The red cross glares on Frazers towers, My love, I dare not stay; The bugle peals through Lovats bowers, My love, I must away. OLD BALLAD
We shall now conduct the reader
to a shop in the Broadgate, over which appeared in ancient characters,-
PATRICK LESLIE AND SAMUEL
It is not to be supposed that the street had the
same appearance which it now exhibits ; neither are the unsophisticated
to imagine that the shops resembled those of our own times, with lofty
roofs, gigantic windows, mahogany counters, splendid chandeliers, and
elegant gas burners. The windows were not much larger than the
loop-holes of a modern prison; the roof was low and covered with
cobwebs, and the goods exposed for sale were all lying at sixes and
sevens. The forepart of the shop extended about ten feet forward into
the street, and was decorated on the outside with swatches of the
various commodities that were to be sold within. In the back shop, which
was nearly as dark as midnight, were deposited the whole of the goods,
except the specimens just mentioned. In the inmost recess of these
penetralia, was Provost Leslie, with three or four stout fellows,
removing, under his command, the goods in the back shop or warehouse.
"Saunders, said the provost,
"yell tak awa yon silks an velvets, and put them into the vault i
the dryestay, thats anither flask broken, ye careless gowk! Ill set
ye about your business gin ye wunna tak mair tent. As soons you get
that barrel awa, yell tak down the Prayer-Books from that shelf, and
put up twa or three dozen o Confessions o Faith. An, my little man,
yell run up to my lasses, and tell them to leave a their wark an come
down to grease the sword blades, for fear that they rust in the cellar,
an syne tell the same to
Sammy Fairtexts maidens, an' bring them a wi you as fasts ye
can.Ay, Basil, are ye there? Troth, gentle or semple, ye maun helps
the day. You are a canny lad, sae try if ye can collect a the trinkets
and the siller cups and spoons, and take them up by to my chamber.Ye
neer-do-weel ! ye haverel, Sandie Hackit, what garred you spill the
wine on that web? Ye needna mind it now, ye sorrow ; its nae worth
puttin out o Montroses way."
When Basil Rolland returned from
executing his commission, the stranger whom he had seen on the former
day was in the shop, engaged in conversation with Fairtext. The latter
bade Basil conduct him to his house, whether he himself would follow
when he had dispatched some necessary business. When they were seated,
the stranger began--
"Thou hast seen, youth, that the things which I
hinted to thee are in part come to pass. The city is in confusion, the
men of war are discouraged, so that they will assuredly be a prey, and a
spoil, and a derision to their adversaries. What dost thou now intend?
"What but to join the army of
Aboyne, and do battle with my best blood against these murdering
"And what would be thy reward, young man? Thy good
sense tells thee that it is wrong to deprive free-born men of liberty of
conscience. You would iight for your own slavery. Charles is one who
regardeth not covenants. He will reward jugglers and lewd ones, rather
than those who have shed their blood for his wicked house. But he
already totters on his throne, and the day may not be distant when he
himself shall cry for mercy from those whose fathers, mothers, and
children he hath. slain. If you are vanquished in the approaching
contest, all with you is lost; if successful, you are nothing the
better, except for upholding a Papistical hierarchy, the raw project of
a godless debauchee. Thy grandfather did battle on the wrong side, and, after his fall at the battle of Pinkie, the
family fell from its former power, which it has never been able to
"Let me ask what comfort or reward could I expect
by deserting my friends? The Covenanters have renounced their oath of
allegiance, and have imbrued their hands in their countrymens blood.
Good can never follow an enterprise begun by perjury, and continued with
"And did not Charles first deliberately break his
oath and the covenant made with the people? The paction was therefore nullified by him, and could not bind
the other party. If they have shed blood, their blood has been shed ;
and it was not till every attempt at pacification failed that they took
up the carnal weapon. And, for comfort, I have long supported this
cause, and I can look back with greater pleasure to my conduct in this
respect than thou canst on the picture of thy lady love which even now
is peeping from thy bosom."
"It is my mothers picture, said Basil, blushing
to the eyes.
"Thy mothers!" said the stranger, while, with an
emotion which he had not yet exhibited, he caught at the picture with
such violence as to break the silken riband with which it was suspended,
and, unconscious of Basils presence, riveted his eyes upon it, scanning
the features with the greatest eagerness.
"The same, the same, said he
to himself; "the arched brow and the feeling eye, the smiling lips and
the rosy cheek. But where is the principle that gave these their value?
Where is the life, the soul?" continued he, kissing the senseless
painting. How inferior was this once to thy beauty, and how superior
now to thy mouldering ashes! Didst thou appear as the ideal charmer of a
flitting dream, or wert thou indeed the pride of my youth, the light of
my eyes, and the mistress of my heart? Thou wert! thou wert ! my sorrows
tell it.Preserve this picture, young man. Thou never, alas! knewest a
rnothers love -- or a fathers affection : the former flame was rudely
quenched, the latter burned unknown to thee.
"Then you knew my mother?
"Ay, Basil, I knew her. We ran
together in infancy, we danced together on the braes of Don, and weve
each other garlands of the wild-flowers that grew on its banks. Then we
thought this world was as heaven, while we were as innocent as angels.
As we grew up, the sun, the wood, the rock, was our temple, where we
admired the beauteous novelty of this earth. All was love, and peace,
and joy ; but sorrow came, and those sweet dreams have vanished.
During these unexpected
communications, Basil felt himself strangely agitated. The old man
seemed to know his history, and with a mixture of doubt and anxiety he
inquired if he knew his father.
"I am thy father," said the
stranger, weeping, and throwing himself into his arms; "I am thy parent,
thy joyous, sorrowing parent. How often have I wished for this day! It
is now come, and thou art all that I could wishexcept in one thing, and
that is not thy fault. I have claimed thee at a time when the boy must
act the man, and take part boldly in the great struggle. We must depart
from this place to-night. The citizens, thou knowest, are summoned to
join the royalists under pain of death, so that we may be delayed if .
we tarry longer.
"But whither, my father, shall we go?" said
"Where but to the persecuted remnant that are even now struggling for
freedom. We will fight under the banner of the Covenant."
"I have now found a father,
said Basil, " and his commands I must and will obey; but you will not
bid me lift the sword when every stroke must fall upon an acquaintance
or a school-mate?
Isaac Rolland then began to mention to his son the
reasons which induced him to join this party. He had no more of
enthusiasm than it becomes one to have who knows he is embarked in a
good cause. He mentioned his own early history, which we shall blend
with that of his son. He had been one of the mission, headed by Sir
Thomas Menzies, that visited King james in 1620 on civil business. About
eighteen months before, he had lost a loving and beloved wife, with whom
he had been acquainted from early infancy. She died on the birth of
Basil. After this affliction, Isaac Rolland could find no pleasure in
the place of his nativity, where everything reminded him of some dear
departed joy; wherefore, having interest to obtain a situation at court,
he left his only son Basil under the guardianship of his friend Fairtext,
and contented himself by hearing often about him, without ever visiting
him till the time at which this story commences. Rolland was acquainted
partially with the circumstances of his birth. He knew that his mother
died when she gave him life ; he knew also that his father existed, but
nothing farther. Isaac laid before his son, in a clear and methodic
manner, the reasons for which the Covenanters took up arms, the
reasonableness of their demands, and the tyranny of their enemies. He
neither palliated nor denied the excesses of either party, but contended
that these should teach all to use their superiority mercifully. The
forcible point of view in which he set his arguments wrought instant
conviction in Basils mind, which his father observing,
"Come, then, said he, "and
let us prepare for this struggle. If we be successful (and shall we not
be so in such a cause ?), we shall have the consolation of having given
peace and freedom to the land. I have a sufficiency of worlds goods,
and thou and thy Mary--nay, start not, I know allthou and thy Mary will
be the support and comfort of my old age, and the subject of my last
prayer, as ye have been of many, many in the days bygone. Bid your
friends farewell, and an hour hence we meet to part no more. Be
cautious, however, my son, for these men of Belial have set a guard on
the g city, and death is the lot of all who seem about to leave it.
Farewell ! God bless thee, my dear son ; and he again folded him in his
When Basil was left to himself, it I would have been difficult to say
whether he was more sorrowful or joyful. He had found his father, a fond
and doting father ; but his heart revolted at turning his back on the
scenes of his youth and the smiling face of his Mary. The latter was the
more distressing. She had listened to his suit, and the good-natured
provost, when acquainted with it, had sworn that no other should marry
his Mary. His own father seemed to approve his passion; wherefore he
resolved to bid her farewell, and moved accordingly to the provosts
She was alone, and received him with her usual smile of joy, but was
startled at the unusual expression of sorrow on his countenance. "Mary," said he; but
his lips could articulate nothing farther.
She became alarmed. "Basil, you
are ill !" said she.
He seized her hand. "Mary, I am come to bid you
farewellperhaps a long farewell.
She became pale in her turn, and
asked him to explain himself. He resumed,
"When we were young, Mary, you
were my only companion, and I yours. You were unhappy when away from
Basil Rolland, and I when absent from Mary Leslie. When, in the folly of
play, I had girded myself with your fathers sword, you complained to
him, while the tears ran down your cheeks, that brother Basil was
leaving you to become a soldier. Such things at the time are trifling;
but how often are they the types of blessed love in riper years. I am
now to leave you to mingle in scenes of strife: let me carry with me the
consciousness of your continued love ; confirm to me the troth that you
have plighted, and, come life or death, I shall be happy.
"But why O Basil, why are you
leaving us? Have we not more need of thy presence than ever. "
"I have found my father, and by
his command I leave you this very night."
"'This night! said she, while
the tears coursed in torrents down her pale cheek. Basil caught her in
his arms, and they wept together who had never known sorrow before.
"Be comforted, Mary, said
Basil at length; "we shall meet again, and the present sorrow will
enhance the gladness of the meeting. My happiness depends entirely on
you, and my father looks fondly to our union.
"Oh! when you are gone far from
this, you will soon forget the vows that you have made. I have no mother
to guide me ; oh, do not then deceive me, Basil.
"I swear that my heart never
owned the influence of another, and that its last beat shall be true to
"Then," said she, throwing herself into his arms, "I am happy!"
explained to her what he knew of his destination, and, with a chaste
kiss of mutual transport, they separated.
He acquainted no other person
with his intention of departing, but returned to make some preparations
for his journey. These were soon completed; he was joined by his
father, and leaving the town at sunset, they walked leisurely to Stonehaven, where Montroses army was encamped.
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