more sense than to taste?"
"All things," replied Sibilla, "are by permission of Heaven, and done in wisdom and with justice."
Anniple eyed her askance with a bright and piercing look, and then said, in a sharp and sarcastic accent, -
"Wha did the wrang that ye yearn to revenge, and gave leave for the dule that ye dree?" - And she added, laughingly, "and so ye thought I was marvelling at the red mantle o' the leddy-launners?" - but grubs and worms are nae marvels to me, ever since I sleepit, the night of the four burials, in the old Leddy o' Limmerton's coffin in Cambuskenneth kirk-yard: - She was buriet wi' her wedding-ring, and the betherel howkit her up
to take it off. I saw frae ahint a headstane what the loon was doing; and when he was whitling wi' her finger, I gaed such a skraike like a howlit, that it gar't him take leg-bail.
See, there's the ring on my ain mid-finger, wi' a garnet stane like a blob o' blood. When the betherel ran away I herryt the corpse mysel', and harl't it out by the leg and the windingsheet, and lay cosily doun in the coffin till the morning. - Eh! What a fright, I trow, Father Andrews got, when he saw me sleeping there, and the poor auld Leddy o' Limmerton lying in her dead-claes on the grass; but I wish ne'er to dream as I did that night; for I dreamt I was dead, and buried in a tomb; and that cloks and worms were crawling and coiling o'er my heart and aneath my back -
And a black toad-he sat on my chin,
Sibilla shuddered, and moved to go away; but Anniple took hold of her mantle, and said -
"But I have na told you what I was looking at."
"What was it?" inquired Sibilla, pale and apprehensive of some still more hideous rehearsal.
I saw Lord Athol," replied Anniple, "as I came through the park yestreen, on this spot; and just now, when I was coming by again, I had a glimmering glimpse of his likeness on the grass, with the look of one that would do ill, yet was afraid. I hae a thought he would fain be King."
"You speak maliciously, Anniple," said Sibilla, at once surprised and struck with the remark. "Go to, else you may have cause to repent such slander; the Earl of Athol is an honest man, albeit no friend nor favourite with me."
" When the King dies, he'll be crown't for a' that."
"Duke Murdoch's son, the Lord James, though under the ban of outlawry and forfeiture,
is nearer to the throne," replied Sibilla seriously, forgetting, in the emotion of the moment, the irrational character of the Spaewife.
"Near or far off," said Anniple, "it's his doom, and I'll say no more. But what need I care - nae good will come o't to me. I would I could forget the looks o' him as I saw him here. Maybe it was the de'il in his likeness, come to molest me. - Do ye ken, Sibilla Macdonald, that I ne'er forgather with Lord Athol himself, but some dule or damage ever befalls me. I wish ye would put your hand to the work, and help to shove him out o' the world - and ye should too, for he's a cross in your own fortune."
"How! what do you mean?' cried Sibilla, shaken with a strange horror.
"That ye're no to be married while he's to the fore."
"Why do you think so?" replied Sibilla, recovering her wonted self-possession, adverting,
at the same time, in her mind to the assiduous suit of the Earl's nephew, the young Lord Stuart. Anniple, however, made no answer; but looking shrewdly from the corner of her eye, and with her head bent aside, sang -
"Fair Magdalene sat at the window high,
She then hastened away, and Sibilla, instead of pursuing her wonted walk towards the cliffs of Arthur's Seat, went back to the Abbey, where she was not long entered, when messengers from divers parts of the north came with accounts to the King of the sudden rebellion of the Lord of the Isles, her father, the destruction of Inverness by his clansmen, and
the rumour of the Lord James being with him from Ireland. The latter occurrence seemed to her very wonderfully predicated in the rude strain with which the Spaewife had parted from her in the park.
WHEN the King heard how Macdonald, after having accepted his grace and permission to return home, had so soon of a sudden come back with his clansmen, and done such damage and molestation to the town of Inverness, he was exceedingly wroth, and not only called on his armourer to equip him for battle, but issued his royal mandate and order for all the knights and gallants of the court to prepare with horse and panoply to accompany him to the field. For in the wisdom of that noble prince, speed was esteemed the better part of the equipage of war; and it was ever his declared opinion, that only ill could come of the evil of delay, from whatsoever considerations it might be pretermitted [sic] to arise.
In the first alacrity, with which his royal commands were received by the youthful warriors of the Scottish court, none seemingly obeyed them with a more joyful intrepidity than did the Lord Robert Stuart, who, in the ardour of his loyalty, and the thirst of valiant deeds wherewith the tidings had inspired him, forgot that the bold rebel he was summoned to quell was no other than the father of his beloved Sibilla. And thus it happened, when at the accustomed hour that young and unfortunate lady went to give her wonted tendence on the Queen, that she met him in the gallery proudly harnessed for war, and gay with the generous arrogance of youthful soldiership eager for adventure.
On first seeing him, she was none difficulted to discern for what purpose he was armed; but, with a firm step and a lofty air, she proceeded along the gallery as if she noted him not; her heart however swelled, and throbbed as if it had been wounded with
many arrows, whose barbs of agony were yet quivering in its core.
Her proud demeanour, and the fixed unrecognising eye with which she passed him, soon instructed Stuart of his error, and he perceived that she resented the readiness with which he had put on his armour to march with the King against her father. For a moment he was awed by her majestic look, and troubled with the thought of his own haste, and he would fain have retired from her presence, could he have believed, as she affected, that he was indeed unobserved. But before she had half-way passed up the room, he recovered from his surprise, and ran quickly after her. The rattling of his mail and sword was too audible not to strike her ear in such a manner as to cause her to look back. In the act of so doing, he caught her by the hand, and with a gentle violence held her on the spot.
"I would speak with you, Lady," said he; "I implore you to listen but for a moment."
"Is it to tell me, after your manifold protestations of affection," replied Sibilla, "that you are prepared to slay my unfortunate father?"
Stuart dropped her hand, and recoiled to some distance : he looked at her with amazement tinged with contrition; and he beheld her lip curl with scorn, and her eyes lighten with indignation.
"I have never, Lady," said he humbly, "had any reason to esteem my protestations acceptable."
"Oh! then, it is because you have not yet been acknowledged as an accepted suitor, that you have thus so very alertly put yourself in steel. Truly, my Lord, you give me good reason to persevere in the maiden diffidence that so much ardour in your protestations compelled me to assume, since it would seem you accounted me so easily to be won that you had only to profess love to be accepted. I have ever been taught, that the test of affection
was self-denial; but that, no doubt, was in the olden time, when ladies had no cause to question the truth and fealty of their knights."
"The King, Lady Sibilla," replied Stuart, advancing towards her, "has ordered all his friends now in Edinburgh to be ready to advance with him to the north. I deplore the service he has called me to, but loyalty and knighthood claim my attendance."
"And justly," said Sibilla; "it would be a strange thing if you should not be found by the King's side in danger. The Earl of Athol is now too old a man to endure the hardships of the field, else, as present heir to the crown, he should be at his Majesty's right hand, - but you are next to him, being heir to the Earl, and the evil-tongued world might think, were you not to be with the King, that some sinister affection towards the succession governed your loyalty."
"I never thought of such opinions," replied
Stuart; "I was commanded, and I obeyed; and glad I am, Lady Sibilla, in having done so, as it must prove to you, as well as to all men, that my loyalty is not blemished by any sordid respect for my own particular advantage; but I grieve almost to weeping, that the service I am called to is against your father."
"Verily, it is indeed, my Lord," said the lady; "a strange way to thrive in your wooing with a daughter, to go to war so gallantly against her father."
"If you will but say that you wish I should not go, I will brave the King's displeasure, and even the contumelious opinion of the world, by remaining with you."
"Lord Robert Stuart!" exclaimed Sibilla haughtily, "let me end this vain importunity. I was, I am betrothed to the Lord James, your cousin; - when he was but third son to the Duke his father, and his two princely brothers stood between him and all
chance of succeeding to the throne, I was allured even then, by the ambition of my own heart, to entertain his suit with a willing affection. Think you that now, when he is with my father, and next of kin to the crown, and the chance of being king hanging on the event of a battle, that I will hearken to the protestations of any meaner lover?"
Stuart stepped back a pace, astonished at so unmaidenly a speech, and for a moment thought her peerless beauty overcast with a sullen cloud, the shadow whereof fell upon his heart with a cold and ungenial darkness. She looked at him, and, as if she repented of being so harsh, she softened her accents, and added -
"But, my Lord, this surely is no time to urge any protestation with me? I cannot but know that the King's power is greater than my father's, and fear that I am destined to endure for him a keener sorrow than I have even suffered for the unfortunate family
of Albany. Nor can I conceal from myself, that perhaps my own fate is involved with my father's - what the king will do, if by the chance of war he is thrown into his hands, requires no seer to foretell; and then shall I abide here, in the hateful servitude of honouring the destroyer of my father and so many friends."
"Heavens! Lady," cried Stuart, "what dreadful task would you lay upon me?"
"On you, my Lord, I would lay none; - what are you to me? It is true, a professed lover; but in that respect you boast no better claim to a return, than the basest hind that might dare to affect a similar passion."
"Would it please you then, were I to ask the King's leave to stay behind ?"
"You have urged as much before; - can you doubt that I do not desire the ruin of my father?"
"But if he succeed in his rebellion, what may ensue?"
"That may not be answered, - but the Lord James it is said is with him, and doubtless he counts, at least in the event of success, on our union. What other advantage may ensue it were not wise of me even to imagine."
Stuart cast down his eyes, and touched his forehead with his hand thoughtfully. Sibilla looked at him with a watchful and inquisitorial eye, and then said -
"I beseech you to bear in mind that I am a daughter, trembling for the fate of my father, and in no condition to speak with temperance of the dangers that impend over him. I think but of my father - all other cares and thoughts, however dear, are locked up in my heart, and shall have no license to mingle with my feelings, till he is safe."
At these words she burst into tears, and cried passionately aloud, "I shall not outlive another tragedy on the hill of Stirling."
"While they were thus vehemently discoursing,
the King himself came into the gallery, and seeing them together, stepped eagerly towards them; but Sibilla, hearing steps approaching, looked quickly round, and on seeing his Majesty, gathered up her robe abruptly, and darted away.
WHEN the King saw that the Lady Sibilla desired to avoid his presence, he abated his speed, and walked leisurely towards Stuart, who at the same time advanced to meet him.
"I should," said his Majesty, in a grave but jocular manner, "have laid my interdict at this time on our fair and eloquent cousin; for I doubt not, that, if she is permitted to be at large among our friends, she will achieve as good as a victory for her father before we march. But, Stuart, as I doubt not some such event was the endeavour of her discourse with you, I shall not repine, if, on conditions, you submit to abide her prisoner."
"I have now no hope," replied Stuart, "that she will ever consent to be mine."
"How!" said the King; "what new
thing has come to pass, to make you think so?"
"It is not in my power to show, by any act or deed, that my proffered affection is of that purity which the cruelty of ladies in these times requires to be avouched by proof and sacrifice. The time was, as I have heard say, that ladies were to be won by the gentle sympathy of heaven-inspired love, but the Lady Sibilla would inflict tests."
"Let her have none, cousin," replied the King; "for if she be such a bargainer, beshrew me if she is worth the having. But truly, of late, she hath been an altered creature in her demeanour, and no more like the gay and blooming rose she once was, than the root is like the flower." And his Majesty added, with a slight inflection of sadness in his voice, "yet I do not wonder at the change, but I had hoped by this time that your lowly servitude would have earned some little grace at her
hands. To what tests would she subject you?"
"Such as honour and knighthood will not permit; she would have me to forego the duties of my loyalty and allegiance."
"I thought so - and verily, it is but an uncivil way of thriving in a lady's love to fight with her father. However, Stuart, as I have said, if by remaining here you may hope to prosper in your suit, I give you free leave."
"By that your Majesty only augments the strength of the motive which obliges me to go. If I felt that I could not, without a sacrifice of honour and a blemish to knighthood, remain behind, how can I do so, when to the claims of allegiance, honour, propinquity, and knighthood, your Majesty adds the stronger tie of gratitude for such a gracious disposition to advance my happiness?"
"I see not the matter in that light," replied the King, as if he pondered with himself.
"I alone have a right to your service -and if it stand with my pleasure and convenience to say you shall abide here, I see not what cause either honour, knighthood, propinquity, or loyalty, have to remonstrate against your obedience to the command."
"It is rumoured, that the Lord James of Albany is with Macdonald," said Stuart.
"What then? what of that? I should think it a reason why you ought the more to remain with Sibilla, as her affection for him is the greatest impediment to your suit."
"I doubt," replied Stuart, "if it is so much her affection as her ambition, and it is that which makes me despair of ever succeeding - but just now, she plainly told me, that she considered him dearer than ever, since, by the fate of his father and brothers, he stood so much nearer to the crown."
"Can she be so sordid?" exclaimed the King; "then is there no faithful love in womankind; for of all ladies I have ever seen,
I did think Sibilla Macdonald the most romantic in her attachment; besides, his sentence of outlawry and forfeiture has cut him off from the succession. But, how is it that all of you seem so to count upon an early death for me? Is not our turbulent cousin my senior? and I surely am not so much older than yourself, Stuart, that you should be reckoned my successor, to say nothing of the present maternal condition of the Queen."
His Majesty said this in a sharp objurgatory manner; then, speedily recovering his wonted urbanity, he added, "But after all, Stuart, not to make too much ado about who shall have his head bound with a wreath of briers, as this very conversation of ours sufficiently shows the crown to be, I think you ought to remain. If love be not the entire sentiment that binds Sibilla to the outlaw, we can hardly question that ambition is not the sole motive which makes her father espouse his fortunes; and therefore, were you to remain
behind, upon the pretext and plea of your devotion to Sibilla, perhaps, out of the policy of that device, some way might be found so to work on the avarice of Macdonald, as to make him abandon our guilty cousin to his own destiny; - without, therefore, entering more curiously into your particular case, I lay my commands upon you to abide here with the Queen and her ladies, and it shall be made known that I have done so, because of your love and devotion for the daughter of the rebellious chieftain, things as familiar as scandal to every tongue in the court."
Stuart would have a second time solicited his Majesty not so to restrain him from taking the field, albeit in his heart none dissatisfied that he had been so peremptory; but the King said with a smile, "Honour, knighthood, propinquity, and loyalty, must now hush their remonstrances, and prove themselves the soldiers and vassals of obedience. Your post and duty in the war is here in
Holyrood-house." And with these words he parted from him, leaving him in the middle of the gallery, where he stood ruminating for some time; in which situation he was found by the Earl of Athol, as that nobleman came with Sir William Chrichton, and others in the King's confidence, to attend the council.
"What has befallen you?" said the Earl to him, pausing as he passed leaning on the arm of Sir William Chrichton, the others with them passing on to the council-chamber.
"His Majesty," replied Stuart, "has dealt unkindly by me. He denies me the honour of going with him against Macdonald, and enjoins me to remain here."
The Earl of Athol, somewhat surprised to hear this, dropped his hold of the Chancellor's arm, as he said -
"Why has his Majesty done so? Did he assign no reason ?"
Sir William Chrichton looked observantly
at the Earl while he said this; for there was a degree of haste and anxiety in the manner of his question, which struck him both as strange and singular.
"He thinks," replied Stuart, "that, considering how openly I have professed myself to the Lady Sibilla, it would not accord well with that profession to be engaged in adventures of warfare against her father.
"Then it was not," said the Earl, "interrupting him, "out of respect to the relationship in which you stand to the succession?"
"I doubt not," interposed Sir William Chrichton, "that his Majesty has determined wisely in this matter, though he may not have been governed by any regard to the succession - especially as the Queen has declared herself in the honoured condition of increasing their happiness."
"How!" exclaimed the Earl, with a look in which there was much of the eagerness of alarm; "is it as you say? When did the Queen
announce it? I have not heard of it before. It surprises me to hear at this time of such an event."
"The King himself told me," said Stuart.
"Then it is true," replied the Earl, addressing himself to Sir William Chrichton; "why should an occurrence so interesting to me have been concealed from me ?"
"There is no concealment," said the Chamberlain; "not many minutes have passed since I heard it. It has been believed for some time, but not declared till this morning."
"Should the birth prove a daughter, of course she will succeed if she outlive her father. No change was made in the order of succession with respect to females by my father's settlement. It is very odd - I cannot think how it may be consistent with what I have been told."
"What have you been told, my Lord?" said Sir William Chrichton, looking with some
degree of amaze at the voice and manner with which Lord Athol spoke; but the question, instead of obtaining an answer, recalled the Earl to himself, and he rejoined -
"The news cannot fail to be joyful to the kingdom, at a time when the minds of many are disturbed with doubts respecting the succession; for there are those who think, that no sentence of outlawry or forfeiture can attaint the right to the crown, and that James of Albany must of necessity succeed, were the throne to become vacant, even though no reversal of his attainder were to take place; so much does the royal dignity itself transcend all proceedings that have issued from its own processes."
"I had not heard," replied the Chancellor sedately, "that there was any such questioning or controversy on the subject among the people. But I am not surprised that you, my Lord, should be somewhat affected by these things, considering how very nearly
they touch upon your own immediate condition."
"It cannot be," said the Earl, "that Sir William Chrichton thinks I would, for any affection of my own, take more heed of those things than becomes a faithful subject and a true counsellor. All the world knows, that I am a man far declined into the vale of years, and, by course of nature, cannot look to outlive the King, whom Heaven preserve in long life to administer the affairs of this poor country with great increase of prosperity to her people, and imperishable renown to himself. But to Stuart there, the issue of the Queen's maternity may be considered as a blight and disappointment; for I question not, that, like other young men, he has nourished the vanity of high chances, and may have counted something on his near relationship to the crown."
"His Majesty," interposed Stuart, "observed to me, that it was a strange thing
so many should regard him as fated to die early, and he even cogitating of the succession."
"Think you, Sir William Chrichton, that there is any thing in such forebodings ?" said the Earl.
The Chancellor smiled, and, looking sharply, replied, "You do not think so, my Lord, for I have heard you repeatedly deride all prognostications as vain superstition. But our time is up, and his Majesty will presently be in the council-chamber."
With which words they departed; the Earl and the Chancellor walking up the gallery to the door by which the King had retired, and Stuart, slowly and thoughtfully, passing to the stairs which led down into the court below, where many young knights and gallants were assembled, armed and feathered for the expedition, all eager and glorying
in their might and manhood, like eaglets in the morning, when they stand on the brink of
their eyries, champing their beaks and flapping their pinions, impatient for the sun, that they may swoop to their quarry.
AMONG other events that came to pass, about the epoch of these things whereof recital has been made, was the voluntary departure of the disconsolate Duchess of Albany from Tantallon, to the summer lodge on Inchmurrin in Lochlomond, the only pendicle that she could be moved to accept of all the princely earldom of her ancestors. There, with the aged Lady Glenjuckie, who had come with her from Falkland and patiently partaken of her captivity and sorrow, she was minded to pass the mournful remainder of her days, like some sequestered nun, devoted to abstinence and mourning.
By the King's preparations to suppress the rebellion of Macdonald, of whose enterprise she had heard the rumour, though
not of her son the Lord James being with him, her journey to Lennox was rendered slow and tardy; for horses were difficult to be had, save such as were accounted of no worth either for road or raid; and her venerable gentlewoman being afflicted with a sciatica, could not abide the oscillations of any other carriage than a litter. On the morning, however, of the ninth day of her departure from Tantallon, the Duchess reached the margent of the lake, having travelled all the preceding night by a lone and moorland path, that she might eschew the dismal sight of the towers of Stirling, near to which she was constrained to pass, by reason of the great lack of horses in the towns and hostels on the roads.
When she had reached the place where she intended to embark, no boat was at hand, and she was, in consequence, obligated to remain on the shore till a messenger could procure one from some distance. Fain would
Leddy Glenjuckie have persuaded her to go to the Castle of Balloch, and to take up her abode there for a season; but the Duchess remembered that it was the scene of her joyful childhood, and a woful train of terrible reminiscences, that came with the thought of what had befallen her since she had left it, caused her tears to flow. The anguish of that grief, however, soon subsided into the melancholy calm which had become almost the habitude of her mind, and she sat down on a rock close by the brim of the lake, and, resting her cheek on her hand, awaited the return of her errander. There was indeed a soft and consolatory spirit abroad over all nature at that time, and its soundless tranquillity was in unison with the meditations of the weary heart.
The day was grey, still, sober, and mild, without sunshine or shower; - the winds were asleep, and almost also the waters; - the birds were mute, but not with sullenness, and they
shook the crystalline drops from the impearled leaves, as they busily pruned their wings, like gentle villagers preparing for church in the holiness of the Sabbath morning. The skies were not darkened with any cloud, but the mountain tops were hid in a resting mist, that hung like a canopy, lowered almost to the tufty hills of the little islands in the lake. It was a morning, when the lowing of cows and the bleating of lambs heard afar off, mingling with the bark of the shepherd's dog, seem tuned and musical; - when doves coo on the window-sills of the solitary maiden, who never listened to any other note of love, and who feeds them with crumbs treasured from her frugal supper; - when daisies lift not their golden eyes, but hang their heads, as if drowsy with some delicious excess;-when bees pass from bloom to blossom in silence; - when the dumb butterfly, that never spreads his wing but to the sun, rests as quiet as the pea-flower on its stalk
under the leaf that he has made his canopy - and when the voiceless snail, in his satin doublet, stretches his eyehorns from side to side on the dewy sward, as if he wist not where to taste first, like a sable-vestured clerk at a banquet: in sooth, a season of quietude and calm, when wary grimalkin, looking out at the cottage door, and fain to pass to her lair beneath the bushes, often puts forth her foot to feel if indeed the soft air be
too moist for her furred delicacy.
"Sowlls and podies ! will it pe te Laidie Tooches. And is't a to-be-surely that ye'll pe a coose o' te water, sitting on te stone al py yoursel lanerly, mi Laidle Tooches - Oomph."
The Duchess, surprised by this salutation, rose suddenly, and on looking, beheld Glenfruin and several of his clansmen, who had come out of a birch and hazel wood that fringed the border of the lake, close to the spot where she was sitting.
Her Grace had known him in her Youth, and she recognised his clansmen by their tartan; but their appearance at that time, and the salutation of Glenfruin, whom she quickly recollected could not know her person so as to justify the wonder he affected at seeing her there, caused her to suspect, from his notour character, that he had come for no good. She, however, at once addressed him by name, and begged that he would send some of his men to assist the person whom she had already missioned to procure a boat to carry her to the island.
"And we will pe tooing tat, curse taik me put we will, my Laidie Tooches," replied Glenfruin; "and te laad Nigel, hur nain la'ful pegotten, a praw craiter is te laad Nigel; will na he pring te boat frae te ferry, - oomph. Put, sowlls and podies! mi Laidie Tooches, and what for pe your Crace come here? Ah, te King's judifications! - oomph. Aye, aye, mi Laidie Tooches, tere pe te cold
hearth in te towers o' Palloch tis plesset morning. - ye'll no pe a travel tere?"
While Glenfruin was thus rasping the quickened griefs of the Duchess, the sound of oars was heard approaching, and soon a large and lumbering black boat, wherein stood his son together with her Grace's errander, was thereafter seen coming from behind the boughs of the adjacent birch and hazel.
"Pe pleasured mi Laidie Tooches, to make your commodity in te poat. Nigel, I say Nigel, ye ashypet teevil, will ye no pe spreading your plaid for her Crace, and tis oold madam, her maiden?"
The young chieftain instantly took off his plaid, and spread it for their reception, while his father, brushing the grass with his bonnet, went bowing towards the Duchess to assist her into the boat.
Misfortune had so subdued her Grace's mind, as almost to extinguish every apprehension
of personal danger; and perhaps she would, without hesitation, have allowed Glenfruin to place her aboard, but for the Leddy Glenjuckie, who had hitherto stood marvelling and mute, exclaiming -
"But shall we be taken to Inchmurrin?"
"Py and py, in te coote time, mi laidie madam - Oomph! But her Crace will pe pleasured to come first wi me on a veesitation to the shieling of Glenfruin - caz you see, mi Laidie Tooches, tat ter pe ploody repellions o' te Mactonald and te Lord Hamies, wha pe come hame frae te outlaw, for a tribulation - Put te King, - Oomph.
"Alas!" cried the Duchess, clasping her hands and casting her eyes hopelessly to heaven, "and is my son embarked with the rash Macdonald in his wild enterprise?'
Young Glenfruin, from the moment that he beheld her Grace, was touched with admiration and awe ; and seeing her tears falling, and her august struggle to control her renewed
sorrow, spoke apart to his father, but the doure old man knit his brows and shook his head, saying,
"Sowlls and podies! and what would te King speech, if te pird in te air or te adversities o' Glenfruin were to tell him in his preevy counsel? - Oomph. When she'll pe come here, sowlls and podies, is't no a sun and tay-light! - to mak a repellion in Lennox - Oomph? Te sheep and te cow pe te wisdom creatures, Nigel. Got's curse, Nigel Glenfruin, you peast. - Oomph.
The Duchess soon discerned, by what she overheard of their discourse, that Glenfruin had made her his prisoner; - and her gentlewoman began to make audible lament at this new misfortune, and to bewail the mischance which had thrown them into such rude custody, till her mistress chided her unavailing and bootless complaint, by saying -
"We are in your power, Glenfruin ; two poor old defenceless women, with these few
simple and unarmed serving-men; we could make no resistance to your force were we even so minded. Help me into the boat; and, I pray you, let your men be gentle with my aged friend there. Alas! it was not so that I thought her old age would have passed with me. But it doth please the irresponsible Heavens, to fill my cup with salt, salt tears. There is, however, a sweet mercy in store, that, I trust, will hereafter make me forget the bitterness of my earthly fortune."
Glenfruin, with some endeavour at courtesy, proffered his arm to the Duchess; whereupon his son, beckoning to one of the men to draw near, went with tenderness to the afflicted Lady Glenjuckie, and invited her to lean upon them as she stepped from the rock into the boat.
"Laads," said Glenfruin to the menials who had come with the Duchess, and who were still standing beside their horses, "ye'll pe pringing toon to te poat al te lappetrics o'
te Laidie Tooches, and ye'll be o' a discretion wi te horses to te Glenfruins - so we'll let you depart wi' a civility. - Oomph."
The serving-men, when they saw their mistress and the lady seated in the boat, looked at one another, and all suddenly, with one accord, vaulted into the saddles and galloped away.
"Sowlls and podies," cried Glenfruin, rising, and looking at the speed with which they scoured along the hill-side. "Got's curse! Oomph." He then sat down beside the Duchess; for seeing it was impossible to overtake the fugitives, he submitted to the disappointment, and calmly ordered the boatmen to push off from the shore.
WHILE the realm was shaken by the rumours and tidings, that came hourly rushing from Inverness concerning the rebellion of the Lord of the Isles, Sir Robert Graeme, who, on his banishment, had, instead of going forth the kingdom, taken refuge among the wilds and fastnesses of Perthshire, on hearing what had happened, went to join the rebels, and reached the tent of Macdonald on the evening of the day on which the news arrived of the King's approach, and of the young Lord Robert Stuart having remained at the court, because of the marriage which his Majesty had settled to take place between him and the Lady Sibilla.
There, when he entered, he found Macdonald and the Lord James in an eager and sharp
controversy. The Lord of the Isles being seemingly much moved and disturbed by the report of the great force which the King was bringing against them, while the friendless outlaw suspected that he was only desirous of a pretext to return home, because of the rumoured match which had been formed for his daughter, - the which match, considering the then forlorn condition of her first lover, was plain, to all capacities, a thing which the Macdonald would likely approve and prefer.
Accordingly, after the first salutations and welcomings were over, they addressed themselves to Graeme as an umpire in their debate, the Lord James beginning by inquiring, if he had, in the course of his journey, heard any account of the army which the King was bringing. "We are told," said he, "that it trebles ours, and Macdonald has become afraid, and thinks we ought to retreat."
"I wish, my Lord," interrupted the chieftain, "that you would measure your words
more according to the meaning of your
mind. I am not afraid, - but seeing how slenderly we are supported, and the little disposition shewn by any of the old friends of the Albanies to take part with us, I doubt if it be wise to wait till King James come up."
"There are no such men as friends of the Albanies in Scotland," replied Graeme, sternly, remembering in what manner they had failed and faltered when he laid violent hands on the King in parliament: - "Every one now seeks his own particular advantage, and not the least grievance of the parchment laws of our English tyrant, for I account him no Scot albeit he was born in the land, is that they supersede the virtue of standing by one another, and reducing us all to be the thralls of his judicatory and officers."
"You speak worthily, Sir Robert," said the Lord James, "and it was to restore the liberties of former times that Macdonald took up arms; but since he heard that his faithless
daughter is to be wedded to Stuart, whose chance of inheriting the crown he accounts better than an outlaw's, he sees the King's forces through the mist, and would persuade me that they are all giants, which he dare not encounter."
"I beseech you both," exclaimed Graeme, to spare these revilings. - It may be discreet, my Lord, not to adventure too much at this time; a retreat is sometimes better than a victory, - and since you have been so balked in the hopes you had formed of those who were the friends of your family, - friends, while it had any thing to give, - there may be wisdom in Macdonald avoiding the King's power, without supposing that he is thereto incited by any sinister consideration on his daughter's account. Remember, he is an open and declared rebel, and when you think of the fate of your own house, you cannot but know that the remission of his offence will never be granted by King James."
Macdonald, during this speech, drew himself back from the light that was on the table before them, and, folding his arms, listened as an auditor who had no part in their colloquy, but with gathered brows and scowling eyes, - which shewed how deeply it shook his spirit.
"It is reported," replied the Lord James to Graeme, when he paused, "that the King has abated in his severity, - and, indeed, you are yourself, after what you attempted, evidence of the truth of the report."
"How!" cried Graeme, with a hoarse and wrathful voice, of which however the rage was rather the expression of some agency of the memory than of anger at the young Lord; "call ye it an abatement of severity, to be degraded below the basest condition of man? To live the life of a hunted beast, that hears, in every rustle of the bramble-bush where he couches, the dogs of his pursuer. Recollect what I was, and think what I am now! - I am
here as a skulking and companionless poacher, - call you that to me an abatement of severity? The time was, when only my whistle could, like the invocation of a wizard, change the heather and the fern into crested warriors; but the mocking of the invisible echo is all the answer that I should now receive, if I were to venture, on the hills that were my own, to try the sound of my voice!"
"If," said the Lord James, looking round to Macdonald, "if the Lord of the Isles can endure to be such a thing, let him make his peace when he pleases with the King. I have no claim upon his friendship, - Sibilla's faithlessness has dissolved our league."'
"Your own taunts, my Lord, have done so," exclaimed Macdonald, rising with scorn on his lips, and quitting the tent. The Lord James, resenting the manner of his look, laid his hand on the hilt of his dagger; but Graeme caught him firmly by the wrist, and said -
"Is it thus by quarrelling with your friends
that you hope to avenge your wrongs. But come, we are both too long here, - Macdonald's enterprise is plainly at an end, - and though, as his guests, we may be safe, yet if it be that he wishes to make his peace with the King, who knows in what way he may be worked upon to give us up."
The Lord James felt the full force of what Graeme meant to convey, and quitting his seat hastily, they left the tent together, and made for the hills. They had not, however, proceeded far, when the young Lord began to repine at his precipitation, and his uncourteous manner of thus abandoning several brave gentlemen who had joined the Macdonald with their clansmen on his own account, and he urged Graeme to return with him, that he might take such leave of them as their spirit and devotion to his cause deserved, or perhaps induce them still to adhere to his desperate fortunes.
Graeme, however, strongly remonstrated
against this disposition. "If hereafter," said he, "circumstances arise wherein you may ask again their service, the equivocal conduct of Macdonald will serve as a good excuse for your unceremonious departure to-night. But it were to throw yourself into the very teeth of destruction, after having come away, leaving Macdonald in the temper we did, were we to return into his power. It may be, that he truly is disposed to make his peace with the King on account of this new match for his daughter; if so, then you may rely upon it, you were no sooner beyond the circle of his encampment, than his hospitality ended, and orders given to consider you as his enemy."
While they were thus discoursing, sometimes halting and looking behind, they reached the brow of a steep bank, shaggy with brushes and brambles. The night was far advanced, but the stars so shone out, that the dark outlines of the ruins of the town were visible below, amidst which a few feeble lights,
as ineffectual as the lamps of the glow-worms, were seen here and there sprinkled. The castle, in the sullenness of its strength, rose gloomily in the distance, and the bartizans and battlements of the towers seemed, by the upcast glare of the camp-fires of the besiegers, like the frowning eyes and gathered foreheads of wrath, jealousy, and scorn.
It was a scene that well accorded with the hostile spirit of Graeme, and he stopped to look at it with a fierce enjoyment of malignant satisfaction.
"Aye, ye may gloom and glower, Robin Graeme," cried a voice at his feet from amidst the bushes on the steep; "but ye'll ne'er get your will nor your dues, till you have humbled yourself to your enemy." And with these words the Spaewife scrambled up the bank, and, with her rude staff in her arms, stood before him.
"Anniple," said the Lord James to her, for she was well known over all the country,
both in hall and hostel, - "where have you come from to-night?"
"I have nothing to say nor to spae to you, Lord James, - when the skein of your fortune's ravelled, ye'll hear tell o' me. Robin Graeme, I redde ye to part frae him, or ye'll wrang yoursel' of what ye're weel worthy, and eke a marriage mar, -
"So come ye wi' me, and let him bide,
Neither Graeme nor the Lord James had any inordinate faith in freats; but the veracity of Anniple's foreknowledge had gained great renown far and near, and in that crisis of their adventures, especially as they at the time wist not well which way to take, they were disposed to give her more credit than perhaps they would have done on any other occasion.
"Shall I then be safe to return to Inverness," said the Lord James.
"If ye're to be hang't, my Lord, ye'll ne'er be drown't," replied the Spaewife.
"But whither would ye, Anniple, that I should go?" interrupted Graeme.
"Up the hill, and down the hill, and o'er the water; and up the hill, and down the hill, and o'er the water; and up the hill, and down the hill, and o'er the water; - and there ye'll meet wi' a man that has the key of a castle,-
"And when in that keep ye're warded in,
"She promises you fair, Sir Robert," said the Lord James; "take her advice, and here let us separate; for, notwithstanding Macdonald's sordid perfidy, I shall return to Inverness, where I doubt not still to find friends."
Graeme again attempted to dissuade him from returning, and even began to jeer at Anniple's predictions; but she suddenly interrupted him by laying her hand on his mouth, saying,
"Hush! I hear Macdonald breathing in the wind, - Listen, hark, he's passing afar off in the valley."
It was even so; for, when the Lord James went back to the camp, he was informed that the chieftain had set off alone to throw himself on the King's mercy, and he found all the clansmen preparing to retire to their respective regions in the isles and among the hills. Thus were his hopes again blasted, while the anguish caused by the constancy of his ill fortune was sharpened by the thought
of Sibilla's broken faith. Meanwhile, Sir Robert Graeme, pursuing his course southward, parted from the Spaewife, who, as her nature led, wandered purposeless away.
MANY things were in the meantime growing to fruit at the Court, where the Lady Sibilla, on parting from Stuart in the gallery, as set forth, went straight to her aunt, the Countess of Ross, and told her, that until her father's enterprise was resolved and determined, she would give no farther tendance on the Queen. In vain did that discreet lady exhort her to the contrary, and represent, that, by being in companionship with her Majesty, she might find means and opportunities to mitigate the King's ire. But Sibilla was not to be moved by any stress of elocution, so that she continued to abide with the Countess while the royal preparations for the suppression of the rebellious raid were in
process, seldom appearing abroad but in a sequestrated and lanerly manner.
It came however to pass that the King, being instructed how none of the great barons and chiefs of the north, of whose clans and preparations he stood most in apprehension, had joined the rebels, but that in many parts where the Lord James and Macdonald counted on friends, the only demonstration made was for the royal cause, his Majesty resolved only to send forward the vanguard of his power, and to direct the Lords and Earls on whom he could rely, to repair to their castles, and with their respective clans there await his summons. Thus it happened that the Earl of Athol went to his strong-hold in the Blair, or plain of his country, and there arrived with a great host of Highlanders, about the time when Sir Robert Graeme, under the influence and incitement of the Spaewife, bent his course southward. But the young gallant, his nephew, Stuart, went not with him, being,
in furtherance of the King's politic device, detained at Edinburgh, nothing loath, in the hope of achieving the Conquest of the Lady Sibilla's true and invincible heart. In that adventure, however, he made but small progress; for when, by the connivance of the Countess of Ross, he sometimes gained access to her otherwise inaccessible sequestration, she gave little heed to his loving and fond professions.
"You wage," said she to him one day, "a bootless war with me. My heart is pledged to a prince of a royal nature and heroic daring; - to the heir of the kingdom, yea, to the open challenger of the King, and think you that I will stoop to hear the dainty protestations of any meaner man?"
"You amaze me, Lady," replied Stuart.
"I am the equal of my rash cousin in every thing but his treasons."
"And you are only not equal to him in them, because you lack the spirit to assert your own
rights. Think you that he would so meekly endure to be cut off from his inheritance by any ordinance of sordid time-servers, such as those were that gave the crown to the bastard progeny of Elizabeth Mure, and defrauded the lawful issue of King Robert the Second
of their birthright?"
Stuart was amazed to hear her speak so boldly; and her taunts entered into the quick of his soul, for he had ever felt as his uncle the Earl of Athol felt, that the posthumous law of the succession was a grievous injury to all the descendants of the marriage with Euphemia of Ross; which marriage, till the enactment of the law, had been accounted the only lawful matrimony which that King had really contracted, notwithstanding the general commiseration with which the fate of the fair Elizabeth Mure had been lamented. He stood in consequence some time struck with wonder, which Sibilla perceiving, added scornfully -
"I doubt not there is treason in my words - my father and my betrothed husband are in rebellion - why should not I too think and feel as a rebel? But go, - complete the loyalty of tamely submitting to be shut out from your own rights, by accusing me of treason. Why, man, if you had half the manhood that's in the left hand of your unfortunate cousin, the Earl of Athol would long ere now have been King, and yourself the heir to the throne."
Stuart trembled to see that the Lady Sibilla, while she thus spoke, was pale and dreadful, her eyes flashing fire, and the beauty of her countenance haggard with rage and contempt.
"I pray you, sweetest lady," said he softly, "let not such perilous thoughts escape you. Why should the Earl of Athol or myself shake the kingdom from its propriety with such old stories, seeing that we are placed by Providence, despite all human contrivance to the contrary, so very near the throne."
"You mistake me," replied Sibilla, with a haughty air; "I would not invite you to any undertaking. I but spoke of that humility of spirit, - Christian it is, - which so patiently holds up the cheek to the smiter. Deeds shew the man, and I esteem you by what you have proved yourself. The only daring thing you have ever done has been to offer yourself to me as the rival of your brave kinsman, and that, - very prudently, my Lord, has been most valorously adventured behind his back."
Stuart felt as if his passion was entirely quenched, and he gazed at the flashing frenzy of her eye, and the haggard energy of her colourless cheek and quivering lip, with almost irrepressible aversion; but the feminine fit was spent, and while he stood contemplating her with astonishment, and marvelling that he should ever have thought her lovely, or deserving to be loved, the gentle spirit of her nature returned, and she sat down and began to weep.
"Why, my Lord," said she, and her tears were fast flowing, "do you break in upon my forlorn estate ? Am I not betrothed to your ill-fated cousin ? Have I not shewn to all the world with what sincerity I hold myself to be his bride? Is it not then as an insult to a chaste wife to speak to me with professions of love ? Let there be, from this time, an end to all hope and protestations on your part, else I must regard you as indeed meriting those reproaches which, in my distraction, I have too bitterly expressed. Go, my Lord, and if it may be accepted as any atonement for my rash words, believe that I feel proud of the preference wherewith I have been honoured, but that your courtesies have always been as wormwood to my spirit, shewing as if you thought I could be false and inconstant to the strongest promises that ever maiden pledged with man. If not ordained to be the wife of your cousin, I shall never be bride to any other man."
The sadness of her voice, and the soft solicitation with which her eloquent eyes aided the wish that he would desist from his importunate devotion, renewed with redoubled tenderness the admiration which she had so long inspired. But the firmness with which she declared her determination to accept only the Lord James, taught him that his passion was without hope. Twice he essayed to speak, and to tell her something of the emotions wherewith his bosom was agitated, but his tongue could find no words, and he quitted her presence, torn with the conflicts of rejected love, contemned manhood, baffled desires, and protestations scorned.
In the whirlwind of this storm within, he hurried to the King's chamber to ask that he might have leave to quit the court, never to return while Sibilla was there; but in going thither he saw a great concourse of people assembled at the gate, the guards, and halbardiers, and archers, all drawn out. On hastily
inquiring what had chanced, a confused response by many tongues informed him, that the Lord of the Isles had suddenly appeared before the King, while his Majesty was at his orisons in the chapel, - some said he had attempted the King's life, - and all agreed that he had been seized on the spot, and was then in the Abbey.
So strange an accident made him at the moment forget his own cares, and, rushing through the guards, he ascended the stairs to learn the circumstances of so singular an occurrence as that the rebel should, in such a place, and at such a time, have presented himself before the King.
WHEN Stuart came into the King's presence, his Majesty was walking to and fro in the chamber, plainly in great molestation of mind; and the Queen was standing apart by herself in the bower window, seemingly deterred from breaking in upon his cogitations by the violent battle of thought wherewith he was agitated. On observing them in this state, Stuart would have retired ; but he perceived, that on his entrance the King had glanced his eye towards him, so that he was in a manner constrained to remain; and while he stood at the door, Sir William Chrichton, with others of the council, came in, upon whose appearance his Majesty mastered his feelings, and resumed his natural equanimity.
"Sir William," said the King, on seeing the
Chancellor, "I send for you to determine respecting this bold action of Macdonald. He has thrown himself on my honour and mercy, and yet how well we know he is not to be trusted - the cause of his doing so sufficiently verifies. We had given him permission to return unmolested home, and to abide in his island in peace, but no sooner did an occasion arise whereby he thought to advance himself, reckless of the damage he might cause to others, than he again took the field. But he has placed himself defenceless in my power, and truly I pray Heaven to instruct me what I ought to do, that my honour may be safe, and the commonweal protected."
The Chancellor went respectfully up to the King, and said -
"Macdonald, in so casting himself into the hands of your Majesty, if we may judge by his heretofore actions, has not done so from that nobility of motive which entitles him to appeal to the judicature of honour, but has
been compelled by some constraint of circumstance which he could not master, or is actuated by what with him is a no less forcible argument, some view of advantage. In either case he merits but the same treatment, and the law and the commonweal claim the first consideration."
"I know all that," replied the King quickly - "I discern all that, - but then he has thrown himself into my own hands, and I am forced to consider, not only what as a King I must do, but likewise what, to preserve my knighthood unstained, I ought to do. Is it, think you, possible that there may be any duty of the monarch inconsistent with the honour of the man?"
"I should think not," replied Sir William Chrichton sedately.
"Then what the King's part is," said his Majesty, "I have long studied to know, and perhaps not altogether in vain; for I have never considered royalty by its trappings. -
The doffed bonnet, the bended knee, macers and heralds, and golden baubles, with the butterflies of fortune's summer, and the shouts of the brute multitude, whose plaudits are often loudest when it's coarse appetite is served with offal, these make nothing in my estimate of the dignity royal. - No : Sir William, there is no King but he who dares to do every thing save wrong - who fears nothing mortal, but to be unjust - whose spirit is inaccessible to the inflations of sycophancy - whose throne is the fortitude of his own mind, - his sceptre a benevolent will - and the jewels of his diadem precious opinions bought from the wise and good. Of this empire every man may be possessed that is worth his soul, and he that has not attained to such sovereignty is but a slave, though he were adorned by all the East, and served by ten times the submission of all the millions that crawled before the worst of the Caesars."
"Your Majesty," replied the Chancellor,
"has but to follow the light of your own wisdom in this matter."
"Then," interrupted the King, "as he has thrown his life into my hands, let him have it ; but you, and others who are the King's officers, look well that no mischief ensue; for he will hourly count on some remission of whatever you may determine concerning himself or his estate, if his daughter accept our cousin, Stuart - the renown of which match, and not contrition as he professes, has alone, I question not, brought him hither."
Stuart at these words stept forward and said, "Let him not then reckon any longer on that, nor his sentence be measured by any chance of his daughter becoming my wife. - The hope of that is quenched."
"How!" cried the King, "What is this ? When was this?"
"It is so, and please your Majesty: ten kingdoms would not bribe me to address myself again to the Lady Sibilla."
The King looked at him, for a moment, gravely, and then, with pleasantry, said - "But one smile may."
"No, never; she is not what I thought she was. I have been blind to her defects, albeit I must still do homage to her beauty."
"Fy, Stuart; to disparage a lady whom you have so long worshipped, is to acknowledge some defect in yourself. It augurs but little for your valour to be daunted by a maiden's frown."
Sir William Chrichton, and those who had come with him, seeing his Majesty falling into this easy vein, withdrew; and the Queen coming forward, also began to jeer Stuart on being so faint-hearted. But the scorn with which Sibilla had spoken of his tameness made his temper as it were skinless to raillery, in so much, that the King seeing him so easily teased, yielded to the sportive malice which his querulousness provoked, and galled him with jibes,
"Nay," said his Majesty, "if thou hast lost not only thy heart, thy suit, but even thy temper, truly we must account thee as having come out of this adventure poorly indeed. Beshrew me, if any damsel in the furnace of a gossip's tongue will choose thee for her champion:
He that would thrive with lady bright,
"I entreat a parley," said Stuart, sharply. "Your Majesty does not impute to me any diffidence with respect to fighting."
The King laughing to see him so chafed, and being minded to prick him still more, replied -
"Why! did you not prefer dallying here with the ladies, to the rude grappling of Macdonald's kerns ? Nay, I do not impute it to you as any defect of wisdom - for, verily, it is a pleasanter thing to be amidst the tinkling of ladies' tongues, in a perfumed
chamber, than to abide the dissonance of blows and bagpipes amid the bleak winds of the Highland hills."
"Did your Majesty," exclaimed Stuart, with some lack of his usual homage, "but command me to remain here that I might be afterwards so scoffed at?"
The King perceiving that he had touched him nearer the quick than he intended, and being disturbed thereat, said, "But a truce with our controversy. I would not have you so abruptly renounce Sibilla, merely because you may have found her to-day in an ungracious mood." -
His Majesty would have added something more, but Stuart cried abruptly, trembling with passion, "Why am I to be ruled in my affections? In these your subjects may be left free."
The King looked at him with surprise, and, taking the Queen's hand, turned away, as he said, with a smile -
"By supper-time, perhaps, you may have recovered one of your losses, - the greatest, if it be not found, cousin, I mean your wonted good humour."
So saying, he led the Queen away, leaving Stuart alone, who thereupon began to pace the floor, clenching his hands, and using those vehement gestures which betray vindictive meditations, while, from time to time, he exclaimed -
"He kept me with himself - made me his companion - lulled me by a show of friendship, - and while the world saw the cunning of his policy, I have been despised for continuing so long blind. - Yes : I have deserved both his taunts and the contempt of Sibilla. But I am not a worm, to be ever trod upon; nor a snail, always to shut my eyes at the approach of danger and let it come. He would not have dared to treat me as he has done to-day, were not Macdonald, the last friend of the unfortunate Albanies, in his
power; but now he ventures openly to shew what he intends. The condition of the Queen gives him the promise of heirs from himself. He is afraid of my elder rights, so unjustly set aside by our common grandfather. He seeks a pretext to make his other kindred take the road of poor old Murdoch and his sons, but I will match his cunning with cunning; and haply when he least expects it, I may find a way to realize his fears. Yes, Sibilla, I thank thee at least for that favour; in telling me what I ought to have been, thou hast taught me what I am; what I am destined to be time will shew. But my fate hangs by a maiden's honesty; so said the Spaewife; and that prediction was the shadow of my hope with Sibilla - but shadow and substance I am now sick of as to her, and my spirit is the lighter, for still when she seemed inclined to favour my suit, I thought of her first betrothment, and the love that she continued to cherish for the
outlaw often damped the ardour of my passion. But now I am free; her influence over my fortune is ended, and I thank her for the taunts that have roused me to the sense of my rights, and shamed away the base lethargy that has so long withheld me
from asserting them."
In this manner, sometimes with vows of vengeance for the contumely with which he supposed the King had treated him; at others, with complaints against his own supineness, in being restrained from vindicating his birthright, by the false loyalty he had learnt from the Earl of Athol, did he continue to pace the chamber for a season, and ever and anon he rejoiced that he was no longer the thrall of hopeless love; and that if his destiny was indeed subject to a maiden's honesty, it was not by Sibilla he would receive his doom. Alas! poor youth, he knew not that, by the upbraidings wherewith she had chafed his spirit the impulse had been
given which was then hurrying him on to the consummation of his destiny. But it is ever so with us all - children of fate! - to whom it surely is ruled, that the things most fatal should ever seem the fairest ; for in nothing which affects our particular selves can we discern either the springs or the issues of the influences that govern fortune.
SIR ROBERT GRAEME had, in the meantime, after parting from the Spaewife, pursued his course southward, by moorland tracks and mountain paths, far remote from the highways. Her words dwelt in his spirit, as he waded alone the solitude of the heath, and he felt that the rocks might become as the morass, and the flexible windlestrae as the stubborn pine, but that he could never humble himself before the man who had driven him to such perdition of honour, and substance, and servitude, all that made life to him worth the having - so he accounted the King.
For three days, with but such casual fare as the sheilins of the shepherds on the hills could afford, he kept his solitary way. When his limbs were weary, and his feet torn with the harsh roots of the heather, and the sharp
splinters of rifted stones in his untrodden path, he would sit down on the bare corner of some cliffy rock, and scowl around on the deserts of heather that covered all the expanse in view; and when peradventure he sometimes saw the wolf skulking below, and glancing towards him a hungry eye, he grudgingly thought of the bondage entailed on the condition of man - and the cruelty in his blood thickened.
At night he chose his lair in the hollow of the hills, and often, when gathered in his plaid, a stone his pillow, as he saw the moon and the stars hurrying over him, like fugitives through the clouds, and heard the winds passing around, and the roar of waters sullenly risen from afar, he has started from the ground, and grasped the hilt of his dirk to draw it against his own fierce heart; but still the thought of dying unrevenged checked his purpose, and nerved him to endure the misery unsatisfied hatred a little longer. Then
he would lay himself down again, and after a short pause, sleep would suddenly descend upon him, like a vulture on her quarry, and devour him in dreams. The wolf that tracked him all day has been seared by the inward
rage of his visionary revenge.
The morning to him brought no light, but only the blackness of fate ; for, as be approached towards the glens that lead into the Lowlands, he expected to meet some of the royal army then streaming in from the south, by all the divers passes, to surround the rebels at Inverness ; and the apprehension of falling into their hands was as dreadful as the fantasies which superstition creates in the darkness of night. It would baffle his remorseless intent; the fear of which made him lurk in glens and woods by day, and move in the night, in the moonshine on the hill, like some dark demon to the execution of some guilty purpose.
"Sowlls and podies! ye'll be te tevil wi'
te foots o' ti cow - Oomph !" was the sudden salutation which he received, when, under the shadow of a cloud, in passing the third night round the corner of a rock in Badenoch, he stumbled over Glenfruin, who, with a numerous company of his clansmen, was so far advanced towards the appointed head-quarters of the royal army, and had there laid themselves down to rest, without ward or sentinel, having no dread of an enemy in that place.
In the same moment that the chief so spoke, the Glenfruins started from their beds of fern, and Graeme was pinioned by the arms, and a prisoner.
"Laads," said Glenfruin, "ye'll tak te sword and te dirk frae te man - tat's what ye will - Oomph; - and ye'll mak te rives o's plaid, and a tie on te hands pehind te pack and wi' te twa legs, for a salvation - Oomph."
He then addressed himself to the prisoner.
'Aye? al py yourselph, and a nopody at al - oomph. Wha will ye pe, and what will
pe your pleasantries here? Got's curse, ye had te foot on hur powel - Oomph."
Graeme, surprised, but not overwhelmed, by this sudden mischance, replied, as the clansmen were tearing his plaid and twisting the stripes into ropes to bind his hands and feet -
"You will learn betimes to-morrow what it is to seize in this manner a messenger to the King."
"Sowlls and podies! and is a' to-be-surely that ye pe te message for te King ? - Oomph. Aye! te message for te King - tat's a cogitation. - Sowlls and podies, he has te feather in te bonnet! - Oomph. - Put wha can see't wi' te moon! - Oomph! - Laads, straik him a ped, for he pe the King's message, and te morn we'll mak a congee, every mother's son of us, tat's what we will. Will te King's message pe pleasured to lie toon for a commodity o' te sleep ? Caz you see, we pe come o'er te hills, far awa."
"I can have no objection to rest, being myself tired; but, I pray you, let me have the freedom of my hands and feet."
"Aye! will na te King's message pe resting without te foots? Te foots pe in te stable for te night - Oomph."
Graeme seeing that it would be of no avail to controvert his condition at that season, threw himself on the ground, and two of the clansmen, one at each shoulder, sat down to watch and to ward beside him. Glenfruin stretched himself also, wrapt in his plaid, again in the lea of the rock, where he continued some time without, however, falling asleep. At last he turned himself round, and half rising on his arm, said,
"Will te King's message pe pleasured?"
"Well," said Graeme gruffly, "What do you want?"
"Just a civility. What pe te news te message will tak to te King?"
"Macdonald has left Inverness."
"Sowlls and podies! - Oomph. - Te Macdonald no fight. - Aye ! and te repellion pe al, wi te leaf o' te tree tat's made in a teal for a toor ? - Oomph."
Glenfruin again laid himself back on the ground, and after continuing some time silent, he raised himself a second time.
"Will te King's message pe pleasured to speech a word?" Te Mactonald - he will pe te man wi' te pig purse py 'tis lifting. Will tere no pe te wee town for a judification, tat te goot subject may rewart himsel for te repellion? - Oomph.."
"The good subject," replied Graeme, "had better think well before he rewards himself; for the King's justice is not to be trifled with."
"Sowlls and podies, te King's justice! - Oomph. Is't a justice to travel away te foots o' te goot subject for a noting at al."
Sir Robert Graeme never having before met Glenfruin, and not being acquainted with
the depth of his devices, was so far thrown off his guard by this observation, that he said, from the smarting of his own punishment, -
"Justice and suffering now a days, in Scotland, are nearly the same thing, and law is the disguise of tyranny."
Glenfruin pricked up his ears, but Graeme felt that he had said too much, and to lessen the impression, added, "So say the King's enemies; but this rebellion being over, as I doubt not it is by this time, we shall hereafter hear less of such disloyalty."
"Aye," replied Glenfruin. "0 put tat's moving. We'll pe going home te morn, tat's what we will - Oomph! What pe laa; put a pogle in a pook!"
Graeme was, however, now on his guard; and Glenfruin perceiving, after divers other endeavours to draw him farther on, that it would be of no avail, composed himself for the remainder of the night.
In the meantime the Earl of Athol, as rehearsed, had come to the castle of Blair, and had there gathered the main power of his vassals to be in readiness to join the King when his Majesty would come up with the Lowlanders. But more exact information having reached Edinburgh of the strength of the rebels than the magnified wonderment of the first rumour, the King had resolved not to head the army himself, but to send forward the warlike Earl of Angus. Accordingly it came to pass, as told in the foregoing chapter, that his Majesty was still at Holyrood when Macdonald arrived to cast himself on his mercy. Of this event the Earl of Athol received the first intimation from Stuart his nephew, who, on the same night that Graeme so chanced to fall into the hands of Glenfruin, came suddenly to the castle, having, in the afternoon of the day wherein he was so chafed both by the Lady Sibilla and the King, obtained his Majesty's permission to go thither. The King
had indeed, with sorrow, observed the inebriation of chagrin wherewith the Lady Sibilla's irreversible refusal had infected his brain, and holding him in great affection on account of his many knightly qualities, and hitherto unblemished fidelity as a kinsman and true subject, was right well content to give him leave to retire into Athol till the sore of his heart was salved by the mollifying ministrations of time.
NOW it came to pass, that the same night, after the Lady Athol had retired to her chamber, the Earl, with his nephew, remained sitting together by themselves in a turret-room discoursing of divers matters, wherein Stuart from time to time breathed his discontent against the King; for, though standing in awe of his uncle's renown for loyalty, he was fearful to give utterance to the impoisoned thought which his Majesty's free nature had so innocently bred ; yet was he not altogether able to repress the adder, nor to keep the fascinations of its eye from attracting the fated spirit of the Earl.
"He has no respect," said Stuart, "as we have seen, even for the dignity of his own blood; but, like the Ottoman, considers high
and low as if we,, were all slaves -courageless eunuchs bought in a market."
"Hush!" replied the Earl, "and set a guard on your tongue; for though it must be confessed that he does lack the accustomed discrimination of the Scottish Kings, yet is he singularly endowed with many princely virtues; in sooth a just man - a very Solon in the inditing of laws. - But I implore you to be wise; for have you not observed how much more cruelly his justice went against our kinsmen, the Albanies, than any other offenders?"
"Aye, Graeme, who laid hands upon him even on the throne, in parliament, when arrayed with crown and sceptre, was allowed to go with his life," replied Stuart; "I have often thought of that."
"Besides," rejoined the Earl, "think in what dubiety we stand with respect to the crown. But for the settlement of my father, King Robert the Second, I should this day
have been of right King of Scotland. I beseech you to consider that, and how much we both, you as my rightful heir, are placed within the scope of his jealousy, especially now that the Queen is in the way to be a mother."
"How is it, my Lord, that you have so quietly endured that great injustice?"
"You are too young to remember the boundless domination of the Regent Robert, poor Duke Murdoch's father, else you would not ask that question. And wherefore should I, a childless old man, stir in any rash unavailing pretension; for, to do the King justice, since his restoration he has greatly caused good order and security to abound, albeit too harsh in his ministry towards many of the nobility."
"0, there was a time!" exclaimed Stuart, "when any sovereign to have breathed against the old free prerogatives of the Scottish nobles but a moiety of what the King has done, by his
slights of law and judicature, would have raised the whole land like a whirlwind."
"You give your anger too wide a license, nephew," replied the Earl; "I must not suffer you to fall into such habits of discourse, especially now when the whole realm is again submissive to his dominion."
"But the world," said Stuart, "thinks our submission - mine at least - to come of a tame spirit; I cannot brook to have myself longer so unworthily considered."
"Hush! these are rash words, nephew, what would you do?"
"Have you not told me, that but for the treble injustice which gave the crown to the bastards of Elizabeth Mure, you should have this day been King of Scotland?"
"I charge you talk not of such things in that way. Rash young man! I would but do my duty were I to give you up for shewing so much of a seditious spirit."
Stuart was somewhat rebuked by the warmth
of the Earl, and made no immediate reply; at last he said -
"It is current among the commonalty, that it has been prophesied you will be King."
"So I have heard ; and when it is considered that there is but the King now between me and the throne, it is no improbable event, notwithstanding my years."
"Anniple of Dunblane," rejoined Stuart, "long ago told me that my fate hangs -"
"Anniple of Dunblane!" interrupted the Earl, "surely you set no store by the ravings of the ta'en-away. What man in the possession of a sober mind would give heed to her jargon?"
"But many of her sayings, I have often heard, have come to pass. She has a sharp and very singular discernment of what passes in the minds of those to whom she speaks; for it is with but few that she will hold any discourse."
The complexion of the Earl went a little at
this remark, and he looked around unconsciously, as if somewhat alarmed; and then said -
"If it is ordained that I am to come to the crown, and but one life now stands in the way, the event will come to pass without any ministry thereto on my part. But, nephew, let not your thoughts run upon such malcontent fancies. Seek rather to earn, as I have all my life done, the esteem of the wise and the good. It will better pave the way to a quiet succession, when the time may come, than any stratagem of human artifice in which you can engage. I pray you also never to break this matter again to me. I am an old man - this grey head can ill bear the burden of a helmet - and any other way than the course of Providence needs the mediation of arms."
"Think you then, my Lord," exclaimed Stuart, "that I can patiently abide the taunts of a usurper; for such I will think he is, bating
all that parchment can say to the contrary. You may permit him to possess your right - that is your own concern, my Lord - but he has wounded me past all cure: he has put salt into the wound."
The Earl, on seeing Stuart rushing into this vehemence, rose and said - "You must find other ears than mine to breath your treasons to. Is my honour as a subject so blemished, that you dare to tempt me with the dotage dream of setting aside King James. The greatest stain that ever my loyalty suffered, has been in the freedom with which you have this night ventured to express to me a querulous resentment. I will embark, rash boy, in no conspiracy. Think yourself fortunate that I do not forthwith send you to the King. Hence to your chamber, and ponder on what you have so traiterously spoken."
Stuart, more disturbed by his manner than daunted by what he said, was at the moment disconcerted, and immediately retired; but
the Earl remained, evidently in great agitation. He moved several paces from the spot where he was standing; and clasped his hands, and looked very wild and woe-begone. Then he again sat down, and bent his head upon his hand, resting on the table; and continued for some time like a marble image of cogitation. Suddenly he started up, and moved round the chamber many times with perturbed steps - often raising his hands and shaking them, as one that eschews the presence of some very dreadful sight. Anon he would touch his aged locks, and look at his shrivelled hands, and fold them together, and remain with a melancholy air, and sigh, and almost weep.
But these fond struggles did not last long; for ever and anon his evil angel would come upon him, and nerve him with pride, making his age seem less, and brightening his countenance with a royal arrogance; which soon, however, changed into a dark and cruel look:
- Then he would stalk hurriedly and stealthily across the room, holding his hand as if he grasped a murderous knife. But in that hideous attitude the fiend was repulsed; and he fell upon his knees, and with bitter tears cried woefully to the Heavens.
"I have not made a compact with perdition. Bring not dishonour upon this old head, which with the halo of grey hairs you have yourselves so adorned - yea, and anointed with the benedictions of good men, more preciously than the unction could have done with which the Prophet Samuel consecrated David against Saul."
Then, having thus prayed, he rose, and as if fearful to trust himself with the awful controversy of his own thoughts, he hastily seized the light that stood upon the table, and without calling, as his custom was, for the tendance of any servant, hastened into his lady's bower.
NEXT morning, being duly advertised that the rebellion of the Macdonald was at an end, and the different clans engaged therein dispersed, and retired to their respective countries, the Earl sent home likewise his vassals, and prepared to return to his lodging in Perth; the court being minded to come to Scoone, where the King expected his attendance. But, in the course of the day, it came to pass that Glenfruin, having with him Sir Robert Graeme, arrived at the castle, and being taken to the Earl, narrated in what manner the prisoner had fallen into his hands, and that he much doubted if he was, as he had pretended to be, the bearer of tidings to the King.
"For you see, mi Lord Eerl," said Glenfruin,
"what would te King's message pe taking to tell te grouse and the ptarmigan on te hills? - oomph! and ten, mi Lord and Eerl, he pe in te chief's cloes, an te tartan pe o' te Graeme. - Sowlls and podies ! is't a to-be-surely, tat were al a tream and veesion - and he pe te Sir Robert tat was panished. - Sowlls and podies! it was a lamb and a lion, mi Lord and Eerl, te fal in te sleep wi' tat traitor man - put he had na te sword nor te tirk - oomph! Aye, aye, tat was a goot poleesee - oomph."
The Earl commended the discernment and dexterity of Glenfruin, and lauded the alert loyalty with which he had obeyed the first summons of the King to rendezvous with his clansmen at the place appointed - telling him, that he would not fail to report his great merits to his Majesty.
"And ye'll pe pleasured, mi Lord and Eerl," replied Glenfruin, "to count to te King al te cost and te monies for the tribulations o? te Laidie Tooches - tat's noo in te
sheilin o' Glenfruin, taking her pleasantries in a custodie - oomph! Put ye'll no forget tat we'll pe seeking no monies at al, nor te pay o' te mark or te crown; - no, no, mi Lord and Eerl, Glenfruin's paith a loyaltie and a liberallie; an if te King will, in a smal way, just alloo tat bit shaping o' te land o' Lennox, it's just a loof and a palm, mi Lord and Eerl, atween te Leven water and te purn o' Glenfruin, we'll mak al our servitudes, paith for te taking o' te Laidie Tooches, and te traitor man tat's noo in te hal of mi Lord and Eerl, we'll mak it al a free gratos - a nothing at al."
The Earl did not exactly understand what Glenfruin meant in allusion to the Duchess of Albany being his prisoner, but he was so far informed with respect to the forfeited estate, as to know that the hand's-breadth of land whereof Glenfruin spoke so lightly was one of the best domains in the earldom of Lennox. But as it had long been the Earl's
endeavour to stand well with all men, he spoke fair, and with sweet words, to the old chieftain; at the same time, giving him no encouragement to expect that the King would consider his services at so high a price as he had himself put upon them.
"For you know, Glenfruin," said he, "that among the English, where the King was so long bred, true subjects are expected to do their duty without reward; albeit their kings sometimes bestow small marks of favour where the merit is very singular. I do not, however, say, that his Majesty will not discern the merits of your services, and reward them even with much more than the lands whereof you have spoken ; but there may be persons about the King who may represent those lands as of more value than you think they are ; and you know his Majesty is, in all matters touching the property of the crown, guided by the determinations of his council."
"Sowlls and podies! mi Lord and Eerl, it
would be a judification o' te honest man, and al his clan, to let te Laidie Tooches mak him an eatible, forpye te travail to te repellion, tat was al a tead loss - and ten te traitor man, oomph! Cal ye tis a government, oomph, - mi Lord and Eerl - if tat's te way o' te laas, we'll al pe traitor mans, every mother's son of us - oomph!"
"No doubt, Glenfruin," replied the Earl, "it would be much more according to our good old Scottish customs, if less were demanded for the public, and" -
"Te public! mi Lord and Eerl," interrupted Glenfruin, giving an angry hotch in his chair, "what's te public, an what pe te goot o' te public to me? oomph ! Sowlls and podies ! it was te petter time for te honest man pefore tis public was porne."
"Yes," replied the Earl, "this same thing the public keeps many an honest man from his own out of respect to it - but, as true and leal subjects of the King, we must all forget our
particular grievances. I am sure there is no man in the realm who has more reason to complain of the laws than I have."
"It's an och-hone, mi Lord and Eerl, tat ye were na te king yoursel."
"Glenfruin!" exclaimed the Earl, "Glenfruin! Do you mean to insult me, and endanger yourself by such language, in this house?"
"My goot Lord and Eerl, we're no a sedition at al. Sowlls and podies ! mi Lord and Eerl, would na ye hear a glorification, just in the way o' a congee - tat's al - Oomph."
"Well," said the Earl, not affecting to observe the apology, "but what does Glenfruin mean by the Duchess of Albany being in custody?"
"Oo aye, will mi goot Lord and Eerl mak a cognition o' te Laidie Tooches? You see, when te Glenfruins were al come to te shore - al, every mother's son of us, - tere was a man, a laad frae mi Laidie Tooches, - and te man,
he would tak te poat. Teevils in hell! Ye'll no tak te poat, - curse tak me if you will. Put, for al tat, he was a speech, and so we came pe te wood o' te tree, and Nigel - he's a praw laad and prave laad, Nigel - he came in te poat - and here was mi Laidie Tooches al py herself, and a laidie likewise on te stane, and so we made a captivitie; and Nigel, wi' te Laidie Tooches and her oold maiden madam, you see, mi Lord and Eerl, sailt in te poat to Glenfruin."
"Surely you have not seized the unfortunate Duchess without authority," exclaimed the Earl. "Know you not that the King has offered to restore her all the earldom of Lennox, which, however" -
"Al the eerldom! - oomph. Sowlls and podies ! Is't te King a man wi' a sholder on a head? and will my Laidie Tooches pe making a lifting pack again o' te cows and te cattles, tat te Macfarlane - oomph. Got tamn te Macfarlane; he took te cows and
cattle when te King made his judifications - oomph."
"Of course, Glenfruin," said the Earl, "you were too faithful a subject to herry the lands of Lennox at the time of the forfeiture. But if the Macfarlane has done so, let him look to the consequences, unless he has a friend to appease the King."
"Glenfruin was not quite easy in his mind at hearing the Earl speak in this manner, and, not well knowing what answer to make, he said -
"Put will na mi Lord and Eerl pe pleasured to see te King's message tat pe in te hal?"
"If he be, as you seem to suppose, Sir Robert Graeme, I am almost sorry," replied the Earl, "that he has been brought hither; as it was by my interference that his life was spared, and he ought not now to have been within the realm of Scotland."
"Sowlls and podies! where pe te goot service
o' Glenfruin to get te King's penedictions in a palm o' land or te mark o' monies? - Oomph - oomph."
"Nevertheless," replied the Earl, "since he is now in custody, I will keep him a prisoner till I have the King's orders concerning him."
"And what will Glenfruin pe doing wi' te Laidie Tooches? - Sowlls and podies! - Oomph."
The Earl paused for a moment. He thought, if he advised the chieftain to restore her at once to liberty, the veteran would thereby pacify his Majesty's displeasure at the manner in which he had treated that disconsolate lady, but otherwise his sordid loyalty might be changed; and, as the thought presented itself, he turned away from Glenfruin and walked to the upper end of the gallery, where they held this discourse, saying in bitterness of heart to himself -
"Oh! cruel fate, hurry me not so fast; let me take time to breathe."
He then returned with quick steps to Glenfruin, and said -
"Sir Robert Graeme is well known to all in my household, and I was already informed that he was your prisoner before you were admitted."
"Oomph," replied Glenfruin looking curiously from under his brows.
"Yes," rejoined the Earl; "but I do not wish to embroil myself further in the affairs of Graeme. I give you leave to let him be held in custody here till the King's pleasure concerning him be known."
Graeme had not, however, in the meantime been idle in his thoughts, and knowing the jeopardy wherein he stood, he had so addressed himself to Stuart, who on his being brought to the castle had gone to see him in the hall, as not only to move him to compassionate his condition, in the distemperature wherewith that ill-fated youth was at the time
afflicted, but to make him cleave to the rebellious daring of his spirit.
The fancies of the outlaw were still tinged with the predictions of the Spaewife, and in his ruminations on entering the castle, he recollected that, from the time he had parted from her, three rivers he had crossed, and ascended and descended the hills between them; and he said to himself, "Athol is the man by whom my lands are to be restored; his power with the King is the key of my castle, which, when I again possess, will indeed remain mine."
These reflections so wrought with him, that, while he was discoursing with Stuart, he beseeched him to ask the Earl, his uncle, to present a petition from him to the King. "I do not expect the restoration of my lands, nor shall I petition for that, but only remission of the banishment, that I may be free to enter into the vassalage of some generous patron."
There was no man of that time who could so eloquently enforce his argument as Sir Robert Graeme, and the elocution with which he set forth this seeming lowly request obtained a ready concurrence from Stuart, who not only assisted him in forthwith preparing the memorial of his professions of contrition for past offences, but in carrying it to the Earl; he added many things in the prisoner's behalf, expressing, however, his doubt if the King would grant any part of the humble boon solicited, and reverting, with sharp words, to the contumely, as he felt it, of the King's treatment of himself. The Earl, however, in taking the paper, said nothing; but his countenance was pale, and his lips quivered; and hastily putting it into his bosom, he retired into another apartment to conceal the agitation with which he was so very strangely affected.
WHILE Macdonald and his hasty adventure, so suddenly abandoned, was causing such molestation throughout the realm, and bringing so many fatal circumstances to a confluence, the Duchess of Albany, with her faithful companion, the aged Leddy Glenjuckie, was patiently wearing the time away in the castle of Glenfruin as a prisoner, under the watch and ward of Nigel and a party of the clansmen.
The Lady of Glenfruin and her two daughters, with many gentle ministrations, endeavoured to sweeten her captivity ; but to her Grace all things and all places were alike. Her prison-house was life; and if at times she seemed to be touched with any sense of mortal
sympathy, it was in the still of the golden evening, when she sat on the brow of the castle-hill, looking abroad on the tranquillity of the lake below, and listening to the mournful melody of some Highland sonnet and wailing coronach chanted by old Norah, as she teased her wool or twirled her distaff on the stone seat at the castle gate.
But Leddy Glenjuckie, who suffered no grief save that of pity for the misfortunes of her mistress, the which, like the sorrows of other waiting gentlewoman, was yielding to the balm of time, and save the occasional anguish of her own sciatica, passed the day with more variety. Having from her youth been habituated to the silken courtesies of a courtly life, she could ill abide the mountain fare and heather couches of Glenfruin's tower, and the offence which the yellow necks and bare red arms of his long and lean daughters gave to her delicate eyes at her arrival, was scarcely extenuated by the unmitigated civilities
of their Highland kindness. For several days she fretted at their endeavours to be urbane and debonnaire, notwithstanding the manifest great pains which the efforts cost them; and she often peevishly repulsed the condolence with which they brought frequent decoctions and many an arcanum of Celtic pharmacy, to appease the anguish of her sciatica.
Custom, however, began at last to reconcile her to their defects and kindness; and, in the end, the deference which they paid to her superiority was rewarded by affable tales concerning the revels and the banquets which she had formerly adorned. Then would she descant of the caskets of pearls and garnets, and the glittering robes, which she had left in the castle of Falkland ; telling them of things whereof they had not heard even the names, such as damask diapered with lilies, enamelled chainlets, pomelles, and purple palls; and how, when she was a maid of honour to the
Regent Robert's Duchess Duke Murdoch's mother, she had a milk-white Spanish jennet trapped to the ground with velvet and cloth of gold; nor did she forget the pretty page in his gay attire, that went with her when she took the pastime of hawking with the ladies of the court, carrying on his arm her eaglehorn and merlyon, with their silver bells. "But, well-a-day!" she would often in those pleasant rehearsals say with a sigh, "the decay of the world is plain to be seen. - Sir Penny has become the king of the earth;" and then she would recite with good emphasis, trippingly on the tongue, certain pithy morsels of the lay wherein his domination is celebrated, saying -
Popes, kings, and emperours,
Bishops, abbots, and priours,
Parson, priest, and knight,
Dukes, earls, and ilk baroun,
To serve him are they all boun,
Both by day and night.
In the king's court it is no boot
Sir Penny over all gets the gree,
Sir Penny over all gets the gree,
On these occasions the daughters of Glenfruin would beseech her to repeat the same till they got the rhymes by rote, it not being the custom in those days for young ladies of their degree, even of many degrees higher, to read the minstrelsy of books.
But Leddy Glenjuckie did not always seek to move her admiring auditors by instructive descants in the vein of Prince Achilles' complaint, to the which so many laureates in aftertimes
have played the mumbling echo, some for mockery and some for moan, taking their text from those sad rhymes of the longest lay of the learned Lydgate:
"For like it is that all the gentle blood
Changing the key of her humour, and running the diapason of a livelier mood, she would then rehearse the adventures of ladies and gallants, and other tenderlings, and quaintly tell of what mischanced to a fair damsel -
When she rose, that lady dear,
"Then," said she, "was the time when it was worth something to be fair. I was not
always gnawed by the sciatica. Time, that has since, with his cruel fingers, scratched so many furrows in these cheeks, was not alway my foe. Well do I remember, when, as a champion, he challenged to prove my beauty without a marrow, on a day that was to come. And it did come, and many a stricken knight with a bleeding heart lay at my feet."
Then would she ever and anon give these simple damsels, who much marvelled to hear an ancient dame with a shaking head discourse with such juvenility, much sage counsel how to comport themselves in what she called the maiden's war; telling them how the loathly woman won Sir Florent ; citing many a delectable sentence from that pleasant romaunt, the which in those days was as familiar in the Lowland halls and bowers as ever the poesie of mightier minstrels hath since been.
But, albeit, that antique gentlewoman so vaunted of her victorious beauty, and so discoursed
of stratagems of love, to these mountain maidens, yet was she in all points touching the moralities of demeanour singularly delicate, yea, most dainty and circumspect, else would not the Duchess of Albany have endured her services. There had chanced, however, a certain accident in her life, before she was married to the first of her four husbands, and by it, as an epoch, she was wont to date the occurrence of events, saying, that such and such things had come to pass so long before or after her misfortune; which misfortune was a damage that she met with by the fall of a gallery, wherein she was sitting with other ladies of the court to see the joustings held at Perth, on the occasion of the coronation of King Robert the Second, and by which she was ever after crippled from dancing, to the great grief, according to her own rehearsal, of the King and all his nobles, so much did she excel in the art.
In this manner the time passed away with
Leddy Glenjuckie till Glenfruin returned home; and a very wrothful and irascible man he was when he came, not only because he had found no rebellious town to indemnify his clansmen for the brisk loyalty with which they had obeyed the King's mandate to go against Macdonald, but also in consequence of the Earl of Athol's doubts if his Majesty would be content to hear that the unfortunate Duchess was held as a prisoner in his castle. The consideration, also, with which the Earl and his nephew treated Sir Robert Graeme did not content him; he not only expected that immediate execution would have been done on the outlaw, but had cherished the hope, that, for the notable service he had himself rendered to the State in bringing him in, no question would be made about granting the pendicle of the earldom of Lennox, which lay so conveniently to augment his estate.
"Sowlls and podies, Nigel!" said he to his son, in relating the adventure, "Isn't a shame
and a fye tat we will pe come pack wi' te meal for te forty days, al in our pellies, and no a sheep nor a shelty for te rewart? - Oomph."
But Nigel, instead of sympathizing with his disappointment, or the impoverishment which the clan had so unprofitably sustained in the expedition, began to speak in very tender and compassionate terms of the Duchess, and to suggest, that as her detention might not be agreeable to the King, it would be expedient to carry her, as soon as possible, in a befitting manner, to the summer bower in Inchmurrin.
The old man looked at him with a stern eye from under his brows, crooking his head like a ram preparing to assault an adversary.
"Aye, aye, Nigel, and so ye would pe sending te Laidie Tooches wi' a gallantrie - Oomph. Has she te rings or te gold for te ransom? -Oomph."
At this juncture of their conversation, Leddy Glenjuckie, who had been forth an airing on the castle-hill when he returned, came into the hall, leaning, because of her sciatica, on the arms of his daughters. As she passed towards the stair to ascend into the apartment where the Duchess was sitting alone, - the Lady of Glenfruin being busy with Norah in another apartment, seething worsted with chips of oak and rusty swords for a blue dye, - Glenfruin turned round on the bench in the chimney-corner where he was sitting and said -
"Mi oold Laidie-matam, and will te penalties in your pack no pe petter at al? - Oomph."
Leddy Glenjuckie, who had never been afflicted with such a salutation, dropped the arms of her supporters, and looked as if she beheld some shaggy boar, or other uncouth felon of the woods. Glenfruin however intended to be courteous, in order that no complaint
might afterwards be made by the prisoners to his prejudice, and he added -
"It's an och-hon, mi Laidie-matam, to see tat ye're al a crook like te hoop o' te new moon - Oomph."
At these words, Leddy Glenjuckie tartly took his daughters again by the arms, and with short quick steps, tottled as fast as she could to the foot of the stairs. Glenfruin, quite unconscious of any offence, rose and advanced to proffer his gallant assistance to help her up; but, shrinking from any ministration of his civility, she looked over her shoulder, trembling at once with anger and fear, and exclaimed -
"I have never been so insulted since I had my misfortune!"
"Sowlls, podies! misfortune! - oomph! Was it a son or a taughter ? - Oomph."
What might have ensued it were vain to imagine, for at that moment the shrill sound of a bugle-horn at the castle-gate drowned
her scream; and Glenfruin, with Nigel and all the sorners in the hall, hastened to see what stranger so chivalarouslv demanded entrance.
IN the meantime the Lord James, after the breaking up of Macdonald's enterprise, became very despondent of his fortunes, and was grieved, even to that sickness of the heart which is of a keener pang than the anguish of wounds, by the reported inconstancy of the Lady Sibilla.
In the morning, when he saw the clansmen of the Isles departing homeward, and all the array that had come to maintain his cause melting away, he stood alone on the side of Craig Phatric, and, meditating on the eclipse of his father's house, resolved to leave the Scottish strand for ever, and to sail to the isle of Rhodes, there to seek admission into the brotherhood of the knights of St John.
And it chanced that, while he was in this
forlorn and disconsolate state, Celestine of Loch Aw, a kinsman of his own, suddenly appeared coming from the bottom of the hill.
The mother of this Celestine, being the daughter of the Regent Robert, was aunt to the outlaw, and her son had inherited from her the partialities and affections of the Albanies; but his father, Sir Duncan Campbell, was a warrior of renowned loyalty, and in all things a firm upholder of the King's administration.
It chanced, that when the tidings of the Lord James' arrival at Inverlochy from Ireland reached Celestine, that he was hunting the red deer on Ben Cruachan, with but a few followers; and on the pretext of still pursuing the chase, he passed the mountains at the head of Loch Rannoch, and, skirring the country to the north of Loch Erich, had only that morning come from Dalwhinnie to the camp; so that the Lord James, on being told his name, though he joined hands with him as a kinsman, knew not in what way his affections
leant; and he was the more disposed to distrust him, seeing him alone and in the garb of a hunter, because of the notour devotion to the King which his father, Sir Duncan Campbell, cherished. He would therefore have gladly avoided him; but the melancholious manner in which Celestine had seen him standing alone, leaning on the hilt of his broad sword, much moved the young chieftain of the Campbells, and he not only tried to cheer him with many exhortations to constancy of mind, but with anticipations of better chances in the affection of undivulged friends.
"I see not," said he, "your condition in so dismal a plight. Come with me to Kilchurn castle, for my father is now with the King at Edinburgh. There, as you are unknown, you may for a time abide in security, till we hear what good fortune is yet in store for you."
But the Lord James replied, "How may I trust myself in the hands of the Campbells,
whose chief, your father, is well known to be as it were a very part of the King himself ? No, truly, my kind cousin, it were now a mad and vain thing of me to attempt any enterprise in Scotland; I feel that I am indeed an outlaw - the curse of excommunication has taken effect upon me. I am a shunned thing, and no one prospers that shares in the chances of my fortune."
"I do not invite you," said Celestine, "to any adventure, but only to take shelter in Kilchurn till the blast and the shower have a little abated; and safely you may so do, for there is not a man of our name that will betray you, if I but say that you place yourself friendless in their friendly hands."
With these words, he blew a silver whistle, that hung by a small chain from his baldric, and some dozen or a score of young men, followed by a number of dogs, made their appearance. These were all the train that Celestine had with him, and he briefly told them
how they were to comport themselves towards the Prince - to die in his defence, and to put to death whomever they suspected of meditating any wrong against him.
They made no response, but looked at the Lord James; and then each taking the other by the hand, they enclosed him around, thereby intimating that they were as one, and as such would defend him.
The cloud that had fallen upon the spirit of the Lord James was cleared away by this courageous demonstration, and he took his kinsman by the hand, saying -
"I throw myself, Celestine, upon you and the honour of your clan - carry me wheresoever you please."
Thus it came to pass, that on the same day on which Sir Robert Graeme was taken by Glenfruin to the Earl of Athol, the Lord James, in the company of his kinsman, arrived at Kilchurn, on Loch Aw side, where, under the name of Sir Aulay Macaulay
of Cairndhue, a famous hunter in those days, he was introduced to the seneschal and other of the officers.
But the Lady had no sooner cast her eyes upon him, than she discovered the swarthy lineaments of her father's race, and at once suspected his name and degree; but she repressed her surprise and emotion, not knowing whether her son had any suspicion of the rank of his guest, of whom he spoke as having fallen in with at the chase, and had brought to taste the apples of Froach Elain, and to prove the good cheer of Kilchurn for a night.
"I trust, however," said Celestine, "that it will fare ill with us if we cannot tempt him to abide a little longer; for there are deer in Knapdale of a bolder breed than any he has yet driven in Cowal or Lorn."
This speech made the Lady of Loch Aw still more suspect that Celestine had no imagination of who his guest was, while the suspicion, which the appearance of the Lord
James had at the first sight inspired, was confirmed by the sound of his voice, when he rejoined in a seeming
simple manner -
"I shall gladly partake of your pastime for a day or two, - and had I my own hounds here, I doubt not we should have good sport."
"Then you have left your dogs in Lennox?" said the Lady; and she looked significantly, as if she wished he might divine the equivocal sense of her question; nor was he dull of discerning what she meant.
"Yes, Lady," said he, "the best I have are there. I should say had, for they are no longer mine."
Celestine, without having observed the earnestness with which his mother had regarded their guest, and not particularly noting the strain of this discourse, here interposed, saying -
"But we account our dogs better than those of Lennox; and I will show you in the
morning five brace that may not be matched between the Clyde and Lochness."
The Lady of Loch Aw then led them to her bower-chamber, where she said to the stranger -
"It has been rumoured, that the King has restored the earldom of Lennox to the Duchess of Albany."
The Lord James, who had not till that moment heard aught of this intention, started, and had almost forgotten the part of Sir Aulay Macaulay; but the Lady suddenly and secretly touched him on the arm, and with a look that made him on the instant distrust the honesty of his friend Celestine, put him on his guard.
"The King," said he, "could do nothing more gracious. The Duchess" -
He would have added some commiserative sentiment on the woful and dejected condition of his mother, but the remembrance of the fate of his father and brothers rushed upon
him, and he was obliged to turn aside to conceal his agitation and sorrow.
Celestine saw his emotion, and would have immediately disclosed the secret to his mother, but at that moment a messenger came into the chamber with letters from Sir Duncan, saying how much he took it to heart to hear it reported that their son Celestine had joined Macdonald at Inverness, and praying it might not be so; telling her, at the same time, in what manner the rebellious chieftain had come secretly to Holyrood-house, and had there thrown himself upon the King's mercy.
Seeing her son then present, and having received no sign nor intimation from him to make her think he had embarked in the rebellion, at the same time fearful lest the stranger should be indeed Sir Aulay Macaulay, she did not venture to say or do any thing that might bring on a disclosure from Celestine ; for the rebellion being ended by the manner in which Macdonald had surrendered
himself, it became necessary to keep the secrets of those who had engaged in it; and she knew not how Sir Aulay Macaulay stood affected, either with respect to the King or to the Albanies. All this caused a sudden air of restraint and embarrassment to become visible in her demeanour, and she gave the letter to Celestine in so particular a manner, that he retired towards a window to read it apart.
The Lord James remarked what was passing, and seeing mystery and the interchange of expressive looks between the Lady and her son, became uneasy, and doubted the safety that he had been promised; and his apprehensions were augmented almost to alarm by the Lady, while Celestine was reading the letter in the window-bower, coming to him, and saying softly, that she might not be overheard -
"You know, Sir Aulay, that Duke Murdoch was my brother, and therefore I beseech
you, if you have heard any tidings of the Lord James, to let me know what you have heard?"
These words she accompanied with so much of tenderness and grief in her voice, and a look so much more pregnant than her words, that he could not but discern she had discovered him ; while, by what he had noted, he was led to think she desired it might still be thought that she knew him not. Instead, therefore, of making any reply, he took her hastily by the hand, and, glancing with alarm towards Celestine, said to her in a whisper,
Knowing how much her son leant to her affections for the relics of her father's family, she would have assured the Lord James that he was safe to trust himself with Celestine, whom she now supposed entirely ignorant of true name and condition; but the rebellion being over, and the rigour of the King's justice having taught her to dread the consequences
that might ensue to those who had taken any part in it, and anxious to keep Celestine free from all suspicion of blame, believing that the rumour of his having been at Inverness was unfounded, she deemed it prudent to allow him to remain in his supposed ignorance, and still to affect to treat her nephew as Sir Aulay Macaulay. Accordingly, when she perceived that Celestine had made an end of reading his father's letter she said to him -
"I beseech you to call home your brothers, Colin and Galespic, whom I see yonder in a boat on the loch by themselves. Go, I beg, for they are yet but mere boys, and the wind is strong and their sail broad."
Celestine looked from the window and saw his brothers, but in no such jeopardy as his mother seemed to fear. She, however, feigned to be still more alarmed, in so much, that he was obliged to go hastily, leaving the Lord James alone with her. Her anxiety
was however but a device, to procure an opportunity of conferring with her nephew in secret, and also to remove her son from the danger of being accused of abetting in any manner his outlawed and sentenced kinsman.
"This house," said she, the moment they were by themselves, "is no place for you." And then, with a hasty summons, she called Father Donich, her confessor and chaplain, whom, with a brief injunction, she desired to convey him, unobserved if possible, to his cell on Inish Ail, one of the small islands in the lake. "He will remain with you there till I have time, before the evening, to devise some way of conducting him to a place of greater security."
The weight of his misfortunes so pressed upon the spirit of the Lord James, when he found himself betrayed, as he thought, by the perfidy of his kinsman, into a place of danger, that he parted listlessly from the Lady of
Loch Aw, and followed the old monk out of the castle, heedless and almost unconscious of the way he went. But they had not proceeded far, till indignation against his treacherous kinsman, as he deemed Celestine, roused his spirit, and perceiving that there was faith and truth in the character of Father Donich, he disclosed himself to him; and after some controversy, wherein the chaplain urged him to trust to the Lady of Loch Aw, it was agreed that they should travel into Lennoxshire together.
THE King's counsellors, with Sir William Chrichton the Chancellor, having, in the meanwhile, determined that Macdonald should be held in durance, he was sent a close prisoner to the fortalice of Tantallon ; and the court thereafter moved from Edinburgh to Scoone, where the clergy in great numbers, with Bishop Wardlaw at their head, came flocking to congratulate his Majesty on the speedy dissolution of the rebellion.
"All temporal concerns," said the Bishop, "are flourishing with a great prosperity under the benign influence of your Majesty's fostering wisdom, but things of eternal import are perishing without succour. The abbeys, that were plundered in the misrule which so long afflicted this poor realm, are still in ruins;
and in the roofless churches the owl still worships desolation on those altars where holy men should serve the mass. Alas! many houses of piety, reared by that blessed monarch, your sainted ancestor King David the First, have become the habitations of doleful creatures,"
"Yes," replied his Majesty, "that same blessed monarch was a costly saint to the crown ; he scarcely left his sinful successors wherewithal to purchase a pardon."
Many of the churchmen, hearing his Majesty speak with this seeming irreverence of the holiest of all his royal ancestors, lifted up their hands and rolled their eyes, and some among them were in great ire. The which being observed by the King, he added -
"My good Bishop Wardlaw, I say not this out of any lack of respect towards the church ; for there is not one of all your brethren, whether he wear mitre or cowl, that more truly reveres the blissful tidings of religion,
than does the sinner that now speaks to you; but to pierce the heavens with golden pinnacles, like our holy ancestor, is not, in my poor judgment, the best way to gain admission ; yet something is due from me, in token of gratitude for the success which has hitherto crowned my endeavours to resuscitate justice and the renovation of law in Scotland; and I shall speedily evince the sincerity of my desire to prove that this is no profession of idle courtesy."
These words were comfortable in the ears of the churchmen, and so emboldened the Superior of the Black Friars of Dumbarton, that he ettled forward, and said-
"But it is not enough for your Majesty to consider only the condition of the religious houses; we beseech you to look at the great molestation which we sustain in our goods and persons. Many laics meddle with things ecclesiastical in a way never before heard of in any Christian land. There was a pious
brother of my house, by name Father Mungo - O! he was a precious vessel, a light and an ornament to all the church."
"What of him ?" said the King.
"On the very same night in which your Majesty so happily rescued the town of Dumbarton from the Lord James, an uncircumcised Highland schore put him to death. Whether his martyrdom was by tree or by steel, by
flood or by fire, we have never learnt, being in no condition to bring the criminal to justice."
"On that night!" said his Majesty thoughtfully. - "Did the friar of whom you speak belong to Bishop Finlay's friends? for you know, Father, that it has been quite as much the custom for ecclesiastics to meddle with things secular, as for laics to meddle with things ecclesiastical."
"0, no!" replied the Prior of the Black Friars - "Father Mungo was a guileless saint. He was not a man that would have joined
himself to any plot of a traitor as Bishop Finlay."
"Then perhaps he was on our side ? and the chieftain - what was his name?"
"Glenfruin! - was he engaged in that rebellion? - Surely I have heard this story before."
"That were a hard thing to say; for, at least, he took no open part in the work."
The King made no remark on this; but for a short space communed with himself, and then said -
"But, however it may have been with Glenfruin, it is not fit that such irresponsible justice should be executed on any man, far less on a reverend churchman. We shall give orders to sift this matter, and Glenfruin shall be made to account for what he has done."
His Majesty then taking Bishop Wardlaw aside, while those who had come into the
presence with him were retiring, informed him, that he was minded to found a house to the glory of God in the city of Perth, and commanded him to remain at Scoone until the needful preparations were made.
Now it came to pass, as they were discoursing of this matter together, that the Earl of Athol came into the chamber with the petition of Sir Robert Graeme in his hand, and went towards the King to present it. His Majesty observing him, said, with his freest urbanity -
"What great favour would our good uncle, that he comes to us with such elaboration of homage? This is something, my Lord, that you either fear will not be granted, or think should not." With these words his Majesty took the paper from the Earl; but when, at the first glance, he saw it was a petition for the remission of a punishment, he folded it up, and said gravely -
"I am grieved, my Lord, to refuse any
solicitation preferred by you; but the time has not yet come when a recorded sentence may be rescinded in Scotland. Here have just been the heads of the church, complaining of what the still suffer from the misrule and tyranny of those to whom power has been unwisely delegated. Take back the paper; I have not even looked at the name of the petitioner."
"My gracious Liege," exclaimed the Earl, moving, as if averse to receive the petition.
"I am not to be entreated in such things," said the King severely: "I have told you, that till I have searched those evils to their source, which have made this unhappy kingdom one constant theatre of crime, I shall esteem myself, even with all endeavour to the contrary, but as a candidate on probation for the great office to which Providence has called me."
"From whom is the petition?" said Bishop
Wardlaw apart; for his Majesty in so speaking had turned away.
"From my kinsman, Sir Robert Graeme.
" Do you, my Lord," exclaimed the Bishop, amazed to hear this, - "do you petition for a pardon to him?"
The King having partly overheard the Bishop's words, turned quickly round, and said -
"Who is the petitioner ?"
"A bold and dangerous man," replied the Earl, scarcely aware of what he said, so much had the sharp speech and keen look of Bishop Wardlaw disturbed the resolution wherewith he had prepared himself for the interview.
"And for these qualities," exclaimed his Majesty, "would you ask his pardon ? Tel me at once that he is the King of Scotland, and that we are but permitted to hold the crown through his forbearance. Let me never hear such words again. Eighteen years,
with the name of prisoner, I was exiled from my rights, and in that time crimes were al]owed to grow to customs among you. - How am I aided in the endeavour to lessen such misery, when great and good men like you, Lord Athol, set yourselves forward as the advocates of bold and dangerous offenders. It chafes my very heart, to think that there is never to be an end to the habitude of misrule, which has made the name of the wild Scot a proverb for shame throughout Christendom. But what is your friend called?"
"He is no friend of mine," replied the Earl diffidently; "the petition is from Sir Robert Graeme."
"Sir Robert Graeme ! I have ever repented the indulgence shown to that man. It haunts me," said the King, "like the memory of a foul deed in a troubled conscience; it comes upon my spirit at times like the fear that is said to follow guilt. And you, my Lord, who were so opposed to that indulgence,
how is it that you now would sue for his pardon? I have no taint of superstition but such accidents seem almost portentous."
Bishop Wardlaw, who had stood surprised to observe the King in this mood, turned to the Earl, and added -
"It was an evil hour, and under some malignant planet, when you ravelled yourself with the knotted yarn of that bad man's destiny."
The Earl trembled, and became pale, and could not for some time master the perturbtion into which he was thrown by these chidings.
The King, seeing his agitation, softened his voice, and said to him in a soothing manner -
"But I doubt not that, in all things, you have ever considered what at the time was best; and though no good has come, or can come, from the lenity shown to Sir Robert Graeme, yet I do acquit you, my Lord, of all
blame with respect to it. Not so, however, with respect to this; though to say truly, I know not well wherefore, and, with as little reason it is perhaps, that I say I wish you had not mingled the honours and merits of your own unblemished life with the devices and crimes of that stubborn traitor."
"How is it," said the Earl composedly, "that, while your Majesty says my life has been unblemished, occasion is taken from the case of an unfortunate kinsman to subject me to a degree of reproof, as if I had myself in some way offended. My Lord Bishop here is a pious and an honest man. I should have felt contrition, could I have, even in thought, questioned his integrity. He is building a fair and stately college at St Andrews; he chants and attends mass; not a priest of the church is more exemplary: I have never heard that the merits of his virtues and endeavours have laid him open to any suspicion."
"My Lord - Lord Athol," said the King, raising his left hand, as if he would have delivered a rebuke or an admonition; but suddenly dropping it, he added - "Surely I cannot have incurred the displeasure of my good uncle, whom, ever since I came into this kingdom, which I do verily think holds one continued earthquake from the border to the utmost cape of the north, I have found the most discreet and freest spoken of all my friends. But my choler was moved at hearing the saucy complaints of those churchmen against the meddling of the laity, even in a case of treason, wherein an audacious priest, I mean Bishop Finlay, was the chief instigator and mainspring of rebellion. If I have spoken hastily, my Lord, beshrew me if I shall not be most eager to manifest my contrition. But, Sir Robert Graeme - why have you come to me with any cause of his? why rather, I should say, have you taken such an infection from his seditious spirit, as to ask
me to remit his sentence, - a sentence which, at the time, neither my own mind, nor the judgment of the wisest of my council, approved, for it went upon the notion that he might become an honest man? However, to say no more of that, as it is impossible for the King's arms, long as they may be, to reach to every quarter, I wish you, and such noblemen as are of unquestionable fidelity, to repair again to your several castles, and each, within his own province, emulate the administration which we intend to exercise in ours. Know you any thing of a chieftain in Lennox called Glenfruin?"
"I have heard of him," replied the Earl, "and it is said that he holds the unfortunate Duchess of Albany prisoner, in order to extort a ransom for her deliverance."
"When did you hear this? why was not I sooner told?" exclaimed the King. "Could you come here to petition for a traitor like Sir Robert Graeme, and know that so noble a
lady was in the reverence of such a barbarian? for nothing less can I account this Glenfruin, who, out of his own caprice, committed martyrdom on an innocent, holy, and blameless friar. You ought, my Lord, to have told me of this first. I will listen to no question till orders are sent for the deliverance of the Duchess of Albany."
"I beseech your Majesty for one word," replied the Earl; "Glenfruin is a staunch and true subject."
Then let it be shown that he respects justice - justice, which, to the sacrifice of my own sentiments as a man, I have so strenuously endeavoured to revive. I have, my Lord, not spared, in that endeavour, the greatest and the most honoured of my own kinsmen; and the principle that made me bring them to the scaffold is not impaired, nor, while I retain that sense of my royal office with which I returned into this realm, will I allow it to suffer any occultation."
The Earl, though awed by the vehemence of his Majesty, yet retained his self-possession, and said -
"It belongs not to me to execute whatever may be your Majesty's pleasure upon Glenfruin, or upon any other of the untractable chieftains, but in my own country I shall not be found wanting in my duty."
"Then go to your own country," said the King abruptly, "and see that it is so." But in a moment his Majesty felt that he had dealt hardly towards so venerable and esteemed person as the Earl of Athol, and he added - "I would, my Lord, that I could endure these things more patiently. But good Bishop Wardlaw here knows, that the manifold complaints with which I am beset, and they are all just, gall my very spirit; for I am a young man, and the old are too prone to their own sordid intents to lend me that true help, by which alone I can hope to overcome the difficulties wherewith my royal estate
is environed. Yet I will put no harder task upon you, than this simple request, - Go to your own castle, and be there the same discreet, wise, and just man that I have ever thought and found you, but have no more dealings or correspondence with Sir Robert Graeme."
The Earl, without making any answer, humbly retired; and when he was gone, the King said to Bishop Wardlaw -
"I know not wherefore it is that I have been so moved by this matter; but the moment that the Earl presented yon paper, I felt as if an irresistible influence caused some hidden antipathy of my nature to awake, and I became, as it were, wroth towards him, not having any sufficient cause to be so; for, after all, what he did was but in Christian charity. I pray that no harm come to him from Sir Robert Graeme."
"Amen!" responded the Bishop piously. The King, however, instead of continuing
the conversation, moved thoughtfully towards the door which led into his privy-chamber; but before going in he turned round and said -
"That business of Glenfruin and the monk shall be speedily investigated. I now remember, it was the Lady Sibilla who told me something of the affair, but not as the prior has stated it. But, truly, I am more disturbed that he should have dared to touch the Duchess, than for the offence he has given to the church. But we shall know the truth without loss of time; for this very night I will summon him before us."
So saying his Majesty withdrew; and the same evening a herald, with horn and mantle, was sent to the castle of Glenfruin to bring that chief before the King in council.
WHEN the Lady Sibilla heard that the King's council had sent her father to Tantallon, she supplicated the Countess of Ross to retire from the court; to the which that lady was the more inclined, by the failure of divers endeavours on her part to obtain some remission of the sentence entered against her brother Macdonald. But though consent was readily given by the Queen to their retreat, not, however, without sorrow at parting with Sibilla, it was thought prudent by many of the council, that these ladies should not at that time be permitted to go either into the north or to the Isles.
This prudence proceeded from two causes; first, because the Countess of Ross was vehemently attached to her brother, and so loudly
malcontent at the severity with which she considered him treated, in contempt as it were of the frankness of his surrender and homage to the King, that it was feared she might again stir up the rebellion, whereof, though the flame was out, the embers were still alive; and, secondly, on account of the bruit spread abroad, that after the breaking up of the camp at Inverness, the Lord James had retired into the Western Highlands, where he was lurking for another opportunity to molest the peace of the kingdom, and, where it was thought, if the Lady Sibilla went to her father's country, she would, from the known spirit of her character, not fail to do all in her power to forward the cause of her betrothed lover. Accordingly, instead of being permitted to go either into the north or to Skye, those disconsolate ladies had only leave to retire from court to the nunnery of Inch Colm, in the frith of Forth, where for a time they remained in peaceful sequestration,
while those events were fast coming on, in the rehearsal whereof it is now expedient to proceed with a free and fluent pen.
The chivalarous horn, which was heard at the gate of Glenfruin when he so unwittingly offended the dainty ears of Leddy Glenjuckie, was the summons of the herald sent by the King to bring that chieftain to answer for the charge preferred against him for the death of Father Mungo, and for holding the Duchess of Albany prisoner.
On seeing the approach of the herald and his retinue towards the castle, the warders, according to custom on the appearance of strangers, had shut the gate; and Glenfruin, when he left the leddy with his daughters, went to the top of the embattled wall over the entrance to parley with the summoner.
Keith, the herald, in due form, having declared his office, demanded admission - a request which the chieftain did not very well know how to refuse, but which, somehow, he
knew not wherefore, he was not much inclined to grant. He was not conscious of having done any thing to bring upon him the royal displeasure ; but what he had heard from the Earl of Athol with respect to the Duchess, and the little encouragement that he had received for seizing Sir Robert Graeme, made him uneasy and apprehensive, and these feelings led him to say, without affecting to have heard the demand of admission,
"Aye, and so ye'll pe te King's herald - it's a praw ting to pe te King's herald, tat we al must alloo - oomph ! and was her Majestie in te goot hell, and te Queen hersel too? - for te Glenfruins wish tem paith, al every mother's son of 'em very well, and in te goot hell - oomph."
"But," replied the herald, "this is no place for such discourse; I must execute my commission, and therefore I pray you to order the gates to be opened."
"Sowlls and podies! laads below tere, will
ye no pe opening te doors ?" At the same time, looking down at the men who were standing in the gateway, he gave them a sign to be in no hurry, and turning round to the herald, he said -
"Aye, and so ye'll pe with te King's order and commeeshion, and what will te order pe apout ?"
"Do you know any thing of a monk," replied the herald, "that was seen in this neighbourhood about the time of the burning of Dumbarton?"
"Ooh, aye!" exclaimed the innocent-hearted Glenfruin, "there came one o' tose tings till us tat night, put we kilt her."
Keith, the herald, looked aghast, as did also those who were of his retinue, at hearing the stalwart chieftain speak in that manner of the martyrdom of a churchman - so they were taught to believe the fate of Father Mungo had been, and they wished that the gates might not be opened. Glenfruin observing
that they were in some degree daunted, though he knew not the cause, added -
"An is't a to-be-surely, tat te King's herald will pe come for te caaz o' Faider Mungo ? Ah! he was te lamb in te wolf's clothing."
"But you are also summoned," replied the herald, mustering all his courage, "to answer for the detention of the noble Duchess of Albany."
"Sowlls and podies! for mi Laidie Tooches - oomph! Nigel, I say, Nigel, will ye no pring her Crace to te King's herald? She's a free - my Got, she's a pird in te air, and a fish in te sea - oomph."
On hearing that the Duchess was in the castle, the herald's fears in some measure abated, and he became again a little more peremptory in his accent.
"So much the better it will be for you, Glenfruin, that her Grace is but as your guest," said he. "However, as my orders
are to carry you before his Majesty, where you will explain these things, to save all farther trouble, order the gates to be immediately opened; for if I am kept much longer here, I shall return at once, and report you as contumacious, and a resister of the King's authority."
"Sowlls and podies! and will ye pe caling Glenfruin a repel, wha is te honest man, and al his clan too? - oomph ! a repel, tat's a penediction and a rewart for our servitudes in te repellion - oomph ! will ye pe taking our lands? will ye pe cutting our heads? - oomph! a repel, isn't a repel a traitor man? - Sowlls and podies! Glenfruin a repel! - Oomph!"
"I demand admittance in the King's name," cried the herald with a loud and sonorous voice that startled the echoes around, and made the heart of Glenfruin quake.
In the meantime, the ladies within the castle had mounted to the battlements of the tower, and standing there, heard the latter part
of this colloquy. The chieftain perceiving the risk he ran of being reported as a resister of the King's authority if he longer refused admission, hastily turned round, and ordered his men in the court to open the gates. At the same time casting his eyes towards the battlements where the ladies were standing, and seeing Leddy Glenjuckie, in order to conceal his uneasiness, he affected to be gallantly facetious, and said to her -
"And is't a to-be-surely, my goot Laidie Lamelegs, tat ye'll pe tere a pigeon dove. Sowlls and podies! I took you al tis time for a wee winking witch o' a hoolet."
"You're a hobgoblin, a Mahound!" exclaimed the indignant leddy Glenjuckie; "and now you shall know what it is to insult ladies."
By this time the gate had been opened and Keith, having come into the court of the castle, heard the lady's complaint; but Glenfruin, with a significant glance of his eye upwards, and touching at the same time his forehead
with his finger, said, intending, by the look and gesture, to imply that she was not in her right mind, -
"It's a sore och hon, poor oold cat of defeeciencies."
Nor was his insinuation ill-timed; for at that moment Leddy Glenjuckie uttered a shrill and strange shriek, partly of joy and partly of amazement; and the Duchess, who was then at some distance on the battlements apart, was so surprised thereat, that she rushed towards her in alarm, waving at the same time her hand towards two strangers, who were seen ascending the castle-hill from the side opposite to that by which the herald with his retinue had come.
"Te King's herald will see," said Glenfruin, as be led the way, not without trepidation, to the hall, "tat te laidie matam, mi Laidie Tooches' maiten, matam, will pe in a whirlyhoo - oomph!"
WHEN Celestine Campbell came back from his brothers to his mother, the Lady of Loch Aw, and found in what temerarious manner the Lord James had been sent from Kilchurn with Father Donich, he was much troubled, and gave but little heed to all that she would have said concerning the guard which the jealous spirit of the times required he should set upon his own conduct ; albeit she was none displeasured by the ardour of his generous regret at being so hampered in his intended hospitality.
"It will be wise," said the Lady, "that you know your cousin only as Sir Aulay Macaulay.; and whatever I may do in his
behalf it will be as well that you know it not. We have not now to think of upholding any cause of his, or of my family, but only to save him from the hands and machinations of his enemies till he can be conveyed to some place of security beyond the seas."
But her words fell without effect on the ear of the young chieftain, who replied -
"He has placed himself in my hands. I am pledged to my honour for his safety, even though he were neither of our kith nor kin, and I cannot abide the thought that he should have left this house in any distrust. The offence of sheltering him, outlawed and forfeited as he is, will not be called rebellion; and something from the stern justice of the King will be conceded to the affection of a kinsman, for succouring a poor fugitive. But whether it may be so or not, I will perform the task I have undertaken, and let hereafter provide for the issue."
"But bring him not back to this house,"
replied the Lady. "The power of your father's vassals is such, that the King may well be jealous were he to hear of his being with us; for to keep him openly in Kilchurn, would be to contemn the royal edicts ; and to conceal him among us would betray a secret affection for his fortunes, that your father could not easily extenuate, even in so far as affected himself, notwithstanding his long and tried devotion to the King."
"Then" said Celestine, with a sigh, "he has nothing to hope for in Scotland. I found him on the utmost verge of adversity ; - he was then minded to pass to the Isle of Rhodes; and in submission to his ill fate, and the faithless inconstancy of the daughter of Macdonald, he purposed to seek admission into the order of St John. I cheered the despair of that resolution with the assurance, that so dark an hour as then blackened over him could not be far from the midnight of his misfortunes. But if the clan Campbell may
not, or dare not, give shelter to a poor stranger who has not where to lay his head, they answer not to the opinion I would hold of their hospitality. For it is entertainment only as a guest that I pledged myself to bestow, nor would I be so disloyal to my father as to tamper with the fidelity of his vassals, knowing, as I do, how freely he has undertaken to the King to maintain good order and fealty among them. But not to debate when I should be doing, I will follow the Lord James to Inish-Ail, and concert with him what, in this extremity, should be done."
So saying, he parted from the Lady, and went to the creek below the castle, where the boat was lying wherein his two younger brothers had been sailing, and stepping on board, called to him four young men by name who were reclining on the banks of the lake, listening to the harpings of an aged bard who was rehearsing to them the song of Bera; and the thrush, which sings mellowest at the going
down of the sun, ever and anon, from amidst the boughs of a neighbouring tree, sent forth to them her sweet symphony in melodies not more artless ; for it was then the close of the day, and all things around seemed composed to harmony and rest.
On the northern side, the hills and woody skirts of the lake were darkened with their own shadows, and hung over the clear depths of the stillness of the sleeping waters below, wherein the glories of the evening sky lay reflected, as if they had been clouds enviously drawn between the world and some marvellous apocalypse of brightness and beauty. But on the southern shore, the green hills with their rocks and cliffs tufted with trees and hazel - the rugged ravines where the silvery waterfalls here and there glance out upon the brighter scene - and the mountain-ash, that holds up his ruby berries amidst the fading woods and the falling leaves, like a young hero who has dyed his sword for the
first time in the blood of some renowned warrior, were all still glittering to the setting sun; and the islets on the bosom of the lake seemed like argosies in a calm; while from the tower of Macnaughton, on Fraoch Elain, the smoke of the evening hearth streamed afar through the serene air, like the wreath of the sounding galley that is yet destined to waken the slumbering waters, and the silent echoes of Loch Aw, the loneliest and the loveliest of all the Highland lakes in the still of an autumnal evening, such as that on which the young Chief of the Campbells embarked with his four clansmen to follow the Lord James and Father Donich to the chantry on Inish-Ail.
Thinking they had taken the road along the banks of the lake, he had leapt into the boat, and ordered the men to ply their oars vigorously, that he might reach the island before them. But after his arrival there, and having waited long, patiently expecting their
coming, he began to fear that surely some mischance had befallen them. Still reluctant to return home until he was in some way satisfied, he sent two of the clansmen to search for them. Their search, however, was fruitless; and about midnight, when they came back without tidings, he returned to Kilchurn, where his lady mother was no less disturbed than himself with fears and anxieties for their safety.
The first thought that came both to her mind and to his, was to send out servants in all directions to search the hills, and to gather intelligence wheresoever it was likely to be obtained; but when they considered the wonderment that such solicitude would cause throughout the country, and the danger that might thereby arise to the fugitive, they consulted together, and it was agreed between them that Celestine, with a numerous train, under the pretext of hunting, should by break of day make towards Lennox, whither, in
the course of the journey from Inverness to Kilchurn, the Lord James had often spoke of going to raise, among the friends of his mother's family, the means of bidding adieu to Scotland for ever.
Father Donich, however, instead of keeping the regular road, being well acquainted with the mountain-paths and unfrequented tracks, conducted his charge by a different course to that which Celestine took, who passed through Glencroe, and reached Loch Long head before he heard any tidings of his friends. It was not indeed until he had claimed entertainment from Macfarlane, in the castle of Arrochar, on the second night after his departure from home, that he obtained any information to guide his search.
It chanced on that night, as he was sitting at supper discoursing with Macfarlane of his exploits as a hunter, that he recounted to him how, in returning from his late excursion beyond Ben Cruachan, he had fallen in with
Sir Aulay Macaulay. For the Macfarlane, notwithstanding the insinuations of Glenfruin to the contrary, happened then to be one of the most orderly and loyal of all the western chieftains, and on that account Celestine did not choose to tell him that he had been even so far as Loch Rannochside. Whether there was any thing particular in the sound of his voice, or in his look, when he spoke of this adventure, it was certainly not remarked either by Macfarlane himself, nor by any of the kinsmen then seated at the table with them; but while he was speaking, he was startled by the apparition of two bright and glittering eyes shining in an obscure corner in the hall over against him; and in a moment after, the voice of the Spaewife was heard chanting from the same place -
"Sir Aulay Macaulay, the Laird of Cairndhue,
"0, never mind her!" said Macfarlane;
"it is that poor wandering creature, Anniple of Dumblane; she came into the hall a short time before yourself. They say she knows something by common; but whether it be so or not, she's a harmless thing, and is ay free of a night's lodging here."
"Aye," interposed Anniple, dragging herself forward without rising; it's well known that I ken something. -
"Sir Aulay Macaulay, the Laird of Cairndhue,
"Well!" said Celestine, "and what know you of him? Have you seen him lately? How was it with him?"
She, however, made no answer, but sang -
"This night beneath the greenwood tree
"Who is your love?" said Celestine eagerly,
struck by something peculiar in her manner.
"Sir Aulay Macaulay, the Laird of Cairndhue,
Celestine perceived that she had some notion of the anxiety with which he had asked the question; but afraid of being too curious lest he might attract observation, he smiled to Macfarlane, as if at Anniple's rhapsody, and, casting a slight glance towards her, resumed the conversation which she had interrupted. Some time after he attempted to draw her into conversation; but the forlorn creature had fallen asleep, and when it was attempted to rouse her, she complained like an untimely awakened child, crying - "The hare at night gets leave to rest, and the bird may sleep on the tree, but the poor ta'en-away, that's hated by all living things, 'cause she's no o' God's making, her life's a stream without a pool."
Celestine seeing her in that state, requested that she might not be disturbed ; and next morning he was early afoot, hoping to gather from her something more intelligible, but she was gone. However, after leaving Arrochar, and passing towards Tarbet, on Lochlomond side, he discovered her at a distance sitting on the trunk of a fallen tree; and as soon as she saw him she rose and ran forward, looking occasionally behind, and indicating, by her gestures, that she wished him to follow. In this way she led him to Glenfruin, and to the bottom of the castle-hill, where he arrived soon after the Lord James and Father Donich, who were the strangers that the Duchess and Leddy Glenjuckie saw from the tower; just indeed after the chaplain, who had advanced to the castle, leaving his companion behind, obtained admission into the hall, where Glenfruin was endeavouring to manifest his loyalty by the exuberance of his attentions to the herald. But, before reciting
what ensued there, it is expedient for a season to resume the rehearsal of what had in the meantime fallen out between the Earl of Athol and Sir Robert Graeme.
THE Earl, after the King had refused to receive the petition, went next morning from Scoone to his castle in the Blair of his country, where he had left his nephew with Graeme. He was malcontent, not only with himself, but with what had passed, and the aspect of all things. He spoke not with any of his attendants in the course of the journey; and, when he crossed the Tay at Dunkeld, it was observed by them that he neither made obeisance nor presented gift, as his wonted custom had ever before been, to the image of St Cololn, which stood, with a lamp ever burning before it, fronting the landing-place of the ferry.
They, however, remarked, that from the time he passed Dunkeld his manner changed,
now affable and free towards the occasional traveller that halted to render homage to him as he passed, but, for the most part, abrupt and peevish, and sometimes abstract and gloomy, signs which denoted how ill he was at ease with himself.
On arriving at the castle, he rode straight into the inner court without returning the salutation of his officers. Stuart, who had been apprised of his coming, met him at the door; but even to him also he said nothing, though in alighting he pressed his hand, and took his arm as he moved to pass into the hall. He had not, however, stepped many paces from his horse, when he turned round and said to one of the officers, who had advanced to assist him to alight, -
"See that no stranger, of whatsoever rank or degree, be admitted without my orders, - save only the King himself."
Many vassals and retainers were then standing around in that ward of the castle,
and heard what he said. They had before learnt how Stuart had left the court in anger, and they remembered the doom of Duke Murdoch and his sons with concern and silence, when they saw how much their own aged master was chafed and troubled: for the Earl of Athol had ever been the most kind of Lords, and was much beloved by all bound to his servitude, whether by tenure or fee.
After he had given that order to guard the gate so vigilantly, he went, leaning on his nephew, into the hall, where he said to him, with some degree of tremor in his voice, -
"I would see Sir Robert Graeme, - send him to me."
Stuart made no reply; but with buoyant steps went to the tower, where Graeme was held, seemingly, in the strictest custody, and bade him come to the Earl. No words passed between them, but they exchanged looks pregnant with a mutual understanding of each
other's thoughts, the fruit of their communion and intercourse during the absence of the Earl.
On reaching the chamber where the Earl was alone, they found him pacing the floor with wide strides. His eyes were bent upon the ground, his brows knotted with cogitation, and he walked with his hands behind, the left firmly grasping his right arm by the wrist.
He observed them come in together, and, without appearing to notice Graeme, he signified to his nephew, with a look and a brief and abrupt wave of his hand, that he wished him to retire. Stuart immediately withdrew to the outside of the door, which Graeme held half open.
"It was your pleasure, my Lord," said Graeme, after a short pause, "to send for me."
"I have been insulted on your account, Sir Robert Graeme," said the Earl. "Your petition
has been rejected with scorn. I have endured unexampled contumely."
Graeme smiled, and without changing his position, but only taking his hand from the door, which he emphatically closed, said -
"When you are King, will you give me back my lands?"
"Sir Robert Graeme, what do you mean?"' exclaimed the Earl, pausing, and looking steadfastly at him.
"The man," replied Graeme, "that has so insulted you is my enemy - the common oppressor of every freeman in the realm. Our causes are now joined. My life, which is a trifle that I have often hazarded, I have sworn to give for revenge - it is all I have to give. In a word, my Lord, my heart and my dagger are alike thirsty; but they are epicures, and will not be satisfied with less than royal blood."
"Hush, hush, Sir Robert Graeme," cried the Earl, going hastily towards him.
"I am calm," replied Graeme. "I ask a simple question - give me a plain answer. Will you restore my lands if you are made king?"
"Surely," said the Earl, "the wild condition to which you have been condemned must have impaired your wonted discretion. You have so long lived a banished man, been housed in caves, and in fellowship with savage beasts, that surely you have lost all reckoning with the world. Have you not heard that the Queen was lately delivered of two princes, and though one died, the other thrives well - a lively and promising prince?"
"My Lord," said Graeme, "in this your own castle, within these your own walls, and beyond all chance of escape, save with your consent, you hear me openly propose treason - why am I not arrested? Is it not because you like the proposition ? Between you and the throne - the baby I count as nothing - stood Duke Murdoch and his sons. Thanks
to that justice which has no respect for kith or kin - they are removed."
"Your words, your purposes appal me, like the prophecies of an oracle. I may not listen to such things," exclaimed the Earl; "but you are a banished and an oppressed man, and I can pity you."
"Will you assist me?"
"In what would you have my assistance? Have I not carried your petition to the King ? Have I not been all but spurned for presenting it?"
"Well, well - but will you help me to redress yours, and my own wrongs?"
"Why, my Lord, need you so much explanation? Briefly then: If I master the tyrant, and place you in his seat, will you reverse the sentence under which I suffer ?"
"Sir Robert Graeme, it is easy to promise much, but the chances of my ever being called
to the performance is now hopeless. Have I not told you of the Prince?"
"How very merciful, in such a business as this, to think of a helpless and harmless baby!"
The Earl, finding himself as it were overpowered by the demon who so openly tempted him, replied slowly and hesitatingly -
"Be not so headstrong - let me have time to consider of what you would undertake - the hazards - the risks of the failure - the guilt of the success - the long preparations - the horrible death."
Graeme, after a momentary pause, said -
"As to heads stuck on pikes over the city gate, and limbs tainting the air from the four quarters of the kingdom, - I shudder but with the thought of the vile mortalities, worse than maggots, which such things engender among louts and clowns as they drive their sheep and kine to market. My Lord, if my honesty offends you, let me go forth from the castle. You
may permit so much to be done to help you to the throne. You do not bid me go. The worst thing that can befall us is but to die - and when that which is the man hath quitted the clay let the carcass rot. Do the cooks and carvers in your hall inflict anguish in their vocations ? and if we are destined to die the death of traitors, will the afterwork of the hangman make us feel more?"
"These peals of terror may amuse your fancy, Sir Robert Graeme," replied the Earl firmly, and with something of his accustomed lordliness, "but I have all my life been a man averse to blood, nor do I see that to regain my natural rights, so wrongfully abrogated, there is any necessity to take the King's life. Had we his person in our power here, or could by any device carry him off from the midst of his government, I would ask no more, - nor to more will I lend myself, if even to so much, when I may have sifted the risks of the matter more thoroughly."
"My Lord," said Graeme with undaunted coolness, "it is plain to me that this is not the first time you have thought of this matter - I doubt not you have long considered it well."
"To slay the King," replied the Earl, dismayed by his familiar boldness, "is a crime to which I can never be consenting. But I have a tower that stands far in the sea, upon a steep and almost inaccessible rock - no sail is ever seen from its narrow windows by the melancholy warders, save the solitary ferry-boat in the summer calms, or in the wintry mornings after a tempest, some unfortunate vessel, with her crew all dead, clinging and frozen to the rigging."
"The safest prison for a King," replied Graeme with a sneer, "is the grave - there is no key, bolt, nor jailor, that can be safely trusted with such a charge but the spade."
"I will never," cried the Earl, "stain my hands with blood."
"Very well, let it be so," replied Graeme; "there are apothecaries and skilful cooks; Cannot you procure leave for one to spice his Majesty's supper. But, no; that will not do; I should thereby not satisfy my revenge: I must feel his blood, and have sensation of its warmth!"
"He has never injured me," said the Earl mournfully.
"I do not expect," cried Graeme impatiently. "that you with your own hands will use the knife; I would but have you privy to the design, that I may know what shall betide me if we succeed."
The Earl wildly clasped his hands, and with a sad and piercing voice, exclaimed -
"Oh, I am as one that swims in a river, and feels the force of some great cataract drawing him down! Louder and louder rises the roaring of the fall."
But the good angel of the Earl was then
contending with the fiend, and the ambitious, miserable, poor, infirm, grey-haired old man rushed in horror from the room.
GLENFRUIN having in the meantime exhausted all his blandishments, in the hope of inducing the herald to forego the execution of his warrant, had at last recourse to expostulation, and began to doubt if it was possible that he could be summoned before the King and council to answer any accusation. To this, however, Keith replied by reading the summons, wherein it was rehearsed that his Majesty "Greeting," and so forth, required and commanded him to appear.
"Sowlls and podies!" cried the chieftain, "and is't not a shame and a fye, tat te King, a pig man, will pe greeting like te smal shild ? - Oomph."
All, however, was of no avail; Keith still insisted that he must come with him, and became
so peremptory, that the ire of Glenfruin began to kindle.
"Aye! aye!" said he, "and you will pe going away - and you will pe taking Glenfruin pe te horn, like te pull or te ram. Aye! put Glenfruin he'll no pe going at al - curse tak me if he'll - Oomph."
"I see," replied the herald, "that you do not understand the importance of my office, and in consideration of your ignorance of the laws - "
"Laas!" interrupted Glenfruin, "what pe laas ? Tere be no laas in te Hielands, put te free will and te judification; and te free will, you see, he'll no pe for Glenfruin to go - and te judification - Oomph! May pe ye'll no pe liking te judification at al. - Oomph - Oomph."
Keith felt somewhat uneasy at the contumacious spirit which Glenfruin was again beginning to manifest, and glancing anxiously around, saving his own three attendants and
father Donich, he beheld only hempen-haired vassals and shaggy sorners, that questioned no hest of their chieftain, mustering from without, and standing, row behind row, to the utmost obscurity of the hall, their fierce eyes glaring like red and ominous stars through the gloom of the night. Still, not altogether daunted, he said -
"You will but make your condition worse by thus resisting the King's authority. If you do not submit yourself quietly, I will retire, and a sufficient force will soon compel your obedience."
"Sowlls and podies ! and will tat be te rewart for al te total loss o' te Macdonald's repellion? - Oomph; and for catching te panisht man? - Oomph. And for mi Laidie Tooches ? - Oomph."
"Ah!" said the herald, induced by many visible reasons rather to persuade than to command, "it is to be regretted that you ever troubled yourself with her Grace."
"Her Craze!" cried Glenfruin, "her Craze! - it's al a false and a lie, tat she pe here in a constipation."
"I doubt not, Glenfruin," replied Keith, "that you will be able to prove it so to the satisfaction of the King; I, however, have no power to determine any thing in the matter, but only to carry you with me."
"And is't a to-be-surely, King's herald, tat ye'll no have an eye and a veesion? Nigel, I say, Nigel, pe pringing te Laidie Tooches, and lead her wi' a congee to te castle-hill, for te demonstrations o' libertee - Oomph."
"I entreat you, Glenfruin, for your own sake," exclaimed Keith, "not to make me and those with me witnesses to the contumely with which you treat that most noble and unfortunate Lady. In one word, you are my prisoner, and you must go with me."
"Sowlls and podies! and will ye be calling me preesoner in te sheiling o' Glenfruin?
Laads, tere will pe a judification - ye'll pe catch al te four."
In an instant the three attendants and the terrified herald were seized, and lifted upon the shoulders of the clansmen. But Father Donich, who had hitherto remained a silent spectator, ran to the chieftain, who was grumbling like an earthquake, his gathering wrath being no longer repressible - and laying his hand on his shoulder, said -
"For goodness and mercy, Glenfruin, be not so rash! surely you will not hang them?"
"Och put she will, every moter's son o' tem, - oomph."
"Consider the sin of such a crime; - though you should escape the vengeance of an earthly king, think of the dreadful condemnation that the shedding of innocent blood will bring on you hereafter! 0 think of the woful purgatory of fire!"
Contemnation, Faider Donich ! - tere will be two words about te contemnation o' Glenfruin
- te purge o' fire - Oomph - tat's a pad pheesic, Faider Donich. Laads, take out, take out te King's herald and his men for te judification."
At Glenfruin's gate hung a crooked and sonorous piece of iron, which, when none of the warders chanced to be at hand, visitors desiring admittance struck against the wall, and made it thereby send forth a loud and long-reverberating sound. At this crisis, all the clansmen and sorners being in the hall, the sound of the iron was heard, and with a peal as announced no ordinary visitor.
Glenfruin looked as if in doubt whether it was the iron he had heard; Father Donich stood aghast, terrified by his blasphemy; the clansmen, who had lifted the herald and his men on their shoulders, and were moving away, halted, and looked back for instructions; and for the space of about a minute there was a pause and silence in the hall.
The iron was again sounded more loudly than before. " Laads," said Glenfruin, "ye'll lay te King's herald and his men on tere foots, and see wha will pe coming wi' a bang and a boong like tat - oomph."
"It was Celestine Campbell with his train, led thither by Anniple; and, as at that time Loch Aw's clan and Glenfruin's were at peace with one another, he was readily admitted. But no sooner was he come into the hall than the herald demanded his aid and protection, in the King's name, - which, after a brief explanation of what had passed, the young chieftain, to the great amaze and consternation of Glenfruin, at once promised.
"Sowlls and podies !" said he, "and if 'tis be te laas and te justice, a chief's put a felonee."
Celestine, however, having assured him that the King always dealt clemently with those who willingly obeyed his authority, persuaded him to submit peaceably to the herald; and
Keith having promised to make no complaint of his discourteous treatment, he, in the end, not only consented to desist from all farther opposition, but promised that he would next morning freely go to Perth, where the summons required him to appear.
Meanwhile Celestine, observing Father Donich in the hall, was much afflicted in mind, thinking the Lord James was also in the castle, and that he might be discovered by the herald. At the same time, knowing that Glenfruin had not engaged in the Lennoxshire rebellion, and was considered adverse to the Albanies, he thought, to a surety, if he was there, he must have come under his assumed name. Accordingly, after some light and preliminary overtures, which served to instruct Father Donich of what he meant without being understood by those around, he inquired if he had seen any thing of Sir Aulay Maeaulay in the course of the journey.
Glenfruin raised his ear, and, looking
askance with his eye, eagerly watched the answer.
"I parted from him," replied Father Donich, "at the foot of the hill. He spoke of crossing the moors to his own castle at Ardenkaple."
"Sowlls and podies !" exclaimed Glenfruin, "and is't a to-be-surely, that Sir Aulay Macaulay would pe a tod-lowrie among te lambs o' Glenfruin. - Laads, laads! Nigel, Nigel! get your swords and your bows, al, every mother's son of you."
In a few minutes all the clansmen, with Nigel at their head, were ready.
"What do you mean?" exclaimed the young chieftain of Loch Aw, alarmed at their alacrity; "what is that you would do? are you not friends with the Macaulays ? Surely you will not molest a defenceless hunter ?"
"Al in goot time, Celestine Campbell, my very goot young friend, and we will pe telling you al. Do you know, King's herald, tat te
Macaul y - ah he's te false and te traitor too - oomph ! was na he wi' te Lord Hameis and tat Peeshop o' Pelzeebub, te Peeshop o', Lismore, when tey prunt te town o' Dumbarton - And te Macfarlane - Got tam te Macfarlane - he lifted al te cattles from te lands o' Lennox, and te Glenfruins were na left te halph of a two score - oomph! and would na it be a pail and a ransom for Glenfruin to te King's Majestie ? Got pless te King's Majestie - to catch te Macaulay - oomph!"
Celestine was still more distressed and perplexed by this information, so portentous to the safety of his ill-fated cousin ; but Father Donich perceiving his inward grief, said,
"Then, Glenfruin, you know Sir Aulay Macaulay?"
"Will we no have a head in our eye to know te Macaulay? Laads ! Nigel, you snail in te shell, will ye no pe catching te traitor man ?"
"Stop, I beseech you," cried Celestine,
"let us consider what may be the consequence. If Sir Aulay has made his peace with the King, it will only aggravate the offence wherewith you are accused, if you attempt to molest him."
"Sowlls and podies! is na he a pird on te hills, a cock o' te wood, tat has na a nest for his foot ? Te toad's on te hearth in his hal."
Here the herald interposed, and said, that certainly Sir Aulay Macaulay had not made his submission, and that Glenfruin, perhaps, could do nothing more acceptable than to bring him in.
"Perhaps," said Father Donich, "I may have been in error; and on second thoughts, it is not likely that he would have ventured so near the castle of such a loyal chieftain as Glenfruin."
"Tat's a speech like a wisdom, Faider Donich; Glenfruin's te loyal man, and te honest man too. Put, laads, see wha will pe in te woods."
"Not yet, not yet," cried Celestine; "in your situation, it will be better that my men should go."
"Did Glenfruin," said Father Donich "see the Lord James when he was in Lennox?"
"Te Lord Hamies, Faider Donich! would a loyaltee pe seeing a repel? - oomph!"
"0 ! he does not mean to say that you had any correspondence with him," cried Celestine briskly, perceiving the drift of the chieftain's question, "but only asks if you know him by sight."
"He will have a horn, and a tail, and a hoof, for Glenfruin."
Celestine divined from this answer, that Glenfruin had never seen the person of the Lord James, and perceived that the only risk he ran of discovery in being brought into the castle was from the herald; he therefore resolved to prevent him from coming in, by going in search of him. Accordingly, leaving
Father Donich with Keith and Glenfruin, and taking out Nigel, whose simple air and prepossessing physiognomy had drawn his attention, he left the hall attended by only his own clansmen.
Meanwhile the Duchess, from the moment she had discovered her son from the battlement, was overwhelmed with fears and feelings to which she could give no utterance, nor with all her fortitude conceal. Fain would she have rushed to him; but the dread of endangering his safety repressed her maternal love. Eager she was to let him know of her being there, that they might exchange, though afar off, some little signal of sympathy. But the arrival of Celestine Campbell sharpened her anxieties; for, though she recognised in him a kinsman by his garb, his appearance so immediately after the herald seemed to augur no consolation to her, his father being, as she well knew, one of the firmest adversaries of the Albanies. During the long controversy in
the hall, her wishes and affections, however, so far overcame her fears, that she resolved to send her gentlewoman to request him to come to her, that she might learn what his visit portended; and it happened, that as he quitted the hall the aged lady came down stairs, and passed towards the door after him. Glenfruin seeing her, said something that he intended to be jocose and gallant; bu [sic] she tartly glanced at him over her shoulder and walked loftily away.
As soon as Celestine Campbell had passed beyond the threshold of the hall, seeing his own clansmen around, and none of the Glenfruins nigh, he addressed himself to Nigel, saying -
"In these times one knows not well what course to take. Your father has ever been reputed a leal and true subject; mine as such no one can doubt; and yet, to deal frankly with you, being half an Albany by my mother, my heart does not altogether lie to my father's policy, if that can be called craft, which in him I doubt not is the fruit of honesty."
"I did think," said Nigel, won by the openness of his companion, "that there could be no higher duty than that of obedience to the King; not for the advantage
that might thence arise, though my father considered the King's cause ever the most advantageous service, but," - and he hesitated, fearing he might have said too much; for he was an artless youth, and his affections easily governed by the admiration of his eye, or the flattery of his ear; albeit he lacked not a just discernment of what was true and kind.
"But what," replied Celestine, "what would you have said? I trust you may speak freely to me. I have told you how much I am myself an Albany, and I will say more to you, for I do esteem you by your face as a friend. Though I would pause to consider whether I should, in any way or form, assist the cause of my cousin, the Lord James; yet I would not, for all the forfeitures that the crown has gained by the fate of my kinsmen, betray or injure the basest or the most
lukewarm of his followers."
I meant but to have observed," said Nigel, "that, after seeing the sad plight into
which so sweet and so fair a maiden as the Lady Sibilla Macdonald was cast on the night of the burning of Dumbarton, and the majestical sorrow of the Duchess of Albany since, that I can think no more of the King's authority, but only of the anguish of spirit and the broken hearts which his terrible justice has made. Yet will I at no man's solicitation go against his Majesty; for those sufferings and griefs come more of the misrule of times past, than from any cruelty in that which he so strives to establish and fortify as law."
"Then you would not," said Celestine, "surrender even the Lord James himself, were he, by any accident, thrown into your power?"
"I could hold my hand in the fire till it is burnt to the stump," replied the courageous youth proudly; "and it is not much to say, I may withstand any temptation that would make me despise myself."
"If this stranger then" said Celestine, "should prove to be indeed Sir Aulay Macaulay, will you not take him on your father's account, seeing, as the herald says, it would weigh much in his favour with the King?"
"If we take him in the pursuit I will hold him as a fair prisoner. He has not trusted me; he has no claim on my promise ; and I shall not therefore do any wrong, treat him as I may, if not discourteously, should he ever come into my hands."
"Let us be friends," said Celestine. "In whatsoever you trust me with I shall be faithful - be you so with me. I have some cause to believe
that this stranger is no other than my distressed cousin. He is now in your power. You have but to return to the
hall, and to repeat what I have said, and in a few minutes your clansmen will make him yours. Your father will then be able to carry with him one worth twenty Sir Aulay Macaulays, - a ransom indeed that will redeem
him from the displeasure of the King, were it ten times greater than it is."
The young chieftain looked doubtingly at Celestine. Surely," said he, "I am not so soon called to such honour as to be trusted with the life and fortunes of that noble Prince, who may one day be my King!"
"You have it in your power," replied Celestine, "to insure your father's pardon."
"If the King be that just man, which he is said to be," replied Nigel, "he will not be bribed to pardon my father should he be found to have offended."
"But at least you may increase your lands."
When you offered to me your friendship, Celestine Campbell," said the simple and enthusiastic youth, "I was afraid that I was not worthy of so great an honour; but you make me almost doubt if you be worthy of mine."
Celestine smiled for a moment at his romantic ardour; but the simple air and mountain garb of Nigel, the calm and mild enthusiasm of his countenance, beaming like radiance from within, changed his feelings to a
higher mood, and the tear of admiration shot into his eye. But the young chieftain wanted words to express what he felt in return for the feelings that he had awakened in Celestine, and he turned away to hide the contrition which he suffered for having spoken proudly to so generous a friend.
At that moment Leddy Glenjuckie, who had tottered after them as fast as her sciatica would permit, called to Celestine; and, on his going towards her, she told him the message from the Duchess. He had not before heard that her Grace was in the castle, and he stood amazed. Nigel, while they were speaking, joined them; and seeing his wonderment, rehearsed in what manner his father had seized the Duchess.
"I will leave you," said Celestine, "to discover the stranger, and will instantly attend her Grace." But the old lady uttered a piercing shriek at the idea of the Lord James falling into the hands of the Glenfruins. Controlling however her terror in a moment, she pretended that it was the anguish of her sciatica only which caused her to cry, and Celestine left her and went back to the castle.
As soon as he was gone she began to speak loudly and shrill, in the hope, that if the Lord James heard her, as she was then near the underwood into which he had dived on being left by Father Donich, it would put him on his guard; complaining, at the same time, bitterly to Nigel of the insults which she had endured from his father.
Her stratagem so far succeeded, that the outlaw, who had overheard, in his concealment, part of what passed between Celestine and Nigel, recognising her voice, suddenly appeared before them.
Danger and adversity are quick teachers of expedients. The outlaw knew he was in the utmost peril of discovery; and before the Leddy Glenjuckie had time to fetch her breath from the astonishment into which he had thrown her, he told her that they must exchange clothes. To this proposition, so unseemly to her courtly manners, she could only lift her hands and look her horror. Nigel said but two words to Celestine's clansmen, and on the instant one of them, with all that romantic delicacy towards the gentle sex, for which the Celts in those days were renowned, stuffed a plaid into her mouth, and held her fast, while his companions stripped her almost to the skin. The Lord James in the meantime doffed his upper hibiliments, and putting on her feminine and fantastical gear, the Highlanders dressed her in his clothes.
Nothing from the time of her misfortune had equalled this; but the Lord James, to
whom she bore the affection of a nurse, having often fondled him when a baby in her arms, and Nigel, who had ingratiated himself into her favour by the respectful modesty of his demeanour, soon succeeded in calming her perturbation, and in reconciling her to the metamorphosis. Nor was it long till they had occasion to applaud the celerity of the change; for, even while they were soothing her with their best persuasion, Glenfruin himself, accompanied by the herald and Father Donich, came forth from the castle-gate to taste the freshness of the evening air before supper, and to see what success had attended the search for the stranger.
As soon as Nigel saw his father, he went towards him to prevent him from coming so near as to discover what had taken place, and told him, pointing to the Leddy in the garb of the Lord James, that he would see it was not the Macaulay.
Glenfruin required no instructor as to that;
but observing the Lord James moving rapidly, in the dress of the lady, down the hill, he exclaimed -
"Sowlls and podies ! is't a ghost or weezzard? Will te oold cat pe coing to die? and will yon pe her wraith ? Te spirits no hae te pains in te pack - oomph! Nigel, I say, Nigel, will ye no pe seeing yon troll ostentation. Sowlls and podies! we're al a fear and a quake."
Father Donich had also noticed the phenomenon, and, while Glenfruin was speaking, he went so near to the lady as to discover the transformation; but, being no less anxious than Nigel to conceal what had happened, he hastily returned, just as the fugitive disappeared among the underwood, and said, with great solemnity -
"It is a very awful apparition! I doubt not we shall hear news of this hereafter. It betokens no good to the one who saw it first. I hope, Glenfruin, it was not you ?
"I hope it was yoursels, Faider Donich," replied the chieftain, turning sharply away from him, malcontent that such an ominous question should have been put to him in his circumstances.
"What think you it was?" said the Father Donich in a superstitious manner to the herald.
"What it is," replied Keith drily; "some varlet in the old lady's apparel ; but it does not concern me."
Glenfruin hearing this, halted, and looked back.
"A farlet, oomph! - and will te oold laidie pe tead in te purn? - Kilt and plundert and al! - King's herald, you see tat Glenfruin's te lamb and te dove - oomph. Put, Nigel, you saint on a tomb, will ye no pe taking te laads, and seek for te bodie ? Oh ! King's herald, tis pe an och-hone, and she had te praw ear-rings. Tey were te robberee."
But, before any answer could be given, the
leddy, not accustomed to walk in trews, in endeavouring to turn round, happened to stumble, by which she gave her sciatica such a wrench, that she screamed with pain, and almost fell to the ground."
"Sowlls and podies!" exclaimed Glenfruin, "we're al in a tream and a veesion; is it te laidie matam hersels?" and, advancing towards her, he took her by the arm and turned her round, saying, "and she pe no have a petticoat at al - oomph. Tis is a mysteree - oomph!" And, without uttering another word, he walked with wide and stern strides towards the castle-gate, followed by all those who were then on the castle-hill.
IN returning to the gate, Keith the herald lingered behind with Leddy Glenjuckie, and from time to time narrowly examined her garb. He, however, made no remark; but when they reached the castle, he followed Glenfruin into the hall, and sat down at the table at the upper end, seemingly thoughtful and much troubled.
"King's herald," said Glenfruin, taking his own seat, "we'll pe making a terrorigation when te oold laidie matam will pe coming in."
"I think," replied Keith, "it is quite unnecessary to affect any concealment. The best thing you can now do, for your own sake, is at once to come with me to Dumbarton, and leave Celestine Campbell to conduct
the Duchess to Inchmurrin in the morning. What I may suspect I am not bound to report, and I shall be glad how soon you enable me to leave this wild country, that I may not become a witness to things I fain would not discover."
"Sowlls and podies! King's herald, and what will ye pe speeching? Te wild country - oomph! And whar pe te tame - oomph! And te concealment - and te Campbells get te sheilling o' Glenfruin? Aye tis pe te wage o' te goot subject - Oomph!"
"I am grieved, Glenfruin, to be obliged to remind you, that I have no power nor authority to determine any thing concerning you; but if the unfortunate Lord James of Albany be in this neighbourhood, I am most anxious to avoid him. My duty has already called me too often to perform a painful part towards his house."
"Te Lord Hamies in tis neighbourbood!"
exclaimed Glenfruin, looking anxiously at Keith; "and will te wee green fairies pe making a phantasee? Put, King's herald, will we no cal doun Celestine Campbell, and pring te oold laidie matam to her testificaitions ? Nigel! whar's Nigel, and Faider Donich, too? - Oomph!"
"I doubt not, Glenfruin, to be plain with you, that you very well know why they have not followed us into the hall. I am amazed that you will not see how willing I am to shut my eyes, but will force me to say what may endanger myself."
"And is't a to-be-surely, King's herald, tat ye will pe a spial o' te Lord Hamies in te wraith o' te oold laidie matam? - Oomph! Sowlls and podies ! tat would pe a crown and a jewel for Glenfruin. - Nigel, Nigel! al ye Glenfruins, every mother's son of you!" exclaimed the old chieftain, starting from his seat, and calling out with the utmost vehemence
of his voice, - "Te pow and te sword, te sword and te pow. Nigel, Nigel ! whar are ye, Nigel?"
"The din and dissonance of his cries, and the rattling of the weapons wherewith the clansmen and sorners began to arm themselves, alarmed the whole castle, and brought down Celestine Campbell from the Duchess; while Father Donich, assisting in the metamorphosed Leddy Glenjuckie, at the same time entered the hall from without.
Celestine suspected the extent of the discovery that had been made, and divined the object of the uproar and the arming. He perceived that his unfortunate kinsman would not fail to be presently taken, and that nothing but a bold stratagem could avert the fate which would inevitably await him.
"Glenfruin!" he exclaimed aloud, and with a voice so tuned to authority, that it instantly silenced the noise; "Glenfruin, I am grieved to say, that the fealty I owe to the
King compels me to deal with seeming harshness towards you. The herald has failed in his duty by consenting to remain even for an hour here. The manner in which you have seized the Duchess of Albany, and continue to hold her as your prisoner, though with a show of liberty, is an offence that can admit of no extenuation. Keith, unless he consent to go with you at once, you must be responsible for the consequences. I have pledged myself to support your authority. I now tell you, that as a prisoner it is not safe to let him remain here; and I know not how I may excuse to my father the jeopardy into which I have led so many of his bravest men."
Glenfruin looked for some time as if he felt the world tumbling into pieces around him, and then he turned to Keith and said -
"King's herald, and what will Glenfruin pe doing?"
"I have indeed done wrong," replied Keith, glad of any pretext to get away from
the castle, and to carry his prisoner with him, "and I now call upon Celestine Campbell to conduct us in safety to Dumbarton."
"Sowlls and podies ! and will ye pe leaving te Lord Hamies, tat is te traitor man, al in his potencee?"
"The Lord James! what of him?" cried Celetsine [sic], almost afraid to hear the answer.
"There is some cause," replied Keith, "to suspect that he is lurking in this neighbourhood; and it is plain," he added, aside, "notwithstanding all Glenfruin's artifice, that he is in the secret. That old lady is in a dress, which, from the ornaments, I know to be the outlaw's: I doubt not that the exchange was made to enable him to escape, for she is one of his mother's attendants."
"If that be the case," said Celestine, "the story of her Grace's detention has been concerted between her and Glenfruin, to conceal their secret treasons. Nothing is more likely than that my guilty cousin should
be near his mother, whose influence in this country has, probably, been rather increased than lessened by the misfortunes of her family."
"Sowlls and podies! will tis pe Glenfruin's hall? will you pe te living mans? is tat a hand of my own ? Nigel! whar pe Nigel?"
"I have met with nothing like this," said the herald to Celestine; "but I was warned of his depth and cunning."
"O!" replied Celestine aloud, "it is all quite evident; Nigel his son is gone to warn the outlaw of this discovery."
Glenfruin sat down in his seat, and began to touch the table and to pinch his flesh, and to half unsheath his dirk, as if to ascertain the reality of the scene and of his own identity.
"Do you go with me?" said the herald to him after a short pause.
"And will ye pe Pelzeepub teevil, and tis your delusions and purgatoree? - Oomph!"
"I doubt," said Celestine sorrowfully,
"that appearances are too strong against you, my old friend. Unhappy that I am, to be brought so accidentally into such a situation as this. Spare me, I entreat you, from the hard necessity of making a prisoner of my own kinsman. But if the Lord James be seized, he must be taken with you."
"Glenfruin," said the herald to Celestine, "affects to be ignorant of the Lord James being in this neighbourhood. I hope he speaks truly - but if he is here, and here taken, it will go hard with Glenfruin, for how will he be able to explain so strange a thing? Here is the Duchess, in circumstances so singular, that it was thought by all who heard of her situation, that she was held by constraint. But there is now reason to believe that her outlawed son is also here, and that on seeing a force appear to aid the King's authority, he changed his dress with one of her ladies, the better to facilitate his escape. In that juncture the son and heir of Glenfruin is seen
speaking with the fugitive, and suffers him to depart."
Celestine Campbell looked at the amazed and confounded chieftain, and mournfully shook his head.
"Sowlls and podies!" exclaimed Glenfruin, with the sad accent of helplessness, "and will tis pe what you cal laa? But, laads!" he continued, rising and moving towards the door, "Glenfruin will pe te honest man, curse tak me put he will, and we'll no have a Campbell, nor te smal toe of a Campbell, to mak him a custodee. But we'll pe going our own selph, and for a congee to te King's herald, come twenty pretty mans, te flower o' you al, for tis night we will pe a free will in Dumbarton. When will King's herald, pe ready to go? 0 ! is't an och-hon, and a shame, and a fye too - Oomph."
Glenfruin was conscious of his own innocence with respect to the Lord James, nor was he at all sensible that he had committed
any great wrong towards the Duchess of Albany, whom he had hitherto considered as under the cloud of the King's displeasure. With regard to Sir Robert Graeme, he still thought, notwithstanding the Earl of Athol's coldness, that he had done some notable service; and he considered, that both for his abstinence in the Lennoxshire rebellion, and the alacrity with which he had obeyed the proclamation to march against Macdonald, he stood in no peril of much suffering. At the same time he felt himself so environed with such an array of questionable circumstances, that he wot not well what to do; and therefore it was, that in utter inability to comprehend the situation into which he was thrown by so many casualties, he resolved at once to go with the herald. Accordingly, after again expressing his wonder, with some degree of sharpness, at the absence of his son, who had in all this time not returned into the hall, he said to Celestine Campbell -
"Ye'll tak your men al pefore you, Celestine Campbell, and ye'll pe going away, caz you see, Celestine Campbell, you see tat tere will no pe a face on a nose coming into tis hal, till we our own selph pe coming pack wi' a glorification."
The reasonableness of this request could not well be controverted; so Celestine, without farther parley, went out from the castle followed by his clansmen, and apparently with the design of going to the Colquhoun of Luss for the night, he parted with Glenfruin on the castle-hill; whence, with the herald, and accompanied by twenty of his own clansmen, the chieftain was conducted to the road leading to Dumbarton.
THE Earl of Athol was in the meantime greatly disturbed in his thoughts, by reason chiefly of the freedom wherewith Sir Robert Graeme, in the intrepidity of his revenge, had proposed to undertake the assassination of the King. He had not, however, virtue to withstand temptation, nor courage enough, if so good a name may be given to so bad a purpose, to embark openly in the avowed treason; neither had he the firmness to lay such an interdict on the resentment by which his nephew was borne away from his fealty, as to prevent him from surrendering himself up to the machinations of the traitor. Still the desire not to part with the honour he enjoyed was so lively within his heart, that, the same night, after Graeme had so fearfully informed
him of his regicidal determination, he ordered him to be sent forth from the castle, and never again to present himself at the gates.
Graeme so little heeded this command, which was delivered to him by Stuart, that, before going away, he indited a paper, in which he set forth his determination never to desist from his hostility against the King, till he had vindicated his wrongs and satisfied his revenge.
"Give it," said he, "to the Earl, and we shall see what the bravery of his loyalty will do after so open a proclamation of treason."
Stuart, however, did not that night deliver the paper, but conducted Graeme to the gate, where, in the hearing of many of the vassals, he bade him adieu, bitterly grieving that the King should so little esteem such a courageous soldier as to drive him forth into the wild woods, and so despitefully repulse the pitying
friends that petitioned only for some mitigation in the rigour of his punishment.
To this condolence the outlaw made no reply, but that an avenging hour was coming, when perhaps even the Earl of Athol would repent of having so far lent himself to the cruelty of the King.
"The Earl," replied Stuart, "is not so much your enemy as you think. In banishing you from his house, I believe he acts from the compulsion of duty, and the dread of danger to himself; for even he is no longer safe."
"What do you mean?" said Graeme, "what danger does he dread ? and why is it that you account him no longer safe?"
"He endured," replied Stuart, "yesterday such insult, merely because he presented your humble petition, that the King cannot but know as a man that he must suffer under it, and will tremble lest as a man he should revenge it."
The vassals, hearing them discoursing thus openly of the grievances which their Lord had endured, gathered around, and the taint of sedition soon infected them all. But the overthrow of an anointed King, whose power was beginning to be everywhere obeyed, and the genial shade of whose protecting government afforded asylum and refuge to all his wronged and long-afflicted subjects, was an enterprise not to be hastily undertaken. In this manner, however, the crafty policy which Graeme had breathed into the spirit of Stuart was made to take effect; and the vassals of the Earl of Athol were corrupted from their loyalty even before he was himself entirely subdued.
In the morning, Stuart went forth from the castle-gate, and at a short distance therefrom affected to find, on the grass, the defiance which Graeme had penned. He immediately returned, and began to question the warders concerning it; and he read it aloud
to them, deploring the doom that had worked so brave a spirit into such frantic ecstasy. He then carried it to the Earl, and eagerly watched his looks as he read. But though the fated old man grew pale, and his hands trembled, he made no remark. He looked not however at Stuart, but turned away his face, as if he had something to hide from the piercing inquisition of his eyes.
Three several times did Stuart endeavour to draw him into discourse concerning the paper, but he made him no answer. He held it however still in his hand; sometimes he looked at it, and at others laid it down on the table, and walked to and fro communing with himself.
Stuart waited with silence and patience to see the issue of this secret controversy, and was awed and confounded, when, after a season, the Earl called one of his trustiest officers and bade him ride forthwith to the King, at Scone, with the rebellious proclamation,
and to assure his Majesty, that no means should be left untried by him to bring in the traitor.
Scarcely had this messenger departed on his journey when kindly letters to the Earl came from the King, wherein his Majesty described the great contrition which he suffered at having so hastily parted with him; and praying him, by the name of his kind friend and true uncle, to come back to assist in the solemnity of laying the foundation of the stately abbey which he was minded to build at Perth. He also entreated him to bring Stuart with him, and said many gracious things, all meant to appease the sense of the heat wherewith he had expressed himself for so espousing the cause of Sir Robert Graeme.
When the Earl read these courteous letters to Stuart, that vindictive youth exclaimed -
"I will never again revisit the court, but to -"
The look which the Earl gave him stopped what he would have said; and he retired abashed and overawed, when he beheld the tears shoot into the old man's eye, as he read the letters a second time.
"It cannot be," said the momentary penitent, "that any wrong can come from me to so good and so generous a heart;" and he added emphatically, "I beseech you, my dearest nephew, to hold no correspondence nor communion with Sir Robert Graeme. Let us return to the court, and with such an exhibition as befits our birth and the high ceremony which the King intends to hold; forget the countenance that we have both, unfortunately for ourselves, given in this house to that implacable adversary of all that is good and fair in the princely nature of our royal kinsman."
Stuart again made another attempt to revert to the contumely with which he conceived the King had treated him, and to pray
that his presence might be dispensed with, but the Earl was peremptory. " I am not safe here," said he with a sigh; "neither of us are safe in this place."
"By whom are we endangered?" cried Stuart proudly.
"By ourselves," replied the old man; and he turned aside his face, and retired from the room with slow and thoughtful steps.
Hitherto the indignation with which Stuart had received the King's innocent jocularity, made him see nothing but justice and the vindication of wrong in the treasons which he mediated; but the sad voice, and the mournful look of his uncle, made him stand gazing towards the door by which the Earl had retired, and feel a strange and before unfelt sentiment of sorrow mingled with fear.
As he was standing thus dejected, the Lady Athol came into the room, and he was startled when he beheld her very wo-begone, and seemingly touched with apprehensions of horror
and alarm. "Surely," said he to himself, "the weak old man cannot have told her of what has passed between him and Graeme.
"She however soon relieved his fears, by coming towards him and saying - "I am glad that Sir Robert Graeme was sent from this house, for every night that he remained here, my sleep was made hideous with the most terrible fancies. I have had no wholesome rest, but only strange snatches of slumber, that have been more full of disease than the entire lack of sleep. This very morning I have been afflicted with such a sight, that I can hardly yet persuade myself it was not some actual deed which I beheld, and not the fantastical imagery of a distempered dream."
"What was it that you saw?" said Stuart, participating in the horror with which she was affected.
"Oh, do not inquire! It was of such things as I may not without great sin venture to relate.
There was blood, and ashes, and a kingly crown, and bleaching bones, and the birds of the air!"
The Earl returned at that moment; and that she might not be questioned by him concerning the mysterious cause of her grief, she stooped behind, to clear as it were some entanglement of her robe, and then quitted the room, to conceal that she was in tears.
WHEN Nigel Glenfruin saw that his father was aware of the sex of the Lord James, in the disguise of the Leddy Glenjuckie's garments, he feared that an immediate search would be ordered; and, alarmed for the issue, instead of returning to the hall, where his absence was so soon remarked by the herald, he followed the track which the fugitive had taken, in order to apprise him of his danger, and to aid his escape. But it was some time before be came up with him; indeed, not until the Lord James had reached the skirts of the wood along the margent of the lake, and was standing there disconsolate and breathless, not knowing what course to choose.
The jeopardy into which that ill-fated prince
had fallen was too imminent to admit of much time for parley, and Nigel was not a youth given to unnecessary talk. Having briefly proffered his services, he added -
"There is a boat hard by, come with me to the place, get on board, and make what speed you can to the other side of the lake, or to some one of the islands, where, in the morning, you will kindle a fire to let us know where you are, and Celestine Campbell or myself will find means to come to your assistance."
"Celestine Campbell!" exclaimed the Lord James, and was proceeding to inveigh against his treachery, when Nigel assured him that he had no truer friend, and that he believed Celestine had come to Glenfruin only in quest of him, and to do him service, shortly rehearsing what had passed between them on the castle-hill.
While they were thus speaking, as they walked hastily towards the boat, they heard
a voice singing cheerily, but with a wild and strange melody, ever and anon changing. They halted; and Nigel, going to the edge of the shore, knelt down and listened with his car close to the water.
"It is but the voice of Anniple of Dunblane," said he rising.
They then quickened their steps forward, and soon came in sight of the little creek where the boat was lying, fastened by a cable of hair to the bough of a doddered tree which overhung the water, and at the foot of which the Spaewife was sitting.
"What do you there, Anniple?" said Nigel to her.
"I'm waiting for a braw bridegroom that's coming to take me o'er the water;" and in making this answer she threw her eyes quickly about, and seeing the Lord James in the apparel of the Lady Glenjuckie, she started up, and began to laugh and clap her hands, tripping around him like one dancing
the Volta, and singing as if she swept the ground with a long and spacious train: -
I'll gar our gudeman trew,
I'll gar our gudeman trew,
I'll gar our gudeman trew,
While she was thus leaping and singing, Nigel unmoored the boat, and pushing it into deeper water, the Lord James sprung on board, and Anniple followed him.
"How is this, Anniple?" said Nigel; "I thought you were waiting for a bridegroom to take you over?"
"And is he not come, and down by my side?" was her answer. "But, Nigel Glenfruin, gang your ways home and count your cows, for yonder's a score o' them driven away in broad daylight."
"Both Nigel and the Lord James looked around; but save the water, and the woods that overhung the boat, they could see nothing.
"Where do you see what you say?" inquired the Lord James, while Nigel appeared awe-struck and alarmed; for he had great faith in her predictions, and doubted not that it was a vision of the second-sight in which she had seen the cattle driven away.
"Is it the Macfarlanes, or the Macgregors, or the Colquhouns, or the Macaulays, that you see lifting the cows?" said Nigel seriously.
"Open ports! Open ports! we're the King's soldiers;" replied Anniple triumphantly, flourishing her hands and swinging her head, while the Lord James, plying the oars, rowed the boat from the shore; for his anxiety to be beyond reach made him but little heed her rhapsodies.
"Ye need na stress your strength," she added, observing him.
"Tell me," cried Nigel from the shore, "what did you see?"
"I saw, and I see,
was however all the answer he obtained. Nor was it more consolatory than the predictions respecting the cattle; for it seemed ominous of some dreadful catastrophe to his father, the thought of which for an instant made him repent that he had not held possession of the Lord James.
"Eh! Nigel Glenfruin, cross yoursel, cross
yoursel," exclaimed Anniple; "wha's that behind you?"
The sough of horror with which she uttered this, made not only Nigel look behind in great alarm, but the Lord James suspend the oars.
"It's weel for you, Nigel Glenfruin," resumed Anniple, giving a sigh as if it were of relief," that ye're so guarded, for yon was a grim and a stalwart carl. I saw him rax his muckle hand to tak' you. It was a' bones, and no of an earthly hue, but a silver dove flew in between and dabbit him away. 0, I'm fear't, for I doubt he was the Auld A' Ill Thing."
Nigel crossed himself, and shuddering that a kind thought should have tempted him to a dishonourable desire, wished the Lord James safe from his enemies.
"I trow," said Anniple as the boat moved away, "that he'll ne'er think such a thought again."
The Lord James then, dipping the oars into the water, began to row, and Anniple sang -
"Lord Seton's only daughter
"I think, Anniple," said the Lord James, when he had rowed to the skirts of Inch-mo-an, "that it would have been as well for you to have staid on the shore. I know not how it is that I have so simply taken you with me."
"Ye could na do else; ye could na help it; and I am none in your bethank for the courtesie. But ye'll no fare the waur with Anniple o' Dumblane, and I'll spae your fortune; -or a' be done, ye'll no ha'e to say that I did na pay the ferry-fee."
"And what is my fortune to be?" replied the Lord James, resting his arms on the oars. "Without seer or prophecy, this much of it I can read myself, - we shall not reach the other shore to-night, and must find our haven in one of these islands."
"Be thankful," said Anniple; "the beagle loses scent at the waterside;" and she again began to sing, and he to row.
The darkness of the night was then fast closing around, the blast came in fits from the hills, and the skies had for some time been overcast. The dampness of the air betokened rain; but, when it came on, it was a moisture that rather oozed to wetness on the sense than fell with any palpable annoyance. Anniple, however, refrained from singing, and cowered down into the bottom of the boat, where she remained silent; but ever and anon she raised her head, and bared her ear to the wind, and listened - while the rising blast and drifting waters sent a coldness upon the spirit of the
Lord James, that made him sometimes almost resolve to abandon the oars and allow the boat to be driven to her fate.
In one of these despondent moods he said -
"You have not yet told me what my fortune is to be. I doubt, Anniple, 'tis something that you fear to tell."
"Hush, hush, the warst peril of your life's no far off," was her reply; and she raised her head and peered along the waves, and listened.
"What shall we do?" said the Lord James, somewhat impressed by the evident anxiety and eagerness of her manner. "Row with the oars and plash in the water, -
"Tide whatever may betide,
I see a sight and I hear a sound, and now I'll pay the ferry-fee."
Immediately thereupon she resumed the place on the bench where she was first seated,
and began to sing with a loud and clear voice, and so continued to do for some time, at the end of every o'ercome of the ditty saying, in a whisper,
"They're coming! they're coming! they're coming!"
The spirit of the Lord James was in unison with the despair of his fortunes, and he looked around on the dark-heaving waters and to the starless sky. His hands, unused to the hard labour which he had long plied, were then glowing almost to burning, and his face chilled with the mist of the night: he felt that he had sounded the depths of adversity.
"They're coming! they're coming! they're coming!" said Anniple again, in a still more solemn whisper, at the close of a verse which she had hilariously sung, and her words seemed to be the more fearful because of the mirth of her song, which she resumed in a moment after with still greater glee. In the middle, however,
of the music, she suddenly paused, and said -
"I see them yonder, black atween the water and the sky."
The Lord James looked along the water, and she continued to sing with a still blither note. It was not, however, till she had again repeated in the same strange and oracular manner - "They're coming! they're coming! they're coming !" that he at last discerned a large boat, with a wide sail spread, sailing before the wind, and holding such a course as would bring her within a short distance. Then it was that he discovered the craft of the loud and mirthful ballad which she was singing; for the boat soon drawing near, one on board hailed them, and inquired where they were going.
The Lord James would have answered, but Anniple laid her hand on his lips, and replied in the words of the old song of the Kimmer's Craik -
"And we toom't the bowie,
0 ho, 0 ho - Trie, trow, trie;
And the bride was fou, and coupit o'er,
As fou as a sow was she."
"What! Anniple, is it you ? and what wedding have you come from?" cried another of those who were in the boat, which by this time was close at hand.
"I'll no tell, till I ken whare ye're going," was her answer.
"Ask her," said the voice who had first spoken; and then a third person said -
"Have you heard any thing of the Lord James of Albany, the rebel?"
"0 aye," was her answer; "the provost of Dumbarton catched him on the hills of Glenfruin, and has ta'en him away, they say, to be hang't."
Who have you in the boat with you?"
"The miller of Luss's deaf and dumb dochter. I wish she was blin' likewise; for seeing you she has stopped the oars, and I
may as well think to gar Ben Lomond dance La Volta to my singing, as bid her row till ye're awa. A very good night I wish you."
To this no answer was made, but only a shout of laughter; and Anniple resuming her song, the boat sailed away.
"I trow, said Anniple, "that I have well paid my ferry-fee, and now may ye shape your course what way you will; your moon's changed, and the mirkest hour of your night past; and she began to laugh and chatter curiously with her teeth, saying - "They'll hae three een that'll see through me."
The wonderment of the Lord James was very great, at the simplicity wherewith she had answered, and beguiled the officers in the boat. - "Truly," said he, "thou hast indeed well paid thy ferry-fee; but whither shall I now go, for all the country will soon be a-foot to take me, and those in that boat will speedily suspect what has been when they learn how I am disguised in Leddy Glenjuckie's apparel."
Anniple, however, had no power nor capacity to advise, but she replied, -
"Gang as ye will, ye have but one road, and that ye maun travel or sail, happen what will."
So he, being wearied with his labour, and his hands very sore, made for Inch-mo-an, where they landed.
THE time was now drawing near, which the King had set for laying the foundation of the grand abbey of the Charturaris at Perth, according as he had secretly vowed to do, whenever peace and good order were established throughout the realm; and he sent letters to all his great lords and puissant barons, inviting them to be witnesses of the solemnity ; ordering manifold preparations to be made for the entertainment of the commonalty, who from all parts were flocking to behold the pomp of such a ceremony as had not been seen in Scotland since the prosperous days of King David the First. And the better to celebrate this epoch of blessed peace in a Christian manner, all prisoners, who were not accused of the four great crimes, were to be forgiven of their
transgressions and set free. The Queen herself, who had never ceased to lament the absence of her beloved Lady Sibilla, wrote kind letters to her, earnestly entreating her to come again to court, and exhorting her, with all the pith and marrow of sweet eloquence, to do her so signal a favour at that time; for without her the King's pious pageantry would lack in the satisfaction which she desired thereat to enjoy.
For a time the Lady Sibilla withstood all these royal entreaties, and passed the slow and melancholious hours in the peaceful nunnery of Inch-Colm, tasting, however, of no pleasure from the pityful ministrations of the holy sisterhood, scarcely even soothed by their orisons, in which, though she bore a part, and mingled her voice with the requiems to Heaven, the ties of youthful love, and the weight of fond anxieties, held her forlorn spirit in captivity on the earth. Her only solace was in wandering round the cliffs of the
island; and often, after the vesper-song, she retired alone to the western summit of the hill that overlooks the bay of Aberdour, and there, with her cheek resting on her hand, would sit listening to the breaking of the hollow waves below - the only delight she tasted in all her sequestration being from the murmuring of their sullen harmonies.
It happened, soon after the adventures whereof recital has been made, that one night, as she sat in that dismal condition, she observed, by the obscure light of the stars, a boat coming near to the rocks under the cliff where she was seated; and, in the sound of the voices of those aboard, she thought that there was one which she had heard before; so, being moved by curiosity from her listlessness, she rose and went near to a little bay in the shore, to which she saw the boat was making; and on drawing near, heard Glenfruin exclaim -
"Sowlls and podies! King's herald, and
will we pe here al night like a pird o' te water, and a kirk and a tower in te veesibility of our two eyes, where tere will pe te monks wi' teir goot trinks and festeevitees ? - Oomph!"
The herald explained to him, that it was a nunnery, and not a monastery, which he saw; and that although they might be permitted to pass the night in the chapel, yet, while the weather held up, he would rather remain in the boat.
"Put," replied Glenfruin, "we would pe making our pregations, 'caz you know, King's herald, tat we're in a jeopardee."
"For that," said Keith, "I have no objection to land for half an hour or so; but we must first let the Abbess know; for there have been such things done in holy houses, by persons seeking admission on pious pretexts, that I doubt we should not else be allowed to enter the church."
The Lady Sibilla, on hearing this, went quickly to the convent, and apprised the nuns
of the arrival of the boat, and mentioned who Glenfruin was, and in what manner he had so faithfully protected herself; by which prevention, when Keith and the chieftain came to the gate to ask admission to the chapel, they were readily allowed entrance; and the nuns, in consideration of the hospitality that he had shewn to the Lady Sibilla in her distress, prepared a repast for them by the time they had finished their orisons ; to the which she was appointed to invite them, not being professed to the veil. Accordingly, when they rose from their kneeling before the altar, she went into the chapel, and met them as they were coming away.
"Sowlls and podies! is it a ghost frae te worm and te tomb, or te Laidie Sibeela al py herselph, tat we spy?" cried Glenfruin when he saw her advancing; and immediately, with many inflexions, brushing the pavement of the church with his bonnet, he went towards her, saying -
"Tis pe a saint and a miracle too! for Glenfruin's in a custodee, and te Laidie Sibeela can tel te King's herald tat how it was al a fair and a just - Oomph."
This was not stated with sufficient perspicuity to enable the Lady Sibilla to comprehend the condition of Glenfruin, and she said to the herald, desiring some farther explanation, "What does Glenfruin mean?"
"I am carrying him to be examined," replied Keith respectfully, "touching a charge of having wantonly hanged a monk."
"Sowlls and podies! King's herald, is na te Laidie Sebeela tere? Did na she see wi' her eye, tat Faider Mungo would na come up and pe hangt at al?"
"I am grieved to hear," replied the Lady Sibilla, "that you are brought into such trouble on account of so unworthy a priest."
"Tere! King's herald," cried Glenfruin; "and is't a to-be-surely, tat te honest man and te loyaltee will no get a glorification for
his servitudes, nor a smal rewart at al? - Oomph!"
"But," resumed the herald, "he is accused of a still greater offence - no less than of seizing the Duchess of Albany after she was set free by the King's command, and of holding her as his prisoner for a ransom - the which is an offence that the King will not lightly pardon."
The mention of her Grace's name touched the wound of the Lady Sibilla's heart, and she said, "Alas! ill-fated Lady! how to it with her now?"
"She's al very well, and a consolation too," replied the chieftain; adding, "her Craze is a pird on te bough tat sings for a happiness. Put her oold laidie matam, she walks like te frog to be sure, caz of her maladie."
"Then it is true," said the Lady Sibilla, "that she is in your castle, and a prisoner ?"
"Sowlls and podies! goot Laidie Sibeela,
how is't a ting tat can pe, tid na she come on a veesitation al o' her own gratus mind?"
"I hope," interposed the herald, "that you will be able to prove it was so ; but it is growing late, and we must return to the boat, that we may get to Burntisland by daylight, else shall we not be able to reach Perth to-morrow night in time to give you a chance of being included in the general pardon ; for the day after is appointed for the festival, and the list of the absolved will be published in the morning."
The Lady Sibilla then invited them to partake of the refection which the charitable nuns had prepared, and having retired to her own cell, she communed with herself on what she had heard, and began to wish that she had accepted the Queen's invitation, in order that she might have been on the spot to obtain her Majesty's mediation in behalf of Glenfruin, whose faults were more of his simplicity and ignorance, than of any innate
malice of heart. And the more she thought of this, her wish began to take the strength of desire; in so much, that by the time the guests finished their repast, she had informed the Countess of Ross, that she intended to go with them in the boat, and return for a time to court, to use her good offices in behalf of one, by whom, in her extreme distress, she had been so favoured.
The Countess, whose anger against the King for the little reverence that was paid to the submission of the Lord of the Isles, burnt as fiercely as ever, said all she could to dissuade her, and even chided her inconstancy of mind; but much of what she urged, instead of weakening the resolution of the Lady Sibilla, made it stronger. And thus it came to pass, that she went with Glenfruin and the herald, and, with the wonted freedom of her spirit, unattended by any damsel, accompanied them to Perth; where, on arriving, and learning that the King was then holding a
solemn council at Scone, she exhorted the herald to take his prisoner at once thither; and going herself with them, she was soon welcomed by the sisterly embraces of the Queen, who, rejoicing to see her, much lauded her coming, the joy whereof was enriched by being so unexpected.
NIGEL, after leaving the creek where the Lord James and the Spaewife had embarked, returned towards the tower of Glenfruin, pondering on what Anniple had said, and full of a fearful dubiety concerning the things whereof she had spoken; and Celestine, after going some distance on the road towards Luss, returned to the same place, considering with himself, that by the time he again reached the castle-hill, the herald, with the chieftain and his attendants, would be far advanced on their way to Dumbarton, whither, as it has been rehearsed, they were minded to go that night. Thus it fell out, that Nigel and Celestine met at the castle-gate, where they respectively conferred of what had come to pass.
By this time the night had set in showery
and blustering on the hills, so that there was no choice but for Celestine to abide in the castle, notwithstanding the prohibition which Glenfruin himself had laid against all strangers. Accordingly, after some further parley, partly arising from the jealousy wherewith Nigel saw his clansmen would regard the entrance of the Campbells into the castle during the absence of their chief, it was agreed, in order to prevent quarrels, that Celestine alone should be admitted, and that his men should pass the night on the hill.
About the time that this had been determined, the boat which passed the Lord James and the Spaewife arrived at the foot of the water of Glenfruin, and those who were on board having landed, walked towards the tower, the lights of which they had seen from the lake. But on the shore, the drizzingly shower so rose on the blast in their faces, that they were obligated to pass, from time to time, a ward-word among them, in order that they
might not scatter themselves so far as to lose one another.
Meanwhile, Celestine being admitted into the castle, the gates were jealously shut, and a strong watch set, both on the walls and in the court, in case of any treachery among the Campbells; and these wardens, hearing the sound of many voices approaching as the strangers drew near, were in great consternation and alarm, and secretly called Nigel from the hall, to warn him of danger.
Nor was this without a show of reason; for the Campbells, as they lay on the ground in the lea of the furze on the hill, also heard the same sounds afar off; and listening and conferring together, they discovered the tieword to be one that was their own, whereupon they rose with a great shout, which struck such fear into the breasts of the Glenfruins, that four of them instantly rushed into the hall and seized Celestine and Father Donich, as they were sitting together discoursing in
the chimney corner, and made them prisoners; believing that the arrival of a new band of Campbells, at that hour, was all of a stratagem to possess themselves of the castle, - such doings being adventures of ordinary custom during the turbulent rule and regency of the Albanies.
Celestine and the chaplain, not knowing what had chanced without, were in great amazement, and bitterly reviled the perfidy of the Glenfruins.
The manner in which the Duchess had been made prisoner, the pretext on which the Campbells had been denied the ordinary usages of hospitality, and the marvellous cunning, as it seemed, of a youth so young and so fair spoken as Nigel, were all things so much of the same quality and spirit, that Celestine could find no sufficient words for his indignation. His greatest alarm, however, was for his cousin, the Lord James. The story which Nigel had told him of his embarkation,
he believed to be a fraudulent invention, and he made no doubt that the ill-fated Prince was delivered into the custody of the herald, to win favour with the government for his
The anger of Nigel was not less ardent against the deceit with which he on his part conceived himself to have been treated, and he returned into the hall with his sword unsheathed, and upbraided Celestine with many sharp and rankling taunts. In the midst, however, of their mutual upbraidings, and the noise and dissonance that reigned within and without, a horn was heard at the gate.
Nigel, at the sound, desisted from the scorn with which he was addressing his suspected guest, and sheathing his sword, went to learn who it was that so courteously sought admission. Finding, after some short parley, that the strangers were clothed with authority from the King, he gave orders to let them in, and soon returned, ushering them
into the hall, where Celestine and Father Donich were still standing in the middle of the floor, with their arms pinioned to their sides by the fierce and stalwart Glenfruins.
The strangers were, Sir Duncan Campbell of Loch Aw, the father of Celestine, and Sir Patrick Graeme of Kincardine, with certain of their respective retainers.
Sir Duncan was sent by the King to take the Duchess from Glenfruin, and to conduct her wheresoever she chose to go ; and Sir Patrick was empowered with a royal mandate to raise the country, in order that effectual search might be made for the Lord James. They had come together from the Buchanan shore in the same boat, though their missions were so different ; and out of tenderness for her Grace's great sufferings, it was covenanted between them, that until she was removed, Sir Patrick should say nothing of his warrant, nor move in the execution thereof. It was in consequence thought by Nigel, to
whom Sir Duncan had declared the purport of their visit, that they were come for the same object.
But the Knight of Loch Aw had no sooner entered the hall, when, seeing the singular and ignominious manner in which his son and domestic chaplain were held, than he loudly demanded an explanation.
Celestine, knowing how little his father would approve of the adventure in which he had embarked for the Lord James, briefly stated, that, in pursuit of his game, he had been led to Lochlomond-side, and had come in the afternoon to Glenfruin, where he was minded to spend the night; but that in a sudden manner both he and Father Donich were in made prisoners, and held in the condition in which he saw them; the reason wherefor he could not divine, unless it were to extort from them a ransom, such as Glenfruin himself had
intended to do with his aunt, the Duchess of Albany, who was then in the castle.
This tale did not, however, satisfy Sir Duncan Campbell, who was no stranger to the partialities which his son bore towards his mother's turbulent kindred, and he turned round abruptly to Father Donich, and demanded to know how he too was there. "What game," said he, "has led Father Donich to Lochlomond-side?"'
Sir Patrick Graeme was not a little amazed at what was thus passing, and listened and looked on with his mind apert, and his suspicions all awake; for he well knew how much the house of Loch Aw was divided, on account of the filial affections of the lady.
Father Donich being at a loss what answer to make, instead of replying, struggled to be free of those who held him in their grip. In the meantime, Nigel remembering what Celestine had said with respect to the difference between him and his father concerning his kinsman, quickly discovered the hasty error which, in a moment of alarm, he had so
discourteously committed against his guest, and replied, without seeming to have observed what Sir Duncan had said to Father Donich.
"I am grieved for what has happened; but this evening my father was summoned by horn and caption to appear before the King; and having been taken away, it was his command, that, during his absence, strangers should not be admitted. When, however, Celestine Campbell came hither, I could not deny him so much hospitality as shelter for the night. Still anxious, however, that my father's orders should not be altogether contemned, it was agreed that his clansmen should remain on the hill; where, it would appear, when they heard you coming, they shouted and made a noise; the which caused us to fear that the Campbells were come first with Celestine to gain admission by stratagem, and then with you to consummate the plot."
"The tale is plausible" said Sir Patrick Graeme; "but how is it that this reverend friar is also here?"
Father Donich, now having recovered his wits, was able to frame a fair story, replied, "I was sent by my good Lady of Loch Aw, to bear her kind and loving condolence to the Duchess."
"May this be credited?" inquired Sir Patrick, addressing himself to Sir Duncan, who, evidently in much trouble, said -
"I pray you, do not sift me in this too curiously. I have ever done my duty as a true man in the King's service, and I have never known my son guilty of any dishonour. I think it may not be questioned that my wife was likely to send her chaplain on the errand which he says, and I will acknowledge to you freely, that I suspect my son has also come with some similar intent."
"I see not," replied the Knight of Kincardine, "much to condemn in all that;" but
turning to Nigel, he added, " Have you heard ought, in these parts, of the traitor James of Albany?"
"Yes," replied Nigel: "he was here this afternoon."
"What, in this castle?" inquired Sir Patrick eagerly. Celestine Campbell gasped, and Father Donich stood like one that is smitten with some inexpressible despondency.
"No; not in the castle," resumed Nigel; but just under the walls."
"And what has become of him? Why did you not seize him? Wherefore was he allowed to escape?" exclaimed Sir Patrick Graeme.
"He was not allowed to escape."
"0 treacherous villain!" muttered Celestine, unable any longer to restrain his grief at such treachery.
Sir Duncan Campbell said nothing, but ruefully shook his head, while Sir Patrick resumed, addressing Sir Duncan: -
"The poor creature in the boat with the deaf and dumb woman has then told us true. He has been carried to Dumbarton."
Nigel immediately discerned that they must have met the Lord James in his disguise with Anniple, and he added briskly, "I know not by whom he was taken, but most likely it may have been by the governor of Dumbarton, who has at present with him a great force."
Celestine looked at Nigel, and felt that he had done the youth injustice; but he could make no atonement in the presence of those before whom he then stood.
"I fear, Celestine," said his father, "that you have greatly incurred the King's displeasure; but, since your unfortunate cousin is taken, go with Sir Patrick Graeme in the morning to Perth, and do what you can to make your peace with his Majesty. As soon as I have executed my orders with respect to the Duchess, I will follow you thither."
Thus was order restored in the hall of Glenfruin; and next morning, all due preparation for the same being made, the Duchess, with Leddy Glenjuckie and Celestine, embarked along with Sir Duncan Campbell and the Knight of Kincardine for Inch-Murrin.
SOON after the departure of those who went away with the Duchess, Nigel, according to what had been pactioned with the Lord James, ascended the hill behind the tower of Glenfruin, to see if he might discover where the Prince had landed, by the smoke of any fire on the Ben Lomond side of the lake. But although the air was clear and still, in so much, that the shadows of all things in the water were not rimpled by the transit of the softest breeze, he yet could discern no signal of the kind; and he returned to the castle in much tribulation of spirit, and rested his forehead on his hand, not knowing what he should then do. For, being scarcely more than a stripling, he lacked that confidence in himself which prompts to faith in others;
and anxious as he was to consult with some of those of the clan whom he knew to be bold and discreet, he was diffident to trust them with the matter of his fears, on account of the situation in which his father, their chieftain and master, then was placed.
He was fearful they would think it their duty only to search for the outlaw, in order that he might be given up for Glenfruin, or for the reward that the service of bringing in so eminent an offender was likely to obtain; for he had overheard them murmuring, during the night, that the opportunity of taking him should have been so lost.
He had not, however, remained long in that posture of doubt and rumination, when Hector MacAllisner of Glenmallochan, one of those in whom he was most inclined to confide, came and informed him that the clansmen from all parts were gathering in, much malcontent that Glenfruin should have been taken away.
"We," said he, "who accompanied the herald to Dumbarton, were not permitted to enter the town, but were driven away in a contumelious manner. We made not the value of a cock nor a hen by the journey."
"All we do now," continued Hector MacAllisner of Glenmallochan, speaking in the Celtic tongue, which may be thus rendered - "All is for a nothing. Hamies MacIvan of Mollin-cruine wanted to get a cow with calf for his wife's down-lying; and young Ivan MacIvan of Ardgask would hae been content with a sucking horse, as his own foal was lifted last week by some of the Macfarlanes or the Colquhouns; Alimor MacHamies had promised his new wife a web of cheque or harn; and Walter Dhue wished for but a spade, the shaft of his own being broken. One of the bailies has a saddle, that would just have fitted my gelding; but devil a thing got we at all."
"What a pity," said Nigel; "did it so happen?"
"It comes all of the English King's new laws," replied Hector MacAllisner. "Wards are set round the town, to warn the burghers when any Highlanders are seen coming near - which is a custom that should not be endured. We shall soon be all fireside sloths like the Lowlanders; - for, in consequence, when we were within about half-a-mile of the town, the burghers came forth with swords and bows, in such force that we durst not touch the hair of a horse's tail. The very wives ran flapping with their aprons, driving their cocks and hens into the houses. The time has been when they all fled screaming to the hills, and left every thing to our free choosing. But I fear, I fear that the hearty days of rugging and rieving are gone - that the age of lawyers and warders has come - and the glory of the Highlands is departed for ever!"
Nigel was very sorrowful to hear Hector
MacAllisner speak in this mournful manner, and bade him hope for better times.
"Ah!" replied Hector, "we shall never see the blithe days again that we had in Duke Murdoch's time. Then the Lowlanders respected the heroic virtues of the Highlanders, and there was neither scant nor want of the best things, not only of Dumbarton, but even of Glasgow and Renfrew - in the very sheilings of the hills of Lennox -aye, even of Lorn."
"It was indeed a black day for all this country-side," said Nigel, "when the Duke brought in King James."
"In losing his head for his pains he got but a just reward," said Hector; "but the whole Highlands owe the Glenfruins a grudge, because we took not the Lord James' side at the burning of Dumbarton. Had we done so, he might this day have been the King on the throne; and what a blessing that would have been to all the Highlanders!"
Nigel was somewhat surprised to hear him speak after that manner, and said - "It was always hitherto thought, that my father acted a wise and a discreet part on that occasion."
"What has he made by it?" exclaimed Hector, "Did not the Macfarlanes, the Macaulays, the Colquhouns, and the Macgregors, feather their nests with the Earl of Lennox's cattle; to say nothing of what the Buchanans and others herrit from his lands beyond the Leven before the Highlanders got there; while the Glenfruins were sitting on the hills with their fingers in their mouths."
"But my father expected," said Nigel, "that he would have been rewarded with some part of the earldom of Lennox."
"Has he been so rewarded?" cried Hector, growing more vehement. "What got the clan by their readiness in rising against the Macdonalds, but their own meal which they carried with them for the war? What got Glenfruin for catching Sir Robert Graeme,
and taking him to Blair Athol, but cold thanks for his pains; and the Duchess, that we all expected would have paid a rich ransom, is not she taken away? And Glenfruin himself, that should be here, is he not carried off to be hangt or headed like a traitor? Call ye that a reward either to chief or clan? But, Nigel of Glenfruin, that is not what I am sent from the clansmen to tell you. We like not that you should have known how the Lord James was here yesterday, especially, that, instead of trusting your own men, you should have been in league with Celestine Campbell concerning him."
"What would the clan have done, had I broken my word and betrayed the Prince?"
"We would have hangt the King's herald for daring to arrest Glenfruin in his own castle, and have set up the Prince - all the Lennox men are ripe, and ready to take his part. But, Nigel of Glenfruin, you have not a true heart, neither for father nor kinsman, and the
clan are resolved to make your cousin, Rodric MacNigel, chief, till Glenfruin is restored, unless you will give them satisfaction."
"What satisfaction do they expect?" said Nigel, struggling to appear calm and collected.
"That you will tell them where the Lord James is; for they know it is not as was said, that he has yet been taken."
"And if I do so, what then?"
"And that you will, as soon as it can safely be done, either demand, or take from the Duchess, a sufficient satisfaction for the ransom that was expected."
"We might as well declare ourselves in rebellion at once. Surely you cannot but know that the King's strength is every where in the country, and there is no clan, however powerful, that may venture to measure swords with it. Have you not but just told me, that you dare not lift a cow or a carrion from, the very burghers of Dumbarton? Truly, Hector
MacAllisner, this is mutiny and sedition without reason, and I will not ruin the clan by lending myself to the blind impulses of mere rage."
He then paused, and communed with himself for some time in silence; after which he added -
"This much I will do freely, Hector: let us seek the Lord James, who must be somewhere about the skirts of the lake; but let the clan consider, that as he is our lawful Prince, and may one day be King, even by right without might, whether it would not be wise to refrain from any attempt to molest his mother. This I was minded to have proposed to you; for, unless we find and succour him, hunger will soon drive him into the hands of others, who will thereby gain all the advantages that might be ours."
Hector pondered for some time, and then he said -
"But what shall we do with him if we do not set him up?"
"Keep him in secret, be hospitable to him, earn his favour, and await what is to come hereafter."
Some farther discourse ensued, wherein Hector was made sensible that the young chieftain counselled more wisely than those who had sent him to make their complaint, and he returned to them on the castle-hill where they were assembled, and reported what had passed. Nigel soon after also went thither; and though for the most part they received him with joyous shouts, yet were many among them sullen, and stubbornly knotted to the mutinous suggestions of his cousin, Roderic MacNigel, a fierce and headstrong youth, who thought, by fostering these discontents, to have been chosen chief till the return of his uncle, and by course of things, if he was never permitted to return, to have remained his successor.
Nigel was sorely grieved to observe this division among his clansmen; and fearing that those who were of his cousin's faction would frustrate the scheme which he had proposed, and betray the ill-fated outlaw whom he was so anxious to protect, he returned into the hall followed by Hector MacAllisner, and almost wept for bitterness of spirit, at finding himself environed with difficulties, which, as it then seemed, could not be mastered without great detriment to his own honour, and danger beyond all estimate or measure to the clan.
IN the meantime, the Lord James and Anniple being driven by the wind and waves into the narrow sound between Inchconagan and Inchmo-an, landed on the latter island, and went in search of a place of shelter; for the wind was gusty, and from time to time the tail of a heavy shower swept over them. The Lord James, weary at heart, and heavy with his disconsolate thoughts, walked on in silence, and Anniple followed, ever and anon lifting the skirt of his plaid to screen her from the rain, as she went coweringly behind crooning some old uncouth ditty.
Their search, however, was in vain, for neither rock nor tree could be found; and though from time to time the faint and ghastly light of the northern streams broke from the
clouds, and dimly showed all around the black moss and the dark heaving waters, no sign of any shelter could be discovered. Still the wind was rising, the showers were coming heavier and faster, and Anniple not only refrained from churming her song, but began to ban the malicious fairies that had made her to suffer such a life of molestation.
As they were thus wandering in the gloom, the Lord James chanced to stumble into a place whence peats had been delved, and would have fallen headlong, but that at the time Anniple had hold of his plaid. When, however, he recovered, and turned round to speak to her, she was gone, having darted away like an arrow from a bow. Notwithstanding the darkness of the night, she ran straight back to the boat, on board of which she leapt at once, and gathered herself as it were into a bunch in the bottom, saying -
"Beds were made for the blest and the
born; but the lea of a deal or a dyke's good enough for me."
"In that situation she fell asleep, and when she awoke and looked over the side of the boat, she found, that the tempest had ceased, and that the grey eye of the morning was just beginning to peer through the mist into which the heavy clouds of the night had resolved themselves.
Being cold and wet, she almost immediately cowered down again into the bottom of the boat; but suddenly recollecting that she was alone, and in the middle of the lake, she started up and began to cry and hail with a loud and shrill voice, in the hope that she might be heard. Then, she attempted to move the oars, which swung on pivots, but they were too ponderous for her strength, and she soon abandoned the toil. At last she bethought herself of the ragged remnant that served her for a mantle, and getting up on a bench, she spread it to the wind. In this manner
she drifted near to the shore where the river Leven runs away ; there, leaving the boat loose on the margent of the lake, she went up the country, reckless of the condition in which she had left her companion.
"It had, however, fared better with the Lord James than with her; for, after she left him, he came to a hovel raised by the peat-makers to sleep in when employed in digging the turf, and he went into it, and found a better asylum than he could have hoped to meet with on that lone and melancholious island. Having struck a light with his sword from a stone, he kindled a fire with some of the moss and turf wherewith the bield was covered, at which he sat for some time expecting the Spaewife; but seeing she came not, he went often to the door and called her by name, fearing that some accident had befallen her. As, however, she never made her appearance, he began to conjecture that she had perhaps found some similar place of shelter,
and composed himself to sleep, to which he was the more easily invited by the anxieties and the toil he had undergone.
In this state of defencelessness he continued till the sun was risen ; and when he awoke, he beheld an old man of a very venerable aspect standing mournfully over him. His countenance was pale, dejected, and meek, and there was a holiness in his eves that betokened the patient melancholy of a resigned and sorrowful heart. His garb, and the rosary at his girdle, shewed that he was a priest; but he wore no cowl, and his grey hair fell over his dark vesture like the breaking of a silvery stream down the rocky side of a heathy hill.
The Lord James at once started up, and gazing at him for a moment, rushed into his fatherly embraces; for in him he discovered the aged confessor of his grandfather, the Earl of Lennox. But the old man for some time could only weep.
"Alas! my dear Lord," said he, "I thought that I had shed all my tears, and that when I had followed my noble master to his doom, Heaven had reserved for me no greater trial ; but the condition in which I have found you, tells me that there was a pang which till this morning I had not proved. 0 the anguish of that pity with which I beheld the son of so many kings sleeping forlorn in such a place as this!"
Father Kessog then told him, that after the dreadful business at Stirling he had retired from the world, and reared a lowly cell in one of the neighbouring islands, where he had since lived in undisturbed solitude the life of a hermit. "Come with me thither, you will be safer than here; for the people around, ever since I took up my abode alone, have regarded Inchtavannach as a consecrated place."
The Lord James was right well content to experience so soon the truth of the predictions
with which Anniple had, in her uncouth simplicity, tried to cheer him; and he entreated that she might be sought for and taken with them. After, however, going all round the island, and seeing that the boat in which he had come was not there, they naturally concluded she had gone away in it, as rehearsed, and they returned back to a little tree close to the shore near the hovel, where they embarked on a raft which the hermit had brought with him, and which he had fastened to the tree.
"Last night," said the venerable man, "as he pushed the raft towards Inchconagan, I saw the dawn of a light rising from Inchmo-an, and this morning about daybreak I heard a very lamentable cry, as of one in jeopardy, afar off on the waters, and I thought that surely some malchance had happened; whereupon I rose. And many trees having been lately felled on the islands, I put a raft of them together, and came over to Inchconagan, where, seeing some vapour of smoke rising
from the sheillin, I framed this also to pass over to Inchmo-an, to render what assistance I could, and had but shortly arrived before you awoke."
Father Kessog having thus informed the Lord James in what manner he had been led to come to him, they conveyed themselves on the raft, first across the sound of Inchconagan, and walking over that isle, then they embarked again on the other raft, and passed to the land whereon the hermit had raised his solitary dwelling.
Verily it was a region meet for holy musings and heavenly contemplations. Scarcely had the long-hunted outlaw put his foot upon the thymy sod, than he felt the gracious spirit of the place mingling with his feelings, and like the down and moss of the nest that receives the panting and harassed bird, which has escaped the fowler, at once ministering to security and repose. Above, and all around the little green dell wherein the hermit had
built his lowly habitation, the boughs of the birch, the oak, the hazel, and the pine, were blended as it were in the embraces of a friendly union. In the woods, the spots on the yellow leaf were here and there just beginning to appear; but still the fragrant birch had not lost all her vernal beauty, for, as the soft morning gale played with her foliage, she turned the silver lining of her vesture to the light, as if pleased to be caressed by so gentle a zephyrus of the lingering summer. The oak too was still in his vigour, and if a tarnished bough or spray denoted that he had lately encountered the forerunners of the Sythian hosts of winter, they were like the young warrior's crest that has felt, but not been dishonoured by the foe. The hazel also stood green and bushy on the shelvy banks, a little faded from the trim of his summer holidays, like the blithe school-boy, careless of his attire, who seeks to plunder him of his clusters; - but the pine carried his evergreen tufts unchanged,
stately and superior, like some proud and gallant challenger, who, rich in ancient pedigrees, boasts of anticipated triumphs; - while the brambles, with their flowers and berries on the same stalk, their thorny branches and serrated foliage, rose amidst, among, and around, like notable housewives, that please, cherish, and vex the loftier lords whom they encircle with their fond arms and fretting conjugalities. There also the twice-visiting primrose was seen among the cliffy rocks peeping from her mossy nook, like some pale and timid spinster, who, having eschewed the summer eyes of mankind, endeavours to put forth her beauty again when there is no willingness to look upon her. In a few places, amidst thistles and other joyless weeds, the ungenial fox-glove, erect and solitary, held up his head, with his crimson purses all on one side, like a rich bachelor that presents but his barren left hand to the fair ladies.
The birds, and all living things that moved
there were tamed, as it were by the spirit of Eden. The hares and leverets on the green leapt playfully at the skimming swallows. The deer looked out from the woods, pleased with the countenance of man, and the fawn came gamboling to give him welcome.
It was in sooth a still and pleasant solitude, wherein a holy spirit dwelt in visible beauty, to win the stranger, whether guided thither by chance or driven by adversity, to pause and receive some gentle lesson of virtue. For there the leaves were eloquent with benignant instruction - when the air was still, they taught in their silence the sweet morality of affection that delights to cherish unsought and without ceasing - when stirred by the breeze, they whispered as with an admonishing counsel, to beware of the incitements of desire; and, amidst the storm, they declaimed of the immeasurable vehemence of passion. "Even the stones here also preach," said Father Kessog, as he pointed out these things to his pensive
companion. "They remind us, when they are bright and dry, that the heart of man is hard and arid in prosperity ; and when they are moistened by only the dew, do they not prove how small a thing it is that serves to sadden the bosom? Listen also to the running waters, do they not warn us that life is flowing away? - and these rocks, so channelled and worn, and hoary, tell they not of things that have been from of old, whereof no man can divine the purpose, and bear witness to the mysteries wherewith the world has been conceived, setting at nought the groping wisdom of presumptuous mortality."
Thus did the hermit talk with the unfortunate prince, as he led him to his cell, wherein he had prepared a hollow tomb for himself, in which he nightly made his bed. "In this, tomb," said he, "should need arise, you can be concealed. Alas! there is no resting-place for man but the grave."
IT was some time after the arrival of the Lady Sibilla with Glenfruin at Scone, before the King came from the council which he was then holding; and he had not heard of her return till he entered the chamber where she was sitting with the Queen and the ladies of the court at their evening pastimes.
The business wherewith he had been engaged being the pardon of prisoners whose offences were not of a deep dye, and other resolutions of beneficence, which were to be as harbingers to the solemnity of the morning - when the foundations of the abbey which he had promised to build were to be laid - he entered the room with unwonted cheerfulnesss - so much more in unison with the benevolence of his nature were deliberations of that kind,
than the stern decrees and mandates he had so often and so long sent forth. Thus it was that, with a buoyant step and a joyous air, he welcomed the unlooked-for return of the fair heroine; and his satisfaction was increased by her visible endeavour to break through the cloud of melancholy that still obscured the splendour of her beauty. She had indeed resolved to dress her looks to the time and occasion, and to try whether, with a gayety more in the fashion of the smiling masques worn by those around her, she might not attain her purpose better than by the anxious and regardless earnestness which had formerly proved of so little avail. Accordingly, she answered to his playful chidings for having been so long a truant, with so much of that happy gracefulness which charmed all eyes before she had tasted of disappointment and sorrow, that he began to hope her gloom was past, and to rally her again on behalf of Stuart.
"He has been ever since," said his Majesty, " the most rueful and forlorn of swains. This morning he came back with the Earl of Athol, but so changed, and all by your cruelty, that he hath not confidence to look one in the face; and when he answers, for he never now speaks of his own accord, he starts; and replies so far from the jet of the question, that he seems more like the guilty heart-breaker than the broken-hearted. Verily, sweet cousin, you have a great indemnity to pay.
"But not to him," replied Sibilla; "for I must account myself favoured of the stars, that among the crosses of my lot, I have still escaped the thraldom of one so easily made such a malcontent."
"In this conjuncture of their discourse, that renowned gentlewoman, the Lady Katherine Douglas, who was of a bolder and freer temperament, being then standing near, said to the Lady Sibilla, from the words of a poem which his Majesty had shortly before indited -
"Of a' those maidens mild and meed,
"How can you," said the Queen, coming towards them, "tease her with such poor madrigals?"
"Ah!" replied his Majesty laughing, "I never knew a wife that was not jealous of her husband's muse. But what can we do to content our fair cousin, and prove how truly we esteem this unlooked-for pleasure?"
"0 ! many things, many," said the Lady Sibilla, still in a jocund key ; "but I shall be too happy with two, and one of them is the fulfilment of a promise of an ancient date; namely, that pretty impress of your Majesty's mellifluous poesy, 'The King's Quair,'
inscribed on vellum by the Westminster penman; and wherein there is that fair limning of the Queen, as she is depicted in the verse, smiling with the inward delight of some kind fancy. It is a debt that your Majesty is not honest in withholding."
"And it shall be paid this same night; but what other grace will you demand ? I pray it may not be even to the half of our kingdom."
A little pause thereon followed, and both the Queen and the Lady Katherine Douglas looked grave at each other. The Lady Sibilla, however, put on her gayest smile, and said -
I doubt not it will be more readily accorded to me than the first; for I would but ask what will give pleasure to his Majesty without making him poorer.
"A simple old man, who has been my companion hither, stands somewhat in the shade of your royal displeasure, and he has come,
I find, too late to be included in the general pardon."
The King's smile disappeared; but the Queen took the Lady Sibilla by the hand, and said to his Majesty -
"Now, were I the King, I would comply with this charity, and give the pardon on the suit of our cousin without requiring to know more. It is sufficient that the offender has obtained her advocacy."
His Majesty sighed, and with a mild and gracious accent replied to the Queen -
"That you love me with all the constancy and affection which the heart of man can desire in woman, I believe as sincerely as any worshipper who hath faith in the shrine to which he kneels; but I would have you to love my honour and renown also; for Kings have two natures and characters - in the one, weak, passionate, and froward, they move in their errors like the lowest vassal; in the other they are as gods, abstract and sublime,
and according as their edicts and awards favour right or wrong, they bless or blight, not only the world in their own time, but in all time coming. - For whom is it, sweet cousin, that you intercede?"
The Lady Sibilla was, as well as the Queen and the Lady Katherine Douglas, somewhat dismayed by the altered manner of his Majesty ; but, still affecting to make light of the favour, she replied -
"It is the old loyal chieftain that so kindly treated me during the rebellion in Lennox."
"What! Glenfruin?" said the King. "The accusation against him is heavy indeed."
The Lady Sibilla, perceiving his Majesty was about to declare that, until the extent of his guilt was investigated, he could not give any promise, exclaimed hastily, and with a sprightly tone, "I do not wish to hear of what he stands accused; but grant me so much grace on your royal promise, as to call
him before your Majesty in private before he is put upon his trial; for, poor man, he hath not much of the art to set off his plain tale to any advantage."
His Majesty smiled, and assented that it should be so. "Ah, thus it is," said he, "that in their hours of ease princes do things which, however pure in themselves, often take the bearing of an ignoble partiality in the eyes of the world. We need, however," he added more gravely, "some little favour from power to countervail the invidious misrepresentations of our afflictions. It is hard to deny to us the practice of one of the best virtues of other men, - the indulgence of kind wishes towards those who, in our humbler nature, have commended themselves to our esteem."
The Lady Sibilla then recounted apart to the ladies her adventure on the night of the burning of Dumbarton; the main tale of which she had told the Queen before, after
her return to court from Glenfruin's castle, and particularly of those things which had moved her to allow Anniple to take her place in the boat with the monk. These, her Majesty had, in her turn, imperfectly rehearsed to the King, not conceiving that, by any chance, the matter should ever come again into controversy. It happened, however, that, while the Lady Sibilla was then telling what had befallen her, his Majesty, remembering the complaint of the Prior, by whom he had been induced to order the summons for Glenfruin, inquired if she knew the name of the monk that went in the boat; and when she answered "Mungo," he exclaimed suddenly -
"Why, that was the name of the holy man of whose martyrdom I was obliged to hear so much. Oh ! it is too true that kings live in chambers with painted windows, - the fair and true light rarely shines in upon them.
THE appointed day being now come on which the foundation-stone of the King's new abbey was to be laid, pleasant it would be to depaint the thronging, the marvelling, and the mingling of all sorts of people together in Perth that morning, and to rehearse how wards were set around the town to keep out the Highlanders, who in latter times have so meritoriously shown themselves worthy to bear a part in the peaceful pageantries of national gratulation; - how the monks and friars were all courtesie, in getting commodious places for their friends, and how the bailies and others of the city, and the guildry thereof, from time to time, got their wives and daughters cannily slipped into the galleries set
apart for ladies of pedigree. But puissant must be the pen that would set down how, at the hour of ceremony, the friars came forth swinging their censers of burning incense, and with lighted tapers, and banners, and images, and shrines of relics, and all manner of pomps ecclesiastical, followed by the gentle nuns, prolonging like sweet echoes the harmonies of their masculine anthems; and how, with the sound of trumpets, and the drum's triumphal thunder, the knights and nobles, in cloaks and mantles of velvet, came as harbingers to the King; and with what ritual and mysteries of masonry the foundation-stone was laid in its place. These things, however, albeit of great moment, touching the prosperity of the realm, must be overpassed, to make room for what chanced on that day in the matters and issue of this eventful history.
When the ceremonial was over, and all those who had part therein were returned to their respective places of abode in the town, the
Earl of Athol and Stuart, who had accompanied the King back to the Abbey-palace of Scone, retired towards the chambers set apart for their entertainment; and it chanced that, in going along the cloister which led thereto, Stuart followed the Earl quickly, as if to speak with him of some matter wherewith his mind was filled; but when he was come within two or three paces, he appeared to falter, and the Earl looking back, and seeing who it was by whom he had been so followed, increased his pace, and hastened forward, as it were to eschew him.
The dubiety, however, that caused Stuart at first to check his speed did not last long, for he followed the Earl more briskly than ever, and entered into a chamber with him, where, as the old man untied the mantle that he had worn in the pageant, Stuart said -
"I was alarmed lest the show should have been interrupted by some dreadful accident."
"How!" replied the Earl, "What was there to cause such apprehension? Saw you any thing to be afraid of ?'
"I observed, that as the King strewed the corn, wine, and oil upon the stone, you grew very pale."
The Earl's colour again disappeared, and his hand so shook that he rather entangled than untied the knot he was endeavouring to undo, - but he made no answer, while Stuart continued with a little more confidence in his manner -
"I saw that your eye was drawn towards some one in the crowd."
"Think you," said the Earl eagerly, "that it was remarked of me?"
"It was," replied Stuart.
The emotion of the Earl on hearing this became so manifest, that he sat down, having his mantle still untied, and inquired, with an anxious and alarmed voice, by whom he had been observed.
"By one in the garb of a wild Highlander; his locks were shaggy, his beard untrimmed, and his clothes were made up, seemingly, of divers rags, the cast weeds of several beggars, they were so preposterously wretched: he was apparelled as one might be that hath some flaw in his wit, and yet was he plainly not of that nature, for his eye was sharp and steady, and lighted up with a spirit full of menace and invention."
"It was not safe that a creature so fierce and fantastical should have had leave to be where he was," said the Earl.
"Did you not, my Lord, then know him?" replied Stuart. But, instead of answering the question, the Earl said thoughtfully-
"Think you that he was noticed by the King, or by any of those who were immediately around his Majesty? I once or twice observed the eyes of the Chancellor turned to that side."
"What signifies it if he did look; how
should he discover him if your Lordship could not, who are privy to his purpose?"
"To what purpose?" exclaimed the Earl with a voice of terror; "to what purpose?" and he rose hastily and walked with hurried steps and perturbed gestures several times to and fro in the chamber. Suddenly he appeared to become calm, and going to Stuart, he said with a solemn voice, in which there was much sadness -
"I charge you, as you dread my displeasure and the King's power, never to speak with him touching the rights of which I was defrauded ; for he is so maddened by the sense of his own wrongs, and hath such a tongue to make the bad appear the better purpose, that out of the despite which we have ourselves borne, he may deduce reasons that shall entice you into great peril."
"My Lord, of whom do you speak?" replied Stuart, with well-feigned simplicity and wonderment"
The Earl wrung his hands rapidly, breathed quickly, and looking round hastily, cried, -
"I will have nothing to do with your intents. I know not of what you speak. I pray to Heaven that what I fear may be but a phantasm."
"I thought you knew not that it was Sir Robert Graeme?" said Stuart, still calmly and with a searching look.
The mention of the name was like a spell, and the Earl, who had been so heady, rash, and distempered in his manner, became at once serene and collected, saying, -
"He has been too hardly dealt with, and adversity, like a cruel rust, has defaced the original brightness of his character. But such woful change is not rare; I have known other men, as well as poor Sir Robert Graeme, whom Heaven had intended for high purposes, but fortune and irresponsible accident so transmuted the gold of their nature into
iron, that at their exit from the scene of this mortal theatre, instead of being honoured with the peals and plaudits of admiration, they have been followed by scorn and hissing, and their names loaded with all manner of contumely, so basely, according to the judgment of men, did they fail in the performance of their part, and that too from nothing seemingly in circumstance, but altogether from the meanness - I would say the malice, of their motiveless endeavours."
"And should honest men stand by and see spirits of such nobility crushed and cast away ?" said Stuart, somewhat abashed by the vehemence of the Earl's declamation. "I could not refrain from saying to myself, when I saw the mournful plight to which Graeme was reduced, - Alas! how wofully hath adversity degraded the image of God in that brave man."
"Hush," replied the Earl; "we must not give such license to our tongues; the same
merciless justice that haunts him down may be set on us."
"You are watched already," said a dreadful voice.
Stuart drew his sword, and the Earl looked like a distracted man - but a loud laugh soon relieved their consternation.
It was Sir Robert Graeme, who had, by tampering with one of the Earl's servants, by all of whom he was much pitied, obtain admission into the chamber, and stood concealed within the arras, waiting the Earl's return.
"My Lord," said Graeme, advancing in the pride of his might and mastery.
The Earl shrunk away, exclaiming, -
"Avaunt! fiend! demon! tempt me no more! I will not be again tempted, remorseless and tremendous homicide !"
Graeme looked round to Stuart with a smile so gaunt, hideous, and triumphant, that he too was shaken and overawed -
and then he again addressed the Earl, saying, -
"My Lord, when I had but the hill for my hall, the stars for candles, and the snow for a blanket; when but the rain, and the hail, and the sleet, were my visitors, - hunger my guest, - and, night after night, I heard but the minstrelsy of the tuneless wind, and Revenge roaring from all the waters of the Tummel, the Garry, and the Tay, I swore - not to Heaven, my Lord - that I would have -
"I know, I know, all that you would say," cried the Earl, sinking into his seat.
"And this day," resumed Graeme, "I had quenched the thirst of my dirk ; but he was so fenced beyond my reach. Now this you shall do for me - "
"Nothing, nothing, nothing!" exclaimed the Earl, rushing wildly towards the door. Graeme drew him back.
"This passion is in part feigned said the
traitor sarcastically. "My lord, be still, be calm, you are in my power."
"Have you no ruth of manhood in you?" cried the Earl to Stuart, "that you will not help me from the fangs of this fiend?"
"I fear," said Stuart to Graeme, "that we have thought him more with us than he is."
The traitor paused, and eyed the Earl with a stern and questioning eye, and then said, "With us, or not with us, he shall be with us. But he is so already. My Lord, all we ask of you is, neither to see nor to hear, and you will soon be Regent of Scotland, then make yourself King if you will."
For a moment the Earl paused, and looked alternately at Stuart and Graeme; then he walked slowly towards his chair, and said, as he sat down, "This is fate, be it as you will. Thou hast, 0 Heaven! beheld my inward agonies, ever since the fiend laid his burning hand upon me, and thou hast been deaf unto my prayers."
"You may save yourself still," said Graeme contemptuously, - "by alarming the Abbey. But, my Lord, now that we have launched ourselves in the same enterprise, let there henceforth be no more taunts between us - call me no longer devil - and I shall not forget the courtesy due to one that is hereafter to be a King."
"How got you into this apartment?" said Stuart, anxious to break in upon the strain of their discourse.
"Nay , rather ask how I am to get out," exclaimed the traitor; for at that moment a rapid and sudden noise, with the clank of arms, was heard approaching in the cloister, and then an officer, with several soldiers, came rushing into the room.
END OF VOLUME II.
PRINTED BY OLIVER & BOYD,
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