Summary (Masterplots: Revised Category Edition, British Fiction Series)
Stuart Pretender landed in Scotland in 1745 to assert his right to the throne of England by force of arms if necessary. At this time, the Duries of Durrisdeer decided to steer a middle course. One son would fight for the exiled Stuart, and the other would bide at home in loyalty to King George. James, Master of Ballantrae and his father’s heir, won the toss of a coin and elected to join the Stuart cause. The younger son, Henry, stayed at Durrisdeer. By this means, it was hoped by their shrewd old father that either way the struggle went, the family estate would remain intact.
Word of the defeat of the Scottish forces at Culloden and the news of James’s death came soon after. Henry became the Master of Ballantrae. In 1748, he married Alison Graeme, who had been betrothed to James; but even after a daughter and a son had been born to them, their marriage was overshadowed by the spirit of the former Master of Ballantrae. James had been the favorite son. Old Lord Durrisdeer had denied him nothing, and Alison had loved him. This feeling led to domestic difficulties, and later the village gossips idolized James and accused Henry of selling out the Stuart cause.
Colonel Francis Burke, an Irishman, came into this strained situation and announced that he and James had escaped together from the field at Culloden. The old Lord was exceedingly happy with this news; Henry felt frustrated; Alison seemed pleased. Burke’s mission was to get money from...
(The entire section is 1464 words.)
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