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tury, and his costly holiday dress, garnished with bells of silver, is still preserved in the Castle of Glamis. But we are assured, that to a much later period, and even to this moment, the habits and manners of Scotland have had some tendency to preserve the existence of this singular order of domestics. There are (comparatively speaking) no poor's rates in the country parishes of Scotland, and of course no work-houses to immure either their worn out poor or the moping idiot and the madman gay,' whom Crabbe characterizes as the happiest inhabitants of these mansions, because insensible of their misfortunes. It therefore happens almost necessarily in Scotland, that the house of the nearest prietor of wealth and consequence proves a place of refuge for these outcasts of society; and until the pressure of the times, and the calculating habits which they have necessarily generated had rendered the maintenance of a human being about such a family an object of some consideration, they usually found an asylum there, and enjoyed the degree of comfort of which their limited intellect rendered them susceptible. Such idiots were usually employed in some simple sort of occasional labour; and if we are not misinformed, the situation of turn-gpit was often assigned them, before the modern improvement of the smoke-jack. But, however employed, they usually displayed towards their benefactors a sort of instinctive attachment which was very affecting. We knew one instance in which such a being refused food for many days, pined away, literally broke his heart, and died within the space of a very few weeks after his benefactor's decease. We cannot now pause to deduce the moral inference which might be derived from such instances. It is however evident, that if there was a coarse. ness of mind in deriving amusement from the follies of these unfortunate beings, a circumstance to the disgrace of which they were totally insensible, their mode of life was, in other respects, calculated to promote such a degree of happiness as their faculties permitted them to enjoy. But besides the amusement which our forefathers received from witnessing their imperfections and extravagancies, there was a more legitimate source of pleasure in the wild wit which they often fiung around them with the freedom of Shakespeare's licensed clowns. There are few houses in Scotland of any note or antiquity where the witty sayings of some such character are not occasionally quoted at this very day. The pleasure afforded to our forefathers by such repartees was no doubi height, ened by their wanting the habits of more elegant amusement. But in Scotland the practice long continued, and in the house of one of the very first noblemen of that country (a man whose name is never mentioned without reverence) and that within the last twenty years, a jester such as we have mentioned stood at the side-table during
dinner, and occasionally amused the guests by his extemporaneous sallies. Imbecility of this kind was even considered as an apolo
for intrusion upon the most solemn occasions. All know the peculiar reverence with which the Scottish of every rank attend on funeral ceremonies. Yet within the memory of most of the present generation, an idiot of an appearance equally hideous and absurd, dressed, as if in mockery, in a rusty and ragged black coat, decorated with a cravat and weepers made of white paper in the form of those worn by the deepest mourners, preceded almost every funeral procession in Edinburgh, as if to turn into ridi. cule the last rites paid to mortality.
It has been generally supposed that in the case of these as of other successful novels, the most prominent and peculiar charac. ters were sketched from real life. It was only after the death of Smollet, that two barbers and a shoemaker contended about the character of Strap, which each asserted was modelled from his own: but even in the lifetime of the present author, there is scarcely a dale in the pastoral districts of the southern counties but arrogates to itself the possession of the original Dandie Dinmont. As for Baillie Mac Wheeble, a person of the highest eminence in the law perfectly well remembers having received fees from him. We ourselves think we recognize the prototype of Meg Merrilies, on on whose wild fidelity so much of the interest of Guy Mannering hinges, in the Jean Gordon of the following extract :*
• Old Jean Gordon of Yetholm, who had great sway among her tribe, was well remembered by old persons of the last generation. She was quite a Meg Merrilies, and possessed the savage virtue of fidelity in the same perfection. Having been often hospitably received at the farmhouse of Lochside near Yetholm, she had carefully abstained from committing any depredations on the farmer's property. But ber sons (nine in number) had not, it seems, the same delicacy, and stole a broodsow from their kind entertainer. Jean was so much mortified at this irregularity, and so much ashamed of it, that she absented herself from Lochside for sereral years. At length, in consequence of some temporary pecuniary necessity, the Goodman of Lochside was obliged to go to Newcastle to get some money to pay his rent. Returning through the inountains of Cheviot he was benighied and lost his way. A light glimmering through the window of a large waste barn, which bad survived the farm-house to which it had once belonged, guided him to a place of shelter, and when he knocked at the door, it was opened by Jean Gordon. Her very remarkable figure, for she was nearly six feet high, and her equally remarkable features and dress, rendered it impossible to mistake her for a moment; and to meet with such a character in so solitary a place and probably at no great distance from her clan, was a
* See a very curious paper entitled - Notices on the Scottish Gipsies,' in a new publication called the Edinburgh Monthly Magazine.
ferrible surprise to the poor man whose rent (to lose which would have been ruin tu bin) was about bis person. Jean set up a loud shout of joyful recognition—" Eh Sirs ! ibe winsome Gude-man of Lochside! Light down, Light down, for ye munna gang farther the night and a friend's house sae near." The farmer was obliged to dismount and accept of the gipsy's offer of supper and a bed. There was abundance of provisions in the barn, however it might be come by, and preparations were going on for a plentiful supper, which the farmer, to the great increase of his anxiety, observed was calculated for ten or twelve guests of the same description probably with his landlady. Jean left him in no doubt on the subject. She brought up the story of the stolen sow, noticed how much pain and vexation it had given her; like other philosophers, she remarked that the world grows worse daily; and like other parents, that the bairns got out of her guiding and neglected the old gipsy regulations which commanded them to respect in their depredations the property of their benefactors. The end of all this was an inquiry vihat money the farmer had about bim, and an urgent request that he would make her his purse-keeper, since the bairns, as she called her sons, would soon return home. The poor farmer made a virtue of necessity. told his story, and surrendered his gold to Jean's custody i she made him put a few shillings in his pocket, observing it would excite suspicion should be be found travelling altogether pennyless. This arrangement being made, the farmer lay down on a sort of shake-down, as the Scotch call it, upon some straw, but, as will be easily believed, slept not. About midnight the gang returned with various articles of pluoder, and talked over their exploits in language which made the farmer tremble. They were not long in discovering their guest, and demanded of Jean whom she had got there? “ E'en the winsome Gude man of Lochside, poor body," replied Jean, "be's been at Newcastle seeking for siller to pay bis rent, bonest man, but the de'il be lick'd he's been able to gather in, and so he's gaun e’en hame wi' a toom purse and a sair heart." “ That may be, Jean,” replied one of the banditti, " but we maun ripe* bis pouches a bit and see if it be true or no.” Jean set up her throat in exclamations against the breach of hospitality, but without producing any change of their determination. The farmer soon beard their stifled whispers and light steps by his bedside, and understood they were rummaging his clothes. When they found the money which the foresight of Jean Gordon had made him retain, they held a consultation if they should take it or no, but the smallness of the booty and the rebemence of Jean's remonstrances determined them in the negative. They caroused and went to rest. So soon as day returned, Jean roused her guest, produced his horse which she had accommodated bebind the ballan, and guided him for some miles till he was on the bigh road to Lochside. She then restored his whole property, nor could his earnest entreaties prevail on her to accept so much as a single guinea.
*I have heard the old people at Jeuburgh say that all Jean's sons were condemned to die there on the same day. It is said the Jury were equally divided, but that one of their number, a friend to justice,
who had slept during the whole discussion, waked suddenly, ana rave bis casting vote for condemnation in the emphatic words, “ Hare them a'.”—Jean was present, and only said, “The Lord help the innocent in a day like this."
Her own deaib was accompanied with circumstances of brutal outrage, of which poor Jean was in many respects wholly undeserving. Jean had among other demerits, or merits, as you may choose to rank it, that of being a staunch jacobite. She chanced to be at Carlisle upon a fair or market day, soon after the year 1746, where she gave vent to her political partiality, to the great offence of the rabble of that city. Being zealous in ibeir loyalty when there was no danger, in proportion to the tameness with which they had surrendered to the Highlanders in 1745, the mob inflicted upon poor Jean no slighter penalty than that of ducking her to death in the Eden. It was an operation of some time, for Jean was a stout woman, and struggling with her murderers, often got her head above water, and while she had voice left continued to exclaim at such intervals, “Charlie yet, Charlie yet.” When a child, and among the scenes which be frequented, I have often heard these stories, and cried piteously for the fate of poor Jean Gordon, who, with all the vices and irregularities of her degraded tribe and wandering prosession, was always mentioned by those who had known her, with a sort of compassionate regret.'
Although these strong resemblances occur so frequently, and with such peculiar force, as almost to impress us with the conviction that the author sketched from nature, and not from fancy alone; yet we hesitate to draw any positive conclusion, sensible thata characterdashed off as the representative of a certain class of men will bear, if executed with fidelity to the general outlines, not only that resemblance which he ought to possess as “knight of the shire, but also a special affinity to some particular individual. It is scarcely possible it should be otherwise. When Emery appears on the stage as a Yorkshire peasant, with the habit, manner, and dialect peculiar to the character, and which he assumes with so much truth and fidelity, those unacquainted with the province or its inhabitants see merely the abstract idea, the beau ideal of a Yorkshireman. But to those who are intimate with both, the action and manner of the comedian almost necessarily recall the idea of some individual native (altogether unknown probably to the performer) to whom his exterior and manners bear a casual resem. blance. We are therefore on the whole inclined to believe, that the incidents are frequently copied from actual occurrences, but that the characters are either entirely fictitious, or if any traits have been borrowed from real life, as in the anecdote which we have quoted respecting Invernahyle, they have been carefully disguised and blended with such as are purely imaginary. We now proceed to a more particular examination of the volumes before us.
They are entitled. Tales of my Landlord;' why so entitled, exe cepting to introduce a quotation from Don Quixote, it is difficult to conceive; for Tales of my Landlord they are not, nor is it indeed easy to say whose tales they ought to be called. There is a proem, as it is termed, supposed to be written by Jedediah Cleishbotham, the schoolmaster and parish clerk of the village of Gandercleugh, in which we are given to understand that these Tales were compiled by his deceased usher, Mr. Peter Pattieson, from the narratives or conversations of such travellers as frequented the Wallace Inn, in that village. Of this proem we shallonly say that it is written in the quaint style of that prefixed by Gay to his Pastorals, being, as Johnson terms it, such imitation as he could obtain of obsolete language, and by consequence in a style that was never written nor spoken in any age or place.'
The first of the Tales thus ushered in is entitled the Black Dwarf.' It contains some striking scenes, but it is even more than usually deficient in the requisites of a luminous and interesting narrative, as will appear from the following abridgment.
Two deer-stalkers, one the Laird of Earnscliff, a gentleman of family and property, the other Hobbie Elliot, of the Heugh-foot, a stout border yeoman, are returning by night from their sports on the hills of Liddesdale, and in the act of crossing a moor reported to be haunted, when they perceive to the great terror of the farther the being from whom ihe story takes its name, bewailing him. self to the moon and the stones of a druidical circle, which our author has previously introduced to the reader's knowledge, as a supposed scene of witchery and an object of superstitious terror. The Black Dwarf is thus described :
“The height of the object, which seemed even to decrease as they approached it, appeared to be under four feet, and its form, so far as the in perfect light afforded them the means of discerning, was very nearly as broad as long, or rather of a spherical shape, which could only be occasioned by some strange personal deformity. The young sportsman hailed this extraordinary appearance twice, without receiving any answer, or attending to the pinches by which his companion endeavoured to intimate that their best course was to walk on, without giving farther disturbance to a being of such singular and preternatural exterior. To the third repeated demand of Who are you? What do you here at this hour of night?"--a voice replied, whose shrill
, uncouth, and dissonant tones, made Elliot step two paces back, and startled even his companion, “ l'ass on your way, and ask nought at them that ask nought at you."
«« What do you here so far from shelter ? Are you benighted on your journey? Will you follow us home, ("God forbid ! ejaculated lobbie Elliot, involuntarily,) and I will give you a lodging ?”
“ I would soover lodge by mysei in die deepest of the Tarras-flow," gain whispered Hublic.