THE LION OF THE NORTH
THE LION OF THE NORTH
MY DEAR LADS
You are nowadays called upon to acquire so great a mass of learning
and information in the period of life between the ages of twelve
and eighteen that it is not surprising that but little time can be
spared for the study of the history of foreign nations. Most lads
are therefore lamentably ignorant of the leading events of even
the most important epochs of Continental history although as many
of these events have exercised a marked influence upon the existing
state of affairs in Europe a knowledge of them is far more
useful and it may be said far more interesting than that of the
comparatively petty affairs of Athens Sparta Corinth and Thebes.
Prominent among such epochs is the Thirty Years' War which arose
from the determination of the Emperor of Austria to crush out
Protestantism throughout Germany. Since the invasion of the Huns
no struggle which has taken place in Europe has approached this
in the obstinacy of the fighting and the terrible sufferings which
the war inflicted upon the people at large. During these thirty
years the population of Germany decreased by nearly a third and
in some of the states half the towns and two-thirds of the villages
The story of the Thirty Years' War is too long to be treated in
one volume. Fortunately it divides itself naturally into two parts.
The first begins with the entry of Sweden under her chivalrous
monarch Gustavus Adolphus upon the struggle and terminates with
his death and that of his great rival Wallenstein. This portion of
the war has been treated in the present story. The second period
begins at the point when France assumed the leading part in the
struggle and concluded with the peace which secured liberty of
conscience to the Protestants of Germany. This period I hope to
treat some day in another story so that you may have a complete
picture of the war. The military events of the present tale the
battles sieges and operations are all taken from the best authorities
while for the account of the special doings of Mackay's afterwards
Munro's Scottish Regiment I am indebted to Mr. J. Grant's Life of
Sir John Hepburn.
G. A. HENTY
CHAPTER I THE INVITATION
It was late in the afternoon in the spring of the year 1630; the
hilltops of the south of Scotland were covered with masses of cloud
and a fierce wind swept the driving rain before it with such force
that it was not easy to make way against it. It had been raining
for three days without intermission. Every little mountain burn had
become a boiling torrent while the rivers had risen above their
banks and flooded the low lands in the valleys.
The shades of evening were closing in when a lad of some sixteen
years of age stood gazing across the swollen waters of the Nith
rushing past in turbid flood. He scarce seemed conscious of the
pouring rain; but with his lowland bonnet pressed down over his
eyes and his plaid wrapped tightly round him he stood on a rising
hummock of ground at the edge of the flood and looked across the
"If they are not here soon" he said to himself "they will not
get across the Nith tonight. None but bold riders could do so now;
but by what uncle says Captain Hume must be that and more. Ah!
here they come."
As he spoke two horsemen rode down the opposite side of the valley
and halted at the water's edge. The prospect was not a pleasant
one. The river was sixty or seventy feet wide and in the centre
the water swept along in a raging current.
"You cannot cross here" the boy shouted at the top of his voice.
"You must go higher up where the water's deeper."
The wind swept his words away but his gestures were understood.
"The boy is telling us to go higher up" said one of the horsemen.
"I suppose he is" the other replied; "but here is the ford. You
see the road we have travelled ends here and I can see it again
on the other side. It is getting dark and were we to cross higher
up we might lose our way and get bogged; it is years since I was
here. What's the boy going to do now? Show us a place for crossing?"
The lad on seeing the hesitation of the horsemen had run along
the bank up the stream and to their surprise when he had gone a
little more than a hundred yards he dashed into the water. For a
time the water was shallow and he waded out until he reached the
edge of the regular bank of the river and then swam out into the
"Go back" the horseman shouted; but his voice did not reach
the swimmer who in a few strokes was in the full force of the
stream and was soon lost to the sight of the horsemen among the
short foaming waves of the torrent.
"The boy will be drowned" one of the horsemen said spurring his
horse up the valley; but in another minute the lad was seen breasting
the calmer water just above the ford.
"You cannot cross here Captain Hume" he said as he approached
the horsemen. "You must go nigh a mile up the river."
"Why who are you lad?" the horseman asked "and how do you know
"I'm the nephew of Nigel Graheme. Seeing how deep the floods were
I came out to show you the way for the best horse in the world
could not swim the Nith here now."
"But this is the ford" Captain Hume said.
"Yes this is the ford in dry weather. The bottom here is hard rock
and easy to ride over when the river is but waist deep but below
and above this place it is covered with great boulders. The water
is six feet deep here now and the horses would be carried down
among the rocks and would never get across. A mile up the river
is always deep and though the current is strong there is nothing
to prevent a bold horseman from swimming across."
"I thank you heartily young sir" Captain Hume said. "I can see
how broken is the surface of the water and doubt not that it would
have fared hard with us had we attempted to swim across here. In
faith Munro we have had a narrow escape."
"Ay indeed" the other agreed. "It would have been hard if you and
I after going through all the battlefields of the Low Countries
should have been drowned here together in a Scottish burn. Your
young friend is a gallant lad and a good swimmer for in truth it
was no light task to swim that torrent with the water almost as
cold as ice."
"Now sirs will you please to ride on" the boy said; "it is
getting dark fast and the sooner we are across the better."
So saying he went off at a fast run the horses trotting behind
him. A mile above he reached the spot he had spoken of. The river
was narrower here and the stream was running with great rapidity
swirling and heaving as it went but with a smooth even surface.
"Two hundred yards farther up" the boy said "is the beginning of
the deep; if you take the water there you will get across so as to
climb up by that sloping bank just opposite."
He led the way to the spot he indicated and then plunged into
the stream swimming quietly and steadily across and allowing the
stream to drift him down.
The horsemen followed his example. They had swum many a swollen
river and although their horses snorted and plunged at first they
soon quieted down and swam steadily over. They just struck the spot
which the boy had indicated. He had already arrived there and
without a word trotted forward.
It was soon dark and the horsemen were obliged to keep close to
his heels to see his figure. It was as much as they could do to
keep up with him for the ground was rough and broken sometimes
swampy sometimes strewn with boulders.
"It is well we have a guide" Colonel Munro said to his companion;
"for assuredly even had we got safely across the stream we should
never have found our way across such a country as this. Scotland
is a fine country Hume a grand country and we are all proud of
it you know but for campaigning give me the plains of Germany;
while as for your weather here it is only fit for a water rat."
Hume laughed at this outburst.
"I sha'n't be sorry Munro for a change of dry clothes and a corner
by a fire; but we must be nearly there now if I remember right.
Graheme's hold is about three miles from the Nith."
The boy presently gave a loud shout and a minute later lights
were seen ahead and in two or three minutes the horsemen drew up
at a door beside which two men were standing with torches; another
strolled out as they stopped.
"Welcome Hume! I am glad indeed to see you; and -- ah! is it you
Munro? it is long indeed since we met."
"That is it Graheme; it is twelve years since we were students
together at St. Andrews."
"I did not think you would have come on such a night" Graheme
"I doubt that we should have come tonight or any other night
Nigel if it had not been that that brave boy who calls you uncle
swam across the Nith to show us the best way to cross. It was a
gallant deed and I consider we owe him our lives."
"It would have gone hard with you indeed had you tried to swim
the Nith at the ford; had I not made so sure you would not come I
would have sent a man down there. I missed Malcolm after dinner
and wondered what had become of him. But come in and get your wet
things off. It is a cold welcome keeping you here. My men will take
your horses round to the stable and see that they are well rubbed
down and warmly littered."
In a quarter of an hour the party were assembled again in the sitting
room. It was a bare room with heavily timbered ceiling and narrow
windows high up from the ground; for the house was built for
purposes of defence like most Scottish residences in those days.
The floor was thickly strewn with rushes. Arms and trophies of the
chase hung on the walls and a bright fire blazing on the hearth
gave it a warm and cheerful aspect. As his guests entered the room
Graheme presented them with a large silver cup of steaming liquor.
"Drain this" he said "to begin with. I will warrant me a draught
of spiced wine will drive the cold of the Nith out of your bones."
The travellers drank off the liquor.
"'Tis a famous drink" Hume said "and there is nowhere I enjoy it
so much as in Scotland for the cold here seems to have a knack of
getting into one's very marrow though I will say there have been
times in the Low Countries when we have appreciated such a draught.
Well and how goes it with you Graheme?"
"Things might be better; in fact times in Scotland have been getting
worse and worse ever since King James went to England and all the
court with him. If it were not for an occasional raid among the
wild folks of Galloway and a few quarrels among ourselves life
would be too dull to bear here."
"But why bear it?" Captain Hume asked. "You used to have plenty
of spirit in our old college days Graheme and I wonder at your
rusting your life out here when there is a fair field and plenty of
honour to say nothing of hard cash to be won in the Low Country.
Why beside Hepburn's regiment which has made itself a name
throughout all Europe there are half a score of Scottish regiments
in the service of the King of Sweden and his gracious majesty
Gustavus Adolphus does not keep them idle I warrant you."
"I have thought of going a dozen times" Graheme said "but you see
circumstances have kept me back; but I have all along intended to
cross the seas when Malcolm came of an age to take the charge of
his father's lands. When my brother James was dying from that sword
thrust he got in a fray with the Duffs I promised him I would be
a father to the boy and see that he got his rights."
"Well we will talk of the affair after supper Graheme for now
that I have got rid of the cold I begin to perceive that I am well
As the officer was speaking the servitors were laying the table
and supper was soon brought in. After ample justice had been done
to this and the board was again cleared the three men drew their
seats round the fire Malcolm seating himself on a low stool by
"And now to business Nigel" Colonel Munro said. "We have not come
back to Scotland to see the country or to enjoy your weather or
even for the pleasure of swimming your rivers in flood.
"We are commissioned by the King of Sweden to raise some 3000
or 4000 more Scottish troops. I believe that the king intends to
take part in the war in Germany where the Protestants are getting
terribly mauled and where indeed it is likely that the Reformed
Religion will be stamped out altogether unless the Swedes strike in
to their rescue. My chief object is to fill up to its full strength
of two thousand men the Mackay Regiment of which I am lieutenant
colonel. The rest of the recruits whom we may get will go as drafts
to fill up the vacancies in the other regiments. So you see here
we are and it is our intention to beat up all our friends and
relations and ask them each to raise a company or half a company
of recruits of which of course they would have the command.
"We landed at Berwick and wrote to several of our friends that
we were coming. Scott of Jedburgh has engaged to raise a company.
Balfour of Lauderdale who is a cousin of mine has promised to
bring another; they were both at St. Andrew's with us as you may
remember Graheme. Young Hamilton who had been an ensign in my
regiment left us on the way. He will raise a company in Douglasdale.
Now Graheme don't you think you can bring us a band of the men
"I don't know" Graheme said hesitatingly. "I should like it of all
things for I am sick of doing nothing here and my blood often runs
hot when I read of the persecutions of the Protestants in Germany;
but I don't think I can manage it."
"Oh nonsense Nigel!" said Hume; "you can manage it easily enough
if you have the will. Are you thinking of the lad there? Why not
bring him with you? He is young certainly but he could carry a
colour; and as for his spirit and bravery Munro and I will vouch
"Oh do uncle" the lad exclaimed leaping to his feet in his
excitement. "I promise you I would not give you any trouble; and
as for marching there isn't a man in Nithsdale who can tire me
out across the mountains."
"But what's to become of the house Malcolm and the land and the
"Oh they will be all right" the boy said. "Leave old Duncan in
charge and he will look after them."
"But I had intended you to go to St. Andrews next year Malcolm
and I think the best plan will be for you to go there at once. As
you say Duncan can look after the place."
Malcolm's face fell.
"Take the lad with you Graheme" Colonel Munro said. "Three years
under Gustavus will do him vastly more good than will St. Andrews.
You know it never did us any good to speak of. We learned a little
more Latin than we knew when we went there but I don't know that
that has been of any use to us; whereas for the dry tomes of divinity
we waded through I am happy to say that not a single word of the
musty stuff remains in my brains. The boy will see life and service
he will have opportunities of distinguishing himself under the
eye of the most chivalrous king in Europe he will have entered a
noble profession and have a fair chance of bettering his fortune
all of which is a thousand times better than settling down here in
this corner of Scotland."
"I must think it over" Graheme said; "it is a serious step to
take. I had thought of his going to the court at London after he
left the university and of using our family interest to push his
"What is he to do in London?" Munro said. "The old pedant James who
wouldn't spend a shilling or raise a dozen men to aid the cause of
his own daughter and who thought more of musty dogmatic treatises
than of the glory and credit of the country he ruled over or the
sufferings of his co-religionists in Germany has left no career
open to a lad of spirit."
"Well I will think it over by the morning" Graheme said. "And now
tell me a little more about the merits of this quarrel in Germany.
If I am going to fight I should like at least to know exactly what
I am fighting about."
"My dear fellow" Hume laughed "you will never make a soldier
if you always want to know the ins and outs of every quarrel you
have to fight about; but for once the tenderest conscience may be
satisfied as to the justice of the contention. But Munro is much
better versed in the history of the affair than I am; for to tell
you the truth beyond the fact that it is a general row between
the Protestants and Catholics I have not troubled myself much in
"You must know" Colonel Munro began "that some twenty years
ago the Protestant princes of Germany formed a league for mutual
protection and support which they called the Protestant Union; and
a year later the Catholics on their side constituted what they
called the Holy League. At that time the condition of the Protestants
was not unbearable. In Bohemia where they constituted two-thirds
of the population Rudolph II and after him Mathias gave conditions
of religious freedom.
"Gradually however the Catholic party about the emperor gained the
upper hand; then various acts in breach of the conditions granted
to the Protestants were committed and public spirit on both sides
became much embittered. On the 23d of May 1618 the Estates of
Bohemia met at Prague and the Protestant nobles headed by Count
Thurn came there armed and demanded from the Imperial councillors an
account of the high handed proceedings. A violent quarrel ensued
and finally the Protestant deputies seized the councillors Martinitz
and Slavata and their secretary and hurled them from the window
into the dry ditch fifty feet below. Fortunately for the councillors
the ditch contained a quantity of light rubbish and they and their
secretary escaped without serious damage. The incident however
was the commencement of war. Bohemia was almost independent
of Austria administering its own internal affairs. The Estates
invested Count Thurn with the command of the army. The Protestant
Union supported Bohemia in its action. Mathias who was himself
a tolerant and well meaning man tried to allay the storm; but
failing to do so marched an army into Bohemia.
"Had Mathias lived matters would probably have arranged themselves
but he died the following spring and was succeeded by Ferdinand
II. Ferdinand is one of the most bigoted Catholics living and is
at the same time a bold and resolute man; and he had taken a solemn
vow at the shrine of Loretto that if ever he came to the throne
he would re-establish Catholicism throughout his dominions. Both
parties prepared for the strife; the Bohemians renounced their
allegiance to him and nominated the Elector Palatine Frederick V
the husband of our Scotch princess their king.
"The first blow was struck at Zablati. There a Union army led by
Mansfeldt was defeated by the Imperial general Bucquoi. A few days
later however Count Thurn marching through Moravia and Upper
Austria laid siege to Vienna. Ferdinand's own subjects were
estranged from him and the cry of the Protestant army `Equal rights
for all Christian churches' was approved by the whole population
-- for even in Austria itself there were a very large number of
Protestants. Ferdinand had but a few soldiers the population of
the city were hostile and had Thurn only entered the town he could
have seized the emperor without any resistance.
"Thurn hesitated and endeavoured instead to obtain the conditions
of toleration which the Protestants required; and sixteen Austrian
barons in the city were in the act of insisting upon Ferdinand
signing these when the head of the relieving army entered the city.
Thurn retired hastily. The Catholic princes and representatives
met at Frankfort and elected Ferdinand Emperor of Germany. He at
once entered into a strict agreement with Maximilian of Bavaria to
crush Protestantism throughout Germany. The Bohemians however in
concert with Bethlem Gabor king of Hungary again besieged Vienna;
but as the winter set in they were obliged to retire. From that
moment the Protestant cause was lost; Saxony and Hesse-Darmstadt
left the Union and joined Ferdinand. Denmark which had promised
its assistance to the Protestants was persuaded to remain quiet.
Sweden was engaged in a war with the Poles.
"The Protestant army was assembled at Ulm; the army of the League
under the order of Maximilian of Bavaria was at Donauworth.
Maximilian worked upon the fears of the Protestant princes who
frightened at the contest they had undertaken agreed to a peace
by which they bound themselves to offer no aid to Frederick V.
"The Imperial forces then marched to Bohemia and attacked Frederick's
army outside Prague and in less than an hour completely defeated
it. Frederick escaped with his family to Holland. Ferdinand then
took steps to carry out his oath. The religious freedom granted by
Mathias was abolished. In Bohemia Moravia Silesia and Austria
proper. Many of the promoters of the rebellion were punished in
life and property. The year following all members of the Calvinistic
sect were forced to leave their country a few months afterwards
the Lutherans were also expelled and in 1627 the exercise of all
religious forms except those of the Catholic Church was forbidden;
200 of the noble and 30000 of the wealthier and industrial classes
were driven into exile; and lands and property to the amount of
5000000 or 6000000 pounds were confiscated.
"The hereditary dominions of Frederick V were invaded the Protestants
were defeated the Palatinate entirely subdued and the electorate
was conferred upon Maximilian of Bavaria; and the rigid laws against
the Protestants were carried into effect in the Palatinate also.
It had now become evident to all Europe that the Emperor of Austria
was determined to stamp out Protestantism throughout Germany; and
the Protestant princes now thoroughly alarmed besought aid from
the Protestant countries England Holland and Denmark. King James
who had seen unmoved the misfortunes which had befallen his daughter
and her husband and who had been dead to the general feeling of
the country could no longer resist and England agreed to supply
an annual subsidy; Holland consented to supply troops; and the King
of Denmark joined the League and was to take command of the army.
"In Germany the Protestants of lower Saxony and Brunswick and the
partisan leader Mansfeldt were still in arms. The army under the