BONNIE PRINCE CHARLIE
BONNIE PRINCE CHARLIE
G. A. HENTY
CHAPTER I: The Return of a Prodigal.
It was a dull evening in the month of September 1728. The apprentices
had closed and barred the shutters and the day's work was over. Supper
was laid in the long room over the shop the viands were on the table
and round it were standing Bailie Anderson and his wife his foreman John
Gillespie and his two apprentices. The latter were furtively eying the
eatables and wondering how much longer the grace which their master was
delivering would be. Suddenly there was a knock at the door below. No one
stirred until the bailie had finished his grace before which time the
knock had been twice repeated.
"Elspeth woman" the bailie said when he had brought the grace to an
end "go down below and see who knocks so impatiently; look through the
grille before you open the door; these are nor times when one opens to
the first stranger who knocks."
The old servant who had been standing behind her mistress went
downstairs. The door was opened and they heard an exclamation of
surprise at the answer to her question "Who is it that's knocking as if
the house belonged to him?"
Those gathered up stairs heard the bolts withdrawn. There was a confused
sound of talking and then a heavy step was heard ascending the stairs
and without introduction a tall man wrapped in a cloak and carrying a
child of some two years old strode into the room. He threw his hat on to
a settle and advanced straight towards the bailie who looked in surprise
at this unceremonious entry.
"Don't you know me Andrew?"
"Heaven preserve us" the bailie exclaimed "why it's Malcolm!"
"Malcolm himself" the visitor repeated "sound in wind and limb."
"The Lord be praised!" the bailie exclaimed as he grasped the other's
hand and wrung it warmly. "I had thought you dead years and years ago.
Janet this is my brother Malcolm of whom you have often heard me speak."
"And of whom you can have heard little good mistress if my brother has
spoken the truth concerning me. I was ever a ne'er do well while Andrew
struck hard and fast to our father's trade."
"My husband has ever spoken with affection of you" Janet Anderson said.
"The bailie is not given to speak ill of any much less of his own flesh
"And now sit down Malcolm. Supper is waiting and you are I doubt not
ready for it. It is ill talking to a fasting man. When you have done you
shall tell me what you have been doing for the last fifteen years and
how it comes that you thus suddenly come back among us with your boy."
"He is no boy of mine" Malcolm said; "but I will tell you all about it
presently. First let me lay him down on that settle for the poor little
chap is fast asleep and dead tired out. Elspeth roll up my cloak and
make a pillow for him. That's right he will do nicely now. You are
changed less than any of us Elspeth. Just as hard to look at and I
doubt not just as soft at heart as you used to be when you tried to
shield me when I got into scrapes. And now to supper."
Little was said during the meal; fortunately the table was bounteously
spread for the newcomer's appetite was prodigious; but at last he was
satisfied and after a long drink at the horn beside him which Elspeth
had kept filled with ale he said:
"There's nothing like a Scottish meal after all Andrew. French living is
well enough for a time but one tires of it; and many a time when I have
been lying down supperless on the sod after marching and fighting the
whole day I have longed for a bowl of porridge and a platter well filled
with oatmeal cakes."
Supper over John and the apprentices retired. Elspeth went off to
prepare the guest's chamber and to make up a little bed for the child.
"Now brother let us hear your story; but first of all perhaps you
want to light your pipe?"
"That do I" Malcolm replied "if Mistress Janet has no objection
"She is accustomed to it" the bailie said answering for her. "I smoke
myself; I deem that tobacco like other things was given for our use
and methinks that with a pipe between the lips men's brains work more
easily and that it leadeth to pleasant converse."
Janet went to a cupboard brought out two long pipes and a jar of
tobacco placed two tumblers a flat bottle and a jug of water on the
"That is right" the bailie said. "I do not often touch strong waters.
The habit as I see too plainly is a harmful one and in this good city
of Glasgow there are many even of those so placed that they should be an
example to their fellows who are given nightly to drink more than is
good for them; but on an occasion like the present I deem it no harm to
take a glass."
"I should think not" Malcolm said heartily; "it is long since I tasted a
glass of real Scotch spirit and I never need an excuse for taking a
glass of whatever it be that comes in my way. Not Mistress Janet that I
am a toper. I don't say that at the sack of a town or at times when
liquor is running so to speak to waste I am more backward than the
rest; but my hand wouldn't be as steady as it is if I had been one of
those who are never so happy as when they are filling themselves with
liquor. And now Andrew to my story. You know that when I saw you last
-- just when the troubles in `15 began -- in spite of all your warnings
to the contrary I must needs throw myself into the thick of them. You
like a wise man stuck to your shop and here you are now a bailie of
Glasgow; while I who have been wandering over the face of the earth
fighting for the cause of France and risking my life a thousand times in
a matter which concerned me in no way have returned just as penniless as
I set out."
"It is said brother Malcolm" Janet said mildly "that a rolling stone
gathers no moss."
"That is true enough" Malcolm assented; "and yet do you know there are
few rolling stones who if their time were to come over again would
remain fixed in their bed. Of course we have not the pleasures of home
of wives and children; but the life of adventure has its own joys which
I for one would not change for the others. However brother as you
know I threw myself heart and soul into that business.
"The last time I saw you was just as I was starting with a score of
others to make our way to join the Earl of Mar's army at Perth. I have
seen many an army since but never did I see sixteen thousand finer
fighting men than were there assembled. The Laird of Mackintosh brought
five hundred clansmen from Inverness shire the Marquis of Huntly had
five hundred horse and two thousand foot and the Earl Marischal had a
thousand men. The Laird of Glenlyon brought five hundred Campbells and
the Marquis of Tullibardine fourteen hundred and a score of other chiefs
of less power were there with their clansmen. There were enough men there
to have done anything had they been properly armed and led; but though
arms and ammunition had been promised from France none came and the
Earl of Mar had so little decision that he would have wrecked the finest
army that ever marched.
"The army lay doing nothing for weeks and just before we were expecting
a movement the company I belonged to was sent with a force of
Highlanders under Mackintosh to join the army under the Lords
Derwentwater Kenmure and Nithsdale. Lord Derwentwater had risen with a
number of other gentlemen and with their attendants and friends had
marched against Newcastle. They had done nothing there but remained idle
near Hexham till joined by a force raised in the Lowlands of Scotland by
the Earls of Nithsdale Carnwath and Wintoun the united army marched
north again to Kelso where we joined them.
"We Scots soon saw that we had gained nothing by the change of
commanders. Lord Derwentwater was ignorant of military affairs and he
was greatly swayed by a Mr. Forster who was somehow at the head of the
business and who was not only incompetent but proved to be a coward if
not as most folks believed a traitor. So dissension soon broke out and
four hundred Highlanders marched away north. After a long delay it was
resolved to move south where it was said we should be joined by great
numbers in Lancashire; but by this time all had greatly lost spirit and
hope in the enterprise. We crossed the border and marched down through
Penrith Appleby and Kendal to Lancaster and then on to Preston.
"I was little more than a lad Andrew but even to me it seemed madness
thus to march into England with only two thousand men. Of these twelve
hundred were foot commanded by Brigadier Mackintosh; the others were
horse. There were two troops of Stanhope's dragoons quartered in Preston
but these retired when we neared the town and we entered without
opposition. Next day which was I remember the 10th of November the
Chevalier was proclaimed king and some country gentlemen with their
tenants came in and joined us.
"I suppose it would have come to the same thing in the end but never
were things so badly managed as they were by Mr. Forster.
"Preston was a strong natural position; an enemy coming from the south
could only reach it by crossing a narrow bridge over the river Ribble a
mile and a half away and this could have been held by a company against
an army. From the bridge to the town the road was so narrow that in
several places two men could not ride abreast. It ran between two high
and steep banks and it was here that Cromwell was nearly killed when he
attacked Charles's troops.
"Well all these places where we might certainly have defended
ourselves were neglected and we were all kept in the town where we
formed four main posts. One was in the churchyard and this was commanded
by Brigadier Mackintosh. In support of this was the volunteer horse under
Derwentwater and the three other lords. Lord Charles Murray was in
command at a barricade at a little distance from the churchyard. Colonel
Mackintosh had charge of a post at a windmill; and the fourth was in the
centre of the town.
"Lord Derwentwater was a poor general but he was a brave man. He and his
two brothers the Ratcliffs rode about everywhere setting an example of
coolness animating the soldiers and seeing to the work on the barriers.
Two days after we reached the town we heard that General Wilde was
approaching. Colonel Farquharson was sent forward with a portion of
Mackintosh's battalion to hold the bridge and the pass; but Mr. Forster
who went out on horseback no sooner saw the enemy approaching than he
gave orders to Farquharson and his men to retreat to the town. If I had
been in Farquharson's place I would have put a bullet through the
coward's head and would have defended the bridge till the last.
"After that everything was confusion; the Highlanders came back into the
town furious and disheartened. The garrison prepared to receive the
enemy. Mr. Forster was seen no more and in fact he went straight back to
the house where he was lodging and took his bed where he remained till
all was over. The enemy came on slowly. They could not understand why
strong posts should be left undefended and feared falling in an
ambuscade. I was at the post commanded by Brigadier Mackintosh. I had
joined a company commanded by Leslie of Glenlyon who had brought with
him some twenty men and had made up his company with men who like
myself came up without a leader. His company was attached to
"Presently the English came in sight and as soon as they ascertained
that we were still there which they had begun to doubt they attacked
us. We beat them back handsomely and Derwentwater with his cavalry
charged their dragoons so fiercely that he drove them out of the town. It
was late in the afternoon when the fight began and all night the
struggle went on. At each of our posts we beat them back over and over
again. The town was on fire in half a dozen places but luckily the night
was still and the flames did not spread. We knew that it was a hopeless
fight we were making; for from some prisoners we learned that three
regiments of dragoons were also coming up against us and had already
arrived at Clitheroe. From some inhabitants I suppose the enemy learned
that the street leading to Wigan had nor been barricaded and Lord
Forrester brought up Preston's regiment by this way and suddenly fell on
the flank of our barrier. It was a tough fight but we held our own till
the news came that Forster had agreed to capitulate.
"I don't say that our case wasn't hopeless. We were outnumbered and had
no leader; sooner or later we must have been overpowered. Still no
capitulation should have been made except on the terms of mercy to all
concerned. But Forster no doubt felt safe about himself and that was all
he cared for; and the end showed that he knew what he was about for
while all the brave young noblemen and numbers of others were either
executed or punished in other ways Forster who had been the leading
spirit who had persuaded them to rise and led them into this strait was
after a short imprisonment suffered to go free. I tell you brother
Andrew if I were to meet him now even if it were in a church I would
drive my dagger into his heart.
"However there we were. So furious were we that it was with difficulty
the officers could prevent us from sallying out sword in hand and trying
to cut our way through the enemy. As to Forster if he had appeared in
the streets he would have been hewn to pieces. However it was useless to
resist now; the English troops marched in and we laid down our arms and
our battalions marched into a church and were guarded as prisoners. It
was not a great army they had taken for there were but one thousand four
hundred and ninety captured including noblemen gentlemen and officers.
"Many of us were wounded more or less. I had got a slice on the shoulder
from a dragoon's sword. This I gained when rushing out to rescue Leslie
who had been knocked down and would have been slain by three dragoons
had I not stood over him till some of our men rushed out and carried him
in. He was not badly hurt the sword having turned as it cut through his
bonnet. My action won his regard and from that time until a month since
we have never been separated. Under a strong escort of soldiers we were
marched south. In most places the country people mocked us as we passed;
but here and there we saw among the crowds who gathered in the streets of
the towns through which we passed faces which we passed faces which
expressed pity and sympathy
"We were not badly treated on the march by our guard and had little to
complain of. When we reached Barnet we fell out as usual when the march
was over and I went up to the door of a house and asked a woman who
looked pityingly at us for a drink of water. She brought me some and
while I drank she said:
"'We are Catholics and well wishers of the Chevalier; if you can manage
to slip in here after it is dark we will furnish you with a disguise and
will direct you to friends who will pass you on until you can escape.
"'Can you give me disguises for two?' I asked. `I will not go without my
"'Yes' she said `for two but no more.'
"`I will steal away after dark' I said as I gave her back the jug.
"I told Leslie what had happened and he agreed to join me in time to
escape for there was no saying what fate might befall us in London; and
indeed the very next morning severities commenced the whole of the
troops being obliged to suffer the indignity of having their arms tied
behind them and so being marched into London.
"After it was dark Leslie and I managed to steal away from our guards
who were not very watchful for our uniform would at once have betrayed
us and the country people would have seized and handed us over. The
woman was on the watch and as soon as we neared the door she opened it.
Her husband was with her and received us kindly. He at once furnished us
with the attire of two countrymen and letting us out by a back way
started with us across the country.
"After walking twenty miles he brought us to the house of another
adherent of the Chevalier where we remained all day. So we were passed
on until we reached the coast where we lay hid for some days until an
arrangement was made with the captain of a fishing boat to take us to
sea and either to land us at Calais or to put us on board a French
fishing boat. So we got over without trouble.
"Long before that as you know the business had virtually come to an end
here. The Earl of Mar's army lay week after week at Perth till at last
it met the enemy under Argyle at Sheriffmuir.
"You know how that went. The Highland clans in the right and centre
carried all before them and drove the enemy from the field but on the
left they beat us badly. So both parties claimed the victory. But
victory or defeat it was fatal to the cause of the Chevalier. Half the
Highland clans went off to their homes that night and Mar had to fall
back to Perth.
"Well that was really the end of it. The Chevalier landed and for a
while our hopes rose. He did nothing and our hopes fell. At last he took
ship and went away and the affair was over except for the hangings and
"Leslie like most of the Scottish gentlemen who succeeded in reaching
France took service with the French king and of course I did the
same. It would have done your heart good to see how the Scottish
regiments fought on many a field; the very best troops of France were
never before us and many a tough field was decided by our charge. Leslie
was a cornet. He was about my age; and you know I was but twenty when
Sheriffmuir was fought. He rose to be a colonel and would have given me
a pair of colours over and over again if I would have taken them; but I
felt more comfortable among our troopers than I should have done among
the officers who were almost all men of good Highland family; so I
remained Leslie's right hand.
"A braver soldier never swung a leg over saddle; but he was always in
some love affair or another. Why he didn't marry I couldn't make out. I
suppose he could never stick long enough to one woman. However some four
years ago he got into an affair more serious than any he had been in
before and this time he stuck to it in right earnest. Of course she was
precisely one of the women he oughtn't to have fallen in love with
though I for one couldn't blame him for a prettier creature wasn't to be
found in France. Unfortunately she was the only daughter of the Marquis
de Recambours one of the wealthiest and most powerful of French nobles
and there was no more chance of his giving his consent to her throwing
herself away upon a Scottish soldier of fortune than to her going into a
nunnery; less in fact. However she was as much in love with Leslie as
he was with her and so they got secretly married. Two years ago this
child was born but she managed somehow to keep it from her father who
was all this time urging her to marry the Duke de Chateaurouge.
"At last as ill luck would have it he shut her up in a convent just a
week before she had arranged to fly with Leslie to Germany where he
intended to take service until her father came round. Leslie would have
got her out somehow; but his regiment was ordered to the frontier and it
was eighteen months before we returned to Paris where the child had been
in keeping with some people with whom he had placed it. The very evening
of his return I was cleaning his arms when he rushed into the room.
"'All is discovered' he said; 'here is my signet ring go at once and
get the child and make your way with it to Scotland; take all the money
in the escritoire quick!'
"I heard feet approaching and dashed to the bureau and transferred the
bag of louis there to my pocket. An official with two followers entered.
"'Colonel Leslie' he said 'it is my duty to arrest you by order of his
gracious majesty;' and he held out an order signed by the king.
"'I am unconscious of having done any wrong sir to his majesty whom I
have served for the last sixteen years. However it is not for me to
dispute his orders;' thereupon he unbuckled his sword and handed it to
the officers. 'You will look after the things till I return Malcolm. As
I am sure I can clear myself of any charge that may be brought against
me I trust to be speedily back again.
"'Your trooper need not trouble himself' the officer said; `the official
with me will take charge of everything and will at once affix my seal to
all your effects.'
"I went down stairs and saw the colonel enter a carriage with the two
officials then I went straight to the major. 'Colonel Leslie has been
arrested sir on what charge I know not. He has intrusted a commission
to me. Therefore if you find I am absent from parade in the morning you
will understand I am carrying out his orders.'
"The major was thunderstruck at the news but told me to do as the
colonel had ordered me whatever it might be. I mounted the colonel's
horse at once and rode to the house where the child was in keeping. The
people knew me well as I had often been there with messages from the
colonel. When I showed them the signet ring and told them that I had
orders to take the child to his father they made no opposition. I said I
would return for him as soon as it was dusk. I then went and purchased a
suit of civilian clothes and returning to the house attired myself in
these and taking the child on the saddle before me rode for the
"Following unfrequented roads travelling only at night and passing a
day in a wood I passed the frontier unmolested and made my way to
Ostend where I sold the horse and took passage in the first ship sailing
for Leith. I arrived there two days ago and have walked here with an
occasional lift in a cart; and here I am brother Andrew to ask you for
hospitality for a while for myself and Leslie's boy. I have a hundred
louis but these of course belong to the child. As for myself I
confess I have nothing; saving has never been in my line."
"You are heartily welcome Malcolm as long as you choose to stop; but I
trust that ere long you will hear of Colonel Leslie."
"I trust so" Malcolm said; "but if you knew the court of France as well
as I do you would not feel very sanguine about it. It is easier to get
into a prison than out of one."
"But the colonel has committed no crime!" the bailie said.
"His chance would be a great deal better if he had" Malcolm laughed. "A
colonel of one of his majesty's Scottish regiments can do a good deal in
the way of crime without much harm befalling him; but when it comes to
marrying the daughter of a nobleman who is a great personage at court
without his consent it is a different affair altogether I can tell you.
Leslie has powerful friends and his brother officers will do what they
can for him; but I can tell you services at the court of France go for
very little. Influence is everything and as the nobleman the marquis
intended to be the husband of his daughter is also a great personage at
court and a friend of Louis's there is no saying how serious a matter
they may make of it. Men have been kept prisoners for life for a far less
serious business than this."
"But supposing he is released does he know where to communicate with
"I am afraid he doesn't" Malcolm said ruefully. "He knows that I come
from Glasgow but that is all. Still when he is freed no doubt he will
come over himself to look for his son and I am sure to hear of his being
"You might do and you might not" the bailie said. "Still we must hope
for the best Malcolm. At any rate I am in no haste for the colonel to
come. Now I have got you home again after all these years I do not wish
to lose you again in a hurry."
Malcolm only remained for a few weeks at his brother's house. The
restraint of life at the bailie's was too much for him. Andrew's was a
well ordered household. The bailie was methodical and regular a leading
figure in the kirk far stricter than were most men of his time as to
undue consumption of liquor strong in exhortation in season and out of
season. His wife was kindly but precise and as outspoken as Andrew
himself. For the first day or two the real affection which Andrew had for
his younger brother and the pleasure he felt at his return shielded
Malcolm from comment or rebuke; but after the very first day the bailie's
wife had declared to herself that it was impossible that Malcolm could
long remain an inmate of the house. She was not inhospitable and would
have made great sacrifices in some directions for the long missing