Grizel Cochrane

A Tale of Tweedmouth Muir

When the tyranny and bigotry of the last James drove his subjects to take up arms against him, one of the most formidable enemies to his dangerous usurpations was Sir John Cochrane, ancestor of the present Earl of Dundonald. He was one of the most prominent actors in Argyle’s rebellion, and for ages a destructive doom seemed to have hung over the house of Campbell, enveloping in a common ruin all who united their fortunes to the cause of its chieftains. The same doom encompassed Sir John Cochrane. He was surrounded by the king’s troops—long, deadly, and desperate was his resistance, but at length, overpowered by numbers, he was taken prisoner; tried, and condemned to die upon the scaffold. He had but a few days to live, and his jailer waited but the arrival of his death-warrant to lead him forth to execution. His family and his friends had visited him in prison, and exchanged with him the last, the long, the heart-yearning farewell. But there was one who came not with the rest to receive his blessing—one who was the pride of his eyes, and of his house—even Grizel, the daughter of his love. Twilight was casting a deeper gloom over the gratings of his prison-house, he was mourning for a last look of his favourite child, and his head was pressed against the cold damp walls of his cell, to cool the feverish pulsations that shot through it like stings of fire, when the door of his apartment turned slowly on its unwilling hinges, and his keeper entered, followed by a young and beautiful lady. Her person was tall and commanding, her eyes dark, bright, and tearless; but their very brightness spoke of sorrow—of sorrow too deep to be wept away; and her raven tresses were parted over an open brow, clear and pure as the polished marble. The unhappy captive raised his head as they entered—’

“My child! my own Grizel!” he exclaimed, and she fell upon his bosom.

“My father! my dear father!” sobbed the miserable maiden, and she dashed away the tear that accompanied the words.

“Your interview must be short—very short,” said the jailer, as he turned and left them for a few minutes together.

“God help and comfort thee, my daughter!” added the unhappy father, as he held her to his breast, and printed a kiss upon her brow. “I had feared that I should die without bestowing my blessing on the head of my own child, and that stung me more than death. But thou art come, my love—thou art come! and the last blessing of thy wretched father—”

“Nay! forbear! forbear!” she exclaimed; “not thy last blessing!—not thy last! My father shall not die!”

“Be calm! be calm, my child!” returned he; “would to Heaven that I could comfort thee!—my own! my own! But there is no hope—w ithin three days, and thou and all my little ones will be—”

Fatherless—he would have said, but the words died on his tongue.

“Three days!” repeated she, raising her head from his breast, but eagerly pressing his hand—“three days!” Then there is hope—my father shall live! Is not my grandfather the friend of Father Petre, the confessor and the master of the king? From him he shall beg the life of his son, and my father shall not die.”

“Nay! nay, my Grizel,” returned he; “be not deceived—there is no hope—already my doom is sealed—already the king has signed the order for my execution, and the messenger of death is now on the way.”

“Yet my father shall not!—shall not die!” she repeated, emphatically, and, clasping her hands together, “Heaven speed a daughter’s purpose!” she exclaimed; and, turning to her father, said, calmly—“We part now, but we shall meet again.”

“What would my child?” inquired he eagerly, gazing anxiously on her face.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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