Travel back in time to Scotland 1746 when a young man saves Bonnie Prince Charlie.
| I lost my footing and landed in the thick brown mud. When I looked up I saw Jean McNeill standing above me, I wished I’d drowned in it. I gazed at her brown curly hair and big green eyes. Her lovely round face, with its dimpled smile was a thing of beauty. I looked away and she giggled.
"Lachlan, when are you going to grow up?" She laughed quietly.
"I'm grown." I said.
"Ay you are, and I am a princess." she said.
"Oh, but you are a princess! I'll be your prince!" I said holding out my hand.
She looked away, "Don't be daft, Lachlan, grow up. Then perhaps you can be my prince."
"I have!” I said and felt a speck of anger glowing in my chest.
"You talk too much Lachlan" she said and gracefully walked out of sight.
Later that eve, Lady Dowager Mackintosh, a wife of a head of the Clan Mackintosh, requested my presence. It was about sundown and the sky was turning its evening shades as the carriage pulled in front of the Mackintosh home. I got out and took in a big helping of crisp sweet air. I fiddled with my kilt and sporran, a small leather pouch I use in lack of a pocket, shaping up to be decent. Once inside the hall I quickly glanced in a seeing-glass. Not bad. I grinned.
"You wonder why I’ve called you here," said Lady Mackintosh,” This is a matter of greatest secrecy for Scotland and the Stuart throne. Lord Loudon and his army are on their way to Moy Hall to capture Prince Charles Edward Stuart. Prince Charlie is rightfully king. I will not allow a Prince to be imprisoned or worse in a family home," she said.
I nodded my head; the Prince must be hiding at Moy.
"You grew up in Moybeg and know the area. As duty to your Clan you must take haste to Moy Hall and save the Prince. This will be dangerous,” she said, “Lord Loudon has closed Inverness tightly by posting soldiers around the city so no one can escape to warn the Prince. I have arranged for one of Loudon’s soldiers, an ally and friend, to help you. Go now and Godspeed."
"Thank you, your Ladyship,” I said. I couldn’t believe they placed Bonnie Prince Charlie’s life in the hands of a 15 year old! I was proud but could I do it? An awful
panic started to build in me. My gut was blazing with nerves but I was grown, and I’d prove it. At Lady Mackintosh’s direction, I rode to a pub on the edge of town.
The pub was dim. Murky light shone from the table lanterns. I saw an old man drinking, but no soldier. My heart sank with dismay. Unsure of what to do next, I turned to leave when I saw a barrel of a man in the corner. I hurried over.
His face was, round with a scraggy beard, his cheeks fat and red, his eyes kind. It was hard to see much in the shadows he leaned in to speak to me. "So lad, it would seem to us that ye have a problem," he said.
"Ay" I nodded.
"Truly," he snorted and belly laughed, “I’ve a plan, Lad. You’ll hide under my cape awhile, and run like mad when I tell ye to." he nodded and I felt he was proud of his plan.
"Ay," I said. I was terrified we’d be caught.
We left the pub and climbed up on his strong highland pony. Night had fallen. Moy was nine miles away, two hours double horseback, so we had little time to spare. From beneath his cape I soon heard other horses and men’s voices. My palms began to sweat as terror washed over me. I knew we were in the midst of the enemy. If I got caught now, I’d be hanged for treason. Sweat seeped down my brow and dripped off my nose. I was tired and wanted off, but I couldn’t move a muscle. My fingers ached and my arms twitched from holding on. I was sapless from no fresh air. Tired and hot, I wanted to give up, when I heard a voice speak to the soldier I was riding with.
"We need some men to scout ahead," said the voice.
"Ay, I’ll go off," he said my soldier. The stranger smacked the hind of our pony, so close to me I nearly fell. The horse shied too and we raced off. After a while I peeked out into the darkness, I saw nobody and heard only the gallop of our horse. We stopped; at Highlander's Gate above the Moy where Moy Hall rests.
"Ye better get off here," he said.
I slid off the horse and fell to the ground, my legs spiritless. I stood and turned to thank my friend. He saluted me and he rode off into the night.
I ran through the pass and down the brae. I could see the Moy and felt my heart leap about. My lungs burned from the cold air. I ran hard and nearly fell with every step. I scooted past several out buildings, ran round to the kitchen entry and rattled the door. A gillie answered.
"I’m Lachlan Mackintosh. I have come with a message. It’s life or death," I managed between breaths.
"Who’s this message for?" said the gillie.
"Anne," I said.
The door swung open and I saw the kitchie staff cleaning up from tea. I was led to a door on which the gillie banged.
"Lady, I’ve a message," he called out, and motioned to me.
"Your Lady, forgive the imposition. I have been sent by your mother." The door cracked open and I continued, "Lord Loudon is 30 minutes from the Moy, he plans to attack."
Lady Anne wasted no time and began to roust her servants. She raced down the hall in her petticoat and awoke the prince. In minutes, he and his men were away from and into the woods.
I did it! I couldn’t wait to tell Jean. It was noon as I rode into Inverness, and went to visit her. We had tea and I told her how I saved Prince Charles Edward Stuart.
“Lachlan, I am without words, you were so brave.” She said. I stared at her big eyes for several moments and decided it was this moment or never.
“Jean, would you be my lass?” I looked down at my feet wincing a bit.
“Ay, I’d be proud too.” She said as she leaned over and gave me the sweetest softest peck on the cheek. I will not soon forget January 16, 1746.