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place against such assailants as those by whom it was threatened.
With the peep of day, Lord Evandale and Major Bellenden were on the battlements again, viewing^ and reviewing the state of their preparations, and anxiously expecting the approach of the enemy. I ought to observe, that the report of the spies had now been regularly made and received; but the Major treated the report that Morton was in arms against the government, with the most scornful incredulity.
"I know the lad better," was the only reply he deigned to make; "the fellows have not dared to venture near enough, and have been deceived by some fanciful resemblance or have picked up some story."
"I differ from you, Major," answered Lord Evandale; "I think you will see that young gentleman at the head of the insurgents; and, though 1 shall be heartily sorry for it, I shall not be greatly surprised."
"You are as bad as Claverhouse," said the Major, "who contended yesterday morning down my very throat, that this young fellow, who is as high-spirited and gentleman-like a boy as I have ever known, wanted but an opportunity to place himself at the head of the rebels."
"And considering the usage which he has received, and the suspicions under which he lies," said Lord Evandale, "what other course is open to him 9 For my own part, I should hardly know whether he deserved most blame or pity."
"Blame, my lord 1—Pity !" echoed the Major, astonished at hearing such sentiments; "he would deserve to be hanged, that's all; and, were he my own son, I should see him strung up with pleasure—Blame indeed! But your lordship cannot think as you are pleased to speak!"
"I give you my honour, Major Bellenden, that I have been for some time of opinion, that our politicians and prelates have driven matters to a painful extremity in this country, and have alienated, by violence of various kinds, not only the lower classes, but all those in the upper ranks, whom strong party-feeling, or a desire of court-interest, does not attach to their standard."
"1 am no politician," answered the Major, " and I do not understand nice distinctions. My sword is the King's, and when he commands 1 draw it in his cause."
"I trust," replied the young lord, "you will not find me more backward than yourself, though I heartily wish that the enemy were foreigners. It is however, no time to debate that matter, for yonder they come, and we must defend ourselves as well as we can."
As Lord Evandale spoke, the van of the insurgents began to make their appearance on the road which crossed the top of the hill, and thence descended opposite to the Tower. They did not, however, move downwards, as if aware that, in doing so, their columns would be exposed to the fire of the artillery of the place. But their numbers, which at first seemed few, appeared presently so to deepen and concentrate themselves, that judging of the masses which occupied the road behind the hill from the closeness of the front which they presented on the top of it, their force appeared very considerable. There was a pause of anxiety on both sides; and, while the unsteady ranks of the Covenanters were agitated, as if by pressure behind, or uncertainty as to their next movement, their arms, picturesque from their variety, glanced in the morning sun, whose beams were reflected from a grove of pikes, muskets, halberds, and battle-axes. The armed mass occupied, for a few minutes, this fluctuating position, until three or four horsemen, who seemed to be leaders, advanced from the front, and occupied the height a little nearer to the Castle. John Gudyill, who was not without some skill as an artilleryman, brought a gun to bear on this detached group.
"I'll flee the falcon," (so the small cannon was called) —" I'll flee the falcon whene'er your honour gies command; my certie, she'll ruffle their feathers for them!"
The Major looked at Lord Evandale.
"Stay a moment," said the young nobleman, " they send us a flag of truce."
Id fact, one of the horsemen at that moment dismounted, and, displaying a white cloth on a pike, moved forward towards the Tower, while the Major and Lord Evandale, descending from the battlement of the main fortress, advanced to meet him as far as the barricade, judging it unwise to admit him within the precincts which they designed to defend. At the same time that the ambassador set forth, the group of horsemen, as if they had anticipated the preparations of John Gudyill for their annoyance, withdrew from the advanced station which they had occupied, and fell back to the main body.
The envoy of the Covenanters, to judge by his mien and manner, seemed fully imbued with that spiritual pride which distinguished his sect. His features were drawn up to a contemptuous primness, and his half-shut eyes seemed to scorn to look upon the terrestrial objects around, while, at every solemn stride, his toes were pointed outwards with an air that appeared to despise the ground on which they trod. Lord Evandale could not suppress a smile at this singular figure.
"Did you ever," said he to Major Bellenden, "see such an absurd automaton 1 One would swear it moves upon springs—Can it speak, think you V
"O, ay," said the Major; " that seems to be one of my old acquaintance, a genuine puritan of the right pharasaical leaven—Stay—he coughs and hems ; he is about to summon the Castle with the but-end of a sermon instead of a parley on the trumpet."
The veteran, who in his day had had many an opportunity to become acquainted with the manners of these religionists, was not far mistaken in his conjecture; only that, instead of a prose exordium, the Laird of Langcale; for it was no less a personage—uplifted, with a Stentorian voice, a verse of the twenty-fourth Psalm:
"Ye gates lift up your heads! ye doors,
Doors that do last for aye,
«' I told you so," said the Major to Evandale, and then presented himself at the entrance of the barricade, demanding to know for what purpose or intent he made that' doleful noise, like a hog in a high wind, beneath the gates of the Castle.
"I come," replied the ambassador, in a high and shrill voice, and without any of the usual salutations or deferences,—" I come from the godly army of the Solemn League and Covenant, to speak with two carnal malignants, William Maxwell, called Lord Evandale, and Miles Bellenden of Charnwood."
"And what have you to say to Miles Bellenden and Lord Evandale 9" asked the Major.
"Are you the parties V said the Laird of Langcale, in the same sharp, conceited, disrespectful tone of voice.
"Even so, for fault of a better," said the Major.
"Then there is the public summons," said the envoy, putting a paper into Lord Evandale's hand, " and there is a private letter for Miles Bellenden from a godly youth, who is honoured with leading a part of our host. Read them quickly, and God give you grace to fructify by the contents, though it is muckle to be doubted."
The summons ran thus : "We, the named and constituted leaders of the gentlemen, ministers, and others, presently in arms for the cause of liberty and true religion, do warn and summon William Lord Evandale and Miles Bellenden of Charnwood, and others presently in arms, and keeping garrison in the Tower of Tillietudlem, to surrender the said Tower upon fair conditions of quarter,' and license to depart with bag and baggage, otherwise to suffer such extremity of fire and sword as belong by the laws of war to those who hold out an untenable post. And so may God defend his own good cause"
This summons was signed by John Balfour of Burley, as quarter-master-general of the army of the Covenant, for himself, and in name of the other leaders.
The letter to Major Bellenden was from Henry Mor ton. It was couched in the following language: 10* vOL. ii.
"I have taken a step, my venerable friend, which, among many painful consequences, will, I am afraid, incur your very decided disapprobation. But I have taken my resolution in honour and good faith, and with the full approval of my own conscience. I can no longer submit to have my own rights and those of my fellow-subjects trampled upon, our freedom violated, our persons insulted, and our blood spilt, without just cause or legal trial. Providence, through the violence of the oppressors themselves, seems now to have opened a way of deliverance from this intolerable tyranny, and I do not hold him deserving of the name and rights of a freeman, who, thinking as I do, shall withhold his arm from the cause of his country. But God, who knows my heart, be my witness, that I do not share the angry or violent passions of the oppressed and harassed sufferers with whom I am now acting. My most earnest and anxious desire is, to see this unnatural war brought to a speedy end, by the union of the good, wise, and moderate of all parties, and a peace restored, which, without injury to the King's constitutional rights, may substitute the authority of equal laws for that of military violence, and permitting to all men to worship God according to their own consciences, may subdue fanatical enthusiasm by reason and mildness, instead of driving it to frenzy by persecution and intolerance.
"With these sentiments, you may conceive with what pain I appear in arms before the house of your venerable relative, which we understand you propose to hold out against us. Permit me to press upon you the assurance, that such a measure will only lead to the effusion of blood —that, if repulsed in the assault, we are yet strong enough to invest the place, and reduce it by hunger, being aware of your indifferent preparations to sustain a protracted siege. It would grieve me to the heart to think what would be the sufferings in such a case, and upon whom they would chiefly fall.
"Do not suppose, my respected friend, that I would propose to you any terms which could compromise the high and honourable character which you have so deserv