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Yet, notwithstanding these obstacles, he had, during the course of a few days, laboured so hard to introduce some degree of discipline into the army, that he thought he might hazard a second attack upon Glasgow with every prospect of success.
It cannot be doubted that Morton's anxiety to measure himself with Colonel Grahame of Claverhouse, at whose hands he had sustained such injury, had its share in giving motive to his uncommon exertions. But Claverhouse disappointed his hopes; for, satisfied with having the advantage in repulsing the first attack upon Glasgow, he determined that he would not, with the handful of troops under his command, await a second assault from the insurgents with more numerous and better disciplined forces than had supported their first enterprize. He therefore evacuated the place, and marched at the head of his troops towards Edinburgh. The insurgents of course entered Glasgow without resistance, and without Morton having the opportunity, which he so deeply coveted, of again encountering Claverhouse personally. But, although he had not an opportunity of wiping away the disgrace which had befallen his division of the army of the Covenant, the retreat of Claverhouse, and the possession of Glasgow, tended greatly to animate the insurgent army, and to increase its numbers. The necessity of appointing new officers, of organizing new regiments and squadrons, of making them acquainted with at least the most necessary points of military discipline, were labours, which, by universal consent, seemed to be devolved upon Henry Morton, and which he the more readily undertook, because his father had made him acquainted with the theory of the military art, and because he plainly saw, that, unless he took this ungracious but absolutely necessary labour, it was vain to expect any other to engage in it.
In the meanwhile, fortune appeared to favour the enterprize of the insurgents more than the most sanguine durst have expected. The Privy Council of Scotland, astonished at the extent of resistance which their arbitrary measures had provoked, seemed stupified with terror, and incapable of taking active steps to subdue the resentment which these measures had excited. There were but very few troops in Scotland, and these they drew towards Edinburgh, as if to form an army for protection of the metropolis. The feudal array of the crown vassals in the various counties was ordered to take the field, and render to the King the military service due for their fiefs. But the summons was very slackly obeyed. The quarrel was not generally popular among the gentry; and even those who were not unwilling themselves to have taken arms, were deterred by the repugnance of their wives, mothers, and sisters, to their engaging in such a cause. Meanwhile, the inadequacy of the Scottish government to provide for their own defence, or to put down a rebellion of which the commencement seemed so trifling, excited at the English court doubts at once of their capacity, and of the prudence of the severities they had exerted against the oppressed presbyterians. It was, therefore, resolved to nominate to the command of the army of Scotland, the unfortunate Duke of Monmouth, who had by marriage a great interest, large estate, and a numerous following, as it was called, in the southern parts of that kingdom. The military skill which he had displayed on different occasions abroad, was supposed more than adequate to subdue the insurgents in the field; while it was expected that his mild temper,and the favourable disposition which he showed to presbyterians in general, might soften men's minds, and tend to reconcile them to the government. The Duke was, therefore, invested with a commission, containing high powers for settling the distracted affairs of Scotland, and despatched from London with strong succours to take the principal military command in that country.
1 am bound to Bothwell-hill,
Where I maun either do or die.
There was now a pause in the military movements on both sides. The government seemed contented to prevent the rebels advancing towards the capital, while the .nsurgents were intent upon augmenting and strengthening their forces. For this purpose, they established a sort of encampment in the park belonging to the ducal residence at Hamilton, a centrical situation for receiving their recruits, and where they were secured from any sudden attack, by having the Clyde, a deep and rapid river, in front of their position, which is only passable by a long and narrow bridge near the castle and village of Bothwell.'
Morton remained here for about a fortnight after the attack on Glasgow, actively engaged in his military duties. He had received more than one communication from Burley, but they only stated in general, that the Castle of Tillietudlem continued to hold out. Impatient of suspense upon this most interesting subject, he at length, intimated to his colleagues in command his desire, or rather his intention—for he saw no reason why he should not assume a license which was taken by every one else in this disordered army,—to go to Milnwood for a day or two to arrange some private affairs of consequence. The proposal was by no means approved of; for the military counci of the insurgents were sufficiently sensible of the value of hi services to fear to lose them, and felt somewhat conscious of their own inability to supply his place. They could not, however, pretend to dictate to him laws more rigid than they submitted to themselves, and he was suffered to depart on his journey without any direct objection being stated. The Reverend Mr. Poundtext took the same opportunity to pay a visit to his own residence in the neighbourhood of Milnwood, and favoured Morton with his company on the journey. As the country was chiefly friendly to their cause, and in possession of their detached parties, excepting here and there the strong-hold of some old cavaliering baron, they travelled without any other attendant than the faithful Cuddie.
It was near sunset when they reached Milnwood, where Poundtext bid adieu to his companions, and travelled forward alone to his own manse, which was situated half a mile's march beyond Tillietudlem. When Morton was left alone to his own reflections, with what a complication of feelings did he review the woods, banks, and fields, that had been familiar to him ! His character, as well as his habits, thoughts, and occupations, had been entirely changed within the space of little more than a fortnight, and twenty days seemed to have done upon him the work of as many years. A mild, romantic, gentle-tempered youth, bred up in dependence, and stooping patiently to the control of a sordid and tyrannical relation, had suddenly, by the rod of oppression and the spur of injured feeling, been compelled to stand forth a leader of armed men, was earnestly engaged in affairs of a public nature, had friends to animate and enemies to contend with, and felt his individual fate bound up in that of a national insurrection and revolution. It seemed as if he had at once experienced a transition from the romantic dreams of youth to the labours and cares of active manhood. All that had formerly interested him was obliterated from his memory, excepting only his attachment to Edith; and even his love seemed to have assumed a character more manly and disinterested, as it had become mingled and contrasted with other duties and feelings. As he revolved the particulars of this sudden change, the circumstances in which it originated, and the possible consequences of his present career, the thrill of natural anxiety which passed along his mind, was immediately banished by a glow of generous and high-spirited confidence.
"I shall fall young," he said, "if fall I must, my mo
12 vOL. ii.
tives misconstrued, and my actions condemned, by those whose approbation is dearest to me. But the sword of liberty and patriotism is in my hand, and I will neither fall meanly nor unavenged. They may expose my body and gibbet my limbs; but other days will come when the sentence of infamy will recoil against those who may pronounce it. And thai Heaven, whose name is so often profaned during this unnatural war, will bear witness to the purity of the motives by which I have been guided."
Upon approaching Milnwood, Henry's knock upon the gate no longer intimated the conscious timidity of a stripling who has been out of bounds, but the confidence of a man in full possession of his own rights, and master of his own actions—bold, free, and decided. The door was cautiously opened by his old acquaintance, Mrs. Alison Wilson, who started back when she saw the steel cap and nodding plume of the martial visiter.
',' Where is my uncle, Alison V said Morton, smiling at her alarm.
"Lordsake, Mr. Harry! is this you ?" returned the old lady. "In troth, ye garr'd my heart loup to my very mouth—But it canna be your ainsell, for ye look taller and mair manly-like than ye used to do."
"It is, however, my own self," said Henry, sighing and smiling at the same time; "I believe this dress may make me look taller, and these times, Ailie, make men out of boys."
"Sad times, indeed!" echoed the old woman ; "and O that you suld be endangered wi' them ! but wba can help it9—ye were ill eneugh guided, and, as 1 tell your uncle, if ye tread on a worm it will turn."
"You were always my advocate, Ailie," said he, and the housekeeper no longer resented the familiar epithet, "and would let no one blame me but yourself, I am aware of that.—Where is my uncle?"
"In Edinburgh," replied Alison; "the honest nian thought it was best to gang and sit by the chimley when the reek rase—a vex'd man he's been and a fear'd—'but ve ken the laird as weel as I do."