Chapter 37

“Come ye hither, my ‘six’ good sons,
    Gallant men I trow ye be,
How many of you, my children dear,
    Will stand by that good Earl and me?”
“ ‘Five’ of them did answer make—
    ‘Five’ of them spoke hastily,
‘O father, till the day we die,
    We’ll stand by that good Earl and thee.’ ”

The Rising in the North

On the morning when we were to depart from Glasgow, Andrew Fairservice bounced into my apartment like a madman, jumping up and down, and singing, with more vehe mence than tune,

“The kiln’s on fire—the kiln’s on fire—
The kiln’s on fire—she’s a’ in a lowe.”

With some difficulty I prevailed on him to cease his confounded clamour, and explain to me what the matter was. He was pleased to inform me, as if he had been bringing the finest news imaginable, “that the Hielands were clean broken out every man o’ them, and that Rob Roy, and a’ his breekless bands, wad be down upon Glasgow, or twenty-four hours o’ the clock gaed round.”

“Hold your tongue,” said I, “you rascal! You must be drunk or mad; and if there is any truth in your news, is it a singing matter, you scoundrel?”

“Drunk or mad? nae doubt,” replied Andrew, dauntlessly; “ane’s aye drunk or mad if he tells what grit folks dinna like to hear—Sing? odd, the clans will make us sing on the wrang side o’ our mouth, if we are sae drunk or mad as to bide their coming.”

I rose in great haste, and found my father and Owen also on foot, and in considerable alarm.

Andrew’s news proved but too true in the main. The great rebellion which agitated Britain in the year 1715 had already broken out, by the unfortunate Earl of Mar’s setting up the standard of the Stewart family in an ill-omened hour, to the ruin of many honourable families, both in England and Scotland. The treachery of some of the Jacobite agents (Rashleigh among the rest), and the arrest of others, had made George the First’s government acquainted with the extensive ramifications of a conspiracy long prepared, and which at last exploded prematurely, and in a part of the kingdom too distant to have any vital effect upon the country, which, however, was plunged into much confusion.

This great public event served to confirm and elucidate the obscure explanations I had received from MacGregor; and I could easily see why the westland clans, who were brought against him, should have waived their private quarrel, in consideration that they were all shortly to be engaged in the same public cause. It was a more melancholy reflection to my mind, that Diana Vernon was the wife of one of those who were most active in turning the world upside down, and that she was herself exposed to all the privations and perils of her husband’s hazardous trade.

We held an immediate consultation on the measures we were to adopt in this crisis, and acquiesced in my father’s plan, that we should instantly get the necessary passports, and make the best of our way to London. I acquainted my father with my wish to offer my personal service to the government in any volunteer corps, several being already spoken of. He readily acquiesced in my proposal; for, though he disliked war as a profession, yet upon principle, no man would have exposed his life more willingly in defence of civil and religious liberty.

We travelled in haste and in peril through Dumfriesshire and the neighbouring counties of England. In this quarter, gentlemen of the Tory interest were already in motion mustering men and horses, while the Whigs assembled themselves in the principal towns, armed the inhabitants, and prepared for civil war. We narrowly escaped being stopped on more occasions than one, and were often compelled to take circuitous routes to avoid the points where forces were assembling.

When we reached London, we immediately associated with those bankers and eminent merchants who agreed to support the credit of government, and to meet that run upon the funds, on which the conspirators had greatly founded their hopes of furthering their undertaking, by rendering the government, as it were,

  By PanEris using Melati.

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