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commotions in the kingdom; and resolved to empower the magistrates of Perth to call the person before them, and inquire into all the circumstances of the story. Ruthven violently opposed this resolution, and with many arguments urged the king to ride directly to Perth, and to examine the matter in person. Meanwhile the chace began; and James, notwithstanding his passion for that amusement, could not help ruminating upon the strangeness of the tale, and on Ruthven's importunity. At last, he called him, and promised, when the sport was over, to set out for Perth. The ehace, however, continued long; and Ruthven, who all the while kept close by the king, was still urging him to make haste. At the death of the buck he would not allow James to stay till a fresh horse was brought him; and observing the duke of Lennox and the earl of Mar preparing to accompany the king, he entreated him to countermand them. This James refused: and though Ruthven's impatience and anxiety, as well as the apparent perturbation in his whole behaviour, raised some suspicions in his mind; yet his own curiosity, and Ruthven's solicitations, prevailed on him to set out for Perth. When within a mile of the town, Ruthven rode forward to inform his brother of the king's arrival, though he had already despatched two messengers for that purpose. At a little distance from the town, the earl, attended by several of the citizens, met the king, who had only twenty persons in his train. No preparations were made for the king's entertainment; the earl appeared pensive and embarrassed, and was at no pains to atone, by his courtesy or hospitality, for the bad fare with which he treated his guests. When the king's repast was over, his attendants were led to dine in another room, and he being left almost alone, Ruthven whispered him, that now was the
was, he scorned to submit to that indignity; and closing with the assassin, a fierce struggle ensuedk The man in armour stood, as formerly, amazed and motionless; and the king dragging Ruthven towards a window, which, during his absence he had persuaded the person with whom he was left to open, cried, with a wild and affrighted voice, "Treason! Treason! Help! I am murdered!" His attendants heard, and knew the voice; and saw, at the window, a hand which grasped the king's neck with violence. They flew with precipitation to his assistance. Lennox and Mar, with the greater number, ran up the principal staircase, where they found all the doors shut, which they battered with the utmost fury, endeavouring to burst them open. But sir John Ramsay, entering by a back-stair, which led to the apartment where the king was, found the door open; and rushing apon Ruthven, who was still struggling with the king, struck him twice with his dagger, and thrust him towards the staircase, where sir Thomas Erskine and sir Hugh Herries met, and killed him; he crying with his last breath, "Alas! I am not to blame for this action." During this scuffle, the man who had been concealed in the study escaped unobserved. Together with Ramsay, Erskine, and Herries, one Wilson, a footman, entered the room where the king was, and before they had time to shut the door, Gowrie rushed in with a drawn sword in each hand, followed by seven of his attendants well armed, and with a loud voice threatened them all with instant death. They immediately thrust the king into the little study, and shutting the door upon him, encountered the earl. Notwithstanding the inequality of numbers, sir John Ramsay pierced Gowrie through the heart, and he fell down dead without uttering a word; his followers having received several wounds, im
mediately fled. Three of the king's defenders were likewise hurt in the conflict. A dreadful noise continued still at the opposite door, where many persons laboured in vain to force a passage; and the king being assured that they were Lennox, Mar, and his other friends, it was opened on the inside. They ran to the king, whom they unexpectedly found safe, with transports of congratu lation; and he, falling on his knees, with all his attendants around him, offered solemn thanks to God for such a wonderful deliverance. The danger, however, was not yet over. The inhabitants of the town, whose provost Gowrie was, and by whom he was extremely beloved, hearing the fate of the two brothers, ran to their arms, and surrounded the house, threatening revenge, with many insolent and opprobrious speeches against the king. James endeavoured to pacify the enraged multitude, by speaking to them from the window; he admitted their magistrates into the house; related to them all the circumstances of the fact; and, their fury subsiding by degrees, they dispersed. On searching the earl's pockets for papers that might discover his designs and accomplices, nothing was found but a small parchment bag, full of magical characters and words of enchantment; and if we may believe the account of the conspiracy published by the king, "while these were about him, the wound of which he died, bled not; but as soon as they were taken away, the blood gushed out in great abundance." After all the dangerous adventures of this busy day, the king returned in the evening to Falkland, having committed the dead bodies of the two brothers to the custody of the magistrates of Perth.
Notwithstanding the minute detail which the king gave of all the circumstances of this conspiracy against his life, the motives which induced
the two brothers to attempt an action so detestable, the end they had in view, and the accomplices on whose aid they depended, were altogether unknown. The words of Ruthven to the king gave some grounds to think that the desire of revenging their father's death had instigated them to this attempt. But, whatever injuries their father had suffered, it is scarcely probable that they could impute them to the king, whose youth, as well as his subjection at that time to the violence of a faction, exempted him from being the object of resentment, on account of actions which were not done by his command. James had even endeavoured to repair the wrongs which the father had suffered, by benefits to his children; and Gowrie himself, sensible of his favour, had acknowledged it with the warmest expressions of gratitude. Thrée of the earl's attendants, being convicted of assisting him in this assault on the king's servants, were executed at Perth; but they could give no light into the motives which had prompted their master to an action so repugnant to these acknowledgments. Diligent search was made for the person concealed in the study, and from him great discoveries were expected. But Andrew Henderson, the earl's steward, who, upon a promise of pardon, confessed himself to be the man, was as much a stranger to his master's designs as the rest; and though placed in the study by Gowrie's command, he did not even know for what end that station had been assigned him. The whole transaction remained as impenetrably dark as ever; and the two brothers, it was concluded, had concerted their scheme without either confident or accomplice, with unexampled secrecy as well as wickedness.
An accident, no less strange than the other circumstances of the story, and which happened nine