returned to the house; and entering the room
softly, into which Marion had withdrawn,
beheld her on her knees before a crucifix: she
was praying for the safety of her husband.
he, O gracious Lord!" cried she,"
soon return to his home. But if I am to see
him here no more, oh, may it please Thee to
grant me to meet him within thy arms in
her, blessed Son of Mary!" ejaculated the
old man. She looked round, and rising from her
knees, demanded of him, in a kind but anxious
voice, whether he had left her lord in
the way to it, my lady!" answered Halbert.
He repeated all that Wallace had said at
parting; and then tried to prevail on her to
go to rest. "Sleep cannot visit my eyes
this night, my faithful creature,"
replied she; "my spirit will follow
Wallace in his mountain flight. Go you to your
chamber. After you have had repose, that will
be time enough to revisit the remains of the
poor Earl, and to bring them with the box to
the house. I will take a religious charge of
both, for the sake of the dear entruster.
persuaded his lady to lie down on the bed,
that her limbs at least might rest after the
fatigue of so harassing a night; and she
little suspecting that he meant to do
otherwise than to sleep also, kindly wished
him repose, and retired.
maids, during the late terror, had dispersed,
and were nowhere to be found: and the men too,
after their stout resistance at the gates, had
all disappeared; some fled, others were sent
away prisoners to Lanark, while the good
Hambledon was conversing with their lady.
Halbert therefore resigned himself to await
with patience the rising of the sun, when he
hoped some of the scared domestics would
return; if not, he determined to go to the
cottars who lived in the depths of the glen,
and bring some of them to supply the place of
the fugitives; and a few, with stouter hearts,
to guard his lady.
musing, he sat on a stone bench in the hall,
watching anxiously the appearance of that orb,
whose setting beams he hoped would light him
hack with tidings of Sir William Wallace to
comfort the lonely heart of his Marion. All
seemed at peace. Nothing was heard but the
sighing of the trees as they waved before the
western window, which opened towards the
Lanark hills. The morning was yet grey, and
the fresh air blowing in rather chilly,
Halbert rose to close the wooden shutter; at
that moment his eyes were arrested by a party
of armed men in quick march down the opposite
declivity. In a few minutes more their heavy
steps sounded in his ears, and he saw the
platform before the house filled with English.
Alarmed at the sight, he was retreating across
the apartment, towards his lady’s room, when
the great hall door was burst open by a band
of soldiers, who rushed forward and seized
me, dotard!" cried their leader, a man of
low stature, with grey locks, but a fierce
countenance, "where is the murderer?
Where is Sir William Wallace? Speak, or the
torture shall force you."
shuddered, but it was for his defenceless
lady, not for himself. "My master,"
said he, " is far from this."
shalt be made to know, thou hoary-headed
villain !" cried the same violent
interrogator. "Where is the assassin’s
wife? I will confront ye. Seek her out."
that word the soldiers parted right and left,
and in a moment afterwards, three of them
appeared with shouts, bringing in the
my lady!" cried Halbert, struggling to
approach her, as with terrified apprehension
she looked around her; but they held her fast,
and he saw her led up to the
merciless wretch, who had
given the orders to have her summoned.
am the governor of Lanark. You now stand
before the representative of the great King
Edward, and on your allegiance to him, and on
the peril of your life, I command you to answer
me three questions. Where is Sir William
Wallace, the murderer of my nephew? Who is
that old Scot, for whom my nephew was slain?
He and his whole family shall meet my vengeance! And tell me where is that box of
treasure which your husband stole from
Douglas castle? Answer me these questions on
Lady Wallace remained
demanded the governor. If fear cannot move
you, know that I can reward as well as avenge.
I will endow you richly, if you declare the
truth. If you persist to refuse, you
"Then I die,"
replied she, scarcely opening her half-closed
eyes, as she leaned, fainting and motionless,
against the soldier who held her.
"What!" cried the
governor, stifling his rage, in hopes to gain
by persuasion on a spirit he found threats
could not intimidate; "can so gentle a
lady reject the favour of England; large
grants in this country, and perhaps a fine
English knight for a husband, when you might
have all for the trifling service of giving up
a traitor to his liege lord, and confessing
where his robberies lie concealed? Speak; fair
dame; give me this information, and the lands
of the wounded chieftain whom Wallace brought
here, with the hand of the handsome Sir
Gilbert Hambledon, shall be your reward. Rich,
and a beauty in Edward’s court! Lady, can
you now refuse to purchase all, by declaring
the hiding-place of the traitor Wallace ?"
is easier to die!"
Fool ." cried
Heselrigge, driven from his assumed temper by her steady denial.
"What ! is it easier forthese dainty limbs
to be hacked to pieces by my soldiers’ axes?
Is it easier for that fair bosom to be trodden
under foot by my horses’ hoofs; and for that
beauteous head of thine to decorate my lance?
Is all this easier than to tell me where to find a murderer
arid his gold?"
Lady Wallace shuddered: she stretched her
hands to heaven.
"Speak once for all
!" cried the enraged
governor, drawing his sword; "I am no waxen-hearted
to be cajoled by your beauty. Declare where
Wallace is concealed, or dread my
The horrid steel gleamed across the eyes of
the unhappy Marion; unable to sustain herself,
she sunk on the ground.
"Kneel not to me for mercy!"
cried the fierce wretch; "I grant none,
unless you confess your husband’s
A momentary strength darted from the heart
of Lady Wallace to her voice. "I kneel to
Heaven alone, and may it ever preserve my Wallace from the
fangs of Edward and his tyrants !"
"Blasphemous wretch!" cried the
infuriate Heselrigge, and in that moment he
plunged his sword into her defenceless breast.
Halbert, who had all this time been held back
by the soldiers, could not believe that the
fierce governor would perpetrate the horrid
deed he threatened; but seeing it done, with a
giant’s strength and a terrible cry he burst from the hands
which held him, and had thrown himself on the
bleeding Marion, before her murderer could
strike his second blow. However, it fell, and
pierced through the neck of the faithful
servant before it reached her heart. She
opened her dying eyes, and seeing who it was
that would have shielded her life, just
articulated " Halbert! my Wallace - to
God—" and with the last unfinished
sentence, her pure soul took its flight to
regions of eternal peace.
good old man’s heart almost burst, when he
felt that before-heaving bosom now motionless,
and groaning with grief, and fainting with
loss of blood, he lay senseless on her body.
terrible stillness was now in the hall. Not a
man spoke, all stood looking on each other
with a stern horror marking each pale
countenance; Heselrigge, dropping his
blood-stained sword on the ground, perceived
by the behaviour of his men that he had gone
too far, and fearful of arousing the
indignation of awakened humanity, to some act
against himself, he addressed the soldiers in
an unusual accent of condescension: "My
friends," said he, "we will now
return to Lanark: to-morrow you may come back,
for I reward your services of this night with
the plunder of Ellerslie."
a curse light on him who carries a stick from
its grounds !" exclaimed a veteran, from
the further end of the hall. "
Amen!" murmured all the soldiers, with
one consent; and falling back, they
disappeared, one by one, out of the great
door, leaving Heselrigge alone with the
soldier, who stood leaning on his sword,
looking on the murdered lady.
why stand you. there ?" demanded
Heselrigge: "follow me."
returned the soldier.
!" exclaimed the governor, momentarily
forgetting his panic; "dare you speak
thus to your commander? March on before me
this instant, or expect to be treated as a
march at your command no more," replied
the veteran, eyeing him resolutely: "the
moment you perpetrated this bloody deed, you
became unworthy the name of man; and I should
disgrace my own manhood, were l ever again to
obey the word of such a monster!"
!" cried the enraged Heselrigge,
"you shall die for this !"
may be," answered Grimsby, "by the
hands of some tyrant like yourself; but no
brave man, not the royal Edward, would do
otherwise than acquit his soldier, for
refusing obedience to the murderer of an
innocent woman. It was not so he treated the
wives and daughters of the slaughtered
Saracens, when I followed his banners over the
fields of Palestine !"
canting miscreant !" cried Heselrigge,
springing on him suddenly, and aiming his
dagger at his breast. But the soldier arrested
the weapon, and at the same instant closing
upon the assassin, with a turn of his foot
threw him to the ground. Heselrigge, as he lay
prostrate, seeing his dagger in his adversary’s
hand, with the most dastardly promises
implored for life.
cried the soldier, " I would not pollute
my honest hands with such unnatural blood.
Neither, though thy hand has been lifted
against my life, would I willingly take thine.
It is not rebellion against my commander, that
actuates me, but hatred of the vilest of
murderers. I go far from you, or your power;
but if you forswear your voluntary oath, and
attempt to seek me out for vengeance, remember
it is a soldier of the cross you pursue, and a
dire retribution shall be demanded by Heaven,
at a moment you cannot avoid, and with a
horror commensurate with your crimes."
was a solemnity and a determination in the
voice and manner of the soldier, that
paralysed the intimidated soul of the
governor: he trembled violently, and repeating
his oath of leaving Grimsby unmolested, at
last obtained his permission to return to
Lanark. The men, in obedience to the
conscience-struck orders of their cornmander,
had mounted their horses, and were now far out
of sight. Heselrigge’s charger was still in
the court-yard: he was hurrying towards it,
but the soldier, with a prudent suspicion,
called out, "Stop, sir! you must walk to
Lanark. The cruel are generally false: I
cannot trust your word, should you have the
power to break it. Leave this horse here—to-morrow
you may send for it, I shall then be far
saw that remonstrance would be unavailing; and
shaking with impotent rage, he turned into the
path which, after five weary miles, would lead
him once more to his citadel.
the moment the soldier’s manly spirit had
dared to deliver its abhorrence of Lady
Wallace’s murder, he was aware that his life
would no longer be safe within reach of the
machinations of Heselrigge; and determined,
alike by detestation of him, and regard for
his own preservation, he resolved to take
shelter in the mountains, till he could have
an opportunity of going beyond sea to join his
king’s troops in the Guienne wars.
of these thoughts he returned into the hall.
As he approached the bleeding group on the
floor, he perceived it move; hoping that
perhaps the unhappy lady might not be dead, he
drew near; but, alas! as he bent to examine,
he touched her hand and found it quite cold.
The blood which had streamed from the now
exhausted heart, lay congealed upon her arms
and bosom. Grimsby shuddered. Again he saw her
move; but it was not with her own life; the
recovering senses of her faithful servant, as
his arms clung around the body, had disturbed
the remains of her who would wake no more.
seeing that existence yet struggled in one of
these blameless victims, Grimsby did his
utmost to revive the old man. He raised him
from the ground, and poured some strong liquor
he had in a flask, into his mouth.
breathed freer; and his kind surgeon, with the
venerable harper’s own plaid, bound up the
wound in his neck. Halbert opened his eyes.
When he fixed them on the rough features and
English helmet of the soldier, he closed them
again with a deep groan.
honest Scot," said Grimsby, "trust
in me. I am a man like yourself and though a
Southron, am no enemy to age and
harper took courage at these words: he again
looked at the soldier; but suddenly
recollecting what had passed, he turned his
eyes towards the body of his mistress, on
which the beams of the now rising sun were
shining. He started up, and staggering towards
her, would have fallen, had not Grimsby
supported him. "O what a sight is this
!" cried he, wringing his hands. "My
lady! my lovely lady! see how low she lies,
who was once the delight of all eyes, the
comforter of all hearts." The old man’s
sobs suffocated him. The veteran turned away
his face; a tear dropped upon his hand.
"Accursed Heselrigge," ejaculated
he, "thy fate must come!"
there be a man’s heart in all Scotland, it
is not far distant!" cried Halbert.
"My master lives, and will avenge this
murder. You weep, soldier; and you will not
betray what has now escaped me."
have fought in Palestine," returned he,
"and a soldier of the cross betrays none
who trust him. Saint Mary preserve your master
and conduct you safely to him. We must both
hasten hence. Heselrigge will surely send in
pursuit of me. He is too vile, to forgive the
truth I have spoken to him; and should I fall
into his power, death is the best I could
expect at his hands. Let me assist you to put
this poor lady’s remains into some decent
place; and then, my honest Scot, we must
at these words, threw himself upon the bosom
of his mistress, and wept with loud
lamentations over her. In vain he attempted to
raise her in his feeble arms. "I have
carried thee scores of times in thy blooming
infancy," cried he; "and now must I
bear thee to thy grave? I had hoped that my
eyes would have been closed by this dear
hand." As he spoke, he pressed her cold
hand to his lips, with such convulsive sobs,
that the soldier fearing he would expire in
the agony of his sorrow, took him almost
motionless from the dead body, and exhorted
him to suppress such self-destroying grief for
the sake of his master. Halbert gradually
revived; and listening to him, cast a wishful
look on the lifeless Marion.
sleeps the pride and hope of Ellerslie, the
mother with her child! O my master, my widowed
master," cried he, "what will
the ill consequence of further delay, the
soldier again interrupted his lamentations,
with arguments for flight; and Halbert
recollecting the oratory in which Wallace had
ordered the body of Lord Mar to be deposited,
named it for that of his dead lady. Grimsby,
immediately wrapping the beauteous corse in
the white garments which hung about it, raised
it in his arms; and was conducted by Halbert
to a little chapel in the heart of a
still weeping old man removed the altar; and
Grimsby, laying the shrouded Marion upon its
rocky platform, covered her with the pall,
which he drew from the holy table, and laid
the crucifix upon her bosom. Halbert, when his
beloved mistress was thus hidden from his
sight, threw himself on his knees beside her,
and in the vehement language of grief, offered
up a prayer for her departed soul.
me, righteous Judge of heaven and earth!"
cried he; "as thou didst avenge the blood
of innocence shed in Bethlehem, so let the
grey hairs of Heselrigge be brought down in
blood to the grave, for the murder of this inocent
lady!" Halbert kissed the cross; and
rising from his knees went weeping out of the
chapel, followed by the soldier.
closed the door, and carefully locked it,
absorbed in meditation on what would be the
agonised transports of his master, when he
should tell him these grievous tidings,
Halbert proceeded in silence till he and his
companion in passing the well were startled by
is some one in extremity!" cried the
soldier. "Is it possible he lives !"
exclaimed Halbert, bending down to the edge of
the well with the same inquiry.
"Yes," feebly answered the Earl;
"I still exist, but am very faint. If all
be safe above, I pray remove me into the
upward air!" Halbert replied, that it was
indeed necessary he should ascend immediately;
and lowering the rope, told him to tie the
iron box to it and then himself. This done,
with some difficulty and the assistance of the
wondering soldier, (who now expected to see
the husband of the unfortunate Lady Wallace
emerge to the knowledge of his loss,) he at
last effected the Earl’s release. For a few
seconds the fainting nobleman supported
himself on his countryman’s shoulder, while
the fresh morning breeze gradually revived his
exhausted frame. The soldier looked at his
grey locks and furrowed brow, and marvelled
how such proofs of age could belong to the man
whose resistless valour had discomfited the
fierce determination of Arthur Heselrigge and
his myrmidons. However, his doubts of the
veteran before him being other than the brave
Wallace, were soon satisfied by the Earl
himself, who asked for a draught of the water
which trickled down the opposite hill; and
while Halbert went to bring it, Lord Mar
raised his eyes to inquire for Sir William and
the Lady Marion. He started when he saw
English armour on the man he would have
accosted, and rising suddenly from the stone
on which he sat, demanded, in a stern voice,
"Who art thou?"
Englishman," answered the soldier:
"One who does not, like the monster
Heselrigg disgrace the name. I would assist
you, noble Wallace, to fly this spot. After
that, I shall seek refuge abroad; and there,
on the fields of Guienne, demonstrate my
fidelity to my King."
looked at him steadily: "You mistake; I
am not Sir William Wallace."
that moment Halbert came up with the water.
The Earl drank it, though now, from the
impulse surprise had given to his blood, he
did not require its efficacy; and turning to
the venerable bearer, he asked of him whether
his master were safe.
trust he is," replied the old man;
"but you, my Lord, must hasten hence. A
foul murder has been committed here, since he
where is Lady Wallace?" asked the Earl:
"if there be such danger we must not
leave her to meet it."
will never meet danger more!" cried the
old man, clasping his hands; "she is in
the bosom of the Virgin; and no second
assassin’s steel can reach her there."
exclaimed the Earl, hardly articulate with
honor; "is Lady Wallace murdered?"
Halbert answered only by his tears.
said the soldier; "and detestation of so
unmanly an outrage, provoked me to desert his
standard. But no time must now be lost in
unavailing lamentation; Heselrigge will
return; and if we also would not be sacrificed
to his rage, we must hence immediately."
Earl, struck dumb at this recital, gave the
soldier time to recount the particulars. When
he had finished, Lord Mar saw the necessity
for instant flight, and ordered horses to be
brought from the stables. Though he had
fainted in the well, the present shock gave
such tension to his nerves, that he found, in
spite of his wound, he could now ride without
went as commanded, and returned with two
horses. Having only amongst rocks and glens to
go, he did not bring one for himself; and
begging the good soldier might attend the Earl
to Bothwell, he added, "He will guard you
and this box, which Sir William Wallace holds
as his life. What it contains I know not; and
none, he says, may dare to search into. But
you will take care of it for his sake, till
more peaceful times allow him to reclaim his
box !" cried the soldier, regarding it
with an abhorrent eye, "that was the
leading cause which brought Heselrigge to
inquired the Earl. Grimsby then briefly
related, that immediately after the return to
Lanark of the detachment sent to Ellerslie,
under the command of Sir Gilbert Hambledon, an
officer arrived from the English garrison in
Douglas, and told the governor that Sir
William Wallace had that evening taken a
quantity of treasure from the castle. His
report was, that the English soldiers who
stood near the Scottish knight when he mounted
at the castle gate, saw a long iron coffer
under his arm, but not suspecting its having
belonged to Douglas, they thought not of it,
till they overheard Sir John Monteith, as he
passed through one of the galleries, muttering
something about gold and a box. To intercept
the robber amongst his native glens, the
soldiers deemed impracticable, and therefore
their captain came immediately to lay the
information before the governor of Lanark. As
the scabbard found in the affray with young
Arthur, had betrayed the victor to have been
Sir William Wallace, this intimation of his
having been also the instrument of wresting
from the grasp of Heselrigge, perhaps the most
valuable spoil in Douglas, exasperated him to
the most vindictive excess. Inflamed with the
double furies of revenge and avarice, he
ordered out a new troop, and placing himself
at its head, took the way to Ellerslie. One of
the servants, whom some of Hambledon’s men
had seized for the sake of information, on
being threatened with the torture, confessed
to Heselrigge, that not only Sir William
Wallace was in the house when it was attacked,
but that the person whom he had rescued in the
streets of Lanark, and who proved to be a
wealthy nobleman, was there also. This whetted
the eagerness of the governor to reach
Ellerslie; and expecting to get a rich booty,
without the most distant idea of the honors he
was going to perpetrate, a large detachment of
men followed him.
extort money from you, my Lord;’ continued
the soldier, "and to obtain that fatal
coffer, were his main objects; but
disappointed in his darling passion of
avarice, he forgot he was a man, and the blood
of innocence glutted his barbarous
gold !" cried Lord Mar, spurning the box
with his foot; "it cannot be for itself
the noble Wallace so greatly prizes it: it
must be a trust."
believe it is," returned Halbert,
"for he enjoined my lady to preserve it
for the sake of his honour. Take care of it
then, my Lord, for the same sacred
Englishman made no objection to accompany the
Earl; and by a suggestion of his own, Halbert
brought him a Scottish bonnet and cloak from
the house. While he put them on, the Earl
observed that the harper held a drawn and
blood-stained sword in his hand, on which be
stedfastly gazed. "Whence came that
horrid weapon ?" cried Lord Mar.
is my lady’s blood;" replied Halbert,
still looking on it. "I found it where
she lay, in the ball, and I will carry it to
my master. Was not every drop of her blood
dear to him? and here are many." As the
old man spoke he bent his head on the sword,
and groaned heavily.
shall hear more of this!" cried Mar, as
he threw himself across the horse. "Give
me that fatal box, I will buckle it to my
saddle-bow. Inadequate will be my utmost care
of it, to repay the vast sorrows, its
preservation and mine have brought upon the
head of my deliverer."
Englishman in silence mounted his horse, and
Halbert opened a back-gate that led to the
hills which lay between Ellerslie and Bothwell
castle. Lord Mar took a golden-trophied bugle
from his breast: "Give this to your
master, and tell him that by whatever hands he
sends it, the sight of it shall always command
the services of Donald Mar. I go to Bothwell,
in expectation that he will join me there. In
making it his home he will render me happy,
for my friendship is now bound to him by bonds
which only death can sever."
took the horn, and promising faithfully to
repeat the Earl’s message, prayed God to
bless him and the honest soldier. A rocky
promontory soon excluded them from his sight,
and a few minutes more even the sound of their
horses’ hoofs was lost on the soft herbage
of the winding dell.
I am alone in this once happy spot. Not a
voice, not a sound. Oh! Wallace !" cried
he, throwing up his venerable arms, "thy
house is left unto thee desolate, and I am to
be the fatal messenger." With the last
words he struck into a deep ravine which led
to the remotest solitudes of the glen, and
pursued his way in dreadful silence. No human
face of Scot or English cheered or scared him
as he passed along. The tumult of the
preceding night, by dispersing the servants of
Ellerslie, had so alarmed the poor cottagers,
that with one accord they fled to their
kindred on the hills; amid those fastnesses of
to await tidings from the valley, of when all
should be still, and they might return in
peace. Halbert looked to the right and to the
left; no smoke, curling its grey mist from
behind the intersecting rocks, reminded him of
the gladsome morning hour, or invited him to
take a moment’s rest from his grievous
journey. All was lonely and comfortless; and
sighing bitterly over the wide devastation, he
concealed the fatal sword and the horn under
his cloak, and with a staff, which he broke
from a withered free, took his way down the
winding craigs. Many a pointed flint pierced
his aged feet, while exploring the almost
trackless paths, which by their direction he
hoped would lead him at length to the deep
caves of Corie Lynn. [Near those once lonely
caves, now stands Bonniton House, the
beautiful residence of Lady Mary Ross; the
home of all hospitable kindnesses.—(1809.)
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