Now, the sun had not yet
risen, and a thick, dark mist covered the face of the earth, when, as we
have said, John Brydone went out into his fields, and found that a
quantity of his oats had been carried away. He doubted not but they had
been taken for the use of Montrose’s cavalry; and it was not for the loss
of his substance that he grieved, and that his spirit was wroth, but
because it was taken to assist the enemies of his country, and the
persecutors of the truth; for than John Brydone, humble as he was, there
was not a more dauntless or a more determined supporter of the Covenant in
all Scotland. While he yet stood by the side of his field, and, from the
thickness of the morning, was unable to discern objects at a few yards
distance, a party of horsemen rode up to where he stood. "Countryman,"
said one who appeared to be their leader, "can you inform us where the
army of Montrose is encamped?"
John, taking them to be a
party of the Royalists, sullenly replied, "There’s mony ane asks the road
they ken," and was proceeding into the field.
"Answer me!" demanded the
horseman angrily, and raising a pistol in his hand—"Sir David Lesly
"Sir David Lesly!" cried
John, "the champion of the truth!—the defender of the good cause. If ye be
Sir David Lesly, as I trow ye be, get yer troops in readiness, and, before
the mist vanish on the river, I will deliver the host o’ the Philistines
into your hand."
"See that ye play not the
traitor," said Lesly, "or the nearest tree shall be unto thee as the
gallows was to Haman which he prepared for Mordecai."
"Do even so to me, and more
also," replied John, "if ye find me false. But think ye that I look as
though I bore the mark of the beast upon my forehead?" he continued,
taking off his Lowland bonnet and gazing General Lesly full in the face.
"I will trust you," said
the General; and, as he spoke, the van of his army appeared in sight.
John having described the
situation of the enemy to Sir David, acted as their guide until they came
to the Shaw Burn, when the General called a halt. Each man having partaken
of a hurried repast by order of Sir David, the word was given along the
line that they should return thanks for being conducted to the place where
the enemy of the Kirk and his army slept in imaginary security. The
preachers at the head of the different divisions of the army gave out a
psalm, and the entire host of the Covenanters, uncovering their heads,
joined at the same moment in thanksgiving and praise. John Brydone was not
a man of tears, but, as he joined in the psalm, they rolled down his
cheeks, for his heart felt, while his tongue uttered praise, that a day of
deliverance for the people of Scotland was at hand. The psalm being
concluded, each preacher offered up a short but earnest prayer; and each
man, grasping his weapon, was ready to lay down his life for his religion
and his liberty.
John Brydone, with his
bonnet in hand, approaching Sir David, said—"Now, sir, I that ken the
ground, and the situation o’ the enemy, would advise ye, as a man who has
seen some service mysel, to halve your men; let the one party proceed by
the river to attack them on the one side, and the other go round the hills
to cut off their retreat."
["But halve your men in equal parts,
Your purpose to fulfil;
Let ae half keep the water side,
The rest gae round the hill."
Battle of Philiphaugh.—Border Ballad.]
"Ye speak skilfully," said
Sir David, and he gave orders as John Brydone had advised.
The Marquis of Montrose had
been disappointed in reinforcements from his sovereign. Of two parties
which had been sent to assist him in his raid into England, one had been
routed in Yorkshire, and the other defeated on Carlisle sands, and only a
few individuals from both parties joined him at Selkirk. A great part of
his Highlanders had returned home to enjoy their plunder; but his army was
still formidable, and he imagined that he had Scotland at his feet, and
that he had nothing to fear from anything the Covenanters could bring
against him. He had been writing despatches throughout the night; and he
was sitting in the best house in Selkirk, penning a letter to his
sovereign, when he was startled by the sounds of cannon and of musketry.
He rushed to the street, the inhabitants were hurrying from their
houses--many of his cavalry were mingling, half-dressed, with the
crowd. "To horse!—to horse!" shouted Montrose. His command was promptly
obeyed; and, in a few moments, at the head of his cavalry, he rushed down
the street leading to the river towards Philiphaugh. The mist was breaking
away, and he beheld his army fleeing in every direction. The Covenanters
had burst upon them as a thunderbolt. A thousand of his best troops lay
dead upon the field. He endeavoured to rally them, but in vain; and,
cutting his way through the Covenanters, he fled at his utmost speed, and
halted not until he had arrived within a short distance of where the
delightful watering town of Innerleithen now stands, when he sought
a temporary resting-place in the house of Lord Traquair.
John Brydone, having been
furnished with a sword, had not been idle during the engagement; but, as
he had fought upon foot, and the greater part of Lesly’s army were
cavalry, he had not joined in the pursuit; and, when the battle was over,
he conceived it to be as much his duty to act the part of the Samaritan,
as it had been to perform that of a soldier. He was busied, therefore, on
the field in administering, as he could, to the wounded; and whether they
were Cavalier or Covenanter, it was all one to John; for he was not one
who could trample on a fallen foe, and in their hour of need he considered
all men as brothers. He was passing within about twenty yards of a tent
upon the Haugh, which had a superior appearance to the others—it was
larger, and the cloth which covered it was of a finer quality; when his
attention was arrested by a sound unlike all that belonged to a
battle-field—the wailing and the cries of an infant! He looked around, and
near him lay the dead body of a lady, and on her breast, locked in her
cold arms, a child of a few months old was struggling. He ran towards
them—he perceived that the lady was dead—he took the child in his arms—he
held it to his bosom—he kissed its cheek—"Puir thing!—puir thing!" said
John; "the innocent hae been left to perish amang the unrighteous." He was
bearing away the child, patting its cheek—and caressing it as he went, and
forgetting the soldier in the nurse, when he said unto himself—"Puir
innocent!—an’, belike yer wrang-headed faither is fleeing for his life,
an’ thinking aboot ye an’ yer mother as he flees! Weel, ye may be claimed
some day, an’ I maun do a’ in my power to gie an account o’ ye." So, John
turned back towards the lifeless body of the child’s mother; and he
perceived that she wore a costly ring upon her finger, and bracelets on
her arms; she also held a small parcels, resembling a book, in her hands,
as though she had fled with it, without being able to conceal it, and
almost at the door of her tent she had fallen with her child in her arms,
and her treasure in her hand. John stooped upon the ground, and he took
the ring from her finger, and the bracelets from her arms; he took also
the packet from her hands, and in it he found other jewels, and a purse of
gold pieces. "These may find thee a faither, puir thing," said he; "or if
they do not, they may befriend thee when John Brydone cannot."
He carried home the child
to his own house, and his wife had at that time an infant daughter at her
breast, and she took the foundling from her husband’s arms, and became
unto it as a mother, nursing it with her own child. But John told not his
wife of the purse, nor the ring, nor the rich jewels.
The child had been in their
keeping for several weeks, but no one appeared to claim him. "The bairn
may hae been baptized," said John; "b"t it wad be after the fashion o’ the
sons o’ Belial; but he is a brand plucked from the burning—he is my bairn
noo, and I shall be unto him as a faither—I’ll tak upon me the vows—and,
as though he were flesh o’ my ain flesh, I will fulfil them." So the child
was baptized; and, in consequence of his having been found on Philiphaugh,
and, of the victory there gained, he was called Philip; and, as John had
adopted him as his son, he bore also the name of Brydone. It is
unnecessary for us to follow the foundling through his years of boyhood.
John had two children—a son named Daniel, and Mary, who was nursed at her
mother’s breast with the orphan Philip. As the boy grew up, he called his
protectors by the name of father and mother; but he knew they were not
such, for John had shown him the spot upon the Haugh where he had found
him wailing on the bosom of his deed mother. Frequently, too, when he
quarrelled with his playfellows, they would call him the "Philiphaugh
foundling," and "the cavalier’s brat;" and on such occasions Mary was wont
to take his part, and, weeping, say, "he was her brother." As he grew up,
however, it grieved his protector to observe, that he manifested but
little of the piety, and less of the sedateness of his own children. "What
is born i’ the bane, isna easily rooted out o’ the flesh," said John; and
in secret he prayed and wept that his adopted son might be brought to a
knowledge of the truth. The days of the Commonwealth had come, and John
and his son Daniel rejoiced in the triumphs of the Parliamentary armies,
and the success of its fleets; but while they spoke, Philip would mutter
between his teeth—"It is the triumph of murderers!" He believed that but
for the ascendancy of the Commonwealth, and he might have obtained some
tidings of his family; and this led him to hate a cause which the activity
of his spirit might have tempted him to embrace.
Mary Brydone had always
been dear to him; and, as he grew towards manhood. he gazed on her
beautiful features with delight; but it was not the calm delight of a
brother contemplating the fair face of a sister; for Philip’s heart glowed
as he gazed, and the blush gathered on his cheek. One summer evening, they
were returning from the fields together, the sun was sinking in the west,
the Etterick murmured along by their side, and the plaintive voice of the
wild-dove was heard from the copse-wood which covered the hills.
"Why are you so sad,
brother Philip?" said Mary, "would you hide anything from your own
"Do not call me brother,
Mary," said he earnestly—"do not call me
"Who would call you
brother, Philip, if I did not?" returned she affectionately.
"Let Daniel call me
brother," said he, eagerly; "but not you—not you!"
She burst into tears. "When
did I offend you, Philip?" she added, "that I may not call you brother?"
"Never, Mary!—never!" he
exclaimed; "call me Philip—your Philip!—anything but brother!" He
took her hand within his--he pressed it to his bosom. "Mary," he added, "I
have neither father, mother, brother, nor kindred—I am alone in the
world—let there be something that I can call mine—something that will love
me in return! Do you understand me, Mary?"
"You are cruel, Philip,"
said she, sobbing as she spoke; "you know I love you—I have always loved
"Yes! as you love Daniel—as
you love your father; but not as"—
"You love Mr. Duncan," he
would have said; but his heart upraided him for the suspicion, and he was
silent. It is here necessary to inform the reader that Mr. Duncan was a
preacher of the Covenant, and John Brydone revered him much. He was much
older than Mary, but his heart cleaved to her, and he had asked her
father’s consent to become his son-in-law. John, though a stern man, was
not one who would force the inclination of his daughter; but Mr. Duncan
was, as he expressed it, "one of the faithful in Israel," and his proposal
was pleasing to him. Mary, however, regarded the preacher with awe, but
not with affection.
Mary felt that she
understood Philip—that she loved him, and not as a brother. She hid her
face upon his shoulder, and her hand returned the pressure of his. They
entered the house together, and her father perceived that his daughter’s
face was troubled. The manner of both was changed. He was a shrewd man as
well as a stern man, and he also suspected the cause.
"Philip," said he calmly,
"for twenty years hae I protected ye an’ watched ower ye wi’ a faither’s
care, an’ I fear that, in return for my care, ye hae brought sorrow into
the bosom o’ my family, an’ instilled disobedience into the flesh o’ my
ain flesh. But, though ye has cleaved—as it maun hae been inherent in your
bluid—after the principles o’ the sons o’ this warld, yet, as I ne’er
found ye guilty o’ a falsehood, an’ as I believe ye incapable o’ ane, tell
me truly, why is yer countenance, an’ that o’ Mary, changed—and why are ye
baith troubled to look me straight in the face? Answer me—hae ye taught
her to forget that she is yer sister?"
"Yes!" answered Philip;
"and can it offend the man who saved me, who has watched over me, and
sheltered me from infancy till now, that I should wish to be his son in
more than in name?"
"It does offend me,
Philip," said the Covenantor; "even unto death it offends me! I hae
consented that my dochter shall gie her hand to a guid an’ a godly man,
who will look after her weelfare baith here and hereafter. And ye kenned
this—she kenned it, and she didna refuse; but ye hae come like the son o’
darkness, an’ sawn tares amang the wheat."
"Father," said Philip, "if
you will still allow me to call you by that name—foundling though I
am—unknown as I am—in what am I worse than him to whom ye would sacrifice
your daughter’s happiness?"
"Sacrifice her happiness!"
interrupted the old man; "hoo daur ye speak o’ happiness, wha kens nae
meanin’ for the word but the vain pleasures o’ this sinfu’ warld! Think ye
that, as a faither, an’ as ane that has my offspring to answer for, that I
daur sacrifice the eternal happiness o’ my bairn, for the gratification o’
a temporary feelin’ which ye encourage the day and may extinguish the
morn. Na, sir; they wha wad ken what true happiness is, maun first learn
to crucify human passions. Mary," added he, sternly, turning to his
daughter, "repeat the fifth commandment."
She had been weeping
before, and she now wept aloud.
"Repeat it," replied her
father yet more sternly.
"Honour thy father and thy
mother," added she, sobbing as she spoke.
"See, then, bairn,"
rejoined her father, "that ye remember that commandment on yer heart, as
weel as on yer tongue. Remember, too, that o’ a’ the commands, it’s the
only ane to which a promise is attached; and, noo, mark what I say, an’ as
ye wadna disobey me, see, at yer peril, that ye ne’er permit this young
man to speak to ye again, save only as a brither."
"Sir," said Philip,
"we have grown up together like twin tendrils on the same vine, and can ye
wonder that our hearts have become entwined round each other, or that they
can tear asunder because ye command it! Or, could I look on the face of an
"Out on ye, blasphemer!"
interrupted the Covenanter— "wad ye apply siccan epithets to a bairn o’
mine? Once for all, hear me, Philip; there are but twa ways o’t, and ye
can tak yer choice. It’s the first time I hae spoken to ye roughly, but it
isna the first time my spirit has mourned owar ye. I hae tried to lead ye
in the right path; ye hae had baith precept and example afore ye; but the
leaven o’ this warld—the leaven o’ the persecutors o’ the Kirk and the
Covenant—was in yer very bluid; an’ I believe, if opportunity had offered,
ye wad hae drawn yer sword in the unholy cause. A’ that I could say, an’
a’ that I could do, religion has ne’er had ony place in yer heart; but ye
hae yearned aboot yer faither, and ye hae mourned aboot yer mother—an’
that was natural aneugh—but, oh! ye hae also desired to cling to the cauld
formality o’ Episcopacy, as they nae doot did: an’ should ye e’er discover
that yer parents hae been Papists, I believe that ye wad become ane too!
An’ often, when the conversation turned upon the apostate Montrose, or the
gallant Lesly, I hae seen ye manifest the spirit an’ the very look o’ a
persecutor. Were I to gie up my dochter to such a man, I should be worse
than the heathen wha sacrifice their offspring to the abomination o’
idols. Noo, Philip, as I hae tauld ye, there are but twa ways o’t:
Either this very hour gie me yer solemn promise that ye will think o’ Mary
as to be yer wife nae mair, or, wi’ the risin’ o’ to-morrow’s sun, leave
this house for ever!"
"Sir," said Philip,
bitterly, "your last command I can obey, though it would be with a sad
heart—though it would be in despair!—your first I cannot--I will not!"
"You must--you shall!"
replied the Covenanter.
"Never!" answered Philip.
"Then," replied the old
man, "leave the roof that has sheltered ye frae yer cradle!"
"I will!" said Philip, and
the tears ran down his cheeks. He walked towards Mary, and, with a
faltering voice, said—"Farewell, Mary!—Farewell! I did not expect this;
but do not forget me—do not give your hand to another— and we shall meet
"You shall not,"
interrupted the inexorable old man.
Mary implored her father,
for her sake, and for the sake of her departed mother, who had loved
Philip as her own son, that he would not drive him from the house, and
Daniel, too, entreated; but their supplications were vain.
"Farewell, then," said
Philip; "and, though I depart in misery, let it not be with thy curse, but
let the blessing of him who has been to me a father until now, go with
"The blessin’ o’ Heaven be
wi’ ye and around ye, Philip!" groaned the Covenanter, struggling to
conceal a tear: "but, if ye will follow the dictates o’ yer rebellious
heart and leave us, tak wi’ ye yer property."
"My property!" repeated
"Yer property," returned
the old man. "Twenty years has it lain in that drawer, an’ during that
time eyes hae not seen it, nor fingers touched it. It will assist ye noo;
an’, when ye enter the warld, may throw some light upon yer parentage."
He went to a small drawer,
and, unlocking it, he took out the jewels, the bracelet, the ring, and the
purse of gold, and, placing them in Philip’s hand, exclaimed—"Fareweel!—fareweel!—but
it maun be!" and he turned away his head.
"O Mary!" cried Philip,
"keep—keep this in remembrance of me," as he attempted to place the ring
in her hand.
"Awa, sir!" exclaimed the
old man, vehemently, "wad ye bribe my bairn into disobedience, by the
ornaments o’ folly an’ iniquity! Awa, ye son o’ Belial, an’ provoke me not
Philip groaned, he dashed
his hand upon his brow, and rushed from the house. Many wept long and
bitterly, and Daniel walked to and fro across the room, mourning for one
whom he loved as a brother. The old man went out into the fields to
conceal the agony of his spirit; and, when he had wandered for a while, he
communed with himself, saying, "I hae dune foolishly, an’ an ungodly
action hae I performed this nicht; I hae driven oot a young man upon a
wicked warld, wi’ a’ his sins an’ his follies on his head; an’, evil come
upon him, or he plunge into the paths o’ wickedness, his bluid an’ his
guilt will be laid at my hands! Puir Philip," he added; "after a’ he had a
kind heart!" And the stern old man drew the sleeve of his coat across his
eyes. In this frame of mind he returned to the house. "Has Philip not come
back?" said he, as he entered. His son shook his head sorrowfully, and
Mary sobbed more bitterly.
"Rin ye awa doun to
Melrose, Daniel," said he, "an’ I’ll awa up to Selkirk, an’ inquire for
him, an’ bring him back. Yer faither has allowed passion to get the better
o’ him, an’ to overcome baith the man an’ the Christian."
"Run, Daniel, run !" cried
Mary eagerly. And the old man and his son went out in search of him.
Their inquiries were
fruitless. Days, weeks, and months rolled on, but nothing more was heard
of poor Philip. Mary refused to be comforted; and the exhortations, the
kindness, and the tenderness shown towards her by the Rev. Mr. Duncan, if
not hateful, were disagreeable. Dark thoughts, too, had taken possession
of her father’s mind, and he frequently sank into melancholy; for the
thought haunted him that his adopted son, on being driven from his house,
had laid violent hands upon his own life; and this idea embittered every
day of his existence.