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Chapter 14

"Woe to the vanquished!" was stern Brenno's word,
When sunk proud Rome beneath the Gallic sword--
"Woe to the vanquished!" when his massive blade
Bore down the scale against her ransom weigh'd;
And on the field of foughten battle still,
Woe knows no limits save the victor's will.
The Gaulliad.

I anxiously endeavoured to distinguish Dougal among the victors. I had
little doubt that the part he had played was assumed, on purpose to lead
the English officer into the defile, and I could not help admiring the
address with which the ignorant, and apparently half-brutal savage, had
veiled his purpose, and the affected reluctance with which he had
suffered to be extracted from him the false information which it must
have been his purpose from the beginning to communicate. I foresaw we
should incur some danger on approaching the victors in the first flush of
their success, which was not unstained with cruelty; for one or two of
the soldiers, whose wounds prevented them from rising, were poniarded by
the victors, or rather by some ragged Highland boys who had mingled with
them. I concluded, therefore, it would be unsafe to present ourselves
without some mediator; and as Campbell, whom I now could not but identify
with the celebrated freebooter Rob Roy, was nowhere to be seen, I
resolved to claim the protection of his emissary, Dougal.

After gazing everywhere in vain, I at length retraced my steps to see
what assistance I could individually render to my unlucky friend, when,
to my great joy, I saw Mr. Jarvie delivered from his state of suspense;
and though very black in the face, and much deranged in the garments,
safely seated beneath the rock, in front of which he had been so lately
suspended. I hastened to join him and offer my congratulations, which he
was at first far from receiving in the spirit of cordiality with which
they were offered. A heavy fit of coughing scarce permitted him breath
enough to express the broken hints which he threw out against my
sincerity.

"Uh! uh! uh! uh!--they say a friend--uh! uh!--a friend sticketh closer
than a brither--uh! uh! uh! When I came up here, Maister Osbaldistone, to
this country, cursed of God and man--uh! uh--Heaven forgie me for
swearing--on nae man's errand but yours, d'ye think it was fair--uh! uh!
uh!--to leave me, first, to be shot or drowned atween red-wad Highlanders
and red-coats; and next to be hung up between heaven and earth, like an
auld potato-bogle, without sae muckle as trying--uh! uh!--sae muckle as
trying to relieve me?"

I made a thousand apologies, and laboured so hard to represent the
impossibility of my affording him relief by my own unassisted exertions,
that at length I succeeded, and the Bailie, who was as placable as hasty
in his temper, extended his favour to me once more. I next took the
liberty of asking him how he had contrived to extricate himself.

"Me extricate! I might hae hung there till the day of judgment or I could
hae helped mysell, wi' my head hinging down on the tae side, and my heels
on the tother, like the yarn-scales in the weigh-house. It was the
creature Dougal that extricated me, as he did yestreen; he cuttit aff the
tails o' my coat wi' his durk, and another gillie and him set me on my
legs as cleverly as if I had never been aff them. But to see what a thing
gude braid claith is! Had I been in ony o' your rotten French camlets
now, or your drab-de-berries, it would hae screeded like an auld rag wi'
sic a weight as mine. But fair fa' the weaver that wrought the weft
o't--I swung and bobbit yonder as safe as a gabbart* that's moored by a
three-ply cable at the Broomielaw."

* A kind of lighter used in the river Clyde,--probably from the French *
_abare._

I now inquired what had become of his preserver.

"The creature," so he continued to call the Highlandman, "contrived to
let me ken there wad be danger in gaun near the leddy till he came back,
and bade me stay here. I am o' the mind," he continued, "that he's
seeking after you--it's a considerate creature--and troth, I wad swear he
was right about the leddy, as he ca's her, too--Helen Campbell was nane
o' the maist douce maidens, nor meekest wives neither, and folk say that
Rob himsell stands in awe o' her. I doubt she winna ken me, for it's mony
years since we met--I am clear for waiting for the Dougal creature or we
gang near her."

I signified my acquiescence in this reasoning; but it was not the will of
fate that day that the Bailie's prudence should profit himself or any one
else.

Andrew Fairservice, though he had ceased to caper on the pinnacle upon
the cessation of the firing, which had given occasion for his whimsical
exercise, continued, as perched on the top of an exposed cliff, too
conspicuous an object to escape the sharp eyes of the Highlanders, when
they had time to look a little around them. We were apprized he was
discovered, by a wild and loud halloo set up among the assembled victors,
three or four of whom instantly plunged into the copsewood, and ascended
the rocky side of the hill in different directions towards the place
where they had discovered this whimsical apparition.

Those who arrived first within gunshot of poor Andrew, did not trouble
themselves to offer him any assistance in the ticklish posture of his
affairs, but levelling their long Spanish-barrelled guns, gave him to
understand, by signs which admitted of no misconstruction, that he must
contrive to come down and submit himself to their mercy, or to be marked
at from beneath, like a regimental target set up for ball-practice. With
such a formidable hint for venturous exertion, Andrew Fairservice could
no longer hesitate; the more imminent peril overcame his sense of that
which seemed less inevitable, and he began to descend the cliff at all
risks, clutching to the ivy and oak stumps, and projecting fragments of
rock, with an almost feverish anxiety, and never failing, as
circumstances left him a hand at liberty, to extend it to the plaided
gentry below in an attitude of supplication, as if to deprecate the
discharge of their levelled firearms. In a word, the fellow, under the
influence of a counteracting motive for terror, achieved a safe descent
from his perilous eminence, which, I verily believe, nothing but the fear
of instant death could have moved him to attempt. The awkward mode of
Andrew's descent greatly amused the Highlanders below, who fired a shot
or two while he was engaged in it, without the purpose of injuring him,
as I believe, but merely to enhance the amusement they derived from his
extreme terror, and the superlative exertions of agility to which it
excited him.

At length he attained firm and comparatively level ground--or rather, to
speak more correctly, his foot slipping at the last point of descent, he
fell on the earth at his full length, and was raised by the assistance of
the Highlanders, who stood to receive him, and who, ere he gained his
legs, stripped him not only of the whole contents of his pockets, but of
periwig, hat, coat, doublet, stockings, and shoes, performing the feat
with such admirable celerity, that, although he fell on his back a
well-clothed and decent burgher-seeming serving-man, he arose a forked,
uncased, bald-pated, beggarly-looking scarecrow. Without respect to the
pain which his undefended toes experienced from the sharp encounter of
the rocks over which they hurried him, those who had detected Andrew
proceeded to drag him downward towards the road through all the
intervening obstacles.

In the course of their descent, Mr. Jarvie and I became exposed to their
lynx-eyed observation, and instantly half-a-dozen of armed Highlanders
thronged around us, with drawn dirks and swords pointed at our faces and
throats, and cocked pistols presented against our bodies. To have offered
resistance would have been madness, especially as we had no weapons
capable of supporting such a demonstration. We therefore submitted to our
fate; and with great roughness on the part of those who assisted at our
toilette, were in the act of being reduced to as unsophisticated a state
(to use King Lear's phrase) as the plume-less biped Andrew Fairservice,
who stood shivering between fear and cold at a few yards' distance. Good
chance, however, saved us from this extremity of wretchedness; for, just
as I had yielded up my cravat (a smart Steinkirk, by the way, and richly
laced), and the Bailie had been disrobed of the fragments of his
riding-coat--enter Dougal, and the scene was changed. By a high tone of
expostulation, mixed with oaths and threats, as far as I could conjecture
the tenor of his language from the violence of his gestures, he compelled
the plunderers, however reluctant, not only to give up their further
depredations on our property, but to restore the spoil they had already
appropriated. He snatched my cravat from the fellow who had seized it,
and twisted it (in the zeal of his restitution) around my neck with such
suffocating energy as made me think that he had not only been, during his
residence at Glasgow, a substitute of the jailor, but must moreover have
taken lessons as an apprentice of the hangman. He flung the tattered
remnants of Mr. Jarvie's coat around his shoulders, and as more
Highlanders began to flock towards us from the high road, he led the way
downwards, directing and commanding the others to afford us, but
particularly the Bailie, the assistance necessary to our descending with
comparative ease and safety. It was, however, in vain that Andrew
Fairservice employed his lungs in obsecrating a share of Dougal's
protection, or at least his interference to procure restoration of his
shoes.

"Na, na," said Dougal in reply, "she's nae gentle pody, I trow; her
petters hae ganged parefoot, or she's muckle mista'en." And, leaving
Andrew to follow at his leisure, or rather at such leisure as the
surrounding crowd were pleased to indulge him with, he hurried us down to
the pathway in which the skirmish had been fought, and hastened to
present us as additional captives to the female leader of his band.

We were dragged before her accordingly, Dougal fighting, struggling,
screaming, as if he were the party most apprehensive of hurt, and
repulsing, by threats and efforts, all those who attempted to take a
nearer interest in our capture than he seemed to do himself. At length we
were placed before the heroine of the day, whose appearance, as well as
those of the savage, uncouth, yet martial figures who surrounded us,
struck me, to own the truth, with considerable apprehension. I do not
know if Helen MacGregor had personally mingled in the fray, and indeed I
was afterwards given to understand the contrary; but the specks of blood
on her brow, her hands and naked arms, as well as on the blade of her
sword which she continued to hold in her hand--her flushed countenance,
and the disordered state of the raven locks which escaped from under the
red bonnet and plume that formed her head-dress, seemed all to intimate
that she had taken an immediate share in the conflict. Her keen black
eyes and features expressed an imagination inflamed by the pride of
gratified revenge, and the triumph of victory. Yet there was nothing
positively sanguinary, or cruel, in her deportment; and she reminded me,
when the immediate alarm of the interview was over, of some of the
paintings I had seen of the inspired heroines in the Catholic churches of
France. She was not, indeed, sufficiently beautiful for a Judith, nor had
she the inspired expression of features which painters have given to
Deborah, or to the wife of Heber the Kenite, at whose feet the strong
oppressor of Israel, who dwelled in Harosheth of the Gentiles, bowed
down, fell, and lay a dead man. Nevertheless, the enthusiasm by which she
was agitated gave her countenance and deportment, wildly dignified in
themselves, an air which made her approach nearly to the ideas of those
wonderful artists who gave to the eye the heroines of Scripture history.

I was uncertain in what terms to accost a personage so uncommon, when Mr.
Jarvie, breaking the ice with a preparatory cough (for the speed with
which he had been brought into her presence had again impeded his
respiration), addressed her as follows:--"Uh! uh! &c. &c. I am very happy
to have this _joyful_ opportunity" (a quaver in his voice strongly belied
the emphasis which he studiously laid on the word joyful)--"this joyful
occasion," he resumed, trying to give the adjective a more suitable
accentuation, "to wish my kinsman Robin's wife a very good morning--Uh!
uh!--How's a' wi' ye?" (by this time he had talked himself into his usual
jog-trot manner, which exhibited a mixture of familiarity and
self-importance)--"How's a' wi' ye this lang time? Ye'll hae forgotten
me, Mrs. MacGregor Campbell, as your cousin--uh! uh!--but ye'll mind my
father, Deacon Nicol Jarvie, in the Saut Market o' Glasgow?--an honest
man he was, and a sponsible, and respectit you and yours. Sae, as I said
before, I am right glad to see you, Mrs. MacGregor Campbell, as my
kinsman's wife. I wad crave the liberty of a kinsman to salute you, but
that your gillies keep such a dolefu' fast haud o' my arms, and, to speak
Heaven's truth and a magistrate's, ye wadna be the waur of a cogfu' o'
water before ye welcomed your friends."

There was something in the familiarity of this introduction which ill
suited the exalted state of temper of the person to whom it was
addressed, then busied with distributing dooms of death, and warm from
conquest in a perilous encounter.

"What fellow are you," she said, "that dare to claim kindred with the
MacGregor, and neither wear his dress nor speak his language?--What are
you, that have the tongue and the habit of the hound, and yet seek to lie
down with the deer?"

"I dinna ken," said the undaunted Bailie, "if the kindred has ever been
weel redd out to you yet, cousin--but it's ken'd, and can be prov'd. My
mother, Elspeth MacFarlane, was the wife of my father, Deacon Nicol
Jarvie--peace be wi' them baith!--and Elspeth was the daughter of Parlane
MacFarlane, at the Sheeling o' Loch Sloy. Now, this Parlane MacFarlane,
as his surviving daughter Maggy MacFarlane, _alias_ MacNab, wha married
Duncan MacNab o' Stuckavrallachan, can testify, stood as near to your
gudeman, Robert MacGregor, as in the fourth degree of kindred, for"--

The virago lopped the genealogical tree, by demanding haughtily, "If a
stream of rushing water acknowledged any relation with the portion
withdrawn from it for the mean domestic uses of those who dwelt on its
banks?"

"Vera true, kinswoman," said the Bailie; "but for a' that, the burn wad
be glad to hae the milldam back again in simmer, when the chuckie-stanes
are white in the sun. I ken weel eneugh you Hieland folk haud us Glasgow
people light and cheap for our language and our claes;--but everybody
speaks their native tongue that they learned in infancy; and it would be
a daft-like thing to see me wi' my fat wame in a short Hieland coat, and
my puir short houghs gartered below the knee, like ane o' your
lang-legged gillies. Mair by token, kinswoman," he continued, in defiance
of various intimations by which Dougal seemed to recommend silence, as
well as of the marks of impatience which the Amazon evinced at his
loquacity, "I wad hae ye to mind that the king's errand whiles comes in
the cadger's gate, and that, for as high as ye may think o' the gudeman,
as it's right every wife should honour her husband--there's Scripture
warrant for that--yet as high as ye haud him, as I was saying, I hae been
serviceable to Rob ere now;--forbye a set o' pearlins I sent yourself
when ye was gaun to be married, and when Rob was an honest weel-doing
drover, and nane o' this unlawfu' wark, wi' fighting, and flashes, and
fluff-gibs, disturbing the king's peace and disarming his soldiers."

He had apparently touched on a key which his kinswoman could not brook.
She drew herself up to her full height, and betrayed the acuteness of her
feelings by a laugh of mingled scorn and bitterness.

"Yes," she said, "you, and such as you, might claim a relation to us,
when we stooped to be the paltry wretches fit to exist under your
dominion, as your hewers of wood and drawers of water--to find cattle for
your banquets, and subjects for your laws to oppress and trample on. But
now we are free--free by the very act which left us neither house nor
hearth, food nor covering--which bereaved me of all--of all--and makes me
groan when I think I must still cumber the earth for other purposes than
those of vengeance. And I will carry on the work, this day has so well
commenced, by a deed that shall break all bands between MacGregor and the
Lowland churls. Here Allan--Dougal--bind these Sassenachs neck and heel
together, and throw them into the Highland Loch to seek for their
Highland kinsfolk."

The Bailie, alarmed at this mandate, was commencing an expostulation,
which probably would have only inflamed the violent passions of the
person whom he addressed, when Dougal threw himself between them, and in
his own language, which he spoke with a fluency and rapidity strongly
contrasted by the slow, imperfect, and idiot-like manner in which he
expressed himself in English, poured forth what I doubt not was a very
animated pleading in our behalf.

His mistress replied to him, or rather cut short his harangue, by
exclaiming in English (as if determined to make us taste in anticipation
the full bitterness of death)--"Base dog, and son of a dog, do you
dispute my commands? Should I tell ye to cut out their tongues and put
them into each other's throats, to try which would there best knap
Southron, or to tear out their hearts and put them into each other's
breasts, to see which would there best plot treason against the
MacGregor--and such things have been done of old in the day of revenge,
when our fathers had wrongs to redress--Should I command you to do this,
would it be your part to dispute my orders?"

"To be sure, to be sure," Dougal replied, with accents of profound
submission; "her pleasure suld be done--tat's but reason; but an it
were--tat is, an it could be thought the same to her to coup the
ill-faured loon of ta red-coat Captain, and hims corporal Cramp, and twa
three o' the red-coats, into the loch, herself wad do't wi' muckle mair
great satisfaction than to hurt ta honest civil shentlemans as were
friends to the Gregarach, and came up on the Chiefs assurance, and not
to do no treason, as herself could testify."

The lady was about to reply, when a few wild strains of a pibroch were
heard advancing up the road from Aberfoil, the same probably which had
reached the ears of Captain Thornton's rear-guard, and determined him to
force his way onward rather than return to the village, on finding the
pass occupied. The skirmish being of very short duration, the armed men
who followed this martial melody, had not, although quickening their
march when they heard the firing, been able to arrive in time sufficient
to take any share in the rencontre. The victory, therefore, was complete
without them, and they now arrived only to share in the triumph of their
countrymen.

There was a marked difference betwixt the appearance of these new comers
and that of the party by which our escort had been defeated--and it was
greatly in favour of the former. Among the Highlanders who surrounded the
Chieftainess, if I may presume to call her so without offence to grammar,
were men in the extremity of age, boys scarce able to bear a sword, and
even women--all, in short, whom the last necessity urges to take up arms;
and it added a shade of bitter shame to the defection which clouded
Thornton's manly countenance, when he found that the numbers and position
of a foe, otherwise so despicable, had enabled them to conquer his brave
veterans. But the thirty or forty Highlanders who now joined the others,
were all men in the prime of youth or manhood, active clean-made fellows,
whose short hose and belted plaids set out their sinewy limbs to the best
advantage. Their arms were as superior to those of the first party as
their dress and appearance. The followers of the female Chief had axes,
scythes, and other antique weapons, in aid of their guns; and some had
only clubs, daggers, and long knives. But of the second party, most had
pistols at the belt, and almost all had dirks hanging at the pouches
which they wore in front. Each had a good gun in his hand, and a
broadsword by his side, besides a stout round target, made of light wood,
covered with leather, and curiously studded with brass, and having a
steel spike screwed into the centre. These hung on their left shoulder
during a march, or while they were engaged in exchanging fire with the
enemy, and were worn on their left arm when they charged with sword in
hand.

But it was easy to see that this chosen band had not arrived from a
victory such as they found their ill-appointed companions possessed of.
The pibroch sent forth occasionally a few wailing notes expressive of a
very different sentiment from triumph; and when they appeared before the
wife of their Chieftain, it was in silence, and with downcast and
melancholy looks. They paused when they approached her, and the pipes
again sent forth the same wild and melancholy strain.

Helen rushed towards them with a countenance in which anger was mingled
with apprehension.--"What means this, Alaster?" she said to the
minstrel--"why a lament in the moment of victory?--Robert--Hamish--where's
the MacGregor?--where's your father?"

Her sons, who led the band, advanced with slow and irresolute steps
towards her, and murmured a few words in Gaelic, at hearing which she set
up a shriek that made the rocks ring again, in which all the women and
boys joined, clapping their hands and yelling as if their lives had been
expiring in the sound. The mountain echoes, silent since the military
sounds of battle had ceased, had now to answer these frantic and
discordant shrieks of sorrow, which drove the very night-birds from their
haunts in the rocks, as if they were startled to hear orgies more hideous
and ill-omened than their own, performed in the face of open day.

"Taken!" repeated Helen, when the clamour had subsided--"Taken!--
captive!--and you live to say so?--Coward dogs! did I nurse you for this,
that you should spare your blood on your father's enemies? or see him
prisoner, and come back to tell it?"

The sons of MacGregor, to whom this expostulation was addressed, were
youths, of whom the eldest had hardly attained his twentieth year.
_Hamish,_ or James, the elder of these youths, was the tallest by a head,
and much handsomer than his brother; his light-blue eyes, with a
profusion of fair hair, which streamed from under his smart blue bonnet,
made his whole appearance a most favourable specimen of the Highland
youth. The younger was called Robert; but, to distinguish him from his
father, the Highlanders added the epithet _Oig,_ or the young. Dark hair,
and dark features, with a ruddy glow of health and animation, and a form
strong and well-set beyond his years, completed the sketch of the young
mountaineer.

Both now stood before their mother with countenances clouded with grief
and shame, and listened, with the most respectful submission, to the
reproaches with which she loaded them. At length when her resentment
appeared in some degree to subside, the eldest, speaking in English,
probably that he might not be understood by their followers, endeavoured
respectfully to vindicate himself and his brother from his mother's
reproaches. I was so near him as to comprehend much of what he said; and,
as it was of great consequence to me to be possessed of information in
this strange crisis, I failed not to listen as attentively as I could.

"The MacGregor," his son stated, "had been called out upon a trysting
with a Lowland hallion, who came with a token from"--he muttered the name
very low, but I thought it sounded like my own. "The MacGregor," he said,
"accepted of the invitation, but commanded the Saxon who brought the
message to be detained, as a hostage that good faith should be observed
to him. Accordingly he went to the place of appointment" (which had some
wild Highland name that I cannot remember), "attended only by Angus Breck
and Little Rory, commanding no one to follow him. Within half an hour
Angus Breck came back with the doleful tidings that the MacGregor had
been surprised and made prisoner by a party of Lennox militia, under
Galbraith of Garschattachin." He added, "that Galbraith, on being
threatened by MacGregor, who upon his capture menaced him with
retaliation on the person of the hostage, had treated the threat with
great contempt, replying, 'Let each side hang his man; we'll hang the
thief, and your catherans may hang the gauger, Rob, and the country will
be rid of two damned things at once, a wild Highlander and a revenue
officer.' Angus Breck, less carefully looked to than his master,
contrived to escape from the hands of the captors, after having been in
their custody long enough to hear this discussion, and to bring off the
news."

"And did you learn this, you false-hearted traitor," said the wife of
MacGregor, "and not instantly rush to your father's rescue, to bring him
off, or leave your body on the place?"

The young MacGregor modestly replied, by representing the very superior
force of the enemy, and stated, that as they made no preparation for
leaving the country, he had fallen back up the glen with the purpose of
collecting a band sufficient to attempt a rescue with some tolerable
chance of success. At length he said, "the militiamen would quarter, he
understood, in the neighbouring house of Gartartan, or the old castle in
the port of Monteith, or some other stronghold, which, although strong
and defensible, was nevertheless capable of being surprised, could they
but get enough of men assembled for the purpose."

I understood afterwards that the rest of the freebooter's followers were
divided into two strong bands, one destined to watch the remaining
garrison of Inversnaid, a party of which, under Captain Thornton, had
been defeated; and another to show front to the Highland clans who had
united with the regular troops and Lowlanders in this hostile and
combined invasion of that mountainous and desolate territory, which lying
between the lakes of Loch Lomond, Loch Katrine, and Loch Ard, was at this
time currently called Rob Roy's, or the MacGregor country. Messengers
were despatched in great haste, to concentrate, as I supposed, their
forces, with a view to the purposed attack on the Lowlanders; and the
dejection and despair, at first visible on each countenance, gave place
to the hope of rescuing their leader, and to the thirst of vengeance. It
was under the burning influence of the latter passion that the wife of
MacGregor commanded that the hostage exchanged for his safety should be
brought into her presence. I believe her sons had kept this unfortunate
wretch out of her sight, for fear of the consequences; but if it was so,
their humane precaution only postponed his fate. They dragged forward at
her summons a wretch already half dead with terror, in whose agonised
features I recognised, to my horror and astonishment, my old acquaintance
Morris.

He fell prostrate before the female Chief with an effort to clasp her
knees, from which she drew back, as if his touch had been pollution, so
that all he could do in token of the extremity of his humiliation, was to
kiss the hem of her plaid. I never heard entreaties for life poured forth
with such agony of spirit. The ecstasy of fear was such, that instead of
paralysing his tongue, as on ordinary occasions, it even rendered him
eloquent; and, with cheeks pale as ashes, hands compressed in agony, eyes
that seemed to be taking their last look of all mortal objects, he
protested, with the deepest oaths, his total ignorance of any design on
the person of Rob Roy, whom he swore he loved and honoured as his own
soul. In the inconsistency of his terror, he said he was but the agent of
others, and he muttered the name of Rashleigh. He prayed but for
life--for life he would give all he had in the world: it was but life he
asked--life, if it were to be prolonged under tortures and privations:
he asked only breath, though it should be drawn in the damps of the
lowest caverns of their hills.

It is impossible to describe the scorn, the loathing, and contempt, with
which the wife of MacGregor regarded this wretched petitioner for the
poor boon of existence.

"I could have bid ye live," she said, "had life been to you the same
weary and wasting burden that it is to me--that it is to every noble and
generous mind. But you--wretch! you could creep through the world
unaffected by its various disgraces, its ineffable miseries, its
constantly accumulating masses of crime and sorrow: you could live and
enjoy yourself, while the noble-minded are betrayed--while nameless and
birthless villains tread on the neck of the brave and the long-descended:
you could enjoy yourself, like a butcher's dog in the shambles, battening
on garbage, while the slaughter of the oldest and best went on around
you! This enjoyment you shall not live to partake of!--you shall die,
base dog! and that before yon cloud has passed over the sun."

She gave a brief command in Gaelic to her attendants, two of whom seized
upon the prostrate suppliant, and hurried him to the brink of a cliff
which overhung the flood. He set up the most piercing and dreadful cries
that fear ever uttered--I may well term them dreadful, for they haunted
my sleep for years afterwards. As the murderers, or executioners, call
them as you will, dragged him along, he recognised me even in that moment
of horror, and exclaimed, in the last articulate words I ever heard him
utter, "Oh, Mr. Osbaldistone, save me!--save me!"

I was so much moved by this horrid spectacle, that, although in momentary
expectation of sharing his fate, I did attempt to speak in his behalf,
but, as might have been expected, my interference was sternly
disregarded. The victim was held fast by some, while others, binding a
large heavy stone in a plaid, tied it round his neck, and others again
eagerly stripped him of some part of his dress. Half-naked, and thus
manacled, they hurled him into the lake, there about twelve feet deep,
with a loud halloo of vindictive triumph,--above which, however, his last
death-shriek, the yell of mortal agony, was distinctly heard. The heavy
burden splashed in the dark-blue waters, and the Highlanders, with their
pole-axes and swords, watched an instant to guard, lest, extricating
himself from the load to which he was attached, the victim might have
struggled to regain the shore. But the knot had been securely bound--the
wretched man sunk without effort; the waters, which his fall had
disturbed, settled calmly over him, and the unit of that life for which
he had pleaded so strongly, was for ever withdrawn from the sum of human
existence.


Sir Walter Scott