"Let us rouse the old
psalm-singing heretic who lives here, from his knees," said one of the
"Ay, let us stir him up,"
said the sergeant, who had the command of the party; "he is an old
offender, and I don’t see we can make a better night’s work than drag him
along, bag and baggage, to the Captain. I have heard as how it was he that
betrayed our commander’s kinsman, the gallant Montrose."
softly!" said another, "let us dismount—hear how the nasal drawl of the
conventical moans through the air! My horse pricks his ears at the sound
already. We shall catch them in the act."
Eight of the party
dismounted, and, having given their horses in charge of four of their
comrades, who remained behind, walked on tiptoe to the door of the
cottage. They heard the words given, and sung—
"When cruel men against us rose
To make of us their prey."
"Why, they are singing
treason," said one of the troopers. "What more do we need?"
The sergeant placed his
forefinger on his lips, and, for about ten minutes they continued to
listen. The song of praise ceased, and a person commenced to read a
chapter. They heard him also expound to his hearers as he read.
"It is enough!" said the
sergeant; and, placing their shoulders against the door, it was burst open
"You are our prisoner!" exclaimed the troopers, each man grasping a sword
in his right hand, and a pistol in the left.
"It is the will of Heaven!"
said the Rev. Mr. Duncan; for it was him who had been reading and
expounding the Scriptures; "but, if ye stretch forth your hands against a
hair o’ our heads, HE, without whom a sparrow cannot fall to the ground,
shall remember it against ye at the great day o’ reckoning, when the
trooper shall be stripped of his armour, and his right hand shall be a
witness against him!"
The soldiers burst into a
laugh of derision. "No more of your homily, revered oracle," said
the sergeant; "I have an excellent recipe for short sermons here; uttered
another Word, and you shall have it!" The troopers laughed again, and the
sergeant; as he spoke, held his pistol in the face of the preacher.
Besides the clergyman there
were in the room old John Brydone, his son Daniel, and Mary.
"Well, old greybeard," said
the sergeant, addressing John, "you have been reported as a dangerous and
disaffected Presbyterian knave, as we find you to be; you are also accused
of being a harbourer and an accomplice of the preachers of sedition; and,
lo! we have found that also your house is used as a conventicle. We have
caught you in the act, and we shall take every soul of you as evidence
against yourselves. So come along, old boy—I should only be doing my duty
by blowing your brains against the wall; but that is a ceremony which our
commander may wish to see performed in his own presence!"
"Sir," said John, "I neither fear ye
nor your armed men. Tak me to the bluidy Claverhouse, if ye will, and at
the day o’ judgment it shall be said— ‘Let
the murderers o’ John Brydone stand forth!"
"Let us despatch them at
once," said one of the troopers. "Nay," said the sergeant.; "bind them
together, and drive them before us to the Captain: I don’t know but he may
wish to do justice to them with his own hand."
"The tender mercies of the
wicked are cruel," groaned Mr. Duncan.
Mary wrung her hands—"Oh,
spare my father!" she cried.
"Wheesht, Mary!" said the
old man; "as soon wad a camel pass through the eye o’ a needle, as ye wad
find compassion in the hands o’ these men!"
"Bind the girl and the
preacher together," said the sergeant.
"Nay, by your leave,
sergeant," interrupted one of the troopers, "I wouldn’t be the man to lift
a hand against a pretty girl like that, if you would give me a regiment
"Ay, ay, Macdonald,"
replied the sergeant—"this comes of your serving under that canting
fellow, Lieutenant Mowbray—he has no love for the service; and confound me
if I don’t believe he is half a Roundhead in his heart. Tie the hands of
the girl, I command you."
"I will not!" returned
Macdonald; "and hang me if any one else shall!"—And, with his sword in his
hand, he placed himself between Mary and his comrades.
"If you do not bind her
hands, I shall cause others to bind yours," said the sergeant.
"They may try that who
dare!" returned the soldier, who was the most powerful man of the party;
"but what I’ve said I’ll stand to."
"You shall answer for this
to-morrow," said the sergeant, sullenly, who feared to provoke a quarrel
with the trooper.
"I will answer it," replied
John Brydone, his son
Daniel, and the Rev. Mr. Duncan, were bound together with strong cords,
and driven from the house. They were fastened, also, to the horses of the
troopers; and, as they were dragged along, the cries and the lamentations
of Mary followed them; and the troopers laughed at her wailing, or
answered her cries with mockery, till the sound of her grief became
inaudible in the distance, when again they imitated her cries, to harrow
up the feelings of her father.
Claverhouse, and a party of
his troops, were then in the neighbourhood of Traquair; and before that
man, who knew not what mercy was, John Brydone, and his son, and the
preacher, were brought. It was on the afternoon of the day following that
on, which they had been made prisoners, that Claverhouse ordered them to
be brought forth. He was sitting, with wine before him, in the midst of
his officers; and amongst them was Lieutenant Mowbray, whose name was
alluded to by the sergeant.
"Well, knaves!" began
Claverhouse, "ye have been singing, praying, preaching, and holding
conventicles.— Do ye know how Graham of Claverhouse rewards such rebels?"
As the prisoners entered,
Lieutenant Mowbray turned away his head, and placed his hand upon his
"Sir," said John,
addressing Claverhouse, "I’m neither knave nor rebel—I hae lifted up my
voice to the God o’ my faithers, according to my conscience; and, unworthy
as I am o’ the least o’ His benefits, for threescore years and ten He has
been my shepherd and deliverer, and, if it be good in His sight, He will
deliver me now. My trust is in Him, and I fear neither the frown nor the
sword o’ the persecutor."
"Have done, grey-headed
babbler!" cried Claverhouse.
Lieutenant Mowbray, who
still sat with his face from the prisoners, raised his handkerchief to his
"Captain," said Mr. Duncan,
"there’s a day coming when ye shall stand before the great Judge, as we
now stand before you; and when the remembrance o’ this day, and the blood
o’ the righteous which ye has shed, shall be written with letters o’ fire
on yer ain conscience, and recorded against ye; and ye shall call upon the
rocks and mountains to cover ye"—
Claverhouse. "Away with them!" he added, waving his hand to his
troopers—"shoot them before sunrise!"
Shortly after the prisoners
had been conveyed from the presence of Claverhouse, Lieutenant Mowbray
withdrew; and having sent for the soldier who had interfered on behalf of
Mary—"Macdonald," he began, "you were present yesterday when the
prisoners, who are to die to-morrow, were taken. Where did you find them?"
"In the old man’s house,"
replied the soldier; and he related all that he had seen, and how he had
interfered to save the daughter. The heart of the officer was touched, and
he walked across his room, as one whose spirit was troubled. "You did
well, Macdonald!" said he, at length—"You did well!" He was again silent,
and again he added—"And you found the preacher in the old man’s house—you
found HIM there!" There was an anxious
wildness in the tone of the lieutenant.
"We found him there,"
replied the soldier.
The officer was again
silent—again he thoughtfully paced across the floor of his apartment. At
length, turning to the soldier, he added—"I can trust you, Macdonald. When
night has set in, take your horse and ride to the house of the elder
prisoner, and tell his daughter—the maiden whom you saved—to have horses
in readiness for her father, her brother, and—and her—her husband,"
said the lieutenant, faltering as he spoke; and when he had pronounced the
word husband, he again paused, as though his heart was full. The
soldier was retiring—"Stay," added the officer, "tell her, her father, her
brother, and— the preacher, shall not die; before day-break she shall see
them again; and give her this ring as a token that ye speak truly."
He took a ring from his
finger, and gave it into the hands of the soldier.
It was drawing towards
midnight. The troops of Claverhouse were quartered around the country, and
his three prisoners, still bound to each other, were confined in a small
farm-house, from which the inhabitants had been expelled.
They could hear the heavy
and measured tread of the sentinel pacing backward and forward in front of
the house; the sound of his footsteps seemed to measure out the moments
between them and eternity. After they had sung a psalm and prayed
together—"I am auld," said John Brydone, "and I fear not to die, but
rather glory to lay down my life for the great cause—but, oh, Daniel! My
heart yearns that yer bluid also should be shed—had they only spared ye,
to hae been a protector to oor puir Mary!— or had I no driven Philip frae
"Mention not the name of
the cast-away," said the minister.
"Dinna mourn, faither,"
answered Daniel, "an arm mair powerful than that of man will be her
supporter and protector." -
"Amen," responded Mr.
Duncan. "She has aye been cauld to me, and has turned the ear o’ the deaf
adder to the voice o’ my affection; but even noo, when my thochts should
be elsewhere, the thocht o’ her burns in my heart like a coal o’ my fire."
While they yet spoke, a
soldier, wrapt up in a cloak, approached the sentinel, and said—
"It is a cold night,
"Piercing," replied the
other, striking his feet upon the ground.
"You are welcome to a
mouthful of my spirit-warmer," added the first, taking a bottle from
beneath his cloak.
"Thank ye!" rejoined the
sentinel: "but I don’t know your voice. You don’t belong to our corps, I
"No," answered the other;
"but it matters not for that—brother soldiers should give and take."
The sentinel took the
bottle and raised it to his lips; he drank, and swore the liquor was
"Drink again," said the
other; "you are welcome; it is as good as a double cloak around you." And
the sentinel drank again.
"Good night, comrade," said
the trooper. "Good night," replied the sentinel; and the stranger passed
Within half an hour, the
same soldier, still muffled up in his cloak, returned. The sentinel had
fallen against the door of the house, and was fast asleep. The stranger
proceeded to the window—he raised it—he entered. "Fear nothing," he
whispered to the prisoners, who were bound to staples that had been driven
into the opposite wall of the room. He cut the cords with
which their hands and their feet were fastened.
"Heaven reward ye for the
mercy o’ yer heart, and the courage o’ this deed," said John.
"Say nothing," whispered
their deliverer, "but follow me."
Each man crept from the
window, and the stranger again closed it behind them. "Follow me, and
speak not," whispered he again; and, walking at his utmost speed, he
conducted them for several miles across the hills; but still he spoke not.
Old John marvelled at the manner of their deliverer; and he marvelled yet
more when he led them to Philiphaugh, and to the very spot where, more
than thirty years before, he had found the child on the bosom of its dead
mother; and there the stranger stood still, and, turning round to those he
had delivered—"Here we part," said he; "hasten to your own house, but
tarry not, You will find horses in readiness, and flee into Westmoreland;
inquire there for the person to whom this letter is addressed; he will
protect you." And he put a sealed letter into the hands of the old man,
and, at the same time he placed a purse in the hands of Daniel, saying,
"This will bear your expenses by the way—Farewell!—farewell!" They would
have detained him, but he burst away, again exclaiming, as he
"This is a marvellous
deliverance," said John; "it is a mystery, an’ for him to leave us on this
spot—on this very spot—where puir Philip"—And here the heart of the
old man failed him.
We need not describe the
rage of Claverhouse, when he found, on the following day, that the
prisoners had escaped; and how he examined and threatened the sentinels
with death, and cast suspicious glances upon Lieutenant Mowbray; but he
feared to accuse him, or quarrel with him openly.
As John, with the preacher
and his son, approached the house, Mary heard their footsteps, and rushed
out to meet them, and fell weeping upon her father’s neck. "My bairn!"
cried the old man; "we are restored to ye as from the dead! Providence has
dealt wi’ us in mercy an’ in mystery."
His four farm horses were
in readiness for their flight; and Mary told him how the same soldier who
had saved her from sharing their fate, had come to their house at
midnight, and assured her that they should not die, and to prepare for
their flight. "And," added she, "in token that he who had sent him would
keep his promise towards you, he gave me this ring, requesting me to wear
it for your deliverer’s sake."
"It is Philip’s ring!"
cried the old man, striking his hand before his eyes, "it is
Philip’s!" exclaimed Mary; "oh, then, he lives! he lives!"
The preacher leaned his
brow against the walls of the cottage and groaned.
"It is still a mystery,"
said the old man, yet pressing his hands before his eyes in agony; "but it
is—it maun be him. It was Philip that saved us—that conducted us to the
very spot where I found him! But, oh," he added, "I wud rather I had died,
than lived to ken that he has drawn his sword in the ranks o’ the
oppressor, and to murder the followers after the truth."
"Oh, dinna think that o’
him, father!" exclaimed Mary; "Philip wudna—he couldna draw his sword but
to defend the helpless!"
Knowing that they had been
pursued and sought after, they hastened their flight to England, to seek
the refuge to which their deliverer had directed them. But as they drew
near to the Borders, the Rev. Mr Duncan suddenly exclaimed: "Now, here we
must part—part for ever! It is not meet that I should follow ye farther.
When the sheep are pursued by the wolves, the shepherd should not flee
from them. Farewell, dear friends—and, oh! farewell to you, Mary! Had it
been sinful to hae loved you, I would hae been a guilty man this day—for,
oh! beyond a’ that is under the sun, ye hae been dear to my heart, and
your remembrance has mingled wi’ my very devotions. But I maun root it up,
though, in so doing, I tear my very heartstrings; Fareweel! fareweel!
Peace be wi’ you; and may ye a’ be happier than will ever be the earthly
lot o’ Andrew Duncan!"
The tears fell upon Mary’s
cheeks; for, though she could not love, she respected the preacher, and
she esteemed him for his worth. Her father and brother entreated him to
accompany them. "No, no!" he answered; "I see how this flight will end.
Go—there is happiness in store for you; but my portion is with the
dispersed and the persecuted." And he turned and left them.
Lieutenant Mowbray was
disgusted with the cold-blooded butchery of the service in which he was
engaged; and, a few days after the escape of John Brydone and his son, he
threw up his commission and proceeded to Dumfriesshire. It was a Sabbath
evening, and near nightfall; he had wandered into the fields alone, for
his spirit was heavy. Sounds of rude laughter broke upon his ear; and,
mingled with the sound of laughter, was a voice as if in earnest prayer.
He hurried to a small wood from whence ths sounds proceeded, and there he
beheld four troopers, with their pistols in their hands, and before them
was a man who appeared to be a preacher, bound to a tree.
"Come, old Psalmody!" cried
one of the troopers, raising his pistol, and addressing their intended
victim, who was engaged in prayer; "make ready—we have other jobs on
hand—and we gave you time to speak a prayer, but not to preach."
Mowbray rushed forward. He
sprang between the troopers and their victim. "Hold! ye murderers, hold!"
he exclaimed. "Is it thus that ye disgrace the name of soldiers by washing
your hands in the blood of the innocent?"
They knew Mowbray, and they
muttered, "You are no officer of ours now; he is our prisoner, and our
orders are to shoot every conventical knave who falls into our hands."
"Shame on him who would
give such orders," said Mowbray; "and shame on those who would execute
them., There," he added, "there is money; I will ransom him."
With an imprecation, they
took the money that was offered them, and left their prisoner to Mowbray.
He approached the tree where they had bound him—he started back—it was the
Rev. Andrew Duncan.
"Rash man!" exclaimed
Mowbray, as he again stepped forward to unloose the cords that bound him.
"Why have ye again cast yourself into the hands of the men who seek your
blood? Do ye hold your life so cheap, that, in one week, ye would risk to
sell it twice? Why did not ye, with your father, your brother, and your
wife, flee into England, where protection was promised?"
"My father!—my brother!—my
wife!—mine!—mine!" repeated the preacher wildly. "There are no such names
for my tongue to utter!—none!—none to drop their love as morning dew upon
the solitary soul o’ Andrew Duncan!"
"Are they murdered?"
exclaimed Mowbray, suddenly, in a voice of agony.
"Murdered!" said the
preacher, with increased bewilderment. "What do ye mean?—or wha do ye
"Tell me," cried Mowbray,
eagerly, "are not you the husband of Mary Brydone?"
"Me!—me!" cried the
preacher. "No, no!—I loved her as the laverock loves the blue lift in
spring, and her shadow cam between me and my ain soul; but she wadna
hearken unto my voice; she is nae wife o’ mine."
"Thank Heaven!" exclaimed
Mowbray; and he clasped his hands together.
It is necessary, however,
that we now accompany John Brydone and his family in their flight into
Westmoreland. The letter which their deliverer had put into their hands
was addressed to a Sir Frederic Mowbray; and, when they arrived at the
house of the old knight, the heart of the aged Covenanter almost failed
him for a moment; for it was a proud-looking mansion, and those whom he
saw around wore the dress of the Cavaliers.
"Who are ye?" inquired the
servant who admitted them to the house.
"Deliver this letter into
the hands of your master," said the Covenanter; "our business is with
"It is the handwriting of
Master Edward," said the servant, as he took the letter into his hand;
and, having conducted them to a room, he delivered it to Sir Frederic.
In a few minutes the old
knight hurried into the room where the Covenantor, and his son and his
"Welcome, thrice welcome,"
he cried, grasping the hand of the old man; "here you shall find a
resting-place and a home, with no one to make you afraid."
He ordered wine and food to
be placed before them, and he sat down with them.
Now John marvelled at the
kindness of his host, and his heart burned within him—and, in the midst of
all, he thought of the long lost Philip, and how he had driven him from
his house—and his cheek glowed and his heart throbbed with anxiety. His
son marvelled also, and Mary’s bosom swelled with strange thoughts—tears
gathered in her eyes, and she raised the ring that had been the token of
her father’s deliverance to her lips.
"Oh, sir," said the
Covenanter, "pardon the freedom o’ a plain blunt man, and o’ ane whose
bosom is burning wi’ anxiety;—but there is a mystery, there is
somethsng attending my deliverance, and the letter, and your kindness,
that I canna see through—and I hope, and I fear—and I canna—I daurna
comprehend how it is!—but, as it were, the past—the lang bygane past,
and the present, appear to hae met thegither! It is makin’ my head dizzy
wi’ wonder, for there seems in a’ this a something that concerns you, and
that concerns me, and one that I mayna name."
"Your perplexity," said Sir
Frederic, "may be best relieved, by stating to you, in a few words, one or
two circumstances of my history. Having, from family affliction, left this
country, until within these four years, I held a commission in the army of
the Prince of Orange. I was present at the battle of Seneff; it was my
last engagement; and in the regiment which I commanded, there was a young
Scottish volunteer, to whose bravery, during the battle, I owed my life.
In admiration and gratitude for his conduct, I sent for him after the
victory, to present him to the prince. He came. I questioned him
respecting his birth and his family. He was silent—he burst into tears. I
urged him to speak. He said, of his real name he knew nothing—of his
family he knew nothing—all that he knew, was, that he had been the adopted
son of a good and a Christian man, who had found him on Philiphaugh, on
the lifeless bosom of his mother!"
"Merciful Heaven! my puir,
injured Philip!" exclaimed the aged Covenantor, wringing his hands.
"My brother!" cried Daniel,
eagerly. Mary wept.
"Oh, sir!" continued Sir
Frederic, "words cannot paint my feelings as he spoke! I had been at the
battle of Philiphaugh! and, not dreaming that a conflict was at hand, my
beloved wife, with our infant boy, my little Edward, had joined me but the
day before. At the first noise of Lesly’s onset, I rushed from our tent—I
left my loved ones there!--our army was stricken with confusion—I never
beheld them again! I grasped the hand of the youth—I gazed in his face as
though my soul would have leaped from my eyelids. ‘Do not deceive me!’ I
cried; and he drew from his bosom the ring and the bracelets of my
Here the old knight paused
and wept, and the tears ran down the cheeks of John Brydone, and the
cheeks of his children.
They had not been many days
in Westmoreland, and they were seated around the hospitable hearth of the
good knight in peace, when two horsemen arrived at the door.
"It is our friend, Mr.
Duncan, and a stranger!" said the Covenanter, as he beheld them from the
"They are welcome—for your
sake, they are welcome." said Sir Frederic; and while he yet spoke, the
strangers entered. "My son, my son!" he continued, and hurried forward to
"Say also your
daughter!" said Edward Mowbray, as he approached towards Mary, and
pressed her to his breast.
"Philip!—my own Philip!"
exclaimed Mary, and speech failed her.
"My brother!" said Daniel.
"He was dead and is alive again—he was lost and is found," exclaimed John.
"O Philip, man! Do you forgi’e me?"
The adopted son pressed the
hand of his foster-father.
"Yes, he forgives you!"
exclaimed Mr. Duncan; "and he has forgiven me. When we were in prison and
in bonds waiting for death, he risked his life to deliver us, and he did
deliver us; and a second time he has rescued me from the sword of the
destroyer, and from the power of the men who thirsted for my blood. He is
no enemy o’ the Covenant—he is the defender o’ the persecuted; and the
blessing o’ Andrew Duncan is all he can bequeath for a life twice saved,
upon his deliverer, and Mary Brydone."
Need we say that Mary
bestowed her hand upon Edward Mowbray; but in the fondness of her heart
she still called him "her Philip!"