A Legend of Montrose
by Walter Scott
I. INTRODUCTION TO A LEGEND OF MONTROSE.
The Legend of Montrose was written chiefly with a view to place
before the reader the melancholy fate of John Lord Kilpont,
eldest son of William Earl of Airth and Menteith, and the
singular circumstances attending the birth and history of James
Stewart of Ardvoirlich, by whose hand the unfortunate nobleman
Our subject leads us to talk of deadly feuds, and we must begin
with one still more ancient than that to which our story relates.
During the reign of James IV., a great feud between the powerful
families of Drummond and Murray divided Perthshire. The former,
being the most numerous and powerful, cooped up eight score of
the Murrays in the kirk of Monivaird, and set fire to it. The
wives and the children of the ill-fated men, who had also found
shelter in the church, perished by the same conflagration. One
man, named David Murray, escaped by the humanity of one of the
Drummonds, who received him in his arms as he leaped from amongst
the flames. As King James IV. ruled with more activity than most
of his predecessors, this cruel deed was severely revenged, and
several of the perpetrators were beheaded at Stirling. In
consequence of the prosecution against his clan, the Drummond by
whose assistance David Murray had escaped, fled to Ireland,
until, by means of the person whose life he had saved, he was
permitted to return to Scotland, where he and his descendants
were distinguished by the name of Drummond-Eirinich, or Ernoch,
that is, Drummond of Ireland; and the same title was bestowed on
The Drummond-ernoch of James the Sixth's time was a king's
forester in the forest of Glenartney, and chanced to be employed
there in search of venison about the year 1588, or early in 1589.
This forest was adjacent to the chief haunts of the MacGregors,
or a particular race of them, known by the title of MacEagh, or
Children of the Mist. They considered the forester's hunting in
their vicinity as an aggression, or perhaps they had him at feud,
for the apprehension or slaughter of some of their own name, or
for some similar reason. This tribe of MacGregors were outlawed
and persecuted, as the reader may see in the Introduction to ROB
ROY; and every man's hand being against them, their hand was of
course directed against every man. In short, they surprised and
slew Drummond-ernoch, cut off his head, and carried it with them,
wrapt in the corner of one of their plaids.
In the full exultation of vengeance, they stopped at the house of
Ardvoirlich and demanded refreshment, which the lady, a sister of
the murdered Drummond-ernoch (her husband being absent), was
afraid or unwilling to refuse. She caused bread and cheese to be
placed before them, and gave directions for more substantial
refreshments to be prepared. While she was absent with this
hospitable intention, the barbarians placed the head of her
brother on the table, filling the mouth with bread and cheese,
and bidding him eat, for many a merry meal he had eaten in that
The poor woman returning, and beholding this dreadful sight,
shrieked aloud, and fled into the woods, where, as described in
the romance, she roamed a raving maniac, and for some time
secreted herself from all living society. Some remaining
instinctive feeling brought her at length to steal a glance from
a distance at the maidens while they milked the cows, which being
observed, her husband, Ardvoirlich, had her conveyed back to her
home, and detained her there till she gave birth to a child, of
whom she had been pregnant; after which she was observed
gradually to recover her mental faculties.
Meanwhile the outlaws had carried to the utmost their insults
against the regal authority, which indeed, as exercised, they had
little reason for respecting. They bore the same bloody trophy,
which they had so savagely exhibited to the lady of Ardvoirlich,
into the old church of Balquidder, nearly in the centre of their
country, where the Laird of MacGregor and all his clan being
convened for the purpose, laid their hands successively on the
dead man's head, and swore, in heathenish and barbarous manner,
to defend the author of the deed. This fierce and vindictive
combination gave the author's late and lamented friend, Sir
Alexander Boswell, Bart., subject for a spirited poem, entitled
"Clan-Alpin's Vow," which was printed, but not, I believe,
published, in 1811 [See Appendix No. I].
The fact is ascertained by a proclamation from the Privy Council,
dated 4th February, 1589, directing letters of fire and sword
against the MacGregors [See Appendix No. II]. This fearful
commission was executed with uncommon fury. The late excellent
John Buchanan of Cambusmore showed the author some correspondence
between his ancestor, the Laird of Buchanan, and Lord Drummond,
about sweeping certain valleys with their followers, on a fixed
time and rendezvous, and "taking sweet revenge for the death of
their cousin, Drummond-ernoch." In spite of all, however, that
could be done, the devoted tribe of MacGregor still bred up
survivors to sustain and to inflict new cruelties and injuries.
[I embrace the opportunity given me by a second mention of this
tribe, to notice an error, which imputes to an individual named
Ciar Mohr MacGregor, the slaughter of the students at the battle
of Glenfruin. I am informed from the authority of John Gregorson,
Esq., that the chieftain so named was dead nearly a century
before the battle in question, and could not, therefore, have
done the cruel action mentioned. The mistake does not rest with
me, as I disclaimed being responsible for the tradition while I
quoted it, but with vulgar fame, which is always disposed to
ascribe remarkable actions to a remarkable name.--See the
erroneous passage, ROB ROY, Introduction; and so soft sleep the
offended phantom of Dugald Ciar Mohr.
It is with mingled pleasure and shame that I record the more
important error, of having announced as deceased my learned
acquaintance, the Rev. Dr. Grahame, minister of Aberfoil.--See
ROB ROY, p.360. I cannot now recollect the precise ground of my
depriving my learned and excellent friend of his existence,
unless, like Mr. Kirke, his predecessor in the parish, the
excellent Doctor had made a short trip to Fairyland, with whose
wonders he is so well acquainted. But however I may have been
misled, my regret is most sincere for having spread such a
rumour; and no one can be more gratified than I that the report,
however I have been induced to credit and give it currency, is a
false one, and that Dr. Grahame is still the living pastor of
Aberfoil, for the delight and instruction of his brother
Meanwhile Young James Stewart of Ardvoirlich grew up to manhood
uncommonly tall, strong, and active, with such power in the grasp
of his hand in particular, as could force the blood from beneath
the nails of the persons who contended with him in this feat of
strength. His temper was moody, fierce, and irascible; yet he
must have had some ostensible good qualities, as he was greatly
beloved by Lord Kilpont, the eldest son of the Earl of Airth and
This gallant young nobleman joined Montrose in the setting up his
standard in 1644, just before the decisive battle at Tippermuir,
on the 1st September in that year. At that time, Stewart of
Ardvoirlich shared the confidence of the young Lord by day, and
his bed by night, when, about four or five days after the battle,
Ardvoirlich, either from a fit of sudden fury or deep malice long
entertained against his unsuspecting friend, stabbed Lord Kilpont
to the heart, and escaped from the camp of Montrose, having
killed a sentinel who attempted to detain him. Bishop Guthrie
gives us a reason for this villainous action, that Lord Kilpont
had rejected with abhorrence a proposal of Ardvoirlich to
assassinate Montrose. But it does not appear that there is any
authority for this charge, which rests on mere suspicion.
Ardvoirlich, the assassin, certainly did fly to the Covenanters,
and was employed and promoted by them. He obtained a pardon for
the slaughter of Lord Kilpont, confirmed by Parliament in 1634,
and was made Major of Argyle's regiment in 1648. Such are the
facts of the tale here given as a Legend of Montrose's wars. The
reader will find they are considerably altered in the fictitious
The author has endeavoured to enliven the tragedy of the tale by
the introduction of a personage proper to the time and country.
In this he has been held by excellent judges to have been in some
degree successful. The contempt of commerce entertained by young
men having some pretence to gentility, the poverty of the country
of Scotland, the national disposition to wandering and to
adventure, all conduced to lead the Scots abroad into the
military service of countries which were at war with each other.
They were distinguished on the Continent by their bravery; but in
adopting the trade of mercenary soldiers, they necessarily
injured their national character. The tincture of learning,
which most of them possessed, degenerated into pedantry; their
good breeding became mere ceremonial; their fear of dishonour no
longer kept them aloof from that which was really unworthy, but
was made to depend on certain punctilious observances totally
apart from that which was in itself deserving of praise. A
cavalier of honour, in search of his fortune, might, for example,
change his service as he would his shirt, fight, like the doughty
Captain Dalgetty, in one cause after another, without regard to
the justice of the quarrel, and might plunder the peasantry
subjected to him by the fate of war with the most unrelenting
rapacity; but he must beware how he sustained the slightest
reproach, even from a clergyman, if it had regard to neglect on
the score of duty. The following occurrence will prove the truth
of what I mean:--
"Here I must not forget the memory of one preacher, Master
William Forbesse, a preacher for souldiers, yea, and a captaine
in neede to leade souldiers on a good occasion, being full of
courage, with discretion and good conduct, beyond some captaines
I have knowne, that were not so capable as he. At this time he
not onely prayed for us, but went on with us, to remarke, as I
thinke, men's carriage; and having found a sergeant neglecting
his dutie and his honour at such a time (whose name I will not
expresse), having chidden him, did promise to reveale him unto
me, as he did after their service. The sergeant being called
before me, and accused, did deny his accusation, alleaging, if he
were no pasteur that had alleaged it, he would not lie under the
injury, The preacher offered to fight with him, [in proof] that
it was truth he had spoken of him; whereupon I cashiered the
sergeant, and gave his place to a worthier, called Mungo Gray, a
gentleman of good worth, and of much courage. The sergeant being
cashiered, never called Master William to account, for which he
was evill thought of; so that he retired home, and quit the
The above quotation is taken from a work which the author
repeatedly consulted while composing the following sheets, and
which is in great measure written in the humour of Captain Dugald
Dalgetty. It bears the following formidable title:--"MONRO his
Expedition with the worthy Scots Regiment, called MacKeye's
Regiment, levied in August 1626, by Sir Donald MacKeye Lord Rees
Colonel, for his Majestie's service of Denmark, and reduced after
the battle of Nerling, in September 1634, at Wormes, in the Palz:
Discharged in several duties and observations of service, first,
under the magnanimous King of Denmark, during his wars against
the Empire; afterwards under the invincible King of Sweden,
during his Majestie's lifetime; and since under the Director-
General, the Rex-Chancellor Oxensterne, and his Generals:
collected and gathered together, at spare hours, by Colonel
Robert Monro, as First Lieutenant under the said Regiment, to the
noble and worthy Captain Thomas MacKenzie of Kildon, brother to
the noble Lord, the Lord Earl of Seaforth, for the use of all
noble Cavaliers favouring the laudable profession of arms. To
which is annexed, the Abridgement of Exercise, and divers
Practical Observations for the Younger Officer, his
consideration. Ending with the Soldier's Meditations on going on
Another worthy of the same school, and nearly the same views of
the military character, is Sir James Turner, a soldier of
fortune, who rose to considerable rank in the reign of Charles
II., had a command in Galloway and Dumfries-shire, for the
suppression of conventicles, and was made prisoner by the
insurgent Covenanters in that rising which was followed by the
battle of Pentland. Sir James is a person even of superior
pretensions to Lieutenant-Colonel Monro, having written a
Military Treatise on the Pike-Exercise, called "Pallas Armata."
Moreover, he was educated at Glasgow College, though he escaped
to become an Ensign in the German wars, instead of taking his
degree of Master of Arts at that learned seminary.
In latter times, he was author of several discourses on
historical and literary subjects, from which the Bannatyne Club
have extracted and printed such passages as concern his Life and
Times, under the title of SIR JAMES TURNER'S MEMOIRS. From this
curious book I extract the following passage, as an example of
how Captain Dalgetty might have recorded such an incident had he
kept a journal, or, to give it a more just character, it is such
as the genius of De Foe would have devised, to give the minute
and distinguishing features of truth to a fictitious narrative:--
"Heere I will set doun ane accident befell me; for thogh it was
not a very strange one, yet it was a very od one in all its
parts. My tuo brigads lay in a village within halfe a mile of
Applebie; my own quarter was in a gentleman's house, ho was a
Ritmaster, and at that time with Sir Marmaduke; his wife keepd
her chamber readie to be brought to bed. The castle being over,
and Lambert farre enough, I resolved to goe to bed everie night,
haveing had fatigue enough before. 'The first night I sleepd well
enough; and riseing nixt morning, I misd one linnen stockine, one
halfe silke one, and one boothose, the accoustrement under a
boote for one leg; neither could they be found for any search.
Being provided of more of the same kind, I made myselfe reddie,
and rode to the head-quarters. At my returne, I could heare no
news of my stockins. That night I went to bed, and nixt morning
found myselfe just so used; missing the three stockins for one
leg onlie, the other three being left intire as they were the day
before. A narrower search then the first was made, bot without
successe. I had yet in reserve one paire of whole stockings, and
a paire of boothose, greater then the former. These I put on my
legs. The third morning I found the same usage, the stockins for
one leg onlie left me. It was time for me then, and my servants
too, to imagine it must be rats that had shard my stockins so
inequallie with me; and this the mistress of the house knew well
enough, but would not tell it me. The roome, which was a low
parlour, being well searched with candles, the top of my great
boothose was found at a hole, in which they had drawne all the
rest. I went abroad and ordered the boards to be raised, to see
how the rats had disposed of my moveables. The mistress sent a
servant of her oune to be present at this action, which she knew
concerned her. One board being bot a litle opend, a litle boy of
mine thrust in his hand, and fetchd with him foure and tuentie
old peeces of gold, and one angell. The servant of the house
affirmed it appertained to his mistres. The boy bringing the gold
to me, I went immediatlie to the gentlewomans chamber, and told
her, it was probable Lambert haveing quarterd in that house, as
indeed he had, some of his servants might have hid that gold; and
if so, it was lawfullie mine; bot if she could make it appeare it
belongd to her, I should immediatlie give it her. The poore
gentlewoman told me with many teares, that her husband being none
of the frugallest men (and indeed he was a spendthrift), she had
hid that gold without his, knowledge, to make use of it as she
had occasion, especiallie when she lay in; and conjured me, as I
lovd the King (for whom her husband and she had suffered much),
not to detaine her gold. She said, if there was either more or
lesse then foure and tuentie whole peeces, and two halfe ones, it
sould be none of hers; and that they were put by her in a red
velvet purse. After I had given her assureance of her gold, a
new search is made, the other angell is found, the velvet purse
all gnawd in bits, as my stockins were, and the gold instantlie
restord to the gentlewoman. I have often heard that the eating
or gnawing of cloths by rats is ominous, and portends some
mischance to fall on those to whom the cloths belong. I thank
God I was never addicted to such divinations, or heeded them. It
is true, that more misfortunes then one fell on me shortlie
after; bot I am sure I could have better forseene them myselfe
then rats or any such vermine, and yet did it not. I have heard
indeed many fine stories told of rats, how they abandon houses
and ships, when the first are to be burnt and the second dround.
Naturalists say they are very sagacious creatures, and I beleeve
they are so; bot I shall never be of the opinion they can forsee
future contingencies, which I suppose the divell himselfe can
neither forknow nor fortell; these being things which the
Almightie hath keepd hidden in the bosome of his divine
prescience. And whither the great God hath preordained or
predestinated these things, which to us are contingent, to fall
out by ane uncontrollable and unavoidable necessitie, is a
question not yet decided." [SIR JAMES TURNER'S MEMOIRS, Bannatyne
edition, p. 59.]
In quoting these ancient authorities, I must not forget the more
modern sketch of a Scottish soldier of the old fashion, by a
masterhand, in the character of Lesmahagow, since the existence
of that doughty Captain alone must deprive the present author of
all claim to absolute originality. Still Dalgetty, as the
production of his own fancy, has been so far a favourite with its
parent, that he has fallen into the error of assigning to the
Captain too prominent a part in the story. This is the opinion of
a critic who encamps on the highest pinnacles of literature; and
the author is so far fortunate in having incurred his censure,
that it gives his modesty a decent apology for quoting the
praise, which it would have ill-befited him to bring forward in
an unmingled state. The passage occurs in the EDINBURGH REVIEW,
No. 55, containing a criticism on IVANHOE:--
"There is too much, perhaps, of Dalgetty,--or, rather, he
engrosses too great a proportion of the work,--for, in himself,
we think he is uniformly entertaining;--and the author has
nowhere shown more affinity to that matchless spirit who could
bring out his Falstaffs and his Pistols, in act after act, and
play after play, and exercise them every time with scenes of
unbounded loquacity, without either exhausting their humour, or
varying a note from its characteristic tone, than in his large
and reiterated specimens of the eloquence of the redoubted Ritt-
master. The general idea of the character is familiar to our
comic dramatists after the Restoration--and may be said in some
measure to be compounded of Captain Fluellen and Bobadil;--but
the ludicrous combination of the SOLDADO with the Divinity
student of Mareschal-College, is entirely original; and the
mixture of talent, selfishness, courage, coarseness, and conceit,
was never so happily exemplified. Numerous as his speeches are,
there is not one that is not characteristic--and, to our taste,
While these pages were passing through the press, the author
received a letter from the present Robert Stewart of Ardvoirlich,
favouring him with the account of the unhappy slaughter of Lord
Kilpont, differing from, and more probable than, that given by
Bishop Wishart, whose narrative infers either insanity or the
blackest treachery on the part of James Stewart of Ardvoirlich,
the ancestor of the present family of that name. It is but fair
to give the entire communication as received from my respected
correspondent, which is more minute than the histories of the
"Although I have not the honour of being personally known to you,
I hope you will excuse the liberty I now take, in addressing you
on the subject of a transaction more than once alluded to by you,
in which an ancestor of mine was unhappily concerned. I allude
to the slaughter of Lord Kilpont, son of the Earl of Airth and
Monteith, in 1644, by James Stewart of Ardvoirlich. As the cause
of this unhappy event, and the quarrel which led to it, have
never been correctly stated in any history of the period in which
it took place, I am induced, in consequence of your having, in
the second series of your admirable Tales on the History of
Scotland, adopted Wishart's version of the transaction, and being
aware that your having done so will stamp it with an authenticity
which it does not merit, and with a view, as far as possible, to
do justice to the memory of my unfortunate ancestor, to send you
the account of this affair as it has been handed down in the
"James Stewart of Ardvoirlich, who lived in the early part of the
17th century, and who was the unlucky cause of the slaughter of
Lord Kilpont, as before mentioned, was appointed to the command
of one of several independent companies raised in the Highlands
at the commencement of the troubles in the reign of Charles I.;
another of these companies was under the command of Lord Kilpont,
and a strong intimacy, strengthened by a distant relationship,
subsisted between them. When Montrose raised the royal standard,
Ardvoirlich was one of the first to declare for him, and is said
to have been a principal means of bringing over Lord Kilpont to
the same cause; and they accordingly, along with Sir John
Drummond and their respective followers, joined Montrose, as
recorded by Wishart, at Buchanty. While they served together, so
strong was their intimacy, that they lived and slept in the same
"In the meantime, Montrose had been joined by the Irish under the
command of Alexander Macdonald; these, on their march to join
Montrose, had committed some excesses on lands belonging to
Ardvoirlich, which lay in the line of their march from the west
coast. Of this Ardvoirlich complained to Montrose, who, probably
wishing as much as possible to conciliate his new allies, treated
it in rather an evasive manner. Ardvoirlich, who was a man of
violent passions, having failed to receive such satisfaction as
he required, challenged Macdonald to single combat. Before they
met, however, Montrose, on the information and by advice, as it
is said, of Kilpont, laid them both under arrest. Montrose,
seeing the evils of such a feud at such a critical time, effected
a sort of reconciliation between them, and forced them to shake
hands in his presence; when, it was said, that Ardvoirlich, who
was a very powerful man, took such a hold of Macdonald's hand as
to make the blood start from his fingers. Still, it would
appear, Ardvoirlich was by no means reconciled.
"A few days after the battle of Tippermuir, when Montrose with
his army was encamped at Collace, an entertainment was given by
him to his officers, in honour of the victory he had obtained,
and Kilpont and his comrade Ardvoirlich were of the party. After
returning to their quarters, Ardvoirlich, who seemed still to
brood over his quarrel with Macdonald, and being heated with
drink, began to blame Lord Kilpont for the part he had taken in
preventing his obtaining redress, and reflecting against Montrose
for not allowing him what he considered proper reparation.
Kilpont of course defended the conduct of himself and his
relative Montrose, till their argument came to high words; and
finally, from the state they were both in, by an easy transition,
to blows, when Ardvoirlich, with his dirk, struck Kilpont dead on
the spot. He immediately fled, and under the cover of a thick
mist escaped pursuit, leaving his eldest son Henry, who had been
mortally wounded at Tippermuir, on his deathbed.
"His followers immediately withdrew from Montrose, and no course
remained for him but to throw himself into the arms of the
opposite faction, by whom he was well received. His name is
frequently mentioned in Leslie's campaigns, and on more than one
occasion he is mentioned as having afforded protection to several
of his former friends through his interest with Leslie, when the
King's cause became desperate.
"The foregoing account of this unfortunate transaction, I am well
aware, differs materially from the account given by Wishart, who
alleges that Stewart had laid a plot for the assassination of
Montrose, and that he murdered Lord Kilpont in consequence of his
refusal to participate in his design. Now, I may be allowed to
remark, that besides Wishart having always been regarded as a
partial historian, and very questionable authority on any subject
connected with the motives or conduct of those who differed from
him in opinion, that even had Stewart formed such a design,
Kilpont, from his name and connexions, was likely to be the very
last man of whom Stewart would choose to make a confidant and
accomplice. On the other hand, the above account, though never,
that I am aware, before hinted at, has been a constant tradition
in the family; and, from the comparative recent date of the
transaction, and the sources from which the tradition has been
derived, I have no reason to doubt its perfect authenticity. It
was most circumstantially detailed as above, given to my father,
Mr. Stewart, now of Ardvoirlich, many years ago, by a man nearly
connected with the family, who lived to the age of 100. This man
was a great-grandson of James Stewart, by a natural son John, of
whom many stories are still current in this country, under his
appellation of JOHN DHU MHOR. This John was with his father at
the time, and of course was a witness of the whole transaction;
he lived till a considerable time after the Revolution, and it
was from him that my father's informant, who was a man before his
grandfather, John dhu Mhor's death, received the information as
"I have many apologies to offer for trespassing so long on your
patience; but I felt a natural desire, if possible, to correct
what I conceive to be a groundless imputation on the memory of my
ancestor, before it shall come to be considered as a matter of
History. That he was a man of violent passions and singular
temper, I do not pretend to deny, as many traditions still
current in this country amply verify; but that he was capable of
forming a design to assassinate Montrose, the whole tenor of his
former conduct and principles contradict. That he was obliged to
join the opposite party, was merely a matter of safety, while
Kilpont had so many powerful friends and connexions able and
ready to avenge his death.
"I have only to add, that you have my full permission to make
what use of this communication you please, and either to reject
it altogether, or allow it such credit as you think it deserves;
and I shall be ready at all times to furnish you with any further
information on this subject which you may require, and which it
may be in my power to afford.
15TH JANUARY, 1830."
The publication of a statement so particular, and probably so
correct, is a debt due to the memory of James Stewart; the
victim, it would seem, of his own violent passions, but perhaps
incapable of an act of premeditated treachery.
1ST AUGUST, 1830.
II. INTRODUCTION (Supplement).
Sergeant More M'Alpin was, during his residence among us, one of
the most honoured inhabitants of Gandercleugh. No one thought of
disputing his title to the great leathern chair on the "cosiest
side of the chimney," in the common room of the Wallace Arms, on
a Saturday evening. No less would our sexton, John Duirward,
have held it an unlicensed intrusion, to suffer any one to induct
himself into the corner of the left-hand pew nearest to the
pulpit, which the Sergeant regularly occupied on Sundays. There
he sat, his blue invalid uniform brushed with the most scrupulous
accuracy. Two medals of merit displayed at his button-hole, as
well as the empty sleeve which should have been occupied by his
right arm, bore evidence of his hard and honourable service. His
weatherbeaten features, his grey hair tied in a thin queue in the
military fashion of former days, and the right side of his head a
little turned up, the better to catch the sound of the
clergyman's voice, were all marks of his profession and
infirmities. Beside him sat his sister Janet, a little neat old
woman, with a Highland curch and tartan plaid, watching the very
looks of her brother, to her the greatest man upon earth, and
actively looking out for him, in his silver-clasped Bible, the
texts which the minister quoted or expounded.
I believe it was the respect that was universally paid to this
worthy veteran by all ranks in Gandercleugh which induced him to
choose our village for his residence, for such was by no means
his original intention.
He had risen to the rank of sergeant-major of artillery, by hard
service in various quarters of the world, and was reckoned one of
the most tried and trusty men of the Scotch Train. A ball, which
shattered his arm in a peninsular campaign, at length procured
him an honourable discharge. with an allowance from Chelsea, and
a handsome gratuity from the patriotic fund. Moreover, Sergeant
More M'Alpin had been prudent as well as valiant; and, from
prize-money and savings, had become master of a small sum in the
three per cent consols.
He retired with the purpose of enjoying this income in the wild
Highland glen, in which, when a boy, he had herded black cattle
and goats, ere the roll of the drum had made him cock his bonnet
an inch higher, and follow its music for nearly forty years. To
his recollection, this retired spot was unparalleled in beauty by
the richest scenes he had visited in his wanderings. Even the
Happy Valley of Rasselas would have sunk into nothing upon the
comparison. He came--he revisited the loved scene; it was but a
sterile glen, surrounded with rude crags, and traversed by a
northern torrent. This was not the worst. The fires had been
quenched upon thirty hearths--of the cottage of his fathers he
could but distinguish a few rude stones--the language was almost
extinguished--the ancient race from which he boasted his descent
had found a refuge beyond the Atlantic. One southland farmer,
three grey-plaided shepherds, and six dogs, now tenanted the
whole glen, which in his youth had maintained, in content, if not
in competence, upwards of two hundred inhabitants,
In the house of the new tenant, Sergeant M'Alpin found, however,
an unexpected source of pleasure, and a means of employing his
social affections. His sister Janet had fortunately entertained
so strong a persuasion that her brother would one day return,
that she had refused to accompany her kinsfolk upon their
emigration. Nay, she had consented, though not without a feeling
of degradation, to take service with the intruding Lowlander,
who, though a Saxon, she said, had proved a kind man to her.
This unexpected meeting with his sister seemed a cure for all the
disappointments which it had been Sergeant More's lot to
encounter, although it was not without a reluctant tear that he
heard told, as a Highland woman alone could ten it, the story of
the expatriation of his kinsmen.
She narrated at great length the vain offers they had made of
advanced rent, the payment of which must have reduced them to the
extremity of poverty, which they were yet contented to face, for
permission to live and die on their native soil. Nor did Janet
forget the portents which had announced the departure of the
Celtic race, and the arrival of the strangers. For two years
previous to the emigration, when the night wind howled dawn the
pass of Balachra, its notes were distinctly modelled to the tune
of "HA TIL MI TULIDH" (we return no more), with which the
emigrants usually bid farewell to their native shores. The
uncouth cries of the Southland shepherds, and the barking of
their dogs, were often heard in the midst of the hills long
before their actual arrival. A bard, the last of his race, had
commemorated the expulsion of the natives of the glen in a tune,
which brought tears into the aged eyes of the veteran, and of
which the first stanza may be thus rendered:--
Woe, woe, son of the Lowlander,
Why wilt thou leave thine own bonny Border?
Why comes thou hither, disturbing the Highlander,
Wasting the glen that was once in fair order?
What added to Sergeant More M'Alpin's distress upon the occasion
was, that the chief by whom this change had been effected, was,
by tradition and common opinion, held to represent the ancient
leaders and fathers of the expelled fugitives; and it had
hitherto been one of Sergeant More's principal subjects of pride
to prove, by genealogical deduction, in what degree of kindred he
stood to this personage. A woful change was now wrought in his
sentiments towards him.
"I cannot curse him," he said, as he rose and strode through the
room, when Janet's narrative was finished--"I will not curse him;
he is the descendant and representative of my fathers. But never
shall mortal man hear me name his name again." And he kept his
word; for, until his dying day, no man heard him mention his
selfish and hard-hearted chieftain.
After giving a day to sad recollections, the hardy spirit which
had carried him through so many dangers, manned the Sergeant's
bosom against this cruel disappointment. "He would go," he said,
"to Canada to his kinsfolk, where they had named a Transatlantic
valley after the glen of their fathers. Janet," he said, "should
kilt her coats like a leaguer lady; d--n the distance! it was a
flea's leap to the voyages and marches he had made on a slighter
With this purpose he left the Highlands, and came with his sister
as far as Gandercleugh, on his way to Glasgow, to take a passage
to Canada. But winter was now set in, and as he thought it
advisable to wait for a spring passage, when the St. Lawrence
should be open, he settled among us for the few months of his
stay in Britain. As we said before, the respectable old man met
with deference and attention from all ranks of society; and when
spring returned, he was so satisfied with his quarters, that he
did not renew the purpose of his voyage. Janet was afraid of the
sea, and he himself felt the infirmities of age and hard service
more than he had at first expected. And, as he confessed to the
clergyman, and my worthy principal, Mr. Cleishbotham, "it was
better staying with kend friends, than going farther, and faring
He therefore established himself and his domicile at
Gandercleugh, to the great satisfaction, as we have already said,
of all its inhabitants, to whom he became, in respect of military
intelligence, and able commentaries upon the newspapers,
gazettes, and bulletins, a very oracle, explanatory of all
martial events, past, present, or to come.
It is true, the Sergeant had his inconsistencies. He was a
steady jacobite, his father and his four uncles having been out
in the forty-five; but he was a no less steady adherent of King
George, in whose service he had made his little fortune, and lost
three brothers; so that you were in equal danger to displease
him, in terming Prince Charles, the Pretender, or by saying
anything derogatory to the dignity of King George. Further, it
must not be denied, that when the day of receiving his dividends
came round, the Sergeant was apt to tarry longer at the Wallace
Arms of an evening, than was consistent with strict temperance,
or indeed with his worldly interest; for upon these occasions,
his compotators sometimes contrived to flatter his partialities
by singing jacobite songs, and drinking confusion to Bonaparte,
and the health of the Duke of Wellington, until the Sergeant was
not only flattered into paying the whole reckoning, but
occasionally induced to lend small sums to his interested
companions. After such sprays, as he called them, were over, and
his temper once more cool, he seldom failed to thank God, and the
Duke of York, who had made it much more difficult for an old
soldier to ruin himself by his folly, than had been the case in
his younger days.
It was not on such occasions that I made a part of Sergeant More
M'Alpin's society. But often, when my leisure would permit, I
used to seek him, on what he called his morning and evening
parade, on which, when the weather was fair, he appeared as
regularly as if summoned by tuck of drum. His morning walk was
beneath the elms in the churchyard; "for death," he said, "had
been his next-door neighbour for so many years, that he had no
apology for dropping the acquaintance." His evening promenade
was on the bleaching-green by the river-side, where he was
sometimes to be seen on an open bench, with spectacles on nose,
conning over the newspapers to a circle of village politicians,
explaining military terms, and aiding the comprehension of his
hearers by lines drawn on the ground with the end of his rattan.
On other occasions, he was surrounded by a bevy of school-boys,
whom he sometimes drilled to the manual, and sometimes, with less
approbation on the part of their parents, instructed in the
mystery of artificial fire-works; for in the case of public
rejoicings, the Sergeant was pyrotechnist (as the Encyclopedia
calls it) to the village of Gandercleugh.
It was in his morning walk that I most frequently met with the
veteran. And I can hardly yet look upon the village footpath,
overshadowed by the row of lofty elms, without thinking I see his
upright form advancing towards me with measured step, and his
cane advanced, ready to pay me the military salute--but he is
dead, and sleeps with his faithful Janet, under the third of
those very trees, counting from the stile at the west corner of
The delight which I had in Sergeant M'Alpin's conversation,
related not only to his own adventures, of which he had
encountered many in the course of a wandering life, but also to
his recollection of numerous Highland traditions, in which his
youth had been instructed by his parents, and of which he would
in after life have deemed it a kind of heresy to question the
authenticity. Many of these belonged to the wars of Montrose, in
which some of the Sergeant's ancestry had, it seems, taken a
distinguished part. It has happened, that, although these civil
commotions reflect the highest honour upon the Highlanders, being
indeed the first occasion upon which they showed themselves
superior, or even equal to their Low-country neighbours in
military encounters, they have been less commemorated among them
than any one would have expected, judging from the abundance of
traditions which they have preserved upon less interesting
subjects. It was, therefore, with great pleasure, that I
extracted from my military friend some curious particulars
respecting that time; they are mixed with that measure of the
wild and wonderful which belongs to the period and the narrator,
but which I do not in the least object to the reader's treating
with disbelief, providing he will be so good as to give implicit
credit to the natural events of the story, which, like all those
which I have had the honour to put under his notice, actually
rest upon a basis of truth.
III. A LEGEND OF MONTROSE.
Such as do build their faith upon
The holy text of pike and gun,
Decide all controversies by
And prove their doctrine orthodox,
By apostolic blows and knocks. BUTLER.
It was during the period of that great and bloody Civil War which
agitated Britain during the seventeenth century, that our tale
has its commencement. Scotland had as yet remained free from the
ravages of intestine war, although its inhabitants were much
divided in political opinions; and many of them, tired of the
control of the Estates of Parliament, and disapproving of the
bold measure which they had adopted, by sending into England a
large army to the assistance of the Parliament, were determined
on their part to embrace the earliest opportunity of declaring
for the King, and making such a diversion as should at least
compel the recall of General Leslie's army out of England, if it
did not recover a great part of Scotland to the King's
allegiance. This plan was chiefly adopted by the northern
nobility, who had resisted with great obstinacy the adoption of
the Solemn League and Covenant, and by many of the chiefs of the
Highland clans, who conceived their interest and authority to be
connected with royalty, who had, besides, a decided aversion to
the Presbyterian form of religion, and who, finally, were in that
half savage state of society, in which war is always more welcome
Great commotions were generally expected to arise from these
concurrent causes; and the trade of incursion and depredation,
which the Scotch Highlanders at all times exercised upon the
Lowlands, began to assume a more steady, avowed, and systematic
form, as part of a general military system.
Those at the head of affairs were not insensible to the peril of
the moment, and anxiously made preparations to meet and to repel
it. They considered, however, with satisfaction, that no leader
or name of consequence had as yet appeared to assemble an army of
royalists, or even to direct the efforts of those desultory
bands, whom love of plunder, perhaps, as much as political
principle, had hurried into measures of hostility. It was
generally hoped that the quartering a sufficient number of troops
in the Lowlands adjacent to the Highland line, would have the
effect of restraining the mountain chieftains; while the power of
various barons in the north, who had espoused the Covenant, as,
for example, the Earl Mareschal, the great families of Forbes,
Leslie, and Irvine, the Grants, and other Presbyterian clans,
might counterbalance and bridle, not only the strength of the
Ogilvies and other cavaliers of Angus and Kincardine, but even
the potent family of the Gordons, whose extensive authority was
only equalled by their extreme dislike to the Presbyterian model.
In the West Highlands the ruling party numbered many enemies; but
the power of these disaffected clans was supposed to be broken,
and the spirit of their chieftains intimidated, by the
predominating influence of the Marquis of Argyle, upon whom the
confidence of the Convention of Estates was reposed with the
utmost security; and whose power in the Highlands, already
exorbitant, had been still farther increased by concessions
extorted from the King at the last pacification. It was indeed
well known that Argyle was a man rather of political enterprise
than personal courage, and better calculated to manage an
intrigue of state, than to control the tribes of hostile
mountaineers; yet the numbers of his clan, and the spirit of the
gallant gentlemen by whom it was led, might, it was supposed,
atone for the personal deficiencies of their chief; and as the
Campbells had already severely humbled several of the
neighbouring tribes, it was supposed these would not readily
again provoke an encounter with a body so powerful.
Thus having at their command the whole west and south of
Scotland, indisputably the richest part of the kingdom,--
Fifeshire being in a peculiar manner their own, and possessing
many and powerful friends even north of the Forth and Tay,--the
Scottish Convention of Estates saw no danger sufficient to induce
them to alter the line of policy they had adopted, or to recall
from the assistance of their brethren of the English Parliament
that auxiliary army of twenty thousand men, by means of which
accession of strength, the King's party had been reduced to the
defensive, when in full career of triumph and success.
The causes which moved the Convention of Estates at this time to
take such an immediate and active interest in the civil war of
England, are detailed in our historians, but may be here shortly
recapitulated. They had indeed no new injury or aggression to
complain of at the hand of the King, and the peace which had been
made between Charles and his subjects of Scotland had been
carefully observed; but the Scottish rulers were well aware that
this peace had been extorted from the King, as well by the
influence of the parliamentary party in England, as by the terror
of their own arms. It is true, King Charles had since then
visited the capital of his ancient kingdom, had assented to the
new organization of the church, and had distributed honours and
rewards among the leaders of the party which had shown themselves
most hostile to his interests; but it was suspected that
distinctions so unwillingly conferred would be resumed as soon as
opportunity offered. The low state of the English Parliament was
seen in Scotland with deep apprehension; and it was concluded,
that should Charles triumph by force of arms against his
insurgent subjects of England, he would not be long in exacting
from the Scotch the vengeance which he might suppose due to those
who had set the example of taking up arms against him. Such was
the policy of the measure which dictated the sending the
auxiliary army into England; and it was avowed in a manifesto
explanatory of their reasons for giving this timely and important
aid to the English Parliament. The English Parliament, they said,
had been already friendly to them, and might be so again; whereas
the King, although he had so lately established religion among
them according to their desires, had given them no ground to
confide in his royal declaration, seeing they had found his
promises and actions inconsistent with each other. "Our
conscience," they concluded, "and God, who is greater than our
conscience, beareth us record, that we aim altogether at the
glory of God, peace of both nations, and honour of the King, in
suppressing and punishing in a legal way, those who are the
troublers of Israel, the firebrands of hell, the Korahs, the
Balaams, the Doegs, the Rabshakehs, the Hamans, the Tobiahs, the
Sanballats of our time, which done, we are satisfied. Neither
have we begun to use a military expedition to England as a mean
for compassing those our pious ends, until all other means which
we could think upon have failed us: and this alone is left to us,
ULTIMUM ET UNICUM REMEDIUM, the last and only remedy."
Leaving it to casuists to determine whether one contracting party
is justified in breaking a solemn treaty, upon the suspicion
that, in certain future contingencies, it might be infringed by
the other, we shall proceed to mention two other circumstances
that had at least equal influence with the Scottish rulers and
nation, with any doubts which they entertained of the King's good
The first of these was the nature and condition of their army;
headed by a poor and discontented nobility, under whom it was
officered chiefly by Scottish soldiers of fortune, who had served
in the German wars until they had lost almost all distinction of
political principle, and even of country, in the adoption of the
mercenary faith, that a soldier's principal duty was fidelity to
the state or sovereign from whom he received his pay, without
respect either to the justice of the quarrel, or to their own
connexion with either of the contending parties. To men of this
stamp, Grotius applies the severe character--NULLUM VITAE GENUS
ET IMPROBIUS, QUAM EORUM, QUI SINE CAUSAE RESPECTU MERCEDE
CONDUCTI, MILITANT. To these mercenary soldiers, as well as to
the needy gentry with whom they were mixed in command, and who
easily imbibed the same opinions, the success of the late short
invasion of England in 1641 was a sufficient reason for renewing
so profitable an experiment. The good pay and free quarters of
England had made a feeling impression upon the recollection of
these military adventurers, and the prospect of again levying
eight hundred and fifty pounds a-day, came in place of all
arguments, whether of state or of morality.
Another cause inflamed the minds of the nation at large, no less
than the tempting prospect of the wealth of England animated the
soldiery. So much had been written and said on either side
concerning the form of church government, that it had become a
matter of infinitely more consequence in the eyes of the
multitude than the doctrines of that gospel which both churches
had embraced. The Prelatists and Presbyterians of the more
violent kind became as illiberal as the Papists, and would
scarcely allow the possibility of salvation beyond the pale of
their respective churches. It was in vain remarked to these
zealots, that had the Author of our holy religion considered any
peculiar form of church government as essential to salvation, it
would have been revealed with the same precision as under the Old
Testament dispensation. Both parties continued as violent as if
they could have pleaded the distinct commands of Heaven to
justify their intolerance, Laud, in the days of his domination,
had fired the train, by attempting to impose upon the Scottish
people church ceremonies foreign to their habits and opinions.
The success with which this had been resisted, and the
Presbyterian model substituted in its place, had endeared the
latter to the nation, as the cause in which they had triumphed.
The Solemn League and Covenant, adopted with such zeal by the
greater part of the kingdom, and by them forced, at the sword's
point, upon the others, bore in its bosom, as its principal
object, the establishing the doctrine and discipline of the
Presbyterian church, and the putting down all error and heresy;
and having attained for their own country an establishment of
this golden candlestick, the Scots became liberally and
fraternally anxious to erect the same in England. This they
conceived might be easily attained by lending to the Parliament
the effectual assistance of the Scottish forces. The
Presbyterians, a numerous and powerful party in the English
Parliament, had hitherto taken the lead in opposition to the
King; while the Independents and other sectaries, who afterwards,
under Cromwell, resumed the power of the sword, and overset the
Presbyterian model both in Scotland and England, were as yet
contented to lurk under the shelter of the wealthier and more
powerful party. The prospect of bringing to a uniformity the
kingdoms of England and Scotland in discipline and worship,
seemed therefore as fair as it was desirable.
The celebrated Sir Henry Vane, one of the commissioners who
negotiated the alliance betwixt England and Scotland, saw the
influence which this bait had upon the spirits of those with whom
he dealt; and although himself a violent Independent, he
contrived at once to gratify and to elude the eager desires of
the Presbyterians, by qualifying the obligation to reform the
Church of England, as a change to be executed "according to the
word of God, and the best reformed churches." Deceived by their
own eagerness, themselves entertaining no doubts on the JUS
DIVINUM of their own ecclesiastical establishments, and not
holding it possible such doubts could be adopted by others, the
Convention of Estates and the Kirk of Scotland conceived, that
such expressions necessarily inferred the establishment of
Presbytery; nor were they undeceived, until, when their help was
no longer needful, the sectaries gave them to understand, that
the phrase might be as well applied to Independency, or any other
mode of worship, which those who were at the head of affairs at
the time might consider as agreeable "to the word of God, and the
practice of the reformed churches." Neither were the outwitted
Scottish less astonished to find, that the designs of the English
sectaries struck against the monarchial constitution of Britain,
it having been their intention to reduce the power of the King,
but by no means to abrogate the office. They fared, however, in
this respect, like rash physicians, who commence by over-
physicking a patient, until he is reduced to a state of weakness,
from which cordials are afterwards unable to recover him.
But these events were still in the womb of futurity. As yet the
Scottish Parliament held their engagement with England consistent
with justice, prudence, and piety, and their military undertaking
seemed to succeed to their very wish. The junction of the
Scottish army with those of Fairfax and Manchester, enabled the
Parliamentary forces to besiege York, and to fight the desperate
action of Long-Marston Moor, in which Prince Rupert and the
Marquis of Newcastle were defeated. The Scottish auxiliaries,
indeed, had less of the glory of this victory than their
countrymen could desire. David Leslie, with their cavalry, fought
bravely, and to them, as well as to Cromwell's brigade of
Independents, the honour of the day belonged; but the old Earl of
Leven, the covenanting general, was driven out of the field by
the impetuous charge of Prince Rupert, and was thirty miles
distant, in full flight towards Scotland, when he was overtaken
by the news that his party had gained a complete victory.
The absence of these auxiliary troops, upon this crusade for the
establishment of Presbyterianism in England, had considerably
diminished the power of the Convention of Estates in Scotland,
and had given rise to those agitations among the anti-
covenanters, which we have noticed at the beginning of this
His mother could for him as cradle set
Her husband's rusty iron corselet;
Whose jangling sound could hush her babe to rest,
That never plain'd of his uneasy nest;
Then did he dream of dreary wars at hand,
And woke, and fought, and won, ere he could stand. HALL'S SATIRES
It was towards the close of a summer's evening, during the
anxious period which we have commemorated, that a young gentleman
of quality, well mounted and armed, and accompanied by two
servants, one of whom led a sumpter horse, rode slowly up one of
those steep passes, by which the Highlands are accessible from
the Lowlands of Perthshire. [The beautiful pass of Leny, near
Callander, in Monteith, would, in some respects, answer this
description.] Their course had lain for some time along the banks
of a lake, whose deep waters reflected the crimson beams of the
western sun. The broken path which they pursued with some
difficulty, was in some places shaded by ancient birches and oak-
trees, and in others overhung by fragments of huge rock.
Elsewhere, the hill, which formed the northern side of this
beautiful sheet of water, arose in steep, but less precipitous
acclivity, and was arrayed in heath of the darkest purple. In
the present times, a scene so romantic would have been judged to
possess the highest charms for the traveller; but those who
journey in days of doubt and dread, pay little attention to
The master kept, as often as the wood permitted, abreast of one
or both of his domestics, and seemed earnestly to converse with
them, probably because the distinctions of rank are readily set
aside among those who are made to be sharers of common danger.
The dispositions of the leading men who inhabit this wild
country, and the probability of their taking part in the
political convulsions that were soon expected, were the subjects
of their conversation.
They had not advanced above half way up the lake, and the young
gentleman was pointing to his attendants the spot where their
intended road turned northwards, and, leaving the verge of the
loch, ascended a ravine to the right hand, when they discovered a
single horseman coming down the shore, as if to meet them. The
gleam of the sunbeams upon his head-piece and corslet showed that
he was in armour, and the purpose of the other travellers
required that he should not pass unquestioned. "We must know who
he is," said the young gentleman, "and whither he is going." And
putting spurs to his horse, he rode forward as fast as the rugged
state of the road would permit, followed by his two attendants,
until he reached the point where the pass along the side of the
lake was intersected by that which descended from the ravine,
securing thus against the possibility of the stranger eluding
them, by turning into the latter road before they came up with
The single horseman had mended his pace, when he first observed
the three riders advance rapidly towards him; but when he saw
them halt and form a front, which completely occupied the path,
he checked his horse, and advanced with great deliberation; so
that each party had an opportunity to take a full survey of the
other. The solitary stranger was mounted upon an able horse, fit
for military service, and for the great weight which he had to
carry, and his rider occupied his demipique, or war-saddle, with
an air that showed it was his familiar seat. He had a bright
burnished head-piece, with a plume of feathers, together with a
cuirass, thick enough to resist a musket-ball, and a back-piece
of lighter materials. These defensive arms he wore over a buff
jerkin, along with a pair of gauntlets, or steel gloves, the tops
of which reached up to his elbow, and which, like the rest of his
armour, were of bright steel. At the front of his military
saddle hung a case of pistols, far beyond the ordinary size,
nearly two feet in length, and carrying bullets of twenty to the
pound. A buff belt, with a broad silver buckle, sustained on one
side a long straight double-edged broadsword, with a strong
guard, and a blade calculated either to strike or push. On the
right side hung a dagger of about eighteen inches in length; a
shoulder-belt sustained at his back a musketoon or blunderbuss,
and was crossed by a bandelier containing his charges of
ammunition. Thigh-pieces of steel, then termed taslets, met the
tops of his huge jack-boots, and completed the equipage of a
well-armed trooper of the period.
The appearance of the horseman himself corresponded well with his
military equipage, to which he had the air of having been long
inured. He was above the middle size, and of strength sufficient
to bear with ease the weight of his weapons, offensive and
defensive. His age might be forty and upwards, and his
countenance was that of a resolute weather-beaten veteran, who
had seen many fields, and brought away in token more than one
scar. At the distance of about thirty yards he halted and stood
fast, raised himself on his stirrups, as if to reconnoitre and
ascertain the purpose of the opposite party, and brought his
musketoon under his right arm, ready for use, if occasion should
require it. In everything but numbers, he had the advantage of
those who seemed inclined to interrupt his passage.
The leader of the party was, indeed, well mounted and clad in a
buff coat, richly embroidered, the half-military dress of the
period; but his domestics had only coarse jackets of thick felt,
which could scarce be expected to turn the edge of a sword, if
wielded by a strong man; and none of them had any weapons, save
swords and pistols, without which gentlemen, or their attendants,
during those disturbed times, seldom stirred abroad.
When they had stood at gaze for about a minute, the younger
gentleman gave the challenge which was then common in the mouth
of all strangers who met in such circumstances--"For whom are
"Tell me first," answered the soldier, "for whom are you?--the
strongest party should speak first."
"We are for God and King Charles," answered the first speaker.--"
Now tell your faction, you know ours."
"I am for God and my standard," answered the single horseman.
"And for which standard?" replied the chief of the other party
--"Cavalier or Roundhead, King or Convention?"
"By my troth, sir," answered the soldier, "I would be loath to
reply to you with an untruth, as a thing unbecoming a cavalier of
fortune and a soldier. But to answer your query with beseeming
veracity, it is necessary I should myself have resolved to whilk
of the present divisions of the kingdom I shall ultimately
adhere, being a matter whereon my mind is not as yet preceesely
"I should have thought," answered the gentleman, "that, when
loyalty and religion are at stake, no gentleman or man of honour
could be long in choosing his party."
"Truly, sir," replied the trooper, "if ye speak this in the way
of vituperation, as meaning to impugn my honour or genteelity, I
would blithely put the same to issue, venturing in that quarrel
with my single person against you three. But if you speak it in
the way of logical ratiocination, whilk I have studied in my
youth at the Mareschal-College of Aberdeen, I am ready to prove
to ye LOGICE, that my resolution to defer, for a certain season,
the taking upon me either of these quarrels, not only becometh me
as a gentleman and a man of honour, but also as a person of sense
and prudence, one imbued with humane letters in his early youth,
and who, from thenceforward, has followed the wars under the
banner of the invincible Gustavus, the Lion of the North, and
under many other heroic leaders, both Lutheran and Calvinist,
Papist and Arminian."
After exchanging a word or two with his domestics, the younger
gentleman replied, "I should be glad, sir, to have some
conversation with you upon so interesting a question, and should
be proud if I can determine you in favour of the cause I have
myself espoused. I ride this evening to a friend's house not
three miles distant, whither, if you choose to accompany me, you
shall have good quarters for the night, and free permission to
take your own road in the morning, if you then feel no
inclination to join with us."
"Whose word am I to take for this?" answered the cautious
soldier--"A man must know his guarantee, or he may fall into an
"I am called," answered the younger stranger, "the Earl of
Menteith, and, I trust, you will receive my honour as a
"A worthy nobleman," answered the soldier, "whose parole is not
to be doubted." With one motion he replaced his musketoon at his
back, and with another made his military salute to the young
nobleman, and continuing to talk as he rode forward to join him
--"And, I trust," said he, "my own assurance, that I will be BON
CAMARADO to your lordship in peace or in peril, during the time
we shall abide together, will not be altogether vilipended in
these doubtful times, when, as they say, a man's head is safer in
a steel-cap than in a marble palace."
"I assure you, sir," said Lord Menteith, "that to judge from your
appearance, I most highly value the advantage of your escort;
but, I trust, we shall have no occasion for any exercise of
valour, as I expect to conduct you to good and friendly
"Good quarters, my lord," replied the soldier, "are always
acceptable, and are only to be postponed to good pay or good
booty,--not to mention the honour of a cavalier, or the needful
points of commanded duty. And truly, my lord, your noble proffer
is not the less welcome, in that I knew not preceesely this night
where I and my poor companion" (patting his horse) "were to find
"May I be permitted to ask, then," said Lord Menteith, "to whom I
have the good fortune to stand quarter-master?"
"Truly, my lord," said the trooper, "my name is Dalgetty--Dugald
Dalgetty, Ritt-master Dugald Dalgetty of Drumthwacket, at your
honourable service to command. It is a name you may have seen in
GALLO BELGICUS, the SWEDISH INTELLIGENCER, or, if you read High
Dutch, in the FLIEGENDEN MERCOEUR of Leipsic. My father, my
lord, having by unthrifty courses reduced a fair patrimony to a
nonentity, I had no better shift, when I was eighteen years auld,
than to carry the learning whilk I had acquired at the Mareschal-
College of Aberdeen, my gentle bluid and designation of
Drumthwacket, together with a pair of stalwarth arms, and legs
conform, to the German wars, there to push my way as a cavalier
of fortune. My lord, my legs and arms stood me in more stead
than either my gentle kin or my book-lear, and I found myself
trailing a pike as a private gentleman under old Sir Ludovick
Leslie, where I learned the rules of service so tightly, that I
will not forget them in a hurry. Sir, I have been made to stand
guard eight hours, being from twelve at noon to eight o'clock of
the night, at the palace, armed with back and breast, head-piece
and bracelets, being iron to the teeth, in a bitter frost, and
the ice was as hard as ever was flint; and all for stopping an
instant to speak to my landlady, when I should have gone to roll-
"And, doubtless, sir," replied Lord Menteith, "you have gone
through some hot service, as well as this same cold duty you talk
"Surely, my lord, it doth not become me to speak; but he that
hath seen the fields of Leipsic and of Lutzen, may be said to
have seen pitched battles. And one who hath witnessed the
intaking of Frankfort, and Spanheim, and Nuremberg, and so forth,
should know somewhat about leaguers, storms, onslaughts and
"But your merit, sir, and experience, were doubtless followed by
"It came slow, my lord, dooms slow," replied Dalgetty; "but as my
Scottish countrymen, the fathers of the war, and the raisers of
those valorous Scottish regiments that were the dread of Germany,
began to fall pretty thick, what with pestilence and what with
the sword, why we, their children, succeeded to their
inheritance. Sir, I was six years first private gentleman of the
company, and three years lance speisade; disdaining to receive a
halberd, as unbecoming my birth. Wherefore I was ultimately
promoted to be a fahndragger, as the High Dutch call it (which
signifies an ancient), in the King's Leif Regiment of Black-
Horse, and thereafter I arose to be lieutenant and ritt-master,
under that invincible monarch, the bulwark of the Protestant
faith, the Lion of the North, the terror of Austria, Gustavus the
"And yet, if I understand you, Captain Dalgetty,--I think that
rank corresponds with your foreign title of ritt-master--"
"The same grade preceesely," answered Dalgetty; "ritt-master
signifying literally file-leader."
"I was observing," continued Lord Menteith, "that, if I
understood you right, you had left the service of this great
"It was after his death--it was after his death, sir," said
Dalgetty, "when I was in no shape bound to continue mine
adherence. There are things, my lord, in that service, that
cannot but go against the stomach of any cavalier of honour. In
especial, albeit the pay be none of the most superabundant, being
only about sixty dollars a-month to a ritt-master, yet the
invincible Gustavus never paid above one-third of that sum, whilk
was distributed monthly by way of loan; although, when justly
considered, it was, in fact, a borrowing by that great monarch of
the additional two-thirds which were due to the soldier. And I
have seen some whole regiments of Dutch and Holsteiners mutiny on
the field of battle, like base scullions, crying out Gelt, gelt,
signifying their desire of pay, instead of falling to blows like
our noble Scottish blades, who ever disdained, my lord,
postponing of honour to filthy lucre."
"But were not these arrears," said Lord Menteith, "paid to the
soldiery at some stated period?"
"My lord," said Dalgetty, "I take it on my conscience, that at no
period, and by no possible process, could one creutzer of them
ever be recovered. I myself never saw twenty dollars of my own
all the time I served the invincible Gustavus, unless it was from
the chance of a storm or victory, or the fetching in some town or
doorp, when a cavalier of fortune, who knows the usage of wars,
seldom faileth to make some small profit."
"I begin rather to wonder, sir," said Lord Menteith, "that you
should have continued so long in the Swedish service, than that
you should have ultimately withdrawn from it."
"Neither I should," answered the Ritt-master; "but that great
leader, captain, and king, the Lion of the North, and the bulwark
of the Protestant faith, had a way of winning battles, taking
towns, over-running countries, and levying contributions, whilk
made his service irresistibly delectable to all true-bred
cavaliers who follow the noble profession of arms. Simple as I
ride here, my lord, I have myself commanded the whole stift of
Dunklespiel on the Lower Rhine, occupying the Palsgrave's palace,
consuming his choice wines with my comrades, calling in
contributions, requisitions, and caduacs, and not failing to lick
my fingers, as became a good cook. But truly all this glory
hastened to decay, after our great master had been shot with
three bullets on the field of Lutzen; wherefore, finding that
Fortune had changed sides, that the borrowings and lendings went
on as before out of our pay, while the caduacs and casualties
were all cut off, I e'en gave up my commission, and took service
with Wallenstein, in Walter Butler's Irish regiment."
"And may I beg to know of you," said Lord Menteith, apparently
interested in the adventures of this soldier of fortune, "how you
liked this change of masters?"
"Indifferent well," said the Captain--"very indifferent well. I
cannot say that the Emperor paid much better than the great
Gustavus. For hard knocks, we had plenty of them. I was often
obliged to run my head against my old acquaintances, the Swedish
feathers, whilk your honour must conceive to be double-pointed
stakes, shod with iron at each end, and planted before the squad
of pikes to prevent an onfall of the cavalry. The whilk Swedish
feathers, although they look gay to the eye, resembling the
shrubs or lesser trees of ane forest, as the puissant pikes,
arranged in battalia behind them, correspond to the tall pines
thereof, yet, nevertheless, are not altogether so soft to
encounter as the plumage of a goose. Howbeit, in despite of
heavy blows and light pay, a cavalier of fortune may thrive
indifferently well in the Imperial service, in respect his
private casualties are nothing so closely looked to as by the
Swede; and so that an officer did his duty on the field, neither
Wallenstein nor Pappenheim, nor old Tilly before them, would
likely listen to the objurgations of boors or burghers against
any commander or soldado, by whom they chanced to be somewhat
closely shorn. So that an experienced cavalier, knowing how to
lay, as our Scottish phrase runs, 'the head of the sow to the
tail of the grice,' might get out of the country the pay whilk he
could not obtain from the Emperor."
"With a full hand, sir, doubtless, and with interest," said Lord
"Indubitably, my lord," answered Dalgetty, composedly; "for it
would be doubly disgraceful for any soldado of rank to have his
name called in question for any petty delinquency."
"And pray, Sir," continued Lord Menteith, "what made you leave so
gainful a service?"
"Why, truly, sir," answered the soldier, "an Irish cavalier,
called O'Quilligan, being major of our regiment, and I having had
words with him the night before, respecting the worth and
precedence of our several nations, it pleased him the next day to
deliver his orders to me with the point of his batoon advanced
and held aloof, instead of declining and trailing the same, as is
the fashion from a courteous commanding officer towards his equal
in rank, though, it may be, his inferior in military grade. Upon
this quarrel, sir, we fought in private rencontre; and as, in the
perquisitions which followed, it pleased Walter Butler, our
oberst, or colonel, to give the lighter punishment to his
countryman, and the heavier to me, whereupon, ill-stomaching such
partiality, I exchanged my commission for one under the
"I hope you found yourself better off by the change?" said Lord
"In good sooth," answered the Ritt-master, "I had but little to
complain of. The pay was somewhat regular, being furnished by
the rich Flemings and Waloons of the Low Country. The quarters
were excellent; the good wheaten loaves of the Flemings were
better than the Provant rye-bread of the Swede, and Rhenish wine
was more plenty with us than ever I saw the black-beer of Rostock
in Gustavus's camp. Service there was none, duty there was
little; and that little we might do, or leave undone, at our
pleasure; an excellent retirement for a cavalier somewhat weary
of field and leaguer, who had purchased with his blood as much
honour as might serve his turn, and was desirous of a little ease
and good living."
"And may I ask," said Lord Menteith, "why you, Captain, being, as
I suppose, in the situation you describe, retired from the
Spanish service also?"
"You are to consider, my lord, that your Spaniard," replied
Captain Dalgetty, "is a person altogether unparalleled in his own
conceit, where-through he maketh not fit account of such foreign
cavaliers of valour as are pleased to take service with him. And
a galling thing it is to every honourable soldado, to be put
aside, and postponed, and obliged to yield preference to every
puffing signor, who, were it the question which should first
mount a breach at push of pike, might be apt to yield willing
place to a Scottish cavalier. Moreover, sir, I was pricked in
conscience respecting a matter of religion."
"I should not have thought, Captain Dalgetty," said the young
nobleman, "that an old soldier, who had changed service so often,
would have been too scrupulous on that head."
"No more I am, my lord," said the Captain, "since I hold it to be
the duty of the chaplain of the regiment to settle those matters
for me, and every other brave cavalier, inasmuch as he does
nothing else that I know of for his pay and allowances. But this
was a particular case, my lord, a CASUS IMPROVISUS, as I may say,
in whilk I had no chaplain of my own persuasion to act as my
adviser. I found, in short, that although my being a Protestant
might be winked at, in respect that I was a man of action, and
had more experience than all the Dons in our TERTIA put together,
yet, when in garrison, it was expected I should go to mass with
the regiment. Now, my lord, as a true Scottish man, and educated
at the Mareschal-College of Aberdeen, I was bound to uphold the
mass to be an act of blinded papistry and utter idolatry, whilk I
was altogether unwilling to homologate by my presence. True it
is, that I consulted on the point with a worthy countryman of my
own, one Father Fatsides, of the Scottish Covenant in Wurtzburg
"And I hope," observed Lord Menteith, "you obtained a clear
opinion from this same ghostly father?"
"As clear as it could be," replied Captain Dalgetty, "considering
we had drunk six flasks of Rhenish, and about two mutchkins of
Kirchenwasser. Father Fatsides informed me, that, as nearly as
he could judge for a heretic like myself, it signified not much
whether I went to mass or not, seeing my eternal perdition was
signed and sealed at any rate, in respect of my impenitent and
obdurate perseverance in my damnable heresy. Being discouraged
by this response, I applied to a Dutch pastor of the reformed
church, who told me, he thought I might lawfully go to mass, in
respect that the prophet permitted Naaman, a mighty man of
valour, and an honourable cavalier of Syria, to follow his master
into the house of Rimmon, a false god, or idol, to whom he had
vowed service, and to bow down when the king was leaning upon his
hand. But neither was this answer satisfactory to me, both
because there was an unco difference between an anointed King of
Syria and our Spanish colonel, whom I could have blown away like
the peeling of an ingan, and chiefly because I could not find the
thing was required of me by any of the articles of war; neither
was I proffered any consideration, either in perquisite or pay,
for the wrong I might thereby do to my conscience."
"So you again changed your service?" said Lord Menteith.
"In troth did I, my lord; and after trying for a short while two
or three other powers, I even took on for a time with their High
Mightinesses the States of Holland."
"And how did their service jump with your humour?" again demanded
"O! my lord," said the soldier, in a sort of enthusiasm, "their
behaviour on pay-day might be a pattern to all Europe--no
borrowings, no lendings, no offsets no arrears--all balanced and
paid like a banker's book. The quarters, too, are excellent, and
the allowances unchallengeable; but then, sir, they are a
preceese, scrupulous people, and will allow nothing for
peccadilloes. So that if a boor complains of a broken head, or a
beer-seller of a broken can, or a daft wench does but squeak loud
enough to be heard above her breath, a soldier of honour shall be
dragged, not before his own court-martial, who can best judge of
and punish his demerits, hut before a base mechanical burgo-
master, who shall menace him with the rasp-house, the cord, and
what not, as if he were one of their own mean, amphibious,
twenty-breeched boors. So not being able to dwell longer among
those ungrateful plebeians, who, although unable to defend
themselves by their proper strength, will nevertheless allow the
noble foreign cavalier who engages with them nothing beyond his
dry wages, which no honourable spirit will put in competition
with a liberal license and honourable countenance, I resolved to
leave the service of the Mynheers. And hearing at this time, to
my exceeding satisfaction, that there is something to be doing
this summer in my way in this my dear native country, I am come
hither, as they say, like a beggar to a bridal, in order to give
my loving countrymen the advantage of that experience which I
have acquired in foreign parts. So your lordship has an outline
of my brief story, excepting my deportment in those passages of
action in the field, in leaguers, storms, and onslaughts, whilk
would be wearisome to narrate, and might, peradventure, better
befit any other tongue than mine own."
For pleas of right let statesmen vex their head,
Battle's my business, and my guerdon bread;
And, with the sworded Switzer, I can say,
The best of causes is the best of pay. DONNE.
The difficulty and narrowness of the road had by this time become
such as to interrupt the conversation of the travellers, and Lord
Menteith, reining back his horse, held a moment's private
conversation with his domestics. The Captain, who now led the
van of the party, after about a quarter of a mile's slow and
toilsome advance up a broken and rugged ascent, emerged into an
upland valley, to which a mountain stream acted as a drain, and
afforded sufficient room upon its greensward banks for the
travellers to pursue their journey in a more social manner.
Lord Menteith accordingly resumed the conversation, which had
been interrupted by the difficulties of the way. "I should have
thought," said he to Captain Dalgetty, "that a cavalier of your
honourable mark, who hath so long followed the valiant King of
Sweden, and entertains such a suitable contempt for the base
mechanical States of Holland, would not have hesitated to embrace
the cause of King Charles, in preference to that of the low-born,
roundheaded, canting knaves, who are in rebellion against his
"Ye speak reasonably, my lord," said Dalgetty, "and, CAETERIS
PARIBUS, I might be induced to see the matter in the same light.
But, my lord, there is a southern proverb, fine words butter no
parsnips. I have heard enough since I came here, to satisfy me
that a cavalier of honour is free to take any part in this civil
embroilment whilk he may find most convenient for his own
peculiar. Loyalty is your pass-word, my lord--Liberty, roars
another chield from the other side of the strath--the King,
shouts one war-cry--the Parliament, roars another--Montrose, for
ever, cries Donald, waving his bonnet--Argyle and Leven, cries a
south-country Saunders, vapouring with his hat and feather.
Fight for the bishops, says a priest, with his gown and rochet
--Stand stout for the Kirk, cries a minister, in a Geneva cap and
band.--Good watchwords all--excellent watchwords. Whilk cause is
the best I cannot say. But sure am I, that I have fought knee-
deep in blood many a day for one that was ten degrees worse than
the worst of them all."
"And pray, Captain Dalgetty," said his lordship, "since the
pretensions of both parties seem to you so equal, will you please
to inform us by what circumstances your preference will be
"Simply upon two considerations, my lord," answered the soldier.
"Being, first, on which side my services would be in most
honourable request;--And, secondly, whilk is a corollary of the
first, by whilk party they are likely to be most gratefully
requited. And, to deal plainly with you, my lord, my opinion at
present doth on both points rather incline to the side of the
"Your reasons, if you please," said Lord Menteith, "and perhaps I
may be able to meet them with some others which are more
"Sir, I shall be amenable to reason," said Captain Dalgetty,
"supposing it addresses itself to my honour and my interest.
Well, then, my lord, here is a sort of Highland host assembled,
or expected to assemble, in these wild hills, in the King's
behalf. Now, sir, you know the nature of our Highlanders. I
will not deny them to be a people stout in body and valiant in
heart, and courageous enough in their own wild way of fighting,
which is as remote from the usages and discipline of war as ever
was that of the ancient Scythians, or of the salvage Indians of
America that now is, They havena sae mickle as a German whistle,
or a drum, to beat a march, an alarm, a charge, a retreat, a
reveille, or the tattoo, or any other point of war; and their
damnable skirlin' pipes, whilk they themselves pretend to
understand, are unintelligible to the ears of any cavaliero
accustomed to civilised warfare. So that, were I undertaking to
discipline such a breechless mob, it were impossible for me to be
understood; and if I were understood, judge ye, my lord, what
chance I had of being obeyed among a band of half salvages, who
are accustomed to pay to their own lairds and chiefs, allenarly,
that respect and obedience whilk ought to be paid to
commissionate officers. If I were teaching them to form battalia
by extracting the square root, that is, by forming your square
battalion of equal number of men of rank and file, corresponding
to the square root of the full number present, what return could
I expect for communicating this golden secret of military tactic,
except it may be a dirk in my wame, on placing some M'Alister
More M'Shemei or Capperfae, in the flank or rear, when he claimed
to be in the van?--Truly, well saith holy writ, 'if ye cast
pearls before swine, they will turn again and rend ye.'"
"I believe, Anderson," said Lord Menteith, looking back to one of
his servants, for both were close behind him, "you can assure
this gentleman, we shall have more occasion for experienced
officers, and be more disposed to profit by their instructions,
than he seems to be aware of."
"With your honour's permission," said Anderson, respectfully
raising his cap, "when we are joined by the Irish infantry, who
are expected, and who should be landed in the West Highlands
before now, we shall have need of good soldiers to discipline our
"And I should like well--very well, to be employed in such
service," said Dalgetty; "the Irish are pretty fellows--very
pretty fellows--I desire to see none better in the field. I once
saw a brigade of Irish, at the taking of Frankfort upon the Oder,
stand to it with sword and pike until they beat off the blue and
yellow Swedish brigades, esteemed as stout as any that fought
under the immortal Gustavus. And although stout Hepburn, valiant
Lumsdale, courageous Monroe, with myself and other cavaliers,
made entry elsewhere at point of pike, yet, had we all met with
such opposition, we had returned with great loss and little
profit. Wherefore these valiant Irishes, being all put to the
sword, as is usual in such cases, did nevertheless gain immortal
praise and honour; so that, for their sakes, I have always loved
and honoured those of that nation next to my own country of
"A command of Irish," said Menteith, "I think I could almost
promise you, should you be disposed to embrace the royal cause."
"And yet," said Captain Dalgetty, "my second and greatest
difficulty remains behind; for, although I hold it a mean and
sordid thing for a soldado to have nothing in his mouth but pay
and gelt, like the base cullions, the German lanz-knechts, whom I
mentioned before; and although I will maintain it with my sword,
that honour is to be preferred before pay, free quarters, and
arrears, yet, EX CONTRARIO, a soldier's pay being the counterpart
of his engagement of service, it becomes a wise and considerate
cavalier to consider what remuneration he is to receive for his
service, and from what funds it is to be paid. And truly, my
lord, from what I can see and hear, the Convention are the purse-
masters. The Highlanders, indeed, may be kept in humour, by
allowing them to steal cattle; and for the Irishes, your lordship
and your noble associates may, according to the practice of the
wars in such cases, pay them as seldom or as little as may suit
your pleasure or convenience; but the same mode of treatment doth
not apply to a cavalier like me, who must keep up his horses,
servants, arms, and equipage, and who neither can, nor will, go
to warfare upon his own charges."
Anderson, the domestic who had before spoken now respectfully
addressed his master.--"I think, my lord," he said, "that, under
your lordship's favour, I could say something to remove Captain
Dalgetty's second objection also. He asks us where we are to
collect our pay; now, in my poor mind, the resources are as open
to us as to the Covenanters. They tax the country according to
their pleasure, and dilapidate the estates of the King's friends;
now, were we once in the Lowlands, with our Highlanders and our
Irish at our backs, and our swords in our hands, we can find many
a fat traitor, whose ill-gotten wealth shall fill our military
chest and satisfy our soldiery. Besides, confiscations will fall
in thick; and, in giving donations of forfeited lands to every
adventurous cavalier who joins his standard, the King will at
once reward his friends and punish his enemies. In short, he
that joins these Roundhead dogs may get some miserable pittance
of pay--he that joins our standard has a chance to be knight,
lord, or earl, if luck serve him."
"Have you ever served, my good friend?" said the Captain to the
"A little, sir, in these our domestic quarrels," answered the
"But never in Germany or the Low Countries?" said Dalgetty.
"I never had the honour," answered Anderson.
"I profess," said Dalgetty, addressing Lord Menteith, "your
lordship's servant has a sensible, natural, pretty idea of
military matters; somewhat irregular, though, and smells a little
too much of selling the bear's skin before he has hunted him.--I
will take the matter, however, into my consideration."
"Do so, Captain," said Lord Menteith; "you will have the night to
think of it, for we are now near the house, where I hope to
ensure you a hospitable reception."
"And that is what will be very welcome," said the Captain, "for I
have tasted no food since daybreak but a farl of oatcake, which I
divided with my horse. So I have been fain to draw my sword-belt
three bores tighter for very extenuation, lest hunger and heavy
iron should make the gird slip."
Once on a time, no matter when,
Some Glunimies met in a glen;
As deft and tight as ever wore
A durk, a targe, and a claymore,
Short hose, and belted plaid or trews,
In Uist, Lochaber, Skye, or Lewes,
Or cover'd hard head with his bonnet;
Had you but known them, you would own it. MESTON.
A hill was now before the travellers, covered with an ancient
forest of Scottish firs, the topmost of which, flinging their
scathed branches across the western horizon, gleamed ruddy in the
setting sun. In the centre of this wood rose the towers, or
rather the chimneys, of the house, or castle, as it was called,
destined for the end of their journey.
As usual at that period, one or two high-ridged narrow buildings,
intersecting and crossing each other, formed the CORPS DE LOGIS.
A protecting bartizan or two, with the addition of small turrets
at the angles, much resembling pepper-boxes, had procured for
Darnlinvarach the dignified appellation of a castle. It was
surrounded by a low court-yard wall, within which were the usual
As the travellers approached more nearly, they discovered marks
of recent additions to the defences of the place, which had been
suggested, doubtless, by the insecurity of those troublesome
times. Additional loop-holes for musketry were struck out in
different parts of the building, and of its surrounding wall.
The windows had just been carefully secured by stancheons of
iron, crossing each other athwart and end-long, like the grates
of a prison. The door of the court-yard was shut; and it was
only after cautious challenge that one of its leaves was opened
by two domestics, both strong Highlanders, and both under arms,
like Bitias and Pandarus in the AEneid, ready to defend the
entrance if aught hostile had ventured an intrusion.
When the travellers were admitted into the court, they found
additional preparations for defence. The walls were scaffolded
for the use of fire-arms, and one or two of the small guns,
called sackers, or falcons, were mounted at the angles and
More domestics, both in the Highland and Lowland dress, instantly
rushed from the anterior of the mansion, and some hastened to
take the horses of the strangers, while others waited to marshal
them a way into the dwelling-house. But Captain Dalgetty refused
the proffered assistance of those who wished to relieve him of
the charge of his horse. "It is my custom, my friends, to see
Gustavus (for so I have called him, after my invincible master)
accommodated myself; we are old friends and fellow-travellers,
and as I often need the use of his legs, I always lend him in my
turn the service of my tongue, to call for whatever he has
occasion for;" and accordingly he strode into the stable after
his steed without farther apology.
Neither Lord Menteith nor his attendants paid the same attention
to their horses, but, leaving them to the proffered care of the
servants of the place, walked forward into the house, where a
sort of dark vaulted vestibule displayed, among other
miscellaneous articles, a huge barrel of two-penny ale, beside
which were ranged two or three wooden queichs, or bickers, ready,
it would appear, for the service of whoever thought proper to
employ them. Lord Menteith applied himself to the spigot, drank
without ceremony, and then handed the stoup to Anderson, who
followed his master's example, but not until he had flung out the
drop of ale which remained, and slightly rinsed the wooden cup.
"What the deil, man," said an old Highland servant belonging to
the family, "can she no drink after her ain master without
washing the cup and spilling the ale, and be tamned to her!"
"I was bred in France," answered Anderson, "where nobody drinks
after another out of the same cup, unless it be after a young
"The teil's in their nicety!" said Donald; "and if the ale be
gude, fat the waur is't that another man's beard's been in the
queich before ye?"
Anderson's companion drank without observing the ceremony which
had given Donald so much offence, and both of them followed their
master into the low-arched stone hall, which was the common
rendezvous of a Highland family. A large fire of peats in the
huge chimney at the upper end shed a dim light through the
apartment, and was rendered necessary by the damp, by which, even
during the summer, the apartment was rendered uncomfortable.
Twenty or thirty targets, as many claymores, with dirks, and
plaids, and guns, both match-lock and fire-lock, and long-bows,
and cross-bows, and Lochaber axes, and coats of plate armour, and
steel bonnets, and headpieces, and the more ancient haborgeons,
or shirts of reticulated mail, with hood and sleeves
corresponding to it, all hung in confusion about the walls, and
would have formed a month's amusement to a member of a modern
antiquarian society. But such things were too familiar, to
attract much observation on the part of the present spectators.
There was a large clumsy oaken table, which the hasty hospitality
of the domestic who had before spoken, immediately spread with
milk, butter, goat-milk cheese, a flagon of beer, and a flask of
usquebae, designed for the refreshment of Lord Menteith; while an
inferior servant made similar preparations at the bottom of the
table for the benefit of his attendants. The space which
intervened between them was, according to the manners of the
times, sufficient distinction between master and servant, even
though the former was, as in the present instance, of high rank.
Meanwhile the guests stood by the fire--the young nobleman under
the chimney, and his servants at some little distance.
"What do you think, Anderson," said the former, "of our fellow-
"A stout fellow," replied Anderson, "if all be good that is
upcome. I wish we had twenty such, to put our Teagues into some
sort of discipline."
"I differ from you, Anderson," said Lord Menteith; "I think this
fellow Dalgetty is one of those horse-leeches, whose appetite for
blood being only sharpened by what he has sucked in foreign
countries, he is now returned to batten upon that of his own.
Shame on the pack of these mercenary swordmen! they have made the
name of Scot through all Europe equivalent to that of a pitiful
mercenary, who knows neither honour nor principle but his month's
pay, who transfers his allegiance from standard to standard, at
the pleasure of fortune or the highest bidder; and to whose
insatiable thirst for plunder and warm quarters we owe much of
that civil dissension which is now turning our swords against our
own bowels. I had scarce patience with the hired gladiator, and
yet could hardly help laughing at the extremity of his
"Your lordship will forgive me," said Anderson, "if I recommend
to you, in the present circumstances, to conceal at least a part
of this generous indignation; we cannot, unfortunately, do our
work without the assistance of those who act on baser motives
than our own. We cannot spare the assistance of such fellows as
our friend the soldado. To use the canting phrase of the saints
in the English Parliament, the sons of Zeruiah are still too many
"I must dissemble, then, as well as I can," said Lord Menteith,
"as I have hitherto done, upon your hint. But I wish the fellow
at the devil with all my heart."
"Ay, but still you must remember, my lord," resumed Anderson,
"that to cure the bite of a scorpion, you must crush another
scorpion on the wound--But stop, we shall be overheard."
From a side-door in the hall glided a Highlander into the
apartment, whose lofty stature and complete equipment, as well as
the eagle's feather in his bonnet, and the confidence of his
demeanour, announced to be a person of superior rank. He walked
slowly up to the table, and made no answer to Lord Menteith, who,
addressing him by the name of Allan, asked him how he did.
"Ye manna speak to her e'en now," whispered the old attendant.
The tall Highlander, sinking down upon the empty settle next the
fire, fixed his eyes upon the red embers and the huge heap of
turf, and seemed buried in profound abstraction. His dark eyes,
and wild and enthusiastic features, bore the air of one who,
deeply impressed with his own subjects of meditation, pays little
attention to exterior objects. An air of gloomy severity, the
fruit perhaps of ascetic and solitary habits, might, in a
Lowlander, have been ascribed to religious fanaticism; but by
that disease of the mind, then so common both in England and the
Lowlands of Scotland, the Highlanders of this period were rarely
infected. They had, however, their own peculiar superstitions,
which overclouded the mind with thick-coming fancies, as
completely as the puritanism of their neighbours.
"His lordship's honour," said the Highland servant sideling up to
Lord Menteith, and speaking in a very low tone, "his lordship
manna speak to Allan even now, for the cloud is upon his mind."
Lord Menteith nodded, and took no farther notice of the reserved
"Said I not," asked the latter, suddenly raising his stately
person upright, and looking at the domestic--"said I not that
four were to come, and here stand but three on the hall floor?"
"In troth did ye say sae, Allan," said the old Highlander, "and
here's the fourth man coming clinking in at the yett e'en now
from the stable, for he's shelled like a partan, wi' airn on back
and breast, haunch and shanks. And am I to set her chair up near
the Menteith's, or down wi' the honest gentlemen at the foot of
Lord Menteith himself answered the enquiry, by pointing to a seat
beside his own.
"And here she comes," said Donald, as Captain Dalgetty entered
the hall; "and I hope gentlemens will all take bread and cheese,
as we say in the glens, until better meat be ready, until the
Tiernach comes back frae the hill wi' the southern gentlefolk,
and then Dugald Cook will show himself wi' his kid and hill
In the meantime, Captain Dalgetty had entered the apartment, and
walking up to the seat placed next Lord Menteith, was leaning on
the back of it with his arms folded. Anderson and his companion
waited at the bottom of the table, in a respectful attitude,
until they should receive permission to seat themselves; while
three or four Highlanders, under the direction of old Donald, ran
hither and thither to bring additional articles of food, or stood
still to give attendance upon the guests.
In the midst of these preparations, Allan suddenly started up,
and snatching a lamp from the hand of an attendant, held it close
to Dalgetty's face, while he perused his features with the most
heedful and grave attention.
"By my honour," said Dalgetty, half displeased, as, mysteriously
shaking his head, Allan gave up the scrutiny--"I trow that lad
and I will ken each other when we meet again."
Meanwhile Allan strode to the bottom of the table, and having, by
the aid of his lamp, subjected Anderson and his companion to the
same investigation, stood a moment as if in deep reflection;
then, touching his forehead, suddenly seized Anderson by the arm,
and before he could offer any effectual resistance, half led and
half dragged him to the vacant seat at the upper end, and having
made a mute intimation that he should there place himself, he
hurried the soldado with the same unceremonious precipitation to
the bottom of the table. The Captain, exceedingly incensed at
this freedom, endeavoured to shake Allan from him with violence;
but, powerful as he was, he proved in the struggle inferior to
the gigantic mountaineer, who threw him off with such violence,
that after reeling a few paces, he fell at full length, and the
vaulted hall rang with the clash of his armour. When he arose,
his first action was to draw his sword and to fly at Allan, who,
with folded arms, seemed to await his onset with the most
scornful indifference. Lord Menteith and his attendants
interposed to preserve peace, while the Highlanders, snatching
weapons from the wall, seemed prompt to increase the broil.
"He is mad," whispered Lord Menteith, "he is perfectly mad; there
is no purpose in quarrelling with him."
"If your lordship is assured that he is NON COMPOS MENTIS," said
Captain Dalgetty, "the whilk his breeding and behaviour seem to
testify, the matter must end here, seeing that a madman can
neither give an affront, nor render honourable satisfaction.
But, by my saul, if I had my provstnt and a bottle of Rhenish
under my belt, I should hive stood otherways up to him. And yet
it's a pity he should be sae weak in the intellectuals, being a
strong proper man of body, fit to handle pike, morgenstern, or
any other military implement whatsoever." [This was a sort of
club or mace, used in the earlier part of the seventeenth century
in the defence of breaches and walls. When the Germans insulted
a Scotch regiment then besieged in Trailsund, saying they heard
there was a ship come from Denmark to them laden with tobacco
pipes, "One of our soldiers," says Colonel Robert Munro, "showing
them over the work a morgenstern, made of a large stock banded
with iron, like the shaft of a halberd, with a round globe at the
end with cross iron pikes, saith, 'Here is one of the tobacco
pipes, wherewith we will beat out your brains when you intend to
Peace was thus restored, and the party seated themselves
agreeably to their former arrangement, with which Allan, who had
now returned to his settle by the fire, and seemed once more
immersed in meditation, did not again interfere. Lord Menteith,
addressing the principal domestic, hastened to start some theme
of conversation which might obliterate all recollection of the
fray that had taken place. "The laird is at the hill then,
Donald, I understand, and some English strangers with him?"
"At the hill he is, an it like your honour, and two Saxon
calabaleros are with him sure eneugh; and that is Sir Miles
Musgrave and Christopher Hall, both from the Cumraik, as I think
they call their country."
"Hall and Musgrave?" said Lord Menteith, looking at his
attendants, "the very men that we wished to see."
"Troth," said Donald, "an' I wish I had never seen them between
the een, for they're come to herry us out o' house and ha'."
"Why, Donald," said Lord Menteith, "you did not use to be so
churlish of your beef and ale; southland though they be, they'll
scarce eat up all the cattle that's going on the castle mains."
"Teil care an they did," said Donald, "an that were the warst
o't, for we have a wheen canny trewsmen here that wadna let us
want if there was a horned beast atween this and Perth. But this
is a warse job--it's nae less than a wager."
"A wager!" repeated Lord Menteith, with some surprise.
"Troth," continued Donald, to the full as eager to tell his news
as Lord Menteith was curious to hear them, "as your lordship is a
friend and kinsman o' the house, an' as ye'll hear eneugh o't in
less than an hour, I may as weel tell ye mysell. Ye sall be
pleased then to know, that when our Laird was up in England where
he gangs oftener than his friends can wish, he was biding at the
house o' this Sir Miles Musgrave, an' there was putten on the
table six candlesticks, that they tell me were twice as muckle as
the candlesticks in Dunblane kirk, and neither airn, brass, nor
tin, but a' solid silver, nae less;--up wi' their English pride,
has sae muckle, and kens sae little how to guide it! Sae they
began to jeer the Laird, that he saw nae sic graith in his ain
poor country; and the Laird, scorning to hae his country put down
without a word for its credit, swore, like a gude Scotsman, that
he had mair candlesticks, and better candlesticks, in his ain
castle at hame, than were ever lighted in a hall in Cumberland,
an Cumberland be the name o' the country."
"That was patriotically said," observed Lord Menteith.
"Fary true," said Donald; "but her honour had better hae hauden
her tongue: for if ye say ony thing amang the Saxons that's a
wee by ordinar, they clink ye down for a wager as fast as a
Lowland smith would hammer shoon on a Highland shelty. An' so
the Laird behoved either to gae back o' his word, or wager twa
hunder merks; and sa he e'en tock the wager, rather than be
shamed wi' the like o' them. And now he's like to get it to pay,
and I'm thinking that's what makes him sae swear to come hame at
"Indeed," said Lord Menteith, "from my idea of your family plate,
Donald, your master is certain to lose such a wager."
"Your honour may swear that; an' where he's to get the siller I
kenna, although he borrowed out o' twenty purses. I advised him
to pit the twa Saxon gentlemen and their servants cannily into
the pit o' the tower till they gae up the bagain o' free gude-
will, but the Laird winna hear reason."
Allan here started up, strode forward, and interrupted the
conversation, saying to the domestic in a voice like thunder,
"And how dared you to give my brother such dishonourable advice?
or how dare you to say he will lose this or any other wager which
it is his pleasure to lay?"
"Troth, Allan M'Aulay," answered the old man, "it's no for my
father's son to gainsay what your father's son thinks fit to say,
an' so the Laird may no doubt win his wager. A' that I ken
against it is, that the teil a candlestick, or ony thing like it,
is in the house, except the auld airn branches that has been here
since Laird Kenneth's time, and the tin sconces that your father
gard be made by auld Willie Winkie the tinkler, mair be token
that deil an unce of siller plate is about the house at a', forby
the lady's auld posset dish, that wants the cover and ane o' the
"Peace, old man!" said Allan, fiercely; "and do you, gentlemen,
if your refection is finished, leave this apartment clear; I must
prepare it for the reception of these southern guests."
"Come away," said the domestic, pulling Lord Menteith by the
sleeve; "his hour is on him," said he, looking towards Allan,
"and he will not be controlled."
They left the hall accordingly, Lord Menteith and the Captain
being ushered one way by old Donald, and the two attendants
conducted elsewhere by another Highlander. The former had
scarcely reached a sort of withdrawing apartment ere they were
joined by the lord of the mansion, Angus M'Aulay by name, and his
English guests. Great joy was expressed by all parties, for Lord
Menteith and the English gentlemen were well known to each other;
and on Lord Menteith's introduction, Captain Dalgetty was well
received by the Laird. But after the first burst of hospitable
congratulation was over, Lord Menteith could observe that there
was a shade of sadness on the brow of his Highland friend.
"You must have heard," said Sir Christopher Hall, "that our fine
undertaking in Cumberland is all blown up. The militia would not
march into Scotland, and your prick-ear'd Covenanters have been
too hard for our friends in the southern shires. And so,
understanding there is some stirring work here, Musgrave and I,
rather than sit idle at home, are come to have a campaign among
your kilts and plaids."
"I hope you have brought arms, men, and money with you," said
Lord Menteith, smiling.
"Only some dozen or two of troopers, whom we left at the last
Lowland village," said Musgrave, "and trouble enough we had to
get them so far."
"As for money," said his companion, "We expect a small supply
from our friend and host here."
The Laird now, colouring highly, took Menteith a little apart,
and expressed to him his regret that he had fallen into a foolish
"I heard it from Donald," said Lord Menteith, scarce able to
suppress a smile.
"Devil take that old man," said M'Aulay, "he would tell every
thing, were it to cost one's life; but it's no jesting matter to
you neither, my lord, for I reckon on your friendly and fraternal
benevolence, as a near kinsman of our house, to help me out with
the money due to these pock-puddings; or else, to be plain wi'
ye, the deil a M'Aulay will there be at the muster, for curse me
if I do not turn Covenanter rather than face these fellows
without paying them; and, at the best, I shall be ill enough off,
getting both the scaith and the scorn."
"You may suppose, cousin," said Lord Menteith, "I am not too well
equipt just now; but you may be assured I shall endeavour to help
you as well as I can, for the sake of old kindred, neighbourhood,
"Thank ye--thank ye--thank ye," reiterated M'Aulay; "and as they
are to spend the money in the King's service, what signifies
whether you, they, or I pay it?--we are a' one man's bairns, I
hope? But you must help me out too with some reasonable excuse,
or else I shall be for taking to Andrew Ferrara; for I like not
to be treated like a liar or a braggart at my own board-end,
when, God knows, I only meant to support my honour, and that of
my family and country.
Donald, as they were speaking, entered, with rather a blither
face than he might have been expected to wear, considering the
impending fate of his master's purse and credit. "Gentlemens,
her dinner is ready, and HER CANDLES ARE LIGHTED TOO," said
Donald, with a strong guttural emphasis on the last clause of his
"What the devil can he mean?" said Musgrave, looking to his
Lord Menteith put the same question with his eyes to the Laird,
which M'Aulay answered by shaking his head.
A short dispute about precedence somewhat delayed their leaving
the apartment. Lord Menteith insisted upon yielding up that
which belonged to his rank, on consideration of his being in his
own country, and of his near connexion with the family in which
they found themselves. The two English strangers, therefore,
were first ushered into the hall, where an unexpected display
awaited them. The large oaken table was spread with substantial
joints of meat, and seats were placed in order for the guests.
Behind every seat stood a gigantic Highlander, completely dressed
and armed after the fashion of his country, holding in his right
hand his drawn sword, with the point turned downwards, and in the
left a blazing torch made of the bog-pine. This wood, found in
the morasses, is so full of turpentine, that, when split and
dried, it is frequently used in the Highlands instead of candles.
The unexpected and somewhat startling apparition was seen by the
red glare of the torches, which displayed the wild features,
unusual dress, and glittering arms of those who bore them, while
the smoke, eddying up to the roof of the hall, over-canopied them
with a volume of vapour. Ere the strangers had recovered from
their surprise, Allan stept forward, and pointing with his
sheathed broadsword to the torch-bearers, said, in a deep and
stern tone of voice, "Behold, gentlemen cavaliers, the
chandeliers of my brother's house, the ancient fashion of our
ancient name; not one of these men knows any law but their Chiefs
command--Would you dare to compare to THEM in value the richest
ore that ever was dug out of the mine? How say you, cavaliers?
--is your wager won or lost?"
"Lost; lost," said Musgrave, gaily--"my own silver candlesticks
are all melted and riding on horseback by this time, and I wish
the fellows that enlisted were half as trusty as these.--Here,
sir," he added to the Chief, "is your money; it impairs Hall's
finances and mine somewhat, but debts of honour must be settled."
"My father's curse upon my father's son," said Allan,
interrupting him, "if he receive from you one penny! It is
enough that you claim no right to exact from him what is his
Lord Menteith eagerly supported Allan's opinion, and the elder
M'Aulay readily joined, declaring the whole to be a fool's
business, and not worth speaking more about. The Englishmen,
after some courteous opposition, were persuaded to regard the
whole as a joke.
"And now, Allan," said the Laird, "please to remove your candles;
for, since the Saxon gentlemen have seen them, they will eat
their dinner as comfortably by the light of the old tin sconces,
without scomfishing them with so much smoke."
Accordingly, at a sign from Allan, the living chandeliers,
recovering their broadswords, and holding the point erect,
marched out of the hall, and left the guests to enjoy their
refreshment. [Such a bet as that mentioned in the text is said
to have been taken by MacDonald of Keppoch, who extricated
himself in the manner there narrated.]
Thareby so fearlesse and so fell he grew,
That his own syre and maister of his guise
Did often tremble at his horrid view;
And if for dread of hurt would him advise,
The angry beastes not rashly to despise,
Nor too much to provoke; for he would learne
The lion stoup to him in lowly wise,
(A lesson hard,) and make the libbard sterne
Leave roaring, when in rage he for revenge did earne. SPENSER.
Notwithstanding the proverbial epicurism of the English,
--proverbial, that is to say, in Scotland at the period,--the
English visitors made no figure whatever at the entertainment,
compared with the portentous voracity of Captain Dalgetty,
although that gallant soldier had already displayed much
steadiness and pertinacity in his attack upon the lighter
refreshment set before them at their entrance, by way of forlorn
hope. He spoke to no one during the time of his meal; and it was
not until the victuals were nearly withdrawn from the table, that
he gratified the rest of the company, who had watched him with
some surprise, with an account of the reasons why he ate so very
fast and so very long.
"The former quality," he said, "he had acquired, while he filled
a place at the bursar's table at the Mareschal-College of
Aberdeen; when," said he; "if you did not move your jaws as fast
as a pair of castanets, you were very unlikely to get any thing
to put between them. And as for the quantity of my food, be it
known to this honourable company," continued the Captain, "that
it's the duty of every commander of a fortress, on all occasions
which offer, to secure as much munition and vivers as their
magazines can possibly hold, not knowing when they may have to
sustain a siege or a blockade. Upon which principle, gentlemen,"
said he, "when a cavalier finds that provant is good and
abundant, he will, in my estimation, do wisely to victual himself
for at least three days, as there is no knowing when he may come
by another meal."
The Laird expressed his acquiescence in the prudence of this
principle, and recommended to the veteran to add a tass of brandy
and a flagon of claret to the substantial provisions he had
already laid in, to which proposal the Captain readily agreed.
When dinner was removed, and the servants had withdrawn,
excepting the Laird's page, or henchman, who remained in the
apartment to call for or bring whatever was wanted, or, in a
word, to answer the purposes of a modern bell-wire, the
conversation began to turn upon politics, and the state of the
country; and Lord Menteith enquired anxiously and particularly
what clans were expected to join the proposed muster of the
"That depends much, my lord, on the person who lifts the banner,"
said the Laird; "for you know we Highlanders, when a few clans
are assembled, are not easily commanded by one of our own Chiefs,
or, to say the truth, by any other body. We have heard a rumour,
indeed, that Colkitto--that is, young Colkitto, or Alaster
M'Donald, is come over the Kyle from Ireland, with a body of the
Earl of Antrim's people, and that they had got as far as
Ardnamurchan. They might have been here before now, but, I
suppose, they loitered to plunder the country as they came
"Will Colkitto not serve you for a leader, then?" said Lord
"Colkitto?" said Allan M'Aulay, scornfully; "who talks of
Colkitto?--There lives but one man whom we will follow, and that
"But Montrose, sir," said Sir Christopher Hall, "has not been
heard of since our ineffectual attempt to rise in the north of
England. It is thought he has returned to the King at Oxford for
"Returned!" said Allan, with a scornful laugh; "I could tell ye,
but it is not worth my while; ye will know soon enough."
"By my honour, Allan," said Lord Menteith, "you will weary out
your friends with this intolerable, froward, and sullen humour
--But I know the reason," added he, laughing; "you have not seen
Annot Lyle to-day."
"Whom did you say I had not seen?" said Allan, sternly.
"Annot Lyle, the fairy queen of song and minstrelsy," said Lord
"Would to God I were never to see her again," said Allan,
sighing, "On condition the same weird were laid on you!"
"And why on me?" said Lord Menteith, carelessly.
"Because," said Allan, "it is written on your forehead, that you
are to be the ruin of each other." So saying, he rose up and
left the room.
"Has he been long in this way?" asked Lord Menteith, addressing
"About three days," answered Angus; "the fit is wellnigh over, he
will be better to-morrow.--But come, gentlemen, don't let the
tappit-hen scraugh to be emptied. The King's health, King
Charles's health! and may the covenanting dog that refuses it,
go to Heaven by the road of the Grassmarket!"
The health was quickly pledged, and as fast succeeded by another,
and another, and another, all of a party cast, and enforced in
an earnest manner. Captain Dalgetty, however, thought it
necessary to enter a protest.
"Gentlemen cavaliers," he said, "I drink these healths, PRIMO,
both out of respect to this honourable and hospitable roof-tree,
and, SECUNDO, because I hold it not good to be preceese in such
matters, INTER POCULA; but I protest, agreeable to the warrandice
granted by this honourable lord, that it shall be free to me,
notwithstanding my present complaisance, to take service with the
Covenanters to-morrow, providing I shall be so minded."
M'Aulay and his English guests stared at this declaration, which
would have certainly bred new disturbance, if Lord Menteith had
not taken up the affair, and explained the circumstances and
conditions. "I trust," he concluded, "we shall be able to secure
Captain Dalgetty's assistance to our own party."
"And if not," said the Laird, "I protest, as the Captain says,
that nothing that has passed this evening, not even his having
eaten my bread and salt, and pledged me in brandy, Bourdeaux, or
usquebaugh, shall prejudice my cleaving him to the neck-bone."
"You shall be heartily welcome," said the Captain, "providing my
sword cannot keep my head, which it has done in worse dangers
than your fend is likely to make for me."
Here Lord Menteith again interposed, and the concord of the
company being with no small difficulty restored, was cemented by
some deep carouses. Lord Menteith, however, contrived to break
up the party earlier than was the usage of the Castle, under
pretence of fatigue and indisposition. This was somewhat to the
disappointment of the valiant Captain, who, among other habits
acquired in the Low countries, had acquired both a disposition to
drink, and a capacity to bear, an exorbitant quantity of strong
Their landlord ushered them in person to a sort of sleeping
gallery, in which there was a four-post bed, with tartan
curtains, and a number of cribs, or long hampers, placed along
the wall, three of which, well stuffed with blooming heather,
were prepared for the reception of guests.
"I need not tell your lordship," said M'Aulay to Lord Menteith, a
little apart, "our Highland mode of quartering. Only that, not
liking you should sleep in the room alone with this German land-
louper, I have caused your servants' beds to be made here in the
gallery. By G--d, my lord, these are times when men go to bed
with a throat hale and sound as ever swallowed brandy, and before
next morning it may be gaping like an oyster-shell."
Lord Menteith thanked him sincerely, saying, "It was just the
arrangement he would have requested; for, although he had not the
least apprehension of violence from Captain Dalgetty, yet
Anderson was a better kind of person, a sort of gentleman, whom
he always liked to have near his person."
"I have not seen this Anderson," said M'Aulay; "did you hire him
"I did so," said Lord Menteith; "you will see the man to-morrow;
in the meantime I wish you good-night."
His host left the apartment after the evening salutation, and was
about to pay the same compliment to Captain Dalgetty, but
observing him deeply engaged in the discussion of a huge pitcher
filled with brandy posset, he thought it a pity to disturb him in
so laudable an employment, and took his leave without farther
Lord Menteith's two attendants entered the apartment almost
immediately after his departure. The good Captain, who was now
somewhat encumbered with his good cheer, began to find the
undoing of the clasps of his armour a task somewhat difficult,
and addressed Anderson in these words, interrupted by a slight
hiccup,--"Anderson, my good friend, you may read in Scripture,
that he that putteth off his armour should not boast himself like
he that putteth it on--I believe that is not the right word of
command; but the plain truth of it is, I am like to sleep in my
corslet, like many an honest fellow that never waked again,
unless you unloose this buckle."
"Undo his armour, Sibbald," said Anderson to the other servant.
"By St. Andrew!" exclaimed the Captain, turning round in great
astonishment, "here's a common fellow--a stipendiary with four
pounds a-year and a livery cloak, thinks himself too good to
serve Ritt-master Dugald Dalgetty of Drumthwacket, who has
studied humanity at the Mareschal-College of Aberdeen, and served
half the princes of Europe!"
"Captain Dalgetty," said Lord Menteith, whose lot it was to stand
peacemaker throughout the evening, "please to understand that
Anderson waits upon no one but myself; but I will help Sibbald to
undo your corslet with much pleasure."
"Too much trouble for you, my lord," said Dalgetty; "and yet it
would do you no harm to practise how a handsome harness is put on
and put off. I can step in and out of mine like a glove; only
to-night, although not EBRIUS, I am, in the classic phrase, VINO
By this time he was unshelled, and stood before the fire musing
with a face of drunken wisdom on the events of the evening. What
seemed chiefly to interest him, was the character of Allan
M'Aulay. "To come over the Englishmen so cleverly with his
Highland torch-bearers--eight bare-breeched Rories for six silver
candlesticks!--it was a master-piece--a TOUR DE PASSE--it was
perfect legerdemain--and to be a madman after all!--I doubt
greatly, my lord" (shaking his head), "that I must allow him,
notwithstanding his relationship to your lordship, the privileges
of a rational person, and either batoon him sufficiently to
expiate the violence offered to my person, or else bring it to a
matter of mortal arbitrement, as becometh an insulted cavalier."
"If you care to hear a long story," said Lord Menteith, at this
time of night, I can tell you how the circumstances of Allan's
birth account so well for his singular character, as to put such
satisfaction entirely out of the question."
"A long story, my lord," said Captain Dalgetty, "is, next to a
good evening draught and a warm nightcap, the best shoeinghorn
for drawing on a sound sleep. And since your lordship is pleased
to take the trouble to tell it, I shall rest your patient and
"Anderson," said Lord Menteith, "and you, Sibbald, are dying to
hear, I suppose, of this strange man too! and I believe I must
indulge your curiosity, that you may know how to behave to him in
time of need. You had better step to the fire then."
Having thus assembled an audience about him, Lord Menteith sat
down upon the edge of the four-post bed, while Captain Dalgetty,
wiping the relics of the posset from his beard and mustachoes,
and repeating the first verse of the Lutheran psalm, ALLE GUTER
GEISTER LOBEN DEN HERRN, etc. rolled himself into one of the
places of repose, and thrusting his shock pate from between the
blankets, listened to Lord Menteith's relation in a most
luxurious state, between sleeping and waking.
"The father," said Lord Menteith, "of the two brothers, Angus and
Allan M'Aulay, was a gentleman of consideration and family, being
the chief of a Highland clan, of good account, though not
numerous; his lady, the mother of these young men, was a
gentlewoman of good family, if I may be permitted to say so of
one nearly connected with my own. Her brother, an honourable and
spirited young man, obtained from James the Sixth a grant of
forestry, and other privileges, over a royal chase adjacent to
this castle; and, in exercising and defending these rights, he
was so unfortunate as to involve himself in a quarrel with some
of our Highland freebooters or caterans, of whom I think, Captain
Dalgetty, you must have heard."
"And that I have," said the Captain, exerting himself to answer
the appeal. "Before I left the Mareschal-College of Aberdeen,
Dugald Garr was playing the devil in the Garioch, and the
Farquharsons on Dee-side, and the Clan Chattan on the Gordons'
lands, and the Grants and Camerons in Moray-land. And since
that, I have seen the Cravats and Pandours in Pannonia and
Transylvania, and the Cossacks from the Polish frontier, and
robbers, banditti, and barbarians of all countries besides, so
that I have a distinct idea of your broken Highlandmen."
"The clan," said Lord Menteith, "with whom the maternal uncle of
the M'Aulays had been placed in feud, was a small sept of
banditti, called, from their houseless state, and their
incessantly wandering among the mountains and glens, the Children
of the Mist. They are a fierce and hardy people, with all the
irritability, and wild and vengeful passions, proper to men who
have never known the restraint of civilized society. A party of
them lay in wait for the unfortunate Warden of the Forest,
surprised him while hunting alone and unattended, and slew him
with every circumstance of inventive cruelty. They cut off his
head, and resolved, in a bravado, to exhibit it at the castle of
his brother-in-law. The laird was absent, and the lady
reluctantly received as guests, men against whom, perhaps, she
was afraid to shut her gates. Refreshments were placed before
the Children of the Mist, who took an opportunity to take the
head of their victim from the plaid in which it was wrapt, placed
it on the table, put a piece of bread between the lifeless jaws,
bidding them do their office now, since many a good meal they had
eaten at that table. The lady, who had been absent for some
household purpose, entered at this moment, and, upon beholding
her brother's head, fled like an arrow out of the house into the
woods, uttering shriek upon shriek. The ruffians, satisfied with
this savage triumph, withdrew. The terrified menials, after
overcoming the alarm to which they had been subjected, sought
their unfortunate mistress in every direction, but she was
nowhere to be found. The miserable husband returned next day,
and, with the assistance of his people, undertook a more anxious
and distant search, but to equally little purpose. It was
believed universally, that, in the ecstasy of her terror, she
must either have thrown herself over one of the numerous
precipices which overhang the river, or into a deep lake about a
mile from the castle. Her loss was the more lamented, as she was
six months advanced in her pregnancy; Angus M'Aulay, her eldest
son, having been born about eighteen months before.--But I tire
you, Captain Dalgetty, and you seem inclined to sleep."
"By no means," answered the soldier; "I am no whit somnolent; I
always hear best with my eyes shut. It is a fashion I learned
when I stood sentinel."
"And I daresay," said Lord Menteith, aside to Anderson, "the
weight of the halberd of the sergeant of the rounds often made
him open them."
Being apparently, however, in the humour of story-telling, the
young nobleman went on, addressing himself chiefly to his
servants, without minding the slumbering veteran.
"Every baron in the country," said he, "now swore revenge for
this dreadful crime. They took arms with the relations and
brother-in-law of the murdered person, and the Children of the
Mist were hunted down, I believe, with as little mercy as they
had themselves manifested. Seventeen heads, the bloody trophies
of their vengeance, were distributed among the allies, and fed
the crows upon the gates of their castles. The survivors sought
out more distant wildernesses, to which they retreated."
"To your right hand, counter-march and retreat to your former
ground," said Captain Dalgetty; the military phrase having
produced the correspondent word of command; and then starting up,
professed he had been profoundly atttentive to every word that
had been spoken.
"It is the custom in summer," said Lord Menteith, without
attending to his apology, "to send the cows to the upland
pastures to have the benefit of the grass; and the maids of the
village, and of the family, go there to milk them in the morning
and evening. While thus employed, the females of this family, to
their great terror, perceived that their motions were watched at
a distance by a pale, thin, meagre figure, bearing a strong
resemblance to their deceased mistress, and passing, of course,
for her apparition. When some of the boldest resolved to
approach this faded form, it fled from them into the woods with a
wild shriek. The husband, informed of this circumstance, came up
to the glen with some attendants, and took his measures so well
as to intercept the retreat of the unhappy fugitive, and to
secure the person of his unfortunate lady, though her intellect
proved to be totally deranged. How she supported herself during
her wandering in the woods could not be known--some supposed she
lived upon roots and wild-berries, with which the woods at that
season abounded; but the greater part of the vulgar were
satisfied that she must have subsisted upon the milk of the wild
does, or been nourished by the fairies, or supported in some
manner equally marvellous. Her re-appearance was more easily
accounted for. She had seen from the thicket the milking of the
cows, to superintend which had been her favourite domestic
employment, and the habit had prevailed even in her deranged
state of mind.
"In due season the unfortunate lady was delivered of a boy, who
not only showed no appearance of having suffered from his
mother's calamities, but appeared to be an infant of uncommon
health and strength. The unhappy mother, after her confinement,
recovered her reason--at least in a great measure, but never her
health and spirits. Allan was her only joy. Her attention to
him was unremitting; and unquestionably she must have impressed
upon his early mind many of those superstitious ideas to which
his moody and enthusiastic temper gave so ready a reception. She
died when he was about ten years old. Her last words were spoken
to him in private; but there is little doubt that they conveyed
an injunction of vengeance upon the Children of the Mist, with
which he has since amply complied.
"From this moment, the habits of Allan M'Aulay were totally
changed. He had hitherto been his mother's constant companion,
listening to her dreams, and repeating his own, and feeding his
imagination, which, probably from the circumstances preceding his
birth, was constitutionally deranged, with all the wild and
terrible superstitions so common to the mountaineers, to which
his unfortunate mother had become much addicted since her
brother's death. By living in this manner, the boy had gotten a
timid, wild, startled look, loved to seek out solitary places in
the woods, and was never so much terrified, as by the approach of
children of the same age. I remember, although some years
younger, being brought up here by my father upon a visit, nor can
I forget the astonishment with which I saw this infant-hermit
shun every attempt I made to engage him in the sports natural to
our age. I can remember his father bewailing his disposition to
mine, and alleging, at the same time, that it was impossible for
him to take from his wife the company of the boy, as he seemed to
be the only consolation that remained to her in this world, and
as the amusement which Allan's society afforded her seemed to
prevent the recurrence, at least in its full force, of that
fearful malady by which she had been visited. But, after the
death of his mother, the habits and manners of the boy seemed at
once to change. It is true he remained as thoughtful and serious
as before; and long fits of silence and abstraction showed
plainly that his disposition, in this respect, was in no degree
altered. But at other times, he sought out the rendezvous of the
youth of the c]an, which he had hitherto seemed anxious to avoid.
He took share in all their exercises; and, from his very
extraordinary personal strength, soon excelled his brother and
other youths, whose age considerably exceeded his own. They who
had hitherto held him in contempt, now feared, if they did not
love him; and, instead of Allan's being esteemed a dreaming,
womanish, and feeble-minded boy, those who encountered him in
sports or military exercise, now complained that, when heated by
the strife, he was too apt to turn game into earnest, and to
forget that he was only engaged in a friendly trial of strength.
--But I speak to regardless ears," said Lord Menteith,
interrupting himself, for the Captain's nose now gave the most
indisputable signs that he was fast locked in the arms of
"If you mean the ears of that snorting swine, my lord," said
Anderson, "they are, indeed, shut to anything that you can say;
nevertheless, this place being unfit for more private conference,
I hope you will have the goodness to proceed, for Sibbald's
benefit and for mine. The history of this poor young fellow has
a deep and wild interest in it."
"You must know, then," proceeded Lord Menteith, "that Allan
continued to increase in strength and activity, till his
fifteenth year, about which time he assumed a total independence
of character, and impatience of control, which much alarmed his
surviving parent. He was absent in the woods for whole days and
nights, under pretence of hunting, though he did not always bring
home game. His father was the more alarmed, because several of
the Children of the Mist, encouraged by the increasing troubles
of the state, had ventured back to their old haunts, nor did he
think it altogether safe to renew any attack upon them. The risk
of Allan, in his wanderings, sustaining injury from these
vindictive freebooters, was a perpetual source of apprehension.
"I was myself upon a visit to the castle when this matter was
brought to a crisis. Allan had been absent since day-break in
the woods, where I had sought for him in vain; it was a dark
stormy night, and he did not return. His father expressed the
utmost anxiety, and spoke of detaching a party at the dawn of
morning in quest of him; when, as we were sitting at the supper-
table, the door suddenly opened, and Allan entered the room with
a proud, firm, and confident air. His intractability of temper,
as well as the unsettled state of his mind, had such an influence
over his father, that he suppressed all other tokens of
displeasure, excepting the observation that I had killed a fat
buck, and had returned before sunset, while he supposed Allan,
who had been on the hill till midnight, had returned with empty
hands. 'Are you sure of that?' said Allan, fiercely; 'here is
something will tell you another tale.'
"We now observed his hands were bloody, and that there were spots
of blood on his face, and waited the issue with impatience; when
suddenly, undoing the comer of his plaid, he rolled down on the
table a human head, bloody and new severed, saying at the same
time, 'Lie thou where the head of a better man lay before ye.'
From the haggard features, and matted red hair and beard, partly
grizzled with age, his father and others present recognised the
head of Hector of the Mist, a well-known leader among the
outlaws, redoubted for strength and ferocity, who had been active
in the murder of the unfortunate Forester, uncle to Allan, and
had escaped by a desperate defence and extraordinary agility,
when so many of his companions were destroyed. We were all, it
may be believed, struck with surprise, but Allan refused to
gratify our curiosity; and we only conjectured that he must have
overcome the outlaw after a desperate struggle, because we
discovered that he had sustained several wounds from the contest.
All measures were now taken to ensure him against the vengeance
of the freebooters; but neither his wounds, nor the positive
command of his father, nor even the locking of the gates of the
castle and the doors of his apartment, were precautions adequate
to prevent Allan from seeking out the very persons to whom he was
peculiarly obnoxious. He made his escape by night from the
window of the apartment, and laughing at his father's vain care,
produced on one occasion the head of one, and upon another those
of two, of the Children of the Mist. At length these men, fierce
as they were, became appalled by the inveterate animosity and
audacity with which Allan sought out their recesses. As he never
hesitated to encounter any odds, they concluded that he must bear
a charmed life, or fight under the guardianship of some
supernatural influence. Neither gun, dirk, nor dourlach
[DOURLACH--quiver; literally, satchel--of arrows.], they said,
availed aught against him. They imputed this to the remarkable
circumstances under which he was born; and at length five or six
of the stoutest caterans of the Highlands would have fled at
Allan's halloo, or the blast of his horn.
"In the meanwhile, however, the Children of the Mist carried on
their old trade, and did the M'Aulays, as well as their kinsmen
and allies, as much mischief as they could. This provoked
another expedition against the tribe, in which I had my share; we
surprised them effectually, by besetting at once the upper and
under passes of the country, and made such clean work as is usual
on these occasions, burning and slaying right before us. In this
terrible species of war, even the females and the helpless do not
always escape. One little maiden alone, who smiled upon Allan's
drawn dirk, escaped his vengeance upon my earnest entreaty. She
was brought to the castle, and here bred up under the name of
Annot Lyle, the most beautiful little fairy certainly that ever
danced upon a heath by moonlight. It was long ere Allan could
endure the presence of the child, until it occurred to his
imagination, from her features perhaps, that she did not belong
to the hated blood of his enemies, but had become their captive
in some of their incursions; a circumstance not in itself
impossible, but in which he believes as firmly as in holy writ.
He is particularly delighted by her skill in music, which is so
exquisite, that she far exceeds the best performers in this
country in playing on the clairshach, or harp. It was discovered
that this produced upon the disturbed spirits of Allan, in his
gloomiest moods, beneficial effects, similar to those experienced
by the Jewish monarch of old; and so engaging is the temper of
Annot Lyle, so fascinating the innocence and gaiety of her
disposition, that she is considered and treated in the castle
rather as the sister of the proprietor, than as a dependent upon
his charity. Indeed, it is impossible for any one to see her
without being deeply interested by the ingenuity, liveliness, and
sweetness of her disposition."
"Take care, my lord," said Anderson, smiling; "there is danger in
such violent commendations. Allan M'Aulay, as your lordship
describes him, would prove no very safe rival."
"Pooh! pooh!" said Lord Menteith, laughing, yet blushing at the
same time; "Allan is not accessible to the passion of love; and
for myself," said he, more gravely; "Annot's unknown birth is a
sufficient reason against serious designs, and her unprotected
state precludes every other."
"It is spoken like yourself, my lord," said Anderson.--"But I
trust you will proceed with your interesting story."
"It is wellnigh finished," said Lord Menteith; "I have only to
add, that from the great strength and courage of Allan M'Aulay,
from his energetic and uncontrollable disposition, and from an
opinion generally entertained and encouraged by himself that he
holds communion with supernatural beings, and can predict future
events, the clan pay a much greater degree of deference to him
than even to his brother, who is a bold-hearted rattling
Highlander, but with nothing which can possibly rival the
extraordinary character of his younger brother."
"Such a character," said Anderson, "cannot but have the deepest
effect on the minds of a Highland host. We must secure Allan, my
lord, at all events. What between his bravery and his second
"Hush!" said Lord Menteith, "that owl is awaking."
"Do you talk of the second sight, or DEUTERO-SCOPIA?" said the
soldier; "I remember memorable Major Munro telling me how Murdoch
Mackenzie, born in Assint, a private gentleman in a company, and
a pretty soldier, foretold the death of Donald Tough, a Lochaber
man, and certain other persons, as well as the hurt of the major
himself at a sudden onfall at the siege of Trailsund."
"I have often heard of this faculty," observed Anderson, "but I
have always thought those pretending to it were either
enthusiasts or impostors."
"I should be loath," said Lord Menteith, "to apply either
character to my kinsman, Allan M'Aulay. He has shown on many
occasions too much acuteness and sense, of which you this night
had an instance, for the character of an enthusiast; and his high
sense of honour, and manliness of disposition, free him from the
charge of imposture."
"Your lordship, then," said Anderson, "is a believer in his
"By no means," said the young nobleman; "I think that he
persuades himself that the predictions which are, in reality, the
result of judgment and reflection, are supernatural impressions
on his mind, just as fanatics conceive the workings of their own
imagination to be divine inspiration--at least, if this will not
serve you, Anderson, I have no better explanation to give; and it
is time we were all asleep after the toilsome journey of the
Coming events cast their shadows before. CAMPBELL.
At an early hour in the morning the guests of the castle sprung
from their repose; and, after a moment's private conversation
with his attendants, Lord Menteith addressed the soldier, who was
seated in a corner burnishing his corslet with rot-stone and
chamois-leather, while he hummed the old song in honour of the
victorious Gustavus Adolphus:--
When cannons are roaring, and bullets are flying,
The lad that would have honour, boys, must never fear dying.
"Captain Dalgetty," said Lord Menteith, "the time is come that we
must part, or become comrades in service."
"Not before breakfast, I hope?" said Captain Dalgetty.
"I should have thought," replied his lordship, "that your
garrison was victualled for three days at least."
"I have still some stowage left for beef and bannocks," said the
Captain; "and I never miss a favourable opportunity of renewing
"But," said Lord Menteith, "no judicious commander allows either
flags of truce or neutrals to remain in his camp longer than is
prudent; and therefore we must know your mind exactly, according
to which you shall either have a safe-conduct to depart in peace,
or be welcome to remain with us."
"Truly," said the Captain, "that being the case, I will not
attempt to protract the capitulation by a counterfeited parley,
(a thing excellently practised by Sir James Ramsay at the siege
of Hannau, in the year of God 1636,) but I will frankly own, that
if I like your pay as well as your provant and your company, I
care not how soon I take the oath to your colours."
"Our pay," said Lord Menteith, "must at present be small, since
it is paid out of the common stock raised by the few amongst us
who can command some funds--As major and adjutant, I dare not
promise Captain Dalgetty more than half a dollar a-day."
"The devil take all halves and quarters!" said the Captain;
"were it in my option, I could no more consent to the halving of
that dollar, than the woman in the Judgment of Solomon to the
disseverment of the child of her bowels."
"The parallel will scarce hold, Captain Dalgetty, for I think you
would rather consent to the dividing of the dollar, than give it
up entire to your competitor. However, in the way of arrears, I
may promise you the other half-dollar at the end of the
"Ah! these arrearages!" said Captain Dalgetty, "that are always
promised, and always go for nothing! Spain, Austria, and Sweden,
all sing one song. Oh! long life to the Hoganmogans! if they
were no officers of soldiers, they were good paymasters.--And
yet, my lord, if I could but be made certiorate that my natural
hereditament of Drumthwacket had fallen into possession of any of
these loons of Covenanters, who could be, in the event of our
success, conveniently made a traitor of, I have so much value for
that fertile and pleasant spot, that I would e'en take on with
you for the campaign."
"I can resolve Captain Dalgetty's question," said Sibbald, Lord
Menteith's second attendant; "for if his estate of Drumthwacket
be, as I conceive, the long waste moor so called, that lies five
miles south of Aberdeen, I can tell him it was lately purchased
by Elias Strachan, as rank a rebel as ever swore the Covenant"
"The crop-eared hound!" said Captain Dalgetty, in a rage; "What
the devil gave him the assurance to purchase the inheritance of a
family of four hundred years standing?--CYNTHIUS AUREM VELLET,
as we used to say at Mareschal-College; that is to say, I will
pull him out of my father's house by the ears. And so, my Lord
Menteith, I am yours, hand and sword, body and soul, till death
do us part, or to the end of the next campaign, whichever event
shall first come to pass."
"And I," said the young nobleman, "rivet the bargain with a
month's pay in advance."
"That is more than necessary," said Dalgetty, pocketing the money
however. "But now I must go down, look after my war-saddle and
abuilziements, and see that Gustavus has his morning, and tell
him we have taken new service."
There goes your precious recruit," said Lord Menteith to
Anderson, as the Captain left the room; "I fear we shall have
little credit of him."
"He is a man of the times, however," said Anderson; "and without
such we should hardly be able to carry on our enterprise."
"Let us go down," answered Lord Menteith, "and see how our muster
is likely to thrive, for I hear a good deal of bustle in the
When they entered the hall, the domestics keeping modestly in the
background, morning greetings passed between Lord Menteith, Angus
M'Aulay, and his English guests, while Allan, occupying the same
settle which he had filled the preceding evening, paid no
attention whatever to any one. Old Donald hastily rushed into
the apartment. "A message from Vich Alister More; [The
patronymic of MacDonell of Glengarry.] he is coming up in the
"With how many attendants?" said M'Aulay.
"Some five-and-twenty or thirty," said Donald, "his ordinary
"Shake down plenty of straw in the great barn," said the Laird.
Another servant here stumbled hastily in, announcing the expected
approach of Sir Hector M'Lean, "who is arriving with a large
"Put them in the malt-kiln," said M'Aulay; "and keep the
breadth of the middenstead between them and the M'Donalds; they
are but unfriends to each other."
Donald now re-entered, his visage considerably lengthened --"The
tell's i' the folk," he said; "the haill Hielands are asteer, I
think. Evan Dhu, of Lochiel, will be here in an hour, with Lord
kens how many gillies."
"Into the great barn with them beside the M'Donalds," said the
More and more chiefs were announced, the least of whom would have
accounted it derogatory to his dignity to stir without a retinue
of six or seven persons. To every new annunciation, Angus
M'Aulay answered by naming some place of accommodation,--the
stables, the loft, the cow-house, the sheds, every domestic
office, were destined for the night to some hospitable purpose or
other. At length the arrival of M'Dougal of Lorn, after all his
means of accommodation were exhausted, reduced him to some
perplexity. "What the devil is to be done, Donald?" said he;
"the great barn would hold fifty more, if they would lie heads
and thraws; but there would be drawn dirks amang them which
should lie upper-most, and so we should have bloody puddings
"What needs all this?" said Allan, starting up, and coming
forward with the stern abruptness of his usual manner; "are the
Gael to-day of softer flesh or whiter blood than their fathers
were? Knock the head out of a cask of usquebae; let that be
their night-gear--their plaids their bed-clothes--the blue sky
their canopy, and the heather their couch.--Come a thousand more,
and they would not quarrel on the broad heath for want of room!"
"Allan is right," said his brother; "it is very odd how Allan,
who, between ourselves," said he to Musgrave, "is a little wowf,
[WOWF, i.e. crazed.] seems at times to have more sense than us
all put together. Observe him now."
"Yes" continued Allan, fixing his eyes with a ghastly stare upon
the opposite side of the hall, "they may well begin as they are
to end; many a man will sleep this night upon the heath, that
when the Martinmas wind shalt blow shall lie there stark enough,
and reck little of cold or lack of covering."
"Do not forespeak us, brother," said Angus; "that is not lucky."
"And what luck is it then that you expect?" said Allan; and
straining his eyes until they almost started from their sockets,
he fell with a convulsive shudder into the arms of Donald and his
brother, who, knowing the nature of his fits, had come near to
prevent his fall. They seated him upon a bench, and supported
him until he came to himself, and was about to speak.
For God's sake, Allan," said his brother, who knew the impression
his mystical words were likely to make on many of the guests,
"say nothing to discourage us."
"Am I he who discourages you?" said Allan; "let every man face
his weird as I shall face mine. That which must come, will come;
and we shall stride gallantly over many a field of victory, ere
we reach yon fatal slaughter-place, or tread yon sable
"What slaughter-place? what scaffolds?" exclaimed several
voices; for Allan's renown as a seer was generally established in
"You will know that but too soon," answered Allan. "Speak to me
no more, I am weary of your questions." He then pressed his hand
against his brow, rested his elbow upon his knee, and sunk into a
Send for Annot Lyle, and the harp," said Angus, in a whisper, to
his servant; "and let those gentlemen follow me who do not fear a
All accompanied their hospitable landlord excepting only Lord
Menteith, who lingered in one of the deep embrasures formed by
the windows of the hall. Annot Lyle shortly after glided into
the room, not ill described by Lord Menteith as being the
lightest and most fairy figure that ever trode the turf by
moonlight. Her stature, considerably less than the ordinary size
of women, gave her the appearance of extreme youth, insomuch,
that although she was near eighteen, she might have passed for
four years younger. Her figure, hands, and feet, were formed
upon a model of exquisite symmetry with the size and lightness of
her person, so that Titania herself could scarce have found a
more fitting representative. Her hair was a dark shade of the
colour usually termed flaxen, whose clustering ringlets suited
admirably with her fair complexion, and with the playful, yet
simple, expression of her features. When we add to these charms,
that Annot, in her orphan state, seemed the gayest and happiest
of maidens, the reader must allow us to claim for her the
interest of almost all who looked on her. In fact, it was
impossible to find a more universal favourite, and she often came
among the rude inhabitants of the castle, as Allan himself, in a
poetical mood, expressed it, "like a sunbeam on a sullen sea,"
communicating to all others the cheerfulness that filled her own
Annot, such as we have described her, smiled and blushed, when,
on entering the apartment, Lord Menteith came from his place of
retirement, and kindly wished her good-morning.
"And good-morning to you, my lord," returned she, extending her
hand to her friend; "we have seldom seen you of late at the
castle, and now I fear it is with no peaceful purpose."
"At least, let me not interrupt your harmony, Annot," said Lord
Menteith, "though my arrival may breed discord elsewhere. My
cousin Allan needs the assistance of your voice and music."
"My preserver," said Annot Lyle, "has a right to my poor
exertions; and you, too, my lord,--you, too, are my preserver,
and were the most active to save a life that is worthless enough,
unless it can benefit my protectors."
So saying, she sate down at a little distance upon the bench on
which Allan M'Aulay was placed, and tuning her clairshach, a
small harp, about thirty inches in height, she accompanied it
with her voice. The air was an ancient Gaelic melody, and the
words, which were supposed to be very old, were in the same
language; but we subjoin a translation of them, by Secundus
Macpherson, Esq. of Glenforgen, which, although submitted to the
fetters of English rhythm, we trust will be found nearly as
genuine as the version of Ossian by his celebrated namesake.
"Birds of omen dark and foul,
Night-crow, raven, bat, and owl,
Leave the sick man to his dream--
All night long he heard your scream--
Haste to cave and ruin'd tower,
Ivy, tod, or dingled bower,
There to wink and mope, for, hark!
In the mid air sings the lark.
"Hie to moorish gills and rocks,
Prowling wolf and wily fox,--
Hie you fast, nor turn your view,
Though the lamb bleats to the ewe.
Couch your trains, and speed your flight,
Safety parts with parting night;
And on distant echo borne,
Comes the hunter's early horn.
"The moon's wan crescent scarcely gleams,
Ghost-like she fades in morning beams;
Hie hence each peevish imp and fay,
That scare the pilgrim on his way:--
Quench, kelpy! quench, in bog and fen,
Thy torch that cheats benighted men;
Thy dance is o'er, thy reign is done,
For Benyieglo hath seen the sun.
"Wild thoughts, that, sinful, dark, and deep,
O'erpower the passive mind in sleep,
Pass from the slumberer's soul away,
Like night-mists from the brow of day:
Foul hag, whose blasted visage grim
Smothers the pulse, unnerves the limb,
Spur thy dark palfrey, and begone!
Thou darest not face the godlike sun."
As the strain proceeded, Allan M'Aulay gradually gave signs of
recovering his presence of mind, and attention to the objects
around him. The deep-knit furrows of his brow relaxed and
smoothed themselves; and the rest of his features, which had
seemed contorted with internal agony, relapsed into a more
natural state. When he raised his head and sat upright, his
countenance, though still deeply melancholy, was divested of its
wildness and ferocity; and in its composed state, although by no
means handsome, the expression of his features was striking,
manly, and even noble. His thick, brown eyebrows, which had
hitherto been drawn close together, were now slightly separated,
as in the natural state; and his grey eyes, which had rolled and
flashed from under them with an unnatural and portentous gleam,
now recovered a steady and determined expression.
"Thank God!" he said, after sitting silent for about a minute,
until the very last sounds of the harp had ceased to vibrate, "my
soul is no longer darkened--the mist hath passed from my spirit."
"You owe thanks, cousin Allan," said Lord Menteith, coming
forward, "to Annot Lyle, as well as to heaven, for this happy
change in your melancholy mood."
"My noble cousin Menteith," said Allan, rising and greeting him
very respectfully, as well as kindly, "has known my unhappy
circumstances so long, that his goodness will require no excuse
for my being thus late in bidding him welcome to the castle."
"We are too old acquaintances, Allan," said Lord Menteith, "and
too good friends, to stand on the ceremonial of outward greeting;
but half the Highlands will be here to-day, and you know, with
our mountain Chiefs, ceremony must not be neglected. What will
you give little Annot for making you fit company to meet Evan
Dhu, and I know not how many bonnets and feathers?"
"What will he give me?" said Annot, smiling; "nothing less, I
hope, than the best ribbon at the Fair of Doune."
"The Fair of Doune, Annot?" said Allan sadly; "there will be
bloody work before that day, and I may never see it; but you have
well reminded me of what I have long intended to do."
Having said this, he left the room.
"Should he talk long in this manner," said Lord Menteith, "you
must keep your harp in tune, my dear Annot."
"I hope not," said Annot, anxiously; "this fit has been a long
one, and probably will not soon return. It is fearful to see a
mind, naturally generous and affectionate, afflicted by this
As she spoke in a low and confidential tone, Lord Menteith
naturally drew close, and stooped forward, that he might the
better catch the sense of what she said. When Allan suddenly
entered the apartment, they as naturally drew back from each
other with a manner expressive of consciousness, as if surprised
in a conversation which they wished to keep secret from him.
This did not escape Allan's observation; he stopt short at the
door of the apartment--his brows were contracted--his eyes
rolled; but it was only the paroxysm of a moment. He passed his
broad sinewy hand across his brow, as if to obliterate these
signs of emotion, and advanced towards Annot, holding in his hand
a very small box made of oakwood, curiously inlaid. "I take you
to witness," he said, "cousin Menteith, that I give this box and
its contents to Annot Lyle. It contains a few ornaments that
belonged to my poor mother--of trifling value, you may guess, for
the wife of a Highland laird has seldom a rich jewel-casket."
"But these ornaments," said Annot Lyle, gently and timidly
refusing the box, "belong to the family--I cannot accept--"
"They belong to me alone, Annot," said Allan, interrupting her;
"they were my mother's dying bequest. They are all I can call my
own, except my plaid and my claymore. Take them, therefore--they
are to me valueless trinkets--and keep them for my sake--should I
never return from these wars."
So saying, he opened the case, and presented it to Annot. "If,"
said he, "they are of any value, dispose of them for your own
support, when this house has been consumed with hostile fire, and
can no longer afford you protection. But keep one ring in memory
of Allan, who has done, to requite your kindness, if not all he
wished, at least all he could."
Annot Lyle endeavoured in vain to restrain the gathering tears,
when she said, "ONE ring, Allan, I will accept from you as a
memorial of your goodness to a poor orphan, but do not press me
to take more; for I cannot, and will not, accept a gift of such
"Make your choice, then," said Allan; "your delicacy may be well
founded; the others will assume a shape in which they may be more
useful to you."
"Think not of it," said Annot, choosing from the contents of the
casket a ring, apparently the most trifling in value which it
contained; "keep them for your own, or your brother's bride.
--But, good heavens!" she said, interrupting herself, and
looking at the ring, "what is this that I have chosen?"
Allan hastened to look upon it, with eyes of gloomy apprehension;
it bore, in enamel, a death's head above two crossed daggers.
When Allan recognised the device, he uttered a sigh so deep, that
she dropped the ring from her hand, which rolled upon the floor.
Lord Menteith picked it up, and returned it to the terrified
"I take God to witness," said Allan, in a solemn tone, "that your
hand, young lord, and not mine, has again delivered to her this
ill-omened gift. It was the mourning ring worn by my mother in
memorial of her murdered brother."
"I fear no omens," said Annot, smiling through her tears; "and
nothing coming through the hands of my two patrons," so she was
wont to call Lord Menteith and Allan, "can bring bad luck to the
She put the ring on her finger, and, turning to her harp, sung,
to a lively air, the following verses of one of the fashionable
songs of the period, which had found its way, marked as it was
with the quaint hyperbolical taste of King Charles's time, from
some court masque to the wilds of Perthshire:--
"Gaze not upon the stars, fond sage,
In them no influence lies;
To read the fate of youth or age,
Look on my Helen's eyes.
"Yet, rash astrologer, refrain!
Too dearly would be won
The prescience of another's pain,
If purchased by thine own."
"She is right, Allan," said Lord Menteith; "and this end of an
old song is worth all we shall gain by our attempt to look into
"She is WRONG, my lord," said Allan, sternly, "though you, who
treat with lightness the warnings I have given you, may not live
to see the event of the omen.--laugh not so scornfully," he
added, interrupting himself "or rather laugh on as loud and as
long as you will; your term of laughter will find a pause ere
"I care not for your visions, Allan," said Lord Menteith; however
short my span of life, the eye of no Highland seer can see its
"For heaven's sake," said Annot Lyle, interrupting him, "you know
his nature, and how little he can endure--"
"Fear me not," said Allan, interrupting her,--"my mind is now
constant and calm.--But for you, young lord," said he, turning to
Lord Menteith, "my eye has sought you through fields of battle,
where Highlanders and Lowlanders lay strewed as thick as ever the
rooks sat on those ancient trees," pointing to a rookery which
was seen from the window--"my eye sought you, but your corpse was
not there--my eye sought you among a train of unresisting and
disarmed captives, drawn up within the bounding walls of an
ancient and rugged fortress;--flash after flash--platoon after
platoon--the hostile shot fell amongst them, They dropped like
the dry leaves in autumn, but you were not among their ranks;
--scaffolds were prepared--blocks were arranged, saw-dust was
spread--the priest was ready with his book, the headsman with his
axe--but there, too, mine eye found you not."
"The gibbet, then, I suppose, must be my doom?" said Lord
Menteith. "Yet I wish they had spared me the halter, were it but
for the dignity of the peerage."
He spoke this scornfully, yet not without a sort of curiosity,
and a wish to receive an answer; for the desire of prying into
futurity frequently has some influence even on the minds of those
who disavow all belief in the possibility of such predictions.
"Your rank, my lord, will suffer no dishonour in your person, or
by the manner of your death. Three times have I seen a
Highlander plant his dirk in your bosom--and such will be your
"I wish you would describe him to me," said Lord Menteith, "and I
shall save him the trouble of fulfilling your prophecy, if his
plaid be passible to sword or pistol."
"Your weapons," said Allan, "would avail you little; nor can I
give you the information you desire. The face of the vision has
been ever averted from me."
"So be it then," said Lord Menteith, "and let it rest in the
uncertainty in which your augury has placed it. I shall dine not
the less merrily among plaids, and dirks, and kilts to-day."
"It may be so," said Allan; "and, it may be, you do well to enjoy
these moments, which to me are poisoned by auguries of future
evil. But I," he continued--"I repeat to you, that this weapon
--that is, such a weapon as this," touching the hilt of the dirk
which he wore, "carries your fate." "In the meanwhile," said
Lord Menteith, "you, Allan, have frightened the blood from the
cheeks of Annot Lyle--let us leave this discourse, my friend, and
go to see what we both understand,--the progress of our military
They joined Angus M'Aulay and his English guests, and, in the
military discussions which immediately took place, Allan showed a
clearness of mind, strength of judgment, and precision of
thought, totally inconsistent with the mystical light in which
his character has been hitherto exhibited.
When Albin her claymore indignantly draws,
When her bonneted chieftains around her shall crowd,
Clan-Ranald the dauntless, and Moray the proud,
All plaided and plumed in their tartan array--
Whoever saw that morning, the Castle of Darnlinvarach, beheld a
busy and a gallant sight.
The various Chiefs, arriving with their different retinues,
which, notwithstanding their numbers, formed no more than their
usual equipage and body-guard upon occasions of solemnity,
saluted the lord of the castle and each other with overflowing
kindness, or with haughty and distant politeness, according to
the circumstances of friendship or hostility in which their clans
had recently stood to each other. Each Chief, however small his
comparative importance, showed the full disposition to exact from
the rest the deference due to a separate and independent prince;
while the stronger and more powerful, divided among themselves by
recent contentions or ancient feuds, were constrained in policy
to use great deference to the feelings of their less powerful
brethren, in order, in case of need, to attach as many well-
wishers as might be to their own interest and standard. Thus the
meeting of Chiefs resembled not a little those ancient Diets of
the Empire, where the smallest FREY-GRAF, who possessed a castle
perched upon a barren crag, with a few hundred acres around it,
claimed the state and honours of a sovereign prince, and a seat
according to his rank among the dignitaries of the Empire.
The followers of the different leaders were separately arranged
and accommodated, as room and circumstances best permitted, each
retaining however his henchman, who waited, close as the shadow,
upon his person, to execute whatever might be required by his
The exterior of the castle afforded a singular scene. The
Highlanders, from different islands, glens, and straths, eyed
each other at a distance with looks of emulation, inquisitive
curiosity, or hostile malevolence; but the most astounding part
of the assembly, at least to a Lowland ear, was the rival
performance of the bagpipers. These warlike minstrels, who had
the highest opinion, each, of the superiority of his own tribe,
joined to the most overweening idea of the importance connected
with his profession, at first, performed their various pibrochs
in front each of his own clan. At length, however, as the black-
cocks towards the end of the season, when, in sportsman's
language, they are said to flock or crowd, attracted together by
the sound of each others' triumphant crow, even so did the
pipers, swelling their plaids and tartans in the same triumphant
manner in which the birds ruffle up their feathers, begin to
approach each other within such distance as might give to their
brethren a sample of their skill. Walking within a short
interval, and eyeing each other with looks in which self-
importance and defiance might be traced, they strutted, puffed,
and plied their screaming instruments, each playing his own
favourite tune with such a din, that if an Italian musician had
lain buried within ten miles of them, he must have risen from the
dead to run out of hearing.
The Chieftains meanwhile had assembled in close conclave in the
great hall of the castle. Among them were the persons of the
greatest consequence in the Highlands, some of them attracted by
zeal for the royal cause, and many by aversion to that severe and
general domination which the Marquis of Argyle, since his rising
to such influence in the state, had exercised over his Highland
neighbours. That statesman, indeed, though possessed of
considerable abilities, and great power, had failings, which
rendered him unpopular among the Highland chiefs. The devotion
which he professed was of a morose and fanatical character; his
ambition appeared to be insatiable, and inferior chiefs
complained of his want of bounty and liberality. Add to this,
that although a Highlander, and of a family distinguished for
valour before and since, Gillespie Grumach [GRUMACH--ill-
favored.] (which, from an obliquity in his eyes, was the personal
distinction he bore in the Highlands, where titles of rank are
unknown) was suspected of being a better man in the cabinet than
in the field. He and his tribe were particularly obnoxious to
the M'Donalds and the M'Leans, two numerous septs, who, though
disunited by ancient feuds, agreed in an intense dislike to the
Campbells, or, as they were called, the Children of Diarmid.
For some time the assembled Chiefs remained silent, until some
one should open the business of the meeting. At length one of
the most powerful of them commenced the diet by saying,--"We have
been summoned hither, M'Aulay, to consult of weighty matters
concerning the King's affairs, and those of the state; and we
crave to know by whom they are to be explained to us?"
M'Aulay, whose strength did not lie in oratory, intimated his
wish that Lord Menteith should open the business of the council.
With great modesty, and at the same time with spirit, that young
lord said,"he wished what he was about to propose had come from
some person of better known and more established character.
Since, however, it lay with him to be spokesman, he had to state
to the Chiefs assembled, that those who wished to throw off the
base yoke which fanaticism had endeavoured to wreath round their
necks, had not a moment to lose. "The Covenanters," he said,
"after having twice made war upon their sovereign, and having
extorted from him every request, reasonable or unreasonable,
which they thought proper to demand--after their Chiefs had been
loaded with dignities and favours--after having publicly
declared, when his Majesty, after a gracious visit to the land of
his nativity, was upon his return to England, that he returned a
contented king from a contented people,--after all this, and
without even the pretext for a national grievance, the same men
have, upon doubts and suspicions, equally dishonourable to the
King, and groundless in themselves, detached a strong army to
assist his rebels in England, in a quarrel with which Scotland
had no more to do than she has with the wars in Germany. It was
well," he said, "that the eagerness with which this treasonable
purpose was pursued, had blinded the junta who now usurped the
government of Scotland to the risk which they were about to
incur. The army which they had dispatched to England under old
Leven comprehended their veteran soldiers, the strength of those
armies which had been levied in Scotland during the two former
Here Captain Dalgetty endeavoured to rise, for the purpose of
explaining how many veteran officers, trained in the German wars,
were, to his certain knowledge, in the army of the Earl of Leven.
But Allan M'Aulay holding him down in his seat with one hand,
pressed the fore-finger of the other upon his own lips, and,
though with some difficulty, prevented his interference. Captain
Dalgetty looked upon him with a very scornful and indignant air,
by which the other's gravity was in no way moved, and Lord
Menteith proceeded without farther interruption.
"The moment," he said, "was most favourable for all true-hearted
and loyal Scotchmen to show, that the reproach their country had
lately undergone arose from the selfish ambition of a few
turbulent and seditious men, joined to the absurd fanaticism
which, disseminated from five hundred pulpits, had spread like a
land-flood over the Lowlands of Scotland. He had letters from
the Marquis of Huntly in the north, which he should show to the
Chiefs separately. That nobleman, equally loyal and powerful was
determined to exert his utmost energy in the common cause, and
the powerful Earl of Seaforth was prepared to join the same
standard. From the Earl of Airly, and the Ogilvies in
Angusshire, he had had communications equally decided; and there
was no doubt that these, who, with the Hays, Leiths, Burnets, and
other loyal gentlemen, would be soon on horseback, would form a
body far more than sufficient to overawe the northern
Covenanters, who had already experienced their valour in the
well-known rout which was popularly termed the Trot of Turiff.
South of Forth and Tay," he said, "the King had many friends,
who, oppressed by enforced oaths, compulsatory levies, heavy
taxes, unjustly imposed and unequally levied, by the tyranny of
the Committee of Estates, and the inquisitorial insolence of the
Presbyterian divines, waited but the waving of the royal banner
to take up arms. Douglas, Traquair, Roxburgh, Hume, all friendly
to the royal cause, would counterbalance," he said, "the
covenanting interest in the south; and two gentlemen, of name and
quality, here present, from the north of England, would answer
for the zeal of Cumberland, Westmoreland, and Northumberland.
Against so many gallant gentlemen the southern Covenanters could
but arm raw levies; the Whigamores of the western shires, and the
ploughmen and mechanics of the Low-country. For the West
Highlands, he knew no interest which the Covenanters possessed
there, except that of one individual, as well known as he was
odious. But was there a single man, who, on casting his eye
round this hall, and recognising the power, the gallantry, and
the dignity of the chiefs assembled, could entertain a moment's
doubt of their success against the utmost force which Gillespie
Grumach could collect against them? He had only farther to add,
that considerable funds, both of money and ammunition, had been
provided for the army"--(Here Dalgetty pricked up his ears)--
"that officers of ability and experience in the foreign wars,
one of whom was now present," (the Captain drew himself up, and
looked round,) "had engaged to train such levies as might require
to be disciplined;--and that a numerous body of auxiliary forces
from Ireland, having been detached from the Earl of Antrim, from
Ulster, had successfully accomplished their descent upon the main
land, and, with the assistance of Clanranald's people, having
taken and fortified the Castle of Mingarry, in spite of Argyle's
attempts to intercept them, were in full march to this place of
rendezvous. It only remained," he said, "that the noble Chiefs
assembled, laying aside every lesser consideration, should unite,
heart and hand, in the common cause; send the fiery cross through
their clans, in order to collect their utmost force, and form
their junction with such celerity as to leave the enemy no time,
either for preparation, or recovery from the panic which would
spread at the first sound of their pibroch. He himself," he
said, "though neither among the richest nor the most powerful of
the Scottish nobility, felt that he had to support the dignity of
an ancient and honourable house, the independence of an ancient
and honourable nation, and to that cause he was determined to
devote both life and fortune. If those who were more powerful
were equally prompt, he trusted they would deserve the thanks of
their King, and the gratitude of posterity."
Loud applause followed this speech of Lord Menteith, and
testified the general acquiescence of all present in the
sentiments which he had expressed; but when the shout had died
away, the assembled Chiefs continued to gaze upon each other as
if something yet remained to be settled. After some whispers
among themselves, an aged man,whom his grey hairs rendered
respectable, although he was not of the highest order of Chiefs,
replied to what had been said.
"Thane of Menteith," he said, "you have well spoken; nor is there
one of us in whose bosom the same sentiments do not burn like
fire. But it is not strength alone that wins the fight; it is
the head of the commander, as well as the arm of the soldier,
that brings victory. I ask of you who is to raise and sustain
the banner under which we are invited to rise and muster
ourselves? Will it be expected that we should risk our children,
and the flower of our kinsmen, ere we know to whose guidance they
are to be intrusted? This were leading those to slaughter, whom,
by the laws of God and man, it is our duty to protect. Where is
the royal commission, under which the lieges are to be convocated
in arms? Simple and rude as we may be deemed, we know something
of the established rules of war, as well as of the laws of our
country; nor will we arm ourselves against the general peace of
Scotland, unless by the express commands of the King, and under a
leader fit to command such men as are here assembled."
"Where would you find such a leader," said another Chief,
starting up, "saving the representative of the Lord of the Isles,
entitled by birth and hereditary descent to lead forth the array
of every clan of the Highlands; and where is that dignity lodged,
save in the house of Vich Alister More?"
"I acknowledge," said another Chief, eagerly interrupting the
speaker, "the truth in what has been first said, but not the
inference. If Vich Alister More desires to be held
representative of the Lord of the Isles, let him first show his
blood is redder than mine."
"That is soon tried," said Vich Alister More, laying his hand
upon the basket hilt of his claymore. Lord Menteith threw
himself between them, entreating and imploring each to remember
that the interests of Scotland, the liberty of their country, and
the cause of their King, ought to be superior in their eyes to
any personal disputes respecting descent, rank, and precedence.
Several of the Highland Chiefs, who had no desire to admit the
claims of either chieftain, interfered to the same purpose, and
none with more emphasis than the celebrated Evan Dhu.
"I have come from my lakes," he said, "as a stream descends from
the hills, not to turn again, but to accomplish my course. It is
not by looking back to our own pretensions that we shall serve
Scotland or King Charles. My voice shall be for that general
whom the King shall name, who will doubtless possess those
qualities which are necessary to command men like us. High-born
he must be, or we shall lose our rank in obeying him--wise and
skilful, or we shall endanger the safety of our people--bravest
among the brave, or we shall peril our own honour--temperate,
firm, and manly, to keep us united. Such is the man that must
command us. Are you prepared, Thane of Menteith, to say where
such a general is to be found?"
"There is but ONE," said Allan M'Aulay; "and here," he said,
laying his hand upon the shoulder of Anderson, who stood behind
Lord Menteith, "here he stands!"
The general surprise of the meeting was expressed by an impatient
murmur; when Anderson, throwing back the cloak in which his face
was muffled, and stepping forward, spoke thus:--"I did not long
intend to be a silent spectator of this interesting scene,
although my hasty friend has obliged me to disclose myself
somewhat sooner than was my intention. Whether I deserve the
honour reposed in me by this parchment will best appear from what
I shall be able to do for the King's service. It is a commission
under the great seal, to James Graham, Earl of Montrose, to
command those forces which are to be assembled for the service of
his Majesty in this kingdom."
A loud shout of approbation burst from the assembly. There was,
in fact, no other person to whom, in point of rank, these proud
mountaineers would have been disposed to submit. His inveterate
and hereditary hostility to the Marquis of Argyle insured his
engaging in the war with sufficient energy, while his well-known
military talents, and his tried valour, afforded every hope of
his bringing it to a favourable conclusion.
Our plot is a good plot as ever was laid; our friends true and
constant: a good plot, good friends, and full of expectation:
an excellent plot, very good friends. HENRY IV Part I.
No sooner had the general acclamation of joyful surprise
subsided, than silence was eagerly demanded for reading the royal
commission; and the bonnets, which hitherto each Chief had worn,
probably because unwilling to be the first to uncover, were now
at once vailed in honour of the royal warrant. It was couched in
the most full and ample terms, authorizing the Earl of Montrose
to assemble the subjects in arms, for the putting down the
present rebellion, which divers traitors and seditious persons
had levied against the King, to the manifest forfaulture, as it
stated, of their allegiance, and to the breach of the
pacification between the two kingdoms. It enjoined all
subordinate authorities to be obedient and assisting to Montrose
in his enterprise; gave him the power of making ordinances and
proclamations, punishing misdemeanours, pardoning criminals,
placing and displacing governors and commanders. In fine, it was
as large and full a commission as any with which a prince could
intrust a subject. As soon as it was finished, a shout burst
from the assembled Chiefs, in testimony of their ready submission
to the will of their sovereign. Not contented with generally
thanking them for a reception so favourable, Montrose hastened to
address himself to individuals, The most important Chiefs had
already been long personally known to him, but even to those of
inferior consequence he now introduced himself and by the
acquaintance he displayed with their peculiar designations, and
the circumstances and history of their clans, he showed how long
he must have studied the character of the mountaineers, and
prepared himself for such a situation as he now held.
While he was engaged in these acts of courtesy, his graceful
manner, expressive features, and dignity of deportment, made a
singular contrast with the coarseness and meanness of his dress.
Montrose possessed that sort of form and face, in which the
beholder, at the first glance, sees nothing extraordinary, but of
which the interest becomes more impressive the longer we gaze
upon them. His stature was very little above the middle size,
but in person he was uncommonly well-built, and capable both of
exerting great force, and enduring much fatigue. In fact, he
enjoyed a constitution of iron, without which he could not have
sustained the trials of his extraordinary campaigns, through all
of which he subjected himself to the hardships of the meanest
soldier. He was perfect in all exercises, whether peaceful or
martial, and possessed, of course, that graceful ease of
deportment proper to those to whom habit has rendered all
His long brown hair, according to the custom of men of quality
among the Royalists, was parted on the top of his head, and
trained to hang down on each side in curled locks, one of which,
descending two or three inches lower than the others, intimated
Montrose's compliance with that fashion against which it pleased
Mr. Prynne, the puritan, to write a treatise, entitled, THE
UNLOVELINESS OF LOVE-LOCKS. The features which these tresses
enclosed, were of that kind which derive their interest from the
character of the man, rather than from the regularity of their
form. But a high nose, a full, decided, well-opened, quick grey
eye, and a sanguine complexion, made amends for some coarseness
and irregularity in the subordinate parts of the face; so that,
altogether, Montrose might be termed rather a handsome, than a
hard-featured man. But those who saw him when his soul looked
through those eyes with all the energy and fire of genius--those
who heard him speak with the authority of talent, and the
eloquence of nature, were impressed with an opinion even of his
external form, more enthusiastically favourable than the
portraits which still survive would entitle us to ascribe to it.
Such, at least, was the impression he made upon the assembled
Chiefs of the mountaineers, over whom, as upon all persons in
their state of society, personal appearance has no small
In the discussions which followed his discovering himself,
Montrose explained the various risks which he had run in his
present undertaking. His first attempt had been to assemble a
body of loyalists in the north of England, who, in obedience to
the orders of the Marquis of Newcastle, he expected would have
marched into Scotland; but the disinclination of the English to
cross the Border, and the delay of the Earl of Antrim, who was to
have landed in the Solway Frith with his Irish army, prevented
his executing this design. Other plans having in like manner
failed, he stated that he found himself under the necessity of
assuming a disguise to render his passage secure through the
Lowlands, in which he had been kindly assisted by his kinsman of
Menteith. By what means Allan M'Aulay had come to know him, he
could not pretend to explain. Those who knew Allan's prophetic
pretensions, smiled mysteriously; but he himself only replied,
that "the Earl of Montrose need not be surprised if he was known
to thousands, of whom he himself could retain no memory."
"By the honour of a cavalier," said Captain Dalgetty, finding at
length an opportunity to thrust in his word, "I am proud and
happy in having an opportunity of drawing a sword under your
lordship's command; and I do forgive all grudge, malecontent,
and malice of my heart, to Mr. Allan M'Aulay, for having thrust
me down to the lowest seat of the board yestreen. Certes, he
hath this day spoken so like a man having full command of his
senses, that I had resolved in my secret purpose that he was no
way entitled to claim the privilege of insanity. But since I was
only postponed to a noble earl, my future commander-in-chief, I
do, before you all, recognise the justice of the preference, and
heartily salute Allan as one who is to be his BON-CAMARADO."
Having made this speech, which was little understood or attended
to, without putting off his military glove, he seized on Allan's
hand, and began to shake it with violence, which Allan, with a
gripe like a smith's vice, returned with such force, as to drive
the iron splents of the gauntlet into the hand of the wearer.
Captain Dalgetty might have construed this into a new affront,
had not his attention, as he stood blowing and shaking the
injured member, been suddenly called by Montrose himself.
"Hear this news," he said, "Captain Dalgetty--I should say Major
Dalgetty,--the Irish, who are to profit by your military
experience, are now within a few leagues of us."
"Our deer-stalkers," said Angus M'Aulay, "who were abroad to
bring in venison for this honourable party, have heard of a band
of strangers, speaking neither Saxon nor pure Gaelic, and with
difficulty making themselves understood by the people of the
country, who are marching this way in arms, under the leading, it
is said, of Alaster M'Donald, who is commonly called Young
"These must be our men," said Montrose; "we must hasten to send
messengers forward, both to act as guides and to relieve their
"The last," said Angus M'Aulay, "will be no easy matter; for I am
informed, that, excepting muskets and a very little ammunition,
they want everything that soldiers should have; and they are
particularly deficient in money, in shoes, and in raiment."
"There is at least no use in saying so," said Montrose, "in so
loud a tone. The puritan weavers of Glasgow shall provide them
plenty of broad-cloth, when we make a descent from the Highlands;
and if the ministers could formerly preach the old women of the
Scottish boroughs out of their webs of napery, to make tents to
the fellows on Dunse Law, [The Covenanters encamped on Dunse Law,
during the troubles of 1639.] I will try whether I have not a
little interest both to make these godly dames renew their
patriotic gift, and the prick-eared knaves, their husbands, open
"And respecting arms," said Captain Dalgetty, "if your lordship
will permit an old cavalier to speak his mind, so that the one-
third have muskets, my darling weapon would be the pike for the
remainder, whether for resisting a charge of horse, or for
breaking the infantry. A common smith will make a hundred pike-
heads in a day; here is plenty of wood for shafts; and I will
uphold, that, according to the best usages of war, a strong
battalion of pikes, drawn up in the fashion of the Lion of the
North, the immortal Gustavus, would beat the Macedonian phalanx,
of which I used to read in the Mareschal-College, when I studied
in the ancient town of Bon-accord; and further, I will venture to
The Captain's lecture upon tactics was here suddenly interrupted
by Allan M'Aulay, who said, hastily,--"Room for an unexpected and
At the same moment, the door of the hall opened, and a grey-
haired man, of a very stately appearance, presented himself to
the assembly. There was much dignity, and even authority, in his
manner. His stature was above the common size, and his looks
such as were used to command. He cast a severe, and almost stern
glance upon the assembly of Chiefs. Those of the higher rank
among them returned it with scornful indifference; but some of
the western gentlemen of inferior power, looked as if they wished
"To which of this assembly," said the stranger, "am I to address
myself as leader? or have you not fixed upon the person who is
to hold an office at least as perilous as it is honourable?"
"Address yourself to me, Sir Duncan Campbell," said Montrose,
"To you!" said Sir Duncan Campbell, with some scorn.
"Yes,--to me," repeated Montrose,--"to the Earl of Montrose, if
you have forgot him."
"I should now, at least," said Sir Duncan Campbell, "have had
some difficulty in recognising him in the disguise of a groom.
--and yet I might have guessed that no evil influence inferior to
your lordship's, distinguished as one who troubles Israel, could
have collected together this rash assembly of misguided persons."
"I will answer unto you," said Montrose, "in the manner of your
own Puritans. I have not troubled Israel, but thou and thy
father's house. But let us leave an altercation, which is of
little consequence but to ourselves, and hear the tidings you
have brought from your Chief of Argyle; for I must conclude that
it is in his name that you have come to this meeting."
"It is in the name of the Marquis of Argyle," said Sir Duncan
Campbell,--" in the name of the Scottish Convention of Estates,
that I demand to know the meaning of this singular convocation.
If it is designed to disturb the peace of the country, it were
but acting like neighbours, and men of honour, to give us some
intimation to stand upon our guard."
"It is a singular, and new state of affairs in Scotland," said
Montrose, turning from Sir Duncan Campbell to the assembly, "when
Scottish men of rank and family cannot meet in the house of a
common friend without an inquisitorial visit and demand, on the
part of our rulers, to know the subject of our conference.
Methinks our ancestors were accustomed to hold Highland huntings,
or other purposes of meeting, without asking the leave either of
the great M'Callum More himself, or any of his emissaries or
"The times have been such in Scotland," answered one of the
Western Chiefs, "and such they will again be, when the intruders
on our ancient possessions are again reduced to be Lairds of
Lochow instead of overspreading us like a band of devouring
"Am I to understand, then," said Sir Duncan, that it is against
my name alone that these preparations are directed? or are the
race of Diarmid only to be sufferers in common with the whole of
the peaceful and orderly inhabitants of Scotland?"
"I would ask," said a wild-looking Chief, starting hastily up,
"one question of the Knight of Ardenvohr, ere he proceeds farther
in his daring catechism.--Has he brought more than one life to
this castle, that he ventures to intrude among us for the
purposes of insult?"
"Gentlemen," said Montrose, "let me implore your patience; a
messenger who comes among us for the purpose of embassy, is
entitled to freedom of speech and safe-conduct. And since Sir
Duncan Campbell is so pressing, I care not if I inform him, for
his guidance, that he is in an assembly of the King's loyal
subjects, convoked by me, in his Majesty's name and authority,
and as empowered by his Majesty's royal commission."
"We are to have, then, I presume," said Sir Duncan Campbell, "a
civil war in all its forms? I have been too long a soldier to
view its approach with anxiety; but it would have been for my
Lord of Montrose's honour, if, in this matter, he had consulted
his own ambition less, and the peace of the country more."
"Those consulted their own ambition and self-interest, Sir
Duncan," answered Montrose, "who brought the country to the pass
in which it now stands, and rendered necessary the sharp remedies
which we are now reluctantly about to use."
"And what rank among these self-seekers," said Sir Duncan
Campbell, "we shall assign to a noble Earl, so violently attached
to the Covenant, that he was the first, in 1639, to cross the
Tyne, wading middle deep at the head of his regiment, to charge
the royal forces? It was the same, I think, who imposed the
Covenant upon the burgesses and colleges of Aberdeen, at the
point of sword and pike."
"I understand your sneer, Sir Duncan," said Montrose,
temperately; "and I can only add, that if sincere repentance can
make amends for youthful error, and for yielding to the artful
representation of ambitious hypocrites, I shall be pardoned for
the crimes with which you taunt me. I will at least endeavour to
deserve forgiveness, for I am here, with my sword in my hand,
willing to spend the best blood of my body to make amends for my
error; and mortal man can do no more."
"Well, my lord," said Sir Duncan, "I shall be sorry to carry back
this language to the Marquis of Argyle. I had it in farther
charge from the Marquis, that, to prevent the bloody feuds which
must necessarily follow a Highland war, his lordship will be
contented if terms of truce could be arranged to the north of the
Highland line, as there is ground enough in Scotland to fight
upon, without neighbours destroying each other's families and
"It is a peaceful proposal," said Montrose, smiling," such as it
should be, coming from one whose personal actions have always
been more peaceful than his measures. Yet, if the terms of such
a truce could be equally fixed, and if we can obtain security,
for that, Sir Duncan, is indispensable,--that your Marquis will
observe these terms with strict fidelity, I, for my part, should
be content to leave peace behind us, since we must needs carry
war before us. But, Sir Duncan, you are too old and experienced
a soldier for us to permit you to remain in our leaguer, and
witness our proceedings; we shall therefore, when you have
refreshed yourself, recommend your speedy return to Inverary, and
we shall send with you a gentleman on our part to adjust the
terms of the Highland armistice, in case the Marquis shall be
found serious in proposing such a measure." Sir Duncan Campbell
assented by a bow.
"My Lord of Menteith," continued Montrose, "will you have the
goodness to attend Sir Duncan Campbell of Ardenvohr, while we
determine who shall return with him to his Chief? M'Aulay will
permit us to request that he be entertained with suitable
"I will give orders for that," said Allan M'Aulay, rising and
coming forward. "I love Sir Duncan Campbell; we have been joint
sufferers in former days, and I do not forget it now."
"My Lord of Menteith," said Sir Duncan Campbell, "I am grieved to
see you, at your early age, engaged in such desperate and
"I am young," answered Menteith, "yet old enough to distinguish
between right and wrong, between loyalty and rebellion; and the
sooner a good course is begun, the longer and the better have I a
chance of running it."
"And you too, my friend, Allan M'Aulay," said Sir Duncan, taking
his hand, "must we also call each other enemies, that have been
so often allied against a common foe?" Then turning round to the
meeting, he said, "Farewell, gentlemen; there are so many of you
to whom I wish well, that your rejection of all terms of
mediation gives me deep affliction. May Heaven," he said,
looking upwards, "judge between our motives, and those of the
movers of this civil commotion!"
"Amen," said Montrose; "to that tribunal we all submit us."
Sir Duncan Campbell left the hall, accompanied by Allan M'Aulay
and Lord Menteith. "There goes a true-bred Campbell," said
Montrose, as the envoy departed, "for they are ever fair and
"Pardon me, my lord," said Evan Dhu; "hereditary enemy as I am to
their name, I have ever found the Knight of Ardenvohr brave in
war, honest in peace, and true in council."
"Of his own disposition," said Montrose, "such he is undoubtedly;
but he now acts as the organ or mouth-piece of his Chief, the
Marquis, the falsest man that ever drew breath. And, M'Aulay,"
he continued in a whisper to his host, "lest he should make some
impression upon the inexperience of Menteith, or the singular
disposition of your brother, you had better send music into their
chamber, to prevent his inveigling them into any private
"The devil a musician have I," answered M'Aulay, "excepting the
piper, who has nearly broke his wind by an ambitious contention
for superiority with three of his own craft; but I can send Annot
Lyle and her harp." And he left the apartment to give orders
Meanwhile a warm discussion took place, who should undertake the
perilous task of returning with Sir Duncan to Inverary. To the
higher dignitaries, accustomed to consider themselves upon an
equality even with M'Callum More, this was an office not to be
proposed; unto others who could not plead the same excuse, it was
altogether unacceptable. One would have thought Inverary had
been the Valley of the Shadow of Death, the inferior chiefs
showed such reluctance to approach it. After a considerable
hesitation, the plain reason was at length spoken out, namely,
that whatever Highlander should undertake an office so
distasteful to M'Callum More, he would be sure to treasure the
offence in his remembrance, and one day or other to make him
bitterly repent of it.
In this dilemma, Montrose, who considered the proposed armistice
as a mere stratagem on the part of Argyle, although he had not
ventured bluntly to reject it in presence of those whom it
concerned so nearly, resolved to impose the danger and dignity
upon Captain Dalgetty, who had neither clan nor estate in the
Highlands upon which the wrath of Argyle could wreak itself.
"But I have a neck though," said Dalgetty, bluntly; "and what if
he chooses to avenge himself upon that? I have known a case
where an honourable ambassador has been hanged as a spy before
now. Neither did the Romans use ambassadors much more mercifully
at the siege of Capua, although I read that they only cut off
their hands and noses, put out their eyes, and suffered them to
depart in peace."
"By my honour Captain Dalgetty," said Montrose, "should the
Marquis, contrary to the rules of war, dare to practise any
atrocity against you, you may depend upon my taking such signal
vengeance that all Scotland shall ring of it."
"That will do but little for Dalgetty," returned the Captain;
"but corragio! as the Spaniard says. With the Land of Promise
full in view, the Moor of Drumthwacket, MEA PAUPERA REGNA, as we
said at Mareschal-College, I will not refuse your Excellency's
commission, being conscious it becomes a cavalier of honour to
obey his commander's orders, in defiance both of gibbet and
"Gallantly resolved," said Montrose; "and if you will come apart
with me, I will furnish you with the conditions to be laid before
M'Callum More, upon which we are willing to grant him a truce for
his Highland dominions."
With these we need not trouble our readers. They were of an
evasive nature, calculated to meet a proposal which Montrose
considered to have been made only for the purpose of gaining
time. When he had put Captain Dalgetty in complete possession of
his instructions, and when that worthy, making his military
obeisance, was near the door of his apartment, Montrose made him
a sign to return.
"I presume," said he, "I need not remind an officer who has
served under the great Gustavus, that a little more is required
of a person sent with a flag of truce than mere discharge of his
instructions, and that his general will expect from him, on his
return, some account of the state of the enemy's affairs, as far
as they come under his observation. In short, Captain Dalgetty,
you must be UN PEU CLAIR-VOYANT."
"Ah ha! your Excellency," said the Captain, twisting his hard
features into an inimitable expression of cunning and
intelligence, "if they do not put my head in a poke, which I have
known practised upon honourable soldados who have been suspected
to come upon such errands as the present, your Excellency may
rely on a preceese narration of whatever DugaId Dalgetty shall
hear or see, were it even how many turns of tune there are in
M'Callum More's pibroch, or how many checks in the sett of his
plaid and trews."
"Enough," answered Montrose; "farewell, Captain Dalgetty: and as
they say that a lady's mind is always expressed in her
postscript, so I would have you think that the most important
part of your commission lies in what I have last said to you."
Dalgetty once more grinned intelligence, and withdrew to victual
his charger and himself, for the fatigues of his approaching
At the door of the stable, for Gustavus always claimed his first
care,--he met Angus M'Aulay and Sir Miles Musgrave, who had been
looking at his horse; and, after praising his points and
carriage, both united in strongly dissuading the Captain from
taking an animal of such value with him upon his present very
Angus painted in the most alarming colours the roads, or rather
wild tracks, by which it would be necessary for him to travel
into Argyleshire, and the wretched huts or bothies where he would
be condemned to pass the night, and where no forage could be
procured for his horse, unless he could eat the stumps of old
heather. In short, he pronounced it absolutely impossible, that,
after undertaking such a pilgrimage, the animal could be in any
case for military service. The Englishman strongly confirmed all
that Angus had said, and gave himself, body and soul, to the
devil, if he thought it was not an act little short of absolute
murder to carry a horse worth a farthing into such a waste and
inhospitable desert. Captain Dalgetty for an instant looked
steadily, first at one of the gentlemen and next at the other,
and then asked them, as if in a state of indecision, what they
would advise him to do with Gustavus under such circumstances.
"By the hand of my father, my dear friend," answered M'Aulay, "if
you leave the beast in my keeping, you may rely on his being fed
and sorted according to his worth and quality, and that upon your
happy return, you will find him as sleek as an onion boiled in
"Or," said Sir Miles Musgrave, "if this worthy cavalier chooses
to part with his charger for a reasonable sum, I have some part
of the silver candlesticks still dancing the heys in my purse,
which I shall be very willing to transfer to his."
"In brief, mine honourable friends," said Captain Dalgetty, again
eyeing them both with an air of comic penetration, "I find it
would not be altogether unacceptable to either of you, to have
some token to remember the old soldier by, in case it shall
please M'Callum More to hang him up at the gate of his own
castle. And doubtless it would be no small satisfaction to me,
in such an event, that a noble and loyal cavalier like Sir Miles
Musgrave, or a worthy and hospitable chieftain like our excellent
landlord, should act as my executor."
Both hastened to protest that they had no such object, and
insisted again upon the impassable character of the Highland
paths. Angus M'Aulay mumbled over a number of hard Gaellic
names, descriptive of the difficult passes, precipices, corries,
and beals, through which he said the road lay to Inverary, when
old Donald, who had now entered, sanctioned his master's account
of these difficulties, by holding up his hands, and elevating his
eyes, and shaking his head, at every gruttural which M'Aulay
pronounced. But all this did not move the inflexible Captain.
"My worthy friends," said he, "Gustavus is not new to the dangers
of travelling, and the mountains of Bohemia; and (no
disparagement to the beals and corries Mr. Angus is pleased to
mention, and of which Sir Miles, who never saw them, confirms the
horrors,) these mountains may compete with the vilest roads in
Europe. In fact, my horse hath a most excellent and social
quality; for although he cannot pledge in my cup, yet we share
our loaf between us, and it will be hard if he suffers famine
where cakes or bannocks are to be found. And, to cut this matter
short, I beseech you, my good friends, to observe the state of
Sir Duncan Campbell's palfrey, which stands in that stall before
us, fat and fair; and, in return for your anxiety an my account,
I give you my honest asseveration, that while we travel the same
road, both that palfrey and his rider shall lack for food before
either Gustavus or I."
Having said this he filled a large measure with corn, and walked
up with it to his charger, who, by his low whinnying neigh, his
pricked ears, and his pawing, showed how close the alliance was
betwixt him and his rider. Nor did he taste his corn until he
had returned his master's caresses, by licking his hands and
face. After this interchange of greeting, the steed began to his
provender with an eager dispatch, which showed old military
habits; and the master, after looking on the animal with great
complacency for about five minutes, said,--"Much good may it do
your honest heart, Gustavus;--now must I go and lay in provant
myself for the campaign."
He then departed, having first saluted the Englishman and Angus
M'Aulay, who remained looking at each other for some time in
silence, and then burst out into a fit of laughter.
"That fellow," said Sir Miles Musgrave, "is formed to go through
"I shall think so too," said M'Aulay, "if he can slip through
M'Callum More's fingers as easily as he has done through ours."
"Do you think," said the Englishman, "that the Marquis will not
respect, in Captain Dalgetty's person, the laws of civilized
"No more than I would respect a Lowland proclamation," said Angus
M'Aulay.--"But come along, it is time I were returning to my
--In a rebellion,
When what's not meet, but what must be, was law,
Then were they chosen, in a better hour,
Let what is meet be said it must be meet,
And throw their power i' the dust. CORIOLANUS.
In a small apartment, remote from the rest of the guests
assembled at the castle, Sir Duncan Campbell was presented with
every species of refreshment, and respectfully attended by Lord
Menteith, and by Allan M'Aulay. His discourse with the latter
turned upon a sort of hunting campaign, in which they had been
engaged together against the Children of the Mist, with whom the
Knight of Ardenvohr, as well as the M'Aulays, had a deadly and
irreconcilable feud. Sir Duncan, however, speedily endeavoured
to lead back the conversation to the subject of his present
errand to the castle of Darnlinvarach.
"It grieved him to the very heart," he said, "to see that friends
and neighbours, who should stand shoulder to shoulder, were
likely to be engaged hand to hand in a cause which so little
concerned them. What signifies it," he said, "to the Highland
Chiefs, whether King or Parliament got uppermost? Were it not
better to let them settle their own differences without
interference, while the Chiefs, in the meantime, took the
opportunity of establishing their own authority in a manner not
to be called in question hereafter by either King or Parliament?"
He reminded Allan M'Aulay that the measures taken in the last
reign to settle the peace, as was alleged, of the Highlands, were
in fact levelled at the patriarchal power of the Chieftains; and
he mentioned the celebrated settlement of the Fife Undertakers,
as they were called, in the Lewis, as part of a deliberate plan,
formed to introduce strangers among the Celtic tribes, to destroy
by degrees their ancient customs and mode of government, and to
despoil them of the inheritance of their fathers. [In the reign
of James VI., an attempt of rather an extraordinary kind was made
to civilize the extreme northern part of the Hebridean
Archipelago. That monarch granted the property of the Island of
Lewis, as if it had been an unknown and savage country, to a
number of Lowland gentlemen, called undertakers, chiefly natives
of the shire of Fife, that they might colonize and settle there.
The enterprise was at first successful, but the natives of the
island, MacLeods and MacKenzies, rose on the Lowland adventurers,
and put most of them to the sword.] "And yet," he continued,
addressing Allan, "it is for the purpose of giving despotic
authority to the monarch by whom these designs have been nursed,
that so many Highland Chiefs are upon the point of quarrelling
with, and drawing the sword against, their neighbours, allies,
and ancient confederates." "It is to my brother," said Allan,
"it is to the eldest son of my father's house, that the Knight of
Ardenvohr must address these remonstrances. I am, indeed, the
brother of Angus; but in being so, I am only the first of his
clansmen, and bound to show an example to the others by my
cheerful and ready obedience to his commands."
"The cause also," said Lord Menteith, interposing, "is far more
general than Sir Duncan Campbell seems to suppose it. It is
neither limited to Saxon nor to Gael, to mountain nor to strath,
to Highlands nor to Lowlands. The question is, if we will
continue to be governed by the unlimited authority assumed by a
set of persons in no respect superior to ourselves, instead of
returning to the natural government of the Prince against whom
they have rebelled. And respecting the interest of the Highlands
in particular," he added, "I crave Sir Duncan Campbell's pardon
for my plainness; but it seems very clear to me, that the only
effect produced by the present usurpation, will be the
aggrandisement of one overgrown clan at the expense of every
independent Chief in the Highlands."
"I will not reply to you, my lord," said Sir Duncan Campbell,
"because I know your prejudices, and from whom they are borrowed;
yet you will pardon my saying, that being at the head of a rival
branch of the House of Graham, I have both read of and known an
Earl of Menteith, who would have disdained to have been tutored
in politics, or to have been commanded in war, by an Earl of
"You will find it in vain, Sir Duncan," said Lord Menteith,
haughtily, "to set my vanity in arms against my principles. The
King gave my ancestors their title and rank; and these shall
never prevent my acting, in the royal cause, under any one who is
better qualified than myself to be a commander-in-chief. Least
of all, shall any miserable jealousy prevent me from placing my
hand and sword under the guidance of the bravest, the most loyal,
the most heroic spirit among our Scottish nobility."
"Pity," said Sir Duncan Campbell, "that you cannot add to this
panegyric the farther epithets of the most steady, and the most
consistent. But I have no purpose of debating these points with
you, my lord," waving his hand, as if to avoid farther
discussion; "the die is cast with you; allow me only to express
my sorrow for the disastrous fate to which Angus M'Aulay's
natural rashness, and your lordship's influence, are dragging my
gallant friend Allan here, with his father's clan, and many a
brave man besides."
"The die is cast for us all, Sir Duncan," replied Allan, looking
gloomy, and arguing on his own hypochondriac feelings; "the iron
hand of destiny branded our fate upon our forehead long ere we
could form a wish, or raise a finger in our own behalf. Were
this otherwise, by what means does the Seer ascertain the future
from those shadowy presages which haunt his waking and his
sleeping eye? Nought can be foreseen but that which is certain
Sir Duncan Campbell was about to reply, and the darkest and most
contested point of metaphysics might have been brought into
discussion betwixt two Highland disputants, when the door opened,
and Annot Lyle, with her clairshach in her hand, entered the
apartment. The freedom of a Highland maiden was in her step and
in her eye; for, bred up in the closest intimacy with the Laird
of M'Aulay and his brother, with Lord Menteith, and other young
men who frequented Darnlinvarach, she possessed none of that
timidity which a female, educated chiefly among her own sex,
would either have felt, or thought necessary to assume, on an
occasion like the present,
Her dress partook of the antique, for new fashions seldom
penetrated into the Highlands, nor would they easily have found
their way to a castle inhabited chiefly by men, whose sole
occupation was war and the chase. Yet Annot's garments were not
only becoming, but even rich. Her open jacket, with a high
collar, was composed of blue cloth, richly embroidered, and had
silver clasps to fasten, when it pleased the wearer. Its
sleeves, which were wide, came no lower than the elbow, and
terminated in a golden fringe; under this upper coat, if it can
be so termed, she wore an under dress of blue satin, also richly
embroidered, but which was several shades lighter in colour than
the upper garment. The petticoat was formed of tartan silk, in
the sett, or pattern, of which the colour of blue greatly
predominated, so as to remove the tawdry effect too frequently
produced in tartan, by the mixture and strong opposition of
colours. An antique silver chain hung round her neck, and
supported the WREST, or key, with which she turned her
instrument. A small ruff rose above her collar, and was secured
by a brooch of some value, an old keepsake from Lord Menteith.
Her profusion of light hair almost hid her laughing eyes, while,
with a smile and a blush, she mentioned that she had M'Aulay's
directions to ask them if they chose music. Sir Duncan Campbell
gazed with considerable surprise and interest at the lovely
apparition, which thus interrupted his debate with Allan M'Aulay.
"Can this," he said to him in a whisper, "a creature so beautiful
and so elegant, be a domestic musician of your brother's
"By no means," answered Allan, hastily, yet with some hesitation;
"she is a--a--near relation of our family--and treated," he
added, more firmly, "as an adopted daughter of our father's
As he spoke thus, he arose from his seat, and with that air of
courtesy which every Highlander can assume when it suits him to
practise it, he resigned it to Annot, and offered to her, at the
same time, whatever refreshments the table afforded, with an
assiduity which was probably designed to give Sir Duncan an
impression of her rank and consequence. If such was Allan's
purpose, however, it was unnecessary. Sir Duncan kept his eyes
fixed upon Annot with an expression of much deeper interest than
could have arisen from any impression that she was a person of
consequence. Annot even felt embarrassed under the old knight's
steady gaze; and it was not without considerable hesitation,
that, tuning her instrument, and receiving an assenting look from
Lord Menteith and Allan, she executed the following ballad, which
our friend, Mr. Secundus M'Pherson, whose goodness we had before
to acknowledge, has thus translated into the English tongue:
THE ORPHAN MAID.
November's hail-cloud drifts away,
November's sunbeam wan
Looks coldly on the castle grey,
When forth comes Lady Anne.
The orphan by the oak was set,
Her arms, her feet, were bare,
The hail-drops had not melted yet,
Amid her raven hair.
"And, Dame," she said, "by all the ties
That child and mother know,
Aid one who never knew these joys,
Relieve an orphan's woe."
The Lady said, "An orphan's state
Is hard and sad to bear;
Yet worse the widow'd mother's fate,
Who mourns both lord and heir.
"Twelve times the rolling year has sped,
Since, when from vengeance wild
Of fierce Strathallan's Chief I fled,
Forth's eddies whelm'd my child."
"Twelve times the year its course has born,"
The wandering maid replied,
"Since fishers on St. Bridget's morn
Drew nets on Campsie side.
"St. Bridget sent no scaly spoil;--
An infant, wellnigh dead,
They saved, and rear'd in want and toil,
To beg from you her bread."
That orphan maid the lady kiss'd--
"My husband's looks you bear;
St. Bridget and her morn be bless'd!
You are his widow's heir."
They've robed that maid, so poor and pale,
In silk and sandals rare;
And pearls, for drops of frozen hail,
Are glistening in her hair.
The admirers of pure Celtic antiquity, notwithstanding the
elegance of the above translation, may be desirous to see a
literal version from the original Gaelic, which we therefore
subjoin; and have only to add, that the original is deposited
with Mr. Jedediah Cleishbotham.
The hail-blast had drifted away upon the wings of the gale of
autumn. The sun looked from between the clouds, pale as the
wounded hero who rears his head feebly on the heath when the roar
of battle hath passed over him.
Finele, the Lady of the Castle, came forth to see her maidens
pass to the herds with their leglins [Milk-pails].
There sat an orphan maiden beneath the old oak-tree of
appointment. The withered leaves fell around her, and her heart
was more withered than they.
The parent of the ice [poetically taken from the frost] still
congealed the hail-drops in her hair; they were like the specks
of white ashes on the twisted boughs of the blackened and half-
consumed oak that blazes in the hall.
And the maiden said, "Give me comfort, Lady, I am an orphan
child." And the Lady replied, "How can I give that which I have
not? I am the widow of a slain lord,--the mother of a perished
child. When I fled in my fear from the vengeance of my husband's
foes, our bark was overwhelmed in the tide, and my infant
perished. This was on St. Bridget's morn, near the strong Lyns
of Campsie. May ill luck light upon the day." And the maiden
answered, "It was on St. Bridget's morn, and twelve harvests
before this time, that the fishermen of Campsie drew in their
nets neither grilse nor salmon, but an infant half dead, who hath
since lived in misery, and must die, unless she is now aided."
And the Lady answered, "Blessed be Saint Bridget and her morn,
for these are the dark eyes and the falcon look of my slain lord;
and thine shall be the inheritance of his widow." And she called
for her waiting attendants, and she bade them clothe that maiden
in silk, and in samite; and the pearls which they wove among her
black tresses, were whiter than the frozen hail-drops.
While the song proceeded, Lord Menteith observed, with some
surprise, that it appeared to produce a much deeper effect upon
the mind of Sir Duncan Campbell, than he could possibly have
anticipated from his age and character. He well knew that the
Highlanders of that period possessed a much greater sensibility
both for tale and song than was found among their Lowland
neighbours; but even this, he thought, hardly accounted for the
embarrassment with which the old man withdrew his eyes from the
songstress, as if unwilling to suffer them to rest on an object
so interesting. Still less was it to be expected, that features
which expressed pride, stern common sense, and the austere habit
of authority, should have been so much agitated by so trivial a
circumstance. As the Chief's brow became clouded, he drooped his
large shaggy grey eyebrows until they almost concealed his eyes,
on the lids of which something like a tear might be seen to
glisten. He remained silent and fixed in the same posture for a
minute or two, after the last note had ceased to vibrate. He
then raised his head, and having looked at Annot Lyle, as if
purposing to speak to her, he as suddenly changed that purpose,
and was about to address Allan, when the door opened, and the
Lord of the Castle made his appearance.
Dark on their journey lour'd the gloomy day,
Wild were the hills, and doubtful grew the way;
More dark, more gloomy, and more doubtful, show'd
The mansion, which received them from the road.
THE TRAVELLERS, A ROMANCE.
Angus M'Aulay was charged with a message which he seemed to find
some difficulty in communicating; for it was not till after he
had framed his speech several different ways, and blundered them
all, that he succeeded in letting Sir Duncan Campbell know, that
the cavalier who was to accompany him was waiting in readiness,
and that all was prepared for his return to Inverary. Sir Duncan
Campbell rose up very indignantly; the affront which this message
implied immediately driving out of his recollection the
sensibility which had been awakened by the music.
"I little expected this," he said, looking indignantly at Angus
M'Aulay. "I little thought that there was a Chief in the West
Highlands, who, at the pleasure of a Saxon, would have bid the
Knight of Ardenvohr leave his castle, when the sun was declining
from the meridian, and ere the second cup had been filled. But
farewell, sir, the food of a churl does not satisfy the appetite;
when I next revisit Darnlinvarach, it shall be with a naked sword
in one hand, and a firebrand in the other."
"And if you so come," said Angus, "I pledge myself to meet you
fairly, though you brought five hundred Campbells at your back,
and to afford you and them such entertainment, that you shall not
again complain of the hospitality of Darnlinvarach."
"Threatened men," said Sir Duncan, "live long. Your turn for
gasconading, Laird of M'Aulay, is too well known, that men of
honour should regard your vaunts. To you, my lord, and to Allan,
who have supplied the place of my churlish host, I leave my
thanks.--And to you, pretty mistress," he said, addressing Annot
Lyle, "this little token, for having opened a fountain which hath
been dry for many a year." So saying, he left the apartment, and
commanded his attendants to be summoned. Angus M'Aulay, equally
embarrassed and incensed at the charge of inhospitality, which
was the greatest possible affront to a Highlander, did not follow
Sir Duncan to the court-yard, where, mounting his palfrey, which
was in readiness, followed by six mounted attendants, and
accompanied by the noble Captain Dalgetty, who had also awaited
him, holding Gustavus ready for action, though he did not draw
his girths and mount till Sir Duncan appeared, the whole
cavalcade left the castle.
The journey was long and toilsome, but without any of the extreme
privations which the Laird of M'Aulay had prophesied. In truth,
Sir Duncan was very cautious to avoid those nearer and more
secret paths, by means of which the county of Argyle was
accessible from the eastward; for his relation and chief, the
Marquis, was used to boast, that he would not for a hundred
thousand crowns any mortal should know the passes by which an
armed force could penetrate into his country.
Sir Duncan Campbell, therefore, rather shunned the Highlands, and
falling into the Low-country, made for the nearest seaport in the
vicinity, where he had several half-decked galleys, or birlings,
as they were called, at his command. In one of these they
embarked, with Gustavus in company, who was so seasoned to
adventure, that land and sea seemed as indifferent to him as to
The wind being favourable, they pursued their way rapidly with
sails and oars; and early the next morning it was announced to
Captain Dalgetty, then in a small cabin beneath the hall-deck,
that the galley was under the walls of Sir Duncan Campbell's
Ardenvohr, accordingly, rose high above him, when he came upon
the deck of the galley. It was a gloomy square tower, of
considerable size and great height, situated upon a headland
projecting into the salt-water lake, or arm of the sea, which
they had entered on the preceding evening. A wall, with flanking
towers at each angle, surrounded the castle to landward; but,
towards the lake, it was built so near the brink of the precipice
as only to leave room for a battery of seven guns, designed to
protect the fortress from any insult from that side, although
situated too high to be of any effectual use according to the
modern system of warfare.
The eastern sun, rising behind the old tower, flung its shadow
far on the lake, darkening the deck of the galley, on which
Captain Dalgetty now walked, waiting with some impatience the
signal to land. Sir Duncan Campbell, as he was informed by his
attendants, was already within the walls of the castle; but no
one encouraged the Captain's proposal of following him ashore,
until, as they stated, they should receive the direct permission
or order of the Knight of Ardenvohr.
In a short time afterwards the mandate arrived, while a boat,
with a piper in the bow, bearing the Knight of Ardenvohr's crest
in silver upon his left arm, and playing with all his might the
family march, entitled "The Campbells are coming," approached to
conduct the envoy of Montrose to the castle of Ardenvohr. The
distance between the galley and the beach was so short as scarce
to require the assistance of the eight sturdy rowers, in bonnets,
short coats, and trews, whose efforts sent the boat to the little
creek in which they usually landed, before one could have
conceived that it had left the side of the birling. Two of the
boatmen, in spite of Dalgetty's resistance, horsed the Captain on
the back of a third Highlander, and, wading through the surf with
him, landed him high and dry upon the beach beneath the castle
rock. In the face of this rock there appeared something like the
entrance of a low-browed cavern, towards which the assistants
were preparing to hurry our friend Dalgetty, when, shaking
himself loose from them with some difficulty, he insisted upon
seeing Gustavus safely landed before he proceeded one step
farther. The Highlanders could not comprehend what he meant,
until one who had picked up a little English, or rather Lowland
Scotch, exclaimed, "Houts! it's a' about her horse, ta useless
baste." Farther remonstrance on the part of Captain Dalgetty was
interrupted by the appearance of Sir Duncan Campbell himself,
from the mouth of the cavern which we have described, for the
purpose of inviting Captain Dalgetty to accept of the hospitality
of Ardenvohr, pledging his honour, at the same time, that
Gustavus should be treated as became the hero from whom he
derived his name, not to mention the important person to whom he
now belonged. Notwithstanding this satisfactory guarantee,
Captain Dalgetty would still have hesitated, such was his anxiety
to witness the fate of his companion Gustavus, had not two
Highlanders seized him by the arms, two more pushed him on
behind, while a fifth exclaimed, "Hout awa wi' the daft
Sassenach! does she no hear the Laird bidding her up to her ain
castle, wi' her special voice, and isna that very mickle honour
for the like o' her?"
Thus impelled, Captain Dalgetty could only for a short space keep
a reverted eye towards the galley in which he had left the
partner of his military toils. In a few minutes afterwards he
found himself involved in the total darkness of a staircase,
which, entering from the low-browed cavern we have mentioned,
winded upwards through the entrails of the living rock.
"The cursed Highland salvages!" muttered the Captain, half
aloud; "what is to become of me, if Gustavus, the namesake of the
invincible Lion of the Protestant League, should be lamed among
their untenty hands!"
"Have no fear of that," said the voice of Sir Duncan, who was
nearer to him than he imagined; "my men are accustomed to handle
horses, both in embarking and dressing them, and you will soon
see Gustavus as safe as when you last dismounted from his back,"
Captain Dalgetty knew the world too well to offer any farther
remonstrance, whatever uneasiness he might suppress within his
own bosom. A step or two higher up the stair showed light and a
door, and an iron-grated wicket led him out upon a gallery cut in
the open face of the rock, extending a space of about six or
eight yards, until he reached a second door, where the path
re-entered the rock, and which was also defended by an iron
portcullis. "An admirable traverse," observed the Captain; "and
if commanded by a field-piece, or even a few muskets, quite
sufficient to ensure the place against a storming party."
Sir Duncan Campbell made no answer at the time; but, the moment
afterwards, when they had entered the second cavern, he struck
with the stick which he had in his hand, first on the one side,
and then on the other of the wicket, and the sullen ringing sound
which replied to the blows, made Captain Dalgetty sensible that
there was a gun placed on each side, for the purpose of raking
the gallery through which they had passed, although the
embrasures, through which they might be fired on occasion, were
masked on the outside with sods and loose stones. Having
ascended the second staircase, they found themselves again on an
open platform and gallery, exposed to a fire both of musketry and
wall-guns, if, being come with hostile intent, they had ventured
farther. A third flight of steps, cut in the rock like the
former, but not caverned over, led them finally into the battery
at the foot of the tower. This last stair also was narrow and
steep, and, not to mention the fire which might be directed on it
from above, one or two resolute men, with pikes and battle-axes,
could have made the pass good against hundreds; for the staircase
would not admit two persons abreast, and was not secured by any
sort of balustrade, or railing, from the sheer and abrupt
precipice, on the foot of which the tide now rolled with a voice
of thunder. So that, under the jealous precautions used to secure
this ancient Celtic fortress, a person of weak nerves, and a
brain liable to become dizzy, might have found it something
difficult to have achieved the entrance to the castle, even
supposing no resistance had been offered.
Captain Dalgetty, too old a soldier to feel such tremors, had no
sooner arrived in the court-yard, than he protested to God, the
defences of Sir Duncan's castle reminded him more of the notable
fortress of Spandau, situated in the March of Brandenburg, than
of any place whilk it had been his fortune to defend in the
course of his travels. Nevertheless, he criticised considerably
the mode of placing the guns on the battery we have noticed,
observing, that "where cannon were perched, like to scarts or
sea-gulls on the top of a rock, he had ever observed that they
astonished more by their noise than they dismayed by the skaith
or damage which they occasioned."
Sir Duncan, without replying, conducted the soldier into the
tower; the defences of which were a portcullis and ironclenched
oaken door, the thickness of the wall being the space between
them. He had no sooner arrived in a hall hung with tapestry,
than the Captain prosecuted his military criticism. It was
indeed suspended by the sight of an excellent breakfast, of which
he partook with great avidity; but no sooner had he secured this
meal, than he made the tour of the apartment, examining the
ground around the Castle very carefully from each window in the
room. He then returned to his chair, and throwing himself back
into it at his length, stretched out one manly leg, and tapping
his jack-boot with the riding-rod which he carried in his hand,
after the manner of a half-bred man who affects ease in the
society of his betters, he delivered his unasked opinion as
follows:--"This house of yours, now, Sir Duncan, is a very pretty
defensible sort of a tenement, and yet it is hardly such as a
cavaliero of honour would expect to maintain his credit by
holding out for many days. For, Sir Duncan, if it pleases you to
notice, your house is overcrowed, and slighted, or commanded, as
we military men say, by yonder round hillock to the landward,
whereon an enemy might stell such a battery of cannon as would
make ye glad to beat a chamade within forty-eight hours, unless
it pleased the Lord extraordinarily to show mercy."
"There is no road," replied Sir Duncan, somewhat shortly, "by
which cannon can be brought against Ardenvohr. The swamps and
morasses around my house would scarce carry your horse and
yourself, excepting by such paths as could be rendered impassable
within a few hours."
"Sir Duncan," said the Captain, "it is your pleasure to suppose
so; and yet we martial men say, that where there is a sea-coast
there is always a naked side, seeing that cannon and munition,
where they cannot be transported by land, may be right easily
brought by sea near to the place where they are to be put in
action. Neither is a castle, however secure in its situation, to
be accounted altogether invincible, or, as they say, impregnable;
for I protest t'ye, Sir Duncan, that I have known twenty-five
men, by the mere surprise and audacity of the attack, win, at
point of pike, as strong a hold as this of Ardenvohr, and put to
the sword, captivate, or hold to the ransom, the defenders, being
ten times their own number."
Notwithstanding Sir Duncan Campbell's knowledge of the world, and
his power of concealing his internal emotion, he appeared piqued
and hurt at these reflections, which the Captain made with the
most unconscious gravity, having merely selected the subject of
conversation as one upon which he thought himself capable of
shining, and, as they say, of laying down the law, without
exactly recollecting that the topic might not be equally
agreeable to his landlord.
"To cut this matter short," said Sir Duncan, with an expression
of voice and countenance somewhat agitated, "it is unnecessary
for you to tell me, Captain Dalgetty, that a castle may be
stormed if it is not valorously defended, or surprised if it is
not heedfully watched. I trust this poor house of mine will not
be found in any of these predicaments, should even Captain
Dalgetty himself choose to beleaguer it."
"For all that, Sir Duncan," answered the persevering commander,
"I would premonish you, as a friend, to trace out a sconce upon
that round hill, with a good graffe, or ditch, whilk may be
easily accomplished by compelling the labour of the boors in the
vicinity; it being the custom of the valorous Gustavus Adolphus
to fight as much by the spade and shovel, as by sword, pike, and
musket. Also, I would advise you to fortify the said sconce, not
only by a foussie, or graffe, but also by certain stackets, or
palisades."--(Here Sir Duncan, becoming impatient, left the
apartment, the Captain following him to the door, and raising his
voice as he retreated, until he was fairly out of hearing.)--"The
whilk stackets, or palisades, should be artificially framed with
re-entering angles and loop-holes, or crenelles, for musketry,
whereof it shall arise that the foeman--The Highland brute! the
old Highland brute! They are as proud as peacocks, and as
obstinate as tups--and here he has missed an opportunity of
making his house as pretty an irregular fortification as an
invading army ever broke their teeth upon.--But I see," he
continued, looking own from the window upon the bottom of the
precipice, "they have got Gustavus safe ashore--Proper fellow! I
would know that toss of his head among a whole squadron. I must
go to see what they are to make of him."
He had no sooner reached, however, the court to the seaward, and
put himself in the act of descending the staircase, than two
Highland sentinels, advancing their Lochaber axes, gave him to
understand that this was a service of danger.
"Diavolo!" said the soldier, "and I have got no pass-word. I
could not speak a syllable of their salvage gibberish, an it were
to save me from the provost-marshal."
"I will be your surety, Captain Dalgetty," said Sir Duncan, who
had again approached him without his observing from whence; "and
we will go together, and see how your favourite charger is
He conducted him accordingly down the staircase to the beach, and
from thence by a short turn behind a large rock, which concealed
the stables and other offices belonging to the castle, Captain
Dalgetty became sensible, at the same time, that the side of the
castle to the land was rendered totally inaccessible by a ravine,
partly natural and partly scarped with great care and labour, so
as to be only passed by a drawbridge. Still, however, the
Captain insisted, not withstanding the triumphant air with which
Sir Duncan pointed out his defences, that a sconce should be
erected on Drumsnab, the round eminence to the east of the
castle, in respect the house might be annoyed from thence by
burning bullets full of fire, shot out of cannon, according to
the curious invention of Stephen Bathian, King of Poland, whereby
that prince utterly ruined the great Muscovite city of Moscow.
This invention, Captain Dalgetty owned, he had not yet witnessed,
but observed, "that it would give him particular delectation to
witness the same put to the proof against Ardenvohr, or any other
castle of similar strength;" observing, "that so curious an
experiment could not but afford the greatest delight to all
admirers of the military art."
Sir Duncan Campbell diverted this conversation by carrying the
soldier into his stables, and suffering him to arrange Gustavus
according to his own will and pleasure. After this duty had been
carefully performed, Captain Dalgetty proposed to return to the
castle, observing, it was his intention to spend the time betwixt
this and dinner, which, he presumed, would come upon the parade
about noon, in burnishing his armour, which having sustained some
injury from the sea-air, might, he was afraid, seem discreditable
in the eyes of M'Callum More. Yet, while they were returning to
the castle, he failed not to warn Sir Duncan Campbell against the
great injury he might sustain by any sudden onfall of an enemy,
whereby his horses, cattle, and granaries, might be cut off and
consumed, to his great prejudice; wherefore he again strongly
conjured him to construct a sconce upon the round hill called
Drumsnab, and offered his own friendly services in lining out the
same. To this disinterested advice Sir Duncan only replied by
ushering his guest to his apartment, and informing him that the
tolling of the castle bell would make him aware when dinner was
Is this thy castle, Baldwin? Melancholy
Displays her sable banner from the donjon,
Darkening the foam of the whole surge beneath.
Were I a habitant, to see this gloom
Pollute the face of nature, and to hear
The ceaseless sound of wave, and seabird's scream,
I'd wish me in the hut that poorest peasant
E'er framed, to give him temporary shelter. BROWN.
The gallant Ritt-master would willingly have employed his leisure
in studying the exterior of Sir Duncan's castle, and verifying
his own military ideas upon the nature of its defences. But a
stout sentinel, who mounted guard with a Lochaber-axe at the door
of his apartment, gave him to understand, by very significant
signs, that he was in a sort of honourable captivity.
It is strange, thought the Ritt-master to himself, how well these
salvages understand the rules and practique of war. Who should
have pre-supposed their acquaintance with the maxim of the great
and godlike Gustavus Adolphus, that a flag of truce should be
half a messenger half a spy?--And, having finished burnishing his
arms, he sate down patiently to compute how much half a dollar
per diem would amount to at the end of a six-months' campaign;
and, when he had settled that problem, proceeded to the more
abstruse calculations necessary for drawing up a brigade of two
thousand men on the principle of extracting the square root.
From his musings, he was roused by the joyful sound of the dinner
bell, on which the Highlander, lately his guard, became his
gentleman-usher, and marshalled him to the hall, where a table
with four covers bore ample proofs of Highland hospitality. Sir
Duncan entered, conducting his lady, a tall, faded, melancholy
female, dressed in deep mourning. They were followed by a
Presbyterian clergyman, in his Geneva cloak, and wearing a black
silk skull-cap, covering his short hair so closely, that it could
scarce be seen at all, so that the unrestricted ears had an undue
predominance in the general aspect. This ungraceful fashion was
universal at the time, and partly led to the nicknames of
roundheads, prick-eared curs, and so forth, which the insolence
of the cavaliers liberally bestowed on their political enemies.
Sir Duncan presented his military guest to his lady, who received
his technical salutation with a stiff and silent reverence, in
which it could scarce be judged whether pride or melancholy had
the greater share. The churchman, to whom he was next presented,
eyed him with a glance of mingled dislike and curiosity.
The Captain, well accustomed to worse looks from more dangerous
persons, cared very little either for those of the lady or of the
divine, but bent his whole soul upon assaulting a huge piece of
beef, which smoked at the nether end of the table. But the
onslaught, as he would have termed it, was delayed, until the
conclusion of a very long grace, betwixt every section of which
Dalgetty handled his knife and fork, as he might have done his
musket or pike when going upon action, and as often resigned them
unwillingly when the prolix chaplain commenced another clause of
his benediction. Sir Duncan listened with decency, though he was
supposed rather to have joined the Covenanters out of devotion to
his chief, than real respect for the cause either of liberty or
of Presbytery. His lady alone attended to the blessing, with
symptoms of deep acquiescence.
The meal was performed almost in Carthusian silence; for it was
none of Captain Dalgetty's habits to employ his mouth in talking,
while it could be more profitably occupied. Sir Duncan was
absolutely silent, and the lady and churchman only occasionally
exchanged a few words, spoken low, and indistinctly.
But, when the dishes were removed, and their place supplied by
liquors of various sorts, Captain Dalgetty no longer had,
himself, the same weighty reasons for silence, and began to tire
of that of the rest of the company. He commenced a new attack
upon his landlord, upon the former ground.
"Touching that round monticle, or hill, or eminence, termed
Drumsnab, I would be proud to hold some dialogue with you, Sir
Duncan, on the nature of the sconce to be there constructed; and
whether the angles thereof should be acute or obtuse--anent whilk
I have heard the great Velt-Mareschal Bannier hold a learned
argument with General Tiefenbach during a still-stand of arms."
"Captain Dalgetty," answered Sir Duncan very dryly, "it is not
our Highland usage to debate military points with strangers.
This castle is like to hold out against a stronger enemy than any
force which the unfortunate gentlemen we left at Darnlinvarach
are able to bring against it."
A deep sigh from the lady accompanied the conclusion of her
husband's speech, which seemed to remind her of some painful
"He who gave," said the clergyman, addressing her in a solemn
tone, "hath taken away. May you, honourable lady, be long
enabled to say, Blessed be his name!"
To this exhortation, which seemed intended for her sole behoof,
the lady answered by an inclination of her head, more humble than
Captain Dalgetty had yet observed her make. Supposing he should
now find her in a more conversible humour, he proceeded to accost
"It is indubitably very natural that your ladyship should be
downcast at the mention of military preparations, whilk I have
observed to spread perturbation among women of all nations, and
almost all conditions. Nevertheless, Penthesilea, in ancient
times, and also Joan of Arc, and others, were of a different
kidney. And, as I have learned while I served the Spaniard, the
Duke of Alva in former times had the leaguer-lasses who followed
his camp marshalled into TERTIAS (whilk me call regiments), and
officered and commanded by those of their own feminine gender,
and regulated by a commander-in chief, called in German
Hureweibler, or, as we would say vernacularly, Captain of the
Queans. True it is, they were persons not to be named as
parallel to your ladyship, being such QUAE QUAESTUM CORPORIBUS
FACIEBANT, as we said of Jean Drochiels at Mareschal-College; the
same whom the French term CURTISANNES, and we in Scottish--"
"The lady will spare you the trouble of further exposition,
Captain Dalgetty," said his host, somewhat sternly; to which the
clergyman added, "that such discourse better befitted a watch-
tower guarded by profane soldiery than the board of an honourable
person, and the presence of a lady of quality."
"Craving your pardon, Dominie, or Doctor, AUT QUOCUNQUE ALIO
NOMINE GAUDES, for I would have you to know I have studied polite
letters," said the unabashed envoy, filling a great cup of wine,
"I see no ground for your reproof, seeing I did not speak of
those TURPES PERSONAE, as if their occupation or character was a
proper subject of conversation for this lady's presence, but
simply PAR ACCIDENS, as illustrating the matter in hand, namely,
their natural courage and audacity, much enhanced, doubtless, by
the desperate circumstances of their condition."
"Captain Dalgetty," said Sir Duncan Campbell, "to break short
this discourse, I must acquaint you, that I have some business to
dispatch to-night, in order to enable me to ride with you to-
morrow towards Inverary; and therefore--"
"To ride with this person to-morrow!" exclaimed his lady; "such
cannot be your purpose, Sir Duncan, unless you have forgotten
that the morrow is a sad anniversary, and dedicated to as sad a
"I had not forgotten," answered Sir Duncan; "how is it possible I
can ever forget? but the necessity of the times requires I
should send this officer onward to Inverary, without loss of
"Yet, surely, not that you should accompany him in person?"
enquired the lady.
"It were better I did," said Sir Duncan; "yet I can write to the
Marquis, and follow on the subsequent day.--Captain Dalgetty, I
will dispatch a letter for you, explaining to the Marquis of
Argyle your character and commission, with which you will please
to prepare to travel to Inverary early to-morrow morning."
"Sir Duncan Campbell," said Dalgetty, "I am doubtless at your
discretionary disposal in this matter; not the less, I pray you
to remember the blot which will fall upon your own escutcheon, if
you do in any way suffer me, being a commissionate flag of truce,
to be circumvented in this matter, whether CLAM, VI, VEL
PRECARIO; I do not say by your assent to any wrong done to me,
but even through absence of any due care on your part to prevent
"You are under the safeguard of my honour, sir," answered Sir
Duncan Campbell, "and that is more than a sufficient security.
And now," continued he, rising, "I must set the example of
Dalgetty saw himself under the necessity of following the hint,
though the hour was early; but, like a skilful general, he
availed himself of every instant of delay which circumstances
permitted. "Trusting to your honourable parole," said he,
filling his cup, "I drink to you, Sir Duncan, and to the
continuance of your honourable-house." A sigh from Sir Duncan
was the only reply. "Also, madam," said the soldier,
replenishing the quaigh with all possible dispatch, "I drink to
your honourable health, and fulfilment of all your virtuous
desires--and, reverend sir" (not forgetting to fit the action to
the words), "I fill this cup to the drowning of all unkindness
betwixt you and Captain Dalgetty--I should say Major--and, in
respect the flagon contains but one cup more, I drink to the
health of all honourable cavaliers and brave soldados--and, the
flask being empty, I am ready, Sir Duncan, to attend your
functionary or sentinel to my place of private repose."
He received a formal permission to retire, and an assurance, that
as the wine seemed to be to his taste, another measure of the
same vintage should attend him presently, in order to soothe the
hours of his solitude.
No sooner had the Captain reached the apartment than this promise
was fulfilled; and, in a short time afterwards, the added
comforts of a pasty of red-deer venison rendered him very
tolerant both of confinement and want of society. The same
domestic, a sort of chamberlain, who placed this good cheer in
his apartment, delivered to Dalgetty a packet, sealed and tied up
with a silken thread, according to the custom of the time,
addressed with many forms of respect to the High and Mighty
Prince, Archibald, Marquis of Argyle, Lord of Lorne, and so
forth. The chamberlain at the same time apprized the Ritt-
master, that he must take horse at an early hour for Inverary,
where the packet of Sir Duncan would be at once his introduction
and his passport. Not forgetting that it was his object to
collect information as well as to act as an envoy, and desirous,
for his own sake, to ascertain Sir Duncan's reasons for sending
him onward without his personal attendance, the Ritt-master
enquired the domestic, with all the precaution that his
experience suggested, what were the reasons which detained Sir
Duncan at home on the succeeding day. The man, who was from the
Lowlands, replied, "that it was the habit of Sir Duncan and his
lady to observe as a day of solemn fast and humiliation the
anniversary on which their castle had been taken by surprise, and
their children, to the number of four, destroyed cruelly by a
band of Highland freebooters during Sir Duncan's absence upon an
expedition which the Marquis of Argyle had undertaken against the
Macleans of the Isle of Mull."
"Truly," said the soldier, "your lord and lady have some cause
for fast and humiliation. Nevertheless, I will venture to
pronounce, that if he had taken the advice of any experienced
soldier, having skill in the practiques of defending places of
advantage, he would have built a sconce upon the small hill which
is to the left of the draw-brigg. And this I can easily prove to
you, mine honest friend; for, holding that pasty to be the
castle--What's your name, friend?"
"Lorimer, sir," replied the man.
"Here is to your health, honest Lorimer.--I say, Lorimer
--holding that pasty to be the main body or citadel of the place
to be defended, and taking the marrow-bone for the sconce to be
"I am sorry, sir," said Lorimer, interrupting him, "that I cannot
stay to hear the rest of your demonstration; but the bell will
presently ring. As worthy Mr. Graneangowl, the Marquis's own
chaplain, does family worship, and only seven of our household
out of sixty persons understand the Scottish tongue, it would
misbecome any one of them to be absent, and greatly prejudice me
in the opinion of my lady. There are pipes and tobacco, sir, if
you please to drink a whiff of smoke, and if you want anything
else, it shall be forthcoming two hours hence, when prayers are
over." So saying, he left the apartment.
No sooner was he gone, than the heavy toll of the castle-bell
summoned its inhabitants together; and was answered by the shrill
clamour of the females, mixed with the deeper tones of the men,
as, talking Earse at the top of their throats, they hurried from
different quarters by a long but narrow gallery, which served as
a communication to many rooms, and, among others, to that in
which Captain Dalgetty was stationed. There they go as if they
were beating to the roll-call, thought the soldier to himself; if
they all attend the parade, I will look out, take a mouthful of
fresh air, and make mine own observations on the practicabilities
of this place.
Accordingly, when all was quiet, he opened his chamber door, and
prepared to leave it, when he saw his friend with the axe
advancing towards him from the distant end of the gallery, half
whistling, a Gaelic tune. To have shown any want of confidence,
would have been at once impolitic, and unbecoming his military
character; so the Captain, putting the best face upon his
situation he could, whistled a Swedish retreat, in a tone still
louder than the notes of his sentinel; and retreating pace by
pace, with an air of indifference, as if his only purpose had
been to breathe a little fresh air, he shut the door in the face
of his guard, when the fellow had approached within a few paces
It is very well, thought the Ritt-master to himself; he annuls my
parole by putting guards upon me, for, as we used to say at
Mareschal-College, FIDES ET FIDUCIA SUNT RELATIVA [See Note I];
and if he does not trust my word, I do not see how I am bound to
keep it, if any motive should occur for my desiring to depart
from it. Surely the moral obligation of the parole is relaxed,
in as far as physical force is substituted instead thereof.
Thus comforting himself in the metaphysical immunities which he
deduced from the vigilance of his sentinel, Ritt-master Dalgetty
retired to his apartment, where, amid the theoretical
calculations of tactics, and the occasional more practical
attacks on the flask and pasty, he consumed the evening until it
was time to go to repose. He was summoned by Lorimer at break of
day, who gave him to understand, that, when he had broken his
fast, for which he produced ample materials, his guide and horse
were in attendance for his journey to Inverary. After complying
with the hospitable hint of the chamberlain, the soldier
proceeded to take horse. In passing through the apartments, he
observed that domestics were busily employed in hanging the great
hall with black cloth, a ceremony which, he said, he had seen
practised when the immortal Gustavus Adolphus lay in state in the
Castle of Wolgast, and which, therefore, he opined, was a
testimonial of the strictest and deepest mourning.
When Dalgetty mounted his steed, he found himself attended, or
perhaps guarded, by five or six Campbells, well armed, commanded
by one, who, from the target at his shoulder, and the short
cock's feather in his bonnet, as well as from the state which he
took upon himself, claimed the rank of a Dunniewassel, or
clansman of superior rank; and indeed, from his dignity of
deportment, could not stand in a more distant degree of
relationship to Sir Duncan, than that of tenth or twelfth cousin
at farthest. But it was impossible to extract positive
information on this or any other subject, inasmuch as neither
this commander nor any of his party spoke English. The Captain
rode, and his military attendants walked; but such was their
activity, and so numerous the impediments which the nature of the
road presented to the equestrian mode of travelling, that far
from being retarded by the slowness of their pace, his difficulty
was rather in keeping up with his guides. He observed that they
occasionally watched him with a sharp eye, as if they were
jealous of some effort to escape; and once, as he lingered behind
at crossing a brook, one of the gillies began to blow the match
of his piece, giving him to understand that he would run some
risk in case of an attempt to part company. Dalgetty did not
augur much good from the close watch thus maintained upon his
person; but there was no remedy, for an attempt to escape from
his attendants in an impervious and unknown country, would have
been little short of insanity. He therefore plodded patiently on
through a waste and savage wilderness, treading paths which were
only known to the shepherds and cattle-drivers, and passing with
much more of discomfort than satisfaction many of those sublime
combinations of mountainous scenery which now draw visitors from
every corner of England, to feast their eyes upon Highland
grandeur, and mortify their palates upon Highland fare.
At length they arrived on the southern verge of that noble lake
upon which Inverary is situated; and a bugle, which the
Dunniewassel winded till rock and greenwood rang, served as a
signal to a well-manned galley, which, starting from a creek
where it lay concealed, received the party on board, including
Gustavus; which sagacious quadruped, an experienced traveller
both by water and land, walked in and out of the boat with the
discretion of a Christian.
Embarked on the bosom of Loch Fine, Captain Dalgetty might have
admired one of the grandest scenes which nature affords. He
might have noticed the rival rivers Aray and Shiray, which pay
tribute to the lake, each issuing from its own dark and wooded
retreat. He might have marked, on the soft and gentle slope that
ascends from the shores, the noble old Gothic castle, with its
varied outline, embattled walls, towers, and outer and inner
courts, which, so far as the picturesque is concerned, presented
an aspect much more striking than the present massive and uniform
mansion. He might have admired those dark woods which for many a
mile surrounded this strong and princely dwelling, and his eye
might have dwelt on the picturesque peak of Duniquoich, starting
abruptly from the lake, and raising its scathed brow into the
mists of middle sky, while a solitary watch-tower, perched on its
top like an eagle's nest, gave dignity to the scene by awakening
a sense of possible danger. All these, and every other
accompaniment of this noble scene, Captain Dalgetty might have
marked, if he had been so minded. But, to confess the truth, the
gallant Captain, who had eaten nothing since daybreak, was
chiefly interested by the smoke which ascended from the castle
chimneys, and the expectations which this seemed to warrant of
his encountering an abundant stock of provant, as he was wont to
call supplies of this nature.
The boat soon approached the rugged pier, which abutted into the
loch from the little town of Inverary, then a rude assemblage of
huts, with a very few stone mansions interspersed, stretching
upwards from the banks of Loch Fine to the principal gate of the
castle, before which a scene presented itself that might easily
have quelled a less stout heart, and turned a more delicate
stomach, than those of Ritt-master Dugald Dalgetty, titular of
For close designs and crooked counsels fit,
Sagacious, bold, and turbulent of wit,
Restless, unfix'd in principle and place,
In power unpleased, impatient in disgrace.
ABSALOM AND ACHITOPHEL.
The village of Inverary, now a neat country town, then partook of
the rudeness of the seventeenth century, in the miserable
appearance of the houses, and the irregularity of the unpaved
street. But a stronger and more terrible characteristic of the
period appeared in the market-place, which was a space of
irregular width, half way betwixt the harbour, or pier, and the
frowning castle-gate, which terminated with its gloomy archway,
portcullis, and flankers, the upper end of the vista. Midway
this space was erected a rude gibbet, on which hung five dead
bodies, two of which from their dress seemed to have been
Lowlanders, and the other three corpses were muffled in their
Highland plaids. Two or three women sate under the gallows, who
seemed to be mourning, and singing the coronach of the deceased
in a low voice. But the spectacle was apparently of too ordinary
occurrence to have much interest for the inhabitants at large,
who, while they thronged to look at the military figure, the
horse of an unusual size, and the burnished panoply of Captain
Dalgetty, seemed to bestow no attention whatever on the piteous
spectacle which their own market-place afforded.
The envoy of Montrose was not quite so indifferent; and, hearing
a word or two of English escape from a Highlander of decent
appearance, he immediately halted Gustavus and addressed him,
"The Provost-Marshal has been busy here, my friend. May I crave
of you what these delinquents have been justified for?"
He looked towards the gibbet as he spoke; and the Gael,
comprehending his meaning rather by his action than his words,
immediately replied, "Three gentlemen caterans,--God sain them"
(crossing himself)--"twa Sassenach bits o' bodies, that wadna do
something that M'Callum More bade them;" and turning from
Dalgetty with an air of indifference, away he walked, staying no
Dalgetty shrugged his shoulders and proceeded, for Sir Duncan
Campbell's tenth or twelfth cousin had already shown some signs
At the gate of the castle another terrible spectacle of feudal
power awaited him. Within a stockade or palisade, which seemed
lately to have been added to the defences of the gate, and which
was protected by two pieces of light artillery, was a small
enclosure, where stood a huge block, on which lay an axe. Both
were smeared with recent blood, and a quantity of saw-dust
strewed around, partly retained and partly obliterated the marks
of a very late execution.
As Dalgetty looked on this new object of terror, his principal
guide suddenly twitched him by the skirt of his jerkin, and
having thus attracted his attention, winked and pointed with his
finger to a pole fixed on the stockade, which supported a human
head, being that, doubtless, of the late sufferer. There was a
leer on the Highlander's face, as he pointed to this ghastly
spectacle, which seemed to his fellow-traveller ominous of
Dalgetty dismounted from his horse at the gateway, and Gustavus
was taken from him without his being permitted to attend him to
the stable, according to his custom.
This gave the soldier a pang which the apparatus of death had not
conveyed.--"Poor Gustavus!" said he to himself, "if anything but
good happens to me, I had better have left him at Darnlinvarach
than brought him here among these Highland salvages, who scarce
know the head of a horse from his tail. But duty must part a man
from his nearest and dearest--
"When the cannons are roaring, lads, and the colours are flying,
The lads that seek honour must never fear dying;
Then, stout cavaliers, let us toil our brave trade in,
And fight for the Gospel and the bold King of Sweden."
Thus silencing his apprehensions with the but-end of a military
ballad, he followed his guide into a sort of guard-room filled
with armed Highlanders. It was intimated to him that he must
remain here until his arrival was communicated to the Marquis.
To make this communication the more intelligible, the doughty
Captain gave to the Dunniewassel Sir Duncan Campbell's packet,
desiring, as well as he could, by signs, that it should be
delivered into the Marquis's own hand. His guide nodded, and
The Captain was left about half an hour in this place, to endure
with indifference, or return with scorn, the inquisitive, and, at
the same time, the inimical glances of the armed Gael, to whom
his exterior and equipage were as much subject of curiosity, as
his person and country seemed matter of dislike. All this he
bore with military nonchalance, until, at the expiration of the
above period, a person dressed in black velvet, and wearing a
gold chain like a modern magistrate of Edinburgh, but who was, in
fact, steward of the household to the Marquis of Argyle, entered
the apartment, and invited, with solemn gravity, the Captain to
follow him to his master's presence.
The suite of apartments through which he passed, were filled with
attendants or visitors of various descriptions, disposed,
perhaps, with some ostentation, in order to impress the envoy of
Montrose with an idea of the superior power and magnificence
belonging to the rival house of Argyle. One ante-room was filled
with lacqueys, arrayed in brown and yellow, the colours of the
family, who, ranged in double file, gazed in silence upon Captain
Dalgetty as he passed betwixt their ranks. Another was occupied
by Highland gentlemen and chiefs of small branches, who were
amusing themselves with chess, backgammon, and other games, which
they scarce intermitted to gaze with curiosity upon the stranger.
A third was filled with Lowland gentlemen and officers, who
seemed also in attendance; and, lastly, the presence-chamber of
the Marquis himself showed him attended by a levee which marked
his high importance.
This apartment, the folding doors of which were opened for the
reception of Captain Dalgetty, was a long gallery, decorated with
tapestry and family portraits, and having a vaulted ceiling of
open wood-work, the extreme projections of the beams being richly
carved and gilded. The gallery was lighted by long lanceolated
Gothic casements, divided by heavy shafts, and filled with
painted glass, where the sunbeams glimmered dimly through boars'-
heads, and galleys, and batons, and swords, armorial bearings of
the powerful house of Argyle, and emblems of the high hereditary
offices of Justiciary of Scotland, and Master of the Royal
Household, which they long enjoyed. At the upper end of this
magnificent gallery stood the Marquis himself, the centre of a
splendid circle of Highland and Lowland gentlemen, all richly
dressed, among whom were two or three of the clergy, called in,
perhaps, to be witnesses of his lordship's zeal for the Covenant.
The Marquis himself was dressed in the fashion of the period,
which Vandyke has so often painted, but his habit was sober and
uniform in colour, and rather rich than gay. His dark
complexion, furrowed forehead, and downcast look, gave him the
appearance of one frequently engaged in the consideration of
important affairs, and who has acquired, by long habit, an air of
gravity and mystery, which he cannot shake off even where there
is nothing to be concealed. The cast with his eyes, which had
procured him in the Highlands the nickname of Gillespie Grumach
(or the grim), was less perceptible when he looked downward,
which perhaps was one cause of his having adopted that habit.
In person, he was tall and thin, but not without that dignity of
deportment and manners, which became his high rank. Something
there was cold in his address, and sinister in his look, although
he spoke and behaved with the usual grace of a man of such
quality. He was adored by his own clan, whose advancement he had
greatly studied, although he was in proportion disliked by the
Highlanders of other septs, some of whom he had already stripped
of their possessions, while others conceived themselves in danger
from his future schemes, and all dreaded the height to which he
We have already noticed, that in displaying himself amidst his
councillors, his officers of the household, and his train of
vassals, allies, and dependents, the Marquis of Argyle probably
wished to make an impression on the nervous system of Captain
Dugald Dalgetty. But that doughty person had fought his way, in
one department or another, through the greater part of the Thirty
Years' War in Germany, a period when a brave and successful
soldier was a companion for princes. The King of Sweden, and,
after his example, even the haughty Princes of the Empire, had
found themselves fain, frequently to compound with their dignity,
and silence, when they could not satisfy the pecuniary claims of
their soldiers, by admitting them to unusual privileges and
familiarity. Captain Dugald Dalgetty had it to boast, that he
had sate with princes at feasts made for monarchs, and therefore
was not a person to be brow-beat even by the dignity which
surrounded M'Callum More. Indeed, he was naturally by no means
the most modest man in the world, but, on the contrary, had so
good an opinion of himself, that into whatever company he chanced
to be thrown, he was always proportionally elevated in his own
conceit; so that he felt as much at ease in the most exalted
society as among his own ordinary companions. In this high
opinion of his own rank, he was greatly fortified by his ideas of
the military profession, which, in his phrase, made a valiant
cavalier a camarade to an emperor.
When introduced, therefore, into the Marquis's presence-chamber,
he advanced to the upper end with an air of more confidence than
grace, and would have gone close up to Argyle's person before
speaking, had not the latter waved his hand, as a signal to him
to stop short. Captain Dalgetty did so accordingly, and having
made his military congee with easy confidence, he thus accosted
the Marquis: "Give you good morrow, my lord--or rather I should
say, good even; BESO A USTED LOS MANOS, as the Spaniard says."
"Who are you, sir, and what is your business?" demanded the
Marquis, in a tone which was intended to interrupt the offensive
familiarity of the soldier.
"That is a fair interrogative, my lord," answered Dalgetty,
"which I shall forthwith answer as becomes a cavalier, and that
PEREMPTORIE, as we used to say at Mareschal-College."
"See who or what he is, Neal," said the Marquis sternly, to a
gentleman who stood near him.
"I will save the honourable gentleman the labour of
investigation," continued the Captain. "I am Dugald Dalgetty, of
Drumthwacket, that should be, late Ritt-master in various
services, and now Major of I know not what or whose regiment of
Irishes; and I am come with a flag of truce from a high and
powerful lord, James Earl of Montrose, and other noble persons
now in arms for his Majesty. And so, God save King Charles!"
"Do you know where you are, and the danger of dallying with us,
sir," again demanded the Marquis, "that you reply to me as if I
were a child or a fool? The Earl of Montrose is with the English
malignants; and I suspect you are one of those Irish runagates,
who are come into this country to burn and slay, as they did
under Sir Phelim O'Neale."
"My lord," replied Captain Dalgetty, "I am no renegade, though a
Major of Irishes, for which I might refer your lordship to the
invincible Gustavus Adolphus the Lion of the North, to Bannier,
to Oxenstiern, to the warlike Duke of Saxe-Weimar, Tilly,
Wallenstein, Piccolomini, and other great captains, both dead and
living; and touching the noble Earl of Montrose, I pray your
lordship to peruse these my full powers for treating with you in
the name of that right honourable commander."
The Marquis looked slightingly at the signed and sealed paper
which Captain Dalgetty handed to him, and, throwing it with
contempt upon a table, asked those around him what he deserved
who came as the avowed envoy and agent of malignant traitors, in
arms against the state?
"A high gallows and a short shrift," was the ready answer of one
of the bystanders.
"I will crave of that honourable cavalier who hath last spoken,"
said Dalgetty, "to be less hasty in forming his conclusions, and
also of your lordship to be cautelous in adopting the same, in
respect such threats are to be held out only to base bisognos,
and not to men of spirit and action, who are bound to peril
themselves as freely in services of this nature, as upon sieges,
battles, or onslaughts of any sort. And albeit I have not with me
a trumpet, or a white flag, in respect our army is not yet
equipped with its full appointments, yet the honourable cavaliers
and your lordship must concede unto me, that the sanctity of an
envoy who cometh on matter of truth or parle, consisteth not in
the fanfare of a trumpet, whilk is but a sound, or in the flap of
a white flag, whilk is but an old rag in itself, but in the
confidence reposed by the party sending, and the party sent, in
the honour of those to whom the message is to be carried, and
their full reliance that they will respect the JUS GENTIUM, as
weel as the law of arms, in the person of the commissionate."
"You are not come hither to lecture us upon the law of arms,
sir," said the Marquis, "which neither does nor can apply to
rebels and insurgents; but to suffer the penalty of your
insolence and folly for bringing a traitorous message to the Lord
Justice General of Scotland, whose duty calls upon him to punish
such an offence with death."
"Gentlemen," said the Captain, who began much to dislike the turn
which his mission seemed about to take, "I pray you to remember,
that the Earl of Montrose will hold you and your possessions
liable for whatever injury my person, or my horse, shall sustain
by these unseemly proceedings, and that he will be justified in
executing retributive vengeance on your persons and possessions."
This menace was received with a scornful laugh, while one of the
Campbells replied, "It is a far cry to Lochow;" proverbial
expression of the tribe, meaning that their ancient hereditary
domains lay beyond the reach of an invading enemy. "But,
gentlemen," further urged the unfortunate Captain, who was
unwilling to be condemned, without at least the benefit of a full
hearing, "although it is not for me to say how far it may be to
Lochow, in respect I am a stranger to these parts, yet, what is
more to the purpose, I trust you will admit that I have the
guarantee of an honourable gentleman of your own name, Sir Duncan
Campbell of Ardenvohr, for my safety on this mission; and I pray
you to observe, that in breaking the truce towards me, you will
highly prejudicate his honour and fair fame."
This seemed to be new information to many of the gentlemen, for
they spoke aside with each other, and the Marquis's face,
notwithstanding his power of suppressing all external signs of
his passions, showed impatience and vexation.
"Does Sir Duncan of Ardenvohr pledge his honour for this person's
safety, my lord?" said one of the company, addressing the
"I do not believe it," answered the Marquis; "but I have not yet
had time to read his letter."
"We will pray your lordship to do so," said another of the
Campbells; "our name must not suffer discredit through the means
of such a fellow as this."
"A dead fly," said a clergyman, "maketh the ointment of the
apothecary to stink."
"Reverend sir," said Captain Dalgetty, "in respect of the use to
be derived, I forgive you the unsavouriness of your comparison;
and also remit to the gentleman in the red bonnet, the
disparaging epithet of FELLOW, which he has discourteously
applied to me, who am no way to be distinguished by the same,
unless in so far as I have been called fellow-soldier by the
great Gustavus Adolphus, the Lion of the North, and other choice
commanders, both in Germany and the Low Countries. But, touching
Sir Duncan Campbell's guarantee of my safety, I will gage my life
upon his making my words good thereanent, when he comes hither
"If Sir Duncan be soon expected, my Lord," said one of the
intercessors, "it would be a pity to anticipate matters with this
"Besides that," said another, "your lordship--I speak with
reverence--should, at least, consult the Knight of Ardenvohr's
letter, and learn the terms on which this Major Dalgetty, as he
calls himself, has been sent hither by him."
They closed around the Marquis, and conversed together in a low
tone, both in Gaelic and English. The patriarchal power of the
Chiefs was very great, and that of the Marquis of Argyle, armed
with all his grants of hereditary jurisdiction, was particularly
absolute. But there interferes some check of one kind or other
even in the most despotic government. That which mitigated the
power of the Celtic Chiefs, was the necessity which they lay
under of conciliating the kinsmen who, under them, led out the
lower orders to battle, and who formed a sort of council of the
tribe in time of peace. The Marquis on this occasion thought
himself under the necessity of attending to the remonstrances of
this senate, or more properly COUROULTAI, of the name of
Campbell, and, slipping out of the circle, gave orders for the
prisoner to be removed to a place of security.
"Prisoner!" exclaimed Dalgetty, exerting himself with such force
as wellnigh to shake off two Highlanders, who for some minutes
past had waited the signal to seize him, and kept for that
purpose close at his back. Indeed the soldier had so nearly
attained his liberty, that the Marquis of Argyle changed colour,
and stepped back two paces, laying, however, his hand on his
sword, while several of his clan, with ready devotion, threw
themselves betwixt him and the apprehended vengeance of the
prisoner. But the Highland guards were too strong to be shaken
off, and the unlucky Captain, after having had his offensive
weapons taken from him, was dragged off and conducted through
several gloomy passages to a small side-door grated with iron,
within which was another of wood. These were opened by a grim
old Highlander with a long white beard, and displayed a very
steep and narrow flight of steps leading downward. The Captain's
guards pushed him down two or three steps, then, unloosing his
arms, left him to grope his way to the bottom as he could; a task
which became difficult and even dangerous, when the two doors
being successively locked left the prisoner in total darkness.
Whatever stranger visits here,
We pity his sad case,
Unless to worship he draw near
The King of Kings--his Grace.
BURNS'S EPIGRAM ON A VISIT TO INVERARY.
The Captain, finding himself deprived of light in the manner we
have described, and placed in a very uncertain situation,
proceeded to descend the narrow and broken stair with all the
caution in his power, hoping that he might find at the bottom
some place to repose himself. But with all his care he could not
finally avoid making a false step, which brought him down the
four or five last steps too hastily to preserve his equilibrium.
At the bottom he stumbled over a bundle of something soft, which
stirred and uttered a groan, so deranging the Captain's descent,
that he floundered forward, and finally fell upon his hands and
knees on the floor of a damp and stone-paved dungeon.
When Dalgetty had recovered, his first demand was to know over
whom he had stumbled.
"He was a man a month since," answered a hollow and broken voice.
"And what is he now, then," said Dalgetty, "that he thinks it
fitting to lie upon the lowest step of the stairs, and clew'd up
like a hurchin, that honourable cavaliers, who chance to be in
trouble, may break their noses over him?"
"What is he now?" replied the same voice; "he is a wretched
trunk, from which the boughs have one by one been lopped away,
and which cares little how soon it is torn up and hewed into
billets for the furnace."
"Friend," said Dalgetty, "I am sorry for you; but PATIENZA, as
the Spaniard says. If you had but been as quiet as a log, as you
call yourself, I should have saved some excoriations on my hands
"You are a soldier," replied his fellow-prisoner; "do you
complain on account of a fall for which a boy would not bemoan
"A soldier?" said the Captain; "and how do you know, in this
cursed dark cavern, that I am a soldier?"
"I heard your armour clash as you fell," replied the prisoner,
"and now I see it glimmer. When you have remained as long as I
in this darkness, your eyes will distinguish the smallest eft
that crawls on the floor."
"I had rather the devil picked them out!" said Dalgetty; "if
this be the case, I shall wish for a short turn of the rope, a
soldier's prayer, and a leap from a ladder. But what sort of
provant have you got here--what food, I mean, brother in
"Bread and water once a day," replied the voice.
"Prithee, friend, let me taste your loaf," said Dalgetty; "I hope
we shall play good comrades while we dwell together in this
"The loaf and jar of water," answered the other prisoner, "stand
in the corner, two steps to your right hand. Take them, and
welcome. With earthly food I have wellnigh done."
Dalgetty did not wait for a second invitation, but, groping out
the provisions, began to munch at the stale black oaten loaf with
as much heartiness as we have seen him play his part at better
"This bread," he said, muttering (with his mouth full at the same
time), "is not very savoury; nevertheless, it is not much worse
than that which we ate at the famous leaguer at Werben, where the
valorous Gustavus foiled all the efforts of the celebrated Tilly,
that terrible old hero, who had driven two kings out of the
field--namely, Ferdinand of Bohemia and Christian of Denmark.
And anent this water, which is none of the most sweet, I drink in
the same to your speedy deliverance, comrade, not forgetting mine
own, and devoutly wishing it were Rhenish wine, or humming Lubeck
beer, at the least, were it but in honour of the pledge."
While Dalgetty ran on in this way, his teeth kept time with his
tongue, and he speedily finished the provisions which the
benevolence or indifference of his companion in misfortune had
abandoned to his voracity. When this task was accomplished, he
wrapped himself in his cloak, and seating himself in a corner of
the dungeon in which he could obtain a support on each side (for
he had always been an admirer of elbow-chairs, he remarked, even
from his youth upward), he began to question his fellow-captive.
"Mine honest friend," said he, "you and I, being comrades at bed
and board, should be better acquainted. I am Dugald Dalgetty of
Drumthwacket, and so forth, Major in a regiment of loyal Irishes,
and Envoy Extraordinary of a High and Mighty Lord, James Earl of
Montrose.--Pray, what may your name be?"
"It will avail you little to know," replied his more taciturn
"Let me judge of that matter," answered the soldier.
"Well, then--Ranald MacEagh is my name--that is, Ranald Son of
"Son of the Mist!" ejaculated Dalgetty. "Son of utter darkness,
say I. But, Ranald, since that is your name, how came you in
possession of the provost's court of guard? what the devil
brought you here, that is to say?"
"My misfortunes and my crimes," answered Ranald. "Know ye the
Knight of Ardenvohr?"
"I do know that honourable person," replied Dalgetty.
"But know ye where he now is?" replied Ranald.
"Fasting this day at Ardenvohr," answered the Envoy, "that he may
feast to-morrow at Inverary; in which last purpose if he chance
to fail, my lease of human service will be something precarious."
"Then let him know, one claims his intercession, who is his worst
foe and his best friend," answered Ranald.
"Truly I shall desire to carry a less questionable message,"
answered Dalgetty, "Sir Duncan is not a person to play at reading
"Craven Saxon," said the prisoner, "tell him I am the raven that,
fifteen years since, stooped on his tower of strength and the
pledges he had left there--I am the hunter that found out the
wolfs den on the rock, and destroyed his offspring--I am the
leader of the band which surprised Ardenvohr yesterday was
fifteen years, and gave his four children to the sword."
"Truly, my honest friend," said Dalgetty, "if that is your best
recommendation to Sir Duncan's favour, I would pretermit my
pleading thereupon, in respect I have observed that even the
animal creation are incensed against those who intromit with
their offspring forcibly, much more any rational and Christian
creatures, who have had violence done upon their small family.
But I pray you in courtesy to tell me, whether you assailed the
castle from the hillock called Drumsnab, whilk I uphold to be the
true point of attack, unless it were to be protected by a
"We ascended the cliff by ladders of withies or saplings," said
the prisoner, "drawn up by an accomplice and clansman, who had
served six months in the castle to enjoy that one night of
unlimited vengeance. The owl whooped around us as we hung
betwixt heaven and earth; the tide roared against the foot of the
rock, and dashed asunder our skiff. yet no man's heart failed
him. In the morning there was blood and ashes, where there had
been peace and joy at the sunset."
"It was a pretty camisade, I doubt not, Ranald MacEagh, a very
sufficient onslaught, and not unworthily discharged.
Nevertheless, I would have pressed the house from that little
hillock called Drumsnab. But yours is a pretty irregular
Scythian fashion of warfare, Ranald, much resembling that of
Turks, Tartars, and other Asiatic people.--But the reason, my
friend, the cause of this war--the TETERRIMA CAUSA, as I may say?
Deliver me that, Ranald."
"We had been pushed at by the M'Aulays, and other western
tribes," said Ranald, "till our possessions became unsafe for
"Ah ha!" said Dalgetty; "I have faint remembrance of having heard
of that matter. Did you not put bread and cheese into a man's
mouth, when he had never a stomach whereunto to transmit the
"You have heard, then," said Ranald, "the tale of our revenge on
the haughty forester?"
"I bethink me that I have," said Dalgetty, "and that not of an
old date. It was a merry jest that, of cramming the bread into
the dead man's mouth, but somewhat too wild and salvage for
civilized acceptation, besides wasting the good victuals. I have
seen when at a siege or a leaguer, Ranald, a living soldier would
have been the better, Ranald, for that crust of bread, whilk you
threw away on a dead pow."
"We were attacked by Sir Duncan," continued MacEagh, "and my
brother was slain--his head was withering on the battlements
which we scaled--I vowed revenge, and it is a vow I have never
"It may be so," said Dalgetty; "and every thorough-bred soldier
will confess that revenge is a sweet morsel; but in what manner
this story will interest Sir Duncan in your justification, unless
it should move him to intercede with the Marquis to change the
manner thereof from hanging, or simple suspension, to breaking
your limbs on the roue or wheel, with the coulter of a plough, or
otherwise putting you to death by torture, surpasses my
comprehension. Were I you, Ranald, I would be for miskenning Sir
Duncan, keeping my own secret, and departing quietly by
suffocation, like your ancestors before you."
"Yet hearken, stranger," said the Highlander. "Sir Duncan of
Ardenvohr had four children. Three died under our dirks, but the
fourth survives; and more would he give to dandle on his knee the
fourth child which remains, than to rack these old bones, which
care little for the utmost indulgence of his wrath. One word, if
I list to speak it, could turn his day of humiliation and fasting
into a day of thankfulness and rejoicing, and breaking of bread.
O, I know it by my own heart? Dearer to me is the child Kenneth,
who chaseth the butterfly on the banks of the Aven, than ten sons
who are mouldering in earth, or are preyed on by the fowls of the
"I presume, Ranald," continued Dalgetty, "that the three pretty
fellows whom I saw yonder in the market-place, strung up by the
head like rizzer'd haddocks, claimed some interest in you?"
There was a brief pause ere the Highlander replied, in a tone of
strong emotion,--"They were my sons, stranger--they were my
sons!--blood of my blood--bone of my bone!--fleet of foot--
unerring in aim--unvanquished by foemen till the sons of Diarmid
overcame them by numbers! Why do I wish to survive them? The
old trunk will less feel the rending up of its roots, than it has
felt the lopping off of its graceful boughs. But Kenneth must be
trained to revenge--the young eagle must learn from the old how
to stoop on his foes. I will purchase for his sake my life and my
freedom, by discovering my secret to the Knight of Ardenvohr."
"You may attain your end more easily," said a third voice,
mingling in the conference, "by entrusting it to me."
All Highlanders are superstitious. "The Enemy of Mankind is
among us!" said Ranald MacEagh, springing to his feet. His
chains clattered as he rose, while he drew himself as far as they
permitted from the quarter whence the voice appeared to proceed.
His fear in some degree communicated itself to Captain Dalgetty,
who began to repeat, in a sort of polyglot gibberish, all the
exorcisms he had ever heard of, without being able to remember
more than a word or two of each.
"IN NOMINE DOMINI, as we said at Mareschal-College--SANTISSMA
MADRE DI DIOS, as the Spaniard has it--ALLE GUTEN GEISTER LOBEN
DEN HERRN, saith the blessed Psalmist, in Dr. Luther's
"A truce with your exorcisms," said the voice they had heard
before; "though I come strangely among you, I am mortal like
yourselves, and my assistance may avail you in your present
streight, if you are not too proud to be counselled."
While the stranger thus spoke, he withdrew the shade of a dark
lantern, by whose feeble light Dalgetty could only discern that
the speaker who had thus mysteriously united himself to their
company, and mixed in their conversation, was a tall man, dressed
in a livery cloak of the Marquis. His first glance was to his
feet, but he saw neither the cloven foot which Scottish legends
assign to the foul fiend, nor the horse's hoof by which he is
distinguished in Germany. His first enquiry was, how the
stranger had come among them?
"For," said he, "the creak of these rusty bars would have been
heard had the door been made patent; and if you passed through
the keyhole, truly, sir, put what face you will on it, you are
not fit to be enrolled in a regiment of living men."
"I reserve my secret," answered the stranger, "until you shall
merit the discovery by communicating to me some of yours. It may
be that I shall be moved to let you out where I myself came in."
"It cannot be through the keyhole, then," said Captain Dalgetty,
"for my corslet would stick in the passage, were it possible that
my head-piece could get through. As for secrets, I have none of
my own, and but few appertaining to others. But impart to us
what secrets you desire to know; or, as Professor Snufflegreek
used to say at the Mareschal-College, Aberdeen, speak that I may
"It is not with you I have first to do," replied the stranger,
turning his light full on the mild and wasted features, and the
large limbs of the Highlander, Ranald MacEagh, who, close drawn
up against the walls of the dungeon, seemed yet uncertain whether
his guest was a living being.
"I have brought you something, my friend," said the stranger, in
a more soothing tone, "to mend your fare; if you are to die to-
morrow, it is no reason wherefore you should not live to-night."
"None at all--no reason in the creation," replied the ready
Captain Dalgetty, who forthwith began to unpack the contents of a
small basket which the stranger had brought under his cloak,
while the Highlander, either in suspicion or disdain, paid no
attention to the good cheer.
"Here's to thee, my friend," said the Captain, who, having
already dispatched a huge piece of roasted kid, was now taking a
pull at the wine-flask. "What is thy name, my good friend?"
"Murdoch Campbell, sir," answered the servant, "a lackey of the
Marquis of Argyle, and occasionally acting as under-warden."
"Then here is to thee once more, Murdoch," said Dalgetty,
"drinking to you by your proper name for the better luck sake.
This wine I take to be Calcavella. Well, honest Murdoch, I take
it on me to say, thou deservest to be upper-warden, since thou
showest thyself twenty times better acquainted with the way of
victualling honest gentlemen that are under misfortune, than thy
principal. Bread and water? out upon him! It was enough,
Murdoch, to destroy the credit of the Marquis's dungeon. But I
see you would converse with my friend, Ranald MacEagh here. Never
mind my presence; I'll get me into this corner with the basket,
and I will warrant my jaws make noise enough to prevent my ears
from hearing you."
Notwithstanding this promise, however, the veteran listened with
all the attention he could to gather their discourse, or, as he
described it himself, "laid his ears back in his neck, like
Gustavus, when he heard the key turn in the girnell-kist." He
could, therefore, owing to the narrowness of the dungeon, easily
overhear the following dialogue.
"Are you aware, Son of the Mist," said the Campbell, "that you
will never leave this place excepting for the gibbet?"
"Those who are dearest to me," answered MacEagh, "have trode that
path before me."
"Then you would do nothing," asked the visitor, "to shun
The prisoner writhed himself in his chains before returning an
"I would do much," at length he said; "not for my own life, but
for the sake of the pledge in the glen of Strath-Aven."
"And what would you do to turn away the bitterness of the hour?"
again demanded Murdoch; "I care not for what cause ye mean to
"I would do what a man might do, and still call himself a man."
"Do you call yourself a man," said the interrogator, "who have
done the deeds of a wolf?"
"I do," answered the outlaw; "I am a man like my forefathers--
while wrapt in the mantle of peace, we were lambs--it was rent
from us, and ye now call us wolves. Give us the huts ye have
burned, our children whom ye have murdered, our widows whom ye
have starved--collect from the gibbet and the pole the mangled
carcasses, and whitened skulls of our kinsmen--bid them live and
bless us, and we will be your vassals and brothers--till then,
let death, and blood, and mutual wrong, draw a dark veil of
division between us."
"You will then do nothing for your liberty," said the Campbell.
"Anything--but call myself the friend of your tribe," answered
"We scorn the friendship of banditti and caterans," retorted
Murdoch, "and would not stoop to accept it.--What I demand to
know from you, in exchange for your liberty, is, where the
daughter and heiress of the Knight of Ardenvohr is now to be
"That you may wed her to some beggarly kinsman of your great
master," said Ranald, "after the fashion of the Children of
Diarmid! Does not the valley of Glenorquhy, to this very hour,
cry shame on the violence offered to a helpless infant whom her
kinsmen were conveying to the court of the Sovereign? Were not
her escort compelled to hide her beneath a cauldron, round which
they fought till not one remained to tell the tale? and was not
the girl brought to this fatal castle, and afterwards wedded to
the brother of M'Callum More, and all for the sake of her broad
lands?" [Such a story is told of the heiress of the clan of
Calder, who was made prisoner in the manner described, and
afterwards wedded to Sir Duncan Campbell, from which union the
Campbells of Cawdor have their descent.]
"And if the tale be true," said Murdoch, "she had a preferment
beyond what the King of Scots would have conferred on her. But
this is far from the purpose. The daughter of Sir Duncan of
Ardenvohr is of our own blood, not a stranger; and who has so
good a right to know her fate as M'Callum More, the chief of her
"It is on his part, then, that you demand it!" said the outlaw.
The domestic of the Marquis assented.
"And you will practise no evil against the maiden?--I have done
her wrong enough already."
"No evil, upon the word of a Christian man," replied Murdoch.
"And my guerdon is to be life and liberty?" said the Child of
"Such is our paction," replied the Campbell.
"Then know, that the child whom I saved our of compassion at the
spoiling of her father's tower of strength, was bred as an
adopted daughter of our tribe, until we were worsted at the pass
of Ballenduthil, by the fiend incarnate and mortal enemy of our
tribe, Allan M'Aulay of the Bloody hand, and by the horsemen of
Lennox, under the heir of Menteith."
"Fell she into the power of Allan of the Bloody hand," said
Murdoch, "and she a reputed daughter of thy tribe? Then her
blood has gilded the dirk, and thou hast said nothing to rescue
thine own forfeited life."
"If my life rest on hers," answered the outlaw, "it is secure,
for she still survives; but it has a more insecure reliance--the
frail promise of a son of Diarmid."
"That promise shall not fail you," said the Campbell, "if you can
assure me that she survives, and where she is to be found."
"In the Castle of Darlinvarach," said Ranald MacEagh, "under the
name of Annot Lyle. I have often heard of her from my kinsmen,
who have again approached their native woods, and it is not long
since mine old eyes beheld her."
"You!" said Murdoch, in astonishment, "you, a chief among the
Children of the Mist, and ventured so near your mortal foe?"
"Son of Diarmid, I did more," replied the outlaw; "I was in the
hall of the castle, disguised as a harper from the wild shores of
Skianach. My purpose was to have plunged my dirk in the body of
the M'Aulay with the Bloody hand, before whom our race trembles,
and to have taken thereafter what fate God should send me. But I
saw Annot Lyle, even when my hand was on the hilt of my dagger.
She touched her clairshach [Harp] to a song of the Children of
the Mist, which she had learned when her dwelling was amongst us.
The woods in which we had dwelt pleasantly, rustled their green
leaves in the song, and our streams were there with the sound of
all their waters. My hand forsook the dagger; the fountains of
mine eyes were opened, and the hour of revenge passed away.--And
now, Son of Diarmid, have I not paid the ransom of my head?"
"Ay," replied Murdoch, "if your tale be true; but what proof can
you assign for it?"
"Bear witness, heaven and earth," exclaimed the outlaw, "he
already looks how he may step over his word!"
"Not so," replied Murdoch; "every promise shall be kept to you
when I am assured you have told me the truth.--But I must speak a
few words with your companion in captivity."
"Fair and false--ever fair and false," muttered the prisoner, as
he threw himself once more on the floor of his dungeon.
Meanwhile, Captain Dalgetty, who had attended to every word of
this dialogue, was making his own remarks on it in private.
"What the HENKER can this sly fellow have to say to me? I have
no child, either of my own, so far as I know, or of any other
person, to tell him a tale about. But let him come on--he will
have some manoeuvring ere he turn the flank of the old soldier."
Accordingly, as if he had stood pike in hand to defend a breach,
he waited with caution, but without fear, the commencement of the
"You are a citizen of the world, Captain Dalgetty," said Murdoch
Campbell, "and cannot be ignorant of our old Scotch proverb, GIF-
GAF, [In old English, KA ME KA THEE, i.e. mutually serving each
other.] which goes through all nations and all services."
"Then I should know something of it," said Dalgetty; "for, except
the Turks, there are few powers in Europe whom I have not served;
and I have sometimes thought of taking a turn either with Bethlem
Gabor, or with the Janizaries."
"A man of your experience and unprejudiced ideas, then, will
understand me at once," said Murdoch, "when I say, I mean that
your freedom shall depend on your true and up right answer to a
few trifling questions respecting the gentlemen you have left;
their state of preparation; the number of their men, and nature
of their appointments; and as much as you chance to know about
their plan of operations."
"Just to satisfy your curiosity," said Dalgetty, "and without any
"None in the world," replied Murdoch; "what interest should a
poor devil like me take in their operations?"
"Make your interrogations, then," said the Captain, "and I will
answer them PREREMTORIE."
"How many Irish may be on their march to join James Graham the
"Probably ten thousand," said Captain Dalgetty.
"Ten thousand!" replied Murdoch angrily; "we know that scarce two
thousand landed at Ardnamurchan."
"Then you know more about them than I do," answered Captain
Dalgetty, with great composure. "I never saw them mustered yet,
or even under arms."
"And how many men of the clans may be expected?" demanded
"As many as they can make," replied the Captain.
"You are answering from the purpose, sir," said Murdoch "speak
plainly, will there be five thousand men?"
"There and thereabouts," answered Dalgetty.
"You are playing with your life, sir, if you trifle with me,"
replied the catechist; "one whistle of mine, and in less than ten
minutes your head hangs on the drawbridge."
"But to speak candidly, Mr. Murdoch," replied the Captain "do you
think it is a reasonable thing to ask me after the secrets of our
army, and I engaged to serve for the whole campaign? If I taught
you how to defeat Montrose, what becomes of my pay, arrears, and
chance of booty?"
"I tell you," said Campbell, "that if you be stubborn, your
campaign shall begin and end in a march to the block at the
castle-gate, which stands ready for such land-laufers; but if you
answer my questions faithfully, I will receive you into my--into
the service of M'Callum More."
"Does the service afford good pay?" said Captain Dalgetty.
"He will double yours, if you will return to Montrose and act
under his direction."
"I wish I had seen you, sir, before taking on with him," said
Dalgetty, appearing to meditate.
"On the contrary, I can afford you more advantageous terms now,"
said the Campbell; "always supposing that you are faithful."
"Faithful, that is, to you, and a traitor to Montrose," answered
"Faithful to the cause of religion and good order," answered
Murdoch, "which sanctifies any deception you may employ to serve
"And the Marquis of Argyle--should I incline to enter his
service, is he a kind master?" demanded Dalgetty.
"Never man kinder," quoth Campbell.
"And bountiful to his officers?" pursued the Captain.
"The most open hand in Scotland," replied Murdoch.
"True and faithful to his engagements?" continued Dalgetty.
"As honourable a nobleman as breathes," said the clansman.
"I never heard so much good of him before," said Dalgetty; "you
must know the Marquis well,--or rather you must be the Marquis
himself!--Lord of Argyle," he added, throwing himself suddenly on
the disguised nobleman, "I arrest you in the name of King
Charles, as a traitor. If you venture to call for assistance, I
will wrench round your neck."
The attack which Dalgetty made upon Argyle's person was so sudden
and unexpected, that he easily prostrated him on the floor of the
dungeon, and held him down with one hand, while his right,
grasping the Marquis's throat, was ready to strangle him on the
slightest attempt to call for assistance.
"Lord of Argyle," he said, "it is now my turn to lay down the
terms of capitulation. If you list to show me the private way by
which you entered the dungeon, you shall escape, on condition of
being my LOCUM TENENS, as we said at the Mareschal-College, until
your warder visits his prisoners. But if not, I will first
strangle you--I learned the art from a Polonian heyduck, who had
been a slave in the Ottoman seraglio--and then seek out a mode of
"Villain! you would not murder me for my kindness," murmured
"Not for your kindness, my lord," replied Dalgetty: "but first,
to teach your lordship the JUS GENTIUM towards cavaliers who come
to you under safe-conduct; and secondly, to warn you of the
danger of proposing dishonourable terms to any worthy soldado, in
order to tempt him to become false to his standard during the
term of his service."
"Spare my life," said Argyle, "and I will do as you require."
Dalgetty maintained his gripe upon the Marquis's throat,
compressing it a little while he asked questions, and relaxing it
so far as to give him the power of answering them.
"Where is the secret door into the dungeon?" he demanded.
"Hold up the lantern to the corner on your right hand, you will
discern the iron which covers the spring," replied the Marquis.
"So far so good.--Where does the passage lead to?"
"To my private apartment behind the tapestry," answered the
"From thence how shall I reach the gateway?"
"Through the grand gallery, the anteroom, the lackeys' waiting
hall, the grand guardroom--"
"All crowded with soldiers, factionaries, and attendants?--that
will never do for me, my lord;--have you no secret passage to the
gate, as you have to your dungeons? I have seen such in
"There is a passage through the chapel," said the Marquis,
"opening from my apartment."
"And what is the pass-word at the gate?"
"The sword of Levi," replied the Marquis; "but if you will
receive my pledge of honour, I will go with you, escort you
through every guard, and set you at full liberty with a
"I might trust you, my lord, were your throat not already black
with the grasp of my fingers--as it is, BESO LOS MANOS A USTED,
as the Spaniard says. Yet you may grant me a passport;--are
there writing materials in your apartment?"
"Surely; and blank passports ready to be signed. I will attend
you there," said the Marquis, "instantly."
"It were too much honour for the like of me," said Dalgetty;
"your lordship shall remain under charge of mine honest friend
Ranald MacEagh; therefore, prithee let me drag you within reach
of his chain.--Honest Ranald, you see how matters stand with us.
I shall find the means, I doubt not, of setting you at freedom.
Meantime, do as you see me do; clap your hand thus on the weasand
of this high and mighty prince, under his ruff, and if he offer
to struggle or cry out, fail not, my worthy Ranald, to squeeze
doughtily; and if it be AD DELIQUIUM, Ranald, that is, till he
swoon, there is no great matter, seeing he designed your gullet
and mine to still harder usage."
"If he offer at speech or struggle," said Ranald, "he dies by my
"That is right, Ranald--very spirited:--A thorough-going friend
that understands a hint is worth a million!"
Thus resigning the charge of the Marquis to his new confederate,
Dalgetty pressed the spring, by which the secret door flew open,
though so well were its hinges polished and oiled, that it made
not the slightest noise in revolving. The opposite side of the
door was secured by very strong bolts and bars, beside which hung
one or two keys, designed apparently to undo fetterlocks. A
narrow staircase, ascending up through the thickness of the
castle-wall, landed, as the Marquis had truly informed him,
behind the tapestry of his private apartment. Such
communications were frequent in old feudal castles, as they gave
the lord of the fortress, like a second Dionysius, the means of
hearing the conversation of his prisoners, or, if he pleased, of
visiting them in disguise, an experiment which had terminated so
unpleasantly on the present occasion for Gillespie Grumach.
Having examined previously whether there was any one in the
apartment, and finding the coast clear, the Captain entered, and
hastily possessing himself of a blank passport, several of which
lay on the table, and of writing materials, securing, at the same
time, the Marquis's dagger, and a silk cord from the hangings, he
again descended into the cavern, where, listening a moment at the
door, he could hear the half-stifled voice of the Marquis making
great proffers to MacEagh, on condition he would suffer him to
give an alarm.
"Not for a forest of deer--not for a thousand head of cattle,"
answered the freebooter; "not for all the lands that ever called
a son of Diarmid master, will I break the troth I have plighted
to him of the iron-garment!"
"He of the iron-garment," said Dalgetty, entering, "is bounden
unto you, MacEagh, and this noble lord shall be bounden also; but
first he must fill up this passport with the names of Major
Dugald Dalgetty and his guide, or he is like to have a passport
to another world."
The Marquis subscribed, and wrote, by the light of the dark
lantern, as the soldier prescribed to him.
"And now, Ranald," said Dalgetty, "strip thy upper garment--thy
plaid I mean, Ranald, and in it will I muffle the M'Callum More,
and make of him, for the time, a Child of the Mist;--Nay, I must
bring it over your head, my lord, so as to secure us against your
mistimed clamour.--So, now he is sufficiently muffled;--hold down
your hands, or, by Heaven, I will stab you to the heart with your
own dagger!--nay, you shall be bound with nothing less than silk,
as your quality deserves.--So, now he is secure till some one
comes to relieve him. If he ordered us a late dinner, Ranald, he
is like to be the sufferer;--at what hour, my good Ranald, did
the jailor usually appear?"
"Never till the sun was beneath the western wave," said MacEagh.
"Then, my friend, we shall have three hours good," said the
cautious Captain. "In the meantime, let us labour for your
To examine Ranald's chain was the next occupation. It was undone
by means of one of the keys which hung behind the private door,
probably deposited there, that the Marquis might, if he pleased,
dismiss a prisoner, or remove him elsewhere without the necessity
of summoning the warden. The outlaw stretched his benumbed arms,
and bounded from the floor of the dungeon in all the ecstasy of
"Take the livery-coat of that noble prisoner," said Captain
Dalgetty; "put it on, and follow close at my heels."
The outlaw obeyed. They ascended the private stair, having first
secured the door behind them, and thus safely reached the
apartment of the Marquis.
[The precarious state of the feudal nobles introduced a great
deal of espionage into their castles. Sir Robert Carey mentions
his having put on the cloak of one of his own wardens to obtain a
confession from the mouth of Geordie Bourne, his prisoner, whom
be caused presently to be hanged in return for the frankness of
his communication. The fine old Border castle of Naworth
contains a private stair from the apartment of the Lord William
Howard, by which he could visit the dungeon, as is alleged in the
preceding chapter to have been practised by the Marquis of
This was the entry then, these stairs--but whither after?
Yet he that's sure to perish on the land
May quit the nicety of card and compass,
And trust the open sea without a pilot. TRAGEDY OF BENNOVALT.
"Look out for the private way through the chapel, Ranald," said
the Captain, "while I give a hasty regard to these matters."
Thus speaking, he seized with one hand a bundle of Argyle's most
private papers, and with the other a purse of gold, both of which
lay in a drawer of a rich cabinet, which stood invitingly open.
Neither did he neglect to possess himself of a sword and pistols,
with powder-flask and balls, which hung in the apartment.
"Intelligence and booty," said the veteran, as he pouched the
spoils, "each honourable cavalier should look to, the one on his
general's behalf, and the other on his own. This sword is an
Andrew Ferrara, and the pistols better than mine own. But a fair
exchange is no robbery. Soldados are not to be endangered, and
endangered gratuitously, my Lord of Argyle.--But soft, soft,
Ranald; wise Man of the Mist, whither art thou bound?"
It was indeed full time to stop MacEagh's proceedings; for, not
finding the private passage readily, and impatient, it would
seem, of farther delay, he had caught down a sword and target,
and was about to enter the great gallery, with the purpose,
doubtless, of fighting his way through all opposition.
"Hold, while you live," whispered Dalgetty, laying hold on him.
"We must be perdue, if possible. So bar we this door, that it
may be thought M'Callum More would be private--and now let me
make a reconnaissance for the private passage."
By looking behind the tapestry in various places, the Captain at
length discovered a private door, and behind that a winding
passage, terminated by another door, which doubtless entered the
chapel. But what was his disagreeable surprise to hear, on the
other side of this second door, the sonorous voice of a divine in
the act of preaching.
"This made the villain," he said, "recommend this to us as a
private passage. I am strongly tempted to return and cut his
He then opened very gently the door, which led into a latticed
gallery used by the Marquis himself, the curtains of which were
drawn, perhaps with the purpose of having it supposed that he was
engaged in attendance upon divine worship, when, in fact, he was
absent upon his secular affairs. There was no other person in
the seat; for the family of the Marquis,--such was the high state
maintained in those days,--sate during service in another
gallery, placed somewhat lower than that of the great man
himself. This being the case, Captain Dalgetty ventured to
ensconce himself in the gallery, of which he carefully secured
Never (although the expression be a bold one) was a sermon
listened to with more impatience, and less edification, on the
part of one, at least, of the audience. The Captain heard
SIXTEENTHLY-SEVENTEENTHLY-EIGHTEENTHLY and TO CONCLUDE, with a
sort of feeling like protracted despair. But no man can lecture
(for the service was called a lecture) for ever; and the
discourse was at length closed, the clergyman not failing to make
a profound bow towards the latticed gallery, little suspecting
whom he honoured by that reverence. To judge from the haste with
which they dispersed, the domestics of the Marquis were scarce
more pleased with their late occupation than the anxious Captain
Dalgetty; indeed, many of them being Highlandmen, had the excuse
of not understanding a single word which the clergyman spoke,
although they gave their attendance on his doctrine by the
special order of M'Callum More, and would have done so had the
preacher been a Turkish Imaum.
But although the congregation dispersed thus rapidly, the divine
remained behind in the chapel, and, walking up and down its
Gothic precincts, seemed either to be meditating on what he had
just been delivering, or preparing a fresh discourse for the next
opportunity. Bold as he was, Dalgetty hesitated what he ought to
do. Time, however, pressed, and every moment increased the
chance of their escape being discovered by the jailor visiting
the dungeon perhaps before his wonted time, and discovering the
exchange which had been made there. At length, whispering
Ranald, who watched all his motions, to follow him and preserve
his countenance, Captain Dalgetty, with a very composed air,
descended a flight of steps which led from the gallery into the
body of the chapel. A less experienced adventurer would have
endeavoured to pass the worthy clergyman rapidly, in hopes to
escape unnoticed. But the Captain, who foresaw the manifest
danger of failing in such an attempt, walked gravely to meet the
divine upon his walk in the midst of the chancel, and, pulling
off his cap, was about to pass him after a formal reverence. But
what was his surprise to view in the preacher the very same
person with whom he had dined in the castle of Ardenvohr! Yet he
speedily recovered his composure; and ere the clergyman could
speak, was the first to address him. "I could not," he said,
"leave this mansion without bequeathing to you, my very reverend
sir, my humble thanks for the homily with which you have this
evening favoured us."
"I did not observe, sir," said the clergyman, "that you were in
"It pleased the honourable Marquis," said Dalgetty, modestly, "to
grace me with a seat in his own gallery." The divine bowed low
at this intimation, knowing that such an honour was only
vouchsafed to persons of very high rank. "It has been my fate,
sir," said the Captain, "in the sort of wandering life which I
have led, to have heard different preachers of different
religions--as for example, Lutheran, Evangelical, Reformed,
Calvinistical, and so forth, but never have I listened to such a
homily as yours."
"Call it a lecture, worthy sir," said the divine, "such is the
phrase of our church."
"Lecture or homily," said Dalgetty, "it was, as the High Germans
say, GANZ FORTRE FLICH; and I could not leave this place without
testifying unto you what inward emotions I have undergone during
your edifying prelection; and how I am touched to the quick, that
I should yesterday, during the refection, have seemed to infringe
on the respect due to such a person as yourself."
"Alas! my worthy sir," said the clergyman, "we meet in this
world as in the Valley of the Shadow of Death, not knowing
against whom we may chance to encounter. In truth, it is no
matter of marvel, if we sometimes jostle those, to whom, if
known, we would yield all respect. Surely, sir, I would rather
have taken you for a profane malignant than for such a devout
person as you prove, who reverences the great Master even in the
meanest of his servants."
"It is always my custom to do so, learned sir," answered
Dalgetty; "for in the service of the immortal Gustavus--but I
detain you from your meditations,"--his desire to speak of the
King of Sweden being for once overpowered by the necessity of his
"By no means, my worthy sir," said the clergyman. "What was, I
pray you, the order of that great Prince, whose memory is so dear
to every Protestant bosom?"
"Sir, the drums beat to prayers morning and evening, as regularly
as for parade; and if a soldier passed without saluting the
chaplain, he had an hour's ride on the wooden mare for his pains.
Sir, I wish you a very good evening--I am obliged to depart the
castle under M'Callum More's passport."
"Stay one instant, sir," said the preacher; "is there nothing I
can do to testify my respect for the pupil of the great Gustavus,
and so admirable a judge of preaching?"
"Nothing, sir," said the Captain, "but to shew me the nearest way
to the gate--and if you would have the kindness," he added, with
great effrontery, "to let a servant bring my horse with him, the
dark grey gelding--call him Gustavus, and he will prick up his
ears--for I know not where the castle-stables are situated, and
my guide," he added, looking at Ranald, "speaks no English."
"I hasten to accommodate you," said the clergyman; "your way lies
through that cloistered passage."
"Now, Heaven's blessing upon your vanity!" said the Captain to
himself. "I was afraid I would have had to march off without
In fact, so effectually did the chaplain exert himself in behalf
of so excellent a judge of composition, that while Dalgetty was
parleying with the sentinels at the drawbridge, showing his
passport, and giving the watchword, a servant brought him his
horse, ready saddled for the journey. In another place, the
Captain's sudden appearance at large after having been publicly
sent to prison, might have excited suspicion and enquiry; but the
officers and domestics of the Marquis were accustomed to the
mysterious policy of their master, and never supposed aught else
than that he had been liberated and intrusted with some private
commission by their master. In this belief, and having received
the parole, they gave him free passage.
Dalgetty rode slowly through the town of Inverary, the outlaw
attending upon him like a foot-page at his horse's shoulder. As
they passed the gibbet, the old man looked on the bodies and
wrung his hands. The look and gesture was momentary, but
expressive of indescribable anguish. Instantly recovering
himself, Ranald, in passing, whispered somewhat to one of the
females, who, like Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, seemed engaged in
watching and mourning the victims of feudal injustice and
cruelty. The woman started at his voice, but immediately
collected herself and returned for answer a slight inclination of
Dalgetty continued his way out of the town, uncertain whether he
should try to seize or hire a boat and cross the lake, or plunge
into the woods, and there conceal himself from pursuit. In the
former event he was liable to be instantly pursued by the galleys
of the Marquis, which lay ready for sailing, their long yard-arms
pointing to the wind, and what hope could he have in an ordinary
Highland fishing-boat to escape from them? If he made the latter
choice, his chance either of supporting or concealing himself in
those waste and unknown wildernesses, was in the highest degree
precarious. The town lay now behind him, yet what hand to turn
to for safety he was unable to determine, and began to be
sensible, that in escaping from the dungeon at Inverary,
desperate as the matter seemed, he had only accomplished the
easiest part of a difficult task. If retaken, his fate was now
certain; for the personal injury he had offered to a man so
powerful and so vindictive, could be atoned for only by instant
death. While he pondered these distressing reflections, and
looked around with a countenance which plainly expressed
indecision, Ranald MacEagh suddenly asked him, "which way he
intended to journey?"
"And that, honest comrade," answered Dalgetty, "is precisely the
question which I cannot answer you. Truly I begin to hold the
opinion, Ranald, that we had better have stuck by the brown loaf
and water-pitcher until Sir Duncan arrived, who, for his own
honour, must have made some fight for me."
"Saxon," answered MacEagh, "do not regret having exchanged the
foul breath of yonder dungeon for the free air of heaven. Above
all, repent not that you have served a Son of the Mist. Put
yourself under my guidance, and I will warrant your safety with
"Can you guide me safe through these mountains, and back to the
army of Montrose?" said Dalgetty.
"I can," answered MacEagh; "there lives not a man to whom the
mountain passes, the caverns, the glens, the thickets, and the
corries are known, as they are to the Children of the Mist.
While others crawl on the level ground, by the sides of lakes and
streams, ours are the steep hollows of the inaccessible
mountains, the birth-place of the desert springs. Not all the
bloodhounds of Argyle can trace the fastnesses through which I
can guide you."
"Say'st thou so, honest Ranald?" replied Dalgetty; "then have on
with thee; for of a surety I shall never save the ship by my own
The outlaw accordingly led the way into the wood, by which the
castle is surrounded for several miles, walking with so much
dispatch as kept Gustavus at a round trot, and taking such a
number of cross cuts and turns, that Captain Dalgetty speedily
lost all idea where he might be, and all knowledge of the points
of the compass. At length, the path, which had gradually become
more difficult, altogether ended among thickets and underwood.
The roaring of a torrent was heard in the neighbourhood, the
ground became in some places broken, in others boggy, and
everywhere unfit for riding.
"What the foul fiend," said Dalgetty, "is to be done here? I must
part with Gustavus, I fear."
"Take no care for your horse," said the outlaw; "he shall soon be
restored to you."
As he spoke, he whistled in a low tune, and a lad, half-dressed
in tartan, half naked, having only his own shaggy hair, tied with
a thong of leather, to protect his head and face from sun and
weather, lean, and half-starved in aspect, his wild grey eyes
appearing to fill up ten times the proportion usually allotted to
them in the human face, crept out, as a wild beast might have
done, from a thicket of brambles and briars.
"Give your horse to the gillie," said Ranald MacEagh; "your life
depends upon it."
"Och! och!" exclaimed the despairing veteran; "Eheu! as we
used to say at Mareschal-College, must I leave Gustavus in such
"Are you frantic, to lose time thus!" said his guide; "do we
stand on friends' ground, that you should part with your horse as
if he were your brother? I tell you, you shall have him again;
but if you never saw the animal, is not life better than the best
colt ever mare foaled?"
"And that is true too, mine honest friend," sighed Dalgetty; "yet
if you knew but the value of Gustavus, and the things we two have
done and suffered together--See, he turns back to look at me!--Be
kind to him, my good breechless friend, and I will requite you
well." So saying, and withal sniffling a little to swallow his
grief, he turned from the heart-rending spectacle in order to
follow his guide.
To follow his guide was no easy matter, and soon required more
agility than Captain Dalgetty could master. The very first
plunge after he had parted from his charger, carried him, with
little assistance from a few overhanging boughs, or projecting
roots of trees, eight foot sheer down into the course of a
torrent, up which the Son of the Mist led the way. Huge stones,
over which they scrambled,--thickets of them and brambles,
through which they had to drag themselves,--rocks which were to
be climbed on the one side with much labour and pain, for the
purpose of an equally precarious descent upon the other; all
these, and many such interruptions, were surmounted by the light-
footed and half-naked mountaineer with an ease and velocity which
excited the surprise and envy of Captain Dalgetty, who,
encumbered by his head-piece, corslet, and other armour, not to
mention his ponderous jack-boots, found himself at length so much
exhausted by fatigue, and the difficulties of the road, that he
sate down upon a stone in order to recover his breath, while he
explained to Ranald MacEagh the difference betwixt travelling
EXPEDITUS and IMPEDITUS, as these two military phrases were
understood at Mareschal-College, Aberdeen. The sole answer of
the mountaineer was to lay his hand on the soldier's arm, and
point backward in the direction of the wind. Dalgetty could spy
nothing, for evening was closing fast, and they were at the
bottom of a dark ravine. But at length he could distinctly hear
at a distance the sullen toll of a large bell.
"That," said he, "must be the alarm--the storm-clock, as the
Germans call it."
"It strikes the hour of your death," answered Ranald, "unless you
can accompany me a little farther. For every toll of that bell a
brave man has yielded up his soul."
"Truly, Ranald, my trusty friend," said Dalgetty, "I will not
deny that the case may be soon my own; for I am so forfoughen
(being, as I explained to you, IMPEDITUS, for had I been
EXPEDITUS, I mind not pedestrian exercise the flourish of a
fife), that I think I had better ensconce myself in one of these
bushes, and even lie quiet there to abide what fortune God shall
send me. I entreat you, mine honest friend Ranald, to shift for
yourself, and leave me to my fortune, as the Lion of the North,
the immortal Gustavus Adolphus, my never-to-be-forgotten master
(whom you must surely have heard of, Ranald, though you may have
heard of no one else), said to Francis Albert, Duke of Saxe-
Lauenburgh, when he was mortally wounded on the plains of Lutzen.
Neither despair altogether of my safety, Ranald, seeing I have
been in as great pinches as this in Germany--more especially, I
remember me, that at the fatal battle of Nerlingen--after which I
"If you would save your father's son's breath to help his child
out of trouble, instead of wasting it upon the tales of
Seannachies," said Ranald, who now grew impatient of the
Captain's loquacity, "or if your feet could travel as fast as
your tongue, you might yet lay your head on an unbloody pillow
"Something there is like military skill in that," replied the
Captain, "although wantonly and irreverently spoken to an officer
of rank. But I hold it good to pardon such freedoms on a march,
in respect of the Saturnalian license indulged in such cases to
the troops of all nations. And now, resume thine office, friend
Ranald, in respect I am well-breathed; or, to be more plain, I
PRAE, SEQUAR, as we used to say at Mareschal-College."
Comprehending his meaning rather from his motions than his
language, the Son of the Mist again led the way, with an unerring
precision that looked like instinct, through a variety of ground
the most difficult and broken that could well be imagined.
Dragging along his ponderous boots, encumbered with thigh-pieces,
gauntlets, corslet, and back-piece, not to mention the buff
jerkin which he wore under all these arms, talking of his former
exploits the whole way, though Ranald paid not the slightest
attention to him, Captain Dalgetty contrived to follow his guide
a considerable space farther, when the deep-mouthed baying of a
hound was heard coming down the wind, as if opening on the scent
of its prey.
"Black hound," said Ranald, "whose throat never boded good to a
Child of the Mist, ill fortune to her who littered thee! hast
thou already found our trace? But thou art too late, swart hound
of darkness, and the deer has gained the herd."
So saying, he whistled very softly, and was answered in a tone
equally low from the top of a pass, up which they had for some
time been ascending. Mending their pace, they reached the top,
where the moon, which had now risen bright and clear, showed to
Dalgetty a party of ten or twelve Highlanders, and about as many
women and children, by whom Ranald MacEagh was received with such
transports of joy, as made his companion easily sensible that
those by whom he was surrounded, must of course be Children of
the Mist. The place which they occupied well suited their name
and habits. It was a beetling crag, round which winded a very
narrow and broken footpath, commanded in various places by the
position which they held.
Ranald spoke anxiously and hastily to the children of his tribe,
and the men came one by one to shake hands with Dalgetty, while
the women, clamorous in their gratitude, pressed round to kiss
even the hem of his garment. "They plight their faith to you,"
said Ranald MacEagh, "for requital of the good deed you have done
to the tribe this day."
"Enough said, Ranald," answered the soldier, "enough said--tell
them I love not this shaking of hands--it confuses ranks and
degrees in military service; and as to kissing of gauntlets,
puldrons, and the like, I remember that the immortal Gustavus, as
he rode through the streets of Nuremberg, being thus worshipped
by the poulace (being doubtless far more worthy of it than a poor
though honourable cavalier like myself), did say unto them, in
the way of rebuke, 'If you idolize me thus like a god, who shall
assure you that the vengeance of Heaven will not soon prove me to
be a mortal?'--And so here, I suppose you intend to make a stand
against your followers, Ranald--VOTO A DIOS, as the Spaniard
says?--a very pretty position--as pretty a position for a small
peloton of men as I have seen in my service--no enemy can come
towards it by the road without being at the mercy of cannon and
musket.--But then, Ranald, my trusty comrade, you have no cannon,
I dare to aver, and I do not see that any of these fellows have
muskets either. So with what artillery you propose making good
the pass, before you come to hand blows, truly, Ranald, it
passeth my apprehension."
"With the weapons and with the courage of our fathers," said
MacEagh; and made the Captain observe, that the men of his party
were armed with bows and arrows.
"Bows and arrows!" exclaimed Dalgetty; "ha! ha! ha! have we
Robin Hood and Little John back again? Bows and arrows! why,
the sight has not been seen in civilized war for a hundred years.
Bows and arrows! and why not weavers' beams, as in the days of
Goliah? Ah! that Dugald Dalgetty, of Drumthwacket, should live
to see men fight with bows and arrows!--The immortal Gustavus
would never have believed it--nor Wallenstein--nor Butler--nor
old Tilly,--Well, Ranald, a cat can have but its claws--since
bows and arrows are the word, e'en let us make the best of it.
Only, as I do not understand the scope and range of such old-
fashioned artillery, you must make the best disposition you can
out of your own head for MY taking the command, whilk I would
have gladly done had you been to fight with any Christian
weapons, is out of the question, when you are to combat like
quivered Numidians. I will, however, play my part with my
pistols in the approaching melley, in respect my carabine
unhappily remains at Gustavus's saddle.--My service and thanks to
you," he continued, addressing a mountaineer who offered him a
bow; "Dugald Dalgetty may say of himself, as he learned at
"Non eget Mauri jaculis, neque arcu,
Nec venenatis gravida sagittis,
whilk is to say--"
Ranald MacEagh a second time imposed silence on the talkative
commander as before, by pulling his sleeve, and pointing down the
pass. The bay of the bloodhound was now approaching nearer and
nearer, and they could hear the voices of several persons who
accompanied the animal, and hallooed to each other as they
dispersed occasionally, either in the hurry of their advance, or
in order to search more accurately the thickets as they came
along. They were obviously drawing nearer and nearer every
moment. MacEagh, in the meantime, proposed to Captain Dalgetty
to disencumber himself of his armour, and gave him to understand
that the women should transport it to a place of safety.
"I crave your pardon, sir," said Dalgetty, "such is not the rule
of our foreign service in respect I remember the regiment of
Finland cuirassiers reprimanded, and their kettle-drums taken
from them, by the immortal Gustavus, because they had assumed the
permission to march without their corslets, and to leave them
with the baggage. Neither did they strike kettle-drums again at
the head of that famous regiment until they behaved themselves so
notably at the field of Leipsic; a lesson whilk is not to be
forgotten, any more than that exclamation of the immortal
Gustavus, 'Now shall I know if my officers love me, by their
putting on their armour; since, if my officers are slain, who
shall lead my soldiers into victory?' Nevertheless, friend
Ranald, this is without prejudice to my being rid of these
somewhat heavy boots, providing I can obtain any other
succedaneum; for I presume not to say that my bare soles are
fortified so as to endure the flints and thorns, as seems to be
the case with your followers."
To rid the Captain of his cumbrous greaves, and case his feet in
a pair of brogues made out of deerskin, which a Highlander
stripped off for his accommodation, was the work of a minute, and
Dalgetty found himself much lightened by the exchange. He was in
the act of recommending to Ranald MacEagh, to send two or three
of his followers a little lower to reconnoitre the pass, and, at
the same time, somewhat to extend his front, placing two detached
archers at each flank by way of posts of observation, when the
near cry of the hound apprised them that the pursuers were at the
bottom of the pass. All was then dead silence; for, loquacious
as he was on other occasions, Captain Dalgetty knew well the
necessity of an ambush keeping itself under covert.
The moon gleamed on the broken pathway, and on the projecting
cliffs of rock round which it winded, its light intercepted here
and there by the branches of bushes and dwarf-trees, which,
finding nourishment in the crevices of the rocks, in some places
overshadowed the brow and ledge of the precipice. Below, a thick
copse-wood lay in deep and dark shadow, somewhat resembling the
billows of a half-seen ocean. From the bosom of that darkness,
and close to the bottom of the precipice, the hound was heard at
intervals baying fearfully, sounds which were redoubled by the
echoes of the woods and rocks around. At intervals, these sunk
into deep silence, interrupted only by the plashing noise of a
small runnel of water, which partly fell from the rock, partly
found a more silent passage to the bottom along its projecting
surface. Voices of men were also heard in stifled converse
below; it seemed as if the pursuers had not discovered the narrow
path which led to the top of the rock, or that, having discovered
it, the peril of the ascent, joined to the imperfect light, and
the uncertainty whether it might not be defended, made them
hesitate to attempt it.
At length a shadowy figure was seen, which raised itself up from
the abyss of darkness below, and, emerging into the pale
moonlight, began cautiously and slowly to ascend the rocky path.
The outline was so distinctly marked, that Captain Dalgetty could
discover not only the person of a Highlander, but the long gun
which he carried in his hand, and the plume of feathers which
decorated his bonnet. "TAUSEND TEIFLEN! that I should say so,
and so like to be near my latter end!" ejaculated the Captain,
but under his breath, "what will become of us, now they have
brought musketry to encounter our archers?"
But just as the pursuer had attained a projecting piece of rock
about half way up the ascent, and, pausing, made a signal for
those who were still at the bottom to follow him, an arrow
whistled from the bow of one of the Children of the Mist, and
transfixed him with so fatal a wound, that, without a single
effort to save himself, he lost his balance, and fell headlong
from the cliff on which he stood, into the darkness below. The
crash of the boughs which received him, and the heavy sound of
his fall from thence to the ground, was followed by a cry of
horror and surprise, which burst from his followers. The
Children of the Mist, encouraged in proportion to the alarm this
first success had caused among the pursuers, echoed back the
clamour with a loud and shrill yell of exultation, and, showing
themselves on the brow of the precipice, with wild cries and
vindictive gestures, endeavoured to impress on their enemies a
sense at once of their courage, their numbers, and their state of
defence. Even Captain Dalgetty's military prudence did not
prevent his rising up, and calling out to Ranald, more loud than
prudence warranted, "CAROCCO, comrade, as the Spaniard says! The
long-bow for ever! In my poor apprehension now, were you to
order a file to advance and take position--"
"The Sassenach!" cried a voice from beneath, "mark the Sassenach
sidier! I see the glitter of his breastplate." At the same time
three muskets were discharged; and while one ball rattled against
the corslet of proof, to the strength of which our valiant
Captain had been more than once indebted for his life, another
penetrated the armour which covered the front of his left thigh,
and stretched him on the ground. Ranald instantly seized him in
his arms, and bore him back from the edge of the precipice, while
he dolefully ejaculated, "I always told the immortal Gustavus,
Wallenstein, Tilly, and other men of the sword, that, in my poor
mind, taslets ought to be made musket-proof."
With two or three earnest words in Gaelic, MacEagh commended the
wounded man to the charge of the females, who were in the rear of
his little party, and was then about to return to the contest.
But Dalgetty detained him, grasping a firm hold of his plaid.--"I
know not how this matter may end--but I request you will inform
Montrose, that I died like a follower of the immortal Gustavus
--and I pray you, take heed how you quit your present strength,
even for the purpose of pursuing the enemy, if you gain any
Here Dalgetty's breath and eyesight began to fail him through
loss of blood, and MacEagh, availing himself of this
circumstance, extricated from his grasp the end of his own
mantle, and substituted that of a female, by which the Captain
held stoutly, thereby securing, as he conceived, the outlaw's
attention to the military instructions which he continued to pour
forth while he had any breath to utter them, though they became
gradually more and more incoherent--"And, comrade, you will be
sure to keep your musketeers in advance of your stand of pikes,
Lochaber-axes, and two-handed swords--Stand fast, dragoons, on
the left flank!--where was I?--Ay, and, Ranald, if ye be minded
to retreat, leave some lighted matches burning on the branches of
the trees--it shows as if they were lined with shot--But I forget
--ye have no match-locks nor habergeons--only bows and arrows
--bows and arrows! ha! ha! ha!"
Here the Captain sunk back in an exhausted condition, altogether
unable to resist the sense of the ludicrous which, as a modern
man-at-arms, he connected with the idea of these ancient weapons
of war. It was a long time ere he recovered his senses; and, in
the meantime, we leave him in the care of the Daughters of the
Mist; nurses as kind and attentive, in reality, as they were wild
and uncouth in outward appearance.
But if no faithless action stain
Thy true and constant word,
I'll make thee famous by my pen,
And glorious by my sword.
I'll serve thee in such noble ways
As ne'er were known before;
I'll deck and crown thy head with bays,
And love thee more and more. MONTROSE'S LINES.
We must now leave, with whatever regret, the valiant Captain
Dalgetty, to recover of his wounds or otherwise as fate shall
determine, in order briefly to trace the military operations of
Montrose, worthy as they are of a more important page, and a
better historian. By the assistance of the chieftains whom we
have commemorated, and more especially by the junction of the
Murrays, Stewarts, and other clans of Athole, which were
peculiarly zealous in the royal cause, he soon assembled an army
of two or three thousand Highlanders, to whom he successfully
united the Irish under Colkitto. This last leader, who, to the
great embarrassment of Milton's commentators, is commemorated in
one of that great poet's sonnets, was properly named Alister, or
Alexander M'Donnell, by birth a Scottish islesman, and related to
the Earl of Antrim, to whose patronage he owed the command
assigned him in the Irish troops. In many respects he merited
this distinction. He was brave to intrepidity, and almost to
insensibility; very strong and active in person, completely
master of his weapons, and always ready to show the example in
the extremity of danger. To counterbalance these good qualities,
it must be recorded, that he was inexperienced in military
tactics, and of a jealous and presumptuous disposition, which
often lost to Montrose the fruits of Colkitto's gallantry. Yet
such is the predominance of outward personal qualities in the
eyes of a mild people, that the feats of strength and courage
shown by this champion, seem to have made a stronger impression
upon the minds of the Highlanders, than the military skill and
chivalrous spirit of the great Marquis of Montrose. Numerous
traditions are still preserved in the Highland glens concerning
Alister M'Donnell, though the name of Montrose is rarely
mentioned among them.
[Milton's book, entitled TETRACHORDON, had
been ridiculed, it would seem, by the divines assembled at
Westminster, and others, on account of the hardness of the title;
and Milton in his sonnet retaliates upon the barbarous Scottish
names which the Civil War had made familiar to English ears:--
-- why is it harder, sirs, than Gordon,
COLKITTO or M'Donald, or Gallasp?
These rugged names to our like mouths grow sleek,
That would have made Quintillian stare and gasp.
"We may suppose," says Bishop Newton, "that these were persons of
note among the Scotch ministers, who were for pressing and
enforcing the Covenant;" whereas Milton only intends to ridicule
the barbarism of Scottish names in general, and quotes,
indiscriminately, that of Gillespie, one of the Apostles of the
Covenant, and those of Colkitto and M'Donnell (both belonging to
one person), one of its bitterest enemies.]
The point upon which Montrose finally assembled his little army,
was in Strathearn, on the verge of the Highlands of Perthshire,
so as to menace the principal town of that county.
His enemies were not unprepared for his reception. Argyle, at the
head of his Highlanders, was dogging the steps of the Irish from
the west to the east, and by force, fear, or influence, had
collected an army nearly sufficient to have given battle to that
under Montrose. The Lowlands were also prepared, for reasons
which we assigned at the beginning of this tale. A body of six
thousand infantry, and six or seven thousand cavalry, which
profanely assumed the title of God's army, had been hastily
assembled from the shires of Fife, Angus, Perth, Stirling, and
the neighbouring counties. A much less force in former times,
nay, even in the preceding reign, would have been sufficient to
have secured the Lowlands against a more formidable descent of
Highlanders, than those united under Montrose; but times had
changed strangely within the last half century. Before that
period, the Lowlanders were as constantly engaged in war as the
mountaineers, and were incomparably better disciplined and armed.
The favourite Scottish order of battle somewhat resembled the
Macedonian phalanx. Their infantry formed a compact body, armed
with long spears, impenetrable even to the men-at-arms of the
age, though well mounted, and arrayed in complete proof. It may
easily be conceived, therefore, that their ranks could not be
broken by the disorderly charge of Highland infantry armed for
close combat only, with swords, and ill furnished with missile
weapons, and having no artillery whatever.
This habit of fight was in a great measure changed by the
introduction of muskets into the Scottish Lowland service, which,
not being as yet combined with the bayonet, was a formidable
weapon at a distance, but gave no assurance against the enemy who
rushed on to close quarters. The pike, indeed, was not wholly
disused in the Scottish army; but it was no longer the favourite
weapon, nor was it relied upon as formerly by those in whose
hands it was placed; insomuch that Daniel Lupton, a tactician of
the day, has written a book expressly upon the superiority of the
musket. This change commenced as early as the wars of Gustavus
Adolphus, whose marches were made with such rapidity, that the
pike was very soon thrown aside in his army, and exchanged for
fire-arms. A circumstance which necessarily accompanied this
change, as well as the establishment of standing armies, whereby
war became a trade, was the introduction of a laborious and
complicated system of discipline, combining a variety of words of
command with corresponding operations and manoeuvres, the neglect
of any one of which was sure to throw the whole into confusion.
War therefore, as practised among most nations of Europe, had
assumed much more than formerly the character of a profession or
mystery, to which previous practice and experience were
indispensable requisites. Such was the natural consequence of
standing armies, which had almost everywhere, and particularly in
the long German wars, superseded what may be called the natural
discipline of the feudal militia.
The Scottish Lowland militia, therefore, laboured under a double
disadvantage when opposed to Highlanders. They were divested of
the spear, a weapon which, in the hands of their ancestors, had
so often repelled the impetuous assaults of the mountaineer; and
they were subjected to a new and complicated species of
discipline, well adapted, perhaps, to the use of regular troops,
who could be rendered completely masters of it, but tending only
to confuse the ranks of citizen soldiers, by whom it was rarely
practised, and imperfectly understood. So much has been done in
our own time in bringing back tactics to their first principles,
and in getting rid of the pedantry of war, that it is easy for us
to estimate the disadvantages under which a half-trained militia
laboured, who were taught to consider success as depending upon
their exercising with precision a system of tactics, which they
probably only so far comprehended as to find out when they were
wrong, but without the power of getting right again. Neither can
it be denied, that, in the material points of military habits and
warlike spirit, the Lowlanders of the seventeenth century had
sunk far beneath their Highland countrymen.
From the earliest period down to the union of the crowns, the
whole kingdom of Scotland, Lowlands as well as Highlands, had
been the constant scene of war, foreign and domestic; and there
was probably scarce one of its hardy inhabitants, between the age
of sixteen and sixty, who was not as willing in point of fact as
he was literally bound in law, to assume arms at the first call
of his liege lord, or of a royal proclamation. The law remained
the same in sixteen hundred and forty-five as a hundred years
before, but the race of those subjected to it had been bred up
under very different feelings. They had sat in quiet under their
vine and under their fig-tree, and a call to battle involved a
change of life as new as it was disagreeable. Such of them,
also, who lived near unto the Highlands, were in continual and
disadvantageous contact with the restless inhabitants of those
mountains, by whom their cattle were driven off, their dwellings
plundered, and their persons insulted, and who had acquired over
them that sort of superiority arising from a constant system of
aggression. The Lowlanders, who lay more remote, and out of
reach of these depredations, were influenced by the exaggerated
reports circulated concerning the Highlanders, whom, as totally
differing in laws, language, and dress, they were induced to
regard as a nation of savages, equally void of fear and of
humanity. These various prepossessions, joined to the less
warlike habits of the Lowlanders, and their imperfect knowledge
of the new and complicated system of discipline for which they
had exchanged their natural mode of fighting, placed them at
great disadvantage when opposed to the Highlander in the field of
battle. The mountaineers, on the contrary, with the arms and
courage of their fathers, possessed also their simple and natural
system of tactics, and bore down with the fullest confidence upon
an enemy, to whom anything they had been taught of discipline
was, like Saul's armour upon David, a hinderance rather than a
help, "because they had not proved it."
It was with such disadvantages on the one side, and such
advantages on the other, to counterbalance the difference of
superior numbers and the presence of artillery and cavalry, that
Montrose encountered the army of Lord Elcho upon the field of
Tippermuir. The Presbyterian clergy had not been wanting in
their efforts to rouse the spirit of their followers, and one of
them, who harangued the troops on the very day of battle,
hesitated not to say, that if ever God spoke by his mouth, he
promised them, in His name, that day, a great and assured
victory. The cavalry and artillery were also reckoned sure
warrants of success, as the novelty of their attack had upon
former occasions been very discouraging to the Highlanders. The
place of meeting was an open heath, and the ground afforded
little advantage to either party, except that it allowed the
horse of the Covenanters to act with effect.
A battle upon which so much depended, was never more easily
decided. The Lowland cavalry made a show of charging; but,
whether thrown into disorder by the fire of musketry, or deterred
by a disaffection to the service said to have prevailed among the
gentlemen, they made no impression on the Highlanders whatever,
and recoiled in disorder from ranks which had neither bayonets
nor pikes to protect them. Montrose saw, and instantly availed
himself of this advantage. He ordered his whole army to charge,
which they performed with the wild and desperate valour peculiar
to mountaineers. One officer of the Covenanters alone, trained
in the Italian wars, made a desperate defence upon the right
wing. In every other point their line was penetrated at the
first onset; and this advantage once obtained, the Lowlanders
were utterly unable to contend at close quarters with their more
agile and athletic enemies. Many were slain on the held, and
such a number in the pursuit, that above one-third of the
Covenanters were reported to have fallen; in which number,
however, must be computed a great many fat burgesses who broke
their wind in the flight, and thus died without stroke of sword.
[We choose to quote our authority for a fact so singular:--"A
great many burgesses were killed--twenty-five householders in St.
Andrews--many were bursten in the flight, and died without
stroke."--See Baillie's Letters, vol. ii. page 92.]
The victors obtained possession of Perth, and obtained
considerable sums of money, as well as ample supplies of arms and
ammunition. But those advantages were to be balanced against an
almost insurmountable inconvenience that uniformly attended a
Highland army. The clans could be in no respect induced to
consider themselves as regular soldiers, or to act as such. Even
so late as the year 1745-6, when the Chevalier Charles Edward, by
way of making an example, caused a soldier to be shot for
desertion, the Highlanders, who composed his army, were affected
as much by indignation as by fear. They could not conceive any
principle of justice upon which a man's life could be taken, for
merely going home when it did not suit him to remain longer with
the army. Such had been the uniform practice of their fathers.
When a battle was over, the campaign was, in their opinion,
ended; if it was lost, they sought safety in their mountains--if
won, they returned there to secure their booty. At other times
they had their cattle to look after, and their harvests to sow or
reap, without which their families would have perished for want.
In either case, there was an end of their services for the time;
and though they were easily enough recalled by the prospect of
fresh adventures and more plunder, yet the opportunity of success
was, in the meantime, lost, and could not afterwards be
recovered. This circumstance serves to show, even if history had
not made us acquainted with the same fact, that the Highlanders
had never been accustomed to make war with the view of permanent
conquest, but only with the hope of deriving temporary advantage,
or deciding some immediate quarrel. It also explains the reason
why Montrose, with all his splendid successes, never obtained any
secure or permanent footing in the Lowlands, and why even those
Lowland noblemen and gentlemen, who were inclined to the royal
cause, showed diffidence and reluctance to join an army of a
character so desultory and irregular, as might lead them at all
times to apprehend that the Highlanders securing themselves by a
retreat to their mountains, would leave whatever Lowlanders might
have joined them to the mercy of an offended and predominant
enemy. The same consideration will also serve to account for the
sudden marches which Montrose was obliged to undertake, in order
to recruit his army in the mountains, and for the rapid changes
of fortune, by which we often find him obliged to retreat from
before those enemies over whom he had recently been victorious.
If there should be any who read these tales for any further
purpose than that of immediate amusement, they will find these
remarks not unworthy of their recollection.
It was owing to such causes, the slackness of the Lowland
loyalists and the temporary desertion of his Highland followers,
that Montrose found himself, even after the decisive victory of
Tippermuir, in no condition to face the second army with which
Argyle advanced upon him from the westward. In this emergency,
supplying by velocity the want of strength, he moved suddenly
from Perth to Dundee, and being refused admission into that town,
fell northward upon Aberdeen, where he expected to be joined by
the Gordons and other loyalists. But the zeal of these gentlemen
was, for the time, effectually bridled by a large body of
Covenanters, commanded by the Lord Burleigh, and supposed to
amount to three thousand men. These Montrose boldly attacked
with half their number. The battle was fought under the walls Of
the city, and the resolute valour of Montrose's followers was
again successful against every disadvantage.
But it was the fate of this great commander, always to gain the
glory, but seldom to reap the fruits of victory. He had scarcely
time to repose his small army in Aberdeen, ere he found, on the
one hand, that the Gordons were likely to be deterred from
joining him, by the reasons we have mentioned, with some others
peculiar to their chief, the Marquis of Huntly; on the other
hand, Argyle, whose forces had been augmented by those of several
Lowland noblemen, advanced towards Montrose at the head of an
army much larger than he had yet had to cope with. These troops
moved, indeed, with slowness, corresponding to the cautious
character of their commander; but even that caution rendered
Argyle's approach formidable, since his very advance implied,
that he was at the head of an army irresistibly superior
There remained one mode of retreat open to Montrose, and he
adopted it. He threw himself into the Highlands, where he could
set pursuit at defiance, and where he was sure, in every glen, to
recover those recruits who had left his standard to deposit their
booty in their native fastnesses. It was thus that the singular
character of the army which Montrose commanded, while, on the one
hand, it rendered his victory in some degree nugatory, enabled
him, on the other, under the most disadvantageous circumstances,
to secure his retreat, recruit his forces, and render himself
more formidable than ever to the enemy, before whom he had lately
been unable to make a stand.
On the present occasion he threw himself into Badenoch, and
rapidly traversing that district, as well as the neighbouring
country of Athole, he alarmed the Covenanters by successive
attacks upon various unexpected points, and spread such general
dismay, that repeated orders were dispatched by the Parliament to
Argyle, their commander, to engage, and disperse Montrose at all
These commands from his superiors neither suited the haughty
spirit, nor the temporizing and cautious policy, of the nobleman
to whom they were addressed. He paid, accordingly, no regard to
them, but limited his efforts to intrigues among Montrose's few
Lowland followers, many of whom had become disgusted with the
prospect of a Highland campaign, which exposed their persons to
intolerable fatigue, and left their estates at the Covenanters'
mercy. Accordingly, several of them left Montrose's camp at this
period. He was joined, however, by a body of forces of more
congenial spirit, and far better adapted to the situation in
which he found himself. This reinforcement consisted of a large
body of Highlanders, whom Colkitto, dispatched for that purpose,
had levied in Argyleshire. Among the most distinguished was John
of Moidart, called the Captain of Clan Ranald, with the Stewarts
of Appin, the Clan Gregor, the Clan M'Nab, and other tribes of
inferior distinction. By these means, Montrose's army was so
formidably increased, that Argyle cared no longer to remain in
the command of that opposed to him, but returned to Edinburgh,
and there threw up his commission, under pretence that his army
was not supplied with reinforcements and provisions in the manner
in which they ought to have been. From thence the Marquis
returned to Inverary, there, in full security, to govern his
feudal vassals, and patriarchal followers, and to repose himself
in safety on the faith of the Clan proverb already quoted--"It is
a far cry to Lochow."
Such mountains steep, such craggy hills,
His army on one side enclose:
The other side, great griesly gills
Did fence with fenny mire and moss.
Which when the Earl understood,
He council craved of captains all,
Who bade set forth with mournful mood,
And take such fortune as would fall.
FLODDEN FIELD, AN ANCIENT POEM.
Montrose had now a splendid career in his view, provided he could
obtain the consent of his gallant, but desultory troops, and
their independent chieftains. The Lowlands lay open before him
without an army adequate to check his career; for Argyle's
followers had left the Covenanters' host when their master threw
up his commission, and many other troops, tired of the war, had
taken the same opportunity to disband themselves. By descending
Strath-Tay, therefore, one of the most convenient passes from the
Highlands, Montrose had only to present himself in the Lowlands,
in order to rouse the slumbering spirit of chivalry and of
loyalty which animated the gentlemen to the north of the Forth.
The possession of these districts, with or without a victory,
would give him the command of a wealthy and fertile part of the
kingdom, and would enable him, by regular pay, to place his army
on a permanent footing, to penetrate as far as the capital,
perhaps from thence to the Border, where he deemed it possible to
communicate with the yet unsubdued forces of King Charles.
Such was the plan of operations by which the truest glory was to
be acquired, and the most important success insured for the royal
cause. Accordingly it did not escape the ambitious and daring
spirit of him whose services had already acquired him the title
of the Great Marquis. But other motives actuated many of his
followers, and perhaps were not without their secret and
unacknowledged influence upon his own feelings.
The Western Chiefs in Montrose's army, almost to a man, regarded
the Marquis of Argyle as the most direct and proper object of
hostilities. Almost all of them had felt his power; almost all,
in withdrawing their fencible men from their own glens, left
their families and property exposed to his vengeance; all,
without exception, were desirous of diminishing his sovereignty;
and most of them lay so near his territories, that they might
reasonably hope to be gratified by a share of his spoil. To
these Chiefs the possession of Inverary and its castle was an
event infinitely more important and desirable than the capture of
Edinburgh. The latter event could only afford their clansmen a
little transitory pay or plunder; the former insured to the
Chiefs themselves indemnity for the past, and security for the
future. Besides these personal reasons, the leaders, who
favoured this opinion, plausibly urged, that though, at his first
descent into the Lowlands, Montrose might be superior to the
enemy, yet every day's march he made from the hills must diminish
his own forces, and expose him to the accumulated superiority of
any army which the Covenanters could collect from the Lowland
levies and garrisons. On the other hand, by crushing Argyle
effectually, he would not only permit his present western friends
to bring out that proportion of their forces which they must
otherwise leave at home for protection of their families; but
farther, he would draw to his standard several tribes already
friendly to his cause, but who were prevented from joining him by
fear of M'Callum More.
These arguments, as we have already hinted, found something
responsive in Montrose's own bosom, not quite consonant with the
general heroism of his character. The houses of Argyle and
Montrose had been in former times, repeatedly opposed to each
other in war and in politics, and the superior advantages
acquired by the former, had made them the subject of envy and
dislike to the neighbouring family, who, conscious of equal
desert, had not been so richly rewarded. This was not all. The
existing heads of these rival families had stood in the most
marked opposition to each other since the commencement of the
Montrose, conscious of the superiority of his talents, and of
having rendered great service to the Covenanters at the beginning
of the war, had expected from that party the supereminence of
council and command, which they judged it safer to intrust to the
more limited faculties, and more extensive power, of his rival
Argyle. The having awarded this preference, was an injury which
Montrose never forgave the Covenanters; and he was still less
likely to extend his pardon to Argyle, to whom he had been
postponed. He was therefore stimulated by every feeling of
hatred which could animate a fiery temper in a fierce age, to
seek for revenge upon the enemy of his house and person; and it
is probable that these private motives operated not a little upon
his mind, when he found the principal part of his followers
determined rather to undertake an expedition against the
territories of Argyle, than to take the far more decisive step of
descending at once into the Lowlands.
Yet whatever temptation Montrose found to carry into effect his
attack upon Argyleshire, he could not easily bring himself to
renounce the splendid achievement of a descent upon the Lowlands.
He held more than one council with the principal Chiefs,
combating, perhaps, his own secret inclination as well as theirs.
He laid before them the extreme difficulty of marching even a
Highland army from the eastward into Argyleshire, through passes
scarcely practicable for shepherds and deer-stalkers, and over
mountains, with which even the clans lying nearest to them did
not pretend to be thoroughly acquainted. These difficulties were
greatly enhanced by the season of the year, which was now
advancing towards December, when the mountain-passes, in
themselves so difficult, might be expected to be rendered utterly
impassable by snowstorms. These objections neither satisfied nor
silenced the Chiefs, who insisted upon their ancient mode of
making war, by driving the cattle, which, according to the Gaelic
phrase, "fed upon the grass of their enemy." The council was
dismissed late at night, and without coming to any decision,
excepting that the Chiefs, who supported the opinion that Argyle
should be invaded, promised to seek out among their followers
those who might be most capable of undertaking the office of
guides upon the expedition.
Montrose had retired to the cabin which served him for a tent,
and stretched himself upon a bed of dry fern, the only place of
repose which it afforded. But he courted sleep in vain, for the
visions of ambition excluded those of Morpheus. In one moment he
imagined himself displaying the royal banner from the reconquered
Castle of Edinburgh, detaching assistance to a monarch whose
crown depended upon his success, and receiving in requital all
the advantages and preferments which could be heaped upon him
whom a king delighteth to honour. At another time this dream,
splendid as it was, faded before the vision of gratified
vengeance, and personal triumph over a personal enemy. To
surprise Argyle in his stronghold of Inverary--to crush in him at
once the rival of his own house and the chief support of the
Presbyterians--to show the Covenanters the difference between the
preferred Argyle and the postponed Montrose, was a picture too
flattering to feudal vengeance to be easily relinquished.
While he lay thus busied with contradictory thoughts and
feelings, the soldier who stood sentinel upon his quarters
announced to the Marquis that two persons desired to speak with
"Their names?" answered Montrose, "and the cause of their
urgency at such a late hour?"
On these points, the sentinel, who was one of Colkitto's
Irishmen, could afford his General little information; so that
Montrose, who at such a period durst refuse access to no one,
lest he might have been neglecting some important intelligence,
gave directions, as a necessary precaution, to put the guard
under arms, and then prepared to receive his untimely visitors.
His groom of the chambers had scarce lighted a pair of torches,
and Montrose himself had scarce risen from his couch, when two
men entered, one wearing a Lowland dress, of shamoy leather worn
almost to tatters; the other a tall upright old Highlander, of a
complexion which might be termed iron-grey, wasted and worn by
frost and tempest.
"What may be your commands with me, my friends?" said the
Marquis, his hand almost unconsciously seeking the but of one of
his pistols; for the period, as well as the time of night,
warranted suspicions which the good mien of his visitors was not
by any means calculated to remove.
"I pray leave to congratulate you," said the Lowlander, "my most
noble General, and right honourable lord, upon the great battles
which you have achieved since I had the fortune to be detached
from you, It was a pretty affair that tuilzie at Tippermuir;
nevertheless, if I might be permitted to counsel--"
"Before doing so," said the Marquis, "will you be pleased to let
me know who is so kind as to favour me with his opinion?"
"Truly, my lord," replied the man, "I should have hoped that was
unnecessary, seeing it is not so long since I took on in your
service, under promise of a commission as Major, with half a
dollar of daily pay and half a dollar of arrears; and I am to
trust your lordship has nut forgotten my pay as well as my
"My good friend, Major Dalgetty," said Montrose, who by this time
perfectly recollected his man, "you must consider what important
things have happened to put my friends' faces out of my memory,
besides this imperfect light; but all conditions shall be kept.
--And what news from Argyleshire, my good Major? We have long
given you up for lost, and I was now preparing to take the most
signal vengeance upon the old fox who infringed the law of arms
in your person."
"Truly, my noble lord," said Dalgetty, "I have no desire that my
return should put any stop to so proper and becoming an
intention; verily it is in no shape in the Earl of Argyle's
favour or mercy that I now stand before you, and I shall be no
intercessor for him. But my escape is, under Heaven, and the
excellent dexterity which, as an old and accomplished cavalier, I
displayed in effecting the same,--I say, under these, it is owing
to the assistance of this old Highlander, whom I venture to
recommend to your lordship's special favour, as the instrument of
saving your lordship's to command, Dugald Dalgetty of
"A thankworthy service," said the Marquis, gravely, "which shall
certainly be requited in the manner it deserves."
"Kneel down, Ranald," said Major Dalgetty (as we must now call
him), "kneel down, and kiss his Excellency's hand."
The prescribed form of acknowledgment not being according to the
custom of Ranald's country, he contented himself with folding his
arms on his bosom, and making a low inclination of his head.
"This poor man, my lord," said Major Dalgetty, continuing his
speech with a dignified air of protection towards Ranald M'Eagh,
"has strained all his slender means to defend my person from mine
enemies, although having no better weapons of a missile sort than
bows and arrows, whilk your lordship will hardly believe."
"You will see a great many such weapons in my camp," said
Montrose, "and we find them serviceable." [In fact, for the
admirers of archery it may be stated, not only that many of the
Highlanders in Montrose's army used these antique missiles, but
even in England the bow and quiver, once the glory of the bold
yeomen of that land, were occasionally used during the great
"Serviceable, my lord!" said Dalgetty; "I trust your lordship
will permit me to be surprised--bows and arrows!--I trust you
will forgive my recommending the substitution of muskets, the
first convenient opportunity. But besides defending me, this
honest Highlander also was at the pains of curing me, in respect
that I had got a touch of the wars in my retreat, which merits my
best requital in this special introduction of him to your
lordship's notice and protection."
"What is your name, my friend?" said Montrose, turning to the
"It may not be spoken," answered the mountaineer.
"That is to say," interpreted Major Dalgetty, "he desires to have
his name concealed, in respect he hath in former days taken a
castle, slain certain children, and done other things, whilk, as
your good lordship knows, are often practised in war time, but
excite no benevolence towards the perpetrator in the friends of
those who sustain injury. I have known, in my military
experience, many brave cavaliers put to death by the boors,
simply for having used military license upon the country."
"I understand," said Montrose: "This person is at feud with some
of our followers. Let him retire to the court of guard, and we
will think of the best mode of protecting him."
"You hear, Ranald," said Major Dalgetty, with an air of
superiority, "his Excellency wishes to hold privy council with
me, you must go to the court of guard.--He does not know where
that is, poor fellow!--he is a young soldier for so old a man; I
will put him under the charge of a sentinel, and return to your
lordship incontinent." He did so, and returned accordingly.
Montrose's first enquiry respected the embassy to Inverary; and
he listened with attention to Dalgetty's reply, notwithstanding
the prolixity of the Major's narrative. It required an effort
from the Marquis to maintain his attention; but no one better
knew, that where information is to be derived from the report of
such agents as Dalgetty, it can only be obtained by suffering
them to tell their story in their own way. Accordingly the
Marquis's patience was at length rewarded. Among other spoils
which the Captain thought himself at liberty to take, was a
packet of Argyle's private papers. These he consigned to the
hands of his General; a humour of accounting, however, which went
no farther, for I do not understand that he made any mention of
the purse of gold which he had appropriated at the same time that
he made seizure of the papers aforesaid. Snatching a torch from
the wall, Montrose was in an instant deeply engaged in the
perusal of these documents, in which it is probable he found
something to animate his personal resentment against his rival
"Does he not fear me?" said he; "then he shall feel me. Will he
fire my castle of Murdoch?--Inverary shall raise the first
smoke.--O for a guide through the skirts of Strath-Fillan!"
Whatever might be Dalgetty's personal conceit, he understood his
business sufficiently to guess at Montrose's meaning. He
instantly interrupted his own prolix narration of the skirmish
which had taken place, and the wound he had received in his
retreat, and began to speak to the point which he saw interested
"If," said he, "your Excellency wishes to make an infall into
Argyleshire, this poor man, Ranald, of whom I told you, together
with his children and companions, know every pass into that land,
both leading from the east and from the north."
"Indeed!" said Montrose; "what reason have you to believe their
knowledge so extensive?"
"So please your Excellency," answered Dalgetty, "during the weeks
that I remained with them for cure of my wound, they were
repeatedly obliged to shift their quarters, in respect of
Argyle's repeated attempts to repossess himself of the person of
an officer who was honoured with Your Excellency's confidence; so
that I had occasion to admire the singular dexterity and
knowledge of the face of the country with which they alternately
achieved their retreat and their advance; and when, at length, I
was able to repair to your Excellency's standard, this honest
simple creature, Ranald MacEagh, guided me by paths which my
steed Gustavus (which your lordship may remember) trode with
perfect safety, so that I said to myself, that where guides,
spies, or intelligencers, were required in a Highland campaign in
that western country, more expert persons than he and his
attendants could not possibly be desired."
"And can you answer for this man's fidelity?" said Montrose;
"what is his name and condition?"
"He is an outlaw and robber by profession, something also of a
homicide or murderer," answered Dalgetty; "and by name, called
Ranald MacEagh; whilk signifies, Ranald, the Son of the Mist."
"I should remember something of that name," said Montrose,
pausing: "Did not these Children of the Mist perpetrate some act
of cruelty upon the M'Aulays?"
Major Dalgetty mentioned the circumstance of the murder of the
forester, and Montrose's active memory at once recalled all the
circumstances of the feud.
"It is most unlucky," said Montrose, "this inexpiable quarrel
between these men and the M'Aulays. Allan has borne himself
bravely in these wars, and possesses, by the wild mystery of his
behaviour and language, so much influence over the minds of his
countrymen, that the consequences of disobliging him might be
serious. At the same time, these men being so capable of
rendering useful service, and being as you say, Major Dalgetty,
"I will pledge my pay and arrears, my horse and arms, my head and
neck, upon their fidelity," said the Major; "and your Excellency
knows, that a soldado could say no more for his own father."
"True," said Montrose; "but as this is a matter of particular
moment, I would willingly know the grounds of so positive an
"Concisely then, my lord," said the Major, "not only did they
disdain to profit by a handsome reward which Argyle did me the
honour to place upon this poor head of mine, and not only did
they abstain from pillaging my personal property, whilk was to an
amount that would have tempted regular soldiers in any service of
Europe; and not only did they restore me my horse, whilk your
Excellency knows to be of value, but I could not prevail on them
to accept one stiver, doit, or maravedi, for the trouble and
expenses of my sick bed. They actually refused my coined money
when freely offered,--a tale seldom to be told in a Christian
"I admit," said Montrose, after a moment's reflection, "that
their conduct towards you is good evidence of their fidelity; but
how to secure against the breaking out of this feud?" He paused,
and then suddenly added, "I had forgot I have supped, while you,
Major, have been travelling by moonlight."
He called to his attendants to fetch a stoup of wine and some
refreshments. Major Dalgetty, who had the appetite of a
convalescent returned from Highland quarters, needed not any
pressing to partake of what was set before him, but proceeded to
dispatch his food with such alacrity, that the Marquis, filling a
cup of wine, and drinking to his health, could not help
remarking, that coarse as the provisions of his camp were, he was
afraid Major Dalgetty had fared much worse during his excursion
"Your Excellency may take your corporal oath upon that," said the
worthy Major, speaking with his mouth full; "for Argyle's bread
and water are yet stale and mouldy in my recollection, and though
they did their best, yet the viands that the Children of the Mist
procured for me, poor helpless creatures as they were, were so
unrefreshful to my body, that when enclosed in my armour, whilk I
was fain to leave behind me for expedition's sake, I rattled
therein like the shrivelled kernel in a nut that hath been kept
on to a second Hallowe'en."
"You must take the due means to repair these losses, Major
"In troth," answered the soldier, "I shall hardly be able to
compass that, unless my arrears are to be exchanged for present
pay; for I protest to your Excellency, that the three stone
weight which I have lost were simply raised upon the regular
accountings of the States of Holland."
"In that case," said the Marquis, "you are only reduced to good
marching order. As for the pay, let us once have victory--
victory, Major, and your wishes, and all our wishes, shall be
amply fulfilled. Meantime, help yourself to another cup of
"To your Excellency's health," said the Major, filling a cup to
the brim, to show the zeal with which he drank the toast, "and
victory over all our enemies, and particularly over Argyle! I
hope to twitch another handful from his board myself--I have had
one pluck at it already."
"Very true," answered Montrose; "but to return to those men of
the Mist. You understand, Dalgetty, that their presence here,
and the purpose for which we employ them, is a secret between you
Delighted, as Montrose had anticipated, with this mark of his
General's confidence, the Major laid his hand upon his nose, and
"How many may there be of Ranald's followers?" continued the
"They are reduced, so far as I know, to some eight or ten men,"
answered Major Dalgetty, "and a few women and children."
"Where are they now?" demanded Montrose.
"In a valley, at three miles' distance," answered the soldier,
"awaiting your Excellency's command; I judged it not fit to bring
them to your leaguer without your Excellency's orders."
"You judged very well," said Montrose; "it would be proper that
they remain where they are, or seek some more distant place of
refuge. I will send them money, though it is a scarce article
with me at present."
"It is quite unnecessary," said Major Dalgetty; "your Excellency
has only to hint that the M'Aulays are going in that direction,
and my friends of the Mist will instantly make volte-face, and go
to the right about."
"That were scarce courteous," said the Marquis. "Better send
them a few dollars to purchase them some cattle for the support
of the women and children."
"They know how to come by their cattle at a far cheaper rate,"
said the Major; "but let it be as your Excellency wills."
"Let Ranald MacEagh," said Montrose, "select one or two of his
followers, men whom he can trust, and who are capable of keeping
their own secret and ours; these, with their chief for scout-
master-general, shall serve for our guides. Let them be at my
tent to-morrow at daybreak, and see, if possible, that they
neither guess my purpose, nor hold any communication with each
other in private.--This old man, has he any children?"
"They have been killed or hanged," answered the Major, "to the
number of a round dozen, as I believe--but he hath left one
grand-child, a smart and hopeful youth, whom I have noted to be
never without a pebble in his plaid-nook, to fling at whatsoever
might come in his way; being a symbol, that, like David, who was
accustomed to sling smooth stones taken from the brook, he may
afterwards prove an adventurous warrior."
"That boy, Major Dalgetty," said the Marquis, "I will have to
attend upon my own person. I presume he will have sense enough
to keep his name secret?"
"Your Excellency need not fear that," answered Dalgetty; "these
Highland imps, from the moment they chip the shell--"
"Well," interrupted Montrose, "that boy shall be pledge for the
fidelity of his parent, and if he prove faithful, the child's
preferment shall be his reward.--And now, Major Dalgetty, I will
license your departure for the night; tomorrow you will introduce
this MacEagh, under any name or character he may please to
assume. I presume his profession has rendered him sufficiently
expert in all sort of disguises; or we may admit John of Moidart
into our schemes, who has sense, practicability, and
intelligence, and will probably allow this man for a time to be
disguised as one of his followers. For you, Major, my groom of
the chambers will be your quarter-master for this evening."
Major Dalgetty took his leave with a joyful heart greatly elated
with the reception he had met with, and much pleased with the
personal manners of his new General, which, as he explained at
great length to Ranald MacEagh, reminded him in many respects of
the demeanour of the immortal Gustavus Adolphus, the Lion of the
North, and Bulwark of the Protestant Faith.
The march begins in military state,
And nations on his eyes suspended wait;
Stern famine guards the solitary coast,
And winter barricades the realms of frost.
He comes,--nor want, nor cold, his course delay.
VANITY OF HUMAN WISHES.
By break of day Montrose received in his cabin old MacEagh, and
questioned him long and particularly as to the means of
approaching the country of Argyle. He made a note of his
answers, which he compared with those of two of his followers,
whom he introduced as the most prudent and experienced. He found
them to correspond in all respects; but, still unsatisfied where
precaution was so necessary, the Marquis compared the information
he had received with that he was able to collect from the Chiefs
who lay most near to the destined scene of invasion, and being in
all respects satisfied of its accuracy, he resolved to proceed in
full reliance upon it.
In one point Montrose changed his mind. Having judged it unfit
to take the boy Kenneth into his own service, lest, in case of
his birth being discovered, it should be resented as an offence
by the numerous clans who entertained a feudal enmity to this
devoted family, he requested the Major to take him in attendance
upon himself; and as he accompanied this request with a handsome
DOUCEUR, under pretence of clothing and equipping the lad, this
change was agreeable to all parties.
It was about breakfast-time, when Major Dalgetty, being dismissed
by Montrose, went in quest of his old acquaintances, Lord
Menteith and the M'Aulays, to whom he longed to communicate his
own adventures, as well as to learn from them the particulars of
the campaign. It may be imagined he was received with great glee
by men to whom the late uniformity of their military life had
rendered any change of society an interesting novelty. Allan
M'Aulay alone seemed to recoil from his former acquaintance,
although, when challenged by his brother, he could render no
other reason than a reluctance to be familiar with one who had
been so lately in the company of Argyle, and other enemies.
Major Dalgetty was a little alarmed by this sort of instinctive
consciousness which Allan seemed to entertain respecting the
society he had been lately keeping; he was soon satisfied,
however, that the perceptions of the seer in this particular were
As Ranald MacEagh was to be placed under Major Dalgetty's
protection and superintendence, it was necessary he should
present him to those persons with whom he was most likely to
associate. The dress of the old man had, in the meantime, been
changed from the tartan of his clan to a sort of clothing
peculiar to the men of the distant Isles, resembling a waistcoat
with sleeves, and a petticoat, all made in one piece. This dress
was laced from top to bottom in front, and bore some resemblance
to that called Polonaise, still worn by children in Scotland of
the lower rank. The tartan hose and bonnet completed the dress,
which old men of the last century remembered well to have seen
worn by the distant Islesmen who came to the Earl of Mar's
standard in the year 1715.
Major Dalgetty, keeping his eye on Allan as he spoke, introduced
Ranald MacEagh under the fictitious name of Ranald MacGillihuron
in Benbecula, who had escaped with him out of Argyle's prison.
He recommended him as a person skilful in the arts of the harper
and the senachie, and by no means contemptible in the quality of
a second-sighted person or seer. While making this exposition,
Major Dalgetty stammered and hesitated in a way so unlike the
usual glib forwardness of his manner, that he could not have
failed to have given suspicion to Allan M'Aulay, had not that
person's whole attention been engaged in steadily perusing the
features of the person thus introduced to him. This steady gaze
so much embarrassed Ranald MacEagh, that his hand was beginning
to sink down towards his dagger, in expectation of a hostile
assault, when Allan, suddenly crossing the floor of the hut,
extended his hand to him in the way of friendly greeting. They
sat down side by side, and conversed in a low mysterious tone of
voice. Menteith and Angus M'Aulay were not surprised at this,
for there prevailed among the Highlanders who pretended to the
second-sight, a sort of Freemasonry, which generally induced
them, upon meeting, to hold communication with each other on the
nature and extent of their visionary experiences.
"Does the sight come gloomy upon your spirits?" said Allan to
his new acquaintance.
"As dark as the shadow upon the moon," replied Ranald, "when she
is darkened in her mid-course in heaven, and prophets foretell of
"Come hither," said Allan, "come more this way, I would converse
with you apart; for men say that in your distant islands the
sight is poured forth with more clearness and power than upon us,
who dwell near the Sassenach."
While they were plunged into their mystic conference, the two
English cavaliers entered the cabin in the highest possible
spirits, and announced to Angus M'Aulay that orders had been
issued that all should hold themselves in readiness for an
immediate march to the westward. Having delivered themselves of
their news with much glee, they paid their compliments to their
old acquaintance Major Dalgetty, whom they instantly recognised,
and enquired after the health of his charger, Gustavus.
"I humbly thank you, gentlemen," answered the soldier, "Gustavas
is well, though, like his master, somewhat barer on the ribs than
when you offered to relieve me of him at Darnlinvarach; and let
me assure you, that before you have made one or two of those
marches which you seem to contemplate with so much satisfaction
in prospect, you will leave, my good knights, some of your
English beef, and probably an English horse or two, behind you."
Both exclaimed that they cared very little what they found or
what they left, provided the scene changed from dogging up and
down Angus and Aberdeenshire, in pursuit of an enemy who would
neither fight nor run away.
"If such be the case," said Angus M'Aulay, "I must give orders to
my followers, and make provision too for the safe conveyance of
Annot Lyle; for an advance into M'Callum More's country will be a
farther and fouler road than these pinks of Cumbrian knighthood
are aware of." So saying, he left the cabin.
"Annot Lyle!" repeated Dalgetty, "is she following the
"Surely," replied Sir Giles Musgrave, his eye glancing slightly
from Lord Menteith to Allan M'Aulay; "we could neither march nor
fight, advance nor retreat, without the influence of the Princess
"The Princess of Broadswords and Targets, I say," answered his
companion; "for the Lady of Montrose herself could not be more
courteously waited upon; she has four Highland maidens, and as
many bare-legged gillies, to wait upon her orders."
"And what would you have, gentlemen?" said Allan, turning
suddenly from the Highlander with whom he was in conversation;
"would you yourselves have left an innocent female, the companion
of your infancy, to die by violence, or perish by famine? There
is not, by this time, a roof upon the habitation of my fathers--
our crops have been destroyed, and our cattle have been driven--
and you, gentlemen, have to bless God, that, coming from a milder
and more civilized country, you expose only your own lives in
this remorseless war, without apprehension that your enemies will
visit with their vengeance the defenceless pledges you may have
left behind you."
The Englishmen cordially agreed that they had the superiority in
this respect; and the company, now dispersing, went each to his
several charge or occupation.
Allan lingered a moment behind, still questioning the reluctant
Ranald MacEagh upon a point in his supposed visions, by which he
was greatly perplexed. "Repeatedly," he said, "have I had the
sight of a Gael, who seemed to plunge his weapon into the body of
Menteith,--of that young nobleman in the scarlet laced cloak, who
has just now left the bothy. But by no effort, though I have
gazed till my eyes were almost fixed in the sockets, can I
discover the face of this Highlander, or even conjecture who he
may be, although his person and air seem familiar to me." [See
"Have you reversed your own plaid," said Ranald, "according to
the rule of the experienced Seers in such case?"
"I have," answered Allan, speaking low, and shuddering as if with
"And in what guise did the phantom then appear to you?" said
"With his plaid also reversed," answered Allan, in the same low
and convulsed tone.
"Then be assured," said Ranald, "that your own hand, and none
other, will do the deed of which you have witnessed the shadow."
"So has my anxious soul a hundred times surmised," replied Allan.
"But it is impossible! Were I to read the record in the eternal
book of fate, I would declare it impossible--we are bound by the
ties of blood, and by a hundred ties more intimate--we have stood
side by side in battle, and our swords have reeked with the blood
of the same enemies--it is IMPOSSIBLE I should harm him!"
"That you WILL do so," answered Ranald, "is certain, though the
cause be hid in the darkness of futurity. You say," he
continued, suppressing his own emotions with difficulty, "that
side by side you have pursued your prey like bloodhounds--have
you never seen bloodhounds turn their fangs against each other,
and fight over the body of a throttled deer?"
"It is false!" said M'Aulay, starting up, "these are not the
forebodings of fate, but the temptation of some evil spirit from
the bottomless pit!" So saying, he strode out of the cabin.
"Thou hast it!" said the Son of the Mist, looking after him with
an air of exultation; "the barbed arrow is in thy side! Spirits
of the slaughtered, rejoice! soon shall your murderers' swords
be dyed in each other's blood."
On the succeeding morning all was prepared, and Montrose advanced
by rapid marches up the river Tay, and poured his desultory
forces into the romantic vale around the lake of the same name,
which lies at the head of that river. The inhabitants were
Campbells, not indeed the vassals of Argyle, but of the allied
and kindred house of Glenorchy, which now bears the name of
Breadalbane. Being taken by surprise, they were totally
unprepared for resistance, and were compelled to be passive
witnesses of the ravages which took place among their flocks and
herds. Advancing in this manner to the vale of Loch Dochart, and
laying waste the country around him, Montrose reached the most
difficult point of his enterprise.
To a modern army, even with the assistance of the good military
road which now leads up by Teinedrum to the head of Loch Awe, the
passage of these extensive wilds would seem a task of some
difficulty. But at this period, and for long afterwards, there
was no road or path whatsoever; and to add to the difficulty, the
mountains were already covered with snow. It was a sublime scene
to look up to them, piled in great masses, one upon another, the
front rank of dazzling whiteness, while those which arose behind
them caught a rosy tint from the setting of a clear wintry sun.
Ben Cruachan, superior in magnitude, and seeming the very citadel
of the Genius of the Region, rose high above the others, showing
his glimmering and scathed peak to the distance of many miles.
The followers of Montrose were men not to be daunted by the
sublime, yet terrible prospect before them. Many of them were of
that ancient race of Highlanders, who not only willingly made
their couch in the snow, but considered it as effeminate luxury
to use a snowball for a pillow. Plunder and revenge lay beyond
the frozen mountains which they beheld, and they did not permit
themselves to be daunted by the difficulty of traversing them.
Montrose did not allow their spirits time to subside. He ordered
the pipes to play in the van the ancient pibroch entitled,
"HOGGIL NAM BO," etc. (that is, We come through snow-drift to
drive the prey), the shrilling sounds of which had often struck
the vales of the Lennox with terror. [It is the family-march of
the M'Farlanes, a warlike and predatory clan, who inhabited the
western banks of Loch-Lomond. See WAVERLY, Note XV.] The troops
advanced with the nimble alacrity of mountaineers, and were soon
involved in the dangerous pass, through which Ranald acted as
their guide, going before them with a select party, to track out
The power of man at no time appears more contemptible than when
it is placed in contrast with scenes of natural terror and
dignity. The victorious army of Montrose, whose exploits had
struck terror into all Scotland, when ascending up this terrific
pass, seemed a contemptible handful of stragglers, in the act of
being devoured by the jaws of the mountain, which appeared ready
to close upon them. Even Montrose half repented the boldness of
his attempt, as he looked down from the summit of the first
eminence which he attained, upon the scattered condition of his
small army. The difficulty of getting forward was so great, that
considerable gaps began to occur in the line of march, and the
distance between the van, centre, and rear, was each moment
increased in a degree equally incommodious and dangerous. It was
with great apprehension that Montrose looked upon every point of
advantage which the hill afforded, in dread it might be found
occupied by an enemy prepared for defence; and he often
afterwards was heard to express his conviction, that had the
passes of Strath-Fillan been defended by two hundred resolute
men, not only would his progress have been effectually stopped,
but his army must have been in danger of being totally cut off.
Security, however, the bane of many a strong country and many a
fortress, betrayed, on this occasion, the district of Argyle to
his enemies. The invaders had only to contend with the natural
difficulties of the path, and with the snow, which, fortunately,
had not fallen in any great quantity. The army no sooner reached
the summit of the ridge of hills dividing Argyleshire from the
district of Breadalbane, than they rushed down upon the devoted
vales beneath them with a fury sufficiently expressive of the
motives which had dictated a movement so difficult and hazardous.
Montrose divided his army into three bodies, in order to produce
a wider and more extensive terror, one of which was commanded by
the Captain of Clan Ranald, one intrusted to the leading of
Colkitto, and the third remained under his own direction. He was
thus enabled to penetrate the country of Argyle at three
different points. Resistance there was none. The flight of the
shepherds from the hills had first announced in the peopled
districts this formidable irruption, and wherever the clansmen
were summoned out, they were killed, disarmed, and dispersed, by
an enemy who had anticipated their motions. Major Dalgetty, who
had been sent forward against Inverary with the few horse of the
army that were fit for service, managed his matters so well, that
he had very nearly surprised Argyle, as he expressed it, INTER
POCULA; and it was only a rapid flight by water which saved that
chief from death or captivity. But the punishment which Argyle
himself escaped fell heavily upon his country and clan, and the
ravages committed by Montrose on that devoted land, although too
consistent with the genius of the country and times, have been
repeatedly and justly quoted as a blot on his actions and
Argyle in the meantime had fled to Edinburgh, to lay his
complaints before the Convention of Estates. To meet the
exigence of the moment, a considerable army was raised under
General Baillie, a Presbyterian officer of skill and fidelity,
with whom was joined in command the celebrated Sir John Urrie, a
soldier of fortune like Dalgetty, who had already changed sides
twice during the Civil War, and was destined to turn his coat a
third time before it was ended. Argyle also, burning with
indignation, proceeded to levy his own numerous forces, in order
to avenge himself of his feudal enemy. He established his head-
quarters at Dunbarton, where he was soon joined by a considerable
force, consisting chiefly of his own clansmen and dependants.
Being there joined by Baillie and Urrie, with a very considerable
army of regular forces, he prepared to march into Argyleshire,
and chastise the invader of his paternal territories.
But Montrose, while these two formidable armies were forming a
junction, had been recalled from that ravaged country by the
approach of a third, collected in the north under the Earl of
Seaforth, who, after some hesitation, having embraced the side of
the Covenanters, had now, with the assistance of the veteran
garrison of Inverness, formed a considerable army, with which he
threatened Montrose from Inverness-shire. Enclosed in a wasted
and unfriendly country, and menaced on each side by advancing
enemies of superior force, it might have been supposed that
Montrose's destruction was certain. But these were precisely the
circumstances under which the active and enterprising genius of
the Great Marquis was calculated to excite the wonder and
admiration of his friends, the astonishment and terror of his
enemies. As if by magic, he collected his scattered forces from
the wasteful occupation in which they had been engaged; and
scarce were they again united, ere Argyle and his associate
generals were informed, that the royalists, having suddenly
disappeared from Argyleshire, had retreated northwards among the
dusky and impenetrable mountains of Lochaber.
The sagacity of the generals opposed to Montrose immediately
conjectured, that it was the purpose of their active antagonist
to fight with, and, if possible, to destroy Seaforth, ere they
could come to his assistance. This occasioned a corresponding
change in their operations. Leaving this chieftain to make the
best defence he could, Urrie and Baillie again separated their
forces from those of Argyle; and, having chiefly horse and
Lowland troops under their command, they kept the southern side
of the Grampian ridge, moving along eastward into the county of
Angus, resolving from thence to proceed into Aberdeenshire, in
order to intercept Montrose, if he should attempt to escape in
Argyle, with his own levies and other troops, undertook to follow
Montrose's march; so that, in case he should come to action
either with Seaforth, or with Baillie and Urrie, he might be
placed between two fires by this third army, which, at a secure
distance, was to hang upon his rear.
For this purpose, Argyle once more moved towards Inverary, having
an opportunity, at every step, to deplore the severities which
the hostile clans had exercised on his dependants and country.
Whatever noble qualities the Highlanders possessed, and they had
many, clemency in treating a hostile country was not of the
number; but even the ravages of hostile troops combined to swell
the number of Argyle's followers. It is still a Highland
proverb, He whose house is burnt must become a soldier; and
hundreds of the inhabitants of these unfortunate valleys had now
no means of maintenance, save by exercising upon others the
severities they had themselves sustained, and no future prospect
of happiness, excepting in the gratification of revenge. His
bands were, therefore, augmented by the very circumstances which
had desolated his country, and Argyle soon found himself at the
head of three thousand determined men, distinguished for activity
and courage, and commanded by gentlemen of his own name, who
yielded to none in those qualities. Under himself, he conferred
the principal command upon Sir Duncan Campbell of Ardenvohr, and
another Sir Duncan Campbell of Auchenbreck, [This last character
is historical] an experienced and veteran soldier, whom he had
recalled from the wars of Ireland for this purpose. The cold
spirit of Argyle himself, however, clogged the military councils
of his more intrepid assistants; and it was resolved,
notwithstanding their increased force, to observe the same plan
of operations, and to follow Montrose cautiously, in whatever
direction he should march, avoiding an engagement until an
opportunity should occur of falling upon his rear, while he
should be engaged with another enemy in front.
Piobracht au Donuil-dhu,
Piobrachet au Donuil,
Piobrachet agus S'breittach
Feacht an Innerlochy.
The war-tune of Donald the Black,
The war-tune of Black Donald,
The pipes and the banner
Are up in the rendezvous of Inverlochy.
The military road connecting the chains of forts, as it is
called, and running in the general line of the present Caledonian
Canal, has now completely opened the great glen, or chasm,
extending almost across the whole island, once doubtless filled
by the sea, and still affording basins for that long line of
lakes, by means of which modern art has united the German and
Atlantic Oceans. The paths or tracks by which the natives
traversed this extensive valley, were, in 1645-6, in the same
situation as when they awaked the strain of an Irish engineer
officer, who had been employed in converting them into
practicable military roads, and whose eulogium begins, and, for
aught I know, ends, as follows:
Had you seen but these roads before they were made, You would
have held up your hands and bless'd General Wade.
But, bad as the ordinary paths were, Montrose avoided them, and
led his army, like a herd of wild deer, from mountain to
mountain, and from forest to forest, where his enemies could
learn nothing of his motions, while he acquired the most perfect
knowledge respecting theirs from the friendly clans of Cameron
and M'Donnell, whose mountainous districts he now traversed.
Strict orders had been given that Argyle's advance should be
watched, and that all intelligence respecting his motions should
be communicated instantly to the General himself.
It was a moonlight night, and Montrose, worn out by the fatigues
of the day, was laid down to sleep in a miserable shieling. He
had only slumbered two hours, when some one touched his shoulder.
He looked up, and, by the stately form and deep voice, easily
recognised the Chief of the Camerons.
"I have news for you," said that leader, "which is worth while to
arise and listen to."
"M'Ilduy [Mhich-Connel Dhu, the descendant of Black Donald.] can
bring no other," said Montrose, addressing the Chief by his
patronymic title--"are they good or bad?"
"As you may take them," said the Chieftain.
"Are they certain?" demanded Montrose.
"Yes," answered M'Ilduy, "or another messenger should have
brought them. Know that, tired with the task imposed upon me of
accompanying that unhappy Dalgetty and his handful of horse, who
detained me for hours on the march at the pace of a crippled
badger, I made a stretch of four miles with six of my people in
the direction of Inverlochy, and there met with Ian of Glenroy,
who had been out for intelligence. Argyle is moving upon
Inverlochy with three thousand chosen men, commanded by the
flower of the sons of Diarmid.--These are my news--they are
certain--it is for you to construe their purport."
"Their purport must be good," answered Montrose, readily and
cheerfully; "the voice of M'Ilduy is ever pleasant in the ears of
Montrose, and most pleasant when it speaks of some brave
enterprise at hand--What are our musters?"
He then called for light, and easily ascertained that a great
part of his followers having, as usual, dispersed to secure their
booty, he had not with him above twelve or fourteen hundred men.
"Not much above a third," said Montrose, pausing, "of Argyle's
force, and Highlanders opposed to Highlanders.--With the blessing
of God upon the royal cause, I would not hesitate were the odds
but one to two."
"Then do not hesitate," said Cameron; "for when your trumpets
shall sound to attack M'Callum More, not a man of these glens
will remain deaf to the summons. Glengarry--Keppoch--I myself--
would destroy, with fire and sword, the wretch who should remain
behind under any pretence whatsoever. To-morrow, or the next
day, shall be a day of battle to all who bear the name of
M'Donnell or Cameron, whatever be the event."
"It is gallantly said, my noble friend," said Montrose, grasping
his hand, "and I were worse than a coward did I not do justice to
such followers, by entertaining the most indubitable hopes of
success. We will turn back on this M'Callum More, who follows us
like a raven to devour the relics of our army, should we meet
braver men who may be able to break its strength! Let the Chiefs
and leaders be called together as quickly as possible; and you,
who have brought us the first news of this joyful event,--for
such it shall be,--you, M'Ilduy, shall bring it to a joyful
issue, by guiding us the best and nearest road against our
"That will I willingly do," said M'Ilduy; "if I have shown you
paths by which to retreat through these dusky wilds, with far
more readiness will I teach you how to advance against your foe."
A general bustle now prevailed, and the leaders were everywhere
startled from the rude couches on which they had sought temporary
"I never thought," said Major Dalgetty, when summoned up from a
handful of rugged heather roots, "to have parted from a bed as
hard as a stable-broom with such bad will; but, indubitably,
having but one man of military experience in his army, his
Excellency the Marquis may be vindicated in putting him upon hard
So saying, he repaired to the council, where, notwithstanding his
pedantry, Montrose seemed always to listen to him with
considerable attention; partly because the Major really possessed
military knowledge and experience, and often made suggestions
which were found of advantage, and partly because it relieved the
General from the necessity of deferring entirely to the opinion
of the Highland Chiefs, and gave him additional ground for
disputing it when it was not agreeable to his own. On the
present occasion, Dalgetty joyfully acquiesced in the proposal of
marching back and confronting Argyle, which he compared to the
valiant resolution of the great Gustavus, who moved against the
Duke of Bavaria, and enriched his troops by the plunder of that
fertile country, although menaced from the northward by the large
army which Wallenstein had assembled in Bohemia.
The Chiefs of Glengarry, Keppoch, and Lochiel, whose clans, equal
in courage and military fame to any in the Highlands, lay within
the neighbourhood of the scene of action, dispatched the fiery
cross through their vassals, to summon every one who could bear
arms to meet the King's lieutenant, and to join the standards of
their respective Chiefs, as they marched towards Inverlochy. As
the order was emphatically given, it was speedily and willingly
obeyed. Their natural love of war, their zeal for the royal
cause,--for they viewed the King in the light of a chief whom his
clansmen had deserted,--as well as their implicit obedience to
their own patriarch, drew in to Montrose's army not only all in
the neighbourhood who were able to bear arms, but some who, in
age at least, might have been esteemed past the use of them.
During the next day's march, which, being directed straight
through the mountains of Lochaber, was unsuspected by the enemy,
his forces were augmented by handfuls of men issuing from each
glen, and ranging themselves under the banners of their
respective Chiefs. This was a circumstance highly inspiriting to
the rest of the army, who, by the time they approached the enemy,
found their strength increased considerably more than one-fourth,
as had been prophesied by the valiant leader of the Camerons.
While Montrose executed this counter-march, Argyle had, at the
head of his gallant army, advanced up the southern side of Loch-
Eil, and reached the river Lochy, which combines that lake with
Loch-Lochy. The ancient Castle of Inverlochy, once, as it is
said, a royal fortress, and still, although dismantled, a place
of some strength and consideration, offered convenient head-
quarters, and there was ample room for Argyle's army to encamp
around him in the valley, where the Lochy joins Loch-Eil.
Several barges had attended, loaded with provisions, so that they
were in every respect as well accommodated as such an army wished
or expected to be. Argyle, in council with Auchenbreck and
Ardenvohr, expressed his full confidence that Montrose was now on
the brink of destruction; that his troops must gradually diminish
as he moved eastward through such uncouth paths; that if he went
westward, he must encounter Urrie and Baillie; if northward, fall
into the hands of Seaforth; or should he choose any halting-
place, he would expose himself to be attacked by three armies at
"I cannot rejoice in the prospect, my lord," said Auchebreck,
"that James Grahame will be crushed with little assistance of
ours. He has left a heavy account in Argyleshire against him,
and I long to reckon with him drop of blood for drop of blood. I
love not the payment of such debts by third hands."
"You are too scrupulous," said Argyle; "what signifies it by
whose hands the blood of the Grahames is spilt? It is time that
of the sons of Diarmid should cease to flow.--What say you,
"I say, my lord," replied Sir Duncan, "that I think Auchenbreck
will be gratified, and will himself have a personal opportunity
of settling accounts with Montrose for his depredations. Reports
have reached our outposts that the Camerons are assembling their
full strength on the skirts of Ben-Nevis; this must be to join
the advance of Montrose, and not to cover his retreat."
"It must be some scheme of harassing and depredation," said
Argyle, "devised by the inveterate malignity of M'Ilduy, which he
terms loyalty. They can intend no more than an attack on our
outposts, or some annoyance to to-morrow's march."
"I have sent out scouts," said Sir Duncan, "in every direction,
to procure intelligence; and we must soon hear whether they
really do assemble any force, upon what point, or with what
It was late ere any tidings were received; but when the moon had
arisen, a considerable bustle in the camp, and a noise
immediately after heard in the castle, announced the arrival of
important intelligence. Of the scouts first dispersed by
Ardenvohr, some had returned without being able to collect
anything, save uncertain rumours concerning movements in the
country of the Camerons. It seemed as if the skirts of Ben-Nevis
were sending forth those unaccountable and portentous sounds with
which they sometimes announce the near approach of a storm.
Others, whose zeal carried them farther upon their mission, were
entrapped and slain, or made prisoners, by the inhabitants of the
fastnesses into which they endeavoured to penetrate. At length,
on the rapid advance of Montrose's army, his advanced guard and
the outposts of Argyle became aware of each other's presence, and
after exchanging a few musket-shots and arrows, fell back to
their respective main bodies, to convey intelligence and receive
Sir Duncan Campbell, and Auchenbreck, instantly threw themselves
on horseback, in order to visit the state of the outposts; and
Argyle maintained his character of commander-in-chief with
reputation, by making a respectable arrangement of his forces in
the plain, as it was evident that they might now expect a night
alarm, or an attack in the morning at farthest. Montrose had kept
his forces so cautiously within the defiles of the mountain, that
no effort which Auchenbreck or Ardenvohr thought it prudent to
attempt, could ascertain his probable strength. They were aware,
however, that, at the utmost computation, it must be inferior to
their own, and they returned to Argyle to inform him of the
amount of their observations; but that nobleman refused to
believe that Montrose could be in presence himself. He said, "It
was a madness, of which even James Grahame, in his height of
presumptuous frenzy, was incapable; and he doubted not that their
march was only impeded by their ancient enemies, Glencoe,
Keppoch, and Glengarry; and perhaps M'Vourigh, with his
M'Phersons, might have assembled a force, which he knew must be
greatly inferior in numbers to his own, and whom, therefore, he
doubted not to disperse by force, or by terms of capitulation."
The spirit of Argyle's followers was high, breathing vengeance
for the disasters which their country had so lately undergone;
and the night passed in anxious hopes that the morning might dawn
upon their vengeance. The outposts of either army kept a careful
watch, and the soldiers of Argyle slept in the order of battle
which they were next day to occupy.
A pale dawn had scarce begun to tinge the tops of these immense
mountains, when the leaders of both armies prepared for the
business of the day. It was the second of February, 1645-6. The
clansmen of Argyle were arranged in two lines, not far from the
angle between the river and the lake, and made an appearance
equally resolute and formidable. Auchenbreck would willingly
have commenced the battle by an attack on the outposts of the
enemy, but Argyle, with more cautious policy, preferred receiving
to making the onset. Signals were soon heard, that they would
not long wait for it in vain. The Campbells could distinguish,
in the gorge of the mountains, the war-tunes of various clans as
they advanced to the onset. That of the Camerons, which bears
the ominous words, addressed to the wolves and ravens, "Come to
me, and I will give you flesh," was loudly re-echoed from their
native glens. In the language of the Highland bards, the war
voice of Glengarry was not silent; and the gathering tunes of
other tribes could be plainly distinguished, as they successively
came up to the extremity of the passes from which they were to
descend into the plain.
"You see," said Argyle to his kinsmen, "it is as I said, we have
only to deal with our neighbours; James Grahame has not ventured
to show us his banner."
At this moment there resounded from the gorge of the pass a
lively flourish of trumpets, in that note with which it was the
ancient Scottish fashion to salute the royal standard.
"You may hear, my lord, from yonder signal," said Sir Duncan
Campbell, "that he who pretends to be the King's Lieutenant, must
be in person among these men."
"And has probably horse with him," said Auchenbreck, "which I
could not have anticipated. But shall we look pale for that, my
lord, when we have foes to fight, and wrongs to revenge?"
Argyle was silent, and looked upon his arm, which hung in a sash,
owing to a fall which he had sustained in a preceding march.
"It is true," interrupted Ardenvohr, eagerly, "my Lord of Argyle,
you are disabled from using either sword or pistol; you must
retire on board the galleys--your life is precious to us as a
head--your hand cannot be useful to us as a soldier."
"No," said Argyle, pride contending with irresolution, "it shall
never be said that I fled before Montrose; if I cannot fight, I
will at least die in the midst of my children."
Several other principal Chiefs of the Campbells, with one voice,
conjured and obtested their Chieftain to leave them for that day
to the leading of Ardenvohr and Auchenbreck, and to behold the
conflict from a distance and in safety.--We dare not stigmatize
Argyle with poltroonery; for, though his life was marked by no
action of bravery, yet he behaved with so much composure and
dignity in the final and closing scene, that his conduct upon the
present and similar occasions, should be rather imputed to
indecision than to want of courage. But when the small still
voice within a man's own breast, which tells him that his life is
of consequence to himself, is seconded by that of numbers around
him, who assure him that it is of equal advantage to the public,
history affords many examples of men more habitually daring than
Argyle, who have consulted self-preservation when the temptations
to it were so powerfully increased.
"See him on board, if you will, Sir Duncan," said Auchenbreck to
his kinsman; "It must be my duty to prevent this spirit from
spreading farther among us."
So saying, he threw himself among the ranks, entreating,
commanding, and conjuring the soldiers, to remember their ancient
fame and their present superiority; the wrongs they had to
revenge, if successful, and the fate they had to dread, if
vanquished; and imparting to every bosom a portion of the fire
which glowed in his own. Slowly, meanwhile, and apparently with
reluctance, Argyle suffered himself to be forced by his officious
kinsmen to the verge of the lake, and was transported on board of
a galley, from the deck of which he surveyed with more safety
than credit the scene which ensued.
Sir Duncan Campbell of Ardenvohr, notwithstanding the urgency of
the occasion, stood with his eyes riveted on the boat which bore
his Chieftain from the field of battle. There were feelings in
his bosom which could not be expressed; for the character of a
Chief was that of a father, and the heart of a clansman durst not
dwell upon his failings with critical severity as upon those of
other men. Argyle, too, harsh and severe to others, was generous
and liberal among his kinsmen, and the noble heart of, Ardenvohr
was wrung with bitter anguish, when he reflected to what
interpretation his present conduct might subject him.
"It is better it should be so," said he to himself, devouring his
own emotion; "but--of his line of a hundred sires, I know not one
who would have retired while the banner of Diarmid waved in the
wind, in the face of its most inveterate foes!"
A loud shout now compelled him to turn, and to hasten with all
dispatch to his post, which was on the right flank of Argyle's
The retreat of Argyle had not passed unobserved by his watchful
enemy, who, occupying the superior ground, could mark every
circumstance which passed below. The movement of three or four
horsemen to the rear showed that those who retreated were men of
"They are going," said Dalgetty, "to put their horses out of
danger, like prudent cavaliers. Yonder goes Sir Duncan Campbell,
riding a brown bay gelding, which I had marked for my own second
You are wrong, Major," said Montrose, with a bitter smile, "they
are saving their precious Chief--Give the signal for assault
instantly--send the word through the ranks.--Gentlemen, noble
Chiefs, Glengarry, Keppoch, M'Vourigh, upon them instantly!--Ride
to M'Ilduy, Major Dalgetty, and tell him to charge as he loves
Lochaber--return and bring our handful of horse to my standard.
They shall be placed with the Irish as a reserve."
As meets a rock a thousand waves, so Inisfail met Lochlin.
The trumpets and bagpipes, those clamorous harbingers of blood
and death, at once united in the signal for onset, which was
replied to by the cry of more than two thousand warriors, and the
echoes of the mountain glens behind them. Divided into three
bodies, or columns, the Highland followers of Montrose poured
from the defiles which had hitherto concealed them from their
enemies, and rushed with the utmost determination upon the
Campbells, who waited their charge with the greatest firmness.
Behind these charging columns marched in line the Irish, under
Colkitto, intended to form the reserve. With them was the royal
standard, and Montrose himself; and on the flanks were about
fifty horse, under Dalgetty, which by wonderful exertions had
been kept in some sort fit for service.
The right column of Royalists was led by Glengarry, the left by
Lochiel, and the centre by the Earl of Menteith, who preferred
fighting on foot in a Highland dress to remaining with the
The Highlanders poured on with the proverbial fury of their
country, firing their guns, and discharging their arrows, at a
little distance from the enemy, who received the assault with the
most determined gallantry. Better provided with musketry than
their enemies, stationary also, and therefore taking the more
decisive aim, the fire of Argyle's followers was more destructive
than that which they sustained. The royal clans, perceiving
this, rushed to close quarters, and succeeded on two points in
throwing their enemies into disorder. With regular troops this
must have achieved a victory; but here Highlanders were opposed
to Highlanders, and the nature of the weapons, as well as the
agility of those who wielded them, was equal on both sides.
Their strife was accordingly desperate; and the clash of the
swords and axes, as they encountered each other, or rung upon the
targets, was mingled with the short, wild, animating shrieks with
which Highlanders accompany the battle, the dance, or indeed
violent exertion of any kind. Many of the foes opposed were
personally acquainted, and sought to match themselves with each
other from motives of hatred, or a more generous emulation of
valour. Neither party would retreat an inch, while the place of
those who fell (and they fell fast on both sides) was eagerly
supplied by others, who thronged to the front of danger. A
steam, like that which arises from a seething cauldron, rose into
the thin, cold, frosty air, and hovered above the combatants.
So stood the fight on the right and the centre, with no immediate
consequence, except mutual wounds and death.
On the right of the Campbells, the Knight of Ardenvohr obtained
some advantage, through his military skill and by strength of
numbers. He had moved forward obliquely the extreme flank of his
line at the instant the Royalists were about to close, so that
they sustained a fire at once on front and in flank, and, despite
the utmost efforts of their leader, were thrown into some
confusion. At this instant, Sir Duncan Campbell gave the word to
charge, and thus unexpectedly made the attack at the very moment
he seemed about to receive it. Such a change of circumstances is
always discouraging, and often fatal. But the disorder was
remedied by the advance of the Irish reserve, whose heavy and
sustained fire compelled the Knight of Ardenvohr to forego his
advantage, and content himself with repulsing the enemy. The
Marquis of Montrose, in the meanwhile, availing himself of some
scattered birch trees, as well as of the smoke produced by the
close fire of the Irish musketry, which concealed the operation,
called upon Dalgetty to follow him with the horse, and wheeling
round so as to gain the right flank and even the rear of the
enemy, he commanded his six trumpets to sound the charge. The
clang of the cavalry trumpets, and the noise of the galloping of
the horse, produced an effect upon Argyle's right wing which no
other sounds could have impressed them with. The mountaineers of
that period had a superstitious dread of the war-horse, like that
entertained by the Peruvians, and had many strange ideas
respecting the manner in which that animal was trained to combat.
When, therefore, they found their ranks unexpectedly broken, and
that the objects of their greatest terror were suddenly in the
midst of them, the panic, in spite of Sir Duncan's attempts to
stop it, became universal. Indeed, the figure of Major Dalgetty
alone, sheathed in impenetrable armour, and making his horse
caracole and bound, so as to give weight to every blow which he
struck, would have been a novelty in itself sufficient to terrify
those who had never seen anything more nearly resembling such a
cavalier, than a SHELTY waddling under a Highlander far bigger
than itself. The repulsed Royalists returned to the charge; the
Irish, keeping their ranks, maintained a fire equally close and
destructive. There was no sustaining the fight longer. Argyle's
followers began to break and fly, most towards the lake, the
remainder in different directions. The defeat of the right wing,
of itself decisive, was rendered irreparable by the death of
Auchenbreck, who fell while endeavouring to restore order.
The Knight of Ardenvohr, with two or three hundred men, all
gentlemen of descent and distinguished gallantry,--for the
Campbells are supposed to have had more gentlemen in their ranks
than any of the Highland clans, endeavoured, with unavailing
heroism, to cover the tumultuary retreat of the common file.
Their resolution only proved fatal to themselves, as they were
charged again and again by fresh adversaries, and forced to
separate from each other, until at length their aim seemed only
to be to purchase an honourable death by resisting to the very
"Good quarter, Sir Duncan," called out Major Dalgetty, when he
discovered his late host, with one or two others, defending
himself against several Highlanders; and, to enforce his offer,,
he rode up to him with his sword uplifted. Sir Duncan's reply was
the discharge of a reserved pistol, which took effect not on the
person of the rider, but on that of his gallant horse, which,
shot through the heart, fell dead under him. Ranald MacEagh, who
was one of those who had been pressing Sir Duncan hard, took the
opportunity to cut him down with his broadsword, as he turned
from him in the act of firing the pistol.
Allan M'Aulay came up at this moment. They were, excepting
Ranald, followers of his brother who were engaged on that part of
the field, "Villains!" he said, "which of you has dared to do
this, when it was my positive order that the Knight of Ardenvohr
should be taken alive?"
Half-a-dozen of busy hands, which were emulously employed in
plundering the fallen knight, whose arms and accoutrements were
of a magnificence befitting his quality, instantly forbore the
occupation, and half the number of voices exculpated themselves,
by laying the blame on the Skyeman, as they called Ranald
"Dog of an Islander!" said Allan, forgetting, in his wrath,
their prophetic brotherhood, "follow the chase, and harm him no
farther, unless you mean to die by my hand." They were at this
moment left almost alone; for Allan's threats had forced his own
clan from the spot, and all around had pressed onwards toward the
lake, carrying before them noise, terror, and confusion, and
leaving behind only the dead and dying. The moment was tempting
to MacEagh's vengeful spirit.--"That I should die by your hand,
red as it is with the blood of my kindred," said he, answering
the threat of Allan in a tone as menacing as his own, "is not
more likely than that you should fall by mine." With that, he
struck at M'Aulay with such unexpected readiness, that he had
scarce time to intercept the blow with his target.
"Villain!" said Allan, in astonishment, "what means this?"
"I am Ranald of the Mist!" answered the Islesman, repeating the
blow; and with that word, they engaged in close and furious
conflict. It seemed to be decreed, that in Allan M'Aulay had
arisen the avenger of his mother's wrongs upon this wild tribe,
as was proved by the issue of the present, as well as of former
combats. After exchanging a few blows, Ranald MacEagh was
prostrated by a deep wound on the skull; and M'Aulay, setting his
foot on him, was about to pass the broadsword through his body,
when the point of the weapon was struck up by a third party, who
suddenly interposed. This was no other than Major Dalgetty, who,
stunned. by the fall, and encumbered by the dead body of his
horse, had now recovered his legs and his understanding. "Hold
up your sword," said he to M'Aulay, "and prejudice this person no
farther, in respect that he is here in my safeconduct, and in his
Excellency's service; and in regard that no honourable cavalier
is at liberty, by the law martial, to avenge his own private
injuries, FLAGRANTE BELLO, MULTO MAJUS FLAGRANTE PRAELIO."
"Fool!" said Allan, "stand aside, and dare not to come between
the tiger and his prey!"
But, far from quitting his point, Dalgetty stept across the
fallen body of MacEagh, and gave Allan to understand, that if he
called himself a tiger, he was likely, at present, to find a lion
in his path. There required no more than the gesture and tone of
defiance to turn the whole rage of the military Seer against the
person who was opposing the course of his vengeance, and blows
were instantly exchanged without farther ceremony.
The strife betwixt Allan and MacEagh had been unnoticed by the
stragglers around, for the person of the latter was known to few
of Montrose's followers; but the scuffle betwixt Dalgetty and
him, both so well known, attracted instant attention; and
fortunately, among others, that of Montrose himself, who had come
for the purpose of gathering together his small body of horse,
and following the pursuit down Loch-Eil. Aware of the fatal
consequences of dissension in his little army, he pushed his
horse up to the spot, and seeing MacEagh on the ground, and
Dalgetty in the attitude of protecting him against M'Aulay, his
quick apprehension instantly caught the cause of quarrel, and as
instantly devised means to stop it. "For shame," he said,
"gentlemen cavaliers, brawling together in so glorious a field of
victory!--Are you mad? Or are you intoxicated with the glory
which you have both this day gained?"
"It is not my fault, so please your Excellency," said Dalgetty.
"I have been known a BONUS SOCIUS, A BON CAMARADO, in all the
services of Europe; but he that touches a man under my safeguard
"And he," said Allan, speaking at the same time, "who dares to
bar the course of my just vengeance--"
"For shame, gentlemen!" again repeated Montrose; "I have other
business for you both,--business of deeper importance than any
private quarrel, which you may easily find a more fitting time to
settle. For you, Major Dalgetty, kneel down."
"Kneel!" said Dalgetty; "I have not learned to obey that word of
command, saving when it is given from the pulpit. In the Swedish
discipline, the front rank do indeed kneel, but only when the
regiment is drawn up six file deep."
"Nevertheless," repeated Montrose,--"kneel down, in the name of
King Charles and of his representative."
When Dalgetty reluctantly obeyed, Montrose struck him lightly on
the neck with the flat of his sword, saying,--"In reward of the
gallant service of this day, and in the name and authority of our
Sovereign, King Charles, I dub thee knight; be brave, loyal, and
fortunate. And now, Sir Dugald Dalgetty, to your duty. Collect
what horsemen you can, and pursue such of the enemy as are flying
down the side of the lake. Do not disperse your force, nor
venture too far; but take heed to prevent their rallying, which
very little exertion may do. Mount, then, Sir Dugald, and do
"But what shall I mount?" said the new-made chevalier. "Poor
Gustavus sleeps in the bed of honour, like his immortal namesake!
and I am made a knight, a rider, as the High Dutch have it, just
when I have not a horse left to ride upon." [In German, as in
Latin, the original meaning of the word Ritter, corresponding to
Eques, is merely a horseman.]
"That shall not be said," answered Montrose, dismounting; "I make
you a present of my own, which has been thought a good one; only,
I pray you, resume the duty you discharge so well."
With many acknowledgments, Sir Dugald mounted the steed so
liberally bestowed upon him; and only beseeching his Excellency
to remember that MacEagh was under his safe-conduct, immediately
began to execute the orders assigned to him, with great zeal and
"And you, Allan M'Aulay," said Montrose, addressing the
Highlander, who, leaning his sword-point on the ground, had
regarded the ceremony of his antagonist's knighthood with a sneer
of sullen scorn,--"you, who are superior to the ordinary men led
by the paltry motives of plunder, and pay, and personal
distinction,--you, whose deep knowledge renders you so valuable a
counsellor,--is it YOU whom I find striving with a man like
Dalgetty, for the privilege of trampling the remains of life out
of so contemptible an enemy as lies there? Come, my friend, I
have other work for you. This victory, skilfully improved, shall
win Seaforth to our party. It is not disloyalty, but despair of
the good cause, that has induced him to take arms against us.
These arms, in this moment of better augury, he may be brought to
unite with ours. I shall send my gallant friend, Colonel Hay, to
him, from this very field of battle, but he must be united in
commission with a Highland gentleman of rank, befitting that of
Seaforth, and of talents and of influence such as may make an
impression upon him. You are not only in every respect the
fittest for this most important mission, but, having no immediate
command, your presence may be more easily spared than that of a
Chief whose following is in the field. You know every pass and
glen in the Highlands, as well as the manners and customs of
every tribe. Go therefore to Hay, on the right wing; he has
instructions, and expects you. You will find him with
Glenmorrison's men; be his guide, his interpreter, and his
Allan M'Aulay bent on the Marquis a dark and penetrating glance,
as if to ascertain whether this sudden mission was not conferred
for some latent and unexplained purpose. But Montrose, skilful
in searching the motives of others, was an equal adept in
concealing his own. He considered it as of the last consequence,
in this moment of enthusiasm and exalted passion, to remove Allan
from the camp for a few days, that he might provide, as his
honour required, for the safety of those who had acted as his
guides, when he trusted the Seer's quarrel with Dalgetty might be
easily made up. Allan, at parting, only recommended to the
Marquis the care of Sir Duncan Campbell, whom Montrose instantly
directed to be conveyed to a place of safety. He took the same
precaution for MacEagh, committing the latter, however, to a
party of the Irish, with directions that he should be taken care
of, but that no Highlander, of any clan, should have access to
The Marquis then mounted a led horse, which was held by one of
his attendants, and rode on to view the scene of his victory,
which was more decisive than even his ardent hopes had
anticipated. Of Argyle's gallant army of three thousand men,
fully one-half fell in the battle, or in the flight. They had
been chiefly driven back upon that part of the plain where the
river forms an angle with the lake, so that there was no free
opening either for retreat or escape. Several hundreds were
forced into the lake and drowned. Of the survivors, about one-
half escaped by swimming the river, or by an early flight along
the left bank of the lake. The remainder threw themselves into
the old Castle of Inverlochy; but being without either provisions
or hopes of relief, they were obliged to surrender, on condition
of being suffered to return to their homes in peace. Arms,
ammunition, standards, and baggage, all became the prey of the
This was the greatest disaster that ever befell the race of
Diarmid, as the Campbells were called in the Highlands; it being
generally remarked that they were as fortunate in the issue of
their undertakings, as they were sagacious in planning, and
courageous in executing them. Of the number slain, nearly five
hundred were dunniwassels, or gentlemen claiming descent from
known and respected houses. And, in the opinion of many of the
clan, even this heavy loss was exceeded by the disgrace arising
from the inglorious conduct of their Chief, whose galley weighed
anchor when the day was lost, and sailed down the lake with all
the speed to which sails and oars could impel her.
Faint the din of battle bray'd,
Distant down the hollow wind;
War and terror fled before,
Wounds and death remain'd behind. PENROSE.
Montrose's splendid success over his powerful rival was not
attained without some loss, though not amounting to the tenth of
what he inflicted. The obstinate valour of the Campbells cost
the lives of many brave men of the opposite party; and more were
wounded, the Chief of whom was the brave young Earl of Menteith,
who had commanded the centre. He was but slightly touched,
however, and made rather a graceful than a terrible appearance
when he presented to his general the standard of Argyle, which he
had taken from the standard-bearer with his own hand, and slain
him in single combat. Montrose dearly loved his noble kinsman,
in whom there was conspicuous a flash of the generous, romantic,
disinterested chivalry of the old heroic times, entirely
different from the sordid, calculating, and selfish character,
which the practice of entertaining mercenary troops had
introduced into most parts of Europe, and of which degeneracy
Scotland, which furnished soldiers of fortune for the service of
almost every nation, had been contaminated with a more than usual
share. Montrose, whose native spirit was congenial, although
experience had taught him how to avail himself of the motives of
others, used to Menteith neither the language of praise nor of
promise, but clasped him to his bosom as he exclaimed, "My
gallant kinsman!" And by this burst of heartfelt applause was
Menteith thrilled with a warmer glow of delight, than if his
praises had been recorded in a report of the action sent directly
to the throne of his sovereign.
"Nothing," he said, "my lord, now seems to remain in which I can
render any assistance; permit me to look after a duty of
humanity--the Knight of Ardenvohr, as I am told, is our prisoner,
and severely wounded."
"And well he deserves to be so," said Sir Dugald Dalgetty, who
came up to them at that moment with a prodigious addition of
acquired importance, "since he shot my good horse at the time
that I was offering him honourable quarter, which, I must needs
say, was done more like an ignorant Highland cateran, who has not
sense enough to erect a sconce for the protection of his old
hurley-house of a castle, than like a soldier of worth and
"Are we to condole with you then," said Lord Menteith, "upon the
loss of the famed Gustavus?"
"Even so, my lord," answered the soldier, with a deep sigh, "DIEM
CLAUSIT SUPREMUM, as we said at the Mareschal-College of
Aberdeen. Better so than be smothered like a cadger's pony in
some flow-moss, or snow-wreath, which was like to be his fate if
this winter campaign lasted longer. But it has pleased his
Excellency" (making an inclination to Montrose) "to supply his
place by the gift of a noble steed, whom I have taken the freedom
to name 'LOYALTY'S REWARD,' in memory of this celebrated
"I hope," said the Marquis, "you'll find Loyalty's Reward, since
you call him so, practised in all the duties of the field, --but
I must just hint to you, that at this time, in Scotland, loyalty
is more frequently rewarded with a halter than with a horse."
"Ahem! your Excellency is pleased to be facetious. Loyalty's
Reward is as perfect as Gustavus in all his exercises, and of a
far finer figure. Marry! his social qualities are less
cultivated, in respect he has kept till now inferior company."
"Not meaning his Excellency the General, I hope," said Lord
Menteith. "For shame, Sir Dugald!"
"My lord," answered the knight gravely, "I am incapable to mean
anything so utterly unbecoming. What I asseverate is, that his
Excellency, having the same intercourse with his horse during his
exercise, that he hath with his soldiers when training them, may
form and break either to every feat of war which he chooses to
practise, and accordingly that this noble charger is admirably
managed. But as it is the intercourse of private life that
formeth the social character, so I do not apprehend that of the
single soldier to be much polished by the conversation of the
corporal or the sergeant, or that of Loyalty's Reward to have
been much dulcified, or ameliorated, by the society of his
Excellency's grooms, who bestow more oaths, and kicks, and
thumps, than kindness or caresses, upon the animals intrusted to
their charge; whereby many a generous quadruped, rendered as it
were misanthropic, manifests during the rest of his life a
greater desire to kick and bite his master, than to love and to
"Spoken like an oracle," said Montrose. "Were there an academy
for the education of horses to be annexed to the Mareschal-
College of Aberdeen, Sir Dugald Dalgetty alone should fill the
"Because, being an ass," said Menteith, aside to the General,
"there would be some distant relation between the professor and
"And now, with your Excellency's permission," said the new-made
knight, "I am going to pay my last visit to the remains of my old
companion in arms."
"Not with the purpose of going through the ceremonial of
interment?" said the Marquis, who did not know how far Sir
Dugald's enthusiasm might lead him; "consider our brave fellows
themselves will have but a hasty burial."
"Your Excellency will pardon me," said Dalgetty; "my purpose is
less romantic. I go to divide poor Gustavus's legacy with the
fowls of heaven, leaving the flesh to them, and reserving to
myself his hide; which, in token of affectionate remembrance, I
purpose to form into a cassock and trowsers, after the Tartar
fashion, to be worn under my armour, in respect my nether
garments are at present shamefully the worse of the wear.--Alas!
poor Gustavus, why didst thou not live at least one hour more, to
have borne the honoured weight of knighthood upon thy loins!"
He was now turning away, when the Marquis called after him,--"As
you are not likely to be anticipated in this act of kindness, Sir
Dugald, to your old friend and companion, I trust," said the
Marquis, "you will first assist me, and our principal friends, to
discuss some of Argyle's good cheer, of which we have found
abundance in the Castle."
"Most willingly, please your Excellency," said Sir Dugald; "as
meat and mass never hinder work. Nor, indeed, am I afraid that
the wolves or eagles will begin an onslaught on Gustavus to-
night, in regard there is so much better cheer lying all around.
But," added he, "as I am to meet two honourable knights of
England, with others of the knightly degree in your lordship's
army, I pray it may be explained to them, that now, and in
future, I claim precedence over them all, in respect of my rank
as a Banneret, dubbed in a field of stricken battle."
"The devil confound him!" said Montrose, speaking aside; "he has
contrived to set the kiln on fire as fast as I put it out.
--'This is a point, Sir Dugald," said he, gravely addressing him,
"which I shall reserve for his Majesty's express consideration;
in my camp, all must be upon equality, like the Knights of the
Round Table; and take their places as soldiers should, upon the
principle of,--first come, first served."
"Then I shall take care," said Menteith, apart to the Marquis,
"that Don Dugald is not first in place to-day.--Sir Dugald,"
added he, raising his voice, "as you say your wardrobe is out of
repair, had you not better go to the enemy's baggage yonder, over
which there is a guard placed? I saw them take out an excellent
buff suit, embroidered in front in silk and silver."
"VOTO A DIOS! as the Spaniard says," exclaimed the Major, "and
some beggarly gilly may get it while I stand prating here!"
The prospect of booty having at once driven out of his head both
Gustavus and the provant, he set spurs to Loyalty's Reward, and
rode off through the field of battle.
"There goes the hound," said Menteith, "breaking the face, and
trampling on the body, of many a better man than himself; and as
eager on his sordid spoil as a vulture that stoops upon carrion.
Yet this man the world calls a soldier--and you, my lord, select
him as worthy of the honours of chivalry, if such they can at
this day be termed. You have made the collar of knighthood the
decoration of a mere bloodhound."
"What could I do?" said Montrose. "I had no half-picked bones
to give him, and bribed in some manner he must be,--I cannot
follow the chase alone. Besides, the dog has good qualities."
"If nature has given him such," said Menteith, "habit has
converted them into feelings of intense selfishness. He may be
punctilious concerning his reputation, and brave in the execution
of his duty, but it is only because without these qualities he
cannot rise in the service;--nay, his very benevolence is
selfish; he may defend his companion while he can keep his feet,
but the instant he is down, Sir Dugald will be as ready to ease
him of his purse, as he is to convert the skin of Gustavus into a
"And yet, if all this were true, cousin," answered Montrose,
"there is something convenient in commanding a soldier, upon
whose motives and springs of action you can calculate to a
mathematical certainty. A fine spirit like yours, my cousin,
alive to a thousand sensations to which this man's is as
impervious as his corslet,--it is for such that thy friend must
feel, while he gives his advice." Then, suddenly changing his
tone, he asked Menteith when he had seen Annot Lyle.
The young Earl coloured deeply, and answered, "Not since last
evening,--excepting," he added, with hesitation, "for one moment,
about half an hour before the battle began."
"My dear Menteith," said Montrose, very kindly, "were you one of
the gay cavaliers of Whitehall, who are, in their way, as great
self-seekers as our friend Dalgetty, should I need to plague you
with enquiring into such an amourette as this? it would be an
intrigue only to be laughed at. But this is the land of
enchantment, where nets strong as steel are wrought out of
ladies' tresses, and you are exactly the destined knight to be so
fettered. This poor girl is exquisitely beautiful, and has
talents formed to captivate your romantic temper. You cannot
think of injuring her--you cannot think of marrying her?"
"My lord," replied Menteith, "you have repeatedly urged this
jest, for so I trust it is meant, somewhat beyond bounds. Annot
Lyle is of unknown birth,--a captive,--the daughter, probably, of
some obscure outlaw; a dependant on the hospitality of the
"Do not be angry, Menteith," said the Marquis, interrupting him;
"you love the classics, though not educated at Mareschal-College;
and you may remember how many gallant hearts captive beauty has
Movit Ajacem, Telamone natum,
Forma captivae dominum Tecmessae.
In a word, I am seriously anxious about this--I should not have
time, perhaps," he added very gravely, "to trouble you with my
lectures on the subject, were your feelings, and those of Annot,
alone interested; but you have a dangerous rival in Allan
M'Aulay; and there is no knowing to what extent he may carry his
resentment. It is my duty to tell you that the King's service
may be much prejudiced by dissensions betwixt you."
"My lord," said Menteith, "I know what you mean is kind and
friendly; I hope you will be satisfied when I assure you, that
Allan M'Aulay and I have discussed this circumstance; and that I
have explained to him, that it is utterly remote from my
character to entertain dishonourable views concerning this
unprotected female; so, on the other hand, the obscurity of her
birth prevents my thinking of her upon other terms. I will not
disguise from your lordship, what I have not disguised from
M'Aulay,--that if Annot Lyle were born a lady, she should share
my name and rank; as matters stand, it is impossible. This
explanation, I trust, will satisfy your lordship, as it has
satisfied a less reasonable person."
Montrose shrugged his shoulders. "And, like true champions in
romance," he said, "you have agreed, that you are both to worship
the same mistress, as idolaters do the same image, and that
neither shall extend his pretensions farther?"
"I did not go so far, my lord," answered Menteith--"I only said
in the present circumstances--and there is no prospect of their
being changed,--I could, in duty to myself and family, stand in
no relation to Annot Lyle, but as that of friend or brother--But
your lordship must excuse me; I have," said he, looking at his
arm, round which he had tied his handkerchief, "a slight hurt to
"A wound?" said Montrose, anxiously; "let me see it.--Alas!" he
said, "I should have heard nothing of this, had I not ventured to
tent and sound another more secret and more rankling one,
Menteith; I am sorry for you--I too have known--But what avails
it to awake sorrows which have long slumbered!"
So saying, he shook hands with his noble kinsman, and walked into
Annot Lyle, as was not unusual for females in the Highlands, was
possessed of a slight degree of medical and even surgical skill.
It may readily be believed, that the profession of surgery, or
medicine, as a separate art, was unknown; and the few rude rules
which they observed were intrusted to women, or to the aged, whom
constant casualties afforded too much opportunity of acquiring
experience. The care and attention, accordingly, of Annot Lyle,
her attendants, and others acting under her direction, had made
her services extremely useful during this wild campaign. And
most readily had these services been rendered to friend and foe,
wherever they could be most useful. She was now in an apartment
of the castle, anxiously superintending the preparation of
vulnerary herbs, to be applied to the wounded; receiving reports
from different females respecting those under their separate
charge, and distributing what means she had for their relief,
when Allan M'Aulay suddenly entered the apartment. She started,
for she had heard that he had left the camp upon a distant
mission; and, however accustomed she was to the gloom of his
countenance, it seemed at present to have even a darker shade
than usual. He stood before her perfectly silent, and she felt
the necessity of being the first to speak.
"I thought," she said, with some effort, "you had already set
"My companion awaits me," said Allan; "I go instantly."
Yet still he stood before her, and held her by the arm, with a
pressure which, though insufficient to give her pain, made her
sensible of his great personal strength, his hand closing on her
like the gripe of a manacle.
"Shall I take the harp?" she said, in a timid voice; "is--is
the shadow falling upon you?"
Instead of replying, he led her to the window of the apartment,
which commanded a view of the field of the slain, with all its
horrors. It was thick spread with dead and wounded, and the
spoilers were busy tearing the clothes from the victims of war
and feudal ambition, with as much indifference as if they had not
been of the same species, and themselves exposed, perhaps to-
morrow, to the same fate.
"Does the sight please you?" said M'Aulay.
"It is hideous!" said Annot, covering her eyes with her hands;
"how can you bid me look upon it?"
"You must be inured to it," said he, "if you remain with this
destined host--you will soon have to search such a field for my
brother's corpse--for Menteith's--for mine---but that will be a
more indifferent task--You do not love me!"
"This is the first time you have taxed me with unkindness," said
Annot, weeping. "You are my brother--my preserver--my protector
--and can I then BUT love you?--But your hour of darkness is
approaching, let me fetch my harp--"
"Remain," said Allan, still holding her fast; "be my visions from
heaven or hell, or from the middle sphere of disembodied spirits
--or be they, as the Saxons hold, but the delusions of an over-
heated fancy, they do not now influence me; I speak the language
of the natural, of the visible world.--You love not me, Annot--
you love Menteith--by him you are beloved again, and Allan is no
more to you than one of the corpses which encumber yonder heath."
It cannot be supposed that this strange speech conveyed any new
information to her who was thus addressed. No woman ever lived
who could not, in the same circumstances, have discerned long
since the state of her lover's mind. But by thus suddenly
tearing off the veil, thin as it was, Allan prepared her to
expect consequences violent in proportion to the enthusiasm of
his character. She made an effort to repel the charge he had
"You forget," she said, "your own worth and nobleness when you
insult so very helpless a being, and one whom fate has thrown so
totally into your power. You know who and what I am, and how
impossible it is that Menteith or you can use language of
affection to me, beyond that of friendship. You know from what
unhappy race I have too probably derived my existence."
"I will not believe it," said Allan, impetuously; "never flowed
crystal drop from a polluted spring."
"Yet the very doubt," pleaded Annot, "should make you forbear to
use this language to me."
"I know," said M'Aulay, "it places a bar between us--but I know
also that it divides you not so inseparably from Menteith.--Hear
me, my beloved Annot!--leave this scene of terrors and danger--go
with me to Kintail--I will place you in the house of the noble
Lady of Seaforth--or you shall be removed in safety to Icolmkill,
where some women yet devote themselves to the worship of God,
after the custom of our ancestors."
"You consider not what you ask of me," replied Annot; "to
undertake such a journey under your sole guardianship, were to
show me less scrupulous than maiden ought. I will remain here,
Allan--here under the protection of the noble Montrose; and when
his motions next approach the Lowlands, I will contrive some
proper means to relieve you of one, who has, she knows not how,
become an object of dislike to you."
Allan stood as if uncertain whether to give way to sympathy with
her distress, or to anger at her resistance.
"Annot," he said, "you know too well how little your words apply
to my feelings towards you--but you avail yourself of your power,
and you rejoice in my departure, as removing a spy upon your
intercourse with Menteith. But beware both of you," he added, in
a stern tone; "for when was it ever heard that an injury was
offered to Allan M'Aulay, for which he exacted not tenfold
So saying, he pressed her arm forcibly, pulled the bonnet over
his brows, and strode out of the apartment.
--After you're gone,
I grew acquainted with my heart, and search'd,
What stirr'd it so.--Alas! I found it love.
Yet far from lust, for could I but have lived
In presence of you, I had had my end. PHILASTER.
Annot Lyle had now to contemplate the terrible gulf which Allan
M'Aulay's declaration of love and jealousy had made to open
around her. It seemed as if she was tottering on the very brink
of destruction, and was at once deprived of every refuge, and of
all human assistance. She had long been conscious that she loved
Menteith dearer than a brother; indeed, how could it be
otherwise, considering their early intimacy, the personal merit
of the young nobleman, his assiduous attentions,--and his
infinite superiority in gentleness of disposition, and grace of
manners, over the race of rude warriors with whom she lived? But
her affection was of that quiet, timid, meditative character,
which sought rather a reflected share in the happiness of the
beloved object, than formed more presumptuous or daring hopes. A
little Gaelic song, in which she expressed her feelings, has been
translated by the ingenious and unhappy Andrew M'Donald; and we
willingly transcribe the lines:--
Wert thou, like me, in life's low vale,
With thee how blest, that lot I'd share;
With thee I'd fly wherever gale
Could waft, or bounding galley bear.
But parted by severe decree,
Far different must our fortunes prove;
May thine be joy--enough for me
To weep and pray for him I love.
The pangs this foolish heart must feel,
When hope shall be forever flown,
No sullen murmur shall reveal,
No selfish murmurs ever own.
Nor will I through life's weary years,
Like a pale drooping mourner move,
While I can think my secret tears
May wound the heart of him I love.
The furious declaration of Allan had destroyed the romantic plan
which she had formed, of nursing in secret her pensive
tenderness, without seeking any other requital. Long before
this, she had dreaded Allan, as much as gratitude, and a sense
that he softened towards her a temper so haughty and so violent,
could permit her to do; but now she regarded him with unalloyed
terror, which a perfect knowledge of his disposition, and of his
preceding history, too well authorised her to entertain.
Whatever was in other respects the nobleness of his disposition,
he had never been known to resist the wilfulness of passion,--he
walked in the house, and in the country of his fathers, like a
tamed lion, whom no one dared to contradict, lest they should
awaken his natural vehemence of passion. So many years had
elapsed since he had experienced contradiction, or even
expostulation, that probably nothing but the strong good sense,
which, on all points, his mysticism excepted, formed the ground
of his character, prevented his proving an annoyance and terror
to the whole neighbourhood. But Annot had no time to dwell upon
her fears, being interrupted by the entrance of Sir Dugald
It may well be supposed, that the scenes in which this person had
passed his former life, had not much qualified him to shine in
female society. He himself felt a sort of consciousness that the
language of the barrack, guard-room, and parade, was not proper
to entertain ladies. The only peaceful part of his life had been
spent at Mareschal-College, Aberdeen; and he had forgot the
little he had learned there, except the arts of darning his own
hose, and dispatching his commons with unusual celerity, both
which had since been kept in good exercise by the necessity of
frequent practice. Still it was from an imperfect recollection
of what he had acquired during this pacific period, that he drew
his sources of conversation when in company with women; in other
words, his language became pedantic when it ceased to be
"Mistress Annot Lyle," said he, upon the present occasion, "I am
just now like the half-pike, or spontoon of Achilles, one end of
which could wound and the other cure--a property belonging
neither to Spanish pike, brown-bill, partizan, halberd, Lochaber-
axe, or indeed any other modern staff-weapon whatever."
This compliment he repeated twice; but as Annot scarce heard him
the first time, and did not comprehend him the second, he was
obliged to explain.
"I mean," he said, "Mistress Annot Lyle, that having been the
means of an honourable knight receiving a severe wound in this
day's conflict,--he having pistolled, somewhat against the law of
arms, my horse, which was named after the immortal King of
Sweden,--I am desirous of procuring him such solacement as you,
madam, can supply, you being like the heathen god Esculapius"
(meaning possibly Apollo), "skilful not only in song and in
music, but in the more noble art of chirurgery-OPIFERQUE PER
"If you would have the goodness to explain," said Annot, too sick
at heart to be amused by Sir Dugald's airs of pedantic gallantry.
"That, madam," replied the Knight, "may not be so easy, as I am
out of the habit of construing--but we shall try. DICOR, supply
EGO--I am called,--OPIFER? OPIFER?--I remember SIGNIFER and
FURCIFER--but I believe OPIFER stands in this place for M.D.,
that is, Doctor of Physic."
"This is a busy day with us all," said Annot; "will you say at
once what you want with me?"
"Merely," replied Sir Dugald, "that you will visit my brother
knight, and let your maiden bring some medicaments for his wound,
which threatens to be what the learned call a DAMNUM FATALE."
Annot Lyle never lingered in the cause of humanity. She informed
herself hastily of the nature of the injury, and interesting
herself for the dignified old Chief whom she had seen at
Darnlinvarach, and whose presence had so much struck her, she
hastened to lose the sense of her own sorrow for a time, in the
attempt to be useful to another.
Sir Dugald with great form ushered Annot Lyle to the chamber of
her patient, in which, to her surprise, she found Lord Menteith.
She could not help blushing deeply at the meeting, but, to hide
her confusion, proceeded instantly to examine the wound of the
Knight of Ardenvohr, and easily satisfied herself that it was
beyond her skill to cure it. As for Sir Dugald, he returned to a
large outhouse, on the floor of which, among other wounded men,
was deposited the person of Ranald of the Mist.
"Mine old friend," said the Knight, "as I told you before, I
would willingly do anything to pleasure you, in return for the
wound you have received while under my safe-conduct. I have,
therefore, according to your earnest request, sent Mrs. Annot
Lyle to attend upon the wound of the knight of Ardenvohr, though
wherein her doing so should benefit you, I cannot imagine.--I
think you once spoke of some blood relationship between them; but
a soldado, in command and charge like me, has other things to
trouble his head with than Highland genealogies."
And indeed, to do the worthy Major justice, he never enquired
after, listened to, or recollected, the business of other people,
unless it either related to the art military, or was somehow or
other connected with his own interest, in either of which cases
his memory was very tenacious.
"And now, my good friend of the Mist," said he, "can you tell me
what has become of your hopeful grandson, as I have not seen him
since he assisted me to disarm after the action, a negligence
which deserveth the strapado?"
"He is not far from hence," said the wounded outlaw--"lift not
your hand upon him, for he is man enough to pay a yard of
leathern scourge with a foot of tempered steel."
"A most improper vaunt," said Sir Dugald; "but I owe you some
favours, Ranald, and therefore shall let it pass."
"And if you think you owe me anything," said the outlaw, "it is
in your power to requite me by granting me a boon."
"Friend Ranald," answered Dalgetty, "I have read of these boons
in silly story-books, whereby simple knights were drawn into
engagements to their great prejudice; wherefore, Ranald, the more
prudent knights of this day never promise anything until they
know that they may keep their word anent the premises, without
any displeasure or incommodement to themselves. It may be, you
would have me engage the female chirurgeon to visit your wound;
though you ought to consider, Ranald, that the uncleanness of the
place where you are deposited may somewhat soil the gaiety of her
garments, concerning the preservation of which, you may have
observed, women are apt to be inordinately solicitous. I lost
the favour of the lady of the Grand Pensionary of Amsterdam, by
touching with the sole of my boot the train of her black velvet
gown, which I mistook for a foot-cloth, it being half the room
distant from her person."
"It is not to bring Annot Lyle hither," answered MacEagh, "but to
transport me into the room where she is in attendance upon the
Knight of Ardenvohr. Somewhat I have to say of the last
consequence to them both."
"It is something out of the order of due precedence," said
Dalgetty, "to carry a wounded outlaw into the presence of a
knight; knighthood having been of yore, and being, in some
respects, still, the highest military grade, independent always
of commissioned officers, who rank according to their patents;
nevertheless, as your boon, as you call it, is so slight, I shall
not deny compliance with the same." So saying, he ordered three
files of men to transport MacEagh on their shoulders to Sir
Duncan Campbell's apartment, and he himself hastened before to
announce the cause of his being brought thither. But such was
the activity of the soldiers employed, that they followed him
close at the heels, and, entering with their ghastly burden, laid
MacEagh on the floor of the apartment. His features, naturally
wild, were now distorted by pain; his hands and scanty garments
stained with his own blood, and those of others, which no kind
hand had wiped away, although the wound in his side had been
secured by a bandage.
"Are you," he said, raising his head painfully towards the couch
where lay stretched his late antagonist, "he whom men call the
Knight of Ardenvohr?"
"The same," answered Sir Duncan,--"what would you with one whose
hours are now numbered?"
"My hours are reduced to minutes," said the outlaw; "the more
grace, if I bestow them in the service of one, whose hand has
ever been against me, as mine has been raised higher against
"Thine higher against me!--Crushed worm!" said the Knight,
looking down on his miserable adversary.
"Yes," answered the outlaw, in a firm voice, "my arm hath been
highest. In the deadly contest betwixt us, the wounds I have
dealt have been deepest, though thine have neither been idle nor
unfelt.--I am Ranald MacEagh--I am Ranald of the Mist--the night
that I gave thy castle to the winds in one huge blaze of fire, is
now matched with the day in which you have fallen under the sword
of my fathers.--Remember the injuries thou hast done our tribe
--never were such inflicted, save by one, beside thee. HE, they
say, is fated and secure against our vengeance--a short time will
"My Lord Menteith," said Sir Duncan, raising himself out of his
bed, "this is a proclaimed villain, at once the enemy of King and
Parliament, of God and man--one of the outlawed banditti of the
Mist; alike the enemy of your house, of the M'Aulays, and of
mine. I trust you will not suffer moments, which are perhaps my
last, to be embittered by his barbarous triumph."
"He shall have the treatment he merits," said Menteith; "let him
be instantly removed."
Sir Dugald here interposed, and spoke of Ranald's services as a
guide, and his own pledge for his safety; but the high harsh
tones of the outlaw drowned his voice.
"No," said he, "be rack and gibbet the word! let me wither
between heaven and earth, and gorge the hawks and eagles of Ben-
Nevis; and so shall this haughty Knight, and this triumphant
Thane, never learn the secret I alone can impart; a secret which
would make Ardenvohr's heart leap with joy, were he in the death
agony, and which the Earl of Menteith would purchase at the price
of his broad earldom.--Come hither, Annot Lyle," he said, raising
himself with unexpected strength; "fear not the sight of him to
whom thou hast clung in infancy. Tell these proud men, who
disdain thee as the issue of mine ancient race, that thou art no
blood of ours,--no daughter of the race of the Mist, but born in
halls as lordly, and cradled on couch as soft, as ever soothed
infancy in their proudest palaces."
"In the name of God," said Menteith, trembling with emotion, "if
you know aught of the birth of this lady, do thy conscience the
justice to disburden it of the secret before departing from this
"And bless my enemies with my dying breath?" said MacEagh,
looking at him malignantly.--"Such are the maxims your priests
preach--but when, or towards whom, do you practise them? Let me
know first the worth of my secret ere I part with it--What would
you give, Knight of Ardenvohr, to know that your superstitious
fasts have been vain, and that there still remains a descendant
of your house?--I pause for an answer--without it, I speak not
one word more.
"I could," said Sir Duncan, his voice struggling between the
emotions of doubt, hatred, and anxiety--"I could--but that I know
thy race are like the Great Enemy, liars and murderers from the
beginning--but could it be true thou tellest me, I could almost
forgive thee the injuries thou hast done me."
"Hear it!" said Ranald; "he hath wagered deeply for a son of
Diarmid--And you, gentle Thane--the report of the camp says, that
you would purchase with life and lands the tidings that Annot
Lyle was no daughter of proscription, but of a race noble in your
estimation as your own--Well--It is for no love I tell you--The
time has been that I would have exchanged this secret against
liberty; I am now bartering it for what is dearer than liberty or
life.--Annot Lyle is the youngest, the sole surviving child of
the Knight of Ardenvohr, who alone was saved when all in his
halls besides was given to blood and ashes."
"Can this man speak truth?" said Annot Lyle, scarce knowing what
she said; "or is this some strange delusion?"
"Maiden," replied Ranald, "hadst thou dwelt longer with us, thou
wouldst have better learnt to know how to distinguish the accents
of truth. To that Saxon lord, and to the Knight of Ardenvohr, I
will yield such proofs of what I have spoken, that incredulity
shall stand convinced. Meantime, withdraw--I loved thine
infancy, I hate not thy youth--no eye hates the rose in its
blossom, though it groweth upon a thorn, and for thee only do I
something regret what is soon to follow. But he that would
avenge him of his foe must not reck though the guiltless be
engaged in the ruin."
"He advises well, Annot," said Lord Menteith; "in God's name
retire! if--if there be aught in this, your meeting with Sir
Duncan must he more prepared for both your sakes."
"I will not part from my father, if I have found one!" said
Annot--"I will not part from him under circumstances so
"And a father you shall ever find in me," murmured Sir Duncan.
"Then," said Menteith, "I will have MacEagh removed into an
adjacent apartment, and will collect the evidence of his tale
myself. Sir Dugald Dalgetty will give me his attendance and
"With pleasure, my lord," answered Sir Dugald.--"I will be your
confessor, or assessor--either or both. No one can be so fit,
for I had heard the whole story a month ago at Inverary castle
--but onslaughts like that of Ardenvohr confuse each other in my
memory, which is besides occupied with matters of more
Upon hearing this frank declaration, which was made as they left
the apartment with the wounded man, Lord Menteith darted upon
Dalgetty a look of extreme anger and disdain, to which the self-
conceit of the worthy commander rendered him totally insensible.
I am as free as nature first made man,
Ere the base laws of servitude began,
When wild in woods the noble savage ran. CONQUEST OF GRANADA
The Earl of Menteith, as he had undertaken, so he proceeded to
investigate more closely the story told by Ranald of the Mist,
which was corroborated by the examination of his two followers,
who had assisted in the capacity of guides. These declarations
he carefully compared with such circumstances concerning the
destruction of his castle and family as Sir Duncan Campbell was
able to supply; and it may be supposed he had forgotten nothing
relating to an event of such terrific importance. It was of the
last consequence to prove that this was no invention of the
outlaw's, for the purpose of passing an impostor as the child and
heiress of Ardenvohr.
Perhaps Menteith, so much interested in believing the tale, was
not altogether the fittest person to be intrusted with the
investigation of its truth; but the examinations of the Children
of the Mist were simple, accurate, and in all respects consistent
with each other. A personal mark was referred to, which was
known to have been borne by the infant child of Sir Duncan, and
which appeared upon the left shoulder of Annot Lyle. It was also
well remembered, that when the miserable relics of the other
children had been collected, those of the infant had nowhere been
found. Other circumstances of evidence, which it is unnecessary
to quote, brought the fullest conviction not only to Menteith,
but to the unprejudiced mind of Montrose, that in Annot Lyle, an
humble dependant, distinguished only by beauty and talent, they
were in future to respect the heiress of Ardenvohr.
While Menteith hastened to communicate the result of these
enquiries to the persons most interested, the outlaw demanded to
speak with his grandchild, whom he usually called his son. "He
would be found," he said, "in the outer apartment, in which he
himself had been originally deposited."
Accordingly, the young savage, after a close search, was found
lurking in a corner, coiled up among some rotten straw, and
brought to his grandsire.
"Kenneth," said the old outlaw, "hear the last words of the sire
of thy father. A Saxon soldier, and Allan of the Red-hand, left
this camp within these few hours, to travel to the country to
Caberfae. Pursue them as the bloodhound pursues the hurt deer
--swim the lake-climb the mountain--thread the forest--tarry not
until you join them;" and then the countenance of the lad
darkened as his grandfather spoke, and he laid his hand upon a
knife which stuck in the thong of leather that confined his
scanty plaid. "No!" said the old man; "it is not by thy hand he
must fall. They will ask the news from the camp--say to them
that Annot Lyle of the Harp is discovered to be the daughter of
Duncan of Ardenvohr; that the Thane of Menteith is to wed her
before the priest; and that you are sent to bid guests to the
bridal. Tarry not their answer, but vanish like the lightning
when the black cloud swallows it.--And now depart, beloved son of
my best beloved! I shall never more see thy face, nor hear the
light sound of thy footstep--yet tarry an instant and hear my
last charge. Remember the fate of our race, and quit not the
ancient manners of the Children of the Mist. We are now a
straggling handful, driven from every vale by the sword of every
clan, who rule in the possessions where their forefathers hewed
the wood, and drew the water for ours. But in the thicket of the
wilderness, and in the mist of the mountain, Kenneth, son of
Eracht, keep thou unsoiled the freedom which I leave thee as a
birthright. Barter it not neither for the rich garment, nor for
the stone-roof, nor for the covered board, nor for the couch of
down--on the rock or in the valley, in abundance or in famine--in
the leafy summer, and in the days of the iron winter--Son of the
Mist! be free as thy forefathers. Own no lord--receive no law
--take no hire--give no stipend--build no hut--enclose no pasture
--sow no grain;--let the deer of the mountain be thy flocks and
herds--if these fail thee, prey upon the goods of our oppressors
--of the Saxons, and of such Gael as are Saxons in their souls,
valuing herds and flocks more than honour and freedom. Well for
us that they do so--it affords the broader scope for our revenge.
Remember those who have done kindness to our race, and pay their
services with thy blood, should the hour require it. If a MacIan
shall come to thee with the head of the king's son in his hand,
shelter him, though the avenging army of the father were behind
him; for in Glencoe and Ardnamurchan, we have dwelt in peace in
the years that have gone by. The sons of Diarmid--the race of
Darnlinvarach--the riders of Menteith--my curse on thy head,
Child of the Mist, if thou spare one of those names, when the
time shall offer for cutting them off! and it will come anon,
for their own swords shall devour each other, and those who are
scattered shall fly to the Mist, and perish by its Children.
Once more, begone--shake the dust from thy feet against the
habitations of men, whether banded together for peace or for war.
Farewell, beloved! and mayst thou die like thy forefathers, ere
infirmity, disease, or age, shall break thy spirit--Begone!--
begone!--live free--requite kindness--avenge the injuries of thy
The young savage stooped, and kissed the brow of his dying
parent; but accustomed from infancy to suppress every exterior
sign of emotion, he parted without tear or adieu, and was soon
far beyond the limits of Montrose's camp.
Sir Dugald Dalgetty, who was present during the latter part of
this scene, was very little edified by the conduct of MacEagh
upon the occasion. "I cannot think, my friend Ranald," said he,
"that you are in the best possible road for a dying man. Storms,
onslaughts, massacres, the burning of suburbs, are indeed a
soldier's daily work, and are justified by the necessity of the
case, seeing that they are done in the course of duty; for
burning of suburbs, in particular, it may be said that they are
traitors and cut-throats to all fortified towns. Hence it is
plain, that a soldier is a profession peculiarly favoured by
Heaven, seeing that we may hope for salvation, although we daily
commit actions of so great violence. But then, Ranald, in all
services of Europe, it is the custom of the dying soldier not to
vaunt him of such doings, or to recommend them to his fellows;
but, on the contrary, to express contrition for the same, and to
repeat, or have repeated to him, some comfortable prayer; which,
if you please, I will intercede with his Excellency's chaplain to
prefer on your account. It is otherwise no point of my duty to
put you in mind of those things; only it may be for the ease of
your conscience to depart more like a Christian, and less like a
Turk, than you seem to be in a fair way of doing."
The only answer of the dying man--(for as such Ranald MacEagh
might now be considered)--was a request to be raised to such a
position that he might obtain a view from the window of the
Castle. The deep frost mist, which had long settled upon the top
of the mountains, was now rolling down each rugged glen and
gully, where the craggy ridges showed their black and irregular
outline, like desert islands rising above the ocean of vapour.
"Spirit of the Mist!" said Ranald MacEagh, "called by our race
our father, and our preserver--receive into thy tabernacle of
clouds, when this pang is over, him whom in life thou hast so
often sheltered." So saying, he sunk back into the arms of those
who upheld him, spoke no further word, but turned his face to the
wall for a short space.
"I believe," said Dalgetty, "my friend Ranald will be found in
his heart to be little better than a heathen." And he renewed
his proposal to procure him the assistance of Dr. Wisheart,
Montrose's military chaplain; "a man," said Sir Dugald, "very
clever in his exercise, and who will do execution on your sins in
less time than I could smoke a pipe of tobacco."
"Saxon," said the dying man, "speak to me no more of thy priest--
I die contented. Hadst thou ever an enemy against whom weapons
were of no avail--whom the ball missed, and against whom the
arrow shivered, and whose bare skin was as impenetrable to sword
and dirk as thy steel garment--Heardst thou ever of such a foe?"
"Very frequently, when I served in Germany," replied Sir Dugald.
"There was such a fellow at Ingolstadt; he was proof both against
lead and steel. The soldiers killed him with the buts of their
"This impassible foe," said Ranald, without regarding the Major's
interruption, "who has the blood dearest to me upon his hands--to
this man I have now bequeathed agony of mind, jealousy, despair,
and sudden death,--or a life more miserable than death itself.
Such shall be the lot of Allan of the Red-hand, when he learns
that Annot weds Menteith and I ask no more than the certainty
that it is so, to sweeten my own bloody end by his hand."
"If that be the case," said the Major, "there's no more to be
said; but I shall take care as few people see you as possible,
for I cannot think your mode of departure can be at all
creditable or exemplary to a Christian army." So saying, he left
the apartment, and the Son of the Mist soon after breathed his
Menteith, in the meanwhile, leaving the new-found relations to
their mutual feelings of mingled emotion, was eagerly discussing
with Montrose the consequences of this discovery. "I should now
see," said the Marquis, "even had I not before observed it, that
your interest in this discovery, my dear Menteith, has no small
reference to your own happiness. You love this new-found lady,--
your affection is returned. In point of birth, no exceptions can
be made; in every other respect, her advantages are equal to
those which you yourself possess--think, however, a moment. Sir
Duncan is a fanatic--Presbyterian, at least--in arms against the
King; he is only with us in the quality of a prisoner, and we
are, I fear, but at the commencement of a long civil war. Is
this a time, think you, Menteith, for you to make proposals for
his heiress? Or what chance is there that he will now listen to
Passion, an ingenious, as well as an eloquent advocate, supplied
the young nobleman with a thousand answers to these objections.
He reminded Montrose that the Knight of Ardenvohr was neither a
bigot in politics nor religion. He urged his own known and
proved zeal for the royal cause, and hinted that its influence
might be extended and strengthened by his wedding the heiress of
Ardenvohr. He pleaded the dangerous state of Sir Duncan's wound,
the risk which must be run by suffering the young lady to be
carried into the country of the Campbells, where, in case of her
father's death, or continued indisposition, she must necessarily
be placed under the guardianship of Argyle, an event fatal to his
(Menteith's) hopes, unless he could stoop to purchase his favour
by abandoning the King's party.
Montrose allowed the force of these arguments, and owned,
although the matter was attended with difficulty, yet it seemed
consistent with the King's service that it should be concluded as
speedily as possible.
"I could wish," said he, "that it were all settled in one way or
another, and that this fair Briseis were removed from our camp
before the return of our Highland Achilles, Allan M'Aulay.--I
fear some fatal feud in that quarter, Menteith--and I believe it
would be best that Sir Duncan be dismissed on his parole, and
that you accompany him and his daughter as his escort. The
journey can be made chiefly by water, so will not greatly
incommode his wound--and your own, my friend, will be an
honourable excuse for the absence of some time from my camp."
"Never!" said Menteith. "Were I to forfeit the very hope that
has so lately dawned upon me, never will I leave your
Excellency's camp while the royal standard is displayed. I
should deserve that this trifling scratch should gangrene and
consume my sword-arm, were I capable of holding it as an excuse
for absence at this crisis of the King's affairs."
"On this, then, you are determined?" said Montrose.
"As fixed as Ben-Nevis," said the young nobleman.
"You must, then," said Montrose, "lose no time in seeking an
explanation with the Knight of Ardenvohr. If this prove
favourable, I will talk myself with the elder M'Aulay, and we
will devise means to employ his brother at a distance from the
army until he shall be reconciled to his present disappointment.
Would to God some vision would descend upon his imagination fair
enough to obliterate all traces of Annot Lyle! That perhaps you
think impossible, Menteith?--Well, each to his service; you to
that of Cupid, and I to that of Mars."
They parted, and in pursuance of the scheme arranged, Menteith,
early on the ensuing morning, sought a private interview with the
wounded Knight of Ardenvohr, and communicated to him his suit for
the hand of his daughter. Of their mutual attachment Sir Duncan
was aware, but he was not prepared for so early a declaration on
the part of Menteith. He said, at first, that he had already,
perhaps, indulged too much in feelings of personal happiness, at
a time when his clan had sustained so great a loss and
humiliation, and that he was unwilling, therefore, farther to
consider the advancement of his own house at a period so
calamitous. On the more urgent suit of the noble lover, he
requested a few hours to deliberate and consult with his
daughter, upon a question so highly important.
The result of this interview and deliberation was favourable to
Menteith. Sir Duncan Campbell became fully sensible that the
happiness of his new-found daughter depended upon a union with
her lover; and unless such were now formed, he saw that Argyle
would throw a thousand obstacles in the way of a match in every
respect acceptable to himself. Menteith's private character was
so excellent, and such was the rank and consideration due to his
fortune and family, that they outbalanced, in Sir Duncan's
opinion, the difference in their political opinions. Nor could
he have resolved, perhaps, had his own opinion of the match been
less favourable, to decline an opportunity of indulging the new-
found child of his hopes. There was, besides, a feeling of pride
which dictated his determination. To produce the Heiress of
Ardenvohr to the world as one who had been educated a poor
dependant and musician in the family of Darnlinvarach, had
something in it that was humiliating. To introduce her as the
betrothed bride, or wedded wife, of the Earl of Menteith, upon an
attachment formed during her obscurity, was a warrant to the
world that she had at all times been worthy of the rank to which
she was elevated.
It was under the influence of these considerations that Sir
Duncan Campbell announced to the lovers his consent that they
should be married in the chapel of the Castle, by Montrose's
chaplain, and as privately as possible. But when Montrose should
break up from Inverlochy, for which orders were expected in the
course of a very few days, it was agreed that the young Countess
should depart with her father to his Castle, and remain there
until the circumstances of the nation permitted Menteith to
retire with honour from his present military employment. His
resolution being once taken, Sir Duncan Campbell would not permit
the maidenly scruples of his daughter to delay its execution; and
it was therefore resolved that the bridal should take place the
next evening, being the second after the battle.
My maid--my blue-eyed maid, he bore away,
Due to the toils of many a bloody day. ILLIAD.
It was necessary, for many reasons, that Angus M'Aulay, so long
the kind protector of Annot Lyle, should be made acquainted with
the change in the fortunes of his late protege; and Montrose, as
he had undertaken, communicated to him these remarkable events.
With the careless and cheerful indifference of his character, he
expressed much more joy than wonder at Annot's good fortune; had
no doubt whatever she would merit it, and as she had always been
bred in loyal principles, would convey the whole estate of her
grim fanatical father to some honest fellow who loved the king.
"I should have no objection that my brother Allan should try his
chance," added he, "notwithstanding that Sir Duncan Campbell was
the only man who ever charged Darnlinvarach with inhospitality.
Annot Lyle could always charm Allan out of the sullens, and who
knows whether matrimony might not make him more a man of this
world?" Montrose hastened to interrupt the progress of his
castle-building, by informing him that the lady was already wooed
and won, and, with her father's approbation, was almost
immediately to be wedded to his kinsman, the Earl of Menteith;
and that in testimony of the high respect due to M'Aulay, so long
the lady's protector, he was now to request his presence at the
ceremony. M'Aulay looked very grave at this intimation, and drew
up his person with the air of one who thought that he had been
"He contrived," he said, "that his uniform kind treatment of the
young lady, while so many years under his roof, required
something more upon such an occasion than a bare compliment of
ceremony. He might," he thought, "without arrogance, have
expected to have been consulted. He wished his kinsman of
Menteith well, no man could wish him better; but he must say he
thought he had been hasty in this matter. Allan's sentiments
towards the young lady had been pretty well understood, and he,
for one, could not see why the superior pretensions which he had
upon her gratitude should have been set aside, without at least
undergoing some previous discussion."
Montrose, seeing too well where all this pointed, entreated
M'Aulay to be reasonable, and to consider what probability there
was that the Knight of Ardenvohr could be brought to confer the
hand of his sole heiress upon Allan, whose undeniable excellent
qualities were mingled with others, by which they were
overclouded in a manner that made all tremble who approached him.
"My lord," said Angus M'Aulay, "my brother Allan has, as God made
us all, faults as well as merits; but he is the best and bravest
man of your army, be the other who he may, and therefore ill
deserved that his happiness should have been so little consulted
by your Excellency--by his own near kinsman--and by a young
person who owes all to him and to his family."
Montrose in vain endeavoured to place the subject in a different
view; this was the point in which Angus was determined to regard
it, and he was a man of that calibre of understanding, who is
incapable of being convinced when he has once adopted a
prejudice. Montrose now assumed a higher tone, and called upon
Angus to take care how he nourished any sentiments which might be
prejudicial to his Majesty's service. He pointed out to him,
that he was peculiarly desirous that Allan's efforts should not
be interrupted in the course of his present mission; "a mission,"
he said, "highly honourable for himself, and likely to prove most
advantageous to the King's cause. He expected his brother would
hold no communication with him upon other subjects, nor stir up
any cause of dissension, which might divert his mind from a
matter of such importance."
Angus answered somewhat sulkily, that "he was no makebate, or
stirrer-up of quarrels; he would rather be a peacemaker. His
brother knew as well as most men how to resent his own quarrels
--as for Allan's mode of receiving information, it was generally
believed he had other sources than those of ordinary couriers.
He should not be surprised if they saw him sooner than they
A promise that he would not interfere, was the farthest to which
Montrose could bring this man, thoroughly good-tempered as he was
on all occasions, save when his pride, interest, or prejudices,
were interfered with. And at this point the Marquis was fain to
leave the matter for the present.
A more willing guest at the bridal ceremony, certainly a more
willing attendant at the marriage feast, was to be expected in
Sir Dugald Dalgetty, whom Montrose resolved to invite, as having
been a confidant to the circumstances which preceded it. But
even Sir Dugald hesitated, looked on the elbows of his doublet,
and the knees of his leather breeches, and mumbled out a sort of
reluctant acquiescence in the invitation, providing he should
find it possible, after consulting with the noble bridegroom.
Montrose was somewhat surprised, but scorning to testify
displeasure, he left Sir Dugald to pursue his own course.
This carried him instantly to the chamber of the bride-groom,
who, amidst the scanty wardrobe which his camp-equipage afforded,
was seeking for such articles as might appear to the best
advantage upon the approaching occasion. Sir Dugald entered, and
paid his compliments, with a very grave face, upon his
approaching happiness, which, he said, "he was very sorry he was
prevented from witnessing."
"In plain truth," said he, "I should but disgrace the ceremony,
seeing that I lack a bridal garment. Rents, and open seams, and
tatters at elbows in the apparel of the assistants, might presage
a similar solution of continuity in your matrimonial happiness
--and to say truth, my lord, you yourself must partly have the
blame of this disappointment, in respect you sent me upon a
fool's errand to get a buff-coat out of the booty taken by the
Camerons, whereas you might as well have sent me to fetch a pound
of fresh butter out of a black dog's throat. I had no answer, my
lord, but brandished dirks and broadswords, and a sort of
growling and jabbering in what they call their language. For my
part, I believe these Highlanders to be no better than absolute
pagans, and have been much scandalized by the manner in which my
acquaintance, Ranald MacEagh, was pleased to beat his final
march, a little while since."
In Menteith's state of mind, disposed to be pleased with
everything, and everybody, the grave complaint of Sir Dugald
furnished additional amusement. He requested his acceptance of a
very handsome buff-dress which was lying on the floor. "I had
intended it," he said, "for my own bridal-garment, as being the
least formidable of my warlike equipments, and I have here no
Sir Dugald made the necessary apologies--would not by any means
deprive--and so forth, until it happily occurred to him that it
was much more according to military rule that the Earl should be
married in his back and breast pieces, which dress he had seen
the bridegroom wear at the union of Prince Leo of Wittlesbach
with the youngest daughter of old George Frederick, of Saxony,
under the auspices of the gallant Gustavus Adolphus, the Lion of
the North, and so forth. The good-natured young Earl laughed,
and acquiesced; and thus having secured at least one merry face
at his bridal, he put on a light and ornamented cuirass,
concealed partly by a velvet coat, and partly by a broad blue
silk scarf, which he wore over his shoulder, agreeably to his
rank, and the fashion of the times.
Everything was now arranged; and it had been settled that,
according to the custom of the country, the bride and bridegroom
should not again meet until they were before the altar. The hour
had already struck that summoned the bridegroom thither, and he
only waited in a small anteroom adjacent to the chapel, for the
Marquis, who condescended to act as bride's-man upon the
occasion. Business relating to the army having suddenly required
the Marquis's instant attention, Menteith waited his return, it
may be supposed, in some impatience; and when he heard the door
of the apartment open, he said, laughing, "You are late upon
"You will find I am too early," said Allan M'Aulay, who burst
into the apartment. "Draw, Menteith, and defend yourself like a
man, or die like a dog!"
"You are mad, Allan!" answered Menteith, astonished alike at his
sudden appearance, and at the unutterable fury of his demeanour.
His cheeks were livid--his eyes started from their sockets--his
lips were covered with foam, and his gestures were those of a
"You lie, traitor!" was his frantic reply--"you lie in that, as
you lie in all you have said to me. Your life is a lie!"
"Did I not speak my thoughts when I called you mad," said
Menteith, indignantly, "your own life were a brief one. In what
do you charge me with deceiving you?"
"You told me," answered M'Aulay, "that you would not marry Annot
Lyle!--False traitor!--she now waits you at the altar."
"It is you who speak false," retorted Menteith. "I told you the
obscurity of her birth was the only bar to our union--that is now
removed; and whom do you think yourself, that I should yield up
my pretensions in your favour?"
"Draw then," said M'Aulay; "we understand each other."
"Not now," said Menteith, "and not here. Allan, you know me
well--wait till to-morrow, and you shall have fighting enough."
"This hour--this instant--or never," answered M'Aulay.
"Your triumph shall not go farther than the hour which is
stricken. Menteith, I entreat you by our relationship--by our
joint conflicts and labours--draw your sword, and defend your
life!" As he spoke, he seized the Earl's hand, and wrung it with
such frantic earnestness, that his grasp forced the blood to
start under the nails. Menteith threw him off with violence,
exclaiming, "Begone, madman!"
"Then, be the vision accomplished!" said Allan; and, drawing his
dirk, struck with his whole gigantic force at the Earl's bosom.
The temper of the corslet threw the point of the weapon upwards,
but a deep wound took place between the neck and shoulder; and
the force of the blow prostrated the bridegroom on the floor.
Montrose entered at one side of the anteroom. The bridal
company, alarmed at the noise, were in equal apprehension and
surprise; but ere Montrose could almost see what had happened,
Allan M'Aulay had rushed past him, and descended the castle
stairs like lightning. "Guards, shut the gate!" exclaimed
Montrose--"Seize him--kill him, if he resists!--He shall die, if
he were my brother!"
But Allan prostrated, with a second blow of his dagger, a
sentinel who was upon duty---traversed the camp like a mountain-
deer, though pursued by all who caught the alarm--threw himself
into the river, and, swimming to the opposite side, was soon lost
among the woods. In the course of the same evening, his brother
Angus and his followers left Montrose's camp, and, taking the
road homeward, never again rejoined him.
Of Allan himself it is said, that, in a wonderfully short space
after the deed was committed, he burst into a room in the Castle
of Inverary, where Argyle was sitting in council, and flung on
the table his bloody dirk.
"Is it the blood of James Grahame?" said Argyle, a ghastly
expression of hope mixing with the terror which the sudden
apparition naturally excited.
"It is the blood of his minion," answered M'Aulay--"It is the
blood which I was predestined to shed, though I would rather have
spilt my own."
Having thus spoken, he turned and left the castle, and from that
moment nothing certain is known of his fate. As the boy Kenneth,
with three of the Children of the Mist, were seen soon afterwards
to cross Lochfine, it is supposed they dogged his course, and
that he perished by their hand in some obscure wilderness.
Another opinion maintains, that Allan M'Aulay went abroad and
died a monk of the Carthusian order. But nothing beyond bare
presumption could ever be brought in support of either opinion.
His vengeance was much less complete than he probably fancied;
for Menteith, though so severely wounded as to remain long in a
dangerous state, was, by having adopted Major Dalgetty's
fortunate recommendation of a cuirass as a bridal-garment,
happily secured from the worst consequences of the blow. But his
services were lost to Montrose; and it was thought best, that he
should be conveyed with his intended countess, now truly a
mourning bride, and should accompany his wounded father-in-law to
the castle of Sir Duncan at Ardenvohr. Dalgetty followed them to
the water's edge, reminding Menteith of the necessity of erecting
a sconce on Drumsnab to cover his lady's newly-acquired
They performed their voyage in safety, and Menteith was in a few
weeks so well in health, as to be united to Annot in the castle
of her father.
The Highlanders were somewhat puzzled to reconcile Menteith's
recovery with the visions of the second sight, and the more
experienced Seers were displeased with him for not having died.
But others thought the credit of the vision sufficiently
fulfilled, by the wound inflicted by the hand, and with the
weapon, foretold; and all were of opinion, that the incident of
the ring, with the death's head, related to the death of the
bride's father, who did not survive her marriage many months.
The incredulous held, that all this was idle dreaming, and that
Allan's supposed vision was but a consequence of the private
suggestions of his own passion, which, having long seen in
Menteith a rival more beloved than himself, struggled with his
better nature, and impressed upon him, as it were involuntarily,
the idea of killing his competitor.
Menteith did not recover sufficiently to join Montrose during his
brief and glorious career; and when that heroic general disbanded
his army and retired from Scotland, Menteith resolved to adopt
the life of privacy, which he led till the Restoration. After
that happy event, he occupied a situation in the land befitting
his rank, lived long, happy alike in public regard and in
domestic affection, and died at a good old age.
Our DRAMATIS PERSONAE have been so limited, that, excepting
Montrose, whose exploits and fate are the theme of history, we
have only to mention Sir Dugald Dalgetty. This gentleman
continued, with the most rigorous punctuality, to discharge his
duty, and to receive his pay, until he was made prisoner, among
others, upon the field of Philiphaugh. He was condemned to share
the fate of his fellow-officers upon that occasion, who were
doomed to death rather by denunciations from the pulpit, than the
sentence either of civil or military tribunal; their blood being
considered as a sort of sin-offering to take away the guilt of
the land, and the fate imposed upon the Canaanites, under a
special dispensation, being impiously and cruelly applied to
Several Lowland officers, in the service of the Covenanters,
interceded for Dalgetty on this occasion, representing him as a
person whose skill would be useful in their army, and who would
be readily induced to change his service. But on this point they
found Sir Dugald unexpectedly obstinate. He had engaged with the
King for a certain term, and, till that was expired, his
principles would not permit any shadow of changing. The
Covenanters, again, understood no such nice distinction, and he
was in the utmost danger of falling a martyr, not to this or that
political principle, but merely to his own strict ideas of a
military enlistment. Fortunately, his friends discovered, by
computation, that there remained but a fortnight to elapse of the
engagement he had formed, and to which, though certain it was
never to be renewed, no power on earth could make him false.
With some difficulty they procured a reprieve for this short
space, after which they found him perfectly willing to come under
any engagements they chose to dictate. He entered the service of
the Estates accordingly, and wrought himself forward to be Major
in Gilbert Ker's corps, commonly called the Kirk's Own Regiment
of Horse. Of his farther history we know nothing, until we find
him in possession of his paternal estate of Drumthwacket, which
he acquired, not by the sword, but by a pacific intermarriage
with Hannah Strachan, a matron somewhat stricken in years, the
widow of the Aberdeenshire Covenanter.
Sir Dugald is supposed to have survived the Revolution, as
traditions of no very distant date represent him as cruising
about in that country, very old, very deaf, and very full of
interminable stories about the immortal Gustavus Adolphus, the
Lion of the North, and the bulwark of the Protestant Faith.
READER! THE TALES OF MY LANDLORD ARE NOW FINALLY CLOSED,
closed, and it was my purpose to have addressed thee in the vein
of Jedediah Cleishbotham; but, like Horam the son of Asmar, and
all other imaginary story-tellers, Jedediah has melted into thin
Mr. Cleishbotham bore the same resemblance to Ariel, as he at
whose voice he rose doth to the sage Prospero; and yet, so fond
are we of the fictions of our own fancy, that I part with him,
and all his imaginary localities, with idle reluctance. I am
aware this is a feeling in which the reader will little
sympathize; but he cannot be more sensible than I am, that
sufficient varieties have now been exhibited of the Scottish
character, to exhaust one individual's powers of observation, and
that to persist would be useless and tedious. I have the vanity
to suppose, that the popularity of these Novels has shown my
countrymen, and their peculiarities, in lights which were new to
the Southern reader; and that many, hitherto indifferent upon the
subject, have been induced to read Scottish history, from the
allusions to it in these works of fiction.
I retire from the field, conscious that there remains behind not
only a large harvest, but labourers capable of gathering it in.
More than one writer has of late displayed talents of this
description; and if the present author, himself a phantom, may be
permitted to distinguish a brother, or perhaps a sister shadow,
he would mention, in particular, the author of the very lively
work entitled MARRIAGE.
The scarcity of my late friend's poem may be an excuse for adding
the spirited conclusion of Clan Alpin's vow. The Clan Gregor has
met in the ancient church of Balquidder. The head of Drummond-
Ernoch is placed on the altar, covered for a time with the banner
of the tribe. The Chief of the tribe advances to the altar:
And pausing, on the banner gazed;
Then cried in scorn, his finger raised,
"This was the boon of Scotland's king;"
And, with a quick and angry fling,
Tossing the pageant screen away,
The dead man's head before him lay.
Unmoved he scann'd the visage o'er,
The clotted locks were dark with gore,
The features with convulsion grim,
The eyes contorted, sunk, and dim.
But unappall'd, in angry mood,
With lowering brow, unmoved he stood.
Upon the head his bared right hand
He laid, the other grasp'd his brand:
Then kneeling, cried, "To Heaven I swear
This deed of death I own, and share;
As truly, fully mine, as though
This my right hand had dealt the blow:
Come then, our foeman, one, come all;
If to revenge this caitiffs fall
One blade is bared, one bow is drawn,
Mine everlasting peace I pawn,
To claim from them, or claim from him,
In retribution, limb for limb.
In sudden fray, or open strife,
This steel shall render life for life."
He ceased; and at his beckoning nod,
The clansmen to the altar trod;
And not a whisper breathed around,
And nought was heard of mortal sound,
Save from the clanking arms they bore,
That rattled on the marble floor;
And each, as he approach'd in haste,
Upon the scalp his right hand placed;
With livid lip, and gather'd brow,
Each uttered, in his turn, the vow.
Fierce Malcolm watch'd the passing scene,
And search'd them through with glances keen;
Then dash'd a tear-drop from his eye;
Unhid it came--he knew not why.
Exulting high, he towering stood:
"Kinsmen," he cried, "of Alpin's blood,
And worthy of Clan Alpin's name,
Unstain'd by cowardice and shame,
E'en do, spare nocht, in time of ill
Shall be Clan Alpin's legend still!"
It has been disputed whether the Children of the Mist were actual
MacGregors, or whether they were not outlaws named MacDonald,
belonging to Ardnamurchan. The following act of the Privy
Council seems to decide the question:--
"Edinburgh, 4th February, 1589.
The same day, the Lords of Secret Council being crediblie
informed of ye cruel and mischievous proceeding of ye wicked
Clangrigor, so lang continueing in blood, slaughters, herships,
manifest reifts, and stouths committed upon his Hieness'
peaceable and good subjects; inhabiting ye countries ewest ye
brays of ye Highlands, thir money years bybgone; but specially
heir after ye cruel murder of umqll Jo. Drummond of
Drummoneyryuch, his Majesties proper tennant and ane of his
fosters of Glenartney, committed upon ye day of last bypast, be
certain of ye said clan, be ye council and determination of ye
haill, avow and to defend ye authors yrof qoever wald persew for
revenge of ye same, qll ye said Jo. was occupied in seeking of
venison to his Hieness, at command of Pat. Lord Drummond, stewart
of Stratharne, and principaI forrester of Clenartney; the Queen,
his Majesties dearest spouse, being yn shortlie looked for to
arrive in this realm. Likeas, after ye murder committed, ye
authors yrof cutted off ye said umqll Jo. Drummond's head, and
carried the same to the Laird of M'Grigor, who, and the haill
surname of M'Grigors, purposely conveined upon the Sunday
yrafter, at the Kirk of Buchquhidder; qr they caused ye said
umqll John's head to be pnted to ym, and yr avowing ye sd murder
to have been committed by yr communion, council, and
determination, laid yr hands upon the pow, and in eithnik, and
barbarous manner, swear to defend ye authors of ye sd murder, in
maist proud contempt of our sovrn Lord and his authoritie, and in
evil example to others wicked limmaris to do ye like, give ys
sall be suffered to remain unpunished."
Then follows a commission to the Earls of Huntly, Argyle, Athole,
Montrose, Pat. Lord Drummond, Ja. Commendator of Incheffray, And.
Campbel of Lochinnel, Duncan Campbel of Ardkinglas, Lauchlane
M'Intosh of Dunnauchtane, Sir Jo. Murray of Tullibarden, knt.,
Geo. Buchanan of that Ilk, and And. M'Farlane of Ariquocher, to
search for and apprehend Alaster M'Grigor of Glenstre (and a
number of others nominatim), "and all others of the said
Clangrigor, or ye assistars, culpable of the said odious murther,
or of thift, reset of thift, herships, and sornings, qrever they
may be apprehended. And if they refuse to he taken, or flees to
strengths and houses, to pursue and assege them with fire and
sword; and this commission to endure for the space of three
Such was the system of police in 1589; and such the state of
Scotland nearly thirty years after the Reformation.
Note I.--FIDES ET FIDUCIA SUNT RELATIVA.
The military men of the times agreed upon dependencies of honour,
as they called them, with all the metaphysical argumentation of
civilians, or school divines.
The English officer, to whom Sir James Turner was prisoner after
the rout at Uttoxeter, demanded his parole of honour not to go
beyond the wall of Hull without liberty. "He brought me the
message himself,--I told him I was ready to do so, provided he
removed his guards from me, for FIDES ET FIDUCIA SUNT RELATIVA;
and, if he took my word for my fidelity, he was obliged to trust
it, otherwise, it was needless for him to seek it, either to give
trust to my word, which I would not break, or his own guards, who
I supposed would not deceive him. In this manner I dealt with
him, because I knew him to be a scholar."--TURNER'S MEMOIRS, p.
80. The English officer allowed the strength of the reasoning;
but that concise reasoner, Cromwell, soon put an end to the
dilemma: "Sir James Turner must give his parole, or be laid in
A species of apparition, similar to what the Germans call a
Double-Ganger, was believed in by the Celtic tribes, and is still
considered as an emblem of misfortune or death. Mr. Kirke (See
Note to ROB ROY,), the minister of Aberfoil, who will no doubt be
able to tell us more of the matter should he ever come back from
Fairy-land, gives us the following:--
"Some men of that exalted sight, either by art or nature, have
told me they have seen at these meetings a double man, or the
shape of some man in two places, that is, a superterranean and a
subterranean inhabitant perfectly resembling one another in all
points, whom he, notwithstanding, could easily distinguish one
fro another by some secret tokens and operations, and so go speak
to the man his neighbour and familiar, passing by the apparition
or resemblance of him. They avouch that every element and
different state of being have animals resembling those of another
element, as there be fishes at sea resembling Monks of late order
in all their hoods and dresses, so as the Roman invention of good
and bad daemons and guardian angels particularly assigned, is
called by them ane ignorant mistake, springing only from this
originall. They call this reflex man a Co-Walker, every way like
the man, as a twin-brother and companion haunting him as his
shadow, as is that seen and known among men resembling the
originall, both before and after the originall is dead, and was
also often seen of old to enter a hous, by which the people knew
that the person of that liknes was to visit them within a few
days. This copy, echo, or living picture, goes at last to his
own herd. It accompanied that person so long and frequently for
ends best known to its selve, whether to guard him from the
secret assaults of some of its own folks, or only as an sportfull
ape to counterfeit all his actions."--KIRKE'S SECRET
COMMOMWEALTH, p. 3.
The two following apparitions, resembling the vision of Allan
M'Aulay in the text, occur in Theophilus Insulanus (Rev. Mr.
Fraser's Treatise on the Second Sight, Relations x. and xvii.):--
"Barbara Macpherson, relict of the deceased Mr. Alexander
MacLeod, late minister of St. Kilda, informed me the natives of
that island had a particular kind of second sight, which is
always a forerunner of their approaching end. Some months before
they sicken, they are haunted with an apparition, resembling
themselves in all respects as to their person, features, or
clothing. This image, seemingly animated, walks with them in the
field in broad daylight; and if they are employed in delving,
harrowing, seed-sowing, or any other occupation, they are at the
same time mimicked by this ghostly visitant. My informer added
further that having visited a sick person of the inhabitants, she
had the curiosity to enquire of him, if at any time he had seen
any resemblance of himself as above described; he answered in the
affirmative, and told her, that to make farther trial, as he was
going out of his house of a morning, he put on straw-rope garters
instead of those he formerly used, and having gone to the fields,
his other self appeared in such garters. The conclusion was, the
sick man died of that ailment, and she no longer questioned the
truth of those remarkable presages."
"Margaret MacLeod, an honest woman advanced in years, informed
me, that when she was a young woman in the family of Grishornish,
a dairy-maid, who daily used to herd the calves in a park close
to the house, observed, at different times, a woman resembling
herself in shape and attire, walking solitarily at no great
distance from her, and being surprised at the apparition, to make
further trial, she put the back part of her upper garment
foremost, and anon the phantom was dressed in the same manner,
which made her uneasy, believing it portended some fatal
consequence to herself. In a short time thereafter she was
seized with a fever, which brought her to her end, and before her
sickness and on her deathbed, declared the second sight to