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Book of Scottish Story
A Night in Duncan M'Gowan's


AFTER traversing a bleak and barren track of moorland country, I unexpectedly arrived at the village of Warlockheugh, a few hours before the sun had set upon the cheerless and level horizon of that desolate region. A scene so bleak and solitary had engendered a vague and melancholy feeling of individual helplessness and desertion; the morning buoyancy of my spirits had settled down into dull and dejected sympathy with the exhausted members of my body; the sharp, clear air that blew across the moor had whetted my appetite to an exquisite degree of keenness, so that I was not a Utile disposed to mingle once more with human society, to invigorate my limbs with another night's repose, and to satisfy the cravings of hunger with some necessary refreshment. 1 therefore entered the village at a quicker pace than I had exerted for the last ten or twelve miles of my journey.

It is situated in a narrow valley, which slopes away from the moorland side, and is surrounded by a ridge of locks that rise around it like an iron barrier, and frown defiance to the threatened encroachments of the ocean. A dark brown stream floats along the moor with a lazy and silent current. bursts with a single leap over a precipice at the upper end of the village, thunders along a broken, rocky channel, and spouts a roaring cataract, sheer down through the rifted chasm that opens towards the coast, and affords the villagers a view of ocean, which, environed on all sides by tumultuous ranges of rugged mountains, expands its sheet of blue waters like an inland lake.

Having entered the village of Warlockheugh, I was attracted by the Red Lion that blazes on the sign of Duncan M'Gowan, who kept then, and, as I understand, still keeps, "excellent entertainment for men and horses." I was shown into Duncan's best apartment, but had little leisure and no inclination to make an inventory of its contents. Hunger is an urgent creditor, and not to be reasoned with, so I ordered the landlord to fetch me some refreshment. My order was immediately succeeded by a most delightful concert of culinary implements, whose risp and clank, and clatter, and jingle, mingling harmoniously with the squirt and buzz of a frying-pan, engendered a hearty and haggis-like hodge-podge of substantial and delectable associations. The table was soon covered with that plain and solid sort of food which is generally to be found in the temporary balling places of such wayfaring men as coach-drivers and carriers, who are no mean connoisseurs in the more rational part of good living. Having done ample justice to the landlord's good cheer, I laid myself back in my chair, in that state of agreeable languor which generally succeeds sudden rest after violent exertion and abundant refreshment after long fasting. My imagination, struggling between the benumbing influence of sated appetite, and the exhilarating novelty of my present situation, floated dimly and drowsily over the various occurrences of life, till the iris-coloured texture of existence saddened into a gray heaviness of eye, whose twilight vision grew darker and darker, till the ill-defined line of connexion, with which consciousness divided the waking from the slumbering world, was swallowed up in the blackness of a profound sleep. And there, as we may suppose, I sat twanging, through the trumpet of my nose, my own lullaby, and rivalling the sonorous drone of M'Glashan the piper's bagpipe, who, when I came in, was sitting on a stone at the door, piping his diabolical music to the happy villagers.

I had not long remained in tills "pleasing land of drowsyhead," when my slumbers were violently broken by a tumultuous uproar coming down from the upper end of the village. I started from my seat in that state of giddiness and stupor which one generally feels when roused from sleep by violent and alarming sounds. My whole frame 'was benumbed by the uneasiness of my dozing position, and it was with the utmost pain and difficulty I could prevail upon my limbs to carry me to the window, to ascertain the cause of the uproarious din, which every moment grew louder and louder. The first objects that caught my attention were some straggling villagers, sweeping down the lane with desperate speed of foot, and dismal looks of consternation. I made towards the door, but the passage was choked full of alarmed and breathless fugitives, whose apprehensions had driven them to the first asylum which opportunity presented. Ejaculations and exclamations of all sorts were gasped forth by the multitude in the passage. Some swore in wrath, some laughed in self-congratulation, while others clamorously bewailed those of their kindred who might yet be exposed to the approaching danger. I inquired at a composed-looking middle-aged personage who stood beside me. the cause of this uncommon and alarming occurrence. "Ou," said he, coolly, "M'Harrigle's bull's run wud, and he's gaun to take the command o' the town till we get a new magistrate ; for, as ye maun understand sir, Bailie Brodie died yesterday." The inhabitants rushed by in greater numbers, the sounds grew numerous, louder and more intelligible, as the huddling multitude approached; and I distinctly heard several voices bawling out, "Rin, ye deevil, or ye'll be torn to coupins!— Lord preserve us! he'll be ower the brae face—there he goes—confound ye! rin—mercy on us! sic a race!" The Uproar and clamour, already run into titter confusion, turned fiercer and more riotous as a knot of people flew suddenly past the window, and left a space behind them that was immediately occupied by the bull, tumbling his huge unwieldy carcass down the lane, followed by an immense crowd of men, women, and children, and curs of every denomination. The hoarse bawling of the men, the screams of the women, and the clear treble of the children, the barking of curs, from the gruff big bow-wow of the mastiff down to the nyiff-nyaff and yelp-yelp of the terrier, along with the boo-baloo and bellow of the bull, formed a wild and savage uproar that was truly deafening. I dashed up the window and looked out. The enraged animal lumbered along and heaved his ponderous bulk into fantastical attitudes, with his posterior appendage projecting straight out like a pole and tassel, his back raised, and his head ploughing on between his fore-feet. He hobbled, and hurled, and tumbled along with as blind an impulse as if he had been a mass of destructive machinery driven headlong by the mad impetus of some terrible and ungovernable energy. Away he went. The last sight I saw of him was as he entangled his horns in a thick stunted bush that grew on the top of a bank at some distance. The bush withstood the violence of his shock, and he tumbled with his feet uppermost. He struggled for a few moments ; at length succeeded in tearing it out by the roots, vanished over the precipice and went bellowing down the waterfall, amidst the shouts of the multitude who pursued him.

A group of people, very closely wedged together, moved slowly up the village. They were carrying some individual who had suffered from the fury of the enraged animal. They shouldered on towards M'Gowan's in mournful procession. All seemed extremely anxious to obtain a look of the unhappy sufferer. Those who were near pressed more closely towards the centre of the crowd, while those on the outside, excited by sympathetic curiosity, were leaping up round about, asking all the while the name of the person, and inquiring what injury he had sustained. "He's no sair hurt, I hope," said one. "Is he, dead?" said another of livelier apprehensions and quicker sensibility. "It's auld Simon Gray's said a young man, who came running up out of breath to M'Gowan's door, "Simon Gray's dead!" "Simon Gray dead! " cried M'Gowan; "God forbid!" So saying, out at the door he rushed to ascertain the truth of the mournful intelligence. "Wae's me," said Dame M'Gowan, "but this is a sair heart to us a'," as she sank down in a chair, and cried for water to her only daughter, who stood sorrowfully beside her mother, alternately wringing her hands and plaiting the hem of her white muslin apron over her finger in mute afflict ion.

Simon Gray the dominie was brought into M'Gowan's. He was bleeding at the nose and mouth, but did not appear to have received any very serious injury. Cold water was dashed on his face, his temples were bathed with vinegar, and the occasional opening and shutting of the eye, accompanied with a laboured heaving of the breast, gave evidence that the dominie was not yet destined to be gathered to his fathers. The inquiries of the multitude round the door were numerous, frequent, and affectionate. The children were loud and clamorous in their grief, all except one little white-headed, heavy-browed, sun-burned vagabond, who, looking over the shoulder of a neighbour urchin, asked if there would be "ony schulin' the morn;" and upon an answer being sobbed out in the negative, the roguish truant sought the nearest passage out of the crowd, and ran up the lane whistling "Ower the water to Charlie," till his career of unseasonable mirth was checked by a stout lad, an old student of Simon's, who was running without hat and coat to inquire the fate of his beloved preceptor, and who, when he witnessed the boy's heartless-ness, could not help lending him a box on the car, which effectually converted his shrill whistle of delight into a monotonous grumble, accompanied by the common exclamation of wonderment, "What's that for, ye muckle brute?" and a half hesitating stooping for a stone, which the lad who bowled on towards M'Gowan's took no notice of till the messenger of the boy's indignation lighted at his heels, and bounded on the road before him.

By the affectionate attention of his friends Simon was soon able to speak to those around him, but still felt so weak that he requested to be put to bed. His revival was no sooner announced at the door of the inn than a loud and tumultuous burst of enthusiastic feeling ran through the crowd, which immediately dispersed amidst clapping of hands, loud laughs, and hearty jokes.

The landlord, after ministering to the necessities of the dominie, came into the apartment where I was silting. "Surely, landlord," said I, "this old man Simon Gray is a great favourite among you."

"Troth, sir, it's nae wonder," was the reply to my observation. "He has gien the villagers of Warlockheugh their lear, and keepit them lauchin', for five-and-twenty years back. He's a gude-hearted carle too; he downa see a puir body in want, and rather than let the bairns grow up in idleness and ignorance, he'll gie them their lear for naething. A'body's fond o' Simon, and the lasses especially, though he ne'er males love to ane o' them. They say some flirt o' a lady disappointed him when he was at the college, and he vowed ne'er to mak love to anither. But I daur say there's some o' our lasses vain eneugh to think they'll be able to gar him brak his promise. It'll no do,—he's ower auld a cat to draw a strae afore.

"He's a real auld bachelor in his way of leevin'. He maks and mends his ain claes too, clouts his ain shoon, dams his ain stockings, and keeps a lot o' tools for a' crafts. His kitchen's a no-that-ill-red-up place; but if ye saw his study, sir, as he ca's't, it's the queerest, higgledy-piggledy, odds-and-ends sort o' place ye ever saw in your life. It's eneugh to turn your brain just to look inlil't. His pianoforte and his tables a' covered wi' a confused heap o' books, writings, musical instruments, colours, oil-paintings, and loose fragments o' rough designs, made wi' black and white caulk on a nankeen-coloured kind o' paper. The wa' is stuck fu' o' brass-headed nails that he hings his follies and his nonsense on. He has a mucklc ill-faured image yonder, that he ca's an Indian god, standing on his mantelpiece, wi' lang teeth made o' fish-banes, and twa round bits o' white airn, with big black-headed tackets driven through the middle o' them for een, and a queer crown on its head, made o' split quills, plait strae, and peacocks' feathers. It's eneugh to gar a body a' grue just to look at it. He has bears' and teegers' heads girnin' on the wa', and slouched hats, swords, dirks, and rusty rapiers o' every kind. He has twa or three things yonder that he ca's Roman helmets (though the maist o' folk would reckon them nae ither than barbers' basins), forby some imitations o' auld coats o' mail, made o' painted pasteboard. Na, faith, the deil hae me," continued Duncan, laughing at the whimsical character of the place he was describing, "if I dinna whiles think the body's out o' his wits. But he canna be that, either, for they're great folks ca'ing upon him, baith far and near, and he cracks to them whiles in strange tongues, that nane in the kintra-side kens but himsel and the minister. Na, troth, sir, they say that our Mess John, wha's no a lame hand himsel, is just a bairn to him. 'Od he's a droll, ready-handed body. He maks a'thing himsel. He has some orra time on his hand, ye see; and he's either crooning ower some auld Scotch songs, or riddling some outlandish tunes; and, my faith! he can twine them out frae the grist o' a common strae-rape to the fineness o' a windle-strae. He shakes and dirls sae wonderfully too, that ye wad think his fiddle's no a thing o' timmer and catgut at a', but some droll musical creature o' flesh and blood. Eh, my certie! it gars a body's bowels a' tremble wi' gladness whiles to hear him. He'll come in here at an antrin time, ca' for his gill o' gin, and no a living creature wi' him, and sit ower': for twa or three hours, crackin' to him sel, and laughin' as loudly and heartily at his ain queer stories, as if he had a dizzen o' merry cronies at his elbow. He ne'er forgets when he's takin' his drams to wish himsel weel; for at every sip, he says, 'Here's to ye, Simon— thanks to ye, Mr Gray;' and so on he goes the whole night, as if he were a kind of a twafauld body. Ae night when he sat in my back-room and loosed his budget of jokes, and laughed and roared wi' himsel for twa hours, I laid my lug lo the key-hole o' the door, and owerheard the following dialogue." At this part of mine host's narrative the rattling of a wheeled vehicle was heard. and ceased immediately upon reaching the door of the inn. Mr Cleekum, the village lawyer, had come in a few minutes before, and was sitting beside us, laughing at M'Gowan's narrative, of the latter part of which he also had been an auditory witness. M'Gowan's loquacity ceased when he heard the vehicle at the door; he looked out at the window, turned round to me, and said hastily, "Maister Cleekum 'll tell ye a' about it, sir,—he heard it as weel as me.— Excuse me, there's a gig at the door. We maun mind our ain shop, ye ken, and a rider's penny's worth a gangrel's groat ony day."

So saying, he hurried out, leaving the lawyer to gratify my curiosity by the sequel of the dominie's solitary dialogue.

"M'Gowan's description, sir, of this eccentric being is by no means exaggerated." said Mr Cleekum; "and if it can afford you any amusement, I shall relate the remainder of Mr Gray's dialogue, which I am the better enabled to do, from having put myself to the trouble of noting down the particulars, at the recital of which old Simon and myself have since laughed very heartily. You need not be surprised at his broad Scotch accent; he has such a decided partiality for it, that he is commonly averse to using any other tongue, though no man speaks more politely than himself when he is so disposed, and when the persons he converses with render it necessary. — After having finished his first measure of indulgence, Mr Gray proceeded thus:—

"'Come now, Sir Simon, and I'll help ye hame, ye auld rogue.—I am much obliged to you, Mr Gray, but I'll try to gar my ain shanks serve my ain turn, and ye may e'en put your ain hand to your ain hasp, my friend.—If ye like, we'll have anither gill, and then toddle thegither.—Beware o' dram-drinking, Sir Simon; ye'll get an evil name in the clachan.—I beg your pardon, Mr Gray; I have been a riddle to the folks ower lang already, and as 1 ne'er do aucht in a corner, but what I may do on the causey, everybody kens he'll no mak onything mair or less o' me by being inquisitive. Na, na, Mr Gray, ye're a' out there; there is no ane in the parish would hear an ill word o' Simon.—But ye're an auld man, sir, and set an evil example to others.—

Ne'er a ane do I set an evil example to but yoursel, Mr Gray; and for a' your cant about sobriety, ye take your drams as regularly as I do; and I defy you— I defy you or ony other man to say ye e'er saw me the waur o' liquor in your life. Besides, Mr Gray, the progress of human life is like a journey from the equator to the north pole. We commence our career with the heat of passion and the light of hope, and travel on, till passion is quenched by indulgence, and hope, flying round the ball of life which is blackening before us, seems to come up behind us, mingled with dim and regretted reminiscences of things hoped for, obtained, enjoyed, and lost for ever but to memory:

Oh! age has weary days,
And nights of sleepless pain.

Youth needs no stimulus, it is too hot already; but when a man is shuffling forward into the Arctic circle of old age, he requires a warm potation to thaw the icicles that crust around his heart, and freeze up the streams of his affections. There's for you, Mr Gray; what do you think of that?—Why, I think, Sir Simon, we'll tell Duncan to fill't again.—That now, that now, is friendly;' and so saying, he rung for the landlord to fetch him the means of prolonging his solitary conviviality.

"This is that portion of Mr Gray's dialogue with himself which M'Gowan and myself, perhaps officiously, listened to ; but as we are upon the subject of our venerable friend's peculiarities, it may not be out of place to recite a little poetical work, which he composed some time ago." Having signified the pleasure I should derive from being favoured with the recital of a work from the pen of so eccentric a humorist as the dominie, Mr Cleekum proceeded to draw forth from his pocket and to read:—

The Minister's Mare,

The minister's mare was as gude a gray mare
As ever was saddled, or bridled, or shod;
Be't foul or be't fair, be't late or be't air,
She nichered aye gladly when takin' the road.

The minister late in the e'ening cam hame.
And stabled his marie, and heapit her heck,
And gae her a forpit o' oats to her wame,
And theekit her cozily wi' an auld sack.

And the minister's wife wi' a bowet cam out,
For a tenty and mensefu' wife was she;
Glowered round her for gangrels that might be about,
And syne in the stable-door thrawed round the key.

And she oxtered the minister up the stair
To his room, where his supper and slippers were hot,
Whaur a wee creepie-stool and an elbow chair
At the blithe ingle-neuk were right cozily set.

As the reverend carle gaed ben the house Iaughin',
And clappin' his wife, an' rubbin' his hands,
She helpit him aff wi' his green tartan raughen,
And frae 'neath his round chin loosed his lily-white bands.

When supper was ower, the minister birsled
His shins on the creepie upon the hearth-stane;
Worn out wi' fatigue, to his roostin-place hirsled,
And laid himsel down wi' a wearied-man's grane.

His canny wee wife saw him cozily happit,
Syne drew back the chairs frae the warm ingle-side;
Put creesh in the ee o' the candle, and clappit
Right kindly and couthily down by his side.

The cracks o' the twasomc were kindly but few:
The minister wi' a "hech-ho," turned him roun',
O'er his cauld shouther-head the warm blanket he drew,
Syne pu'd down his night-cap and snored snug and soun'.

The morning's bright bonfire, that bleezed in the east,
Had meltit in heaven ilk wee siller stern,
When the cock crawed reveille to man, bird, and beast,
As he sat on an auld knotty rung in the barn.

The dog in the watch-house yowled eerie and lang,
And struggled right fiercely to break frae his chain;
The auld chapel bell like a burial knell rang,
And groanings were heard as frae bodies in pain.

A loud rap cam rap to the minister's yett,
The minister's wife wondered wha might be there;
While the reverend carle, glammering, graipit to get
His drawers and bauchels, to slip down the stair.

But he warily first frae the stair-winnock keekit,
To ken wha this early disturber might be;
When he saw the dog loose, and the barn-door unsteckit,
And his mare at the yett, cap'ring wild to be free.

Frae a blackavised rider, wha spurred her and bouned her,
Wi' mony wild curses to tak to the road:
And he stuck like a burr, though campsterie he fand her,
While the minister cried, "There's been thieves here, gude".

"Fie, Tibby rise." roared Mess John, loud as thunder,
"The mischief's come o'er us, we're herriet, undone;
The barn's broke, the dog's loose, the mare's aff, and yonder
She's rinnin'—fie! bring me my hat, coat, and shoon!"

His claes huddled on, wi' his staff in his han',
He out at the yett wi' a belly-flaught flew;
While the stour that his mare raised in clouds o'er the lan,'
Turned into a glaur-drop ilk clear blob o' dew.

The stour, borne alang wi' the wind strong and gusty,
Gar'd the minister look like a miller sae gray;
And the sweat on his face, mixed wi' dust, grew as crusty
As if he were modelled in common brick-clay.

And sometimes he haltit, and sometimes he ran,
And sometime she sat himsel down in despair;
And sometimes he grew angry, and sometimes began
To lighten his sair-burdened heart wi' a prayer.

But madly the rider o'er hill and o'er dale,
Wi' the minister's mare like a fire-flaught he flew;
Whiles seen on a hill-top, whiles lost in a vale,
Till they baith looked like motes on the welkin sae blue.

The minister by the road-side sat him down,
As vexed and as wearied as man weel could be;
Syne pu'd aff his wig, rubbed the sweat frae his crown,
And puffed, steghed, and graned like a man gaun to dee.

When an auld farmer carle, on his yaud trotting by,
Accosted Mess John as he sat in despair;
Made a bow like a corn-sack, and as he drew nigh,
Raised his twa waukit loofs, cryin' "What brought ye there?

"I'm sure it's nae mair than an hour since I saw ye
At Bourtree Brae-head, and that's eight miles awa!"
And he rubbit his een as he cried out, "Foul fa' me!"
For glammery's come o'er me, or else you're grown twa.

"And where is your mare, for she stood at the door,
Wi' her bridle-reins drawn through a ring in the wa'.
At Dawson's door-cheek, where I saw her before
I had drunk deoch-an-dorus wi' Donald M'Craw."

" Ye saw me!" said the minister; "how could that be,
When I've only proceeded thus far on my road?
And that this is mysel, by a glance ye may see."
"Why, then," cried the farmer, "the thing's vastly odd".

"But twa hours ago, sir, your double was sitting
At Dawson's fire-side,—faith! as I thoucht, half fou,—
And ilk ane at hand thoucht it time to be flitting,
When ye cursed and blasphemed till the candle burned blue,"

"Why, Saunders, it's surely been Sawtan ye've seen,
The foul thief himsel, I could wad a gray groat;
He staw my gray mare;—just turn back, my auld friend,
Till I strip the foul thief of his sanctified coat.

"I've warded wi' Sawtan for many a year;
I've cloured him and loundered him aft times right sair;
But the foul fiend has played me a pliskie, I fear;
Lord save's, man, I ne'er heard the like, I declare

"Fie, Saunders, let's mount, and to Dawson's let's hurry,
And chase the loon back to his ain lowin' hame;
The tod's in the fauld, God's ain lambs he may worry;
Come, Saunders, let's hunt him, Auld Clootie's fair game."

And they rode till they came to John Dawson's fore-door,
Whaur the minister lighted, but wadna step in,
When he heard how the deil in his ain likeness swore,
As he dirled at the door, for the third tappit hen.

And the folk were confounded,—amazed,—when they saw
The auld carle himsel they had aft seen before;
Some darned into corners, and some ran awa,
And ithers ran out, and glowered in at the door.

But the minister beckoned them a' to come back
To the room aff-and-on where the devil sat fou;
In the wooden partition there gaped a wide crack,
That ilk ane, by turns, wi' amazement looked through.

And there they heard Cloots, in a big elbow-chair,
Snore like thunder far-aff, and now sleeping right sound,
And some thought his feet didna look like a pair,
For the tae o' the ae boot to the heel was turned round.

And they saw, when the ither foot once or twice moved,
That the boot on that foot just turned round the same way;
Which, to the onlookers, sufficiently proved,
They were baith cloven feet,—ay, as clear as the day.

They saw a bit kitlin, that friskit and pattit
A muckle black tossel below the big chair;
And it swung like a pend'lum, as wee baudrons clawtit
The end that hung down like a bunch o' horse-hair.

When Dawson's bull-terrier, streeked on the hearth-stane.
Saw Clootie's tail wagging, he barkit like mad;
Sprung till't like a fury, and tugged might and main,
And the deevil himsel couldna lowsen his baud.

But the deil started up wi' big chair, dog, an' a',
And staggered, and stampit, and ance or twice fell;
Mess John cried, "Lord save us!"—Like lightning, awa
Flew deevil, and big chair, and terrier, to------!

"There's a strange production for you," said Mr CIeekum, as he folded the paper and replaced it in his pocket.

"A strange production, indeed," said I; "what could be Mr Gray's object in writing such a poem?"

"Merely to please himself, sir, I suppose," was the lawyer's answer.

But," continued I, "has it any reference to any particular character or occurrence; or is it merely an extravagant fiction of the dominie's own brain?"

"It refers to an old popular tradition, "answered Mr Cleekum, "concerning a pious predecessor of our worthy minister, Mr Singleheart; and, though the currency of its belief is now somewhat crossed and obstructed by an adverse current of growing intelligence, it still floats in the memories and imaginations of those venerable annalists, the old women of the village, with whom the idle story was likely to perish for ever, if the dominie's metrical version had not contributed to prolong it."

Various remarks were made upon the merits of the production; but as they were all blended with statements and allusions relative to local characters and incidents not connected with my present object, I resume my interrupted narrative.

The children still continued round the door, shouting, halooing, and acting a thousand extravagances, nor could they be prevailed upon to depart till they saw the "maister." Simon, who had so far collected his scattered senses, and renewed his exhausted strength, as to be able to give them that gratification, had no sooner opened the door for the purpose of receiving the congratulations of his scholars, than those who were nearest leaped up and embraced him with unfeigned affection. They pulled and lugged him, crying, "Maister, maister!" while the beloved instructor stood hugging his chubby associates, and embracing them with all the warmth of an affectionate parent. These kind-hearted little beings, after receiving another token of the old man's goodness, in the shape of pieces of biscuit and gingerbread, ran off, huzzaing, to inform their parents of the marvellous escape of their venerable preceptor.

Simon, being disengaged from the warm embraces of his pupils, came into the room where the landlord, Cleekum the lawyer, and myself were silting. I had now full leisure and opportunity to examine the appearance of this singular and eccentric character. It was completely at variance with every characteristic of modern gentility. His dress betokened the hand of the cunning craftsman of the last century, or his own whimsical taste had dictated to some modern son of the goose and , thimble the antique shape of his habiliments; but, as we were before informed by the landlord, they were entirely the fabrication of his own taste and ingenuity. His single-breasted, rusty-black coat tapered away from the shoulders towards his lower extremities in the pyramidal shape, and when unbuttoned, or unclasped, rather, swung its copious folds round his jolly form with cumbrous and fantastical elegance. Two mother-of-pearl buttons, of uncommon circumference, and encircled with brass rings, were stuck as ornaments upon the haunches, and the breast was decorated with grotesque circles of the same fantastical description, with the addition of a handsome row of bright silver clasps. The vest, with its massy superfluity of cloth, parted in the middle, and its ample pockets descended halfway down his thigh, leaving a space between their separation and the head of his breeches for his bright linen shirt

to shine through, in the shape of an isosceles triangle. His blue plush breeches had three chequered or diced brass buttons to preserve their connexion, and terminated at the knee with the genuine old Cameraman cut. His stockings were light blue, sprinkled with little oblong dots of white; and his shoes, cut square across the toes to save his corns, were held upon his feet by two antiquated silver buckles of uncommon magnitude and curious workmanship. His personal appearance was that of a substantial old bachelor, on whom nature had generously bestowed a sound constitution, and it was evident from his looks that he by no means despised that invaluable inheritance. His face inclined to the square, but the features were all curvilinear, rather prominent, and flushed with that rosy hue of health which so often beams from the countenances of the sons and daughters of rustic labour. His forehead was highly expressive of intellect, but the nether part of the face indicated that lubberly sort of feeling which glories in a life of good humoured ease and fat contentment. His eyes were small, of a bright blue, but not a pair, for the one squinted outward through. the interstices of his gray, bristly eyebrows; which, along with a nether lip somewhat pendulous, a mouth turned up at the corners, and a long fiat chin, gave the whole face a comical and risible expression.

During the time that Cleekum was reading his notes of the dominie's solitary dialogue, Mr Singleheart, the village minister, M'Glashan the piper, and some others belonging to the village, came into the room, which seemed to be as much public property as the village smithy. On the dominie's entrance all rose to salute and congratulate him upon his fortunate escape; and I could see, from the cordial manner in which each in his turn grasped the old man's hand, that each had his heart at his finger-ends. It was not that puppyish forefinger-and-thumb sort of salutation which clips another frosty forefinger-and-thumb as if dreading contagion, but a hearty, honest grappling of fist with fist, which drew the blood from its fountain with a thrilling impulse, and sent its current warm and glowing into the clenched extremities, which were shaken so violently, and for such a length of time, that an imaginative and hasty person might suppose, in the rapidity of his decision, that each individual was disposed to graft himself upon the dominie, whose right arm, at length, seemed as feeble as that of a poor gut-scraper, who has jigged at a country wedding for a whole night.

When Simon entered, I was introduced to him by Cleekum, whom I had by this time discovered to be an old school-fellow of my own. He saluted me with a frank and pleasant smile, and squeezed my hand so cordially, that I immediately felt that spontaneous and indefinable feeling of attachment towards him which, though the electric emotion of a moment, is often the forerunner of a long course of friendly intimacy. Upon my father's name being mentioned. Simon recognised him as a playmate of his earlier days, and gave me a kindly invitation to spend a few days with him. which circumstances obliged me to refuse. Simon then took the opportunity of introducing me more particularly to the rest of the company, on account of "the old man," as he said, meaning my father, for whom he seemed to entertain a deep sentiment of regard. He last of all recommended me with an air of serious solemnity to the notice of M'Gowan.

"This gentleman," said he, pointing to the last-mentioned individual, who appeared to be a singular compound of officiousness, selfishness, and benevolence, and who seemed to be at all times a standing joke with my venerable friend, "has some pretensions to honesty. He'll do ye a good turn sometimes when ye're no thinking o't; and, unlike the most of other men, he likes his friends the better the longer they sit beside him. Familiarity does not breed contempt with him, but poverty does ; and yet he's no the hindmost to help misery to an awmous when he's in a right mood for being good-hearted, and that happens aye ance or twice in a twalmonth."

"Come, come, now," said M'Gowan. gravely, "we'll hae nae mair o' that, Mr Gray. Ye're an unco wag. It was only yestreen ye got me into a foul scrape wi' our friend Cleekum there. and he flang out o' the house, swearing like a very heathen that he wad tak the law o' me for defamation o' character."

"For the sake of peace and good fellowship," said Mr Singleheart, "it will be meet and advisable for us to refrain, as much as in us lies, from profane joking and oonseasonable raillery; because joking has small yedification in it, and raillery is a sort of salt-and-pepper compound, whilk burnetii up the inward man with a fervent heat, and profiteth not, neither is meet for bodily nourishment."

"I would be o' your thocht, Mr Sinklart," said Donald M'Glashlan the piper; "I would be making peace wi' peast and pody"—

The piper was thus proceeding with his Highland exhortations to harmony, when Cleekum. who was sitting looking out at the window, started suddenly from his seat and hurried out of the house. M 'Gowan's curiosity being roused by Cleckum's abrupt departure, he followed him to the door, and beheld him and M'Harrigle the cattle-dealer at some distance, earnestly engaged in conversation. All that M'Gowan's ear could catch of their discourse was concerning the mad bull, M'Harrigle's property, and the occasional mention of the dominie's name.

"There's mischief a-brewing down the lane there," said M'Gowan, when he came in. "Cleekum and that foolish passionate body M'Harrigle are standing yonder, an' I could hear they were sayin' something o' you, Mr Gray, but what it was I couldna weel mak out. He's a doited, credulous body, that M'Harrigle; an' I could wager a sax-pence Cleekum's makin' a deevil o' him some way or anither."

M'Gowan's surmises were suddenly interrupted by vociferous and clamorous exclamations at the door, and their cause did not remain long unexplained. The door of the apartment flew open, and, rattling against the wall with violence, admitted the author of this fresh disturbance. It was M'Harrigle. He was a short, square-shouldered man, of fierce aspect, whose naturally harsh features were much exaggerated by a powerful and alarming expression of rage and resentment. The face was, indeed, at first sight indescribable, and the tumultuous feelings and passions that deepened and darkened every line of it wrought such fearful and sudden changes upon its muscular expression that the whole seemed at first a wizard compound of different identities.

Upon entering, his first salutation was a deafening and broken torrent of cursing, poured forth upon the dominie, as the fancied author of the flight and death of the mad animal, whose career had spread such consternation through the village. It was in vain that the whole company remonstrated against the rudeness, absurdity, and brutality of his conduct. He stood on the middle of the floor with his fist doubled, menaced each of us in our turn, as we interposed between him and the object of his resentment, or smiled at his folly and extravagance, and once or twice grappled the large oaken cudgel with which he impelled his horned property, as if he intended to commit the like beastly violence on those around him. Cleekum had retired to a" corner to enjoy the sport his wicked waggery had created. The dominie sat composedly, and squinted at the cattle-dealer with a sly and jocular leer, which showed his soul delighted even in a very serious joke, from an inveterate habit of extracting fun from all the petty and frivolous incidents of common life. At times he seemed lost in a careless, musing mood, and at other times burst out into immoderate fits of laughter, which seemed to me perfectly unaccountable. He then, in the true spirit and feeling of an enthusiastic elocutionist, recited from Shakspeare some favourite passage, warbled out a fragment of some ancient ditty, every now and then interspersing it with shrill and fitful passages of a new sonnata, which he had been practising on the violin, whose shrill treble fell in between the intervals of M'Harrigle's bass notes, like loose sand or gravel strewed over a rude foundation of ruble work. "D------ye," said M'Harrigle, rising in his wrath at every fresh interruption of the dominie, and maddened at his really provoking coolness and indifference, "d------ ye, ye think it a' a joke to hunt a man's cattle to destruction, and then mak a fool o' himsel wi' your blackguard and unknown tongues! Confound your hide, you glee'd, fiddling vagabond, an it werna for your coat, I would harle your hide ower your lugs like a sark! Pay me my siller—pay me my siller for the beast, or I'll turn the nose on your face like the pin o' a hand-screw. Down wi' the dust—I'll no leave the room till I hae satisfaction o' ye ae way or ither, that's for certain."

"Let there be peace," said Mr Singleheart, "for out of strife cometh a multitude of evils; and he who in vain taketh the name of his Maker shall not be held guiltless. You are an evil person, M'Harrigle; and if you refrain not from that profane and heathenish habit of cursing, we will, by the advice and council of our Kirk-Session, be obligated to debar you from all kirk preevileges, and leave you to be devoured and swallowed up by the evil one."

"I beg your pardon," said the credulous and superstitious cattle-dealer; "I didna mean offence to you or ony man in the room; but I'll hae my ain. But it's you, sir—it's you, sir," continued he, addressing the dominie repeatedly, and extending the tone of his voice at every repetition, till he had strained it to the most astounding pitch of vociferation; "it's you, sir, that set ane o' your mischievous vagabonds to hunt the poor dumb animal, till he ran red wud wi' rage, and flew ower the craig head. And now lie's at the bottom o' the linn, and tient be licket's to be seen o' him, but an ill-faured hash o' hide, an' banes, and harrigles, sooming an' walloping at the bottom o' the pool."

"Somebody's blawn an ill sough in your lug, friend," said the dominie, as he caught M'Harrigle gently by the sleeve, and invited him to sit down.

"Aff haun's," cried M'Harrigle, rudely repelling the dominie's invitation, —"aff haun's, I say; no man shall handle me like a brute beast. I ken what's right as weel's ony man, and I'll allow no man to straik me wi' the hair. to wyse me his ain gate, and syne row my tail to gar me rin by my ain byre door. I want no favours of ony man. but I'll hae my ain, if there's law and justice in the land."

M'Harriglc proceeded at great length to insist upon his right of restitution, bespattering his slaughter-house observations with abominable oaths, like dirty shreds of dunghill rags sewed on a beggar's doublet ; while the dominie sat musing, swinging backward and forward in his chair, making mental and sometimes audible quotations from the liquid Latin, and, at other times, reciting Greek professorially, ore ru-tundo. At length, awakening from his learned reverie, and looking over his shoulder to M'Harrigle, he said, in a tone most provokingly cool and indifferent,—

"Were ye cursing, M'Harrigle? Ye shouldna curse, ye sinfu' body; for an ill life maks an ill hinder-end, and Sawtan's but a rough nurse to spread the sheets and draw the curtains o' one's death-bed."

The enraged cattle-dealer, finding all further threats and remonstrances unavailing, sat down in sullen and silent indignation, and, with his arms folded across his breast, his eyebrows knit, and his upper teeth firmly compressed against his nether lip, he scowled upon the supposed author of his wrongs, with an expression of face unutterably horrible. He had just sat down when Grierson the messenger brought in a tall, yellow, raw-boned thing of a boy. about fourteen years of age. He had been seized in Sir Robert's poultry-yard, and although he had nothing in his possession to convict him as a criminal, his manner was so embarrassed, and his appearance altogether so suspicious, that the servants laid hold on him, and committed him to the charge of the officer above mentioned, to be carried before a Justice of the Peace and interrogated. He was accordingly conveyed to M'Gowan's, where the officer expected to find Christopher Ramsay of Wrcndykeside, who, he was informed, had just alighted at the inn from his gig. He had gone, however, and the officer was about to depart with his charge, when the dominie called him back, and looking pleasantly at the boy, exclaimed, ''Ah, Geordie, are ye there, ye wild loon?" The boy started at the voice of his old preceptor, whom he had not before observed. He indeed had heard and believed that his venerable instructor had been torn to pieces by the fury of the mad animal, whose destruction had roused M'Harrigle's wrath to such a pilch of frenzy. He gazed upon the dominie with open mouth, and with a pair of large round eyes, much dilated beyond their usual circumference by an overpowering feeling of astonishment ; grew pale, and trembled so fearfully that his gruff guardian was compelled by humanity to let him have a seat beside his old master, who rose for his accommodation. The afflicted youth made an effort to speak, but in vain. He stretched out his two hands, grasped that of his master which was extended towards him, looked up in his face, and sobbed as if his heart would burst. The tears ran in floods down his cheeks, and he at length cried out in a choked undertone of bitter agony,—

"Maister, will ye forgie me? Will ye forgie me? Will they hang me for't?"

"Blessings on's, man, Geordie," cried the dominie, "what's wrung wi' ye?"

"Oh!" cried the afflicted boy, "my father, and mother, and brothers, and as sisters, and a' will get a sair heart for me yet. Oh!" and he continued to cry distractedly.

"The deil tak the laddie." said M'Harrigle, "it maks a man's heart as saft as ill-fed veal to look at him. What's come ower ye, ye blubbering stirk?"

Mr Singlcheart spoke not a word to him, hut continued clapping him on the shoulder, while M'Glashan, every now and then, cried out, "Hout, laddie, you'll be makin' a fool o' us a' noo," and so saying, he drew the back of his brawny list across his eyes several times, began to finger his bagpipe in silence, as if he would soothe his sympathy by the imagination of playing some merry spring, but his fingers, after two or three rapid dumb-show flourishes, stood as stationary upon the holes as if the piper and his instrument of sound had been both chiselled out of the same stone. The boy still vented his grief as clamorously and bitterly as ever, clung to his master with the agony of a conscience-stricken penitent, and cried,—

"Will ye forgie me? It was me that hunted the bull that I thocht had killed ye."

"You, ye vagabond!" said M'Harrigle, collaring the unhappy youth. Cleekum seized the opportunity of running off, rightly considering that he had carried the joke far beyond the bounds of discretion, and really apprehensive that the evil spirit he had conjured up would turn upon himself and rend him in its fury. "You!" continued the irascible cattle-dealer; "what do ye think that ye deserve, you ill-gi'en neer-do-wcel? But I'll mak your father pay."

This last consideration loosened his grasp, and he seized the dominie's hands with both his own, begged a thousand pardons with a rueful countenance, and in accents very different from his former imprecatory addresses. During the time that he was making this sincere and penitent apology for his rudeness and misconduct, he several times glanced round the apartment for Cleekum, crying out, "Where is that blackguard scribe? It was him that did it a'." He was safe, however.

"There's nae harm done where there's nae ill meant," said the dominie, in reply to M'Harrigle's confession of repentance; "only ye shouldna flee on a body like an ill-bred tyke, when an ill-disposed neebour cries 'shoo' to ye. Dinna ye be ower ready in telling your mind to anybody, but let your thoughts cool as weel as your parritch."

"'Od, Simon," rejoined the cattle-dealer, "I am sure ye can hardly forgie me for the ill-faured words I hae said to ye the night ; I wish I could forget and forgie them mysel. I'm a wild brier o' a body; I'm aye into some confounded hobbleshow or anither. But I'm glad, man, I didna lay hands on ye, for if I had I wad ne'er hae for-gi'en mysel for't as lang as I live. Can I do naething to mak amends to ye for what I've done?"

"Naething at a'." replied the dominie, "but to settle as easily as ye can wi' the laddie's father."

"Peradventure," Mr Singleheart suggested, "the youth may he released from his captivity, and sent to the habitation of his father."

"There'll be twa ways o' that faith!" exclaimed Grierson. "Na, na, though the hangman has lost a job, I'll be paid for my trouble. I dinna gang about beating bushes for Unties, for deil-be-lickit but the pleasure o' seeing them fleein' back again. I'll cage him. Ye're a' ready enough to wind a hank aff a neebour's reel, or tak a nievefu' out o' his pock neuk, but ne'er a ane o' ye'll gie a duddy loon ae thread to mend his breeks, or a hungry beggar a handfu' o' meal to haud his wame nae slickin' to his back bane."

"There," said M'Harrigle, tossing down a small sum of money as a bribe to stop the mouth of this snarling terrier of the law, "tak that, and save the parish the expense o' buying you a tether."

Grierson picked up the monev and departed, leaving behind him as tokens of his displeasure, some muttered and unintelligible growlings; and the boy was set at liberty, and sent home to his father.

"Come, come," said M'Harrigle, "this affair 'll no be weel ended till we hae sowthered our hearts again wi' a half mutchkin o' M'Gowan's best. Come, Duncan, draw the tow, and tell the gudewife to fetch the mutchkin stoup, and het water to kirsten't. I'm sure I'm a fule o' a body, for my lang tongue, my short temper, and my short wit, hae keepit me in a fry a' the days o' me."

"Ye're vera right, M'Harrigle," said the landlord, rubbing his hand briskly at the blithe proposal. "I'll ring for Tibbie; she'll bring us something worth preein' out o' her am bole. She's a bit eident body, and aye keeps a drap heart's comfort in an orra neuk."

M'Gowan pulled a hare's foot at the end of a rope, which was suspended from an unhewn piece of knotted wood. of a three-legs-of-man shape, fastened by a strong screw nail into the wall, and a solemn bell, most unlike the merry tinkle of an alehouse warning, was heard jowin' and croorin' in a distant apartment from which our hostess presently made her appearance.

Her aspect and demeanour at first sight bespoke your affection. There was in her face a look of blithe contentment with her condition; in her dress a neat attention to cleanliness and simplicity, and in her whole manner and behaviour a hearty and honest desire, not only to be happy herself, but to make all around her equally comfortable. She curtseyed respectfully and smilingly when she entered the room; but it was not that cut-and-dried sort of politeness which publicans in general indiscriminately pay to all their customers;—it was a kind of friendly greeting, mingled with no small portion of gratitude towards those on whom she was conscious she depended for subsistence. It was that warm and kindly expression of affection which brought one who was removed from his family fireside in mind of his mother, and which made imagination point out her habitation as a quiet resting place, where the unsettled sojourner might stop and glean from the barren field of earthly enjoyment some few ripe ears of happiness.

"My gude will to ye a', gentlemen; I'm thinkin' ye were ca'in'."

"That we were," said M'Harrigle. "Fctch us a mutchkin o' your best gudewife, and some het water."

"Ye'se no want that." replied our hostess; "but ye'll aiblins aforehand be pleased to tak a tasting o' supper; I hae't ready for ye yonder, as I guessed some o' ye might stand in need o' some sma refreshment. I'll send it ben to ye in twa or three minutes, and syne get ye onything else ye want. Ay will ye," said the motherly, sonsy, little woman, as she shut the door behind her with a gentleness of hand which showed that her affections had some regard even for things inanimate.

A beautiful tall girl immediately made her appearance, and prepared the round oaken table before us for the reception of the landlady's hospitality, by spreading over it a table-cloth of mowy whiteness, and in arranging the shining implements, which, from their brilliant cleanliness, seemed to be kept as much for ornaments to the kitchen shelf, as for the more vulgar purpose of preparing food for the process of mastication. She was evidently the daughter of the hostess. Her countenance indicated all the amiable qualities of her mother, but her manners were more polished,—at least they seemed so, perhaps from the circumstance of her language being pure English, unmixed with any of the Doric dialect of her parent. By the mutual assistance of the landlady and her daughter, the table soon groaned beneath a load of savoury substantialities, most pro-vokingly pleasant to all but myself. Our chairs being drawn forward towards the attractive influence of the supper, and grace being said by the reverend Mr Singleheart, they all proceeded lustily and cheerfully to the work of repletion.

"Oogh! " says M'Glashan the piper, as he opened his Celtic jaws, and disclosed two formidable rows of white stakes, which stood as a sort of turnpike gate to the entrance of his stomach, and demanded toll of all that passed that way,—"oogh! this'll pe tooin' her good, for her fu' bag maks a loot trone."

"Verily, it is both savoury and refreshing," said Mr Singleheart. as he sawed away with a suppleness of elbow by no means consistent with the staid solemnity of his usual motions.

"My faith!" said M'Harrigle to the dominie, "your mill gangs glibly."

''Ay," says the dominie, "the still sow licks up the draff, and a heapit plate maks hungry men scant o' cracks."

"And scant o havins too, I think," said M'Gowan; "for the stranger gentleman's sittin' there before us wi' a loom plate."

"Let him alane," said the dominie; "it's time he were learning that a man that's hamely's aye welcome, and that frank looks mak kind hearts."

Cleekum had secreted himself in the kitchen, and, though indebted to Mrs M'Gowan's fidelity for his preservation from M'Harrigle's indignation, he was by no means satisfied with the amount of the night's amusement. It was at all times a source of delight to him to observe men acting extravagantly and foolishly under misconception and false impressions of one another; and he at no time hesitated to invent and circulate fabrications, generally innocent, indeed, as to intention, but sometimes productive of serious consequences. He was commonly the most taciturn individual in company, and notwithstanding his frolicsome and mischievous disposition, enjoyed the reputation among his neighbours of being a skilful lawyer, and what is still more creditable, a man of unimpeached integrity. This last quality, in some measure, atoned for his love of mischief, and enabled him to perform with impunity wild pranks, which might have seriously injured almost any oilier man.

When he saw Dame M'Gowan preparing supper, his whimsical imagination suggested to him the very ridiculous and extravagant trick of making M'Glashan believe that his favourite bagpipes formed a part of the entertainment. This he accomplished by giving a little urchin a penny to steal unperceived into the room and fetch them away, and an old pair that lay on a shelf in the kitchen furnished him with the ready materials for carrying his whimsical conceit into execution. Ribbons of the same breadth and colour with those which garnished M'Glashan's pipes were purchased, and tied upon the drone, which was then attached to the "chieftain o' the pudding race," which had never before perhaps been dignified with such notable marks of distinction. Mrs M'Cowan whispered to her husband a hint of the rarity preparing for them in the kitchen, and he gave a sly intimation of the same to the dominie.

Part of the dishes being removed, the whole company sat in silent expectation of this new specimen of culinary skill, for the whispered hint had by this time been communicated to all except M'Glashan himself. The dominie squinted at M'Gowan, with that sly and jocular expression of face for which he was so remarkable. The landlord himself could with difficulty restrain his risibility within the compass of a well-bred smile. It was evident, from the various workings of his features, that it required no small exertion to master down his inward emotion, and keep it from leaping forth and divulging the secret of the coming joke.

After a delay of a few minutes our good hostess entered with a pair of bagpipes on a large plate. She placed them on the table and hurried out of the room, evidently for the purpose of enjoying a prudential and private laugh. There stood the piper's instrument on the middle of the table, "warm, reeking, rich," steaming forth its appetising fragrance, regaling every nose, delighting every eye, and provoking instantaneous peals of laughter from all but the supposed proprietor of this fantastical but seemingly substantial piece of good cheer.

"Cod mak a mercy on us a'! An' I will teclare, a poiled pagpipe! Who'll be toing that, noo? Oogh! oogh!" said the enraged musician, snuffing himself into an ungovernable fit of rage, raising his brawny and ponderous form into a threatening attitude and doubling his knotty, iron fists, with the design of hammering the offender, whose wicked temerity had dared to brave the indignation of this half-reclaimed mountaineer. "An you'll offer to jag him, and let out his win' too. oogh! you'll petter be a' looking ower a house-rigging o' twa storey. You'll poil your tam haggis in my pag, and setter my trone too, and the vera ribbons I had at the com-petcetion. Shust mine!" cried the enraged Highlander, looking more intently at the Scotch haggis with its whimsical appendages. "An you'll no tell me the man wha would be toing that, I will mak the room my ain in five minutes. I taur you all to touch him. I'll mak a tead man o' her—oogh! oogh!"

I was the only individual in the company who seemed to feel any apprehensions about the consequence of this absurd piece of waggery. All the rest enjoyed it rarely, not even excepting the Rev. Mr Singleheart, who, though possessing none of the elements of jocularity himself, was yet at limes singularly well pleased to second a piece of innocent fun with his individual portion of jocose laughter.

"Sit down, ye muckle Highland stirk," said M'Harriglc, "and no mak a sough there about a boiled bagpipe. I'se warrant it's a bit of glide eatin'; and we'll see what can be made o't when we hae pu'd awa thae whigma-leeries that are stickin' round about it. Faith! I wadna gie a mouthu' o' your bagpipe, M'Glashan, for a' the music that ever came out o' its drone."

"It's quite a musical feast," quoth the dominie; "only I fear we'll be troubled wi' wind in our stomachs after making a meal o't. Sit down, M'Glashan," he continued, "for, as you were sayin' before, a fu' bag makes a loud drone."

"Sit town! sit town! and see six Sassenach teevils tefour the bagpipes that hae pelanged to a M'Glashan for twa hunder year! Oogh I won the competcetion too!"

The gaunt descendant of the Gael stood grinding his teeth, opening and clenching his big bony fists, as if he fancied himself about to grapple with some sturdy antagonist. His large blue eyes (laming from beneath the fringe of his knitted eyebrow, the big muscles encircling the corner of either eye, and curving round the mouth in deep hard folds, and the outward shelving upper-lip, puckered with a thousand wrinkles, were rendered more picturesque and fearful from being hedged round by an uncommon mass of bristly gray hair, two large portions of which hung on his broad, flat cheeks, like two large bunches of burned fursc, while the whole rugged exterior was rendered still more imposing by the association of his favourite guttural interjection, "oogh!" His aspect lowered so grim and threatening, his "ooghs" became so loud and numerous, that all began to think it time to soothe the spirit of this Highland storm, lest its rising wrath should descend with deadly vengeance on those around him.

The landlord stepped out and returned with M'Glashan's instrument. The mountaineer looked astonished, snatched it from him with eagerness, eyed it round and round, hugged and kissed the darling object of his affection, and poured into its capacious bag a stream of wind which immediately issued in a wild and stormy pibroch, Delighted with his own performance, "he botched and blew will) might and main," mingling, every now and then, with his unearthly music, the half-recitative bass of a broad rumbling laugh, while M'Harrigle's rugged terrier, with his two fore paws upon the piper's knees, spun out long and eerie howls of canine sympathy. It was in vain that we praised the savoury Scotch haggis, and recommended it to the palate of M'Glashan. His heart, as well as his wind, was in his bagpipe, and he never once deigned to return an answer to our reiterated invitations ; but having exhausted his scanty musical budget, the contents of which amounted to no more than a few Highland reels and strathspeys, he droned away in voluntaries so utterly horrible and dissonant, that Simon Gray, after swallowing a few morsels with as rueful contortions of visage as if every mouthful had been dipped in sand, ran out of the room holding his ears, and giving vent to a harsh German ach! which was powerfully expressive of his crucified sense of hearing. The piper piped on, and seemed to enjoy a sort of triumph over the wounded feelings of the departed dominie. None of the rest of the company followed his example, but each individual sat still with as much coolness and composure as if his ears had been hermetically sealed against the grunting, groaning, and yelling of this infernal musical-engine.

M'Glashan's tempestuous hostility at length ceased, and the dominie returned as the large punch-bowl was shedding its fragrant effluvia through the apartment, giving to every eye a livelier lustre, to every heart a warmer glow, and to every tongue a more joyous and voluble expression. No more than two or three glasses had circulated when Mr Singleheart and the dominie left the generous beverage to the enjoyment of the more profane and less responsible members of this assemblage of convivial spirits.

"He is an ill-hearted tyke who can't both give and take a joke," said Cleekum, as he burst abruptly into the apartment. "You would not certainly quarrel with an old friend, M'Har-rigle?"

"No, I'll be hanged if I do," was the reply of the cattle-dealer; "but Lord, man, if I had cloured Simon, I might hae run the kintra. Faith! if ye gang delvin' about this gate for fun, ye'll set your fit on a wasp's byke some day. If I had but gotten my hands ower ye twa hours syne, there would hae been a job for the doctor. Let there be nae mair about it;—there's a glass to ye."

"The night drave on wi' sangs and clatter."

One merry story suggested another, till the potent spirit of the bowl covered some all over with slumber "as with a cloak," laid others prostrate beneath the table, and to the maudlin eyes of the unconquered survivors presented every object as if of the dual number. The bustle and hurry of preparation in the kitchen had died away, orders for an additional supply of liquor were more tardily executed, and the kitchen-maid came in half undressed, holding a short gown together at the breast, rubbing her eyes, and staggering under the influence of a stolen nap at the fireside, from which she had been hastily and reluctantly roused. Cleekum, M'Harrigle, M'Glashan, and myself were the only individuals who had any pretentions to sobriety. The landlord had prudently retired to rest an hour before. Silence reigned in the whole bouse, except in one apartment, and silence would have put down her velvet footstep there also, but for the occasional roars of M'Harrigle, who bellowed as if he had been holding conversational communion with his own nowt; and the engine-without-oil sort of noise that M'Glashan made as he twanged, sputtered, and grunted his native tongue to M'Harrigle, who was turning round to the piper every now and then, crying "D------n your Gaelic, you've spewed enough o't the night; put a bung in your throat, you beast!"

A few flies that buzzed and murmured round the room were the only joyous and sleepless creatures that seemed disposed to prolong the revelry. The cold toddy having lost its delicious relish, produced loathing, and its former exhilarating effluvia was now sickening to the nose. The candle-wick stood in the middle of the flickering flame like a long nail with a large round head, and sending the light in fitful flashes against the walls. The cock had sounded his clarion, the morning seamed the openings of the window-shutters with lines of light, and the ploughman, roused to labour, went whistling past the door. I opened the window-shutter. A glare of light rushed in and condensed the flame of our little luminary into a single bud of pale light, whose sickliness seemed to evince a kindred sympathy with the disorderly remains of the night's revelry, and with the stupified senses and exhausted bodies of the revellers themselves.

I looked out of the window. All was silent, save the far-off whistle of the ploughman who had passed, and the continual roar of the cataract; and all was motionless, except the blue feathery smoke which puffed from a single-chimney, and floated down the glen in a long wavering stream. How chill and piercing the morning air feels to the nervous and debilitated reveller, and how reproachfully does the light of another day steal in upon the unseemly disorder of his privacy! Almost every man feels himself to be somewhat of a blackguard who is thus surprised.

Going home drunk in a summer morning! What a beast! Feebleness of knees, that would gladly lie down by the wayside,—headache, that makes the brain a mere puddle of dirty recollections, and dismal anticipations,—dimness of eyes, that makes every visible object caricaturish and monstrous,—filthiness of apparel enough to shame a very scavenger,—and a heart sick almost to the commission of felo de se. Zig-zag, thump, thump, down again, howling, swearing, praying. It is a libel on the brute creation to call it beastliness. Brutes do no such thing. And the morning, how fresh, clear, green, and glittering! Hang that fellow,—going to work, I imagine. What on earth roused him at such an unseasonable hour? To be a spy upon me, I suppose. Who are you, sir?—A poor man, please your honour, sir.—A poor man! go and be hanged then.—These birds yelping from that thicket are more unmusical than hurdy-gurdy, marrowbone and cleaver. I wish each of them had a pipe-stopple in its windpipe. I never heard such abominable discord. The whole world is astir. Who told them I was going home at this time in the morning? Who is that singing the "Flower o' Dunblane" at the other side of the hedge? A milkmaid— and the milkmaid singeth blithe." Ah. John Milton, thy notions of rural felicity were formed in a closet. You may have a peep of her through this "slap." Rural innocence!—a mere humbug,—a dirty, tawdry, pudding-legged, blowsy-faced, sun-burnt drab. What a thing for a shepherdess in a pastoral! Confound these road trustees; they have been drawing the road through a bore, and have made it ten times its common length, and a hundred times narrower than its common breadth. Horribly rough; no man can walk steadily on it. Have the blockheads not heard of M'Adam? In the words of the Lawrencckirk album epigrammatist,—

"The people here ought to be hanged.
Unless they mend their ways."

Hast thou, gentle reader, ever gone home drunk in a summer morning, when thy shame, that is day-light, was rising in the east? Sulky—a question not to be answered. So much for thy credit, for there be in this sinful and wicked world men who boast of such things. I am glad thou art not one of them. Neither do I boast of such doings; for, gentle reader, I went to bed. My bedroom was one of M'Gowan's garret-rooms. Cleekum and M'Harrigle, who lived at some distance, thought proper to retire to rest before visiting their own firesides; and M'Glashan, being a sort of vagrant musician, who had no legal domicile in any particular place, had always a bed assigned him in M'Gowan's when he visited the village.

Stretched in bed after a day's travelling and a night's carousing—exquisite pleasure! It is worth a man's while to travel thirty or forty miles to enjoy such a blessed luxury. After a few yawnings, pokings out and drawings up of the legs, the whole hotly begins to feel a genial glow of heat, and he is worse than an infidel who in such a pleasurable mood does not feel disposed to bless his Maker. Everything being properly arranged, the curtains carefully drawn around, the night-cap pulled down over the ears and folded upward on the brow, the pillow shifted, shuffled, and nicely adjusted to the head, the clothes pulled and lugged about, till there is not a single air-hole left to pinch the body, the downy bed itself, by sundry tossings and turnings, converted into an exact mould for the particular part of the body that has sunk into it, then does the joyous spirit sing to itself inwardly, with the mute melody of gratitude,— "I'm wearin' awa, Jean!"—Blackwood's Magazine, 1826.


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