Murron, would you like to go for a ride on this fine evening?
Before her parents could say no, murron jumped up behind William and they disappeared through the trees. They rode up high into the hills. They came to a group of trees. On the other side of the trees the ground fell away below them. They were looking down on a beautiful lake. They stood together and said nothing. William took murronhome. Before he went, he put something in her hand. Then he jumped on his horse and rode away. Murron and her mother looked at the present: a dried flower – the same flower that five-year-old Murron gave to William at his father’s grave.
The next day William started work on the farmhouse. He climbed up on the roof to mend some holes where the rain came in. Macclannough rode up and asked Williamto come to a meeting- a secret meeting. They rode together deep into the hills. There they met with twenty men, all farmers.
We put ourselves in danger to bring you here, because you are the son of Malcolm Wallace. Do you understand?
I do, William answered. He knew rebels when he saw them.
Every day the English send in more soldiers. When Malcolm Wallace was alive, we met here for every attack,old Campbell explained. You have como back and we ask ourselves. Are we still men? Will you be one of us?
I came home to be a farmer and to have a family, said William he looked at old Campbell, and Hamish and walked away to the horses. On the way home, he stopped and looked at the graves of his father and brother for a long time.
William did not see murron for two weeks. Then there was awedding in the village. Helen macclannough, a cousin of murron, was marrying a local boy, Robbie. Everyone came.
There was plenty of food, beautiful wild flowers and happy music.
The new husband and wife and their families and friends came out of the church. The wedding party began. Suddenly there was the noise of horses. An English noble rode towards them at the head of a group of English soldiers.The villagers went quiet. The nobleman, lord bottoms, was about fifty, grey-haired and fat, with a red face.
These lands belong to me, he said. And by the rule of “first night” , I am here to take this young woman to my bed on the night of her wedding, no one moved.
No, by god! Shouted helen’s father.
The soldiers were ready for this. In a second their swords were pointing down at helen’s fatherand Robbie. The men wanted to fight, but Helen held onto them tightly.
I prefer to spend one night with this man than lose both of you for ever, she said. Then one of the soldiers pulled her up onto his horse behind him and the group rode away.
William and murron went again to the group of trees in the hills that night. They sat together above the lake and thought of Helen on her wedding night.They talked about their love and their hopes. They kissed long and hard.
I want to marry you, said William. But no Englishman will take you on our wedding night.
They married secretly in a old, empty church. Murron gave William a white handkerchief with the flower of Scotland on it.
They spent their wedding night under the stars. For the next six weeks they met when they could at night andsometimes in the day. But they did not show that they were husband and wife. When murron was having a baby they would be safe from lord bottoms. Then they would explain to their friends about the secret wedding.
They were both in Lanark one market day. Their eyes met but they did not speak. William walked on. Some English soldiers were sitting at a table and drinking quite near. They watched murron,who was now more beautiful than ever, buying some bread. She was walking past when one of them suddenly caught her wrist and threw her to the ground. Where are you going, my lovely? He asked.
The other soldiers laughed. He fell on top of her and pulled at her clothes. Murron bit him hard and tried to get away. Suddenly William was there and he caught the soldier’s arm from behind.
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