Part 1 out of 6
This etext was produced by Martin Robb (MartinRobb@ieee.org)
Bonnie Prince Charlie
A Tale of Fontenoy and Culloden
by G. A. Henty
CHAPTER I: The Return of a Prodigal.
It was a dull evening in the month of September, 1728. The apprentices
had closed and barred the shutters and the day's work was over. Supper
was laid in the long room over the shop, the viands were on the table,
and round it were standing Bailie Anderson and his wife, his foreman John
Gillespie, and his two apprentices. The latter were furtively eying the
eatables, and wondering how much longer the grace which their master was
delivering would be. Suddenly there was a knock at the door below. No one
stirred until the bailie had finished his grace, before which time the
knock had been twice repeated.
"Elspeth, woman," the bailie said when he had brought the grace to an
end, "go down below and see who knocks so impatiently; look through the
grille before you open the door; these are nor times when one opens to
the first stranger who knocks."
The old servant, who had been standing behind her mistress, went
downstairs. The door was opened, and they heard an exclamation of
surprise at the answer to her question, "Who is it that's knocking as if
the house belonged to him?"
Those gathered up stairs heard the bolts withdrawn. There was a confused
sound of talking and then a heavy step was heard ascending the stairs,
and without introduction a tall man, wrapped in a cloak and carrying a
child of some two years old, strode into the room. He threw his hat on to
a settle and advanced straight towards the bailie, who looked in surprise
at this unceremonious entry.
"Don't you know me, Andrew?"
"Heaven preserve us," the bailie exclaimed, "why it's Malcolm!"
"Malcolm himself," the visitor repeated, "sound in wind and limb."
"The Lord be praised!" the bailie exclaimed as he grasped the other's
hand and wrung it warmly. "I had thought you dead years and years ago.
Janet, this is my brother Malcolm of whom you have often heard me speak."
"And of whom you can have heard little good, mistress, if my brother has
spoken the truth concerning me. I was ever a ne'er do well, while Andrew
struck hard and fast to our father's trade."
"My husband has ever spoken with affection of you," Janet Anderson said.
"The bailie is not given to speak ill of any, much less of his own flesh
"And now sit down, Malcolm. Supper is waiting, and you are, I doubt not,
ready for it. It is ill talking to a fasting man. When you have done you
shall tell me what you have been doing for the last fifteen years, and
how it comes that you thus suddenly come back among us with your boy."
"He is no boy of mine," Malcolm said; "but I will tell you all about it
presently. First let me lay him down on that settle, for the poor little
chap is fast asleep and dead tired out. Elspeth, roll up my cloak and
make a pillow for him. That's right, he will do nicely now. You are
changed less than any of us, Elspeth. Just as hard to look at, and, I
doubt not, just as soft at heart as you used to be when you tried to
shield me when I got into scrapes. And now to supper."
Little was said during the meal; fortunately the table was bounteously
spread, for the newcomer's appetite was prodigious; but at last he was
satisfied, and after a long drink at the horn beside him, which Elspeth
had kept filled with ale, he said:
"There's nothing like a Scottish meal after all, Andrew. French living is
well enough for a time, but one tires of it; and many a time when I have
been lying down supperless on the sod, after marching and fighting the
whole day, I have longed for a bowl of porridge and a platter well filled
with oatmeal cakes."
Supper over, John and the apprentices retired. Elspeth went off to
prepare the guest's chamber and to make up a little bed for the child.
"Now, brother, let us hear your story; but, first of all, perhaps you
want to light your pipe?"
"That do I," Malcolm replied, "if Mistress Janet has no objection
"She is accustomed to it," the bailie said, answering for her. "I smoke
myself; I deem that tobacco, like other things, was given for our use,
and methinks that with a pipe between the lips men's brains work more
easily and that it leadeth to pleasant converse."
Janet went to a cupboard, brought out two long pipes and a jar of
tobacco, placed two tumblers, a flat bottle, and a jug of water on the
"That is right," the bailie said. "I do not often touch strong waters.
The habit, as I see too plainly, is a harmful one, and in this good city
of Glasgow there are many, even of those so placed that they should be an
example to their fellows, who are given nightly to drink more than is
good for them; but on an occasion like the present I deem it no harm to
take a glass."
"I should think not," Malcolm said heartily; "it is long since I tasted a
glass of real Scotch spirit, and I never need an excuse for taking a
glass of whatever it be that comes in my way. Not, Mistress Janet, that I
am a toper. I don't say that at the sack of a town, or at times when
liquor is running, so to speak, to waste, I am more backward than the
rest; but my hand wouldn't be as steady as it is if I had been one of
those who are never so happy as when they are filling themselves with
liquor. And now, Andrew, to my story. You know that when I saw you last
-- just when the troubles in `15 began -- in spite of all your warnings
to the contrary, I must needs throw myself into the thick of them. You,
like a wise man, stuck to your shop, and here you are now a bailie of
Glasgow; while I, who have been wandering over the face of the earth
fighting for the cause of France and risking my life a thousand times in
a matter which concerned me in no way, have returned just as penniless as
I set out."
"It is said, brother Malcolm," Janet said mildly, "that a rolling stone
gathers no moss."
"That is true enough," Malcolm assented; "and yet do you know there are
few rolling stones who, if their time were to come over again, would
remain fixed in their bed. Of course we have not the pleasures of home,
of wives and children; but the life of adventure has its own joys, which
I, for one, would not change for the others. However, brother, as you
know, I threw myself heart and soul into that business.
"The last time I saw you was just as I was starting with a score of
others to make our way to join the Earl of Mar's army at Perth. I have
seen many an army since, but never did I see sixteen thousand finer
fighting men than were there assembled. The Laird of Mackintosh brought
five hundred clansmen from Inverness shire, the Marquis of Huntly had
five hundred horse and two thousand foot, and the Earl Marischal had a
thousand men. The Laird of Glenlyon brought five hundred Campbells, and
the Marquis of Tullibardine fourteen hundred, and a score of other chiefs
of less power were there with their clansmen. There were enough men there
to have done anything had they been properly armed and led; but though
arms and ammunition had been promised from France, none came, and the
Earl of Mar had so little decision that he would have wrecked the finest
army that ever marched.
"The army lay doing nothing for weeks, and just before we were expecting
a movement, the company I belonged to was sent with a force of
Highlanders under Mackintosh to join the army under the Lords
Derwentwater, Kenmure, and Nithsdale. Lord Derwentwater had risen with a
number of other gentlemen, and with their attendants and friends had
marched against Newcastle. They had done nothing there but remained idle
near Hexham till, joined by a force raised in the Lowlands of Scotland by
the Earls of Nithsdale, Carnwath, and Wintoun, the united army marched
north again to Kelso, where we joined them.
"We Scots soon saw that we had gained nothing by the change of
commanders. Lord Derwentwater was ignorant of military affairs, and he
was greatly swayed by a Mr. Forster, who was somehow at the head of the
business, and who was not only incompetent, but proved to be a coward, if
not, as most folks believed, a traitor. So dissension soon broke out, and
four hundred Highlanders marched away north. After a long delay it was
resolved to move south, where, it was said, we should be joined by great
numbers in Lancashire; but by this time all had greatly lost spirit and
hope in the enterprise. We crossed the border and marched down through
Penrith, Appleby, and Kendal to Lancaster, and then on to Preston.
"I was little more than a lad, Andrew, but even to me it seemed madness
thus to march into England with only two thousand men. Of these twelve
hundred were foot, commanded by Brigadier Mackintosh; the others were
horse. There were two troops of Stanhope's dragoons quartered in Preston,
but these retired when we neared the town, and we entered without
opposition. Next day, which was, I remember, the 10th of November, the
Chevalier was proclaimed king, and some country gentlemen with their
tenants came in and joined us.
"I suppose it would have come to the same thing in the end, but never
were things so badly managed as they were by Mr. Forster.
"Preston was a strong natural position; an enemy coming from the south
could only reach it by crossing a narrow bridge over the river Ribble a
mile and a half away, and this could have been held by a company against
an army. From the bridge to the town the road was so narrow that in
several places two men could not ride abreast. It ran between two high
and steep banks, and it was here that Cromwell was nearly killed when he
attacked Charles's troops.
"Well, all these places, where we might certainly have defended
ourselves, were neglected, and we were all kept in the town, where we
formed four main posts. One was in the churchyard, and this was commanded
by Brigadier Mackintosh. In support of this was the volunteer horse under
Derwentwater and the three other lords. Lord Charles Murray was in
command at a barricade at a little distance from the churchyard. Colonel
Mackintosh had charge of a post at a windmill; and the fourth was in the
centre of the town.
"Lord Derwentwater was a poor general, but he was a brave man. He and his
two brothers, the Ratcliffs, rode about everywhere, setting an example of
coolness, animating the soldiers, and seeing to the work on the barriers.
Two days after we reached the town we heard that General Wilde was
approaching. Colonel Farquharson was sent forward with a portion of
Mackintosh's battalion to hold the bridge and the pass; but Mr. Forster,
who went out on horseback, no sooner saw the enemy approaching than he
gave orders to Farquharson and his men to retreat to the town. If I had
been in Farquharson's place I would have put a bullet through the
coward's head, and would have defended the bridge till the last.
"After that everything was confusion; the Highlanders came back into the
town furious and disheartened. The garrison prepared to receive the
enemy. Mr. Forster was seen no more, and in fact he went straight back to
the house where he was lodging and took his bed, where he remained till
all was over. The enemy came on slowly. They could not understand why
strong posts should be left undefended, and feared falling in an
ambuscade. I was at the post commanded by Brigadier Mackintosh. I had
joined a company commanded by Leslie of Glenlyon, who had brought with
him some twenty men, and had made up his company with men who, like
myself, came up without a leader. His company was attached to
"Presently the English came in sight, and as soon as they ascertained
that we were still there, which they had begun to doubt, they attacked
us. We beat them back handsomely, and Derwentwater with his cavalry
charged their dragoons so fiercely that he drove them out of the town. It
was late in the afternoon when the fight began, and all night the
struggle went on. At each of our posts we beat them back over and over
again. The town was on fire in half a dozen places, but luckily the night
was still and the flames did not spread. We knew that it was a hopeless
fight we were making; for, from some prisoners, we learned that three
regiments of dragoons were also coming up against us, and had already
arrived at Clitheroe. From some inhabitants, I suppose, the enemy learned
that the street leading to Wigan had nor been barricaded, and Lord
Forrester brought up Preston's regiment by this way, and suddenly fell on
the flank of our barrier. It was a tough fight, but we held our own till
the news came that Forster had agreed to capitulate.
"I don't say that our case wasn't hopeless. We were outnumbered and had
no leader; sooner or later we must have been overpowered. Still, no
capitulation should have been made except on the terms of mercy to all
concerned. But Forster no doubt felt safe about himself, and that was all
he cared for; and the end showed that he knew what he was about, for
while all the brave young noblemen, and numbers of others, were either
executed or punished in other ways, Forster, who had been the leading
spirit who had persuaded them to rise, and led them into this strait, was
after a short imprisonment suffered to go free. I tell you, brother
Andrew, if I were to meet him now, even if it were in a church, I would
drive my dagger into his heart.
"However, there we were. So furious were we that it was with difficulty
the officers could prevent us from sallying out sword in hand and trying
to cut our way through the enemy. As to Forster, if he had appeared in
the streets he would have been hewn to pieces. However, it was useless to
resist now; the English troops marched in and we laid down our arms, and
our battalions marched into a church and were guarded as prisoners. It
was not a great army they had taken, for there were but one thousand four
hundred and ninety captured, including noblemen, gentlemen, and officers.
"Many of us were wounded more or less. I had got a slice on the shoulder
from a dragoon's sword. This I gained when rushing out to rescue Leslie,
who had been knocked down, and would have been slain by three dragoons
had I not stood over him till some of our men rushed out and carried him
in. He was not badly hurt, the sword having turned as it cut through his
bonnet. My action won his regard, and from that time until a month since
we have never been separated. Under a strong escort of soldiers we were
marched south. In most places the country people mocked us as we passed;
but here and there we saw among the crowds who gathered in the streets of
the towns through which we passed, faces which we passed, faces which
expressed pity and sympathy
"We were not badly treated on the march by our guard, and had little to
complain of. When we reached Barnet we fell out as usual when the march
was over, and I went up to the door of a house and asked a woman, who
looked pityingly at us, for a drink of water. She brought me some, and
while I drank she said:
"'We are Catholics and well wishers of the Chevalier; if you can manage
to slip in here after it is dark we will furnish you with a disguise, and
will direct you to friends who will pass you on until you can escape.
"'Can you give me disguises for two?' I asked. `I will not go without my
"'Yes,' she said, `for two, but no more.'
"`I will steal away after dark,' I said as I gave her back the jug.
"I told Leslie what had happened, and he agreed to join me in time to
escape, for there was no saying what fate might befall us in London; and,
indeed, the very next morning severities commenced, the whole of the
troops being obliged to suffer the indignity of having their arms tied
behind them, and so being marched into London.
"After it was dark Leslie and I managed to steal away from our guards,
who were not very watchful, for our uniform would at once have betrayed
us, and the country people would have seized and handed us over. The
woman was on the watch, and as soon as we neared the door she opened it.
Her husband was with her and received us kindly. He at once furnished us
with the attire of two countrymen, and, letting us out by a back way,
started with us across the country.
"After walking twenty miles he brought us to the house of another
adherent of the Chevalier, where we remained all day. So we were passed
on until we reached the coast, where we lay hid for some days until an
arrangement was made with the captain of a fishing boat to take us to
sea, and either to land us at Calais or to put us on board a French
fishing boat. So we got over without trouble.
"Long before that, as you know, the business had virtually come to an end
here. The Earl of Mar's army lay week after week at Perth, till at last
it met the enemy under Argyle at Sheriffmuir.
"You know how that went. The Highland clans in the right and centre
carried all before them, and drove the enemy from the field, but on the
left they beat us badly. So both parties claimed the victory. But,
victory or defeat, it was fatal to the cause of the Chevalier. Half the
Highland clans went off to their homes that night, and Mar had to fall
back to Perth.
"Well, that was really the end of it. The Chevalier landed, and for a
while our hopes rose. He did nothing, and our hopes fell. At last he took
ship and went away, and the affair was over, except for the hangings and
"Leslie, like most of the Scottish gentlemen who succeeded in reaching
France, took service with the French king, and, of course, I did the
same. It would have done your heart good to see how the Scottish
regiments fought on many a field; the very best troops of France were
never before us, and many a tough field was decided by our charge. Leslie
was a cornet. He was about my age; and you know I was but twenty when
Sheriffmuir was fought. He rose to be a colonel, and would have given me
a pair of colours over and over again if I would have taken them; but I
felt more comfortable among our troopers than I should have done among
the officers, who were almost all men of good Highland family; so I
remained Leslie's right hand.
"A braver soldier never swung a leg over saddle; but he was always in
some love affair or another. Why he didn't marry I couldn't make out. I
suppose he could never stick long enough to one woman. However, some four
years ago he got into an affair more serious than any he had been in
before, and this time he stuck to it in right earnest. Of course she was
precisely one of the women he oughtn't to have fallen in love with,
though I for one couldn't blame him, for a prettier creature wasn't to be
found in France. Unfortunately she was the only daughter of the Marquis
de Recambours, one of the wealthiest and most powerful of French nobles,
and there was no more chance of his giving his consent to her throwing
herself away upon a Scottish soldier of fortune than to her going into a
nunnery; less, in fact. However, she was as much in love with Leslie as
he was with her, and so they got secretly married. Two years ago this
child was born, but she managed somehow to keep it from her father, who
was all this time urging her to marry the Duke de Chateaurouge.
"At last, as ill luck would have it, he shut her up in a convent just a
week before she had arranged to fly with Leslie to Germany, where he
intended to take service until her father came round. Leslie would have
got her out somehow; but his regiment was ordered to the frontier, and it
was eighteen months before we returned to Paris, where the child had been
in keeping with some people with whom he had placed it. The very evening
of his return I was cleaning his arms when he rushed into the room.
"'All is discovered,' he said; 'here is my signet ring, go at once and
get the child, and make your way with it to Scotland; take all the money
in the escritoire, quick!'
"I heard feet approaching, and dashed to the bureau, and transferred the
bag of louis there to my pocket. An official with two followers entered.
"'Colonel Leslie,' he said, 'it is my duty to arrest you by order of his
gracious majesty;' and he held out an order signed by the king.
"'I am unconscious of having done any wrong, sir, to his majesty, whom I
have served for the last sixteen years. However, it is not for me to
dispute his orders;' thereupon he unbuckled his sword and handed it to
the officers. 'You will look after the things till I return, Malcolm. As
I am sure I can clear myself of any charge that may be brought against
me, I trust to be speedily back again.
"'Your trooper need not trouble himself,' the officer said; `the official
with me will take charge of everything, and will at once affix my seal to
all your effects.'
"I went down stairs and saw the colonel enter a carriage with the two
officials, then I went straight to the major. 'Colonel Leslie has been
arrested, sir, on what charge I know not. He has intrusted a commission
to me. Therefore, if you find I am absent from parade in the morning you
will understand I am carrying out his orders.'
"The major was thunderstruck at the news, but told me to do as the
colonel had ordered me, whatever it might be. I mounted the colonel's
horse at once and rode to the house where the child was in keeping. The
people knew me well, as I had often been there with messages from the
colonel. When I showed them the signet ring, and told them that I had
orders to take the child to his father, they made no opposition. I said I
would return for him as soon as it was dusk. I then went and purchased a
suit of civilian clothes, and returning to the house attired myself in
these, and taking the child on the saddle before me, rode for the
"Following unfrequented roads, travelling only at night, and passing a
day in a wood, I passed the frontier unmolested, and made my way to
Ostend, where I sold the horse and took passage in the first ship sailing
for Leith. I arrived there two days ago, and have walked here, with an
occasional lift in a cart; and here I am, brother Andrew, to ask you for
hospitality for a while for myself and Leslie's boy. I have a hundred
louis, but these, of course, belong to the child. As for myself, I
confess I have nothing; saving has never been in my line."
"You are heartily welcome, Malcolm, as long as you choose to stop; but I
trust that ere long you will hear of Colonel Leslie."
"I trust so," Malcolm said; "but if you knew the court of France as well
as I do you would not feel very sanguine about it. It is easier to get
into a prison than out of one."
"But the colonel has committed no crime!" the bailie said.
"His chance would be a great deal better if he had," Malcolm laughed. "A
colonel of one of his majesty's Scottish regiments can do a good deal in
the way of crime without much harm befalling him; but when it comes to
marrying the daughter of a nobleman who is a great personage at court,
without his consent, it is a different affair altogether, I can tell you.
Leslie has powerful friends, and his brother officers will do what they
can for him; but I can tell you services at the court of France go for
very little. Influence is everything, and as the nobleman the marquis
intended to be the husband of his daughter is also a great personage at
court and a friend of Louis's, there is no saying how serious a matter
they may make of it. Men have been kept prisoners for life for a far less
serious business than this."
"But supposing he is released, does he know where to communicate with
"I am afraid he doesn't," Malcolm said ruefully. "He knows that I come
from Glasgow, but that is all. Still, when he is freed, no doubt he will
come over himself to look for his son, and I am sure to hear of his being
"You might do, and you might not," the bailie said. "Still, we must hope
for the best, Malcolm. At any rate I am in no haste for the colonel to
come. Now I have got you home again after all these years, I do not wish
to lose you again in a hurry."
Malcolm only remained for a few weeks at his brother's house. The
restraint of life at the bailie's was too much for him. Andrew's was a
well ordered household. The bailie was methodical and regular, a leading
figure in the kirk, far stricter than were most men of his time as to
undue consumption of liquor, strong in exhortation in season and out of
season. His wife was kindly but precise, and as outspoken as Andrew
himself. For the first day or two the real affection which Andrew had for
his younger brother, and the pleasure he felt at his return, shielded
Malcolm from comment or rebuke; but after the very first day the bailie's
wife had declared to herself that it was impossible that Malcolm could
long remain an inmate of the house. She was not inhospitable, and would
have made great sacrifices in some directions for the long missing
brother of her husband; but his conduct outraged all the best feelings of
a good Scotch housewife.
Even on that first day he did not come punctually to his meals. He was
away about the town looking up old acquaintance, came in at dinner and
again at supper after the meal had already begun, and dropped into his
place and began to eat without saying a word of grace. He stamped about
the house as if he had cavalry spurs still on his heels; talked in a
voice that could be heard from attic to basement; used French and Flemish
oaths which horrified the good lady, although she did not understand
them; smoked at all hours of the day, whereas Andrew always confined
himself to his after supper pipe, and, in spite of his assertions on the
previous evening, consumed an amount of liquor which horrified the good
At his meals he talked loudly, kept the two apprentices in a titter with
his stories of campaigning, spoke slightingly of the city authorities,
and joked the bailie with a freedom and roughness which scandalized her.
Andrew was slow to notice the incongruity of his brother's demeanour and
bearing with the atmosphere of the house, although he soon became dimly
conscious that there was a jarring element in the air. At the end of a
week Malcolm broached the subject to him.
"Andrew," he said, "you are a good fellow, though you are a bailie and an
elder of the kirk, and I thank you for the hearty welcome you have given
me, and for your invitation to stay for a long time with you; but it will
not do. Janet is a good woman and a kindly, but I can see that I keep her
perpetually on thorns. In good truth, fifteen years of campaigning are
but an indifferent preparation for a man as an inmate of a respectable
household. I did not quite know myself how thoroughly I had become a
devil may care trooper until I came back to my old life here. The ways of
your house would soon be as intolerable to me as my ways are to your good
wife, and therefore it is better by far that before any words have passed
between you and me, and while we are as good friends as on the evening
when I returned, I should get out of this. I met an old friend today, one
of the lads who went with me from Glasgow to join the Earl of Mar at
Perth. He is well to do now, and trades in cattle, taking them in droves
down into England. For the sake of old times he has offered me
employment, and methinks it will suit me as well as any other."
"But you cannot surely be going as a drover, Malcolm!"
"Why not? The life is as good as any other. I would not sit down, after
these years of roving, to an indoor life. I must either do that or cross
the water again and take service abroad. I am only six and thirty yet,
and am good for another fifteen years of soldiering, and right gladly
would I go back if Leslie were again at the head of his regiment, but I
have been spoiled by him. He ever treated me as a companion and as a
friend rather than as a trooper in his regiment, and I should miss him
sorely did I enter any other service. Then, too, I would fain be here to
be ready to join him again if he sends for me or comes, and I should wish
to keep an eye always on his boy. You will continue to take charge of
him, won't you, Andrew? He is still a little strange, but he takes to
Elspeth, and will give little trouble when he once learns the language."
"I don't like it at all, Malcolm," the bailie said.
"No, Andrew, but you must feel it is best. I doubt not that ere this your
wife has told you her troubles concerning me."
As the bailie on the preceding night had listened to a long string of
complaints and remonstrances on the part of his wife as to his brother's
general conduct he could not deny the truth of Malcolm's supposition.
"Just so, Andrew," Malcolm went on; "I knew that it must be so. Mistress
Janet has kept her lips closed firm to me, but I could see how difficult
it was for her sometimes to do so. It could not be otherwise. I am as
much out of place here as a wolf in a sheepfold. As to the droving, I
shall not mention to all I meet that I am brother to one of the bailies
of Glasgow. I shall like the life. The rough pony I shall ride will
differ in his paces from my old charger, but at least it will be life in
the saddle. I shall be earning an honest living; if I take more than is
good for me I may get a broken head and none be the wiser, whereas if I
remain here and fall foul of the city watch it would be grief and pain
The bailie was silenced. He had already begun to perceive that Malcolm's
ways and manners were incompatible with the peace and quiet of a
respectable household, and that Janet's complaints were not altogether
unreasonable. He had seen many of his acquaintances lift their eyebrows
in disapprobation at the roystering talk of his brother, and had foreseen
that it was probable trouble would come.
At the same rime he felt a repugnance to the thought that after so many
years of absence his brother should so soon quit his house. It seemed a
reflection alike on his affection and hospitality.
"You will take charge of the child, won't you?" Malcolm pleaded. "There
is a purse of a hundred louis, which will, I should say, pay for any
expense to which he may put you for some years."
"As if I would take the bairn's money!" Andrew exclaimed angrily. "What
do you take me for, Malcolm? Assuredly I will take the child. Janet and I
have no bairn of our own, and it's good for a house to have a child in
it. I look upon it as if it were yours, for it is like enough you will
never hear of its father again. It will have a hearty welcome. It is a
bright little fellow, and in time I doubt not that Janet will take
greatly to it. The charge of a child is a serious matter, and we cannot
hope that we shall not have trouble with it, but there is trouble in all
things. At any rate, Malcolm, we will do our best, and if at the end of a
year I find that Janet has not taken to it we will see about some other
arrangement. And, Malcolm, I do trust that you will stay with us for
another week or two. It would seem to me as if I had turned you out of my
house were you to leave me so soon."
So Malcolm made a three weeks' stay at his brother's, and then started
upon his new occupation of driving Highland cattle down into Lancashire.
Once every two or three months he came to Glasgow for a week or two
between his trips. In spite of Andrew's entreaties he refused on these
occasions to take up his abode with him, but took a lodging not far off,
coming in the evening for an hour to smoke a pipe with his brother, and
never failing of a morning to come in and take the child for a long walk
with him, carrying him upon his shoulder, and keeping up a steady talk
with him in his native French, which he was anxious that the boy should
nor forget, as at some time or other he might again return to France.
Some weeks after Malcolm's return to Scotland, he wrote to Colonel
Leslie, briefly giving his address at Glasgow; but making no allusion to
the child, as, if the colonel were still in prison, the letter would be
sure to be opened by the authorities. He also wrote to the major, giving
him his address, and begging him to communicate it to Colonel Leslie
whenever he should see him; that done, there was nothing for it but to
wait quietly. The post was so uncertain in those days that he had but
slight hope that either of his letters would ever reach their
destination. No answer came to either of his letters.
Four years later Malcolm went over to Paris, and cautiously made
inquiries; but no one had heard anything of Colonel Leslie from the day
he had been arrested. The regiment was away fighting in the Low
Countries, and the only thing Malcolm could do was to call upon the
people who had had charge of the child, to give them his address in case
the colonel should ever appear to inquire of them. He found, however, the
house tenanted by other people. He learned that the last occupants had
left years before. The neighbors remembered that one morning early some
officers of the law had come to the house, and the man had been seized
and carried away. He had been released some months later, only to find
that his wife had died of grief and anxiety, and he had then sold off his
goods and gone no one knew whither. Malcolm, therefore, returned to
Glasgow, with the feeling that he had gained nothing by his journey.
CHAPTER II: The Jacobite Agent.
So twelve years passed. Ronald Leslie grew up a sturdy lad, full of fun
and mischief in spite of the sober atmosphere of the bailie's house; and
neither flogging at school nor lecturing at home appeared to have the
slightest effect in reducing him to that state of sober tranquillity
which was in Mrs. Anderson's eyes the thing to be most desired in boys.
Andrew was less deeply shocked than his wife at the discovery of Ronald's
various delinquencies, but his sense of order and punctuality was
constantly outraged. He was, however, really fond of the lad; and even
Mrs. Anderson, greatly as the boy's ways constantly disturbed and ruffled
her, was at heart as fond of him as was her husband. She considered, and
not altogether wrongly, that his wilderness, as she called it, was in no
slight degree due to his association with her husband's brother.
Ronald looked forward to the periodical visits of the drover with intense
longing. He was sure of a sympathetic listener in Malcolm, who listened
with approval to the tales of the various scrapes into which he had got
since his last visit; of how, instead of going to school, he had played
truant and with another boy his own age had embarked in a fisherman's
boat and gone down the river and had not been able to get back until next
day; how he had played tricks upon his dominie, and had conquered in
single combat the son of Councillor Duff, the butcher, who had spoken
scoffing words at the Stuarts. Malcolm was, in fact, delighted to find,
that in spite of repression and lectures his young charge was growing up
a lad of spirit. He still hoped that some day Leslie might return, and he
knew how horrified he would be were he to find that his son was becoming
a smug and well conducted citizen. No small portion of his time on each
of his visits to Glasgow Malcolm spent in training the boy in the use of
"Your father was a gentleman," he would say to him, "and it is fitting
that you should know how to handle a gentleman's arms. Clubs are well
enough for citizens' apprentices, but I would have you handle rapier and
broadsword as well as any of the young lairds. When you get old enough,
Ronald, you and I will cross the seas, and together we will try and get
to the bottom of the mystery of your father's fate, and if we find that
the worst has come to the worst, we will seek our your mother. She will
most likely have married again. They will be sure to have forced her into
it; but even if she dare not acknowledge you as her son, her influence
may obtain for you a commission in one of the king's regiments, and even
if they think I'm too old for a trooper I will go as your follower. There
are plenty of occasions at the court of France when a sharp sword and a
stout arm, even if it be somewhat stiffened by age, can do good service."
The lessons began as soon as Ronald was old enough to hold a light blade,
and as between the pauses of exercise Malcolm was always ready to tell
stories of his adventures in the wars of France, the days were full of
delight to Ronald. When the latter reached the age of fourteen Malcolm
was not satisfied with the amount of proficiency which the lad was able
to gain during his occasional visits, and therefore took him for further
instruction to a comrade who had, like himself, served in France, and had
returned and settled down in Glasgow, where he opened a fencing school,
having been a maitre d'armes among the Scotch regiments.
The arrangement was, however, kept a profound secret from Andrew and his
wife; but on half holidays, and on any other days when he could manage to
slip away for an hour, Ronald went to his instructor and worked hard and
steadily with the rapier. Had Mrs. Anderson had an idea of the manner in
which he spent his time she would have been horrified, and would
certainly have spared her encomiums on his improved conduct and the
absence of the unsatisfactory reports which had before been so common.
The cloud of uncertainty which hung over his father's fate could not but
have an influence upon the boy's character, and the happy carelessness
and gaiety which were its natural characteristics were modified by the
thought that his father might be languishing in a dungeon. Sometimes he
would refuse to accompany his school fellows on their rambles or fishing
expeditions, and would sit for hours thinking over all sorts of wild
plans by which he might penetrate to him and aid him to escape. He was
never tired of questioning Malcolm Anderson as to the prisons in which,
if still alive, his father would be likely to be confined. He would ask
as to their appearance, the height of their walls, whether they were
moated or not, and whether other houses abutted closely upon them. One
day Malcolm asked him the reason of these questions, and he replied, "Of
course I want to see how it will be possible to get my father out." And
although Malcolm tried to impress upon him that it would be an almost
impossible task even to discover in which prison his father was kept, he
would not allow himself to be discouraged.
"There must be some way of finding out, Malcolm. You tell me that
prisoners are not even known by their name to the warders, but only under
a number. Still someone must know -- there must be lists kept of those in
prison, and I shall trust to my mother to find out for me. A great lady
as she is must be able to get at people if she sets about it, and as
certainly she must have loved my father very very much, or she never
would have married him secretly, and got into such trouble for it. I am
sure she will do her best when she finds that you and I have come over to
get him out. When we know that, I think we ought to be able to manage.
You could get employment as a warder, or I could go disguised as a woman,
or as a priest, or somehow. I feel sure we shall succeed if we do but
find out that he is alive and where he is."
Malcolm knew too much about the strong and well guarded prisons of France
to share in the boy's sanguine hopes, but he did not try to discourage
him. He thought that with such an object in life before him the boy would
devote himself all the more eagerly to exercises which would strengthen
his arm, increase his skill with weapons, and render him a brave and
gallant officer, and in this he was right. As the time went on Ronald
became more and more serious. He took no part whatever in the school boy
games and frolics in which he had been once a leader. He worked hard at
his school tasks the sooner to be done with them, and above all devoted
himself to acquiring a mastery of the sword with a perseverance and
enthusiasm which quite surprised his instructor.
"I tell you, Malcolm, man," he said one day to his old comrade, after
Ronald had been for upwards of two years his pupil, "if I had known, when
you first asked me to teach the lad to handle a sword, how much of my
time he was going to occupy, I should have laughed in your face, for ten
times the sum you agreed to pay me would not have been enough; but,
having begun it for your sake, I have gone on for the lad's. It has been
a pleasure to teach him, so eager was he to learn -- so ready to work
heart and soul to improve. The boy's wrist is as strong as mine and his
eye as quick. I have long since taught him all I know, and it is practice
now, and not teaching, that we have every day. I tell you I have work to
hold my own with him; he knows every trick and turn as well as I do, and
is quicker with his lunge and riposte. Were it not that I have my extra
length of arm in my favour I could not hold my own. As you know, I have
many of the officers of the garrison among my pupils, and some of them
have learned in good schools, but there is not one of them could defend
himself for a minute against that boy. If it were not that the matter has
to be kept secret I would set him in front of some of them, and you would
see what short work he would make of them. Have you heard the rumours,
Malcolm, that the young Chevalier is likely to follow the example of his
father, thirty years back, and to make a landing in Scotland?"
"I have heard some such rumours," Malcolm replied, "though whether there
be aught in them I know not. I hope that if he does so he will at any
rate follow the example of his father no further. As you know, I hold to
the Stuarts, but I must own they are but poor hands at fighting. Charles
the First ruined his cause; James the Second threw away the crown of
Ireland by galloping away from the battle of the Boyne; the Chevalier
showed here in `15 that he was no leader of men; and unless this lad is
made of very different stuff to his forefathers he had best stay in
"But if he should come, Malcolm, I suppose you will join him? I am afraid
I shall be fool enough to do so, even with my fifty years on my head. And
"I suppose I shall be a fool too," Malcolm said. "The Stuarts are Scotch,
you see, and with all their faults I would rather a thousand times have a
Scottish king than these Germans who govern us from London. If the
English like them let them keep them, and let us have a king of our own.
However, nought may come of it; it may be but a rumour. It is a card
which Louis has threatened to play a score of times, whenever he wishes
to annoy England. It is more than likely that it will come to nought, as
it has so often done before."
"But they tell me that there are agents travelling about among the
Highland clans, and that this time something is really to be done."
"They have said so over and over again, and nothing has come of it. For
my part, I don't care which way it goes. After the muddle that was made
of it thirty years ago it does not seem to me more likely that we shall
get rid of the Hanoverians now. Besides, the hangings and slaughterings
then, would, I should think, make the nobles and the heads of clans think
twice ere they risked everything again."
"That is true, but when men's blood is up they do not count the cost;
besides, the Highland clans are always ready to fight. If Prince Charles
comes you will see there will not be much hanging back whatever the
consequences may be. Well, you and I have not much to lose, except our
"That is true enough, old friend; and I would rather die that way than
any other. Still, to tell you the truth, I would rather keep my head on
my shoulders for a few years if I can."
"Well, nothing may come of it; but if it does I shall strike a blow again
for the old cause."
At home Ronald heard nothing but expressions of loyalty to the crown. The
mere fact that the Highlanders espoused the cause of the Stuarts was
sufficient in itself to make the Lowlanders take the opposite side. The
religious feeling, which had always counted for so much in the Lowlands,
and had caused Scotland to side with the Parliament against King Charles,
had not lost its force. The leanings of the Stuarts were, it was known,
still strongly in favour of the Catholic religion, and although Prince
Charles Edward was reported to be more Protestant in feelings than the
rest of his race, this was not sufficient to counterbalance the effect of
the hereditary Catholic tendency. Otherwise there was no feeling of
active loyalty towards the reigning king in Scotland. The first and
second Georges had none of the attributes which attract loyal affection.
The first could with difficulty speak the language of the people over
whom he ruled. Their feelings and sympathies were Hanoverian rather than
English, and all court favours were bestowed as fast as possible upon
their countrymen. They had neither the bearing nor manner which men
associate with royalty, nor the graces and power of attraction which
distinguished the Stuarts. Commonplace and homely in manner, in figure,
and in bearing, they were not men whom their fellows could look up to or
respect; their very vices were coarse, and the Hanoverian men and women
they gathered round them were hated by the English people.
Thus neither in England nor Scotland was there any warm feeling of
loyalty for the reigning house; and though it was possible that but few
would adventure life and property in the cause of the Stuarts, it was
equally certain that outside the army there were still fewer who would
draw sword for the Hanoverian king. Among the people of the Lowland
cities of Scotland the loyalty which existed was religious rather than
civil, and rested upon the fact that their forefathers had fought against
the Stuarts, while the Highlanders had always supported their cause.
Thus, although in the household and in kirk Ronald had heard King George
prayed for regularly, he had heard no word concerning him calculated to
waken a boyish feeling of loyalty, still less of enthusiasm. Upon the
other hand he knew that his father had fought and suffered for the
Stuarts and was an exile in their cause, and that Hanoverians had handed
over the estate of which he himself would now be the heir to one of their
"It is no use talking of these matters to Andrew," Malcolm impressed upon
him; "it would do no good. When he was a young man he took the side of
the Hanoverians, and he won't change now; while, did Mistress Janet guess
that your heart was with the Stuarts, she would say that I was ruining
you, and should bring you to a gallows. She is not fond of me now, though
she does her best to be civil to her husband's brother; but did she know
that you had become a Jacobite, like enough she would move Andrew to put
a stop to your being with me, and there would be all sorts of trouble."
"But they could nor prevent my being with you," Ronald said indignantly.
"My father gave me into your charge, not into theirs."
"That's true enough, laddie; but it is they who have cared for you and
brought you up. When you are a man you can no doubt go which way it
pleases you; but till then you owe your duty and respect to them, and not
to me, who have done nought for you but just carry you over here in my
"I know they have done everything for me," Ronald said penitently. "They
have been very good and kind, and I love them both; but for all that it
is only natural that my father should be first, and that my heart should
be in the cause that he fought for."
"That is right enough, Ronald, and I would not have it otherwise, and I
have striven to do my best to make you as he would like to see you. Did
he never come back again I should be sorry indeed to see Colonel Leslie's
son growing up a Glasgow tradesman, as my brother no doubt intends you to
be, for I know he has long since given up any thought of hearing from
your father; but in that you and I will have a say when the time comes.
Until then you must treat Andrew as your natural guardian, and there is
no need to anger him by letting him know that your heart is with the king
over the water, any more than that you can wield a sword like a
gentleman. Let us have peace as long as we can. You are getting on for
sixteen now; another two years and we will think about going to Paris
together. I am off again tomorrow, Ronald; it will not be a long trip
this time, but maybe before I get back we shall have news from France
which will set the land on fire."
A short time after this conversation, as Ronald on his return from
college (for he was now entered at the university) passed through the
shop, the bailie was in conversation with one of the city magistrates,
and Ronald caught the words:
"He is somewhere in the city. He came down from the Highlands, where he
has been going to and fro, two days since. I have a warrant out against
him, and the constables are on the lookout. I hope to have him in jail
before tonight. These pestilent rogues are a curse to the land, though I
cannot think the clans would be fools enough to rise again, even though
Charles Stuart did come."
Ronald went straight up to his room, and for a few minutes sat in
thought. The man of whom they spoke was doubtless an emissary of Prince
Charles, and his arrest might have serious consequences, perhaps bring
ruin on all with whom he had been in communication. Who he was or what he
was like Ronald knew not; but he determined at any rate to endeavour to
defeat the intentions of the magistrate to lay hands on him. Accordingly
a few minutes later, while the magistrate was still talking with Andrew,
he again went out.
Ronald waited about outside the door till he left, and then followed him
at a short distance. The magistrate spoke to several acquaintances on the
way, and then went to the council chamber. Waiting outside, Ronald saw
two or three of the magistrates enter. An hour later the magistrate he
was watching came out; but he had gone but a few paces when a man
hurrying up approached him. They talked earnestly for a minute or two.
The magistrate then re-entered the building, remained there a few
minutes, and then joined the man who was waiting outside. Ronald had
stolen up and taken his stand close by.
"It is all arranged," the magistrate said; "as soon as night has fallen a
party will go down, surround the house, and arrest him. It is better not
to do it in daylight. I shall lead the party, which will come round to my
house, so if the men you have left on watch bring you news that he has
changed his hiding place, let me know at once.
The magistrate walked on. Ronald stood irresolute. He had obtained no
clue as to the residence of the person of whom they were in search, and
after a moment's thought he determined to keep an eye upon the constable,
who would most likely join his comrade on the watch. This, however, he
did not do immediately. He had probably been for some time at work, and
now took the opportunity of going home for a meal, for he at once made
his way to a quiet part of the city, and entered a small house.
It was half an hour before he came out again, and Ronald fidgeted with
impatience, for it was already growing dusk. When he issued out Ronald
saw that he was armed with a heavy cudgel. He walked quickly now, and
Ronald, following at a distance, passed nearly across the town, and down
a quiet street which terminated against the old wall running from the
Castle Port to a small tower. When he got near the bottom of the street a
man came out from an archway, and the two spoke together. From their
gestures Ronald felt sure that it was the last house on the left hand
side of the street that was being watched. He had not ventured to follow
far down the street, for as there was no thoroughfare he would at once be
regarded with suspicion. The question now was how to warn the man of his
danger. He knew several men were on the watch, and as only one was in the
street, doubtless the others were behind the house. If anything was to be
done there was no time to be lost, for the darkness was fast closing in.
After a minute's thought he went quickly up the street, and then started
at a run, and then came down upon a place where he could ascend the wall,
which was at many points in bad repair. With some difficulty he climbed
up, and found that he was exactly opposite the house he wished to reach.
It was dark now. Even in the principal streets the town was only lit by
oil lamps here and there, and there was no attempt at illumination in the
quiet quarters, persons who went abroad after nightfall always carrying a
lantern with them. There was still sufficient light to show Ronald that
the house stood at a distance of some fourteen feet from the wall. The
roof sloped too steeply for him to maintain his holding upon it; but
halfway along the house was a dormer window about three feet above the
gutter. It was unglazed, and doubtless gave light to a granary or store
Ronald saw that his only chance was to alight on the roof close enough to
this window to be able to grasp the woodwork. At any other moment he
would have hesitated before attempting such a leap. The wall was only a
few feet wide, and he could therefore get but little run for a spring.
His blood was, however, up, and having taken his resolution he did not
hesitate. Drawing back as far as he could he took three steps, and then
sprang for the window. Its sill was some three feet higher than the edge
of the wall from which he sprang.
The leap was successful; his feet struck just upon the gutter, and the
impetus threw forward his body, and his hands grasped the woodwork of the
window. In a moment he had dragged himself inside. It was quite dark
within the room. He moved carefully, for the floor was piled with disused
furniture, boxes, sacking, and rubbish. He was some time finding the
door, but although he moved as carefully as he could he knocked over a
heavy chest which was placed on a rickety chair, the two falling with a
crash on the floor. At last he found the door and opened it. As he did so
a light met his eyes, and he saw ascending the staircase a man with a
drawn sword, and a woman holding a light above her head following
closely. The man uttered an exclamation on seeing Ronald appear.
"A thief!" he said. "Surrender, or I will run you through at once."
"I am no thief," Ronald replied. "My name is Ronald Leslie, and I am a
student at the university. I have come here to warn someone, whom I know
not, in this house that it is watched, and that in a few minutes at the
outside a band of the city watch will be here to capture him."
The man dropped the point of his sword, and taking the light from the
woman held it closer to Ronald's face.
"How came you here?" he asked. "How did you learn this news?"
"The house is watched both sides below," Ronald said, "and I leapt from
the wall through the dormer window. I heard a magistrate arranging with
one of the constables for a capture, and gathered that he of whom they
were in search was a Jacobite, and as I come of a stock which has always
been faithful to the Stuarts, I hastened to warn him."
The woman uttered a cry of alarm.
"I thank you with all my heart, young sir. I am he for whom they are in
search, and if I get free you will render a service indeed to our cause;
but there is no time to talk now, if what you tell me be true. You say
the house is watched from both sides?"
"Yes; there are two men in the lane below, one or more, I know not how
"There is no escape behind," the man said; "the walls are high, and other
houses abut upon them. I will sally out and fight through the men in
"I can handle the sword," Ronald put in; "and if you will provide me with
a weapon I will do my best by your side."
"You are a brave lad," the man said, "and I accept your aid."
He led the way down stairs and entered a room, took down a sword from
over the fireplace, and gave it to Ronald.
As he took it in his hand there was a loud knocking at the door.
"Too late!" the man exclaimed. "Quick, the light, Mary! At any rate I
must burn my papers."
He drew some letters from his pocket, lit them at the lamp, and threw
them on the hearth; then opening a cabinet he drew forth a number of
other papers and crumpling them up added them to the blaze.
"Thank God that is safe!" he said; "the worst evil is averted."
"Can you not escape by the way by which I came hither?" Ronald said. "The
distance is too great to leap; but if you have got a plank, or can pull
up a board from the floor, you could put it across to the wall and make
your escape that way. I will try to hold the stairs till you are away."
"I will try at least," the man said. "Mary, bring the light, and aid me
while our brave friend does his best to give us time."
So saying he sprang upstairs, while Ronald made his way down to the door.
"Who is making such a noise at the door of a quiet house at this time of
night?" he shouted.
"Open in the king's name," was the reply; "we have a warrant to arrest
one who is concealed here."
"There is no one concealed here," Ronald replied, "and I doubt that you
are, as you say, officers of the peace; but if so, pass your warrant
through the grill, and if it be signed and in due form I will open to
"I will show my warrant when need be," the voice answered. "Once more,
open the door or we will break it in."
"Do it at your peril," Ronald replied. "How can I tell you are not
thieves who seek to ransack the house, and that your warrant is a
pretence? I warn you that the first who enters I will run him through the
The reply was a shower of blows on the door, and a similar attack was
begun by a party behind the house. The door was strong, and after a
minute or two the hammering ceased, and then there was a creaking,
straining noise, and Ronald knew they were applying a crowbar to force it
open. He retreated to a landing halfway up the stairs, placed a lamp
behind him so that it would show its light full on the faces of those
ascending the stairs, and waited. A minute later there was a crash; the
lock had yielded, but the bar still held the door in its place. Then the
blows redoubled, mingled with the crashing of wood; then there was the
sound of a heavy fall, and a body of men burst in.
There was a rush at the stairs, but the foremost halted at the sight of
Ronald with his drawn sword.
"Keep back," he shouted, "or beware! The watch will be here in a few
minutes, and then you will all be laid by the heels."
"Fools! We are the watch," one of the men exclaimed, and, dashing up the
stairs, aimed a blow at Ronald. He guarded it and ran the man through the
shoulder. He dropped his sword and fell back with a curse.
At this moment the woman ran down stairs from above and nodded to Ronald
to signify that the fugitive had escaped.
"You see I hold to my word," Ronald said in a loud voice. "If ye be the
watch, which I doubt, show me the warrant, or if ye have one in authority
with you let him proclaim himself."
"Here is the warrant, and here am I, James M'Whirtle, a magistrate of
"Why did you not say so before?" Ronald exclaimed, lowering his sword.
"If it be truly the worshipful Mr. M'Whirtle let him show himself, for
surely I know him well, having seen him often in the house of my
guardian, Bailie Anderson."
Mr. M'Whirtle, who had been keeping well in the rear, now came forward.
"It is himself." Ronald said. "Why did you not say you were here at once,
Mr. M'Whirtle, instead of setting your men to break down the door, as if
they were Highland caterans on a foray?"
"We bade you open in the king's name," the magistrate said, "and you
withstood us, and it will be hanging matter for you, for you have aided
the king's enemies."
"The king's enemies!" Ronald said in a tone of surprise. "How can there
be any enemies of the king here, seeing there are only myself and the
good woman up stairs? You will find no others."
"Search the house," the magistrate said furiously, "and take this
malapert lad into custody on the charge of assisting the king's enemies,
of impeding the course of justice, of withstanding by force of arms the
issue of a lawful writ, and with grievously wounding one of the city
"It is a grievous list, worshipful sir; but mark you, as soon as you
showed your warrant and declared yourself I gave way to you. I only
resisted so long as it seemed to me you were evildoers breaking into a
Two of the watch remained as guard over Ronald; one of the others
searched the house from top to bottom. No signs of the fugitive were
"He must be here somewhere," the magistrate said, "since he was seen to
enter, and the house has been closely watched ever since. See, there are
a pile of ashes on the hearth as if papers had been recently burned.
Sound the floors and the walls."
The investigation was particularly sharp in the attic, for a board was
here found to be loose, and there were signs of its being recently
wrenched out of its place, but as the room below was unceiled this
discovery led to nothing. At last the magistrate was convinced that the
fugitive was not concealed in the house, and, after placing his seals on
the doors of all the rooms and leaving four men in charge, he left the
place, Ronald, under the charge of four men, accompanying him.
On the arrival at the city Tolbooth Ronald was thrust into a cell and
there left until morning. He was then brought before Mr. M'Whirtle and
two other of the city magistrates. Andrew Anderson was in attendance,
having been notified the night before of what had befallen Ronald. The
bailie and his wife had at first been unable to credit the news, and were
convinced that some mistake had been made. Andrew had tried to obtain his
release on his promise to bring him up in the morning, but Mr. M'Whirtle
and his colleagues, who had been hastily summoned together, would not
hear of it.
"It's a case of treason, man. Treason against his gracious majesty;
aiding and abetting one of the king's enemies, to say nought of brawling
and assaulting the city watch."
The woman found in the house had also been brought up, but no precise
charge was made against her. The court was crowded, for Andrew, in his
wrath at being unable to obtain Ronald's release, had not been backward
in publishing his grievance, and many of his neighbours were present to
hear this strange charge against Ronald Leslie.
The wounded constable and another first gave their evidence.
"I myself can confirm what has been said," Mr. M'Whirtle remarked,
"seeing that I was present with the watch to see the arrest of a person
against whom a warrant had been issued."
"Who is that person?" Ronald asked. "Seeing that I am charged with aiding
and abetting his escape it seems to me that I have a right to know who he
The magistrates looked astounded at the effrontery of the question, but
after a moment's consultation together Mr. M'Whirtle said that in the
interest of justice it was unadvisable at the present moment to state the
name of the person concerned.
"What have you to say, prisoner, to the charge made against you? In
consideration of our good friend Bailie Anderson, known to be a worthy
citizen and loyal subject of his majesty, we would be glad to hear what
you have to say anent this charge."
"I have nothing to say," Ronald replied quietly. "Being in the house when
it was attacked, with as much noise as if a band of Border ruffians were
at the gate, I stood on the defence. I demanded to see what warrant they
had for forcing an entry, and as they would show me none, I did my best
to protect the house; but the moment Mr. M'Whirtle proclaimed who he was
I lowered my sword and gave them passage."
There was a smile in the court at the boy's coolness.
"But how came ye there, young sir? How came ye to be in the house at all,
if ye were there for a good motive?"
"That I decline to say," Ronald answered. "It seems to me that any one
may be in a house by the consent of its owners, without having to give
his reasons therefor."
"It will be the worse for you if you defy the court. I ask you again how
came you there?"
"I have no objection to tell you how I came there," Ronald said. "I was
walking on the old wall, which, as you know, runs close by the house,
when I saw an ill looking loon hiding himself as if watching the house,
looking behind I saw another ruffianly looking man there." Two gasps of
indignation were heard from the porch at the back of the court. "Thinking
that there was mischief on hand I leapt from the wall to the dormer
window to warn the people of the house that there were ill doers who had
designs upon the place, and then remained to see what came of it. That is
the simple fact."
There was an exclamation of incredulity from the magistrates.
"If you doubt me," Ronald said, "you can send a man to the wall. I felt
my feet loosen a tile and it slid down into the gutter."
One of the magistrates gave an order, and two of the watch left the
"And who did you find in the house?"
"I found this good woman, and sorely frightened she was when I told her
what kind of folk were lurking outside."
"And was there anyone else there?"
"There was a man there," Ronald said quietly, "and he seemed alarmed
"What became of him?"
"I cannot say for certain," Ronald replied; "but if you ask my opinion I
should say, that having no stomach for meeting people outside, he just
went out the way I came in, especially as I heard the worshipful
magistrate say that a board in the attic had been lifted."
The magistrates looked at each other in astonishment; the mode of escape
had not occurred to any, and the disappearance of the fugitive was now
"I never heard such a tale," one of the magistrates said after a pause.
"It passes belief that a lad, belonging to the family of a worthy and
respectable citizen, a bailie of the city and one who stands well with
his fellow townsmen, should take a desperate leap from the wall through a
window of a house where a traitor was in hiding, warn him that the house
was watched, and give him time to escape while he defended the stairs.
Such a tale, sure, was never told in a court. What say you, bailie?"
"I can say nought," Andrew said. "The boy is a good boy and a quiet one;
given to mischief like other boys of his age, doubtless, but always
amenable. What can have possessed him to behave in such a wild manner I
cannot conceive, but it seems to me that it was but a boy's freak."
"It was no freak when he ran his sword through Peter Muir's shoulder,"
Mr. M'Whirtle said. "Ye will allow that, neighbour Anderson."
"The man must have run against the sword," the bailie said, "seeing the
boy scarce knows one end of a weapon from another."
"You are wrong there, bailie," one of the constables said; "for I have
seen him many a time going into the school of James Macklewain, and I
have heard a comrade say, who knows James, that the lad can handle a
sword with the best of them."
"I will admit at once," Ronald said, "that I have gone to Macklewain's
school and learned fencing of him. My father, Colonel Leslie of Glenlyon,
was a gentleman, and it was right that I should wield a sword, and James
Macklewain, who had fought in the French wars and knew my father, was
good enough to teach me. I may say that my guardian knew nothing of
"No, indeed," Andrew said. "I never so much as dreamt of it. If I had
done so he and I would have talked together to a purpose."
"Leslie of Glenlyon was concerned in the '15, was he not?" Mr. M'Whirtle
said; "and had to fly the country; and his son seems to be treading in
his steps, bailie. I doubt ye have been nourishing a viper in your
At this moment the two constables returned, and reported that certainly a
tile was loose as the prisoner had described, and there were scratches as
if of the feet of someone entering the window, but the leap was one that
very few men would undertake.
"Your story is so far confirmed, prisoner; but it does not seem to us
that even had you seen two men watching a house it would be reasonable
that you would risk your neck in this way without cause. Clearly you have
aided and abetted a traitor to escape justice, and you will be remanded.
I hope, before you are brought before us again, you will make up your
mind to make a clean breast of it, and throw yourself on the king's
Ronald was accordingly led back to the cell, the bailie being too much
overwhelmed with surprise at what he had heard to utter any remonstrance.
CHAPTER III: Free.
After Ronald had been removed from the court the woman was questioned.
She asserted that her master was away, and was, she believed, in France,
and that in his absence she often let lodgings to strangers. That two
days before, a man whom she knew not came and hired a room for a few
days. That on the evening before, hearing a noise in the attic, she went
up with him, and met Ronald coming down stairs. That when Ronald said
there were strange men outside the house, and when immediately afterwards
there was a great knocking at the door, the man drew his sword and
ordered her to come up stairs with him. That he then made her assist him
to pull up a plank, and thrust it from the attic to the wall, and ordered
her to replace it when he had gone. She supposed he was a thief flying
from justice, but was afraid to refuse to do his bidding.
"And why did you not tell us all this, woman, when we came in?" Mr.
M'Whirtle asked sternly. "Had ye told us we might have overtaken him."
"I was too much frightened," the woman answered. "There were swords out
and blood running, and men using words contrary both to the law and
Scripture. I was frighted enough before, and I just put my apron over my
head and sat down till the hubbub was over. And then as no one asked me
any questions, and I feared I might have done wrong in aiding a thief to
escape, I just held my tongue."
No cross questioning could elicit anything further from the woman, who
indeed seemed frightened almost out of her senses, and the magistrate at
last ordered her to return to the house and remain there under the
supervision of the constable until again sent for.
Andrew Anderson returned home sorely disturbed in his mind. Hitherto he
had told none, even of his intimates, that the boy living in his house
was the son of Colonel Leslie, but had spoken of him as the child of an
old acquaintance who had left him to his care. The open announcement of
Ronald that he was the son of one of the leaders in the last rebellion,
coming just as it did when the air was thick with rumours of another
rising, troubled him greatly; and there was the fact that the boy had,
unknown to him, been learning fencing; and lastly this interference,
which had enabled a notorious emissary of the Pretender to escape arrest.
"The boy's story may be true as far as it goes," he said to his wife when
relating to her the circumstances, "for I have never known him to tell a
lie; but I cannot think it was all the truth. A boy does not take such a
dreadful leap as that, and risk breaking his neck, simply because he sees
two men near the house. He must somehow have known that man was there,
and went to give him warning. Now I think of it, he passed through the
shop when Peter M'Whirtle was talking to me about it, though, indeed, he
did not know then where the loon was in hiding. The boy went out soon
afterwards, and must somehow have learned, if indeed he did not know
before. Janet, I fear that you and I have been like two blind owls with
regard to the boy, and I dread sorely that my brother Malcolm is at the
bottom of all this mischief."
This Mrs. Anderson was ready enough to credit, but she was too much
bewildered and horrified to do more than to shake her head and weep.
"Will they cut off his head, Andrew?" she asked at last.
"No, there's no fear of that; but they may imprison him for a bit, and
perhaps give him a good flogging -- the young rascal. But there, don't
fret over it, Janet. I will do all I can for him. And in truth I think
Malcolm is more to blame than he is; and we have been to blame too for
letting the lad be so much with him, seeing that we might be sure he
would put all sorts of notions in the boy's head."
"But what is to be done, Andrew? We cannot let the poor lad remain in
"We have no choice in the matter, Janet. In prison he is, and in prison
he has to remain until he is let out, and I see no chance of that. If it
had only been a brawl with the watch it could have been got over easily
enough; but this is an affair of high treason -- aiding and abetting the
king's enemies, and the rest of it. If it were in the old times they
would put the thumb screws on him to find out all he knew about it, for
they will never believe he risked his life in the plot; and the fact that
his father before him was in arms for the Chevalier tells that way. I
should not be surprised if an order comes for him to be sent to London to
be examined by the king's councillors; but I will go round now and ask
the justices what they think of the matter."
His tidings when he returned were not encouraging; the general opinion of
the magistrates being that Ronald was certainly mixed up in the Jacobite
plot, that the matter was altogether too serious to be disposed of by
them, being of the nature of high treason, and that nothing could be done
until instructions were received from London. No clue had been obtained
as to the whereabouts of the man who had escaped, and it was thought
probable that he had at once dropped beyond the walls and made for the
Malcolm arrived ten days later from a journey in Lancashire, and there
was a serious quarrel between him and Andrew on his presenting himself at
"It is not only that you led the lad into mischief, Malcolm, but that you
taught him to do it behind my back."
"You may look at it in that way if you will, Andrew, and it's natural
enough from your point of view; but I take no blame to myself You treated
the boy as if he had been your son, and I thank you with all my heart for
your kindness to him; but I could not forget Leslie of Glenlyon, and I do
not blame myself that I have kept the same alive in his mind also. It was
my duty to see that the young eagle was not turned into a barn door fowl;
but I never thought he was going to use his beak and his claws so soon."
"A nice thing you will have to tell his father, that owing to your
teachings his son is a prisoner in the Tower, maybe for life. But there
-- there's no fear of that. You will never have to render that account,
for there's no more chance of your ever hearing more of him than there is
of my becoming king of Scotland. It's bad enough that you have always
been a ne'er do well yourself without training that unfortunate boy to
"Well, well, Andrew, I will not argue with you, and I don't blame you at
being sore and angry over the matter; nor do I deny what you have said
about myself; it's true enough, and you might say worse things against me
without my quarreling with ye over it. However, the less said the better.
I will take myself off and think over what's to be done."
"You had better come up and have your supper with us," Andrew said,
mollified by his brother's humility.
"Not for twenty golden guineas, Andrew, would I face Mistress Janet. She
has borne with me well, though I know in her heart she disapproves of me
altogether; but after this scrape into which I have got the boy I daren't
face her. She might not say much, but to eat with her eye upon me would
Malcolm proceeded at once to the establishment of his friend Macklewain.
"This is a nice kettle of fish, Malcolm, about young Leslie. I have had
the justices down here, asking me all sorts of questions, and they have
got into their minds that I taught him not only swordplay but treason,
and they have been threatening to put me in the stocks as a vagabond; but
I snapped my fingers in their faces, saying I earned my money as honestly
as they did, and that I concern myself in no way in politics, but teach
English officers and the sons of Glasgow tradesmen as well as those of
Highland gentlemen. They were nicely put out, I can tell you; but I
didn't care for that, for I knew I was in the right of it. But what on
earth made the young cock meddle in this matter? How came he to be mixed
up in a Jacobite plot? Have you got your finger in it?"
"Not I, James; and how it happens that he is concerned in it is more than
I can guess. I know, of course, his heart is with the king over the
water; but how he came to get his hand into the pie is altogether beyond
"The people here are well nigh mad about it. I know not who the gallant
who has escaped is; but it is certain that his capture was considered a
very important one, and that the justices here expected to have gained no
small credit by his arrest, whereas now they will be regarded as fools
for letting him slip through their fingers."
"I cannot for the life of me make out how he came to be mixed up in such
a matter. No one but you and I could have known that he was a lad of
mettle, who might be trusted in such a business. It can hardly be that
they would have confided any secrets to him; still, the fact that he was
in the house with the man they are in search of, and that he drew and
risked his life and certain imprisonment to secure his escape, shows that
he must have been heart and soul in the plot."
"And what do you think of doing, Malcolm?"
"I shall get him out somehow. I can lay hands on a score or two or more
of our old comrades here in Glasgow, and I doubt not that they will all
strike a blow with me for Leslie's son, to say nothing of his being a
follower of the Stuarts."
"You are not thinking, man, of attacking the jail! That would be a
serious matter. The doors are strong, and you would have the soldiers, to
say nought of the town guard and the citizens, upon you before you had
"No, no, James, I am thinking of no such foolishness. I guess that they
will not be trying him for withstanding the watch, that's but a small
matter; they will be sending him south for the king's ministers to get
out of him what he knows about the Jacobite plot and the names of all
concerned, and it's upon the road that we must get him out of their
hands. Like enough they will only send four troopers with him, and we can
easily master them somewhere in the dales."
"It's more like, Malcolm, they will send him by ship. They will know well
enough that if the lad knows aught there will be plenty whose interest it
is to get him out of their hands. I think they will take the safer way of
putting him on board ship."
"Like enough they will," Malcolm agreed, "and in that case it will be a
harder job than I deemed it. But at any rate I mean to try. Ronald's not
the lad to turn traitor; he will say nothing whatever they do to him, you
may be sure, and he may lie for years in an English prison if we do not
get him out of their hands before he gets there. At any rate what we have
got to do now is to mark every ship in the port sailing for London, and
to find out whether passages are taken for a prisoner and his guard in
any of them. I will make that my business, and between times get a score
of trusty fellows together in readiness to start if they should send him
by land; but I doubt not that you are right, and that he will be taken
off by ship."
The days of waiting passed slowly to Ronald, and Andrew Anderson once or
twice obtained permission to see him. The bailie wisely abstained from
any reproaches, and sought only to persuade him to make a clean breast of
the business, and to tell all he knew about a plot which could but end in
failure and ruin to all concerned. Although his belief in Ronald's
truthfulness was great he could not credit that the story which he had
told contained all the facts of the matter. To the bailie it seemed
incredible that merely from an abstract feeling in favour of the Stuarts
Ronald would have risked his life and liberty in aiding the escape of a
Jacobite agent, unless he was in some way deeply involved in the plot;
and he regarded Ronald's assurances to the contrary as the outcome of
what he considered an entirely mistaken sense of loyalty to the Stuart
"It's all very well, Ronald," he said, shaking his head sadly; "but when
they get you to London they will find means to make you open your mouth.
They have done away with the thumb screws and the rack, but there are
other ways of making a prisoner speak, and it would be far better for you
to make a clean breast of it at once. Janet is grieving for you as if you
were her own son, and I cannot myself attend to my business. Who would
have thought that so young a lad should have got himself mixed up in such
"I have really told you all, bailie, though you will not believe me, and
I am sorry indeed for the trouble I have brought upon you and my aunt" --
for Ronald had from the first been taught to address the bailie and his
wife as if Malcolm Anderson had been his real father; "anyhow I wish they
would settle it. I would rather know the worst than go on from day to day
expecting something that never happens."
"You have to wait, Ronald, till word comes from London. If they write
from there that your case can be dealt with merely for the assault upon
the watch I can promise you that a few weeks in jail are all that you are
like to have; but I fear that there is little chance of that. They are
sure to send for you to London, and whether you will ever come back alive
the gude Lord only knows. We know what came of treason thirty years ago,
and like enough they will be even more severe now, seeing that they will
hold that folks have all the less right to try and disturb matters so
"Have you seen Malcolm?" Ronald asked, to change the conversation.
"Ay, lad, I have seen him, and the meeting was not altogether a pleasant
one for either of us."
"I hope you have not quarrelled with him on my account!" Ronald said
"We have not exactly quarrelled, but we have had words. I could not but
tell him my opinion as to his learning you to take such courses, but we
parted friends; but I doubt it will be long before Janet can see him with
The jailer, who was present at the interview, here notified that the
bailie's time was up.
"I shall see you again, Ronald, before they take you south. I would that
I could do more to help you besides just coming to see you."
"I know you cannot, uncle. I have got into the scrape and must take the
consequences; but if I were placed in the same position I should do it
A few days afterwards, as he was eating his ration of prison bread,
Ronald found in it a small pellet of paper, and on opening it read the
words: "Keep up your courage, friends are at work for you. You will hear
more yet of M. A."
Ronald was glad to know that his old friend was thinking of him, but,
knowing how strong was the prison, he had little hopes that Malcolm would
be able to effect anything to help him. Still the note gave him comfort.
Three days later Andrew called again to bid him goodbye, telling him that
orders had been received from London that he was to be sent thither by
"I should like to have seen Malcolm before I went, if I could," Ronald
"I have not seen him for several days," the bailie said. "I have sent
down several times to the house where he lodges, but he is always away;
but, whether or no, there would be no chance of your seeing him. I myself
had difficulty in getting leave to see you, though a bailie and known to
be a loyal citizen. But Malcolm knows that there would be no chance of
one with such a character as his getting to see you, and that it would
draw attention to him even to ask such a thing, which, if he has a hand
in this mad brain plot, he would not wish."
"Malcolm would not mind a straw whether they kept a watch on him or not,"
Ronald said. "Will you tell him, when you see him next, that I got his
"What message? I have given you no message that I know of."
"He will know what I mean. Tell him, whether aught comes of it or not I
thank him, and for all his kindness to me, as I do you and Aunt Janet."
At the same time with the order that Ronald should be sent to London the
authorities of Glasgow received an intimation that the ministers felt
great surprise at the lukewarmness which had been shown in allowing so
notorious and important an enemy of his majesty to escape, and that the
king himself had expressed marked displeasure at the conduct of the city
authorities in the matter. Greatly mortified at the upshot of an affair
from which they had hoped to obtain much credit from government, and
believing it certain that there were many greatly interested in getting
Ronald out of the hands of his captors, the authorities took every
precaution to prevent it. He was taken down to the river side under a
strong escort, and in addition to the four warders who were to be in
charge of the prisoner as far as London, they put on board twelve men of
the city guard. These were to remain with the ship until she was well out
at sea, and then to return in a boat which the vessel was to row behind
Ronald could not but smile when he saw all these formidable preparations
for his safety. At the same time he felt that any hope he had entertained
that Malcolm might, as the message hinted, make an attempt at rescue were
blighted. The vessel dropped down with the tide. The orders of the
justices had been so strict and urgent that the whole of the men placed
on board kept a vigilant watch.
Just as they were abreast of Dumbarton the sound of oars was heard, and
presently a boat was seen approaching. As it got nearer two men were seen
to be rowing, and two others seated in the stern; but as the craft was a
large one there was room for others to be lying in the bottom. The
constable in charge shouted to the boat to keep them off.
"Stop rowing," he cried, "and come no nearer. If you do we fire, and as I
don't want to shed your blood I warn you that I have sixteen armed men
As his words were emphasized by the row of men, who with levelled muskets
ranged themselves along at the side of the ship, the boat ceased rowing.
"What are you afraid of?" one of the men in the stern shouted. "Cannot a
fisherman's boat row out without being threatened with shooting? What are
you and your sixteen armed men doing on board? Are you expecting a French
fleet off the coast? And do you think you will beat them off if they
board you? How long have the Glasgow traders taken to man their ships
with fighting men?"
Ronald was in the cabin under the poop; it opened on to the waist, and
received its light from an opening in the door, at which two armed men
had stationed themselves when the boat was heard approaching. Had the
cabin possessed a porthole through which he could have squeezed himself
he would long before have jumped overboard and tried to make his escape
by swimming under cover of the darkness. He now strove to force the door
open, for he recognized Malcolm's voice, and doubted not that his friend
had spoken in order to let him know that he was there, that he might if
possible leap over and swim to the boat; but it was fastened strongly
without, and the guards outside shouted that they would fire unless he
No reply was made to the taunts of the man in the boat, and slowly, for
the wind was but just filling her sails, the vessel dropped down the
river, and the boat was presently lost sight of.
In the morning the breeze freshened. It was not till the ship was eight
miles beyond the mouth of the river that the boat was pulled up
alongside, and the guard, taking their places on board, hoisted sail and
started on their return to Glasgow.
Once fairly at sea Ronald was allowed to leave his cabin. Now that he was
enjoying the fresh air his spirits soon recovered the tone which they had
lost somewhat during his three weeks' confinement in prison, and he
thoroughly enjoyed his voyage. The man who was in charge of the guard had
at first wished to place some restriction on his going about on board as
he chose; but the crew sided with the young prisoner, and threw such
ridicule on the idea that four warders and a head constable were afraid,
even for a moment, to lose sight of a boy on board a ship at sea, that he
gave way, and allowed Ronald free liberty of action, although he warned
his subordinates that they must nor relax their caution for a moment.
"The crew are all with him. They think it a shame that a lad like this
should be hauled to London as a prisoner charged with treasonable
practices; and sailors, when they once get an idea into their head, are
as obstinate as Highland cattle. I have told them that he drew a sword
and held the staircase against us all while a noted traitor made his
escape, and that he ran one of us through the shoulder, and they only
shouted with laughter, and said he was a brave young cock. Like as not,
if they had a chance, these men would aid him to escape, and then we
should have to answer for it, and heavily too; loss of place and
imprisonment would be the least of what we might expect; so though, while
at sea and in full daylight he can do as he pleases, we must be doubly
vigilant at night, or in port if the vessel should have to put in."
Accordingly, to the great disgust of the sailors the watch by turns stood
sentry outside Ronald's door at night, thereby defeating a plan which the
sailors had formed of lowering a boat the first night they passed near
land, and letting Ronald make his escape to shore.
The wind was favourable until the vessel rounded the Land's End. After
that it became baffling and fickle, and it was more than three weeks
after the date of her sailing from Glasgow that the vessel entered the
mouth of the Thames. By this time Ronald's boyish spirits had allayed all
suspicion on the part of his guards. He joked with the sailors, climbed
about the rigging like a cat, and was so little affected by his position
that the guards were convinced that he was free from the burden of any
state secret, and that no apprehension of any serious consequence to
himself was weighing upon him.
"Poor lad!" the head warder said; "he will need all his spirits. He will
have hard work to make the king's council believe that he interfered in
such a matter as this from pure love of adventure. He will have many a
weary month to pass in prison before they free him, I reckon. It goes
against my heart to hand over such a mere laddie as a prisoner; still it
is no matter of mine. I have my duty to do, and it's not for me to
question the orders I have received, or to argue whether a prisoner is
innocent or guilty."
As the vessel anchored off Gravesend to wait for the turn of the tide to
take her up, a boat rowed by a waterman, and with a man sitting in the
stern, passed close by the ship. The head warder had now redoubled his
vigilance, and one of the guards with loaded musket was standing on the
deck not far from Ronald, who was standing on the taffrail. As the boat
passed some twenty yards astern of the ship the man who was not rowing
turned round for a moment and looked up at Ronald. It was but a momentary
glance that the lad caught of his face, and he suppressed with difficulty
a cry of surprise, for he recognized Malcolm Anderson. The rower
continued steadily to ply his oars, and continued his course towards
another ship anchored lower down the river. Ronald stood watching the
boat, and saw that after making a wide sweep it was rowed back again to
Ronald had no doubt that Malcolm had come south in hopes of effecting his
escape, and guessed that he had taken up his post at Gravesend with the
intention of examining every ship as she passed up until the one in which
he knew he had sailed made its appearance. What his next step would be he
could not tell; but he determined to keep a vigilant lookout, and to
avail himself instantly of any opportunity which might offer.
As the captain did nor care about proceeding up the river after dark it
was not until the tide turned, just as morning broke, that the anchor was
weighed. There was a light breeze which just sufficed to give the vessel
steerage way, and a mist hung on the water. Ronald took his favourite
seat on the taffrail, and kept a vigilant watch upon every craft which
seemed likely to come near the vessel.
Greenwich was passed, and the vessel presently approached the crowded
part of the Pool. It was near high tide now, and the captain was
congratulating himself that he should just reach a berth opposite the
Tower before it turned. Presently a boat with two rowers shot out from
behind a tier of vessels and passed close under the stern of the Glasgow
Lass. A man was steering whom Ronald instantly recognized.
"Jump!" he cried, and Ronald without a moment's hesitation leaped from
He came up close to the boat, and was instantly hauled on board by
Malcolm. Just at that moment the guard, who had stood stupefied by
Ronald's sudden action, gave a shout of alarm and discharged his piece.
The ball struck the boat close to Ronald. It was already in motion; the
men bent to their oars, and the boat glided towards the Surrey side of
the river. Loud shouts arose from on board the vessel, and four bullets
cut the water round the boar; but before the muskets could be reloaded
Malcolm had steered the boat through a tier of vessels, whose crews,
attracted by the firing, cheered the fugitives lustily.
A minute later they had reached some landing steps. Malcolm tossed some
money to the rowers, and then sprang ashore with Ronald, and handed the
latter a long coat which would reach to his heels and conceal the
drenched state of his clothing from notice.
"We have tricked them nicely, dear boy," he said; "we are safe now. Long
before they can lower a boat and get here we shall be safe in shelter,
and our five Glasgow bodies will have something to do to look for us
Moderating his pace so as to avoid attracting attention, Malcolm
proceeded along several streets and lanes, and presently stopped at the
door of a little shop.
"I am lodging here," he said, "and have told the people of the house that
I am expecting a nephew back from a cruise in the Mediterranean."
As he passed through the shop he said to the woman behind the counter:
"Here he is safe and sound. He's been some days longer than I expected,
but I was nor so very far wrong in my calculations. The young scamp has
had enough of the sea, and has agreed to go back again with me to his own
"That's right," the woman said. "My own boy ran away two years ago, and I
hope he will have come to his senses by the time he gets back again."
When they were together in their room up stairs Malcolm threw his arms
round Ronald's neck.
"Thank God, my dear boy, I have got you our of the clutches of the law!
You do not know how I have been fretting since I heard you were caught,
and thought that if ill came to you it would be all my fault. And now
tell me how you got into this scrape, for it has been puzzling me ever
since I heard it. Surely when I saw you last you knew nothing about any
Jacobite goings on?"
Ronald related the whole particulars of his adventure, and said that even
now he was absolutely ignorant who was the man whom he had aided to
"I know no more than you do, Ronald, but they must have thought his
capture an important one by the fuss they made over his escape. And now,
to think that you have slipped out of their hands too!" and Malcolm broke
into a loud laugh. "I would give a month's earnings to see the faces of
the guard as they make their report that they have arrived empty handed.
I was right glad when I saw you. I was afraid you might have given them
the slip on the way, and then there would have been no saying when we
might have found each other again."
"The sailors would have lowered a boat at night and let me make for the
land," Ronald said, "but there was a good guard kept over me. The door
was locked and a sentry always on watch, and I had quite given up all
hope until I saw you at Gravesend. And now, what do you intend to do?
Make our way back to Scotland?"
"No, no, lad, that would never do. There will be a hue and cry after you,
and all the northern routes will be watched. No, I shall make a bargain
with some Dutch skipper to take us across the water, and then we will
make our way to Paris."
"But have you got money, Malcolm?"
"I have got your purse, lad. I went to Andrew and said that I wanted it
for you, but that he was to ask no questions, so that whatever came of it
he could say that he knew nothing. He gave it me at once, saying only:
"'Remember, Malcolm, you have done the boy some harm already with your
teaching, see that you do him no further harm. I guess you are bent on
some hare brained plan, but whatever it be I wish you success.'"
CHAPTER IV: In France.
The next day Malcolm went out alone, and on his return told Ronald that
there were placards on the walls offering a reward of a hundred pounds
for his apprehension.
"You don't think the people below have any suspicion, Malcolm?"
"Not they," Malcolm replied. "I was telling them last night after you had
gone to bed all about the places you have been voyaging to, and how
anxious your father, a snug farmer near Newcastle, was to have you back
again. I had spoken to them before so as to prepare them for your coming,
and the old woman takes quite an interest in you, because her son at sea
is a lad just about your age. I have brought you in a suit of sailor
clothes; we will go down and have a chat with them after the shop is
closed of a night. You will remember Newcastle and the farm, and can tell
them of your escape from Greek pirates, and how nearly you were taken by
a French frigate near the straits."
The consternation of the watch at Ronald's escape was extreme. The shot
which the man on guard had fired was their first intimation of the event,
and seizing their muskets they had hastily discharged them in the
direction of the fugitive, and had then shouted for a boat to be lowered.
But never was a boat longer getting into the water than was that of the
Glasgow Lass upon this occasion. The captain gave his orders in a
leisurely way, and the crew were even slower in executing them. Then
somehow the fall stuck and the boat wouldn't lower. When at last she was
in the water it was found that the thole pins were missing; these being
found she was rowed across the river, the five constables undergoing a
running fire of jokes and hilarity from the sailors of the ships they
passed near. In answer to their inquiries where the fugitives landed,
some of the sailors shouted that she had pulled up the river behind the
tier of vessels, others insisted that she had sunk with all hands close
Completely bewildered, the chief of the party told the sailors to put
them ashore at the first landing. When the party gained the streets they
inquired eagerly of all they met whether they had seen aught of the
fugitives. Few of those they questioned understood the broad Scotch in
which the question was asked, others laughed in their faces and asked how
they were to know the man and boy they wanted from any others; and after
vainly looking about for some time they returned to the stairs, only to
find that the boat had returned to the ship.
A waterman's boat was now hired, and the rower, who had heard what had
happened, demanded a sum for putting them on board which horrified them;
but at last, after much bargaining, they were conveyed back to the ship.
An hour later the chief of the party went ashore, and repairing to the
Tower, where he had been ordered to conduct the prisoner, reported his
escape. He was at once taken into custody on the charge of permitting the
escape of his prisoner, and it was not until three days later, upon the
evidence of his men and of the captain and officers of the ship, that he
His four men were put on board a ship returning to Glasgow next day,
while he himself was kept to identify the fugitive should he be caught.
A week later Malcolm told Ronald that he had made arrangements with the
captain of a Dutch vessel to take them over to Holland.
"We are to go on board at Gravesend," he said, "for they are searching
all ships bound for foreign ports. It is not for you especially, but
there are supposed to be many Jacobites going to and fro, and they will
lay hands on anyone who cannot give a satisfactory account of himself. So
it is just as well for us to avoid questioning."
Accordingly the next day they walked down to Gravesend, and taking boat
there boarded the Dutch vessel when she came along on the following day.
The Dutch captain received them civilly; he had been told by Malcolm that
they wished to leave the country privately, and guessed that they were in
some way fugitives from the law, but as he was to be well paid this gave
him no concern. There were no other passengers, and a roomy cabin was
placed at their disposal. They passed down the river without impediment,
and anchored that night off Sheerness.
"These Dutch traders are but slow craft," Malcolm said as he walked
impatiently up and down the deck next morning, watching the slow progress
which they made past the shore. "I wish we could have got a passage
direct to France, but of course that is impossible now the two nations
are at war."
"What is the war about, Malcolm? I heard at home that they were fighting,
but yet that somehow the two countries were not at war."
"No, I don't know how that comes about," Malcolm said. "England has a
minister still at Paris; but for all that King George is at the head of a
number of British troops in Germany fighting against the French there."
"But what is it about, Malcolm?"
"Well, it is a matter which concerns Hanover more than England; in fact
England has no interest in the matter at all as far as I can see, except
that as France takes one side she takes the other, because she is afraid
of France getting too strong. However, it is a German business, and
England is mixed up in it only because her present king is a Hanoverian
and not an Englishman. This is the matter as far as I can make it out.
Charles VI., Emperor of Germany, died in October, 1740. It had been
arranged by a sort of general agreement called the Pragmatic Sanction --"
"What an extraordinary name, Malcolm! What does it mean?"
"I have not the least idea in the world, lad. However, that is what it is
called. It was signed by a lot of powers, of whom England was one, and by
it all parties agreed that Charles's daughter Maria Theresa was to become
Empress of Austria. However, when the emperor was dead the Elector of
Bavaria claimed to be emperor, and he was supported by France, by Spain,
and by Frederick of Prussia, and they marched to Vienna, enthroned the
elector as Duke of Austria, and drove Maria Theresa to take refuge in
Hungary, where she was warmly supported.
"The English parliament voted a large sum to enable the empress to carry
on the war, and last year sixteen thousand men under the Earl of Stair
crossed the seas to cooperate with the Dutch, who were warm supporters of
the empress, and were joined by six thousand Hessians and sixteen
thousand Hanoverians in British pay; but after all nothing was done last
year, for as in the last war the Dutch were not ready to begin, and the
English army were in consequence kept idle."
"Then it seems that everyone was against the empress except England and
these three little states."
"That is pretty nearly so," Malcolm said; "but at present the empress has
bought off the Prussians, whose king joined in the affair solely for his
own advantage, by giving him the province of Silesia, so that in fact at
present it is England and Hanover, which is all the same thing, with the
Dutch and Hessians, against France and Bavaria, for I don't think that at
present Spain has sent any troops."
"Well, it seems to me a downright shame," Ronald said indignantly; "and
though I have no great love for the English, and hate their Hanoverian
George and his people, I shouldn't like to fight with one of the Scotch
regiments in the French service in such a quarrel."
"My dear lad, if every soldier were to discuss the merits of the quarrel
in which he is ordered to fight there would be an end of all discipline."
"Yes, I see that," Ronald agreed; "if one is once a soldier he has only
to obey orders. But one need not become a soldier just at the time when
he would be called upon to fight for a cause which he considers unjust."
"That is so, Ronald, and it's fortunate, if your feelings are in favour
of Maria Theresa, that we are not thinking of enlisting just at present,
for you would be puzzled which side to take. If you fought for her you
would have to fight under the Hanoverian; if you fight against the
Hanoverian you are fighting against Maria Theresa."
"Well, we don't want to fight at all," Ronald said. "What we want to do
is to find out something about my father. I wish the voyage was at an
end, and that we had our faces towards Paris."
"It will not be so easy to cross from Holland into France," Malcolm said.
"I wish our voyage was at an end for another reason, for unless I mistake
there is a storm brewing up."
Malcolm's prediction as to the weather was speedily verified. The wind
rose rapidly, ragged clouds hurried across the sky, and the waves got up
fast, and by nightfall the sea had become really heavy, dashing in sheets
high in the air every time the bluff bowed craft plunged into it. Long
before this Ronald had gone below prostrate with seasickness.
"It's just like the obstinacy of these Dutchmen," Malcolm muttered to
himself as he held on by a shroud and watched the labouring ship. "It
must have been clear to anyone before we were well out of the river that
we were going to have a gale, and as the wind then was nearly due south,
we could have run back again and anchored in shelter till it was over.
Now it has backed round nearly into our teeth, with every sign of its
getting into the north, and then we shall have the French coast on our
lee. It's not very serious yet, but if the wind goes on rising as it has
done for the last four or five hours we shall have a gale to remember
before the morning."
Before the daylight, indeed, a tremendous sea was running, and the wind
was blowing with terrible force from the north. Although under but a rag
of canvas the brig was pressed down gunwale deep, and each wave as it
struck her broadside seemed to heave her bodily to leeward. Malcolm on
coming on deck made his way aft and glanced at the compass, and then took
a long look over the foaming water towards where he knew the French coast
must lie. The wind was two or three points east of north, and as the
clumsy craft would not sail within several points of the wind she was
heading nearly east.
"She is making a foot to leeward for every one she forges ahead," he said
to himself. "If she has been at this work all night we cannot be far from
So the Dutch skipper appeared to think, for a few minutes afterwards he
gave orders to bring her about on the other tack. Three times they tried
and failed; each time the vessel slowly came up into the wind, but the
heavy waves forced her head off again before the headsails filled. Then
the skipper gave orders to wear her. Her head payed off to the wind until
she was nearly before it. Two or three great seas struck her stern and
buried her head deeply, but at last the boom swung over and her head came
up on the other tack. During the course of these manoeuvres she had made
fully two miles leeway, and when she was fairly under sail with her head
to the west Malcolm took another long look towards the south.
"Just as I thought," he said. "There is white water there and a dark line
behind it. That is the French coast, sure enough."
It would have been useless to speak, but he touched the arm of the
skipper and pointed to leeward. The skipper looked in this direction for
a minute and then gave the order for more sail to be put on the ship, to
endeavour to beat out in the teeth of the gale. But even when pressed to
the utmost it was evident to Malcolm that the force of the waves was
driving her faster towards the coast than she could make off it, and he
went below and told Ronald to come on deck.
"I would rather lie here," Ronald said.
"Nonsense, lad! The wind and spray will soon knock the sickness out of