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knell of the midnight hour was solemnly sounded from the convent bell of St Fergus, that she might give them instructions as to the burial of the dead!
The muffled chime of St Fergus' bell now struck the witching hour of twelve, and the attendants of Edmund Græme, in obedience to the strange summons of the apparition, now slowly wended their moon-lit way up the rugged, heath-clad Hunter Hill, to receive instructions as to the mysterious burial. The night oppressively calm and still, they had reached in silence a lonely hollow of the hill, when suddenly the same weirdlike rustling noise they had previously heard in the chamber of death struck upon their listening ears with a harsh and ominous sound. Begemmed with the silvery radiance of the moon, before them trembling stood the strange, unearthly being they had seen in the early part of the evening at the bedside of their young master, Edmund Græme.
With the same majestic wave of her jewelled hand, she beckoned them to approach, and thus, in the sad and thrilling accents of grief, solemnly and measuredly addressed them :
"In all the spring flush of life's young bloom and radiant beauty, we here for the first time met; and here now must be our lonely, isolated tomb. 'Twas here I broke his trusting, loving heart, and here beside my own must that heart rest, till disinterred to life at the Great Assize on the Resurrection A hell I feel without-a hell within-Great God! my treachery and sin forgive-oh! cast me not away from thy sight and presence for evermore-from hope that comes to all, debar not utterly my guilty, yet repentant soul.-List! Make thou the coffin fit for two, and lay us gently and tenderly beneath this bleak and heathy turf, planting afterwards around a shady beechen grove, dark yet fitting emblem of our ill-fated love, and of the DOUBLE BIER!"
Watching again beside the dead, the attendants, in alarm, see noiselessly approach the expected spiritual visitor. Her countenance is pale yet comely, and her eye brightly intellect
ual and clear; but she comes not in flowing robes of glistening sheen, but clothed in a ghastly linen shroud! Noiselessly she steps to where the double coffin lies, rapt gazing lovingly and long on the dead youth sleeping silently his last sleep. Unveiling, then, her snowy bosom, she brings forth flowers of the richest perfume and jewels of the costliest workmanship. These she solemnly lays on his cold, cold breast, with many a fervent prayer for the repose of his departed soul. Taking a last fond look of the dead, she gathers round her in flowing folds her long white shroud, and lays herself gently down beside her unconscious victim; to both a dark and unexpected doom-to her a martyr's crown!
Awed by the dread, terrific scene, and when all again was calm and still, the attendants furtively and quickly shut the coffin-lid, and solemnly bent their solitary way to bury its occupants in the Hunter Hill, ere the morning broke in streaks of grey, cold light o'er the desolate and mysterious scene.
Many long years have passed away since then, and the young saplings of beech have grown into high, umbrageous trees, grimly guarding those who sleep below, for whom yet blooming maidens weep, and pitying tears are shed, when in the long winter evenings their sad and sorrowful tale is tremblingly told by the blazing hearths of the happy cottagers of Strathmore.
'Tis said, when all is calm and still in the moon-lit winter eves, the spirit of the departed hovers mysteriously over the enchanted grove'; and when a maiden passes underneath its bare and weird-like boughs she utters an entreating cry, kind beckoning her to visit the living tomb, and conjuring her never to deceive a faithful, trusting heart, nor grieve by coquetry or crime him whose affections she has unalterably and affectionately won; and when beside the lonely mountain grave, she, shrieking, wildly cries:
"Young maiden, oh, beware!
And ne'er by love's deceitful smile
LEGEND OF JANE DOUGLAS, LADY GLAMIS, BURNED ON THE CASTLE HILL OF EDINBURGH.
King James, for former wrongs, long bore
No Douglas e'er should refuge find
In castle, cot, with serf or hind;
Far from their much-loved mountain home.
We are now getting gradually out of the hazy atmosphere of ancient and historical tradition, and after this tale of witchcraft is ended, we shall bask in the more congenial and sunnier region of the heart and the affections.
As has already been observed, while descanting on events so remote as those hitherto alluded to, it is necessary to bear in mind that the earlier period of the history of Scotland is involved in great obscurity; and that, notwithstanding the fact that Chalmers and Hailes have dispelled to a great extent the darkness in which the earlier period of Scottish history had hitherto been enveloped, even their explanatory statements must still be received with some degree of caution, if not with distrust.
The barbarous execution, however, of Lady Glamis on the Castle Hill of Edinburgh, on the 17th July 1537, in the reign of James V., for an alleged attempt to hasten the King's death by the imaginary crime of withcraft, and thereby to restore the expatriated house of Angus, is incontrovertible matter of
history. It does appear singular, however, that, while all the Scottish historians declare their belief in the innocence of Lady Glamis, Sir Walter Scott should express a contrary opinion, and darkly hint that the effect of these unhallowed rites was often accelerated by the administration of poison. He exculpates James also, by saying that "the cruelty was that of the age, not of the sovereign." In almost the next sentence, however, he virtually resigns the question, by saying "The license which he (the King) gave to the vindictive persecution of the Protestants seems to have originated in that personal severity of temper already noticed. His inexorable hatred of the Douglases partakes of the same character. No recollection of early familiarity, no degree of personal merit, would enduce him to extend any favour to an individual of that detested name."
This hatred of the Douglases by King James being at the root, and doubtless, the real cause of the criminal accusation against Lady Glamis, let us glance for a moment at the origin of this vindictive spirit displayed by the King to the house of Angus.
It occurred in this wise: When Lennox and his host arrived in the neighbourhood of Kirkliston, previous to the battle of that name, Angus rushed out of Edinburgh to support Arran. Sir George Douglas followed immediately thereafter, bringing with him the young King, and a goodly number of the citizens of Edinburgh. The conflict was hotly and pretty equally maintained, and the noise of the artillery on both sides waxed louder and louder. The King, by no means naturally courageous, betrayed great unwillingness to remain, which Sir George observing, addressed his Royal master in these memorable words "I read you Majesty's thoughts," said the stern Douglas; "but do not deceive yourself. If your enemies had hold of you on one side, and we on the other, we would tear you asunder rather than quit our hold"-rash, fatal words, which the King never forgave. Although the Earl of Angus subsequently, and in many ways, by acts of moderation and
clemency to the Royal army when they besieged his garrisoned Castle of Tantallon, endeavoured to mollify the King's resentment, James bitterly remembered the wrongs which he had received, and felt no gratitude for this forbearance and mercy on the part of his subject. On the contrary, he solemnly swore, in his anger, that no Douglas should, while he lived and reigned, find favour or countenance in Scotland. Henry VIII. used all the intercession he could in the Earl's favour; but it was not until the death of James that the Douglases were retored to their native country of Scotland.
In the following legend I have assumed, as I am entitled to do, that Lady Glamis was innocent of the crimes, imaginary or otherwise, which were laid to her charge and, in accordance with this view, have depicted her character, trial and cruel and unjust puishment. An extorted confession was in those days of little avail to the unfortunate prisoner accused of witchcraft, for, whether she confessed or not, a cruel and ignominious death was her certain doom. The assumed confession, therefore, of Lady Glamis must not be taken as any indication or proof of her guilt. She was arraigned on the double charge of witchcraft and conspiracy; and, from the well-known inexorable hatred of the King to her family, she knew no mercy would ever be extended to her, far less an honourable acquital. To have prolonged the sufferings of Lord Glamis would have had the effect of sacrificing his life as well as her own. She is therefore represented as making the exclamation "Guilty!" that she might thereby save the life of her son, as fall a sacrifice she must herself, whether she made the confession or not.
A family union had again been consummated between the two noble Houses of Angus and Strathmore. Lady Jane Douglas became the bride and happy wife of Lord Glamis. Her wedded happiness, however, was not of long duration. Soon after the birth of their first-born, the Lord Glamis, after a lingering illness, was summoned to give in his final account, and died much lamented by his family and dependants.