May 5, 1679 in the quiet wilderness of Upper Ward Clydesdale, a place in Scotland, all the new members come to the annual review. Dressed ladies and gentlemen, a motley crowd of onlookers. The picture is quite peaceful. But it only seems so. The Privy Council, the supreme executive authority in Scotland, ruthlessly punished those vassals that were passed without sufficient grounds to review. Even the ruler of the rich estate of Tillitudlama Garrion, while typing the participants of the review, came across the resistance of Mother Moz, who deceived him, saying that her son Cuddy Hadrig was ill. It was necessary to take in his place Gusenka Gibbi – a frail boy, which had tragic consequences.
Scotland at this time experienced the last years of the era of religious wars. Tori and Whigs, Protestant Puritans and Catholics were at enmity among themselves on religious beliefs.
But back to the review. Among the arrivals – the owner of Tillituddem – the widow of
Lady Margaret Bellenden with a charming granddaughter, Edith. After various competitions in agility and strength, the main Match began – for the title of “Captain Popka”. The bird’s bird was hung up, pinned with colorful feathers, which made it look like a parrot – hence the name. It was necessary to be a very sharp and clever shooter to get into such a small target.
In the final of the competition there were two. One of them is Henry Morton, the son of the late Presbyterian chief. He “inherited from his father an undaunted courage and steadfastness, an irreconcilable attitude to any kind of violence, both in politics and in religion. His devotion to his convictions, not grown on the lees of the Puritan spirit, was free from all fanaticism.” His rival is the noble Lord Evendel, a rich man of noble family, an adherent of royal power and an important person in the country. After three attempts Henry Morton defeated. In the future, their fates will be intertwined many times – both of them are fascinated by Edith.
Henry Morton modestly celebrates his victory in the
zoo “Shelter”. Royal Sergeant Boswell grabs a stranger busy with dinner. The confrontation ends with the victory of a stranger, who is forced to leave the “Shelter”. He is forced into the satellites of Henry Morton. Along the way, they meet an old woman who warns about an ambush of royal soldiers. The stranger asks to be sheltered for the night. Henry Morton hesitates, – a stranger to him is unpleasant. In addition, after his father’s death, he lives with his uncle, who is very tight-knit, who does not want to endanger. Then the stranger names his name – Berle Belfour. Morton was called by this name father. They were friends, Belfour saved Morton the eldest from death. But they disagreed with each other from the fact that Belfour became a rabid fanatic and linked his fate with the party of protesters. Morton does not yet know that Belfour is the murderer of Archbishop St. Andrew. Faithful to his filial duty and innate philanthropy, he gives shelter to Belfour in his uncle’s stables.
The meeting with Belfour tragically affected the fate of Morton. The next day he is arrested by Sergeant Boswell. From the notions of honor Henry Morton does not deny that he was hiding Belfour, but he did not know that Belfour was involved in the brutal murder of the archbishop, and, besides, he performed a duty to the memory of his father. Henry Morton hopes that these circumstances will significantly soften his guilt, and awaits a fair trial.
A little later, the peasant Cuddy Hedrig and his mother are arrested. Here is how it was. When everyone left the competition, Gisenok Djib6i, unable to cope with the enormous boots, so the horse spurred the spurs, that she began to buck. The grief-warrior became the common laughing-stock to the great indignation of Lady Margaret Bellenden, who only now learned that Mother Moz refused to send her son to the show. Lady Morton reproaches Mother Moz, who lives without need, in ingratitude. Stubborn fanatic agree better leave the nest, but not sacrifice their religious beliefs. Do not help the admonition of the son of Cuddy, who inherent in the natural peasant mind and is completely alien to the mother’s intransigence. It’s a shame to leave his home and because of Edith’s maid, Jenny Dennison, in whom he is in love. But it’s done. They go to Uncle Morton’s estate – Milnewood, where they hope to find shelter. When the soldiers came to the old Milnwood, Mother Moz broke out into curses and curses. Cuddy could not stop her. Her violent attacks aggravated the position of Henry Morton and caused the arrest of her son and herself. Soldiers who made the arrest, of course, did not fail to get drunk on wine and extort money from the old uncle, promising to handle gentlerly with his nephew.
The detachment follows Tillitudl. Here, Henry Morton and other prisoners await the decision of their fate. Edith, with the help of her agile servant, Jenny and a purse, gets a date with Henry. Learning that his fate will be decided by John Graham Cleverhaus, a fanatic like Belfour, only from the opposite camp, she sends a note to her uncle, Major Bellland, an old friend of Cleverhouse.
But no intercession and trouble could not change the decisions of the old soldier – the execution. Henry Morton did not flinch during the interrogation, refused to answer Claverhouse’s questions. He demanded judgment, and Cleverhaus considered his own court sufficient. So Henry Morton faces the arbitrariness of power, and this outrages his fair heart.
Two fanatics decided the fate of a talented, honest young man, by joint efforts putting him outside the law. However, at the last moment Lord Evendel rescues him, who in due time rendered service to Cleverhaus.
In the castle comes the message that the supporters of Belfour rebelled. Despite the considerable numerical superiority of the rebels and the convenience of their position, Cleverhouse decides to attack the enemy. The Scots are dying both ways. The Royal troops are forced to retreat. From the faithful death of Lord Evendel now saves Morton. He helps him escape. Evendel lost a lot of blood and did not reach the castle, but he was sheltered and bandaged by his wounds blind old woman, who at one time warned Belfour of the ambush. She is a true believer, she does not care what kind of religion a person is-if he is in trouble, he needs help.
Henry Morton and Cuddy, who began to serve him, were in the camp of Belfour. There were people here, “illuminated with spiritual pride” and “overshadowed by frantic fanaticism,” were also uncertain, anxious, sorry that they took a hasty decision. There was no agreement even among the spiritual pastors of the rebels. Irreconcilable preachers Mack Brier and Timpan do not accept the position of pastor Peter Poundttext who accepted the indulgence…
Berley hoped, by introducing Henry Morton to the Council, to get a man who is easy to manipulate. But he was cruelly mistaken – Henry Morton was used to thinking on his own, his brains were not clouded by any fanaticism, and he was used to firmly adhering to philanthropy and tolerance.
The first serious clash took place because of the fate of the inhabitants of Tillitudlam, who are besieged by the victorious insurgents.
Habakkuk The multi-agile, foolish, whose speeches were considered prophetic, demanded death for all, and “let their carcasses become fat for the land of their fathers.” He was supported by the evil fanatics, the priests Timpan and Mac Bryer. Poundtext suggests that the Devil took possession of the Multi-Heaven after the enemies kept him imprisoned for a long time. Henry Morton seems all this is a heinousness and sacrilege. In anger he wants to leave the camp, Burleigh rebukes him that he was too quickly exhausted. He cites as an example the parliamentary armies of the thousand and sixty-forties, in which Morton’s father served.
To which Henry objects: “But their actions were wisely directed, and their irresistible religious zeal found for themselves a way out in prayers and sermons, without introducing cruelty into their behavior.”
Berly managed to persuade the young man to stay. He is sent to the head of the army to knock out Cleverhouse from Glasgow. Morton reluctantly goes for it – he is worried about the fate of the defenders of Tillitutlom.
Morton successfully leads the military operations. The rebels occupy Glasgow. The Privy Council of Scotland is shocked by the dimensions of resistance and paralyzed by fear. In the hostilities there comes a lull. Morton, tormented by the unknown, comes back. He learns that Belfour captured Lord Evandel, who made a sortie for the extraction of provisions, since the defenders of the estate are starving. The maid Edith Jenny, who made her way from the castle, tells about the terrible situation of the inhabitants of the estate – they are starving, and the soldiers, called to protect them, are ready to stir up a riot. Henry Morton is seeking a return from Burley under his protection of Lord Evandel. And at night he secretly sends all the inhabitants of the castle to the Duke of Monmouth in Edinburgh, handing out to Evendel a letter describing the main causes of the uprising, with the elimination of which most of the insurgents will lay down their arms. Henry Morton stands for peace, he sees the meaninglessness of the war and it is this, and not only the love for Edith, dictated by his deed. This mission would be successful, whether all the Whigs are as moderate in their demands as Morton, and all adherents of the Tory King are impartial in assessing the events.
Belfour is in a rage because of the release of the Evandel and the inhabitants of the estate Tillitudl. He summons the military council to decide what to do next. On this advice, being exposed to the furious attacks of Burleigh, Timpan and Efraim Mac Bryer, Henry Morton bravely defends his position – concluding peace on an honorable terms, ensuring freedom of belief and inviolability of insurgents. He is supported by Poundtext. And it is not known what would have ended this council, if the messengers had not informed that the Duke of Monmouth was already on his way to them with a considerable army.
Once again, Henry Morton undertakes a peacekeeping mission – he agrees to go to the camp of Monmouth for negotiations.
Monmouth and his generals – Dalzela and Cleverhaus – agree to negotiate on condition of the complete surrender of weapons. Claverhouse recognizes his guilt before Morton and offers him salvation. But Morton considers it dishonest to leave his comrades. Morton’s mission gave the rebels a one-hour delay.
Returning to his own, Morton once again tries to persuade them to peace. But in vain…
The army of the Prosviterians was crushed. Henry Morton is in the hands of the most extreme fanatics from his camp – the Cameronians, led by Mac Bryer. From execution he is rescued by Cleverhouse, who was called to the aid of the faithful Cuddy.
The Privy Council judges the rebels. He pardoned Cuddy, but Henry Morton was sentenced to exile. However, Lord Evandel and Cleverhouse, sending Morton to Holland, supplied him with letters of recommendation.
And Berkeley Belfour again managed to escape from retribution.
Years have passed. A new era began in the history of Scotland. There was a change of dynasties. King Wilhelm was prudently tolerated, and the country escaped the horrors of the civil war. People came to themselves little by little and instead of political and religious debates they were engaged in their usual affairs – farming and craft. The victorious Whigs restored Presbyterianism as a national religion, but far from the extremes of the nonconformists and the Cameronians. Only Graham Cleverhaus, heading a bunch of people dissatisfied with the new order, was hiding in the mountains, and the Jacobites, who had become a disgraced party, organized secret gatherings. These were the last centers of resistance. The time of religious wars for Europe has passed.
And what about our heroes? Cuddy married Jenny, engaged in peasant labor and raised children. It was at his house and stopped Henry Morton, who returned to his homeland incognito. He learns that the estate of Tillitudlam from Lady Margaret and Edith was taken away by Basil Oliphant, their distant relative. It happened thanks to Belfour, during the plundering of the estate, who stole the document, which proved the rights of Lady Margaret Bellenden to him. Henry Morton is considered dead, as news came that his ship was wrecked. And soon the wedding of Lord Evandel and Edith Bellenden will take place.
This prompts Henry Morton to act.
But first he visits his uncle’s house. From the old faithful servant Alison Ullis, he learns that his uncle gave up his spirit and left his nephew in great fortune. Henry Morton talks about his service in a foreign land, in Switzerland, in the province, where he left in the rank of major general.
Henry Morton finds refuge with Belfour with the help of that oldest woman, Elizabeth Mac Lure, who warned them of an ambush, and then saved Lord Evandel. He learns that now Burleigh Belfour is in friendship with Cleverhouse, and Lord Evandel did not want to deal with him. And he hated the lord for that.
Morton finds Berlie with the Bible and a naked sword in his hand. Morton needed a document on the estate, but Burleigh burned it at the stake and tried to kill Morton. Morton eludes him.
The old woman Mac Lure tells Morton about the impending assassination attempt on Lord Evandel, organized by Basil Oliphant, who has long been trying to get Edith’s hand and wants to remove the lucky rival. A cavalry detachment led by Oliphant and Belfour arranges an ambush for Evendel. Bullet Cuddy is fighting Oliphant, Belfour is also dying, taking with him several lives. He and Lord Evendel are dying. And now nothing hinders the happiness of Henry Morton and Edith Bellenden, And Cuddy enthusiastically returned to his home in Tillitutleme and engaged in the most important thing on earth – the farming industry.