The Scottish Chiefs

Jane Porter
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The Scottish Chiefs

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Title: The Scottish Chiefs
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The Scottish Chiefs by Miss Jane Porter
Chapter I.

Bright was the summer of 1296. The war which had desolated Scotland
was then at an end. Ambition seemed satiated; and the vanquished,
after having passed under the yoke of their enemy, concluded they
might wear their chains in peace. Such were the hopes of those Scottish
noblemen who, early in the preceding spring, had signed the bond of
submission to a ruthless conqueror, purchasing life at the price of all
that makes life estimable-liberty and honor.
Prior to this act of vassalage, Edward I., King of England, had entered
Scotland at the head of an immense army. He seized Berwick by
stratagem; laid the country in ashes; and, on the field of Dunbar, forced
the Scottish king and his nobles to acknowledge him their liege lord.
But while the courts of Edward, or of his representatives, were crowded

by the humbled Scots, the spirit of one brave man remained unsubdued.
Disgusted alike at the facility with which the sovereign of a warlike
nation could resign his people and his crown into the hands of a
treacherous invader, and at the pusillanimity of the nobles who had
ratified the sacrifice, William Wallace retired to the glen of Ellerslie.
Withdrawn from the world, he hoped to avoid the sight of oppressions
he could not redress, and the endurance of injuries beyond his power to
Thus checked at the opening of life in the career of glory that was his
passion-secluded in the bloom of manhood from the social haunts of
men-he repressed the eager aspirations of his mind, and strove to
acquire that resignation to inevitable evils which alone could reconcile
him to forego the promises of his youth, and enable him to view with
patience a humiliation of Scotland, which blighted her honor, menaced
her existence, and consigned her sons to degradation or obscurity. The
latter was the choice of Wallace. Too noble to bend his spirit to the
usurper, too honest to affect submission, he resigned himself to the
only way left of maintaining the independence of a true Scot; and
giving up the world at once, all the ambitions of youth became
extinguished in his breast, since nothing was preserved in his country to
sanctify their fires. Scotland seemed proud of her chains. Not to share
in such debasement, appeared all that was now in his power; and within
the shades of Ellerslie he found a retreat and a home, whose sweets
beguiling him of every care, made him sometimes forget the wrongs of
his country in the tranquil enjoyments of wedded love.
During the happy mouths of the preceding autumn, while Scotland was
yet free, and the path of honorable distinction still open before her
young nobility, Wallace married Marion Braidfoot, the beautiful
heiress of Lammington. Nearly of the same age, and brought up from
childhood together, reciprocal affection had grown with their growth;
and sympathy of tastes and virtues, and mutual tenderness, made them
so entirely one, that when at the age of twenty-two the enraptured lover
was allowed to pledge that faith publicly at the altar, which he had so
often vowed in secret to his Marion, he clasped her to his heart, and
softly whispered: "Dearer than life! part of my being! blessed is this

union, that mingles thy soul with mine, now, and forever!"
Edward's invasion of Scotland broke in upon their
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