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As he spoke thus, Cuddie burst into the room, terror and haste in his countenance. “O, my lord, hide yoursell! they hae beset the outlets o' the house,” was his first exclamation.
66 They? who ?” said Lord Evandale.
“ A party of horse, headed by Basil Olifant,” answered Cuddie.
“O, hide yourself, my lord !" echoed Edith, in an agony of terror.
- I will not, by Heaven !" answered Lord Evandale. “ What right has the villain to assail me, or stop my passage? I will make my way were he backed by a regiment; tell Halliday and Hunter to get out the horsesAnd now,farewell, Edith!” He clasped her in his arms, and kissed her tenderly ; then, bursting from his sister, who, with Lady Margaret, endeavoured to detain him, rushed out and mounted his horse.
All was in confusion-the women shrieked and hurried in consternation to the front windows of the house, from which they could see a small party of horsemen, of whom two only seemed soldiers. They were on the open ground before Cuddie's cottage, at the bottom of the descent from the house, and showed caution in approaching it, as if uncertain of the strength within.
“ He may escape, he may escape!” said Edith; “0, would he but take the by-road !"
But Lord Evandale, determined to face a danger which bis high spirit undervalued, commanded his servants to follow him, and rode composedly down the avenue. Old Gudyill ran to arm himself, and Cuddie snatched down a gun which was kept for the protection of the house, and, although on foot, followed Lord Evandale.
It was in vain his wife, who had hurried up on the alarm, • hung by his skirts, threatening him with death by the sword or halter for meddling with other folk's matters.
“ Haud you peace, ye b- ," said Cuddie, “and that's braid Scotch, or 1 wotna what is; is it ither folk's matters to see Lord Evandale murdered before my face?” and down the avenue he marched But considering on the way that he composed the whole infantry, as John Gudyill had not appeared, he took his vantage ground behind the hedge, hammered his flint, cocked his piece, and, taking a long aim at Laird Basil, as he was called, stood prompt for action.
As soon as Lord Evandale appeared, Olifant's party spread themselves a little, as if preparing to enclose him. Their leader stood fast, supported by three men, two of whom were dragoons, the third in dress and appearance a countryman, all well armed. But the strong figure, stern features, and resolved manner of the third attendant, made him seem the most formidable of the party; and whoever had before seen him could have no difficulty in recognizing Balfour of Burley.
“ Follow me," said Lord Evandale to his servants, 66 and if we are forcibly opposed, do as I do.” He advanced at a hand gallop towards Olifant, and was in the act of demanding why he had thus beset the road, when Olifant called out, “Shoot the traitor !” and the whole four fired their carabines upon the unfortunate nobleman. He reeled in the saddle, advanced his hand to the holster, and drew a pistol, but, unable to discharge it, fell from his horse mortally wounded. His servants had presented their carabines. Hunter fired at random ; but Halliday, who was an intrepid fellow, took aim at Inglis, and shot him dead on the spot. At the same instant a shot, from behind the hedge, still more effectually avenged Lord Evandale, for the ball took place in the very midst of Basil Olifant's forehead, and stretched him lifeless on the ground. His followers, astonished at the execution done in so short a time, seemed rather disposed to stand inactive, when Burley, whose blood was up with the contest, exclaimed, “ Down with the Midianites !” and attacked Halliday sword in hand. At this instant the clatter of horses' hoofs was heard, and a party of horse, rapidly advancing on the road from Glasgow, appeared on the fatal field. They were foreign dragoons, led by the Dutch commandant, Wittenbold, accompanied by Morton and a civil magistrate.
A hasty call to surrender, in the name of God and King William, was obeyed by all except Burley, who turned bis horse and attempted to escape. Several soldiers pursued him by command of their officer, but, being well mounted, only the two headmost seemed likely to gain on him. He turned deliberately twice, and discharging first one of his pistols, and then the other, rid himself of the one pursuer by mortally wounding him, and of the other by shooting his horse, and then continued his flight to Bothwell Bridge, where, for his misfortune, he found the gates shut and guarded. Turning from thence, he made for a place where the river seemed passable, and plunged into the stream, the bullets from the pistols and carabines of his pursuers whizzing around him. Two balls took effect when he was past the middle of the stream, and he felt himself dangerously wounded. He reined his horse round in the midst of the river, and returned towards the bank he had left, waving his hand, as if with the purpose of intimating that he surrendered. The troopers ceased firing at him accordingly, and awaited his return, two of them riding a little way into the river to seize and disarm him. But it presently appeared that his purpose was revenge, not safety. As he approached the two soldiers, he collected his remaining strength, and discharged a blow on the head of one, which tumbled him from his horse. The other dragoon, a strong muscular man, had in the meanwhile laid hands on him. Burley, in requital, grasped his throat, as a dying tiger seizes his prey, and both losing the saddle in the struggle, came headlong into the river, and were swept down the stream. Their course might be traced hy the blood which bubbled up to the surface. They were twice seen to rise, the Dutchman striving to swim, and Burley clinging to him in a manner that showed his desire that both should perish. Their corpses were taken out about a quarter of a mile down the river As Balfour's grasp could not have been unclenched with
out cutting off his hands, both were thrown into a hasty grave, still marked by a rude stone, and a ruder epitaph.*
While the soul of this stern enthusiast flitted to its account, that of the brave and generous Lord Evandale was also released. Morton had Aung himself from his horse upon perceiving his situation, to render his dying friend all the aid in his power. He knew him, for he pressed his hand, and, being unable to speak, intimated by signs his wish to be conveyed to the house. This was done with all the care possible, and he was soon surrounded by his lamenting friends. But the clamorous grief of Lady Emily was far exceeded in intensity by the silent agony of Edith. Unconscious even of the presence of Morton, she hung over the dying man; nor was she aware that fate, who was removing one faithful lover, had restored another as if from the grave, until Lord Evandale, taking their hands in his, pressed them both affectionately, united them together, raised his face, as if to pray for a blessing on them, and sunk back and expired in the next moment.
* Gentle reader, I did request of mine honest friend, Peter Proudfoot, travelling merchant, known to many of this land for his faithful and just dealings as well in muslins and cambrics as in small wares, to procure me, on his next peregrinations to that vicinage, a copy of the Epitaphion alluded to. And ac cording to his report, which I see no ground to discredit, it runneth thus :
Here lyes ane saint to prelate surly,
I nad determined to waive the task of a concluding chapter, leaving to the reader's imagination the arrangenents which must necessarily take place after Lord Evandale's death. But as I was aware that precedents are wanting for a practice which might be found convenjent, both to readers and compilers, I confess myself to have been in a considerable dilemma, when fortunately I was honoured with an invitation to drink tea with Miss Martha Buskbody, a young lady who has carried on the profession of mantuá-making at Gandercleugh, and in the neighbourhood, with great success, for about forty years. Knowing her taste for narratives of this description, I requested her to look over the loose sheets the morning before I waited on her, and enlighten me by the experience which she must have acquired in reading through the whole stock of three circulating libraries in Gandercleugh and the two next market-towns. When, with a palpitating heart, I appeared before her in the evening, I found her much disposed to be complimentary.
“I have not been more affected,” said she, wiping the glasses of her spectacles, “ by any novel, excepting the Tale of Jemmy and Jenny Jessamy, which is indeed pathos itself ; but your plan of omitting a formal conclusion will never do. You may be as harrowing to our nerves as you will in the course of your story, but unless you had the genius of the author of Julia de Roubigné, never let the end be altogether overclouded. Let us see a glimpse of sunshine in the last chapter ; it is quite es
“ Nothing would be more easy for me, madam, thai. to comply with your injunctions ; for, in truth, the par