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himself and his house knocking at his gates at the dead of night-encompassing the walls with armed and vindictive retainers—such a summons as this was not one from which the young earl could expect moderation or justice to follow. He resolved to defend the house to the death. A gun, fired from within, mortally wounded one of the Gordons, and the passions of the assailants and their leader were excited to the highest pitch. To force an entrance, they set fire to the doors, and the house seemed to be on the point of being enveloped in flames. In this emergency, Moray took counsel with his friend Dunbar, sheriff of the county, who chanced to be with him on that night. "Let us not stay,' said Dunbar, 'to be burned in the flaming house; I will go out foremost, and the Gordons, taking me for your lordship, will kill me, while you escape in the confusion. After giving utterance to this noble offer, the generous Dunbar did not hesitate an instant, but threw himself among the assailants, and fell immediately, as he had anticipated, beneath their swords. At first it seemed as if this act of heroic devotion would have accomplished its purpose. The
earl had passed out immediately after his friend, and had the fortune to escape through the ranks of the Gordons. He directed his flight to the rocks of the neighbouring beach, and most probably would have got off in the darkness, had not his path been pointed out to his foes by the silken tassels of his helmet, which had caught fire as he passed out through the flames of the house. A headstrong and revengeful cadet of the Huntly family—Gordon of Buckie—was the first, it is said, who overtook the flying earl, and wounded him mortally. While Moray lay in the throes of death at the feet of his ruthless murderer, Huntly himself came up to the spot, when Buckiè, exclaiming: ‘By Heaven, my lord, you shall be as deep in as I, forced his chief to strike the dying man, 'Huntly, says Sir Walter Scott, with a wavering hand, struck the expiring earl in the face. Mindful of his superior beauty, even in that moment of parting life, Moray stammered out the dying words: "You have spoiled a better face than your own.”
The perpetrators of this barbarous act hurried from the scene, leaving the corpse of the earl lying on the beach, and the house of Dunnibrissle in flames. Though but little afraid of any consequences that might ensue, Huntly did not choose to return to Edinburgh to be the narrator of what had passed. The messenger he chose for this purpose, strange to say, was no other than the person on whom the deepest share of guilt lay-Gordon of Buckie. This bold man hesitated not to fulfil his chief's commands. He rode post to the king's presence, and informed his majesty of all that had occurred. Finding, however, that his night's work was not likely to acquire its doers any credit, he left the city as hastily as he had entered it. By some it is supposed that Gordon could not have seen the king, who had gone out at an early hour to hunt. It is known, at least, that, with apparent unconsciousness of the deed that had been perpetrated, James pursued his sport for several hours in the early part of that day. On his return to the city, his majesty found the streets filled with lamentations for the murder of Moray, and strong suspicions entertained that he himself had authorised Huntly to perpetrate the deed. Dunnibrissle House being visible from the grounds of Inverleith and Wardie, it was alleged that the king must have seen the smoking ruins in his hunting—nay, that he had chosen that quarter for his sport, on purpose to gratify his eye with the spectacle.
The popularity of the late earl, on account of his personal qualities, and as a leading Presbyterian, rendered the people blindly severe for the moment to James, whom there is no real cause for supposing accessory to the guilt of the Gordons. The fact of the conspiracy, which we have already mentioned at length, is almost a positive exculpation of the king. One verse in the fine old ballad which we shall give immediately, says, that Moray'was the queen's luve. A traditionary anecdote is the only support which the ballad receives for a circumstance utterly discredited by history. James, says the story, found the Earl of Moray sleeping one day in an arbour with
a ribbon about his neck, which his majesty had given to the queen. On seeking her majesty's presence, the king found the ribbon on her neck, and was convinced that he had mistaken one ribbon for another. But, continues the story, the ribbon worn by Moray was in truth the queen's, and had been only restored to her in time to blind his majesty by the agency of some one who had observed the king's jealous observation of Moray asleep.
To return, however, from tradition to history. The ferment caused in Edinburgh by the news of Moray's death, was aggravated tenfold, when, on the same day, Lady Doune, mother of the ill-fated nobleman, arrived at Leith in a boat, carrying with her the bodies of her son and his devoted friend Dunbar. The mournful lady took this step in order to stimulate the vengeance of the laws against the murderers of her son.
When the news reached the king, that Lady Doune was about to expose the mangled bodies to the gaze of the multitude, he forbade them to be brought into the city, conceiving justly that the spectacle was not only an unseemly one, but that the populace were excited enough already. Defeated in her first wish, Lady Doune caused a picture to be drawn of her son's remains, and enclosing it in a piece of lawn cloth, she brought it to the king, uncovered it before him, and with vehement lamentations cried for justice on the slayers of her beautiful! her brave ! She then took out three bullets found in Moray’s body, one of which she gave to the king, another to one of his nobles, and the third she reserved to herself, to be bestowed on him who should hinder justice!'
As far as he could, James fulfilled the demands of justice, though the times would not permit him to punish the leaders.
Two servants of Huntly were executed for the deed; but the earl himself had fled to the north, where he was much more powerful than James, king of Scotland though he was. After some time, however, to recover the royal favour, which, to his credit, James obstinately withheld till some atonement was made, Huntly surrendered himself, and was confined for a time in Blackness
Castle. He was not brought to any trial, and was liberated on bail. Gordon of Buckie, the true murderer, lived for nearly fifty years after Moray's death, and in letter days expressed great contrition for the act of which he had been guilty. From punishment by the hand of man, the unsettled state of society and of the laws succeeded in screening him.
The beautiful person and great accomplishments of the unfortunate nobleman whose melancholy fate has been narrated, have been embalmed in the music of his country's verse. The last stanza of the following ballad has been termed by Burns deeply affecting, and so every one inust feel it to be :
"Ye Highlands, and ye Lawlands,
Oh! where have ye been ?
And laid him on the green.
And wherefore did ye sae ?
But forbade you him to slay.”
And he rade at the ring;
Oh! he micht ha' been a king.
And he rade at the gluve :
Oh! he was the queen's luve!
Look owre the Castle Doune,
Come sounding through the toun.' Nearly at the same time with Moray's death, Campbell of Calder fell by the hand of an assassin. The young Earl of Argyle fortunately escaped the snares of the conspirators.
Such is the story of one of the numberless fendal quarrels and deeds of violence which disfigure the history of Scotland, and to which it is instructive, though painful, to look back from these comparatively peaceful and happy times.
THE BAGPIPER IN TOTTENHAM COURT ROAD.
Is the London Magazine, an extinct but excellent work, occurs the following anecdote respecting a statue which for many years has occupied a site in a garden on the terrace in Tottenham Court Road
The statue in question is executed in a fine freestone, representing a bagpiper, in a sitting posture, playing on his pipes, with his dog and keg of liquor by his side, the latter of which stands upon a neat stone pedestal.
The following singular history is attached to its original cxecution. During the great plague of London, carts were sent round the city each night, the drivers of which rang a bell, as intimation for every house to bring out its dead. The bodies were then thrown promiscuously into the cart, and conveyed to a little distance in the environs, where deep ditches were dug, in which they were deposited.
The piper, as represented in the statue, had his constant stand at the bottom of Holborn, near St Andrew's Church. He became well known about the neighbourhood, and picked up a living from the passengers going that way, who generally threw him a few pence as the reward of his musical talents. A certain gentleman, who never failed in his generosity to the piper, was surprised, on passing one day as usual, to miss him from his accustomed place ; upon inquiry, he found that the poor man had been taken ill in consequence of a very singular accident. On the joyful occasion of the arrival of one of his countrymen from the Highlands, the piper had, in fact, made too free with the contents of his keg: these so overpowered his faculties, that he stretched himself out upon the steps of the church, and fell fast asleep. These were not times to sleep on church steps with impunity. He was found in this situation when the dead-cart went its rounds; and the carter, supposing of course, as the most