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Philip Colville : or, a covenanter's story online

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" FATHER CLEMENT," &c. &c.







It was on a calm clear day at the end of April,
in the year 1679, that young Colville of Arron-
dale, and his gray-haired servant, Adam Yule,
after having spent several preceding days in rid-
mg: from London, as the manner of the times
was, crossed the Border, and again, after an ab-
sence of six years, entered their native Scotland.
This day's journey had commenced early ; and
though Colville had frequently checked his horse,
and slackened his pace for a time, on recollect-
ing the riding powers of his attendant, still his
anxiety to reach Torriswood, the residence of the
guardian of his younger years, before sunset, had
made it more rapid than was altogether agree-
able to poor old Adam. This want of consider-



ation for himself, however, and the evident flurry
and emotion which he observed in his young
master, were so unlike Colville's usual kindness
and self command, that while Adam mused on
the causes that might thus move him on his ap-
proach to Torriswood, he anxiously avoided any*
appearance of fatigue, and carefully kept his
liorse exactly at that distance behind his master
which he considered properly respectful. Two
vears previous to this period, Adam would have
felt no surprise at the impatience his master now
betrayed. Then far less interesting events than
meeting with early and intimate friends would
have excited much greater ardour ; but at that
period an entire change had taken place in Col-
ville's character. He had from childhood been
occasionally grave, thoughtful, and studious, but
only occasionally ; and much more habitually
eager, as far as his strict education allowed, in
the pursuit of amusement, and, as he advanced
in age, of every pleasure within his power. The
father of our young traveller had been a firm Pres-
byterian, and a Covenanter, and had educated
his sons, while he remained with them, in the
strict and unbending principles of his party — in
the subjection of their minds and actions to the
dictates of the Bible, — the only standard of prin-
ciples and morals to which he or they conceived


themselves bound to yield obedience. At his
death, the elder Colville had left his sons to the
guardianship of two tried friends — friends with
whom he had struggled, through times when
sincerity of principles, and sincerity of affection
were put to the test. Those friends continued
to pursue his plan in the education of his sons.
The Bible, however, is not the standard of prin-
ciples and of feelings which nature is disposed
to choose, and our young traveller, who was the
elder of the boys, w hen he arrived at an age to
act for himself, spurned at those restraints on
pride, and ambition, and love of distinction, which
it uniformly holds out. His manners and morals
had been preserved simple, sincere, and pure ;
he was ardent in his affections, open, and gene-
rous, but rash, arrogant, and self-willed. With
this character, he had but a short time commen-
ced his studies at the University of St. Andrews,
when his undisguised scorn for one of the Pro-
fessors, who was regarded by his friends as mere-
ly a creature of the ruling party, and also for
some mark of disrespect shown by him, and se-
veral companions in guilt, to the primate, he and
they w^ere subjected to an examination before the
Archbishop and some of the masters. At this
examination, Colville, when replying to the pri-
mate, who was regarded by his party as the per-


jured betrayer of their cause, eyed him haughtily,
and called him " Sir." On being reproved by
one of the masters for this want of respect, and
instructed to address his Grace by the appella-
tion, " My Lord," he answered boldly, " I ac-
knowledge no Lords over God's heritage." The
other culprits followed his undaunted example
in their replies, and had not one of them been a
near relative of the Duke of Lauderdale's, they
would probably all have been expelled from the U-
niversity. As it was, the guardians of young Col-
ville perceived that this affair had left so deep an
impression on his feelings, that no subject seem-
ed to have any interest for him, unless connected
with schemes for the deliverance of his party
from the oppression under which they then groan-
ed ; and, dreading that he would expose himself
to more dangerous penalties, from his undisguis-
ed avowal of his sentiments, they thought it pru-
dent to remove him from St. Andrews, and to
send him to pursue his studies in Holland. Many
of the " suffering ministers," as they were called,
liad retired to that country. Colville was placed
at the University of Utrecht, under the care of
one of these, and attended by Adam Yule, a faith-
ful old servant of his family, and also a Cove-
nanter. At this University Colville had met
with many of his young countrymen. Several


Scotch families also, forced, by the severity of the
laws which were daily enacted against the Pres-
byterians, to leave their country, resided in the
town. In this society Colville's early principles
remained unshaken; but as his information in-
creased, he gradually became more liberal in his
sentiments towards those who differed from him.
He was a favourite and leader amongst his bro-
ther students ; and though some of the elder
branches of the families of his countrymen warn-
ed him against an excess of that liberality which
he defended, they generally regarded him as a
youth of too great promise not to be highly va-
lued by their now harassed and worn-out party.
At the period before alluded to, a change had
evidently taken place in Colville's character,
which had greatly increased their hopes from
him. This change had been ascribed to the in-
fluence of a young brother student, a devoted
adherent of the persecuted cause in Scotland,
and who was also distinguished by the singular
sanctity and purity of his life. He was a student
of divinity, and had left the University a year
before Colville — had been afterwards ordained
at Rotterdam — and had returned to Scotland to
preach amongst the hills and glens to the per^-
secuted Presbyterians. Colville, on leaving
Utrecht, had been entrusted with many import-


ant communications and instructions from his
countrymen there, to their friends at home. He
afterwards spent some time with a relation of his
family, who held a high situation at the court of
the Prince of Orange. There also he obtained the
regard and confidence of several of his most dis-
tinguished countrymen, and now returned to Scot-
land, bearing many instructions, and much infor-
mation to his party, which could not have been
communicated through any channel less safe.

But to return from this digression to our tra-
vellers — Colville had succeeded in his wish, and
■the sun was still liiffh in the west when he and
his attendant came in sight of the village, beyond
which a quarter of an hour's ride would convey
them to Torriswood. This village consisted of
one long street, if it might be called so, where the
houses, though at a distance appearing almost in
a line, on a nearer approach seemed to have been
,set dow^n with no other intention than to mark
out the irregularity of the ground on which they
stood, one occupying an elevated site, with a de-
clivity from its door to the road, while its next
neighbour, with its front perhaps turned another
way, stood snuggly ensconced in a hollow. A
few trees, and rocky ground partly covered with
turf, were intermixed with the houses. At 'the
further end of the villiaffe stood the church; an


old edifice, originally built and ornamented by
Roman Catholics, then, after being purified from
images, pictures, and such like Babylonish abo-
minations, had been occupied by the reformers,
and their presbyterian successors, in whose pos-
session it was when Colville left the country.
The village now wore a gay appearance. Tents
were pitched in the fields which surrounded it.
These fields were at this period clothed in their
brightest verdure. Flags of gay colours floated
in the breeze near the tents, and groups of sol-
diers were seen sauntering in the street, or amus-
ing themselves in different ways. On entering
the village, however, Colville perceived that the
doors of most of the houses were shut. On the
green slopes near them, where he recollected to
have seen the gay sports of the village children,
all was now silence. A few lads were seen who
seemed irresistibly attracted by the mirth and
martial prowess of the soldiers to gaze at, and
watch their active sports. As our travellers ap-
proached the alehouse of the village, however,
they observed a great many of the people who
had gathered round its door, and from the mix-
ed voices, and mingled laughter, and angry tones,
there seemed to be quarrelling amongst some of
the parties, which excited mirth in the bystand-
standers. The soldiers had narrowly eyed Col-


ville as he passed along the village street, and the
mixed group to which he now approached, in-
stantly on perceiving him ceased their clamour,
and remained regarding him almost in silence
till he rode past. One voice then said,

" He's one of them, I'll swear."

" Never a bit of him," said another.

Colville rode on. On approaching the church,
more soldiers were seen near its walls, and some
stretched on the flat grave-stones in the church-
yard, weary apparently of the duty on which they
were, for those around the church had their

Colville looked about for some villager to
whom he might apply for an explanation of the
military aspect assumed in this retired spot, but
-^observing no one excepting idle looking lads, he
stopt his horse near a group of soldiers, and put
the question to one of them.

" Because, your honour," replied the soldier
in an English voice, " there's a new parson to be
got into that there church to-morrow."

" And does it require force to get him into it ?"
asked Colville.

" Ye maun be a stranger. Sir, in this part, if
ye dinna ken that," said a village lad.

" I am a stranger," replied Colville.

" Oh then, Sir," resumed the English soldier,


" you must know that last Sunda}', when the new
parson was about to go up into the pulpit, the door
of it was found to be nailed up so fast, though it
had been seen open by the sexton at ten o'clock
the night before, that the parson had to be hoist-
ed over it, and out again when he was done, by
the soldiers ; and being as how he is not so spare
a man as the rebel preachers are, he wishes for
no such jumbling of his stomach before lie
preaches to-morrow.*'

" Is it regard for their former minister that
makes the people so averse to this one ?" asked

" Yes, Sir, and to their own way," replied the

^' What was the name of the last minister ?"
" Mr. Andrew Wellwood, Sir,"' answered the
village lad.

Colville recollected him well. " And where is
Mr. Wellwood now ?" asked he.

" You would make a man of him you could
tell that to !'' exclaimed a handsome, but inso-
lent looking young soldier, who had hastened
from the group at the alehouse door to join that
where Colville stopt. " Five hundred merks,
. and the rank of a sergeant ! There's never a
hill, or glen, or wood within fifty miles round we
have not scoured over and over again in search


of him, and yet there may perhaps be a congre-
gation of hundreds listening to him at this minute
not a mile off." The young soldier continued
with oaths to execrate the wandering fugitive.
Colville turned away, and in saddened mood
proceeded through the village.

" Did not 1 say he was one of them, Tim ?"
called out the soldier loud enough to be heard by
Adam Yule, who again rode after his master.
" Covenanters have all one look when they hear
an oath ; and here comes his serving-man — a
death's head and bones! Holloa, thou old scare-
crow, is not your master a '**

" Hold your bletherin tongue !" exclaimed a
soldier, giving his insolent comrade a push.

Adam Yule looked fixedly at the young man
who had addressed him, and stopt his horse.

" Let me die if it is not old Adam Yule !'* said
the young soldier, the expression of insolence on
his countenance giving place to one of something
like compunction.

" And wha are ye ?" asked Adam, looking in-
quisitively at him. "Allan Broome!" " And are ye
come to this sae sune. Ye hae been an apt scho-
lar in Satan's schule ! Is thy poor father living ?"
*' No," replied the soldier gravely, " he died
two years ago."


Adam groaned. " Aye, aye, his gray hairs

brought in sorrow to the grave by " He stopt,

" and now Allan, your trade is to hunt out like
a blood-hound the persecuted servants of your
father's God."

" Rebels to the king, you old chip of sedition,"
called out the English soldier, seizing the bridle
of Adam's horse.

" Let him a-lone Tim," said Allan, extricating
Adam's horse from his comrade, and leading him
forward. " You may say what you will to me
Adam," said he, " but take care who you speak
before — and now I must go no farther with you,
but remember times are worse with your people
than ever." He then turned back to his compa-
nions, and Adam hastened after his master, who
by this time had passed through the village.

Colville quickened his horse's pace when the
v/ell known scenery of Torriswood came in
sight. The verdure in its beautifully diversified
grounds was now in the most vivid freshness.
The woods were partly in leaf, and partly still
only beginning to wear the appearance of spring.
On a nearer approach Colville observed that
many of the finest trees had lately been cut down,
and lay with their fresh young foliage on the
ground. On coming to the gate at which he
meant to enter, he found it open, and hanging


off its hinges. The road, which led through a
wood skirting the park, instead of being, as in
former days, smoothly gravelled, was full of deep
ruts, apparently made recently, and rough with
the trampling of horses. Numbers of fine trees
lay newly cut in the wood on each side of the
road. Two men approached with horses, drag-
ging the trunk of a large tree.

" Do you know why Mr. Osborne has been
cutting down so much wood ?" asked Colville.

" For a mulct. Sir," answered one of the
men. Colville knew that the fines levied at this
time were enormous, yet Torriswood must have
indeed suffered severely if his fortune could no
longer meet them.

After passing through this wood, a long straight
avenue led to the house. In this avenue were the
finest trees in the domain, and Colville was pleas-
ed to see that they were still untouched. The
gravelled road, however, which led in a straight
line through the middle of the avenue, direct to
the principal door of the mansion, was roughen-
ed by recent marks of the trampling of horses,
and the smooth turf on either side trodden down
and disfigured.

On advancing nearer to the house, Colville
observed a female figure walking in front of it,
and occasionally stooping down over the flowers


which he remembered grew there. He alighted
from his horse, and leaving it with Adam, ap-
proached towards the figure. Two daughters of
his guardian had been the sweet playmates of his
earlier youth. He had left them little more than
children ; but now he knew he would find them
grown to womanhood. This female might be the
lady of Torriswood, and if so, he should rejoice
to see her ; but more probably it was one of the
daughters, and he felt rather a different emotion
in the expectation of meeting one of them. Flo-
rence, the eldest, had been his favourite when
they parted, but Olive promised, every one but
he had thought, to be the most lovely, and had
also been a most eno-ao-ino; youno; tiling.

Colville now perceived that it was not the lady
of Torriswood. The figure was young and light.
She wore a large silk scarf, put over her head,
and fastened under the chin. When she walked
she folded it around her, but in stooping over
the flowers, one arm and shoulder w^ere uncover-

Colville approached unperceived till within a
short distance of the lady. He stopped for an
instant. She again stooped to raise from the
ground some white lilies which seemed to have
been trodden down, as Colville now perceived all

the ground near the house had recently been, by



horses. Colville advanced another step or two ;
the young female started up, and looking round,
seemed at first to think of flight, but recollecting
herself, waited his approach, with an air of grace
and dignity. Colville advanced respectfully, but
one look was sufficient.

" Olive ! dear Olive ! Do you not know me ?"
Olive had scarcely ventured to look at the young
stranger, but now, on hearing a voice she felt as if
she knew, address her so warmly, she fixed her
eyes earnestly on him.

'' Philip Colville !" exclaimed she, welcoming
his warm salute with the affection of a sister,
" Hov/ changed 3^ou are ! I declare I did not at
first know you."

" And you, Olive, surely you are more chang-
ed, and yet I knew you instantly."

Olive turned blushing away from Colville's evi-
dently admiring looks of recognition.

Who is at home ? and where is this, and
where is that member of the family ? were eager-
ly asked by Colville, and answered by Olive, that
Torriswood himself was at home — Florence would
not leave her father, and Olive never separated
from Florence. Eric was the only brother at
home. Mrs. Osborne had been persuaded by her
husband to retire for a time to a distant part of
England with her two eldest, and two youngest
children ; '* For perhaps you do not know," con-


tinued Olive, " that matters are becoming every
day worse with our cause."

" I do know it, dear Olive, and I am come to
share in what is suffered for it."

" Our sufferings compared to those of some
others, have not as yet been great," said Olive,
" yet terror to us females is real suffering. My
father saw that my mother's health was quite un-
dermined by the constant state of apprehension
in which she lived, and prevailed on her to leave
us, provided my two elder brothers would ac-
company her. She was in constant dread that
their rashness would lead them into some fatal
mark of rebellion to the ruling party. Nothing,
however, but my father's positive command would
induce them to leave their country. Since they
went — indeed within the last week, the house has
been searched twice, while a troop of soldiers
surrounded it that no one might get out; and
you see what they have done," continued Olive,
casting a mournful look on the wrecks of her
shrubs and flowers.

" A few months will restore these to beauty,
Olive," said Colville, gently, " and in such a
cause the sacrifice of a few flowers ought not to
be regarded by us, who ought to make our
thoughts familiar even with the idea of martyr-


" Oh, you talk like Florence !" replied Olive,
" but she, too, looks mournful enough when she
sees the fine old trees marked out to be laid low."
" Where is your father and Florence now ?"
" Walked out to the Holm-wood to direct the
forester in marking more trees for the axe. Flo-
rence forces herself to do so, because she saySj
while her heart would withhold one, it is not truly
devoted to her master's cause. Besides, she ne-
ver leaves my father when she can be with him.'*
" Shall we go in search of them?"'
Olive consented, and they proceeded round the
house to the path which led to the Holm-wood.

" Why was the house searched ?" asked Col-
ville, as he observed the marks of horses feet all
around it.

" It was thought Mr. Wellwood was concealed
by us."

" And do you know any thing of him ?"
Olive smiled, and looking up in Colville's face,
and putting her's close to his ear, said in a whis-
per, " He was in the house both times it was
searched.'' She then looked round as if afraid
she had been heard.

On passing the court behind the house, the at-
tention of Colville and his companion were at-
tracted by a group of domestics and others, in


the midst of whom ^ood Adam- Yule. A lad to
whom he had given the horses, had led them
away a step or two, but now stood looking back,
apparently arrested by Adam's eloquence.

Adam was addressing an old man so exactly
the counterpart of himself, that the one might
have been taken for the ghost of the other, at least
Adam miojht hiive been taken for the cfhost of his
friend ; for the other old man's complexion was
still fresh and ruddy, while Adam's was so pale
as to justify the soldier's appellation of ' death's
head.' His friend was, however, equally tall and
spare, and similar thin curls of gray hair, sepa-
rated by his hat behind, fell on the tight neck of
his coat on either side.

When Colville came in sight, exclamations of
joy and welcome proceeded from the group, and
several of the elder domestics respectfully ad-
vanced on seeing Colville stop to answer their

" How goes it with you, Gilbert Scougal ?"
asked Colville, cordially shaking hands with
Adam's old counterpart.

" Wearin' on. Sir, to my lang hame."

" Indeed, Gilbert, I see little change on you
since we parted."

The old man smiled ; " I canna say that o'
you Sir. Its wonderful what travelling does to


gie a noble presence. I wadna hae thought it
easy, Mr. Philip, to mak your's mair sae than it

Colville reddened, and Olive laughed.

" Where shall we find your master, Gilbert,"
asked Colville.

" In the Holm-wood, Sir,'*" replied the old
man, an expression of melancholy taking imme-
diate possession of his countenance.

" You and I must have some conversation soon,
Gilbert," said Colville, kindly. He then noticed
some of the other people, while Olive, with equal
kindness, recognised Adam Yule, who had stolen
near to reconnoitre whether this fine young lady
could be one of the pretty children he had left
six years before. Colville and she then proceed-
ed to the wood.

As they passed along, they observed several
beautiful trees, in the barks of which the forest-
er had made small marks with his hatchet.

" You have not yet told me for why this fine
is to be levied, dear Olive," said Colville, " did
they discover Mr. Wellwood ?"

" Oh no, but my father went to hear him
preach in the fields. One large fine is in conse-
quence of that. There are other fines for ab-
sence from the parish church, into which my fa-


ther has never entered since Mr. Wellwood was
turned out of it."

" How Ions: affo is that ?"

" More than six months. You know Mr.
Wellwood is a mild character, and his love of
peace long preserved him from that persecution
to which many others were exposed ; and then
his anxiety to remain among his people induced
him to accept permission to do so on those con-
ditions which were called indulgencies. My
father never approved of his doing so, because it
appeared to him in some degree abandoning the
principles of the covenant. Still, however, my
father continued to attend at his church, because
he thought his motives Christian ; but it was re-
marked that poor Mr. Wellwood never preached
so powerfully after so far yielding. He seemed
languid and depressed. At last what my father
had foreseen took place. New tests and new acts
were proposed, with which it was impossible for
Mr. W^ellwood to comply, and the indulgencies
were proved to be mere pretexts, to get rid more
plausibly of the Presbyterian clergy. At last
Mr. Wellwood refused to go any farther, and
was displaced, and commanded not to preach.
Another indulged minister occupied his pulpit

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Online LibraryGrace KennedyPhilip Colville : or, a covenanter's story → online text (page 1 of 14)