Page images
PDF
EPUB

trade warning, which was handed to me in the course of the evening :-" Take care of the man with whiskers for two puncheons grain, in case he rub you against the grain.”— "Bailie F" I at once recollected that the Tun Seasoner answered the cautionary description, and it immediately flashed upon my mind that he was the person to whom the change-name London Commission Agent referred my young friends, the Scotch Ale brewers, and that he, therefore, was in some way or other connected with the same gang of London swindlers.

The Tun Seasoner, punctual to a minute, came again on the morrow to ascertain what I had been able to do for him in the way of low-priced whisky. I told him that I had not, up to that time, found leisure to make further inquiries; but rather than disappoint him would, as he was to pay me ready money, give two puncheons of what I had on hand at the lowest market price. The Tun Seasoner declined purchasing with ready money, under pretence that he still considered the price too high. I then embraced the opportunity of asking the Tun Seasoner if he knew the Change-Name London Commission Agent, and the houses referred to in said Agent's letters; at the same time I shewed him the letter in which reference was made to himself. Upon looking at the letter, he said that be knew but little of Mr. W WA, the London agent; that WW-A- was one of those out of about 150 more who had applied to him when in London in answer to an advertisement for an agent to sell his ale; that, as far as he had seen of W-W-A-, he thought highly of him as an agent; that he also knew the houses to whom reference had been made to be respect-value. able, but that, to tell the truth, he was not quite satisfied with the securities offered for intromissions, and that, if I intended to employ Mr. W-W— A—as an agent, I should be careful as to the security received, as there was much deception playing off in London in these times. I was now satisfied in my own mind that the Tun Seasoner was no better than he should be, himself, and therefore resolved to watch his movements.

tences, presenting for discount bills regularly drawn upon, and accepted by London firms, purporting to be of great respectability. I also discovered that the Tun Seasoner, in order to induce one banker to cash his London Bills, offered to lodge in his hands a bond for L.2,000, by way of security, and that that bond was signed by an M.P.

Continuing my look-out after the Partner Victimiser and Straw-Bill Circulator, alias the Tun Seasoner, I discovered, that after making various unsuccessful attempts to procure spirits on credit, he at last had succeeded in obtaining two puncheons of grain whisky from a respectable mercantile house, and that he had agreed to give Gd. per gallon more than I offered him whisky at. I also discovered that the Tun Seasoner had induced this respectable house to credit him, through a reference to a person whom he was on terms of receiving as a partner in the Musty Tun Brewery, and which person had likewise been deceived, along with many others, in consequence of an advertisement which appeared some time ago, headed, "Partner Wanted in a Brewery, where the profits will be guaranteed at 50 per cent." I now thought of the warning given by Friends of Commerce against such gulling advertisements, and became more and more watchful of the movements and actions of the Tun Seasoner.

Shortly after the purchase, the Tun Seasoner returned to the house from whom he had purchased, presented a sample of their own whisky discoloured, as if it had actually been used for ale-tun seasoning, and wished to know if they could dispose of it again, as he would let them have it at an underThe unsuspecting house being by this time apprized of their danger, began to look about them, and soon ascertained that their new customer had been offering to sell the whisky to different spirit-dealers at 1s. 10d. below the purchase price, and not discoloured, but pure as delivered to himself. They further ascertained that the identical whisky had been handed over to an unfortunate tradesman who had turned clamorous, in lieu of money due for work done at the Musty Tun Brewery.

Determined to find out the character and history of the Tun Seasoner, I commenced my inquiries at the people who live in the immediate neighbourhood of the — Brewery, and discovered that although said brewery would be high enough rented at L.100 per annum, the Tun Seasoner had taken a lease of it at the extravagant rent of L.265 per annum. I was also informed that the Tun Seasoner had taken this brewery for the avowed purpose of brewing ale for the London market; that upon taking possession of the premises, he immediately commenced repairs, as if he intended to lose no time in setting the work a-going upon a large scale, although, up to this present moment, the end of Oc-person, carrying on the additional trade of changing name and residence in Scotland, he, the aforesaid gentleman, forwarded to me, by a private hand, the following intimation :

The duped firm being now satisfied that they had been swindled out of their two puncheons of whisky by the Tun Seasoner, procured a Sheriff's warrant to apprehend him; but he being, through the watchfulness of intimate associates, apprized of the duped firm's intention towards him, left his dwelling, Musty Hall, took up his head-quarters at one of the principal inns in Scotland, and, had it not been for his have eluded the search after his person. However, as fate audacity in dining publicly at the traveller's table, he might would have it, there dined one day at said traveller's table, a gentleman to whom the Tun Seasoner was known by the name of the Partner Victimiser, and Straw-Bill Agent; and the aforesaid gentleman and I having, a few days before, compared notes, and come to the conclusion that the Partner Victimiser and the Tun Seasoner was the self-same

tober, 1832, he has laid in no stock of barley or other ma-
terial from which ale could be brewed. This situation of
the Tun Seasoner's affairs did not tally with the statement
given in W-W- A-'s letter dated the 24th September,
1832, for in that letter it is expressly stated that the pres-
sure of the season obliged the Tun Seasoner to leave Lon-
don for Scotland before W-W-A- had time to perfect
his securities. I further learned that whilst the Tun Sea-Hotel, where he is lodging."

The Tun Seasoner proved to be an Agent and Copartner of the Grand London Association of Fraudulent Traders, and detected carrying on the trade of Changing Name

and Residence in Scotland.

soner pretended to be fitting up the brewery, he actually pulled down the utensils which belonged to the proprietor, and disposed of them as old material at an undervalue. I continued my observations and inquiries, and mark my astonish. ment, when, upon comparing notes with my friend, the Protection-of-Trade man, this said Tun Seasoner turned out to be none other than a secret agent of a gang of London swindlers, and which agent, from his nefarious transactions through Scotland a few years ago, was known amongst a considerable portion of respectable traders by the name of the Straw-Bill Circulator, and Partner Victimiser. I now thought it high time to put bankers on their guard, and when I waited upon several for the purpose of warning them against the tricks of the Tun Seasoner, I found that he had actually waited upon them all, under various pre

66

Hotel, 7 o'clock evening. "Mr. B to Mr. the Scotch Merchant. "If you have any thing to say to the Tun Seasoner, he will be found taking his wine at the traveller's table,

I forwarded this intimation to the duped firm, who lost no time in communicating with the sheriff's officers; but, before the officers could reach the hotel, Mr. Tun Seasoner had taken leg-bail, leaving nothing behind him but his unpaid bill, for board, lodging, wine, &c. The principal partner of the double-puncheon-robbed firm now declared, that he was sure the name of the arch-swindler was not Tun Seasoner, but Straw-Bill Agent, or Partner Victimiser, and that, indeed, he could be no other person than that very rogue, who a few years ago insinuated himself into the good graces of a most respectable gentleman in Scotland, whom he ultimately ruined. I assured the puncheon-robbed mer. chant that he was right in his conjectures: that the rascal who had robbed him so artfully, after ruining the person already spoken of, and carrying on, successfully, various

SCRAPS.

MAGNIFICENT CHESS PLAYING.We have somewhere read that Frederick the Great, or Frederick the I. of Prussia, played chess with soldiers, some of whom were knights, Bishops, Rooks, &c.--that this ga game was performed in a large saloon paved in chequers, which the prince might overlook. Even this regal pastime is outdone by the Chinese, of the order of Rothschild, and Baring, who will be the true princes of the Earth, in Asia as in Europe, so long as Mammon remains its Deity. Our account is taken from the Canton Register, which states: "It is well known that the provinces of Shense and Shanse contain some of the most opulent men in China. The natives say they have money heaped up like mountains; and the chief money lenders in Canton are from these provinces. During the last years of the Jate Emperor Kea-King, a rich widow of the name of Chun, of the district of Tae-yuen-foo, had a son who went all lengths in luxury and extravagance. Among other idle pursuits, he was a great chess-player. But chess, on a piece of board or paper, as the Chinese have it, is a very meagre though interesting game. Master Chun conceived a new idea; he got a large room painted as a chess board, with tables for himself and friend on opposite sides. For chess men, he purchased a set of female slaves, dressed them up in various colours, and made them perform, by a signal, the duty of knights, pawns, horses, kings, queens, castles, &c. This high chess player saved himself the trouble of moving the pieces. At a given signal the pieces taken made their exit at the door. Of these proceedings the Emperor got some intelligence, and, probably, offended by a rich subject outdoing him in luxury, he affected to be horribly offended (his own habits gave the lie to this) at the idea of bringing slaves to perform the office of chess-men! He fined master Chun ́3,000,000 of taels, and transported him to the Black Dragon River for life; telling him, at the same time, that he ought to be infinitely grateful that his "brain cup" (or head) was not separated from his shoulders.

.

THE DEVIL AND THE LAWYERS.-It is believed that there is a certain intimacy carried on between the inhabitants of Inns of Court and his Satanic Majesty. When the various volunteer corps were formed, each was distinguished by some appropriate appellation: the residents in one parish were called the St. James's, of another parish, the St. Pancras'; and in various places were called the Queen's Own Regiment, the Duke of Cumberland's Own Regiment, and so on. Shortly after sprang up the "Temple Corps." When the modest title they had assumed pleased not the public, they, accordingly, received another additional name, by which they are universally known, viz., the Devil's Own Regiment. How this is, the following anecdote will explain: THE LAWYERS' PATRON.-St. Evona, a lawyer of Britain, went to Rome to entreat the Pope to give the lawyers a patron; the Pope replied, that he knew of no saint not disposed of to some other profession. His holiness proposed, however, to St. Evona, that he should go round the church of San Giovanni di Laterano blindfold, and after saying a certain number of Ave Marias, the first saint he laid hold of should be his patron. This the good lawyer undertook, and at the end of his Ave Marias, stopped at the altar of St. Michael, where he laid hold, not of the saint, but unfortunately of the Devil under the saint's feet, crying out, “This is our saint, let him be our patron !”

* Scottice, Harn-pan.

THE POLISH EAGLE "Whither, O whither, proud bird of might, Is thy trackless wandering? Dashing aside the waves of light, With thy free, glorious wing? "Say-hast thou swept the beamy ch That bounds the wave's commotion? Hath thy unchained, unbounded march Been o'er the pride of Ocean?

"'Mid Blanc's eternal crest of snow,

Is thy cold, viewless dwelling? Or is it where, 'mid glooms below,

Proud Gunga's waves are welling?" "I've crossed the wave in calm and ath My flight is far and lonely,

From where the winding-sheet of death
Is wove for freedom only.

"I leave the hallowed dwelling-place Of bosoms bold and fiery; 'Mid Poland's wastes of war and chase Is my romantic eyry.

"When Kosciusko's plume afar

In freedom's van was streaming, My crest was Poland's guiding star On her proud banner beaming. "When Lithuania's dirge was sung, And cold each patriot's pillow,In desert hall when the sword was hung, I braved the dark blue billow.

"Adieu, brave land thy heart is still! An upas wreath's around thee! Yet once more let thy proud heart thrill,

And break the spell that's bound thee. *

"Then, Poland, when thou spurn'st the chain,
Though sanctified and regal,
O, I will sweep thy skies again-
Thy own Majestic eagle!

TO CORRESPONDENTS.

We cannot be every week noticing correspondents. Once for al beg of them to remember that the Schoolmaster is not a local patie tion, but one that circulates over all Scotland, and also in England and Ireland; and that Londoners care little for Edinburgh ör Glasgow jokes, and very little indeed for Scottish poetry; while, on the other

hand, Scotch folks are indifferent to Dublin rows, or funny start priests; and also to anecdotes of Cockneys. Our poetical friends beg to thank, while we entreat their patience. One and all must appar "on Saturday first! but they forget that this publication is not a nyus and is prepared and circulated, perhaps, before their munications are received. The late month of May has been so gl and favourable to the Muses, that we have now accumulated mar verse, good, bad, and indifferent, than would fill a volume of this lication. It is delightful to find poetical talent, and its attendant manizing influences so widely diffused; though, we suspect, it will often be best employed in contributing to the solitary enjoyment of the sessor, and when exercised independently of appearances on "Sar day first," or any other Saturday. We have also to acknowledgem prose communications of merit, some of which will appear at the pe time; for all our pupils are expected to be docile, patient, and ressona

If our compliance with the request of C. M. could forward by object, we should promptly attend to it. Will he send his address, more information, to the Schoolmaster Office, 19, St. James's Square!

CONTENTS OF NO. XLVI.

G. P.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

EDINBURGH Printed by and for JOHN JOHNSTONF, 12, St. J

Bridge Street, Edinburgh; by JoHN MACLEOD, and ATKINSON&le Square.-Published by JOHN ANDERSON, Jun., Bookseller, 55, North Booksellers, Glasgow; and sold by all Booksellers and Vendera of

Cheap Periodicals

[ocr errors]

AND

EDINBURGH WEEKLY MAGAZINE.

CONDUCTED BY JOHN JOHNSTONE.

No. 47.-VOL. II.

THE SCHOOLMASTER IS ABROAD.-LORD BROUGHAM..

SATURDAY, JUNE 22, 1833. PRICE THREE-HALFPENCE.

shooting, that is, firing with ball at a mark, for small prizes of black-smith or joiner work. These were paid for by the contributions of the candidates, (each laying down his two-pence or three-pence,) and carried off by him who hit nearest the mark. This is a manly, rational exercise, and ought to meet national encouragement. The policy of our ancestors endeavoured to promote the skill of the pea santry in archery, by bow-butts, &c.; but, independently of its importance in a political point of view, it is at all events preferable to pugilism or bull-baiting. When darkness prevented the continuance of shooting, a raffle in the ale-house generally followed, while cards and hard drinking closed the scene.

On this day friends and neighbours feasted together, for all labour, except such as was altogether unavoidable, was totally suspended. No mechanic or artisan would have wrought at his ordinary employment on that day. I have often heard it stoutly maintained, that the domestic bees sing in their hives on Yule-e'en, in a manner quite different from what they do on any previous or subsequent night.

OLD SCOTCH HOLIDAYS.

THE fairs and holidays which were formerly observed in Scotland, are now fast sinking into oblivion. Such of them as were observed for merely superstitious reasons, have gradually been neglected from the increasing knowledge of the country; and agriculture and commerce leave no time for such as were devoted to idleness and mirth alone. Before the Reformation, the observance of rites and ceremonies formed a principal part of the business of the people. With this business, however, they contrived to mingle much frolic and revelry. But our peasantry have no longer this pretext for relaxation and amusement; and fairs are now the only holidays for the agricultural classes of the community, and meetings for political purposes are the holidays of tradesmen. Different trades have, indeed, the days of their particular saints set apart as holidays still. Even these, however, are beginning in most places to wear out, and most of the days whose return was once the signal for idleness, and merriment, and joy, are now only to be distinguished from the other days of the year by the dead letter of an almanack; and few of the rising generation know them but by name. It may not be uninteresting, therefore, to some of our readers, to learn something of these holidays, and of a few of the superstitions connected

with them.

Christmas, or Yule-day, had formerly a celebrity which, within the last twenty or thirty years, has almost dwindled into oblivion. On Christmas-eve, better known by the name of Yule-e'en, the gudewife was busily employed in baking her Yule bread, and if a bannock fell asunder, after being put to the fire, it was an omen that she would never see another Yule. Young men, and sometimes women, went through the ges in masquerade, (commonly termed gysarts,) carrying a besom, sweeping in the floor of every house they entered, and singing Christmas carols, sometimes accompanied with a violin or a bagpipe.

"On the farmer's kitchen fire was to be seen
The muckle pat, that scads the whey, put on ;”

in which was a large joint of beef for o-morrow's breakfast; for," from the cottar to the laird," every one had fat brose on Yule-day morning, after which all were at liberty to go where they pleased; the day was a kind of Saturnalia, on which the most rigorous master relinquished his claim to the service of his domestics. The females visited their friends, and the young men generally met at some rendezvous, to try their skill as marksmen at a wad

Every body knows, that when Presbyterianism was fixed as the national religion in Scotland, Episcopacy was held as an abomination by the first settled Presbyterian clergymen, who were zealous against every thing connected with, or in any degree similar to the rites of their sister church.

Yule-day was dear to the Scottish peasantry, and equally obnoxious to the Presbyterian clergy, among whom was a Mr. Goodsir, minister of Monikie, who made it a rule to go over as much of his parish as possible on that day, that he might detect his parishioners in any superstitious observances. Upon a visitation of this kind, he entered the village of Guildy, and inspected every house, to see whether the people were at their ordinary employments, or if they were cooking a better dinner than usual. One old wife, whose pat was playing brown over the fire, saw him coming through her kail-yard. She had just time to lift off the pot, but in her agitation could find no better place to hide it than below her bed-cover; this accomplished, she had got seated at her spinning-wheel by the time that his reverence entered, who paid her some compliments upon her conduct, contrasting it with that of some of her neighbours, who shewed less disposition to comply with the austerity of his injunctions. Maggy, in her solicitude to escape detection, overshot her own mark, for she echoed her minister's remarks so zealously, that he felt a pleasure in prolonging his stay; but unfortunately for both, during the bitter censure of those who offered unrighteous sacrifice, or still" longed for the flesh-pots of

Egypt," Maggy's pot set fire to the bed-clothes, and the smoke came curling over the minister's shoulders. Maggy started up, flew to the bed, and, in her hurry to remove the clothes, overset the tell-tale pot, splashing Mr. Goodsir's legs with the hot and fat broth, &c. The consequence may easily be conjectured: Maggy's conduct was reported to the elder of the quarter,—she became the laughing-stock of her neighbours, and had further to do public penance before the congregation, for the complicated crimes of heresy and hypocrisy.

In relating that all ranks breakfasted on brose on Yuleday morning, it appears also worthy of recording, that till within the last forty years, it was the custom, at a nobleman's seat in this county, for a quantity of brose to be made on Yule-day morning, sufficient to breakfast "man, wife, and wean," of his tenantry, if they chose to attend The hospitable board was spread in the great hall, and if the company was not very select, it was always sufficiently numerous, while beef and good ale crowned their repast.

Pasch Sunday, (vulg. Peace Sunday,) is still noticed by the children playing with eggs dyed of various colours,— a custom of great antiquity, and by no means confined to Britain, or even to Europe.

|

On New Year's-Day morning, no one would go to ask a light from their neighbour; it was considered as unlucky to the person from whom such a favour was requested, to carry fire out of the house on this day. It was also considered improper to enter a neighbour's house emptyhanded. The practice so prevalent in large towns, of running about with the whisky bottle was unknown; but neighbours commonly ate and drank together of a more simple, and less pernicious beverage. The first Monday of the year, reckoning by old style, is still termed Handsel Monday, and was formerly also kept as a holiday. It is still the practice for the scholars to carry a small pecuniary

present to their teacher on that morning.

However well

intended this might have been at its commencement, it ought to be done away; it produces jealousies and envyings among the pupils, and it is also derogatory to the dignity of the schoolmaster, as it bears the appearance of an elecmosynary contribution; and where he has many pupils from the poorer classes, he can hardly fail to reflect, that the donation which he receives is probably wrung from them by a struggle between dignity of mind and indigence. some time ago observed an advertisement from a school, where it was announced, that the handsel must not be below five shillings: This is well so far, but it completely takes away the apparent kindness of a gift when a minimum is fixed, and in this case it may be said, in the nervous language of Crabbe, that

1

cluded in the ale-house, high words, and even blows were sometimes the consequence. This is certainly a practice most improper for seminaries, where the ductile mind ought to be taught the principles of benevolence and mercy. Indeed, we can hardly conceive anything more absurd or preposterous than a parent or teacher laying down precepts for his children, which he so directly counteracts by the barbarous example which he thus sets before them. It is to the credit of the age, that many schoolmasters have now abolished the practice.

In some quarters of this county, it is still common for the scholars, on Candlemas day, to carry each a large candle to school, range them on their tables, light them for a few minutes, then put them out and leave them for the master.

On Palm Sunday, I have seen the children gathering the catkins of the different species of willow, &c. of which they attempted to twine garlands in honour of the day.

The new term of Whitsunday, (known here by the ap

pellation of the " Rood-day,") was formerly reckoned a most important and dangerous day; for witches and wylie (cunning) wives were believed to have more power that day, than on any other in the year; as their incantations were more easily performed, and their spells far more difficult to cou teract. The scum of a spring well procured on that morning before sunrise, was considered as possessing magical virtues; and those suspected of witchcraft were often watched, lest they should obtain this potent liquid, and apply it to unhallowed purposes. This was also the day on which they attempted to take the milk from their neigh, bours' cows, not by milking, but by magical incantations by which they acquire possession of the milk for the season. The belief of this practice is still prevalent among some old ignorant people, and I have seen several wives in great veration and agitation of mind, because their cow's milk was taken. According to the superstitious credulity of the people, there are certain ways of effecting this; the most common is, for the witch to collect a certain quantity of hair from the tail of every cow of whose milk she wishes to get possession; of this hair she then twists a rope, on which she casts a knot for every cow of whose hair it is compo sed; she then walks backward across the entrance of every cow-house where any of her victims are lodged, dragging the rope after her, and muttering some unhallowed and un

"Strong compulsion plucks the scrap from pride."

When I was a boy, St. Valentine's Eve was set apart for drawing the names of lads and lasses by lot, and valentines, of various forms, in rude and artless rhymes, were often sent by the adoring swain to the object of his affection; but the practice appears now to be forgotten.

ould it not be better to change the name, abolish the lawful incantation, and the feat is accomplished. Sone mode of payment, and add it to the school fees? cows of uncommon sagacity, are believed to have the faculty of discovering by instinct when this magical rite is perform ing, even although the byre door be shut; in that case, the cow lows, and the spell is ineffectual. I have heard a wife maintain, that she would know the low of a cow upon this occasion, as it was a cry of pain, different from any other. To counteract the wiles of these modern daughters of Satan, the most common counter-spell is, to lay a twig of Rowan-tree, (mountain ash,) bound round with a scarlet thread, across the byre door on the inside. The children here have a common proverb, that

Shrovetide, better known by the name of Fasten's E'en, is only remarkable for cock-fighting. Formerly, at every parish school a cock fight was held, where the master received a few pence as the entry-money of every cock; all the cravens who would not strike three strokes were also considered his property; the poor boys whose parents had no cocks were obliged to beg or borrow, for they must be like their neighbours. As the sports of the day often con- Or, fix a stalk of clover (trefoil) with four leaves to the

"Rowan tree, and a red thread,

Makes the witches tyne (lose) their speed."

[ocr errors][merged small]

stall of the animal. These are talismans of such anti-magi- | have repeatedly heard it affirmed, that the horses so treated cal virtues, as completely to defy the devil and all his imps. Another mode is, to take the gudeman's breeches and put them upon the cow's horns, a horn in each leg; and the animal, when set loose, will run straight to the door of the enchantress. I know a family where this exorcism was performed, not more than seven years ago; but, as might be expected, no discovery was made of the witch, nor did the cow recover her milk. It is also believed, that if the cow is sold, the spell is dissolved.

were easily known in the morning, as they were always found in a state of profuse perspiration, jaded, and quite fatigued. I have seen in a stable a stone which is often to be found by the sea-side, or on the banks of rivers, with one or more natural holes through it, hung up by a string above the horses, to prevent the witches from having power over them. Yea, it was at one period currently believed, that they would seize men against whom they had any grudge; maltreat them by sousing them in rivers, &c., and then, carrying them through the air to a great distance, leave them in some unknown and desert place, half dead with terror and fatigue, to find their way home as they best could; and I have heard men named, who were oftener than once treated in this manner.

Early on the Rood-day morning, witches hold their unhallowed orgies in the shape of hares; and I have known people who would have trembled with terror, had an animal of that species crossed their path on that day. Witches are supposed to have a peculiar attachment to the form of a hare, and it is believed that they get what is called a brief from their infernal master, against lead; hence, if attempted to be shot, it must be with something else. I think I have in my possession a magazine published at Dundee, (if I recollect aright,) about the year 1775 or 1776, in which, among his articles of domestic intelligence, the Editor very

gravely relates, as an event that had recently happened,that a gentleman went out a-hunting, and in the parks of Clessington, scarcely a mile from the town, shot and wounded a hare, which escaped through a hedge, or over a wall; the sportsman followed, and upon coming to the spot where he expected to find the hare, he discovered an old woman breathing her last!

The belief in fairies was once very general here, and many remarkable stories could be told concerning them, such as their interference with the utensils and labours of the peasantry during the night. My antiquated chronicler Lizzie R——————, assured me that, when about sixteen years of age, she was servant to a weaver, one of whose young men being anxious to finish a piece of cloth in his loom, he fixed upon rising very early on a winter morning, and had engaged her, by the promise of a pecuniary recompense, to rise at the same time, and wind pirns for him. She awoke during the night, and heard the pirn-wheel driving furiously. Imagining that she had slept too long, she put on her clothes in great haste, (the wheel still sounding in her ears,) entered the shop by an inner door, and found all dark; upon uttering some exclamation, the wheel immediately stood still. All this I believe the credulous woman would have sworn before a magistrate. Relations of hers still more wonderful I forbear to relate. Fairies, although, in some of the instances exhibited, guilty of gross infractions upon the rights and comforts of domestic life, were not in general dreaded or hated in the same degree as witches. These were revengeful, malignant, and never exerted their supernatural powers except for a bad purpose; while the former were supposed to delight in merry and fantastic tricks; such as hiding keys, loosing cattle from their stalls, pinching the housemaids in their sleep, or sometimes tickling them, so as totally to prevent their repose, &c.; and upon many occasions they got credit for supplying bread to the hungry, and other benevolent actions.

Water-kelpie, or, as he is termed by Home," the angry spirit of the waters," was a bogle of great celebrity in this county, and the terrors of his name have scarcely yet vanished. I have repeatedly been told of a stone of very large dimensions, that has been upon the bank of a rivulet for time immemorial, and was one morning found on the op

posite side; this was reported as one of Kelpie's feats, which were commonly of a more dangerous kind; for he was a malignant sprite, and generally appeared on the banks of rivers, like a little black horse, when the fords were impassable, alluring strangers to mount him for the benefit of crossing, when he was always certain to throw them into the water, vanishing with a wild, unearthly laugh.

The church of St. Vigeans, about a mile north of Arbroath, stands upon the top of a romantic and very precipitous knoll, in the midst of a fine valley. This edifice is of considerable antiquity, and the vulgar had a current tradition, that the knoll on which it stands is artificial, being raised over the centre of a loch or small lake: That both the materials for constructing the knoll, and the stones for building the church, were brought from a distance by Water-kelpie, guided by a man who had the address to clap his own horse's branks on the head of the sprite, which gives him who does so, the complete command over this demon while the branks remain on him: That in consequence of the great fatigue he had undergone, he denounced bitter and dreadful vengeance against the parishioners of St. Vigeans. Sometime after this, a prediction came forth, that the minister who should officiate there at a given period, described in a mystical manner, would commit suicide; after which, the first time that the sacrament of the Lord's Supper was celebrated in the church, the whole fabric and its congregation were to sink into the lake during the service of the first table.

However strange it may appear, it is certain that, about the beginning of last century, the incumbent, whose name (if my memory be correct) was Mr. Henderson, did commit suicide. This part of the prediction being fulfilled, the people believed implicitly that the rest would be accomplished; in consequence of which, the sacrament was not administered for several years, until the next incumbent at last resolved upon the full discharge of his duty, and of encouraging his congregation both by precept and example.

Witches, on the contrary, stole property, produced sick-The usual preparation, according to the form of the Church ness and death; raised storms and tempests; deprived some of Scotland, was gone about with more than ordinary soof their virility, and others of their senses. It is not yet lemnity;-the hallowed day arrived, the minister proceed. long ago, since many were of opinion, that they took horses ed in the previous part of the service, having the assistance from the stable, and rode them during the night; and I of several clerical brethren; but it was with great difficul

« PreviousContinue »