George II.—The Story of Flora Macdonald
FTER the battle of Prestonpans, Charles returned to
Edinburgh and remained there for some days gathering men and
money. It was a gay time. There were constant balls and
parties, and Bonnie Prince Charlie was loved more and more
each day. The Bonnie Prince, who "could eat a dry crust,
At last Charles and his army were ready and marched into
England. But although no one resisted him, although he took
several towns without a blow being struck, hardly any of
the English joined him. The
Highlanders grew weary of
marching through strange country, and
It is difficult to guess what might have happened had the Prince gone on. But he did not. He turned again towards Scotland, and began the long, sad march homeward.
The wearied army reached Glasgow at last, having marched six hundred miles through snow and rain and wintry weather in less than two months.
Charles now decided to take Stirling Castle. He met the King's army at Falkirk and defeated them, but after that, instead of trying to take Stirling, as he had intended, he listened to the advice of some of the Highland chiefs and marched northward.
As Charles had defeated two generals, King George now sent his own son, the Duke of Cumberland to command his army. At Culloden, near Inverness, the last Jacobite battle was fought. The royal army was much larger than the Jacobite one, and although the Highlanders fought with all their usual fierce courage, they were utterly defeated. Charles would have been glad to die with his brave followers, but two of his officers seized the bridle of his horse and forced him against his will to leave the field. The battle was turned into a terrible slaughter, for the Duke of Cumberland behaved so cruelly to the beaten rebels that ever after he was called the Butcher.
The Stuart cause was lost, and Bonnie Prince Charlie was a hunted man. The King offered £30,000 to any one who would take him prisoner. But although the money would have made many a poor Highlander richer than he had ever imagined it possible for any one to be, not one of them tried to earn it. Instead, they hid their Prince, fed him, clothed him, and worked for him. At last, after months of hardships and adventures, he escaped to France.
Many people helped Prince Charles, but it was a beautiful lady, called Flora Macdonald, who perhaps helped him most. She served him when he was most miserable and in greatest danger. The whole country round was filled with soldiers searching for him. He scarcely dared to leave his hiding-place, and was almost dying of hunger. No house was safe for him, and he had to hide among the rocks of the seashore, shivering with cold and drenched with rain.
With great difficulty and danger to herself, Flora Macdonald reached the place where the Prince was hiding, bringing with her a dress for him to wear. The Prince put it on, and together they went to the house of a friend, where Flora asked if she and her maid "Betty" might stay that night. This friend was very fond of Flora, and very glad to see her. She was a Jacobite, and when she was told who "Betty" was she made ready her best room for the Prince. A little girl belonging to the house came into the hall while Betty was standing there, and ran away frightened at the great tall woman, but no one suspected who she was.
Disguised as Flora Macdonald's maid, Prince Charlie travelled for many days, escaping dangers in a wonderful way. For the Prince made a very funny-looking woman. He took great strides, and managed his skirts so badly that, in spite of the danger, his friends could not help laughing. "They do call your Highness a Pretender," said one. "All I can say is that you are the worst of your trade the world has ever seen."
When there was no need for Flora to go further with the
Prince, they took a sad farewell of each other. "I hope,
madam," said he, bending over her hand and kissing it, "we
shall yet meet at
This rebellion is called "The Forty-five" because it took
Prince Charlie reached France safely, but the rest of his
life was sad. He was a broken, ruined man, and he lived a
wanderer in many lands. At last, he died in
In St. Peter's at Rome there is a monument, placed there, it
is said, by King