In Freedom's Cause : a Story of Wallace and Bruce eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 418 pages of information about In Freedom's Cause .

“Very well,” the officer said kindly, “I will do as you wish.  I shall be seeing the governor presently to make my report to him; and as I have myself seen the dead body can vouch that no ruse is intended.  But assuredly no pass will be given for any man to accompany you; and the Scot, who is a head and shoulders taller than any of you, would scarcely slip out in a woman’s garment.  When will the cart be here?”

“At noon,” the woman replied.

“Very well; an hour before that time a soldier will bring out the pass.  Now, sergeant, have you searched the rest of the house?”

“Yes, sir; thoroughly, and nothing suspicious has been found.”

“Draw off your men, then, and proceed, with your search elsewhere.”

No sooner had the officer and men departed than Cluny ran upstairs, and removing two of the tiles, whispered to Archie that all was clear.  The hole was soon enlarged, and Archie re-entering, the pair descended to the woodshed which adjoined the kitchen, and there, with a spade and mattock which Cluny had purchased on the preceding day, they set to work to dig a grave.  In two hours it was completed.  The body of John Martin was lowered into it, the earth replaced and trodden down hard, and the wood again piled on to it.

At eleven o’clock a soldier entered with the governor’s pass ordering the soldier at the gate to allow a cart with the body of John Martin, accompanied by four women, to pass out from the town.

At the appointed time the cart arrived.  Archie now took his place in the coffin.  His face was whitened, and a winding sheet wrapped round him, lest by an evil chance any should insist on again looking into the coffin.  Then some neighbours came in and assisted in placing the coffin in the cart.  The driver took his place beside it, and the four women, with their hoods drawn over their heads, fell in behind it weeping bitterly.

When they arrived at the gate the officer in charge carefully read the order, and then gave the order for the gate to be opened.  “But stop,” he said, “this pass says nothing about a driver, and though this man in no way resembles the description of the doughty Scot, yet as he is not named in the pass I cannot let him pass.”  There was a moment’s pause of consternation, and then Cluny said: 

“Sister Mary, I will lead the horse.  When all is in readiness, and the priest waits, we cannot turn back on such a slight cause.”  As the driver of the cart knew Mary Martin, he offered no objection, and descended from his seat.  Cluny took the reins, and, walking by the side of the horse’s head, led him through the gates as these were opened, the others following behind.  As soon as they were through, the gate closed behind them, and they were safely out of the town of Berwick.

So long as they were within sight of the walls they proceeded at a slow pace without change of position, and although Cluny then quickened the steps of his horse, no other change was made until two miles further they reached a wood.  Then Cluny leapt into the cart and wrenched off the lid of the coffin.  It had been but lightly nailed down, and being but roughly made there were plenty of crevices through which the air could pass.

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In Freedom's Cause : a Story of Wallace and Bruce from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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