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The Whig's Vault at Dunnotar.


torting from him some information soldiers intensified the sufferings of about his father, whose Covenant. the imprisoned Covenanters. All ing leanings were well known, but provisions were charged for at a who had hitherto escaped his high rate, and even water had to be pursuers. The boy was well nigh bought. Barrels of water were dead with pain and fright-but by occasionally brought, which the no single word betrayed his father. soldiers doled out till they were Another lad, a few years older, had tired, and then emptied the rea thick cord tied round his brow, mainder into the vault. The weakest and twisted with the butt end of a died, and of this number there were pistol till the cord cut a fearful many. Their bodies were dragged gash round his head.

out and disposed of by the soldiers. But for wholesale cruelty perhaps After remaining some days in nothing surpassed the treatment in this filthy den, the governor rethe Whig's Vault at Dunnotar. moved about forty into another This fortress was built in the reign vault so narrow and low that the of Edward the First by Sir William exchange afforded no relief. All Keith, the Great Marshallof Scotland. the air and light came through a It is situated on the top of an im- very small chink. The walls were mense rock that projects into the decayed, and some little breeze came sea, and has now more the ap- in at the bottom of the vault. pearance of a ruined city than a Several of the men lay all their dismantled castle.

length on the floor to catch this Three months after the death of little breath of sweet air, and in Charles the Second, that is, in May, this way some, particularly Mr. 1685, the Council in Edinburgh were Frazer, one of the ministers, caught alarmed by the rumour that Argyle a violent cold and dysentry. was approaching. Afraid least the Relief came, however, from an Covenanters should join his standard, unexpected quarter. The wife of the they sent all the prisoners captured governor came in one day to see in the south and west to the fortress the prisoners in the vault, and of Dunnotar, in Kincardineshire. prevailed with her husband to Without a moment's warning some mitigate their sufferings. Twelve hundred and seventy men were thus men were taken from the little vault marched northward. The hardships and put into two rooms where they of the journey were incredible. had abundance of air and accommoThey were kept all one night on a dation. Notwithstanding this great bridge, soldiers being stationed at kindness many hardships had yet each end. The weather proved in to be endured in the Whig's clement, and many were worn down | Vault. As matters grew worse, with fatigue. But a worse fate several men sought to make their awaited them. They reached Dun- escape. They climbed up to the notar, and were then all thrust into window, and, finding sufficient space a dark vault under ground, known to admit of their exit, fell down on as “the Whig's Vault. This miser- the rocks which were a great able hole was anckle deep in mire, distance below. The wonder is and had but one window, which that the men were not crushed by looked toward the sea. The number their fall, or did not topple over thus caged together made it im- into the sea that roared beneath. possible for any one to sit down about twenty-five escaped in this without leaning on his neighbours. manner before the alarm was given There was no accommodation for to the guard by some women who sitting or lying, and the inmates were were washing near the rock. The stified for want of air. Many were outer gates were at once shut, the faint and sickly, but on no account hue and cry raised, and all possible were the prisoners allowed to leave means used to retake the fugitives. the vault. The barbarities of the Fifteen were apprehended, and the


rest, notwithstanding the unfriendly | tably incur a plague or other fearful character of the neighbouring people diseases, without the Council protoward them, got clear off. The men vide a speedy remedy; and, there. who were captured were inhumanly fore, humbly supplicating that beaten and bruised, were put into warrant may be granted to the the guard-house, bound and laid on effect underwritten.' their backs upon a form, a fiery The Council at once advised more match put betwixt every finger of lenient measures, but the governor both hands, while six soldiers in was greatly exasperated. He drew turn blew the match so as to keep up à defence, which he forced in the flame. This continued for several prisoners to sign under three hours without intermission. pain of still harsher treatment. William Neven, by this treatment, This monster in human shapelost one of the fingers of his left by name George Keith-deserves hand. Alexander Dalgleish died in and is certain to get the honest great agony of the inflammation that execration of an indignant posterity. set in. Others lost their fingers, the No government-except the Russian very bones of which were turned to --would permit such unheard of ashes. Nor was Dalgleish the only. atrocities to be inflicted even on the one who died through this worst than most notorious felons. But for his Inquisition torture. All these bar- cowardly fears no mitigation would barities

inflicted by the have followed the remonstrance of governor's orders.

the Council. Keith began to fear By some means news of these that the plague would break out. satanic practices got wind. Gentle-l'At length, says Wodrow the men in Edinburgh laid the facts historian,

when many

of the before the Council, in which were prisoners were dead through this men who possessed some touch of harsh dealing, and many of them pity.' A complaint was also made sick, and all of them in a very to the same Council by two women loathsome condition for want of whose husbands were confined in change of clothes, the governor, for the Whig's Vault. They state in fear of an infection, separated some their petition : That their husbands of them from the great vault and put ---with many others--who are under them in different rooms, some of no sentence, have been sent prisoners them in other vaults, without air to the Castle (Dunnotar); that they or light, others to ruinous high are in a most lamentable condition, chambers where the windows were there being one hundred and ten of all open and no fence against wind them in one vault, where there is and rain; they were not so much as little or no daylight at all; and, allowed to light a candle to look contrary to all modesty, men and after the sick and dying in the night women promiscuously together; and time. Several of their friends who forty-two more in another room in came to visit them were made the same condition; and no person prisoners, and sent with them to the allowed to come near them with plantations; and when the Council meat or drink, but such meat and ordered them back to Leith, they drink as scarce any rational creature were flightered and bound in twos can live upon, and yet at extraordi- and threes with cords.' nary rates-being twenty pennies In the churchyard of Dunnotar each pint of ale, which is not worth may now be seen a tombstone erected a plack a pint; and the peck of | to the memory of some of the sandy dusty meal is offered to them sufferers, and bearing this inscrip-at eighteen shillings per peck; and tion: 'Here lies John Scott, James not so much as a drink of water

James Russel, and allowed to be carried to them- William Brown, and one whose whereby they are not only in a name we have not gotten; and two starving condition, but must inevi. women also whose names we know


Keel Eddie at the Peel and at the Kirk.


not; and two who perished coming in Dunnotar Castle, anno 1685, for doune the rock; and one whose their adherence to the Word of God name was James Watson, the other and Scotland's Covenanted work of not known, who all died prisoners | Reformation.'



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ONE day in the autumn of the same * As I was saying, just now, ! year (1685) just as it was growing hae been to the ancient burgh o' dusk, Eddie and his donkey once Sanquhar. I hae lang dealt wi' more appeared before the door of the Provost, and as he wishes me the Miny.

well he got me introduced to the • Whar hae ye come frae the day?' Castle. Hech, sirce! but it is an said Gilbert.

unco place yon castle they ca' *I hae come frae the burgh o'Crichton Peel. It's a gowsty old Sanquhar; and I hae had an unco pile o' a biggin, capable o' baudin' speel up the face o' that weary Bale hundreds o' folk, great and sma'; Hill. It is a sair toilsome ascent, and then there is Wallace's Tower and there is always something eery in the south corner; and there was in passing that wild-looking spot a great iron yett, wi' its heavy they call Laganawell, where, the portkillus, as they ca' it. It hangs shepherds says, unsoncy things hae frightfully aboon, wi' its great iron been seen.

They say the name teeth grinin’ as it were for a bite. means the “bluidy hollow"-but be • Weel, as I was creeping toward that as it may-what a glorious the Peel wi' considerable caution, view presents itself frae the top o' wha should I forgether wi' but that lofty bill. All the upper Niths. Queensbury himsel'-no so frightful dale lies spread before ye. I

may a lookin'man after a'. He glowered say I never saw its beauties till this at meablink, but I appeared naething afternoon, The clear, mild sun-daunted. beams lit up the whole scene. The “ What do you here with that pure Nith winded its way through miserable looking creature you are the bottom of the valley, like a silver leading behind you?”

? thread, till it lost itself among the “An't please yer honour,'' says I, woods of Eliock. The town of "I am e'e auld Eddie Cringan the Sanquhar, with its old frowning keelman; and I deal in sundry castle, lay as it were at your feet. articles, such as tobacco and pipes, In the east corner the majestic and the sodgers are often gude Lowther Hills were seen towering customers.” above all the lesser mountains and • When he heard me name the overlooking the terrible gorge of sodgers, he said :Enterkin. And there

the "Ye are an honest fellow, I opine. beights of Afton-the green Cor. Here, Sergeant Turner, take the old sancone—the charming defile of fool into the kitchen, and give him Glen Aylmer—the hills of Killy something to eat and drink.” and Yochan--and the dark moun. "Thank yer honour," stammered tains of the wild Disdeer. My spirits I, and passed on. • The cuddie was were raised; but yet my heart sank tied up in an out-house, with the within me as I thought of the many creels on his back; but I took care martyred brethren whose mangled to hide the poother and shot in a bodies lay on moor and mountain in friendly house in the town. all the district before me. I trembled, And now I am going to tell you and I didna ken but I might mysel' what happened. A company of the next instant be stretched lifeless Airly's troops is lying at the castle. on the bent.

I had no acquaintance with any of

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them, but my ears were open. All | floor. As soon as they recovered was bustle about the Peel; and themselves they espied the keelman what wi' sodgers, and what wi' and his cuddie, and their thoughts servants, I was amaist dung donnart were at once turned to mischief and a' thegither. One pushing this way, to plunder. and another that, and swaggering,

" Come, now,

old fellow," they swearing, drinking, and fighting, yelled out, “unpack, and let us see the place seemed to be like pande. what sort of wares you have in those monium. I dined wi' the troopers, miserable creels and wallets of but I didna find mysel' at home yours.

a fair prizeamong them.

The entertainment captured on the battle-field, and now was plentiful; and whiskey, and for the spoil.” ale, and a' sorts o' liquors were in It was useless to remonstrate. abundance. I never saw such eat. The poor cuddie was

soon eased ing and drinking. The men seemed of his burden, the creels emptied,as if they had not broken their fast the tobacco, pipes, snuff, eggs, all for half a week, and scarcely any tumbled on the floor. The tobacco one was sober. Presently they all was quickly picked up, and the snuff; turned out on the green under the the pipes were broken, and the eggs castle wa’ to dance, Angus Mc Bane, they picked up and flung at one one of Airly's men, being a first-rate another. They then turned on mysel' hand at the bagpipes. Such a

and the cuddie. Presently the mingling, and a shoutin', and a yellow yowks were running down caperin' as followed, I never saw. my breast and back like water. They Some drew their swords, and waved kicked the creels about and tossed them over their heads, and others them on to the green. The cuddie threatened to their fellows was untied and led into the very throngh. Bonnets

tossed midst of the hubblement, and I, ali high in the air, kilted lads footed it besmeared with eggs as I was, was most nimbly. Some were tripping compelled to mount him and ride their neighbours up: others were round the green. Every eye now boxing like rams and pushing like turned on me. All ceased fighting, wild bulls. I crept into the shed wi' and burst into a loud and uncon. the cuddie, and pept through a trollable fit of laughter. They next hole, for the men seemed stark mad insisted that I should perform some wi' strong drink. The braw folks feats of horsemanship, on pain of were keekin' frae the castle windows, being ducked in the horse pond, when enjoying the scene, and one fair suddenly a spy was seen hasting lady displayed her handkerchief toward the castle frae the moors. from the balcony, when a shout He brought word that a large con. arose from the crowd that was venticle was being held northward perfectly deafening.

among the hills. The bugle sounded. The hubbub increased, and Every man girt on his armour, and all was confusion. Sodgers and mounted his horse. In an instant servants were a' jumbled together, the castle yard was empty, and all fightin' and brawling. At first I were dashing along toward the moor thought mysel' pretty secure in my after the captain. little

out-house; but ere long I began * All this occurred on Saturday to dread the upshot. A roisterous afternoon last. Queensbury and party, in the frenzy of their ex. Airly remained in the castle, swillcitement, approached my hiding ing themselves with wine, and Kirkplace, and fighting furiously and wood, the witty curate of Sanquhar, roaring terribly came with a crash was their companion. I never like

inst the frail door behind which ony one to speak to Kirkwood's I stood. It flew to shivers, and in discredit. He treats me kindly Itumbled half a dozen of the boister. when I ca' at the manse ; but no ous troopers, heels over head, on the man is perfect, and the curate has


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Kirkwood, the Witty Curate of Sanquhar.

415 his failings. Weel, Kirkwood was a second time, the minister repeated at the castle, and Airly was greatly the

command Jasper, taken wi' him, and kept him to a another glass, and then—". In late hour wi' jokes, and stories, and this way he detained the party in chaffin'. Kirkwood's conscience now the Queensbury loft as they had and then pinched him wee, for he detained him in the castle the night kenned he was to preach on the before. morrow, and he attempted several Kirkwood is a merry blade, and times to rise and retire to his home; pleases the Peel folks vastly, and but Airly always held him to his liberties are granted him which in seat, with the words "One glass another would not have been allowed. more, and then!!But the night I was in the seat abint the Provost, wore away and the dawn began to and as the kirk was skailin', he says appear. He was at length allowed to me, “ Eddie, what think ye 'o' to depart, and stealing quietly along this day's work P" “The curate will the edge of the river-some say he get an invitation to dine at the dipped into the water-he reached castle this afternoon, and to spend the manse unseen.

another night wi’ the family in The next day Kirkwood ap- carousals." Right, right, Eddie. peared in the church, and Airly, He is not only witty, and a boon Queensbury, and all their retinue, companion, but a man of uncommon placed themselves in the loft, exactly sagacity, and Queensbury, if a' tales opposite the pulpit. I was in the be true, is in no small degree in. kirk, and a great crowd o' folk to debted to his prudent counsels, and see the grand anes frae the Peel. through him the persecution here I was in a corner where I could has been greatly lessened. The weel see baith the curate and the curate has influence with Queenscastle folk, and I could see how they bury, and Queensbury with the smiled and frowned as the minister Council in Edinburgh, and so ye went on in his dashing way preach. see how one thing hangs on another. ing frae the text, The Lord will destroy Did ye observe how the people enthe wicked, and that early. He pro- joyed the thing the day ? They nounced the word early with a strong hate the persecuting party, and are voice,* and looked straight to the glad to find anybody who can deal loft were Airly sat, and thumpt on a blow at them.”

Thus talking the book-board, and stampt wi' his we parted at the style.' feet till the bottom o’ the pu'pit But,' said Gilbert, who had been rang like a drum; and the folk all this time an eager listener, 'ye glowered and stared, and winkit and havena tauld how ye came on after noddit, and leuch some o' them at the affair of the plunder, and yer the courage and spirit of the waggery in riding round a circle.' minister, and wondered sair what Waggery!' said Eddie, I trow it it a' meant. When he had drawn to was nae waggery in me, but a very the ordinary length o' the sermon, sair trail, and the upshoot of which he_ball’d oot to his precentor- I couldna well guess. Weel, then, “Jasper, turn the sand-glass ; for ye see, I was in a sad plight-ali I mean to have another glassand besmeared wi' the broken eggs, as then-," When he uttered these if I had been standing for a miswords I observed Airly and Queens- demeanor in the jugs at the kirk bury laid their heads on the book door, or the cross of the burgh, board and botched and leuch, to the when mischievous callans and illamazement of all around them. behauden women are privileged to When the sand had run its course fling a' sorts o' nuisance in the face.

The tobacco was strown; the pipes The broad Scotch pronunciation of this word is AIRLY. Kirkwood's text we have smashed a' to stapples; the creels been unable to find even with the aid of crushed as flat as a scone ; and the Cruden.-ED.

cuddie shaking as if he had the


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