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Early on the following morning the inhabitants of Berwick were seen hurrying in groups to the spot where the robbery had been committed, and were scattered in every direction over the moor, but no trace of the robber could be obtained.
Three days had passed, and Sir John Cochrane yet lived. The mail which contained his death-warrant had been robbed, and before another order for his execution could be given, the intercession of his father, the Earl of Dundonald, with the king's confessor might be successful. Grizel now became almost his constant companion in prison, and spake to him words of comfort.
Nearly fourteen days had passed since the robbery of the mail had been committed, and protracted hope in the bosom of the prisoner, became more bitter than his first despair. But even that hope, bitter as it was, perished. The intercession of his father had been unsuccessful; and a second time the bigoted and would-be despotic monarch had signed the warrant for his death, and within little more than another day that warrant would reach his prison.
The will of Heaven be done!' groaned the captive. 'Amen!' responded Grizel, with wild vehemence; 'yet my father shall not die.' *
Again the rider with the mail had reached the moor of Tweedmouth, and a second time he bore with him the doom of Sir John Cochrane. He spurred his horse to his utmost speed-he looked cautiously before, behind, and around him, and in his right hand he carried a pistol ready to defend himself. The moon shed a ghostly light across the heath, which was only sufficient to render desolation dimly visible, and it gave a spiritual embodiment to every shrub. He was turning the angle of a straggling copse, when his horse reared at the report of a pistol, the fire of which seemed to dash into its very eyes. At the same moment his own pistol flashed, and his horse rearing more violently, he was driven from the saddle. In a moment the foot of the robber was upon his breast, who bending over him, and brandishing a short dagger in his hand, said,
Give me thine arms, or die!'
The heart of the king's servant failed within him, and without venturing to reply, he did as he was commanded.
Now go thy way,' said the robber, sternly, but leave with me thy horse, and leave with me the mail, lest a worst thing come upon thee.'
The man arose, and proceeded towards Berwick, trem bling; and the robber, mounting the horse which he had left, rode rapidly across the heath.
Preparations were making for the execution of Sir John Cochrane, and the officers of the law waited only for the arrival of the mail with his second death-warrant, to lead him forth to the scaffold, when the tidings arrived that the mail had again been robbed. For yet fourteen days, and the life of the prisoner would be again prolonged. He again fell on the neck of his daughter, and wept and said,
'It is good-the hand of Heaven is in this!'
'Said I not,' replied the maiden, and for the first time she wept aloud, that my father should not die?'
The fourteen days were not yet passed, when the prison doors flew open, and the Earl of Dundonald rushed to the arms of his son. His intercession with the confessor had been at length successful, and after twice signing the warrant for the execution of Sir John, which had as often failed in reaching its destination, the king had sealed his pardon.
He had hurried with his father from the prison to his own house-his family were clinging around him, shedding tears of joy, but Grizel, who during his imprisonment had suffered more than them all, was again absent. They were marvelling with gratitude at the mysterious Providence that had twice intercepted the mail, and saved his life, when a stranger craved an audience. Sir John desired him to be admitted, and the robber entered; he was habited, as we have before described, with the coarse cloak and coarser jerkin, but his bearing was above his condition. On entering, he slightly touched his beaver, but remained covered.
When you have perused these,' said he, taking two papers from his bosom, 'cast them into the fire.'
Sir John glanced on them-started, and became pale— they were his death-warrants.
My deliverer!' he exclaimed, 'how-how shall I thank thee-how repay the savior of my life? My father-my children-thank him for me.'
The old earl grasped the hand of the stranger-the children embraced his knees. He pressed his hand before his face, and burst into tears.
'By what name,' eagerly inquired Sir John, 'shall I thank my deliverer?'
The stranger wept aloud, and raising his beaver, the raven tresses of Grizel Cochrane fell on the coarse cloak.
Gracious heaven!' exclaimed the astonished and enraptured father, my own child-my savior-my own Grizel.'
It is unnecessary to add more-the imagination of the reader can supply the rest, and we may only add, that Grizel Cochrane, whose heroism and noble affection we have here briefly and imperfectly sketched, was the grandmother of the late Sir John Stewart, of Allanbank, in Berwickshire, and great, great grandmother of Mr. Coutts, the celebrated hanker.
Truth and Falsehood, An Allegory.-JOHNSON.
WHILE the world was yet in its infancy, Truth came among mortals from above, and Falsehood from below. Truth was the daughter of Jupiter and Wisdom; Falsehood was the progeny of Folly impregnated by the wind. They advanced with equal confidence to seize the dominion of the new creation; and as their enmity and their force were well known to the celestials, all the eyes of Heaven were turned upon the contest.
Truth seemed conscious of superior power and juster claim, and therefore came on towering and majestic, unassisted, and alone; Reason indeed always attended her, but appeared her follower rather than companion. Her march was slow and stately, but her motion was perpetually progressive, and when once she had grounded her foot, neither gods nor men could force her to retire.
Falsehood always endeavored to copy the mien and attitudes of Truth, and was very successful in the arts of mimicry. She was surrounded, animated, and supported by innumerable legions of Appetites and Passions, but, like other feeble commanders, was obliged often to receive law from her allies. Her motions were sudden, irregular, and violent; for she had no steadiness nor constancy. She often gained conquests by hasty incursions, which she never hoped to keep by her own strength, but maintained by the
help of the Passions, whom she generally found resolute and faithful.
It sometimes happened that the antagonists met in full opposition. In these encounters, Falsehood always invested her head with clouds, and commanded Fraud to place ambushes about her. In her left hand she bore the shield of Impudence, and the quiver of Sophistry rattled on her shoulder. All the Passions attended at her call. Vanity clapped her wings before, and Obstinacy supported her behind. Thus guarded and assisted, she sometimes advanced against Truth, and sometimes waited the attack; but always endeavored to skirmish at a distance, perpetually shifted her ground, and let fly her arrows in different directions; for she certainly found that her strength failed, whenever the eye of Truth darted full upon her.
Truth had the awful aspect though not the thunder of her father, and when the long continuance of the contest brought them near to one another, Falsehood let the arms of Sophistry fall from her grasp, and, holding up the shield of Impudence with both her hands, sheltered herself amongst the Passions.
Truth, though she was often wounded, always recovered in a short time; but it was common for the slightest hurt received by Falsehood, to spread its malignity to the neighboring parts, and to burst open again when it seemed to have been cured.
Falsehood, in a short time, found by experience that her superiority consisted only in the celerity of her course, and the changes of her posture. She therefore ordered Suspicion to beat the ground before her, and avoided with great care to cross the way of Truth, who, as she never varied her point, but moved constantly upon the same line, was easily escaped by the oblique, and desultory movements, the quick retreats and active doubles which Falsehood always practised, when the enemy began to raise terror by her approach.
By this procedure, Falsehood every hour encroached upon the world, and extended her empire through all climes and regions. Wherever she carried her victories, she left the Passions in full authority behind her; who were so well pleased with command, that they held out with great obstinacy, when Truth came to seize their posts, and never failed to retard her progress, though they could not always stop it: they yielded at last with great reluctance, frequent ral
lies, and sullen submission; and always inclined to revolt when Truth ceased to awe them by her immediate presence. Truth, who, when she first descended from the heavenly palaces, expected to have been received by universal acclamation, cherished with kindness, heard with obedience, and invited to spread her influence from province to province, now found, that wherever she came, she must force her passage. Every intellect was precluded by Prejudice, and every heart preoccupied by Passion. She, indeed, advanced, but she advanced slowly; and often lost the conquests which she left behind her, by sudden insurrections of the Appetites, that shook off their allegiance, and ranged themselves under the banner of her enemy.
Truth, however, did not grow weaker by the struggle, for her vigor was unconquerable; yet she was provoked to see herself baffled and impeded by an enemy, whom she looked on with contempt, and who had no advantage but such as she owed to inconstancy, weakness, and artifice. She therefore, in the anger of disappointment, called upon her father Jupiter, to re-establish her in the skies, and leave mankind to the disorder and misery which they deserved, by submitting willingly to the usurpation of Falsehood.
Jupiter compassionated the world too much to grant her request, yet was willing to ease her labors and mitigate her vexation. He commanded her to consult the Muses by what method she might obtain an easier reception, and reign without the toil of incessant war.
It was then discovered, that she obstructed her own progress by the severity of her aspect, and the solemnity of her dictates; and that men would never willingly admit her, till they ceased to fear her; since, by giving themselves up to Falsehood, they seldom made any sacrifice of their ease or pleasure, because she took the shape that was most engaging, and always suffered herself to be dressed and painted by Desire.
The Muses wove, in the loom of Pallas, a loose and changeable robe, like that in which Falsehood captivated her admirers; with this they invested Truth, and named her Fiction. She now went out again to conquer with more success; for when she demanded entrance of the Passions, they often mistook her for Falschood, and delivered up their charge; but when she had once taken possession, she was soon disrobed by Reason, and shone out, in her original form, with native effulgence and resistless dignity.