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and nobles, things had not come to this pass. Ye can do nothing
more in England, and for myself I have resolved to go to France,
for if I stayed here I would be a prisoner, and there is but a
short road between the prison and the graves of Kings. To you," he
said to Balcarres, "I leave the charge of civil affairs in
Scotland," and, then turning to me, "You, Lord Dundee, who ought
before to have had this place, but I was ill-advised, shall be
commander of the troops in Scotland. Do for your King what God
gives you to do, and he pledges his word to aid you by all means
in his power, and in the day of victory to reward you." We knelt
and kissed his hand, and so for the time, heaven grant it be not
forever, bade goodbye to our Sovereign. As I walked down the Mall
I saw a face I seemed to know, and the man, whoever he was, made a
sign that he would speak with me. I turned aside and found to my
amazement that the stranger, who was not in uniform, and did not
court observation, was Captain Carlton, who served with me in the
Prince's army and of whom ye may have heard me speak. A good
soldier and a fair-minded gentleman, tho' of another way of
thinking from me. After a brief salutation he told me that the
Prince was already in London and had taken up his quarters at Zion

"Then," said I to him, "it availeth nothing for some of us to
remain in London, it were better that we should leave quickly."
"It might or it might not be," he replied, being a man of few and
careful words, "but before you go there is a certain person who
desires to have a word with you. If it be not too much toil will
you lay aside your military dress, and come with me this evening
as a private gentleman to Zion House?" Then I knew that he had
come from the Prince, and altho' much tossed in my mind as to what
was right to do, I consented, and ye will be astonished, Jean, to
hear what happened.

There was none present at my audience, and I contented myself with
bowing when I entered his presence, for your husband is not made
to kiss the hands of one king in the morning and of another in the
evening of the same day. The Prince, for so I may justly call him,
expected none otherwise, and, according to his custom - I have
often spoken of his silence - said at once, "My lord," for he knows
everything as is his wont, "it has happened as I prophesied, you
are on one side and I am on another, and you have been a faithful
servant to your master, as I told him you would be. If it had been
in your power, I had not come so easily to this place, for the
council you gave to the King has been told to me. All that man can
do, ye have done, and now you may, like other officers, take
service in the army under my command." Whereupon I told the Prince
that our house had never changed sides, and he would excuse me
setting the example. He seemed prepared for this answer, and then
he said, "You purpose, my lord, to return to Scotland, and I shall
not prevent you, but I ask that ye stir not up useless strife and
shed blood in vain, for the end is certain." I will not deny,
Jean, that I was moved by his words, for he is a strong man, and
has men of the same kind with him. So far I went as to say that
if duty did not compell me I would not trouble the land. More I
could not promise, and I reckon there is not much in that promise,
for I will never see the Prince of Orange made King of Scotland
with my sword in its sheath. If there be any other way out of it,
I have no wish to set every man's hand against his neighbour's in
Scotland. He bowed to me and I knew that the audience was over,
and when I left Zion House, my heart was sore that my King was not
as wise and resolute as this foreign Prince. The second sight has
been given to me to-day, and, dear heart, I see the shroud rising
till it reaches the face, but whose face I cannot see. What I have
to do, I cannot see either, but in a few days I shall be in
Edinburgh, with as many of my horse as I can bring. If peace be
consistent with honor then ye will see me soon in Dudhope for
another honeymoon, but if it is to be war my lot is cast, and,
while my hand can hold it, my sword belongs to the King. But my
heart, sweet love, is thine till it ceases to beat.

Yours always and altogether,




Early springtime is cruel on the east coast of Scotland, and it was a
bitter morning in March when Dundee took another of his many farewells
before he left his wife to attend the Convention at Edinburgh. It was
only a month since he had come down from London, disheartened for the
moment by the treachery of Royalists and the timidity of James, and he
had found relief in administrating municipal affairs as Provost of
Dundee. If it had been possible in consistence with his loyalty to the
Jacobite cause, and the commission he had received from James, Dundee
would have gladly withdrawn from public life and lived quietly with
his wife. He was an ambitious man, and of stirring spirit, but none
knew better the weakness of his party, and no one on his side had been
more shamefully treated. It had been his lot to leave his bride on
their marriage day, and now it would be harder to leave her at a time
when every husband desires to be near his wife. But the summons to be
present at the Convention had come, and its business was to decide who
should be King of Scotland, for though William had succeeded to the
throne of England, James still reigned in law over the northern
kingdom. Dundee could not be absent at the deposition of his king and
the virtual close of the Stuart dynasty. As usual he would be one of a
beaten party, or perhaps might stand alone; it was not his friends but
his enemies who were calling him to Edinburgh, and the chances were
that the hillmen would settle their account with him by assassination.
His judgment told him that his presence in Edinburgh would be
fruitless, and his heart held him to his home. Yet day after day he
put off his going. It was now the thirteenth of March, and to-morrow
the Convention would meet, and if he were to go he must go quickly. He
had been tossed in mind and troubled in heart, but the instinct of
obedience to duty which Graham had obeyed through good report and
evil, without reserve, and without scruple, till he had done not only
the things he ought to have done, but many things also which he ought
not to have done, finally triumphed. He had told Jean that morning
that he must leave. His little escort of troopers were saddling their
horses, and in half an hour they would be on the road, the dreary,
hopeless road it was his fate to be ever travelling. Jean and he were
saying their last words before this new adventure, for they both knew
that every departure might be the final parting. They were standing at
the door, and nothing could be grayer than their outlook. For a haar
had come up from the sea, as is common on the east coast, and the cold
and dripping mist blotted out the seascape; it hid the town of Dundee,
which lay below Dudhope, and enveloped the castle in its cold
garments, like a shroud, and chilled Graham and his wife to the very

"Ye will acknowledge, John, that I have never hindered you when the
call came." As she spoke Jean took his flowing hair in her hand, and
he had never seen her so gentle before, for indeed she could not be
called a soft or tender woman.

"Ye told me what would be the way of life for us, and it has been what
ye said, and I have not complained. But this day I wish to God that ye
could have stayed, for when my hour comes, and it is not far off, ye
ken I will miss you sairly. Other women have their mothers with them
in that strait, but for me there is none; naebody but strangers. If
ony evil befall thee, John, it will go ill with me, and I have in my
keeping the hope of your house. Can ye no bide quietly here with me
and let them that have the power do as they will in Edinburgh? No man
of your own party has ever thanked you for anything ye did, and if my
mother's people do their will by you, I shall surely die and the child
with me. And that will be the end of the House of Dundee. Must ye go
and leave me?" And now her arm was round him, and with the other hand
she caressed his face, while her warm bosom pressed against his cold,
hard cuirass.

"Queensberry, for the liar he always was, said ye would be my Delilah,
Jean, but that I knew was not in you," said Dundee, smiling sadly and
stroking the proud head, which he had never seen bowed before.

"You are, I believe in my soul, the bravest woman in Scotland, and I
wish to God the men on our side had only had the heart of my Lady
Dundee. With a hundred men and your spirit in them, Jean, we had
driven William of Orange into the sea, or, at the worst, we should
certainly save Scotland for the king. Well and bravely have ye stood
by me since our marriage day, and if I had ever consulted my own
safety or sought after private ends, I believe ye would have been the
first to cry shame upon me. Surely ye have been a true soldier's wife,
and ye are the same this morning, and braver even than on our wedding

"Do not make little of yourself, Jean, because your heart is sore and
ye canna keep back the tears. It is not given to a man to understand
what a woman feels in your place but I am trying to imagine, and my
love is suffering with you, sweetheart. I do pity you, and I could
weep with you, but tears are strange to my eyes - God made me soft
without and hard within - and I have a better medicine to help you than
pity." Still he was caressing her, but she felt his body straightening
within the armor.

"When ye prophesy that the fanatics of the west will be at me in
Edinburgh, I suspect ye are right, but I pray you not to trouble
yourself overmuch. They have shot at me before with leaden bullets and
with silver, trying me first as a man and next as a devil, but no
bullet touched me, and now if they fall back upon the steel there are
two or three trusty lads with me who can use the sword fairly well,
and though your husband be not a large man, Jean, none has had the
better of him when it came to sword-play. So cheer up, lass, for I may
fall some day, but it will not be at the hands of a skulking
Covenanter in a street brawl.

"But if this should come to pass, Jean - and the future is known only
to God - then I beseech you that ye be worthy of yourself, and show
them that ye are my Lady Dundee. If I fall, then ye must live, and
take good care that the unborn child shall live, too, and if he be a
boy - as I am sure he will be - then ye have your life-work. Train him
up in the good faith and in loyalty to the king; tell him how Montrose
fought for the good cause and died for it, and how his own father
followed in the steps of the Marquis. Train him for the best life a
man can live and make him a soldier, and lay upon him from his youth
that ye will not die till he has avenged his father's murder. That
will be worthy of your blood and your rank, aye, and the love which
has been between us, Jean Cochrane and John Graham."

She held him in her arms till the very breastplate was warm, and she
kissed him twice upon the lips. Then she raised herself to her full
height - and she was as tall as Graham - and looking proudly at him, she

"Ye have put strength into me, as if the iron which covers your breast
had passed into my blood. Ye go to-day with my full will to serve the
king, and God protect and prosper you, my husband and my Lord

For a space the heat of Jean's high courage cheered her husband's
heart, but as the day wore on, and hour by hour he rode through the
cold gray mist which covered Fife, the temperature of his heart began
to correspond with the atmosphere. While Dundee had always carried
himself bravely before men, and had kept his misgivings to himself,
and seemed the most indifferent of gay Cavaliers, he had really been a
modest and diffident man. From the first he had had grave fears of the
success of his cause, and more than doubts about the loyalty of his
comrades. He was quite prepared not only for desperate effort, but for
final defeat. No man could say he had embarked on the royal service
from worldly ends, and now, if he had been a shrewd Lowland Scot, he
had surely consulted his safety and changed his side, as most of his
friends were doing. Graham did not do this for an imperative
reason - because he had been so made that he could not. There are
natures which are not consciously dishonest or treacherous, but which
are flexible and accommodating. They are open to the play of every
influence, and are sensitive to environment; they are loyal when
others are loyal, but if there be a change in spirit round them they
immediately correspond, and they do so not from any selfish
calculation, but merely through a quick adaptation to environment.
People of this kind find themselves by an instinct on the winning
side, but they would be mightily offended if they were charged with
being opportunists. They are at each moment thoroughly convinced of
their integrity, and are ever on the side which commends itself to
their judgment; if it happens to be the side on which the sun is
shining, that is a felicitous accident. There are other natures,
narrower possibly and more intractable, whose chief quality is a
thoroughgoing and masterful devotion, perhaps to a person, perhaps to
a cause. Once this devotion is given, it can never be changed by any
circumstance except the last and most inexcusable treachery, and then
it will be apt to turn into a madness of hatred which nothing will
appease. There is no optimism in this character, very often a
clear-sighted and painful acceptance of facts; faults are distinctly
seen and difficulties are estimated at their full strength, sacrifice
is discounted, and defeat is accepted. But the die is cast, and for
weal or woe - most likely woe - they must go on their way and fight the
fight to the end. This was the mould in which Dundee was cast, the
heir of shattered hopes, and the descendant of broken men, the servant
of a discredited and condemned cause. He faced the reality, and knew
that he had only one chance out of a hundred of success; but it never
entered his mind to yield to circumstances and accept the new
situation. There was indeed a moment when he would have been willing,
not to change his service, but to sheathe his sword and stand apart.
That moment was over, and now he had bidden his wife good-by and was
riding through the cold gray mist to do his weary, hopeless best for
an obstinate, foolish, impracticable king, and to put some heart, if
it were possible, into a dwindling handful of unprincipled,
self-seeking, double-minded men. The day was full of omens, and they
were all against him. Twice a hare ran across the road, and Grimond
muttered to himself as he rode behind his master, "The ill-faured
beast." As they passed through Glenfarg, a raven followed them for a
mile, croaking weirdly. A trooper's horse stumbled and fell, and the
man had to be left behind, insensible. When they halted for an hour
at Kinross it spread among the people who they were, and they were
watched by hard, unsympathetic faces. The innkeeper gave them what
they needed, but with ill grace, and it was clear that only fear of
Dundee prevented him refusing food both to man and beast. When they
left a crowd had gathered, and as they rode out from the village a
voice cried: "Woe unto the man of blood - a double woe! He goeth, but
he shall not return, his doom is fixed." An approving murmur from the
hearers showed what the Scots folk thought of John Graham. Grimond
would fain have turned and answered this Jeremiah and his chorus with
a touch of the sword, but his commander forbade him sharply. "We have
other men to deal with," he said to Grimond, "than country fanatics,
and our work is before us in Edinburgh." But he would not have been a
Scot if he had been indifferent to signs, and this raven-croak the
whole day long rang in his heart. The sun struggled for a little
through the mist, and across Loch Leven they saw on its island the
prison-house of Mary. "Grimond," said Graham, "there is where they
kept her, and by this road she went out on her last hopeless ride, and
we follow her, Jock. But not to a prison, ye may stake your soul on
that. It was enough that one Graham should die upon a scaffold. The
next will die in the open field."

It was late when they reached Edinburgh, and a murky night when they
rode up Leith Wynd; the tall houses of Edinburgh hung over them; the
few lights struggled against the thick, enveloping air. Figures came
out of one dark passage, and disappeared into another. A body of
Highlanders, in the Campbell tartan, for a moment blocked the way.
Twice they were cursed by unknown voices, and when Claverhouse reached
his lodging someone called out his name, and added: "The day of
vengeance is at hand. The blood of John Brown crieth from the altar!"
And Grimond kept four troopers on guard all night.

The next night Claverhouse and Balcarres were closeted together, the
only men left to consult for the royal cause, and both knew what was
going to be the issue.

"There is no use blinding our eyes, Balcarres," said Graham, "or
feeding our hearts with vain hopes, the Convention is for the Prince
of Orange, and is done with King James. The men who kissed his hand
yesterday, when he was in power, and would have licked his feet if
that had got them place and power, will be the first to cast him
forth and cry huzza for the new king. There is a black taint in the
Scots blood, and there always have been men in high position to sell
their country. The lords of the congregation were English traitors in
Mary's day, and on them as much as that wanton Elizabeth lay her
blood. It was a Scots army sold Charles I to the Roundheads, and it
would have been mair decent to have beheaded him at Edinburgh. And now
they will take the ancient throne of auld Scotland and hand it over,
without a stroke, to a cold-blooded foreigner who has taught his wife
to turn her hand against her own father. God's ban is upon the land,
Balcarres, for one party of us be raging fanatics, and the other party
be false-hearted cowards. Lord, if we could set the one against the
other, Argyle's Highlanders against the West Country Whigs, it were a
bonnie piece of work, and if they fought till death the country were
well rid o' baith, for I know not whether I hate mair bitterly a
Covenanter or a Campbell. But it would set us better, Balcarres, to
keep our breath to cool oor ain porridge. What is this I hear, that
Athole is playing the knave, and that Gordon cannot be trusted to keep
the castle? Has the day come upon us that the best names in Scotland
are to be dragged in the mire? I sairly doot that for the time the
throne is lost to the auld line, but if it is to be sold by the best
blood of Scotland, then I wish their silver bullet had found John
Graham's heart at Drumclog."

"Ye maunna deal ower hardly with Athole, Dundee, for I will not say he
isna true. His son, mind you, is on the other side, and Athole himself
is a man broken in body. These be trying times, and it is not every
ane has your heart. It may be that Athole and other men judge that
everything has been done that can, and that a heavy burden o' guilt
will rest on ony man that spills blood without reason. Mind you," went
on Balcarres hastily, as he saw the black gloom gathering on Dundee's
face, "I say not that is my way of it, for I am with you while ony
hope remains, but we maun do justice."

"Justice!" broke in Claverhouse, irritated beyond control by
Balcarres's apologies and his hint of compromise. "If I had my way of
it, every time-serving trickster in the land would have justice - a
rope round his neck and a long drop, for a bullet would be too
honorable a death. But let Athole pass. He was once a loyal man, and
there may be reason in what ye say. I have never known sickness
myself, and doubtless it weakens even strong men. But what is this I
hear of Gordon? Is it a lie that he is trafficking with Hamilton and
the Whig lords to surrender the castle? If so, he is the most damnable
traitor of them all, and will have his place with Judas Iscariot."

"Na, na, Dundee, nae Gordon has ever been false, though I judge maist
o' them, since Mary's day, have been foolish. Concerning the castle,
this is how the matter stands, and I pray you to hear me patiently and
not to fly out till I have finished."

"For God's sake, speak out and speak on, and dinna sit watching me as
if you were terrified for your life, and dinna pick your words, like a
double-dealing, white-blooded Whig lawyer, or I will begin to think
that the leprosy of cowardice has reached the Lindsays."

"Weel, Dundee" - but Balcarres was still very careful with his word - "I
have reason to believe, and, in fact, I may as well say I know, that
there have been some goings and comings between Gordon and the Lords
of Convention. I will not say that Gordon isna true to the king, and
that he would not hold the castle if it would help the cause. But I am
judging that he isna minded to be left alone and keep Edinburgh
Castle for King James if all Scotland is for King William." And
Balcarres, plucking up courage in the face of his fierce companion,
added: "I will not say, Dundee, that the duke is wrong. What use would
it be if he did? But mind you," went on Balcarres hastily, "he hasna
promised to surrender his trust. He is just waiting to see what

"Which they have all been doing, every woman's son of them, instead of
minding their duty whatever happens; but I grant there's no use
raging, we maun make our plans. What does Gordon want if he's holding
his hand? Out with it, Balcarres, for I see from your face ye ken."

"If the duke," replied Balcarres, "had ony guarantee that a fight
would be made for the auld line in Scotland, and that he would not be
left alane, like a sparrow upon the housetop in Edinburgh Castle, I
make certain he would stand fast; but if the royal standard is to be
seen nowhere else except on one keep - strong though that be - the duke
will come to terms wi' the Convention. There ye have the situation,
mak' o' it what ye will."

"By God, Balcarres, if that be true, and I jalouse that ye are richt,
Gordon will get his assurance this very nicht. It's a fair and just
pledge he asks, and I know the man who'll give it to him. Edinburgh
will no be the only place in the land where the good standard flies
before many days are passed. Man! Balcarres, this is good news ye have
brought, and I am glad to ken that there is still red blood in
Gordon's heart. I'm thinking ye've had your own communings wi' the
duke, and that ye ken the by-roads to the castle. Settle it that he
and I can meet this very nicht, and if need be I'll be ready to leave
the morrow's morning. Aye, Balcarres, if the duke holds the fastness,
I'll look after the open country." And before daybreak there was a
meeting between the Gordon and the Graham. They exchanged pledges,
each to do his part, but both of them knew an almost hopeless part,
for the king. Many a forlorn hope had their houses led, and this would
be only one more.

While his master had been re√Ђnforcing the duke's determination and
giving pledges of thoroughness, Grimond had been doing his part to
secure Dundee's safety in the seat of his enemies. Edinburgh was
swarming with West Country Whigs, whose day of victory had come, and
who had hurried to the capital that they might make the most of it. No
one could blame them for their exultation, least of all Claverhouse.
They had been hunted like wild beasts, they had been scattered when
worshipping God according to the fashion of their fathers, they had
been shot down without a trial, they had been shut up in noisome
prisons - and all this because they would not submit to the most
corrupt government ever known in Scotland, and that most intolerable
kind of tyranny which tries, not only to coerce a man as a citizen,
but also as a Christian. They had many persecutors, but, on the whole,
the most active had been Graham, and it was Graham they hated most. It
is his name rather than that of Dalzell or Lauderdale which has been
passed with execration from mouth to mouth and from generation to
generation in Scotland. The tyrant James had fled, like the coward he
was, and God's deliverer had come - a man of their own faith - in

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Online LibraryIan MaclarenGraham of Claverhouse → online text (page 10 of 16)