Hout, stirhout, stir, replied Cuddie, its aye gude to keep up a hardy heart, as broken a ships come to land. But whats that I hear? Never stir, if my auld mither isna at the preaching again! I ken the sough o her texts, that sound just like the wind blawing through the spence; and theres Kettledrummle setting to wark too. Lordsake, if the sodgers anes get angry theyll murder them baith, and us for company!
Their further conversation was in fact interrupted by a blatant noise which rose behind them, in which the voice of the preacher emitted, in unison with that of the old woman, tones like the grumble of a bassoon combined with the screaking of a cracked fiddle. At first the aged pair of sufferers had been contented to condole with each other in smothered expressions of complaint and indignation; but the sense of their injuries became more pungently aggravated as they communicated with each other, and they became at length unable to suppress their ire.
Woe, woe, and a threefold woe unto you, ye bloody and violent persecutors! exclaimed the Reverend Gabriel Kettledrummle. Woe, and threefold woe unto you, even to the breaking of seals, the blowing of trumpets, and the pouring forth of vials.
I tell you, continued the divine, that your rankings and your ridings, your neighings and your prancings, your bloody, barbarous, and inhuman cruelties, your benumbing, deadening, and debauching the conscience of poor creatures by oaths, soul-damning and self-contradictory, have arisen from earth to heaven like a foul and hideous outcry of perjury for hastening the wrath to comehugh! hugh! hugh!
Peace, I prytheepeace, good woman, said the preacher, who had just recovered from a violent fit of coughing, and found his own anathema borne down by Mauses better windpeace, and take not the word out of the mouth of a servant of the altar. I say, I uplift my voice and tell you, that before the play is played outaye, before this very sun gaes downye sall learn that neither a desperate Judas, like your prelate Sharp thats gane to his place; nor a sanctuary-breaking Holofernes, like bloody-minded Claverhouse; nor an ambitious Diotrephes, like the lad Evandale; nor a covetous and warld-following Demas, like him they ca Sergeant Bothwell, that makes every wifes plack and her meal-ark his ain; neither your carabines, nor your pistols, nor your broadswords, nor your horses, nor your saddles, bridles, surcingles, nose-bags, nor martingales, shall resist the arrows that are whetted and the bow that is bent against you!
That shall they never, I trow, echoed Mause. Castaways are they ilk ane o them; besoms of destruction, fit only to be flung into the fire when they have sweepit the filth out o the Temple; whips of small cords, knotted for the chastisement of those wha like their warldly gudes and gear better than the Cross or the Covenant, but when that warks done, only meet to mak latchets to the deils brogues.
Fiend hae me, said Cuddie, addressing himself to Morton, if I dinna think our mither preaches as weel as the minister! But its a sair pity o his hoast, for it aye comes on just when hes at the best ot, and that lang routing he made air this morning is sair again him too. Deil an I care if he wad roar her dumb, and then he wad haet a to answer for himsell. Its lucky the roads rough, and the troopers are no taking muckle tent to what they say wi the rattling o the horses feet; but an we were anes on saft grund well hear news o a this.
Cuddies conjectures were but too true. The words of the prisoners had not been much attended to while drowned by the clang of horses hoofs on a rough and stony road; but they now entered upon the moorlands, where the testimony of the two zealous captives lacked this saving accompaniment. And, accordingly, no sooner had their steeds begun to tread heath and greensward, and Gabriel Kettledrummle had again raised his voice with, Also I uplift my voice like that of a pelican in the wilderness