"Cheerfully, sir," returned he,
handing me the box, for which, by the way, he first groped in his
waistcoat pocket; "I know what pleasure it is—‘nauribus
I soon discovered that my
companion, to whom a pinch of snuff had thus introduced me, was an
agreeable and well-informed man. About a mile before us lay a village in
which I intended to take up my quarters for the night, and near the
village was a house of considerable dimensions, the appearance of which it
would puzzle me to describe. The architect had evidently set all order at
defiance--it was a mixture of the castle and the cottage—a heap of stones
confusedly put together. Around it was a quantity of trees, poplars and
Scoth firs, and they appeared to have been planted as promiscuously as the
house was built. Its appearance excited my curiosity, and I inquired of my
companion what it was called, or to whom it belonged.
"Why, sir," said he,
"people generally call it LOTTERY HALL, but the original proprietor
intended that it should have been named LUCK’S LODGE. There is
rather an interesting story connected with it, if you had time to hear
"If the story be as amusing
as the appearance of the house," added I, "if you have time to tell it, I
shall hear it."
I discovered that my friend
with the silver-mounted spectacles kept what he termed an "Establishment
for Young Gentlemen" in the neighbourhood, that being the modernised
appellation for a boarding-school; though, judging from his appearance, I
did not suppose his establishment to be overfilled; and having informed
him that I intended to remain for the night at the village inn, I
requested him to accompany me, where, after I had made obeisance to a
supper, which was a duty that a walk of forty miles strongly prompted me
to perform, I should, "enjoying mine ease" like the good old bishop,
gladly hear his tale of Lottery Hall.
Therefore, having reached
the inn, and partaken of supper and a glass together, after priming each
nostril with a separate pinch from the box aforesaid, he thus began:—
Thirty years ago, there
dwelt within the village a man named Andrew Donaldson. He was merely a
day-labourer upon the estate of the Squire to whom the village belongs;
but he was a singular man in many respects, and one whose character very
few were able to comprehend. You will be surprised when I inform you that
the desire to become a Man of Fashion, haunted this poor
day-labourer like his shadow in the sun. It was the disease of his mind.
Now, sir, before proceeding with my story, I shall make a few observations
on this plaything and ruler of the world called Fashion. I would describe
Fashion to be a deformed little monster with a chameleon skin, bestriding
the shoulders of public opinion. Though weak in itself, it has gradually
usurped a degree of power that is well nigh irresistible; and this tyranny
prevails, in various forms, but with equal cruelty, over the whole
habitable earth. Like a rushing stream, it bears along all ranks and
conditions of men, all avocations and professions, and often principles.
Fashion is withal a notable courtier, bowing to the strong and flattering
the powerful. Fashion is a mere whim, a conceit, a foible, a toy, a folly,
and withal an idol whose worshippers are universal. Whenever introduced,
it generally assumes the familiar name of Habit; and many of your great
and philosophical men, and certain ill-natured old women, who appear at
parties in their wedding gowns, and despise the very name of Fashion, are
each the slaves of sundry habits which once bore the appellation. Should
Fashion miss the skirts of a man’s coat, it is certain of seizing him by
the beard. It is humiliating to the dignity of immortal beings, possessed
of capabilities the extent of which is yet unknown, to confess that many
of them, professing to be Christians, Jews, Mahomedans, or Pagans, are
merely the followers in the stream of Fashion; and are Christians and Jews
simply because such a religion was after the fashion of their fathers or
country. During the present century, it has been the cause of much
infidelity and freethinking, or rather, as is more frequently the case
with its votaries, of no thinking. This arose from wisdom and
learning being the fashion; and a vast number of brainless people--who
could neither be out of the service of their idol, nor yet endure the
plodding labour and severe study necessary for the acquiring of wisdom and
learning, and many of them not even possessing the requisite abilities—in
order to be thought at once wise men and philosophers, they pronounced
religion to be a cheat, futurity a bugbear, and themselves organic clods.
Fashion indeed, is as capricious as it is tyrannical; with one man it
plays the infidel, and with another it runs the gauntlet of bible and
missionary meetings or benevolent societies. It is like the Emperor of
Austria—a compound of intolerable evil and much good. It attempts to
penetrate the mysteries of metaphysics, and it mocks the calculations of
the most sagacious Chancellor of the Exchequer. At the nod of Fashion,
ladies change their gloves, and the children of the glove-makers of
Worcester go without dinners. At its call, they took the shining buckles
from their shoes, and they walked in the laced boot, the sandaled slipper,
or the tied shoe. Individually it seemed a small matter whether shoes were
fastened with a buckle or with ribbon; but the small-ware manufacturers
found a new harvest, while the buckle-makers of Birmingham and their
families in thousands, were driven through the country to beg, to steal,
to coin, to perish. This was the work of Fashion, and its effects are
similar to the present hour. If the cloak drive the shawl from the
promenade, Paisley and Bolton may go in sackcloth. Here I may observe that
the cry of distress is frequently raised against bad government,
assuming it to be the cause; when fickle Fashion has alone produced the
injury. In such a matter, government was unable to prevent, and is unable
to relieve—Fashion defying all its enactments, and the ladies being the
sole governors in the case. For, although the world rules man and his
business, and Fashion is the ruler of the world, yet the ladies, though
the most devoted of its servants, are at the same time the rulers of
Fashion. This last assertion may seem a contradiction, but it is not the
less true. With simplicity and the graces, Fashion has seldom exhibited
any inclination to cultivate an acquaintance; now, the ladies being, in
their very nature, form, and feature, the living representatives of these
virtues, I am the more surprised that they should be the special patrons
of Fashion, seeing that its efforts are more directed to conceal a defect
by making it more deformed, than to lend a charm to elegance or an
adornment to beauty. The lady of fortune follows the tide of Fashion till
she and her husband are within sight of the shores of poverty. The
portionless or the poorly portioned maiden presses on in its wake, till
she finds herself immured in the everlasting garret of an old maid. The
well-dressed woman every man admires—the fashionable woman every man
fears. Then comes the animal of the male kind, whose coat is cut, whose
hair is curled, and his very cravat tied according to the fashion. Away
with such shreds and patches of effeminacy! But the fashion for which
Andrew Donaldson, the day-labourer, sighed, aimed at higher things than
this. It grieved him that he was not a better dressed man and a greater
man than the squire on whose estate he earned his daily bread. He was a
hard and severe man in his own house—at his frown his wife was submissive
and his children trembled. His family consisted of his wife; three sons,
Paul, Peter, and Jacob; and two daughters, Sarah and Rebecca. Though all
scriptural names, they had all been so called after his own relations. His
earnings did not exceed eight or nine shillings a-week; but even out of
this sum he did not permit the one half to go to the support of his
family—and that half was doled out most reluctantly, penny by penny. For
twenty years, he had never entrusted his wife with the management or the
keeping of a single sixpence. With her, of a verity, money was but a
sight, and that generally in the smallest coins of the realm. She
seldom had an opportunity of contemplating the gracious countenance of his
Majesty; and when she had, it was invariably upon copper. If she needed
but a penny to complete the cooking of a dinner, the children had to run
for it to the fields, the quarry, or the hedge-side, where their father
might be at work; and then it was given with a lecture against their
mother’s extravagance! Extravagance indeed! to support seven mouths for a
week out of five shillings! I have spoken of dinners, and I should tell
you that bread was seen in the house but once a-day, and that only of the
coarsest kind. Potatoes were the staple commodity, and necessity taught
Mrs. Donaldson to cook them in twenty different ways; and, although
butcher meat was never seen beneath Andrew’s roof, with the exception of
pork of their own feeding, in a very small portion, once a week, yet the
kindness of the cook in the Squire’s family, who occasionally presented
her with a jar of kitchen-fee, enabled her to dish up her potatoes
in modes as various and palatable to the hungry as they were creditable to
her own ingenuity and frugality. Andrew was a man of no expensive
habits himself; he had never been known to spend a penny upon liquor of
any kind, but once, and that was at the christening of his youngest child,
who was baptised in the house; when, it being a cold and stormy night, and
the minister having far to ride, and withal being labouring under a cold,
he said he would thank Andrew for a glass of spirits. The frugal father
thought the last born of his flock had made an expensive entry into
existence; but handing two-pence to his son Paul, he desired him to bring
a glass of spirits to his reverence. The spirits were brought in a
milk-pot; but a milk-pot was an unsightly and unseemly vessel out of which
to ask a minster to drink. The only piece of crystal in the house was a
footless wine-glass, out of which a grey linnet drank, and there was no
alternative but to take it from the cage, clean it, pour the spirits into
it, and hand it, bottomless as it was, to the clergyman—and, this was done
accordingly. For twenty years, this was all that Andrew Donaldson was
known to have spent on ale, wine, or spirits; and as, from the period that
his children had been able to work, he had not contributed a single
sixpence of his earnings towards the maintenance of his house, it was
generally believed that he could not be worth less than two or three
hundred pounds. Where he kept his money, however, or who was his banker,
no one could tell. Some believed that he was saving in order to emigrate
to Canada and purchase land; but this was only a surmise. For weeks and
months he was frequently wont to manifest the deepest anxiety. His
impatience was piteous to behold; but why he was anxious and impatient no
one could tell. These fits of anxiety were as frequently succeeded by
others of the deepest despondency; and during both, his wife and children
feared to look in his face, to speak or move in his presence. As his
despondency was wont to wear away, his penuriousness in the same degree
increased; and at such periods a penny for the most necessary purpose was
Such were the life and
habits of Andrew Donaldson, until his son Paul, who was the eldest of his
family, had attained the age of three and twenty, and his daughter
Rebecca, the youngest, was seventeen, when, on a Saturday evening, he
returned from the market-town, so changed, so elated (though evidently not
with strong drink) so kind, so happy, and withal so proud, that his wife
and his sons and daughters marvelled, and looked at each other with
wonder. He walked backward and forward across the floor with his arms
crossed upon his breast, his head thrown back, and he stalked with the
majestic stride of a stage-king in a tragedy. He took the fragment of a
mirror, which, being fastened in pieces of parchment, hung against the
wall, and endeavoured, as he best might, and as its size and its half
triangular, half circular form would admit, to survey himself from head to
foot. His family gazed on him and at each other with increased
"The man’s possessed!"
whispered Mrs. Donaldson, in terror.
He thrust his hand into his
pocket, he drew out a quantity of silver.
Rebecca," said he, "and order John Bell of the King’s Head to send Mister
Donaldson a bottle of brandy and a bottle of his best wine instantly."
His wife gave a sort of
scream, his children started to their feet.
"Go!" said he, stamping his
foot, and placing the money in her hand—"go! I order you."
They knew his temper, that
he was not to be thwarted, and Rebecca obeyed. He continued to walk across
the floor with the same stride of importance; he addressed his sons as
Master Donaldson, Master Peter, and Master Jacob, and Sarah, who was the
best of the family, as Miss Donaldson. He walked up to his wife, and, with
a degree of kindness, such as his family had never witnessed before, he
clapped her on the shoulder, and said—
"Catherine, you know the
proverb, that ‘they who look for a silk gown always get a sleeve o’t’—I
have long looked for one to you, and now
‘I’ll mak ye lady o’ them
And, in his own unmusical way, he
sang a line or two from the
"Lass 0’ Gowrie."
Poor Mrs. Donaldson
trembled from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot. Her looks
plainly told that she feared her husband had "gone beside himself." He
resumed his march across the floor, stately as an admiral on the
quarter-deck, when Rebecca entered with the brandy and the wine.
"What!" said he, again
stamping his foot, "did I not order you to order Jobn Bell
to send the bottles?"
Rebecca shook—but he took
them from her hand, and ordered her to bring the glasses! I have already
noticed the paucity of glass vessels at Rebecca’s baptism. They were not
more numerous now; and even the footless glass, out of which the linnet
drank, had long ago, with the linnet, had gone the way of all flesh and of
all glass; and Rebecca placed a white tea cup, scored and seamed with age
(there were but four in the house) upon the table.
"What! a cup! a cup!"
exclaimed he, stamping his foot more vehemently than before—"did I
not order you to bring glasses! Me!—me!—Mister Donaldson
drink wine out of a teacup!" And he dashed the cup behind the fire.
"O Paul! Paul!" cried Mrs.
Donaldson, addressing her first-born, "is yer faither crazed!—will ye no
haud him!—shall we send for the doctor, a strait jacket, or the minister?"
Paul was puzzled: his
father did not exactly seem mad; but his conduct, his extravagance, was so
unlike anything he had ever seen in him before, that he was troubled on
his account, and he rose to reason with him.
"Keep your seat, Master
Donaldson," said his father, with the dignity of a duke—"Keep your seat,
sir; your father is not mad, but before a week go round, the best hat in
the village shall be lifted to him."
Paul knew not what to
think; but he had been taught to fear and to obey his father, and he
obeyed him now. Andrew again handed money to his daughter, and ordered her
to go and purchase six tumblers and six wine glasses. Mrs. Donaldson wrung
her hands; she no longer doubted that her husband was "beside himself."
The crystal, however, was brought, the wine and the brandy were sent
round, and the day-labourer made merry with his children.
On the Monday following, he
went not out into the fields to his work as usual; but arraying himself in
his Sunday attire, he took leave of his family, saying he would be absent
for a week. This was as unaccountable as his sending for the wine, the
brandy, and the crystal, for no man attended his employment more
faithfully than Andrew Donaldson. For twenty years he had never been
absent from his work a single day, Sundays and Fast-days alone excepted.
His children communed together, and his wife shed tears; she was certain
that something had gone wrong about his head; yet, strange as his actions
were, his conversation was rational; and though still imperious, he
manifested more affection for them all than he had ever done before. They
did not dare to question him as to the change that had come over him, or
whither he was going; for at all times his mildest answer to all inquiries
was, that "fools and bairns should never see things half done." He
departed, therefore, without telling why or whither, simply intimating
that he would return within seven days, leaving his family in distress and
Sunday came, but no tidings
were heard regarding him. With much heaviness of heart and anxiety of
spirit, his sons and daughters proceeded to the church; and while they,
with others, yet stood in groups around the church-yard, a stranger
gentleman entered. His step was slow and soldier-like. He carried a silken
umbrella to screen himself from the sun, for they were then but little
used as a protection from rain; few had at that time discovered that they
could be so applied. His head was covered with a hat of the most
fashionable shape. His hair was thickly powdered, and gathered up behind
in a queue. His coat, his vest, his breeches, were of silken
velvet, and the colour thereof was the kingly purple—moreover, the knees
of the last-mentioned article were fastened with silver buckles, which
shone as stars as the sun fell upon them. His stockings also were of silk,
white as the driven snow; and, partly covering these, he wore a pair of
boots of the kind called Hessian. In his left hand, as I have said, he
carried an umbrella, and in his right he bore a silver-mounted cane. The
people gazed with wonder as the stranger paced slowly along the footpath;
and, as he approached the door, the sexton lifted his hat, bowed, and
wailing before him, conducted him to the Squire’s pew. The gentleman sat
down; he placed his umbrella between his knees, his cane by his side, and
from his pocket he drew out a silver snuff-box, and a Bible in two
volumes, bound in crimson-coloured morocco. As the congregation began to
assemble, some looked at the stranger in the Squire’s seat with wonder.
All thought his face was familiar to them. On the countenances of some
there was a smile; and from divers parts of the church, there issued
sounds like the tittering of suppressed laughter. Amongst those who gazed
on him were the sons and daughters of Andrew Donaldson. Their cheeks
alternately became red, pale, hot, and cold. Their eyes were in a dream,
and poor Sarah’s head fell, as though she had fainted away, upon the
shoulder of her brother Paul. Peter looked at Jacob, and Rebecca hung her
head. But the Squire and his family entered. They reached the pew—he bowed
to the stranger—gazed—started—frowned — ushered his family rudely past
him, and beckoned for the gentleman to leave the pew. In the purple-robed
stranger he recognised his own field-labourer, Andrew Donaldson! Andrew,
however, kept his seat, and looked haughty and unmoved. But the service
began—the preacher looked often to the pew of the Squire, and at length he
too seemed to make the discovery, for he paused for a full half minute in
the middle of his sermon, gazed at the purple coat, and all the
congregation gazed with him, and breaking from his subject, he commenced a
lecture against the wickedness of pride and vanity.
The service being
concluded, the sons and daughters of Andrew Donaldson proceeded home with
as many eyes fixed upon them as upon their father’s purple coat. They were
confounded and unhappy beyond the power of words to picture their
feelings. They communicated to their mother all that they had seen. She,
good soul, was more distressed than even they were, and she sat down and
wept for "her poor Andrew." He came not; and Paul, Peter, and Jacob were
about to go in quest of him—and they now thought in earnest for a
strait-waistcoat——when John Bell’s waiter of the King’s Head entered, and,
presenting Mr. Donaldson’s compliments, requested them to come and dine
with him. Wife, sons, and daughters were petrified!
"Puir man!" said Mrs.
Donaldson, and tears forbade her to say more.
"Oh! my faither! my puir
faither!" cried Sarah.
"He does not seem to be
poor," answered the waiter.
"What in the world can hae
put him sae?" said Jacob.
"We maun try to soothe and
humour him," added Paul.
The whole family,
therefore, though ashamed to be seen in the village, went to the King’s
Head together. They were ushered into a room, in the midst of which stood
Andrew, with divers trunks or boxes around him. His wife screamed as she
beheld his transformation; and, clasping her hands together, she cried—"O
"Catherine," said he, "ye
must understand that ye are a lady now, and ye must not call me Andrew,
but Mister Donaldson."
"A leddy?’ exclaimed she,
in a tone of mingled fear and astonishment—"O dear! what does the man
mean! Bairns! bairns! can nane o’ ye bring yer faither to reason!"
"It is you that requires to
be brought to reason, Mrs. Donaldson," said he; "but now since I see that
ye are all upon the rack, I’ll put ye at your wits’ end. I am sensible
that baith you and our neighbours have always considered me in the light
of a miser. But neither you nor them knew my motive for saving. It has
ever been my desire to become the richest, the greatest, and the most
respectable man in the parish. But, though you may think that I have
pinched the stomach and wasted nothing on the back, this I knew I never
could become out of the savings of nine shillings a week. Yet, night and
day, I hoped, prayed, and believed, that it would be accomplished—and it
is accomplished!—yes, I repeat, it is accomplished."
"Oh, help us!—help
us!—what’s to be dune wi’ him?" cried Mrs. Donaldson.
"Will ye speak sae that we
can understand ye, faither?" said Paul.
"Well, then," replied
Andrew, "for twenty years have I purchased shares in the lotteries, and
twenty times did I get nothing but blanks—but I have got it at last!—I
have got it at last!"
"What have you got,
Andrew?" inquired Mrs. Donaldson, eagerly, whose eyes were
beginning to be opened.
"What have ye got, faither?"
exclaimed Rebecca, breathlessly, who possessed no small portion of her
father’s pride; "how meikle is’t?—will we can keep a coach?"
"Ay, and a coachman, too!"
answered he, with an air of triumphant pride; "I have got the half of a
"The like o’ that!" said
Mrs. Donaldson, raising, her hands.
"A coach!" repeated
Rebecca, surveying her face in a mirror.
Sarah looked surprised, but
"Fifteen thousand pounds!"
Paul was thoughtful.
"Now," added Andrew,
opening the boxes around him, "go each of you cast off the sackcloth which
now covers you, and in these you will find garments such as it
becomes the family of Andrew Donaldson, Esquire, to wear."