_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Sciences sociales et humaines
A critica1Study
Université d'Abomey-Calavi
MaÎtre de Conférences de Littérature Anglaise
Abomey-Calavi - Bénin
Old Mortality conveys a moving feeling as does
state. When religion is accepted by the King and his
a stage movement. The novel is f1.l11 ofaction from the
subjects, hannony is felt within the society. When the
beginning to the end. Clearly. it is the characters that,
contrary happens, there are controversies. It is the
through their speech, bring about such emotion. Religion
reason to preserve first system ofreligion that Royalists
has been deeply imprinted on the Scots from the first
and Covenanters have given one another, the most
religious movement to the hard struggles under the
inhuman suiIerings, fratricides, crimes as that the Power -
banner ofCovenant, which became their saivation. In
and the Religions opposition may be found in history
Old Morfalily, political and religious structures oppose
and that Walter Scott depicts thoroughly in Old
each other. The fonner represents the King, the Privy
COllnci 1orthe Bellendens, as well as Claverhouse, Lord
Though the murder of Archbishop James
Evandale, the Duke ofMonmouth or Archbishop James
Sharpe is the core ofthe action, the antagonisms held
Sharpe, while the religious structures are emphasized
from Melville and the Covenant's period, Charles II's
by Burley ofBalfour, Morton, Mucklewrath, Macbriar
revenge of his beheaded father, as far- as the war of
and others. Old Mortalily, therefore, confronts the
bishops is related to, come as salient issues in the novel,
Crown and the Kirk, or the Royalists and the
in the character's words. This explains the Royalists'
tendency in torturing the Covenanters, and also the non-
But, the political feature also conserves sorne
agreement ofthe King to treat with the torturing the
religious characteristics, which appear as holy or divine
Covenanters, and also the non-agreement ofthe King
ifwe considerthat the whole theoryofStuart absolutism
to treat the rebels, as weil as the Covenanters respànses
relies on the doctrine of Reformation during the
through their fanaticism and resoluteness.
Elizabethan period, when the Scot monarchs, as weil
as the English, were considered God's representative
The events before the Restoration are yet too
chosen and anointed by God as his deputies, and the
fresh in the Royalists' mind to let them supply the
King and his duties were considered as sacred. It was
measures in counteracting the Covenanter's action. In
obvious that the King's power ofli re and death over
Old Mortality, the Royalists show a strong attachment
his subjects are divine rights.
to the King's ideas and make people respect their
The King represents the order of a system, of
principles. Whether it is the Privy Council in Scotland,
a whole people to whom he owes security and welfare,
representing the King in England, Claverhouse, Lord
as his subjects owe him complete obediencé and
EvandaIe orthe Bellendens, the Royalists or the King's
rcsolute loyalty.At the same time, religion, a function
supporters, each one, at his respective authority, brings
ofa society, assembles a group within a society that
the King's power into consideration. The most ardent
accepts a dcfined structure. As religion is a practice in
opponents remain the Covenanter, but quickly, the Privy
particular system, «in which doctrine, myths, rituals
sentiments. institutions, and other similar elements are
interconnected»l, it comes to take the shape ofa system
Enyclopediil BritanÎca,
Macropacdia. William Beni on. Pllblishcr, 1943·1973. Helen
within a system which may dominak the system ofthe
1kmingwny Bentoll P.
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Council found means to restrain the Strict Covenanters. .
Lord Eva,ndale or William Maxwell is the
By giving more importance to the state affairs through
.moderate Royalist; one who reconcjlesre!igious
their high sense ofresponsibility, the Royalists maintain
opinions and feelings with civil duty without any clamour.
order and respect by ail means. The measures imposed
A man ofparts, his qualities are those ofthë gentleman
on the dissidents l'aise passion, which begets action.
and, for this reason, no one is superior to him in OId
The murder ofArchbishop James Sharpe, wmch is the.
Mortality, although Bessie Maclure .comes very close.
core ofthe action as mentioned earlier, stands on two
Hereaffinns the complete embodÎnlent ofa gentleman
levels. Dr. James Sharpe is a Royalistwho is a-
as a reviewer praises him in Athenaeum. We first
representative ofthe Church ofEngland, the Church of
encounter Lord Evandale with such a generosity at
the King. He has deserted from the Kirk ofScotiand.
Tillietudlem. He does not hesitate to ask Claverhouse
But for the Royalists who avenge hinl, they defend both
to reprieve Morton, who stands as his rival. He is,
political and re1igious purposes. And that is why in
therefore, found in difficuity in many episodes in the
dealing with the Royalists, there is no need to distinguish
noveL Allowed to flée thanks to a horse providecl for
both facts. The summons of the Royal troops that
him by Morton after London Hill Battle, he is attended
evening after the <<pOpinjay» match that saw the victory
bya hearty old woman. Evandale's words to Morton,
ofthe young Morton over Lord Evandale, give the signal
once more enables the reader to appreciate his good
ofa series of provocations and mutinies which keep
breeding. «Rely on it, 1 will never forget your
two memorable battles in the noveL
John Grahame of Claverhouse, as Ensign
His quai ities emphasize his Christian
Grahame, Bothwell and others have not failed in their
background, the required qualities for good morality if
loyalty towards him, but the fierceness the dragoons
we considerthat love and charity are the basic principles
show in their duty is a reflection oftheir chiefcommander
ofChristian faith. This charity reaches its climax when
for Claverhouse who bears «absolute obedience due
before dying, Evandale does not hesitate to retum to
byan officer to his superiors, and joincd to unscrupulous
God what belongs to God by uniting Miss Edith
ambition which was the ruling principle ofmany ofhis
Bellenden's hand with Morton's, for he knows that her
worst actions»l
love has never been his. Though Lord Evandale and
The dragoons' search makes them capture only
Claverhouse remain the main characters on the
sorne insurgent such as Reverend Gabriel
Royalists' side, a little may be said about the others,
Kettledrummle, Mause Headrigg, and Cuddy. The hait
such as Bothwell, Cornet Grahame, and the Bellcndens.
ofthe Cavaliers at Tillie-Tudlem Castle makes Henry
We consider the confrontation between Lady
Morton, Bothwell's prisonerjoin the other prisoners
Margaret Bellenden and old Mause about the
within Îhe troop commanded by Claverhouse. Despite
wappen-schaw as one of the first events to which we
the hardjudgement laid upon Claverhouse through
give religious consideration on the Royalists' side. As
Scott's characterization or the picture that history draws
emphasized by David Brown, it «displays the link
of him, sorne action bolsters him up as proof of
between Presbyterianism as a religious movement,
goodness. As he knows when to tun1 anger and revenge
and its appeal to the Scottish peasant's aspirations
to crue1ty:
for political and economical emancipation»4
«Kill, kill nQquartem Hecontinued,
Breaking, dispersing and cutting to
pieces ail the insurgcnts»', he also
Knows when to change despair to hope
and good feelings ...
Claverhouse is conscious ofMorton's qualities
and rank. It is the reason why he does not manage hii
efforts to show that such nobility has to he preserved.
1 John O.
Hayden, Scou: The Crilical Heritage
Claverhouse shows an overpowering feeling that
(The Black Dwarf or Old Morlality). N° 16. London. ROlllledge and
Kegan Paul.
Morton has often pities in theCovenanters, whose
, Waller Scott, Old Morlali/y. ch.32. p.365. Penguin English
heroism and devotions are mingled and lost in an
Libràry, 197~.
, Waller Scott, Old Mor/alily, ch. 25 p.293-4. EnglishPenguin.
indubitable fanaticism, while Clavemouse's heroism and
humanism are stifled by this cruelty.
~ David Brown. Walter Scott and the Historical Imagina/ion, chA,
p. 72, London, 1979, Routledge and K. Paul.
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Lady Margarefs position mcrcly detemlincs
religious elation ofthe insurgents before the London
her conception that the established mie has to go alike.
Hill battle remains as the fust collective religious influence
She emphasizes the King's divine right which is rightly
upon the Covenanters. As the victory ofLondon Hill
transmitted by nature to Aristocracy, gentry and the
upsets this biblical image as ifthe blood spilled in the
little people ofthe society. She makes Mause tmderstand
battle had made them forget the former calm, the two
that she owes her obedience and respect, and we can
factions within theCovenanters break up after the
see that Margarcfs religious views correspond to her
London Hill skirmish. Victory begets passion. and
class and respond to the hierarchy found in the
passion is shown in the leaders' preaching and
Episcopal structure. The dishonour she talks about
exhortations, luring the insurgents to astate oftrance.
which has not been known in the family since the days
The religious zeal of the leaders of the
ofMalcom Canmore stresses the importance she grants
Covenanters may be the real cause ofthe divergences.
to the King's right.
Moreover, they have strong antipathy for the Royalists.
ln Old Mor/olity, the most f~mtastic record of
Such feuds degenemte into passion, which bums in them
words, speeches and action which devotion or religious
like an indestructible flame. Added to the passion in
enthusiasm and exhibitionism demand, may be found
which their doctrine has moulded them, the state of
within the Covenanters, in their motives to defend
madness into which they often fall has its roots in their
themselves against the oppressors. The zealotry which
religious background mingled with their own tradition.
Scott emphasizes did not dampen the powerful effect
Death, blood, slaughter are ways ofreaching salvation.
of the religious impact upon the Covenanters. Their
But Balfour, the Covenanters' leader, one ofthose who
religious intensity which is a response to their inner
assassinated Dr. Shape, believes in the talion law, as he
forces, merely results in the social and physical
said, «The avenger ofblood is behind me»1 after the
experiences they endured and with which they strove
ride that enables him to hide. This highlander represents
to conform. Religious influence is created among the
the Claverhouse ofthe Covenanters: «undaunted, fierce
Presbyterians different parties accOl"ding to their zeal
and zealous to the last degree in the hol y cause he had
or their moderation. The divisions are important as far
espoused»". TIlis holy cause asks for vengeance. justice
as OId Mor/ali/)' is concerned, for they show the
and their cruelty in the justice is God's order. Balfour
structurc ofPresbyterianism. The Cameronians Calmot
reminds us. «Isn't not written, thou shalt be zealous
bc bcttc!" dcpicted than through Hurley, Macbriar,
even to slaying»'. Such fanatism is relevant when
Kettledrummle or Mucklewrath by thcir zeal and what
Balfour, the moming after the dragoons searched for
thcy cmbody while the moderate within the Covenanters
him, is found by Morton, praying for the sufferings of
gathcr thcmselves rOlUld Hemy MOllon, Poundtext, and
the Church ofScotland, perspiring and uttering broken
r.aird Langcalc.
words which remain the only passage describing the
The tlight of the murderers of Archbishop
murder ofthe Archbishop: «Judas, thou art taken Judas,
Sharpe enabled the gathering of the Presby1erians at
hew him down, a priest ofBaal, to he bound and slain»4
Drumclog Hill in a wide conventicler to fit the situation.
What else can a traitor of God deserve before the
The Covenanters' initial enthusiasm before the
Covenanters? Acting as God's prophet, Burley and his
Drumclog battle stresses the unity which invades them
companions wreak their vengeance upon those who
l'orthe common cause, God's causc. They create in us
betray God's Words as the Archbishop. betrays their
the image ofan ancient tribe, God's people in a large
cause. «Vengeance! Vengeance on the oppressors»5
gathering. The Biblical image of the Assembly recalls
rcmains the usual ending petition. Morton himselfcanl10t
God's folk, the Israelites, on theirwayto the Promised
remain unmoved by his encounter with Balfour. Morton
Land. TIle exhortations ofthe crowd to the Psalm make
who honours his father too much finds that the same
a perfect melody in unison and an opium tor the mind,
cause. the same freedom, civil and religious. that had
as the solen1l1 acclalnation ofverses, lollowed by a dead
animated his father is his. Therefore, how could he stay
silence, and gives a fairy imagination, a holy strength
inactive in his tum? In response to such a duality, the
which results in their victory. The prophetic contents of
balance in human nature constrains him to recognize
the seventy sixth Psalms come to an honest purpose
that he has to «unite the duties ofa good Christian with
before the battle. How could God ahandon their great
those ofa peaceful subject»6
father, he who has chosen Jacob, Israel, as the father
Such hehaviour does not incite Balfour, whose
ofthe New Nation, ofthe New Land'? Isn't it for God's
behaviour approaches insanity, but insanity in a
seat. for his Tabernacle they are going to tight? The
convinced ideology which death itse1fcannot destroy.
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Balfour, whose speeches are constantly biblical
assembly, he seems carried away by a triumph mer
references, is bound and blinded hy some lines of
the tirst weakness ofhis appearanee. The dead silence
conduct that nobody can change in him. His fanaticism
of the audience gives him more assurance and his
responds in passion, which bursts out during and after
prophetieal feature responds to his religious zeal.
the London Hill Battle. The confusion, the terrors, the
Eloquent, he enthrals the whole assembly in his moving
groans ofthe wounded, and the t1 ight which follow the
sermon, and in such beautiful comparison. The
carnage give to the Covenanters a holy answer to their
representation ofthe Covenanters' success is the image
prayers. The tierce pursuit is weil observed when I3urley
ofthe Ancient Temple. to which they offered the more
overtakes Lord Evandale, and is on the point of
precious sacritice in «the slallghter the tyrant and the
administering on him his «coup de grace» with his blood-
oppressom'> This preciolls sacrifice was the holocaust
stained hands when Morton intervenes. From the point
or oblation in the Old Testament that the Covenanters
ofview of the leader of the Covenanters, they must
accomplish with the only difference for the altars. and
destroy ail the enemies' wealth and ex tend the
vaulted sanctuary in another environment of the natural
punishment to everybody without even sparing the
battlc- tield and sky. God's grace must not be forgotten;
babies. I3alfour's wrath appears worse than God's
and in his exhortations Macbriar calls to the followers
anger. The London Hill victory renders the Covenanters
for more courage. He, as a preacher has a deep
mad as they are thrown into ecstasy by suecess. Instead
knowledge orthe doctrine, and his intelligence eopes
ofspurring on to fllrther organisation and strategy, their
wistflllly with and matches some passages of the Church
victory calls rather for exhibition, which retlects their
of England to elevate his address. The preaeher's
sermon, with sueh vivid comparisons, makes the
The state of division previously mentioned
insurgents Forget their pain, their state oftàtiglle and
creates the divergences on the recognition ofthe murdcr
privations. Machriar's words eured the harm done to
ofthe Arehbishop. 1f zealous approve the murder as a
them, and he appears as prophel. To the ovations of
deed of justice, the others, the greater part of the
the soldiers, he answers: «God Bless you my brethren,
insurgents, tind in the deed «a crime highly eulpable»7.
it is His eause»IO though Maebriar's vision on
On other statements, the prohlem raised by prel~ey is
Presbyterianism ret1ects the period and the movement.
still a subjeet for debate among the Covenanters, for
we are nevertheless struek by the fact that sueh
the moderate party does not tind any objection to
dynamism ofan intelligent, brave youth is mixed with
maintaining the King's authority. ll1ese divergences cali
horrors and eruelty. that slleh good wit eould not lind
tor an analysis orthe eharaeters individllally.
other pacifie methods of reaehing its goal; but uscd only
The opportunity ofdei ivering a sem10n granted
for sorne too rigid purposes. The eonvineing bdiefof
to Gabriel Kettledrummle eannot give a hetter ehance
Maebriar tinds its source in the Old Testament. spoilt
ofletting offsteam. The text he has ehosen to reopen
only by his zeal. Yet at the leaders' meeting, I3urley
the feuds ofhis followers against the captives is drawn
told him «you spcak weil, but not wisely»11,but Maehriar
From the 49'h chapter oflsaiah. In it, Isaiah 's visions
does not approve mixing with the «indulged» as MOIton
annOllnee severe events as it lets God reveal terrible
is labelled. For him, their number is quite suftieient lor
things. The insurgents need some stimulus to maintain
sueeeeding in their action for «God can work
their determination for further events and
deliverance bya few, as weil as by a multitude»". This
Kettledmmmle 's sermon supplies il. -n1e change in his
reealls a bibl ieal referenee in the I300k ofJudges «Peu
own tone demonstrates the ineitement that overeomes
d'hommes. mais de bons»l\\ where God restrains
hlm, rendering him boisterous; and his great reaetion is
Gideon's eompanions before the battle with the
against the mlers who failed to establish Presbyterianism
Midianites through the water test, sinee the strength
as a national religion. For two hours, the good pastor,
which cornes form heaven eounts more than the
rightly ealled the «absolute Boanerges in the pulpit»8,
importance of the army. But. we do think that jcalousy
holds the insurgents' attention despite their tiredness.
seems to consume Macbriar.
But a youth cornes after hirn, gi ving a new tum to the
brainwashing the former preacher has begun. He is
named Ephraim Macbriar, Young and naturally hectic.
The various experiences the rebel has eneountered have
hardened him, as he himself embodies the courage
shown hy many martyrs. As soon as he addresses the
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Macbriar's tànaticism reveals his lack ofpolitical
the Covenanters after Burley convinces him to join them.
realisJ11 and his «sectarian grievanccs», as pointed out
Morton 's duty, as far as the settlement of the
by David Brown. These tàcts may be attributed to other
compromise is concemed is contrived by what he had
leaders as Kettlednnnmie and Habbakuk Mucklewrath.
feared before accepting the Presbyterians' company.
Macbriar's feelings and firl1lness in his belief
Morton cannot contain his indignation at the scene in.
are only found in martyrs. This firmness even at the
which a rage grips the leaders and the followers, after
appearance ofthe hideous executioncr, Macbriar 's age,
the boisterous exhortation ofMucklewrath to slay ail
and his holy cause, proof of a holy ccstasy move us.
the enemies: «This is uller abomination and daring
Morton 's religious beliefcan be classified as
impiety. What blessing can you expect in a cause in
an anticipation to the Tolerance peri al! which succeeded
which you listen to the mingled ravings ofmadness and
the Retomlation period. But ifwe refcr to Kay Mathias~,
atrocity?»5 Morton's words refer to order and mind
Morton 's view points on state and rcligious aflàirs are
control. At this point, unable to retreat and regretting
drawn up by moderate Presbyterians. His moderation
his commitment to the Covenanters, he sees in ail the
portrays his qualities as a weil balanced human bcing.
Presbyterians' councils only «one wild chaos of
Ile is opposed to Burley who sees that «the pleasures
confusions»(, He, nevertheless, has to proceed. His
ofthis world are vanity»'. Morton's feelings which
political commitments. a complement to his religious
confer on hil1l the qualities of a moderate, the
opinions, are the feelings which give him h.~ony, and
«lndulged». Though this latter is approved neither by
balance which the others lack. So, he can neither
David Brown. nor by Mathias, and does not grant him
conceive the near anarchy he has observed in the ranks
any support either on rel igious or on pol itical grounds.
ofthe Covenanters, nor bel ieve the abomination which
The encounter with Claverhouse at Tillietudlem castle
must come l'rom Christians.
while he was prisoner shows his wrath against the
On the whole, Morton is a character who fulfils
King's representative, c1aiming his fi-eedol1l: «By what
easily religious and political duties. He appears as a
right is it that these soldiers have dragged me from my
balanced character who stands as the moderate
famiIy. and put fetters on the limbs ofa free man?»4.
Presbyterian among the insurgents. He is not, however,
Morton 's viewpoints on rcligious morality are strongly
the only moderate Poundtext also may be considered
cxprcssed throughout the novel, but rather seen as a
as one.
sign of cowardice they reflect an embodil1lent of
Reverend Poundtext is a hearty Minister who
balance in which the opposition in good, and evillet
supports Morton as they are both from Millwood; and
one observe an optimistic beliefin which the various
he is under Morton's coml11and with his congregation.
lè1l111S ofteelîngs as duty, responsibilitics and action give
No arrangement can better suit the pastor's wish. His
place to thought. Morton 's consideration ofboth parties,
moderation does not seem to be viewed as based on
the Covenanters and the Royalists in their respective
sound reasons as Morton 's motives. We do think that
extreme ways makes him act in isolation. We believe
his attachl11ent to a peacefulliving, as he depicted in
that Morton 's thinking is to work (lut a compromise
chapter 27, enjoyiilg his pacific habits with his pipe,
betwecn both parties, trom his isolation, but he has to
and ancient theological treatise for refreshing his
stand on one side betore dealing with the other.
mel11ory, without forgelling a jug ofale, rather cxplains
Therefore, Morton confirms his stand by siding with
his choice as opposed to taking an active pat1 with the
Covemmters. He groans loudly when Morton, who had
just left him at the end of chapter 26 cornes back in
el11ergency, bears witness to his preference for the
Walh:r Sl:oll. Old .\\Io"falilr. dL ), Jl.97, P~Ilg.lIin Fnglish l.il:n<H).
. .\\("01/ Cri/;eal liai/agI!. FJilcJ hy John B. Ilil)'ucn, Black D\\\\arf &
quietness ofhis little parlour. Burley makes trus remark
(lld M,.rtolil\\". 1R7(,. W 1il. lin
about him, «that love their own manse better than the
Sig.\\lClJ n:vic\\~·. Critic.:al Ih:vîl:w. p.IOX. LOIH.Joll. ROlllkJgc and Kcgan
church of God»7 Therefore, how can one explain
; Walh.T SC\\lll. O/d ,\\/urllllily. dl IX. p.219
Poundtext 's reasons or motives for his approval ofthe
, th,,]. ,h.t>. P 107.
Walh:r Scotl. Ohl :\\lorla/ih. dl.6, p. IOX.
Tillietudlem siege? Il must not be forgotten that
,. tbid. ch.6. p.1 (lI)
Poundtext's attitude is that of a person who has who
- \\Villh.T Scoll. ()/d .\\/orrolily. cl1.21. p. 262
, Ihid. ,h.1 R. l' 2~ 1
has no proper convincing idea!. one who Iacks that
, Ihid. ,h.1 X. l' 2~ 1
streak of determination. He accepts the general
\\\\"aItL'r Sl:ott. ch.1 X. p. 2.:12.
.: Ihid. ch.21. \\l-:!60
contempt for not being different. I-Ie is a kind of
character whose words do not suit action. A
". 1. .-lf1ciell li:-",olll'-',,'
IIisfoire des IIoll/lIIl's '1IIl' /)il'U ,\\'WI\\'('. FJit~
rat IJcnri tiallbiaLi. Juges 7 : I-X. r.219. f:lJiti-lllls PaulillL's
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demonstration ofour thinking is c1early perceived in
temporary appeasement to his zealotry. Whether
Poundtext's ft ight to his quiet manse instead ofattending
Morton 's arrivai in the tanll-house at Drumshinncl may
the Council summoned by Burley whose ferocity he
appear as coincidence or not, it is a conviction of the
fears. Reverend Poundtext's attitude does not,
acceptance of Mucklewrath's prayer by God. But.
therefore, depict an unfaithful characterization as far as
Mucklewrath's judgement has to be praised in a'i much
his religious duty is concemed. But, we may consider it
as his rhetoric and impressive words surpass his
as an illustration of sorne characteristic in the social
condition. After ail, ifwe see some insanity and frenzy
background of the moderate who are fed up with the
in him «there is a method in it». Morton's appearance
stubbornness ofthe zealous Covenanters who want to
as the very sacrifice Mucklewrath calls for isajudgement
make their ideas prevail at ail cost.
which finds its source in the Old Testament, as the
Poundtext now shares with Morton the idea
holocaust offered to God. Mucklewrath here shows
Lord Evandale stands as the mediator to restore
his observance to the Commandment. the observance
understanding between the Crown and the Kirk; and
of the Sabbath, which allows no spoilt deed delays
his experience arnong the Covenanters gives him reason
Morton 's death, which delay grants him redemption by
for judging «ofthe tree by the fruit». When things tum
Claverhouse's rescue.
upside down, Poundtext tries to appease the faction
Mucklewrath's last faint words prove his state
and the violence within their ranks. thinking perhaps
of mind as he considers himself not only as a martyr,
that his posi..tion as a Minister and his age would abate
but as a saint «How long, 0 Lord, holy and true, dost
the rage 0 f the dissidents.
thou notjudge and avenge the blood of the saint!»8.
If Poundtext is too modcrate, Habakkuk
His zeaJotry is only a blinding, an indubitable vengeance
Mucklewrath is, on the other hand, the extreme
which has moulded his mind and body as the
opposite. He is the wildest among the zealous
Presbyterian doctrine has utterly mangled his senses
Covenanters, and he weil deserves to be called the
into confusion and insanity.
insane preacher. Contrary to the other fanatics arnong
Though we have dealt at length with John Baltour of
the Covenanters, we do not find him any heroic action.
Burley at the beginning ofour analysis, there are still a
When talking about insanity, Mucklewrath's portrait
few comments to make. His real action is revealed to
cannot find other orientation than that of the insane.
us after the victory ofthe Covenanters at Drumclog. If
Therefore, unconsciousness as he may seem and
religious commitments persuade him to take some steps
commanded his ego which is rather worn out by
and organize the insurgents, a fomler envy, a personal
sufferings in gaol, we have to give same indulgence to
ambition, dominates him. His target of leading the
our thought which is far from being a judgement.
Covenanters depicts his ambitious character and puts
We are startled ~ythe address ofMucklewrath
him in the sarne category as Claverhouse. Not only does
to the insurgents. How can we consider people who
he impose himself as the representative of the
share such insanity as slaughtering innocent creatures,
Covenariters when Cornet Grahame brought the flag
as infants as Mucklewrath was asking to dash infants
oftruce, his decision to convene a private council while
against the stones? What would be women's and
he asks Kettledrurnmle to entertain the masses with his
mothers' reaction ifthey were present? We guess that
fervent orations stress his intention of using Morton to
their reaction would not be different from that ofthe
achieve his own ends within his ranks rather than treat
insul'gents who encourage Mucklewrath to tell more
him as a son of a former friend. Ali ofthis explains
atrocities, for the abomination was to overcome enemy.
Burley's ambition mingled with a religious achievement
Despite the trimming that Scott may give to
that he is craving for. Like Claverhouse, Burley's
Mucklewrath's image and his horrifying words, the
acceptance not to kill Evandale on Morton 's plea, or
information that Mucklewrath brings us lets our own
to let Morton visit his prisoner, is simply a consideration
imagination consider the cruelty the Royalists had
offidelity towards one who shares his feelings. This
exercised on the Covenanters. On the other hand,
consideration is partly reversed after Morton has freed
Mucklewrath's speech underlines his understanding in
Evandale. The Battle of Bothwell Bridge gave Burley
the doctrine as a strict old renegade of the religion,
the opportunity to appreciate once again Morton's
merely following sorne facts ofthe Old Testament which
qualities; and despite the defeat at the battle, Burley
cali for harsh and vindictive feelings as most oft he
kept Morton arnong his most reliable friends.l11e note
fanatics in her interpretation.
he let drop into Morton 's packet before his departure
Mucklewrath's credulity in circurnstances which
to exile, and theirenÇ()UI1ter in his awesome seclusion
cali for vengeance as a divine order adds perhaps a
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Sciences sociales et hl/maines
show convincinglythat their lriendship was still strong.
by the Royalists. Who can remain unmoved by that
I3mlcy shows his fanaticism throughollt the devclopment
poor old nalTative whose everlasting lears of SOITOW
oflhe action. Two key passages (chapter 6 and 43)
render her blind? Despite her awful misfortune, Bessie
give his religiolls fecling a transformation which
her awful misfortune Bessie praises God's name tor
lInforlllnalely does not contribllte 10 good deeds, its
«God and takes away»Jo. Bessie is the one who
exehanged ire for love, the one who instead ofretuming
Like a hennit, l311rley in his cave with his bible and his
hatred forrevolt and persecution, exchanged al those
s\\Vord, lhe means ofhis mission to prophesy God
vicissitudes, spitefulness, horrors even the sufferings she
have will and to strive God's enemies. remain the
endured , for charity and love.
lIndollbted zealol to the last dcgrcc. His madness in
ln the whole eontext ofthe religious impact on
lhis sec111sion is more moving lhrough his
the eharacters in Old Mortalily, the Royalists and the
cxclmna!ions against an invisible cnemy to whom he
Covenanters have respeetively demonstrated on their
opposes his 13ibJc as his only mighl.
part either zeal, enthusiasm mingled with cruelty or
Our analysis of religious impact on lhe Covenanters
moderation with a sense for hwnan consideration. The
would be incomplele ifno mention is made ofMausc
real opposition between both parties as analyzed
Headdrig and Maclure Bessie.
throllghoul the novel is the refusaI of the Covenanters
Mause Hcaddrig, whose zeal appears
to accept a religion imposed by the King.
sOllletimes as melTiment. is nevel1hcless sincere in her
Is Old Mortality the Old Testament? lt isn't.
lCelings. The conJrontation with Lady Margaret exposes
The novel ends in tolerance and hope of better
the sl'cfal conlroversies in bolh (pol itical and re1igious)
understanding between both parties. 1l1is hope has been
people expcrienee, especially the lower classes of the
revealed throllgh sorne eharaeters in the nove!. The
soeicly. Mause 's eomparison of the wappen-schaw of
1l10derate ofboth parties, Lord Evandale, POllndtext,
the Upper Ward ofClydesdale to the golden image of
M0l10n, Bessie Maclllre, Edith and Macbriar who j ust
Dura by Nebuchadnczzar9 , the King of Babylon,
betore dying had taken tresh heart, ail have vivified the
stresses lhe image of the Scollish prclacy as weil as the
new eommandment ofcharity, love following Christ's
di IJerenccs between prclaey as weil as the ditferenees
ex ample, whieh is the basis of the New Testament.
between prelacy and Presbyterianism. Like «Shadrach,
Morton always refcrs to the New Testament. Morton
Neshach, J\\bednego», Daniel's companions who
always refers to the New Testament, Lord Evandale
observed good faith and ohedience to God, rcfusing to
and Bessie through their deeds and POllndtext in his
worship lhe golden image, Mause COnfil111S her belief,
bchaviour. Each taught us that Christianity was
refusing to li.lllowthe prelacy rites. Mallse 's illustration
neverlheless understood by some people despite the
and her biblical referenccs accenluale the tradition of
feuds, the animosities and material interests retelTed to
the Scots thal the Bible was part oflhe people's life in
as new views of doctrine whieh resulted in a history
which they drew knowledge ,md gol aequaintancc with
rich in schisms, wars and persecutions. A Christian
God's \\\\'Ord, lhollgh some misinterprelation may arise
cannot simply rely on the Old Testament and by so
in the people's lltterances. The cascade of biblical
doing misinterpret his doctrine. The New Testament
utteranccs by her during the Drllmclog battle referred
completes the Old, sinee the New is hidden in the Old,
to Psalms, Lamenlations and passages trom the ExodllS
while the Old is discovered in the New. In order to
or the Book ofJudges teems down as a vacuous rosary.
reach the religious feeling of dependenee, of self
Il elllphasizes the tradition ofthe Scots weil knO\\\\11 that
eŒlcement as a creature betore the Infinite, the notion
of morality in lhe eontext of one 's social mores. every
The other character who seems to remain in
believer has to consider both Testaments.
ohlivion, lhe one who slwwed the noblest, highest,
Through the impact ofreligion upon charaeters
worlhiest example among the Presbyterians is Bessie
in ()ld Mor{ality, we have underlined the positive and
Mac1ure.ller behaviour is W0l1hyofpraise and remains
negative sides religion ean have. We observe that religion
unique. Though little or searecly any consideration Îs
is a real need, holding sorne charaeters in enviable
given to her by erities, the eharacter of Bessie is
admiration as their perfection is a real need, holding
cxtremely opposed to that ofall the other Presbyterians.
some charaeters in enviable admiration. as their
Her husband was shot by the lifeguards and wilhill thrce
perfection ovcreomes the nOlTl1al, condemning others
1110nths. she lost hertwo sons. One died in s stritcofa
as ifthey had wrongly assimilated its prineiples. Il
National Covenant and the other was shot hefore her
highlights the opposition ofGood and Evil that awakens
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in man through his environment, the mores, and the
various fOnTIS offeelings.
8. MILLER, K. K. w., 1971. Vol.85 n0 2194, pp.486-
488, Thursday 15111 April.
9. Alliance Biblique Universelle, 1978. Traduclion
Oecuménique de la Bible, Editions du Cerf Bar Le
1. BENTON. W., 1943-1973. Enyclopedia
Britanica, Macropaedia, Publisher, Ilclen Hemingway
2. BROWN, David, 1979. Waller Sco" and Ihe
London, 1979, Routledge and
3. CUSSAC, M. H., 1969. Narralive Siruciure in
Ihe Novels ~fSir Waller Sco". The Hague
4. MOUTON, D. D., 1971. Sir mi/1er Seo" and his
World, London Thames and Hudson.
5. HAYDEN, J., 1876. Sco" Crilical Herilage.
Edited by John Hayden, Black Dwarf& Old
Mortality, N° 16, Unsigned review. Critical Review,
p.1 08, London, Routledge and Kegan
6. SCOTI, Sir w., Dld Morlalily. Penguin English
Library, by Hazell, Watson and
Viney Ltd. Aylesbury.
7. WILEY, B., 1934. The SeVl'nlielh Century
Background Studies, Routledge and Kegan Paul
London Henley.
1 (Ja\\'id Brown.
Wall~r Scoll and '''(~ fli.f1oriclIl Imagin(ltion. chA.
p. Kil.
l}avid Brown Ifq lu,[ S'coti aM 'Ire 'lista';",,' 'moyinytjO'r "
sludy of Waller Seoll otd Morlalil)'. unpublished M.A. 'llIesis
Unive.-sil}· of Wales. Aberyslrwylh. 196K. p.]K.
• Waller Seoll. OId Morlalil)'. ch.23. p.2K3. l'enguin l'nglish
l.ibrary. 1972.
• Ibid. ch.13. p.192.
, Walter Seoll. Otd Morlality. ch. 22. p. 273.
" Ibid. ch.22. p. 275.
'Waller Seoll. otd -"orlalil)'. eh.27. p. 319.
• Waller Seoll. OId Morlalil): ch.34. p. 37K.
"' Truduction Oecllménique de la Bible.
Danicl 3. p. 11129. Alliance Biblique Univc.-selle. ('dit ion du Cerf.
,., Waller ScotL OId Morlalily.
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