“No; my name is Francis.”

“But you know Rashleigh Osbaldistone?” she continued. “He is your brother, if I mistake not, at least your kinsman and near friend.”

“He is my kinsman,” I replied, “but not my friend. We were lately engaged together in a rencontre, when we were separated by a person whom I understand to be your husband. My blood is hardly yet dried on his sword, and the wound on my side is yet green. I have little reason to acknowledge him as a friend.”

“Then,” she replied, “if a stranger to his intrigues, you can go in safety to Garschattachin and his party, without fear of being detained, and carry them a message from the wife of the MacGregor?”

I answered, “That I knew no reasonable cause why the militia gentlemen should detain me; that I had no reason, on my own account, to fear being in their hands; and that if my going on her embassy would act as a protection to my friend and servant, who were her prisoners, I was ready to set out directly.” I took the opportunity to say, “That I had come into this country on her husband’s invitation, and his assurance that he would aid me in some important matters in which I was interested; that my companion, Mr. Jarvie, had accompanied me on the same errand.”

“And I wish Mr. Jarvie’s boots had been fu’ o’ boiling water when he drew them on for sic a purpose,” interrupted the Bailie.

“You may read your father,” said Helen MacGregor, turning to her sons, “in what this young Saxon tells us—Wise only when the bonnet is on his head, and the sword is in his hand, he never exchanges the tartan for the broadcloth, but he runs himself into the miserable intrigues of the Lowlanders, and becomes again, after all he has suffered, their agent—their tool—their slave.”

“Add, madam,” said I, “and their benefactor.”

“Be it so,” she said; “for it is the most empty title of them all, since he has uniformly sown benefits to reap a harvest of the most foul ingratitude.—But enough of this.—I shall cause you to be guided to the enemy’s outposts—ask for their commander, and deliver him this message from me, Helen MacGregor;—that if they injure a hair of MacGregor’s head, and if they do not set him at liberty within the space of twelve hours, there is not a lady in the Lennox but shall before Christmas cry the coronach for them she will be loath to lose,—there is not a farmer but shall sing well-a-wa over a burnt barnyard and an empty byre,—there is not a laird nor heritor shall lay his head on the pillow at night with the assurance of being a live man in the morning,—and, to begin as we are to end, so soon as the term is expired, I will send them this Glasgow Bailie, and this Saxon Captain, and all the rest of my prisoners, each bundled in a plaid, and chopped into as many pieces as there are checks in the tartan.”

As she paused in her denunciation, Captain Thornton, who was within hearing, added with great coolness, “Present my compliments—Captain Thornton’s of the Royals, compliments—to the commanding officer, and tell him to do his duty and secure his prisoner, and not waste a thought upon me. If I have been fool enough to have been led into an ambuscade by these artful savages, I am wise enough to know how to die for it without disgracing the service. I am only sorry for my poor fellows,” he said, “that have fallen into such butcherly hands.”

“Whisht! whisht!” exclaimed the Bailie; “are ye weary o’ your life?—Ye’ll gie my service to the commanding officer, Mr. Osbaldistone—Bailie Nicol Jarvie’s service, a magistrate o’ Glasgow, as his father the deacon was before him—and tell him, here are a wheen honest men in great trouble, and like to come to mair; and the best thing he can do for the common good, will be just to let Rob come his wa’s up the glen, and nae mair about it—There’s been some ill dune here already, but as it has lighted chiefly on the gauger, it winna be muckle worth making a stir about.”

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