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"I hope he has suffered nothing in health V said Henry.
"Naething to speak of," answered the housekeeper, "nor in gudes neither—we fended as weel as we could; and, though the troopers of Tillietudlem took the red cow and auld Hackie, (ye'll mind them weel,) yet they sauld us a gude bargain of four they were driving to the Castle."
"Sold you a bargain?" said Morton; " how do you mean V
"Ou, they cam out to gather marts for the garrison," answered the housekeeper; "but they just fell to their auld trade, and rade through the country couping and selling a' that they gat, like sae mony west-country drovers. My certie, Major Bellenden was laird o' the least share o' what they lifted, though it was ta'en in his name."
"Then," said Morton, hastily, "the garrison must be straitened for provisions?"
"Stressed eneugh," replied Ailie—" there's little doubt o' that."
A light instantly glanced on Morton's mind.
"Burley must have deceived me—craft as well as cruelty is permitted by his creed." Such was his inward thought; he said aloud, " I cannot stay, Mrs. Wilson, I must go forward directly."
"But, oh! bide to eat a mouthfu'," entreated the affectionate housekeeper, "and I'll mak it ready for you as I used to do afore thae sad days."
"It is impossible," answered Morton.—" Cuddie, get our horses ready."
"They're just eating their corn," answered the attendant.
"Cuddie 1" exclaimed Ailie; "What garr'd ye bring that ill-faur'd, unlucky loon alang wi' ye 1—It was him and his randie mother began a' the mischief in this house."
"Tut, tut," replied Cuddie, "ye should forget and forgie, mistress. Mither's in Glasgow wi' her tittie, and sall plague ye nae mair; and I'm the Captain's wallie now, and I keep him tighter in thack and rape than ever ye did ;—saw ye him ever sae weel put on as he is now?"
"In troth and that's true," said the old housekeeper, looking with great complacency at her young master, whose mien she thought much improved by his dress. "I'm sure ye ne'er had a laced cravat like that when ye were at Milnwood ; that's nane o' my sewing."
"Na, na, mistress," replied Cuddie, "that's a cast o' my hand—that's ane o' Lord Evandale's braws."
"Lord Evandale V answered the old lady, " that's him that the whigs are gaun to hang the morn, as I hear say."
"The whigs about to hang Lord Evandale V said Morton, in the greatest surprise.
"Ay, troth are they," said the housekeeper. "Yesterday night he made a sally, as they ca't, (my mother's name was Sally—I wonder they gie Christian folks names to sic unchristian doings)—but he made an outbreak to get provisions, and his men were driven back and he was taen, an' the whig Captain Balfour garr'd set up a gallows, and swore, (or said upon his conscience, for they winna swear,) that, if the garrison was not gien ower the morn by daybreak, he would hing up the young lord, poor thing, as high as Haman.—These are sair times !—but folk canna help them—sae do ye sit down and tak bread and cheese until better meat's made ready. Ye suldna hae kend a word about it, an I had thought it was to spoil your dinner, hinny."
"Fed, or unfed," exclaimed Morton, "saddle the horses instantly, Cuddie. We must not rest until we get before the Castle."
And, resisting all Ailie's entreaties, they instantly resumed their journey.
Morton failed not to halt at the dwelling of Poundtext, and summon him to attend him to the camp. That honest divine had just resumed for an instant his pacific habits, and was perusing an ancient theological treatise, with a pipe in his mouth, and a small jug of ale beside him, to assist his digestion of the argument. It was with bitter ill-will that he relinquished these comforts (which he called his studies) in order to recommence a hard ridp upon a high-trotting horse. However, when he knew (be matter in hand, he gave up, with a deep groan, the prospect of spending a quiet evening in his own little parlour; for he entirely agreed with Morton, that whatever interest Burley might have in rendering the breach between the presbyterians and the government irreconcilable, by putting the young nobleman to death, it was by no means that of the moderate party to permit such an act of atrocity. And it is but doing justice to Mr. Poundtext to add, that, like most of his own persuasion, he was decidedly averse to any such acts of unnecessary violence; besides, that his own present feelings induced him to listen with much complacence to the probability held out by Morton,of Lord Evandale'sbecoming a mediator for the establishment of peace upon fair and moderate terms. With this similarity of views, they hastened their journey, and arrived about eleven o'clock at night at a small hamlet adjacent to the Castle of Tillietudlem, where Burley had established his head-quarters.
They were challenged by the sentinel, who made his melancholy walk at the entrance of the hamlet, and admitted upon declaring their names and authority in the army. Another soldier kept watch before a house, which they conjectured to be the place of Lord Evandale's confinement, for a gibbet of such great height as to be visible from the. battlements qf the Castle, was erected before it, in melancholy confirmation of the truth of Mrs. Wilson's report.6 Morton instantly demanded to speak with Burley, and was directed to his quarters. They found him reading the Scriptures with his arms lying beside him, as if ready for any sudden alarm. He started upon the entrance of his colleagues in ofBce.
"What has brought ye hither 9" said Burley, hastily. "Is there bad news from the army?"
"No," replied Morton; "but we understand that there are measures adopted here in which the safety of the army is deeply concerned—Lord Evandale is your prisoner V
12* vOL. ii.
"The Lord," replied Burley, " hath delivered him into our hands."
"And you will avail yourself of that advantage, granted you by Heaven, to dishonour our cause in the eyes of all the world, by putting a prisoner to an ignominious death?"
"If the house of Tillietudlem be not surrendered by daybreak," replied Burley, "God do so to me and more also, if he shall not die that death to which his leader and patron, John Grahame of Claverhouse, hath put so many of God's saints."
"We are in arms," replied Morton, "to put down such cruelties, and not to imitate them, far less to avenge upon the innocent the acts of the guilty. By what law can you justify the atrocity you would commit V
"If thou art ignorant of it," replied Burley, "thy companion is well aware of the law which gave the men of Jericho to the sword of Joshua, the son of Nun."
"But we," answered the divine, "live under a better dispensation, which instructeth us to return good for evil, and to pray for those who despitefully use us and persecute us."
"That is to say," said Burley, "that thou wilt join thy grey hairs to his green youth to controvert me in this matter V
"We are," rejoined Poundtext, "two of those to whom, jointly with thyself, authority is delegated over this host, and we will not permit thee to hurt a hair of the prisoner's head. It may please God to make him a means of healing these unhappy breaches in our Israel."
"I judged it would come to this," answered Burley, "when such as thou wert called into the council of the elders."
"Such as I9" answered Poundtext,—" And who am I that you should name me with such scorn 9—Have I not kept the flock of this sheep-fold from the wolves for thirty years 9 Ay, even while thou, John Balfour, wert fighting in the ranks of uncircumcision, a Philistine of hardened brow and bloody hand—Who am I, sayest thou V
.' I will tell thee what thou art, since thou woiildst so fain know," said Burley. "Thou art one of those who would reap where thou hast not sowed, and divide the spoil while others fight the battle—thou art one of those that follow the gospel for the loaves and for the fishes— that love their own manse better than the church of God, and that would rather draw their stipends under prelatists or heathens, than be a partaker with those noble spirits who have cast all behind them for the sake of the Covenant."
"And I will tell thee, John Balfour," returned Poundtext, deservedly incensed, "I will tell thee what thou art. Thou art one of those for whose bloody and merciless disposition a reproach is flung upon the whole church of this suffering kingdom, and for whose violence and blood-guiltiness, it is to be feared, this fair attempt to recover our civil and religious rights will never be honoured by Providence with the desired success."
"Gentlemen," said Morton, "cease this irritating and unavailing recrimination; and do you, Mr. Balfour, mform us, whether it is your purpose to oppose the liberation of Lord Evandale, which appears to us a profitable measure in the present position of our affairs?"
"You are here," answered Burley, "as two voices against one; but you will not refuse to tarry until the united council shall decide upon this matter V
"This," said Morton, " we would not decline, if we could trust the hands in whom we are to leave the prisoner.—But you know well," he added, looking sternly at Burley, "that you have already deceived me in this matter."
"Go to," said Burley, disdainfully,—" thou art an idle inconsiderate boy, who, for the black eyebiows of a silly girl, would barter thy own faith ana honour, and the cause of God and of thy country."
"Mr. Balfour," said Morton, laying his hand on hu sword, " this language requires satisfaction."