THE CANONGATE.

                 CHAPTER I.

     Mr Chrystal Croftangry's account of

               Sic itur ad astra.

  ``This is the path to heaven.'' Such is the ancient
motto attached to the armorial bearings of
the Canongate, and which is inscribed, with greater
or less propriety, upon all the public buildings,
from the church to the pillory, in the ancient quarter
of Edinburgh, which bears, or rather once
bore, the same relation to the Good Town that
Westminster does to London, being still possessed
of the palace of the sovereign, as it formerly was
dignified by the residence of the principal nobility
and gentry.  I may, therefore, with some propriety,
put the same motto at the bead of the literary
undertaking by which I hope to illustrate the
hitherto undistinguished name of Chrystal Croftangry.

  The public may desire to know something of
an author who pitches at such height his ambitious
expectations.  The gentle reader, therefore---for
I am much of Captain Bobadil's humour, and could
to no other extend myself so far---the _gentle_ reader,
then, will be pleased to understand, that I am
a Scottish gentleman of the old school, with a fortune,
temper, and person, rather the worse for
wear.  I have known the world for these forty
years, having written myself man nearly since
that period---and I do not think it is much mended.
But this is an opinion which I keep to myself
when I am among younger folk, for I recollect,
in my youth, quizzing the Sexagenarians who
carried back their ideas of a perfect state of society
to the days of laced coats and triple ruffles, and
some of them to the blood and blows of the Forty-five:
Therefore I am cautious in exercising the
right of censorship, which is supposed to be acquired
by men arrived at, or approaching, the mysterious
period of life, when the numbers of seven
and nine multiplied into each other, form what
sages have termed the Grand Climacteric.

  Of the earlier part of my life it is only necessary
to say, that I swept the boards of the Parliament-House
with the skirts of my gown for the
usual number of years during which young Lairds
were in my time expected to keep term---got no
fees---laughed, and made others laugh---drank claret
at Bayle's, Fortune's, and Walker's---and eat
oysters in the Covenant Close.

  Becoming my own master, I flung my gown at
the bar-keeper, and commenced gay man on my
own account.  In Edinburgh, I ran into all the
expensive society which the place then afforded.  
When I went to my house in the shire of Lanark,
I emulated to the utmost the expenses of men of
large fortune, and had my hunters, my first-rate
pointers, my game-cocks, and feeders.  I can more
easily forgive myself for these follies, than for
others of a still more blamable kind, so indifferently
cloaked over, that my poor mother thought
herself obliged to leave my habitation, and betake
herself to a small inconvenient jointure-house,
which she occupied till her death.  I think, however,
I was not exclusively to blame in this separation,
and I believe my mother afterwards condemned
herself for being too hasty.  Thank God,
the adversity which destroyed the means of continuing
my dissipation, restored me to the affections
of my surviving parent.

  My course of life could not last.  I ran too fast
to run long; and when I would have checked my
career, I was perhaps too near the brink of the
precipice.  Some mishaps I prepared by my own
folly, others came upon me unawares.  I put my
estate out to nurse to a fat man of business, who
smothered the babe he should have brought back
to me in health and strength, and, in dispute with
this honest gentleman, I found, like a skilful general,
that my position would be most judiciously
assumed by taking it up near the Abbey of Holyrood.*

*	Note A.  Holyrood.

It was then I first became acquainted with
the quarter, which my little work will, I hope,
render immortal, and grew familiar with those
magnificent wilds, through which the Kings of
Scotland once chased the dark-brown deer, but
which were chiefly recommended to me in those
days, by their being inaccessible to those metaphysical
persons, whom the law of the neighbouring
country terms John Doe and Richard Roe.  In
short, the precincts of the palace are now best
known as being a place of refuge at any time from
all pursuit for civil debt.

  Dire was the strife betwixt my quondam doer
and myself; during which my motions were circumscribed,
like those of some conjured demon,
within a circle, which, ``beginning at the northern
gate of the King's Park, thence running northways,
is bounded on the left by the King's garden-wall,
and the gutter, or kennel, in a line wherewith
it crosses the High Street to the Watergate,
and passing through the sewer, is bounded
by the walls of the Tennis-court and Physic-garden,
&c.  It then follows the wall of the churchyard,
joins the north west wall of St Ann's Yards,
and going east to the clack mill-house, turns southward
to the turnstile in the King's park-wall, and
includes the whole King's Park within the Sanctuary.''

  These limits, which I abridge  from  the  accurate
Maitland, once marked the Girth, or Asylum, belonging
to the Abbey of Holyrood, and which,
being still an appendage to the royal palace, has
retained the privilege of an asylum for civil debt.  
One would think the space sufficiently extensive
for a man to stretch his limbs in, as, besides a reasonable
proportion of level ground, (considering
that the scene lies in Scotland,) it includes within
its precincts the mountain of Arthur's Seat, and
the rocks and pasture land called Salisbury Crags.  
But yet it is inexpressible how, after a certain
time had elapsed, I used to long for Sunday' which
permitted me to extend my walk without limitation.
During the other six days of the week I
felt a sickness of heart, which, but for the speedy
approach of the hebdomadal day of liberty, I could
hardly have endured.  I experienced the impatience
of a mastiff, who tugs in vain to extend the
limits which his chain permits.

  Day after day I walked by the side of the kennel
which divides the Sanctuary from the unprivileged
part of the Canongate; and though the
month was July, and the scene the old town of
Edinburgh, I preferred it to the fresh air and verdant
turf which I might have enjoyed in the King's
Park, or to the cool and solemn gloom of the portico
which surrounds the palace.  To an indifferent
person either side of the gutter would have seemed
much the same---the houses equally mean, the
children as ragged and dirty, the carmen as brutal,
the whole forming the same picture of low life in a
deserted and impoverished quarter of a large city.
But to me, the gutter, or kennel, was what the
brook Kedron was to Shimei; death was denounced
against him should he cross it, doubtless because
it was known to his wisdom who pronounced the
doom, that from the time the crossing the stream
was debarred, the devoted man's desire to transgress
the precept would become irresistible, and he
would be sure to draw down on his head the penalty
which he had already justly incurred by cursing
the anointed of God.  For my part, all Elysium
seemed opening on the other side of the kennel,
and I envied the little blackguards, who, stopping
the current with their little dam-dikes of mud, had
a right to stand on either side of the nasty puddle
which best pleased them.  I was so childish as even
to make an occasional excursion across, were it
only for a few yards, and felt the triumph of a
schoolboy, who, trespassing in an orchard, hurries
back again with a fluttering sensation of joy and
terror, betwixt the pleasure of having executed
his purpose, and the fear of being taken or discovered.

  I have sometimes asked myself, what I should
have done in case of actual imprisonment, since I
could not bear without impatience a restriction
which is comparatively a mere trifle; but I really
could never answer the question to my own satisfaction.
I have all my life hated those treacherous
expedients called _mezzo-termini_, and it is possible
with this disposition I might have endured more
patiently an absolute privation of liberty, than the
more modified restrictions to which my residence
in the Sanctuary at this period subjected me.  If,
however, the feelings I then experienced were to
increase in intensity according to the difference
between a jail and my actual condition, I must have
hanged myself, or pined to death; there could have
been no other alternative.

  Amongst many companions who forgot and neglected
me of course, when my difficulties seemed
to be inextricable, I had one true friend; and that
friend was a barrister, who knew the laws of his
country well, and, tracing them up to the spirit of
equity and justice in which they originate, had
repeatedly prevented, by his benevolent and manly
exertions, the triumphs of selfish cunning over
simplicity and folly.  He undertook my cause,
with the assistance of a solicitor of a character similar
to his own. My quondam doer had ensconced
himself chin-deep among legal trenches, hornworks,
and, covered ways; but my two protectors shelled
him out of his defences, and I was at length a free
man, at liberty to go or stay wheresoever my mind

  I left my lodgings as hastily as if it had been a
pest-house; I did not even stop to receive some
change that was due to me on settling with my
landlady, and I saw the poor woman stand at her
door looking after my precipitate flight, and shaking
her head as she wrapped the silver which she
was counting for me in a separate piece of paper,
apart from the store in her own moleskin purse.  
An honest Highlandwoman was Janet MacEvoy,
and deserved a greater remuneration, had I possessed
the power of bestowing it.  But my eagerness
of delight was too extreme to pause for explanation
with Janet.  On I pushed through the
groups of children, of whose sports I had been so
often a lazy lounging spectator.  I sprung over
the gutter as if it had been the fatal Styx, and I a
ghost, which, eluding Pluto's authority, was making
its escape from Limbo lake.  My friend had
difficulty to restrain me from running like a madman
up the street; and in spite of his kindness and
hospitality, which soothed me for a day or two, I
was not quite happy until I found myself aboard of
a Leith smack, and, standing down the Frith with
a fair wind, might snap my fingers at the retreating
outline of Arthur's Seat, to the vicinity of which
I had been so long confined.

  It is not my purpose to trace my future progress
through life.  I had extricated myself, or rather
had been freed by my friends, from the brambles
and thickets of the law, but, as befell the sheep in
the fable, a great part of my fleece was left behind
me. Something remained, however; I was in the
season for exertion, and, as my good mother used
to say, there was always life for living folk.  Stern
necessity gave my manhood that prudence which
my youth was a stranger to.  I faced danger, I
endured fatigue, I sought foreign climates, and
proved that I belonged to the nation which is proverbially
patient of labour and prodigal of life.  Independence,
like liberty to Virgil's shepherd, came
late, but came at last, with no great affluence in its
train, but bringing enough to support a decent appearance
for the rest of my life, and to induce
cousins to be civil, and gossips to say, ``I wonder
who old Croft will make his heir? he must have
picked up something, and I should not be surprised
if it prove more than folk think of.''

  My first impulse when I returned home was
to rush to the house of my benefactor, the only
man who had in my distress interested himself in
my behalf.  He was a snuff-taker, and it had been
the pride of my heart to save the _ipsa corpora_ of
the first score of guineas I could hoard, and to have
them converted into as tasteful a snuff-box as Rundell
and Bridge could devise.  This I had thrust
for security into the breast of my waistcoat, while,
impatient to transfer it to the person for whom it
was destined, I hastened to his house in Brown's
Square.  When the front of the house became
visible, a feeling of alarm checked me.  I had been
long absent from Scotland, my friend was some
years older than I; he might have been called to
the congregation of the just. I paused, and gazed
on the house, as if I had hoped to form some conjecture
from the outward appearance concerning
the state of the family within.  I know not how it
was, but the lower windows being all closed and
no one stirring, my sinister forebodings were rather
strengthened.  I regretted now that I had not
made enquiry before I left the inn where I alighted
from the mail-coach.  But it was too late; so I hurried
on, cager to know the best or the worst which
I could learn.

  The  brass-plate  bearing   my   friend's   name   and
designation was still on the door, and when it
was opened, the old domestic appeared a good
deal older I thought than he ought naturally
to have looked, considering the period of my absence.
``Is Mr Sommerville at home?'' said I,
pressing forward.

  ``Yes, sir,'' said John, placing himself in opposition
to my entrance, ``he is at home, but------''

  ``But he is not in,'' said I. ``I remember your
phrase of old, John.  Come, I will step into his
room, and leave a line for him.''

  John was obviously embarrassed by my familiarity.
I was some one, lie saw, whom he ought to
recollect, at the same time it was evident he remembered
nothing about me.

  ``Ay, sir, my master is in, and in his own room,

  I would not hear him out, but passed before him
towards the well-known apartment.  A young lady
came out of the room a little disturbed, as it seemed,
and said, ``John, what is the matter?''

  ``A gentleman, Miss Nelly, that insists on seeing
my master.''

  ``A very old and deeply indebted friend,'' said
I, ``that ventures to press myself on my much-respected
benefactor on my return from abroad.''

  ``Alas, sir,'' replied she, ``my uncle would be
happy to see you, but------''

  At this moment, something was heard within
the apartment like the falling of a plate, or glass,
and immediately after my friend's voice called
angrily and eagerly for his niece.  She entered the
room hastily, and so did I. But it was to see a
spectacle, compared with which that of my benefactor
stretched on his bier would have been a
happy one.

  The easy-chair filled with cushions, the extended
limbs swathed in flannel, the wide wrapping-gown
and nightcap, showed illness; but the dimmed
eye, once so replete with living fire, the blabber
lip, whose dilation and compression used to give
such character to his animated countenance,---the
stammering tongue, that once poured forth such
floods of masculine eloquence, and had often swayed
the opinion of the sages whom he addressed,---all
these sad symptoms evinced that my friend was in
the melancholy condition of those, in whom the
principle of animal life has unfortunately survived
that of mental intelligence.  He gazed a moment at
me, but then seemed insensible of my presence, and
went on---he, once the most courteous and well-bred!
---to babble unintelligible but violent reproaches
against his niece and servant, because he himself
had dropped a teacup in attempting to Place it on
a table at his elbow.  His eyes caught a momentary
fire from his irritation; but he struggled in vain
for words to express himself adequately, as, looking
from his servant to his niece and then to the
table, he laboured to explain that they had placed
it (though it touched his chair) at too great a distance
from him.

  The young person, who had naturally a resigned
Madonna-like expression of countenance, listened
to his impatient chiding with the most humble submission,
checked the servant, whose less delicate
feelings would have entered on his justification, and
gradually, by the sweet and soft tone of her voice,
soothed to rest the spirit of causeless irritation.

  She then cast a look towards me, which expressed,
``You see all that remains of him whom you
call friend.'' It seemed also to say, ``Your longer
presence here can only be distressing to us all.''

  ``Forgive me young lady,'' I said, as well as
tears would permit; ``I am a person deeply obliged
to your uncle.  My name is Croftangry.''

  ``Lord! and that I should not hae minded ye,
Maister Croftangry,'' said the servant.  ``Ay, I
mind my master had muckle fash about your job.  
I hae heard him order in fresh candles as midnight
chappit, and till't again.  Indeed, ye had aye his
gude word, Mr Croftangry, for a' that folks said
about you.''

  ``Hold your tongue, John,'' said the lady, somewhat
angrily; and then continued, addressing herself
to me, ``I am sure, sir, you must be sorry to
see my uncle in this state.  I know you are his
friend.  I have heard him mention your name, and
wonder he never heard from you.'' A new cut this,
and it went to my heart.  But she continued, ``I
really do not know if it is right that any should---
If my uncle should know you, which I scarce think
possible, he would be much affected, and the doctor
says that any agitation------But here comes Dr------
to give his own opinion.''

  Dr ------ entered.  I had left him a middle-aged
man; he was now an elderly one; but still the same
benevolent Samaritan, who went about doing good,
and thought the blessings of the poor as good a
recompense of his professional skill as the gold of
the rich.

  He looked at me with surprise, but the young
lady said a word of introduction, and I, who was
known to the doctor formerly, hastened to complete
it.  He recollected me perfectly, and intimated
that he was well acquainted with the reasons
I had for being deeply interested in the fate of his
patient.  He gave me a very melancholy account
of my poor friend, drawing me for that purpose a
little apart from the lady.  ``The light of life,'' he
said, ``was trembling in the socket; he scarcely
expected it would ever leap up even into a momentary
flash, but more was impossible.''    He then
stepped towards his patient, and put some questions,
to which the poor invalid, though he seemed
to recognise the friendly and familiar voice, answered
only in a faltering and uncertain manner.

  The young lady, in her turn, had drawn back
when the doctor approached his patient.  ``You see
how it is with him,'' said the doctor, addressing
me; ``I have heard our poor friend, in one of the
most eloquent of his pleadings, give a description
of this very disease, which he compared to the tortures
inflicted by Mezentius, when he chained the
dead to the living.  The soul, he said, is imprisoned
in its dungeon of flesh, and though retaining its
natural and unalienable properties, can no more
exert them than the captive enclosed within a prison-house
can act as a free agent.  Alas! to see
him, who could so well describe what this malady
was in others, a prey himself to its infirmities! I
shall never forget the solemn tone of expression
with which he summed up the incapacities of the
paralytic,---the deafened ear, the dimmed eye, the
crippled limbs,---in the noble words of Juvenal---

                                    ------` omni
     Membrorum damno major, dementia, qu<ae> nec
     Nomina servorum, nec vultum agnoscit amici.' ''

  As the physician repeated these lines, a flash of
intelligence seemed to revive in the invalid's eye---
sunk again---again struggled, and he spoke more
intelligibly than before, and in the tone of one
eager to say something which he felt would escape
him unless said instantly.  ``A question of death-bed,
a question of death-bed, doctor---a reduction
_ex capite lecti_---Withering against Wilibus---about
the _morbus sonticus_.  I  pleaded  the  cause  for  the
pursuer---I, and---and---Why, I shall forget my
own name---I,and---he that was the wittiest and
the best-humoured man living---''

  The description enabled the doctor to fill up the
blank, and the patient joyfully repeated the name
suggested.  ``Ay, ay,'' he said, ``just he---Harry
---poor Harry---'' The light in his eye died
away, and he sunk back in his easy-chair.

  ``You have now seen more of our poor friend,
Mr Croftangry,'' said the physician, ``than I dared
venture to promise you; and now I must take my
professional authority on me, and ask you to retire.  
Miss Sommerville will, I am sure, let you know if
a moment should by any chance occur when her
uncle can see you.''

  What could I do? I gave my card to the young
lady, and, taking my offering from my bosom---
``if my poor friend,'' I said, with accents as broken
almost as his own, ``should ask where this came
from, name me; and say from the most obliged and
most grateful man alive.  Say, the gold of which
it is composed was saved by grains at a time, and
was hoarded with as much avarice as ever was a
miser's:---to bring it here I have come a thousand
miles, and now, alas, I find him thus!''

  I laid the box on the table, and was retiring with
a lingering step.  The eye of the invalid was caught
by it, as that of a child by a glittering toy, and with
infantine impatience he faltered out enquiries of Dis
niece.  With gentle mildness she repeated again
and again who I was, and why I came, &c.  I was
about to turn, and hasten from a scene so painful,
when the physician laid his hand on my sleeve---
``Stop,'' he said, ``there is a change.''

  There was indeed, and a marked one.  A faint
glow spread over his pallid features---they seemed
to gain the look of intelligence which belongs to
vitality---his eye once more kindled---his lip coloured---
and drawing himself up out of the listless posture
he had hitherto maintained, he rose without
assistance.  The doctor and the servant ran to give
him their support.  He waved them aside, and they
were contented to place themselves in such a postion
behind as might ensure against accident, should
his newly-acquired strength decay as suddenly as
it had revived.

  ``My dear Croftangry,'' he said, in the tone of
kindness of other days, ``I am glad to see you returned---
You find me but poorly---but my little
niece here and Dr ------ are very kind---God bless
you, my dear friend! we shall not meet again till
we meet in a better world.''

  I pressed his extended hand to my lips---I pressed
it to my bosom---I would fain have flung myself
on my knees; but the doctor, leaving the patient
to the young lady and the servant, who wheeled
forward his chair, and were replacing him in it,
hurried me out of the room.  ``My dear sir,'' he
said, ``you ought to be satisfied; you have seen
our poor invalid more like his former self than he
has been for months, or than he may be perhaps
again until all is over.  The whole Faculty could
not have assured such an interval---I must see whether
any thing can be derived from it to improve
the general health---Pray, begone.'' The last argument
hurried me from the spot, agitated by a crowd
of feelings, all of them painful.

When I had overcome the shock of this great
disappointment, I renewed gradually my acquaintance
with one or two old companions, who, though
of infinitely less interest to my feelings than my
unfortunate friend, served to relieve the pressure
of actual solitude, and who were not perhaps the
less open to my advances, that I was a bachelor
somewhat stricken in years, newly arrived from
foreign parts, and certainly independent, if not

I was considered as a tolerable subject of speculation
by some, and I could not be burdensome to
any: I was therefore, according to the ordinary
rule of Edinburgh hospitality, a welcome guest in
several respectable families; but I found no one
who could replace the loss I had sustained in my
best friend and benefactor.  I wanted something
more than mere companionship could give me, and
where was I to look for it?---among the scattered
remnants of those that had been my gay friends of

          Many a lad I loved was dead,
          And many a lass grown old.

Besides, all community of ties between us had
ceased to exist, and such of former friends as were
still in the world, held their life in a different tenor
from what I did.

Some had become misers, and were as eager in
saving sixpence as ever they had been in spending
a guinea.  Some had turned agriculturists---their
talk was of oxen, and  they were only fit companions
for graziers.  Some stuck to cards, and
though no longer deep gamblers, rather played
small game  than sat out.  This I particularly despised.
The strong impulse of gaming, alas! I
had felt in my time---it is as intense as it is criminal;
but it produces excitation and interest, and I
can conceive how it should become a passion with
strong and powerful minds.  But to dribble away
life in exchanging bits of painted pasteboard round
a green table, for the piddling concern of a few
shillings, can only be excused in folly or superannuation.
It is like riding on a rocking-horse, where
your utmost exertion never carries you a foot forward;
it is a kind of mental tread-mill, where you
are perpetually climbing, but can never rise an
inch.  From these hints, my readers will perceive
I am incapacitated for one of the pleasures of old
age, which, though not mentioned by Cicero, is
not the least frequent resource in the present day
---the club-room, and the snug hand at whist.

To return to my old companions: Some frequented
public assemblies, like the ghost of Beau
Nash, or any other beau of half a century back,
thrust aside by tittering youth, and pitied by those
of their own age.  In fine, some went into devotion,
as the French term it, and others, I fear, went
to the devil; a few found resources in science and
letters; one or two turned philosophers in a small
way, peeped into microscopes, and became familiar
with the fashionable experiments of the day.  Some
took to reading, and I was one of them.

Some grains of repulsion towards the society
around me---some painful recollections of early
faults and follies---some touch of displeasure with
living mankind, inclined me rather to a study of
antiquities, and particularly those of my own country.
The reader, if I can prevail on myself to
continue  the present work, will probably be able
to judge, in the course of it, whether I have made
any useful progress in the study of the olden times.

I owed this turn of study, in part, to the conversation
of my kind man of business, Mr Fairscribe,
whom I mentioned as having seconded the
efforts of my invaluable friend, in bringing the
cause on which my liberty and the remnant of my
property depended, to a favourable decision.  He
had given me a most kind reception on my return.  
He was too much engaged in his profession for me
to intrude on him often, and perhaps his mind was
too much trammelled with its details to permit his
being willingly withdrawn from them.  In short,
he was not a person of my poor friend Somerville's
expanded spirit, and rather a lawyer of the ordinary
class of formalists, but a most able and excellent
man.  When my estate was sold, he retained some
of the older title-deeds, arguing, from his own
feelings, that they would be of more consequence
to the heir of the old family than to the new purchaser.
And when I returned to Edinburgh, and
found him still in the exercise of the profession to
which he was an honour, he sent to my lodgings
the old family-bible, which lay always on my father's
table, two or three other mouldy volumes,
and a couple of sheep-skin bags, full of parchments
and papers, whose appearance was by no
means inviting.

The next time I shared Mr Fairscribe's hospitable
dinner, I failed not to return him due thanks
for his kindness, which acknowledgment, indeed, I
proportioned rather to the idea which I knew he
entertained of the value of such things, than to the
interest with which I myself regarded them.  But
the conversation turning on my family, who were
old  proprietors in the Upper Ward of Clydesdale,
gradually excited some interest in my mind;
and when I retired to my solitary parlour, the first
thing I did was to look for a pedigree, or sort of
history of the family, or House of Croftangry, once
of that Ilk, latterly of Glentanner.  The discoveries
which I made shall enrich the next chapter.

                 CHAPTER II.

   In which Mr Croftangry continues his Story.

  ``What's property, dear Swift? I see it alter
    From you to me, from me to Peter Walter.''

Croftandgrey---for sa mony wise hath the name
been spellit---is weel known to be ane house of grit
antiquity; and it is said, that King Milcolumb, or
Malcolm, being the first of our Scottish princes
quha removit across the Firth of Forth, did reside
and occupy ane palace at Edinburgh, and had there
ane valziant man, who did him man-service, by
keeping the croft, or corn-land, which was tilled
for the convenience of the King's household, and
was thence callit Croft-an-ri, that is to say, the
King his croft; quhilk place, though now coverit
with biggings, is to this day called Croftangry, and
lyeth near to the royal palace. And whereas that
some of those who bear this auld and honourable
name may take scorn that it ariseth from the tilling
of the ground, quhilk men account a slavish occupation,
yet we ought to honour the pleugh and
spade, seeing we all derive our being from our father
Adam, whose lot it became to cultivate the
earth, in respect of his fall and transgression.

``Also we have witness, as weel in holy writt
as in profane history, of the honour in quhilk husbandrie
was held of old, and how prophets have
been taken from the pleugh, and great captains
raised up to defend their ain countries, sic as Cincinnatus,
and the like, who fought not the common
enemy with the less valiancy that their arms had
been exercised in halding the stilts of the pleugh,
and their bellicose skill in driving of yauds and

``Likewise there are sindry honorable families,
quhilk are now of our native Scottish nobility, and
have clombe higher up the brae of preferment than
what this house of Croftangry hath done, quhilk
shame not to carry in their warlike shield and insignia
of dignity, tile tools and implements the
quhilk their first forefathers exercised in labouring
the croft-rig, or, as the poet Virgilius calleth it
eloquently, in subduing the soil. And no doubt
this ancient house of Croftangry, while it continued
to be called of that Ilk, produced many worshipful
and famous patriots, of quhom I now pr<ae>termit the
names; it being my purpose, if God shall spare me
life for sic ane pious officium, or duty, to resume
the first part of my narrative touching the house of
Croftangry, when I can set down at length the
evidents, and historical witness anent the facts
which I shall allege, seeing that words, when they
are unsupported by proofs, are like seed sown on
the naked rocks, or like an house biggit on the flitting
and faithless sands.''

Here I stopped to draw breath; for the style of
my grandsire, the inditer of this goodly matter, was
rather lengthy, as our American friends say. Indeed,
I reserve the rest of the piece until I can
obtain admission to the Bannatyne Club,* when I

*    This Club, of which the Author of Waverley has the honour
     to be President, was instituted in February 1823, for the
     purpose of printing and publishing works illustrative of the
     history, literature, and antiquities of Scotland.  It continues
     to prosper, and has already rescued from oblivion many curious
     materials of Scottish History.

propose to throw off an edition, limited according
to the rules of that erudite Society, with a facsimile
of the manuscript, emblazonry of the family arms,
surrounded by their quartering, and a handsome
disclamation of family pride, with _H<ae>c nos novinus
esse nihil_, or _Vix ea nostra voco_.

In the meantime, to speak truth, I cannot but
suspect, that though my worthy ancestor puffed
vigorously to swell up the dignity of his family, we
had never, in fact, risen above the rank of middling
proprietors. The estate of Glentanner came to us
by the intermarriage of my ancestor with Tib Sommeril,
termed by the southrons Sommerville,* a

*      The ancient Norman family of the Sommervilles came
       into this island with William the Conqueror, and established
       one branch in Gloucestershire, another in Scotland. After the
       lapse of 700 years, the remaining possessions of these two
       branches were united in the person of the late Lord Sommerville,
       on the death of his English kinsman, the well-known
       author of ``The Chase.''

daughter of that noble house, but I fear on what
my great-grandsire calls ``the wrong side of the
blanket.'' Her husband, Gilbert, was killed fighting,
as the _Inquisitio post mortem_ has it, ``_sub vexillo
regis, apud pr<ae>lium juxta Branxton_, lie _Floddenfield_.''

We had our share in other national misfortunes
---were forfeited, like Sir John Colville of the Dale,
for following our betters to the field of Langside;
and, in the contentious times of the last Stewarts,
we were severely fined for harbouring and resetting
intercommuned ministers; and narrowly escaped
giving a martyr to the Calendar of the Covenant,
in the person of the father of our family historian.
He ``took the sheaf from the mare,'' however,
as the MS. expresses it, and agreed to accept
of the terms of pardon offered by government, and
sign the bond, in evidence he would give no farther
ground of offence. My grandsire glosses over his
father's backsliding as smoothly as he can, and comforts
himself with ascribing his want of resolution
to his unwillingness to wreck the ancient name and
family, and to permit his lands and lineage to fall
under a doom of forfeiture.

``And indeed,'' said the venerable compiler, ``as,
praised be God, we seldom meet in Scotland with
these belly-gods and voluptuaries, whilk are unnatural
enough to devour their patrimony bequeathed
to them by their forbears in chambering and wantonness,
so that they come, with the prodigal son,
to the husks and the swine-trough; and as I have
the less to dreid the existence of such unnatural
Neroes in mine own family to devour the substance
of their own house like brute beasts out of mere
gluttonie and Epicurishnesse, so I need only warn
mine descendants against over hastily meddling
with the mutations in state and in religion, which
have been near-hand to the bringing this poor
house of Croftangry to perdition, as we have shown
more than once. And albeit I would not that
my successors sat still altogether when called on
by their duty to Kirk and King; yet I would have
them wait till stronger and walthier men than
themselves were up, so that either they may have
the better chance of getting through the day; or,
failing of that, the conquering party having some
fatter quarry to live upon, may, like gorged hawks,
spare the smaller game.''

There was something in this conclusion which at
first reading piqued me extremely, and I was so
unnatural as to curse the whole concern, as poor,
bald, pitiful trash, in which a silly old man was saying
a great deal about nothing at all. Nay, my
first impression was to thrust it into the fire, the
rather that it reminded me, in no very flattering
manner, of the loss of the family property, to which
the compiler of the history was so much attached,
in the very manner which he most severely reprobated.
It even seemed to my aggrieved feelings,
that his unprescient gaze on futurity, in which he
could not anticipate the folly of one of his descendants,
who should throw away the whole inheritance
in a few years of idle expense and folly, was meant
as a personal incivility to myself, though written
fifty or sixty years before I was born.

A little reflection made me ashamed of this feeling
of impatience, and as I looked at the even, concise,
yet tremulous hand in which the manuscript
was written, I could not help thinking, according to
an opinion I have heard seriously maintained, that
something of a man's character may be conjectured
from his handwriting. That neat, but crowded and
constrained small hand, argued a man of a good
conscience, well regulated passions, and, to use his
own phrase, an upright walk in life; but it also indicated
narrowness of spirit, inveterate prejudice,
and hinted at some degree of intolerance, which,
though not natural to the disposition, had arisen out
of a limited education. The passages from Scripture
and the classics, rather profusely than happily
introduced, and written in a half-text character to
mark their importance, illustrated that peculiar sort
of pedantry which always considers the argument
as gained, if secured by a quotation. Then the
flourished capital letters, which ornamented the
commencement of each paragraph, and the name
of his family and of his ancestors, whenever these
occurred in the page, do they not express forcibly
the pride and sense of importance with which the
author undertook and accomplished his task? I
persuaded myself, the whole was so complete a portrait
of the man, that it would not have been a more
undutiful act to have defaced his picture, or even
to have disturbed his bones in his coffin, than to
destroy his manuscript. I thought, for a moment,
of presenting it to Mr Fairscribe; but that confounded
passage about the prodigal and swine-trough---
I settled at last it was as well to lock it up
in my own bureau, with the intention to look at it
no more.

But I do no know how it was, that the subject
began to sit nearer my heart than I was aware of,
and I found myself repeatedly engaged in reading
descriptions of farms which were no longer mine,
and boundaries which marked the property of
others. A love of the _natale solum_, if Swift be right
in translating these words, ``family estate,'' began
to awaken in my bosom; the recollections of my
own youth adding little to it, save what was connected
with field-sports. A career of pleasure is
unfavourable for acquiring a taste for natural beauty,
and still more so for forming associations of a
sentimental kind, connecting us with the inanimate
objects around us.

I had thought little about my estate, while I possessed
and was wasting it, unless as affording the
rude materials out of which a certain inferior race
of creatures, called tenants, were bound to produce
(in a greater quantity than they actually did) a
certain return called rent, which was destined to
supply my expenses. This was my general view
of the matter. Of particular places, I recollected
that Garval-hill was a famous piece of rough upland
pasture, for rearing young colts, and teaching
them to throw their feet,---that Minion-burn had
the finest yellow trout in the country,---that Seggycleugh
was unequalled for woodcocks,---that Bengibbert-moors
afforded excellent moorfowl-shooting,
and that the clear bubbling fountain called
the Harper's Well, was the best recipe in the world
on the morning after a _Hard-go_ with my neighbour
fox-hunters. Still these ideas recalled, by degrees,
pictures, of which I had since learned to appreciate
the merit---scenes of silent loneliness, where extensive
moors, undulating into wild hills, were only
disturbed by the whistle of the plover, or the crow
of the heath-cock; wild ravines creeping up into
mountains, filled with natural wood, and which,
when traced downwards along the path formed by
shepherds and nutters, were found gradually to
enlarge and deepen, as each formed a channel to
its own brook, sometimes bordered by steep banks
of earth, often with the more romantic boundary
of naked rocks or cliffs, crested with oak, mountain-ash,
and hazel,---all gratifying the eye the more
that the scenery was, from the bare nature of the
country around, totally unexpected.

I had recollections, too, of fair and fertile holms,
or level plains, extending between the wooded
banks and the bold stream of the Clyde, which,
coloured like pure amber, or rather having the hue
of the pebbles called Cairngorm, rushes over sheets
of rock and beds of gravel, inspiring a species of
awe from the few and faithless fords which it presents,
and the frequency of fatal accidents, now
diminished by the number of bridges. These
alluvial holms were frequently bordered by triple
and quadruple rows of large trees, which gracefully
marked their boundary, and dipped their long arms
into the foaming stream of the river. Other places
I remembered, which had been described by the old
huntsman as the lodge of tremendous wild-cats, or
the spot where tradition stated the mighty stag to
have been brought to bay, or where heroes, whose
might was now as much forgotten, were said to
have been slain by surprise, or in battle.

It is not to be supposed that these finished landscapes
became visible before the eyes of my imagination,
as the scenery of the stage is disclosed
by the rising of the curtain. I have said, that I
had looked upon the country around me, during
the hurried and dissipated period of my life, with
the eyes indeed of my body, but without those of
my understanding. It was piece by piece, as a
child picks out its lesson, that I began to recollect
the beauties of nature which had once surrounded
me in the home of my forefathers. A natural
taste for them must have lurked at the bottom of
my heart, which awakened when I was in foreign
countries, and becoming by degrees a favourite
passion, gradually turned its eyes inwards, and
ransacked the neglected stores which my memory
had involuntarily recorded, and when excited, exerted
herself to collect and to complete.

I began now to regret more bitterly than ever
the having fooled away my family property, the
care and improvement of which I saw might have
afforded an agreeable employment for my leisure,
which only went to brood on past misfortunes, and
increase useless repining. ``Had but a single
farm been reserved, however small,'' said I one
day to Mr Fairscribe, ``I should have had a place
1 could call my home, and something that I could
call business.''

``It might have been managed,'' answered Fairscribe;
``and for my part, I inclined to keep the
mansion-house, mains, and some of the old family
acres together; but both Mr ------ and you were of
opinion that the money would be more useful.''

``True, true, my good friend,'' said I, ``I was a
fool then, and did not think I could incline to be
Glentanner with L.200 or L.300 a-year, instead of
Glentanner with as many thousands. I was then
a haughty, pettish, ignorant, dissipated, broken
down Scottish laird; and thinking my imaginary
consequence altogether ruined, I cared not bow
soon, or how absolutely, I was rid of every thing
that recalled it to my own memory, or that of

``And now it is like you have changed your
mind?'' said Fairscribe. ``Well, fortune is apt to
circumduce the term upon us; but I think she may
allow you to revise your condescendence.''

``How do you mean, my good friend?''

``Nay,'' said Fairscribe, ```there is ill luck in
averring till one is sure of his facts. I will look
back on a file of newspapers, and to-morrow you
shall hear from me; come, help yourself---I have
seen you fill your glass higher.''

``And shall see it again,'' said I, pouring out
what remained of our bottle of claret; ``the wine
is capital, and so shall our toast be---To your fireside,
my good friend. And now we shall go beg
a Scots song without foreign graces, from my little
siren Miss Katie.''

The next day accordingly I received a parcel
from Mr Fairscribe with a newspaper enclosed,
among the advertisements of which, one was marked
with a cross as requiring my attention. I read
to my surprise---


``By order of the Lords of Council and Session,
will be exposed to sale in the New Sessions House
of Edinburgh, on Wednesday the 25th November,
18---, all and whole the lands and barony of Glentanner,
now called Castle-Treddles, lying in the
Middle Ward of Clydesdale, and shire of Lanark,
with the teinds, parsonage and vicarage, fishings in
the Clyde, woods, mosses, moors, and pasturages,''
&c, &c.

The advertisement went on to set forth the advantages
of the soil, situation, natural beauties and
capabilities of improvement, not forgetting its being
a freehold estate, with the particular polypus capacity
of being sliced up into two, three, or, with a
little assistance, four freehold qualifications, and a
hint that the county was likely to be eagerly contested
between two great families. The upset price
at which ``the said lands and barony and others''
were to be exposed, was thirty years' purchase of
the proven rental, which was about a fourth more
than the property had fetched at the last sale. This,
which was mentioned, I suppose, to show the improvable
character of the land, would have given
another some pain; but let me speak truth of myself
in good as in evil---it pained not me. I was
only angry that Fairscribe who knew something
generally of the extent of my funds, should have
tantalized me by sending me information that my
family property was in the market, since he must
have known that the price was far out of my reach.

But a letter dropped from the parcel on the floor,
which attracted my eye, and explained the riddle. 
A client of Mr Fairscribe's, a monied man, thought
of buying Glentanner, merely as an investment of
money---it was even unlikely he would ever see it;
and so the price of the whole being some thousand
pounds beyond what cash he had on hand, this accommodating
Dives would gladly take a partner in
the sale for any detached farm, and would make no
objection to its including the most desirable part
of the estate in point of beauty, provided the price
was made adequate. Mr Fairscribe would take care
l was not imposed on in the matter, and said in his
card, he believed, if I really wished to make such
a purchase, I had better go out and look at the
premises, advising me, at the same time, to keep
a strict incognito; an advice somewhat superfluous,
since I am naturally of a retired and reserved disposition.

                CHAPTER III.

  Mr Croftangry, inter alia, Revisits Glentanner.

         Then sing of stage-coaches,
         And fear no reproaches
             For riding in one;
         But daily be jogging,
         Whilst, whistling and flogging,
         Whilst, whistling and flogging,
              The coachman drives on.

Disguised in a grey surtout which had seen service,
a white castor on my head, and a stout Indian
cane in my hand, the next week saw me on the
top of a mail-coach driving to the westward.

I like mail-coaches, and I hate them.  I like
them for my convenience, but I detest them for
setting the whole world a-gadding, instead of sitting
quietly still minding their own business, and
preserving the stamp of originality of character
which nature or education may have impressed on
them.  Off they go, jingling against each other in
the rattling vehicle till they have no more variety
of stamp in them than so many smooth shillings---
the same even in their Welsh wigs and great coats,
each without more individuality than belongs to a
partner of the company, as the waiter calls them,
of the North coach.

Worthy Mr Piper, best of contractors who ever
furnished four frampal jades for public use, I bless
you when I set out on a journey myself; the neat
coaches under your contract render the intercourse,
from Johnnie Groat's House to Ladykirk and
Cornhill Bridge, safe, pleasant, and cheap.  But,
Mr Piper, you, who are a shrewd arithmetician,
did it never occur to you to calculate how many
fools' heads, which might have produced an idea
or two in the year, if suffered to remain in quiet,
get effectually addled by jolting to and fro in these
flying chariots of yours; how many decent countrymen
become conceited bumpkins after a cattle-show
dinner in the capital, which they could not
have attended save for your means; how many
decent country parsons return critics and spouters,
by way of importing the newest taste from Edinburgh?
And how will your conscience answer one
day for carrying so many bonny lasses to barter
modesty for conceit and levity at the metropolitan
Vanity Fair?

Consider, too, the low rate to which you reduce
human intellect.  I do not believe your habitual
customers have their ideas more enlarged than one
of your coach-horses.  They _knows the_ road, like
the English postilion, and they know nothing beside.
They date, like the carriers at Gadshill,
from the death of John Ostler;* the succession of

*	See the opening scene of the first part of Shakspeare's
        Henry IV.

guards forms a dynasty in their eyes; coachmen
are their ministers of state, and an upset is to them
a greater incident than a change of administration.  
Their only point of interest on the road is to save
the time, and see whether the coach keeps the hour.  
This is surely a miserable degradation of human
intellect.  Take my advice, my good sir, and disinterestedly
contrive that once or twice a quarter,
your most dexterous whip shall overturn a coachful
of those superfluous travellers, _in terrorem_ to
those who, as Horace says, ``delight in the dust
raised by your chariots.''

Your current and customary mail-coach passenger,
too, gets abominably selfish, schemes successfully
for the best seat, the freshest egg, the right
cut of the sirloin.  The mode of travelling is death
to all the courtesies and kindnesses of life, and goes
a great way to demoralize the character, and cause
it to retrograde to barbarism.  You allow us excellent
dinners, but only twenty minutes  to eat
them; and what is the consequence? Bashful
beauty sits on the one side of us, timid  childhood
on the other; respectable, yet somewhat feeble old
age is placed on our front; and all require those
acts of politeness which ought to put every degree
upon a level at the convivial board.  But have we
time---we the strong and active of the party---to
perform the duties of the table to the more retired
and bashful, to whom these little attentions are
due? The lady should be pressed to her chicken
---the old  man helped to his favourite and tender
slice---the child to his tart. But not a fraction of
a minute have we to bestow on any other person
than ourselves; and the _prut-prut---tut-tut_ of the
guard's discordant note, summons us to the coach,
the weaker party having gone without their dinner,
and the able-bodied and active threatened with indigestion,
from having swallowed victuals like a
Lei'stershire clown bolting bacon.

On the memorable occasion I am speaking of I
lost my breakfast, sheerly from obeying the commands
of a respectable-looking old lady, who once
required me to ring the bell, and another time to
help the tea-kettle.  I have some reason to think
she was literally an _old Stager_, who laughed in her
sleeve at my complaisance; so that I have sworn
in my secret soul revenge upon her sex, and all such
errant damsels of whatever age and degree, whom
I may encounter in my travels.  I mean all this
without the least ill-will to my friend the contractor,
who, I think, has approached as near as any one
is like to do towards accomplishing the modest wish
of the Amatus and Amata of the Peri Bathous,

      Ye gods, annihilate but time and space,
      And make two lovers happy.

I intend to give Mr P. his full revenge when I
come to discuss the more recent enormity of steamboats;
meanwhile, I shall only say of both these
modes of conveyance, that

      There is no living with them or without them.

I am perhaps more critical on the ------ mail-coach
on this particular occasion, that I did not
meet all the respect from the worshipful company
in his Majesty's carriage that I think I was entitled
to. I must say it for myself, that I bear, in my
own opinion at least, not a vulgar point about me.  
My face has seen service, but there is still a good
set of teeth, an aquiline nose, and a quick grey eye,
set a little too deep under the eyebrow; and a cue
of the kind once called military, may serve to show
that my civil occupations have been sometimes
mixed with those of war.  Nevertheless, two idle
young fellows in the vehicle, or rather on the top
of it, were so much amused with the deliberation
which I used in ascending to the same place of
eminence, that I thought I should have been obliged
to pull them up a little.  And I was in no
good-humour, at an unsuppressed laugh following
my descent, when set down at the angle, where a
cross road, striking off from the main one, led me
towards Glentanner, from which I was still nearly
five miles distant.

It was an old-fashioned road, which, preferring
ascents to sloughs, was led in a straight line over
height and hollow, through moor and dale.  Every
object around me, as I passed them in succession,
reminded me of old days, and at the same time
formed the strongest contrast with them possible.  
Unattended, on foot, with a small bundle in my
hand, deemed scarce sufficient good company for
the two shabby genteels with whom I had been
lately perched on the top of a mail-coach, I did not
seem to be the same person with the young prodigal,
who lived with the noblest and gayest in the
land, and who, thirty years before, would, in the
same country, have been on the back of a horse
that had been victor for a plate, or smoking along
in his travelling chaise-and-four.  My sentiments
were not less changed than my condition.  I could
quite well remember, that my ruling sensation in
the days of heady youth, was a mere schoolboy's
eagerness to get farthest forward in the race in
which I had engaged; to drink as many bottles
as ------; to be thought as good a judge of a horse
as ------; to have the knowing cut of ------'s jacket.
These were thy gods, 0 Israel!

Now I was a mere looker-on; seldom an unmoved,
and sometimes an angry spectator, but still
a spectator only, of the pursuits of mankind.  I
felt how little my opinion was valued by those
engaged in the busy turmoil, yet I exercised it
with the profusion of an old lawyer retired from
his profession, who thrusts himself into his neighbour's
affairs, and gives advice where it is not
wanted, merely under pretence of loving the crack
of the whip.

I came amid these reflections to the brow of a
hill, from which I expected to see Glentanner; a
modest-looking yet comfortable house, its walls
covered with the most productive fruit-trees in
that part of the country, and screened from the
most stormy quarters of the horizon by a deep and
ancient wood, which overhung the neighbouring
hill.  The house was gone; a great part of the
wood was felled; and instead of the gentlemanlike
mansion, shrouded and embosomed among its old
hereditary trees, stood Castle-Treddles, a huge
lumping four-square pile of freestone, as bare as
my nail, except for a paltry edging of decayed
and lingering exotics, with an impoverished lawn
stretched before it, which, instead of boasting deep
green tapestry, enamelled with daisies, and with
crowsfoot and cowslips, showed an extent of nakedness,
raked, indeed, and levelled, but where
the sown grasses had failed with drought, and
the earth, retaining its natural complexion, seemed
nearly as brown and bare as when it was newly
dug up.

The house was a large fabric, which pretended
to its name of castle only from the front windows
being finished in acute Gothic arches (being, by
the way, the very reverse of the castellated style),
and each angle graced with a turret about the size
of a pepper-box.  In every other respect it resembled
a large town-house, which, like a fat burgess,
had taken a walk to the country on a holiday,
and climbed to the top of an eminence to look
around it.  The bright red colour of the freestone,
the size of the building, the formality of its shape,
and awkwardness of its position, harmonized as
ill with the sweeping Clyde in front, and the
bubbling brook which danced down on the right,
as the fat civic form, with bushy wig, gold-beaded
cane, maroon-coloured coat, and mottled silk stockings,
would have accorded with tile wild and magnificient
scenery of Corehouse Linn.

I went up to the house.  It was in that state of
desertion which is perhaps the most unpleasant to
look on, for the place was going to decay, without
having been inhabited.  There were about the
mansion, though deserted, none of the slow mouldering
touches of time, which communicate to buildings,
as to the human frame, a sort of reverence,
while depriving them of beauty and of strength.  
The disconcerted schemes of the Laird of Castle-Treddles,
had resembled fruit that becomes decayed
without ever having ripened.  Some windows
broken, others patched, others blocked up
with deals, gave a disconsolate air to all around,
and seemed to say, ``There Vanity had purposed
to fix her seat, but was anticipated by Poverty.''

To the inside, after many a vain summons, I
was at length admitted by an old labourer.  The
house contained every contrivance for luxury and
accommodation;---the kitchens were a model, and
there were hot closets on the office stair-case, that
dishes might not cool, as our Scottish phrase
goes, between the kitchen and the hall.  But instead
of the genial smell of good cheer, these temples
of Comus emitted the damp odour of sepulchral
vaults, and the large cabinets of cast-iron looked
like the cages of some feudal Bastille.  The eating-room
and drawing-room, with an interior boudoir,
were magnificent apartments, the ceilings
fretted and adorned with stucco-work, which already
was broken in many places, and looked in
others damp and mouldering; the wood panelling
was shrunk and warped, and cracked; the doors,
which had not been hung for more than two years,
were, nevertheless, already swinging loose from
their hinges.  Desolation, in short, was where enjoyment
had never been; and the want of all the
usual means to preserve, was fast performing the
work of decay.

The story was a common one, and told in a
few words.  Mr Treddles, senior, who bought the
estate, was a cautious money-making person; his
son, still embarked in commercial speculations,
desired at the same time to enjoy his opulence and
to increase it. He incurred great expenses, amongst
which this edifice was to be numbered.  To support
these he speculated boldly, and unfortunately;
and thus the whole history is told, which may serve
for more places than Glentanner.

Strange and various feelings ran through my
bosom, as I loitered in these deserted apartments,
scarce bearing what my guide said to me about
the size and destination of each room.  The first
sentiment, I am ashamed to say, was one of gratified
spite.  My patrician pride was pleased, that
the mechanic, who had not thought the house of
the Croftangrys sufficiently good for him, had now
experienced a fall in his turn.  My next thought
was as mean, though not so malicious.  ``I have
had the better of this fellow,'' thought I; ``if I
lost the estate, I at least spent the price; and Mr
Treddles has lost his among paltry commercial engagements.''

``Wretch!'' said the secret voice within, ``darest
thou exult in thy shame? Recollect how thy youth
and fortune were wasted in those years, and triumph
not in the enjoyment of an existence which levelled
thee with the beasts that perish.  Bethink thee,
how this poor man's vanity gave at least bread to
the labourer, peasant, and citizen; and his profuse
expenditure, like water spilt on the ground, refreshed
the lowly herbs and plants where it fell.  
But thou! whom hast thou enriched, during thy
career of extravagance, save those brokers of the
devil, vintners, panders, gamblers, and horse-jockeys?''
The anguish produced by this self-reproof
was so strong, that I put my hand suddenly to my
forehead, and was obliged to allege a sudden megrim
to my attendant, in apology for the action,
and a slight groan with which it was accompanied.

I then made an effort to turn my thoughts into
a more philosophical current, and muttered half
aloud, as a charm to lull any more painful thoughts
to rest---

     _Nunc ager Umbrieni sub nomine, nuper Ofelli
      Dictus, erit nulli proprius; sed cedit in usum
      Nunc mihi, nunc alii. Quocirca vivite fortes
      Fortiaque adversis opponite pectora rebus._*

*	Horace, Sat. II, Lib. 2. The meaning will be best conveyed
	to the English reader in Pope's imitation:---

	What's property, dear Swift? you see it alter
     	From you to me, from me to Peter Walter;
     	Or in a mortgage prove a lawyer's share;
     	Or in a jointure vanish from the heir.
	*     *     *     *     *     *     *
     	Shades, that to Bacon could retreat afford,
     	Become the portion of a booby lord;
     	And Helmsley, once proud Buckingham's delight,
     	Slides to a scrivener and city knight.
     	Let lands and houses have what lords they will,
     	Let us be fix'd, and our own masters still.

In my anxiety to fix the philosophical precept in
my mind, I recited the last line aloud, which, joined
to my previous agitation, I afterwards found
became the cause of a report, that a mad schoolmaster
had come from Edinburgh, with the idea in
his head of buying Castle-Treddles.

As I saw my companion was desirous of getting
rid of me, I asked where I was to find the person
in whose bands were left the map of the estate,
and other particulars connected with the sale.  The
agent who had this in possession, I was told, lived
at the town of------; which I was informed, and
indeed knew well, was distant five miles and a
bittock, which may pass in a country where they
are less lavish of their land, for two or three more.  
Being somewhat afraid of the fatigue of walking
so far, I enquired if a horse, or any sort of carriage
was to be had, and was answered in the negative.

``But,'' said my cicerone, ``you may halt a blink
till next morning at the Treddles Arms, a very decent
house, scarce a mile off.''

``A new house, I suppose?'' replied I.

``Na, it's a new public, but it's an auld house:
it was aye the Leddy's jointure-house in the Croftangry-folk's
time; but Mr Treddles has fitted it
up for the convenience of the country.  Poor man,
he was a public-spirited man, when he had the

``Duntarkin a public house!'' I exclaimed.

``Ay?'' said the  fellow,  surprised  at  my  naming
the place by its former title, ``ye'll hae been in
this country before, I'm thinking?''

``Long since,'' I replied---``and there is good
accommodation at the what-d'ye-call-'em arms, and
a civil landlord?'' This I said by way of saying
something, for the man stared very hard at me.

``Very decent accommodation.  Ye'll no be for
fashing wi' wine, I'm thinking, and there's walth
o' porter, ale, and a drap gude whisky''---(in an
under tone) ``Fairntosh, if you can get on the lee-side
of the gudewife---for there is nae gudeman---
They ca' her Christie Steel.''

I almost started at the sound.  Christie Steele!
Christie Steele was my mother's body servant, her
very right hand, and, between ourselves, something
like a viceroy over her.  I recollected her
perfectly; and though she had, in former times, been
no favourite of mine, her name now sounded in my
ear like that of a friend, and was the first word I
had heard somewhat in unison with the associations
around me. I sallied from Castle-Treddles, determined
to make the best of my way to Duntarkin,
and my cicerone hung by me for a little way,
giving loose to his love of talking; an opportunity
which, situated as he was, the seneschal of a deserted
castle, was not likely to occur frequently.

``Some folk think,'' said my companion, ``that
Mr Treddles might as weel have put my wife as
Christie Steele into the Treddles Arms, for Christie
had been aye in service, and never in the public
line, and so it's like she is ganging back in the
world, as I hear---now, my wife had keepit a
victualling office.''

``That would have been an advantage, certainly,''
I replied.

``But I am no sure that I wad ha' looten Eppie
take it, if they had put it in her offer.''

``That's a different consideration.''

``Ony way, I wadna ha' liked to have offended
Mr Treddles; he was a wee toustie when you
rubbed him again the hair---but a kind, weel-meaning

I wanted to get rid of this species of chat, and
finding myself near the entrance of a footpath
which made a short cut to Duntarkin, I put half-a-crown
into  my  guide's  band,  bade  him   good-evening,
and plunged into the woods.

``Hout, sir---fie, sir---no from the like of you---
stay, sir, ye wunna find the way that gate---Odd's
mercy, he maun ken the gate as weel as I do
mysell---weel, I wad like to ken wha the chield is.''

Such were the last words of my guide's drowsy,
uninteresting tone of voice; and glad to be rid of
him, I strode out stoutly, in despite of large stones,
briers, and _bad steps_, which abounded in the road
I had chosen.  In the interim, I tried as much as I
could, with verses from Horace and Prior, and all
who have lauded the mixture of literary with rural
life, to call back the visions of last night and this
morning, imagining myself settled in some detached
farm of the estate of Glentanner,

       Which sloping hills around enclose---
       Where many a birch and brown oak grows;

when I should have a cottage with a small library,
a small cellar, a spare bed for a friend, and live
more happy and more honoured than when I had
the whole barony.  But the sight of Castle-Treddles
had disturbed all my own castles in the air.  The
realities of the matter, like a stone plashed into a
limpid fountain, had destroyed the reflection of the
objects around, which, till this act of violence, lay
slumbering on the crystal surface, and I tried in
vain to re-establish the picture which had been so
rudely broken.  Well, then, I would try it another
way; I would try to get Christie Steele out
of her _public_, since she was not thriving in it, and
she who had been my mother's governante should
be mine.  I knew all her faults, and I told her history
over to myself.

She was a grand-daughter, I believe, at least
some relative, of the famous Covenanter of the
name whom Dean Swift's friend, Captain Creichton,
shot on his own staircase in the times of the
persecutions,* and had perhaps derived from her

*	Note B. Steele, a Covenanter, shot by Captain

native stock much both of its good and evil properties.
No one could say of her that she was the life
and spirit of the family, though, in my mother's
time, she directed all family affairs; her look was
austere and gloomy, and when she was not displeased
with you, you could only find it out by her
silence.  If there was cause for complaint, real or
imaginary, Christie was loud enough.  She loved
my mother with the devoted attachment of a younger
sister, but she was as jealous of her favour to any
one else as if she had been the aged husband of a
coquettish wife, and as severe in her reprehensions
as an abbess over her nuns.  The command which
she exercised over her, was that, I fear, of a strong
and determined over a feeble and more nervous
disposition; and though it was used with rigour,
yet, to the best of Christie Steele's belief, she was
urging her mistress to her best and most becoming
course, and would have died rather than have recommended
any other.  The attachment of this
woman was limited to the family of Croftangry,
for she had few relations; and a dissolute cousin,
whom late in life she had taken as a husband, had
long left her a widow.

To me she had ever a strong dislike.  Even from
my early childhood, she was jealous, strange as it
may seem, of my interest in my mother's affections;
she saw my foibles and vices with abhorrence, and
without a grain of allowance; nor did she pardon
the weakness of maternal affection, even when, by
the death of two brothers, I came to be the only
child of a widowed parent.  At the time my disorderly
conduct induced my mother to leave Glentanner,
and retreat to her jointure-house, I always
blamed Christie Steele for having influenced her
resentment, and prevented her from listening to my
vows of amendment, which at times were real and
serious, and might perhaps, have accelerated that
change of disposition which has since, I trust taken
place.  But Christie regarded me as altogether a
doomed and predestinated child of perdition, who
was sure to hold on my course, and drag downwards
whosoever might attempt to afford me support.

Still, though I knew such had been Christie's
prejudices against me in other days, yet I thought
enough of time had since passed away to destroy
all of them.  I knew, that when, through the disorder
of my affairs, my mother underwent some
temporary inconvenience about money matters,
Christie, as a thing of course, stood in the gap, and
having sold a small inheritance which had descended
to her, brought the purchase-money to her mistress,
with a sense of devotion as deep as that which inspired
the Christians of the first age, when they
sold all they had, and followed the apostles of the
church.  I therefore thought that we might, in
old Scottish phrase, ``let byganes be byganes,'' and
upon a new account.  Yet I resolved, like a
skilful general, to reconnoitre a little before laying
down any precise scheme of proceeding, and in the
interim I determined to preserve my incognito.

                 CHAPTER IV.

     Mr Croftangry bids adieu to Clydesdale.

     Alas, how changed from what it once had been!
     'Twas now degraded to a common inn.

An hour's brisk walking, or thereabouts, placed
me in front of Duntarkin, which had also, I found,
undergone considerable alterations, though it had not
been altogether demolished like the principal mansion.
An inn-yard extended before the door of the
decent little jointure-house, even amidst the remnants
of the holly hedges which had screened the
lady's garden.  Then a broad, raw-looking, new-made
road intruded itself up the little glen, instead of
the old horseway, so seldom used that it was almost
entirely covered with grass.  It is a great
enormity of which gentlemen trustees  on the highways
are sometimes guilty, in adopting the breadth
necessary for an avenue to the metropolis, where
all that is required is an access to some sequestered
and unpopulous district.  I do not say any thing of
the expense; that the trustees and their constituents
may settle as they please.  But the destruction
of silvan beauty is great, when the breadth of
the road is more than proportioned to the vale
through which it runs, and lowers of course the
consequence of any objects of wood or water, or
broken and varied ground, which might otherwise
attract notice, and give pleasure.  A bubbling runnel
by the side of one of those modern Appian or
Flaminian highways, is but like a kennel,---the
little hill is diminished to a hillock,---the romantic
hillock to a molehill, almost too small for sight.

Such an enormity, however, had destroyed the
quiet loneliness of Duntarkin, and intruded its
breadth of dust and gravel, and its associations of pochays
and mail-coaches, upon one of the most sequestered
spots in the Middle Ward of Clydesdale.  
The house was old and dilapidated, and looked sorry
for itself, as if sensible of a derogation; but the
sign was strong and new, and brightly painted, displaying
a heraldic shield three shuttles in a field
diapr<e'>, a web partly unfolded for crest, and two
stout giants for supporters, each one holding a
weaver's beam proper.  To have displayed this
monstrous emblem on the front of the house might
have hazarded bringing down the wall, but for certain
would have blocked up one or two windows.  
It was therefore established independent of the
mansion, being displayed in an iron framework,
and suspended upon two posts, with as much wood
and iron about it as would have builded a brig;
and there it hung, creaking, groaning and screaming
in every blast of wind, and frightening for five
miles' distance, for aught I know, the nests of
thrushes and linnets, the ancient denizens of the
little glen.

When I entered the place, I was received by
Christie Steele herself, who seemed uncertain whether
to drop me in the kitchen, or usher me into a
separate apartment.  As I called for tea, with something
rather more substantial than bread and butter,
and spoke of supping and sleeping, Christie at
last inducted me into the room where she herself
had been sitting, probably the only one which had
a fire, though the month was October.  This answered
my plan; and, as she was about to remove
her spinning-wheel, I begged she would have the
goodness to remain and make my tea, adding, that
I liked the sound of the wheel, and desired not to
disturb her housewife-thrift in the least.

``I dinna ken, sir,''---she replied in a dry _rev<e^>che_
tone, which carried me back twenty years, ``I am
nane of thae heartsome landleddies that can tell
country cracks, and make themsells agreeable; and
I was ganging to put on a fire for you in the Red
Room; but if it is your will to stay here, he that
pays the lawing maun choose the lodging.''

I endeavoured to engage her in conversation;
but though she answered with a kind of stiff civility,
I could get her into no freedom of discourse
and she began to look at her wheel and at the door
more than once, as if she meditated a retreat.  I
was obliged, therefore, to proceed to some special
questions that might have interest for a person,
whose ideas were probably of a very bounded description.

I looked round the apartment, being the same
in which I had last seen my poor mother.  The
author of the family history, formerly mentioned,
had taken great credit to himself for the improvements
he had made in this same jointure-house of
Duntarkin, and how, upon his marriage, when his
mother took possession of the same as her jointure-house,
``to his great charges and expenses he
caused box the walls of the great parlour,'' (in
which I was now sitting,) ``empanel the same, and
plaster the roof, finishing the apartment with ane
concave chimney, and decorating the same with
pictures, and a barometer and thermometer.'' And
in particular, which his good mother used to say
she prized above all the rest, he had caused his own
portraiture be limned over the mantlepiece by a
skilful hand. And, in good faith, there he remained
still, having much the visage which I was disposed
to ascribe to him on the evidence of his
handwriting,---grim and austere, yet not without
a cast of shrewdness and determination; in armour,
though he never wore it, I fancy; one
hand on an open book, and one resting on the
hilt of his sword, though I dare say his head never
ached with reading, nor his limbs with fencing.

``That picture is painted on the wood, madam,''
said I.

``Ay, sir, or it's like it would not have been
left there,---they took a' they could.''

``Mr Treddles's creditors, you mean?'' said I.

``Na,'' replied she, dryly, ``the creditors of another
family, that sweepit cleaner than this poor
man's, because I fancy there was less to gather.''

``An older family, perhaps, and probably
more remembered and regretted than later possessors?''

Christie here settled herself in her seat, and
pulled her wheel towards her.  I had given her
something interesting for her thoughts to dwell
upon, and her wheel was a mechanical accompaniment
on such occasions, the revolutions of which
assisted her in the explanation of her ideas.

``Mair regretted---mair missed?---I liked ane
of the auld family very weel, but I winna say that
for them a'.  How should they be mair missed
than the Treddleses? The cotton mill was such
a thing for the country! The mair bairns a cottar
body had the better; they would make their
awn keep frae the time they were five years
auld; and a widow wi' three or four bairns was a
wealthy woman in the time of the Treddleses.''

``But the health of these poor children, my
good friend---their education and religious instruction------''

``For health,'' said Christie, looking gloomily at
me, ``ye maun ken little of the warld, sir, if ye
dinna ken that the health of the poor man's body,
as weel as his youth and his strength, are all at the
command of the rich man's purse.  There never
was a trade so unhealthy yet, but men would fight
to get wark at it for twa pennies a day aboon the
common wage.  But the bairns were reasonably
weel cared for in the way of air and exercise, and
a very responsible youth heard them their carritch,
and gied them lessons in Reediemadeasy.* Now,

*	``Reading made Easy,'' usually so pronounced in Scotland.

what did they ever get before? Maybe on a winter
day they wad be called out to beat the wood
for cocks or sicklike, and then the starving weans
would maybe get a bite of broken bread, and maybe
no, just as the butler was in humour---that was
a' they got.''

``They were not, then, a very kind family to
the poor, these old possessors?'' said I, somewhat
bitterly; for I had expected to hear my ancestors'
praises recorded, though I certainly despaired of
being regaled with my own.

``They werena ill to them, sir, and that is aye
something.  They were just decent bien bodies;
---ony poor creature that had face to beg got an
awmous and welcome; they that were shamefaced
gaed by, and twice as welcome.  But they keepit
an honest walk before God and man, the Croftangrys,
and, as I said before, if they did little good,
they did as little ill.  They lifted their rents and
spent them, called in their kain and eat them; gaed
to the kirk of a Sunday, bowed civilly if folk took
aff their bannets as they gaed by, and lookit as
black as sin at them that keepit them on.''

``These are their arms that you have on the

``What! on the painted board that is skirting
and groaning at the door?---Na, these are Mr
Treddles's arms---though they look as like legs as
arms---ill pleased I was at the fule thing, that cost
as muckle as would hae repaired the house from
the wa' stane to the rigging-tree.  But if I am
to bide here, I'll hae a decent board wi' a punch
bowl on it.''

``Is there a doubt of your staying here, Mrs

``Dinna Mistress me,'' said the cross old woman,
whose fingers were now playing their thrift in a
manner which indicated nervous irritation---``there
was nae luck in the land since Luckie turned
Mistress, and Mistress my Leddy; and as for
staying here, if it concerns you to ken, I may stay
if I can pay a hundred pund sterling for the lease,
and I may flit if I canna; and so gude-e'en to you,
Christie,''-and round went the wheel with much

``And you like the trade of keeping a public

``I can scarce say that,'' she replied. ``But
worthy Mr Prendergast is clear of its lawfulness,
and I hae gotten used to it, and made a decent living,
though I never make out a fause reckoning,
or give ony ane the means to disorder reason in
my house.''

``Indeed?'' said I; ``in that case, there is no wonder
you have not made up the hundred pounds to
purchase the lease.''

``How do you ken,'' said she sharply, ``that I
might not have had a hundred punds of my ain
fee? If I have it not, I am sure it is my ain faut;
and I wunna ca' it faut neither, for it gaed to her
wha was weel entitled to a' my service.'' Again
she pulled stoutly at the flax, and the wheel went
smartly round.

``This old gentleman,'' said I, fixing my eye on
the painted panel, ``seems to have had his arms
painted as well as Mr Treddles---that is, if that
painting in the corner be a scutcheon.''

``Ay, ay---cushion, just sae, they maun a' hae
their cushions; there's sma' gentry without that;
and so the arms, as they ca' them, of the house of
Glentanner, may be seen on an auld stane in the
west end of the house.  But to do them justice,
they didna propale sac muckle about them as poor
Mr Treddles did;---it's like they were better used
to them.''

``Very likely.---Are there any of the old family
in life, goodwife?''

``No,'' she replied; then added, after a moment's
hesitation---``not that I know of,''---and the wheel,
which had intermitted, began again to revolve.

``Gone abroad, perhaps?'' I suggested.

She now looked up, and faced me---``No, sir.  
There were three sons of the last laird of Glentanner,
as he was then called; John and William
were hopeful young gentlemen, but they died early
---one of a decline, brought on by the mizzles, the
other lost his life in a fever.  It would hae been
lucky for mony ane that Chrystal had gane the
same gate.''

``Oh---he must have been the young spendthrift
that sold the property? Well, but you
should not have such an ill-will  against him: remember
necessity has no law; and then, goodwife,
be was not more culpable than Mr Treddles, whom
you are so sorry for.''

``I wish I could think sae, sir, for his mother's
sake; but Mr Treddles was in trade, and though
be had no preceese right to do so, yet there was
some warrant for a man being expensive that imagined
be was making a mint of money.  But this
unhappy lad devoured his patrimony, when he
kenned that he was living like a ratten in a Dunlap
cheese, and diminishing his means at a' hands
---I canna bide to think on't.'' With this she
broke out into a snatch of a ballad; but little of
mirth was there either in the tone or the expression:---

    ``For he did spend, and make an end
        Of gear that his forefathers wan;
      Of land and ware he made him bare,
        So speak nae mair of the auld gudeman.''

``Come, dame,'' said I, ``it is a long lane that
has no turning.  I will not keep from you that I
have heard something of this poor fellow, Chrystal
Croftangry.  He has sown his wild oats, as
they say, and has settled into a steady respectable

``And wha tell'd ye that tidings?'' said she,
looking sharply at me.

``Not perhaps the best judge in the world of his
character, for it was himself, dame.''

``And if he tell'd you truth, it was a virtue he
did not aye use to practise,'' said Christie.

``The devil!'' said I, considerably nettled;
``all the world held him to be a man of honour.''

``Ay, ay! he would hae shot onybody wi' his
pistols and his guns, that had evened him to be a
liar.  But if he promised to pay an honest tradesman
the next term-day, did he keep his word then?
And if he promised a puir silly lass to make gude
her shame, did he speak truth then? And what
is that, but being a liar, and a black-hearted deceitful
liar to boot?''

My indignation was rising, but I strove to suppress
it; indeed, I should only have afforded my
tormentor a triumph by an angry reply.  I partly
suspected she began to recognise me; yet she testified
so little emotion, that I could not think my
suspicion well founded.  I went on, therefore, to
say, in a tone as indifferent as I could command,
``Well, goodwife, I see you will believe no good
of this Chrystal of yours, till he comes back and
buys a good farm on the estate, and makes you his

The old woman dropped her thread, folded her
hands, as she looked up to heaven with a face of
apprehension.  ``The Lord,'' she exclaimed, ``forbid!
The Lord in his mercy forbid! Oh, sir! if
you really know this unlucky man, persuade him
to settle where folk ken the good that you say
he has come to, and dinna ken the evil of his former
days. He used to be proud enough---O dinna
let him come here, even for his own sake.---He
used ance to have some pride.''

Here she once more drew the wheel close to her,
and began to pull at the flax with both hands---
``Dinna let him come here, to be looked down
upon by ony that may be left of his auld reiving
companions, and to see the decent folk that he
looked over his nose at look over their noses at
him, baith at kirk and market.  Dinna let him
come to his ain country to be made a tale about
when ony neighbour points him out to another,
and tells what he is, and what he was, and how he
wrecked a dainty estate, and brought harlots to the
door-cheek of his father's house, till he made it nae
residence for his mother; and how it had been
foretauld by a servant of his ain house, that he was
a ne'er-do-weel, and a child of perdition, and how
her words were made good, and---''

``Stop there, goodwife, if you please,'' said I:
``you have said as much as I can well remember,
and more than it may be safe to repeat.  I can
use a great deal of freedom with the gentleman
we speak of; but I think were any other person
to carry him half of your message, I would scarce
insure his personal safety.  And now, as I see the
night is settled to be a fine one, I will walk on to
------, where I must meet a coach to-morrow, as it
passes to Edinburgh.''

So saying, I paid my moderate reckoning, and
took my leave, without being able to discover whether
the prejudiced and hard-hearted old woman
did, or did not, suspect the identity of her guest
with the Chrystal Croftangry against whom she
harboured so much dislike.

The night was fine and frosty, though, when I
pretended to see what its character was, it might
have rained like the deluge.  I only made the excuse
to escape from old Christie Steele.  The horses
which run races in the Corso at Rome without any
riders, in order to stimulate their exertion, carry
each his own spurs, namely, small balls of steel,
with sharp projecting spikes, which are attached
to loose straps of leather, and, flying about in the
violence of the agitation, keep the horse to his
speed by pricking him as they strike against his
flanks.  The old woman's reproaches had the same
effect on me, and urged me to a rapid pace, as if
it had been possible to escape from my own recollections.
In the best days of my life, when I
won one or two hard walking matches, I doubt if
I ever walked so fast as I did betwixt the Treddles
Arms and the borough town for which I was
bound. Though the night was cold, I was warm
enough by the, time I got to my inn; and it required
a refreshing draught of porter, with half
an hour's repose, ere I could determine to give
no farther thought to Christie and her opinions,
than those of any other vulgar prejudiced old woman.
I resolved at last to treat the thing _en
bagatelle_, and, calling for writing materials, I folded
up a cheque for L.100, with these lines on the

         Chrystal, the ne'er-do-weel,
         Child destined to the deil,
         Sends this to Christie Steele.

And I was so much pleased with this new mode of
viewing the subject, that I regretted the lateness
of the hour prevented my finding a person to carry
the letter express to its destination.

     But with the morning cool reflection came.

I considered that the money, and probably more,
was actually due by me on my mother's account to
Christie, who had lent it in a moment of great
necessity, and that the returning it in a light or
ludicrous manner was not unlikely to prevent so
touchy arid punctilious a person from accepting a
debt which was most justly her due, and which it
became me particularly to see satisfied.  Sacrificing
then my triad with little regret, (for it looked better
by candlelight, and through the medium of a
pot of porter, than it did by daylight, and with
bohea for a menstruum,) I determined to employ
Mr Fairscribe's mediation in buying up the lease
of the little inn, and conferring it upon Christie
in the way which should make it most acceptable
to her feelings.  It is only necessary to add, that
my plan succeeded, and that Widow Steele even
yet keeps the Treddles Arms.  Do not say, therefore,
that I have been disingenuous with you,
reader; since, if I have not told all the ill of myself
I might have done, I have indicated to you a
person able and willing to supply the blank, by
relating all my delinquencies, as well as my misfortunes.

In the meantime, I totally abandoned the idea
of redeeming any part of my paternal  property,
and resolved to take Christie Steele's advice, as
young Norval does Glenalvon's, ``although it
sounded harshly.''

                 CHAPTER V.

     Mr Croftangry settles in the Canongate.

        ------If you will know my house,
        'Tis at the tuft of olives here hard by.
                                   _As You Like It._

By a revolution of humour which I am unable
to account for, I changed my mind entirely on my
plans of life, in consequence of the disappointment,
the history of which fills the last chapter.  I began
to discover that the country would not at all suit
me; for I had relinquished field-sports, and felt no
inclination whatever to farming, the ordinary vocation
of country gentlemen; besides that, I had no
talent for assisting either candidate in case of an
expected election, and saw no amusement in the
duties of a road trustee, a commissioner of supply,
or even in the magisterial functions of the bench.  
I had begun to take some taste for reading; and a
domiciliation in the country must remove me from
the use of books, excepting the small subscription
library, in which the very book which you want is
uniformly sure to be engaged.

I resolved, therefore, to make the Scottish
metropolis my regular resting-place, reserving to
myself to take occasionally those excursions, which,
spite of all I have said against mail-coaches, Mr
Piper has rendered so easy.  Friend of our life and
of our leisure, he secures by dispatch against loss
of time, and by the best of coaches, cattle, and
steadiest of drivers, against hazard of limb, and
wafts us, as well as our letters, from Edinburgh to
Cape Wrath, in the penning of a paragraph.

When my mind was quite made up to make Auld
Reekie my head-quarters, reserving the privilege
of _exploring_ in all directions, I began to explore in
good earnest for the purpose of discovering a suitable
habitation.  ``And whare trew ye I gaed?''
as Sir Pertinax says.  Not to George's Square---
nor to Charlotte Square---nor to the old New
Town---nor to the new New Town---nor to the
Calton Hill; I went to the Canongate, and to the
very portion of the Canongate in which I had formerly
been immured, like the errant knight, prisoner
in some enchanted castle, where spells have
made the ambient air impervious to the unhappy
captive, although the organs of sight encountered
no obstacle to his free passage.

Why I should have thought of pitching my tent
here I cannot tell.  Perhaps it was to enjoy the
pleasures of freedom, where I had so long endured
the bitterness of restraint; on the principle of the
officer, who, after he had retired from the army,
ordered his servant to continue to call him at the
hour of parade, simply that he might have the pleasure
of saying---``D-n the parade!'' and turning
to the other side to enjoy his slumbers. Or perhaps
I expected to find in the vicinity some little oldfashioned
house, having somewhat of the _rus in
urbe_, which I was ambitious of enjoying.  Enough,
I went, as aforesaid, to the Canongate.

I stood by the kennel, of which I have formerly
spoken, and, my mind being at case, my bodily
organs were more delicate.  I was more sensible
than heretofore, that, like the trade of Pompey in
Measure for Measure---it did in some sort---pah
---an ounce of civet, good apothecary!---Turning
from thence, my steps naturally directed themselves
to my own humble apartment, where my little
Highland landlady, as dapper and as tight as ever,
(for old women wear a hundred times better than
the hard-wrought seniors of the masculine sex,)
stood at the door, _teedling_, to herself a Highland
song as she shook a table napkin over the forestair,
and then proceeded to fold it up neatly for
future service.

``How do you, Janet?''

``Thank ye, good sir,'' answered my old friend,
without looking at me; ``but ye might as weel say
Mrs MacEvoy, for she is na a'body's Shanet---

``You must be my Janet, though, for all that---
have you forgot me?---Do you not remember
Chrystal Croftangry?''

The light, kind-hearted creature threw her napkin
into the open door, skipped down the stair like
a fairy, three steps at once, seized me by the hands,
---both hands,---jumped up, and actually kissed me.  
I was a little ashamed; but what swain, of somewhere
inclining to sixty, could resist the advances
of a fair contemporary? So we allowed the full
degree of kindness to the meeting,---_honi soit qui
mal y pense_,---and then Janet entered instantly
upon business.  ``An' yell gae in, man, and see
your auld lodgings, nae doubt, and Shanet will pay
ye the fifteen shillings of change that ye ran away
without, and without bidding Shanet good day.  
But never mind,'' (nodding good-humouredly,)
``Shanet saw you were carried for the time.''

By this time we were in my old quarters, and
Janet, with her bottle of cordial in one hand and
the glass in the other, had forced on me a dram of
usquebaugh, distilled with saffron and other herbs,
after some old-fashioned Highland receipt.  Then
was unfolded, out of many a little scrap of paper,
the reserved sum of fifteen shillings, which Janet
had treasured for twenty years and upwards.

``Here they are,'' she said, in honest triumph,
``just the same I was holding out to ye when ye
ran as if ye had been fey.  Shanet has had siller,
and Shanet has wanted siller, mony a time since
that---and the gauger has come, and the factor has
come, and the butcher and baker---Cot bless us---
just like to tear poor auld Shanet to pieces; but
she took good care of Mr Croftangry's fifteen shillings.''

``But what if I had never come back, Janet?''

``Och, if Shanet had heard you were dead, she
would hae gien it to the poor of the chapel, to pray
for Mr Croftangry,'' said Janet, crossing herself,
for she was a Catholic;---``you maybe do not think
it would do you cood, but the blessing of the poor
can never do no harm.''

I agreed heartily in Janet's conclusion; and, as
to have desired her to consider the hoard as her
own property, would have been an indelicate return
to her for the uprightness of her conduct, I requested
her to dispose of it as she had proposed to do
in the event of my death, that is, if she knew any
poor people of merit to whom it might be useful.

``Ower mony of them,'' raising the corner of her
checked apron to her eyes, ``e'en ower mony of
them, Mr Croftangry.---Och, ay---there is the puir
Highland creatures frae Glensbee, that cam down
for the harvest, and are lying wi' the fever---five
shillings to them, and half-a-crown to Bessie MacEvoy,
whose coodman, puir creature, died of the
frost, being a shairman, for a' the whisky he could
drink to keep it out o' his stamoch---and------''

But she suddenly interrupted the bead-roll of her
proposed charities, and assuming a very sage look,
and primming up her little chattering mouth, she
went on in a different tone---``But, och, Mr Croftangry,
bethink ye whether ye will not need a' this
siller yoursell, and maybe look back and think lang
for ha'en kiven it away, whilk is a creat sin to forthink
a wark o' charity, and also is unlucky, and
moreover is not the thought of a shentleman's son
like yoursell, dear.  And I say this, that ye may
think a bit, for your mother's son kens that ye are
no so careful as you should be of the gear, and I
hae tauld ye of it before, jewel.''

I assured her I could easily spare the money,
without risk of future repentance; and she went
on to infer, that, in such a case, ``Mr Croftangry
had grown a rich man in foreign parts, and was
free of his troubles with messengers and sheriff-officers,
and siclike scum of the earth, and Shanet
MacEvoy's mother's daughter be a blithe woman
to hear it.  But if Mr Croftangry was in trouble,
there was his room, and his ped, and Shanet to wait
on him, and tak payment when it was quite convenient.''

I explained to Janet my situation, in which she
expressed unqualified delight.  I then proceeded
to enquire into her own circumstances, and, though
she spoke cheerfully and contentedly, I could see
they were precarious.  I had paid more than was
due; other lodgers fell into an opposite error, and
forgot to pay Janet at all.  Then, Janet being ignorant
of all indirect modes of screwing money out
of her lodgers, others in the same line of life, who
were sharper than the poor simple Highland woman,
were enabled to let their apartments cheaper
in appearance, though the inmates usually found
them twice as dear in the long-run.

As I had already destined my old landlady to be
my housekeeper and governante, knowing her honesty,
good-nature, and, although a Scotchwoman,
her cleanliness and excellent temper, (saving the
short and hasty  expressions of anger which Highlanders
call a _fuff_,) now proposed the plan to her
in such a way as was likely to make it most acceptable.
Very acceptable as the proposal was, as
I could plainly see, Janet, however, took a day to
consider upon it; and her reflections against our
next meeting had suggested only one objection,
which was singular enough.

``My honour,'' so she now termed me, ``would
pe for biding in some fine street apout the town;
now Shanet wad ill like to live in a place where
polish, and sheriffs, and bailiffs, and sic thieves
and trash of the world, could tak puir shentlemen
by the throat, just because they wanted a wheen
dollars in the sporran.  She had lived in the bonny
glen of Tomanthoulick---Cot, an ony of the vermint
had come there, her father wad hae wared a
shot on them, and he could hit a buck within as
mony measured yards as e'er a man of his clan.  
And the place here was so quiet frae them, they
durst na put their nose ower the gutter.  Shanet
owed nobody a bodle, but she couldna pide to see
honest folk and pretty shentlemen forced away to
prison whether they would or no; and then if
Shanet was to lay her tangs ower ane of the ragamuffin's
heads, it would be, maybe, that the law
would gi'ed a hard name.''

One thing I have learned in life,---never to
speak sense when nonsense will answer the purpose
as well.  I should have had great difficulty
to convince this practical and disinterested admirer
and vindicator of liberty, that arrests seldom
or never were to be seen in the streets of Edinburgh,
and to satisfy her of their justice and necessity,
would have been as difficult as to convert her
to the Protestant faith.  I therefore assured her
my intention, if I could get a suitable habitation,
was to remain in the quarter where she at present
dwelt.  Janet gave three skips on the floor, and
uttered as many short shrill yells of joy; yet doubt
almost instantly returned, and she insisted on
knowing what possible reason I could have for
making my residence where few lived, save those
whose misfortunes drove them thither.  It occurred
to me to answer her by recounting the legend
of the rise of my family, and of our deriving our
name from a particular place near Holyrood Palace.
This, which would have appeared to most
people a very absurd reason for choosing a residence,
was entirely satisfactory to Janet MacEvoy.

``Och, nae doubt I if it was the land of her fathers,
there was nae mair to be said.  Put it was
queer that her family estate should just lie at the
town tail, and covered with houses, where the
King's cows, Cot bless them hide and horn, used
to craze upon.  It was strange changes.'' She
mused a little, and then added, ``Put it is something
better wi' Croftangry when the changes is
frae the field to the habited place, and not from
the place of habitation to the desert; for Shanet,
her nainsell, kent a glen where there were men as
weel as there maybe in Croftangry, and if there
werena altogether sae mony of them, they were as
good men in their tartan as the others in their broadcloth.
And there were houses too, and if they
were not biggit with stane and lime, and lofted
like the houses at Croftangry, yet they served the
purpose of them that lived there; and mony a braw
bonnet, and mony a silk snood, and comely white
curch, would come out to gang to kirk or chapel
on the Lord's day, and little bairns toddling after;
and now,---Och, Och, Ohellany, Ohonari! the
glen is desolate, and the braw snoods and bonnets
are gane, and the Saxon's house stands dull and
lonely, like the single bare-breasted rock that the
falcon builds on---the falcon that drives the heathbird
frae the glen.''

Janet, like many Highlanders, was full of imagination;
and, when melancholy themes came upon
her, expressed herself almost poetically, owing to
the genius of the Celtic language in which she
thought, and in which, doubtless, she would have
spoken, had I understood Gaelic.  In two minutes
the shade of gloom and regret had passed from her
good-humoured features, and she was again the
little busy, prating, important old woman, undisputed
owner of one flat of a small tenement in the
Abbey-yard, and about to be promoted to be housekeeper
to an elderly bachelor gentleman, Chrystal
Croftangry, Esq.

It was not long before Janet's local researches
found out exactly the sort of place I wanted, and
there we settled.  Janet was afraid I would not be
satisfied because it is not exactly part of Croftangry;
but I stopped her doubts, by assuring her it
had been part and pendicle thereof in my forefathers'
time, which passed very well.

I do not intend to possess any one with an exact
knowledge of my lodging; though, as Bobadil
says, ``I care not who knows it, since the cabin
is convenient.'' But I may state in general, that
it is a house ``within itself,'' or, according to a
newer phraseology in advertisements, self-contained,
has a garden of near half an acre, and a patch
of ground with trees in front.  It boasts five rooms
and servants' apartments---looks in front upon the
palace, and from behind towards the hill and crags
of the King's Park.  Fortunately the place had a
name, which, with a little improvement, served to
countenance the legend which I had imposed on
Janet, and would not perhaps have been sorry if I
had been able to impose on myself.  It was called
Littlecroft; we have dubbed it Little Croftangry,
and the men of letters belonging to the Post Office
have sanctioned the change, and deliver letters
so addressed.  Thus I am to all intents and purposes
Chrystal Croftangry of that Ilk.

My establishment consists of Janet, an under
maid-servant, and a Highland wench for Janet to
exercise her Gaelic upon, with a handy lad who
can lay the cloth, and take care besides of a pony,
on which I find my way to Portobello sands, especially
when the cavalry have a drill; for, like an
old fool as I am, I have not altogether become indifferent
to the tramp of horses and the flash of
weapons, of which, though no professional soldier,
it has been my fate to see something in my youth.  
For wet mornings, I have my book---is it fine
weather, I visit, or I wander on the Crags, as the
humour dictates.  My dinner is indeed solitary,
yet not quite so  neither; for though Andrew
waits, Janet, or,---as she is to all the world but her
master, and certain old Highland gossips,---Mrs
MacEvoy, attends, bustles about, and desires to
see every thing is in first-rate order, and to tell me,
Cot pless us, the wonderful news of the Palace for
the day.  When the cloth is removed, and I light
my cigar, and begin to husband a pint of port, or
a glass of old whisky and water, it is the rule of
the house that Janet takes a chair at some distance,
and nods or works her stocking, as she may be disposed;
ready to speak, if I am in the talking humour,
and sitting quiet as a mouse if I am rather
inclined to study a book or the newspaper.  At
six precisely she makes my tea, and leaves me to
drink it; and then occurs an interval of time which
most old bachelors find heavy on their hands.  The
theatre is a good occasional resource, especially if
Will Murray acts, or a bright star of eminence
shines forth; but it is distant, and so are one or
two public societies to which I belong; besides,
these evening walks are all incompatible with the
elbow-chair feeling, which desires some employment
that may divert the mind without fatiguing
the body.

Under the influence of these impressions, I have
sometimes thought of this literary undertaking.  I
must have been the Bonassus himself to have mistaken
myself for a genius, yet I have leisure and
reflections like my neighbours.  I am a borderer
also between two generations, and can point out
more perhaps than others of those fading traces of
antiquity which are daily vanishing; and I know
many a modern instance and many an old tradition,
and therefore I ask---

   What ails me, I may not, as well as they,
   Rake up some threadbare tales, that mouldering lay
   In chimney corners, wont by Christmas fires
   To read and rock to sleep our ancient sires?
   No man his threshold better knows, than I
   Brute's first arrival and first victory,
   Saint George's sorrel and his cross of blood,
   Arthur's round board and Caledonian wood.

No shop is so easily set up as an antiquary's.  
Like those of the lowest order of pawnbrokers, a
commodity of rusty iron, a bag or two of hobnails,
a few odd shoebuckles, cashiered kail-pots, and
fire-irons declared incapable of service, are quite
sufficient to set him up.  If he add a sheaf or two
of penny ballads and broadsides, he is a great man
---an extensive trader.  And then---like the pawnbrokers
aforesaid, if the author understands a little
legerdemain, he may, by dint of a little picking
and stealing, make the inside of his shop a great
deal richer than the out, and be able to show you
things which cause those who do not understand
the antiquarian trick of clean conveyance, to wonder
how the devil he came by them.

It may be said, that antiquarian articles interest
but few customers, and that we may bawl ourselves
as rusty as the wares we deal in without any one
asking the price of our merchandise.  But I do
not rest my hopes upon this department of my labours
only.  I propose also to have a corresponding
shop for Sentiment, and Dialogues, and Disquisition,
which may captivate the fancy of those
who have no relish, as the established phrase goes,
for pure antiquity;---a sort of green-grocer's stall
erected in front of my ironmongery wares, garlanding
the rusty memorials of ancient times with
cresses, cabbages, leeks, and water purpy.

As I have some idea that I am writing too well
to be understood, I humble myself to ordinary language,
and aver, with becoming modesty, that I do
think myself capable of sustaining a publication of
a miscellaneous nature, as like to the Spectator, or
the Guardian, the Mirror, or the Lounger, as my
poor abilities may be able to accomplish.  Not that
I have any purpose of imitating Johnson, whose
general learning and power of expression I do not
deny, but many of whose Ramblers are little better
than a sort of pageant, where trite and obvious
maxims are made to swagger in lofty and mystic
language, and get some credit only because they
are not easily understood.  There are some of the
great moralist's papers which I cannot peruse without
thinking on a second-rate masquerade, where
the best-known and least-esteemed characters in
town march in as heroes, and sultans, and so forth,
and, by dint of tawdry dresses, get some consideration
until they are found out.---It is not, however,
prudent to commence with throwing stones, just
when I am striking out windows of my own.

I think even the local situation of Little Croftangry
may be considered as favourable to my undertaking.
A nobler contrast there can hardly
exist than that of the huge city, dark with the
smoke of ages, and groaning with the various
sounds of active industry or idle revel, and the
lofty and craggy hill, silent and solitary as the
grave; one exhibiting the full tide of existence,
pressing and precipitating itself forward with the
force of an inundation; the other resembling some
time-worn anchorite, whose life passes as silent
and unobserved as the slender rill which escapes
unheard, and scarce seen, from the fountain of his
patron saint.  The city resembles the busy temple,
where the modern Comus and Mammon hold their
court, and thousands sacrifice ease, independence,
and virtue itself, at their shrine; the misty and
lonely mountain seems as a throne to the majestic
but terrible Genius of feudal times, when the same
divinities dispensed coronets and domains to those
who had heads to devise, and arms to execute,
bold enterprises.

I have, as it were, the two extremities of the
moral world at my threshold.  From the front door,
a few minutes' walk brings me into the heart of a
wealthy and populous city; as many paces from
my opposite entrance, places me in a solitude
as complete as Zimmerman could have desired.  
Surely with such aids to my imagination, I may
write better than if I were in a lodging in the New
Town, or a garret in the old.  As the Spaniard
says, ``_Viamos---Caracco!_''

I have not chosen to publish periodically, my
reason for which was twofold.  In the first place,
I don't like to be hurried, and have had enough of
duns in an early part of my life, to make me reluctant
to hear of, or see one, even in the less awful
shape of a printer's devil.  But, secondly, a periodical
paper is not easily extended in circulation
beyond the quarter in which it is published.  This
work, if published in fugitive numbers, would
scarce, without a high pressure on the part of the
bookseller, be raised above the Netherbow, and
never could be expected to ascend to the level of
Prince's Street.  Now I am ambitious that my
compositions, though having their origin in this
Valley of Holyrood, should not only be extended
into those exalted regions I have mentioned, but
also that they should cross the Forth, astonish the
long town of Kirkaldy, enchant the skippers and
colliers of the East of Fife, venture even into the
classic arcades of St Andrews, and travel as much
farther to the north as the breath of applause will
carry their sails.  As for a southward direction, it
is not to be hoped for in my fondest dreams.  I
am informed that Scottish literature, like Scottish
whisky, will be presently laid under a prohibitory
duty.  But enough of this.  If any reader is dull
enough not to comprehend the advantages which,
in point of circulation, a compact book has over a
collection of fugitive numbers, let him try the
range of a gun loaded with hail-shot, against that
of the same piece charged with an equal weight of
lead consolidated in a single bullet.

Besides, it was of less consequence that I should
have published periodically, since I did not mean
to solicit or accept of the contributions of friends,
or the criticisms of those who may be less kindly
disposed.  Notwithstanding the excellent examples
which might be quoted, I will establish no
begging-box, either under the name of a lion's-head
or an ass's.  What is good or ill shall be mine
own, or the contribution of friends to whom I may
have private access.  Many of my voluntary assistants
might be cleverer than myself, and then I
should have a brilliant article appear among my
chiller effusions, like a patch of lace on a Scottish
cloak of Galashiels grey.  Some might be worse,
and then I must reject them, to the injury of the
feelings of the writer, or else insert them, to make
my own darkness yet more opaque and palpable.  
``Let every herring,'' says our old-fashioned proverb,
``hang by his own head.''

One person, however, I may distinguish, as she
is now no more, who, living to the utmost term of
human life, honoured me with a great share of her
friendship, as indeed we were blood-relatives in the
Scottish sense---Heaven knows how many degrees
removed---and friends in the sense of Old England.  
I mean the late excellent and regretted Mrs Bethune
Baliol.  But as I design this admirable picture of
the olden time for a principal character in my
work, I will only say here, that she knew and approved
of my present purpose; and though she
declined to contribute to it while she lived, from a
sense of dignified retirement, which she thought
became her age, sex, and condition in life, she left
me some materials for carrying on my proposed
work, which I coveted when I heard her detail them
in conversation, and which now, when I have their
substance in her own handwriting, I account far
more valuable than anything I have myself to offer.  
I hope the mentioning her name in conjunction
with my own, will give no offence to any of her numerous
friends, as it was her own express pleasure
that I should employ the manuscripts, which she
did me the honour to bequeath me, in the manner
in which I have now used them.  It must be added,
however, that in most cases I have disguised names,
and in some have added shading and colouring to
bring out the narrative.

Much of my materials, besides these, are derived
from friends, living or dead.  The accuracy of some
of these may be doubtful, in which case I shall be
happy to receive, from sufficient authority, the correction
of the errors which must creep into traditional
documents.  The object of the whole publication
is, to throw some light on the manners of
Scotland as they were, and to contrast them, occasionally,
with those of the present day.  My own
opinions are in favour of our own times in many
respects, but not in so far as affords means for
exercising the imagination, or exciting the interest
which attaches to other times.  I am glad to be a
writer or a reader in 1826, but I would be most
interested in reading or relating what happened
from half a century to a century before.  We have
the best of it.  Scenes in which our ancestors
thought deeply, acted fiercely, and died desperately,
are to us tales to divert the tedium of a winter's
evening, when we are engaged to no party, or beguile
a summer's morning, when it is too scorching
to ride or walk.

Yet I do not mean that my essays and narratives
should be limited to Scotland.  I pledge myself to
no particular line of subjects; but, on the contrary,
say with Burns,

         Perhaps it may turn out a sang,
         Perhaps turn out a sermon.

I have only to add, by way of postcript to these
preliminary chapters, that I have had recourse to
Moliere's recipe, and read my manuscript over to
my old woman, Janet MacEvoy.

The dignity of being consulted delighted Janet;
and Wilkie, or Allan, would have made a capital
sketch of her, as she sat upright in her chair, instead
of her ordinary lounging posture, knitting
her stocking  systematically, as if she meant every
twist of her thread, and inclination of the wires, to
bear burden to the cadence of my voice. I am afraid,
too, that I myself felt more delight than I ought
to have done in my own composition, and read a
little more oratorically than I should have ventured
to do before an auditor, of whose applause I was
not so secure.  And the result did not entirely encourage
my plan of censorship.  Janet did indeed
seriously incline to the account of my previous life,
and bestowed some Highland maledictions more
emphatic than courteous on Christie Steele's reception
of a ``shentlemans in distress,'' and of her own
mistress's house too.  I omitted for certain reasons,
or greatly abridged, what related to herself
But when I came to treat of my general views in
publication, I saw poor Janet was entirely thrown
out, though, like a jaded hunter, panting, puffing,
and short of wind, she endeavoured at least to keep
up with the chase.  Or rather her perplexity made
her look all the while like a deaf person ashamed
of his infirmity, who does not understand a word
you are saying, yet desires you to believe that he
does understand you, and who is extremely jealous
that you suspect this incapacity. When she saw that
some remark was necessary, she resembled exactly
in her criticism the devotee who pitched on the
``sweet word Mesopotamia,'' as the most edifying
note which she could bring away from a sermon.  
She indeed hastened to bestow general praise on
what she said was all ``very fine;'' but chiefly dwelt
on what I had said about Mr Timmerman, as she
was pleased to call the German philosopher, and
supposed he must be of the same descent with the
Highland clan of M`Intyre, which signifies Son of
the Carpenter.  ``And a fery honourable name too
---Shanet's own mither was a M`Intyre.''

In short, it was plain the latter part of my introduction
was altogether lost on poor Janet; and so,
to have acted up to Moliere's system, I should have
cancelled the whole, and written it anew.  But I
do not know how it is; I retained, I suppose, some
tolerable opinion of my own composition, though
Janet did not comprehend it, and felt loath to retrench
those delilahs of the imagination, as Dryden
calls them, the tropes and figures of which are
caviar to the multitude.  Besides, I hate re-writing,
as much as Falstaff did paying back---it is a
double labour.  So I determined with myself to
consult Janet, in future, only on such things as
were within the limits of her comprehension, and
hazard my arguments and my rhetoric on the public
without her imprimatur.  I am pretty sure she
will ``applaud it done.'' And in such narratives
as come within her range of thought and feeling,
I shall, as I first intended, take the benefit of her
unsophisticated judgment, and attend to it deferentially
---that is, when it happens not to be in peculiar
opposition to my own; for, after all, I say
with Almanzor---

        Know that I alone am king of me.

The reader has now my who and my whereabout,
the purpose of the work, and the circumstances
under which it is undertaken.  He has also a specimen
of the author's talents, and may judge for
himself, and proceed, or send back the volume to
the bookseller, as his own taste shall determine.

                 CHAPTER VI.

 Mr Croftangry's Account of Mrs Bethune Baliol.

   The moon, were she earthly, no nobler.

When we set out on the jolly voyage of life,
what a brave fleet there is around us, as stretching
our fresh canvass to the breeze, all ``shipshape and
Bristol fashion,'' pennons flying, music playing,
cheering each other as we pass, we are rather
amused than alarmed when some awkward comrade
goes right ashore for want of pilotage!---Alas!
when the voyage is well spent, and we look about
us, toil-worn mariners, how few of our ancient consorts
still remain in sight, and they, how torn and
wasted, and, like ourselves, struggling to keep as
long as possible of the fatal shore, against which
we are all finally drifting!

I felt this very trite but melancholy truth in all
its force the other day, when a packet with a black
seal arrived, containing a letter addressed to me
by my late excellent friend Mrs Martha Bethune
Baliol, and marked with the fatal indorsation, ``To
be delivered according to address, after I shall be
no more.'' A letter from her executors accompanied
the packet, mentioning that they had found in
her will a bequest to me of a painting of some
value, which she stated would just fit the space
above my cupboard, and fifty guineas to buy a ring.  
And thus I separated, with all the kindness which
we had maintained for many years, from a friend,
who, though old enough to have been the companion
of my mother, was yet, in gaiety of spirits, and
admirable sweetness of temper, capable of being
agreeable, and even animating society, for those
who write themselves in the vaward of youth; an
advantage which I have lost for these five-and-thirty
years.  The contents of the packet I had no difficulty
in guessing, and have partly hinted at them
in the last chapter.  But to instruct the reader in
the particulars, and at the same time to indulge
myself with recalling the virtues and agreeable
qualities of my late friend, I will give a short sketch
of her manners and habits.

Mrs Martha Bethune Baliol was a person of
quality and fortune, as these are esteemed in Scotland.
Her family was ancient, and her connexions
honourable.  She was not fond of specially indicating
her exact age, but her juvenile recollections
stretched backwards till before the eventful year
1745; and she remembered the Highland clans
being in possession of the Scottish capital, though
probably only as an indistinct vision.  Her fortune,
independent by her father's bequest, was rendered
opulent by the death of more than one brave brother,
who fell successively in the service of their
@@@ 92
beside the gate, and acted as porter.  To this office
he had been promoted by my friend's charitable
feelings for an old soldier, and partly by an idea,
that his bead, which was a very fine one, bore some
resemblance to that of Garrick in the character of
Lusignan.  He was a man saturnine, silent, and
slow in his proceedings, and would never open the
_porte coch<e`>re_ to a hackney coach; indicating the
wicket with his finger, as the proper passage for all
who came in that obscure vehicle, which was not
permitted to degrade with its ticketed presence the
dignity of Baliol's Lodging.  I do not think this
peculiarity would have met with his lady's approbation,
any more than the occasional partiality of
Lusignan, or, as mortals called him, Archy Macready,
to a dram.  But Mrs Martha Bethune Baliol,
conscious that, in case of conviction, she could
never have prevailed upon, herself to dethrone the
King of Palestine from the stone bench on which
he sat for hours, knitting his stocking, refused, by
accrediting the intelligence, even to put him upon
his trial; well judging that he would observe more
wholesome caution if he conceived his character
unsuspected, than if be were detected, and suffered
to pass unpunished.  For after all, she said, it
would be cruel to dismiss an old Highland Soldier
for a peccadillo so appropriate to his country and

The stately gate for carriages, or the humble
accommodation for foot-passengers, admitted into
a narrow and short passage, running between two
rows of lime-trees, whose green foliage, during the
spring, contrasted strangely with the swart complexion
of the two walls by the side of which they
grew.  This access led to the front of the house,
which was formed by two gable ends, notched, and
having their windows adorned with heavy architectural
ornaments; they joined each other at right
angles; and a half circular tower, which contained
the entrance and the staircase, occupied the point
of junction, and rounded the acute angle.  One of
other two sides of the little court, in which there
was just sufficient room to turn a carriage, was
occupied by some low buildings answering the purpose
of offices; the other, by a parapet surrounded
by a highly-ornamented iron railing, twined round
with honeysuckle and other parasitical shrubs,
which permitted the eye to peep into a pretty suburban
garden, extending down to the road called
the South Back of the Canongate, and boasting a
number of old trees, many flowers, and even some
fruit.  We must not forget to state, that the extreme
cleanliness of the court-yard was such as
intimated that mop and pail had done their utmost
in that favoured spot, to atone for the general dirt
and dinginess of the quarter where the premises
were situated.

Over the doorway were the arms of Bethune
and Baliol, with various other devices carved in
stone; the door itself was studded with iron nails,
and formed of black oak; an iron rasp,* as it was

*	Note C. Iron Rasp.

called, was placed on it, instead of a knocker, for
the purpose of summoning the attendants.  He
who usually appeared at the summons was a smart
lad, in a handsome livery, the son of Mrs Martha's
gardener at Mount Baliol.  Now and then a servant
girl, nicely but plainly dressed, and fully accoutred
with stockings and shoes, would perform
this duty; and twice or thrice I remember being
admitted by Beauffet himself, whose exterior looked
as much like that of a clergyman of rank as the
butler of a gentleman's family.  He had been valet-de-chambre
to the last Sir Richard Bethune Baliol,
and was a person highly trusted by the present
lady.  A full stand, as it is called in Scotland, of
garments of a dark colour, gold buckles in his
shoes, and at the knees of his breeches, with his
hair regularly dressed and powdered, announced
him to be a domestic of trust and importance.  His
mistress used to say of him,

                              He's sad and civil,
   And suits well for a servant with my fortunes.

As no one can escape scandal, some said that
Beauffet made a rather better thing of the place
than the modesty of his old-fashioned wages would,
unassisted, have amounted to.  But the man was
always very civil to me.  He had been long in the
family; had enjoyed legacies, and laid by a something
of his own, upon which he now enjoys ease
with dignity, in as far as his newly-married wife,
Tibbie Shortacres, will permit him.

The Lodging---Dearest reader, if you are tired,
pray pass over the next four or five pages---was
not by any means so large as its external appearance
led people to conjecture.  The interior accommodation
was much cut up by cross walls and
long passages, and that neglect of economizing
space which characterises old Scottish architecture.  
But there was far more room than my old friend
required, even when she had, as was often the
case, four or five young cousins under her protection;
and I believe much of the house was unoccupied.
Mrs Bethune Baliol never, in my presence,
showed herself so much offended, as once with a
meddling person who advised her to have the windows
of these supernumerary apartments built up,
to save the tax.  She said in ire, that, while she
lived, the light of God should visit the house of
her fathers; and while she had a penny, king and
country should have their due.  Indeed, she was
punctiliously loyal, even in that most staggering
test of loyalty, the payment of imposts.  Mr Beauffet
told me he was ordered to offer a glass of wine
to the person who collected the income tax, and
that the poor man was so overcome by a reception
so unwontedly generous, that he had wellnigh
fainted on the spot.

You entered by a matted anteroom into the
eating parlour, filled with old-fashioned furniture,
and hung with family portraits, which, excepting
one of Sir Bernard Bethune, in James the Sixth's
time, said to be by Jameson, were exceedingly
frightful.  A saloon, as it was called, a long narrow
chamber, led out of the dining-parlour, and
served for a drawing-room.  It was a pleasant
apartment, looking out upon the south flank of
Holyrood-house, the gigantic slope of Arthur's
Seat, and the girdle of lofty rocks, called Salisbury
Crags;* objects so rudely wild, that the mind can

*	The Rev. Mr Bowles derives the name of these crags, as
	of the Episcopal city in the west of England, from the same
	root; both, in his opinion, which he very ably defends and
	illustrates, having been the sites of druidical temples.

hardly conceive them to exist in the vicinage of a
populous metropolis.  The paintings of the saloon
came from abroad, and had some of them much
merit.  To see the best of them, however, you
must be admitted into the very penetralia of the
temple, and allowed to draw the tapestry at the
upper end of the saloon, and enter Mrs Martha's
own special dressing-room.  This was a charming
apartment, of which it would be difficult to describe
the form, it had so many recesses which were filled
up with shelves of ebony, and cabinets of japan and
_or molu_; some for holding books, of which Mrs
Martha had an admirable collection, some for a
display of ornamental china, others for shells and
similar curiosities.  In a little niche, half screened
by a curtain of crimson silk, was disposed a suit of
tilting armour of bright steel, inlaid with silver,
which had been worn on some memorable occasion
by Sir Bernard Bethune, already mentioned; while
over the canopy of the niche, hung the broadsword
with which her father had attempted to change the
fortunes of Britain in 1715, and the spontoon which
her elder brother bore when he was leading on a
company of the Black Watch* at Fontenoy.

*	The well-known original designation of the gallant 42d
	Regiment.  Being the first corps raised for the royal service
	in the Highlands, and allowed to retain their national garb,
	they were thus named from the contrast which their dark
	tartans furnished to the scarlet and white of the other regiments.

There were some Italian and Flemish pictures
of admitted authenticity, a few genuine bronzes
and other objects of curiosity, which her brothers
or herself had picked up while abroad.  In short,
it was a place where the idle were tempted to become
studious, the studious to grow idle---where
the grave might find matter to make them gay, and
the gay subjects for gravity.

That it might maintain some title to its name,
I must not forget to say, that the lady's dressing-room
exhibited a superb mirror, framed in silver
filigree work; a beautiful toilette, the cover of
which was of Flanders lace; and a set of boxes
corresponding in materials and work to the frame
of the mirror.

This dressing apparatus, however, was mere
matter of parade: Mrs Martha Bethune Baliol
always went through the actual duties of the toilette
in an inner apartment, which corresponded
with her sleeping-room by a small detached staircase.
There were, I believe, more than one of
those _turnpike stairs_, as they were called, about
the house, by which the public rooms, all of which
entered through each other, were accommodated
with separate and independent modes of access.  
In the little boudoir we have described, Mrs Martha
Baliol had her choicest meetings.  She kept
early hours; and if you went in the morning, you
must not reckon that space of day as extending
beyond three o'clock, or four at the utmost.  These
vigilant habits were attended with some restraint
on her visitors, but they were indemnified by your
always finding the best society, and the best information,
which was to be had for the (lay in the
Scottish capital.  Without at all affecting the blue
stocking, she liked books---they amused her---and if
the authors were persons of character, she thought
she owed them a debt of civility, which she loved
to discharge by personal kindness.  When she gave
a dinner to a small party, which she did now and
then, she had the good nature to look for, and the
good luck to discover, what sort of people suited
each other best, and chose her company as Duke
Theseus did his hounds,

                 matched in mouth like bells,
          Each under each,*

*	Shakspeare's Midsummer Night's Dream, Act IV.  Sc.  I.

so that every guest could take his part in the cry;
instead of one mighty Tom of a fellow, like Dr
Johnson, silencing all besides by the tremendous
depth of his diapason.  On such occasions she afforded
_ch<e`>re exquise_; and every now and then there
was some dish of French, or even Scottish derivation,
which, as well as the numerous assortment
of _vins extraordinaires_ produced by Mr Beauffet,
gave a sort of antique and foreign air to the entertainment,
which rendered it more interesting.

It was a great thing to be asked to such parties,
and not less so to be invited to the early _conversazione_,
which, in spite of fashion, by dint of the best
coffee, the finest tea, and _chasse caf<e'>_ that would
have called the dead to life, she contrived now and
then to assemble in her saloon already mentioned,
at the unnatural hour of eight in the evening.  At
such times, the cheerful old lady seemed to enjoy
herself so much in the happiness of her guests, that
they exerted themselves in turn to prolong her
amusement and their own; and a certain charm
was excited around, seldom to be met with in parties
of pleasure, and which was founded on the
general desire of every one present to contribute
something to the common amusement.

But although it was a great privilege to be admitted
to wait on my excellent friend in the morning,
or be invited to her dinner or evening parties,
I prized still higher the right which I had acquired,
by old acquaintance, of visiting Baliol's Lodging,
upon the chance of finding its venerable inhabitant
preparing for tea, just about six o'clock in the
evening.  It was only to two or three old friends
that she permitted this freedom, nor was this sort
of chance-party ever allowed to extend itself beyond
five in number.  The answer to those who
came later, announced that the company was filled
up for the evening; which had the double effect,
of making those who waited on Mrs Bethune Baliol
in this unceremonious manner punctual in observing
her hour, and of adding the zest of a little
difficulty to the enjoyment of the party.

It more frequently happened that only one or
two persons partook of this refreshment on the
same evening; or, supposing the case of a single
gentleman, Mrs Martha, though she did not hesitate
to admit him to her boudoir, after the privilege
of the French and the old Scottish school,
took care, as she used to say, to preserve all possible
propriety, by commanding the attendance of
her principal female attendant, Mrs Alice Lambskin,
who might, from the gravity and dignity of
her appearance, have sufficed to matronize a whole
boarding-school, instead of one maiden lady or
eighty and upwards.  As the weather permitted,
Mrs Alice sat duly remote from the company in
a fauteuil behind the projecting chimney-piece, or
in the embrasure of a window, and prosecuted in
Carthusian silence, with indefatigable zeal, a piece
of embroidery, which seemed no bad emblem of

But I have neglected all this while to introduce
my friend herself to the reader, at least so far as
words can convey the peculiarities by which her
appearance and conversation were distinguished.

A little woman, with ordinary features, and an
ordinary form, and hair, which in youth had no
decided colour, we may believe Mrs Martha, when
she said of herself that she was never remarkable
for personal charms; a modest admission, which
was readily confirmed by certain old ladies, her
contemporaries, who, whatever might have been
the youthful advantages which they more than hinted
had been formerly their own share, were now,
in personal appearance, as well as in every thing
else, far inferior to my accomplished friend.  Mrs
Marthas features had been of a kind which might
be said to wear well; their irregularity was now
of little consequence, animated as they were by
the vivacity of her conversation; her teeth were
excellent, and her eyes, although inclining to grey,
were lively, laughing, and undimmed by time.  A
slight shade of complexion, more brilliant than her
years promised, subjected my friend amongst strangers
to the suspicion of having stretched her foreign
habits as far as the prudent touch of the
rouge.  But it was a calumny; for when telling
or listening to an interesting and affecting story,
I have seen her colour come and go as if it played
on the cheek of eighteen.

Her hair, whatever its former deficiencies, was
now the most beautiful white that time could bleach,
and was disposed with some degree of pretension,
though in the simplest manner possible, so as to
appear neatly smoothed under a cap of Flanders
lace, of an old-fashioned, but, as I thought, of a
very handsome form, which undoubtedly has a
name, and I would endeavour to recur to it, if I
thought it would make my description a bit more
intelligible.  I think I have heard her say these
favourite caps had been her mother's, and had come
in fashion with a peculiar kind of wig used by the
gentlemen about the time of the battle of Ramillies.
The rest of her dress was always rather costly
and distinguished, especially in the evening.  A
silk or satin gown of some colour becoming her
age, and of a form, which, though complying to a
certain degree with the present fashion, had always
a reference to some more distant period, was garnished
with triple ruffles; her shoes had diamond
buckles, and were raised a little at heel, an advantage
which, possessed in her youth, she alleged her
size would not permit her to forego in her old age.  
She always wore rings, bracelets, and other ornaments
of value, either for the materials or the workmanship;
nay, perhaps she was a little profuse in
this species of display.  But she wore them as
subordinate matters, to which the habits of being
constantly in high life rendered her indifferent;
the wore them because her rank required it, and
thought no more of them as articles of finery, than
a gentleman dressed for dinner thinks of his clean
linen and well-brushed coat, the consciousness of
which embarrasses the rustic beau on a Sunday.

Now and then, however, if a gem or ornament
chanced to be noticed for its beauty or singularity,
the observation usually led the way to an entertaining
account of the manner in which it had been
acquired, or the person from whom it had descended
to its present possessor.  On such and
similar occasions my old friend spoke willingly,
which is not uncommon, but she also, which is more
rare, spoke remarkably well, and had in her little
narratives concerning foreign parts, or former days,
which formed an interesting part of her conversation,
the singular art of dismissing all the usual
protracted tautology respecting time, place, and
circumstances, which is apt to settle like a mist
upon the cold and languid tales of age, and at the
same time of bringing forward, dwelling upon, and
illustrating, those incidents and characters which
give point and interest to the story.

She had, as we have hinted travelled a good
deal in foreign countries; for a brother, to whom
she was much attached, had been sent upon various
missions of national importance to the continent,
and she had more than once embraced the opportunity
of accompanying him.  This furnished a
great addition to the information which she could
supply, especially during the last war, when the
continent was for so many years hermetically scaled
against the English nation.  But, besides, Mrs
Bethune Baliol visited different countries, not in the
modern fashion, when English travel in caravans
together, and see in France and Italy little besides
the same society which they might have enjoyed
at home.  On the contrary, she mingled when
abroad with the natives of those countries she
visited, and enjoyed at once the advantage of their
society, and the pleasure of comparing it with that
of Britain.

In the course of her becoming habituated with
foreign manners, Mrs Bethune Baliol had, perhaps,
acquired some slight tincture of them herself.  
Yet I was always persuaded, that the peculiar vivacity
of look and manner---the pointed and appropriate
action with which she accompanied what
she said---the use of the gold and gemmed _tabati<e`>re_,
or rather I should say _bonbonni<e`>re_, (for she
took no snuff, and the little box contained only a
few pieces of candied angelica, or some such lady-like
sweetmeat,) were of real old-fashioned Scottish
growth, and such as might have graced the
tea-table of Susannah, Countess of Eglinton,* the

*	Note D,  Countess of Eglinton.

patroness of Allan Ramsay, or of the Hon.  Mrs
Colonel Ogilvy, who was another mirror by whom
the maidens of Auld Reekie were required to dress
themselves.  Although well acquainted with the
customs of other countries, her manners had been
chiefly formed in her own, at a time when great
folk lived within little space, and when the distinguished
names of the highest society gave to Edinburgh
the _eclat_, which we now endeavour to derive
from the unbounded expense and extended
circle of our pleasures.

l was more confirmed in this opinion, by the
peculiarity of the dialect which Mrs Baliol used.  
It was Scottish, decidedly Scottish, often containing
phrases and words little used in the present day.  
But then her tone and mode of pronunciation were
as different from the usual accent of the ordinary
Scotch patois, as the accent of St James's is from
that of Billingsgate.  The vowels were not pronounced
much broader than in the Italian language,
and there was none of the disagreeable drawl which
is so offensive to southern ears.  In short, it seemed
to be the Scottish as spoken by the ancient court
of Scotland, to which no idea of vulgarity could be
attached; and the lively manners and gestures with
which it was accompanied, were so completely in
accord with the sound of the voice and the style
of talking, that I cannot assign them a different
origin.  In long derivation, perhaps the manner
of the Scottish court might have been originally
formed on that of France, to which it had certainly
some affinity; but I will live and die in the belief,
that those of Mrs Baliol, as pleasing as they were
peculiar, came to her by direct descent from the
high dames who anciently adorned with their presence
the royal halls of Holyrood.

                CHAPTER VII.

     Mrs Baliol assists Mr Croftangry in his
           Literary Speculations.

Such as I have described Mrs Bethune Baliol,
the reader will easily believe that when I thought
of the miscellaneous nature of my work, I rested
upon the information she possessed, and her communicative
disposition, as one of the principal supports
of my enterprise.  Indeed, she by no means
disapproved of my proposed publication, though
expressing herself very doubtful how far she could
personally assist it---a doubt which might be perhaps
set down to a little lady-like coquetry, which
required to be sued for the boon she was not unwilling
to grant.  Or, perhaps, the good old lady,
conscious that her unusual term of years must soon
draw to a close, preferred bequeathing the materials
in the shape of a legacy, to subjecting them
to the judgment of a critical public during her lifetime.

Many a time I used, in our conversations of the
Canongate, to resume my request of assistance,
from a sense that my friend was the most valuable
depository of Scottish traditions that was probably
now to be found. This was a subject on which my
mind was so much made up, that when I heard her
carry her description of manners so far back beyond
her own time, and describe how Fletcher of Salton
spoke, how Graham of Claverhouse danced,
what were the jewels worn by the famous Duchess
of Lauderdale, and how she came by them, I
could not help telling her I thought her some fairy,
who cheated us by retaining the appearance of a
mortal of our own day, when, in fact, she had witnessed
the revolutions of centuries.  She was much
diverted when I required her to take some solemn
oath that she had not danced at the balls given by
Mary of Este, when her unhappy husband* occupied

*	The Duke of York, afterwards James II., frequently resided
	in Holyrood-house, when his religion rendered him an
	object of suspicion to the English Parliament.

Holyrood in a species of honourable banishment;
---or asked, whether she could not recollect Charles
the Second, when he came to Scotland in 1650, and
did not possess some slight recollections of the bold
usurper, who drove him beyond the Forth.

``_Beau cousin_,'' she said, laughing, ``none of
these do I remember personally; but you must
know there has been wonderfully little change on
my natural temper from youth to age.  From which
it follows, cousin, that being even now something
too young in spirit for the years which Time has
marked me in his calendar, I was, when a girl, a
little too old for those of my own standing, and as
much inclined at that period to keep the society of
elder persons, as I am now disposed to admit the
company of gay young fellows of fifty or sixty
like yourself, rather than collect about me all the
octogenarians.  Now, although I do not actually
come from Elfland, and therefore cannot boast
any personal knowledge of the great personages
you enquire about, yet I have seen and heard
those who knew them well, and who have given
me as distinct an account of them as I could give
you myself of the Empress Queen, or Frederick
of Prussia; and I will frankly add,'' said she,
laughing and offering her _bonbonni<e`>re_, ``that I
have heard so much of the years which immediately
succeeded the Revolution, that I sometimes am
apt to confuse the vivid descriptions fixed on my
memory by the frequent and animated recitation
of others, for things which I myself have actually
witnessed.  I caught myself but yesterday describing
to Lord M------ the riding of the last
Scottish Parliament, with as much minuteness as
if I had seen it, as my mother did, from the balcony
in front of Lord Moray's Lodging in the

``I am sure you must have given Lord M------ a
high treat.''

``I treated him to a hearty laugh, I believe,'' she
replied; ``but it is you, you vile seducer of youth,
who lead me into such follies.  But I will be on
my guard against my own weakness.  I do not
well know if the wandering Jew is supposed to have
a wife, but I should be sorry a decent middle-aged
Scottish gentlewoman should be suspected of identity
with such a supernatural person.''

``For all that, I must torture you a little more,
_ma belle cousine_, with my interrogatories; for how
shall I ever turn author unless on the strength of
the information which you have so often procured
me on the ancient state of manners?''

``Stay, I cannot allow you to give your points
of enquiry a name so very venerable, if I am expected
to answer them.  Ancient is a term for antediluvians.
You may catechise me about the
battle of Flodden, or ask particulars about Bruce
and Wallace, under pretext of curiosity after ancient
manners; and that last subject would wake
my Baliol blood, you know.''

``Well, but, Mrs Baliol, suppose we settle our
era:---you do not call the accession of James the
Sixth to the kingdom of Britain very ancient?''

``Umph! no, cousin---I think I could tell you
more of that than folk now-a-days remember,---for
instance, that as James was trooping towards England,
bag and baggage, his journey was stopped
near Cockenzie by meeting the funeral of the Earl
of Winton, the old and faithful servant and follower
of his ill-fated mother, poor Mary! It was
an ill omen for the _infare_, and so was seen of it,
cousin.'' *

*	Note E. Earl of Winton.

I did not choose to prosecute this subject, well
knowing Mrs Bethune Baliol did not like to be
much pressed on the subject of the Stewarts, whose
misfortunes she pitied, the rather that her father
had espoused their cause.  And yet her attachment
to the present dynasty being very sincere, and even
ardent, more especially as her family had served
his late Majesty both in peace and war, she experienced
a little embarrassment in reconciling her
opinions respecting the exiled family, with those
she entertained for the present.  In fact, like many
an old Jacobite, she was contented to be somewhat
inconsistent on the subject, comforting herself, that
_now_ every thing stood as it ought to do, and that
there was no use in looking back narrowly on the
right or wrong of the matter half a century ago.

``The Highlands,'' I suggested, ``should furnish
you with ample subjects of recollection.  You have
witnessed the complete change of that primeval
country, and have seen a race not far removed from
the earliest period of society, melted down into
the great mass of civilisation; and that could not
happen without incidents striking in themselves,
and curious as chapters in the history of the human

``It is very true,'' said Mrs Baliol; ``one would
think it should have struck the observers greatly,
and yet it scarcely did so.  For me, I was no Highlander
myself, and the Highland chiefs of old, of
whom I certainly knew several, had little in their
manners to distinguish them from the Lowland
gentry, when they mixed in society in Edinburgh,
and assumed the Lowland dress.  Their peculiar
character was for the clansmen at home; and you
must not imagine that they swaggered about in
plaids and broadswords at the Cross, or came to the
Assembly-Rooms in bonnets and kilts.''

``I remember,'' said I, ``that Swift, in his Journal,
tells Stella he had dined in the house of a
Scots nobleman, with two Highland chiefs, whom
he had found as well-bred men as he had ever met

*	Extract of Journal to Stella.---``I dined to-day (12th
	March, 1712,) with Lord Treasurer and two gentlemen of the
	Highlands of Scotland, yet very polite men.''
               Swift's _Works_, _Vol. III. p._ 7. _Edin._ 1824.

``Very likely,'' said my friend. ``The extremes
of society approach much more closely to each
other than perhaps the Dean of Saint Patrick's expected.
The savage is always to a certain degree
polite.  Besides, going always armed, and having
a very punctilious idea of their own gentility and
consequence, they usually behaved to each other
and to the lowlanders, with a good deal of formal
politeness, which sometimes even procured them
the character of insincerity.''

``Falsehood belongs to an early period of society,
as well as the deferential forms which we
style politeness,'' I replied.  ``A child does not
see the least moral beauty in truth, until he has
been flogged half-a-dozen times.  It is so easy, and
apparently so natural, to deny what you cannot be
easily convicted of, that a savage as well as a child
lies to excuse himself, almost as instinctively as he
raises his band to protect his head.  The old saying,
`confess and be hanged,' carries much argument
in it.  I observed a remark the other day in
old Birrel.  He mentions that M`Gregor of Glenstrae
and some of his people had surrendered themselves
to one of the Earls of Argyle, upon the express
condition that they should be conveyed safe
into England.  The Maccallan Mhor of the day
kept the word of promise, but it was only to the
ear.  He indeed sent his captives to Berwick,
where they had an airing on the other side of the
Tweed, but it was under the custody of a strong
guard, by whom they were brought back to Edinburgh,
and delivered to the executioner.  This,
Birrel calls keeping a Highlandman's promise.''*

*	Note F.  M`Gregor of Glenstrae.

``Well,'' replied Mrs Baliol, ``I might add, that
many of the Highland chiefs whom I knew in former
days had been brought up in France, which
might unprove their politeness, though perhaps it
did not amend their sincerity.  But considering,
that, belonging to the depressed and defeated faction
in the state, they were compelled sometimes
to use dissimulation, you must set their uniform
fidelity to their friends against their occasional
falsehood to their enemies, and then you will not
judge poor John Highlandman too severely.  They
were in a state of society where bright lights are
strongly contrasted with deep shadows.''

``It is to that point I would bring you, _ma belle
cousine_,---and therefore they are most proper subjects
for composition.''

``And you want to turn composer, my good
friend, and set my old tales to some popular tune?
But there have been too many composers, if that
be the word, in the field before.  The Highlands
_were_ indeed a rich mine; but they have, I think,
been fairly wrought out, as a good tune is grinded
into vulgarity when it descends to the hurdy-gurdy
and the barrel-organ.''

``If it be really tune,'' I replied, ``it will recover
its better qualities when it gets into the
hands of better artists.''

``Umph!'' said Mrs Baliol, tapping her box,
``we are happy in our own good opinion this evening,
Mr Croftangry.  And so you think you can
restore the gloss to the tartan, which it has lost by
being dragged through so many fingers?''

``With your assistance to procure materials, my
dear lady, much, I think, may be done.''

``Well---I must do my best, I suppose; though
all I know about the Gael is but of little consequence---
Indeed, I gathered it chiefly from Donald

``And who might Donald MacLeish be?''

``Neither bard nor sennachie, I assure you, nor
monk nor hermit, the approved authorities for old
traditions.  Donald was as good a postilion as ever
drove a chaise and pair between Glencroe and Inverary.
I assure you, when I give you my Highland
anecdotes, you will hear much of Donald MacLeish.
He was Alice Lambskin's beau and mine
through a long Highland tour.''

``But when am I to possess these anecdotes?---
you answer me as Harley did poor Prior---

     Let that be done which Mat doth say.  
     `Yea,' quoth the Earl, `but not to-day.' ''

``Well, _mon beau cousin_, if you begin to remind
me of my cruelty, I must remind you it has struck
nine on the Abbey clock, and it is time you were
going home to Little Croftangry.  For my promise
to assist your antiquarian researches, be assured,
I will one day keep it to the utmost extent.  
It shall not be a Highlandman's promise, as your
old citizen calls it.''

I by this time suspected the purpose of my
friend's procrastination; and it saddened my heart
to reflect that I was not to get the information
which I desired, excepting in the shape of a legacy.  
I found accordingly, in the packet transmitted to
me after the excellent lady's death, several anecdotes
respecting the Highlands, from which I have
selected that which follows, chiefly on account of
its possessing great power over the feelings of my
critical housekeeper, Janet M`Evoy, who wept most
bitterly when I read it to her.

It is, however, but a very simple tale, and may
have no interest for persons beyond Janet's rank
of life or understanding.