Page images
PDF
EPUB

proached her, threw himself upon his knees, entreated her to tell him her condition, and assured her, that if the laws of Ilonour would permit it, he would make her the wife of the first obleman of the land--the wife of himself, the lord Kintair.

The lady, who had till that word, listened with downcast eyes, and a face covered with the blush of modesty, instantly leaped again upon her horse.

"Young lord,” replied she, “let one word suffice. My name is Margaret Seaton.

With these words in her mouth she left him and pursued her journey.

Feeble would words express the conflict of raging passions in the breast of the wild Kintair on this occasion. Love, anger, pride, revenge, despair, at once took possession of his soul; at once bereft him of speech, and of resolution. He threw himself upon the ground, and tore up the very earth in agony.

earth in agony. At length starting up in a fury, be commanded his attendants to follow, and to bring the lady Margaret back to him. Soon after, however, reflecting that the retinue of the lady was equal to his own in point of number, and determining to trust his revenge to no one but himself, he mounted his horse and pursued the same track,

Winged as it were by love and revenge, he presently outstripped his own servants, nor was it long before he overtook the lady Margaret.

* Insolent fool!” exclaimed he, " didst thou imagine that I would permit thee to escape me thus ? that I would permit thee to inake thy brother sport with my humble suit, and thy proud refusal ?-No !-think not that I would espouse the sister of the man I hate ? that by a boyish passion, I would be the scandalo is means of conciliating an enmity so justly founded, as that be. tween thy family and mine; an enmity which, I hope, will be eternal. I have one method to gratify my desires, which is more short, which will give me double pleasure, by feeding at once my hatred and my love, and by affording me the noblest re. venge on thee and thy family."

'These words were hardly uttered, when he gave the signal for murder; in consequence of which, a conflict ensued, and all the servants of the lady Margaret were destroyed.

This bloody deed—during which the unhappy lady fell a defenceless victim to the brutal passion of Kintair ; it had not been many minutes perpetrated, when a party of near one hundred, of the Seaton's appeared upon a neighbouring hill ; they were ignorant of what had happened; but the savage ravisher fearing to be overpowered by numbers, mounted his horse, and, with his attendants, rode off with speed through the woods. The Seaton's having passed another way, the wretched lady Margaret

a

found herself instantly left alone, encompassed with the horrors of her own fate, with the mangled bodies of her faithful ser vants, and with the weapons of the murders, yet reeking with blood, which in their haste to get away, they had omitted to carry with them. Her first resolution was to plunge one of these into her own bosom, and thus to terminate her misery and her life together; but religion forbidding such a step, and shame preventing her returning home, she concluded upon hiding herself from the world forever.. Picking up, therefore, the weapons that lay before her, as an eternal remembrance of the horrid scene, she made her way to a distant cottage, and giving to the poor, but honest hinds, her money, jewels, and whatever else of value she had about her, she bound them by oath to eternal secrecy, and conjured them to let her spend the remainder of a wretched life with them...16

Le Soon as the bloody Kintair had got to a place of safety, he sat down with his attendants, exulted with them in the success of his villany, and vowed, that till then he had never tasted the pleasures of revenge ; he praised their courage, gave them a number of presents, and promised them a thousand more ; and finally, he bound himself in an association with them, to make them his companions for ever, and to give them all estates, provided they would join with him, heartily, in prosecuting a scene of vengeance, which he told them he had now concerted, and

of which this was but the auspicious beginning. The caitiffs were unanimously fond of the honour their lord did them, and with the most dreadful imprecations, they entered into the proposed association, of never resting till the whole family of the Seaton's should be extinct.

"Friends, and brothers in revenge," said Kintair on this hear me now and know the first step to my design is, to destroy the lady Margaret. This done, you shall see, and be surprised at my concerted vengeance. But for the party that we saw above us, I had not spared' her before. We must now attempt to seize her once more, ere she get home, and kill ber on the spot where I enjoyed her. This completes my yet unfinished vengeance upon her, and leads you beside to a complicated scene of glorious mischief, of which my brain is full, but of which yoa can yet have no idea." *** 60

No sooner were the words uttered, than up they were, and * ready for the enterprize ; and such haste did they make, that they soon got more forward than the lady could possibly have been by that time, had she continued her journey homeward. They then halted in a thick wood ; through which the road to Seaton Castle lay, and lay in wait for the hapless lady Margaret, She, injured innocent! was otherwise employed than they imagined. Her sister, the lady Jane, however, unfortunately for her.

[ocr errors]

had the same day been abroad to some little distance, and, on her return home, in the dusk of the evening, alone, the villains immediately seized on her, and, according to the order of their lord, carried her to the fatal spot where the rape and massacre had been committed.

It was late in the night before they arrived there; and the moon shining bright, the distracted lady Margaret bad left her cottage, and wandered to pour forth her sorrows at the place where the horrid act had been committed. There she was tossing herself on the ground, and making the rocks and woods resound with her distracted cries, when the murderers approached with their unhappy prey. So terrified was lady Margaret at the trampling of horses, the oaths and the blasphemies of the company, and the known voice of Kintair, that she crept among the bushes and thorns till she came to a thicket, behind which she stopped to listen to the noise of the abandoned ruffians. They were now come to the place, and the servants throwing down the unhappy, though mistaken, victim of their fury, whose mouth they had already stopped with handkerchiefs, to prevent her outcries, Kintair walked up to her, and in an exulting tone exclained, “ We were prevented, lady, this morning, but here is now a favour that you shall own strikes you to the heart." With these words he plunged his sword into her hosom, and ended her life, without discovering his mistake. As soon as he had given the fatal blow, the murderer, seated himself on her body, yet struggling in the agonies of death, and addressed himself to his at. tendants :

"Now, my friends, (said he) hear the utmost of my intentions ---alarm you the neighbouring villages with cries of murder : m these other bodies are yet warm, and they shall be made to believe all fell together. I will join in the crowd that first comes ; and do you, Farquharson, (pointing to one of his ruffians) mount the swiftest horse, and as you see us approach, ride with your utmost speed towards the castle of the Seatons, then round the heath, and join us, and you shall be rejoiced at what my revenge shall make of this."

Immediately all separated to the work ; and the afilicted lady Margaret took that opportunity to get back to her cottage. She was scarce there when the whole country was raised ; the bloody Kintair joined the mob, and Farquharson, when they came in sight, fled, as he was ordered, before them. Kintair pursued him, with a number of the clowns, and when he was got from them, that monster of villany returned, and assured his followers, that it was lord Seaton who fled before them. The clowns agreed to a man that it was so; and, on viewing the bodies of the murdered persons, the abandoned Kintair persuaded them that this Seaton had debancked his sister, and, with the assistance of his

strongest terms, the horror of the crime, and adding a thousand reproaches. At length the accused lord advanced towards the judges with a settled countenance, and looking with disdain on his accuser, and on his judges with that modest but intrepid confidence which conscious innocence ever displays, spoke to the following purport:

My Lords and Judges, “ View with an impartial eye the conduct of my past life, and you will determine I cannot but be innocent of the horrid crimes of which I am accused ; and that I am so, be it sufficient that I now once, in the most solemn manner, affirm it before you.Consider that my accuser is the professed enemy of my house and family, and that these, my supposed accomplices, are the friends, the fathers, and the brothers of my murdered, honest servants. Is it probable that they could, for my sake, be induced

. to murder these ; and that I who have been known to love my sister Margaret with more than common affection, could imbue my hands in her blood ? Impossible! Think on these circumstances, and weigh them well ere you determine. Be not rash or hasty ; you know not what hereafter may appear, that yet is not suspected.”

Here the accused ended his defence, which was soon overpowered by the number and repeated oaths of the evidences, particuJarly of Kintair, who declared, that he saw Seaton plunge his dagger into the breast of the lady Margaret, and the rest butcher her attendants.

The supreme judge was now rising from his seat, to pronounce sentence on the delinquents, when a voice was heard crying with the utmost earnestness, “ Forbear, forbeər, oh judge! Guard well the doors, tbat none escape.”

And in an instant a woman threw herself at the feet of the judges, crying out, “ I ain that Margaret, whom this innocent, this best of brothers, is accused of murdering. Look well whose these are.” With these words she threw down the daggers.

The court all arose in a moment, astonished at her appearance the brother threw himself on her neck in a transport of joy; and the court examining the daggers, and finding on each the name of the owner, demanded the true history of the fact, which she accordingly related in the most pathetic terms. The unhappy Margaret when she heard the sentence intended for her brother and his servants, passed on his accusers, retired into a nunnery, and left the innocent, though afflicted Seaton, in the possession not only of his own estate and titles, but those of his vile accu. ser, which were forfeited, and which his descendants, the Seators of Scotland, are said to enjoy to this day,

« PreviousContinue »