Constance Charlotte Elisa Lennox Russell.

The rose goddess and other sketches of mystery & romance online

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and then the King's High Commissioner to the Parliament. He
had successions of Government appointments, always keeping
up his character of strict probity accompanied by deep religion,
which were the leading characteristics of his life. He was one
of the most influential promoters of the Union ; and after a long
life spent in the service of his country, he died at Berwick in
1724, aged eighty-three. As his grandson. Lord Binning, was

Two Brave Grizels

sitting by his bedside not many hours before he expired, he saw
him smiling, and said, "My lord, what are you laughing at?"
Lord Marchmont answered, " I am diverted to think what a
disappointment the worms will meet with when they come to
me expecting a good meal, and find nothing but bones ! " —
alluding to his excessive thinness.

At the same time as Sir Patrick Hume had been reinstated
in his estates, young George Baillie received back his also, which
had been bestowed on the Duke of Gordon. This enabled him
to marry our heroine, Grizel Hume, a marriage which gave her
all the happiness she deserved.

The following is a description of Lady Grizel Baillie by
one who knew her well : " Her actions show what her mind was,
and her outward appearance was no less remarkable ; she was
well made, very handsome, with a life and sweetness in her eyes
very uncommon, and great delicacy in all her features; her hair
was chestnut, and to her last she had the finest complexion with
the clearest red in her cheeks and lips that could be seen in one
of fifteen." She often said that during the forty-eight years of
her married life she never had the shadow of a quarrel or
misunderstanding with her husband, whom she survived twenty-
two years, dying in 1746, aged eighty-one.

Lady Hervey (the celebrated Molly Lepel) in writing of her
says : " I saw old Lady Grizel Baillie six months before she died
as lively, as entertaining, as sagacious, and with all her senses
perfect as ever."

Lady Grizel had no son, but two daughters, Grizel and
Rachel ; the latter married Charles Lord Binning, son of
Thomas, sixth Earl of Haddington. Grizel Baillie, the eldest,
was a most charming character, and combined uncommon
beauty and fascinating manners with sprightly conversation


Two Brave Grizels

and cultivated talents. She married Mr. (afterwards Sir) Alex-
ander Murray, Bart., of Stanhope,^ when she was only seven-
teen years of age. This turned out an exceedingly unfortunate
marriage. Mr. Murray had a very pleasing exterior and a
prepossessing manner, but was evidently not of sane mind.
On the first day after their marriage he behaved in such an
extraordinary manner as to seriously alarm his newly-made wife
as well as her family. Under his pleasing exterior there lurked
a dark, moody, and ferocious temper, and groundless suspicions
and insane jealousies made him the victim of uncontrollable
passion. After undergoing a most trying time for four years
his wife procured a deed of separation, and took up her residence
with her father in London, where she became distinguished as one
of the remarkable women who graced what has been called the
Augustan age of the Court of England. In Gay's well-known
verses, " Mr, Pope's Welcome from Greece," Grizel Murray is
honoured with a place amongst the group of " goodly dames"
who advance to hail the return of the poet — " the sweet-toned
Murray," as Gay calls her, is mentioned just before her great
friend, Molly Lepel. The latter loved her dearly, and when
Grizel died in 1759 wrote about her as follows : "She is to me
an irreparable loss ; never in my long life did I ever meet
with a creature in all respects like her : many have excelled her
perhaps in particular qualities, but none that ever I met with
have equalled her in all. Sound good sense, strong judgment,
great sagacity, strict honour, truth, and sincerity ; a most affec-
tionate disposition or mind, constant and steady, not obstinate,
great indulgence to others, a most sweet, cheerful temper and

^ Mr. Murray was the son and heir of Sir David Murray, Bart., by his wife, Lady
Anne Bruce, daughter of Alexander, second Earl of Kincardine, by \'eronica de
Corneille \'an Arson \'. Sommelsdyck. His sister, Janet Murray, married Lord
Charles Kerr, and their son, Robert Kerr, wasgreat-great-grandfather of the writer.

Two Brave Grizels

a sort of liveliness and good humour that promoted innocent
mirth wherever she came, nor did she ever say or do a thing that
could hurt or offend any one. In forty years and as much as
we lived together, she never said or did the least thing to me
that from any reason in the world I could have wished undone
or unsaid. . . . Oh ! she was — what was she not ? — but 'tis all
over "


Amongst the distinguished Scotsmen who signalised them-
selves by their opposition to the English Government after the
Restoration was Sir John Cochrane of Ochiltree, second son
of the first Earl of Dundonald. He was a Patriot, rivalling
his friend, Sir Patrick Hume, in talent and purity of motives, and
also, like him, destined to experience the devotedness of a
daughter's love. Sir John was one of those who, in 1685,
pledged themselves to assist the Earl of Argyll's rising in Scot-
land, and on the failure of this enterprise he was captured and
taken to Edinburgh, and ultimately condemned to death, in
spite of the most strenuous exertions of his aged father, the
Earl of Dundonald.

After his condemnation. Sir John was told that he might see

any of his family. So afraid, however, was he of his sons being

implicated in his misfortunes, that he sent them a message to

entreat them not to come to him till the eve of his execution.

Late in the evening, after he had made this sacrifice, he was

sitting in his prison with bowed head, which he did not raise

when he heard the door open, feeling that it could only be his

particularly repellent gaoler. His surprise was great when he

felt soft arms round his neck and saw it was Grizel, his only

daughter. She told him that her grandfather, the old Earl, had


Two Brave Grizels

made a fresh appeal to the King and one to Father Petre, his
Majesty's confessor, who was said to influence him greatly ; but
all this would take some time, and meanwhile the warrant for
his execution was daily expected. Several days elapsed during
which time Grizel Cochrane was constantly with Sir John, and
in an agony of mind lest the warrant should arrive. At last
she determined on a desperate step to save her father. She
began by telling him that urgent business would prevent her
coming to him for some days. Sir John, hearing this, was afraid
she proposed going to London to further his appeal, and warned
her to be careful.

" Did you but know the characters of those you must
encounter, you would fear, as I do, the sullying of your fair

" I am a Cochrane, my father," said this beautiful maiden of
eighteen years, and she embraced her father and departed.

The next day, at early daybreak, Grizel Cochrane, who was
a first-rate horsewoman, was on her steed and already many
miles on the road to the Border. She had put on the dress of
a waiting-woman, and pretended she was on a borrowed hack
and going to her mother a long way ofF. She only rested at
out-of-the-way cottages, and on the second day after leaving
Edinburgh she reached the home of her old nurse, who lived
four miles on the English side of Berwick. In this fond and
faithful servant Grizel knew she had a friend whom she could
thoroughly trust, and to her, therefore, she confided her won-
derful idea — namely, her determination to make a desperate
venture to save her father's life by acting as a highwayman and
stopping the mounted postman, and forcing him to deliver up
his bags, in which she expected to find the fatal warrant. This
was a most extraordinary resolution for a delicately-nurtured


Two Brave Grizels

girl of eighteen, especially as she knew that the bearer of his
Majesty's mails would not only be well mounted, but also well
furnished with firearms, which it would be his duty to use in
defence of his post-bags. But to make the attempt at the great
risk of her life she was fully determined. She borrowed from
her nurse the clothes of her foster-brother, a slim youth, cut
off a considerable portion of her hair to further her disguise,
and armed herself with a brace of small pistols.

The mail from London in those days took eight days to
reach Edinburgh, and thus Grizel concluded that if only she
could get hold of the warrant for her father's execution, it
would give him a respite of at least sixteen or seventeen days, by
which time there was some reasonable hope that his sentence
might be rescinded. She had ascertained the exact route of the
postmen, and the places where they rested. The mails changed
hands at Durham, and she had found out that the postman who
received them there always stopped for a few hours' rest at a
small public-house just outside the little town of Belford, where
he generally arrived about six o'clock in the morning. At 7 a.m.
Grizel in her disguise came to this inn, and having put up her
horse, she went in to the travellers' room and asked for refresh-

"Sit down at the end of that table," said the old woman,
" for the best I have to give you is thine already, and be
pleased, my bonny man, to make as little noise as you can, for
there's one asleep in that bed that I like ill to disturb."

Grizel said she would be very quiet, and then, at once taking
the scene in, racked her quick brain for a device to get rid of
the old dame for a short time.

"Is the well you get your water from near.''" said she.

" It's a good bit off," said the woman.


Two Brave Grizels

" The water on this table," said Grizel, " is quite warm,
and I want a good drink. If you'll fetch me some fresh from
the well, I'll consider it in the reckoning."

Accordingly the old dame trotted off, saying, " I cannot
refuse such a civil, discreet lad." No sooner had the door
closed on her than Grizel hurried, though very cautiously, to the
end of the room, where the postman was reposing in one of
those closed, wooden bedsteads then in common use amongst
the lower orders ; the door was left half-open to let in air. Grizel
quietly opened it a little more, hoping to see the mail-bags
by the side of the man, but, alas, his whole head and broad
shoulders were on it, and there was not the slightest chance of
any one being able to touch it without awakening him. Again
half-closing the door of the bed, she quickly made for the man's
holsters, which he had placed upon the table, and opening them
she found his loaded pistols, which she at once unloaded ; this
done she had barely re-seated herself at the table when the old
woman entered with the fresh water from the well. Having
taken a good draught of it, Grizel then paid her account, paying
for the water as if she had had beer, and, having carelessly
ascertained in the course of conversation how much longer the
sleeping guest was likely to remain, she left the Inn, mounted
her horse, and set off at a trot. Making a circuit of two or
three miles she once more got into the high-road between
Belford and Berwick, where she walked her horse gently on,
awaiting the coming of the postman. As she did so the
thought came into her mind that he would possibly examine his
pistols before starting, and, finding they had been tampered
with, re-load them and be doubly on his guard, in which case
it was more than likely her life would be forfeited for nothing.
But this did not daunt her courage or deprive her of her self-

i6i L

Two Brave Grizels

possession. With a natural and easy manner, Grizel accosted
him as he advanced behind her, and continued to ride on some
way by his side. She saw that he had two mail-bags strapped
firmly to his saddle in front close to the holsters. One bag
contained the letters from London, and the others those picked
up en route. When they were nearly half-way between Belford
and Berwick she thought it time to commence her operations.
She therefore got closer to him and said, " Friend, I have
taken a fancy to those mail-bags of yours, and I must have
them ; therefore take my advice and deliver them up quietly, for
I am provided against all emergencies. I am mounted, as you
see, on a very fleet horse ; I carry firearms ; moreover, I am
allied with those stronger though not bolder than myself."
And as she said this she pointed to a wood close by, meaning
him to think she had confederates at hand.

Such language coming from a mere stripling amazed the
man so much that at first he treated it as a joke. " If," said
he, " my young Master, you mean to make merry at my ex-
pense, you are welcome. I am no sour churl to take offence at
the idle words of a foolish boy; but if," he said, taking one of
the pistols from the holster and turning its muzzle towards her,
" you are mad enough to think seriously of such a matter, I am
ready for you. But methinks, my lad, you seem at an age when
robbing a garden or an old woman's fruit-stall would be more
in your line than taking his Majesty's mails from a stout man
like me."

*' Nay," said his young antagonist, " I am not fond of blood-
shed, but that mail I must and will have, so now choose," and
she drew one of the small pistols she had concealed and delibe-
rately cocking it presented it in his face.

" Then your blood be on your head ! " said the postman,


Two Brave Grizels

raising his hand and firing off his own pistol, which, however,

only flashed in the pan. Dashing the weapon to the ground,

he lost not a moment in pulling out the other, which he also

aimed at the stripling and fired with the same result. The

man, furious, now jumped from his horse and made an attempt

to seize her, but by an adroit use of her spurs she managed

to elude his grasp and got out of his reach. Whilst this was

going on, the postman's horse had moved on a few paces, and

Grizel, taking advantage of this opportunity, dashed forwards,

caught the bridle, and put both horses at a hard gallop. The

postman, who probably believed that she had confederates hiding

in the wood, took to his heels and made his way back to

Belford. Grizel meanwhile, as soon as she saw his retreating

form disappear, tied up his horse to a tree in the wood, and at

once cut the straps of the mail-bag with a sharp knife, which

she had about her expressly for that purpose. She soon got at

the contents, and seized upon the Government despatches to the

Council in Edinburgh. Here she found the fatal warrant for

her father's execution as well as many other sentences. She tore

all into small bits and hid them about her, leaving the private

papers to be found afterwards. She then remounted her own

horse and hastily rode away back to her nurse, where she burnt

the pieces and put on her female garments, leaving the pistols

to be concealed. She continued her journey back to Edinburgh

as fast as she could, resting very little, and that only in secluded


Grizel Cochrane's daring action was crowned with success ;

it gave the necessary time for Sir John's pardon to be procured,

which, it is said, was effected by a bribe of ;^5000 to Father

Petre from Lord Dundonald. Sir John was sent to London,

where he had an interview with the King, the result of their


Two Brave Grizels

conversation furnishing a plausible pretence for the exercise of
the Royal mercy.

At the Revolution in 1689 Sir John's forfeiture was re-
scinded, and a few years later he was made one of the Farmers
of the Poll Tax. His descendants are very numerous. By his
wife, Margaret, daughter of William Strickland of Boynton, he
had, besides Grizel our heroine, who married John Ker of
Morristoun, two sons ; the second son, John, was the father of
no less than eight sons and seven daughters, and William, the
eldest, had nine sons, one of whom became the eighth Earl of
Dundonald. He married his first cousin, Elizabeth Ker,
daughter of James Ker of Morristoun, great-granddaughter of
our heroine, and from them are descended the present Earl of



" Que Dieu se montre seulement."

— Huguenot Hy»in,

Among the many annals which are left us of the staunchness
and courage of Huguenot families in holding fast to their faith
through the cruellest persecutions, there are few which demon-
strate more strongly the strength of character and high sense
of honour, appearing in successive generations, than the story of
the de Pechels, a family who suffered much for their religion
during the terrible " Dragonnades."

In the reign of Francois I., Luther laid the foundation of
the Reformed Church in France, and, later on, the Protestants
of the south, from their proximity to Geneva, where the zeal
of Calvin produced such an extraordinary effect, had generally
adopted the tenets of the latter Reformer. Nowhere was the
new religion embraced with more ardour than in Montauban,
the chief town of the department of Tarn-et-Garonne in
Languedoc, which became one of the principal strongholds of
the French Protestants, or Huguenots, as they were afterwards

Amongst the families of chief importance living at this time
in the neighbourhood of Montauban were the de Pechels de la
Buissonade,^ who declared themselves in favour of the Reformed
Church, and, as we shall see, allowed no amount of persecution

^ This place-name is found written in a variety of ways, the most general being
either La Buissonade or La Boyssonade.


A Huguenot Family

to induce them ever to abandon it. The name was well known
in Montauban from a very early date, though the spelling was
not always the same. In the thirteenth century we find the
name of Peyre (Pierre) Despesels, Consul there in 1254 and in
1267, and again the name appears as Consul in 1294. Ob-
viously ancestors of the Pierre Peschels/ born at Montauban in
1500, who we know, from original documents now in the
Herald's Office in London, was the progenitor of the present
family of " Pechell," and whose son held the same post there
in 1575.

The de Pechels had a house in the town of Montauban,
which still exists; it is in the Rue St. Louis, and belongs to
Mr. Portal, banker. They had also a chateau a few miles away,
near St. Etienne-de-Talmont, called La Buissonnade, which is
now only a farmhouse.

All we know of Pierre Peschels or de Pechels, with whom
we may say the history of the family of the Pechells com-
mences, took place in the year 1547, on the accession of
Henri II. Thus we find the Sieur de la Boyssonade was
ennobled by this French King as Baron de St. Cran-Barre,^
the patent being dated April 8, 1547, and at the same time
"Livres de Doctorat" were granted to him. Then he married
Louise de Fumel, said to be of a great family near Bordeaux,
and on the i8th June we find him producing a certificate
in order to be exonerated from the National burdens (from
which only the noblesse were exempt), and to secure himself

* The name is also found as " Pechelz," and the coincidence of the old arms
being almost identical with those of the family of Peche, well-known in the Middle
Ages, gave rise to a theory that the founder of the family of the de Pechels
might have gone out to Aquitaine from England with the Black Prince, who was
Lord of Languedoc and held a court there.

* St. Cran-Barre is now Saint Caprais.


A Huguenot Family

and family from those requisitions to which every subject
of inferior rank was exposed. Pierre de Pechels was pre-
sumably a Catholic, as, even if he had escaped the terrible
massacres of the last days of Francois 1., he would not have
been ennobled by Henri II., who was vehemently opposed
to the Calvinists and issued Edicts declaring the pain of
death to all those found secretly practising the rites of their
religion, the Edict of Chateaubriand, which condemned all
heretics to be burned alive, being passed this same year. In
all probability his son Jean Orace de Pechels was the first
of the family who confirmed to the Reformed religion. In
1579 he married Isabeau de Prevost, who was of an old
Perigord family, which became well known as staunch sup-
porters of the new religion, and, moreover, he called his eldest
son Samuel, which has more of a Calvinistic flavour than his own
name. The fact of his being of the Reformed religion would
not have precluded him from being " Conseiller a la Chambre
de I'Etat," which post, as well as some others, he held in 1575,
as Henri III. made great concessions to the Protestants. Not
only did he allow them the free exercise of their religion,
but he even instituted in every Parliament '' une chambre
mi-partie," composed of Calvinists and Protestants. Jean
Orace was also Premier Consul of Montauban in 1600 and
161 1. Samuel de Pechels, son of Jean Orace, was born in
1580, and married in 161 7 Rachel de la Valette, of a noble
family in Guienne. In 1623 he was plunged into the horrors
of Civil War. Montauban was besieged, and 8000 men, in-
cluding his brother, perished without it being taken. Cathala
Coture in his Histoire de Querci tells us how " Labouis-
sonade " (as Samuel was called),^ " un homme sage et ferme,"

^ Elsewhere he is called " de Pechels La Buissonade."

A Huguenot Family

commanded the centre of the troops. Although the Due de
Rohan was at the time the chief leader of the Calvinists, de
Pechels would not lend himself to the Duke's ambitious
projects and remained firm in his loyalty to Louis XIII. At
a General Assembly, held in the Hotel de Ville at Montauban
on the 1 2th October 1627, a resolution was carried by him,
then "Premier Consul," opposing de Rohan, pledging allegi-
ance to the King, and declaring detestation of the arms of
England. De Rohan seems to have avenged himself on de
Pechels by authorising several raids in the country when the
house and farms of Le Buissonade were pillaged.

Samuel de Pechels and Rachel his wife had three sons :
the two youngest were Yzac and Pierre, of whom we know
nothing; the eldest was another Jean Grace, born in 1620,
who, like his father before him, was " Conseiller du Roi " and
Premier Consul at Montauban during several years. His
portrait, painted in 1650, and said to be by Mignard, represents
him as a very dark young man with large
black eyes and very marked eyebrows. He
wears a long flowing wig, below his shoulders,
U^'f''\)^ iU'%\)) ^^'^ carries in his right hand what may be a
L^ii^^§4^ wand of office. The interest of this picture
is increased by the fact that it has em-
blazoned on it the old French arms of the
de Pechels, namely, " Or, four eagles dis-
played, sable." The picture was formerly
in the Hotel de Ville at Montauban, but was brought over
to England at the close of the eighteenth century by M.
de Saint Sardos, Marquis de Mondenard (a descendant of Jean

* Jean Grace, called after his grandfather, who was his god-father; his god-
mother was Mile. Madonne de Valette.


Or, four Eagles dis-
played, Sable.

From a Dra'wiiig after the Picture by Pierre Mignard.

A Huguenot Family

Orace), who presented it to Sir Thomas Brooke-Pechell,
second Bart., then the English representative of the family.
This picture is now at Castle Goring in Sussex, in the
possession of a relation in the female line, Lady Somerset,
and the late Mrs. Mark Pechell had a copy of it. Jean
Orace de Pechels married in 1643 Jeanne de la Lauze,
daughter of Hierosme de la Lauze, Conseiller au Parlement,
whose family is very honourably mentioned in the sixteenth
and seventeenth centuries.

Soon after the accession of Louis XIV, the persecutions
of the Huguenots were renewed and continued, notwithstanding
all the efforts made in their favour by the liberal-minded
Colbert. The de Pechels seem, however, at first to have had
some exemptions. Amongst the family archives are an " ordi-
nance," dated 1661, exempting Jean Orace from having soldiers
billeted on him, and another "Ordinance de relaxe " in 1666.
This same year, however, the Queen-mother Anne of Austria
died, her last request being that her son should exterminate
all heresy in his kingdom, and accordingly the severest and
most barbarously cruel means were taken for the forced " con-
version " or extirpation of the Huguenots. Those of Montau-
ban were amongst the most obstinate of all ; they refused to
be converted by the priests, and the King then determined
to bring into use his " missionaires bottes," as he jocularly
called his Dragoons. This was the commencement of the

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Online LibraryConstance Charlotte Elisa Lennox RussellThe rose goddess and other sketches of mystery & romance → online text (page 13 of 22)