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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. I


nearly to the muzzle with musket-balls was depressed to sweep it, and did so with awful effect. According to the historian of the ? Troubles,? twenty men were blown to shreds. Weddal had both thighs broken, and Somerville, with a few who were untouched, grovelled close under the wall, where Ruthven, who recognised him as an old Swedish comrade, besought him to retire, adding, ? I derive no pleasure in the death of gallant men.? Of the whole escalade only thirty-three escaped alive, and of these many were wounded, a result which cooled the ardour of the besiegers; but after a three months? blockade, finding his garrison few, and all suffering from scurvy, and that provisions and ammunition were alike expended, on the 18th September, after a blockade of five months in all, during which 1,000 men had been slain, he marched outwith the honours of war (when so ill with scurvy that he could scarcely walk) at the head .of seventy men, with one drum beating, one standard flying, matches lighted, 2nd two pieces .of cannon, with balls in their muzzles and the port-fires blazing at both ends. They all sailed for England in a king?s ship. Ruthven fought nobly for the king there, and died at a good old age in 1651, Earl of Forth and Brentford. Argyle, the Dictator of Scotland, in the autumn of 1648 invited Oliver Cromwell to Edinburgh, and entertained him with unwonted magnificence in the great hall of the Castle ; afterwards they held many meetings in Lady Home?s house, in the Canongate, where the resolution to take away the king?s fife was discussed and approved of, for which the said Dictator afterwards lost his head. The next important event in the history of 5? The steep, the iron-belted rock, Where trusted lie the monarchy?s last gems, The sceptre, sword, and crown that graced the brows Since Fergus, father of a hundred kings,? I was in the days of Cromwell. Scotland, after the coronation of Charles II., that I On tidings reaching the former was advancing north at the head of an army, the Parliament ordered the Castle to be put in a state of defence. There were put therein a select body of troops under Colonel Walter Dundas, 1,000 bolls of meal and malt, 1,000 tons of coal, 67 brass and iron guns, including Mons Meg and howitzers, 8,000 stand of arms, and a vast store of warlike munition. According to the superstition of the time the earth and air all over Scotland teemed with strange omens of the impending strife, and in a rare old tract, of 16j0, we are told of the alarm created in the fortress by the appearance of a ?horrible apparition ? beating upon a drum. On a dark night the sentinel, under the shadow of the gloomy half-moon, was alarmed by the beating of a drum upon the esplanade and the tread of marching feet, on which he fired his musket. Col. Dundas hurried forth, but could see nothing on the bleak expanse, the site of the now demolished Spur. The sentinel was truncheoned, and another put in his Dlace. to COVENANTERS? FLAG. (Fmnz tAe Altts~rrm ofthe societu of Antiq~n&~ d.yco*la&.) A I whom the same thing happened, and he, too, fired his musket, affirming that he heard the tread of soldiers marching to the tuck of drum. To Dundas nothing was visible, nothing audible but the moan of the autumn wind. He took a musket and the post of sentinel. Anon he heard the old Scots march, beaten by an invisible drummer, who came close up to the gate; then came other sounds-the tramp of many feet and clank of accoutrements ; still nothing was visible, till the whole impalpable array seemed to halt close by Dundas, who was bewildered with consternation. Again a drum was heard beating the English, and then the French march, when the alarm ended ; but the next drums that were beaten there were those of Oliver Cromwell. When the latter approached Edinburgh he found the whole Scottish army skilfully entrenched parallel with Leith Walk, its flanks protected by
Volume 1 Page 54
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