Chapter 111322926

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Chapter NumberI
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1892-12-17
Page Number7
Word Count4272
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleFreeman's Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1932)
Trove TitleJock Fullford's Christmas Ride. A True Story
article text




Chapt'ee. I.

' She pinned r/hito rosets on tho breaafc Of her gallant cavalior, ? . She broidered more upon his vent, All to please the Chevalier.' On & firjo aight ia the liitter end ov August, ia the jreor 171S, a young mna and aaid wese bid ding each otber a long good-bye afc tbe (stable door 0? JTullford Hall, in the Shire o2 Haddingtos, in Scotland. Maioie Avmsfcroaj? aad Joha Fall £ord nera disfcanfc cousins. They had g?owa up fcogefcbec in fchat old ma«or bouee in Hcddingtoa, uhere fche Lsird o£ Fullford lived ond ruled a?tei? the hoapitable fashion b? tilden doyo. An oi?phB0j Maisie was clone in tbe world, beat hep mo'fibSE was Inn fco the master o£ the Hall, oad juofc bs= causa o2 that drop of kindly Pult'ord blood, fche 0-Qod«benrts-i Laird had adoDtad t,ho mothQxlann

lcDBie, and .given her a very warm conjee ia bis hons-'b. . lock perhaps had tbe wartnest—Mp. Full Ford was a widov7er with two son?, bafc Sobert,, tbe older, who nai a ripioj? Edinburgh lawyer, aas rathes: Seared than loved by his jfafcheu—GO Jotlx and.Maisia pretty well divided the Laird's heaefe between them. A comely enough picture fcbe cousins mnde when fche ddfting clouds permitted the mooa to cast her silver light about them, for John wdg a . tall, Tvfll-loolriag lad o£ tb^es-and-fcweafcy, nifcb. brown curly hair, great tender blue eye^, ofcraighfc feafcuces, and a raoufcb fcbat waa made to be biased. Wbile Maisie ! ah ! Maisie was the fcoant of the county — gololed-faaired and dark-eyed!, dimplefi and rosy. A s^eefc lassie ol: eightesn, wbo Iiaew ? her onjj m'nd and ol^ajs bad bev own way. John's arm was oboet hec ^a-iet cmd het'o wsg round biB neck, and never a word opofie they, foir Maisie was crying bee heart out, and Jock's eyes*, so I have heard, were almost ns d-m aa bs3 . onee'fc beast's. Yet Cor all that John FullPord was se resoluta a young fellow as any ia Haddingtoa shire 5 (?os\ ia epita o£ his father, who loved & peaceable life, he bad belted on his srrosd to Sght for fche Chevalier. On fche braes 0? Mor the ofcao dard o£ fche esiled Stuacfca was about fco be utt« ? Sarledl, anfi cm Joha. waa c Jacobite by Geatimeot and coQvicfcion, be had said to Maisie, who was cs enfchnsiasfcic as himseif, ' I shall certainly be oa fche ground whess the Scotch Lion is Hung to the bieese '— aad John was a lad o2 hia word.. So, spQiag this paefcing might be £02 always, tbeee two young things, loving each other dearly, felt more clown-hearted them ever baSore ia tbeie Jives. Yet Moieie bad embroidered! tbe whits eosea on Jock's blue satin waistcoat 1 laoseoverj she had QBBUirefl.her hero she'd rather bavp him ' die ion King Jatres than be knighted by King George,' which was putting ifc efcrongly 5 bufc Maieie had oc thought she had fche courage oF her opinion and John Full Eovd loved her none the worse for nee devotion to. tbe cause. ' AndatnT never fco hear torn you, Jo:k?' ia quked Maiaiej, afc last, finding her voice. ''My oweefceBfc laee, tbafc question is -.bard to answer,' qqofch John. ' Bufc i£ I'm alive, theia surely -will' X meet thee here on Christmas Bve.' ' 'Ifi'p a puomiee ?' and Maisie brightened a bit -=-£01? afc that mocaGHt Christmas Eve didn't seem go very j?a^. nway. ' -On the word of youe true Idvp,' oays Jock, hioDJBg hec. 'And, Maisie, s seethe art, spgak q good wopd £or the reprobate whea my father talks, cs h© did even now, o£ his youngeafc son briagmg bia grey bases m Go^or? to the grave. God Isnoua I love the kiad old men, but Kiag James musfc havo hiG' own, and '— ' My tloob means fco have a fioger ia She pie,' laurjhed Mcisie ; adding slyly, ' Aye, aad, 12 the teufcU w??e kaoon, Uacle Pcvid's whiggesy is oalj7 akiu deep.' ' That mv,j well be/' oaid Jobs, H HeveutholeED speak tho good word when yora can.' Wheireopoa Miotseso Apcasfcroag' gave fche required OGOaBDHce. Then out of the ctable John led his hoEaes which, wag l)ifc6eiS ocd saddled and equipped wjfch a couplo of bogs confcainmg tbe young Jacobite's waedeobe. Ho looked fcbe gallant lover every iach ia bis dark blue velvet riding suit, laced aad but toned withhold, Ms sword by his side, and tho white rose ia hi 3 cocked bat. Maisie felt as i£ sbs could not let him go— there were bo many to» taorrowD between now and Chirifataias Bve. Yet, knowiog tbafc Jock must fare forth to Sglifc io the good cause, she would aofc left Mm sec how that her'bearfc v?as breaking, for when, havlaq? backed Beqwb- JeaBj he stooped from fche Bsdd'o £02 the last . bios, she gave ifc with, a smile. ' That's my brave little sweetheart/' cried Jock, gathering up the reins. ' As £or me, I'll aye be Diagiap, boy ! i?or Christmas Eve, Mai-ie j' and. turning- Brows Jean into the drive which gave on fche northern road, away went ho -se and ilder, pausing enly ofc the park gates for Jock fco wave hia hot -to the Iges he bod left behind him. Then slowly and heavily Maisie returned to fche houre. The Laird waa no« woere to be seen, for, angered afe bia £avouvito soe'q nndufcii?al behaviour, be had shut himselS up is hia roOm; but fche girl had no thought £or him. Jock, and Jock alone, possessed hpr, atid hit- ' hey ! (for Christmas Eve' wob fche sole drop o£ couaolafcioa orar golden-haired lassie managed to wnog out of tfaafc night's coil. Chapter II. ' 1 'He kissed her onoe, that lover tall. : ' I've fouBht for James,' said he ; ? -? ' But love, my sweet, is best for all— ' Tho love I boar to thee.' ? Jock Fnllicord, aa has been related,' had ridden owoy to fight for King .Tames, leaving his true love disconsolate. But Maisie was a brave lass and a good-hearted, and fche lonelineaQ of the mester of Fullford Hall, atsd his £enis £oe headsfci'oag Jock, together with her house

hold duties, prevented hee fretting e.3 otherwise might have happened. So M&isie weafc about the house, keeping the maida to their work, and soothing Uncle David with hopaful vjovda end loving ireiniaJBcences oS! Jock, jtfor did sho sfcop there, but; nlnoya fonnd time to contrive nome dainty dioh £01: the Lr,ird which, while it gratified hia palQte} helped to beguile him o£ his careB, But housekeeping cad cookiag notwithstand ing, M-usie drooped ondly, and when instead o£ t^e arrive! o£ news o£ the vVhite lio^e and its euppoffteEo Dweeping all before them, as the fond girl anticipated, come that of disunion among the Jacobite chiefo, fchen John Fullt'ord'o sv/eetheart fell into ' doleful dumps.' True, Jock had dis tinguished himself in more tbon one deoperate encounters and Maiaie had clapped her hando on hearing hor? Captain Fnllford, at the head oi his company, had charged and routed 300 o£ King George's troopers. Yet that some jubilation was embittered by the refaction tba», in the event of: King James's defeat, Jock's pronounced bravery might prove his undoing. Then, as the year drew to a closp, bad news sirived thick and fast. That queer fight on tbe Sherifimuir, where both aides claimed the victory, but in whicii King George's men had tbe bestof ifc, seemed c bad business {0 Maisie. King JameB could do no goodj she thought bitterly. K the landed now he would be too late, a forecast borne out by affces eventa. However, time waits fos no man. and the 24fch of December had come round, but amid ell bee j re parations 2os the Christmaa festival Mauie was fchiokiog— ' Will Jock keep Irjst with me?' Bi'jwa Ope.q had been shot dead under her master at the battle in tbe Sherifxmuir, consequently her lover was afoot— and a fugitive. So much she &new» But ha had promised, and Jock alrrays kept hia word. ThuBs about ten o'clock on Christmas jSvp, wben at lost she managed to escape from the houee where her uncle and his friends were caroasingin tbe dining-room ^bile the servants feasted in the hall, and stole icto the yard, gbe did not shriek on being clasped in fche arms of a tall young man, ?who stepped out o£ the stable. She only said, *{ Jock, my Jock,' aad clung to birn. She was do plad to have him bank, scarecrow tboupb. he was. For tbe white rose had gone from his hat, and his clothes were in tattera ; but his kisses weee sweeter tbon ever, and she felt so safe in Jouk's strong armc, she would have liked to die tb^rp and then. But that was foolery. Sbe must live 4o save her lo^er. He was a taarked man. A eeward o£ .£500 was offered for him deaol or alive Had not a band of wd coats that very day ridden up to Fullford Ball and posted up a description ot Jock and tbe reward for bis capture on the-front, door ? True, sbe hod torn it down, but the Lieutenant io commend, a red-haired, conceited young sub, bad only laughed at her. Then these was lying og tho Laird's library table a paper setting 12 rth that John Fullford, rebel, bud had neither help aor shelter from his father Fince he joinpd the iaaurgents. This preciouo document had been drawn up and forwarded by Jock's lawyer brother, who, afraid for tbe safety of his patrimony, deemed ifc expedient that tbe Laird ehonldl sign i^, in order to clear hiraselr' of any suspicion of sympathy with the rebels. And to it, unwillingly enough, Mr. Fullford had ap pended hio signature, which was witaesced- by Gilbert Little, his steward, and Maisie. More over, os Lawyer Fullford was urgent that the

paper abould be placed in his hands without delay, the Laird, not without grumbling, had settled that early nesb morning Maisie should ride bp bind tbe steward to Edinburgh, only 30 miles distant, ond deliver tbe document to her cousin. All this flashed through the gjrl'a mind, and quick aB lfgbtniag she devised a plan for Jock's e»lvati?n. He should personate Gilbert Little. The steward was stout, flofid, and had turned the half century 5 but Jock — well, Jock could dress the part, and Gilbert-, sbe knew, would risk even the. Laird's displeasure to help hia favourite,, Moeter JohD. But Jock was speaking. ' Moisie, sweetheart,'' quoth he, softly, as she lay in bis arms, ' let glory go bang ; love is besfa. ' Fa the lad all tattered and torn, and deep in love am I with a forlorn maiden, yefc we daren't rinc our weddiag hello, for Scotland is too narrow to hold both the sed coats and me. Ah ! i£ I could but reach the port o£ Leith, Will Kelso, the canny mastoE1 oS tbe fishing smack Jane, would soon sail me acroaa the ehaHael, bnt-~' ' But me no buts, Jock,' eay3 Maisie. ' Tomor row tno'niug you Bhall ride to Edinburgh with me— and between the port oi Leith aad that good to*n it is but a step.' ' Eide to Edinburgh with thee, dear love ?' j cried Jock. '' That were too much happineoo.' | On whicn Maiaie eagerly xwfolded her plans. (

Without delay Jock waa to go to the steward's house, some quarter of a mile distant, there to be warmed, fed and lodged 5 and to-morrow, clad in a well-stuffed suit of Gilbert's and his biggest periwig, ho muot take the road to Edinburgh long before daylight, to be bj-and-bye overtaken by the steward and Maisip, when an eschange oil cavaliers might easily be effected. ' I have the wisest little sweetheart in all bmad Scotlarjd,' cried Jock admiringly when he bad heard her to the enci ; adding with soberness, ' but what about your own share in this adven ture Maisie ?' ' Ah, Jock,' eays she sweetly, ' iC you got killed I should certainly die ; so by saving your life my own must needs be preserved.' A piece of lover's logic which John Fullford hadn't the heart to controvert. The cousins said adieu after that, Maisie hurrying iadoors and John to tramp dowji to surprise stout Gilbert Little at his supper. Chapter III. Joels and his oweotlieavfc, they fled together Over the hilla nnd over th - heather ; But Ediua they reached at lasfc, tboiitjh late, And wedded v.'ero tboy in the Cauongate. Chi-iotmaa morning rose bright aad clear, and with tbe dawn Gilbert Little rode up to the front door of Full?ord Hall. His grey roadater wao a long-backed, thickset nog, making nothing of carrying double, and as on this occasion the pillion attached to his saddle was to be occupied by fo light a weight as ' Faerie Mistress Maisie' — for so tbe country folks called tbe Laird's adopted daughter — it seemed as though the gray uere to ha^e a very easy time of it. Mr. Fullford had a touch oE the gout that day, bat he made shift to shuffle downstairs in his night-cap and dressing gown to speed the way farprs, and when, locking divinely fair in her scarlet habit and purple velvet riding cap, Maisie tripped into the ballj it was the courtly master 0? tbe house who seated her on the pillion. ' Take the gr-atestcare of Mistcess Armstrong-, Gilbert/' the Liird commanded. ' And, Maisie, after thou hast delivered these papers ' — -here he pat a roll of parobmfnt into her hands — 'to son fioberb, . mabe the best oftby way to my si ste?, Widow CuthbertsoD, who lives in the Caaoagate3 and there lodge for the night. Towards evening to-morrow I shall espect thee home again. 'Fwill be a lonely Tuletide for me.' And, sighing heavily, the old man —-went back to his bed. ' Aye, but a Merry Christmas 2or Master Jock,' quoth Gilbert Little slyly over his shoulder ; then he dug hia long steel spurs into the gre.y, which set ofi at a brisk trotover the bard ground. And lo ! on reaching the finger post pointing the road to Edinburgh, there stood ,tbe steward's double, i.e., as fav as clofchea and padding could accomplish John Fallford's trans mogrification. Yps, and everybody laughed when that scapegrace lifted Gilbert's hat ofi Gilbert's full-bottomed wig and wished ' Faery Mistress Maisie' ' a Merry Christmas.' Then out of the saddle lumbered honest Master Littl°, and gaily into bis Beat sprang the happiest of lovers. ' We'll meet at Madame Cuthbertson's, good Gilbert,' cried Maisie and Jock together as tbey tooc tbe road to Edinburgh. 'Aye, in the Canongate,' returned the steward, who was an excellent walker, and thought little of the long tramp to town. That was a glorious ride. The sun was shining, the birds were twittering, and aa the long-backed grey bore the lovers steadily onward, they began to think that they had nothing to fear. So they were talking merrily, a=» happy lovers will, when a compact moving mass in the distance, which John Fullford had been carelessly observing, suddenly resolved itself into a troop of dragoons, and Jock had barely time to slouch his hat over bis eyes and whisper a word of assurance to Meisie before tbe red-c^ats were upon them. The red-haired Lieutenant, Mistreaa Arm strong's beto noir of tbe previous day, rode a little in advance with the Captain, and both officers reined up and bowed low to the lady on the pillion. 'You look charmingly, Mistress Armstrong,' eaid the former. ' But what surly lout is this ?' And the red-haired Lieutenant pokeS Jock in the ribs with his sword. ' Let bp,' commanded big captain. ' Hath not Boauty a right to Beast for a protector ? and why not Mistress Armstrong ? IButj, fair madam, we ride to catch a rebel, so by your leave we shell wisb you good mo?ning.' ' Aye, to catch John Fullford, but I'll precently be back,' cried the red-hau-ed Lieutenant, with what he conceived to be a killing glance at Maisie. So saying Lieutenant and Captain galloped away. 'Confound the Jackanapes,' muttered Jock, who was in a mighty rage. ' I'd like to break his head.' But Maisie laughed merrily. The dragoons were on a wild goosa chase, and she

quita enjoyed the fun 5 and, as laughter is aon tigiouo, John Fullford speedily joined i& the ineiriav nfc. Bub thny hadn't aepn the lost of that rod-haired Lieutenant. It might have been an hour, but to tbe lovers ifc seemed but five rainul;' p, since Ibey parted company, when fcbe clatter of bors-es' feet was heard, and at a gallop up came tbe dragoon officer. Hi3 face w%a flushed and his sp-ejh thick, but he had m'ide a bet with hia captain and meant to win it. c'Tis r, taste of the ropiest l;p3 in Scotland, Captain Dim°ar says I dare not dp,' he stuttered. ' But 'fore Gad I'll give him the lip.' However, ins'-er-.d of the kiss he tried to snatch from the terrified Maieio, the tipsy Lieutenant got a broken head ; for Jack dealt him so ehrevvi a bnfrVfc with fche steward's cudgel aa precipitated him from the saddle and stretched him sonse'es3 on the road. Hia mister's fall na^ the signal for the horse to bolfc, a tonlreiamps which, aa it might prevent h^r lover's escape, greatly alarmed Maifie. 'Ob, Jock,' she cried, ' sb uH that nag win his way back to the troop, 'twill raise the hue and cry.' ' kh, but ''e'll be s^fe in Edinburgh then,' says Jock chei rfully. ' &m1, by Jove, we'd batter be off, for broken pate begirs to revive.' Sure enough tiie dragoon officer unv^d, tben staggered to bis feet, an'i bs the grey, stirred by tbe steel, £ell into a brisk pace, the bnffl^d Lieutenant uttered a howl of roije. He bad all tic will to punish Jock j but the Jacobite's swingeing blow bad addled his brain and weakened his legs 5 so all ha could do v^as to shake his fiat in impotent rage at the runaways. I am afraid Maisie and Jock laughed at him, but, having outdistanced the dragoon, they presently became gloomy and thoughtful, for tbe gi-1 was haunt* d with fears for Jock, while John Full Ford was blaming him sf 10 for allowing his true love to inix herself: up in hia desperate affairs. Bat ao' the long-backed roadster, which hitherto had patiently borne his double burd -,n, began to flag; therefore, as they were within measurable distance of a way.'iip ion, Jock puled up at tha door in order to breathe and bait th^ poor brute and pro cure some refreshment for Maisie and himself. It wasn't the first time he tuvl put up at the ' Goose and fpifc.' Po when, having left Mis tress Ai'rasrroni/ in tbe parlour, he went into tbe yard to look to the feeding of tbe grey, he found to bis cbagrim that his d'Sguise bad been pene trated It waa Ostler Tom who recognized and aamed him, ond, as luck would have it, in thi hearing of a tall English corpora! of dragoons w'io chanced to be lounging near. Now, the man with tbe stripe had heard of the reward for the capture 0? that pestilent Jacobite, John Fullford ; therefore, striding up to Jock and placing hiB hand on his arm, he arrested him in the King's name. But Jock was a consummate actor — and on this occasion he played his very beBt. 'The Captain,' be said in a quivering voicp, laying grer-t, strpgp on tbe titlp, th^ Onptiin ' was in error. He had mistaken him for his mis guided son, ' and out came Gilbert Little'o biggeBt red cotton handkerchief, nnd tbe bereaved father carefully wiped away a couple o£ big tears that would roll doo-n his cbeeka.' ' Shame on you, C&ptain, for insulting fcV-e Laird,' cried Qatler Tom. Wishing Master Jock well, he was eager to help him out of the fix in whicb he bad inadvertently placed him. Well, the brevet rank accorded him by the supposititious Laird ^nd Ostler Tom simply 'fetched ' thit men with tbe stripe, so that, half convinced of his mistake, bo withdrew his hand, and when, following up the advantage gained, Jock pressed a crown on the corporal, just to drink the King's health — God blesfi him, fcbe.*-, petty officer politely begged Squire Fullford's pardon and promptly disappeared into the bar to liquefy the coin. Thus Jock was saved, Ostler Tom tbaeked and rewarded, and an hour later Moisie and her cavalier had again. taken tha Eoad. Thpy jogged on cheerily now, nor ha^ any more adventures until within a mile of Edinburgh. H-re, however, just aa it began to darken down, they w»re met by a gay company of ladies and gentlemen on horseback, all maski d, who ooluted tbe wayfarero with shouta of ' Whither away, ' Darby and Joan ?' But one stately dame, as nhe cantered past, ntooped and whispered in Maioie's ear, ' Edinburgh ia no safe hiding-place for thy Jock, sweet M&iaie.' Whereat poor Maisie trembled eacaedingly, for the speaker, whose voice ohe recognized bs that of Jean Gordon, a good aatured acquaintance, had in it a ring of earneot ness. But Jock laughed. ' Forewarned is fore armed, fair lady,' he B&id, sad doffed his hat. However, I believe that our hero was almost as relieved aa his aweetheart when, having traversed

the Canongate; the tired grey waa at last h&ltSd before Madame Cufchbertson's dtk-r. Now, Madame w&a a good Catholic, and favoured the White Eose, and Jock she loved for his devo» Hon to r, losing cause. Thus the couQian weira received with open arms. Aye, and after Dome little talk Toby, her only hod, a young fellow ofi twenty, was despatched to Ltith to seek out cbiie^ Will Kelso and arange that trip across fcho Channel. Neither would Madame hear o£ Maioie going forth again that night. Her brother'a precioea document should be delivered oa tho morrow, not a moment earlier, ahe declat'edj £&-& Maiaie was well content that go it ohould be. It vvas a merry Chri&ttnas party which met aeotsncl Madame Cuthbertson's hospitable table that night. Half-a-dozen lads and lasses who loved the White Roee. and as many oldsters, among whom was Father Kelly, a jovial parith prieBt. Jock bad cast' aside bis disguise and looked hio handsomest in a black velvet suit o£ yoraflg Cutherteon's, but Maieie still wore hei.' scarlet habit, which fitted hrr to perfection. They made ouch a comely couple, that the Father whispered jestingly to his hostess that he was dying to marry them. 'And why not?' queried Madame. l: It wqq the age of romantic wedding?, and to marry Jock to Maisie before starting him off to France jusfc jumped with the widow's humour. The argu ments she used to win the lovers over to her way of thinking are not on record™ tradition oaya they needed no persuasion.- Bufcj ho reeves? that [may be, Jock and Maisie took each other for better, 2ot worsp, that Christmas night in Madame Cuthbert son's house in the Canongate. Father Kelly tied the knotj and no sooner Had holy Chrarch made them one, than young Cuthberaton appeared. The fishing smock Jane sailed at midnight^ he saidv so Jock must hurry up if he wanted a psseage ia her. '' You cannot forget rro, sweetheart, because now I belong to you,' eaid Jock to bis little wife in bidding her good-bye. ' I sha'n't ever rest till I have you back again at FulWord Hall,' Maisie vowed through her tears. Then Jock went out alone into the clear frosty night, and luck went with him, for, with a fair wind driving the Jane, he waa in due course safely landed on the Breton coast. As for Maisie, having executed the Laird's conv mi sion, she rode home nest day behind stout; Gilbert Little. But the weeks became months afc the old Hall, and the girl, who had kept the secret of her marriage from, the Laird, began to fear she should never have her Jock back ; for in London the scaffolds ran red with brave Jacobit8 blood, and among King Gporge's adherents her hus« band's name was anathema mara,natha. But on the death in a duel of the Laird'G eldest aon, which, while it proved a terrible ohock to the old gentleman, created in him an unquenchable long ing for a sight of his youngest and best beloved, Maisie spoke out. How they managed it — the wife and father — I cannot say, but the fact remains that John Fullford wa^ pardoned and on Christmas Eve, looking handsomer than ever, the prodigal cacae home for good. ' Love for the White Eose parted uo once, deac heart,' quoth Jock to Maiae ; ' but never Bgaia. King Jame3 has my best wishes but my life belongs to thee, and henceforth ifc shall be de voted to the dearest little wife in all broad Scofc« land.' And tradition says that John Fullford was aa good as his word. Josephine Fotherin«haue. '