« ПредишнаНапред »
lost, any more than his jealous respect for his reputation as a pure and powerful preacher of the word.
“ Hold your peace, woman!” he said, “ and do not perturb my inward meditations and the wrestlings wherewith I wrestle. But of a verity the shooting of the foemen doth begin to increase ! peradventure, some pellet may attain unto us even here. Lo ! I will ensconce me behind the cairn, as behind a strong wall of defence."
“ He's but a coward body after a’,” said Cuddie, who was himself by no means deficient in that sort of courage which consists in insensibility to danger ; " he's but a daidling coward body. He'll never fill Rumbleberry's bonnet.-Odd ! Rumbleberry fought and flyted like a Aeeing dragon. It was a great pity, puir man, he could na cheat the woodie. But they say he gaed singing and rejoicing till’t, just as I wad gang to a bicker o'brose, supposing me hungry, as I stand a gude chance to be.-Eh, sirs ! yon's an awfu' sight, and yet ane canna keep their een aff frae it !"
Accordingly, strong curiosity on the part of Morton and Cuddie, together with the heated enthusiasm of old Mause, detained them on the spot from which they could best hear and see the issue of the action, leaving to Kettledrummle to occupy alone his place of security. The vicissitudes of combat, which we have already described, were witnessed by our spectators from the top of the eminence, but without their being able positively to determine to what they tended. That the presbyterians defended themselves stoutly, was evident from the heavy smoke, which, illumined by frequent flashes of fire, now eddied along the valley, and hid the contending parties in its sulphureous shade. On the other hand, the continued firing from the nearer side of the morass indicated that the enemy persevered in their attack, that the affair was fiercely disputed, and that every thing was to be apprehended from a continued contest, in which undisciplined rustics had to repel the assaults of regular troops so coinpletely officered and armed.
At length horses, whose caparisons showed that they belonged to the Life-Guards, began to fly masterless out of the confusion. Dismounted soldiers next appeared, forsaking the conflict, and straggling over the side of the hill, in order to escape from the scene of action. As the numbers of these fugitives increased, the fate of the day seemed no longer doubtful. A large body was then seen emerging from the smoke, forming irregularly on the hillside, and with difficulty kept stationary by their officers, until Evandale's corps also appeared in full retreat. The result of the conflict was then apparent, and the joy of the prisoners was corresponding to their approaching deliverance, :." They hae dune the job for anes,” said Cuddie, “an' they ne'er do't again.”
“ They fee !-they flee !” exclaimed Mause, in ecstasy. “O, the truculent tyrants! they are riding now as they never rode before. O, the false Egyptians—the proud Assyrians--the Philistines—the Moabites—the Edomites—the Ishmaelites ! - The Lord has brought sharp swords upon them, to make them food for the fowls of heaven and the beasts of the field. See how the clouds roll, and the fire flashes ahint them, and goes forth before the chosen of the Covenant, e'en like the pillar o'cloud and the pillar o' fame that led the people of Israel out o' the land of Egypt ! This is indeed a day of deliverance to the righteous, a day of pouring out of wrath to the persecutors and the ungodly!”
“ Lord save us, mither," said Cuddie, “ haud the clavering tongue o' ye, and lie down ahint the cairn, like Kettledrummle, honest man. The wbigamore bullets ken uneo little discretion, and will just as sune knock out the barns o'a psalm-singing auld wife as a swearing dragoon."
“ Fear naething for me, Cuddie," said the old dame, transported to ecstasy by the success of her party ; “ fear naething for me! I will stand, like Deborah, on the tap o'the cairn, and tak up my sang o' reproach against these men of Harosheth of the Gentiles, whose horse-hoofs are broken by their prancing.".
The enthusiastic old woman would in fact have accomplished her purpose, of mounting on the cairn, and becoming, as she said, a sign and a banner to the people, had not Cuddie, with more filial tenderness than respect, detained her by such force as his shackled arms would permit him to exert.
« Eh, sirs !” he said, having accomplished this task, 66 look out yonder, Milnwood ; saw ye ever mortal fight like the deevil Claver'se ?-Yonder he's been thrice doun amang them, and thrice cam free aff. But I think we'll soon be free oursells, Milnwood. Inglis and his troopers look ower their shouthers very aften, as if they liked the road ahint them better than the road afore."
Cuddie was not mistaken ; for, when the main tide of fugitives passed at a little distance from the spot where they were stationed, the corporal and his party fired their carabines at random upon the advancing insurgents, and, abandoning all charge of their prisoners, joined the retreat of their comrades. Morton and the old woman, whose hands were at liberty, lost no time in undoing the bonds of Cuddie and of the clergyman, both of whom had been secured by a cord tied round their arms above the elbows. By the time this was accomplished, the rearguard of the dragoons, which still preserved some order, passed beneath the hillock or rising ground which was surmounted by the cairn already repeatedly mentioned. They exhibited all the hurry and confusion incident to a forced retreat, but still continued in a body. Claverhouse led the van, his naked sword deeply dyed with blood, as were his face and clothes. His horse was all covered with gore, and now reeled with weakness. Lord Evanlale, in not much better plight, brought up the rear, still exhorting the soldiers to keep together and fear nothing. Several of the men were wounded, and one or two dropped from their horses as they surmounted the hill.
Mause's zeal broke forth once more at this spectacle, while she stood on the heath with her head uncovered, and her grey hairs streaming in the wind, no bad repre
4* vol. 11.
sentation of a superannuated bacchante, or Thessalian witch in the agonies of incantation. She soon discovered Claverhouse at the head of the fugitive party, and exclaimed with bitter irony, “ Tarry, tarry, ye wha were aye sae blithe to be at the meetings of the saints, and wad ride every muir in Scotland to find a conventicle! Wilt thou not tarry, now thou hast found ane? Wilt thou not stay for one word mair? Wilt thou na bide the afternoon preaching ?-Wae betide ye !” she said, suddenl : changing her ione, “ and cut the houghs of the creature whase feetness ye trust in !-Sheugh-Sheugh!-awa wi' ye that hae spilled sae muckle blude, and now wad save your ain--awa wi' ye for a railing Rabshakeh, a cursing Shemei, a blood-thirsty Doeg !-the sword's drawn now that winna be lang o o’ertaking ye, ride as fast as ye will.”
Claverhouse, it may be easily supposed, was too busy to attend to her reproaches, but hastened over the hill, anxious to get the remnant of his men out of gun-shot, in hopes of again collecting the fugitives round his standard. But as the rear of his followers rode over the ridge, a shot struck Lord Evandale's horse, which instantly sunk down dead beneath him. Two of the whig horsemen, who were the foremost in the pursuit, hastened up with the purpose of killing him, for hitherto there had been no quarter given. Morton, on the other hand, rushed forward to save his life, if possible, in order at once to indulge his natural generosity, and to requite the obligation which Lord Evandale had conferred on him that morning, and under which circumstances had made him wince so acutely. Just as he had assisted Evandale, who was much wounded, to extricate himself from his dying horse, and to gain his feet, the two horsemen came up, and one of them exclaiming, “ Have at the red-coated tyrant !" made a blow at the young nobleman, which Morton parried with difficulty, exclaiming to the rider, who was no other than Burley himself, “ Give quarter to this gentle. man, for my sake-for the sake,” he added, observing
shot strude rear of hiling the fi
that Burley did not immediately recognize him, “ of Henry Morton, who so lately sheltered you."
“ Henry Morton ?" replied Burley, wiping his bloody brow with his bloodier hand,“ did I not say that the son of Silas Morton would come forth out of the land of bondage, nor be long an indweller in the tents of Ham?Thou art a brand snatched out of the burning-But for this booted apostle of prelacy, he shall die the death !We must smite them hip and thigh, even from the rising to the going down of the sun. It is our commission to slay them like Amalek, and utterly destroy all they have, and spare neither man nor woman, infant nor suckling ; therefore, hinder me not,” he continued, endeavouring again to cut down Lord Evandale, “ for this work must not be wrought negligently.”
“ You must not, and you shall not, slay him, more especially while incapable of defence,” said Morton, planting himself before Lord Evandale so as to intercept any blow that should be aimed at him ; “ I owed my life to him this inorning—my life, which was endangered solely by my having sheltered you; and to shed his blood when he can offer no effectual resistance, were not only a cruelty abhorrent to God and man, but detestable ingratitude both to him and to me."
Burley paused." Thou art yet,” he said, “ in the court of the Gentiles, and I compassionate thy human blindness and frailty. Strong meat is not fit for babes, nor the mighty and grinding dispensation under which I draw my sword, for those whose hearts are yet dwelling in huts of clay, whose footsteps are tangled in the mesh of inortal sympathies, and who clothe themselves in the righteousness that is as filthy rags. But to gain a soul to the truth is better than to send one to Tophet; therefore I give quarter to this youth, providing the grant is confirmed by the general council of God's army, whom he hath this day blessed with so signal a deliverance.—'Thou art unarmed-Abide my return here. I must yet pursue these sinners, the Amalekites, and destroy them till they