Зображення сторінки
[ocr errors]

& Trow ye that I'll let ye?" retorted The Sheriff, in the mean time, obthe Covenanter, levelling his piece with serving his friend's danger, had drawn quick but steady aim, and fring down up before it was too late, and halted on upon him.

the brink of the first gap. Here, hor. Both horse and rider fell together, and, ever, he was closely pressed by the horsestaggering for a moment on the edge of men behind, who pushed on, unconscious the precipice, tumbled over and disap of the obstruction; and as Eccleston's peared.

horse began to rear, M'Wierd instinctive 6. There fa's ane o' the rampest youths ly caught hold of the branch of a tree, I ha'e seen," said the Covenanter, shud. which projected from a cliff of the rock dering at the deed he had done, but en. above his head, and saved himself from deavouring to justify it. “ I couldna help his perilous situation by clinging to it, it. It was neck or naething wi' me and gaining a footing among its branches. Hegh, but I'm sorry though !”

From this he sprung to another tree, and “ Sandy, Sandy! what hae ye done?” from this again to a ledge of rock, ac cried his comrades. “ Ye'll mak' them quiring energy from the natural love of desperate. See, there's our gude minis. life, till at last be found himself on less ter and Mr Patrickson come up. They'll precipitous ground, and out of the reach be murdered !_0, they'll be murder of danger.

While this was passing, Davenport and " No, no, no !” cried Donaldson in an his prisoner remained motionless in their agony. “ Rather tak' me. It was me perilous station; the noble animal bethat did it. Spare the guiltless !"

neath them being sensible of the danger, So saying, he stepped to the brink of and standing steady, while it trembled in the precipice, scarcely knowing what he every limb. Nothing indeed could be did, and was bending over in the act of more alarming than the situation in throwing himself down, when he was which they were placed, with a perpenforcibly drawn back by his companions. dicular rock above, a yawning abyss be “ Tak' me, and spare the guiltless !" he low, and a footing so narrow, that the repeated, etruggling with those who held slighest motion either of the horse or him. “ I cannaTwinna outlive rider would hazard instant destruction. them !"

Davenport, who, in the field of battle, But Davenport knew his own interest or when called to face danger in any actoo well to sacrifice his prisoners in such tive service, was daring and interpid, felt critical circumstances to his revenge. He his courage give way in this new situahad other views; and as soon as Patrick. tion, where there was no high deed to be son and M.Wierd reached the front, he done, and no fame to be gained, and caused the former to mount behind him where bodily and mental vigour seemed self, and the letter behind the Sheriff, equally vain. He remained cowering and took the lead in an attempt to force over the neck of his horse with shut eyes, his way through the midst of his ene and his trembling hands grasping its mies, trusting to the attachment of the mane, while he scarcely dared to breathe Covenanters towards the prisoners, which lest the motion should disturb the horse's he flattered himself would protect him balance, or induce it to attempt a change from their fire so long as these shared the of position. Patrickson, on the contrary, danger. For the rest, he trusted to the sat steady and erect, commending him. spirit and fleetness of his horse, and to the self in secret prayer to the Supreme Disknown aversion of the Presbyterians to poser of events, and looking calmly round to shed blood. It was a desperate at- for some feasible plan of escape. He tempt, but it seemed to afford him a looked, however, in vain. Before and chance of escape, and in his situation this behind him tbe rustic pioneers had so was enough.

completely done their work, that beyond It was not long, however, before he the isolated spot on which the horse was was brought to a dead stand, the enemy perched, like a statute on a pedestal, not having contrived to break up the road in an inch of level ground could be seen several places. His charger had already near enough to afford him the slightest made one or two perilous leaps, and had hope of escaping by the desperate expert at last spanned a gap, which none but a riment of a leap. horse of the first mettle would ever have “Sir John," said he, “ you were but attempted; but now he could proceed no a few minutes ago a powerful comfarther; and the astonished General mander, and I was your prisoner ; but found himself in an isolated spot on the now we are in this respect on a level, and very verge of the precipice, with scarcely the only question is, which of us can look sufficient breadth for the poor animal tv on the King of Terrors with the steadiest procure a safe station for its feet.

eye, or rather, what is to become of us after be has done his work. A frightful both. “May I yet be heard ?--No, no ! dissolution awaits us. Probably, how impossible !" ever, not a painful one. But that is no. “ Not impossible, if God wills it,” re. thing, compared with the awful thought joined Patrickson. " What are we all that the next moment is to summon us but lost and perishing sinners, till God into the presence of our eternal Judge." visits our souls in mercy through the

“ Tease me not with your infernal blood of a Redeemer. The Apostle cant," exclaimed the General, impa. Paul was a persecutor like yourself, and tiently ; " I have something else to think like him you may be snatched from perof. Do you see no possibility of escap. dition, even when breathing out- " ing?"

“ Folly! cant! puritanism !” mut. “None,” replied the other. “ Thattered the General, with a wild and des. your horse could have reached the nar. perate sneer, relapsing into his former row stripe on which we are insulated, is feelings, and endeavouring to harden quite astonishing. It is impossible even himself in his long-cherished infidelity. to dismount ; but if we could, it would ". It is all a lie ! A cheat! A theme for be just as hopeless to attempt to get whining hypocrites. I cannot I will back as to get forward."

not believe a word of it!" “ But call your people to our assist. “Unhappy man ! from my soul I ance," cried he, in an earnest and pite. pity you,” said Patrickson, in a tone of ous tone. They perhaps may do the deepest commiseration. something. 0 I cannot die just now! " Pity me!” retorted the other sharpSave me ! save me ! save me!"

ly. “ No, Sir! I scorn your pity. “ This is unmanly, General Daven. Pity yourself, and not me. You are a port,” returned Patrickson. "Look round dupe. Annihilation is my word. It is you, and judge for yourself. No human but to cease to think. It is but to sleep aid can be of the slightest use; and, without waking." without a miracle, our fate is inevitable. “O cruel, fatal blindness! cried the Let us patiently submit to the will of Him good Covenanter. “ But you do not in whose hands is our life.”

you cannot believe it. You tremble ! you A deep groan was the only answer his shudder !_You know you feel that companion could return; and a few mo. there is another world. O bethink ments afterwards a loud shriek of despair you ' behind them, followed by a tumbling Bethink me! I cannot think,” faul. niose, announced some fatal catastrophe. tered out the other, his nerves again -" The Sheriff! O, the Sheriff !” were failing him. “0 it is an awful thing to the only words that could be distinctly be dashed to pieces on those pointed heard amidst the hubbub which ensued. rocks! I have faced danger even in the Again and again the shrieks were re- cannon's mouth,-I have been where peated, and sounds were heard which but carnage raged without control, and blood too truly indicated the falling of fresh ran like water, but I never knew what victims into the frightful abyss, as the terror was till now." pressure of the advancing horsemen irre. " It is an awful thing to die," obsistibly urged them forward.

served Patrickson. “How many ties do " Death is busy," said the Covenanter. we at that inoment break, and how mys. " Your friend Eccleston is gone before terious is the change! But 0) the hour us to his long account; and I fear also of judgment !-There—there is the apthe excellent M'Wierd, for whose zeal I palling thought! Who can stand before had hoped that great things were in re- Him who is of purer eyes than to behold serve. But he was prepared. Opray, iniquity ? Sir John! Let us unite our prayers! It « And yet you are calm and self. may not yet be too late !"

possessed, Mr Patrickson," said Daven. * Pray," replied Davenport, bitterly, port, endeavouring to rally his courage. ** wbat will prayers do for us? Will . " Alas! you know not what I feel," they bring down an angel to deliver us ? returned the worthy man. “ It is not

" They may bring down the grace of that I am unwilling to leave the world, God to deliver us from spiritual death," -God knows the contrary ;-but my returned the other, solemnly. “That- wife-my children! Have I seen thein that is now our only concern. We may for the last time ?- Not one word not vet be heard. Think of the thief on the one smile! Parted for ever!" ' cross."

The idea seemed for some moments * What say you ?" exclaimed Sir John to absorb all his faculties; but, soon re. eagerly, erecting himself in the saddle covering himsclf, he said joyfully, with a sudden and energetic motion, No, not for ever! We will meet to part which had almost proved fatal to them no more. Gencral Davenport! hehe alone can die in peace who knows that Nay, you shall go with me. Perhaps I his Redeemer livetb, and that those who may get to heaven at your back." fall asleep in Jesus, God will bring with These last words he uttered in a tone him. What can terrify him who is of mingled frenzy and sarcasm, and, lay. strong in this assurance ?"

ing hold of the Covenanter by the arm, a Sir Jobn answered not, but his furious struggle ensued, which might have ended gesticulations, and the violent contor. fatally, had not loud voices at that mo. tions of his body, indicated the revolving ment been heard on the other side of the of some desperate deed ; and at last, with gap, calling on them to be of good code a horrid imprecation, exclaiming, “ I can rage, for deliverance was at hand bear it no longer ! -Away we go, down, We shall conclude with the open-down to eternity !” he endeavoured

ing of the trial of Sir Sholto Douglas, with his hand and heel to urge his

one of the distinguished adherents charger over the precipice.

of the Covenant, which possesses very The generous animal, however, instead

considerable interest. of obeying the impulse, reared and moved a few paces backward, where, getting to It was not long before a flourish of a broader part of the remaining frag. trumpets announced the approach of the ment of road, it felt itself more secure, judges, and a strong sensation ran through and became perfectly restiff and im- the assembly, as it was generally undermoveable.

stood that the Duke of York intended to " Why would you tempt Providence ?" preside in person. This expectation was remonstrated Patrickson: “ like Ba. not disappointed. The future monarch laam's ass, your horse rebukes his mas soon made his appearance, followed by a ter."

splendid retinue, and took his station on “On, on, you base brute !” cried Da. a throne prepared for his reception in the venport, rendered more furious by this centre of the bench, amidst the mingled remark, and redoubling at once his exe plaudits and bisses of the assembled mal. crations and his efforts.

titude. " I shall save my own life as long as He was a man somewhat above the I can,” said Patrickson, springing to the middle size, of a contracted brow, and a ground on the side farthest from the pre- dark and solemn countenance. He was cipice. “ And, O Sir, reflect !-Have magnificently attired ; and, amidst stars mercy on your own soul!--Will you and ribbons, and other devices, the badges commit an act of suicide ?--Will you of his rank and the emblems of his de rush unbidden into the presence of your ders, a gorgeous diamond cross, suspendMaker ?”

ed from his neck by a golden chain of " What! stay here and starve to exquisite workmanship, was officiously death !" said he; “ and be the laugh displayed, which, to a prophetic eye, ing-stock all the while of cropear fanatics might have seemed as the omen of the like yourself?-You may do as you bigotry and infatuation that, in a few please, Sir; but as for me. "

years, was to hurl him from the throne Instead of finishing the sentence, he of his fathers. threw himself off his horse ; and, stand He looked round him with a scowl of ing on the brink of the precipice, looked contempt on the marks of disapprobation for a few moments down on the giddy which his appearance called forth, and, depth with an unnatural calmness in his then glancing his eye on the cross, and manner.

looking up to heaven, as if to intimate, “ Yes, I see them,” cried he ; “ one, that for the faith of which this was the two, three, four! Ay, there lies Eccles- revered sign, he was ready to brave the ton, poor fellow,-as staunch a loyalist scorn of the whole world, he took his as keen a grasper of the loaves and fishes seat with a proud and sullen dignity. as ever dabbled in politics. Well, it is On his left hand he was supported by all over with him now. There he sleeps, the Duke of Lauderdale, his brother's fa and why am I behind him ? It is but vourite minister, and afterwards his ans, a moment, and then ”

whose furious councils Scotland had se Waving his arms wildly above his much reason to rue; and on his right a head, he was on the point of throwing peared the Archbishop of St. Andrer's himself headlong, when Patrickson seized and the Bishop of Edinburgh, who him by the collar with a strong grasp, seeming to derive new arrogance from exclaiming, " Hold, rash man! There the presence of the heir of the corny are voices at hand. Do you not hear ?” frowned portentously on the crowd belew.

Davenport turned furiously round, ex The other judges took their seats agrande claiming, “ Unhand me, villain ! Shalling to their seniority, and the business a rascally puritan control my will ? the court began.

The assize was opened by the Arch- “ Your Royal Highness, and my other bishop with a short, but fulsome prayer, judges, and you, gentlemen of the assize, in which he lauded the Royal Duke as will doubtless give me credit for the good the wisest and the best of a long line of faith with which I intend to conduct my illustrious princes, who had in his bounty defence, when I at once avow myself to vouchsafed to visit the land of his royal be the Sholto Douglas of Craigpath, al. ancestors, and whose just, and clement, luded to in my indictment, although it is and munificent administration, could not evident, from the very words of that dofail to bring down the blessing of Heaven cument, that my accusers have no other both on the civil and religious affairs of ground for introducing my real name the happy kingdom of Scotland.

than mere conjecture, and although I After some routine business, the pri have reason to believe that they could soner was introduced under a strong bring no proof of my identity. The senguard, attended only by his counsel, the tence, so hastily, and, I must be allowed intrepid and high-minded Stuart; and, to say, unwarrantably pronounced against as he advanced to the bar with the steady me in absence, without even the form of step and dignified look of conscious inno. trial, by which I was proscribed, intercence, a low murmur of admiration and communed, and deprived of my lands by of sympathy was breathed on every side. confiscation, laid me under the cruel ‘nc. He bowed respectfully to the Bench, and cessity of concealment whilst I remained then, sitting down and fixing his eyes on at liberty ; but now, that I am regularly the ground, awaited the proceedings of arraigned before the tribunal of my coun. the Court with a countenance full of com. try, and am permitted, in presence of the posure and resignation.

heir-apparent of the crown, to plead my

own cause, the case is entirely altered. From the reverie into which he was I rejoice that I shall this day have an op. thus thrown, he was suddenly roused by portunity of laying open my conduct bethe question being put to the prisoner, of fore so august an assembly; and I do as“ Guilty, or not guilty ?"

sure you, Sir, that, instead of courting Not Guilty, may it please your concealment, my only desire is, that I Royal Highness,” said he, with a free could display to you my whole soul as in and unembarrassed voice, rising and mak. the sight of Heaven.” ing obeisance to the Prince; “ but per. “ Did I not tell you, we should get haps it might save time, and conduce to something out of him ?” said the Prince the convenience of the Court, were I now apart to Lauderdale, with a significant permitted to state in what sense I wish look. “ Ply him well with home-ques. this declaration to be understood.”

tions while he is in this vein." « It is contrary to all rule," replied “ I admire your Royal Highness's sa. Lauderdale sharply. “ It cannot be gacity," whispered the other fawningly. done. A simple and unqualified answer « I certainly did not expect the fanatic is required, and must be enforced." to be so communicative at first; but I

“I think it may be well to humour shrewdly guess, that the terror of the him," whispered James in Lauderdale's boots is upon hiin. He shall be well ear; "he may make some declaration pumped." Then, turning to the priwhich may serve to shorten our work :" soner, who had paused when he saw and then, with a countenance in which James begin to converse, and had kept an air of gracious condescension was his penetrating eye steadily fixed on the somewhat ominously mingled with a speakers, “ You own then, Sir Sholto," half-suppressed expression of self.com. said he, “ that you resetted certain indiplacency and cunning, he turned to the viduals with arms in their hands, on prisoner, saying,

their way to join the Bothweil ris. " Though your request, pannel, being ?” certainly contrary to rule, as my Lord “No, my Lord Duke," answered he ; Duke observes, yet I wish not to stick to “ I distinctly deny that I resetted a sin. punctilios where the question is a matter gle individual, who had any intention, of life and death. When I sit on this then known to me, of being concerned in bench, my wish is to give every facility that disastrous affair. But if you will to the prisoner ; and in this, I trust, my allow me to proceed- ” right reverend and learned co-adjutors « First a question or two, if you will heartily concur.”

please,” interrupted the Duke. “ Were A glance on either side of the Bench there not some persons entertained in called forth the assent of the judges, in your house, who were soon after engaged low and obsequious reverences to the against the King's troops at Bothwell ? royal speaker ; and the pannel proceed. Answer that, yes or no." ed:

" There were three or four individuals VOL. XVIII.

4 X

[ocr errors]

of that description," replied he readily; indulgence granted to bim with so much “ but "

" Nay, none of your buts," cried " That is as he pleases," obserred Lauderdale, with his characteristic coarse. Lauderdale.“ He intends to be candid, I ness. " Answer another question,_Was eee, only so far as it answers his own lurt.** the rising at Bothwell, in your opinion, “ One word more before I sit down, rebellion ?”

continued the Advocate, taking no notice “ Will you not first allow me to ex. of this spiteful remark :-" There are se plain ?" returned the prisoner. " I was veral witnesses in town, and ready to be going to say " .

called, who are essential to my client's “ You are going to reason,t when we defence; but who, in bearing their testiwant only simple answers to simple mony in his favour, might be liable to questions. We can admit none of your implicate themselves. It must appear to elocution, Sir Sholto."

your Royal Highness absolutely neces“ I offer to prove, that not one of the sary, for promoting the ends of justice, individuals in question ever mentioned in and securing to the accused a fair and im. my house their intention of rising in op. partial trial, that such witnesses should position to Government."

be protected from all legal consequences “ What, prove a negative ? There may to themselves in giving their evidence, be some difficulty there. But you have otherwise they cannot be brought forward. not answered my second question. Do Application has already been made more you, or do you not, regard the rising at than once to the proper quarter, for an Bothwell rebellion ?"

indemnity to these individuals; but “ Rebellion certainly, if there was any from mere inadvertency, I trust, no anthing more in it than self-defence." swer has been as yet returned. The cir.

“ Then your opinion is, that you may cumstance must be altogether unknown rise in arms against your Sovereign when to your Royal Highness, who have with it is necessary for what you call self-de. such princely grace declared your plea. fence ? that is to say, you may first break sure, that every facility shall be given to the law, and then defend yourself the prisoner ; especially, you were pleased against punishment. Fine doctrine this, to remark, as it is a question of life ard truly !"

death. Without such indemnity, the "A doctrine subversive of all authori. trial must be a solemn mockery of jus. ty,” said James, with some bitterness. tice. It is not yet too late. I appeal not " If such are your sentiments, Sir ! to the humanity, but to the equity of the But proceed."

heir-apparent of the crown." “I am cruelly misunderstood," re During this address, James looked turned Sir Sholto ;" “ if your Royal with perplexity and indecision, first at the Highness will only hear "

Duke and then at the Archbishop, with * Nay, I came not here to listen to both of whom he exchanged a few basty your dissertations on government," ex. words in a low voice. Lauderdale, hor. claimed the Prince, haughtily. “Go on ever, relieved him from his embarrass. with the questions."

ment, by asking Stuart significantly if the “ With all due submission, please your proposed witnesses had never been tben Royal Highness,” said Stuart, “ there is selves found guilty of any public delit. an irregularity here which may be at. quency, such as attending conventicles, or tended with great inconvenience. My absenting themselves from the King's client merely requested permission to ex- host, or carrying arms against their lav. plain to what extent he pleaded not ful Sovereign ? guilty ; that is to say, he wished at once If it is your Grace's intention," reto acknowledge the truth of certain alle. plied Stuart drily, “ to reject all excalgations in the indictment, and to deny patory witnesses against whom an ob others. Whether the liberty you have in jection of that description lies, I may as your clemency granted him be regular or well throw up my brief at once ; for I irregular, is another question ; but were shall consider this as an unequivocal intihe suffered to confine himself to this one mation, that you mean to deprive my object, some advantage might obvi. client of all possibility of exculpation, and ously be derived from it, in saving time, that his doom is already determined. and simplifying the business of the Court What Presbyterian within the bounds of If, however, he is to be questioned and this unhappy country has not suffered cross-questioned, and if matters of private imprisonment or fine for some supposed opinion are to be mixed up with the in- failure of duty to Government ? And terrogations, nothing but confusion and from what other party, but that with mischief can ensue from it, and my client which my client associated, can I adduce must decline making further use of the evidence of his character and conduct ?"

« НазадПродовжити »