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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. I


he barbarously threw the bodies on a great fire that blazed in the fireplace of the tower; ?and there in their armour they broiled and sweltered like tortoises in iron shells.? Locking the doors, the fugitives hurriedly and stealthily reached the tower-head unseen. The attendant lowered himself down first over the abutting crag, which there is more than zoo feet in height, but the cord proving too short it slipped from his hands, and he fell to the bottom senseless. This must have been a terrible crisis for the blood-stained Albany ! Hurrying back to his now horrible apartment in the tower, he dragged the sheets from his bed, added them to the rope, looped it round an embrasure, and lowered himself safely down over rampart and rock to the bottom, where he found his attendant lying helpless, with a broken thigh Unwilling to leave him to ptrish, Albany, with a sentiment that contrasts singularly with his recent ferocity, raised him on his shoulders, and being a man of unusual strength and Stature, he actually conveyed him to Leith, a distance of two miles; and, when the sun rose, the ship, with Albany, was out on the German sea. Daylight revealed the rope and twisted sheets hanging over the rampart of the tower. An alarm was given, which the dreadful stench from the locked chamber must have increased. The door was opened. Albany was gone, but the half-con- Qumed corpses were found in the fireplace; and James 111. refused to believe in a story so incredible till he had visited the place in person.* Albany fled to England, the king of which refused to deliver him up. Thus war was declared, and James marched from the Burghmuir with $0,000 men and a train of guns, under the master of the ordndnce, a stone-mason, whom, with great impolicy, he had created Earl of Mar. At Lauder the nobles halted; hanged all the king?s minions over the bridge in horse-halters, and disbanded the troops j and then the humbled and luckless James returned to the Castle, where for many months, in 1481, he remained a species of prisoner in the custody of its commanders, the Earls of Athol and Buchan, who,? it has been supposed, would have murdered him in secret had not the Lord Darnley and other loyal barons protected him, by never leaving his chamber unguarded by night or day. There he remained in a species of honourable durance, while near him lay in 3 dungeon the venerable *Earl of Douglas, who scorned to be reconciled, though James, in his humility, made overtures to him. He appealed at last to Lindesay, Diummond, Scott, Buchan, &c. England for aid against his turbulent barons, and Edward IV. (though they had quarrelled about a matrimonial alliance, and about the restoration of Berwick) sent Richard, Duke of Gloucester; north, at .the head of 10,000 auxiliaries, who encamped on the Burghmuir, where the Duke of Albany, who affected a show of loyalty, joined them, at the very time that the rebellious nobles of lames were sitting in council in the Tolbooth. Thither went Albany and Gloucester, the ? crookbacked Dick? of Shakspere and of Bosworth, attended by a thousand gentlemen of both countries, and the parties having come to terms, heralds were sent to the Castle to charge the commander thereof to open the gates and set the king at liberty; after which the royal brothers, over whose fraternisation Pitscottie?s narrative casts some ridicule, rode together, he adds, to Holyrood, ? quhair they remained ane long time in great merrines.? William Bertraham, Provost of Edinburgh, with the whole community of the city, undertook to repay to the king of England the dowry of his daughter the Lady Cecil, and afterwards they fulfilled their obligations by repaying 6,000 merks to the Garter King-at-Arms. In acknowledgment of this loyal service James granted to the city the patent known as its ?Golden Charter,? by which the provost and bailies were created sheriffs of their own boundaries, with other important privileges. Upon the craftsmen he also conferred a banner, said to have been made by the queen and her ladies, still preserved and known popularly as the ? Blue Blanket,? and it was long the rallying point of the Burgher-guard in every war or civic broil. Thus, Jarnes VI., in the ? Basilicon Doron,? points out to Prince Henry-? The craftsmen think we should be content with their work how bad soever it be ; and if in anything they be controuled, up goes the Blue Blanket ! ? This banner, according to Kincaid, is of blue silk, with a white St. Andrew?s cross. It is swallowtailed, measuring in length from the pole ten feet two inches, and in breadth six and a half feet. It bears a thistle crowned, with the mottoes : ?Fear God and honour the King with a long lyffe and a prosperous reigne ; ? and ?? And we that is Trades shall ever pray to be faithful1 for the defence of his sacred Maiesties royal person till Death.? Jarnes 111. was noted about this time for the quantity of treasure, armour, and cannon he had stored up in the Castle, his favourite residence. In David?s Tower stood his famous black kist (probably the same which is now in the Crown room), filled with rare and costly-gems, gold and silver specie, massive plate, and a wonderful C6!-
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