There is little more to tell. Salisbury, notwithstanding his signal defeat, did not at once raise the siege, but continued to blockade and bombard the Castle for many weeks until the intrepid Countess and faithful garrison were relieved by Sir Alexander Ramsay of Dalhousie, who entered the fortress by way of that sea inlet and staircase from which the English Earl had been repulsed.
During the whole trying period of the siege tradition declares that Black Agnes was the life and soul of the beleagured garrison, animating the drooping spirits of the soldiers by the magnetic influence of her undaunted bravery, and keeping them to their work by the example of her untiring activity and ceaseless vigilance –
“She kept a stir in tower and trench,
That brawling, boisterous Scottish wench;
Came I early, came I late,
I found Agnes at the gate.”
When the blockade was raised and the Earl of Dunbar had returned to his home and people, the marriage of Ronald Maxwell and Annie Armstrong was celebrated in the Parish Church of St Anne’s, and in the evening, at the wedding feast, the rafters of the stately banqueting hall rang with hearty Scotch huzzas in honour of the three trusty warders and their bonnie brides.
Nor did the Earl fail to reward more substantially the brave men who had stood by his Countess in her sore need. Ample grants of land were bestowed on Hepburn, Home, and Maxwell; and the two thousand gold crowns which Salisbury had offered as the price of treason were added to the tochers of the blushing brides. So, after all, the warders were rewarded for their faithlessness to the English tempter as well as for their fidelity to Black Agnes, Countess of Dunbar.
“It was better ye see, lad,” said Betsy to her husband, “tae be faithful tae Black Agnes, though if Salisbury had jaloused what was in our minds he wad certainly hae raxed oor necks.”
“Nae doubt it was a narrow squeak,” replied Hepburn, “I thocht at first that we had every chance o’ dangling frae the tounhoose steeple. Eh, lass, the Countess did rale grand when she cam’ tae the camp pretending to be Adam Home. Nane o’ us could hae done the job hauf sae weel. She fair cast a glamour ower the English rascal. In gude sooth we hae been faithless tae Salisbury, while sticking fast tae oor ain folk; but Betsy, believe me, Black Agnes has been by far the maist faithful, though without doubt the maist faithless o’ us a’.”