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the cavaliers and malignants of the district, supposing the insurgents were to march onward and leave it uninvested. This measure was particularly urged as necessary by Poundtext and those of his immediate followers, whose habitations and families might be exposed to great severities, if this strong place were permitted to remain in possession of the royalists.
56 I opine,” said Poundtext,-for, like the other divines f the period, he had no hesitation in offering his advice upon military matters of which he was profoundly ignorant,-“ I opine, that we should take in and raze that strong-hold of the woman Lady Margaret Bellenden, even though we should build a fort and raise a mount against it; for the race is a rebellious and a bloody race, and their hand has been heavy on the children of the Covenant, both in the former and the latter times. Their hook hath been in our noses, and their bridle betwixt our jaws."
• What are their means and men of defence ?" said Burley, “ the place is strong; but I cannot conceive that two women can make it good against a host."
66 There is also," said Poundtext, “ Harrison the Stew ard, and John Gudyill, even the Lady's chief butler, who boasteth himself a man of war from his youth upward, and who spread the banner against the good cause with that man of Belial, James Grahame of Montrose."
“Pshaw !" returned Burley, scornfully, “a butler !"
“ Also, there is that ancient malignant,” replied Poundtext, “ Miles Bellenden of Charnwood, whose hands have been dipped in the blood of the saints."
“ If that,” said Burley, “be Miles Bellenden, the brother of Sir Arthur, he is one whose sword will not turn back from battle; but he must now be stricken in years.”
« There was word in the country as I rode along," said another of the council, “ that so soon as they heard of the victory which has been given to us, they caused shut the gates of the Tower, and called in men, and
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war frost the montrose Butler
" Hou will judge it safe assistance of ps we have this
collected ammunition. They were ever a fierce and malignant house."
“ We will not, with my consent," said Burley, “engage in a siege which may consume time. We must rush forward, and follow our advantage by occupying Glasgow ; for I do not fear that the troops we have this day beaten, even with the assistance of my Lord Ross's regiment, will judge it safe to await our coming."
Howbeit,” said Poundtext, “ we may display a ban ner before the Tower, and blow a trumpet, and summon them to come forth. It may be that they will give over the place into our mercy, though they be a rebellious people. And we will summon the women to come forth of their strong-hold, that is, Lady Margaret Bellenden and her grand-daughter, and Jenny Dennison, which is a girl of an ensnaring eye, and the other maids, and we will give them a safe conduct, and send them in peace to the city, even to the town of Edinburgh. But John Gudyill, and Hugh Harrison, and Miles Bellenden, we will restrain with fetters of iron, even as they, in times bypast, have done to the martyred saints.”
“Who talks of safe conduct and of peace ?" said a shrill, broken, and overstrained voice from the crowd.
“ Peace, brother Habakkuk,” said Macbriar, in a soothing tone to the speaker.
"I will not hold my peace,” reiterated the strange and unnatural voice; “is this a time to speak of peace, when the earth quakes, and the mountains are rent, and the rivers are changed into blood, and the two-edged sword is drawn from the sheath to drink gore as if it were water, and devour flesh as the fire devours dry stubble ?”
While he spoke thus, the orator struggled forward to the inner part of the circle, and presented to Morton's wondering eyes a figure worthy of such a voice and such language. The rags of a dress which had once been black, added to the tattered fragments of a shepherd's plaid, composed a covering scarce fit for the purposes of decency, much less for those of warmth or comfort. A
long beard, as white as snow, hung down on his breast, and mingled with bushy, uncombed, grizzled hair, which hung in elf-locks around his wild and staring visage. The features seemed to be extenuated by penury and famine, until they hardly retained the likeness of a human aspect. The eyes, grey, wild, and wandering, evidently betokened a bewildered imagination. He held in his hand a rusty sword, clotted with blood, as were his long lean hands, which were garnished at the extremity with nails like eagle's claws.
"In the name of Heaven! who is he?” said Morton, in a whisper to Poundtext, surprised, shocked, and even startled at this ghastly apparition, which looked more like the resurrection of some cannibal priest, or druid, red from his human sacrifice, than like an earthly mortal.
“It is Habakkuk Mucklewrath," answered Poundtext, in the same tone, “ whom the enemy have long detained in captivity in forts and castles, until his understanding hath departed from him, and, as I fear, an evil demon hath possessed him. Nevertheless, our violent brethren will have it, that he speaketh of the spirit, and that they fructify by his pouring forth.”
Here he was interrupted by Mucklewrath, who cried in a voice that made the very beams of the roof quiver“Who talks of peace and safe conduct ? who speaks of mercy to the bloody house of the malignants ? I say, take the infants and dash them against the stones ; take the daughters and the mothers of the house, and hurl them from the battlements of their trust, that the dogs may fatten on their blood as they did on that of Jezebel the spouse of Ahab, and that their carcasses may be dung to the face of the field, even in the portion of their fathers !"
“ He speaks right,” said more than one sullen voice from behind; we will be honoured with little service in the great cause, if we already make fair weather with Heaven's enemies."
- This is utter abomination and daring impiety," said Morton, unable to contain his indignation. “What bless
ing can you expect in a cause, in which you listen to the mingled ravings of madness and atrocity ?!
“Hush, young man !" said Kettledrummle, " and reserve thy censure for that for which thou canst render a reason. It is not for thee to judge into what vessels the spirit may be poured.”
"We judge of the tree by the fruit,” said Poundtext, 66 and allow not that to be of divine inspiration that contradicts the divine laws."
“You forget, brother Poundtext,” said Macbriar, “ that these are the latter days, when signs and wonders shall be multiplied.”
Poundtext stood forward to reply; but, ere he could articulate a word, the insane preacher broke in with a scream that drowned all competition.
“Who talks of signs and wonders ? Am not I Habakkuk Mucklewrath, whose name is changed to Magor-Missabib, because I am made a terror unto myself and unto all that are around me?- heard itWhen did I hear it? —Was it not in the tower of the Bass, that overhangeth the wide wild sea ?--And it howled in the winds, and it roared in the billows, and it screamed, and it whistled, and it clanged with the screams and the clang and the whistle of the sea-birds, as they floated, and few, and dropped, and dived, on the bosom of the waters. I saw it--where did I see it ?—was it not from the high peaks of Dunbarton, when I looked westward upon the fertile land, and northward op the wild Highland hills, when the clouds gathered and the tempest came, and the lightnings of Heaven flashed in sheets as wide as the banners of an bost ?-What did I see ?-Dead corpses and wounded horses, the rushing together of battle, and garments rolled in blood. What heard I ?—The voice that cried, Slay, slay-smite-slay utterly let not your eye have pity! slay utterly, old and young, the maiden, the child, and the woman whose head is grey-Defile · the house and fill the courts with the slain !"
“We receive the command,” exclaimed more than one of the company. “Six days be bath, not spoken nor broken bread, and now his tongue is unloosed :-We receive the command; as he hath said so will we do."
Astonished, disgusted, and horror-struck, at what he had seen and heard, Morton turned away from the circle and left the cottage. He was followed by Burley, who had his eye on his motions.
“ Whither are you going?” said the latter, taking him by the arm.
“ Any where,--I care not whither; but here I will abide no longer.”
" Art thou so soon weary, young man ?" answered Burley. “ Thy hand is but now put to the plough, and wouldst thou already abandon it? Is this thy adherence to the cause of thy father ?".
“No cause,” replied Morton, indignantly“ no cause can prosper so conducted. One party declares for the ravings of a blood-thirsty madman; another leader is an old scholastic pedant; a third” -he stopped, and his companion continued the sentence " is a desperate homicide, thou wouldst say, like John Balfour of Burley ?
I can bear thy misconstruction without resentment. Thou dost not consider, that it is not men of sober and self-seeking minds, who arise in these days of wrath to execute judgment and to accomplish deliverance. Hadst thou but seen the armies of England, during her parliament of 1640, whose ranks were filled with sectaries and enthusiasts, wilder than the anabaptists of Munster, thou wouldst have had more cause to marvel; and yet these men were unconquered on the field, and their hands wrought marvellous things for the liberties of the land.”
“But their affairs," replied Morton, “ were wisely conducted, and the violence of their zeal expended itself in their exhortations and sermons, without bringing divisions into their counsels, or cruelty into their conduct. I have often heard my father say so, and protest, that he wondered at nothing so much as the contrast between the extravagance of their religious tenets, and the wisdom
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