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Title: Reminiscences of Scottish Life and Character
Author: Ramsay, Edward Bannerman, 1793-1872
Language: English
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Twenty-Second Edition, Enlarged,
With the Author's Latest Corrections and Additions

And a Memoir of Dean Ramsay

By Cosmo Innes























The friends of Dean Ramsay desiring a memorial of his life, his friendly
publishers, and his nearest relatives, have asked me to undertake the
work, and placed in my hands some materials giving authentic facts and
dates, and illustrating the Dean's own views on the leading events
of his life.

I feel myself excluded from dealing with one important part of such a
life, for I could not take upon me to speak with confidence or authority
upon church doctrines or church government. On the other hand, for the
_man_ I have that full sympathy which I suppose ought to exist between
the writer and the subject of the biography.

We were very old friends, natives of the same district, bred among a
people peculiar in manners and language, a people abounding in a racy
humour, differing from what prevails in most parts of Scotland--a
peculiarity which it was the joy of the Dean to bring before his
countrymen in his _Reminiscences_; and although he and I were not
kindred of blood, his relatives and friends were very much mine, and my
uncles and aunts were also his.

Edward Bannerman Burnett, known in after life as Edward Ramsay, and
Dean of Edinburgh, was born at Aberdeen on the last day of January 1793.
His father, Alexander, second son of Sir Thomas Burnett, Baronet, of
Leys, was an advocate, and sheriff of Kincardineshire, where the family
estates lay. The sheriff was of delicate constitution, and travelled in
the south of Europe for his health, until obliged to fly from the French
Revolution; and at Aberdeen, the first place where he and his wife
stopped, Edward was born. The Dean's mother was Elizabeth, the elder
daughter of Sir Alexander Bannerman of Elsick, and she and her sister
Mary, afterwards Mrs. Russell, were co-heirs of his estates in the
pretty valley of the Feugh, including the whole parish of Strachan, of
which the southern part, looking over into the _How_ of the Mearns, was
Mrs. Burnett's portion; the northern, with the beautiful bank of Dee
where Blackhall stands, falling to Mrs. Russell. Both sisters were
eminently handsome. I have a tradition of the young ladies, when they
first came from their York school to Edinburgh, being followed and gazed
at by passengers in the streets, for their beauty; and there are many
still living in Edinburgh who long after gazed with admiration on the
fine old lady, the Dean's mother, bending over her embroidery frame in
her window in Darnaway Street.

Alexander Burnett and his wife Elizabeth Bannerman had a large family.
Edward, the fourth son, when very young, was taken by his grand-uncle,
Sir Alexander Ramsay, and sent to school near his own house at Harlsey
in Yorkshire. Edward's first school, to which he was sent in 1801, made
a remarkable impression upon the Dean's memory. "I believe," he says,
"at that period (the very beginning of the century) it was about the
most retired village in England not of a mountainous district. No
turnpike road went through the parish. It lay in the line of no
thoroughfare. The only inhabitants of education were the clergyman, a
man of great simplicity of character, who had never been at the
University, and my great-uncle, of above fourscore, and a recluse. The
people were uneducated to an extent now unusual. Nearly all the letters
of the village were written by my uncle's gardener, a Scotchman, who,
having the degree of education usual with his countrymen of the
profession, and who being very good natured, had abundant occupation for
his evenings, and being, moreover, a prudent man, and _safe_, became the
depository of nine-tenths of the family secrets of the inhabitants.
Being thus ignorant generally, and few of them ever having been twenty
miles from the place, I may consider the parish fifty years behind the
rest of the world when I went there, so that it now furnishes
recollection of rural people, of manners and intelligence, dating back a
hundred years from the present time. It was indeed a very primitive
race; and it is curious to recall the many indications afforded in that
obscure village of unmitigated ignorance. With all this were found in
full exercise also the more violent and vindictive passions of our
nature. They might have the simplicity, but not the virtues, of
Arcadia.... There were some old English customs of an interesting
nature which lingered in the parish. For example, the old habit of
bowing to the altar was retained by the rustics on entering church, and
bowing respectfully to the clergyman in his place. A copy of the
Scriptures was in the vestry _chained_ to the desk on which it lay, and
where it had evidently been since that mode of introducing the Bible was
practised in the time of Edward VI. The passing bell was always sounded
on notice of the death of a parishioner, and sounded at any hour, night
or day, immediately on the event happening. One striking custom
prevailed at funerals. The coffin was borne through the village to the
churchyard by six or eight bearers of the same age and sex as the
deceased. Thus young maidens in white carried the remains of the girl
with whom they had lately sported. Boys took their playfellow and
companion to the churchyard. The young married woman was borne by
matrons; the men of middle age did the same office for their
contemporary.... The worship of the little church was, as may be
supposed, extremely simple, and yet even there innovation and refinement
had appeared in the musical department. The old men who used to execute
the psalmody, with the clerk at their head, had been superseded. A
teacher of singing had been engaged, and a choir, consisting of maidens,
boys and men, executed various sacred pieces with the assistance of a
bassoon and violin. I recollect in the church a practice which would
have shocked the strict rubricians of the present day. Whenever banns of
marriage were proclaimed, immediately after the words 'This is the
first, second, or third time of asking,' the old clerk shouted out, 'God
speed them weel.' In nothing was the primitive and simple character of
the people more remarkable than in the social position of the clergy
amongst them. The livings were all small, so that there was no
temptation for ecclesiastics of birth and high position in society to
come there. The clergy were in many cases clergy only on Sundays, and
for Sunday duty. The rest of the week they were like their people;
engaged in agriculture or horse-breeding, they lived with their
servants, and were scarcely raised above the position of farmers. To
show the primitive manners of many clergymen, I may mention the case of
an usher in my school, who was also curate. He enjoyed the euphonious
name of Caleb Longbottom. I recollect his dialect--pure Yorkshire; his
coat a black one only on Sunday, as I suppose he was on week days
wearing out his old blue coat which he had before going into orders.
Lord Macaulay has been charged that in describing the humble social
condition of the clergy in the reign of Charles II., he has greatly
exaggerated their want of refinement and knowledge of the world; but
really, from my recollection of my friend Mr. Longbottom and others at
the time I speak of, in the reign of George III., I cannot think he has
overdrawn the picture. Suppose this incident at a table in our own
time:--My uncle lived in what is called in Yorkshire the Hall; and being
principal proprietor in the parish, he was in fact the squire or great
man. The clergy always dined at the hall after evening service, and I
recollect the first day the new curate dined. The awkwardness and
shyness of the poor man were striking, even to the eyes of a thoughtless
schoolboy. He summoned courage to call for beer, and, according to the
old custom, deemed it necessary to drink the health of all present
before he put the glass to his lips. He addressed first the old
gentleman, then the vicar, then myself, and finally, with equal
solemnity, drank to the servants in attendance--the old butler and
coachman, who were waiting upon the company[1]."

I value these reminiscences of his Yorkshire school, written long after,
because I think them very curious; and they show how early Edward Ramsay
had his eyes open to characteristic features of the people.

Ramsay's grand-uncle, the old Sir Alexander Ramsay, died in 1806,
neglecting to make the provision which he had intended for his
grand-nephew, but leaving his estates to his nephew, Edward's father,
who then gave up his sheriffship (in which he was succeeded by Adam
Gillies), and being a Whig and of Whig family, accepted a baronetcy from
Mr. Fox, and made Fasque his home for the short remainder of his life.

The future Dean was not fortunate in schools. On his father's succeeding
to the family estates he quitted Harlsey indeed, but only to move to
Durham, which left no more pleasant memories in his mind than the other,
although there he learned to blow the flute, and indulge his strong
musical taste. He writes of Durham school that it had fallen off
terribly, from the increasing infirmities of the head master, and Ramsay
was anxious to leave it, when that move came naturally by the death of
his father[2]. Writing in his journal some time afterwards, he says,
"What was I to do? I was determined to go into the Church, and must go
to college. How was the intermediate period to be spent?" His first
private tutor was the Rev. J.H. Browne, at Kegworth in Leicestershire,
afterwards Archdeacon of Ely. "Here," says Edward, "I did learn
something both of books and of the world. Browne was a scholar, and my
fellow-students were gentlemen and knew something of life." He next
lived for a time with Mr. Joynes, a clergyman, at Sandwich in Kent, and
went from thence, in October 1811, to Cambridge.

He entered as a pensioner at St. John's, and although professing to be a
reading man, he was not eminently satisfied with the effects of the
society into which he fell upon his habits and accomplishments. "Not,"
he says, "that I had not really good associates, but somehow it seems
not to have been the best and such as I might have had." Another defect
was his not having a skilful and effective private tutor at a time when
he felt that he stood specially in need of one. "I could not form my
reading habits alone, and I had not sufficient help. I did enough,
however, to show I was not an ass. I got a scholarship. I was twice in
goodish places in the first class. I had a name for flute-playing;" and
then, ending this retrospect, which he wrote with some disgust, he tells
how he left Cambridge in his third year, going out B.A. with no contest
for honours. His college vacations were spent either in London with
college friends, or with a reading party under Wilkinson, the tutor, at
Redcar. In gathering up his recollections, he says he saw a good deal of
society: one summer was very musical; of another which he spent at home
he enumerates his occupations--"botany," "music," "Deeside." Through
all, his study was theology, but in "small doses" he says. His brother
Marmaduke joined him on the Christmas holiday of 1816, when they worked
together at the cryptogamics, and then went up to Cambridge
together--Edward to renew his theological studies with the help of the
formal lectures at the University. He spent the remainder of that season
at Bath with friends and relatives. He speaks of the Bath society, its
gaiety, theatricals, music--some rich clergymen giving good dinners, and
brother Marmaduke coming for his long vacation to a farm-house two miles
from Bath, "where we had some good botanical fun. Can it be that the
finding a new plant put us in a state of ecstasy? How we treasured up
specimens! How we gloried in our collections! But it has all passed
away; no chord is touched." To some, who think of the Dean as the
reverend, pious, grave, even melancholy man, these youthful
reminiscences may appear unnatural, even unworthy. I must own that there
breaks out now and then in his journal something which shows that he
himself was not satisfied with many of these juvenile memoranda, as if
they showed unfitting occupation and education of a young clergyman. But
that was not their real nature. Those small studies and accomplishments
took the place in his early training which the cricket-match or the
boat-race now take in the school time of Young England. The Dean speaks
somewhat contemptuously--"Here I got a smattering of astronomy," and
again of his studies of cryptogamics and botany; but he nevertheless
felt the full benefit of such accomplishments. His music, his passion
for rural and especially Highland scenery, the enjoyments of society,
the love of seeing others happy, the joining of happiness with goodness,
made the Dean what he was in after life, and enabled him to take that
position amongst his countrymen which a purely theological upbringing
would not have done.

But now our young cleric was to put away childish things, and to take
upon him the duty of his high calling. He was ordained at Wells, and
officiated for the first time as curate of Rodden, near Frome, Somerset,
on Christmas day 1816.

Rodden is a very small village, of one or two farms and some labourers'
cottages, nestling round the little church, with a few, very few,
outlying houses or farms. It lies among meadows on each side of the
rivulet which runs through the village. One of the outlying houses is
"Styles Hill," inhabited by one family of the Sheppards, all of whom
soon became dear friends of the Dean. Another was the "Pear-tree"
Cottage, an uninteresting red brick house, where Mr. Rogers provided a
residence for the young curate. The incumbent of the parish, when Ramsay
went there, was the Rev. John Methwen Rogers of Berkley, who was
non-resident. The duties of Rodden were too small to employ his whole
time, and in the following year (1817) Ramsay became curate also of
Buckland Dinham, the rector of which was non-resident and lived at a
distance, so that the curate had the sole charge of the parish. In his
work at Buckland, Ramsay took great delight, and soon won the hearts of
his people, although many of them were Wesleyan Methodists of the old
type[3]. But it was not only amongst the peasantry that Ramsay was
beloved. All the upper and middle classes in his own little parishes,
and through the whole valley, regarded him with strong esteem and
affection, and amongst them were persons whose character, and even whose
little peculiarities of language, he caught and remembered. One of
these, a retired Captain Balne, although he failed in prevailing on the
young clergyman to take a glass of grog, his own favourite cure for all
ailments, was pleased when the curate came to take a dish of tea with
him and his gentle wife. Once, when Ramsay was ill, the grief in the
parish was universal; but he used to say that the greatest proof of
attachment was given by Captain Balne, who happened to be enjoying his
dinner when the news of his friend's illness reached him, upon which he
laid down his knife and fork, and declared he could not take another
mouthful. Captain Balne had a peculiar phraseology. One phrase, in
particular, was, "If I may be allowed the language," which came readily
on all occasions. If he was asked "How is Mrs. Balne to-day?" the
Captain would reply, "She is quite well, I thank you, Mr. Ramsay, if I
may be allowed the language;" or ask him, "Have you a good crop of
apples this year?" "Pretty middling, sir, if I may be allowed the
language." The constant recurrence of the phrase struck Mr. Ramsay, who
quoted it long after in his letters to his Frome friends--"I am glad to
say my congregation at St John's continues good--if I may be allowed the

Buckland is a larger village than Rodden, containing nearly 500
inhabitants. The two places are five miles apart. Buckland is on the
brow and slope of a steep hill, the church being on the summit, and the
irregular street descending from it on the Frome side, with many
cottages scattered about among orchards and meadows. So the curate of
Buckland, living at the Pear-tree Cottage in Rodden, required a pony for
locomotion, which he showed with some pride to his neighbours on first
buying it. It was an iron-gray, and a sedate clerical pony enough, to
which he gave the name of Rumplestiltskin, after one of Grimm's popular
stories; and whenever he spoke of him or to him, he gave him his name at
full length. The country and some of the places round Buckland are very
interesting. On the west is one of the entrances to Vallis, a grassy
valley bordered by limestone rocks, and trees and copse, with a
trout-stream winding through it. There, when the labours of the day were
done, the Sheppards and he would spend a summer afternoon sketching and
botanising, whilst tea was prepared at a neighbouring farm.

Vallis opened into several other vales, and on the heights above were
the picturesque villages of Elm and Skells, and the ruined nunnery and
massive old castle, the old seat of Delameres, renowned for a defence in
the Cromwellian wars. Mr. Ramsay proposed in jest to fit up the castle
as a dwelling, and bring all his friends to live there. Another time he
was for fitting it up as a museum. It would make, he said, a splendid
place for a _hortus siccus_--a "great ornament to our ponds and
ditches[4]." The writer of these trifles excuses herself for collecting
them, because she knew the value which is attached to the least of the
sayings and doings of a departed friend; but we are assured, that even
in those Arcadian regions life was not always holiday. There was some
serious work. The curate took great pains on the future interests as
well as the characters of his little flock.

In one family he acted the part of the truest of friends--gently
reproving the little ones when they deserved it, and ready to amuse
when it was the time for amusement--sometimes taking them to Bath for
the day, and making them very happy, bestowing at the same time great
pains on their instruction--sometimes practising music with them, and
accompanying their sonatas on his incomparable flute--recommending to
the governess a higher style of music, leading them on gradually to the
works of Beethoven and Mozart. By and by he gave them instructions in
architecture; taught them, as he said, all that he had learned from
Rickman. His teaching was minutely technical. He would assemble his
class in a little morning room, with books before them, and a case of
mathematical instruments, pens and pencils. His pupils wrote what he saw
fit to dictate, and he taught them how to use the compasses. Next came
botany, which was not a new study to his pupils. There his brothers
assisted him. They made a joint _hortus siccus_ under his instruction.
Edwin contributed many specimens from Scotland, and Marmaduke made a
little collection of mosses. But they had to thank the curate for yet
higher and better instruction. His younger pupils were not excluded from
the most earnest conversations between him and Mr. Algar, Mr. John
Sheppard, and some friends of the neighbouring gentlemen and clergy. In
these conversations books were read and criticised, theological and
other subjects, including some politics, were discussed. Ramsay was
quizzed for Whiggish tendencies. The mistress of the house usually
joined and set them right in politics, for she had been brought up in
Plymouth during the French war, and had learned the old-fashioned Tory
doctrine, and to think any other politics sinful. But all those high
subjects of politics and religion were discussed with fitting respect;
for that society--young and old--had a deep sense of religion, and the
parents encouraged the younger members to visit and instruct the workmen
and their families who were employed in the large cloth manufactories of
the Sheppards; so that it came to pass that every man, woman, and child
was taught or helped to teach others, for in those days very few of the
working-people, at least in that part of England, could read at all. A
lending library was attached to the mills. A large Sunday school was
formed, chiefly for the children of the workpeople, and additional
services were undertaken by the curate--a second sermon on Sundays
besides one on Thursday evenings, where the families of the
neighbourhood attended, and as many of the servants as could be spared.
There, be sure, was no big talk on the primary obligation of orthodoxy,
no attempts to proselytise. But all classes of that primitive people
valued his preaching, and farmers and their labourers, the workmen of
the factories, as well as their masters, took advantage of it. His
brothers often visited him, and joined heartily in his pursuits whether
gay or serious. It was delightful to see the three brothers so happy in
each other's society, and helping on a worthy common object. Marmaduke,
the Cambridge man, would talk astronomy, and William, the sailor,
afterwards Admiral Ramsay, brought down a fine telescope, and himself
gave them their first lesson in practical astronomy, handing over the
instrument when he left to his brother the curate, that he might
continue the instruction.

During all these years of useful, cheerful, happy employment at Frome,
Edward Ramsay never forgot the land of his forefathers and of his own
youth. He sometimes visited Bath and London to hear Edward Irving
preach, to see Kean act, to stare at old books and prints in the shop
windows, to revel in the beauties of Kew Gardens; but every summer he
found time for a visit to Scotland, and spent his holiday with boyish
delight amongst the scenes and friends of his childhood.

It was on one of those visits to Scotland, in the autumn of 1822, whilst
Mr. Ramsay was spending his holidays among his friends on Deeside, that
the managers of St. Paul's Chapel, Aberdeen, offered him the place of
second minister to that congregation, along with Mr. Cordiner. He was
much gratified, and would gladly have accepted the appointment. He liked
the place--his native town; thought highly of the respectability of the
congregation; but there was one objection, which to him was insuperable.
The congregation had for some time been Episcopal only in name, and it
went against Mr. Ramsay's conscience to minister in a church calling
itself Episcopal, but without the communion or discipline of a bishop.
He explained to the managers his objection, and thought for a time it
might be overcome by a union with the Scotch Episcopal churches in the
diocese. He had yet to learn the strength, of the Scotch prejudice
against bishops; perhaps to learn that the more shadowy the grounds of
dispute, so much the more keenly are ecclesiastical squabbles fought.
Worthy Bishop Skinner would have been glad to have Ramsay a
fellow-labourer in his city upon whatever conditions. Yet he could not
contradict his younger friend's honest and temperate adherence to his
principles and to Episcopacy. The correspondence all round, which I have
before me, is quite decorous; but after Ramsay had stated his objection,
and that it was insuperable, the managers wrote to him, 1st October
1822, that "a unanimous election would follow if he accepted the
situation under the present establishment." It would have been easy to
divide the congregation, but this did not suit Ramsay's feelings or
nature, and he courteously bowed to the decision of the managers, and
returned to Frome, where his income from both curacies was £100 a
year,--a poverty the more irksome to a man of culture and
refined tastes.

Not long after (still, I think in 1823), the Journal records--"Mrs.
Forbes, my aunt, had just come into her accession of fortune, and
presented me with £5000. A man may live many days in this world, and not
meet the like gift in a like kindly spirit[5]."

Of the year 1823 the Journal remarks very severe winter. "Marmaduke and
Edwin with me at the Pear-tree[6]; a delightful tour in South Wales with
the Sheppards and other friends most agreeable and
good-humoured,--botany, sketching, talk, and fun. Life has few things to
offer more enjoyable than such tours. I have found in them the happiest
hours in my life." And then follows the wail for so "many of them
departed; so many dear good friends; all different, but all excellent!"

Marmaduke having gone as tutor to Lord Lansdowne's eldest son, Edward
was more free to consider an offer from Edinburgh, and ultimately
accepted the curacy of St. George's in York Place, under Mr. Shannon. He
preached his two last sermons at Rodden and Buckland on Christmas
day 1823.


[1] _Reminiscences_ (Second Series, 1861). Introduction.

[2] May 10, 1810.

[3] Some account of his dealings among the Methodists may be found in
the _Sunday Magazine_, January 1865, edited by the Rev. Dr. Guthrie. The
paper is titled "Reminiscences of a West of England Curacy."

[4] This was a favourite quotation of Ramsay's, who was amused with the
remark of Withering's or Woodward's botany, repeated in his letters for
long after:--"The organ at St. John's gives universal satisfaction--a
great ornament to our ponds and ditches."

[5] Mrs. Forbes, the sister and aunt of so many Burnetts and Ramsays,
lived the latter part of her life at Banchory Lodge, in the middle of
that "Deeside" country, where the future Dean spent many of his happy
holidays, and learned much of the peculiar ways of that peculiar people.
There were no two ladies in Scotland more esteemed and beloved than the
Dean's aunts on both sides--Mrs. Russell, his aunt and mine, living in
widowhood at Blackhall, and Mrs. Forbes at Banchory Lodge, three miles
apart, on the opposite banks of Dee. Mrs. Forbes died 1st February 1838.

[6] His dwelling near Frome.


The Dean was passionately fond of Deeside. Let me indulge myself in
looking back upon that district such as he knew it, such as I remember
it sixty years ago.

The natural features of Deeside are not changed. The noble river pours
down its brown flood as of old, hurrying from its wooded rocky
highlands. On the prettiest part of its bank stands Crathes, the finest
of Aberdeenshire castles, the immemorial seat of the Burnetts, where
Edward Ramsay, himself a Burnett, was received with all the love of
kindred, as well as the hearty respect for his sacred profession. I
daresay Crathes was not to him quite what I remember it. But we were of
different professions and habits. I will say nothing of the chief sport
of Dee, its salmon-fishing. However fascinating, the rod is a silent
companion, and wants the jovial merriment, shout and halloo, that give
life and cheerfulness to the sport of the hunter. My recollection of
Deeside is in its autumn decking, and shows me old Sir Robert and my
lady, two gentle daughters and four tall stalwart sons--they might have
sat for a group of Osbaldistones to the great painter Walter Scott. I
will not describe the interior of the old house, partly because it was
changing, and every change appeared to me for the worse; but no one
would forget the old hall, where Kneller's picture of Bishop Burnett
still looks down on his modern cousins and their hospitality. It was a
frank and cordial hospitality, of which the genial old bishop would
have approved. The viands were homely almost to affectation. Every day
saw on that board a noble joint of boiled beef, not to the exclusion of
lighter kickshaws; but the beef was indispensable, just as the _bouilli_
still is in some provinces of France. Claret was there in plenty--too
plentiful perhaps; but surely the "braw drink" was well bestowed, for
with it came the droll story, the playful attack and ready retort, the
cheerful laugh--always good humour. A dinner at Crathes was what the
then baronet, old Sir Robert, would call the "best of good company."

Another part of the house I well remember--the place, half gun-room,
half servant's hall--where we prepared for sport in the morning, and
brought the day's bag home at night. Prominent figures there were two
brothers Stevenson, Willie and Jamie, known for twenty miles round as
the "fox-hunters," known to us, after the southern sporting slang had
been brought among us by our neighbour Captain Barclay, as
"Pad-the-hoof" and "Flash-the-muzzle[7]" The fox-hunting was on foot,
but let no mounted hunter sneer. The haunts of the game were continuous
woods and bogs, hard to ride and from which no fox could be forced to
break. "Pad-the-hoof" looked no ignoble sportsman as he cheered his
great slow-hounds through the thicket, and his halloo rang from the
wood of Trustach to the craigs of Ashintillie. Both were armed, but
"Flash" took less charge of the hounds than seeing to death the fox, the
enemy of all, including the roe, which recent plantations had raised
into an enemy. I must say nothing on foot or wing came amiss to
Flash-the-muzzle's gun. Hares and rabbits, not then the pest of the
country, swelled our bag. We had a moderate number of black game, and
the fox-hunters were somewhat astonished to find that we of the gentry
set much store by woodcock, which bulked so little in the day's sport.
The fox-hunter brothers had the run of the servants' hall at Crathes,
and they were said to have consumed fabulous numbers of kitchen pokers,
which required to be heated red-hot to give the jugs of ale of their
evening draught the right temperature and flavour. That was a
free-living community. The gentlemen of the house were too much
gentlemen to stand upon their dignity, and all, from the baronet
downwards, had the thorough appreciation of Deeside humour. It was there
that the Dean learned his stories of "Boatie" and other worthies of the
river-side. Boatie himself was Abernethy, the ferryman of Dee below
Blackhall; he hauled his boat across the river by a rope made fast at
both ends. Once, in a heavy water, the rope gave way, and Boatie in his
little craft was whirled down the raging river and got ashore with much
difficulty. It was after this, when boasting of his valiant exertions,
that Mrs. Russell put him in mind of the gratitude he owed to Providence
for his escape, and was answered as the Dean himself tells us in his
_Reminiscences_. Another of the water-side worthies, "Saunders Paul,"
was nominally the keeper of the public-house at Invercannie, where the
water of Cannie falls into Dee. It was the alehouse of the country, but
frequented much more by the gentry than by the commons. It was there
that Mr. Maule in his young days, not yet Lord Panmure, led the riots
and drank his claret, while Saunders capped him glass for glass with
whisky and kept the company in a roar with Deeside stories. Old
Saunders--I remember him like yesterday--was not a mere drunken sot or a
Boniface of the hostelry. He had lived a long lifetime among men who did
not care to be toadied, and there was a freedom and ready wit in the old
man that pleased everybody who was worth pleasing. Above all, there was
the Deeside humour which made his stories popular, and brought them to
the ear of our Dean.

That was the left side--the Crathes bank of Dee. Across the river was
the somewhat dilapidated fortalice of Tilquhillie, the seat of an
ancient and decayed branch of the Douglases. The last laird who dwelt
there lived in the traditions of Deeside as own brother to the Laird of
Ellangowan in Scott's romance. Ramsay has put him well on canvas. Who
does not remember his dying instructions to his son and his grieve?--"Be
ye aye stickin' in a tree, Johnny; it will be growin' when ye are
sleepin'!" while he cautions the grieve, "Now mind that black park; it
never gied me onything, ne'er gie onything to it."

In the days when the Dean knew that Water-side the fortalice was
uninhabited, and I think not habitable for gentlefolks; but down on the
haugh below, and close to the river in a pretty garden-cottage, dwelt
the old Lady Tilquhillie, with her son the sheriff of the county, George
Douglas, whom a few Edinburgh men may yet remember as the man of wit and
pleasure about town, the _beau_ of the Parliament House--at home a kind
hospitable gentleman, looking down a little upon the rough humours that
pleased his neighbours. The old lady--I think she was a Dutch woman, or
from the Cape of Good Hope--and her old servant, Sandy M'Canch,
furnished the Dean with many a bit of Deeside life and humour; and are
they not written in the _Reminiscences!_

Higher up the river were two houses where the Dean was much
beloved--Banchory Lodge, his uncle General Burnett's, where also lived
his dear aunt, the widowed Mrs. Forbes; and Blackhall, where, in the
time I have in my mind, lived his aunt, Mrs. Russell, the widow of my
uncle Francis Russell, a woman of many sorrows, but whose sweet voice
and silver laugh brought joy into the house even amidst sickness and
sorrow[8]. She had not the Deeside language, but she and her sister Lady
Ramsay, Yorkshire women, and educated in the city of York, helped to
give the Dean that curious northern English talk which he mixed
pleasantly with the language of Angus and Mearns that he loved so well;
and he inherited from the Bannermans the sweet voice, so valuable an
inheritance to a preacher.

I have gone over less than a dozen miles of the valley of the Dee, which
was the Dean's Deeside. I think the manners and popular thought, as well
as the language of that little district, were peculiar, and fitted to
catch the attention of an eager student of human nature and character.
Deeside, in its wider acceptance, of course includes the great city at
its mouth, and the picturesque mountains of Mar near the source of the
river, where the Queen has now set her mark of favour on the land. I beg
to distinguish Deeside--the Dean's Deeside--lying between these. The
city of Aberdeen, with its trade and manufacture and wealth, with its
University and schools, and some tradition of the antique metropolis,
has established, as she had good right, habits and language of her own,
not to be mistaken, but almost confined to her own walls. On the other
hand, the mountains of Mar, where lie the springs of the Dee, where
tower Lochnagar and Benmacdhui, are inhabited by a race of shepherds and
hunters, speaking a different language, differing in manners from the
Dean's friends, who dwelt from the Hill of Fair to Ashintillie, where
hardly a Gaelic name occurs among the peasantry.

The little cluster of mansions which I have mentioned lies, I think,
wholly within the parish of Banchory-Ternan. Following the river down
from that parish, the next place of any importance is the old
manor-house of Durris, some half-dozen miles lower, and on the right
bank of the river. It is a place of some interest to lawyers for having
given rise to one of the leading cases on the law of entail, which
settled points that had formerly been doubtful, all in favour of the
strict entail. The victim in that case, ejected by the heir of entail,
was John Innes, who had sold his property in Moray to invest the produce
in the great barony of Durris. The new tenant, believing himself almost
proprietor, built a comfortable house under the walls of the old castle,
and in that house was born the writer of these notes. I do not feel
myself severed by any disgusts from the country of my youth where I
spent my best years, or at least the years of most enjoyment. It was
then a wild moor, with some natural beauty, a picturesque den leading
from the house to the noble river, wooded with native birch and scrubby
oak, with some tall larches and magnificent horse-chestnuts, and even a
few immemorial Spanish chestnuts planted by the old Peterboroughs, now
all gone. Along that river bank were some of the broadest haughs with
which I am acquainted, and some of the best salmon streams, then woods
and sheep pastures and a dozen miles of heather hills--up to
Cairn-monearn and Kerloach--giving the best grouse-shooting in the
country. It is in truth a charming water-side even in the eyes of a
critical old man, or of a tourist in search of the picturesque; but for
a boy who lived there, shot, and fished there, while all the houses
round were the dwellings of cousins and friends, while game was not yet
let for hire, it was a place to win that boy's heart, and I loved it
very heartily. We were the nearest neighbours on one side of that
cluster of residences of the Burnetts and Douglases and Russells which I
have tried to describe. We were all very good friends, and thus the Dean
and I were early acquainted.

I have said little of the Dean's ancestors, merely named the Burnetts
and Bannermans. Indeed I would guard against loading my memoir of the
Dean with anything like mere pedigree. I take no interest in his
ancestry, except in so far as they may have given a character--so far as
he may have inherited his personal qualities from them. I will not dwell
then upon Alexander de Burnard, who had his charter from Robert the
Bruce of the Deeside lands which his descendants still hold, nor even on
the first Lairds of Leys. When the Reformation blazed over Scotland, the
Baron of Leys and his kindred favoured and led the party that supported
the new faith; but, even in that iconoclastic age, two of them are found
protesting against the destruction of religious places at Aberdeen. One,
Gilbert Burnett (he was grand-uncle of the Bishop of Sarum), enjoyed
considerable reputation abroad for certain philosophical writings. He
was Professor of Philosophy, first at Basle and afterwards at Montauban,
and a general synod of the French Protestants desired that his works
should be printed at the expense of the synod. These _Dissertationes
Ethicæ_ were accordingly published at Leyden in 1649; but his death
prevented his other writings from being published. Two brothers of the
same generation, Thomas and Duncan, settled in England as physicians,
and seem to have been men of literary eminence. Pedigrees of both are to
be found in the Herald's Visitations of Essex and Norfolk. Duncan,
Thomas, and Gilbert, are all noticed by Sir Thomas Middleton among the
"Learned Men and Writers of Aberdeen;" and Duncan is noted as a holy,
good, and learned man. In the stirring times of the Covenants, Sir
Thomas Burnett of Leys, Baronet, though an adherent of the Huntlys,
embraced the Covenant from conscientious motives against his political
instincts and associations. And ever afterwards we find him firm in the
principles of the Covenant, yet advising peaceful and moderate counsels;
and when Montrose, after his conversion to the royal cause, passed
through Aberdeenshire, harrying the lands of the leading Covenanters, he
supped one day at Crathes, excepted and protected Sir Thomas Burnett and
his son-in-law, Sir William Forbes of Monymusk, in the general
denunciation of the Puritans. We find Sir Thomas repeatedly a
commissioner for visiting the University of Aberdeen, and in his later
years he endowed three bursaries at King's College, his own _alma
mater_. Jamesone has painted him with a thoughtful and refined, but
earnest and manly face. The baronet's brother, James Burnett of
Craigmyle, was of the same character. No less earnest and staunch than
his brother in his adherence to his principles--he ever figures as a
peace-maker and enemy of bloodshed. He is described by the parson of
Rothiemay, an unsuspected testimony, as a "gentleman of great wisdom,
and one who favoured the King though he dwelt among the Covenanters, and
was loved and respected by all." Is it not plain that the temperance and
moderation descended in the blood of the Burnetts?

Thomas Burnett of Kemnay, grandson of Craigmyle, is known in a sphere
where few Scotsmen had entered. He was a courtier of that remarkable
little court of the Electress Sophia of Hanover, where he became the
friend of the philosopher Leibnitz, correspondent of the poet Dryden,
and his letters are full of curious gossip on the most various
subjects--theology, philosophy, literature, including poetry and the
small talk of the day. He was greatly employed and trusted by the
Electress Sophia. His son George was noted as an agriculturist, and his
grandson, Alexander Burnett of Kemnay (by a daughter of Sir Alexander
Burnett of Leys), was long British Secretary of embassy at Berlin, and
attended Frederick the Great in the campaigns of the Seven Years' War;
remaining at the Prussian Court as Chargé d'Affaires after Sir Andrew
Mitchell's death.

James, third son of Craigmyle the Covenanter, married a daughter of the
family of Irvine of Monboddo, a scion of the house of Drum, and having
so acquired that barony, he transmitted it to his descendants, of whom
the most famous was his great-grandson, James Burnett, Lord Monboddo, a
Judge of the Court of Session, an eminent lawyer, and a man of rare
accomplishments, with some whimsical peculiarities. In a treatise on the
origin and progress of language, he was the first seriously to assert
the descent of mankind from the monkey, and that the human race were
originally furnished with tails! That and a hundred other whimsies were
mixed up with a great deal of learning then very rare, and with a
philosophy that dealt in free and daring speculation, of which the world
was not yet worthy.

The first baronet of Leys, besides his brother James of Craigmyle, had
yet another brother, Robert Burnett of Crimond, an eminent advocate,
very learned, and of high moral and religious principle. Though his wife
was a sister of Johnstone of Warriston, he himself, unlike his two
brothers, was an opponent of the Covenant, for which he went into exile
until the Restoration, when he was made a Judge of the Court of Session
as Lord Crimond. He had three sons by the Warriston lady. His eldest,
Sir Thomas Burnett, was physician to royalty from Charles II to Queen
Anne. The third was Gilbert, Bishop of Salisbury, of whom it is not my
intention to give any detailed account. His brilliant talents and great
influence made him many friends, and even more enemies. History is
beginning to do justice to his character without concealing his
weaknesses. He seems to have been more honest than was the fashion
in his time.

Such is the little gathering of family history, for the accuracy of
which I am chiefly indebted to my kind friend the Lord Lyon--himself a
Burnett. Perhaps I should apologise for saying even the little I have
said of the Dean's pedigree; but while I press into my service the
country of his birth and breeding, and the local peculiarities amongst
which his life was spent, as possibly having some influence on his
character, I could not resist the wish to show another element, drawn
from his ancestry, that went to the forming of that character. Was not
our Dean a worthy representative of Puritan leaders who refused to go
into the violence of the Covenant--of the Bishop of unreproached life,
who read the Thirty-nine Articles with an unconcealed desire to include
conscientious Dissenters--of many peaceful gentlemen on the banks of the
Dee, who mixed a happy playful humour with a catholic reverence for that
Christianity which he could recognise in other sects, though
preferring his own?


[7] The present generation of Burnetts think that those slang names were
invented by Barclay, but I knew him well, and venture to doubt his
humorous powers. In the midst of "sporting" and violent excitement he
was serious in talk, as became the descendant of the old Quakers.

[8] Mrs. Russell had lost her two sons by a strange fatality--both were
drowned, the elder, Lockhart, while skating at Bath, about 1805-6,
James, the younger, in crossing the river Dee in a boat rowed by
himself in 1827.


Edward Ramsay left Somersetshire amidst the general regrets of his
parishioners and neighbours, and entered on his Edinburgh career 1st
January 1824. The journal which I am now using has not hitherto spoken
much of the differing opinions of his brother clergymen, although there
is sometimes a clergyman noted as "very low," and elsewhere, one branded
as a "concealed Papist." But in Edinburgh--it is vain to conceal
it--every profession must be broken into parties. He found Edinburgh, or
rather I should say the Episcopal Church in Edinburgh, then
theologically divided between the Evangelicals, headed by the Rev.
Edward Craig and the old-fashioned Churchmen, the rather moral school,
of which Mr. Alison was the distinguished ornament. Mr. Ramsay went to
St. George's Chapel, York Place, as Mr. Shannon's curate, in the
beginning of 1824, and remained doing that duty for two and a half
years. He then went to St. Paul's, Carrubber's Close, where he laboured
for a year.

In 1825 Ramsay "toiled on" with sermons and wrote a series on the
Articles. "A great improvement," he says, "must have taken place in
Edinburgh, for unquestionably the sermons I then got credit for we
should all think little of now[9]." In 1826 he left Mr. Shannon's
chapel, and took the single charge of the quaint old chapel of St.
Paul's, Carrubber's Close. Amongst the events recorded of the year was
the acquaintance he made by officiating at the funeral of Lady Scott,
Sir Walter's wife. In 1827 he mentions a change, "a considerable move to
me, which, under God, has been a good one." He closed with an offer of
the curacy of St. John's, under Bishop Sandford, when he was
thirty-seven years of age. In spring he was ill, and went to visit his
old place and friends in Somerset.--"Interesting, very: received at my
old curacy of Buckland with much joy, and on the whole enjoyed my
visit." At Whitsunday 1827 he came home to enter on St. John's with
Bishop Sandford, being thus half of 1827 in Carrubber's Close and half
in St. John's. I was in Edinburgh then, and can well remember what
general favour accompanied Mr. Ramsay in church and society. Perhaps he
was not prepared for the vehemence of church dissensions among us. I do
not think there was at that time so bitter war between churchmen of the
same profession in England, but the Episcopal Church, of whatever
section, had made great progress then in Scotland. Its fine liturgy, and
more decorous ceremonial, had attracted some. Many of the heads of
country families round Edinburgh have been educated in England, and many
of them have married in England--both circumstances tending to keep up
their attachment to the Episcopal Church; and in their houses the
scholarly, accomplished, agreeable clergyman of the Episcopal Church was
a welcome guest, as well as an adviser and influential friend.

In summer of 1827 the journal tells us his brother Marmaduke paid him a
visit. "We read some Italian--I got a notion of Dante."

At the commencement of 1829 he enters in his journal--"This was a most
important year indeed, the year of my marriage; and what event has been
to me so joyful, so full of interesting recollections?" He tells that in
the summer a visitor came to Scotland--a friend of Lady Dalhousie, and
recommended by her to Lady Robert Kerr, at whose house they met. The
lady was Isabella Cochrane, of the well-known Canadian family; writing
in 1844 he says--"Fifteen years of close acquaintance with that lady
have taught me the best commentary upon the Scripture declaration that a
'virtuous woman is a crown to her husband.' I need not say more than
that I believe I owe mainly to her (under Providence) my comfort,
success and position here. But let this suffice. None but myself can
know my full obligations." Next year begins--"As 1829 gave me a wife,
1830 gave me a church, for on the 14th January Bishop Sandford died, and
the whole charge was offered to me, which I undertook for three years
without a curate--i.e. without a man-curate, for a most effective
assistant I had in dearest Isabella, who wrote to my dictation many a
weary hour."

Except a little parcel of letters touching the negotiation with Bishop
Skinner, and the Aberdeen congregation in 1822, I find no letters of
Ramsay till he wrote to one of the dear old friends at Frome announcing
a visit with his wife.

     Mr. RAMSAY to Miss STUART SHEPPARD, Fromefield, Frome,

     7 Albany Court, London, 9th June [1831].

     My dear Stuart, I have been in such a whirl and such a
     turmoil since I came here that I have hardly had time to
     collect my scattered thoughts to write you a line. I have
     seen much and heard much, but shall not attempt to give you
     any account _now_, as I hope (please God) we shall meet ere
     long. Mrs. Ramsay's brother-in-law, the Bishop of Nova
     Scotia, is here--he preached the annual sermon for the
     anniversary meeting of the Charity Children in St. Paul's. I
     went as his chaplain, but of this more hereafter. He has been
     very urgent upon us to protract our stay here through all
     next week, but I have resisted his importunities, as I am
     really desirous of taking as much time as I can at Frome. We
     accordingly fix Tuesday for leaving London. We stay that day
     at Windsor with a friend, come to Winchester, Romsey,
     Salisbury, on Wednesday, and on Thursday the 16th, I hope to
     see you all in health and comfort. Dear Stuart, I shall be
     happy, really happy, to be amongst you once more. It is to me
     like coming _home_. Do not wait dinner or make any
     arrangements, because our hour of arrival is uncertain. We
     may be detained till the evening seeing sights. Mrs. E.B.R.
     eats nothing (literally), and I daresay your common dinner
     may furnish _me_ with a meal. Mrs. Ramsay desires kindest
     love; she is not looking well, and I hope, after the racket
     here, she will improve upon Frome quiet. God bless you.--Your


     Marked--"First visit to F.F. with wife, June 9,1831."

     Mr. RAMSAY to Miss STUART SHEPPARD, Fromefield.

     Woburn, Friday night, 1st July [1831].

     We are sure that our very dear friends at Fromefield will be
     interested in hearing of our progress and welfare, and as we
     have a few extra minutes this morning, we are determined to
     devote them to a party now living in the hearts of _all_ the
     wanderers with whom they so lately and so grievously parted:
     the _weather_ even _sympathised_ on Tuesday evening, and all
     the comfort we had was in talking over individually the whole
     Fromefield concern. My brother, who is _slow_ in making
     friends, and shy of strangers, softened into tender
     friendship under the influence of such kindness, and vows
     that if he had such friends he would travel annually from
     Edinburgh to see them. He has put one sprig of verbena from
     Stuart in one pocket, another sprig from Jane in another
     pocket, and a piece of painted glass from Elizabeth in
     another pocket. How lucky it is that his dress should be so
     abundantly supplied with the accommodation of so many
     receptacles for reminiscences! Our next grief after leaving
     you was the not seeing Cousin John! We were sadly
     disappointed. We did not get into Clifton till near ten; the
     rain would prevent his coming to meet us, and the next
     morning we very provokingly missed each other, though Mr.
     Ramsay consoled himself with writing a note. How much I hope
     and trust that we are all to meet next year! We were
     delighted with our drive from Chepstow to Ross--the Wye
     scenery is exquisitely beautiful; we exhausted ourselves and
     our epithets in exclamations, and the day seemed made for the
     magnificent view from the Wynd Cliff, and then we came to
     Tintern Abbey! How often we wished for our Chedder party--how
     often we talked over the pleasure we would have in admiring
     all this beauty with them, and how often, like spoiled
     children, we wondered why all this enjoyment should not have
     accompanied us to Monmouth! but good-night, my very dear
     friends--I shall leave the letter in better hands for
     finishing, I am so sleepy!!

     [Mr. Ramsay]--We have seen many things of which the ingenious
     and very learned Dr. Woodward would say that they were "great
     ornaments to our ponds and ditches." But of this enough, and
     more than enough. Allow me to take this opportunity of
     expressing my satisfaction at finding how completely Mrs.
     E.B.R enters into the friendship which has so long existed
     between _us_, and at seeing how fully prepared she is to
     appreciate your kindness to myself and her; in short, to find
     that she loves you all now, as if she had known you as long
     as I have. May we never lose sight of these feelings! We saw
     Oxford to-day--a good thing, but in detail not equal to
     Cambridge--in general effect far superior. Gloster pleased
     me: the tower and cloisters surpassingly fine. People do not
     roar enough about the steeple of St. Mary's, Oxford--it is
     _the finest_ in England, superior I think to that of
     Salisbury. Are you aware that there is a modern church at
     Oxford in the pure Norman style? My visit to Frome has given
     me (except in parting) unmixed satisfaction. I cannot say how
     much I have been gratified, and with what pleasure I look
     forward to a renewal. I must to bed, my eyes cannot discern
     the place to write in, and I am sleepy. Adieu, dearest
     friends, one and all at the Field of Frome, the Hill of
     Styles, the cottage of Keyford, etc. I rejoice to think that
     my good friend _Kay_ is safe. Good-night! Woburn looks
     well--"a great ornament," etc.

     Marked by Mrs. Clerk--"Written on their way from F.F.--first

     Mr. RAMSAY to Miss BYARD, Fromefield, Frome, Somerset.

     Edinburgh, Dec. 17, 1831,

     My dearest Friend, They have told me that you are not well,
     and neither time nor distance can take away the feeling of
     regard and friendship with which I sympathise with all that
     occurs to you. I confess myself that I was some time since
     disposed to look on all things around me with an anxious
     aspect; but I am beginning to see in _all events_ but a part
     of that dispensation which is so gloriously distinguished as
     the work of _love_, and I think that public calamity or
     private sorrow, sickness, pain, weariness and weakness, _may_
     all be translated into the same language, and may be arranged
     as synonyms of the same word. Yes! piety, goodness, the
     favour and approbation of God, are all marked out by sorrow
     and infirmity here. Why else did the blessed Jesus tabernacle
     here below--a man of sorrows? and why else was he acquainted
     with grief? It might make a Christian almost drink his cup of
     sickness and pain with _greediness_ when he remembers that he
     is tasting the same cup as that of which his Lord drank, and
     he might hail with rapture the outstretched arm of death and
     suffering as about to place on his head the diadem of eternal
     glory. I am not to flatter you--you need it not, you ask it
     not; but, my friend, you must feel and know that you have
     been walking with God, walking _humbly_, doing good, neither
     trusting to false presumptions nor to your own merits. Christ
     has been _your_ master, to Him you have looked, and, blessed
     be God! He will never, never forsake those who trust to
     Him,--those who are good to others for his sake,--those who
     seek redemption through Him. Where, O ye years that are past,
     have you gone? You have carried to the throne of grace many
     an act of contrition, many a devout prayer, many a good deed,
     many an offering of faith, from the friend to whom I now
     write. Bring back, ye moments that are to come and which
     shall be granted to her in this world, rich consolations,
     promises of pardon, assurances of favour, all spiritual
     blessings! Dear Miss Byard, may all these be yours in full
     abundance. May God the Father bless you, through the Eternal
     Spirit, for Christ's sake! This is the sincere and earnest
     prayer of your affectionate and faithful friend, E.B.R.

     In this I am joined by Isabella.

     Marked--"It arrived just after her death."

In his journal Mr. Ramsay speaks of Bishop Sandford with a very grateful
recollection. To him he owed his preferment, and a "more agreeable
charge could not well be had." He characterises him as a man of elegant
mind and accurate scholarship, of deep piety and sincere faith. I think
it is with some regret that he adds, the "state of the Church is much
changed since his episcopate."

His dear brother Marmaduke died in the summer of 1831, and the Dean, who
is no exaggerator of his feelings, remarks--"This is one of the sorrows
for which language is inadequate. Such a mind, such taste, abilities,
and accomplishments!" Edward Ramsay felt that nothing could make up for
the loss of his brother, but he had comfort in thinking how much his
brother's mind had been wakened to religious inquiries. His simple notes
in his journal are sometimes worth preserving. "July 6, 1833, was the
finest day I ever remember." He passed it in the Highlands with
Professor Forbes, Skenes, and other delightful friends. On the 28th he
left for the Duke of Sutherland's funeral; afterwards he repaired to
Leamington and Dr. Jephson, whose skill he soon found reason to admire.
On leaving Leamington he thanks God that he has gained in health, and
learnt also wisdom in regard to the "management of myself, and certainly
in diet." It is not necessary to record the little tours with his wife,
which now happened almost every season, either to Deeside or the
Highlands or his old haunts in Somerset. On July 2, 1836, I find it
recorded that he went with a party to hear Dr. Chalmers at the Dean
Church, and returned all in great delight. He made a long journey that
year to hear the great organ at Birmingham, and came home by many
cathedrals, and yet "glad to get home."

In 1838 he notes, after a Highland journey, the "Synod was this year for
altering the canons," He notes a "white-stone visit to the Stranges,
Ross-end Castle, with the Bells. Alas! how many things and people
are gone."

In 1839 "Lady Dalhousie, my admired friend, came to stay with us. She
came January 19, and on the 22d died in the drawing-room in an instant!
It was an awful visitation, and never to be forgotten."

The following letter, written immediately after the calamity, is from
the Marquis of Dalhousie, from various circumstances an object of great
affection to the Dean, who consented to take charge of his daughters
when he went as Governor-General to India, bestowing on them the care
and anxious watchfulness which the young ladies returned with hearty


     Dalhousie Castle, 25th January 1839.

     My dear Mr. Ramsay--I have sent John in, partly because I am
     anxious that you should let me know how Mrs. Ramsay is
     to-day, and partly because I cannot rest till another evening
     without endeavouring to express to you some portion of the
     very, very deep gratitude which I feel for all your
     kindness--for the kindness of your every act and word, and--I
     am just as confident--of your every thought towards us all in
     this sad time. _God knows how truly I feel it_: and with that
     one expression I stop; for it makes me sick to think how slow
     and how coldly words come to clothe the feeling which I wish
     to convey to you. Believe only this, that to my own dying day
     I never can forget your goodness. Believe this too--that
     since it has pleased Almighty God that my poor mother's eyes
     should not he closed under my roof, and by my hand, I would
     not have wished any other place for her departure than among
     friends so kindly, loving, and so well loved.

     God bless you and repay it to you, prays your ever grateful
     and affectionate friend, DALHOUSIE.

     Rev. E. B. Ramsay.

February 27, 1839.--"My uncle General Burnett died; another limb of the
older generation gone; a good and kind man; a man of the world, and not
a clever one. Latterly he showed a considerable desire to know more
about religion. Went with J. Sandilands to be present at the formation
of a branch of the Church Society at Glasgow--made a regular speech!" On
September 4th he writes--"The first day of meeting of the general
committee for business of the Scottish Episcopal Church Society. I gave
a large dinner. Much have I worked for this society, and done better
things than give dinners. By the by William Ramsay [his brother the
admiral] made a capital speech." On March 5, 1841, it is noted, Bishop
Walker died--"a good man. His mind cast in a limited mould of strong
prejudices; but a fair man, strictly honest in all his ways. He was not
fitted to unravel difficulties in his episcopate, and scarcely suited to
these times. He had been a furious opponent of the old evangelicals. A
constant and kind friend to me. May his memory be honoured. Bishop
Terrot elected bishop. I am very grateful to think that in all this
business I can look with satisfaction upon everything that has been
done by me."

From this time Mr. Ramsay's thoughts were very much taken up with the
Episcopal Church Society, and he records in his journal most of its
meetings, and the English friends who came across the Borders to help
them. He mentions also a Scotch Presbyterian churchman who became
convinced of the apostolical authority of episcopacy--"an excellent
man." Then a visit of Mr. ----, "an accomplished and able man, somewhat
strong of the popish leaven." That was in 1842, and on the margin is
written--"Gone over to the Church of Rome, 1845." He mentions also the
"stupid business at Portobello and squabbles," and his going down to
make peace. On September 4th we have some things which seemed important
at their time--the Queen's visit to Scotland. He says, "It was a
stirring subject for old Scotland." "This day, 4th Sept., I read prayers
and preached before her Majesty, and also dined and sat near Prince
Albert and the Queen. In the evening presented to the Queen and Prince
Albert, and introduced to Sir Robert Peel." Then comes the cry--"All
vanity of vanities!" At the end of this month the Bishop of
London--"very agreeable"--was in Edinburgh, and the Dean accompanied him
to Glenalmond, to see the proposed site for Trinity College. In 1843 he
mentions the death of a friend, who, he feared, died an infidel:
"However, I have no wish to proclaim his errors. To me he was ever kind
and considerate. Let us leave judgment to Him who cannot err." In June
of that year he paid a visit to England, spent Sunday at Leeds, and was
much interested with Dr. Hook and his church. "I have considerable
dubitation as to the expediency of making the services of our parish
churches choral." He went on to London and Oxford, where it was long
vacation, but he met with great kindness from the heads of University
College and Exeter. "Magdalene is faultless."

After mentioning some visitors in March 1844, he writes--"Dickens's
Christmas Carol really a treat, a thoroughly wholesome book." On the 8th
April he was present at the lunch given to the children of the Episcopal
poor in the Old Town. "This, I trust, is the commencement of a scheme to
bring some actually poor into our church. I made a speech, and, to my
astonishment, rather a good one." After a pretty long tour in the south
of England he comes home in August 1844, and notes a letter from the
Bishop of London, containing the offer of the Bishopric of New
Brunswick, in a handsome and gratifying manner. "I think I was right to
refuse. May God forgive me if it was an improper shrinking from duty."
October 14, 1844: "I have now brought up this record of my life's
transactions to the present time, and my purpose is, in future
journalising, to take the leading points, to notice subjects only,
painful, joyful, or difficult. All my thoughts since the offer of the
New Brunswick mitre have confirmed the correctness of my judgment."
October 17, 1844: "I am trying to repeat the experiment of last week,
and write my sermon over again. I see clearly that in such work we
cannot take too much pains: dinner at Lord Medwyn's to-day--very
pleasant--rather an exception this to dinners: how dull the routine!
October 22: succeeded in my resolution of rewriting the whole of my
sermon, and found the advantage; in fact, nothing in the way of public
speaking can be done without a thorough preparation. How high parties
are running! It has a sad effect on my mind; but my refuge must be in
keeping off controversy and adhering to edifying and practical
subjects." In the same month he records the death of a dear friend, whom
he visited on his deathbed. "Nothing," he says, "could be more
satisfactory than his state of mind;" the Dean lost a kind Christian,
attached and delightful friend. "I was glad to be able to answer his
scruples and fears about being an object of Christ's mercy and pardon."
December 11, 1844, he lost his mother--"simple-minded," he says, "as a
child. Oh! what a break of the family circle! It seems as if the last
link which bound us together were broken, and a point vanished round
which we could always rally. I went with Lauderdale to see the poor
remains, so attenuated, and yet the countenance like itself, still
beautiful, and fine features." The funeral made the Dean very sad. She
was followed to the grave by two sons, a son-in-law, two grandsons and
distant cousins. Mr. Alison read the service, and she was buried beside
her old friend of fifty years--poor Mrs. Macdonald.

1844: "Christmas day morning, Communion 78, in all 404; the church so
full. I preached an old but a good sermon." He has a Christmas dinner of
a few friends, but not much Christmas spirit, he says. In 1845, January
12, the journal notices--"I preached my liturgy sermon, and apparently
with much success." Some of his congregation had spoken of it as worthy
to be printed. He saw a good deal of company in his own house, whom I do
not think it necessary to particularise, though they were generally of
distinction for talent or rank, or both together. He heard C. Kemble
read Henry VIII., which "I did much enjoy. Will. Shakspeare when most
known is most admired." On 19th January he preached a sermon, but his
note upon it is not like the last. "I liked it, but it did not seem to
take as I had expected. Have been much meditating this week on many
matters, Church especially: find myself unsettled, I fear, but I think I
have the remedy, which is to keep my attention fixed rather on practical
than on speculative points. We cannot agree on the one; on the other we
may, and good men do." March 2, 1845: "I confess that the Romanising
tendencies so openly avowed in the Church of England alarm me. The
question occurs, Is not this a necessary, or at least a natural tendency
of High Churchism?" Speaking of meetings of his Synod, he says "it is
wretched work, which ended, indeed, in doing nothing." One member had
spoken with much bitterness, which he says, "thank God, I do not feel."
3d April 1845: "We are in a nice mess about this Old Town business. Two
different communion offices in one day in the same chapel. Is it
possible that this could ever have been contemplated by the canon? I do
fear the extreme and Romanising party, and they hurt us here. The Scotch
office is supposed to identify us with them, and certainly the comments
upon it make it speak a language very different from the English."

June 19.--"Left home in the 'Engineer' coach at seven, travelled through
to London without stop, and arrived there at one o'clock: wonderful the
shortening of this journey; went with a party to Handel's Athalia at
Exeter Hall; tired, fagged, and sleepy as I was, I yet felt deeply the
power of the mighty master in this his mighty work. Yes, Handel is the
greatest musician the world ever saw."

July 18, 1845.--"Returned to London: did little more there: arrived in
Edinburgh for Mr. Sandiland's marriage, a great stretch of friendship in
me, for it has discomposed all our summer plans." On 15th August there
is an entry too characteristic to be omitted:--"Have been thinking a
great deal about the state of matters at present, and the sort of
demeanour I should exhibit to the world. I should be very
cautious--hardly give an opinion if conflicting statements, and
certainly not gossip about them--certainly not speak harshly or severely
of any. Keep my own course, work hard, and endeavour to conciliate;
rather lean to high than low side." November 10, 1845: "at a meeting to
hear Dr. Simpson, Mr. Macfarlane, and Norman Macleod give an account of
their mission to North America: interesting. Macleod a real
clever fellow."

26th November 1845.--"The consecration of Dalkeith Chapel: we went out
and stayed the day; all good and well managed: Sermon preached by Rev.
E. B. R: approved: three bishops, twenty clergy. It is really a fine
thing for a man to have done; a beautiful chapel; hope it won't
be extreme."

Dec. 2.--"Warden to College appointed; looks like business!"

Dec. 7.--"Heard astonishing news--William appointed to the 'Terrible,
the largest steam man-of-war in the service--in the world."

Dec. 14, 1845.--"Sermon on Christ the True Light. Collection for
Scottish Episcopal Church Society, £151."

15th March 1846.--"Sermon, 'Am I your enemy because I tell you the
truth?' Here a sad blank, for I have been very ill, and out of chapel
two Sundays, and could not go to confirmation, and all sorts of horrors.
I have communed a good deal with myself, and I have made up my mind to a
conduct and demeanour in Church matters almost neutral. I positively
will not again mix myself up in any way with party, or even take part. I
will confine myself to St. John's and its duties. This is my
_line_--hear what every one has to say, and keep a quiet, conciliatory,
and even tenor. It is more striking the more I think of the different
way in which different minds are affected by religious truth." ...

April 16.--"Synod meeting and Society. I took the moderate and
conciliatory side. Did right this time."

April 29.--"Preached the Casuistry sermon. Mrs. R. made it A 20."

June 1.--"Busy preparing for journey;" he leaves home for his summer
holiday "with rather less spirit and expectation of enjoyment
than usual."

Mr. Ramsay was appointed Dean of the Diocese of Edinburgh by Bishop
Terrot in 1846, after having previously declined, as we saw, the dignity
of the Bishopric of New Brunswick, offered him by Sir Robert Peel. He
afterwards refused the Bishopric of Glasgow in 1847, and the
Coadjutor-Bishopric of Edinburgh in 1862.

And now is the beginning of constantly recurring complaints of
depression--low spirits, a "cloud upon my spirits; headache, even pain
and violent pain." He was disappointed at not getting to see the
"Terrible;" was low and depressed. "Went to Bath. Delighted with
Torquay; interested at Exeter; the service there the very best. Is
cathedral service more than a solemn concert?" Then he went by
Beaminster to see his nephew Alexander and his family. He stayed a short
time at Crewkerne with his niece Mrs. Sparks. "Church a fine one: To
Frome: This visit full of interest. How kind and good! The only drawback
is parting. We spent a week at Frome, and did enjoy it much. Much
kindness, heartiness I should say, intelligence, and real goodness.
Changes I found, and saw how time had told on many a face and frame. My
dear companion was much pleased and interested in our visit.... July
16.--Left Frome, and sorrowed at parting. Saw Sydney Herbert's gorgeous
church at Wilton. Too much! With the exterior of Salisbury not at all
disappointed; with the interior a little. Arrived at Farnborough by
eight o'clock, and a most cordial welcome we had from all the inmates of
its pretty rectory. Went back to London on Friday, and returned to
Farnborough Saturday, and spent Sunday. July 19.--Was glad for Isabella
to have an opportunity of seeing a Sunday in a country place in England.
I preached twice, and we were interested. Aug. 4.--Came to York.
Glorious! Chapter-house restored by Mr. Bell."

January 1, 1851.--"Having preached on Sunday last regarding improvement
and good resolutions, I would now do the same for myself. I have made
some resolutions in my own mind, chiefly regarding the control and
regulation of temper, irritability, forbearance, more composed and calm
temperament, order, diligence, dispatch of work, etc." On January 6th
there is a Ragged School meeting--"a long and tiresome meeting; the Duke
of A---- speaks well; Guthrie amusing; Fox Maule good; Candlish

On his birthday in 1853 he writes: "I have just made two
resolves--first, never to give way to temper, fret, ill-humour, party
spirit, or prejudice; second, to work my best in what I may have
still to do."

There is a great deal more of the journal, but one or two additional
extracts will show sufficiently the nature of the man, his devotion to
his sacred duty, his gentleness, and love of peace. The High Churchman
may think him unduly careless about forms and ceremonies; but, loving
him very well, I yet wish to represent the Dean as he really was. Above
all things full of charity, loving religion as he understood the
religion of the Gospel, and not much concerned, not really deeply
concerned, about the shape and dress in which it presented itself. He
held, however, that the Protestant Episcopal Church, as established in
England, as disestablished in Scotland, for he never would separate
them, was in all its belongings the most desirable, its service the
most decent.

1858 was a sad year for the Dean. Mrs. Ramsay had been very ill, and
sinking in strength and spirit visibly, till, on the 23d July the
afflicted husband makes this entry:--"It pleased God to visit me with
the deep and terrible affliction of taking away my friend, companion,
and adviser of twenty-nine years." It was a heavy blow, and for a time
it seemed to paralyse the Dean. This journal, never regular, becomes
from this time quite broken.

Looking back from this point, which to the Dean seemed the end of
happiness, he could acknowledge how duty supplied the place of pleasure.
He was grateful also for many mercies. In one respect he was singularly
fortunate. His Bishop and he, I may say during all the time he served in
St. John's, were cordially of the same way of thinking. Bishop Terrot
was indeed a very different man from himself, but in the relations of
Bishop and Dean they were very happy. The Dean wrote a little memoir of
Bishop Terrot, which he published in the _Scottish Guardian_ (May 15,
1872), where he prints the remarkable letter from the Bishop to himself,
answering the question why he declined communion with Mr. Drummond, and
ending with the sentence--"These are matters of _ecclesiastical police_
which each local church has a right to manage in its own way, subject to
the law of the Catholic Church, i.e. the Bible." The Dean then bore
testimony that he had always found his Bishop an interesting companion,
a kind friend, a faithful and judicious adviser, and he speaks highly,
and surely not too highly, of his great intellectual powers, as well as
of his moral qualities. I am myself a very hearty admirer of Bishop
Terrot, and I think it not out of place to add something to our
knowledge of him, by printing a few letters which concern him and
his family.

     COLONEL TERROT to DEAN RAMSAY.--Without date, but of the
     year 1872.

     Very Rev. and dear Sir--There is one little incorrect
     deduction in your kind memoir, or at least a deduction which
     may be made from what you say of my father deriving his
     intellect from his mother---that my grandfather was inferior
     in such respects. From deep feeling and devotion to his
     memory, my grandmother never spoke of her husband to us, but
     from others I have heard that he was a bright, handsome and
     talented young man, who, with the very imperfect education
     given at that time to officers in the army, and employed in
     active service in America at the age of fourteen, was yet
     distinguished for ability, especially in mathematics and
     engineering matters, so that he was employed by those in
     command of the siege, and was actually riding with the
     engineer who was in charge of the sieging operations when a
     cannon-ball struck and killed him. He was in an English
     infantry regiment, and not in the Indian service, except that
     the regiment was serving in India at the time. He met my
     grandmother in the ship which took them to India. She was
     going to a maternal uncle, Colonel Hughes, who was
     considerably displeased on her announcing at Madras that she
     was engaged to a poor young officer who had offered to her
     during the voyage. But the young couple being determined, he
     gave his consent, and continued kind to his niece, and my
     father was born in his house, and at his father's request
     called Hughes after him. My grandfather was twenty-five and
     his bride eighteen at their marriage, and she was a widow
     before she was twenty, from which time till she died at
     eighty-five she was a widow indeed, making her son the chief
     object of her life, living in and for him.

     His uncle William, whom he succeeded at Haddington, was never
     married, and was exceedingly attached to my father. He was a
     singular man; in his early days very gay and handsome, and
     living in some matters, I know not what, so incorrectly, that
     on offering himself for holy orders, the then Bishop of
     Durham wrote to him mentioning something he had heard, and
     telling him if it was true he was not fitly prepared for
     taking orders. My uncle acknowledged the accusation as far as
     it was true, and thanked the Bishop for his letter, and
     abstained from coming forward at that time, but took the
     admonition so to heart that it led to an entire conversion of
     heart and life. He then came forward in a very different
     state to receive ordination, and was through his whole life a
     most zealous and devoted man, a friend of Milner and
     Wilberforce. An old lady, Mrs. Logan of Seafield, told me
     that once when Mrs. Siddons was acting, uncle William walked
     twenty miles to see her and persuade her not to go, and,
     whether by arguments or eloquence, he succeeded. Though kind
     and gentle he was a strong Calvinist, and by his zeal and
     energy in preaching such doctrines, injured himself in a
     worldly point of view. He was always poor, and often gave
     away all the little he had, and lived from hand to mouth. He
     was very much admired and beloved by ladies, which perhaps
     prevented his marrying. He was very happy and useful among
     the sailors, and died at his sister's, Mrs. Jackson, at
     Woolwich. She, as Elizabeth Terrot, had been a beauty, and
     was to the last a fine, happy, spirited, contented and joking
     old lady, very fond of my father, to whom she left all she
     had. She was bright, unselfish and amusing, even on her
     deathbed incapable of despondency or gloom.

     Excuse my troubling you with these details; and believe me to
     be truly grateful for your graceful tribute to our dear
     father. I send a few lines for your private eye, written by
     my sister Mary, expressing what she felt on last seeing him,
     and it expresses, too, exactly what I felt that last Good
     Friday as he sat in that chair in which he had so long
     suffered. I never saw him there again, With deep respect,
     gratefully yours, S.A. TERROT.



Sad, silent, broken down, longing for rest,
His noble head bent meekly on his breast,
Bent to the bitter storm that o'er it swept;
  I looked my last, and surely, then I thought,
  Surely the conflict's o'er, the battle's fought;
To see him thus, the Saviour might have wept.


His rest was near--his everlasting rest;
No more I saw him weary and oppressed.
_There_ in the majesty of death he lay
  For ever comforted: I could not weep;
  He slept, dear father! his last blessed sleep,
Bright in the dawn of the eternal day.


And thou, whose hand _his_, groping, sought at last,
The faithful hand that he might hold it fast!
Once more, when parting on the eternal shore,
  It may be, when thy heart and hand shall fail,
  Entering the shadows of death's awful vale
His hand shall grasp thine, groping then no more.


     My dear Dean--Many thanks for your very interesting memoir of
     Bishop Terrot. His remark about _humdrum_ and _humbug_ is
     worthy of the best days of Sydney Smith, and so is a hit
     about table-turning[10]. I once heard him preach, and still
     remember with pleasure the unexpected delight it gave to my
     dear mother and myself. We did not know in the least what was
     coming, either from the man or the text, and it was
     excellent.--Yours sincerely,

     A.P. STANLEY.

     Deanery, Westminster, 1872.

     Right Hon. W.E. GLADSTONE to DEAN RAMSAY.

     Hawarden, May 26, 1872

     My dear Friend--I have read with much interest your graceful
     and kindly memoir of Bishop Terrot, which you were so good as
     to send me.

     He had always appeared to me as a very real and notable, and
     therefore interesting man, though for some reason not
     apparent a man _manqué_, a man who ought to have been more
     notable than he was. I quite understand and follow you in
     placing him with, or rather in the class of, Whately and
     Paley, but he fell short of the robust activity of the first,
     and of that wonderful clearness of the other, which is actual

     Your account of the question of Lordship is to me new and
     interesting. I have never called the Scottish Bishops by that
     title. I should be content to follow the stream, but then we
     must deal equally, and there is the case of the Anglo-Roman
     bishop to meet, especially now that the Ecclesiastical Titles
     Bill has been repealed; but only on Friday I addressed one of
     the very best among them "Right Rev. Bishop M----."

     You will, I am sure, allow me the license of private judgment
     in the two expositions about the church in p. 5. You praise
     both, but the second the more highly. To me the first seems
     excellent, and the second, strange to say, wanting in his
     usual clearness and consecutiveness. For having in head (1)
     most truly said that Christ "instituted a society _and_
     revealed a doctrine," he then proceeds as if he had quite
     forgotten the first half of the proposition, and conceived of
     the society only as (so to speak) embedded in the doctrine.
     Also, I complain of his depriving you of the character of
     [Greek: iegeus], which indeed I am rather inclined to claim
     for myself, as "He hath made us kings and priests" ([Greek:

     I hope you are gradually maturing the idea of your promised
     summer expedition to the south, and that before long I shall
     hear from you on the subject of it.

     Will you remember me kindly to Miss Cochrane, and believe me,
     ever affectionately yours,


The Dean was greatly affected by a terrible calamity, which happened in
his house in Ainslie Place, where, in June of 1866, his niece Lucy
Cochrane, one of his family, was burnt to death; out of many letters of
condolence which he received at the time, I have only space to insert
three--one from the Rev. Dr. Hannah, then head of Glenalmond College, an
accomplished scholar, to whom our Dean was much attached, and upon whom
he drew very freely in any questions of more recondite scholarship,
another from the Rev. D.T.K. Drummond, and the third from the Premier:--

     Rev. Dr. J. HANNAH to DEAN RAMSAY.

     Trinity College, Glenalmond, N.B.

     June 15, 1866.

     Dear Mr. Dean--I _must_ write one line, though I know you
     will be overwhelmed with letters, to say how deeply
     distressed and shocked we are at the news in this morning's
     paper, and how profoundly we sympathize with you under this
     fearful affliction. I thought instantly of Mr. Keble's lovely
     poem in the Lyra Innocentium:--

"Sweet maiden, for so calm a life,
Too bitter seemed thine end."

     And it applies closely, I am sure, in the consolations it
     suggests; that

"He who willed her tender frame
Should rear the martyr's robe of flame,"

     has prepared for her a garland in Heaven,

"Tinged faintly with such golden light
As crowns His martyr train."

     But if blessed for her, it will be a sore trial for the
     survivors. We feel so keenly for her poor sisters, who seem
     to have to bear the brunt of so many sorrows. May God support
     them and you! So prays in hearty sympathy, yours ever

     J. HANNAH.


     St. Fillans, Crieff, 16th June.

     My dear Friend--This morning's paper brought us the sad, sad
     intelligence of the frightful calamity which has befallen
     your household.

     My heart aches when I think of the overwhelming sorrow this
     great affliction must bring to your kind and loving heart.
     Long friendship and unbroken esteem must be my apology for
     intruding on you at this early stage of your bereavement. I
     cannot but express my deep and heart-felt sympathy with you
     in it, and my earnest prayer that God the Holy Spirit may
     sanctify and comfort by his own grace and presence all on
     whom this great sorrow has fallen.

     In the expression of this sympathy my dear wife cordially
     unites with yours most affectionately and truly,


     Right Hon. W.E. GLADSTONE to DEAN RAMSAY.

     11 Carlton H. Terrace,

     June 16, 1866.

     My dear Dean Ramsay--I cannot refrain from writing to you a
     word of sympathy under the grievous calamity with which your
     peaceful and united household has in the providence of God
     been visited. I have only heard of it in a very partial
     account to-day; but I deeply lament alike the extinction of a
     young and promising life, the loss your affectionate heart
     has sustained, and the circumstances of horror with which it
     has been accompanied. I need not say how this concern extends
     to your brother the Admiral also. I shall hope to hear of you
     through some common friend. I cannot ask you to write, but
     beg you to believe me always affectionately yours,


Very few of the Dean's own letters have been preserved, but the
following will show him as a correspondent:--


     23 Ainslie Place, Feb. 3, 1865

     Dear Dr. Lindsay Alexander--I am not aware of having an
     undue predominance of modesty in my nature, but really I have
     been surprised, I may truly say much amazed, at the
     dedication of the volume which I received this evening. Need
     I add that, on more calmly considering the matter, I am
     deeply gratified. From Dr. Lindsay Alexander such a
     compliment can be no ordinary gratification. "Laudari a
     laudatis" has always been a distinction coveted by those who
     value the opinion of the wise and good.

     I thank you most cordially for the delicacy with which you
     refer to the "most stedfast adherence to conviction" of one
     who has long been convinced that no differences in matter of
     polity or forms of worship ought to violate that "unity of
     spirit," or sever that "bond of peace," in which we should
     ever seek to join all those whom we believe sincerely to hold
     the truth as it is in Jesus.--I am always, with sincere
     regard, yours truly and obliged,

     E.B. RAMSAY.

     DEAN RAMSAY to Mrs. CLERK, Kingston Deverell.

     23 Ainslie Place,

     Edinburgh, March 14, 1865.

     Dearest Stuart--I take great blame and sorrow to myself for
     having left your kind letter to me on my birthday so long
     unanswered. It was indeed a charming letter, and how it took
     me back to the days of "Auld lang Syne!" They were happy
     days, and good days, and the savour of them is pleasant. Do
     you know (you don't know) next Christmas day is forty-two
     years since I left Frome, and forty-nine years since I went
     to Frome? Well! they were enjoyable days, and rational days,
     and kind-hearted days. What jokes we used to have! O dear!
     How many are gone whom we loved and honoured! I often think
     of my appearing at Frome, falling like a stranger from the
     clouds, and finding myself taken to all your hearts, and made
     like one of yourselves. Do you know Mrs. Watkins is alive and
     clever, and that I constantly correspond with her? You
     recollect little Mary Watkins at Berkely. She is now a
     grandmother and has three or four grandchildren!--ay, time
     passes on. It does. I have had a favoured course in Scotland;
     I have been thirty-seven years in St. John's, and met only
     with kindness and respect. I have done much for my church,
     and that is acknowledged by every one. My Catechism is in a
     tenth edition--my Scottish Book in an eleventh; 3000 copies
     were sold the first week of the cheap or people's edition. I
     meet with much attention from all denominations. A very able
     man here, Dr. Lindsay Alexander, an Indpendent, has just
     dedicated a book (a good one) to Dean Ramsay, with a
     flattering dedication. But I don't expect to hold on _much_
     longer. I feel changed, and at times not equal to much
     exertion. It was a terrible change for me to lose my
     companion of twenty-nine years, and I have never, of course,
     recovered that loss. It is a great point for a person like me
     to have three nieces, quite devoted to care of me and to make
     me happy: cheerful, animated, and intelligent, pretty
     also--one of them an excellent musician, and _organist_ to
     our amateur choir for week days in the chapel. By the by we
     have a glorious organ. How I have gone on about my miserable
     self--quite egotistical. "If I may be allowed the language"
     (the late Capt. Balne). But I thought you would like it.
     Good-bye. Love to Malcolm _Kenmore_. When do your boys come?
     Your ever loving and affectionate old friend,

     E.B. RAMSAY.


     23 Ainslie Place,

     Edinburgh, 12th Feb. 1868.

     Many thanks for writing about our beloved Bessie, my very
     dear Stuart. She is indeed much endeared to all the friends,
     and I am a friend of more than 50 years! God's will be done.
     We have come to that age when we must know our time is
     becoming very uncertain.

     There is only one thing, dearest Stuart, that I _can_
     say--my best wishes, best affections, best prayers, are with
     her who now lies on a sick bed. _She_ has not to begin the
     inquiry into the love and support of a gracious Redeemer. She
     may say, "I know that my Redeemer liveth."

     May God be merciful and gracious to support you all on this
     deeply interesting occasion, is the earnest prayer of your
     affectionate old friend, E. B. RAMSAY.


     23 Ainslie Place,

     Edinburgh, 3d June 1870.

     My dear Stuart--I had such a kind letter from you some time
     ago, about visiting you, and I did not answer it--wrong,
     very! and I am sorry I put it off. Should I come to England
     this summer I should look on it as a _last_ visit, and would
     make an effort to see old Frome again. Do you know it is
     fifty-four years since I first appeared at Rodden!

     I preach still, and my voice and articulation don't fail; but
     otherwise I am changed, and walk I cannot at all. St. John's
     goes on as usual--nice people, many, and all are very kind.
     We have lately had the interior renewed, and some changes in
     the arrangement, which are great improvement. It is much
     admired, "a great ornament to our ponds and ditches,"--Dr.
     Woodward. However, dear Stuart, I have not yet said
     distinctly enough what I meant to say at the beginning--that
     should I come south I would make an effort to come to
     K. Deverell.

     Miss Walker has left fully £200,000 to our church. I am at
     present (as Dean) the only Episcopal trustee, with four
     official trustees--all Presbyterians.

     The Bishops seem the most _go-ahead_ people in the church
     just now. New sectioning and revision of Scripture,
     translation, all come from them: both of much importance. I
     wish they could get rid of the so-called Athanasian Creed. I
     cannot bear it. Nothing on earth could ever induce me to
     repeat the first part and the last part. Love to yourself,
     husband, and all yours.--Your affectionate

     E.B. RAMSAY.


     Broomhall, Dunfermline,

     7th August 1870.

     My dear and venerable Brother Dean--It was very ungrateful of
     me not to have thanked you before for your most kind
     vindication of my act in Westminster Abbey. I had read your
     letter with the greatest pleasure, and must now thank you for
     letting me have a separate copy of it. I certainly have no
     reason to be dissatisfied with my defenders. All the bishops
     who have spoken on the subject (with the single exception of
     the Bishop of Winchester) have approved the step--so I
     believe have a vast majority of English churchmen.

     How any one could expect that I should make a distinction
     between confirmed and unconfirmed communicants, which would
     render any administration in the abbey impossible, or that I
     should distinguish between the different shades of orthodoxy
     in the different nonconformist communions, I cannot conceive.
     I am sure that I acted as a good churchman. I humbly hope
     that I acted as He who first instituted the Sacrament of the
     Lord's Supper would have wished.

     You are very kind to have taken so much interest in my
     essays, and what you say of the Athanasian Creed is deeply
     instructive. You will be glad to hear--what will become
     public in a few days--that of the 29 Royal Commissioners, 18
     at least--including the Archbishop of Canterbury and the
     Bishops of St. David's and Carlisle and the two Regius
     Professors of Divinity--have declared themselves against
     continuing the use of it.

     I found your note here when we arrived last night to assist
     at the coming of age of young Lord Elgin. We were obliged to
     pass rapidly through Edinburgh, in order to reach this by
     nightfall. In case I am able to come over this week to
     Edinburgh, should I find you at home, and at what hour?

     It would probably be on Thursday that I could most easily
     come.--Yours sincerely,

     A.P. STANLEY.


     Kingston Deverell, Warminster, Wilts.

     23 Ainslie Place, Edin., Sept. 5 [1872].

     My dear Malcolm Clerk--Many thanks for your remarks touching
     the Athanasian Creed. I agree quite, and am satisfied we gain
     nothing by retaining it, and lose much. You ask if I could
     help to get facsimiles; I am not likely--not in my line I
     fear. Should anything turn up I will look after it. One of
     the propositions to which unlimited faith must be given, is
     drawn from an analogy, which expresses the most obscure of
     all questions in physics--i.e. the union of mind and matter,
     the what constitutes one mortal being--all very well to use
     in explanation or illustration, but as a positive article of
     faith in itself, monstrous. Then the Filioque to be insisted
     on as eternal death to deny!

     People hold such views. A writer in the _Guardian_ (Mr.
     Poyntz) maintains that God looks with more favour upon a man
     living in SIN than upon one who has seceded ever so small
     from orthodoxy. Something must be done, were it only to stop
     the perpetual, as we call it in Scottish phrase,

     I am always glad to hear of your boys. My love to Stuart, and
     same to thyself.--Thine affectionate fourscore old friend,

     E.B. RAMSAY.

I am preparing a twenty-second edition of _Reminiscences_. Who would
have thought it? No man.

I have not hitherto made any mention of the Dean's most popular book,
the _Reminiscences_. I cannot write but with respect of a work in which
he was very much interested, and where he showed his knowledge of his
countrymen so well. As a critic, I must say that his style is peculiarly
unepigrammatic; and yet what collector of epigrams or epigrammatic
stories has ever done what the Dean has done for Scotland? It seems as
if the wilful excluding of point was acceptable, otherwise how to
explain the popularity of that book? All over the world, wherever Scotch
men and Scotch language have made their way--and that embraces wide
regions--the stories of the _Reminiscences_, and Dean Ramsay's name as
its author, are known and loved as much as the most popular author of
this generation. In accounting for the marvellous success of the little
book, it should not be forgotten that the anecdotes are not only true to
nature, but actually true, and that the author loved enthusiastically
Scotland, and everything Scotch. But while there were so many things to
endear it to the peasantry of Scotland, it was not admired by them
alone. I insert a few letters to show what impression it made on those
whom one would expect to find critical, if not jealous. Dickens, the
king of story-tellers; Dr. Guthrie, the most picturesque of preachers;
Bishop Wordsworth, Dean Stanley, themselves masters of style--how
eagerly they received the simple stories of Scotland told
without ornament.


     The Feu House, Perth, January 12, 1872.

     My dear Dean--Your kind, welcome and most elegant present
     reached me yesterday--in bed; to which, and to my sofa, I
     have been confined for some days by a severe attack of brow
     ague; and being thus disabled for more serious employment, I
     allowed my thoughts to run upon the lines which you will find
     over leaf. Please to accept them as being _well intended_;
     though (like many other good intentions) I am afraid they
     give only too true evidence of the source from which they
     come--viz., _disordered head._--Yours very sincerely,


     _Bp. of St. Andrews_.

Ad virum venerabilem, optimum, dilectissimum, EDVARDUM
B. RAMSAY, S.T.P., Edinburgi Decanum, accepto
ejus libro cui titulus _Reminiscences_, etc.; vicesimum
jam lautiusque et amplius edito.

Editio accessit vicesima! plaudite quiequid
  Scotia festivi fert lepidique ferax!
Non vixit frustra qui frontem utcunque severam,
  Noverit innocuis explicuisse jocis:
Non frustra vixit qui tot monumenta priorum
  Salsa pia vetuit sedulitate mori:
Non frustra vixit qui quali nos sit amore
  Vivendum, exemplo præcipiensque docet:
Nec merces te indigna manet: juvenesque senesque
  Gaudebunt nomen concelebrare tuum;
Condiet appositum dum fercula nostra salinum,
  Præbebitque suas mensa secunda nuces;
Dum stantis rhedæ aurigam tua pagina fallet,
  Contentum in sella tædia longa pati!
Quid, quod et ipsa sibi devinctum Scotia nutrix
  Te perget gremio grata fovere senem;
Officiumque pium simili pietate rependens,
  Sæcula nulla sinet non[11] meminisse Tui.

The TRANSLATION is from the pen of DEAN STANLEY:--

Hail, Twentieth Edition! From Orkney to Tweed,
  Let the wits of all Scotland come running to read.
Not in vain hath he lived, who by innocent mirth
  Hath lightened the frowns and the furrows of earth:
Not in vain hath he _lived_, who will never let _die_
  The humours of good times for ever gone by:
Not in vain hath he _lived_, who hath laboured to give
  In himself the best proof how by love we may _live_.
Rejoice, our dear Dean, thy reward to behold
  In united rejoicing of young and of old;
Remembered, so long as our boards shall not lack
  A bright grain of salt or a hard nut to crack;
So long as the cabman aloft on his seat,
  Broods deep o'er thy page as he waits in the street!
Yea, Scotland herself, with affectionate care,
  Shall nurse an old age so beloved and so rare;
And still gratefully seek in her heart to enshrine
  One more _Reminiscence_, and that shall be Thine.

     From the DEAN of WESTMINSTER.

     The Deanery, Westminster,

     February 3, 1872.

     My dear elder (I cannot say eldest so long as the Dean of
     Winchester lives) Brother--I am very glad that you are
     pleased with my attempt to render into English the Bishop's
     beautiful Latinity....

     Accept our best wishes for many happy returns of the day just
     past.--Yours sincerely,

     A.P. STANLEY.

On the publication of the Twentieth Edition of the _Reminiscences_,
Professor Blackie addressed to the Dean the following sonnets:--


  Hail! wreathed in smiles, thou genial book! and hail
  Who wove thy web of bright and various hue,
  The wise old man, who gleaned the social tale
  And thoughtful jest and roguish whim, that grew
  Freely on Scotland's soil when Scotland knew
  To be herself, nor lusted to assume
  Smooth English ways--that they might live and bloom
  With freshness, ever old and ever new
  In human hearts. Thrice happy he who knows
  With sportive light the cloudy thought to clear,
  And round his head the playful halo throws
  That plucks the terror from the front severe:
  Such grace was thine, and such thy gracious part,
Thou wise old Scottish man of large and loving heart.


  The twentieth edition! I have looked
  Long for my second--but it not appears;
  Yet not the less I joy that thou hast brooked
  Rich fruit of fair fame, and of mellow years,
  Thou wise old man, within whose saintly veins
  No drop of gall infects life's genial tide,
  Whose many-chambered human heart contains
  No room for hatred and no home for pride.
  Happy who give with stretch of equal love
  This hand to Heaven and that to lowly earth,
  Wise there to worship with great souls above
  As here to sport with children in their mirth;
  Who own one God with kindly-reverent eyes
In flowers that prink the earth, and stars that gem the skies.



     Gad's Hill Place, Higham, by Rochester, Kent,

     Tuesday, 29th May 1866.

     My dear Sir--I am but now in the receipt of your kind letter,
     and its accompanying book. If I had returned home sooner, I
     should sooner have thanked you for both.

     I cannot adequately express to you the gratification I have
     derived from your assurance that I have given you pleasure.
     In describing yourself as a stranger of whom I know nothing,
     you do me wrong however. The book I am now proud to possess
     as a mark of your goodwill and remembrance has for some time
     been too well known to me to admit of the possibility of my
     regarding its writer in any other light than as a friend in
     the spirit; while the writer of the introductory page marked
     viii. in the edition of last year[12] had commanded my
     highest respect as a public benefactor and a brave soul.

     I thank you, my dear Sir, most cordially, and I shall always
     prize the words you have inscribed in this delightful volume,
     very, very highly.--Yours faithfully and obliged,



     1 Salisbury Road,

     30th October 1872.

     My dear Mr. Dean--My honoured and beloved friend, I have
     received many sweet, tender, and Christian letters touching
     my late serious illness, but among them all none I value
     more, or almost so much, as your own.

     May the Lord bless you for the solace and happiness it gave
     to me and mine! How perfect the harmony in our views as to
     the petty distinctions around which--sad and shame to think
     of it--such fierce controversies have raged! I thank God that
     I, like yourself, have never attached much importance to
     these externals, and have had the fortune to be regarded as
     rather loose on such matters. We have just, by God's grace,
     anticipated the views and aspects they present on a deathbed.

     I must tell you how you helped us to pass many a weary,
     restless hour. After the Bible had been read to me in a low
     monotone--when I was seeking sleep and could not find it--a
     volume of my published sermons was tried, and sometimes very
     successfully, as a soporific. I was familiar with them, and
     yet they presented as much novelty as to divert my mind from
     my troubles. And what if this failed? then came the
     _Reminiscences_ to entertain me, and while away the long
     hours when all hope of getting sleep's sweet oblivion
     was given up!

     So your book was one of my many mercies. But oh, how great in
     such a time the unspeakable mercy of a full, free, present
     salvation! In Wesley's words

          "I the chief of sinners am,
          But Jesus died for me."

     I have had a bit of a back-throw, but if you could come
     between three and four on Friday, I would rejoice to see
     you.--Ever yours, with the greatest esteem,



     Duntrune, 8th January 1872.

     My dear Mr. Dean--I thank you very much for the gift of your
     new edition of "Scottish Reminiscences," and most especially
     for the last few pages on Christian union and liberality,
     which I have read with delight.

     I beg also to thank you for the flattering and acceptable
     _testimonial_ you have bestowed on myself.--Your most
     respectful and grateful friend,


     Rev. Dr. HANNA to DEAN RAMSAY.

     16 Magdala Crescent, 11th January 1872.

     Dear Dean Ramsay--I have been touched exceedingly by your
     kindness in sending me a copy of the twentieth edition of the

     It was a happy thought of Mr. Douglas to present it to the
     public in such a handsome form--the one in which it will take
     its place in every good library in the country.

     I am especially delighted with the last twenty pages of this
     edition. Very few had such a right to speak about the strange
     commotion created by the act of the two English Bishops, and
     the manner in which they tried to lay the storm, and still
     fewer could have done it with such effect.

     One fruit of your work is sure to abide. As long as Scotland
     lasts, _your_ name will "be associated with gentle and happy
     _Reminiscences of Scottish Life and Character_."

     Mrs. Hanna joins me in affectionate regard.--With highest
     respect and esteem, I ever am, yours very truly,

     WM. HANNA.


     23 Ainslie Place, Edinburgh.

     January 29, 1872.

     My clear Dr. Alexander--Since I had the pleasure of your most
     agreeable visit, and its accompanying conversation, I have
     been very unwell and hardly left the house. You mentioned the
     reference made by Dean Stanley (?) to the story of the
     semi-idiot boy and his receiving the communion with such
     heart-felt reality. I forgot to mention that, summer before
     last, two American gentlemen were announced, who talked very
     pleasantly before I found who they were--one a Baptist
     minister at Boston, and the other a professor in a college. I
     did not know why they had called at all until the minister
     _let on_ that he did not like to be in Edinburgh without
     waiting upon the author of _Reminiscences_, as the book had
     much interested him in Scottish life, language and character,
     before he had been a visitor on the Scottish shores. "But
     chiefly," he added, "I wished to tell you that the day before
     I sailed I preached in a large store to above two thousand
     people; that from your book I had to them brought forward the
     anecdote of the simpleton lad's deep feeling in seeing the
     '_pretty man_' in the communion, and of his being found dead
     next morning." To which he added, in strong American tones,
     "I pledge _myself_ to you, sir, there was not a dry eye in
     the whole assembly."

     It is a feature of modern times how anecdotes, sayings,
     expressions, etc., pass amongst the human race. I have
     received from Sir Thomas Biddulph an expression of the
     Queen's pleasure at finding pure _Scottish_ anecdotes have
     been so popular in England. How fond she is of
     Scotland!--With much esteem, I am very truly yours,

     E.B. RAMSAY.

The Dean was an enthusiastic admirer of Dr. Chalmers, and on the evening
of March 4, 1849, he read a memoir of the life and labours of Chalmers
at a meeting of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. That memoir, although it
had been to a great extent anticipated by Rev. Dr. Hanna's fine and
copious memoir of his father-in-law, was printed in the Society
Transactions, and afterwards went through several editions when issued
in a separate volume.


     Ainslie Place, Thursday morning

     My dear Mr. Ramsay--I beg to thank you most truly for your
     very acceptable gift so kindly sent to me yesterday evening.
     I had heard with the greatest satisfaction of the admirable
     sketch you had read to the Royal Society of the public
     character of the latest of our Scottish worthies--a very
     remarkable man in many respects; one whose name must ever
     stand in the foremost rank of Christian philanthropists; all
     whose great and various talents and acquirements being
     devoted with untiring energy to the one great object--the
     temporal and eternal benefit of mankind. What I also greatly
     admired about him was that all the great adulation he met
     with never affected his simple-mindedness; his humility was
     remarkable. There was the same absence of conceit or
     assumption of any kind which also greatly distinguished his
     great cotemporary, our friend Walter Scott; in truth, both
     were too far elevated above other men to seek any
     adventitious distinction. I wish our country could show more
     men like Chalmers to hold up to imitation, or if too exalted
     to be imitated, yet still to be proud of; and that they were
     fortunate enough to have admirers such as you, capable of
     recording their worth in an _éloge_, such as the public has
     the satisfaction of receiving at your hands. Again I beg to
     thank you for your kind remembrance of me on the present
     occasion.--Believe me, my dear Sir, yours very truly,

     J.H. FORBES.


     4 S. Charlotte Street, Tuesday, 6th March.

     My dear Sir--I cannot deny myself the pleasure of expressing
     to you the deep interest and delight with which I listened to
     your discourse last night, so worthy, in every view, of the
     subject, the occasion, and the audience. And while I thank
     you most sincerely for so cordial and genial a tribute to the
     memory of the greatest of modern Scotsmen, I venture to
     express my hope that we may be favoured with an earlier and
     wider publication of it than the Transactions of the Royal
     Society will afford.--Pray excuse this intrusion, and believe
     me, yours very truly,


     Dean Ramsay.

     I will indulge myself only with one phrase from the Dean's
     memoir of Dr. Chalmers:--"Chalmers's greatest delight was to
     contrive plans and schemes for raising degraded human nature
     in the scale of moral living. The favourite object of his
     contemplation was human nature attaining the highest
     perfection of which it is capable, and especially as that
     perfection was manifested in saintly individuals, in
     characters of great acquirements, adorned with the graces of
     Christian piety. His greatest sorrow was to contemplate
     masses of mankind hopelessly bound to vice and misery by
     chains of passion, ignorance, and prejudice. As no one more
     firmly believed in the power of Christianity to regenerate a
     fallen race, as faith and experience both conspired to assure
     him that the only effectual deliverance for the sinful and
     degraded was to be wrought by Christian education, and by the
     active agency of Christian instruction penetrating into the
     haunts of vice and the abodes of misery, these acquisitions
     he strove to secure for all his beloved countrymen; for these
     he laboured, and for these he was willing to spend and to
     be spent."

     That high yet just character not only shows Dean Ramsay's
     appreciation of Chalmers, but seems to show that he had
     already set him up as the model which he himself was to
     follow. At any rate, he attempted to stir up the public mind
     to give some worthy testimonial to the greatest of modern
     Scotsmen. A few letters connected with this subject I have
     put together. I did not think it necessary to collect more,
     since the object has been attained under difficulties of time
     and distance which might have quelled a less enthusiastic
     admirer. It is pleasant to notice the general consent with
     which we agree that no one else was so fitted to recommend
     the Chalmers memorial as Dean Ramsay.

     It was to do honour to my own little book that I ventured,
     without asking leave, to print the few lines which follow,
     from the great French writer, the high minister of State, the
     patron of historical letters for half-a-century in France,
     the Protestant Guizot.

     M. GUIZOT to the DEAN.

     Paris, ce 7 Février 1870,

     10 Rue Billault.

     Sir--Je m'associerai avec un vrai et sérieux plaisir à
     l'érection d'une statue en l'honneur du Dr. Chalmers. Il n'y
     a point de théologien ni de moraliste Chrétien à qui je porte
     une plus haute estime. Sur quelques unes des grandes
     questions qu' il a traitées, je ne partage pas ses opinions;
     mais j'honore et j'admire l'élévation, la vigueur de sa
     pensé, et la beauté morale de son génie. Je vous prie,
     Monsieur, de me compter parmi les hommes qui se féliciteront
     de pouvoir lui rendre un solennel hommage, et je vous
     remercie d'avoir pensé à moi dans ce dessein.

     Reçevez l'assurance de mes sentiments les plus distingués.


     Mr. E.B. Ramsay, Dean, etc., 23 Ainslie Place, Edinburgh,
     North Britain.

Some of Mr. Gladstone's letters, already printed, show that they were
not the beginning of the correspondence between him and the Dean. The
accident which made them acquainted will be mentioned afterwards
(p. lxxxi.)

     Right Hon. W.E. GLADSTONE to DEAN RAMSAY.

     Hawarden Castle, Chester,

     Jan. 3, 1870.

     My dear Dean Ramsay--I send you my rather shabby contribution
     of £10 to the Chalmers' Memorial. I wish it were more, but I
     am rather specially pressed at this time; and I think I
     refused Robert Bruce altogether not long ago.

     I quite understand the feeling of the Scotch aristocracy,
     but I should have thought Lothian would be apart from, as
     well as above it.

     But the number of subscriptions is the main thing, and very
     many they ought to be if Scotland is Scotland still. He was
     one of Nature's nobles. It is impossible even to dream that a
     base or unworthy thought ever found harbour for a moment
     in his mind.

     Is it not extraordinary to see this rain of Bishoprics upon
     _my_ head? Nor (I think) is it over; the next twelvemonth
     (wherever I may be at the end of it) will, I think, probably
     produce three more.

     Bishop Temple is a fine fellow, and I hope all will now go
     well. For Manchester (this is secret) I hope to have Mr.
     Fraser of Clifton--a very notable man, in the first rank of
     knowledge and experience on the question of education. Many
     pressed him for Salisbury.

     I can truly say that every Bishop who has been appointed has
     been chosen simply as the best man to be had.

     Ah! when will you spend that month here, which I shall never
     cease to long for?--Ever affectionately yours,



     52 Melville Street, 7th Dec. 1870.

     Dear Dean Ramsay--I should have acknowledged yours of the 1st
     sooner. I cannot say that I regret the conclusion to which
     you have come, though. I would have done my best to help on
     the larger movement.... I very willingly acquiesce in the
     wisdom of your resolution to accept the position, for it is
     one which you may well accept with satisfaction and
     thankfulness. You have accomplished what I doubt if any other
     man could have even ventured to propose, at so late a period
     after Dr. Chalmers' death. It will be a historical fact, made
     palpable to succeeding ages, that you have wiped off a
     discredit from Scotland's church and nation, by securing a
     suitable memorial of one of her most distinguished sons, in
     the most conspicuous position the Metropolis could assign to
     it. It will be for us of the Free Church to recognise in our
     archives the high compliment paid to our illustrious leader
     and chief in the great movement of the Disruption by one of
     other ecclesiastical convictions and leanings. But we must
     always do that under the feeling that it is not in that
     character that you know Chalmers; but in the far broader
     aspect in which you have so happily celebrated him as a
     Christian philanthropist, a patriot, and a divine.

     I conclude with earnest congratulations on the complete
     success, as I regard it, of your generous proposal; and I am
     yours very truly,


     Rev. Dr. DUFF to DEAN RAMSAY.

     The Grange, 29th June.

     Very Rev. and dear Sir--Many thanks for your kind note with
     its enclosures.

     From my sad experience in such matters, I am not at all
     surprised at the meagre number of replies to your
     printed circular.

     When I first learnt from the newspaper of the meeting held in
     your house, and of Dr. Guthrie's proposal, I had a strong
     impression that the latter was on far too extensive a
     scale--but remained silent, being only anxious, in a quiet
     way, to do what I could in promoting the general design.

     Having had much to do during the last forty years with the
     raising of funds for all manner of objects, in different
     lands, I have come to know something of men's tempers and
     dispositions in such cases, and under peculiar circumstances
     and conditions. I therefore never expected the £20,000 scheme
     to succeed; unless, indeed, it were headed by a dozen or so
     at £1000, or at least £500 each--a liberality not to be
     expected for such an object at this time of day.

     Your present plan, therefore, I think a wise one--viz., to
     constitute yourselves into "a statue committee," for the
     successful carrying out of your own original and very
     practicable design,--handing over any surplus funds which may
     remain to any other committee or body willing to prosecute
     the larger professorship or lectureship scheme.--I remain,
     very Rev. and dear Sir, yours very sincerely,


I am indebted for the following letters to the Rev. Dr. Lindsay
Alexander. If I wrote only for Scotsmen, it would be unnecessary to
speak of Dr. Alexander as holding a place which he seems to me, ignorant
as I am of Church disputes, to owe to his own high personal merit, and
the independence which makes him free to think and to write as scarcely
any clergyman fettered with the supposed claims of sect or denomination
feels himself at liberty to do. As our Dean got older we find him
drawing more kindly to those whose Christianity was shown in other guise
than in sectarian precision with some spice of persecution.

     23 Ainslie Place, Feb. 28, 1866.

     I have found, as others have, the "Biblical Commentary" a
     very useful companion in sermon-writing. It gives you the
     Scripture parallel passages bodily, and saves the trouble of
     turning backwards and forwards to find the marginal
     references and to examine their relevancy. The work is
     published by Bagster, and he generally, I believe, gets his
     work pretty well done, and, so far as I can judge, it is
     judiciously selected, generally at least.

     Now, dear Dr. Alexander, if you would accept of the copy of
     this work which I have sent, and accept it from me, and if it
     should prove a useful companion in your homiletical labours,
     I should feel much gratified. Perhaps it may be a remembrance
     amongst your books, when years have passed away, of one in
     his grave who had a sincere regard for you, and who now signs
     himself, yours very faithfully,

     E.B. RAMSAY.

     23 Ainslie Place, Jan. 11, 1866.

     My dear Dr. Alexander--You will not suppose me to be an
     advocate for the donkeyism of vestment ritual. But I wish you
     not to have unfavourable impressions as regard _our_ concern
     with such matters. We have a canon declaratory on vestments,
     asserting the ordinary surplice, gown, hood, and stole. It is
     stupidly worded, but the meaning is obvious. I was vexed from
     your experience to hear of such foolish proceedings at Bridge
     of Allan, contrary to canon and to common sense.... The
     _green_ part of the dress which caused your wonder, naturally
     enough, is not a freak of new vestments, but is a foolish way
     which the Glenalmond students have adopted of wearing the
     _hood_, which our Bishops (not without diversity of opinion)
     had granted for those who had been educated at our College.
     It is a hood lined with _green_ (Scottish thistle colour),
     and they have a way of wearing it in a manner which brings
     the coloured part in front. Pray, pray, don't think of
     answering this; it is merely to correct an unfavourable
     impression in one whose favourable opinion I much desiderate.
     I cannot tell you the pleasure I had in your visit on
     Tuesday.--With sincere regard, yours always, E.B. RAMSAY.

     23 Ainslie Place, June 8, 1866.

     Dear Dr. Alexander--I forgot to mention a circumstance
     connected with my story of to-day. I have had a communicant
     thereanent with Dr. Robert Lee. The good Dr., although fond
     of introducing Episcopalian practices, which cause great
     indignation amongst some of his brethren, does not wish it to
     be understood that he has the least tendency to become an
     Episcopalian himself. In short, he hinted to me himself that
     were such an idea to become prevalent it would materially
     weaken his influence with many followers. "It is to improve
     my own church, not to join yours," were his words, or to that
     effect. In carrying out this idea he has a hit in his
     "Reformation of the Church of Scotland" against
     Episcopalians, and in the first edition he brings up Dean
     Ramsay and the unfortunate statement he had made, as a
     melancholy proof how hopeless were even the most specious of
     the Scottish Episcopal Church on the subject of toleration. I
     told him that so far as that statement went it proved
     nothing, that it had been wrung from me in an unguarded
     moment, and that I had for fourteen years borne unequivocal
     testimony to views which were opposite to that statement. He
     received the explanation most kindly, and offered to do
     anything I wished, but we both at length agreed that the best
     plan would be simply to omit it in the second edition, which
     was preparing and has since come out. It was omitted.

     I am, dear Dr. Alexander, with true regard, ever yours most
     sincerely, E.B. RAMSAY.

     23 Ainslie Place, August 26, 1867.

     Dear Dr. Alexander--I have lately returned to Edinburgh,
     having paid a visit to my own country on Deeside. On Saturday
     I drove down to Musselburgh, and had an express object in
     calling upon you to ask how you were. But I found I had been
     wrong directed to Pinkie Burn, and that to accomplish my
     visit, I must have made a _détour_ which would have detained
     me too long. I had an engagement waiting me, and I found my
     strength pretty well exhausted. I wish, however, to notify my
     _intention_ of a visit. I have had a very severe illness
     since we met, and have not regained my former position, and
     do not think I ever shall. I was very, very close upon the
     gate we must all pass, and I believe a few hours longer of
     the fever's continuance would have closed the scene. I don't
     think I dread to meet death. I have so largely experienced
     the goodness of God through (now) a long life, and I feel so
     deeply, and I trust so humbly, the power of his grace and
     mercy in Christ, that, I can calmly contemplate the approach
     of the last hour. But I confess I do shrink from encountering
     an undefined period of bodily and mental imbecility; of being
     helpless, useless, a burden. I have been so distressed to see
     all this come upon our bishop, Dr. Terrot; the once clear,
     acute, _sharp_, and ready man. Oh, it is to my mind the most
     terrible affliction of our poor nature. I have known lately
     an unusual number of such cases before me, and I hope I am
     not unreasonably apprehensive as to what may come. I hope
     your family all are well, and that you are fully up to your
     work in all its forms.--I am, believe me, with much regard,
     very sincerely yours, E.B. RAMSAY.

     Without date.

     My dear Dr. Alexander--I feel deeply obliged by your kind
     gift to Bishop Whipple. His simple heart will be gratified
     much. I am so vexed at having mislaid two letters from him. I
     should have liked you to see and to know the bishop by seeing
     and reading them. They are _models_ of simple, loving,
     Christian feeling. He went to Minnesota as to a new rough
     state just added to the United States. He took five
     clergymen. He has now above thirty and a college (for which
     he asked the books). He is beloved by all, and loves all. The
     Red Indians worship him. He is so considerate of them. They
     suffer from bad teeth, and on some occasions he has drawn 150
     teeth before a prayer-meeting in the woods, from Indians who
     were suffering pain....

     I will take care Bishop Whipple shall know of your goodness.
     I am so vexed I can't find his letters.

     23 Ainslie Place, Edinburgh,

     November 26, 1871.

     Dear Dr. Alexander--You will be sorry to hear that my
     brother, Sir William, is _very_ ill. This morning we had
     given up all idea of his rallying, but since that he has
     shown symptoms of a more favourable character. His state is
     still a very precarious one, and I fear much we must make up
     our minds to lose him. God's will be done! We are sure he is
     prepared for his change. He has long been a sincere believer
     in the great work and offices of the Lord Jesus, and he has
     followed up his profession of belief by liberal and judicious
     expenditure on benevolent objects.

     I have heard of your being in London at the Revision, and you
     may probably be there now. But when you return to Edinburgh,
     the Admiral would be most glad to see you when able to call
     in Ainslie Place. Sir William is three years younger than I,
     but he has had a more trying life. His death (should such be
     God's will) must be a great blank for me. But for me it
     cannot be a long one.--Hoping you are well, I am, with much
     regard, most sincerely yours, E.B. RAMSAY.

Very soon after the date of this letter Admiral William Ramsay died, who
had lived with his brother the Dean in the most affectionate friendship
for many years. Their duties and interests were identical. William
Ramsay was known as the promoter of every scheme of benevolence in

     Right Hon. W.E. GLADSTONE to DEAN RAMSAY.

     Hawarden, December 7, 1871.

     My dear Dean Ramsay--It is with much grief that we have seen
     the announcement of the heavy loss you have sustained in the
     death of your brother. It was a beautiful union, which is now
     for the time dissolved. One has been taken, and the other
     left. The stronger frame has been broken, the weaker one
     still abides the buffetings of the sea of life. And I feel a
     very strong conviction, even at this sad moment, and with
     your advancing age, that the balance of your mind and
     character will remain unshaken through your habitual and
     entire acceptance of the will of God. I write then only to
     express my sincere regard for the dead, strong sympathy with
     the living. Such as it is, and knowing it to be pure, I offer
     it; would it were more worthy, and would that I, let me
     rather say--for my wife enters into all these feelings--that
     we were able in any way at this especial time to minister to
     your comfort.

     I fear the stroke must have come rather suddenly, but no
     dispensation could, I think, in the sense really dangerous,
     be sudden to you.

     Accept, my dear Dean, our affectionate wishes, and be assured
     we enter into the many prayers which will ascend on your
     behalf. Your devoted niece will sorely feel this, but it will
     be to her a new incentive in the performance of those loving
     duties to which she has so willingly devoted her heart and
     mind.--Believe me always your affectionate friend, W.E.


     Montpelier, Thursday.

     My dear Friend--I did not like to intrude on you in the very
     freshness of your home sorrow. But you know how much I loved
     and respected your brother, and how truly and heartily I
     sympathise with you. There were few in Edinburgh so much
     beloved as Sir William, and it will be long indeed ere the
     memory of his goodness shall pass away. Such men in the
     quiet, private, and unassuming walk, are often much more
     missed and more extensively lamented than men who have been
     more in the eye of the public, and during their life have had
     much of public observation and favour. It is trying for us
     who are far on in the pilgrimage to see one and another of
     our brothers and sisters pass away before us. I have seen
     _ten_ go before me, and am the only one left; and yet it
     seems as if the old feeling of their leaving us is being
     exchanged for the brighter and happier consciousness that
     they are coming to meet us, or at least that the gathering
     band are BEFORE us, and looking our way, expecting the time
     when we too shall pass through the veil, leaning on the arm
     of the Beloved. I earnestly pray, my dear friend, for the
     Master's loving help and comfort to you from henceforth
     even for ever.

     I cannot close this without, in a sentence, expressing my
     very great delight in reading your words regarding brotherly
     intercommunion among members of Churches who hold the same
     Truth, love the same Lord, and are bound to the same "better
     land." I do rejoice with all my heart that you have given
     utterance to the sentiments so carefully and admirably
     expressed by you. I go heart and soul with you in the large
     and liberal and Christ-like spirit of the views you propound;
     and feel with you that all such brotherly esteem and hearty
     and candid co-operation only makes me love my own church
     better, because such love is unmixed with the exclusiveness
     which sees nothing good save in the Communion to which we
     ourselves belong.

     Thank you most heartily for what you have written.--Ever very
     affectionately yours, D.T.K. DRUMMOND.

When the Ramsays were under the necessity of selling most of their
property in the Mearns, the purchaser of Fasque was Mr. Gladstone, not
yet a baronet; and, what does not always happen, the families of the
buyer and the seller continued good friends, and Sir John, the great
merchant, by his advice and perhaps other help, assisted some of the
young Ramsays, who had still to push their way to fortune. I believe
William, afterwards Admiral, was guided by him in the investment and
management of a little money, which prospered, notwithstanding his
innumerable bounties to the poor. The Dean also was obliged to Sir John
Gladstone, but only for kindness and hospitalities.

On the Ramsays going to London in the summer of 1845, the journal
records what nice rooms they had, and how happy they were at Mr.
Gladstone's, where they saw a good deal of their host--"a man who at
eighty-one possesses the bodily and mental vigour of the prime of life."
The Dean was struck with the old man's abilities. "Mr. Gladstone would
have been successful in any undertaking or any pursuits--a man fitted to
grapple with the highest subjects."

From that period much intercourse took place between the Premier and our
Dean. There are mutual visits between Hawarden and Edinburgh, and I find
a good deal of correspondence between them; at least I find the letters
on one side. The Dean preserved Mr. Gladstone's letters, but the
counterparts are probably not preserved. One-sided as they are, the
little packet in my hand, of letters from the great Statesman to the
rural clergyman is not without interest. The correspondence has been
friendly, frank and confidential, the writers often differing in
immaterial things, but showing the same liberality in "Church and
State;" so that we are not surprised to find, when the time came, that
of the friends, the churchman approved of Irish disestablishment as
heartily as the layman who was its author.

     Right Hon. W.E. GLADSTONE to DEAN RAMSAY.

     10 Downing Street, Whitehall, Jan. 20, 1869.

     My dear Dean Ramsay--I need not tell you I am no fit judge of
     your brother's claims, but I shall send your letter
     privately to the First Lord, who, I am sure, will give it an
     impartial and friendly consideration.

     Pray remember me to the Admiral, and be assured it will give
     me sincere pleasure if your wish on his behalf can be

     I write from Hawarden, but almost _en route_ for London, and
     the arduous work before us.

     My mind is cheerful, and even sanguine about it.

     I wish I had some chance or hope of seeing you, and I remain
     affectionately yours, W.E. GLADSTONE.

The Bishop of Salisbury has been for days at the point of death. He is
decidedly better, but cannot recover. Let him have a place in
your prayers.

     Windsor Castle, June 24, 1871.

     My dear Dean Ramsay--The attraction of the Scott Centenary to
     Edinburgh is strong, and your affectionate invitation makes
     it stronger still. I do not despair of being free, and if
     free, I mean to use my freedom, so as to profit by both. At
     the same time the delays and obstructions to business have
     been so formidable that I must not as yet presume to forecast
     the time when I may be able to escape from London, and
     therefore I fear I must draw upon your indulgence to allow me
     some delay. The session may last far into August, but the
     stars may be more propitious.

     We are all grumbling at an unusually cold year, and the
     progress of vegetation seems to be suspended, but I trust no
     serious harm is yet done; as Louis Napoleon said, _tout peut
     se retablir_.

     It would indeed be delightful could I negotiate for a right
     to bring you back with me on coming southwards.

     So glad to hear a good account of your health and appearance
     from our Lord Advocate; a clever chiel, is he not?--Ever
     affectionately yours, W.E. GLADSTONE.

     My wife sends her kind love.

     10 Downing Street, Whitehall, July 25, 1871.

     My dear Friend--From day to day my hopes of attending the
     Scott Centenary have been declining, and I regret much to say
     that they are now virtually dead. The extraordinary
     obstructions which have been offered to public business
     during the present session have now, as you will see, brought
     us to such a pass that some suggest an adjournment from
     August to some period in the autumn, to enable us to get
     through what we have in hand. Whether we do this, or whether
     we finish off at once, it is now, I fear, practically certain
     that there is no chance of my being free to leave town at the
     time of the Centenary.

     We paid Tennyson a visit from last Saturday to Tuesday. He is
     a sincere and ardent admirer of Scott, and heartily wishes
     well to anything which is likely to keep him before the minds
     of the on-coming generation.

     His Sussex abode is beautiful, 600 feet above the sea, with a
     splendid view. He seems to be very happy in his family.

     With regard to the Emperor of Brazil, I think any application
     made to him would come best from those officially connected
     with the celebration. At any rate, I fear it would be
     obtrusive on my part to mix in it, as I have no special
     relation with him, though he has made a most pleasing
     impression on me.

     I now expect to go to Balmoral in the middle of September,
     and should much wish to know whether I might visit you on my
     way north or south.--Always affectionately yours, W.E.

     10 Downing Street, Whitehall, August 8, 1871.

     My dear Dean Ramsay--Do what you like with the inclosed. It
     is written at the last moment, and because you asked for it,
     by a man who was nine hours in the House yesterday, and has
     to be there nine to-day, besides a fair share of a day's work
     outside it to boot.

     I hope you received a subscription from Royal Bounty which I
     sent for Archibald's family. I can give five pounds myself
     also.--Ever your affectionate friend,


     11 Carlton House Terrace, S.W., August 8, 1871.

     My dear Dean Ramsay---I wish I could convey to you adequately
     the regret with which I find myself cut off from any
     possibility of joining in the tribute to be paid to-morrow to
     the memory of the first among the sons of Scotland. He was
     the idol of my boyhood, and though I well know that my
     admiration is worth little, it has never varied.

     In his case the feeling is towards the man as much as towards
     his works. Did we not possess a line from his pen, his life
     would stand as a true epic.

     I will not say I think him as strong in his modern politics
     as in some other points, but I find my general estimate of
     the great and heroic whole affected only in the slightest
     degree by this point of qualified misgiving.

     If he is out of fashion with some parts of some classes, it
     is their misfortune, not his. He is above fluctuations of
     time, for his place is in the Band of the Immortals.

     The end of my letter shall be better worth your having than
     the beginning. A fortnight ago I visited Tennyson, and found
     him possessed with all the sentiments about Scott which your
     celebration is meant to foster.--I remain in haste,
     affectionately yours. W.E. GLADSTONE.

     Hawarden Castle, Chester, January 12, 1872.

     My dear Dean Ramsay--I was at once obliged, gratified, and
     comforted by your letter. This has been a great storm, but it
     has not rooted you up, and He whom you live to serve,
     evidently has yet more service for you to do. Those remaining
     in the world cannot be wife or brother to you, but how many
     there are who would if they could, and who will be all
     they can!

     The testimonies you send me are full of touching interest.

     My wife has received to-day the beautiful present of the new
     edition of your book. She will enjoy it immensely. I hope to
     send you, when I get to London, a little work called the
     "Mirror of Monks." Let not the title alarm you. It is in the
     manner of à Kempis, and is original, as well as excellent and
     lofty. I have had much Scotch reading. The "Life of Dr. Lee;"
     Macdonald's "Love, Law, and Theology;" last, not least, Lady
     Nairne. I am equally struck with her life, and her singularly
     beautiful songs, and this though she was Tory and Puritan; I
     am opposed to both. Her character brings into view a problem
     common to all times, but also I suppose special to this. I
     take it that if there is a religious body upon earth that
     fully and absolutely deserves the character of schismatical,
     it is your Drummond secession. Yet not only is this noble and
     holy woman in it, but even my own narrow experience has
     supplied me with other types of singular excellence and
     elevation within its pale; and the considerations hereby
     suggested are of immensely wide application.

     I trust that your Walker Cathedral will be thoroughly good,
     and that your Bishop's book is prospering.

     You will be glad to hear that the solemn thanksgiving at St.
     Paul's may be regarded as decided on, to my great

     If you will let me have particulars of any case such as you
     describe, I will most readily see what can be done; and now
     farewell, my dear friend.--Always affectionately yours, W.E.

If not quite so popular as some of the Dean's other correspondents, he
whose letter I bring forward here stood as high as any man in the
estimation of the better and most thinking classes of Scotsmen.

Thomas Erskine of Linlathen, though no clergyman, had his mind more
constantly full of divine thoughts than most priests; though no
technical scholar perhaps, he kept up his Greek to read Plato, and did
not think that his enjoyment of the works of high reach in classical
times unfitted him for Bible studies, which were the chief object of his

       *       *       *       *       *

     127 George Street, 19th Oct. 1869.

     Dear Dean--I return you many thanks for that kind letter.
     Neither you nor I can now be far from death--that commonest
     of all events, and yet the most unknown. The majority of
     those with whom you and I have been acquainted, have passed
     through it, but their experience does not help us except by
     calling us to prepare for it. _One_ man indeed--the Head and
     Lord of men--has risen from the dead, thereby declaring death
     overcome, and inviting us all to share in his victory. And
     yet we feel that the victory over death cannot deliver us
     from fear, unless there be also a victory over that which
     makes death terrible--a victory over him that hath the power
     of death, that is the devil, or prince and principle of sin.
     And our Lord has achieved this also, for he put away sin _by
     the sacrifice of himself_; but this sacrifice can only really
     profit us when it is reproduced in us--when we, as branches
     of the true Vine, live by the sap of the root, which sap is
     _filial trust_, the only principle which can sacrifice
     _self_, because the only principle which can enable us to
     commit ourselves _unreservedly_ into the hands of God for
     guidance and for disposal. We are thus _put right_ by _trust,
     justified_ or _put right_ by faith in the loving fatherly
     righteous purpose of God towards us.

     Dear George Dundas's death has taken from me my chief social
     support in Edinburgh. I was fourteen years his senior, but I
     had known and loved him from his childhood. Our mothers were
     sisters, and thus we had the same family ties and traditions.
     I think of him now in connection with that verse, "to those
     who by patient continuance in well-doing," etc.

     And now farewell. Let us seek to live by the faith of the Son
     of God--his filial trust I suppose, which I so much
     need.--Ever truly and gratefully yours,

     T. ERSKINE.

       *       *       *       *       *

The three following letters hardly help on the story of the Dean's life,
but I could not pass them when they came into my hands.

The writer is Adam Sedgwick, the well-known Cambridge Professor and
Philosopher. In another capacity he was still better known. He was tutor
and vice-master of Trinity, and in his time an outside stranger of any
education, even a half-educated Scot, dropping into Cambridge society,
found a reception to be remembered. Take for choice one of their
peculiar festivals--Trinity Sunday comes to my mind--the stranger
partook of the splendid feast in that princely hall of Trinity, where
the massive college plate was arrayed and the old college customs of
welcome used, not from affectation, but kindly reverence. When the
dinner was over, the large party of Doctors and Fellows, with hundreds
of the noble youth of England, all in surplice, moved to the chapel, all
joining with reverence in the august service of the church, and later,
they and their guests, or as many as could be held, crossed to the
Combination Room, where Sedgwick filled the chair, and led the
conversation, not to glorify himself, not to display his own powers,
which were great, but to let his guests know among whom they were
placed--philosophers, first men of science, first scholars, leaders in
all kinds of learning, meeting in a noble equality, proud to meet under
his presidency--_that_ I take to be the highest triumph of civilised
hospitality. At the time of these letters the philosopher is old, but
vigorous in mind, and even gay at the age of eighty-eight.

The death of Bishop Terrot called forth the following letter from the
venerable Professor:--

       *       *       *       *       *


     Trinity College, Cambridge, May 1, 1872.

     Dear Mr. Malcolm--I had been previously informed of the death
     of my dear old friend, the Bishop of Edinburgh, but I am very
     grateful to you for thinking so kindly of me, and for
     communicating particulars about which I was not acquainted
     previously. Accept my expressions of true-hearted sympathy,
     and pray impart them to the surviving members of dear Bishop
     Terrot's family. He was an old, an honoured and beloved
     friend; God laid upon his old age an unusual load of the
     labours and sorrows of humanity, but they are over now, and
     he has reached his haven of shelter from external sorrow and
     his true and enduring home of joy and peace, in the presence
     of his Maker and Redeemer. I am very infirm, and am affected
     by an internal malady, which, through the past winter, has
     confined me to my college rooms, but I have to thank my Maker
     for thousands of little comforts to mind and body, by which
     I am hourly surrounded, and for His long-suffering in
     extending my probation till I have entered on my 88th year.
     My eyes are dim-sighted and irritable, so that I generally
     dictate my letters; now, however, I am using my own pen to
     express my thanks to you, in this time of your sorrow for the
     loss of one so nearly and dearly connected with your clerical
     life. My memory is not much shaken, except in recalling names
     not very familiar to me, and I think (with the painful
     exception I have alluded to) that my constitutional health is
     sound. When my friends call upon me, my deafness generally
     compels me to use an ear-trumpet, and I yesterday took it to
     our college walks, to try if I could catch the notes of the
     singing birds, which were piping all round me. But, alas! I
     could not hear the notes of the singing birds, though I did
     catch the harsher and louder notes of the rooks, which have
     their nests in some college grounds.

     May the remaining years of your life be cheered and animated
     by good abiding Christian hope.--I remain very faithfully
     yours, ADAM SEDGWICK.

       *       *       *       *       *


     Trinity College, Cambridge,

     29th May 1872.

     My dear Dean--I this morning received your kind presentation
     copy of your Reminiscences, which I shall highly value for
     its own sake, and as your gift. I read little now because my
     eyes are both dim-sighted and very irritable; but your book
     will just suit me, as it is not a continuous tale, but a
     succession of tales, each of which is perfect in itself, and
     I hope to read it bit by bit without worrying my enfeebled
     powers of sight.

     I meant to have thanked you in an autograph, but there has
     been a sudden change in the atmosphere, which is dark, heavy
     and wet, and when there is a defect of light I am almost
     constrained to dictate my letters to my _factotum_.

     I am delighted, too, with the single sheet containing verses
     addressed to yourself. The first copy by Bishop Wordsworth
     appears to me quite admirable from the beauty and simplicity
     of his Latin; and the other copies are good in their way.

     I dare say you have seen the short verses he wrote on the
     death of his first wife. They are of Roman brevity and of
     exquisite tenderness.

     One of the very pleasant days of my life was spent in a visit
     to the small country living of Mr. Dawes of Downing,
     afterwards Dean of Hereford. Your late brother was one of the
     happy party. We returned together to Cambridge at a rattling
     pace, and I am not sure that I ever saw his face afterwards,
     for very soon he had a bilious attack which induced him to
     seek health in his native country, and, alas! he sought it in
     vain, for he sickened and died, to the deep sorrow of all his
     friends.--I remain, my dear Dean, very truly and
     gratefully yours,


       *       *       *       *       *


     Trinity College, Cambridge,

     January 18, 1873.

     My dear Mr. Malcolm--The infirmity of my sight compels me to
     dictate this letter to one who often writes for me. Such a
     bright day as this, and while the sun is shining, I could see
     the traces of my pen upon a sheet of paper; but the act of
     writing greatly fatigues me, and I dictate nearly all
     my letters.

     I very much value your melancholy memorial of my late dear
     and honoured friend, the late Bishop Terrot. Though the photo
     represents our late friend the bishop with his features
     shrouded in the cold fixity of death, yet it does bring back
     the original to the memory of those who knew him well, and I
     am greatly obliged to you for this memorial of one who has
     gone from our sight for ever, so far as this world is
     concerned. It was very kind of you to remember the photo.

     I did not know Bishop Cotterell intimately, but I have met
     him many times, and I think you very happy in obtaining the
     services of a man of such experience, talent, and zeal, in
     the good cause of Christian truth.

     I am now a very feeble, infirm, old man, toiling in the last
     quarter of my 88th year. I ought to be thankful that my mind,
     though feeble, remains entire: my memory is often defective,
     but I have been enabled, though with great labour to myself,
     and with many interruptions, to dictate a preface to a
     catalogue published by the university of the older fossils of
     our collection. They have kindly printed and given to me some
     extra copies of my preface, one of which I will forward to
     you by the book-post.

     I know it can have no interest to you, excepting, perhaps, a
     few paragraphs in the conclusion of only two or three
     pages.--I remain, my dear Mr. Malcolm, very faithfully and
     gratefully yours, A. SEDGWICK.

I have printed already more than one letter from the Rev. D.T.K.
Drummond, from admiration of their intrinsic merit, and because I wish
here to collect proofs that no diversity of Church rites or Church
policy could separate our Dean from brethren whom he regarded perhaps as
erroneous, but recognised as teaching and leading by the same principles
of freedom, which he himself revered and followed.


     Montpelier, Saturday.

     My dear Friend--Very many thanks for your most touching note,
     and for the extract from your book you so kindly sent me. The
     more I look into it the more I like it, and thank God for
     the testimony you so unequivocally and fearlessly hear to the
     _unity_ of the True Church of Christ of any age, however much
     the great army he made up of various sections, of diverse
     uniforms, and with special duties to perform.....

     Again thanking you very warmly, and earnestly praying for all
     the precious consolations of the Great Head of the Church to
     be largely vouchsafed to you, believe me to be always most
     affectionately yours,

     D. T. K. DRUMMOND.

       *       *       *       *       *

The subject of the following letter cannot be overlooked by a biographer
of Dean Ramsay:--


     52 Melville Street, 18th March 1872.

     My dear Dean Ramsay--I have just read with most profound
     thankfulness and admiration your noble Christian letter in
     this day's _Scotsman_. I cannot deny myself the gratification
     of expressing my feelings to you in this feeble
     acknowledgment. You have done a signal service to the cause
     of our Blessed Lord and common Master. I am too infirm to
     write more fully all that is in my heart. You will pardon all
     defects, and believe me, yours very truly,


The letter referred to by the distinguished divine arose out of what is
known in the Scottish Episcopal Church as the _cause celèbre_ of the
Bishop of Glasgow against the Bishop of Argyll.

The Rev. Dr. Caird, of the University of Glasgow, having invited the
Bishop of Argyll to preach to a mixed Episcopalian and Presbyterian
congregation, using his Church's liturgy, from the University pulpit of
Glasgow, the Bishop of Glasgow interposed to prevent it.

The interference of the Bishop of Glasgow with his brother prelate of
Argyll called forth a letter from Dean Ramsay, which appeared in the
_Scottish Guardian_ on 15th March 1872, and in the _Scotsman_ three days
later. In it the Dean in fact asserts a religious sympathy towards those
who differ from him, comprehensive enough to include all his Protestant

"In an address to the Bishop of Glasgow, signed by sixty-two clergymen,
it is stated that the service contemplated in the chapel of the
University of Glasgow would be a 'lax proceeding, and fraught with great
injury to the highest interests of the Church,' Accordingly the Bishop
of Glasgow prohibited the service, to guard the Church from complicity
in a measure which he considered subversive of her position in this
country.' In other words," says Dean Ramsay, "we are called upon to
believe that, as members of the Scottish Episcopal Church, it is our
bounden duty to withhold every appearance of any religious sympathy with
our Presbyterian fellow-countrymen and fellow-Christians. I now solemnly
declare for myself that, had I come to the conclusion that such was the
teaching of our Church, and such the views to which I was bound--viz.
that her object was thus to sever man from man, and to maintain that the
service proposed at Glasgow was really 'fraught with great injury to the
highest interests of my Church,' because it would promote union and
peace--the sun should not again set till I had given up all official
connection with a Church of which the foundations and the principles
would be so different from the landmarks and leading manifestations of
our holy faith itself. Were the principles and conduct laid down in this
address and in the answer to it fairly carried out, I cannot see any
other result than the members of our Church considering the whole of
Scotland which is external to our communion as a land of infidels, with
whom we can have no spiritual connection, and whom, indeed, we could
hardly recognise as a Christian people."

The Dean's letter is chiefly remarkable as showing that age had not
frozen his charity. It called forth many letters like that of Dr.
Candlish, and one from the little Somersetshire society which he
loved so well.

     JOHN SHEPPARD, Esq., Frome, to DEAN RAMSAY.

     The Cottage, Frome, 21st March 1872.

     Very dear and reverend Sir--I have to thank you for the
     _Scottish Guardian_ which you have kindly sent me. I regret
     the divisions which appear to have arisen in your church.
     Whatever comes from your pen has special interest for me; and
     I am glad to see it (as it always has been) pleading the
     cause of Christian charity. It appears to me that the welfare
     of your church would have been promoted by acceding to the

     I think I have mentioned to you that we had lately a visit
     from good Archdeacon Sandford, which we much enjoyed. We
     learn with sorrow that since attendance at the Convocation
     and a stay at Lambeth Palace, he has been suffering great
     weakness and exhaustion, and been confined to his bed for a
     month. He is now slowly recovering; but we fear his
     exertions have been beyond his strength, and that his life
     must be very precarious.

     I hope your health is not more seriously impaired; but we
     must be looking more and more, dear sir, towards the home
     which pain and strife cannot enter.

     My beloved Susan is very zealous as the animals' friend, and
     birds of many sorts welcome and solicit her as their
     patroness. She desires to be most kindly remembered to you,
     with, my dear Dean, your attached old friend,


     _P.S._--Susan instructs me to say for her that, "since
     reading your letter to the _Guardian_, she loves you more
     than ever, if possible." My words are cool in comparison with
     hers; and this is a curious message for an ancient husband
     to convey.

     She thinks we have not thanked you for the Bishop's Latin
     verses and the translations of them. If we have not, it is
     not because our "_reminiscences_" of you are faint or few.

I wish to preserve a note of a dear old friend of my own, whose talents,
perhaps I might say whose genius, was only shrouded by his modesty. I
know that the Dean felt how gratifying it was to find among his
congregation men of such accomplishment, such scholarship, as George
Moir and George Dundas, and it is something to show that they responded
very heartily to that feeling.


     Monday morning, 14 Charlotte Square.

     My dear Dean--My condition renders it frequently impossible
     to attend church, from the difficulty I have in remaining for
     any length of time. But I have been able to be present the
     last two Sundays, and I cannot refrain from saying with how
     much pleasure I listened yesterday to your discourse on
     charity. It was not unworthy of the beautiful passage which
     formed its ground-work; clear, consecutive, eloquent, and
     with a moral application of which I wish we may all avail

     Long may you continue to advise and instruct those who are
     _to come after me_.

     I was delighted to see you looking so well, and to notice the
     look of vigour with which the discourse was delivered.
     Believe me ever most truly yours, GEO. MOIR.

In 1866 the Dean had delivered two lectures upon "Preachers and
Preaching," but which were afterwards published in a volume called
_Pulpit Table-Talk_. That is the subject of the following letter from a
great master of the art:--


     Inchgrundle, Tarfside, by Brechin,

     31st August 1868.

     My dear Mr. Dean--Your Pulpit Table-Talk has been sent here
     to gratify, delight, and edify me. A most entertaining book;
     and full of wise and admirable sentiments. All ministers and
     preachers should read and digest it. Age seems to have no
     more dulling effect on you than it had on Sir David Brewster,
     who retained, after he had turned the threescore and ten, all
     the greenery, foliage, and flowers of youth--presenting at
     once the freshness of Spring, and the flowers of Summer, and
     the precious fruits of Autumn.

     May your bow long abide in strength! and the evening of your
     days be calm and peaceful, bright with the sure and certain
     hope of that better world, where, I hope, we shall meet to be
     for ever with the Lord! With the greatest respect and
     affectionate regards, yours ever,


I cannot fix the date of the following anecdote, nor does the date much
matter:--Some years ago a child, the son of the U.P. minister of
Dunblane, was so dangerously ill, that a neighbouring lady, the wife of
the Episcopal clergyman, who was much interested in the little boy,
asked her husband if it might be permitted to beg the prayers of the
congregation for his recovery. The clergyman readily assented; and when
the facts came to the knowledge of Dean Ramsay, and that it was a
suggestion of a dear friend of his, he sent the lady a copy of his
_Reminiscences_, with a letter to her husband, in which he says--"I was
greatly charmed with your account of prayers offered up for poor little
Blair. Tell your Mary I love her more than ever. It has quite affected
me, her proposing it." The husband is the Rev. Mr. Malcolm; the lady his
wife, daughter of the Dean's dear friend, Bishop Terrot.

But the end was approaching. In December 1872 it was noticed with sorrow
that for the first time since the commencement of the Church Society
(1838), of which Ramsay was really the founder, the Dean was absent from
the annual meeting of the general committee. Soon it became known that
his illness was more than a mere passing attack. During its continuance
the deepest interest was manifested in every quarter. Each day, and
"almost from hour to hour, the latest tidings were eagerly sought for.
In many churches and in many families besides those of our communion,
prayers were offered for his recovery. And when at last it became known
that he had indeed passed away from this life, it was felt that we had
lost not only a venerable Father of the Church, but one whose name,
familiar as a household word, was always associated with kindly loving
thoughts and deeds--one who was deservedly welcome wherever he went, and
whose influence was always towards peace and goodwill." The Rev. Mr.
Montgomery, our present Dean of Edinburgh, whose words I quote, truly
says that "he was a Churchman by conviction, but was ever ready to meet,
and, where occasion offered, to act with others upon the basis of a
common humanity and common Christianity."


[9] The margin seems to show that this page of the journal was not
written till 1843.

[10] The Bishop said that the two impediments to profitable or amusing
conversation were _humdrum_ and _humbug_.

On another occasion, the Bishop having expressed his doubt of the truth
of spirit-rapping, table-turning, etc., and being pressed with the
appeal, "Surely you must admit these are indications of Satanic agency,"
quietly answered, "It may be so, but it must be a mark of Satan being in
a state of dotage!"

[11] Alluditur ad titulum libri _Reminiscences_, etc.

[12] Here is the passage referred to by Mr. Dickens:--"There are persons
who do not sympathise with my great desire to preserve and to
disseminate these specimens of Scottish humour; indeed, I have reasons
to suspect that some have been disposed to consider the time and
attention which I have given to the subject as ill-bestowed, or at any
rate, as somewhat unsuitable to one of my advanced age and sacred
profession. If any persons do really think so, all I can say is, I do
not agree with them. National peculiarities must ever form an
interesting and improving study, inasmuch as it is a study of human
nature; and the anecdotes of this volume all tend to illustrate features
of the Scottish mind, which, as moral and religious traits of character,
are deeply interesting. I am convinced that every one, whether clergyman
or layman, who contributes to the innocent enjoyment of human life, has
joined in a good work, inasmuch as he has diminished the inducement to
_vicious_ indulgence. God knows there is enough of sin and of sorrow in
the world to make sad the heart of every Christian man. No one, I think,
need be ashamed of his endeavours to cheer the darker hours of his
fellow-travellers' steps through life, or to beguile the hearts of the
weary and the heavy laden, if only for a time, into cheerful and amusing
trains of thought. So far as my experience of life goes, I have never
found that the cause of morality and religion was promoted by sternly
checking the tendencies of our nature to relaxation and amusement. If
mankind be too ready to enter upon pleasures which are dangerous or
questionable, it is the part of wisdom and of prudence to supply them
with sources of interest, the enjoyment of which are innocent and


       *       *       *       *       *

When this Memoir was only begun I was anxious to say something of the
Dean's musical powers; and, not venturing to speak of music myself, I
asked the Dean's sister Lady Burnett to supply my deficiency. In reply I
had the following letter:--

     22d February 1873.

     ... As a flute-player the Dean attained a proficiency rarely
     seen in an amateur, and used frequently to play the very
     difficult flute-obligatos of some of Handel's songs, which
     are considered a hard task even for professionals. Besides
     playing the flute he was thoroughly conversant with the
     mechanism of the organ, and had some knowledge of the
     violoncello, though he never gave much time to the study of
     that instrument. But perhaps the most interesting point in
     this part of the character of my brother was his ardent love
     for Handel's music. There was not a song or chorus of the
     great master that he was not acquainted with, and in his
     younger days he used to sing the bass music from the Messiah
     and other Oratorios with great taste and skill--his voice, a
     fine mellow baritone, being well suited to these songs. You
     may remember his lectures on Handel delivered at the
     Philosophical Institution some years ago, and how
     enthusiastic he was when describing the manifold beauties of
     his favourite composer, and how interested and eager he
     became when the choir sang the music he knew and loved
     so well....

     I wrote this on Saturday evening when sitting alone,
     thinking of the great loss I had sustained; the variety there
     was in Edward's character; how accomplished he was; what
     knowledge he had on many subjects; his fine taste, his
     gentleness and Christian piety; and then his strong sense of
     humour and fun; how amusing he was, and such droll things
     broke out every now and then! even to the very last so genial
     and social, and altogether such a man that we "ne'er shall
     look upon his like again."--Yours very sincerely, LAUDERDALE





In preparing another duodecimo edition of the "Reminiscences of Scottish
Life and Character," I gladly avail myself of the opportunity afforded
me of reproducing some of the materials which had been added to the
octavo edition, especially that part at page 322, etc., which advocated
a modified interchange of pulpits between Episcopalian and Presbyterian
clergymen; to add also some excellent Scottish stories which had been
sent to me by kind friends. I am desirous also of repeating the
correction of an error into which we had fallen in copying the account
of a toast in the Highland form, which had been kindly contributed by
the respected minister of Moulin, in the octavo edition at page 70. To
Lowland conceptions, the whole proceeding has somewhat the appearance of
a respectable company at once becoming insane; still it ought to be
correct, and the printer had, by mistake, inserted a word that has no
existence in the Gaelic language. The text reads--

     "Lud ris! Lud ris! You again! you again!"

It should be

     Sud ris! Sud ris! Yon again! yon again!

that is--"you cheer again."

The demand for a twenty-second edition of a volume of "Scottish
Reminiscences" embracing subjects which are necessarily of a limited and
local character--a demand which has taken place during the course of
little more than fifteen years since its first publication--proves, I
think, the correctness of the idea upon which it was first
undertaken--viz. that it should depict a phase of national manners which
was fast passing away, and thus, in however humble a department,
contribute something to the materials of history, by exhibiting social
customs and habits of thought which at a particular era were
characteristic of a race. It may perhaps be very fairly said that the
Reminiscences came out at a time specially suitable to rescue these
features of national life and character from oblivion. They had _begun_
to fade away, and many had, to the present generation, become obsolete.

To those who have not given their attention to the subject for the
elucidation of which this volume has been written, I would present two
specimens of the sort of materials from which they may expect to find
these Reminiscences are compiled. They are chosen to indicate a style of
life and manners now fast fading away, and are taken from a period which
lies within the scope of our own recollections. Now, a subject like this
can only be illustrated by a copious application of anecdotes which must
show the features of the past. And let me premise that I make use of
anecdotes not for the purpose of telling a good story, but solely in the
way of _illustration_. I am quite certain that there was an originality,
a dry and humorous mode of viewing persons and events, quite _peculiar_
to the older Scottish characters. And I am equally certain, that their
peculiar humour can only be exhibited in examples. From the late Mr.
Erskine of Linlathan I received the following:--Mr. Erskine recollected
an old housekeeper at Airth, who belonged to this class of character. A
speech of this Mrs. Henderson was preserved in the family as having been
made by her at the time of the execution of Louis XVI. in 1793. She was
noticing the violent emotion exhibited by Mr. Bruce of Kinnaird, the
Abyssinian traveller, at the sad event which had just taken place, and
added, in the following quaint and caustic terms, "There's Kinnaird
greeting as if there was nae a saunt on earth but himsel' and the king
o' France." How utterly unlike anything that would be said on such an
occasion by an English person in the same position in life!

For the same purpose, let me introduce a characteristic little Scottish
scene, which my cousin, the late Sir Thomas Burnett of Leys, used to
describe with great humour. Sir Thomas had a tenant on his estate, a
very shrewd clever man, whom he was sometimes in the habit of consulting
about country matters. On one occasion he came over to Crathes Castle,
and asked to see Sir Thomas. He was accordingly ushered in, accompanied
by a young man of very simple appearance, who gazed about the room in a
stupid vacant manner. The old man began by saying that he understood
there was a farm on the estate to be let, and that he knew a very fine
young man whom he wished to recommend as tenant. He said he had plenty
of _siller_, and had studied farming on the most approved
principles--sheep-farming in the Highlands, cattle-farming in the
Lowlands, and so forth, and, in short, was a model farmer. When he had
finished his statement, Sir Thomas, looking very significantly at his
companion, addressed the old man (as he was usually addressed in the
county by the name of his farm)--"Well, Drummy, and is this your friend
whom you propose for the farm?" to which Drummy replied, "Oh fie, na.
Hout! that is a kind o' a _Feel_, a friend (_i.e._ a relation) o' the
wife's, and I just brought him ower wi' me to show him the place."

The question of change in the "life and character" of a people, during
the period embraced in the reminiscences of an aged individual, must
always be a subject for deep and serious consideration. In the case of
Scotland, such changes comprise much that is interesting and amusing.
But they also contain much matter for serious thought and reflection to
the lovers of their country. In preparing the present edition of these
Reminiscences, I have marked out many further changes, and have marked
them from a deep feeling of interest in the moral and religious
improvement of my country. To my readers I say that I hope we have all
learned to view such changes under a more serious national aspect than a
mere question of amusement or speculation. The Christian, when he looks
around him on society, must observe many things which, as a patriot, he
wishes might be permanent, and he marks many things which, as a patriot,
he wishes were obliterated. What he desires should be enduring in his
countrymen is, that abiding attributes of Scottish character should be
associated amongst all men with truth and virtue--with honour and kindly
feelings--with temperance and self-denial--with divine faith and
love--with generosity and benevolence. On the other hand, he desires
that what may become questions of tradition, and, in regard to his own
land, REMINISCENCES of Scottish life, shall be--cowardice and folly,
deceit and fraud, the low and selfish motives to action which make men
traitors to their God and hateful to their fellow-men.

It would be worse than affectation--it would be ingratitude--to disclaim
being deeply impressed by the favourable reception which has for so long
a time been given to these Reminiscences at home, in India, in America,
and in all countries where Scotchmen are to be found.

It is not the least of the enjoyments which I have had in compiling
these pages, to hear of the kind sympathy which they have called forth
in other minds, and often in the minds of strangers; and it would be
difficult for me to describe the pleasure I have received when told by a
friend that this work had cheered him in the hour of depression or of
sickness--that even for a few moments it may have beguiled the weight of
corroding care and worldly anxiety. I have been desirous of saying a
word in favour of old Scottish life; and with some minds, perhaps, the
book may have promoted a more kindly feeling towards hearts and heads of
bygone days. And certainly I can now truly say, that my highest
reward--my greatest honour and gratification--would spring from the
feeling that it might become a standard volume in Scottish cottage
libraries, and that by the firesides of Scotland these pages might
become as Household Words.

     _St. Andrew's Day_[13]


[13] These words, "St. Andrew's Day," were deleted by the Dean; and
though he lived till the 27th December, he did not touch the
proof-sheets after the 19th November 1872.




       *       *       *       *       *



I wish my readers always to bear in mind that these Reminiscences are
meant to bear upon the changes which would include just such a
revolution as that referred to at page 15 in the bonnet practice of
Laurencekirk. There is no pretension to any researches of _antiquarian_
character; they are in fact Reminiscences which come almost within
personal recognition. A kind friend gave me anecdotes of the past in her
hundredth year. In early life I was myself consigned to the care of my
grand-uncle, Sir Alexander Ramsay, residing in Yorkshire, and he was
born in 1715; so that I can go pretty far back on my own experience, and
have thus become cognisant of many changes which might be expected as a
consequence of such experience.

I cannot imagine a better illustration of the sort of change in the
domestic relations of life that has taken place in something like the
time we speak of, than is shown in the following anecdote, which was
kindly communicated to me by Professor MacGregor of the Free Church. I
have pleasure in giving it in the Professor's own words:--"I happened
one day to be at Panmure Castle when Lord Panmure (now Dalhousie) was
giving a treat to a school, and was presented by the Monikie Free Church
Deacons' Court with a Bible on occasion of his having cleared them
finally of debt on their buildings. Afterwards his Lordship took me into
the library, where, among other treasures, we found a handsome folio
_Prayer Book_ presented to his ancestor Mr. Maule of Kelly by the
Episcopalian minister of the district, on occasion of his having, by Mr.
Maule's help, been brought out of jail. The coincidence and contrast
were curiously interesting."

For persons to take at various intervals a retrospective view of life,
and of the characters they have met with, seems to be a natural feeling
of human nature; and every one is disposed at times to recall to memory
many circumstances and many individuals which suggest abundant subjects
for reflection. We thus find recollections of scenes in which we have
been joyous and happy. We think of others with which we only associate
thoughts of sorrow and of sadness. Amongst these varied emotions we find
subjects for reminiscences, of which we would bury the feelings in our
own hearts as being too sacred for communication with others. Then,
again, there are many things of the past concerning which we delight to
take counsel with friends and contemporaries. Some persons are disposed
to go beyond these personal communications with friends, and having
through life been accustomed to write down memoranda of their own
feelings, have published them to the world. Many interesting works have
thus been contributed to our literature by writers who have sent forth
volumes in the form of _Memoirs of their Own Times, Personal
Recollections, Remarks upon Past Scenes_, etc. etc. It is not within
the scope of this work to examine these, nor can I specify the many
communications I have from different persons, both at home and in our
colonial possessions; in fact, the references in many cases have been
lost or mislaid. But I must acknowledge, however briefly, my obligations
to Dr. Carruthers, Inverness, and to Dr. Cook, Haddington, who have
favoured me with valuable contributions.

Now, when we come to examine the general question of memoirs connected
with contemporary history, no work is better known in connection with
this department of Scottish literature than the _History of his Own
Times_, by my distinguished relative, Dr. Gilbert Burnett, Bishop of
Salisbury. Bishop Burnett's father, Lord Crimond, was third son of my
father's family, the Burnetts of Leys, in Kincardineshire. There is now
at Crathes Castle, the family seat, a magnificent full-length portrait
of the Bishop in his robes, as Prelate of the Garter, by Sir Godfrey
Kneller. It was presented by himself to the head of his family. But, as
one great object of the Bishop's history was to laud and magnify the
personal character and public acts of William of Orange, his friend and
patron, and as William was held in special abhorrence by the Jacobite
party in Scotland, the Bishop holds a prominent, and, with many, a very
odious position in Scottish Reminiscences; in fact, he drew upon himself
and upon his memory the determined hatred and unrelenting hostility of
adherents to the Stuart cause. They never failed to abuse him on all
occasions, and I recollect old ladies in Montrose, devoted to the exiled
Prince, with whom the epithet usually applied to the Prelate was that of
"Leein' Gibby[14]."

Such language has happily become a "Reminiscence." Few would be found
now to apply such an epithet to the author of the _History of his Own
Times_, and certainly it would not be applied on the ground of the
Jacobite principles to which he was opposed. But a curious additional
proof of this hostility of Scottish Jacobites to the memory of Burnett
has lately come to light. In a box of political papers lately found at
Brechin Castle, belonging to the Panmure branch of the family, who, in
'15, were forfeited on the ground of their Jacobite opinions and
adherence to the cause of Charles Edward, there has been found a severe
and bitter supposed _epitaph_ for Bishop Burnett. By the kindness of the
Earl of Dalhousie I was permitted to see this epitaph, and, if I chose,
to print it in this edition. I am, however, unwilling to stain my pages
with such an ungenerous and, indeed, I may say, so scurrilous a
representation of the character of one who, in the just opinion of our
Lyon King-at-Arms, himself a Burnett of the Kemnay branch, has
characterised the Bishop of Salisbury as "true and honest, and far
beyond the standard of his times as a Clergyman and as a Bishop." But
the epitaph found in these Panmure papers shows clearly the prejudices
of the age in which it was written, and in fact only embodies something
of that spirit and of those opinions which we have known as still
lingering in our own Reminiscences.

If it were not on my part a degree of presumption, I might be inclined
to consider myself in this volume a fellow-labourer with the late
accomplished and able Mr. Robert Chambers. In a very limited sphere it
takes a portion of the same field of illustration. I should consider
myself to have done well if I shall direct any of my readers to his able
volumes. Whosoever wishes to know what this country really was in times
past, and to learn, with a precision beyond what is supplied by the
narratives of history, the details of the ordinary current of our
social, civil, and national life, must carefully study the _Domestic
Annals of Scotland_. Never before were a nation's domestic features so
thoroughly portrayed. Of those features the specimens of quaint Scottish
humour still remembered are unlike anything else, but they are fast
becoming obsolete, and my motive for this publication has been an
endeavour to preserve marks of the past which would of themselves soon
become obliterated, and to supply the rising generation with pictures of
social life, faded and indistinct to their eyes, but the strong lines of
which an older race still remember. By thus coming forward at a
favourable moment, no doubt many beautiful specimens of SCOTTISH
MINSTRELSY have in this manner been preserved from oblivion by the
timely exertions of Bishop Percy, Ritson, Walter Scott, and others. Lord
Macaulay, in his preface to _The Lays of Ancient Rome_, shows very
powerfully the tendency in all that lingers in the memory to become
obsolete, and he does not hesitate to say that "Sir Walter Scott was but
_just in time_ to save the precious relics of the minstrelsy of
the Border."

It is quite evident that those who have in Scotland come to an advanced
age, must have found some things to have been really changed about them,
and that on them great alterations have already taken place. There are
some, however, which yet may be in a transition state; and others in
which, although changes are threatened, still it cannot be said that the
changes are begum I have been led to a consideration of impending
alterations as likely to take place, by the recent appearance of two
very remarkable and very interesting papers on subjects closely
connected with great social Scottish questions, where a revolution of
opinion may be expected. These are two articles in _Recess Studies_
(1870), a volume edited by our distinguished Principal, Sir Alexander
Grant. One essay is by Sir Alexander himself, upon the "Endowed
Hospitals of Scotland;" the other by the Rev. Dr. Wallace of the
Greyfriars, upon "Church Tendencies in Scotland." It would be quite
irrelevant for me to enlarge here upon the merits of those articles. No
one could study them attentively without being impressed with the
ability and power displayed in them by the authors, their grasp of the
subjects, and their fair impartial judgment upon the various questions
which come under their notice.

From these able disquisitions, and from other prognostics, it is quite
evident that sounder principles of political economy and accurate
experience of human life show that much of the old Scottish hospital
system was quite wrong and must be changed. Changes are certainly going
on, which seem to indicate that the very hard Presbyterian views of some
points connected with Church matters are in transition. I have elsewhere
spoken of a past sabbatarian strictness, and I have lately received an
account of a strictness in observing the national fast-day, or day
appointed for preparation in celebrating Holy Communion, which has in
some measure passed away. The anecdote adduced the example of two
drovers who were going on very quietly together. They had to pass
through a district whereof one was a parishioner, and during their
progress through it the one whistled with all his might, the other
screwed up his mouth without emitting a single sound. When they came to
a burn, the silent one, on then crossing the stream, gave a skip, and
began whistling with all his might, exclaiming with great triumph to his
companion, "I'm beyond the parish of Forfar now, and I'll whistle as
muckle as I like." It happened to be the Forfar parish fast-day. But a
still stricter observance was shown by a native of Kirkcaldy, who, when
asked by his companion drover in the south of Scotland "why he didna
whistle," quietly answered, "I canna, man; it's our fast-day in
Kirkcaldy." I have an instance of a very grim assertion of extreme
sabbatarian zeal. A maid-servant had come to a new place, and on her
mistress quietly asking her on Sunday evening to wash up some dishes,
she indignantly replied, "Mem, I hae dune mony sins, and hae mony sins
to answer for; but, thank God, I hae never been sae far left to mysell
as to wash up dishes on the Sabbath day."

I hope it will not for a moment be supposed we would willingly throw any
ridicule or discouragement on the Scottish national tendencies on the
subject, or that we are not proud of Scotland's example of a sacred
observance of the fourth commandment in the letter and the spirit. We
refer now to injudicious extremes, such, indeed, as our Lord condemned,
and which seem a fair subject for notice amongst Scottish peculiarities.
But the philosophy of the question is curious. Scotland has ever made
her boast of the simplest form of worship, and a worship free from
ceremonial, more even than the Church of England, which is received as,
in doctrine and ritual, the Church of the Reformation. In some respects,
therefore, may you truly say the only standing recognised observance in
the ceremonial part of Presbyterian worship is the Sabbath day--an
observance which has been pushed in times past even beyond the extreme
of a spirit of Judaism, as if the sabbatical ceremonial were made a
substitute for all other ceremony. In this, as well as in other matters
which we have pointed out, what changes have taken place, what changes
are going on! It may be difficult to assign precise causes for such
changes having taken place among us, and that during the lifetime of
individuals now living to remember them. It has been a period for many
changes in manners, habits, and forms of language, such as we have
endeavoured to mark in this volume. The fact of such changes is
indisputable, and sometimes it is difficult not only to assign the
causes for them, but even to describe in what the changes themselves
consist. They are gradual, and almost imperceptible. Scottish people
lose their Scotchness; they leave home, and return without those
expressions and intonations, and even peculiarity of voice and manner,
which used to distinguish us from Southern neighbours. In all this, I
fear, we lose our originality. It has not passed away, but with every
generation becomes less like the real type.

I would introduce here a specimen of the precise sort of changes to
which I would refer, as an example of the reminiscences intended to be
introduced into these pages. We have in earlier editions given an
account of the pains taken by Lord Gardenstone to extend and improve his
rising village of Laurencekirk; amongst other devices he had brought
down, as settlers, a variety of artificers and workmen from England.
With these he had introduced a _hatter_ from Newcastle; but on taking
him to church next day after his arrival, the poor man saw that he might
decamp without loss of time, as he could not expect much success in his
calling at Laurencekirk; in fact, he found Lord Gardenstone's and his
own the only hats in the kirk--the men all wore then the flat Lowland
bonnet. But how quickly times change! My excellent friend, Mr. Gibbon
of Johnstone, Lord Gardenstone's own place, which is near Laurencekirk,
tells me that at the present time _one_ solitary Lowland bonnet lingers
in the parish.

Hats are said to have been first brought into Inverness by Duncan Forbes
of Culloden, the Lord President, who died in 1747. Forbes is reported to
have presented the provost and bailies with cocked hats, which they wore
only on Sundays and council days. About 1760 a certain Deacon Young
began daily to wear a hat, and the country people crowding round him,
the Deacon used humorously to say, "What do you see about me, sirs? am I
not a mortal man like yourselves?" The broad blue bonnets I speak of
long continued to be worn in the Highland capital, and are still
occasionally to be seen there, though generally superseded by the
Glengarry bonnet and ordinary hat. It is a minor change, but a very
decided one.

The changes which have taken place, and which give rise to such
"Reminiscences," are very numerous, and meet us at every turn in
society. Take, for example, the case of our Highland chieftains. We may
still retain the appellation, and talk of the chiefs of Clanranald, of
Glengarry, etc. But how different is a chieftain of the present day,
even from some of those of whom Sir Walter Scott wrote as existing so
late as 1715 or 1745! Dr. Gregory (of immortal _mixture_ memory) used to
tell a story of an old Highland chieftain, intended to show how such
Celtic potentates were, even in his day, still inclined to hold
themselves superior to all the usual considerations which affected
ordinary mortals. The doctor, after due examination, had, in his usual
decided and blunt manner, pronounced the liver of a Highlander to be at
fault, and to be the cause of his ill-health. His patient, who could not
but consider this as taking a great liberty with a Highland chieftain,
roared out--"And what the devil is it to you whether I have a liver or
not?" But there is the case of dignity in Lowland Lairds as well as
clan-headship in Highland Chiefs. In proof of this, I need only point to
a practice still lingering amongst us of calling landed proprietors, not
as Mr. So-and-so, but by the names of their estates. I recollect, in my
early days, a number of our proprietors were always so designated. Thus,
it was not as Mr. Carnegie, Mr. Douglas, Mr. Irvine, etc., but as
Craigo, Tillwhilly, Drum, etc.

An amusing application of such a territorial denominative system to the
locality of London was narrated to me by a friend who witnessed it. A
Scottish gentleman, who had never been in the metropolis, arrived fresh
from the Highlands, and met a small party at the house of a London
friend. A person was present of most agreeable manners, who delighted
the Scotsman exceedingly. He heard the company frequently referring to
this gentleman's residence in Piccadilly, to his house in Piccadilly,
and so on. When addressed by the gentleman, he commenced his reply,
anxious to pay him all due respect--"Indeed, Piccadilly," etc. He
supposed Piccadilly must be his own territorial locality. Another
instance of mistake, arising out of Scottish ignorance of London ways,
was made by a North Briton on his first visit to the great city. He
arrived at a hotel in Fleet Street, where many of the country coaches
then put up. On the following morning he supposed that such a crowd as
he encountered could only proceed from some "occasion," and must pass
off in due time. Accordingly, a friend from Scotland found him standing
in a doorway, as if waiting for some one. His countryman asked him what
made him stand there. To which he answered--"Ou, I was just stan'ing
till the kirk had scaled." The ordinary appearance of his native borough
made the crowd of Fleet Street suggest to him the idea of a church crowd
passing out to their several homes, called in Scotland a "kirk scaling."
A London street object called forth a similar simple remark from a
Scotsman. He had come to London on his way to India, and for a few days
had time to amuse himself by sight-seeing before his departure. He had
been much struck with the appearance of the mounted sentinels at the
Horse Guards, Whitehall, and bore them in remembrance during his Eastern
sojourn. On his return, after a period of thirty years, on passing the
Horse Guards, he looked up to one, and seeing him, as he thought,
unchanged as to horse, position, and accoutrements, he exclaimed--"Od,
freend, ye hae had a lang spell on't sin' I left," supposing him to be
the identical sentinel he had seen before he sailed.

It is interesting to preserve national peculiarities which are thus
passing away from us. One great pleasure I have had in their collection,
and that is the numerous and sympathetic communications I have received
from Scotsmen, I may literally say from Scotsmen _in all quarters of the
world_; sometimes communicating very good examples of Scottish humour,
and always expressing their great pleasure in reading, when in distant
lands and foreign scenes, anecdotes which reminded them of Scotland, and
of their ain days of "auld langsyne."

There is no mistaking the national attachment so strong in the Scottish
character. Men return after long absence, in this respect, unchanged;
whilst absent, Scotsmen _never_ forget their Scottish home. In all
varieties of lands and climates their hearts ever turn towards the "land
o' cakes and brither Scots." Scottish festivals are kept with Scottish
feeling on "Greenland's icy mountains" or "India's coral strand." I
received an amusing account of an ebullition of this patriotic feeling
from my late noble friend the Marquis of Lothian, who met with it when
travelling in India. He happened to arrive at a station upon the eve of
St. Andrew's Day, and received an invitation to join a Scottish dinner
party in commemoration of old Scotland. There was a great deal of
Scottish enthusiasm. There were _seven_ sheep-heads (singed) down the
table; and Lord Lothian told me that after dinner he sang with great
applause "The Laird o' Cockpen."

Another anecdote arising out of Scotsmen meeting in distant lands, is
rather of a more serious character, and used to be told with exquisite
humour by the late lamented Dr. Norman Macleod. A settler in Australia,
who for a long time had heard nothing of his Scottish kith and kin, was
delighted at the arrival of a countryman direct from his own part of the
country. When he met with him, the following conversation took place
between them:--_Q_. "Ye ken my fouk, friend; can ye tell me gin my
faather's alive?" _A_.--"Hout, na; he's deed." _Q_.--"Deed! What did he
dee o'? was it fever?" _A_.--"Na, it wasna fever." _Q_.--"Was it
cholera?" _A_.--"Na." The question being pressed, the stranger drily
said, "Sheep," and then he accompanied the ominous word by delicately
and significantly pointing to the jugular under his ear. The man had
been hanged for sheep-stealing!

It must always be amusing for Scotsmen to meet in distant lands, and
there to play off on each other the same dry, quaint humour which
delighted them in their native land, and in their early days at home. An
illustration of this remark has been communicated by a kind
correspondent at Glasgow. Mrs. Hume, a true Scot, sends me the following
dialogue, accompanied by a very clever etching of the parties, from the
Melbourne _Punch_, August 17, 1871, headed "Too Poor,--_Night of
Waverley Concert_."

_Southron_.--You here, Mac! you ought to have been at the concert, you
know. Aren't you one of the 'Scots wha hae?'

_Mac_.--Indeed no. I'm are o' the Scots wha hae na, or I wadna be here
the nicht.

He would not have stayed at home if he had been one of the "Scots wha

I am assured that the genuineness of the following anecdote is
unquestionable, as my informant received it from the person to whom it
occurred. A popular Anglican Nonconformist minister was residing with a
family in Glasgow while on a visit to that city, whither he had gone on
a deputation from the Wesleyan Missionary Society. After dinner, in
reply to an invitation to partake of some fine fruit, he mentioned to
the family a curious circumstance concerning himself--viz. that he had
never in his life tasted an apple, pear, grape, or indeed any kind of
green fruit. This fact seemed to evoke considerable surprise from the
company, but a cautious Scotsman, of a practical, matter-of-fact turn of
mind, who had listened with much unconcern, drily remarked, "It's a
peety but ye had been in Paradise, and there micht na hae been ony faa."
I have spoken elsewhere of the cool matter-of-fact manner in which the
awful questions connected with the funerals of friends are often
approached by Scottish people, without the least intention or purpose of
being irreverent or unfeeling. By the kindness of Mr. Lyon, I am enabled
to give an authentic anecdote of a curious character, illustrative of
this habit of mind, and I cannot do better than give it in his own
words:--"An old tenant of my late father, George Lyon of Wester Ogil,
many years ago, when on his deathbed, and his end near at hand, his wife
thus addressed him: 'Willie, Willie, as lang as ye can speak, tell us
are ye for your burial-baps round or _square_?' Willie having responded
to this inquiry, was next asked if the _murners_ were to have _glooes_
(gloves) or mittens, the former being articles with fingers, the latter
having only a thumb-piece; and Willie, having also answered this
question, was allowed to depart in peace."

There could not be a better example of this familiar handling, without
meaning offence, than one which has just been sent to me by a kind
correspondent. I give her own words. "Happening to call on a poor
neighbour, I asked after the children of a person who lived close by."
She replied, "They're no hame yet; gaed awa to the English kirk to get
_a clap_ o' _the heid_. It was the day of _confirmation_ for St. Paul's.
This definition of the 'outward and visible sign' would look rather odd
in the catechism. But the poor woman said it from no disrespect; it was
merely her way of answering my question." But remarks on serious
subjects often go to deeper views of religious matters than might be
expected from the position of the parties and the terms made use of.

Of the wise and shrewd judgment of the Scottish character, as bearing
upon religious pretensions, I have an apt example from my friend Dr.
Norman Macleod. During one of the late revivals in Scotland, a small
farmer went about preaching with much fluency and zeal the doctrine of a
"full assurance" of faith, and expressed his belief of it for himself in
such extravagant terms as few men would venture upon who were humble and
cautious against presumption. The "preacher," being personally rather
remarkable as a man of greedy and selfish views in life, excited some
suspicion in the breast of an old sagacious countryman, a neighbour of
Dr. Macleod, who asked him what _he_ thought of John as a preacher, and
of his doctrine. Scratching his head, as if in some doubt, he replied,
"I'm no verra sure o' Jock. I never ken't a man _sae sure o' Heaven, and
sae sweert to be gaing tae't_." He showed his sagacity, for John was
soon after in prison for theft.

Another story gives a good idea of the Scottish matter-of-fact view of
things being brought to bear upon a religious question without meaning
to be profane or irreverent. Dr. Macleod was on a Highland loch when a
storm came on which threatened serious consequences. The doctor, a large
powerful man, was accompanied by a clerical friend of diminutive size
and small appearance, who began to speak seriously to the boatmen of
their danger, and proposed that all present should join in prayer. "Na,
na," said the chief boatman; "let the _little_ ane gang to pray, but
first the big ane maun tak an oar." Illustrative of the same spirit was
the reply of a Scotsman of the genuine old school, "Boatie" of Deeside,
of whom I have more to say, to a relative of mine. He had been nearly
lost in a squall, and saved after great exertion, and was told by my
aunt that he should be grateful to providence for his safety. The man,
not meaning to be at all ungrateful, but viewing his preservation in
the purely hard matter-of-fact light, quietly answered, "Weel, weel,
Mrs. Russell; Providence here or Providence there, an I hadna worked
sair mysell I had been drouned."

Old Mr. Downie, the parish minister of Banchory, was noted, in my
earliest days, for his quiet pithy remarks on men and things, as they
came before him. His reply to his son, of whose social position he had
no very exalted opinion, was of this class. Young Downie had come to
visit his father from the West Indies, and told him that on his return
he was to be married to a lady whose high qualities and position he
spoke of in extravagant terms. He assured his father that she was "quite
young, was very rich, and very beautiful." "Aweel, Jemmy," said the old
man, very quietly and very slily, "I'm thinking there maun be some
_faut_." Of the dry sarcasm we have a good example in the quiet
utterance of a good Scottish phrase by an elder of a Free Kirk lately
formed. The minister was an eloquent man, and had attracted one of the
town-council, who, it was known, hardly ever entered the door of a
church, and now came on motives of curiosity. He was talking very grand
to some of the congregation: "Upon my word, your minister is a very
eloquent man. Indeed, he will quite convert me." One of the elders,
taking the word in a higher sense than the speaker intended, quietly
replied, "Indeed, Bailie, there's _muckle need_."

A kind correspondent sends me an illustration of this quaint
matter-of-fact view of a question as affecting the sentiments or the
feelings. He tells me he knew an old lady who was a stout large woman,
and who with this state of body had many ailments, which she bore
cheerfully and patiently. When asked one day by a friend, "How she was
keeping," she replied, "Ou, just middling; there's _ower muckle o' me_
to be a' weel at ae time." No Englishwoman would have given such an
answer. The same class of character is very strongly marked in a story
which was told by Mr. Thomas Constable, who has a keen appreciation of a
good Scottish story, and tells it inimitably. He used to visit an old
lady who was much attenuated by long illness, and on going up stairs one
tremendously hot afternoon, the daughter was driving away the flies,
which were very troublesome, and was saying, "Thae flies will eat up a'
that remains o' my puir mither." The old lady opened her eyes, and the
last words she spoke were, "What's left o' me's guid eneuch for them."

The spirit of caution and wariness by which the Scottish character is
supposed to be distinguished has given rise to many of these national

Certainly this cautious spirit thus pervaded the opinions of the
Scottish architect who was called upon to erect a building in England
upon the long-lease system, so common with Anglican proprietors, but
quite new to our Scottish friend. When he found the proposal was to
build upon the tenure of 999 years, he quietly suggested, "Culd ye no
mak it a _thousand_? 999 years'll be slippin' awa'."

But of all the cautious and careful answers we ever heard of was one
given by a carpenter to an old lady in Glasgow, for whom he was working,
and the anecdote is well authenticated. She had offered him a dram, and
asked him whether he would have it then or wait till his work was
done--"Indeed, mem," he said, "there's been sic a power o' sudden deaths
lately that I'll just tak it now." He would guard against contingency
and secure his dram.

The following is a good specimen of the same humour:--A minister had
been preaching against covetousness and the love of money, and had
frequently repeated how "love of money was the root of all evil" Two old
bodies walking home from church--one said, "An' wasna the minister
strang upo' the money?" "Nae doubt," said the other, rather
hesitatingly; and added, "ay, but it's grand to hae the wee bit siller
in your haund when ye gang an errand."

I have still another specimen of this national, cool, and deliberative
view of a question, which seems characteristic of the temperament of our
good countrymen. Some time back, when it was not uncommon for challenges
to be given and accepted for insults, or supposed insults, an English
gentleman was entertaining a party at Inverness with an account of the
wonders he had seen and the deeds he had performed in India, from whence
he had lately arrived. He enlarged particularly upon the size of the
tigers he had met with at different times in his travels, and by way of
corroborating his statements, assured the company that he had shot one
himself considerably above forty feet long. A Scottish gentleman
present, who thought that these narratives rather exceeded a traveller's
allowed privileges, coolly said that no doubt those were very remarkable
tigers; but that he could assure the gentleman there were in that
northern part of the country some wonderful animals, and, as an example,
he cited the existence of a skate-fish captured off Thurso, which
exceeded half-an-acre in extent. The Englishman saw this was intended as
a sarcasm against his own story, so he left the room in indignation, and
sent his friend, according to the old plan, to demand satisfaction or an
apology from the gentleman, who had, he thought, insulted him. The
narrator of the skate story coolly replied, "Weel, sir, gin yer freend
will tak' a few feet aff the length o' his tiger, we'll see what can be
dune about the breadth o' the skate." He was too cautious to commit
himself to a rash or decided course of conduct. When the tiger was
shortened, he would take into consideration a reduction of superficial
area in his skate.

A kind correspondent has sent me about as good a specimen of dry
Scottish quiet humour as I know. A certain Aberdeenshire laird, who kept
a very good poultry-yard, could not command a fresh egg for his
breakfast, and felt much aggrieved by the want. One day, however, he met
his grieve's wife with a nice basket, and very suspiciously going
towards the market; on passing and speaking a word, he was enabled to
discover that her basket was full of beautiful white eggs. Next time he
talked with his grieve, he said to him, "James, I like you very well,
and I think you serve me faithfully, but I cannot say I admire your
wife." To which the cool reply was, "Oh, 'deed, sir, I'm no surprised at
that, for I dinna muckle admire her mysel'."

An answer very much resembling this, and as much to the point, was that
of a gudewife on Deeside, whose daughter had just been married and had
left her for her new home. A lady asked the mother very kindly about her
daughter, and said she hoped she liked her new home and new relations.
"Ou, my lady, she likes the parish weel eneuch, but she doesna think
muckle o' her _man_!"

The natives of Aberdeenshire are distinguished for the two qualities of
being very acute in their remarks and very peculiar in their language.
Any one may still gain a thorough knowledge of Aberdeen dialect and see
capital examples of Aberdeen humour. I have been supplied with a
remarkable example of this combination of Aberdeen shrewdness with
Aberdeen dialect. In the course of the week after the Sunday on which
several elders of an Aberdeen parish had been set apart for parochial
offices, a knot of the parishioners had assembled at what was in all
parishes a great place of resort for idle gossiping--the smiddy or
blacksmith's workshop. The qualifications of the new elders were
severely criticised. One of the speakers emphatically laid down that the
minister should not have been satisfied, and had in fact made a most
unfortunate choice. He was thus answered by another parish
oracle--perhaps the schoolmaster, perhaps a weaver:--"Fat better culd
the man dee nir he's dune?--he bud tae big's dyke wi' the feal at fit
o't." He meant there was no choice of material--he could only take
what offered.

By the kindness of Dr. Begg, I have a most amusing anecdote to
illustrate how deeply long-tried associations were mixed up with the
habits of life in the older generation. A junior minister having to
assist at a church in a remote part of Aberdeenshire, the parochial
minister (one of the old school) promised his young friend a good glass
of whisky-toddy after all was over, adding slily and very significantly,
"and gude _smuggled_ whusky." His Southron guest thought it incumbent to
say, "Ah, minister, that's wrong, is it not? you know it is contrary to
Act of Parliament." The old Aberdonian could not so easily give up his
fine whisky to what he considered an unjust interference; so he quietly
said, "Oh, Acts o' Parliament lose their breath before they get to

There is something very amusing in the idea of what may be called the
"fitness of things," in regard to snuff-taking, which occurred to an
honest Highlander, a genuine lover of sneeshin. At the door of the
Blair-Athole Hotel he observed standing a magnificent man in full
tartans, and noticed with much admiration the wide dimensions of his
nostrils in a fine upturned nose. He accosted him, and, as his most
complimentary act, offered him his mull for a pinch. The stranger drew
up, and rather haughtily said: "I never take snuff." "Oh," said the
other, "that's a peety, for there's grand _accommodation_[15]!"

I don't know a better example of the sly sarcasm than the following
answer of a Scottish servant to the violent command of his enraged
master. A well-known coarse and abusive Scottish law functionary, when
driving out of his grounds, was shaken by his carriage coming in contact
with a large stone at the gate. He was very angry, and ordered the
gatekeeper to have it removed before his return. On driving home,
however, he encountered another severe shock by the wheels coming in
contact with the very same stone, which remained in the very same place.
Still more irritated than before, in his usual coarse language he called
the gatekeeper, and roared out: "You rascal, if you don't send that
beastly stone to h---, I'll break your head." "Well," said the man
quietly, and as if he had received an order which he had to execute, and
without meaning anything irreverent, "aiblins gin it were sent to heevan
_it wad be mair out o' your Lordship's way_."

I think about as cool a Scottish "aside" as I know, was that of the old
dealer who, when exhorting his son to practise honesty in his dealings,
on the ground of its being the "best policy," quietly added, "I _hae
tried baith_"

In this work frequent mention is made of a class of old _ladies_,
generally residing in small towns, who retained till within the memory
of many now living the special characteristics I have referred to. Owing
to local connection, I have brought forward those chiefly who lived in
Montrose and the neighbourhood. But the race is extinct; you might as
well look for hoops and farthingales in society as for such characters
now. You can scarcely imagine an old lady, however quaint, now making
use of some of the expressions recorded in the text, or saying, for the
purpose of breaking up a party of which she was tired, from holding bad
cards, "We'll stop now, bairns; I'm no enterteened;" or urging more
haste in going to church on the plea, "Come awa, or I'll be ower late
for the 'wicked man'"--her mode of expressing the commencement of
the service.

Nothing could better illustrate the quiet pawky style for which our
countrymen have been distinguished, than the old story of the piper and
the wolves. A Scottish piper was passing through a deep forest. In the
evening he sat down to take his supper. He had hardly begun, when a
number of hungry wolves, prowling about for food, collected round him.
In self-defence, the poor man began to throw pieces of his victuals to
them, which they greedily devoured. When he had disposed of all, in a
fit of despair he took his pipes and began to play. The unusual sound
terrified the wolves, which, one and all, took to their heels and
scampered off in every direction: on observing which, Sandy quietly
remarked, "Od, an I'd kenned ye liket the pipes sae weel, I'd a gien ye
a spring _afore_ supper."

This imperturbable mode of looking at the events of life is illustrated
by perhaps the _most_ cautious answer on record, of the Scotsman who,
being asked if he could play the fiddle, warily answered, "He couldna
say, for he had never tried." But take other cases. For example: One
tremendously hot day, during the old stage-coach system, I was going
down to Portobello, when the coachman drew up to take in a gentleman who
had hailed him on the road. He was evidently an Englishman--a fat man,
and in a perfect state of "thaw and dissolution" from the heat and dust.
He wiped himself, and exclaimed, as a remark addressed to the company
generally, "D----d hot it is." No one said anything for a time, till a
man in the corner slily remarked, "I dinna doubt, sir, but it may." The
cautiousness against committing himself unreservedly to any proposition,
however plausible, was quite delicious.

A more determined objection to giving a categorical answer occurred, as
I have been assured, in regard to a more profound question. A party
travelling on a railway got into deep discussion on theological
questions. Like Milton's spirits in Pandemonium, they had

                         "Reason'd high
     Of providence, fore-knowledge, will, and fate--
     Fix'd fate, free-will, fore-knowledge absolute;
     And found no end, in wand'ring mazes lost."

A plain Scotsman present seemed much interested in these matters, and
having expressed himself as not satisfied with the explanations which
had been elicited in the course of discussion on a particular point
regarding predestination, one of the party said to him that he had
observed a minister, whom they all knew, in the adjoining compartment,
and that when the train stopped at the next station a few minutes, he
could go and ask _his_ opinion. The good man accordingly availed himself
of the opportunity to get hold of the minister, and lay their difficulty
before him. He returned in time to resume his own place, and when they
had started again, the gentleman who had advised him, finding him not
much disposed to voluntary communication, asked if he had seen the
minister. "O ay," he said, "he had seen him." "And did you propose the
question to him?" "O ay." "And what did he say?" "Oh, he just said he
didna ken; and what was mair he didna _care!_"

I have received the four following admirable anecdotes, illustrative of
dry Scottish pawky humour, from an esteemed minister of the Scottish
Church, the Rev. W. Mearns of Kinneff. I now record them nearly in the
same words as his own kind communication. The anecdotes are as
follow:--An aged minister of the old school, Mr. Patrick Stewart, one
Sunday took to the pulpit a sermon without observing that the first leaf
or two were so worn and eaten away that he couldn't decipher or announce
the text. He was not a man, however, to be embarrassed or taken aback by
a matter of this sort, but at once intimated the state of matters to the
congregation,--"My brethren, I canna tell ye the text, for the mice hae
eaten it; but we'll just begin whaur the mice left aff, and when I come
to it I'll let you ken."

In the year 1843, shortly after the Disruption, a parish minister had
left the manse and removed to about a mile's distance. His pony got
loose one day, and galloped down the road in the direction of the old
glebe. The minister's man in charge ran after the pony in a great fuss,
and when passing a large farm-steading on the way, cried out to the
farmer, who was sauntering about, but did not know what had taken
place--"Oh, sir, did _ye_ see the minister's shault?" "No, no," was the
answer,--"but what's happened?" "Ou, sir, fat do ye think? the
minister's shault's _got lowse_ frae his tether, an' I'm frichtened he's
ta'en the road doun to the auld glebe." "Weel-a-wicht!"--was the shrewd
clever rejoinder of the farmer, who was a keen supporter of the old
parish church, "I wad _na_ wonder at _that_. An' I'se warrant, gin the
minister was gettin' _lowse_ frae _his_ tether, he wad jist tak the
same road."

An old clerical friend upon Speyside, a confirmed bachelor, on going up
to the pulpit one Sunday to preach, found, after giving out the psalm,
that he had forgotten his sermon. I do not know what his objections were
to his leaving the pulpit, and going to the manse for his sermon, but he
preferred sending his old confidential housekeeper for it. He
accordingly stood up in the pulpit, stopped the singing which had
commenced, and thus accosted his faithful domestic:--"Annie; I say,
Annie, _we've_ committed a mistak the day. Ye maun jist gang your waa's
hame, and ye'll get my sermon oot o' my breek-pouch, an' we'll sing to
the praise o' the Lord till ye come back again." Annie, of course, at
once executed her important mission, and brought the sermon out of "the
breek-pouch," and the service, so far as we heard, was completed without
further interruption.

My dear friend, the late Rev. Dr. John Hunter, told me an anecdote very
characteristic of the unimaginative matter-of-fact Scottish view of
matters. One of the ministers of Edinburgh, a man of dry humour, had a
daughter who had for some time passed the period of youth and of
beauty. She had become an Episcopalian, an event which the Doctor
accepted with much good-nature, and he was asking her one day if she did
not intend to be confirmed. "Well," she said, "I don't know. I
understand Mr. Craig always kisses the candidates whom he prepares, and
I could not stand that." "Indeed, Jeanie," said the Doctor slily, "gin
Edward Craig _were_ to gie ye a kiss, I dinna think ye would be muckle
the waur."

Many anecdotes characteristic of the Scottish peasant often turn upon
words and ideas connected with Holy Scripture. This is not to be
considered as in any sense profane or irreverent; but it arises from the
Bible being to the peasantry of an older generation their library--their
only book. We have constant indications of this almost exclusive
familiarity with Scripture ideas. At the late ceremonial in the north,
when the Archbishop of Canterbury laid the foundation of a Bishop's
Church at Inverness, a number of persons, amid the general interest and
kindly feeling displayed by the inhabitants, were viewing the procession
from a hill as it passed along. When the clergy, to the number of sixty,
came on, an old woman, who was watching the whole scene with some
jealousy, exclaimed, at sight of the surplices, "There they go, the
_whited_ sepulchres!" I received another anecdote illustrative of the
same remark from an esteemed minister of the Free Church: I mean of the
hold which Scripture expressions have upon the minds of our Scottish
peasantry. One of his flock was a sick nervous woman, who hardly ever
left the house. But one fine afternoon, when she was left alone, she
fancied she would like to get a little air in the field adjoining the
house. Accordingly she put on a bonnet and wrapped herself in a huge
red shawl. Creeping along the dyke-side, some cattle were attracted
towards her, and first one and then another gathered round, and she took
shelter in the ditch till she was relieved by some one coming up to her
rescue. She afterwards described her feelings to her minister in strong
language, adding, "And eh, sir! when I lay by the dyke, and the beasts
round a' glowerin' at me, I thocht what Dauvid maun hae felt when he
said--'Many bulls have compassed me; strong bulls of Bashan have beset
me round.'"

With the plainness and pungency of the old-fashioned Scottish language
there was sometimes a coarseness of expression, which, although commonly
repeated in the Scottish drawing-room of last century, could not now be
tolerated. An example of a very plain and downright address of a laird
has been recorded in the annals of "Forfarshire Lairdship." He had
married one of the Misses Guthrie, who had a strong feeling towards the
Presbyterian faith in which she had been brought up, although her
husband was one of the zealous old school of Episcopalians. The young
wife had invited her old friend, the parish minister, to tea, and had
given him a splendid "_four hours."_ Ere the table was cleared the laird
came in unexpectedly, and thus expressed his indignation, not very
delicately, at what he considered an unwarrantable exercise of
hospitality at his cost:--"Helen Guthrie, ye'll no think to save yer ain
saul at the expense of my meal-girnel!"

The answer of an old woman under examination by the minister to the
question from the Shorter Catechism--"What are the _decrees_ of God?"
could not have been surpassed by the General Assembly of the Kirk, or
even the Synod of Dort--"Indeed, sir, He kens that best Himsell." We
have an answer analogous to that, though not so pungent, in a catechumen
of the late Dr. Johnston of Leith. She answered his own question,
patting him on the shoulder--"'Deed, just tell it yersell, _bonny_
doctor (he was a very handsome man); naebody can tell it better."

To pass from the answers of "persons come to years of discretion"--I
have elsewhere given examples of peculiar traits of character set forth
in the answers of mere _children_, and no doubt a most amusing
collection might be made of very juvenile "Scottish Reminiscences." One
of these is now a very old story, and has long been current amongst
us:--A little boy who attended a day-school in the neighbourhood, when
he came home in the evening was always asked how he stood in his own
class. The invariable answer made was, "I'm second dux," which means in
Scottish academical language second from the top of the class. As his
habits of application at home did not quite bear out the claim to so
distinguished a position at school, one of the family ventured to ask
what was the number in the class to which he was attached. After some
hesitation he was obliged to admit: "Ou, there's jist me and _anither_
lass." It was a very _practical_ answer of the little girl, when asked
the meaning of "darkness," as it occurred in Scripture reading--"Ou,
just steek your een." On the question, What was the "pestilence that
walketh in darkness"? being put to a class, a little boy answered, after
consideration--"Ou, it's just _bugs_." I did not anticipate when in a
former edition I introduced this answer, which I received from my nephew
Sir Alexander Ramsay, that it would call forth a comment so interesting
as one which I have received from Dr. Barber of Ulverston. He sends me
an extract from Matthew's _Translation of the Bible_, which he received
from Rev. L.R. Ayre, who possesses a copy of date 1553, from which it
appears that Psalm xci. 5 was thus translated by Matthew, who adopted
his translation from Coverdale and Tyndale:--"So that thou shalt not
need to be afrayed for any bugge by nyght, nor for the arrow that flyeth
by day[16]." Dr. Barber ingeniously remarks--"Is it possible the little
boy's mother had one of these old Bibles, or is it merely a

The innocent and unsophisticated answers of children on serious subjects
are often very amusing. Many examples are recorded, and one I have
received seems much to the point, and derives a good deal of its point
from the Scottish turn of the expressions. An elder of the kirk having
found a little boy and his sister playing marbles on Sunday, put his
reproof in this form, not a judicious one for a child:--"Boy, do ye know
where children go to who play marbles on Sabbath-day?" "Ay," said the
boy, "they gang doun' to the field by the water below the brig." "No,"
roared out the elder, "they go to hell, and are burned." The little
fellow, really shocked, called to his sister, "Come awa', Jeanie, here's
a man swearing awfully."

A Scotch story like that of the little boy, of which the humour
consisted in the dry application of the terms in a sense different from
what was intended by the speaker, was sent to me, but has got spoilt by
passing through the press. It must be Scotch, or at least, is composed
of Scottish materials--the Shorter Catechism and the bagpipes. A piper
was plying his trade in the streets, and a strict elder of the kirk,
desirous to remind him that it was a somewhat idle and profitless
occupation, went up to him and proposed solemnly the first question of
the Shorter Catechism, "What is the chief end of man?" The good piper,
thinking only of his own business, and supposing that the question had
reference to some pipe melody, innocently answered, "Na, I dinna ken the
tune, but if ye'll whistle it I'll try and play it for ye."

I have said before, and I would repeat the remark again and again, that
the object of this work is _not_ to string together mere funny stories,
or to collect amusing anecdotes. We have seen such collections, in which
many of the anecdotes are mere Joe Millers translated into Scotch. The
purport of these pages has been throughout to illustrate Scottish life
and character, by bringing forward those modes and forms of expression
by which alone our national peculiarities can be familiarly illustrated
and explained. Besides Scottish replies and expressions which are most
characteristic--and in fact unique for dry humour, for quaint and
exquisite wit--I have often referred to a consideration of dialect and
proverbs. There can be no doubt there is a force and beauty in our
Scottish _phraseology_, as well as a quaint humour, considered merely
_as_ phraseology, peculiar to itself. I have spoken of the phrase "Auld
langsyne," and of other words, which may be compared in their Anglican
and Scottish form. Take the familiar term common to many singing-birds.
The English word linnet does not, to my mind, convey so much of simple
beauty and of pastoral ideas as belong to our Scottish word LINTIE.

I recollect hearing the Rev. Dr. Norman Macleod give a most interesting
account of his visit to Canada. In the course of his eloquent narrative
he mentioned a conversation he had with a Scottish emigrant, who in
general terms spoke favourably and gratefully of his position in his
adopted country. But he could not help making this exception when he
thought of the "banks and braes o' bonny Doon"--"But oh, sir," he said,
"there are nae _linties_ i' the wuds." How touching the words in his own
dialect! The North American woods, although full of birds of beautiful
plumage, it is well known have no singing-birds.

A worthy Scottish Episcopal minister one day met a townsman, a breeder
and dealer in singing-birds. The man told him he had just had a child
born in his family, and asked him if he would baptize it. He thought the
minister could not resist the offer of a bird. "Eh, Maister Shaw," he
said, "if ye'll jist do it, I hae a fine lintie the noo, and if ye'll do
it, I'll gie ye the lintie." He quite thought that this would settle
the matter!

By these remarks I mean to express the feeling that the word _lintie_
conveys to my mind more of tenderness and endearment towards the little
songster than linnet. And this leads me to a remark (which I do not
remember to have met with) that Scottish dialects are peculiarly rich in
such terms of endearment, more so than the pure Anglican. Without at all
pretending to exhaust the subject, I may cite the following as examples
of the class of terms I speak of. Take the names for parents--"Daddie"
and "Minnie;" names for children, "My wee bit lady" or "laddie," "My wee
bit lamb;" of a general nature, "My ain kind dearie." "Dawtie,"
especially used to young people, described by Jamieson a darling or
favourite, one who is _dawted_--_i.e._ fondled or caressed. My "joe"
expresses affection with familiarity, evidently derived from _joy_, an
easy transition--as "My joe, Janet;" "John Anderson, my joe, John." Of
this character is Burns's address to a wife, "My winsome"--_i.e._
charming, engaging--"wee thing;" also to a wife, "My winsome
marrow"--the latter word signifying a dear companion, one of a pair
closely allied to each other; also the address of Rob the Ranter to
Maggie Lauder, "My bonnie bird." Now, we would remark, upon this
abundant nomenclature of kindly expressions in the Scottish dialect,
that it assumes an interesting position as taken in connection with the
Scottish Life and _Character_, and as a set-off against a frequent short
and _grumpy_ manner. It indicates how often there must be a current of
tenderness and affection in the Scottish heart, which is so frequently
represented to be, like its climate, "stern and wild." There could not
be such _terms_ were the feelings they express unknown. I believe it
often happens that in the Scottish character there is a vein of deep and
kindly feeling lying hid under a short, and hard and somewhat stern
manner. Hence has arisen the Scottish saying which is applicable to such
cases--"His girn's waur than his bite:" his disposition is of a softer
nature than his words and manner would often lead you to suppose.

There are two admirable articles in _Blackwood's Magazine,_ in the
numbers for November and December 1870, upon this subject. The writer
abundantly vindicates the point and humour of the Scottish tongue. Who
can resist, for example, the epithet applied by Meg Merrilies to an
unsuccessful probationer for admission to the ministry:--"a sticket
stibbler"? Take the sufficiency of Holy Scripture as a pledge for any
one's salvation:--"There's eneuch between the brods o' the Testament to
save the biggest sinner i' the warld." I heard an old Scottish
Episcopalian thus pithily describe the hasty and irreverent manner of a
young Englishman:--"He ribbled aff the prayers like a man at the heid o'
a regiment." A large family of young children has been termed "a great
sma' family." It was a delicious dry rejoinder to the question--"Are you
Mr. So-and-so?" "It's a' that's o' me" (_i.e._ to be had for him.) I
have heard an old Scottish gentleman direct his servant to mend the fire
by saying, "I think, Dauvid, we wadna be the waur o' some coals."

There is a pure Scottish term, which I have always thought more
expressive than any English word of ideas connected with manners in
society--I mean the word to blether, or blethering, or blethers.
Jamieson defines it to "talk nonsense." But it expresses far more--it
expresses powerfully, to Scottish people, a person at once shallow,
chattering, conceited, tiresome, voluble.

There is a delicious servantgirlism, often expressed in an answer given
at the door to an inquirer: "Is your master at home, or mistress?" as
the case may be. The problem is to save the direct falsehood, and yet
evade the visit; so the answer is--"Ay, he or she is at hame; but
he's no _in_"

The transition from Scottish _expressions_ to Scottish Poetry is easy
and natural. In fact, the most interesting feature now belonging to
Scottish life and social habits is, to a certain extent, becoming with
many a matter of reminiscence of _Poetry in the Scottish dialect_, as
being the most permanent and the most familiar feature of Scottish
characteristics. It is becoming a matter of history, in so far as we
find that it has for some time ceased to be cultivated with much
ardour, or to attract much popularity. In fact, since the time of
Burns, it has been losing its hold on the public mind. It is a
remarkable fact that neither Scott nor Wilson, both admirers of Burns,
both copious writers of poetry themselves, both also so distinguished as
writers of Scottish _prose_, should have written any poetry strictly in
the form of pure Scottish dialect. "Jock o' Hazeldean" I hardly admit to
be an exception. It is not Scottish. If, indeed, Sir Walter wrote the
scrap of the beautiful ballad in the "Antiquary"--

     "Now haud your tongue, baith wife and carle,
       And listen, great and sma',
     And I will sing of Glenallan's Earl,
       That fought at the red Harlaw"--

one cannot but regret that he had not written more of the same.
Campbell, a poet and a Scotsman, has not attempted it. In short, we do
not find poetry in the Scottish dialect at all _kept up_ in Scotland. It
is every year becoming more a matter of research and reminiscence.
Nothing new is added to the old stock, and indeed it is surprising to
see the ignorance and want of interest displayed by many young persons
in this department of literature. How few read the works of Allan
Ramsay, once so popular, and still so full of pastoral imagery! There
are occasionally new editions of the _Gentle Shepherd_, but I suspect
for a limited class of readers. I am assured the boys of the High
School, Academy, etc., do not care even for Burns. As poetry in the
Scottish dialect is thus slipping away from the public Scottish mind, I
thought it very suitable to a work of this character to supply a list of
modern _Scottish dialect writers_. This I am able to provide by the
kindness of our distinguished antiquary, Mr. David Laing--the fulness
and correctness of whose acquirements are only equalled by his
readiness and courtesy in communicating his information to others:--


ALLAN RAMSAY. B. 1686. D. 1757. His _Gentle Shepherd_, completed in
1725, and his _Collected Poems_ in 1721-1728.

It cannot be said there was any want of successors, however obscure,
following in the same track. Those chiefly deserving of notice were--

ALEXANDER Ross of Lochlee. B. 1700. D. 1783. _The Fortunate

ROBERT FERGUSSON. B. 1750. D. 1774. _Leith Races, Caller Oysters_, etc.

REV. JOHN SKINNER. B. 1721. D. 1807. _Tullochgorum_.

ROBERT BURNS. B. 1759. D. 1796.

ALEXANDER, FOURTH DUKE OF GORDON. B. 1743. D. 1827. _Cauld Kail in

ALEXANDER WILSON of Paisley, who latterly distinguished himself as an
American ornithologist. B. 1766. D. 1813. _Watty and Meg_.

HECTOR MACNEILL. B. 1746. D. 1818. _Will and Jean_.

ROBERT TANNAHILL. B. 1774. D. 1810. _Songs_.

JAMES HOGG. B. 1772. D. 1835.

ALLAN CUNNINGHAM. B. 1784. D. 1842.

To this list we must add the names of Lady Nairne and Lady Anne Lindsay.
To the former we are indebted for "The Land o' the Leal," "The Laird o'
Cockpen," and "The Auld Hoose;" to the latter for "Auld Robin Gray:"
and our wonder is, how those who could write so charmingly should have
written so little.

I have no intention of discussing the general question of Scottish
poetry--of defending or eulogising, or of apologising for anything
belonging to it. There are songs in broad Scottish dialect of which the
beauty and the power will never be lost. Words of Burns, Allan Ramsay,
and Lady Nairne, must ever speak to hearts that are true to nature. I am
desirous of bringing before my readers at this time the name of a
Scottish poet, which, though in Mr. Laing's list, I fear is become
rather a reminiscence. It is fifty years since his poetical pieces were
published in a collected form. I am desirous of giving a special notice
of a true-hearted Scotsman, and a genuine Scottish poet, under both
characters. I look with a tender regard to the memory of the Rev. JOHN
SKINNER of Langside. He has written little in quantity, but it is all
charming. He was a good Christian minister. He was a man of learning--a
man of liberal and generous feeling. In addition to all this, he has
upon me the claim of having been a Scottish Episcopalian divine, and I
am always rejoiced to see among learned men of our church sympathies
with liberalism, besides what is patristic and theological. John
Skinner's name and family are much mixed up with our church.
'Tullochgorum' was father of Primus John Skinner, and grandfather of
Primus W. Skinner and of the Rev. John Skinner of Forfar. The youngest
brother of Tullochgorum was James Skinner, W.S., who died at ninety-one,
and was grandfather of W. Skinner, W.S., Edinburgh. The Rev. J. Skinner
was born in Birse, a wild part of Aberdeenshire, 1721. His father was
parochial schoolmaster at Gight for nearly fifty years. He worked hard
under the care of his father, who was a good Latin scholar. He gained a
bursary at Aberdeen, where he studied. When he left college he became
schoolmaster at Monymusk, where he wrote some pieces that attracted
attention, and Sir Archibald Grant took him into the house, and allowed
him the full use of a very fine library. He made good use of this
opportunity, and indeed became a fair scholar and theologian. Skinner
had been brought up a Presbyterian, but at Monymusk found reasons for
changing his views. In June 1740 he became tutor to the only son of Mrs.
Sinclair in Shetland. Returning to Aberdeenshire in 1741, he completed
his studies for the ministry, was ordained by Bishop Dunbar, and in 1742
became pastor of Langside. He worked for this little congregation for
nearly sixty-five years, and they were happy and united under his
pastoral charge. One very interesting incident took place during his
ministry, which bears upon our general question of reminiscences and
changes. John Skinner was in his own person an example of that
persecution for political opinion referred to in Professor Macgregor's
account of the large prayer-book in the library at Panmure. After the
'45, Episcopalians were treated with suspicion and severity. The severe
laws passed against Jacobites were put in force, and poor Skinner fined.

However, better and more peaceful times came round, and all that John
Skinner had undergone did not sour his temper or make him severe or
misanthropical. As a pastor he seems to have had tact, as well as good
temper, in the management of his flock, if we may judge from the
following anecdote:--Talking with an obstinate self-confident farmer,
when the conversation happened to turn on the subject of the motion of
the earth, the farmer would not be convinced that the earth moved at
all. "Hoot, minister," the man roared out; "d'ye see the earth never
gaes oot o' the pairt, and it maun be that the sun gaes round: we a' ken
he rises i' the east and sets i' the west." Then, as if to silence all
argument, he added triumphantly, "As if the sun didna gae round the
earth, when it is said in Scripture that the Lord commanded the sun to
stand still!" Mr. Skinner, finding it was no use to argue further,
quietly answered, "Ay, it's vera true; the sun was commanded to stand
still, and there he stands still, for Joshua never tauld him to tak the
road again." I have said John Skinner wrote little Scottish poetry, but
what he wrote was rarely good. His prose works extended over three
volumes when they were collected by his son, the Bishop of Aberdeen, but
we have no concern with them. His poetical pieces, by which his name
will never die in Scotland, are the "Reel of Tullochgorum" and the "Ewie
with the Crooked Horn," charming Scottish songs,--one the perfection of
the lively, the other of the pathetic. It is quite enough to say of
"Tullochgorum" (by which the old man is now always designated), what was
said of it by Robert Burns, as "the first of songs," and as the best
Scotch song Scotland ever saw.

I have brought in the following anecdote, exactly as it appeared in the
_Scotsman_ of October 4, 1859, because it introduces his name.

"The late Rev. John Skinner, author of 'Annals of Scottish Episcopacy,'
was his grandson. He was first appointed to a charge in Montrose, from
whence he was removed to Banff, and ultimately to Forfar. After he had
left Montrose, it reached his ears that an ill-natured insinuation was
circulating there that he had been induced to leave this town by the
temptation of a better income and of fat pork, which, it would appear,
was plentiful in the locality of his new incumbency. Indignant at such
an aspersion, he wrote a letter, directed to his maligners, vindicating
himself sharply from it, which he showed to his grandfather, John
Skinner of Langside, for his approval. The old gentleman objected to it
as too lengthy, and proposed the following pithy substitute:--

     "'Had Skinner been of carnal mind,
     As strangely ye suppose,
     Or had he even been fond of swine,
     He'd ne'er have left Montrose.'"

But there is an anecdote of John Skinner which should endear his memory
to every generous and loving heart. On one occasion he was passing a
small dissenting place of worship at the time when the congregation were
engaged in singing: on passing the door--old-fashioned Scottish
Episcopalian as he was--he reverently took off his hat. His companion
said to him, "What! do you feel so much sympathy with this Anti Burgher
congregation?" "No," said Mr. Skinner, "but I respect and love any of my
fellow-Christians who are engaged in singing to the glory of the Lord
Jesus Christ." Well done, old Tullochgorum! thy name shall be loved and
honoured by every true liberal-minded Scotsman.

Yes! Mr. Skinner's experience of the goodness of God and of the power of
grace, had led him to the conviction that the earnest song of praise,
that comes from the heart of the sincere believer in Christ, can go up
to Heaven from the humblest earthly house of prayer, and be received
before the throne of grace as acceptably as the high and solemn service
of the lofty cathedral,

  "Where, from the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault,
  The pealing anthem swells the note of praise."

We must firmly believe that, obsolete as the dialect of Scotland may
become, and its words and expressions a matter of tradition and of
reminiscence with many, still there are Scottish lines, and broad
Scottish lines, which can never cease to hold their place in the
affections and the admiration of innumerable hearts whom they have
charmed. Can the choice and popular Scottish verses, endeared to us by
so many kindly associations of the past, and by so many beauties and
poetical graces of their own, ever lose their attractions for a Scottish
heart? The charm of such strains can never die.

I think one subsidiary cause for permanency in the popularity still
belonging to particular Scottish _songs_ has proceeded from their
association with Scottish _music_. The melodies of Scotland can never
die. In the best of these compositions there is a pathos and a feeling
which must preserve them, however simple in their construction, from
being vulgar or commonplace. Mendelssohn did not disdain taking Scottish
airs as themes for the exercise of his profound science and his
exquisite taste. It must, I think, be admitted that singing of Scottish
songs in the perfection of their style--at once pathetic, graceful, and
characteristic--is not so often met with as to remove all apprehension
that ere long they may become matters only of reminiscence. Many
accomplished musicians often neglect entirely the cultivation of their
native melodies, under the idea of their being inconsistent with the
elegance and science of high-class music. They commit a mistake. When
judiciously and tastefully performed, it is a charming style of music,
and will always give pleasure to the intelligent hearer. I have heard
two young friends, who have attained great skill in scientific and
elaborate compositions, execute the simple song of "Low down in the
Broom," with an effect I shall not easily forget. Who that has heard the
Countess of Essex, when Miss Stephens, sing "Auld Robin Gray," can ever
lose the impression of her heart-touching notes? In the case of "Auld
Robin Gray," the song composed by Lady Anne Lindsay, although very
beautiful in itself, has been, I think, a good deal indebted to the air
for its great and continued popularity. The history of that tender and
appropriate melody is somewhat curious, and not generally known. The
author was _not_ a Scotsman. It was composed by the Rev. Mr. Leves,
rector of Wrington in Somersetshire, either early in this century or
just at the close of the last. Mr. Leves was fond of music, and composed
several songs, but none ever gained any notice except his "Auld Robin
Gray," the popularity of which has been marvellous. I knew the family
when I lived in Somersetshire, and had met them in Bath. Mr. Leves
composed the air for his daughter, Miss Bessy Leves, who was a pretty
girl and a pretty singer.

I cannot but deeply regret to think that I should in these pages have
any ground for classing Scottish poetry and Scottish airs amongst
"Reminiscences." It is a department of literature where, of course,
there must be _selection_, but I am convinced it will repay a careful
cultivation. I would recommend, as a copious and judicious selection of
Scottish _tunes_, "The Scottish Minstrel," by R.A. Smith (Purdie,
Edinburgh). There are the _words_, also, of a vast number of Scottish
songs, but the account of their _authorship_ is very defective. Then,
again, for the fine Scottish ballads of an older period, we have two
admirable collections--one by Mr. R. Chambers, and one by the late
Professor Aytoun. For Scottish dialect songs of the more modern type, a
copious collection will be found (exclusive of Burns and Allan Earn say)
in small volumes published by David Robertson, Glasgow, at intervals
from 1832 to 1853, under the title of _Whistlebinkie_.

But there are more than lines of Scottish poetry which may become matter
of reminiscence, and more than Scottish song melodies which may be
forgotten. There are strains of Scottish PSALMODY of which it would be
more sad to think that _they_ possibly may have lost their charm and
their hold with Scottish people. That such psalmody, of a peculiar
Scottish class and character, _has_ existed, no one can doubt who has
knowledge or recollection of past days. In glens and retired passes,
where those who fled from persecution met together--on the moors and
heaths, where men suffering for their faith took refuge--in the humble
worship of the cottar's fireside--were airs of sacred Scottish melody,
which were well calculated to fan the heavenward flame which was kindled
in lays of the "sweet Psalmist of Israel." These psalm-tunes are in
their way as peculiar as the song-tunes we have referred to. Nothing can
be more touching than the description by Burns of the domestic psalmody
of his father's cottage. Mr. E. Chambers, in his _Life of Burns_,
informs us that the poet, during his father's infirmity and after his
death, had himself sometimes conducted family worship. Happy days, ere
he had encountered the temptations of a world in which he had too often
fallen before the solicitations of guilty passion! and then, beautifully
does he describe the characteristic features of this portion of the
cottars worship. How solemnly he enumerates the psalm-tunes usually made
use of on such occasions, and discriminates the character of each:--

     "They chant their artless notes in simple guise;
       They tune their hearts, by far the noblest aim:
     Perhaps DUNDEE'S wild warbling measures rise,
       Or plaintive MARTYRS, worthy of the name,
       Or noble ELGIN beets[17] the heavenward flame."

He was not, alas! always disposed in after life to reverence these
sacred melodies as he had done in his youthful days. In his poem of "The
Holy Fair," he less reverently adduces mention of these sacred airs:--

     "Now turn the Psalms o' David ower,
        And lilt wi' holy clangour.
      O' double verse come gie us four,
        An' skirl up the Bangor."

These tunes seem to have been strictly and exclusively national. In
proof of such psalmody being quite national, I have been told that many
of these tunes were composed by artisans, such as builders, joiners,
blacksmiths, etc.

Several of the psalm-tunes more peculiar to Scotland are no doubt of an
early date. In Ravenscroft's _Psalms_, published with the music in four
parts in 1621, he gives the names of seven as purely Scottish--_King's,
Duke's, Abbey, Dunfermline, Dundee, Glasgow, Martyrs._ I was used to
hear such psalmody in my early days in the parish church of Fettercairn,
where we always attended during summer. It had all the simple
characteristics described by Burns, and there was a heartiness and
energy too in the congregation when, as he expresses it, they used to
"skirl up the Bangor," of which the effects still hang in my
recollection. At that time there prevailed the curious custom, when some
of the psalms were sung, of reading out a single line, and when that was
sung another line was read, and so throughout[18]. Thus, on singing the
50th psalm, the first line sounded thus:--"_Our God shall come, and
shall no more;_" when that was sung, there came the next startling
announcement--"_Be silent, but speak out._" A rather unfortunate
_juxtaposition_ was suggested through this custom, which we are assured
really happened in the church of Irvine. The precentor, after having
given out the first line, and having observed some members of the family
from the castle struggling to get through the crowd on a sacramental
occasion, cried out, "Let the noble family of Eglinton pass," and then
added the line which followed the one he had just given out rather
mal-apropos--"_Nor stand in sinners' way_." One peculiarity I remember,
which was, closing the strain sometimes by an interval less than a
semitone; instead of the half-note preceding the close or key-note, they
used to take the _quarter-note,_ the effect of which had a peculiar
gurgling sound, but I never heard it elsewhere. It may be said these
Scottish tunes were unscientific, and their performance rude. It may be
so, but the effect was striking, as I recall it through the vista of
threescore years and ten. Great advances, no doubt, have been made in
Scotland in congregational psalmody; organs have in some instances been
adopted; choirs have been organised with great effort by choirmasters of
musical taste and skill. But I hope the spirit of PIETY, which in past
times once accompanied the old Scottish psalm, whether sung in the
church or at home, has not departed with the music. Its better emotions
are not, I hope, to become a "Reminiscence."

There was no doubt sometimes a degree of noise in the psalmody more than
was consistent with good taste, but this often proceeded from the
earnestness of those who joined. I recollect at Banchory an honest
fellow who sang so loud that he annoyed his fellow-worshippers, and the
minister even rebuked him for "skirling" so loud. James was not quite
patient under these hints, and declared to some of his friends that he
was resolved to sing to the praise of God, as he said, "gin I should
crack the waas o' the houss."

Going from sacred tunes to sacred words, a good many changes have taken
place in the little history of our own psalmody and hymnology. When I
first came to Edinburgh, for psalms we made use of the mild and vapid
new version of Tate and Brady;--for hymns, almost each congregation had
its own selection--and there were hymn-books of Dundee, Perth, Glasgow,
etc. The Established Church used the old rough psalter, with paraphrases
by Logan, etc., and a few hymns added by authority of the General
Assembly. There seems to be a pretty general tendency in the Episcopal
Church to adopt at present the extensive collection called "Hymns
Ancient and Modern," containing 386 pieces. Copies of the words alone
are to be procured for one penny, and the whole, with tunes attached, to
be procured for 1_s_. 6_d_. The Hymns Ancient and Modern are not set
forth with any Ecclesiastical sanction. It is supposed, however, that
there will be a Hymnal published by the Church of England on authority,
and if so, our Church will be likely to adopt it. The Established
Church Hymnal Committee have lately sanctioned a very interesting
collection of 200 pieces. The compilation has been made with liberality
of feeling as well as with good taste. There are several of Neale's
translations from mediaeval hymns, several from John Keble, and the
whole concludes with the Te Deum taken literally from the Prayer-Book.

This mention of Scottish Psalmody and Scottish Hymnology, whether for
private or for public worship, naturally brings us to a very important
division of our subject; I mean the general question of reminiscences of
Scottish religious feelings and observances; and first in regard to
Scottish clergy.

My esteemed friend, Lord Neaves, who, it is well known, combines with
his great legal knowledge and high literary acquirements a keen sense of
the humorous, has sometimes pleasantly complained of my drawing so many
of my specimens of Scottish humour from sayings and doings of Scottish
ministers. They were a shrewd and observant race. They lived amongst
their own people from year to year, and understood the Scottish type of
character. Their retired habits and familiar intercourse with their
parishioners gave rise to many quaint and racy communications. They were
excellent men, well suited to their pastoral work, and did much good
amongst their congregations; for it should be always remembered that a
national church requires a sympathy and resemblance between the pastors
and the flocks. Both will be found to change together. Nothing could be
further from my mind in recording these stories, than the idea of
casting ridicule upon such an order of men. My own feelings as a
Scotsman, with all their ancestral associations, lead me to cherish
their memory with pride and deep interest, I may appeal also to the
fact that many contributions to this volume are voluntary offerings from
distinguished clergymen of the Church of Scotland, as well as of the
Free Church and of other Presbyterian communities. Indeed, no persons
enjoy these stories more than ministers themselves. I recollect many
years ago travelling to Perth in the old stage-coach days, and enjoying
the society of a Scottish clergyman, who was a most amusing companion,
and full of stories, the quaint humour of which accorded with his own
disposition. When we had come through Glen Farg, my companion pointed
out that we were in the parish of Dron. With much humour he introduced
an anecdote of a brother minister not of a brilliant order of mind, who
had terminated in this place a course of appointments in the Church, the
names of which, at least, were of an ominous character for a person of
unimaginative temperament. The worthy man had been brought up at the
school of _Dunse_; had been made assistant at _Dull_, a parish near
Aberfeldy, in the Presbytery of Weem; and had here ended his days and
his clerical career as minister of _Dron_.

There can be no doubt that the older school of national clergy supply
many of our most amusing anecdotes; and our pages would suffer
deplorably were all the anecdotes taken away which turn upon their
peculiarities of dialect and demeanour. I think it will be found,
however, that upon no class of society has there been a greater change
during the last hundred years than on the Scottish clergy as a body.
This, indeed, might, from many circumstances, have been expected. The
improved facilities for locomotion have had effect upon the retirement
and isolation of distant country parishes, the more liberal and extended
course of study at Scottish colleges, the cheaper and wider diffusion
of books on general literature, of magazines, newspapers, and reviews.
Perhaps, too, we may add that candidates for the ministry now more
generally originate from the higher educated classes of society. But
honour to the memory of Scottish ministers of the days that are gone!

The Scottish clergy, from having mixed so little with life, were often,
no doubt, men of simple habits and of very childlike notions. The
opinions and feelings which they expressed were often of a cast, which,
amongst persons of more experience, would appear to be not always quite
consistent with the clerical character. In them it arose from their
having nothing _conventional_ about them. Thus I have heard of an old
bachelor clergyman whose landlady declared he used to express an opinion
of his dinner by the grace which he made to follow. When he had had a
good dinner which pleased him, and a good glass of beer with it, he
poured forth the grace, "For the riches of thy bounty and its blessings
we offer our thanks." When he had had poor fare and poor beer, his grace
was, "The least of these thy mercies."

Many examples of the dry, quaint humour of the class occur in these
pages, but there could not be a finer specimen than the instance
recorded in the "Annals of the Parish" of the account given by the
minister of his own ordination. The ministers were all assembled for the
occasion; prayers had been offered, discourses delivered, and the time
for the actual ordination had come. The form is for the candidate to
kneel down and receive his sacred office by the imposition of hands,
_i.e._ the laying on of hands by the whole Presbytery. As the attendance
of ministers was large, a number of hands were stretched forth, more
than could quite conveniently come up to the candidate. An old minister,
of the quiet jocose turn of mind we speak of, finding himself thus kept
at a little distance, stretched out his walking staff and put it on the
young man's head, with the quiet remark, "That will do! Timmer to
timmer"--timber to timber.

Their style of preaching, too was, no doubt often plain and homely. They
had not the graces of elocution or elegance of diction. But many were
faithful in their office, and preached Christ as the poor man's friend
and the Saviour of the lowly and the suffering. I have known Scottish
ministers of the old school get into a careless indifferent state of
ministration; I have also known the hoary head of many a Scottish
minister go down to the grave a crown of glory, in his day and
generation more honoured than many which had been adorned by a mitre.


[14] Lying Gilbert.

[15] This anecdote has been illustrated, as taken from these pages, by a
very clever sketch of the Highlander and his admirer, in a curious
publication at Liverpool called _The Tobacco Plant_, and devoted to the
interests of smoking and snuffing.

[16] The truth is, in old English usage "bug" signifies a spectre or
anything that is frightful. Thus in Henry VI., 3d Part, act v. sc.
ii.--"For Warwick was a _bug_ that feared us all."

[17] Adds fuel to fire.

[18] As far as I am aware the only place in which it is practised at
present (July 1872), is in the Free Church, Brodick, Arran.



Passing from these remarks on the Scottish Clergy of a past day, I would
treat the more extensive subject of RELIGIOUS FEELINGS and RELIGIOUS
OBSERVANCES generally with the caution and deference due to such a
question, and I would distinctly premise that there is in my mind no
intention of entering, in this volume, upon those great questions which
are connected with certain church movements amongst us, or with national
peculiarities of faith and discipline. It is impossible, however, to
overlook entirely the fact of a gradual relaxation, which has gone on
for some years, of the sterner features of the Calvinistic school of
theology--at any rate, of keeping its theoretic peculiarities more in
the background. What we have to notice in these pages are changes in the
feelings with regard to religion and religious observances, which have
appeared upon the _exterior_ of society--the changes which belong to
outward habits rather than to internal feelings. Of such changes many
have taken place within my own experience. Scotland has ever borne the
character of a moral and religious country; and the mass of the people
are a more church-going race than the masses of English population. I am
not at all prepared to say that in the middle and lower ranks of life
our countrymen have undergone much change in regard to religious
observances. But there can be no question that amongst the upper
classes there are manifestations connected with religion now, which some
years ago were not thought of. The attendence of _men_ on public worship
is of itself an example of the change we speak of. I am afraid that when
Walter Scott described Monkbarns as being with difficulty "hounded out"
to hear the sermons of good Mr. Blattergowl, he wrote from a knowledge
of the habits of church-going then generally prevalent among Scottish
lairds. The late Bishop Sandford told me that when he first came to
Edinburgh--I suppose fifty years ago--few gentlemen attended
church--very few indeed were seen at the communion--so much so that it
was a matter of conversation when a male communicant, not an aged man,
was observed at the table for the first time. Sydney Smith, when
preaching in Edinburgh some forty years ago, seeing how almost
exclusively congregations were made up of ladies, took for his text the
verse from the Psalms, "Oh that men would therefore praise the Lord!"
and with that touch of the facetious which marked everything he did,
laid the emphasis on the word "men." Looking round the congregation and
saying, "Oh that _men_ would therefore praise the Lord!" implying that
he used the word, not to describe the human species generally, but the
male individuals as distinguished from the female portion. In regard to
attendance by young men, both at church and communion, a marked change
has taken place in my own experience. In fact, there is an attention
excited towards church subjects, which, thirty years ago, would have
been hardly credited. Nor is it only in connection with churches and
church services that these changes have been brought forth, but an
interest has been raised on the subject from Bible societies, missionary
associations at home and abroad, schools and reformatory institutions,
most of which, as regard active operation, have grown up during
fifty years.

Nor should I omit to mention, what I trust may be considered as a change
belonging to religious feeling--viz., that conversation is now
conducted without that accompaniment of those absurd and unmeaning oaths
which were once considered an essential embellishment of polite
discourse. I distinctly recollect an elderly gentleman, when describing
the opinion of a refined and polished female upon a particular point,
putting into her mouth an unmistakable round oath as the natural
language in which people's sentiments and opinions would be ordinarily
conveyed. This is a change wrought in men's feelings, which all must
hail with great pleasure. Putting out of sight for a moment the sin of
such a practice, and the bad influence it must have had upon all
emotions of reverence for the name and attributes of the Divine Being,
and the natural effect of profane swearing, to "harden a' within," we
might marvel at the utter folly and incongruity of making swearing
accompany every expression of anger or surprise, or of using oaths as
mere expletives in common discourse. A quaint anecdote, descriptive of
such senseless ebullition, I have from a friend who mentioned the names
of parties concerned:--A late Duke of Athole had invited a well-known
character, a writer of Perth, to come up and meet him at Dunkeld for the
transaction of some business. The Duke mentioned the day and hour when
he should receive the man of law, who accordingly came punctually at the
appointed time and place. But the Duke had forgotten the appointment,
and gone to the hill, from which he could not return for some hours. A
Highlander present described the Perth writer's indignation, and his
mode of showing it by a most elaborate course of swearing. "But whom did
he swear at?" was the inquiry made of the narrator, who replied, "Oh, he
didna sweer at ony thing particular, but juist stude in ta middle of ta
road and swoor at lairge." I have from a friend also an anecdote which
shows how entirely at one period the practice of swearing had become
familiar even to female ears when mixed up with the intercourse of
social life. A sister had been speaking of her brother as much addicted
to this habit--"Oor John sweers awfu', and we try to correct him; but,"
she added in a candid and apologetic tone, "nae doubt it _is_ a great
set aff to conversation." There was something of rather an _admiring_
character in the description of an outbreak of swearing by a Deeside
body. He had been before the meeting of Justices for some offence
against the excise laws, and had been promised some assistance and
countenance by my cousin, the laird of Finzean, who was unfortunately
addicted to the practice in question. The poor fellow had not got off so
well as he had expected, and on giving an account of what took place to
a friend, he was asked, "But did not Finzean speak for you?" "Na," he
replied, "he didna say muckle; but oh, he damned bonny!"

This is the place to notice a change which has taken place in regard to
some questions of taste in the building and embellishing of Scottish
places of worship. Some years back there was a great jealousy of
ornament in connection with churches and church services, and, in fact,
all such embellishments were considered as marks of a departure from the
simplicity of old Scottish worship,--they were distinctive of Episcopacy
as opposed to the severer modes of Presbyterianism. The late Sir William
Forbes used to give an account of a conversation, indicative of this
feeling, which he had overheard between an Edinburgh inhabitant and his
friend from the country. They were passing St. John's, which had just
been finished, and the countryman asked, "Whatna kirk was that?" "Oh,"
said the townsman, "that is an English chapel," meaning Episcopalian.
"Ay," said his friend, "there'll be a walth o' _images_ there." But, if
unable to sympathise with architectural church ornament and
embellishment, how much less could they sympathise with the performance
of divine service, which included such musical accompaniments as
intoning, chanting, and anthems! On the first introduction of
Tractarianism into Scotland, the full choir service had been established
in an Episcopal church, where a noble family had adopted those views,
and carried them out regardless of expense. The lady who had been
instrumental in getting up these musical services was very anxious that
a favourite female servant of the family--a Presbyterian of the old
school--should have an opportunity of hearing them; accordingly, she
very kindly took her down to church in the carriage, and on returning
asked her what she thought of the music, etc. "Ou, it's verra bonny,
verra bonny; but oh, my lady, it's an awfu' way of spending the
Sabbath." The good woman could only look upon the whole thing as a
musical performance. The organ was a great mark of distinction between
Episcopalian and Presbyterian places of worship. I have heard of an old
lady describing an Episcopalian clergyman, without any idea of
disrespect, in these terms:--"Oh, he is a whistle-kirk minister." From
an Australian correspondent I have an account of the difference between
an Episcopal minister and a Presbyterian minister, as remarked by an
old Scottish lady of his acquaintance. Being asked in what the
difference was supposed to consist, after some consideration she
replied, "Weel, ye see, the Presbyterian minister wears his sark under
his coat, the Episcopal minister wears his sark aboon his coat." Of late
years, however, a spirit of greater tolerance of such things has been
growing up amongst us,--a greater tolerance, I suspect, even of organs
and liturgies. In fact, we may say a new era has begun in Scotland as to
church architecture and church ornaments. The use of stained glass in
churches--forming memorial windows for the departed[19], a free use of
crosses as architectural ornaments, and restoration of ancient edifices,
indicate a revolution of feeling regarding this question. Beautiful and
expensive churches are rising everywhere, in connection with various
denominations. It is not long since the building or repairing a new
church, or the repairing and adapting an old church, implied in Scotland
simply a production of the greatest possible degree of ugliness and bad
taste at the least possible expense, and certainly never included any
notion of ornament in the details. Now, large sums are expended on
places of worship, without reference to creed. First-rate architects are
employed. Fine Gothic structures are produced. The rebuilding of the
Greyfriars' Church, the restoration of South Leith Church and of Glasgow
Cathedral, the very bold experiment of adopting a style little known
amongst us, the pure Lombard, in a church for Dr. W.L. Alexander, on
George IV. Bridge, Edinburgh; the really splendid Free Churches, St.
Mary's, in Albany Street, and the Barclay Church, Bruntsfield, and many
similar cases, mark the spirit of the times regarding the application of
what is beautiful in art to the service of religion. One might hope that
changes such as these in the feelings, tastes, and associations, would
have a beneficial effect in bringing the worshippers themselves into a
more genial spirit of forbearance with each other. A friend of mine used
to tell a story of an honest builder's views of church differences,
which was very amusing, and quaintly professional. An English gentleman,
who had arrived in a Scottish country town, was walking about to examine
the various objects which presented themselves, and observed two rather
handsome places of worship in course of erection nearly opposite to each
other. He addressed a person, who happened to be the contractor for the
chapels, and asked, "What was the difference between these two places of
worship which were springing up so close to each other?"--meaning, of
course, the difference of the theological tenets of the two
congregations. The contractor, who thought only of architectural
differences, innocently replied, "There may be a difference of sax feet
in length, but there's no aboon a few inches in the breadth." Would that
all our religious differences could be brought within so narrow
a compass!

The variety of churches in a certain county of Scotland once called
forth a sly remark upon our national tendencies to religious division
and theological disputation. An English gentleman sitting on the box,
and observing the great number of places of worship in the aforesaid
borough, remarked to the coachman that there must be a great deal of
religious feeling in a town which produced so many houses of God.

"Na," said the man quietly, "it's no religion, it's _curstness," i.e._
crabbedness, insinuating that acerbity of temper, as well as zeal, was
occasionally the cause of congregations being multiplied.

It might be a curious question to consider how far motives founded on
mere taste or sentiment may have operated in creating an interest
towards religion, and in making it a more prominent and popular question
than it was in the early portion of the present century. There are in
this country two causes which have combined in producing these
effects:--1st. The great disruption which took place in the Church of
Scotland no doubt called forth an attention to the subject which stirred
up the public, and made religion at any rate a topic of deep interest
for discussion and partizanship. Men's minds were not _allowed_ to
remain in the torpid condition of a past generation. 2d. The aesthetic
movement in religion, which some years since was made in England, has,
of course, had its influence in Scotland; and many who showed little
concern about religion, whilst it was merely a question of doctrines, of
precepts, and of worship, threw themselves keenly into the contest when
it became associated with ceremonial, and music, and high art. New
ecclesiastical associations have been presented to Scottish tastes and
feelings. With some minds, attachment to the church is attachment to her
Gregorian tones, jewelled chalices, lighted candles, embroidered
altar-cloths, silver crosses, processions, copes, albs, and chasubles.
But, from whatever cause it proceeds, a great change has taken place in
the general interest excited towards ecclesiastical questions. Religion
now has numerous associations with the ordinary current of human life.
In times past it was kept more as a thing apart. There was a false
delicacy which made people shrink from encountering appellations that
were usually bestowed upon those who made a more prominent religious
profession than the world at large.

A great change has taken place in this respect with persons of _all_
shades of religious opinions. With an increased attention to the
_externals_ of religion, we believe that in many points the heart has
been more exercised also. Take, as an example, the practice of family
prayer. Many excellent and pious households of the former generation
would not venture upon the observance, I am afraid, because they were in
dread of the sneer. There was a foolish application of the terms
"Methodist" "saints," "over-righteous," where the practice was observed.
It was to take up a rather decided position in the neighbourhood; and I
can testify, that less than fifty years ago a family would have been
marked and talked of for a usage of which now throughout the country the
_exception_ is rather the unusual circumstance. A little anecdote from
recollections in my own family will furnish a good illustration of a
state of feeling on this point now happily unknown. In a northern town
of the east coast, where the earliest recollections of my life go back,
there was usually a detachment of a regiment, who were kindly received
and welcomed to the society, which in the winter months was very full
and very gay. There was the usual measure of dining, dancing, supping,
card-playing, and gossiping, which prevailed in country towns at the
time. The officers were of course an object of much interest to the
natives, and their habits were much discussed. A friend was staying in
the family who partook a good deal of the Athenian temperament--viz.
delight in hearing and telling some new thing. On one occasion she burst
forth in great excitement with the intelligence that "Sir Nathaniel
Duckinfield, the officer in command of the detachment, had family
prayers _every_ morning!" A very near and dear relative of mine, knowing
the tendency of the lady to gossip, pulled her up with the exclamation:
"How can you repeat such things, Miss Ogilvy? nothing in the world but
the ill-natured stories of Montrose!" The remark was made quite
innocently, and unconsciously of the bitter satire it conveyed upon the
feeling of the place. The "ill-nature" of these stories was true enough,
because ill-nature was the motive of those who raised them; not because
it is an ill-natured thing of itself to say of a family that they have
household worship, but the ill-nature consisted in their intending to
throw out a sneer and a sarcasm upon a subject where all such
reflections are unbecoming and indecorous. It is one of the best proofs
of change of habits and associations on this matter, that the anecdote,
exquisite as it is for our purpose, will hardly be understood by many of
our young friends, or, at least, happily has lost much of its force
and pungency.

These remarks apply perhaps more especially to the state of religious
feeling amongst the upper classes of society. Though I am not aware of
so much change in the religious habits of the Scottish peasantry, still
the elders have yielded much from the sternness of David Deans; and upon
the whole view of the question there have been many and great changes in
the Scottish people during the last sixty years. It could hardly be
otherwise, when we consider the increased facilities of communication
between the two countries--a facility which extends to the introduction
of English books upon religious subjects. The most popular and engaging
works connected with the Church of England have now a free circulation
in Scotland; and it is impossible that such productions as the
"Christian Year," for example, and many others--whether for good or bad
is not now the question--should not produce their effects upon minds
trained in the strictest school of Calvinistic theology. I should be
disposed to _extend_ the boundaries of this division, and to include
under "Religious Feelings and Religious Observances" many anecdotes
which belong perhaps rather indirectly than directly to the subject.
There is a very interesting reminiscence, and one of a sacred character
also, which I think will come very suitably under this head. When I
joined the Scottish Episcopal Church, nearly fifty years ago, it was
quite customary for members of our communion to ask for the blessing of
their Bishop, and to ask it especially on any remarkable event in their
life, as marriage, loss of friends, leaving home, returning home, etc.;
and it was the custom amongst the old Scottish Episcopalians to give the
blessing in a peculiar form, which had become venerable from its
traditionary application by our bishops. I have myself received it from
my bishop, the late good Bishop Walker, and have heard him pronounce it
on others. But whether the custom of asking the bishop's blessing be
past or not, the form I speak of has become a reminiscence, and I feel
assured is not known even by some of our own bishops. I shall give it to
my readers as I received it from the family of the late Bishop Walker of

     "God Almighty bless thee with his Holy Spirit;
     Guard thee in thy going out and coming in;
     Keep thee ever in his faith and fear;
     Free from Sin, and safe from Danger."

I have been much pleased with a remark of my friend, the Rev. W.
Gillespie of the U.P. Church, Edinburgh, upon this subject. He writes to
me as follows:--"I read with particular interest the paragraph on the
subject of the Bishop's Blessing, for certainly there seems to be in
these days a general disbelief in the efficacy of blessings, and a
neglect or disregard of the practice. If the spirit of God is in good
men, as He certainly is, then who can doubt the value and the efficacy
of the blessing which they bestow? I remember being blessed by a very
venerable minister, John Dempster of Denny, while kneeling in his study,
shortly before I left this country to go to China, and his prayer over
me then was surely the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man. Its
effect upon me then and ever since will never be forgotten."

I quite agree with Mr. Gillespie on the point, and think it not a good
sign either of our religious belief or religious feeling that such
blessings should become really a matter of reminiscence; for if we are
taught to pray for one another, and if we are taught that the "prayer of
the righteous availeth much," surely we ought to _bless_ one another,
and surely the blessing of those who are venerable in the church from
their position, their age, and their piety, may be expected to avail as
an aid and incentive to piety in those who in God's name are so blest.
It has struck me that on a subject closely allied with religious
feelings a great change has taken place in Scotland during a period of
less than fifty years--I mean the attention paid to cemeteries as
depositories of the mortal remains of those who have departed. In my
early days I never recollect seeing any efforts made for the
embellishment and adornment of our churchyards; if tolerably secured by
fences, enough had been done. The English and Welsh practices of
planting flowers, keeping the turf smooth and dressed over the graves
of friends, were quite unknown. Indeed, I suspect such attention fifty
years ago would have been thought by the sterner Presbyterians as
somewhat savouring of superstition. The account given by Sir W. Scott,
in "Guy Mannering," of an Edinburgh burial-place, was universally
applicable to Scottish sepulchres[20]. A very different state of matters
has grown up within the last few years. Cemeteries and churchyards are
now as carefully ornamented in Scotland as in England. Shrubs, flowers,
smooth turf, and neatly-kept gravel walks, are a pleasing accompaniment
to head-stones, crosses, and varied forms of monumental memorials, in
freestone, marble, and granite. Nay, more than these, not unfrequently
do we see an imitation of French sentiment, in wreaths of "everlasting"
placed over graves as emblems of immortality; and in more than one of
our Edinburgh cemeteries I have seen these enclosed in glass cases to
preserve them from the effects of wind and rain.

In consequence of neglect, the unprotected state of churchyards was
evident from the number of stories in circulation connected with the
circumstance of timid and excited passengers going amongst the tombs of
the village. The following, amongst others, has been communicated. The
_locale_ of the story is unknown, but it is told of a weaver who, after
enjoying his potations, pursued his way home through the churchyard,
his vision and walking somewhat impaired. As he proceeded he diverged
from the path, and unexpectedly stumbled into a partially made grave.
Stunned for a while, he lay in wonder at his descent, and after some
time he got out, but he had not proceeded much farther when a similar
calamity befell him. At this second fall, he was heard, in a tone of
wonder and surprise, to utter the following exclamation, referring to
what he considered the untenanted graves: "Ay! ir ye a' up an' awa?"

The kindly feelings and interest of the pastoral relation always formed
a very pleasing intercourse between minister and people. I have received
from an anonymous correspondent an anecdote illustrative of this happy
connection, for which he vouches as authentic:--

John Brown, Burgher minister at Whitburn (son of the commentator, and
father of the late Rev. Dr. John Brown of Edinburgh, and grandfather of
the present accomplished M.D. of the same name, author of "Rab and his
Friends," etc.), in the early part of the century was travelling on a
small sheltie[21] to attend the summer sacrament at Haddington. Between
Musselburgh and Tranent he overtook one of his own people. "What are ye
daein' here, Janet, and whaur ye gaun in this warm weather?" "'Deed,
sir," quo' Janet, "I'm gaun to Haddington _for the occasion_[22] an'
expeck to hear ye preach this efternoon." "Very weel, Janet, but whaur
ye gaun tae sleep?" "I dinna ken, sir, but Providence is aye kind, an'll
provide a bed." On Mr. Brown jogged, but kindly thought of his humble
follower; accordingly, after service in the afternoon, before
pronouncing the blessing, he said from the pulpit, "Whaur's the auld
wifie that followed me frae Whitburn?" "Here I'm, sir," uttered a shrill
voice from a back seat. "Aweel," said Mr. Brown, "I have fand ye a bed;
ye're to sleep wi' Johnnie Fife's lass."

There was at all times amongst the older Scottish peasantry a bold
assertion of their religious opinions, and strong expression of their
feelings. The spirit of the Covenanters lingered amongst the aged people
whom I remember, but which time has considerably softened down. We have
some recent authentic instances of this readiness in Scotsmen to bear
testimony to their principles:--

A friend has informed me that the late Lord Rutherfurd often told with
much interest of a rebuke which he received from a shepherd, near
Bonaly, amongst the Pentlands. He had entered into conversation with
him, and was complaining bitterly of the weather, which prevented him
enjoying his visit to the country, and said hastily and unguardedly,
"What a d--d mist!" and then expressed his wonder how or for what
purpose there should have been such a thing created as east wind. The
shepherd, a tall, grim figure, turned sharp round upon him. "What ails
ye at the mist, sir? it weets the sod, it slockens the yowes,
and"--adding with much solemnity--"it's God's wull;" and turned away
with lofty indignation. Lord Rutherfurd used to repeat this with much
candour as a fine specimen of a rebuke from a sincere and simple mind.

There was something very striking in the homely, quaint, and severe
expressions on religious subjects which marked the old-fashioned piety
of persons shadowed forth in Sir Walter Scott's Davie Deans. We may add
to the rebuke of the shepherd of Bonaly, of Lord Rutherfurd's remark
about the east wind, his answer to Lord Cockburn, the proprietor of
Bonaly. He was sitting on the hill-side with the shepherd, and observing
the sheep reposing in the coldest situation, he observed to him, "John,
if I were a sheep, I would lie on the other side of the hill." The
shepherd answered, "Ay, my lord, but if ye had been a sheep ye would hae
had mair sense."

Of such men as this shepherd were formed the elders--a class of men who
were marked by strong features of character, and who, in former times,
bore a distinguished part in all church matters.

The old Scottish elder was in fact quite as different a character from
the modern elder, as the old Scottish minister was from the modern
pastor. These good men were not disposed to hide their lights, and
perhaps sometimes encroached a little upon the office of the minister. A
clergyman had been remarking to one of his elders that he was
unfortunately invited to two funerals on one day, and that they were
fixed for the same hour. "Weel, sir," answered the elder, "if ye'll tak
the tane I'll tak the tither."

Some of the elders were great humorists and originals in their way. An
elder of the kirk at Muthill used to manifest his humour and originality
by his mode of collecting the alms. As he went round with the ladle, he
reminded such members of the congregation as seemed backward in their
duty, by giving them a poke with the "brod," and making, in an audible
whisper, such remarks as these--"Wife at the braid mailin, mind the
puir;" "Lass wi' the braw plaid, mind the puir," etc., a mode of
collecting which marks rather a bygone state of things. But on no
question was the old Scottish disciplinarian, whether elder or not, more
sure to raise his testimony than on anything connected with a
desecration of the Sabbath. In this spirit was the rebuke given to an
eminent geologist, when visiting in the Highlands:--The professor was
walking on the hills one Sunday morning, and partly from the effect of
habit, and partly from not adverting to the very strict notions of
Sabbath desecration entertained in Ross-shire, had his pocket hammer in
hand, and was thoughtlessly breaking the specimens of minerals he picked
up by the way. Under these circumstances, he was met by an old man
steadily pursuing his way to his church. For some time the patriarch
observed the movements of the geologist, and at length, going up to him,
quietly said, "Sir, ye're breaking something there forbye the stanes!"

The same feeling, under a more fastidious form, was exhibited to a
traveller by a Scottish peasant:--An English artist travelling
professionally through Scotland, had occasion to remain over Sunday in a
small town in the north. To while away the time, he walked out a short
way in the environs, where the picturesque ruin of a castle met his eye.
He asked a countryman who was passing to be so good as tell him the name
of the castle. The reply was somewhat startling--"It's no the day to be
speerin' sic things!"

A manifestation of even still greater strictness on the subject of
Sabbath desecration, I have received from a relative of the family in
which it occurred. About fifty years ago the Hon. Mrs. Stewart lived in
Heriot Row, who had a cook, Jeannie by name, a paragon of excellence.
One Sunday morning when her daughter (afterwards Lady Elton) went into
the kitchen, she was surprised to find a new jack (recently ordered, and
which was constructed on the principle of going constantly without
winding up) wholly paralysed and useless. Miss Stewart naturally
inquired what accident had happened to the new jack, as it had stopped.
The mystery was soon solved by Jeannie indignantly exclaiming that "she
was nae gaeing to hae the fule thing clocking and rinning about in _her_
kitchen a' the blessed Sabbath day."

There sometimes appears to have been in our countrymen an undue
preponderance of zeal for Sabbath observance as compared with the
importance attached to _other_ religious duties, and especially as
compared with the virtue of sobriety. The following dialogue between Mr.
Macnee of Glasgow, the celebrated artist, and an old Highland
acquaintance whom he had met with unexpectedly, will illustrate the
contrast between the severity of judgment passed upon treating the
Sabbath with levity and the lighter censure attached to indulgence in
whisky. Mr. Macnee begins, "Donald, what brought you here?" "Ou, weel,
sir, it was a baad place yon; they were baad folk--but they're a
God-fearin' set o' folk here!" "Well, Donald," said Mr. M., "I'm glad to
hear it." "Ou ay, sir, 'deed are they; an' I'll gie ye an instance o't.
Last Sabbath, just as the kirk was skailin,' there was a drover chield
frae Dumfries comin' along the road whustlin,' an' lookin' _as happy_ as
if it was ta middle o' ta week; weel, sir, oor laads is a God-fearin'
set o' laads, an' they were just comin' oot o' the kirk--'od they yokit
upon him, an' a'most killed him!" Mr. M., to whom their zeal seemed
scarcely sufficiently well directed to merit his approbation, then asked
Donald whether it had been drunkenness that induced the depravity of his
former neighbours? "Weel, weel, sir," said Donald, with some hesitation,
"_may_-be; I'll no say but it micht." "Depend upon it," said Mr. M.,
"it's a bad thing whisky." "Weel, weel, sir," replied Donald, "I'll no
say but it _may_;" adding in a very decided tone--"speeciallie
_baad_ whusky!"

I do not know any anecdote which illustrates in a more striking and
natural manner the strong feeling which exists in the Scottish mind on
this subject. At a certain time, the hares in the neighbourhood of a
Scottish burgh had, from the inclemency of the season or from some other
cause, become emboldened more than usual to approach the dwelling-places
of men; so much so that on one Sunday morning a hare was seen skipping
along the street as the people were going to church. An old man, spying
puss in this unusual position, significantly remarked, "Ay, yon beast
kens weel it is the Sabbath-day;" taking it for granted that no one in
the place would be found audacious enough to hurt the animal on
a Sunday.

Lady Macneil supplies an excellent pendant to Miss Stewart's story about
the jack going on the Sunday. Her henwife had got some Dorking fowls,
and on Lady M. asking if they were laying many eggs, she replied, with
great earnestness, "Indeed my leddy, they lay every day, no' excepting
the blessed Sabbath."

There were, however, old persons at that time who were not quite so
orthodox on the point of Sabbath observance; and of these a lady
residing in Dumfries was known often to employ her wet Sundays in
arranging her wardrobe. "Preserve us!" she said on one occasion,
"anither gude Sunday! I dinna ken whan I'll get thae drawers redd up."

In connection with the awful subject of death and all its concomitants,
it has been often remarked that the older generation of Scottish people
used to view the circumstances belonging to the decease of their nearest
and dearest friends with a coolness which does not at first sight seem
consistent with their deep and sincere religious impressions. Amongst
the peasantry this was sometimes manifested in an extraordinary and
startling manner. I do not believe that those persons had less affection
for their friends than a corresponding class in England, but they had
less awe of the concomitants of death, and approached them with more
familiarity. For example, I remember long ago at Fasque, my
sister-in-law visiting a worthy and attached old couple, of whom the
husband, Charles Duncan, who had been gardener at Fasque for above
thirty years was evidently dying. He was sitting on a common deal chair,
and on my sister proposing to send down for his use an old arm-chair
which she recollected was laid up in a garret, his wife exclaimed
against such a needless trouble: "Hout, my leddy, what would he be duin'
wi' an arm-chair? he's just deein' fast awa." I have two anecdotes,
illustrative of the same state of feeling, from a lady of ancient
Scottish family accustomed to visit her poor dependants on the property,
and to notice their ways. She was calling at a decent cottage, and found
the occupant busy carefully ironing out some linens. The lady remarked,
"Those are fine linens you have got there, Janet." "Troth, mem," was the
reply, "they're just the gudeman's _deed_ claes, and there are nane
better i' the parish." On another occasion, when visiting an excellent
woman, to condole with her on the death of her nephew, with whom she had
lived, and whose loss must have been severely felt by her, she remarked,
"What a nice white cap you have got, Margaret." "Indeed, mem, ay, sae it
is; for ye see the gude lad's winding sheet was ower lang, and I cut aff
as muckle as made twa bonny mutches" (caps).

There certainly was a quaint and familiar manner in which sacred and
solemn subjects were referred to by the older Scottish race, who did
not mean to be irreverent, but who no doubt appeared so to a more
refined but not really a more religious generation.

It seems to me that this plainness of speech arose in part from the
_sincerity_ of their belief in all the circumstances of another
condition of being. They spoke of things hereafter as positive
certainties, and viewed things invisible through the same medium as they
viewed things present. The following is illustrative of such a state of
mind, and I am assured of its perfect authenticity and literal
correctness:--"Joe M'Pherson and his wife lived in Inverness. They had
two sons, who helped their father in his trade of a smith. They were
industrious and careful, but not successful. The old man had bought a
house, leaving a large part of the price unpaid. It was the ambition of
his life to pay off that debt, but it was too much for him, and he died
in the struggle. His sons kept on the business with the old industry,
and with better fortune. At last their old mother fell sick, and told
her sons she was dying, as in truth she was. The elder son said to her,
'Mother, you'll soon be with my father; no doubt you'll have much to
tell him; but dinna forget this, mother, mind ye, tell him _the house is
freed_. He'll be glad to hear that.'"

A similar feeling is manifest in the following conversation, which, I am
assured, is authentic:--At Hawick the people used to wear wooden clogs,
which make a _clanking_ noise on the pavement. A dying old woman had
some friends by her bedside, who said to her, "Weel, Jenny, ye are gaun
to heeven, an' gin you should see oor folk, you can tell them that we're
a' weel." To which Jenny replied, "Weel, gin I should see them I'se tell
them, but you manna expect that I am to gang clank clanking through
heevan looking for your folk."

But of all stories of this class, I think the following deathbed
conversation between a Scottish husband and wife is about the richest
specimen of a dry Scottish matter-of-fact view of a very serious
question:--An old shoemaker in Glasgow was sitting by the bedside of his
wife, who was dying. She took him by the hand. "Weel, John, we're gawin
to part. I hae been a gude wife to you, John." "Oh, just middling, just
middling, Jenny," said John, not disposed to commit himself. "John,"
says she, "ye maun promise to bury me in the auld kirk-yard at Stra'von,
beside my mither. I couldna rest in peace among unco folk, in the dirt
and smoke o' Glasgow." "Weel, weel, Jenny, my woman," said John
soothingly, "we'll just pit you in the Gorbals _first_, and gin ye dinna
lie quiet, we'll try you sine in Stra'von."

The same unimaginative and matter-of-fact view of things connected with
the other world extended to a very youthful age, as in the case of a
little boy who, when told of heaven, put the question, "An' will faather
be there?" His instructress answered, "of course, she hoped he would be
there;" to which he sturdily at once replied, "Then I'll no gang."

We might apply these remarks in some measure to the Scottish pulpit
ministrations of an older school, in which a minuteness of detail and a
quaintness of expression were quite common, but which could not now be
tolerated. I have two specimens of such antiquated language, supplied by
correspondents, and I am assured they are both genuine.

The first is from a St. Andrews professor, who is stated to be a great
authority in such narratives.

In one of our northern counties, a rural district had its harvest
operations affected by continuous rains. The crops being much laid, wind
was desired in order to restore them to a condition fit for the sickle.
A minister, in his Sabbath services, expressed their want in prayer as
follows:--"O Lord, we pray thee to send us wind; no a rantin' tantin'
tearin' wind, but a noohin' (noughin?) soughin' winnin' wind." More
expressive words than these could not be found in any language.

The other story relates to a portion of the Presbyterian service on
sacramental occasions, called "fencing the tables," _i.e._ prohibiting
the approach of those who were unworthy to receive.

This fencing of the tables was performed in the following effective
manner by an old divine, whose flock transgressed the third commandment,
not in a gross and loose manner, but in its minor details:--"I debar all
those who use such minced oaths as faith! troth! losh! gosh! and

These men often showed a quiet vein of humour in their prayers, as in
the case of the old minister of the Canongate, who always prayed,
previous to the meeting of the General Assembly, that the Assembly might
be so guided as "_no to do ony harm."_

A circumstance connected with Scottish church discipline has undergone a
great change in my time--I mean the public censure from the pulpit, in
the time of divine service, of offenders previously convicted before the
minister and his kirk-session. This was performed by the guilty person
standing up before the congregation on a raised platform, called the
_cutty stool_, and receiving a rebuke. I never saw it done, but have
heard in my part of the country of the discipline being enforced
occasionally. Indeed, I recollect an instance where the rebuke was thus
administered and received under circumstances of a touching character,
and which made it partake of the moral sublime. The daughter of the
minister had herself committed an offence against moral purity, such as
usually called forth this church censure. The minister peremptorily
refused to make her an exception to his ordinary practice. His child
stood up in the congregation, and received, from her agonised father, a
rebuke similar to that administered to other members of his congregation
for a like offence. The spirit of the age became unfavourable to the
practice. The rebuke on the cutty stool, like the penance in a white
sheet in England, went out of use, and the circumstance is now a matter
of "reminiscence." I have received some communications on the subject,
which bear upon this point; and I subjoin the following remarks from a
kind correspondent, a clergyman, to whom I am largely indebted, as
indicating the great change which has taken place in this matter.

"Church discipline," he writes, "was much more vigorously enforced in
olden time than it is now. A certain couple having been guilty of
illicit intercourse, and also within the forbidden degrees of
consanguinity, appeared before the Presbytery of Lanark, and made
confession in sackcloth. They were ordered to return to their own
session, and to stand at the kirk-door, barefoot and barelegged, from
the second bell to the last, and thereafter in the public place of
repentance; and, at direction of the session, thereafter to go through
the whole kirks of the presbytery, and to satisfy them in like manner.
If such penance were now enforced for like offences, I believe the
registration books of many parishes in Scotland would become more
creditable in certain particulars than they unfortunately are at the
present time."

But there was a less formidable ecclesiastical censure occasionally
given by the minister from the pulpit against lesser misdemeanours,
which took place under his own eye, such as levity of conduct or
_sleeping_ in church. A most amusing specimen of such censure was once
inflicted by the minister upon his own wife for an offence not in our
day visited with so heavy a penalty. The clergyman had observed one of
his flock asleep during his sermon. He paused, and called him to order.
"Jeems Robson, ye are sleepin'; I insist on your wauking when God's word
is preached to ye." "Weel, sir, you may look at your ain seat, and ye'll
see a sleeper forbye me," answered Jeems, pointing to the clergyman's
lady in the minister's pew. "Then, Jeems," said the minister, "when ye
see my wife asleep again, haud up your hand." By and by the arm was
stretched out, and sure enough the fair lady was caught in the act. Her
husband solemnly called upon her to stand up and receive the censure due
to her offence. He thus addressed her:--"Mrs. B., a'body kens that when
I got ye for my wife, I got nae beauty; yer frien's ken that I got nae
siller; and if I dinna get God's grace, I shall hae a puir
bargain indeed."

The quaint and original humour of the old Scottish minister came out
occasionally in the more private services of his vocation as well as in
church. As the whole service, whether for baptisms or marriages, is
supplied by the clergyman officiating, there is more scope for scenes
between the parties present than at similar ministrations by a
prescribed form. Thus, a late minister of Caithness, when examining a
member of his flock, who was a butcher, in reference to the baptism of
his child, found him so deficient in what he considered the needful
theological knowledge, that he said to him, "Ah, Sandy, I doubt ye're
no fit to haud up the bairn." Sandy, conceiving that reference was made
not to spiritual but to physical incapacity, answered indignantly,
"Hout, minister, I could haud him up an he were a twa-year-auld
stirk[23]." A late humorous old minister, near Peebles, who had strong
feelings on the subject of matrimonial happiness, thus prefaced the
ceremony by an address to the parties who came to him:--"My friends,
marriage is a blessing to a few, a curse to many, and a great
uncertainty to all. Do ye venture?" After a pause, he repeated with
great emphasis, "Do ye venture?" No objection being made to the venture,
he then said, "Let's proceed."

The old Scottish hearers were very particular on the subject of their
minister's preaching old sermons; and to repeat a discourse which they
could recollect was always made a subject of animadversion by those who
heard it. A beadle, who was a good deal of a wit in his way, gave a sly
hit in his pretended defence of his minister on the question. As they
were proceeding from church, the minister observed the beadle had been
laughing as if he had triumphed over some of the parishioners with whom
he had been in conversation. On asking the cause of this, he received
for answer, "Dod, sir, they were saying ye had preached an auld sermon
to-day, but I tackled them, for I tauld them it was no an auld sermon,
for the minister had preached it no sax months syne."

I remember the minister of Banchory, Mr. Gregory, availed himself of the
feelings of his people on this subject for the purpose of accomplishing
a particular object. During the building of the new church the service
had to be performed in a schoolroom, which did not nearly hold the
congregation. The object was to get part of the parish to attend in the
morning, and part in the afternoon. Mr. Gregory prevented those who had
attended in the morning from returning in the afternoon by just giving
them, as he said, "cauld kail het again."

It is somewhat remarkable, however, that, notwithstanding this feeling
in the matter of a repetition of old sermons, there was amongst a large
class of Scottish preachers of a former day such a sameness of subject
as really sometimes made it difficult to distinguish the discourse of
one Sunday from amongst others. These were entirely doctrinal, and
however they might commence, after the opening or introduction hearers
were certain to find the preacher falling gradually into the old
channel. The fall of man in Adam, his restoration in Christ,
justification by faith, and the terms of the new covenant, formed the
staple of each sermon, and without which it was not in fact reckoned
complete as an orthodox exposition of Christian doctrine. Without
omitting the essentials of Christian instruction, preachers now take a
wider view of illustrating and explaining the gospel scheme of salvation
and regeneration, without constant recurrence to the elemental and
fundamental principles of the faith. From my friend Dr. Cook of
Haddington (who it is well known has a copious stock of old Scotch
traditionary anecdotes) I have an admirable illustration of this state
of things as regards pulpit instruction.

"Much of the preaching of the Scotch clergy," Dr. Cook observes, "in the
last century, was almost exclusively doctrinal--the fall: the nature,
the extent, and the application of the remedy. In the hands of able men,
no doubt, there might be much variety of exposition, but with weaker or
indolent men preaching extempore, or without notes, it too often ended
in a weekly repetition of what had been already said. An old elder of
mine, whose recollection might reach back from sixty to seventy years,
said to me one day, 'Now-a-days, people make a work if a minister preach
the same sermon over again in the course of two or three years. When I
was a boy, we would have wondered if old Mr. W---- had preached anything
else than what we heard the Sunday before.' My old friend used to tell
of a clergyman who had held forth on the broken covenant till his people
longed for a change. The elders waited on him to intimate their wish.
They were examined on their knowledge of the subject, found deficient,
rebuked, and dismissed, but after a little while they returned to the
charge, and the minister gave in. Next Lord's day he read a large
portion of the history of Joseph and his brethren, as the subject of a
lecture. He paraphrased it, greatly, no doubt, to the detriment of the
original, but much to the satisfaction of his people, for it was
something new. He finished the paraphrase, 'and now,' says he, 'my
friends, we shall proceed to draw some lessons and inferences; and,
_1st_, you will observe that the sacks of Joseph's brethren were
_ripit_, and in them was found the cup; so your sacks will be ripit at
the day of judgment, and the first thing found in them will be the
broken covenant;' and having gained this advantage, the sermon went off
into the usual strain, and embodied the usual heads of elementary
dogmatic theology."

In connection with this topic, I have a communication from a
correspondent, who remarks--The story about the minister and his
favourite theme, "the broken covenant," reminds me of one respecting
another minister whose staple topics of discourse were "Justification,
Adoption, and Sanctification." Into every sermon he preached, he
managed, by hook or by crook, to force these three heads, so that his
general method of handling every text was not so much _expositio_ as
_impositio_. He was preaching on these words--"Is Ephraim my dear son?
Is he a pleasant child?" and he soon brought the question into the usual
formula by adding, Ephraim was a pleasant child--first, because he was a
justified child; second, because he was an adopted child; and third,
because he was a sanctified child.

It should be remembered, however, that the Scottish peasantry
themselves--I mean those of the older school--delighted in expositions
of _doctrinal_ subjects, and in fact were extremely jealous of any
minister who departed from their high standard of orthodox divinity, by
selecting subjects which involved discussions of strictly moral or
_practical_ questions. It was condemned under the epithet of _legal_
preaching; in other words, it was supposed to preach the law as
independent of the gospel. A worthy old clergyman having, upon the
occasion of a communion Monday, taken a text of such a character, was
thus commented on by an ancient dame of the congregation, who was
previously acquainted with his style of discourse:--"If there's an ill
text in a' the Bible, that creetur's aye sure to tak it."

The great change--the great improvement, I would say--which has taken
place during the last half-century in the feelings and practical
relations of religion with social life is, that it has become more
diffused through all ranks and all characters. Before that period many
good sort of people were afraid of making their religious views very
prominent, and were always separated from those who did. Persons who
made a profession at all beyond the low standard generally adopted in
society were marked out as objects of fear or of distrust. The anecdote
at page 65 regarding the practice of family prayer fully proves this.
Now religious people and religion itself are not kept aloof from the
ordinary current of men's thoughts and actions. There is no such marked
line as used to be drawn round persons who make a decided profession of
religion. Christian men and women have stepped over the line, and,
without compromising their Christian principle, are not necessarily
either morose, uncharitable, or exclusive. The effects of the old
separation were injurious to men's minds. Religion was with many
associated with puritanism, with cant, and unfitness for the world. The
difference is marked also in the style of sermons prevalent at the two
periods. There were sermons of two descriptions--viz., sermons by
"_moderate_" clergy, of a purely moral or practical character; and
sermons purely doctrinal, from those who were known as "evangelical"
ministers. Hence arose an impression, and not unnaturally, on many
minds, that an almost exclusive reference to doctrinal subjects, and a
dread of upholding the law, and of enforcing its more minute details,
were not favourable to the cause of moral rectitude and practical
holiness of life. This was hinted in a sly way by a young member of the
kirk to his father, a minister of the severe and high Calvinistic
school. Old Dr. Lockhart of Glasgow was lamenting one day, in the
presence of his son John, the fate of a man who had been found guilty of
immoral practices, and the more so that he was one of his own elders.
"Well, father," remarked his son, "you see what you've driven him to."
In our best Scottish preaching at the present day no such distinction
is visible.

The same feeling came forth with much point and humour on an occasion
referred to in "Carlyle's Memoirs." In a company where John Home and
David Hume were present, much wonder was expressed what _could_ have
induced a clerk belonging to Sir William Forbes' bank to abscond, and
embezzle £900. "I know what it was," said Home to the historian; "for
when he was taken there was found in his pocket a volume of your
philosophical works and Boston's 'Fourfold State'"--a hit, 1st, at the
infidel, whose principles would have undermined Christianity; and 2d, a
hit at the Church, which he was compelled to leave on account of his
having written the tragedy of Douglas.

I can myself recollect an obsolete ecclesiastical custom, and which was
always practised in the church of Fettercairn during my boyish
days--viz., that of the minister bowing to the heritors in succession
who occupied the front gallery seats; and I am assured that this bowing
from the pulpit to the principal heritor or heritors after the blessing
had been pronounced was very common in rural parishes till about forty
years ago, and perhaps till a still later period. And when heritors
chanced to be pretty equally matched, there was sometimes an unpleasant
contest as to who was entitled to the precedence in having the _first_
bow. A case of this kind once occurred in the parish of Lanark, which
was carried so far as to be laid before the Presbytery; but they, not
considering themselves "competent judges of the points of honour and
precedency among gentlemen, and to prevent all inconveniency in these
matters in the future, appointed the minister to forbear bowing to the
lairds at all from the pulpit for the time to come;" and they also
appointed four of their number "to wait upon the gentlemen, to deal with
them, for bringing them to condescend to submit hereunto, for the
success of the gospel and the peace of the parish."

In connection with this subject, we may mention a ready and
complimentary reply once made by the late Reverend Dr. Wightman of
Kirkmahoe, on being rallied for his neglecting this usual act of
courtesy one Sabbath in his own church. The heritor who was entitled to
and always received this token of respect, was Mr. Miller, proprietor of
Dalswinton. One Sabbath the Dalswinton pew contained a bevy of ladies,
but no gentlemen, and the Doctor--perhaps because he was a bachelor and
felt a delicacy in the circumstances--omitted the usual salaam in their
direction. A few days after, meeting Miss Miller, who was widely famed
for her beauty, and who afterwards became Countess of Mar, she rallied
him, in presence of her companions, for not bowing to her from the
pulpit on the previous Sunday, and requested an explanation; when the
good Doctor immediately replied--"I beg your pardon, Miss Miller, but
you surely know that angel-worship is not allowed in the Church of
Scotland;" and lifting his hat, he made a low bow, and passed on.

Scottish congregations, in some parts of the country, contain an element
in their composition quite unknown in English churches. In pastoral
parts of the country, it was an established practice for each shepherd
to bring his faithful _collie_ dog--at least it was so some years ago.
In a district of Sutherland, where the population is very scanty, the
congregations are made up one-half of dogs, each human member having his
canine companion. These dogs sit out the Gaelic services and sermon with
commendable patience, till towards the end of the last psalm, when there
is a universal stretching and yawning, and all are prepared to scamper
out, barking in a most excited manner whenever the blessing is
commenced. The congregation of one of these churches determined that the
service should close in a more decorous manner, and steps were taken to
attain this object. Accordingly, when a stranger clergyman was
officiating, he found the people all sitting when he was about to
pronounce the blessing. He hesitated, and paused, expecting them to
rise, till an old shepherd, looking up to the pulpit, said, "Say awa',
sir; we're a' sittin' to cheat the dowgs."

There must have been some curious specimens of Scottish humour brought
out at the examinations or catechisings by ministers of the flock before
the administrations of the communion. Thus, with reference to human
nature before the fall, a man was asked, "What kind of man was Adam?"
"Ou, just like ither fouk." The minister insisted on having a more
special description of the first man, and pressed for more explanation.
"Weel," said the catechumen, "he was just like Joe Simson the
horse-couper." "How so?" asked the minister. "Weel, naebody got onything
by him, and mony lost."

A lad had come for examination previous to his receiving his first
communion. The pastor, knowing that his young friend was not very
profound in his theology, and not wishing to discourage him, or keep him
from the table unless compelled to do so, began by asking what he
thought a safe question, and what would give him confidence. So he took
the Old Testament, and asked him, in reference to the Mosaic law, how
many commandments there were. After a little thought, he put his answer
in the modest form of a supposition, and replied, cautiously,
"Aiblins[24] a hunner." The clergyman was vexed, and told him such
ignorance was intolerable, that he could not proceed in examination, and
that the youth must wait and learn more; so he went away. On returning
home he met a friend on his way to the manse, and on learning that he
too was going to the minister for examination, shrewdly asked him,
"Weel, what will ye say noo if the minister speers hoo mony commandments
there are?" "Say! why, I shall say ten to be sure." To which the other
rejoined, with great triumph, "Ten! Try ye him wi' ten! I tried him wi'
a hunner, and he wasna satisfeed." Another answer from a little girl was
shrewd and reflective. The question was, "Why did the Israelites make a
golden calf?" "They hadna as muckle siller as wad mak a coo."

A kind correspondent has sent me, from personal knowledge, an admirable
pendant to stones of Scottish child acuteness and shrewd observation. A
young lady friend of his, resident in a part of Ayrshire rather remote
from any very satisfactory administration of the gospel, is in the habit
of collecting the children of the neighbourhood on Sundays at the "big
hoose," for religious instruction. On one occasion the class had
repeated the paraphrase of the Lord's Prayer, which contains
these lines--

     "Give us this day our daily bread,
      And raiment _fit_ provide."

There being no question as to what "daily bread" was, the teacher
proceeded to ask: "What do you understand by 'raiment fit,' or as we
might say, 'fit raiment?'" For a short time the class remained puzzled
at the question; but at last one little girl sung out "stockings and
shune." The child knew that "fit," was Scotch for feet, so her natural
explanation of the phrase was equivalent to "feet raiment," or
"stockings and shune," as she termed it.

On the point of changes in religious feelings there comes within the
scope of these Reminiscences a character in Aberdeenshire, which has now
gone out--I mean the popular and universally well-received Roman
Catholic priest. Although we cannot say that Scotland is a more
PROTESTANT nation than it was in past days, still religious differences,
and strong prejudices, seem at the present time to draw a more decided
line of separation between the priest and his Protestant countrymen. As
examples of what is past, I would refer to the case of a genial Romish
bishop in Ross-shire. It is well known that private stills were
prevalent in the Highlands fifty or sixty years ago, and no one thought
there was any harm in them. This good bishop, whose name I forget, was
(as I heard the late W. Mackenzie of Muirton assure a party at Dunrobin
Castle) several years previously a famous hand at brewing a good glass
of whisky, and that he distributed his mountain-dew with a liberal and
impartial hand alike to Catholic and to Protestant friends. Of this
class, I recollect, certainly forty-five years ago, Priest Gordon, a
genuine Aberdonian, and a man beloved by all, rich and poor. He was a
sort of chaplain to Menzies of Pitfodels, and visited in all the country
families round Aberdeen. I remember once his being at Banchory Lodge,
and thus apologising to my aunt for going out of the room:--"I beg your
pardon, Mrs. Forbes, for leaving you, but I maun just gae doun to the
garden and say my bit wordies"--these "bit wordies" being in fact the
portion of the Breviary which he was bound to recite. So easily and
pleasantly were those matters then referred to.

The following, however, is a still richer illustration, and I am assured
it is genuine:--"Towards the end of the last century, a worthy Roman
Catholic clergyman, well known as 'Priest Matheson,' and universally
respected in the district, had charge of a mission in Aberdeenshire, and
for a long time made his journeys on a piebald pony, the priest and his
'pyet shelty' sharing an affectionate recognition wherever they came. On
one occasion, however, he made his appearance on a steed of a different
description, and passing near a Seceding meeting-house, he forgathered
with the minister, who, after the usual kindly greetings, missing the
familiar pony, said, 'Ou, Priest! fat's come o' the auld Pyet? 'He's
deid, minister.' 'Weel, he was an auld faithfu' servant, and ye wad nae
doot gie him the offices o' the church?' 'Na, minister,' said his
friend, not quite liking this allusion to his priestly offices, 'I didna
dee that, for ye see he _turned Seceder afore he dee'd, an' I buried him
like a beast_.' He then rode quietly away. This worthy man, however,
could, when occasion required, rebuke with seriousness as well as point.
Always a welcome guest at the houses of both clergy and gentry, he is
said on one occasion to have met with a laird whose hospitality he had
thought it proper to decline, and on being asked the reason for the
interruption of his visits, answered, 'Ye ken, an' I ken; but, laird,
God kens!'"

One question connected with religious feeling, and the manifestation of
religious feeling, has become a more settled point amongst us, since
fifty years have expired. I mean the question of attendance by clergymen
on theatrical representations. Dr. Carlyle had been prosecuted before
the General Assembly in 1757 for being present at the performance of the
tragedy of Douglas, written by his friend John Home. He was acquitted,
however, and writes thus on the subject in his Memoirs:--

"Although the clergy in Edinburgh and its neighbourhood had abstained
from the theatre because it gave offence, yet the more remote clergymen,
when occasionally in town, had almost universally attended the
play-house. It is remarkable that in the year 1784, when the great
actress Mrs. Siddons first appeared in Edinburgh, during the sitting of
the General Assembly, that court was obliged to fix all its important
business for the alternate days when she did not act, as all the younger
members, clergy as well as laity, took their stations in the theatre on
those days by three in the afternoon."

Drs. Robertson and Blair, although they cultivated the acquaintance of
Mrs. Siddons in private, were amongst those clergymen, referred to by
Dr. Carlyle, who abstained from attendance in the theatre; but Dr.
Carlyle states that they regretted not taking the opportunity of
witnessing a display of her talent, and of giving their sanction to the
theatre as a place of recreation. Dr. Carlyle evidently considered it a
narrow-minded intolerance and bigoted fanaticism that clergymen should
be excluded from that amusement. At a period far later than 1784, the
same opinion prevailed in some quarters. I recollect when such
indulgence on the part of clergymen was treated with much leniency,
especially for Episcopalian clergy. I do not mean to say that there was
anything like a general feeling in favour of clerical theatrical
attendance; but there can be no question of a feeling far less strict
than what exists in our own time. As I have said, thirty-six years ago
some clergymen went to the theatre; and a few years before that, when my
brothers and I were passing through Edinburgh, in going backwards and
forwards to school, at Durham, with our tutor, a licentiate of the
Established Church of Scotland, and who afterwards attained considerable
eminence in the Free Church, we certainly went with him to the theatre
there, and at Durham very frequently. I feel quite assured, however,
that no clergyman could expect to retain the respect of his people or of
the public, of whom it was known that he frequently or habitually
attended theatrical representations. It is so understood. I had
opportunities of conversing with the late Mr. Murray of the Theatre
Royal, Edinburgh, and with Mr. Charles Kean, on the subject. Both
admitted the fact, and certainly if any men of the profession _could_
have removed the feeling from the public mind, these were the men to
have done it.

There is a phase of religious observances which has undergone a great
change amongst us within fifty years--I mean the services and
circumstances connected with the administration of the Holy Communion.
When these occurred in a parish they were called "occasions," and the
great interest excited by these sacramental solemnities may be gathered
from "Peter's Letters," "The Annals of the Parish," and Burns' "Holy
Fair." Such ceremonials are now conducted, I believe, just as the
ordinary church services. Some years back they were considered a sort of
preaching matches. Ministers vied with each other in order to bear away
the bell in popularity, and hearers embraced the opportunity of
exhibiting to one another their powers of criticism on what they heard
and saw. In the parish of Urr in Galloway, on one sacramental occasion,
some of the assistants invited were eminent ministers in Edinburgh; Dr.
Scot of St. Michael's, Dumfries, was the only local one who was asked,
and he was, in his own sphere, very popular as a preacher. A brother
clergyman, complimenting him upon the honour of being so invited, the
old bald-headed divine modestly replied, "Gude bless you, man, what can
I do? They are a' han' wailed[25] this time; I need never show face
among them." "Ye're quite mista'en," was the soothing encouragement;
"tak' your _Resurrection_ (a well-known sermon used for such occasions
by him), an I'll lay my lug ye'll beat every clute o' them." The Doctor
did as suggested, and exerted himself to the utmost, and it appears he
did not exert himself in vain. A batch of old women, on their way home
after the conclusion of the services, were overheard discussing the
merits of the several preachers who had that day addressed them from the
tent. "Leeze me abune them a'," said one of the company, who had waxed
warm in the discussion, "for yon auld clear-headed (bald) man, that
said, 'Raphael sings an' Gabriel strikes his goolden harp, an' a' the
angels clap their wings wi' joy.' O but it was gran', it just put me in
min' o' our geese at Dunjarg when they turn their nebs to the south an'
clap their wings when they see the rain's comin' after lang drooth."

There is a subject closely allied with the religious feelings of a
people, and that is the subject of their _superstitions_. To enter upon
that question, in a general view, especially in reference to the
Highlands, would not be consistent with our present purpose, but I am
induced to mention the existence of a singular superstition regarding
swine which existed some years ago among the lower orders of the east
coast of Fife. I can observe, in my own experience, a great change to
have taken place amongst Scotch people generally on this subject. The
old aversion to the "unclean animal" still lingers in the Highlands, but
seems in the Lowland districts to have yielded to a sense of its thrift
and usefulness[26]. The account given by my correspondent of the Fife
swinophobia is as follows:--

Among the many superstitious notions and customs prevalent among the
lower orders of the fishing towns on the east coast of Fife, till very
recently, that class entertained a great horror of swine, and even at
the very mention of the word. If that animal crossed their path when
about to set out on a sea voyage, they considered it so unlucky an omen
that they would not venture off. A clergyman of one of these fishing
villages having mentioned the superstition to a clerical friend, and
finding that he was rather incredulous on the subject, in order to
convince him told him he would allow him an opportunity of testing the
truth of it by allowing him to preach for him the following day. It was
arranged that his friend was to read the chapter relating to the herd of
swine into which the evil spirits were cast. Accordingly, when the first
verse was read, in which the unclean beast was mentioned, a slight
commotion was observable among the audience, each one of them putting
his or her hand on any near piece of iron--a nail on the seat or
book-board, or to the nails on their shoes. At the repetition of the
word again and again, more commotion was visible, and the words "cauld
airn" (cold iron) the antidote to this baneful spell, were heard issuing
from various corners of the church. And finally, on his coming over the
hated word again, when the whole herd ran violently down the bank into
the sea, the alarmed parishioners, irritated beyond bounds, rose and all
left the church in a body.

It is some time now, however, since the Highlanders have begun to
appreciate the thrift and comfort of swine-keeping and swine-killing. A
Scottish minister had been persuaded by the laird to keep a pig, and the
gudewife had been duly instructed in the mysteries of black puddings,
pork chops, and pig's head. "Oh!" said the minister, "nae doubt there's
a hantle o' miscellawneous eating aboot a pig."

Amongst a people so deeply impressed with the great truths of religion,
and so earnest in their religious profession, any persons whose
principles were known to be of an _infidel_ character would naturally be
looked on with abhorrence and suspicion. There is a story traditionary
in Edinburgh regarding David Hume, which illustrates this feeling in a
very amusing manner, and which, I have heard it said, Hume himself often
narrated. The philosopher had fallen from the path into the swamp at the
back of the Castle, the existence of which I recollect hearing of from
old persons forty years ago. He fairly stuck fast, and called to a woman
who was passing, and begged her assistance. She passed on apparently
without attending to the request; at his earnest entreaty, however, she
came where he was, and asked him, "Are na ye Hume the Atheist?" "Well,
well, no matter," said Hume; "Christian charity commands you to do good
to every one." "Christian charity here, or Christian charity there,"
replied the woman, "I'll do naething for you till ye turn a Christian
yoursell'--ye maun repeat the Lord's Prayer and the Creed, or faith
I'll let ye grafel[27] there as I fand ye." The historian, really afraid
for his life, rehearsed the required formulas.

Notwithstanding the high character borne for so many years by our
countrymen as a people, and as specially attentive to all religious
observances, still there can be no doubt that there has sprung up
amongst the inhabitants of our crowded cities, wynds, and closes, a
class of persons quite unknown in the old Scottish times. It is a great,
difficulty to get them to attend divine worship at all, and their
circumstances combine to break off all associations with public
services. Their going to church becomes a matter of persuasion and of
missionary labour.

A lady, who is most active in visiting the houses of these outcasts from
the means of grace, gives me an amusing instance of self-complacency
arising from performance of the duty. She was visiting in the West Port,
not far from the church established by my illustrious friend the late
Dr. Chalmers. Having asked a poor woman if she ever attended there for
divine service--"Ou ay," she replied; "there's a man ca'd Chalmers
preaches there, and I whiles gang in and hear him, just to encourage
him, puir body!"

From the religious opinions of a people, the transition is natural to
their political partialities. One great political change has passed over
Scotland, which none now living can be said to have actually
_witnessed_; but they remember those who were contemporaries of the
anxious scenes of '45, and many of us have known determined and thorough
Jacobites. The poetry of that political period still remains, but we
hear only as pleasant songs those words and melodies which stirred the
hearts and excited the deep enthusiasm of a past generation. Jacobite
anecdotes also are fading from our knowledge. To many young persons they
are unknown. Of these stories illustrative of Jacobite feelings and
enthusiasm, many are of a character not fit for me to record. The good
old ladies who were violent partisans of the Stuarts had little
hesitation in referring without reserve to the future and eternal
destiny of William of Orange. One anecdote which I had from a near
relative of the family may be adduced in illustration of the powerful
hold which the cause had upon the views and consciences of Jacobites.

A former Mr. Stirling of Keir had favoured the Stuart cause, and had in
fact attended a muster of forces at the Brig of Turk previous to the
'15. This symptom of a rising against the Government occasioned some
uneasiness, and the authorities were very active in their endeavours to
discover who were the leaders of the movement. Keir was suspected. The
miller of Keir was brought forward as a witness, and swore positively
that the laird was _not_ present. Now, as it was well known that he was
there, and that the miller knew it, a neighbour asked him privately,
when he came out of the witness-box, how he could on oath assert such a
falsehood. The miller replied, quite undaunted, and with a feeling of
confidence in the righteousness of his cause approaching the sublime--"I
would rather trust my soul in God's mercy than Keir's head into
their hands."

A correspondent has sent me an account of a curious ebullition of
Jacobite feeling and enthusiasm, now I suppose quite extinct. My
correspondent received it himself from Alexander, fourth Duke of Gordon,
and he had entered it in a commonplace-book when he heard it, in 1826.

"David Tulloch, tenant in Drumbenan, under the second and third Dukes
of Gordon, had been '_out_' in the '45--or the _fufteen, or both_--and
was a great favourite of his respective landlords. One day, having
attended the young Lady Susan Gordon (afterwards Duchess of Manchester)
to the 'Chapel' at Huntly, David, perceiving that her ladyship had
neither hassock nor carpet to protect her garments from the earthen
floor, respectfully spread his plaid for the young lady to kneel upon,
and the service proceeded; but when the prayer for the King and Royal
Family was commenced, David, _sans cerémonie_, drew, or rather
'twitched,' the plaid from under the knees of the astonished young lady,
exclaiming, _not_ sotto voce, 'The deil a ane shall pray for _them_ on
_my_ plaid!'"

I have a still more pungent demonstration against praying for the king,
which a friend in Aberdeen assures me he received from the son of the
gentleman who _heard_ the protest. In the Episcopal Chapel in Aberdeen,
of which Primus _John_ Skinner was incumbent, they commenced praying in
the service for George III. immediately on the death of Prince Charles
Edward. On the first Sunday of the prayer being used, this gentleman's
father, walking home with a friend whom he knew to be an old and
determined Jacobite, said to him, "What do you think of that, Mr.----?"
The reply was, "Indeed, the less we say aboot that prayer the better."
But he was pushed for "further answer as to his own views and his own
ideas on the matter," so he came out with the declaration, "Weel, then,
I say this--they may pray the kenees[28] aff their breeks afore I join
in that prayer."

The following is a characteristic Jacobite story. It must have happened
shortly after 1745, when all manner of devices were fallen upon to
display Jacobitism, without committing the safety of the Jacobite, such
as having white knots on gowns; drinking, "The king, ye ken wha I mean;"
uttering the toast "The king," with much apparent loyalty, and passing
the glass over the water-jug, indicating the esoteric meaning of majesty
_beyond_ the sea,--etc. etc.; and various toasts, which were most
important matters in those times, and were often given as tests of
loyalty, or the reverse, according to the company in which they were
given. Miss Carnegy of Craigo, well known and still remembered amongst
the old Montrose ladies as an uncompromising Jacobite, had been vowing
that she would drink King James and his son in a company of staunch
Brunswickers, and being strongly dissuaded from any such foolish and
dangerous attempt by some of her friends present, she answered them with
a text of Scripture, "The tongue no man can tame--James _Third_ and
_Aucht_" and drank off her glass[29]!



The next change in manners which has been effected, in the memory of
many now living, regards the habits of conviviality, or, to speak more
plainly, regards the banishment of _drunkenness_ from polite society. It
is indeed a most important and blessed change. But it is a change the
full extent of which many persons now alive can hardly estimate. Indeed,
it is scarcely possible to realise the scenes which took place seventy
or eighty years back, or even less. In many houses, when a party dined,
the ladies going away was the signal for the commencement of a system of
compulsory conviviality. No one was allowed to shirk--no daylight--no
heeltaps--was the wretched jargon in which were expressed the propriety
and the duty of seeing that the glass, when filled, must be emptied and
drained. We have heard of glasses having the bottoms knocked off, so
that no shuffling tricks might be played with them, and that they could
only be put down--empty.

One cannot help looking back with amazement at the infatuation which
could for a moment tolerate such a sore evil. To a man of sober
inclinations it must have been an intolerable nuisance to join a dinner
party at many houses, where he knew he should have to witness the most
disgusting excesses in others, and to fight hard to preserve himself
from a compliance with the example of those around him.

The scenes of excess which occurred in the houses where deep drinking
was practised must have been most revolting to sober persons who were
unaccustomed to such conviviality; as in the case of a drinking Angus
laird, entertaining as his guest a London merchant of formal manners and
temperate habits. The poor man was driven from the table when the
drinking set in hard, and stole away to take refuge in his bedroom. The
company, however, were determined not to let the worthy citizen off so
easily, but proceeded in a body, with the laird at their head, and
invaded his privacy by exhibiting bottles and glasses at his bedside,
Losing all patience, the wretched victim gasped out his
indignation--"Sir, your hospitality borders upon brutality." It must
have had a fatal influence also on many persons to whom drinking was
most injurious, and who were yet not strong-minded enough to resist the
temptations to excess. Poor James Boswell, who certainly required no
_extraordinary_ urging to take a glass too much, is found in his
letters, which have recently come to light, laying the blame of his
excesses to "falling into a habit which still prevails in Scotland;" and
then he remarks, with censorious emphasis, on the "drunken manners of
his countrymen." This was about 1770.

A friend of mine, however, lately departed--Mr. Boswell of
Balmuto--showed more spirit than the Londoner, when he found himself in
a similar situation. Challenged by the host to drink, urged and almost
forced to swallow a quantity of wine against his own inclination, he
proposed a counter-challenge in the way of eating, and made the
following ludicrous and original proposal to the company,--that two or
three legs of mutton should be prepared, and he would then contest the
point of who could devour most meat; and certainly it seems as
reasonable to compel people to _eat_, as to compel them to drink, beyond
the natural cravings of nature.

The situation of ladies, too, must frequently have been very
disagreeable--when, for instance, gentlemen came up stairs in a
condition most unfit for female society. Indeed they were often
compelled to fly from scenes which were most unfitting for them to
witness. They were expected to get out of the way at the proper time, or
when a hint was given them to do so. At Glasgow sixty years ago, when
the time had come for the _bowl_ to be introduced, some jovial and
thirsty members of the company proposed as a toast, "The trade of
Glasgow and _the outward bound!_" The hint was taken, and silks and
satins moved off to the drawing-room.

In my part of the country the traditionary stories of drinking prowess
are quite marvellous. On Deeside there flourished a certain Saunders
Paul (whom I remember an old man), an innkeeper at Banchory. He was said
to have drunk whisky, glass for glass, to the claret of Mr. Maule and
the Laird of Skene for a whole evening; and in those days there was a
traditional story of his despatching, at one sitting, in company with a
character celebrated for conviviality--one of the men employed to float
rafts of timber down the Dee--three dozen of porter. Of this Mr. Paul it
was recorded, that on being asked if he considered porter as a wholesome
beverage, he replied, "Oh yes, if you don't take above a dozen."
Saunders Paul was, as I have said, the innkeeper at Banchory: his friend
and _porter_ companion was drowned in the Dee, and when told that the
body had been found down the stream below Crathes, he coolly remarked,
"I am surprised at that, for I never kenn'd him pass the inn before
without comin' in for a glass."

Some relatives of mine travelling in the Highlands were amused by
observing in a small road-side public-house a party drinking, whose
apparatus for conviviality called forth the dry quaint humour which is
so thoroughly Scottish. Three drovers had met together, and were
celebrating their meeting by a liberal consumption of whisky; the inn
could only furnish one glass without a bottom, and this the party passed
on from one to another. A queer-looking pawky chield, whenever the glass
came to his turn, remarked most gravely, "I think we wadna be the waur
o' some water," taking care, however, never to add any of the simple
element, but quietly drank off his glass.

There was a sort of infatuation in the supposed dignity and manliness
attached to powers of deep potation, and the fatal effects of drinking
were spoken of in a manner both reckless and unfeeling. Thus, I have
been assured that a well-known old laird of the old school expressed
himself with great indignation at the charge brought against hard
drinking that it had actually _killed_ people. "Na, na, I never knew
onybody killed wi' drinking, but I hae kenn'd some that dee'd in the
training." A positive _éclat_ was attached to the accomplished and
well-trained consumer of claret or of whisky toddy, which gave an
importance and even merit to the practice of drinking, and which had a
most injurious effect. I am afraid some of the Pleydells of the old
school would have looked with the most ineffable contempt on the
degeneracy of the present generation in this respect, and that the
temperance movement would be little short of insanity in their eyes; and
this leads me to a remark.--In considering this portion of the subject,
we should bear in mind a distinction. The change we now speak of
involves more than a mere change of a custom or practice in social life.
It is a change in men's sentiments and feelings on a certain great
question of morals. Except we enter into this distinction we cannot
appreciate the extent of the change which has really taken place in
regard to intemperate habits.

I have an anecdote from a descendant of Principal Robertson, of an
address made to him, which showed the real importance attached to all
that concerned the system of drinking in his time. The Principal had
been invited to spend some days in a country-house, and the minister of
the parish (a jovial character) had been asked to meet him. Before
dinner he went up to Dr. Robertson and addressed him
confidentially--"Doctor, I understand ye are a brother of my gude freend
Peter Robertson of Edinburgh, therefore I'll gie you a piece of
advice,--Bend[30] weel to the Madeira at dinner, for here ye'll get
little o't after." I have known persons who held that a man who could
not drink must have a degree of feebleness and imbecility of character.
But as this is an important point, I will adduce the higher authority of
Lord Cockburn, and quote from him two examples, very different certainly
in their nature, but both bearing upon the question. I refer to what he
says of Lord Hermand:--"With Hermand drinking was a virtue; he had a
sincere respect for drinking, indeed a high moral approbation, and a
serious compassion for the poor wretches who _could_ not indulge in it,
and with due contempt of those who could but did not;" and, secondly, I
refer to Lord Cockburn's pages for an anecdote which illustrates the
perverted feeling I refer to, now happily no longer existing. It
relates the opinion expressed by an old drunken writer of Selkirk (whose
name is not mentioned) regarding his anticipation of professional
success for Mr. Cranstoun, afterwards Lord Corehouse. Sir Walter Scott,
William Erskine, and Cranstoun, had dined with this Selkirk writer, and
Scott--of hardy, strong, and healthy frame--had matched the writer
himself in the matter of whisky punch. Poor Cranstoun, of refined and
delicate mental and bodily temperament, was a bad hand at such work, and
was soon off the field. On the party breaking up, the Selkirk writer
expressed his admiration of Scott, assuring him that _he_ would rise
high in the profession, and adding: "I'll tell ye what, Maister Walter,
that lad Cranstoun may get to the tap o' the bar, if he can; but tak my
word for't, it's no be by drinking."

There was a sort of dogged tone of apology for excess in drinking, which
marked the hold which the practice had gained on ordinary minds. Of this
we have a remarkable example in the unwilling testimony of a witness who
was examined as to the fact of drunkenness being charged against a
minister. The person examined was beadle, or one of the church
officials. He was asked, "Did you ever see the minister the worse of
drink?" "I canna say I've seen him the waur o' drink, but nae doubt I've
seen him the _better_ o't," was the evasive answer. The question,
however, was pushed further; and when he was urged to say if this state
of being "the better for drink" ever extended to a condition of absolute
helpless intoxication, the reply was: "Indeed, afore that cam', I was
blind fou mysel', and I could see nae thing."

A legal friend has told me of a celebrated circuit where Lord Hermand
was judge, and Clephane depute-advocate. The party got drunk at Ayr, and
so continued (although quite able for their work) till the business was
concluded at Jedburgh. Some years after, my informant heard that this
circuit had, at Jedburgh, acquired the permanent name of the
"_daft_ circuit."

Lord Cockburn was fond of describing a circuit scene at Stirling, in his
early days at the bar, under the presidency of his friend and connection
Lord Hermand. After the circuit dinner, and when drinking had gone on
for some time, young Cockburn observed places becoming vacant in the
social circle, but no one going out at the door. He found that the
individuals had dropped down under the table. He took the hint, and by
this ruse retired from the scene. He lay quiet till the beams of the
morning sun penetrated the apartment. The judge and some of his staunch
friends coolly walked up stairs, washed their hands and faces, came down
to breakfast, and went into court quite fresh and fit for work.

The feeling of importance frequently attached to powers of drinking was
formally attested by a well-known western baronet of convivial habits
and convivial memory. He was desirous of bearing testimony to the
probity, honour, and other high moral qualities of a friend whom he
wished to commend. Having fully stated these claims to consideration and
respect, he deemed it proper to notice also his _convivial_ attainments:
he added accordingly, with cautious approval on so important a
point--"And he is a fair drinker[31]."

The following anecdote is an amusing example of Scottish servant humour
and acuteness in measuring the extent of consumption by a convivial
party in Forfarshire. The party had met at a farmer's house not far from
Arbroath, to celebrate the reconciliation of two neighbouring farmers
who had long been at enmity. The host was pressing and hospitable; the
party sat late, and consumed a vast amount of whisky toddy. The wife was
penurious, and grudged the outlay. When at last, at a morning hour, the
party dispersed, the lady, who had not slept in her anxiety, looked over
the stairs and eagerly asked the servant girl, "How many bottles of
whisky have they used, Betty?" The lass, who had not to pay for the
whisky, but had been obliged to go to the well to fetch the water for
the toddy, coolly answered, "I dinna ken, mem, but they've drucken sax
gang o' water."

We cannot imagine a better illustration of the general habits that
prevailed in Scottish society in regard to drinking about the time we
speak of than one which occurs in the recently-published "Memoirs of a
Banking House," that of the late Sir William Forbes, Bart, of Pitsligo.
The book comprises much that is interesting to the family, and to
Scotchmen. It contains a pregnant hint as to the manners of polite
society and business habits in those days. Of John Coutts, one of four
brothers connected with the house, Sir William records how he was "more
correct in his conduct than the others; so much so, that Sir William
_never but once_ saw him in the counting-house disguised with liquor,
and incapable of transacting business."

In the Highlands this sort of feeling extended to an almost incredible
extent, even so much as to obscure the moral and religious sentiments.
Of this a striking proof was afforded in a circumstance which took place
in my own church soon after I came into it. One of our Gaelic clergy had
so far forgotten himself as to appear in the church somewhat the worse
of liquor. This having happened so often as to come to the ears of the
bishop, he suspended him from the performance of divine service. Against
this decision the people were a little disposed to rebel, because,
according to their Highland notions, "a gentleman was no the waur for
being able to tak' a gude glass o' whisky." These were the notions of a
people in whose eyes the power of swallowing whisky conferred
distinction, and with whom inability to take the fitting quantity was a
mark of a mean and futile character. Sad to tell, the funeral rites of
Highland chieftains were not supposed to have been duly celebrated
except there was an immoderate and often fatal consumption of whisky. It
has been related that at the last funeral in the Highlands, conducted
according to the traditions of the olden times, several of the guests
fell victims to the usage, and actually died of the excesses.

This phase of old and happily almost obsolete Scottish intemperance at
funeral solemnities must have been peculiarly revolting. Instances of
this horrid practice being carried to a great extent are traditionary in
every part of the country. I am assured of the truth of the following
anecdote by a son of the gentleman who acted as chief mourner on the
occasion:--About seventy years ago an old maiden lady died in
Strathspey. Just previous to her death she sent for her grand-nephew,
and said to him, "Wily, I'm deein', and as ye'll hae the charge o' a' I
have, mind now that as much whisky is to be used at my funeral as there
was at my baptism." Willy neglected to ask the old lady what the
quantity of whisky used at the baptism was, but when the day of the
funeral arrived believed her orders would be best fulfilled by allowing
each guest to drink as much as he pleased. The churchyard where the body
was to be deposited was about ten miles distant from where the death
occurred. It was a short day in November, and when the funeral party
came to the churchyard the shades of night had considerably closed in.
The grave-digger, whose patience had been exhausted in waiting, was not
in the least willing to accept of Captain G----'s (the chief mourner)
apology for delay. After looking about him he put the anxious question,
"But, Captain, whaur's Miss Ketty?" The reply was, "In her coffin, to be
sure, and get it into the earth as fast as you can." There, however, was
no coffin; the procession had sojourned at a country inn by the way--had
rested the body on a dyke--started without it--and had to postpone the
interment until next day. My correspondent very justly adds the remark,
"What would be thought of indulgence in drinking habits now that could
lead to such a result?"

Many scenes of a similar incongruous character are still traditionally
connected with such occasions. Within the last thirty years, a laird of
Dundonald, a small estate in Ross-shire, died at Inverness. There was
open house for some days, and great eating and drinking. Here the corpse
commenced its progress toward its appointed home on the coast, and
people followed in multitudes to give it a partial convoy, all of whom
had to be entertained. It took altogether a fortnight to bury poor
Dundonald, and great expense must have been incurred. This, however, is
looked back to at Inverness as the last of the real grand old Highland
funerals. Such notions of what is due to the memory of the departed have
now become unusual if not obsolete. I myself witnessed the first decided
change in this matter. I officiated at the funeral of the late Duke of
Sutherland. The procession was a mile long. Refreshments were provided
for 7000 persons; beef, bread, and beer; but not one glass of whisky was
allowed on the property that day!

It may, perhaps, be said that the change we speak of is not peculiar to
Scotland; that in England the same change has been apparent; and that
drunkenness has passed away in the higher circles, as a matter of
course, as refinement and taste made an advancement in society. This is
true. But there were some features of the question which were peculiar
to Scotland, and which at one time rendered it less probable that
intemperance would give way in the north. It seemed in some quarters to
have taken deeper root amongst us. The system of pressing, or of
_compelling_, guests to drink seemed more inveterate. Nothing can more
powerfully illustrate the deep-rooted character of intemperate habits in
families than an anecdote which was related to me, as coming from the
late Mr. Mackenzie, author of the _Man of Feeling_. He had been involved
in a regular drinking party. He was keeping as free from the usual
excesses as he was able, and as he marked companions around him falling
victims to the power of drink, he himself dropped off under the table
among the slain, as a measure of precaution; and lying there, his
attention was called to a small pair of hands working at his throat; on
asking what it was, a voice replied, "Sir, I'm the lad that's to lowse
the neckcloths." Here, then, was a family, where, on drinking
occasions, it was the appointed duty of one of the household to attend,
and, when the guests where becoming helpless, to untie their cravats in
fear of apoplexy or suffocation[32]. We ought certainly to be grateful
for the change which has taken place from such a system; for this change
has made a great revolution in Scottish social life. The charm and the
romance long attached in the minds of some of our countrymen to the
whole system and concerns of hard drinking was indeed most lamentable
and absurd. At tavern suppers, where, nine times out often, it was the
express _object_ of those who went to get drunk, such stuff as "regal
purple stream," "rosy wine," "quaffing the goblet," "bright sparkling
nectar," "chasing the rosy hours," and so on, tended to keep up the
delusion, and make it a monstrous fine thing for men to sit up drinking
half the night, to have frightful headaches all next day, to make
maudlin idiots of themselves as they were going home, and to become
brutes amongst their family when they arrived. And here I may introduce
the mention of a practice connected with the convivial habits of which
we have been speaking, but which has for some time passed away, at least
from private tables--I mean the absurd system of calling for toasts and
sentiments each time the glasses were filled. During dinner not a drop
could be touched, except in conjunction with others, and with each
drinking to the health of each. But toasts came _after_ dinner. I can
just remember the practice in partial operation; and my astonishment as
a mere boy, when accidentally dining at table and hearing my mother
called upon to "give the company a gentleman," is one of my earliest
reminiscences. Lord Cockburn must have remembered them well, and I will
quote his most amusing account of the effects:--"After dinner, and
before the ladies retired, there generally began what was called
'_Rounds_' of toasts, when each gentleman named an absent lady, and each
lady an absent gentleman, separately; or one person was required to give
an absent lady, and another person was required to match a gentleman
with that lady, and the persons named were toasted, generally, with
allusions and jokes about the fitness of the union. And, worst of all,
there were 'Sentiments.' These were short epigrammatic sentences,
expressive of moral feelings and virtues, and were thought refined and
elegant productions. A faint conception of their nauseousness may be
formed from the following examples, every one of which I have heard
given a thousand times, and which indeed I only recollect from their
being favourites. The glasses being filled, a person was asked for his
or for her sentiment, when this, or something similar, was
committed:--'May the pleasures of the evening bear the reflections of
the morning;' or, 'may the friends of our youth be the companions of our
old age;' or, 'delicate pleasures to susceptible minds;' 'may the honest
heart never feel distress;' 'may the hand of charity wipe the tear from
the eye of sorrow.' The conceited, the ready, or the reckless, hackneyed
in the art, had a knack of making new sentiments applicable to the
passing incidents with great ease. But it was a dreadful oppression on
the timid or the awkward. They used to shudder, ladies particularly; for
nobody was spared when their turn in the _round_ approached. Many a
struggle and blush did it cost; but this seemed only to excite the
tyranny of the masters of the craft; and compliance could never be
avoided, except by more torture than yielding.... It is difficult for
those who have been under a more natural system to comprehend how a
sensible man, a respectable matron, a worthy old maid, and especially a
girl, could be expected to go into company easily, on such

This accompaniment of domestic drinking by a toast or sentiment--the
practice of which is now confined to public entertainments--was then
invariable in private parties, and was supposed to enliven and promote
the good fellowship of the social circle. Thus Fergusson, in one of his
poems, in describing a dinner, says--

     "The grace is said; it's nae ower lang,
      The claret reams in bells.
      Quo' Deacon, 'Let the toast round gang;
      Come, here's our noble sels
         Weel met the day.'"

There was a great variety of these toasts, some of them exclusively
Scottish. A correspondent has favoured me with a few reminiscences of
such incentives to inebriety.

The ordinary form of drinking a health was in the address, "Here's t'

Then such as the following were named by successive members of the
company at the call of the host:--

     _The land o' cakes_ (Scotland).
     _Mair freens and less need o' them.
     Thumping luck and fat weans_.

     _When we're gaun up the hill o' fortune may we ne'er
       meet a freen' coming doun.
     May ne'er waur be amang us.
     May the hinges o' freendship never rust, or the wings o'
       luve lose a feather.
     Here's to them that lo'es us, or lenns us a lift.
     Here's health to the sick, stilts to the lame; claise to
       the back, and brose to the wame.
     Here's health, wealth, wit, and meal.
     The deil rock them in a creel that does na' wish us a'
     Horny hands and weather-beaten haffets (cheeks).
     The rending o' rocks and the pu'in' doun o' auld

The above two belong to the mason craft; the first implies a wish for
plenty of work, and health to do it; the second, to erect new buildings
and clear away old ones.

     _May the winds o' adversity ne'er blaw open our door.
     May poortith ne'er throw us in the dirt, or gowd into
       the high saddle[34].
     May the mouse ne'er leave our meal-pock wi' the tear
       in its e'e.
     Blythe may we a' be.
     Ill may we never see.
     Breeks and brochan (brose).
     May we ne'er want a freend, or a drappie to gie him.
     Gude een to you a', an' tak your nappy.
     A willy-waught's a gude night cappy[35].
     May we a' be canty an' cosy,
     An' ilk hae a wife in his bosy_.
     _A cosy but, and a canty ben,
     To couthie[36] women and trusty men.
     The ingle neuk wi' routh[37] o' bannoch and bairns.
     Here's to him wha winna beguile ye.
     Mair sense and mair siller.
     Horn, corn, wool, an' yarn[38]_.

Sometimes certain toasts were accompanied by _Highland_ honours. This
was a very exciting, and to a stranger a somewhat alarming, proceeding.
I recollect my astonishment the first time I witnessed the ceremony--the
company, from sitting quietly drinking their wine, seemed to assume the
attitude of harmless maniacs, allowed to amuse themselves. The moment
the toast was given, and proposed to be drunk with Highland honours, the
gentlemen all rose, and with one foot on their chair and another on the
_table_, they drank the toast with Gaelic shrieks, which were awful to
hear, the cheering being under the direction of a toast-master appointed
to direct the proceedings. I am indebted to the kindness of the Rev.
Duncan Campbell, the esteemed minister of Moulin, for the form used on
such occasions. Here it is in the Gaelic and the Saxon:--


So! Nish! Nish! Sud ris! Sud ris! Thig ris! Thig ris! A on uair eile!


Prepare! Now! Now! Yon again! Yon again! At it again! At it again!
Another time, or one cheer more!

The reader is to imagine these words uttered with yells and
vociferations, and accompanied with frantic gestures.

The system of giving toasts was so regularly established, that
collections of them were published to add brilliancy to the festive
board. By the kindness of the librarian, I have seen a little volume
which is in the Signet Library of Edinburgh. It is entitled, "The
Gentleman's New Bottle Companion," Edinburgh, printed in the year
MDCCLXXVII. It contains various toasts and sentiments which the writer
considered to be suitable to such occasions. Of the taste and decency of
the companies where some of them could be made use of, the less said
the better.

I have heard also of large traditionary collections of toasts and
sentiments, belonging to old clubs and societies, extending back above a
century, but I have not seen any of them, and I believe my readers will
think they have had quite enough.

The favourable reaction which has taken place in regard to the whole
system of intemperance may very fairly, in the first place, be referred
to an improved _moral_ feeling. But other causes have also assisted; and
it is curious to observe how the different changes in the modes of
society bear upon one another. The alteration in the convivial habits
which we are noticing in our own country may be partly due to alteration
of hours. The old plan of early dining favoured a system of suppers, and
after supper was a great time for convivial songs and sentiments. This
of course induced drinking to a late hour. Most drinking songs imply the
night as the season of conviviality--thus in a popular madrigal:--

     "By the gaily circling glass
      We can tell how minutes pass;
      By the hollow cask we're told
      How the waning _night_ grows old."

And Burns thus marks the time:--

     "It is the moon, I ken her horn,
     That's blinkin' in the lift sae hie;
     She shines sae bright, to wyle us hame,
     But by my sooth she'll wait a wee."

The young people of the present day have no idea of the state of matters
in regard to the supper system when it was the normal condition of
society. The late dining hours may make the social circle more formal,
but they have been far less favourable to drinking propensities. After
such dinners as ours are now, suppers are clearly out of the question.
One is astonished to look back and recall the scenes to which were
attached associations of hilarity, conviviality, and enjoyment. Drinking
parties were protracted beyond the whole Sunday, having begun by a
dinner on Saturday; imbecility and prostrate helplessness were a common
result of these bright and jovial scenes; and by what perversion of
language, or by what obliquity of sentiment, the notions of pleasure
could be attached to scenes of such excess--to the nausea, the disgust
of sated appetite, and the racking headache--it is not easy to explain.
There were men of heads so hard, and of stomachs so insensible, that,
like my friend Saunders Paul, they could stand anything in the way of
drink. But to men in general, and to the more delicate constitutions,
such a life must have been a cause of great misery. To a certain extent,
and up to a certain point, wine may be a refreshment and a wholesome
stimulant; nay, it is a medicine, and a valuable one, and as such, comes
recommended on fitting occasions by the physician. _Beyond_ this point,
as sanctioned and approved by nature, the use of wine is only
degradation. Well did the sacred writer call wine, when thus taken in
excess, "a mocker." It makes all men equal, because it makes them all
idiotic. It allures them into a vicious indulgence, and then mocks their
folly, by depriving them of any sense they may ever have possessed.

It has, I fear, been injurious to the cause of temperance, that emotions
of true friendship, and the outpouring of human affections, should so
frequently be connected with the obligation that the parties should _get
drunk together_. Drunkenness is thus made to hold too close an
association in men's minds with some of the best and finest feelings of
their nature.

     "Friend of my soul, this goblet sip,"

is the constant acknowledged strain of poetical friendship: our own
Robert Burns calls upon the dear companion of his early happy days, with
whom he had "paidl't i' the burn, frae mornin' sun till dine," and
between whom "braid seas had roar'd sin auld lang syne," to commemorate
their union of heart and spirit, and to welcome their meeting after
years of separation, by each one joining his pint-stoup, and by each
taking a mutual "richt guid willie-waught," in honour of the innocent
and happy times of "auld lang syne." David marks his recognition of
friendship by tokens of a different character--"We took sweet counsel
together, and walked _in the house of God_ as friends."--Ps. lv. 14.

Reference has already been made to Lord Hermand's opinion of drinking,
and to the high estimation in which he held a staunch drinker, according
to the testimony of Lord Cockburn, There is a remarkable corroboration
of this opinion in a current anecdote which is traditionary regarding
the same learned judge. A case of some great offence was tried before
him, and the counsel pleaded extenuation for his client in that he was
_drunk_ when he committed the offence. "Drunk!" exclaimed Lord Hermand,
in great indignation; "if he could do such a thing when he was drunk,
what might he not have done when he was _sober!_" evidently implying
that the normal condition of human nature, and its most hopeful one, was
a condition of intoxication.

Of the prevalence of hard drinking in certain houses as a system, a
remarkable proof is given at page 102. The following anecdote still
further illustrates the subject, and corresponds exactly with the story
of the "loosing the cravats," which was performed for guests in a state
of helpless inebriety by one of the household. There had been a
carousing party at Castle Grant, many years ago, and as the evening
advanced towards morning two Highlanders were in attendance to carry the
guests up stairs, it being understood that none could by any other means
arrive at their sleeping apartments. One or two of the guests, however,
whether from their abstinence or their superior strength of head, were
walking up stairs, and declined the proffered assistance. The attendants
were quite astonished, and indignantly exclaimed, "Agh, it's sare
cheenged times at Castle Grant, when shentlemens can gang to bed on
their ain feet."

There was a practice in many Scottish houses which favoured most
injuriously the national tendency to spirit-drinking, and that was a
foolish and inconsiderate custom of offering a glass on all occasions as
a mark of kindness or hospitality. I mention the custom only for the
purpose of offering a remonstrance. It should never be done. Even now, I
am assured, small jobs (carpenters' or blacksmiths', or such like) are
constantly remunerated in the West Highlands of Scotland--and doubtless
in many other parts of the country--not by a pecuniary payment, but by a
_dram_; if the said dram be taken from a _speerit_-decanter out of the
family press or cupboard, the compliment is esteemed the greater, and
the offering doubly valued.

A very amusing dialogue between a landlord and his tenant on this
question of the dram has been sent to me. John Colquhoun, an aged
Dumbartonshire tenant, is asked by his laird on Lochlomond side, to stay
a minute till he _tastes_. "Now, John," says the laird. "Only half a
glass, Camstraddale," meekly pleads John. "Which half?" rejoins the
laird, "the upper or the lower?" John grins, and turns off _both_--_the
upper and lower_ too.

The upper and lower portions of the glass furnish another drinking
anecdote. A very greedy old lady employed another John Colquhoun to cut
the grass upon the lawn, and enjoined him to cut it very close, adding,
as a reason for the injunction, that one inch at the bottom was worth
two at the top. Having finished his work much to her satisfaction, the
old lady got out the whisky-bottle and a tapering wineglass, which she
filled about half full; John suggested that it would be better to fill
it up, slily adding, "Fill it up, mem, for it's no like the gress; an
inch at the tap's worth twa at the boddom."

But the most whimsical anecdote connected with the subject of drink, is
one traditionary in the south of Scotland, regarding an old Gallovidian
lady disclaiming more drink under the following circumstances:--The old
generation of Galloway lairds were a primitive and hospitable race, but
their conviviality sometimes led to awkward occurrences. In former days,
when roads were bad and wheeled vehicles almost unknown, an old laird
was returning from a supper party, with his lady mounted behind him on
horseback. On crossing the river Urr, at a ford at a point where it
joins the sea, the old lady dropped off, but was not missed till her
husband reached his door, when, of course, there was an immediate search
made. The party who were despatched in quest of her arrived just in time
to find her remonstrating with the advancing tide, which trickled into
her mouth, in these words, "No anither drap; neither het nor cauld."

A lady, on one occasion, offering a dram to a porter in a rather small
glass, said, "Take it off; it will do you no harm," on which the man,
looking at the diminutive glass, observed, "Harm! Na, gin it were
poushon" (poison).

I would now introduce, as a perfect illustration of this portion of our
subject, two descriptions of clergymen, well known men in their day,
which are taken from Dr. Carlyle's work, already referred to. Of Dr.
Alexander Webster, a clergyman, and one of his contemporaries, he writes
thus:--"Webster, leader of the high-flying party, had justly obtained
much respect amongst the clergy, and all ranks indeed, for having
established the Widows' Fund.... His appearance of great strictness in
religion, to which he was bred under his father, who was a very popular
minister of the Tolbooth Church, not acting in restraint of his
convivial humour, he was held to be excellent company even by those of
dissolute manners; while, being a five-bottle man, he could lay them all
under the table. This had brought on him the nickname of Dr. Bonum
Magnum in the time of faction. But never being indecently the worse of
liquor, and a love of claret, to any degree, not being reckoned in those
days a sin in Scotland, all his excesses were pardoned."

Dr. Patrick Cumming, also a clergyman and a contemporary, he describes
in the following terms:--"Dr. Patrick Cumming was, at this time (1751),
at the head of the moderate interest, and had his temper been equal to
his talents, might have kept it long, for he had both learning and
sagacity, and very agreeable conversation, _with a constitution able to
bear the conviviality of the times._"

Now, of all the anecdotes and facts which I have collected, or of all
which I have ever heard to illustrate the state of Scottish society in
the past times, as regards its habits of intemperance, this assuredly
surpasses them all.--Of two well-known, distinguished, and leading
clergymen in the middle of the eighteenth century, one who had "obtained
much respect," and "had the appearance of great strictness in religion,"
is described as an enormous drinker of claret; the other, an able leader
of a powerful section in the church, is described as _owing_ his
influence to his power of meeting the conviviality of the times. Suppose
for a moment a future biographer should write in this strain of eminent
divines, and should apply to distinguished members of the Scottish
Church in 1863 such description as the following:--"Dr. ---- was a man
who took a leading part in all church affairs at this time, and was much
looked up to by the evangelical section of the General Assembly; he
could always carry off without difficulty his five bottles of claret.
Dr. ---- had great influence in society, and led the opposite party in
the General Assembly, as he could take his place in all companies, and
drink on fair terms at the most convivial tables!!" Why, this seems to
us so monstrous, that we can scarcely believe Dr. Carlyle's account of
matters in his day to be possible.

There is a story which illustrates, with terrible force, the power
which drinking had obtained in Scottish social life. I have been
deterred from bringing it forward, as too shocking for production. But
as the story is pretty well known, and its truth vouched for on high
authority, I venture to give it, as affording a proof that, in those
days, no consideration, not even the most awful that affects human
nature, could be made to outweigh the claims of a determined
conviviality. It may, I think, be mentioned also, in the way of warning
men generally against the hardening and demoralising effects of habitual
drunkenness. The story is this:--At a prolonged drinking bout, one of
the party remarked, "What gars the laird of Garskadden look sae
gash[39]?" "Ou," says his neighbour, the laird of Kilmardinny, "deil
meane him! Garskadden's been wi' his Maker these twa hours; I saw him
step awa, but I didna like to disturb gude company[40]!"

Before closing this subject of excess in _drinking_, I may refer to
another indulgence in which our countrymen are generally supposed to
partake more largely than their neighbours:--I mean snuff-taking. The
popular southern ideas of a Scotchman and his snuff-box are inseparable.
Smoking does not appear to have been practised more in Scotland than in
England, and if Scotchmen are sometimes intemperate in the use of snuff,
it is certainly a more innocent excess than intemperance in whisky. I
recollect, amongst the common people in the north, a mode of taking
snuff which showed a determination to make the _most_ of it, and which
indicated somewhat of intemperance in the enjoyment; this was to receive
it not through a pinch between the fingers, but through a quill or
little bone ladle, which forced it up the nose. But, besides smoking and
snuffing, I have a reminiscence of a _third_ use of tobacco, which I
apprehend is now quite obsolete. Some of my readers will be surprised
when I name this forgotten luxury. It was called _plugging_, and
consisted _(horresco referens_) in poking a piece of pigtail tobacco
right into the nostril. I remember this distinctly; and now, at a
distance of more than sixty years, I recall my utter astonishment as a
boy, at seeing my grand-uncle, with whom I lived in early days, put a
thin piece of tobacco fairly up his nose. I suppose the plug acted as a
continued stimulant on the olfactory nerve, and was, in short, like
taking a perpetual pinch of snuff.

The inveterate snuff-taker, like the dram-drinker, felt severely the
being deprived of his accustomed stimulant, as in the following
instance:--A severe snow-storm in the Highlands, which lasted for
several weeks, having stopped all communication betwixt neighbouring
hamlets, the snuff-boxes were soon reduced to their last pinch.
Borrowing and begging from all the neighbours within reach were first
resorted to, but when these failed, all were alike reduced to the
longing which unwillingly-abstinent snuff-takers alone know. The
minister of the parish was amongst the unhappy number; the craving was
so intense that study was out of the question, and he became quite
restless. As a last resort the beadle was despatched, through the snow,
to a neighbouring glen, in the hope of getting a supply; but he came
back as unsuccessful as he went. "What's to be dune, John?" was the
minister's pathetic inquiry. John shook his head, as much as to say that
he could not tell; but immediately thereafter started up, as if a new
idea had occurred to him. He came back in a few minutes, crying, "Hae!"
The minister, too eager to be scrutinising, took a long, deep pinch, and
then said, "Whaur did you get it?" "I soupit[41] the poupit," was John's
expressive reply. The minister's accumulated superfluous Sabbath snuff
now came into good use.

It does not appear that at this time a similar excess in _eating_
accompanied this prevalent tendency to excess in drinking. Scottish
tables were at that period plain and abundant, but epicurism or gluttony
do not seem to have been handmaids to drunkenness. A humorous anecdote,
however, of a full-eating laird, may well accompany those which
appertain to the _drinking_ lairds.--A lady in the north having watched
the proceedings of a guest, who ate long and largely, she ordered the
servant to take away, as he had at last laid down his knife and fork. To
her surprise, however, he resumed his work, and she apologised to him,
saying, "I thought, Mr. ----, you had done."

"Oh, so I had, mem; but I just fan' a doo in the _redd_ o' my plate." He
had discovered a pigeon lurking amongst the bones and refuse of his
plate, and could not resist finishing it.


[19] Distinguished examples of these are to be found in the Old
Greyfriars' Church, Edinburgh, and in the Cathedral of Glasgow; to say
nothing of the beautiful specimens in St. John's Episcopal Church,

[20] "This was a square enclosure in the Greyfriars' Churchyard, guarded
on one side by a veteran angel without a nose, and having only one wing,
who had the merit of having maintained his post for a century, while his
comrade cherub, who had stood sentinel on the corresponding pedestal,
lay a broken trunk, among the hemlock, burdock, and nettles, which grew
in gigantic luxuriance around the walls of the mausoleum."

[21] A Shetland pony.

[22] The Lord's Supper.

[23] Bullock.

[24] Perhaps.

[25] Carefully selected.

[26] I recollect an old Scottish gentleman, who shared this horror,
asking very gravely, "Were not swine forbidden under the law, and cursed
under the gospel?"

[27] Lie in a grovelling attitude. See Jamieson.

[28] So pronounced in Aberdeen.

[29] Implying that there was a James Third of England, Eighth of

[30] Old Scotch for "drink hard".

[31] A friend learned in Scottish history suggests an ingenious remark,
that this might mean more than a mere _full drinker_. To drink "fair,"
used to imply that the person drank in the same proportion as the
company; to drink more would be unmannerly; to drink less might imply
some unfair motive. Either interpretation shows the importance attached
to drinking and all that concerned it.

[32] In Burt's _Letters from the North of Scotland_, written about 1730,
similar scenes are related as occurring in Culloden House: as the
company were disabled by drink, two servants in waiting took up the
invalids with short poles in their chairs as they sat (if not fallen
down), and carried them off to their beds.

[33] Lord Cockburn's _Memorials of his Time_, p. 37, _et seq_.

[34] May we never be cast down by adversity, or unduly elevated by

[35] A toast at parting or breaking up of the party.

[36] Loving

[37] Plenty

[38] Toast for agricultural dinners

[39] Ghastly.

[40] The scene is described and place mentioned in Dr. Strang's account
of Glasgow Clubs, p. 104, 2d edit.

[41] Swept.



I come now to a subject on which a great change has taken place in this
country during my own experience--viz. those peculiarities of
intercourse which some years back marked the connection between masters
and servants. In many Scottish houses a great familiarity prevailed
between members of the family and the domestics. For this many reasons
might have been assigned. Indeed, when we consider the simple modes of
life, which discarded the ideas of ceremony or etiquette; the retired
and uniform style of living, which afforded few opportunities for any
change in the domestic arrangements; and when we add to these a free,
unrestrained, unformal, and natural style of intercommunion, which seems
rather a national characteristic, we need not be surprised to find in
quiet Scottish families a sort of intercourse with old domestics which
can hardly be looked for at a time when habits are so changed, and where
much of the quiet eccentricity belonging to us as a national
characteristic is almost necessarily softened down or driven out. Many
circumstances conspired to promote familiarity with old domestics, which
are now entirely changed. We take the case of a domestic coming early
into service, and passing year after year in the same family. The
servant grows up into old age and confirmed habits when the laird is
becoming a man, a husband, father of a family. The domestic cannot
forget the days when his master was a child, riding on his back,
applying to him for help in difficulties about his fishing, his rabbits,
his pony, his going to school. All the family know how attached he is;
nobody likes to speak harshly to him. He is a privileged man. The
faithful old servant of thirty, forty, or fifty years, if with a
tendency to be jealous, cross, and interfering, becomes a great trouble.
Still the relative position was the result of good feelings. If the
familiarity sometimes became a nuisance, it was a wholesome nuisance,
and relic of a simpler time gone by. But the case of the old servant,
whether agreeable or troublesome, was often so fixed and established in
the households of past days, that there was scarce a possibility of
getting away from it. The well-known story of the answer of one of these
domestic tyrants to the irritated master, who was making an effort to
free himself from the thraldom, shows the idea entertained, by _one_ of
the parties at least, of the permanency of the tenure. I am assured by a
friend that the true edition of the story was this:--An old Mr. Erskine
of Dun had one of these retainers, under whose language and unreasonable
assumption he had long groaned. He had almost determined to bear it no
longer, when, walking out with his man, on crossing a field, the master
exclaimed, "There's a hare." Andrew looked at the place, and coolly
replied, "What a big lee, it's a cauff." The master, quite angry now,
plainly told the old domestic that they _must_ part. But the tried
servant of forty years, not dreaming of the possibility of _his_
dismissal, innocently asked, "Ay, sir; whare ye gaun? I'm sure ye're aye
best at hame;" supposing that, if there were to be any disruption, it
must be the master who would change the place. An example of a similar
fixedness of tenure in an old servant was afforded in an anecdote
related of an old coachman long in the service of a noble lady, and who
gave all the trouble and annoyance which he conceived were the
privileges of his position in the family. At last the lady fairly gave
him notice to quit, and told him he must go. The only satisfaction she
got was the quiet answer, "Na, na, my lady; I druve ye to your marriage,
and I shall stay to drive ye to your burial." Indeed, we have heard of a
still stronger assertion of his official position by one who met an
order to quit his master's service by the cool reply, "Na, na; I'm no
gangin'. If ye dinna ken whan ye've a gude servant; I ken whan I've a
gude place."

It is but fair, however, to give an anecdote in which the master and the
servant's position was _reversed_, in regard to a wish for change:--An
old servant of a relation of my own with an ungovernable temper, became
at last so weary of his master's irascibility, that he declared he must
leave, and gave as his reason the fits of anger which came on, and
produced such great annoyance that he could not stand it any longer. His
master, unwilling to lose him, tried to coax him by reminding him that
the anger was soon off. "Ay," replied the other very shrewdly, "but it's
nae suner aff than it's on again." I remember well an old servant of the
old school, who had been fifty years domesticated in a family. Indeed I
well remember the celebration of the half-century service completed.
There were rich scenes with Sandy and his mistress. Let me recall you
both to memory. Let me think of you, the kind, generous, warm-hearted
mistress; a gentlewoman by descent and by feeling; a true friend, a
sincere Christian. And let me think, too, of you, Sandy, an honest,
faithful, and attached member of the family. For you were in that house
rather as a humble friend than a servant. But out of this fifty years of
attached service there sprang a sort of domestic relation and freedom of
intercourse which would surprise people in these days. And yet Sandy
knew his place. Like Corporal Trim, who, although so familiar and
admitted to so much familiarity with my Uncle Toby, never failed in the
respectful address--never forgot to say "your honour." At a dinner party
Sandy was very active about changing his mistress's plate, and whipped
it off when he saw that she had got a piece of rich paté upon it. His
mistress, not liking such rapid movements, and at the same time knowing
that remonstrance was in vain, exclaimed, "Hout, Sandy, I'm no dune,"
and dabbed her fork into the "pattee" as it disappeared, to rescue a
morsel. I remember her praise of English mutton was a great annoyance to
the Scottish prejudices of Sandy. One day she was telling me of a
triumph Sandy had upon that subject. The smell of the joint roasting had
become very offensive through the house. The lady called out to Sandy to
have the doors closed, and added, "That must be some horrid Scotch
mutton you have got." To Sandy's delight, this was a leg of _English_
mutton his mistress had expressly chosen; and, as she significantly told
me, "Sandy never let that down upon me." On Deeside there existed, in my
recollection, besides the Saunders Paul I have alluded to, a number of
extraordinary acute and humorous Scottish characters amongst the lower
classes. The native gentry enjoyed their humour, and hence arose a
familiarity of intercourse which called forth many amusing scenes and
quaint rejoinders. A celebrated character of this description bore the
soubriquet of "Boaty," of whom I have already spoken. He had acted as
Charon of the Dee at Banchory, and passed the boat over the river before
there was a bridge. Boaty had many curious sayings recorded of him. When
speaking of the gentry around, he characterised them according to their
occupations and activity of habits--thus:--"As to Mr. Russell of
Blackha', he just works himsell like a paid labourer; Mr. Duncan's a'
the day fish, fish; but Sir Robert's a perfect gentleman--he does
naething, naething." Boaty was a first-rate salmon-fisher himself, and
was much sought after by amateurs who came to Banchory for the sake of
the sport afforded by the beautiful Dee. He was, perhaps, a little
spoiled, and presumed upon the indulgence and familiarity shown to him
in the way of his craft--as, for example, he was in attendance with his
boat on a sportsman who was both skilful and successful, for he caught
salmon after salmon. Between each fish catching he solaced himself with
a good pull from a flask, which he returned to his pocket, however,
without offering to let Boaty have any participation in the refreshment.
Boaty, partly a little professionally jealous, perhaps, at the success,
and partly indignant at receiving less than his usual attention on such
occasions, and seeing no prospect of amendment, deliberately pulled the
boat to shore, shouldered the oars, rods, landing-nets, and all the
fishing apparatus which he had provided, and set off homewards. His
companion, far from considering his day's work to be over, and keen for
more sport, was amazed, and peremptorily ordered him to come back. But
all the answer made by the offended Boaty was, "Na na; them 'at drink by
themsells may just fish by themsells."

The charge these old domestics used to take of the interests of the
family, and the cool way in which they took upon them to protect those
interests, sometimes led to very provoking, and sometimes to very
ludicrous, exhibitions of importance. A friend told me of a dinner scene
illustrative of this sort of interference which had happened at Airth in
the last generation. Mrs. Murray, of Abercairney, had been amongst the
guests, and at dinner one of the family noticed that she was looking for
the proper spoon to help herself with salt. The old servant, Thomas, was
appealed to, that the want might be supplied. He did not notice the
appeal. It was repeated in a more peremptory manner, "Thomas, Mrs.
Murray has not a salt-spoon!" to which he replied most emphatically,
"Last time Mrs. Murray dined here we _lost_ a salt-spoon." An old
servant who took a similar charge of everything that went on in the
family, having observed that his master thought that he had drunk wine
with every lady at table, but had overlooked one, jogged his memory with
the question, "What ails ye at her wi' the green gown?"

In my own family I know a case of a very long service, and where, no
doubt, there was much interest and attachment; but it was a case where
the temper had not softened under the influence of years, but had rather
assumed that form of disposition which we denominate _crusty_. My
grand-uncle, Sir A. Ramsay, died in 1806, and left a domestic who had
been in his service since he was ten years of age; and being at the time
of his master's death past fifty or well on to sixty, he must have been
more than forty years a servant in the family. From the retired life my
grand-uncle had been leading, Jamie Layal had much of his own way, and,
like many a domestic so situated, he did not like to be contradicted,
and, in fact, could not bear to be found fault with. My uncle, who had
succeeded to a part of my grand-uncle's property, succeeded also to
Jamie Layal, and, from respect to his late master's memory and Jamie's
own services, he took him into his house, intending him to act as house
servant. However, this did not answer, and he was soon kept on, more
with the form than the reality of any active duty, and took any light
work that was going on about the house. In this capacity it was his
daily task to feed a flock of turkeys which were growing up to maturity.
On one occasion, my aunt having followed him in his work, and having
observed such a waste of food that the ground was actually covered with
grain which they could not eat, and which would soon be destroyed and
lost, naturally remonstrated, and suggested a more reasonable and
provident supply. But all the answer she got from the offended Jamie was
a bitter rejoinder, "Weel, then, neist time they sall get _nane ava!_"
On another occasion a family from a distance had called whilst my uncle
and aunt were out of the house. Jamie came into the parlour to deliver
the cards, or to announce that they had called. My aunt, somewhat vexed
at not having been in the way, inquired what message Mr. and Mrs. Innes
had left, as she had expected one. "No; no message." She returned to the
charge, and asked again if they had not told him _anything_ he was to
repeat. Still, "No; no message." "But did they say nothing? Are you sure
they said nothing?" Jamie, sadly put out and offended at being thus
interrogated, at last burst forth, "They neither said ba nor bum," and
indignantly left the room, banging the door after him. A characteristic
anecdote of one of these old domestics I have from a friend who was
acquainted with the parties concerned. The old man was standing at the
sideboard and attending to the demands of a pretty large dinner party;
the calls made for various wants from the company became so numerous and
frequent that the attendant got quite bewildered, and lost his patience
and temper; at length he gave vent to his indignation in a remonstrance
addressed to the whole company, "Cry a' thegither, that's the way to
be served."

I have two characteristic and dry Scottish answers, traditional in the
Lothian family, supplied to me by the late excellent and highly-gifted
Marquis. A Marquis of Lothian of a former generation observed in his
walk two workmen very busy with a ladder to reach a bell, on which they
next kept up a furious ringing. He asked what was the object of making
such a din, to which the answer was, "Oh, juist, my lord to ca' the
workmen together!" "Why, how many are there?" asked his lordship. "Ou,
juist Sandy and me," was the quiet rejoinder. The same Lord Lothian,
looking about the garden, directed his gardener's attention to a
particular plum-tree, charging him to be careful of the produce of that
tree, and send the _whole_ of it in marked, as it was of a very
particular kind. "Ou," said the gardener, "I'll dae that, my lord;
there's juist twa o' them."

These dry answers of Newbattle servants remind us of a similar state of
communication in a Yester domestic. Lord Tweeddale was very fond of
dogs, and on leaving Yester for London he instructed his head keeper, a
quaint bodie, to give him a periodical report of the kennel, and
particulars of his favourite dogs. Among the latter was an _especial_
one, of the true Skye breed, called "Pickle," from which soubriquet we
may form a tolerable estimate of his qualities.

It happened one day, in or about the year 1827, that poor Pickle,
during the absence of his master, was taken unwell; and the watchful
guardian immediately warned the Marquis of the sad fact, and of the
progress of the disease, which lasted three days--for which he sent the
three following laconic despatches:--

     _Yester, May 1st_, 18--.
     MY LORD,
     Pickle's no weel.
     Your Lordship's humble servant, etc.

     _Yester, May Id_, 18--.
     MY LORD,
     Pickle will no do.
     I am your Lordship's, etc.

     _Tester, May 3d_, 18--.
     MY LORD,
     Pickle's dead.
     I am your Lordship's, etc.

I have heard of an old Forfarshire lady who, knowing the habits of her
old and spoilt servant, when she wished a note to be taken without loss
of time, held it open and read it over to him, saying, "There, noo,
Andrew, ye ken a' that's in't; noo dinna stop to open it, but just send
it aff." Of another servant, when sorely tried by an unaccustomed bustle
and hurry, a very amusing anecdote has been recorded. His mistress, a
woman of high rank, who had been living in much quiet and retirement for
some time, was called upon to entertain a large party at dinner. She
consulted with Nichol, her faithful servant, and all the arrangements
were made for the great event. As the company were arriving, the lady
saw Nichol running about in great agitation, and in his shirt sleeves.
She remonstrated, and said that as the guests were coming in he must
put on his coat, "Indeed, my lady," was his excited reply, "indeed,
there's sae muckle rinnin' here and rinnin' there, that I'm just
distrackit. I hae cuist'n my coat and waistcoat, and faith I dinna ken
how lang I can thole[42] my breeks." There is often a ready wit in this
class of character, marked by their replies. I have the following
communicated from an ear-witness:--"Weel, Peggy," said a man to an old
family servant, "I wonder ye're aye single yet!" "Me marry," said she,
indignantly; "I wouldna gie my single life for a' the double anes I
ever saw!"

An old woman was exhorting a servant once about her ways. "You serve the
deevil," said she. "Me!" said the girl; "na, na, I dinna serve the
deevil; I serve ae single lady."

A baby was out with the nurse, who walked it up and down the garden.
"Is't a laddie or a lassie?" said the gardener. "A laddie," said the
maid. "Weel," says he, "I'm glad o' that, for there's ower mony women in
the world." "Hech, man," said Jess, "div ye no ken there's aye maist
sawn o' the best crap?"

The answers of servants used curiously to illustrate habits and manners
of the time,--as the economical modes of her mistress's life were well
touched by the lass who thus described her ways and domestic habits with
her household: "She's vicious upo' the wark; but eh, she's vary
mysterious o' the victualling."

A country habit of making the gathering of the congregation in the
churchyard previous to and after divine service an occasion for gossip
and business, which I remember well, is thoroughly described in the
following:--A lady, on hiring a servant girl in the country, told her,
as a great indulgence, that she should have the liberty of attending the
church every Sunday, but that she would be expected to return home
always immediately on the conclusion of service. The lady, however,
rather unexpectedly found a positive objection raised against this
apparently reasonable arrangement. "Then I canna engage wi' ye, mem; for
'deed I wadna gie the crack i' the kirk-yard for a' the sermon."

There is another story which shows that a greater importance might be
attached to the crack i' the kirk-yard than was done even by the servant
lass mentioned above. A rather rough subject, residing in Galloway, used
to attend church regularly, as it appeared, for the _sake_ of the crack;
for on being taken to task for his absenting himself, he remarked,
"There's nae need to gang to the kirk noo, for everybody gets a

The changes that many of us have lived to witness in this kind of
intercourse between families and old servants is a part of a still
greater change--the change in that modification of the feudal system,
the attachment of clans. This, also, from transfers of property and
extinction of old families in the Highlands, as well as from more
general causes, is passing away; and it includes also changes in the
intercourse between landed proprietors and cottagers, and abolition of
harvest-homes, and such meetings. People are now more independent of
each other, and service has become a pecuniary and not a sentimental
question. The extreme contrast of that old-fashioned Scottish
intercourse of families with their servants and dependants, of which I
have given some amusing examples, is found in the modern manufactory
system. There the service is a mere question of personal interest. One
of our first practical engineers, and one of the first engine-makers in
England, stated that he employed and paid handsomely on an average 1200
workmen; but that they held so little feeling for him as their master,
that not above half-a-dozen of the number would notice him when passing
him, either in the works or out of work hours. Contrast this advanced
state of dependants' indifference with the familiarity of domestic
intercourse we have been describing!

It has been suggested by my esteemed friend, Dr. W. Lindsay Alexander,
that Scottish anecdotes deal too exclusively with the shrewd, quaint,
and pawky _humour_ of our countrymen, and have not sufficiently
illustrated the deep pathos and strong loving-kindness of the "kindly
Scot,"--qualities which, however little appreciated across the Border,
abound in Scottish poetry and Scottish life. For example, to take the
case before us of these old retainers, although snappy and disagreeable
to the last degree in their replies, and often most provoking in their
ways, they were yet deeply and sincerely attached to the family where
they had so long been domesticated; and the servant who would reply to
her mistress's order to mend the fire by the short answer, "The fire's
weel eneuch," would at the same time evince much interest in all that
might assist her in sustaining the credit of her domestic economy; as,
for example, whispering in her ear at dinner, "Press the jeelies; they
winna keep;" and had the hour of real trial and of difficulty come to
the family, would have gone to the death for them, and shared their
greatest privations. Dr. Alexander gives a very interesting example of
kindness and affectionate attachment in an old Scottish domestic of his
own family, whose quaint and odd familiarity was charming. I give it in
his own words:--"When I was a child there was an old servant at
Pinkieburn, where my early days were spent, who had been all her life, I
may say, in the house--for she came to it a child, and lived, without
ever leaving it, till she died in it, seventy-five years of age. Her
feeling to her old master, who was just two years younger than herself,
was a curious compound of the deference of a servant and the familiarity
and affection of a sister. She had known him as a boy, lad, man, and old
man, and she seemed to have a sort of notion that without her he must be
a very helpless being indeed. 'I aye keepit the hoose for him, whether
he was hame or awa',' was a frequent utterance of hers; and she never
seemed to think the intrusion even of his own nieces, who latterly lived
with him, at all legitimate. When on her deathbed, he hobbled to her
room with difficulty, having just got over a severe attack of gout, to
bid her farewell. I chanced to be present, but was too young to remember
what passed, except one thing, which probably was rather recalled to me
afterwards than properly recollected by me. It was her last request.
'Laird,' said she (for so she always called him, though his lairdship
was of the smallest), 'will ye tell them to bury me whaur I'll lie
across at your feet?' I have always thought this characteristic of the
old Scotch servant, and as such I send it to you."

And here I would introduce another story which struck me very forcibly
as illustrating the union of the qualities referred to by Dr. Alexander.
In the following narrative, how deep and tender a feeling is expressed
in a brief dry sentence! I give Mr. Scott's language[43]:--"My brother
and I were, during our High School vacation, some forty years ago, very
much indebted to the kindness of a clever young carpenter employed in
the machinery workshop of New Lanark Mills, near to which we were
residing during our six weeks' holidays." It was he--Samuel Shaw, our
dear companion--who first taught us to saw, and to plane, and to turn
too; and who made us the bows and arrows in which we so much delighted.
The vacation over, and our hearts very sore, but bound to Samuel Shaw
for ever, our mother sought to place some pecuniary recompense in his
hand at parting, for all the great kindness he had shown her boys.
Samuel looked in her face, and gently moving her hand aside, with an
affectionate look cast upon us, who were by, exclaimed, in a tone which
had sorrow in it, "Noo, Mrs. Scott, _ye hae spoilt a'_." After such an
appeal, it may be supposed no recompense, in silver or in gold, remained
with Samuel Shaw.

On the subject of the old Scottish domestic, I have to acknowledge a
kind communication from Lord Kinloch, which I give in his Lordship's
words:--"My father had been in the counting-house of the well-known
David Dale, the founder of the Lanark Mills, and eminent for his
benevolence. Mr. Dale, who it would appear was a short stout man, had a
person in his employment named Matthew, who was permitted that
familiarity with his master which was so characteristic of the former
generation. One winter day Mr. Dale came into the counting-house, and
complained that he had fallen on the ice. Matthew, who saw that his
master was not much hurt, grinned a sarcastic smile. 'I fell all my
length,' said Mr. Dale. 'Nae great length, sir,' said Matthew. 'Indeed,
Matthew, ye need not laugh,' said Mr. Dale; 'I have hurt the sma' o' my
back.' 'I wunner whaur _that_ is,' said Matthew." Indeed, specimens
like Matthew, of serving-men of the former time, have latterly been fast
going out, but I remember one or two such. A lady of my acquaintance had
one named John in her house at Portobello. I remember how my modern
ideas were offended by John's familiarity when waiting at table. "Some
more wine, John," said his mistress. "There's some i' the bottle, mem,"
said John. A little after, "Mend the fire, John." "The fire's weel
eneuch, mem," replied the impracticable John. Another "John" of my
acquaintance was in the family of Mrs. Campbell of Ardnave, mother of
the Princess Polignac and the Hon. Mrs. Archibald Macdonald. A young
lady visiting in the family asked John at dinner for a potato. John made
no response. The request was repeated; when John, putting his mouth to
her ear, said, very audibly, "There's jist twa in the dish, and they
maun be keepit for the strangers."

The following was sent me by a kind correspondent--a learned Professor
in India--as a sample of _squabbling_ between Scottish servants. A
mistress observing something peculiar in her maid's manner, addressed
her, "Dear me, Tibbie, what are you so snappish about, that you go
knocking the things as you dust them?" "Ou, mem, it's Jock." "Well, what
has Jock been doing?" "Ou (with an indescribable, but easily imaginable
toss of the head), he was angry at me, an' misca'd me, an' I said I was
juist as the Lord had made me, an'----" "Well, Tibbie?" "An' he said the
Lord could hae had little to dae whan he made me." The idea of Tibbie
being the work of an idle moment was one, the deliciousness of which was
not likely to be relished by the lassie.

The following characteristic anecdote of a Highland servant I have
received from the same correspondent. An English gentleman, travelling
in the Highlands, was rather late of coming down to dinner. Donald was
sent up stairs to intimate that all was ready. He speedily returned,
nodding significantly, as much as to say that it was all right. "But,
Donald," said the master, after some further trial of a hungry man's
patience, "are ye sure ye made the gentleman understand?"
"_Understand?_" retorted Donald (who had peeped into the room and found
the guest engaged at his toilet), "I'se warrant ye he understands; he's
_sharping_ his teeth,"--not supposing the tooth-brush could be for any
other use.

There have been some very amusing instances given of the matter-of-fact
obedience paid to orders by Highland retainers when made to perform the
ordinary duties of domestic servants; as when Mr. Campbell, a Highland
gentleman, visiting in a country house, and telling Donald to bring
everything out of the bedroom, found all its movable articles--fender,
fire-irons, etc.--piled up in the lobby; so literal was the poor man's
sense of obedience to orders! And of this he gave a still more
extraordinary proof during his sojourn in Edinburgh, by a very ludicrous
exploit. When the family moved into a house there, Mrs. Campbell gave
him very particular instructions regarding visitors, explaining that
they were to be shown into the drawing-room, and no doubt used the
Scotticism, "_Carry_ any ladies that call up stairs." On the arrival of
the first visitors, Donald was eager to show his strict attention to the
mistress's orders. Two ladies came together, and Donald, seizing one in
his arms, said to the other, "Bide ye there till I come for ye," and, in
spite of her struggles and remonstrances, ushered the terrified visitor
into Mrs. Campbell's presence in this unwonted fashion.

Another case of _literal_ obedience to orders produced a somewhat
startling form of message. A servant of an old maiden lady, a patient of
Dr. Poole, formerly of Edinburgh, was under orders to go to the doctor
every morning to report the state of her health, how she had slept,
etc., with strict injunctions _always_ to add, "with her compliments."
At length, one morning the girl brought this extraordinary
message:--"Miss S----'s compliments, and she dee'd last night at
aicht o'clock!"

I recollect, in Montrose (that fruitful field for old Scottish
stories!), a most naïve reply from an honest lass, servant to old Mrs.
_Captain_ Fullerton. A party of gentlemen had dined with Mrs. Fullerton,
and they had a turkey for dinner. Mrs. F. proposed that one of the legs
should be _deviled_, and the gentlemen have it served up as a relish for
their wine. Accordingly one of the company skilled in the mystery
prepared it with pepper, cayenne, mustard, ketchup, etc. He gave it to
Lizzy, and told her to take it down to the kitchen, supposing, as a
matter of course, she would know that it was to be broiled, and brought
back in due time. But in a little while, when it was rung for, Lizzy
very innocently replied that she had eaten it up. As it was sent back to
the kitchen, her only idea was that it must be for herself. But on
surprise being expressed that she had eaten what was so highly peppered
and seasoned, she very quaintly answered, "Ou, I liket it a'
the better."

A well-known servant of the old school was John, the servant of Pitfour,
Mr. Ferguson, M.P., himself a most eccentric character, long father of
the House of Commons, and a great friend of Pitt. John used to
entertain the tenants, on Pitfour's brief visits to his estate, with
numerous anecdotes of his master and Mr. Pitt; but he always prefaced
them with something in the style of Cardinal Wolsey's _Ego et rex
meus_--with "Me, and Pitt, and Pitfour," went somewhere, or performed
some exploit. The famous Duchess of Gordon once wrote a note to John
(the name of this eccentric valet), and said, "John, put Pitfour into
the carriage on Tuesday, and bring him up to Gordon Castle to dinner."
After sufficiently scratching his head, and considering what he should
do, he showed the letter to Pitfour, who smiled, and said drily, "Well,
John, I suppose we must go."

An old domestic of this class gave a capital reason to his _young_
master for his being allowed to do as he liked:--"Ye needna find faut
wi' me, Maister Jeems; _I hae been langer aboot the place than yersel_."

It may seem ungracious to close this chapter with a communication which
appears to convey an unfavourable impression of an old servant. But the
truth is, real and attached domestic service does not offer its
pleasures and advantages without some alloy of annoyance, and yet how
much the solid benefits prevail over any occasional drawbacks!

The late Rev. Mr. Leslie of St. Andrew-Lhanbryd, a parish in Morayshire,
in describing an old servant who had been with him thirty years, said,
"The first ten years she was an excellent servant; the second ten she
was a good mistress; but the third ten she was a perfect tyrant."



There is no class of men which stands out more prominent in the
reminiscences of the last hundred years than that of our SCOTTISH
JUDGES. They form, in many instances, a type or representative of the
leading _peculiarities_ of Scottish life and manners. They are mixed up
with all our affairs, social and political. There are to be found in the
annals of the bench rich examples of pure Scottish humour, the strongest
peculiarity of Scottish phraseology, acuteness of intellect, cutting
wit, eccentricity of manners, and abundant powers of conviviality. Their
successors no longer furnish the same anecdotes of oddity or of
intemperance. The Courts of the Scottish Parliament House, without
lacking the learning or the law of those who sat there sixty years ago,
lack not the refinement and the dignity that have long distinguished the
Courts of Westminster Hall.

Stories still exist, traditionary in society, amongst its older members,
regarding Lords Gardenstone, Monboddo, Hermand, Newton, Polkemmet,
Braxfield, etc. But many younger persons do not know them. It may be
interesting to some of my readers to devote a few pages to the subject,
and to offer some judicial gleanings[44].

I have two anecdotes to show that, both in social and judicial life, a
remarkable change must have taken place amongst the "fifteen." I am
assured that the following scene took place at the _table_ of Lord
Polkemmet, at a dinner party in his house. When the covers were removed,
the dinner was seen to consist of veal broth, a roast fillet of veal,
veal cutlets, a florentine (an excellent old Scottish dish composed of
veal), a calf's head, calf's foot jelly. The worthy judge could not help
observing a surprise on the countenance of his guests, and perhaps a
simper on some; so he broke out in explanation: "Ou ay, it's a cauf;
when we kill a beast we just eat up ae side, and down the tither." The
expressions he used to describe his own _judicial_ preparations for the
bench were very characteristic: "Ye see I first read a' the pleadings,
and then, after lettin' them wamble in my wame wi' the toddy twa or
three days, I gie my ain interlocutor." For a moment suppose such
anecdotes to be told now of any of our high legal functionaries. Imagine
the feelings of surprise that would be called forth were the present
Justice-Clerk to adopt such imagery in describing the process of
preparing _his_ legal judgment on a difficult case in his court!

In regard to the wit of the Scottish _bar_.--It is a subject which I do
not pretend to illustrate. It would require a volume for itself. One
anecdote, however, I cannot resist, and I record it as forming a
striking example of the class of Scottish humour which, with our
dialect, has lost its distinctive characteristics. John Clerk
(afterwards a judge by the title of Lord Eldin) was arguing a Scotch
appeal case before the House of Lords. His client claimed the use of a
mill-stream by a prescriptive right. Mr. Clerk spoke broad Scotch, and
argued that "the _watter_ had rin that way for forty years. Indeed
naebody kenn'd how long, and why should his client now be deprived of
the watter?" etc. The chancellor, much amused at the pronunciation of
the Scottish advocate, in a rather bantering tone asked him, "Mr. Clerk,
do you spell water in Scotland with two t's?" Clerk, a little nettled at
this hit at his national tongue, answered, "Na, my Lord, we dinna spell
watter (making the word as short as he could) wi' twa t's, but we spell
mainners (making the word as long as he could) wi' twa n's."

John Clerk's vernacular version of the motto of the Celtic Club is
highly characteristic of his humour and his prejudice. He had a strong
dislike to the whole Highland race, and the motto assumed by the modern
Celts, "Olim marte, nunc arte," Clerk translated "Formerly robbers, now
thieves." Quite equal to Swift's celebrated remark on William III.'s
motto--_Recepit, non rapuit_--"that the receiver was as bad as the
thief." Very dry and pithy too was Clerk's legal _opinion_ given to a
claimant of the Annandale peerage, who, when pressing the employment of
some obvious forgeries, was warned that if he persevered, nae doot he
might be a peer, but it would be a peer o' anither _tree!_

The clever author of "Peter's Letters" gives an elaborate description of
Clerk's character whilst at the bar, and speaks of him as "the plainest,
the shrewdest, and the most sarcastic of men." Nor could he entirely
repress these peculiarities when raised to the bench under the title of
Lord Eldin.

His defence of a young friend, who was an advocate, and had incurred
the displeasure of the Judges, has often been repeated. Mr. Clerk had
been called upon to offer his apologies for disrespect, or implied
disrespect, in his manner of addressing the Bench. The advocate had
given great offence by expressing his "_astonishment_" at something
which had emanated from their Lordships, implying by it his disapproval.
He got Lord Eldin, who was connected with him, to make an apology for
him. But Clerk could not resist his humorous vein by very equivocally
adding, "My client has expressed his astonishment, my Lords, at what he
had met with here; if my young friend had known this court as long as I
have, he would have been _astonished at nothing_."

A kind Perthshire correspondent has sent me a characteristic anecdote,
which has strong internal evidence of being genuine. When Clerk was
raised to the Bench he presented his credentials to the Court, and,
according to custom, was received by the presiding Judge--who, on this
occasion, in a somewhat sarcastic tone, referred to the delay which had
taken place in his reaching a position for which he had so long been
qualified, and to which he must have long aspired. He hinted at the long
absence of the Whig party from political power as the cause of this
delay, which offended Clerk; and he paid it off by intimating in his
pithy and bitter tone, which he could so well assume, that it was not of
so much consequence--"Because," as he said, "ye see, my Lord, I was not
juist sae sune _doited_ as some o' your Lordships."

The following account of his conducting a case is also highly
characteristic. Two individuals, the one a mason, the other a carpenter,
both residenters in West Portsburgh, formed a copartnery, and commenced
building houses within the boundaries of the burgh corporation. One of
the partners was a freeman, the other not. The corporation, considering
its rights invaded by a non-freeman exercising privileges only accorded
to one of their body, brought an action in the Court of Session against
the interloper, and his partner as aiding and abetting. Mr. John Clerk,
then an advocate, was engaged for the defendants. How the cause was
decided matters little. What was really curious in the affair was the
naively droll manner in which the advocate for the defence opened his
pleading before the Lord Ordinary. "My Lord," commenced John, in his
purest Doric, at the same time pushing up his spectacles to his brow and
hitching his gown over his shoulders, "I wad hae thocht naething o't
(the action), had hooses been a new invention, and my clients been
caught ouvertly impingin' on the patent richts o' the inventors!"

Of Lord Gardenstone (Francis Garden) I have many early _personal_
reminiscences, as his property of Johnstone was in the Howe of the
Mearns, not far from my early home. He was a man of energy, and promoted
improvements in the county with skill and practical sagacity. His
favourite scheme was to establish a flourishing town upon his property,
and he spared no pains or expense in promoting the importance of his
village of Laurencekirk. He built an excellent inn, to render it a stage
for posting. He built and endowed an Episcopal chapel for the benefit of
his English immigrants, in the vestry of which he placed a most
respectable library; and he encouraged manufacturers of all kinds to
settle in the place. Amongst others, as we have seen, came the hatter
who found only three hats in the kirk. His lordship was much taken up
with his hotel or inn, and for which he provided a large volume for
receiving the written contributions of travellers who frequented it. It
was the landlady's business to present this volume to the guests, and
ask them to write in it during the evenings whatever occurred to their
memory or their imagination. In the mornings it was a favourite
amusement of Lord Gardenstone to look it over. I recollect Sir Walter
Scott being much taken with this contrivance, and his asking me about it
at Abbotsford. His son said to him, "You should establish such a book,
sir, at Melrose;" upon which Sir W. replied, "No, Walter; I should just
have to see a great deal of abuse of myself." On his son deprecating
such a result, and on his observing my surprised look, he answered,
"Well, well, I should have to read a great deal of foolish praise, which
is much the same thing." An amusing account is given of the cause of
Lord Gardenstone withdrawing this volume from the hotel, and of his
determination to submit it no more to the tender mercies of the passing
traveller. As Professor Stuart of Aberdeen was passing an evening at the
inn, the volume was handed to him, and he wrote in it the following
lines, in the style of the prophecies of Thomas the Rhymer:--

     "Frae sma' beginnings Rome of auld
      Became a great imperial city;
      'Twas peopled first, as we are tauld,
      By bankrupts, vagabonds, banditti.
      Quoth Thamas, Then the day may come,
      When Laurencekirk shall equal Rome."

These lines so nettled Lord Gardenstone, that the volume disappeared,
and was never seen afterwards in the inn of Laurencekirk. There is
another lingering reminiscence which I retain connected with the inn at
Laurencekirk. The landlord, Mr. Cream, was a man well known throughout
all the county, and was distinguished, in his later years, as one of the
few men who continued to wear a _pigtail_. On one occasion the late Lord
Dunmore (grandfather or great-grandfather of the present peer), who also
still wore his queue, halted for a night at Laurencekirk. On the host
leaving the room, where he had come to take orders for supper, Lord
Dunmore turned to his valet and said, "Johnstone, do I look as like a
fool in my pigtail as Billy Cream does?"--"Much about it, my lord," was
the valet's imperturbable answer. "Then," said his lordship, "cut off
mine to-morrow morning when I dress."

Lord Gardenstone seemed to have had two favourite tastes: he indulged in
the love of pigs and the love of snuff. He took a young pig as a pet,
and it became quite tame, and followed him about like a dog. At first
the animal shared his bed, but when, growing up to advanced swinehood,
it became unfit for such companionship, he had it to sleep in his room,
in which he made a comfortable couch for it of his own clothes. His
snuff he kept not in a box, but in a leathern waist-pocket made for the
purpose. He took it in enormous quantities, and used to say that if he
had a dozen noses he would feed them all. Lord Gardenstone died 1793.

Lord Monboddo (James Burnet, Esq. of Monboddo) is another of the
well-known members of the Scottish Bench, who combined, with many
eccentricities of opinion and habits, great learning and a most amiable
disposition. From his paternal property being in the county of
Kincardine, and Lord M. being a visitor at my father's house, and
indeed a relation or clansman, I have many early reminiscences of
stories which I have heard of the learned judge. His speculations
regarding the origin of the human race have, in times past, excited much
interest and amusement. His theory was that man emerged from a wild and
savage condition, much resembling that of apes; that man had then a tail
like other animals, but which by progressive civilisation and the
constant habit of _sitting_, had become obsolete. This theory produced
many a joke from facetious and superficial people, who had never read
any of the arguments of the able and elaborate work, by which the
ingenious and learned author maintained his theory[45]. Lord Kames, a
brother judge, had his joke on it. On some occasion of their meeting,
Lord Monboddo was for giving Lord Kames the precedency. Lord K.
declined, and drew back, saying, "By no means, my lord; you must walk
first, that I may _see your tail_." I recollect Lord Monboddo's coming
to dine at Fasque caused a great excitement of interest and curiosity. I
was in the nursery, too young to take part in the investigations; but my
elder brothers were on the alert to watch his arrival, and get a glimpse
of his tail. Lord M. was really a learned man, read Greek and Latin
authors--not as a mere exercise of classical scholarship--but because he
identified himself with their philosophical opinions, and would have
revived Greek customs and modes of life. He used to give suppers after
the manner of the ancients, and used to astonish his guests by the
ancient cookery of Spartan broth, and of _mulsum_. He was an
enthusiastical Platonist. On a visit to Oxford, he was received with
great respect by the scholars of the University, who were much
interested in meeting with one who had studied Plato as a pupil and
follower. In accordance with the old custom at learned universities,
Lord Monboddo was determined to address the Oxonians in Latin, which he
spoke with much readiness. But they could not stand the numerous slips
in prosody. Lord Monboddo shocked the ears of the men of Eton and of
Winchester by dreadful false quantities--verse-making being, in
Scotland, then quite neglected, and a matter little thought of by the
learned judge.

Lord Monboddo was considered an able lawyer, and on many occasions
exhibited a very clear and correct judicial discernment of intricate
cases. It was one of his peculiarities that he never sat on the bench
with his brother judges, but always at the clerk's table. Different
reasons for this practice have been given, but the simple fact seems to
have been, that he was deaf, and heard better at the lower seat. His
mode of travelling was on horseback. He scorned carriages, on the ground
of its being unmanly to "sit in a box drawn by brutes." When he went to
London he rode the whole way. At the same period, Mr. Barclay of Ury
(father of the well-known Captain Barclay), when he represented
Kincardineshire in Parliament, always _walked_ to London. He was a very
powerful man, and could walk fifty miles a day, his usual refreshment on
the road being a bottle of port wine, poured into a bowl, and drunk off
at a draught. I have heard that George III. was much interested at these
performances, and said, "I ought to be proud of my Scottish subjects,
when my judges _ride_, and my members of Parliament _walk_ to the

On one occasion of his being in London, Lord Monboddo attended a trial
in the Court of King's Bench. A cry was heard that the roof of the
court-room was giving way, upon which judges, lawyers, and people made
a rush to get to the door. Lord Monboddo viewed the scene from his
corner with much composure. Being deaf and short-sighted, he knew
nothing of the cause of the tumult. The alarm proved a false one; and on
being asked why he had not bestirred himself to escape like the rest, he
coolly answered that he supposed it was an _annual ceremony_, with
which, as an alien to the English laws, he had no concern, but which he
considered it interesting to witness as a remnant of antiquity! Lord
Monboddo died 1799.

Lord Rockville (the Hon. Alexander Gordon, third son of the Earl of
Aberdeen) was a judge distinguished in his day by his ability and
decorum. "He adorned the bench by the dignified manliness of his
appearance, and polished urbanity of his manners[46]." Like most lawyers
of his time, he took his glass freely, and a whimsical account which he
gave, before he was advanced to the bench, of his having fallen upon his
face, after making too free with the bottle, was commonly current at the
time. Upon his appearing late at a convivial club with a most rueful
expression of countenance, and on being asked what was the matter, he
exclaimed with great solemnity, "Gentlemen, I have just met with the
most extraordinary adventure that ever occurred to a human being. As I
was walking along the Grassmarket, all of a sudden _the street rose up
and struck me on the face_." He had, however, a more serious _encounter_
with the street after he was a judge. In 1792, his foot slipped as he
was going to the Parliament House; he broke his leg, was taken home,
fevered, and died.

Lord Braxfield (Robert M'Queen of Braxfield) was one of the judges of
the old school, well known in his day, and might be said to possess all
the qualities united, by which the class were remarkable. He spoke the
broadest Scotch. He was a sound and laborious lawyer. He was fond of a
glass of good claret, and had a great fund of good Scotch humour. He
rose to the dignity of Justice-Clerk, and, in consequence, presided at
many important political criminal trials about the year 1793-4, such as
those of Muir, Palmer, Skirving, Margarot, Gerrold, etc. He conducted
these trials with much ability and great firmness, occasionally, no
doubt, with more appearance of severity and personal prejudice than is
usual with the judges who in later times are called on to preside on
similar occasions. The disturbed temper of the times and the daring
spirit of the political offenders seemed, he thought, to call for a bold
and fearless front on the part of the judge, and Braxfield was the man
to show it, both on the bench and in common life. He met, however,
sometimes with a spirit as bold as his own from the prisoners before
him. When Skirving was on trial for sedition, he thought Braxfield was
threatening him, and by gesture endeavouring to intimidate him;
accordingly, he boldly addressed the Bench:--"It is altogether
unavailing for your Lordship to menace me, for I have long learnt not to
fear the face of man." I have observed that he adhered to the _broadest_
Scottish dialect. "Hae ye ony coonsel, man?" he said to Maurice Margarot
(who, I believe, was an Englishman). "No," was the reply. "Div ye want
to hae ony appinted?" "No," replied Margarot; "I only want an
_interpreter_ to make me understand what your Lordship says." A
prisoner, accused of stealing some linen garments, was one day brought
up for trial before the old judge, but was acquitted because the
prosecutor had charged him with stealing shirts, whereas the articles
stolen were found to be shifts--female apparel. Braxfield indignantly
remarked that the Crown Counsel should have called them by the Scottish
name of _sarks_, which applied to both sexes.

Braxfield had much humour, and enjoyed wit in others. He was immensely
delighted at a reply by Dr. M'Cubbin, the minister of Bothwell.
Braxfield, when Justice-Clerk, was dining at Lord Douglas's, and
observed there was only port upon the table. In his usual off-hand
brusque manner, he demanded of the noble host if "there was nae claret
i' the castle." "Yes," said Lord Douglas; "but my butler tells me it is
not good." "Let's pree't," said Braxfield in his favourite dialect. A
bottle was produced, and declared by all present to be quite excellent.
"Noo, minister," said the old judge, addressing Dr. M'Cubbin, who was
celebrated as a wit in his day, "as a _fama clamosa_ has gone forth
against this wine, I propose that you _absolve_ it,"--playing upon the
terms made use of in the Scottish Church Courts. "Ay, my Lord," said the
minister, "you are first-rate authority for a case of civil or criminal
law, but you do not quite understand our Church Court practice. We never
absolve _till after three several appearances_." The wit and the
condition of absolution were alike relished by the judge. Lord Braxfield
closed a long and useful life in 1799.

Of Lord Hermand we have already had occasion to speak, as in fact his
name has become in some manner identified with that conviviality which
marked almost as a characteristic the Scottish Bench of his time. He
gained, however, great distinction as a judge, and was a capital lawyer.
When at the bar, Lords Newton and Hermand were great friends, and many
were the convivial meetings they enjoyed together. But Lord Hermand
outlived all his old last-century contemporaries, and formed with Lord
Balgray what we may consider the connecting links between the past and
the present race of Scottish lawyers.

Lord Kames was a keen agricultural experimentalist, and in his
_Gentleman Farmer_ anticipated many modern improvements. He was,
however, occasionally too sanguine. "John," said he one day to his old
overseer, "I think we'll see the day when a man may carry out as much
chemical manure in his waistcoat pocket as will serve for a whole
field." "Weel," rejoined the other, "I am of opinion that if your
lordship were to carry out the dung in your waistcoat pocket, ye might
bring hame the crap in your greatcoat pocket."

We could scarcely perhaps offer a more marked difference between habits
_once_ tolerated on the bench and those which now distinguish the august
seat of Senators of Justice, than by quoting, from _Kay's Portraits_,
vol. ii. p. 278, a sally of a Lord of Session of those days, which he
played off, when sitting as judge, upon a young friend whom he was
determined to frighten. "A young counsel was addressing him on some not
very important point that had arisen in the division of a common (or
commonty, according to law phraseology), when, having made some bold
averment, the judge exclaimed, 'That's a lee, Jemmie,' 'My lord!'
ejaculated the amazed barrister. 'Ay, ay, Jemmie; I see by your face
ye're leein'.' 'Indeed, my lord, I am not.' 'Dinna tell me that; it's no
in your memorial (brief)--awa wi' you;' and, overcome with astonishment
and vexation, the discomfited barrister left the bar. The judge
thereupon chuckled with infinite delight; and beckoning to the clerk
who attended on the occasion, he said, 'Are ye no Rabbie H----'s man?'
'Yes, my lord.' 'Wasna Jemmie----leein'?' 'Oh no, my lord.' 'Ye're quite
sure?' Oh yes.' 'Then just write out what you want, and I'll sign it; my
faith, but I made Jemmie stare.' So the decision was dictated by the
clerk, and duly signed by the judge, who left the bench highly diverted
with the fright he had given his young friend." Such scenes enacted in
court _now_ would astonish the present generation, both of lawyers and
of suitors.

We should not do justice to our Scottish Reminiscences of judges and
lawyers, if we omitted the once celebrated Court of Session _jeu
d'esprit_ called the "Diamond Beetle Case." This burlesque report of a
judgment was written by George Cranstoun, advocate, who afterwards sat
in court as judge under the title of Lord Corehouse. Cranstoun was one
of the ablest lawyers of his time; he was a prime scholar, and a man of
most refined taste and clear intellect. This humorous and clever
production was printed in a former edition of these Reminiscences, and
in a very flattering notice of the book which appeared in the _North
British Review_, the reviewer--himself, as is well known, a
distinguished member of the Scottish judicial bench--remarks: "We are
glad that the whole of the 'Diamond Beetle' by Cranstoun has been given;
for nothing can be more graphic, spirited, and ludicrous, than the
characteristic speeches of the learned judges who deliver their opinions
in the case of defamation." As copies of this very clever and jocose
production are not now easily obtained, and as some of my younger
readers may not have seen it, I have reprinted it in this edition.
Considered in the light of a memorial of the bench, as it was known to
a former generation, it is well worth preserving; for, as the editor of
_Kay's Portraits_ well observes, although it is a caricature, it is
entirely without rancour, or any feeling of a malevolent nature towards
those whom the author represents as giving judgment in the "Diamond
Beetle" case. And in no way could the involved phraseology of Lord
Bannatyne, the predilection for Latin quotation of Lord Meadowbank, the
brisk manner of Lord Hermand, the anti-Gallic feeling of Lord Craig, the
broad dialect of Lords Polkemmet and Balmuto, and the hesitating manner
of Lord Methven, be more admirably caricatured.


     _Speeches taken at advising the Action of Defamation and
        Damages,_ ALEXANDER CUNNINGHAM, _Jeweller in
        Edinburgh, against_ JAMES EUSSELL, _Surgeon there_.

     have the petition of Alexander Cunningham against Lord
     Bannatyne's interlocutor. It is a case of defamation and
     damages for calling the petitioner's _Diamond Beetle_ an
     _Egyptian Louse_. You have the Lord Ordinary's distinct
     interlocutor, on pages 29 and 30 of this petition:--'Having
     considered the Condescendence of the pursuer, Answers for the
     defender,' and so on; 'Finds, in respect that it is not
     alleged that the diamonds on the back of the Diamond Beetle
     are real diamonds, or anything but shining spots, such as are
     found on other Diamond Beetles, which likewise occur, though
     in a smaller number, on a great number of other Beetles,
     somewhat different from the Beetle libelled, and similar to
     which there may be Beetles in Egypt, with shining spots on
     their backs, which may be termed Lice there, and may be
     different not only from the common Louse, but from the Louse
     mentioned by Moses as one of the plagues of Egypt, which is
     admitted to be a filthy troublesome Louse, even worse than
     the said Louse, which is clearly different from the Louse
     libelled. But that the other Louse is the same with, or
     similar to, the said Beetle, which is also the same with the
     other Beetle; and although different from the said Beetle
     libelled, yet, as the said Beetle is similar to the other
     Beetle, and the said Louse to the other Louse libelled; and
     the other Louse to the other Beetle, which is the same with,
     or similar to, the Beetle which somewhat resembles the Beetle
     libelled; assoilzies the defender, and finds expenses due.'

     "Say away, my Lords.

     "LORD MEADOWBANK.--This is a very intricate and puzzling
     question, my Lord. I have formed no decided opinion; but at
     present I am rather inclined to think the interlocutor is
     right, though not upon the _ratio_ assigned in it. It appears
     to me that there are two points for consideration. _First_,
     whether the words libelled amount to a _convicium_ against
     the Beetle; and _Secondly_, admitting the _convicium_,
     whether the pursuer is entitled to found upon it in this
     action. Now, my Lords, if there be a _convicium_ at all, it
     consists in the _comparatio_ or comparison of the
     _Scaraboeus_ or Beetle with the Egyptian _Pediculus_ or
     _Louse_. My first doubt regards this point, but it is not at
     all founded on what the defender alleges, that there is no
     such animal as an Egyptian _Pediculus_ or _Louse in rerum
     natura_; for though it does not _actually_ exist, it may
     _possibly_ exist (if not in _actio_, yet in _potentia_--if
     not in actuality, yet in potentiality or capacity); and
     whether its existence be in _esse vel posse_, is the same
     thing to this question, provided there be _termini habiles_
     for ascertaining what it would be if it did exist. But my
     doubt is here:--How am I to discover what are the _essentia_
     of any Louse, whether Egyptian or not? It is very easy to
     describe its accidents as a naturalist would do--to say that
     it belongs to the tribe of _Aptera_ (or, that is, a yellow,
     little, greedy, filthy, despicable reptile), but we do not
     learn from this what the _proprium_ of the animal is in a
     logical sense, and still less what its _differentia_ are.
     Now, without these it is impossible to judge whether there is
     a _convicium_ or not; for, in a case of this kind, which
     _sequitur naturam delicti_, we must take them _meliori
     sensu_, and presume the _comparatio_ to be _in melioribus
     tantum_. And here I beg that parties, and the bar in
     general--[interrupted by Lord Hermand: _Your Lordship should
     address yourself to the Chair_]--I say, I beg it may be
     understood that I do not rest my opinion on the ground that
     _veritas convicii excusat_. I am clear that although this
     Beetle actually were an Egyptian Louse, it would accord no
     relevant defence, provided the calling it so were a
     _convicium_; and there my doubt lies.

     "With regard to the second point, I am satisfied that the
     _Scaraboeus_ or Beetle itself has no _persona standi in
     judicio_; and therefore the pursuer cannot insist in the name
     of the _Scaraboeus_, or for his behoof. If the action lie at
     all, it must be at the instance of the pursuer himself, as
     the _verus dominus_ of the _Scaraboeus_, for being
     calumniated through the _convicium_ directed primarily
     against the animal standing in that relation to him. Now,
     abstracting from the qualification of an actual _dominium_,
     which is not alleged, I have great doubts whether a mere
     _convicium_ is necessarily transmitted from one object to
     another, through the relation of a _dominium_ subsisting
     between them; and if not necessarily transmissible, we must
     see the principle of its actual transmission here; and that
     has not yet been pointed out.

     "LORD HERMAND.--We heard a little ago, my Lord, that there is
     a difficulty in this case; but I have not been fortunate
     enough, for my part, to find out where the difficulty lies.
     Will any man presume to tell me that a Beetle is not a
     Beetle, and that a Louse is not a Louse? I never saw the
     petitioner's Beetle, and what's more I don't care whether I
     ever see it or not; but I suppose it's like other Beetles,
     and that's enough for me.

     "But, my Lord, I know the other reptile well. I have seen
     them, I have felt them, my Lord, ever since I was a child in
     my mother's arms; and my mind tells me that nothing but the
     deepest and blackest malice rankling in the human breast
     could have suggested this comparison, or led any man to form
     a thought so injurious and insulting. But, my Lord, there's
     more here than all that--a great deal more. One could have
     thought the defender would have gratified his spite to the
     full by comparing the Beetle to a common Louse--an animal
     sufficiently vile and abominable for the purpose of
     defamation--[_Shut that door there_]--but he adds the epithet
     _Egyptian_, and I know well what he means by that epithet. He
     means, my Lord, a Louse that has been fattened on the head of
     a _Gipsy or Tinker_, undisturbed by the comb or nail, and
     unmolested in the enjoyment of its native filth. He means a
     Louse grown to its full size, ten times larger and ten times
     more abominable than those with which _your Lordships and I
     are familiar_. The petitioner asks redress for the injury so
     atrocious and so aggravated; and, as far as my voice goes, he
     shall not ask it in vain.

     "LORD CRAIG.--I am of the opinion last delivered. It appears
     to me to be slanderous and calumnious to compare a Diamond
     Beetle to the filthy and mischievous animal libelled. By an
     Egyptian Louse I understand one which has been formed on the
     head of a native Egyptian--a race of men who, after
     degenerating for many centuries, have sunk at last into the
     abyss of depravity, in consequence of having been subjugated
     for a time by the French. I do not find that Turgot, or
     Condorcet, or the rest of the economists, ever reckoned the
     combing of the head a species of productive labour; and I
     conclude, therefore, that wherever French principles have
     been propagated, _Lice_ grow to an immoderate size,
     especially in a warm climate like that of Egypt. I shall only
     add, that we ought to be sensible of the blessings we enjoy
     under a free and happy Constitution, where Lice and men live
     under the restraint of equal laws the only equality that can
     exist in a well-regulated state.

     "LORD POLKEMMET.--It should be observed, my Lord, that what
     is called a Beetle is a reptile very well known in this
     country. I have seen mony are o' them in Drumshorlin Muir; it
     is a little black beastie, about the size of my thoom-nail.
     The country-folks ca' them Clocks; and I believe they ca'
     them also Maggy-wi'-the-mony-feet; but they are not the least
     like any Louse that ever I saw; so that, in my opinion,
     though the defender may have made a blunder through
     ignorance, in comparing them, there does not seem to have
     been any _animus injuriandi_; therefore I am for refusing the
     petition, my Lords.

     "LORD BALMUTO.--'Am[48] for refusing the petition. There's
     more Lice than Beetles in Fife. They ca' them Clocks there.
     What they ca' a Beetle is a thing as lang as my arm; thick at
     one end and sma' at the other. I thought, when I read the
     petition, that the Beetle or Bittle had been the thing that
     the women have when they are washing towels or napery
     with--things for dadding them with; and I see the petitioner
     is a jeweller till his trade; and I thought he had are o'
     thae Beetles, and set it all round with diamonds; and I
     thought it a foolish and extravagant idea; and I saw no
     resemblance it could have to a Louse. But I find I was
     mistaken, my Lord; and I find it only a Beetle-clock the
     petitioner has; but my opinion's the same as it was before. I
     say, my Lords, 'am for refusing the petition, I say--

     "LORD WOODHOUSELEE.--There is a case abridged in the third
     volume of the _Dictionary of Decisions_, Chalmers _v._
     Douglas, in which it was found that _veritas convicii
     excusat_, which may be rendered not literally, but in a free
     and spirited manner, according to the most approved
     principles of translation, 'the truth of calumny affords a
     relevant defence.' If, therefore, it be the law of Scotland
     (which I am clearly of opinion it is) that the truth of the
     calumny affords a relevant defence, and if it be likewise
     true that the Diamond Beetle is really an Egyptian Louse, I
     am inclined to conclude (though certainly the case is
     attended with difficulty) that the defender ought to be

     "LORD JUSTICE-CLERK (RAE).--I am very well acquainted with
     the defender in this action, and have respect for him, and
     esteem him likewise. I know him to be a skilful and expert
     surgeon, and also a good man; and I would do a great deal to
     serve him or to be of use to him, if I had it in my power to
     do so. But I think on this occasion he has spoken rashly, and
     I fear foolishly and improperly. I hope he had no bad
     intention--I am sure he had not. But the petitioner (for whom
     I have likewise a great respect, because I knew his father,
     who was a very respectable baker in Edinburgh, and supplied
     my family with bread, and very good bread it was, and for
     which his accounts were regularly discharged), it seems, has
     a Clock or a Beetle, I think it is called a Diamond Beetle,
     which he is very fond of, and has a fancy for, and the
     defender has compared it to a Louse, or a Bug, or a Flea, or
     a worse thing of that kind, with a view to render it
     despicable or ridiculous, and the petitioner so likewise, as
     the proprietor or owner thereof. It is said that this is a
     Louse _in fact_, and that the _veritas convicii excusat_; and
     mention is made of a decision in the case of Chalmers _v._
     Douglas. I have always had a great veneration for the
     decisions of your Lordships; and I am sure will always
     continue to have while I sit here; but that case was
     determined by a very small majority, and I have heard your
     Lordships mention it on various occasions, and you have
     always desiderated the propriety of it, and I think have
     departed from it in some instances. I remember the
     circumstances of the case well:--Helen Chalmers lived in
     Musselburgh, and the defender, Mrs. Douglas, lived in
     Fisherrow; and at that time there was much intercourse
     between the genteel inhabitants of Fisherrow, and
     Musselburgh, and Inveresk, and likewise Newbigging; and there
     were balls, or dances, or assemblies every fortnight, or
     oftener, and also sometimes I believe every week; and there
     were card-parties, assemblies once a fortnight, or oftener;
     and the young people danced there also, and others played at
     cards, and there were various refreshments, such as tea and
     coffee, and butter and bread, and I believe, but I am not
     sure, porter and negus, and likewise small beer. And it was
     at one of these assemblies that Mrs. Douglas called Mrs.
     Chalmers very improper names. And Mrs. Chalmers brought an
     action of defamation before the Commissaries, and it came by
     advocation into this Court, and your Lordships allowed a
     proof of the _veritas convicii_, and it lasted a very long
     time, and in the end answered no good purpose even to the
     defender herself, while it did much hurt to the pursuer's
     character. I am therefore for REFUSING such a proof in this
     case, and I think the petitioner in this case and his Beetle
     have been slandered, and the petition ought to be seen.

     "LORD METHVEN.--If I understand this--a--a--a--interlocutor,
     it is not said that the--a--a--a--a--Egyptian Lice are
     Beetles, but that they may be, or--a--a--a--a--resemble
     Beetles. I am therefore for sending the process to the
     Ordinary to ascertain the fact, as I think it depends upon
     that whether there be--a--a--a--a--_convicium_ or not. I
     think also the petitioner should be ordained
     to--a--a--a--produce his Beetle, and the defender an Egyptian
     Louse or _Pediculus_, and if he has not one, that he should
     take a diligence--a--a--a--against havers to recover Lice of
     various kinds; and these may be remitted to Dr. Monro, or Mr.
     Playfair, or to some other naturalist, to report upon
     the subject.

     "Agreed to."

     This is clearly a Reminiscence of a bygone state of matters
     in the Court of Session. I think every reader in our day, of
     the once famous Beetle case, will come to the conclusion
     that, making all due allowance for the humorous embellishment
     of the description, and even for some exaggeration of
     caricature, it describes what was once a real state of
     matters, which, he will be sure, is real no more. The day of
     Judges of the Balmuto-Hermand-Polkemmet class has passed
     away, and is become a Scottish _Reminiscence_. Having thus
     brought before my readers some Reminiscences of past times
     from the Courts of Justice, let me advert to one which
     belongs to, or was supposed to belong to, past days of our
     Scottish universities. It is now a matter of tradition. But
     an idea prevailed, whether correctly or incorrectly, some
     eighty or a hundred years ago, that at northern colleges
     degrees were regularly sold, and those who could pay the
     price obtained them, without reference to the merits or
     attainments of those on whom they were conferred. We have
     heard of divers jokes being passed on those who were supposed
     to have received such academical honours, as well as on those
     who had given them. It is said Dr Samuel Johnson joined in
     this sarcastic humour. But his prejudices both against
     Scotland and Scottish literature were well known. Colman, in
     his amusing play of the "Heir at Law," makes his Dr. Pangloss
     ludicrously describe his receiving an LL.D. degree, on the
     grounds of his own celebrity (as he had never seen the
     college), and his paying the heads one pound fifteen
     shillings and threepence three farthings as a handsome
     compliment to them on receiving his diploma. Colman certainly
     had studied at a northern university. But he might have gone
     into the idea in fun. However this may be, an anecdote is
     current in the east of Scotland, which is illustrative of
     this real or supposed state of matters, to which we may
     indeed apply the Italian phrase that if "non vero" it is "ben
     trovato." The story is this:--An East Lothian minister,
     accompanied by his man, who acted as betheral of his parish,
     went over to a northern university to purchase his degree,
     and on their return home he gave strict charge to his man,
     that as now he was invested with academical honour, he was to
     be sure to say, if any one asked for the minister, "O yes,
     the Doctor is at home, or the Doctor is in the study, or the
     Doctor is out, as the case might be." The man at once
     acquiesced in the propriety of this observance on account of
     his master's newly-acquired dignity. But he quietly added,
     "Ay, ay, minister; an' if ony are speirs for me, the servants
     maun be sure to say, Oh, the Doctor's in the stable, or the
     Doctor's in the kitchen, or the Doctor's in the garden or the
     field." "What do you mean, Dauvid?" exclaimed his astonished
     master; "what can _you_ have to do with Doctor?" "Weel, ye
     see, sir," said David, looking very knowing, "when ye got
     your degree, I thought that as I had saved a little money, I
     couldna lay it out better, as being betheral of the church,
     than tak out a degree to mysell." The story bears upon the
     practice, whether a real or a supposed one; and we may fairly
     say that under such principals as Shairp, Tulloch, Campbell,
     Barclay, who now adorn the Scottish universities, we have a
     guarantee that such reports must continue to be Reminiscence
     and traditional only.


[42] Bear.

[43] Rev. R. Scott of Cranwell.

[44] I have derived some information from a curious book, "Kay's
Portraits," 2 vols. The work is scarcely known in England, and is
becoming rare in Scotland. "Nothing can be more valuable in the way of
engraved portraits than these representations of the distinguished men
who adorned Edinburgh in the latter part of the eighteenth

[45] Origin and Progress of Language.

[46] Douglas' Peerage, vol. i. p. 22.

[47] The version I have given of this amusing burlesque was revised by
the late Mr. Pagan, Cupar-Fife, and corrected from his own manuscript
copy, which he had procured from authentic sources about forty
years ago.

[48] His Lordship usually pronounced _I am_--_Aum_.



We come next to Reminiscences which are chiefly connected with
peculiarities of our Scottish LANGUAGE, whether contained in words or in
expressions. I am quite aware that the difference between the anecdotes
belonging to this division and to the last division termed "Wit and
Humour" is very indistinct, and must, in fact, in many cases, be quite
arbitrary. Much of what we enjoy most in Scottish stories is not on
account of wit properly so called, in the speaker, but I should say
rather from the odd and unexpected view which is taken of some matter,
or from the quaint and original turn of the expression made use of, or
from the simple and matter-of-fact reference made to circumstances which
are unusual. I shall not, therefore, be careful to preserve any strict
line of separation between this division and the next. Each is
conversant with what is amusing and with what is Scotch. What we have
now chiefly to illustrate by suitable anecdotes is peculiarities of
Scottish language--its various humorous turns and odd expressions.

We have now to consider stories where words and expressions, which are
peculiarly Scotch, impart the humour and the point. Sometimes they are
altogether incapable of being rendered in other language. As, for
example, a parishioner in an Ayrshire village, meeting his pastor, who
had just returned after a considerable absence on account of ill
health, congratulated him on his convalescence, and added, anticipatory
of the pleasure he would have in hearing him again, "I'm unco yuckie to
hear a blaud o' your gab." This is an untranslatable form of saying how
glad he should be to hear his minister's voice again speaking to him the
words of salvation and of peace from the pulpit.

The two following are good examples of that Scottish style of expression
which has its own character. They are kindly sent by Sir Archibald
Dunbar. The first illustrates Scottish acute discernment. A certain
titled lady, well known around her country town for her long-continued
and extensive charities, which are not withheld from those who least
deserve them, had a few years since, by the unexpected death of her
brother and of his only son, become possessor of a fine estate. The news
soon spread in the neighbourhood, and a group of old women were
overheard in the streets of Elgin discussing the fact. One of them said,
"Ay, she may prosper, for she has baith the prayers of the good and
of the bad."

The second anecdote is a delightful illustration of Mrs. Hamilton's
_Cottagers of Glenburnie_, and of the old-fashioned Scottish pride in
the _midden_. About twenty years ago, under the apprehension of cholera,
committees of the most influential inhabitants of the county of Moray
were formed to enforce a more complete cleansing of its towns and
villages, and to induce the cottagers to remove their dunghills or
dung-pits from too close a proximity to their doors or windows. One
determined woman, on the outskirts of the town of Forres, no doubt with
her future potato crop in view, met the M.P. who headed one of these
committees, thus, "Noo, Major, ye may tak our lives, but ye'll no tak
our middens."

The truth is, many of the peculiarities which marked Scottish society
departed with the disuse of the Scottish dialect in the upper ranks. I
recollect a familiar example of this, which I may well term a
Reminiscence. At a party assembled in a county house, the Earl of Elgin
(grandfather of the present Earl) came up to the tea-table, where Mrs.
Forbes of Medwyn, one of the finest examples of the past Scottish
_lady_, was sitting, evidently much engaged with her occupation. "You
are fond of your tea, Mrs. Forbes?" The reply was quite a characteristic
one, and a pure reminiscence of such a place and such interlocutors;
"'Deed, my Lord, I wadna gie my tea for your yerldom."

My aunt, the late Lady Burnett of Leys, was one of the class of Scottish
ladies I have referred to;--thoroughly a good woman and a gentlewoman,
but in dialect quite Scottish. For example, being shocked at the sharp
Aberdonian pronunciation adopted by her children, instead of the broader
Forfarshire model in which she had been brought up, she thus adverted to
their manner of calling the _floor_ of the room where they were playing:
"What gars ye ca' it '_fleer_?' canna ye ca' it '_flure_?' But I needna
speak; Sir Robert winna let me correc' your language."

In respect of language, no doubt, a very important change has taken
place in Scotland during the last seventy years, and which, I believe,
influences, in a greater degree than many persons would imagine, the
turn of thought and general modes and aspects of society. In losing the
old racy Scottish tongue, it seems as if much originality of _character_
was lost. I suppose at one time the two countries of England and
Scotland were considered as almost speaking different languages, and I
suppose also, that from the period of the union of the crowns the
language has been assimilating. We see the process of assimilation going
on, and ere long amongst persons of education and birth very little
difference will be perceptible. With regard to that class, a great
change has taken place in my own time. I recollect old Scottish ladies
and gentlemen who really _spoke Scotch_. It was not, mark me, speaking
English with an accent. No; it was downright Scotch. Every tone and
every syllable was Scotch. For example, I recollect old Miss Erskine of
Dun, a fine specimen of a real lady, and daughter of an ancient Scottish
house, so speaking. Many people now would not understand her. She was
always _the lady_, notwithstanding her dialect, and to none could the
epithet vulgar be less appropriately applied. I speak of more than forty
years ago, and yet I recollect her accost to me as well as if it were
yesterday: "I didna ken ye were i' the toun." Taking word and accents
together, an address how totally unlike what we now meet with in
society. Some of the old Scottish words which we can remember are
charming; but how strange they would sound to the ears of the present
generation! Fancy that in walking from church, and discussing the
sermon, a lady of rank should now express her opinion of it by the
description of its being, "but a hummelcorn discourse." Many living
persons can remember Angus old ladies who would say to their nieces and
daughters, "Whatna hummeldoddie o' a mutch hae ye gotten?" meaning a
flat and low-crowned cap. In speaking of the dryness of the soil on a
road in Lanarkshire, a farmer said, "It stoors in an oor[49]." How would
this be as tersely translated into English? The late Duchess of Gordon
sat at dinner next an English gentleman who was carving, and who made it
a boast that he was thoroughly master of the Scottish language. Her
Grace turned to him and said, "Rax me a spaul o' that bubbly jock[50]."
The unfortunate man was completely _nonplussed_. A Scottish gentleman
was entertaining at his house an English cousin who professed himself as
rather knowing in the language of the north side of the Tweed. He asked
him what he supposed to be the meaning of the expression, "ripin the
ribs[51]." To which he readily answered, "Oh, it describes a very fat
man." I profess myself an out-and-out Scotchman. I have strong national
partialities--call them if you will national prejudices. I cherish a
great love of old Scottish language. Some of our pure Scottish ballad
poetry is unsurpassed in any language for grace and pathos. How
expressive, how beautiful are its phrases! You can't translate them.
Take an example of power in a Scottish expression, to describe with
tenderness and feeling what is in human life. Take one of our most
familiar phrases; as thus:--We meet an old friend, we talk over bygone
days, and remember many who were dear to us both, once bright, and
young, and gay, of whom some remain, honoured, prosperous, and happy--of
whom some are under a cloud of misfortune or disgrace--some are broken
in health and spirits--some sunk into the grave; we recall old familiar
places--old companions, pleasures, and pursuits; as Scotchmen our
hearts are touched with these remembrances of


Match me the phrase in English. You can't translate it. The fitness and
the beauty lie in the felicity of the language. Like many happy
expressions, it is not transferable into another tongue, just like the
"simplex munditiis" of Horace, which describes the natural grace of
female elegance, or the [Greek: achaexithmon gelasma] of Æschylus, which
describes the bright sparkling of the ocean in the sun.

I think the power of Scottish dialect was happily exemplified by the
late Dr. Adam, rector of the High School of Edinburgh, in his
translation of the Horatian expression "desipere in loco," which he
turned by the Scotch phrase "Weel-timed daffin';" a translation,
however, which no one but a Scotchman could appreciate. The following
humorous Scottish translation of an old Latin aphorism has been assigned
to the late Dr. Hill of St. Andrews: "_Qui bene cepit dimidium facti
fecit_" the witty Principal expressed in Scotch, "Weel saipet (well
soaped) is half shaven."

What mere _English_ word could have expressed a distinction so well in
such a case as the following? I heard once a lady in Edinburgh objecting
to a preacher that she did not understand him. Another lady, his great
admirer, insinuated that probably he was too "deep" for her to follow.
But her ready answer was, "Na, na, he's no just deep, but he's

We have a testimony to the value of our Scottish language from a late
illustrious Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, the force and
authority of which no one will be disposed to question. Lord Brougham,
in speaking of improvements upon the English language, makes these
striking remarks:--

"The pure and classical language of Scotland must on no account be
regarded as a provincial dialect, any more than French was so regarded
in the reign of Henry V., or Italian in that of the first Napoleon, or
Greek under the Roman Empire. Nor is it to be in any manner of way
considered as a corruption of the Saxon; on the contrary, it contains
much of the old and genuine Saxon, with an intermixture from the
Northern nations, as Danes and Norse, and some, though a small portion,
from the Celtic. But in whatever way composed, or from whatever sources
arising, it is a national language, used by the whole people in their
early years, by many learned and gifted persons throughout life, and in
which are written the laws of the Scotch, their judicial proceedings,
their ancient history; above all, their poetry.

"There can be no doubt that the English language would greatly gain by
being enriched with a number both of words and of phrases, or turns of
expression, now peculiar to the Scotch. It was by such a process that
the Greek became the first of tongues, as well written as spoken....

"Would it not afford means of enriching and improving the English
language, if full and accurate glossaries of improved Scotch words and
phrases--those successfully used by the best writers, both in prose and
verse--were given, with distinct explanation and reference to
authorities? This has been done in France and other countries, where
some dictionaries accompany the English, in some cases with Scotch
synonyms, in others with varieties of expression."--_Installation
Address_, p. 63.

The Scotch, as a people, from their more guarded and composed method of
speaking, are not so liable to fall into that figure of speech for which
our Irish neighbours are celebrated--usually called the Bull; some
specimens, however, of that confusion of thought, very like a bull, have
been recorded of Scottish interlocutors.

Of this the two following examples have been sent to me by a kind

It is related of a Scottish judge (who has supplied several anecdotes of
Scottish stories), that on going to consult a dentist, who, as is usual,
placed him in the professional chair, and told his lordship that he must
let him put his fingers into his mouth, he exclaimed, "Na! na! ye'll
aiblins _bite me_."

A Scottish laird, singularly enough the grandson of the learned judge
mentioned above, when going his round to canvass for the county, at the
time when the electors were chiefly confined to resident proprietors,
was asked at one house where he called if he would not take some
refreshment, hesitated, and said, "I doubt it's treating, and may be
ca'd _bribery_."

But a still more amusing specimen of this figure of speech was supplied
by an honest Highlander, in the days of sedan chairs. For the benefit of
my young readers I may describe the sedan chair as a comfortable little
carriage fixed to two poles, and carried by two men, one behind and one
before. A dowager lady of quality had gone out to dinner in one of these
"leathern conveniences," and whilst she herself enjoyed the hospitality
of the mansion up-stairs, her bearers were profusely entertained
downstairs, and partook of the abundant refreshment offered to them.
When my lady was to return, and had taken her place in the sedan, her
bearers raised the chair, but she found no progress was made--she felt
herself sway first to one side, then to the other, and soon came bump
upon the ground, when Donald behind was heard shouting to Donald before
(for the bearers of sedans were always Highlanders), "Let her down,
Donald, man, _for she's drunk_."

I cannot help thinking that a change of national language involves to
some extent change of national character. Numerous examples of great
power in Scottish Phraseology, to express the picturesque, the feeling,
the wise, and the humorous, might be taken from the works of Robert
Burns, Ferguson, or Allan Ramsay, and which lose their charms altogether
when _unscottified_. The speaker certainly seems to take a strength and
character from his words. We must now look for specimens of this racy
and expressive tongue in the more retired parts of the country. It is no
longer to be found in high places. It has disappeared from the social
circles of our cities. I cannot, however, omit calling my reader's
attention to a charming specimen of Scottish prose and of Scottish
humour of our own day, contained in a little book, entitled
"_Mystifications_" by Clementina Stirling Graham. The scenes described
in that volume are matters of pleasing reminiscence, and to some of us
who still remain "will recall that blithe and winning face, sagacious
and sincere, that kindly, cheery voice, that rich and quiet laugh, that
mingled sense and sensibility, which met, and still to our happiness
meet, in her who, with all her gifts, never gratified her consciousness
of these powers so as to give pain to any human being[53]." These
words, written more than ten years ago, might have been penned
yesterday; and those who, like myself, have had the privilege of seeing
the authoress presiding in her beautiful mansion of Duntrune, will not
soon forget how happy, how gracious, and how young, old age may be.

     "No fears to beat away--no strife to heal;
     The past unsighed for, and the future sure."

In my early days the intercourse with the peasantry of Forfarshire,
Kincardineshire, and especially Deeside, was most amusing--not that the
things said were so much out of the common, as that the language in
which they were conveyed was picturesque, and odd, and taking. And
certainly it does appear to me that as the language grows more uniform
and conventional, less marked and peculiar in its dialect and
expressions, so does the character of those who speak it become so. I
have a rich sample of Mid-Lothian Scotch from a young friend in the
country, who describes the conversation of an old woman on the property
as amusing her by such specimens of genuine Scottish raciness and
humour. On one occasion, for instance, the young lady had told her
humble friend that she was going to Ireland, and would have to undergo a
sea voyage. "Weel, noo, ye dinna mean that! Ance I thocht to gang across
to tither side o' the Queensferry wi' some ither folks to a fair, ye
ken; but juist whene'er I pat my fit in the boat, the boat gae wallop,
and my heart gae a loup, and I thocht I'd gang oot o' my judgment
athegither; so says I, Na, na, ye gang awa by yoursells to tither side,
and I'll bide here till sic times as ye come awa back." When we hear
our Scottish language at home, and spoken by our own countrymen, we are
not so much struck with any remarkable effects; but it takes a far more
impressive character when heard amongst those who speak a different
tongue, and when encountered in other lands. I recollect hearing the
late Sir Robert Liston expressing this feeling in his own case. When our
ambassador at Constantinople, some Scotchmen had been recommended to him
for a purpose of private or of government business; and Sir Robert was
always ready to do a kind thing for a countryman. He found them out in a
barber's shop, waiting for being shaved in turn. One came in rather
late, and seeing he had scarcely room at the end of the seat, addressed
his countryman, "Neebour, wad ye sit a bit _wast_?" What strong
associations must have been called up, by hearing in an eastern land
such an expression in Scottish tones.

We may observe here, that marking the course any person is to take, or
the direction in which any object is to be met with, by the points of
the compass, was a prevailing practice amongst the older Scottish race.
There could hardly be a more ludicrous application of the test, than was
furnished by an honest Highlander in describing the direction which his
medicine would _not_ take. Jean Gumming of Altyre, who, in common with
her three sisters, was a true soeur de charité, was one day taking her
rounds as usual, visiting the poor sick, among whom there was a certain
Donald MacQueen, who had been some time confined to his bed. Miss
Gumming, after asking him how he felt, and finding that he was "no
better," of course inquired if he had taken the medicine which she had
sent him; "Troth no, me lady," he replied. "But why not, Donald?" she
answered; "it was _very wrong_; how can you expect to get better if you
do not help yourself with the remedies which heaven provides for you?"
"_V_right or _V_rang," said Donald, "it wadna gang _wast_ in spite o'
me." In all the north country, it is always said, "I'm ganging east or
west," etc., and it happened that Donald on his sick bed was lying east
and west, his feet pointing to the latter direction, hence his reply to
indicate that he could not swallow the medicine!

We may fancy the amusement of the officers of a regiment in the West
Indies, at the innocent remark of a young lad who had just joined from
Scotland. On meeting at dinner, his salutation to his Colonel was,
"Anither het day, Cornal," as if "het days" were in Barbadoes few and
far between, as they were in his dear old stormy cloudy Scotland. Or
take the case of a Scottish saying, which indicated at once the dialect
and the economical habits of a hardy and struggling race. A young
Scotchman, who had been some time in London, met his friend recently
come up from the north to pursue his fortune in the great metropolis. On
discussing matters connected with their new life in London, the more
experienced visitor remarked upon the greater _expenses_ there than in
the retired Scottish town which they had left. "Ay," said the other,
sighing over the reflection, "when ye get cheenge for a saxpence here,
it's soon slippit awa'." I recollect a story of my father's which
illustrates the force of dialect, although confined to the inflections
of a single monosyllable. On riding home one evening, he passed a
cottage or small farm-house, where there was a considerable assemblage
of people, and an evident incipient merry-making for some festive
occasion. On asking one of the lasses standing about, what it was, she
answered, "Ou, it's just a wedding o' Jock Thamson and Janet Frazer." To
the question, "Is the bride rich?" there was a plain quiet "Na." "Is she
young?" a more emphatic and decided "Naa!" but to the query, "Is she
bonny?" a most elaborate and prolonged shout of "Naaa!"

It has been said that the Scottish dialect is peculiarly powerful in its
use of _vowels_, and the following dialogue between a shopman and a
customer has been given as a specimen. The conversation relates to a
plaid hanging at the shop door--

_Cus_. (inquiring the material), Oo? (wool?)

_Shop_. Ay, oo (yes, of wool).

_Cus_. A' oo? (all wool?)

_Shop_. Ay, a' oo (yes, all wool).

_Cus_. A' ae oo? (all same wool?)

_Shop_. Ay a' ae oo (yes, all same wool).

An amusing anecdote of a pithy and jocular reply, comprised in one
syllable, is recorded of an eccentric legal Scottish functionary of the
last century. An advocate, of whose professional qualifications he had
formed rather a low estimate, was complaining to him of being passed
over in a recent appointment to the bench, and expressed his sense of
the injustice with which he had been treated. He was very indignant at
his claims and merit being overlooked in their not choosing him for the
new judge, adding with much acrimony, "And I can tell you they might
have got a 'waur[54].'" To which, as if merely coming over the
complainant's language again, the answer was a grave "Whaur[55]?" The
merit of the impertinence was, that it sounded as if it were merely a
repetition of his friend's last words, waur and whaur. It was as if
"_echo_ answered whaur?" As I have said, the oddity and acuteness of
the speaker arose from the manner of expression, not from the thing
said. In fact, the same thing said in plain English would be mere
commonplace. I recollect being much amused with a dialogue between a
late excellent relative of mine and his man, the chief manager of a farm
which he had just taken, and, I suspect in a good measure manager of the
_farmer_ as well. At any rate he committed to this acute overseer all
the practical details; and on the present occasion had sent him to
market to dispose of a cow and a pony, a simple enough transaction, and
with a simple enough result. The cow was, brought back, the pony was
sold. But the man's description of it forms the point. "Well, John, have
you sold the cow?" "Na, but I _grippit_ a chiel for the powny!"
"_Grippit_" was here most expressive. Indeed, this word has a
significance hardly expressed by any English one, and used to be very
prevalent to indicate keen and forcible tenacity of possession; thus a
character noted for avarice or sharp looking to self-interest was termed
"grippy." In mechanical contrivances, anything taking a close adherence
was called having a gude _grip_. I recollect in boyish days, when on
Deeside taking wasp-nests, an old man looking on was sharply stung by
one, and his description was, "Ane o' them's grippit me fine." The
following had an indescribable piquancy, which arose from the
_Scotticism_ of the terms and the manners. Many years ago, when
accompanying a shooting party on the Grampians, not with a gun like the
rest, but with a botanical box for collecting specimens of mountain
plants, the party had got very hot, and very tired, and very cross. On
the way home, whilst sitting down to rest, a gamekeeper sort of
attendant, and a character in his way, said, "I wish I was in the
dining-room of Fasque." Our good cousin the Rev. Mr. Wilson, minister
of Farnel, who liked well a quiet shot at the grouse, rather testily
replied, "Ye'd soon be _kickit_ out o' that;" to which the other
replied, not at all daunted, "Weel, weel, then I wadna be far frae the
kitchen." A quaint and characteristic reply I recollect from another
farm-servant. My eldest brother had just been constructing a piece of
machinery which was driven by a stream of water running through the home
farmyard. There was a thrashing machine, a winnowing machine, and
circular saw for splitting trees into paling, and other contrivances of
a like kind. Observing an old man, who had long been about the place,
looking very attentively at all that was going on, he said, "Wonderful
things people can do now, Robby!" "Ay," said Robby; "indeed, Sir
Alexander, I'm thinking gin Solomon were alive noo he'd be thocht
naething o'!"

The two following derive their force entirely from the Scottish turn of
the expressions. Translated into English, they would lose all point--at
least, much of the point which they now have:--

At the sale of an antiquarian gentleman's effects in Roxburghshire,
which Sir Walter Scott happened to attend, there was one little article,
a Roman _patina_, which occasioned a good deal of competition, and was
eventually knocked down to the distinguished baronet at a high price.
Sir Walter was excessively amused during the time of bidding to observe
how much it excited the astonishment of an old woman, who had evidently
come there to buy culinary utensils on a more economical principle. "If
the parritch-pan," she at last burst out--"If the parritch-pan gangs at
that, what will the kail-pat gang for?"

An ancestor of Sir Walter Scott joined the Stuart Prince in 1715, and,
with his brother, was engaged in that unfortunate adventure which ended
in a skirmish and captivity at Preston. It was the fashion of those
times for all persons of the rank of gentlemen to wear scarlet
waistcoats. A ball had struck one of the brothers, and carried part of
this dress into his body, and in this condition he was taken prisoner
with a number of his companions, and stripped, as was too often the
practice in those remorseless wars. Thus wounded, and nearly naked,
having only a shirt on, and an old sack about him, the ancestor of the
great poet was sitting, along with his brother and a hundred and fifty
unfortunate gentlemen, in a granary at Preston. The wounded man fell
sick, as the story goes, and vomited the scarlet cloth which the ball
had passed into the wound. "O man, Wattie," cried his brother, "if you
have a wardrobe in your wame, I wish you would vomit me a pair o'
breeks." But, after all, it was amongst the old ladies that the great
abundance of choice pungent Scottish expressions, such as you certainly
do not meet with in these days, was to be sought. In their position of
society, education either in England, or education conducted by English
teachers, has so spread in Scottish families, and intercourse with the
south has been so increased, that all these colloquial peculiarities are
fast disappearing. Some of the ladies of this older school felt some
indignation at the change which they lived to see was fast going on. One
of them being asked if an individual whom she had lately seen was
"Scotch," answered with some bitterness, "I canna say; ye a' speak sae
_genteel_ now that I dinna ken wha's Scotch." It was not uncommon to
find, in young persons, examples, some years ago, of an attachment to
the Scottish dialect, like that of the old lady. In the life of P.
Tytler, lately published, there is an account of his first return to
Scotland from a school in England. His family were delighted with his
appearance, manners, and general improvement; but a sister did not share
this pleasure unmixed, for being found in tears, and the remark being
made, "Is he not charming?" her reply was, in great distress, "Oh yes,
but he speaks English!"

The class of old Scottish ladies, marked by so many peculiarities,
generally lived in provincial towns, and never dreamt of going from
home. Many had never been in London, or had even crossed the Tweed. But
as Lord Cockburn's experience goes back further than mine, and as he had
special opportunities of being acquainted with their characteristic
peculiarities, I will quote his animated description at page 57 of his
_Memorials_. "There was a singular race of old Scotch ladies. They were
a delightful set--strong-headed, warm-hearted, and high-spirited--merry
even in solitude; very resolute; indifferent about the modes and habits
of the modern world, and adhering to their own ways, so as to stand out
like primitive rocks above ordinary society. Their prominent qualities
of sense, humour, affection, and spirit, were embodied in curious
outsides, for they all dressed, and spoke, and did exactly as they
chose. Their language, like their habits, entirely Scotch, but without
any other vulgarity than what perfect naturalness is sometimes
mistaken for[56]."

This is a masterly description of a race now all but passed away. I have
known several of them in my early days; and amongst them we must look
for the racy Scottish peculiarities of diction and of expression which,
with them, are also nearly gone. Lord Cockburn has given some
illustrations of these peculiarities; and I have heard others,
especially connected with Jacobite partialities, of which I say nothing,
as they are in fact rather _strong_ for such a work as this. One,
however, I heard lately as coming from a Forfarshire old lady of this
class, which bears upon the point of "resolute" determination referred
to in the learned judge's description. She had been very positive in the
disclaiming of some assertion which had been attributed to her, and on
being asked if she had not written it, or something very like it, she
replied, "Na, na; I never _write_ onything of consequence--I may deny
what I say, but I canna deny what I write."

Mrs. Baird of Newbyth, the mother of our distinguished countryman the
late General Sir David Baird, was always spoken of as a grand specimen
of the class. When the news arrived from India of the gallant but
unfortunate action of '84 against Hyder Ali, in which her son, then
Captain Baird, was engaged, it was stated that he and other officers had
been taken prisoners and chained together two and two. The friends were
careful in breaking such sad intelligence to the mother of Captain
Baird. When, however, she was made fully to understand the position of
her son and his gallant companions, disdaining all weak and useless
expressions of her own grief, and knowing well the restless and athletic
habits of her son, all she said was, "Lord pity the chiel that's chained
to our Davie!"

It is only due to the memory of "our Davie," however, to add that the
"chiel" to whom he was chained, had, in writing home to his friends,
borne the highest testimony to the kindness and consideration of Captain
Baird, which he exercised towards him in this uncomfortable alliance.
General Baird was a first-rate officer, and a fine noble character. He
left home for active service so soon (before he was fifteen) that his
education had necessarily been very imperfect. This deficiency he had
always himself through life deeply regretted. A military friend, and
great admirer of Sir David, used jocularly to tell a story of him--that
having finished the despatch which must carry home the news of his great
action, the capture of Seringapatam, as he was preparing to sign it in
great form, he deliberately took off his coat. "Why do you take off your
coat?" said his friend. To which the General quietly answered, "Oh, it's
to turn the muckle D in Dauvid."

The ladies of this class had certainly no affectation in speaking of
those who came under their displeasure, even when life and death were
concerned. I had an anecdote illustrative of this characteristic in a
well-known old lady of the last century, Miss Johnstone of Westerhall.
She had been extremely indignant that, on the death of her brother, his
widow had proposed to sell off the old furniture of Westerhall. She was
attached to it from old associations, and considered the parting with it
little short of sacrilege. The event was, however, arrested by death,
or, as she describes the result, "The furniture was a' to be roupit, and
we couldna persuade her. But before the sale cam on, in God's gude
providence she just clinkit aff hersell." Of this same Miss Johnstone
another characteristic anecdote has been preserved in the family. She
came into possession of Hawkhill, near Edinburgh, and died there. When
dying, a tremendous storm of rain and thunder came on, so as to shake
the house. In her own quaint eccentric spirit, and with no thought of
profane or light allusions, she looked up, and, listening to the storm,
quietly remarked, in reference to her departure, "Ech, sirs! what a
nicht for me to be fleein' through the air!" Of fine acute sarcasm I
recollect hearing an expression from a _modern_ sample of the class, a
charming character, but only to a certain degree answering to the
description of the _older_ generation. Conversation turning, and with
just indignation, on the infidel remarks which had been heard from a
certain individual, and on his irreverent treatment of Holy Scripture,
all that this lady condescended to say of him was, "Gey impudent of
him, I think."

A recorded reply of old Lady Perth to a French gentleman is quaint and
characteristic. They had been discussing the respective merits of the
cookery of each country. The Frenchman offended the old Scottish peeress
by some disparaging remarks on Scottish dishes, and by highly preferring
those of France. All she would answer was, "Weel, weel, some fowk like
parritch and some like paddocks[57]."

Of this older race--the ladies who were, aged, fifty years ago--no
description could be given in bolder or stronger outline than that which
I have quoted from Lord Cockburn. I would pretend to nothing more than
giving a few further illustrative details from my own experience, which
may assist the representation by adding some practical realities to
the picture.

Several of them whom I knew in my early days certainly answered to many
of the terms made use of by his lordship. Their language and expressions
had a zest and peculiarity which are gone, and which would not, I fear,
do for modern life and times.

I have spoken of Miss Erskine of Dun, which is near Montrose. She,
however, resided in Edinburgh. But those I knew best had lived many
years in the then retired society of a country town. Some were my own
relations; and in boyish days (for they had not generally much patience
with boys) were looked up to with considerable awe as very formidable
personages. Their characters and modes of expression in many respects
remarkably corresponded with Lord Cockburn's idea of the race. There was
a dry Scottish humour which we fear their successors do not inherit. One
of these Montrose ladies, Miss Nelly Fullerton, had many anecdotes told
of her quaint ways and sayings. Walking in the street one day, slippery
from frost, she fairly fell down. A young officer with much politeness
came forward and picked her up, earnestly asking her at the same time,
"I hope ma'am, you are no worse?" to which she very drily answered,
looking at him very steadily, "'Deed, sir, I'm just as little the
better." A few days after, she met her military supporter in a shop. He
was a fine tall youth, upwards of six feet high, and by way of making
some grateful recognition for his late polite attention, she eyed him
from head to foot, and as she was of the opinion of the old Scotch lady
who declared she "aye liked bonny fowk," she viewed her young friend
with much satisfaction, but which she only evinced by the quaint remark,
"Od, ye're a lang lad; God gie ye grace."

I had from a relative or intimate friend of two sisters of this school,
well known about Glasgow, an odd account of what it seems, from their
own statement, had passed between them at a country house, where they
had attended a sale by auction. As the business of the day went on, a
dozen of silver spoons had to be disposed of; and before they were put
up for competition, they were, according to the usual custom, handed
round for inspection to the company. When returned into the hands of
the auctioneer, he found only eleven. In great wrath, he ordered the
door to be shut, that no one might escape, and insisted on every one
present being searched to discover the delinquent. One of the sisters,
in consternation, whispered to the other, "Esther, ye hae nae gotten the
spune?" to which she replied, "Na; but I hae gotten Mrs. Siddons in my
pocket." She had been struck by a miniature of the great actress, and
had quietly pocketed it. The cautious reply of the sister was, "Then
just drop her, Esther." One of the sisterhood, a connection of my own,
had much of this dry Scottish humour. She had a lodging in the house of
a respectable grocer; and on her niece most innocently asking, "if she
was not very fond of her landlord," in reference to the excellence of
her apartments and the attention he paid to her comfort, she demurred to
the question on the score of its propriety, by replying, "Fond of my
landlord! that would be an _unaccountable_ fondness."

An amusing account was given of an interview and conversation between
this lady and the provost of Montrose. She had demurred at paying some
municipal tax with which she had been charged, and the provost, anxious
to prevent her getting into difficulty on the subject, kindly called to
convince her of the fairness of the claim, and the necessity of paying
it. In his explanation he referred back to his own bachelor days when a
similar payment had been required from him. "I assure you, ma'am," he
said, "when I was in your situation I was called upon in a similar way
for this tax;" to which she replied, in quiet scorn, "In my situation!
an' whan were ye in my situation?--an' auld maid leevin' in a flat wi'
an ae lass." But the complaints of such imposts were urged in a very
humorous manner by another Montrose old lady, Miss Helen Carnegy of
Craigo; she hated paying taxes, and always pretended to misunderstand
their nature. One day, receiving a notice of such payment signed by the
provost (Thorn), she broke out: "I dinna understand thae taxes; but I
just think that when Mrs. Thorn wants a new gown, the provost sends me a
tax paper!" The good lady's naïve rejection of the idea that she could
be in any sense "fond of her landlord," already referred to, was
somewhat in unison with a similar feeling recorded to have been
expressed by the late Mr. Wilson, the celebrated Scottish vocalist. He
was taking lessons from the late Mr. Finlay Dun, one of the most
accomplished musicians of the day. Mr. Dun had just returned from Italy,
and, impressed with admiration of the deep pathos, sentiment, and
passion of the Italian school of music, he regretted to find in his
pupil so lovely a voice and so much talent losing much of its effect for
want of feeling. Anxious, therefore, to throw into his friend's
performance something of the Italian expression, he proposed to bring it
out by this suggestion: "Now, Mr. Wilson, just suppose that I am your
lady love, and sing to me as you could imagine yourself doing were you
desirous of impressing her with your earnestness and affection." Poor
Mr. Wilson hesitated, blushed, and, under doubt how far such a
personification even in his case was allowable, at last remonstrated,
"Ay, Mr. Dun, ye forget I'm a married man!" A case has been reported of
a country girl, however, who thought it possible there might be an
excess in such scrupulous regard to appearances. On her marriage-day,
the youth to whom she was about to be united said to her in a triumphant
tone, "Weel, Jenny, haven't I been unco ceevil?" alluding to the fact
that during their whole courtship he had never even given her a kiss.
Her quiet reply was, "Ou, ay, man; _senselessly_ ceevil."

One of these Montrose ladies and a sister lived together; and in a very
quiet way they were in the habit of giving little dinner-parties, to
which occasionally they invited their gentlemen friends. However,
gentlemen were not always to be had; and on one occasion, when such a
difficulty had occurred, they were talking over the matter with a
friend. The one lady seemed to consider such an acquisition almost
essential to the having a dinner at all. The other, who did not see the
same necessity, quietly adding, "But, indeed, oor Jean thinks a man
_perfect salvation_."

Very much of the same class of remarks was the following sly observation
of one of the sisterhood. At a well-known tea-table in a country town in
Forfarshire, the events of the day, grave and gay, had been fully
discussed by the assembled sisterhood. The occasion was improved by an
elderly spinster, as follows:--"Weel, weel, sirs, these are solemn
events--death and marriage--but ye ken they're what we must a' come
till." "Eh, Miss Jeany! ye have been lang spared," was the arch reply of
a younger member.

There was occasionally a pawky semi-sarcastic humour in the replies of
some of the ladies we speak of, that was quite irresistible, of which I
have from a friend a good illustration in an anecdote well known at the
time. A late well-known member of the Scottish bar, when a youth, was
somewhat of a dandy, and, I suppose, somewhat short and sharp in his
temper. He was going to pay a visit in the country, and was making a
great fuss about his preparing and putting up his habiliments. His old
aunt was much annoyed at all this bustle, and stopped him by the
somewhat contemptuous question, "Whar's this you're gaun, Bobby, that
ye mak sic a grand wark about yer claes?" The young man lost temper, and
pettishly replied, "I'm going to the devil." "'Deed, Robby, then," was
the quiet answer, "ye needna be sae nice, he'll juist tak' ye as
ye are."

Ladies of this class had a quiet mode of expressing themselves on very
serious subjects, which indicated their quaint power of description,
rather than their want of feeling. Thus, of two sisters, when one had
died, it was supposed that she had injured herself by an imprudent
indulgence in strawberries and cream, of which she had partaken in the
country. A friend was condoling with the surviving sister, and,
expressing her sorrow, had added, "I had hoped your sister was to live
many years." To which her relative replied--"Leeve! hoo could she leeve?
she juist felled[58] hersell at Craigo wi' straeberries and 'ream!"
However, she spoke with the same degree of coolness of her own decease.
For when her friend was comforting her in illness, by the hopes that she
would, after winter, enjoy again some of their country spring butter,
she exclaimed, without the slightest idea of being guilty of any
irreverence, "Spring butter! by that time I shall be buttering in
heaven." When really dying, and when friends were round her bed she
overheard one of them saying to another, "Her face has lost its colour;
it grows like a sheet of paper." The quaint spirit even then broke out
in the remark, "Then I'm sure it maun be _broon_ paper." A very
strong-minded lady of the class, and, in Lord Cockburn's language,
"indifferent about modes and habits[59]," had been asking from a lady
the character of a cook she was about to hire. The lady naturally
entered a little upon her moral qualifications, and described her as a
very decent woman; the response to which was, "Oh, d--n her decency; can
she make good collops?"--an answer which would somewhat surprise a lady
of Moray Place now, if engaged in a similar discussion of a
servant's merits.

The Rev. Dr. Cook of Haddington supplies an excellent anecdote, of which
the point is in the dry Scottish answer: An old lady of the Doctor's
acquaintance, about seventy, sent for her medical attendant to consult
him about a sore throat, which had troubled her for some days. Her
medical man was ushered into her room, decked out with the now
prevailing fashion, a mustache and flowing beard. The old lady, after
exchanging the usual civilities, described her complaint to the worthy
son of Æsculapius. "Well," says he, "do you know, Mrs. Macfarlane, I
used to be much affected with the very same kind of sore throat, but
ever since I allowed my mustache and beard to grow, I have never been
troubled with it." "Aweel, aweel," said the old lady drily, "that may be
the case, but ye maun prescribe some other method for me to get quit o'
the sair throat; for ye ken, doctor, I canna adopt _that_ cure."

Then how quaint the answer of old Mrs. Robison, widow of the eminent
professor of natural philosophy, and who entertained an inveterate
dislike to everything which she thought savoured of _cant_. She had
invited a gentleman to dinner on a particular day, and he had accepted,
with the reservation, "If I am spared."--"Weel, weel," said Mrs.
Robison; "if ye're deed, I'll no expect ye."

I had two grand-aunts living at Montrose at that time--two Miss Ramsays
of Balmain. They were somewhat of the severe class---Nelly especially,
who was an object rather of awe than of affection. She certainly had a
very awful appearance to young apprehensions, from the strangeness of
her headgear. Ladies of this class Lord Cockburn has spoken of as
"having their peculiarities embodied in curious outsides, as they
dressed, spoke, and did exactly as they chose." As a sample of such
"curious outside and dress," my good aunt used to go about the house
with an immense pillow strapped over her head--warm but formidable.
These two maiden grand-aunts had invited their niece to pay them a
visit--an aunt of mine, who had made what they considered a very
imprudent marriage, and where considerable pecuniary privations were too
likely to accompany the step she had taken. The poor niece had to bear
many a taunt directed against her improvident union, as for
example:--One day she had asked for a piece of tape for some work she
had in hand as a young wife expecting to become a mother. Miss Nelly
said, with much point, "Ay, Kitty, ye shall get a bit knittin' (_i.e._ a
bit of tape). We hae a'thing; we're no married." It was this lady who,
by an inadvertent use of a term, showed what was passing in her mind in
a way which must have been quite transparent to the bystanders. At a
supper which she was giving, she was evidently much annoyed at the
reckless and clumsy manner in which a gentleman was operating upon a ham
which was at table, cutting out great lumps, and distributing them to
the company. The lady said, in a very querulous tone, "Oh, Mr. _Divot_,
will you help Mrs. So and So?"--divot being a provincial term for a turf
or sod cut out of the green, and the resemblance of it to the pieces
carved out by the gentleman evidently having taken possession of her
imagination. Mrs. Helen Carnegy of Craigo, already mentioned, was a
thorough specimen of this class. She lived in Montrose, and died in
1818, at the advanced age of ninety-one. She was a Jacobite, and very
aristocratic in her feelings, but on social terms with many burghers of
Montrose, or Munross as it was called. She preserved a very nice
distinction of addresses, suited to the different individuals in the
town, according as she placed them in the scale of her consideration.
She liked a party at quadrille, and sent out her servant every morning
to invite the ladies required to make up the game, and her directions
were graduated thus:--"Nelly, ye'll ging to Lady Carnegy's, and mak my
compliments, and ask the _honour_ of her ladyship's company, and that of
the Miss Carnegys, to tea this evening; and if they canna come, ging to
the Miss Mudies, and ask the _pleasure_ of their company; and if they
canna come, ye may ging to Miss Hunter and ask the _favour_ of her
company and if she canna come, ging to Lucky Spark and _bid her come_."

A great confusion existed in the minds of some of those old-fashioned
ladies on the subject of modern inventions and usages. A Montrose old
lady protested against the use of steam-vessels, as counteracting the
decrees of Providence in going against wind and tide, vehemently
asserting, "I would hae naething to say to thae _im-pious_ vessels."
Another lady was equally discomposed by the introduction of gas, asking,
with much earnestness, "What's to become o' the puir whales'?" deeming
their interests materially affected by this superseding of their oil. A
lady of this class, who had long lived in country retirement, coming up
to Edinburgh, was, after an absence of many years, going along Princes
Street about the time when the water-carts were introduced for
preventing the dust, and seeing one of them passing, rushed from off the
pavement to the driver, saying, "Man, ye're _skailin'_ a' the water."
Such being her ignorance of modern improvements.

There used to be a point and originality in expressions made use of in
regard to common matters, unlike what one finds now; for example: A
country minister had been invited, with his wife, to dine and spend the
night at the house of one of his lairds. Their host was very proud of
one of the very large beds which had just come into fashion, and in the
morning asked the lady how she had slept in it. "Oh, vary well, sir;
but, indeed, I thought I'd lost the minister athegither."

Nothing, however, in my opinion, comes up to the originality and point
of the Montrose old maiden lady's most "exquisite reason" for not
subscribing to the proposed fund for organising a volunteer corps in
that town. It was at the time of expected invasion at the beginning of
the century, and some of the town magistrates called upon her and
solicited her subscription to raise men for the service of the
king--"Indeed," she answered right sturdily, "I'll dae nae sic thing; I
ne'er could raise a man _for mysell_, and I'm no ga'in to raise men for
King George."

Some curious stories are told of ladies of this class, as connected with
the novelties and excitement of railway travelling. Missing their
luggage, or finding that something has gone wrong about it, often causes
very terrible distress, and might be amusing, were it not to the
sufferer so severe a calamity. I was much entertained with the
earnestness of this feeling, and the expression of it from an old Scotch
lady whose box was not forthcoming at the station where she was to
stop. When urged to be patient, her indignant exclamation was--"I can
bear ony pairtings that may be ca'ed for in God's providence; but I
_canna stan' pairtin' frae my claes_."

The following anecdote from the west exhibits a curious confusion of
ideas arising from the old-fashioned prejudice against Frenchmen and
their language, which existed in the last generation. During the long
French war, two old ladies in Stranraer were going to the kirk; the one
said to the other, "Was it no a wonderfu' thing that the Breetish were
aye victorious ower the French in battle?" "Not a bit," said the other
old lady; "dinna ye ken the Breetish aye say their prayers before ga'in
into battle?" The other replied, "But canna the French say their prayers
as weel?" The reply was most characteristic, "Hoot! jabbering bodies,
wha could _understan'_ them?"

Some of these ladies, as belonging to the old county families, had very
high notions of their own importance, and a great idea of their
difference from the burgher families of the town. I am assured of the
truth of the following naïve specimen of such family pride:--One of the
olden maiden ladies of Montrose called one day on some ladies of one of
the families in the neighbourhood, and on being questioned as to the
news of the town, said, "News! oh, Bailie----'s eldest son is to be
married." "And pray," was the reply, "and pray, Miss ----, an' fa' ever
heard o' a merchant i' the toon o' Montrose _ha'in_ an _eldest son_?"
The good lady thought that any privilege of primogeniture belonged only
to the family of _laird_.

It is a dangerous experiment to try passing off ungrounded claims upon
characters of this description. Many a clever sarcastic reply is on
record from Scottish ladies, directed against those who wished to
impose upon them some false sentiment. I often think of the remark of
the outspoken ancient lady, who, when told by her pastor, of whose
disinterestedness in his charge she was not quite sure, that he "had a
call from his Lord and Master to go," replied--"'Deed, sir, the Lord
micht hae ca'ed and ca'ed to ye lang eneuch to Ouchtertoul (a very small
stipend), and ye'd ne'er hae letten on that ye heard him."

At the beginning of this century, when the fear of invasion was rife, it
was proposed to mount a small battery at the water-mouth by
subscription, and Miss Carnegy was waited on by a deputation from the
town-council. One of them having addressed her on the subject, she heard
him with some impatience, and when he had finished, she said, "Are ye
ane o' the toon-cooncil." He replied, "I have that honour, ma'am." To
which she rejoined, "Ye may hae that _profit_, but honour ye hae nane;"
and then to the point, she added, "But I've been tell't that ae day's
wark o' twa or three men wad mount the cannon, and that it may be a'
dune for twenty shillings; now there's twa punds to ye." The councillor
pocketed the money and withdrew. On one occasion, as she sat in an easy
chair, having assumed the habits and privileges of age, Mr. Mollison,
the minister of the Established Kirk, called on her to solicit for some
charity. She did not like being asked for money, and, from her Jacobite
principles, she certainly did not respect the Presbyterian Kirk. When he
came in she made an inclination of the head, and he said, "Don't get up,
madam." She replied, "Get up! I wadna rise out o' my chair for King
George himsell, let abee a whig minister."

This was plain speaking enough, but there is something quite inimitable
in the matter-of-factness of the following story of an advertisement,
which may tend to illustrate the Antiquary's remark to Mrs. Macleuchar,
anent the starting of a coach or fly to Queensferry. A carrier, who
plied his trade between Aberdeen and a village considerably to the north
of it, was asked by one of the villagers, "Fan are ye gaen to the toon"
(Aberdeen). To which he replied, "I'll be in on Monanday, God willin'
and weather permitting an' on Tiseday, _fither or no_."

It is a curious subject the various shades of Scottish dialect and
Scottish expressions, commonly called Scotticisms. We mark in the course
of fifty years how some disappear altogether; others become more and
more rare, and of all of them we may say, I think, that the specimens of
them are to be looked for every year more in the descending classes of
society. What was common amongst peers, judges, lairds, advocates, and
people of family and education, is now found in humbler ranks of life.
There are few persons perhaps who have been born in Scotland, and who
have lived long in Scotland, whom a nice southern ear might not detect
as from the north. But far beyond such nicer shades of distinction,
there are strong and characteristic marks of a Caledonian origin, with
which some of us have had practical acquaintance. I possess two curious,
and now, I believe, rather scarce, publications on the prevalent
Scotticisms of our speaking and writing. One is entitled "Scotticisms
designed to Correct Improprieties of Speech and Writing," by Dr. Beattie
of Aberdeen. The other is to the same purpose, and is entitled,
"Observations on the Scottish Dialect," by the late Right Honourable Sir
John Sinclair. Expressions which were common in their days, and used by
persons of all ranks, are not known by the rising generation. Many
amusing equivoques used to be current, arising from Scotch people in
England applying terms and expressions in a manner rather surprising to
southern ears. Thus, the story was told of a public character long
associated with the affairs of Scotland, Henry Dundas (first Viscount
Melville), applying to Mr. Pitt for the loan of a horse "_the length_ of
Highgate;" a very common expression in Scotland, at that time, to
signify the distance to which the ride was to extend. Mr. Pitt
good-humouredly wrote back to say that he was afraid he had not a horse
in his possession _quite so long_ as Mr. Dundas had mentioned, but he
had sent the longest he had. There is a well-known case of
mystification, caused to English ears by the use of Scottish terms,
which took place in the House of Peers during the examination of the
Magistrates of Edinburgh touching the particulars of the Porteous Mob in
1736. The Duke of Newcastle having asked the Provost with what kind of
shot the town-guard commanded by Porteous had loaded their muskets,
received the unexpected reply, "Ou, juist sic as ane shutes dukes and
sic like fules wi'." The answer was considered as a contempt of the
House of Lords, and the poor provost would have suffered from
misconception of his patois, had not the Duke of Argyle (who must have
been exceedingly amused) explained that the worthy magistrate's
expression, when rendered into English, did not apply to Peers and
Idiots but to _ducks_ and _water-fowl_. The circumstance is referred to
by Sir W. Scott in the notes to the Heart of Mid-Lothian. A similar
equivoque upon the double meaning of "Deuk" in Scottish language
supplied material for a poor woman's honest compliment to a benevolent
Scottish nobleman. John, Duke of Roxburghe, was one day out riding, and
at the gate of Floors he was accosted by an importunate old beggar
woman. He gave her half-a-crown, which pleased her so much that she
exclaimed, "Weel's me on your _guse_ face, for Duke's ower little
tae ca' ye."

A very curious list may be made of words used in Scotland in a sense
which would be quite unintelligible to Southerns. Such applications are
going out, but I remember them well amongst the old-fashioned people of
Angus and the Mearns quite common in conversation. I subjoin some

_Bestial_ signifies amongst Scottish agriculturists cattle generally,
the whole aggregate number of beasts on the farm. Again, a Scottish
farmer, when he speaks of his "hogs" or of buying "hogs," has no
reference to swine, but means young sheep, i.e. sheep before they have
lost their first fleece.

_Discreet_ does not express the idea of a prudent or cautious person so
much as of one who is not rude, but considerate of the opinions of
others. Such application of the word is said to have been made by Dr.
Chalmers to the late Henry, Bishop of Exeter. These two eminent
individuals had met for the first time at the hospitable house of the
late Mr. Murray, the publisher. On the introduction taking place, the
Bishop expressed himself so warmly as to the pleasure it gave him to
meet so distinguished and excellent a man as Dr. Chalmers, that the
Doctor, somewhat surprised at such an unexpected ebullition from an
English Church dignitary, could only reply, "Oh, I am sure your lordship
is very 'discreet[60].'"

_Enterteening_ has in olden Scottish usage the sense not of amusing, but
interesting. I remember an honest Dandie Dinmont on a visit to Bath. A
lady, who had taken a kind charge of him, accompanied him to the
theatre, and in the most thrilling scene of Kemble's acting, what is
usually termed the dagger scene in Macbeth, she turned to the farmer
with a whisper, "Is not that fine?" to which the confidential reply was,
"Oh, mem, its verra _enterteening!_" Enterteening expressing his idea of
the effect produced.

_Pig_, in old-fashioned Scotch, was always used for a coarse earthenware
jar or vessel. In the Life of the late Patrick Tytler, the amiable and
gifted historian of Scotland, there occurs an amusing exemplification of
the utter confusion of ideas caused by the use of Scottish phraseology.
The family, when they went to London, had taken with them an old
Scottish servant who had no notion of any terms beside her own. She came
in one day greatly disturbed at the extremely backward state of
knowledge of domestic affairs amongst the Londoners. She had been to so
many shops and could not get "a great broon pig to haud the butter in."

From a relative of the family I have received an account of a still
worse confusion of ideas, caused by the inquiry of a Mrs. Chisholm of
Chisholm, who died in London in 1825, at an advanced age. She had come
from the country to be with her daughter, and was a genuine Scottish
lady of the old school. She wished to purchase a table-cloth of a cheque
pattern, like the squares of a chess or draught board. Now a
draught-board used to be called (as I remember) by old Scotch people a
"dam[61] brod[62]." Accordingly, Mrs. Chisholm entered the shop of a
linen-draper, and asked to be shown table-linen a _dam-brod pattern_.
The shopman, although, taken aback by a request, as he considered it,
so strongly worded, by a respectable old lady, brought down what he
assured her was the largest and widest made. No; that would not do. She
repeated her wish for a dam-brod pattern, and left the shop surprised at
the stupidity of the London shopman not having the pattern she
asked for.

_Silly_ has in genuine old Scottish use reference to weakness of body
only, and not of mind. Before knowing the use of the word, I remember
being much astonished at a farmer of the Mearns telling me of the
strongest-minded man in the county that he was "uncommon silly," not
insinuating any decline of mental vigour, but only meaning that his
bodily strength was giving way.

_Frail_, in like manner, expresses infirmity of body, and implies no
charge of any laxity in moral principle; yet I have seen English persons
looking with considerable consternation when an old-fashioned Scottish
lady, speaking of a young and graceful female, lamented her being
so _frail_.

_Fail_ is another instance of different use of words. In Scotland it
used to be quite common to say of a person whose health and strength had
declined, that he had _failed_. To say this of a person connected with
mercantile business has a very serious effect upon southern ears, as
implying nothing short of bankruptcy and ruin. I recollect many years
ago at Monmouth, my dear mother creating much consternation in the mind
of the mayor, by saying of a worthy man, the principal banker in the
town, whom they both concurred in praising, that she was "sorry to find
he _was failing_."

_Honest_ has in Scotch a peculiar application, irrespective of any
integrity of moral character. It is a kindly mode of referring to an
individual, as we would say to a stranger, "Honest man, would you tell
me the way to ----?" or as Lord Hermand, when about to sentence a woman
for stealing, began remonstratively, "Honest woman, whatever garr'd ye
steal your neighbour's tub?"

_Superstitious_: A correspondent informs me that in some parts of
Mid-Lothian the people constantly use the word "superstitious" for
"bigoted;" thus, speaking of a very keen Free Church person, they will
say, "He is awfu' supperstitious."

_Kail_ in England simply expresses cabbage, but in Scotland represents
the chief meal of the day. Hence the old-fashioned easy way of asking a
friend to dinner was to ask him if he would take his kail with the
family. In the same usage of the word, the Scottish proverb expresses
distress and trouble in a person's affairs, by saying that "he has got
his kail through the reek." In like manner haddock, in Kincardineshire
and Aberdeenshire, used to express the same idea, as the expression is,
"Will ye tak your haddock wi' us the day?" that fish being so plentiful
and so excellent that it was a standing dish. There is this difference,
however, in the local usage, that to say in Aberdeen, Will you take your
haddock? implies an invitation to dinner; whilst in Montrose the same
expression means an invitation to _supper_. Differences of pronunciation
also caused great confusion and misunderstanding. Novels used to be
pronounced no_vels_; envy en_vy_; a cloak was a clock, to the surprise
of an English lady, to whom the maid said, on her leaving the house,
"Mem, winna ye tak the _clock_ wi' ye?"

The names of children's diseases were a remarkable item in the catalogue
of Scottish words:--Thus, in 1775, Mrs. Betty Muirheid kept a
boarding-school for young ladies in the Trongate of Glasgow, near the
Tron steeple. A girl on her arrival was asked whether she had had
smallpox. "Yes, mem, I've had the sma'pox, the nirls[63], the blabs[64],
the scaw[65], the kinkhost[66], and the fever, the branks[67] and the

There is indeed a case of Scottish pronunciation which adds to the force
and copiousness of our language, by discriminating four words, which,
according to English speaking, are undistinguishable in mere
pronunciation. The words are--wright (a carpenter), to write (with a
pen), right (the reverse of wrong), rite (a ceremony). The four are,
however, distinguished in old-fashioned Scotch pronunciation thus--1,
He's a wiricht; 2, to wireete; 3, richt; 4, rite.

I can remember a peculiar Scottish phrase very commonly used, which now
seems to have passed away. I mean the expression "to let on," indicating
the notice or observation of something, or of some person.--For example,
"I saw Mr. ---- at the meeting, but I never let on that I knew he was
present." A form of expression which has been a great favourite in
Scotland in my recollection has much gone out of practice--I mean the
frequent use of diminutives, generally adopted either as terms of
endearment or of contempt. Thus it was very common to speak of a person
whom you meant rather to undervalue, as a _mannie_, a _boddie_, a _bit
boddie_, or a _wee bit mannie_. The Bailie in Rob Roy, when he intended
to represent his party as persons of no importance, used the expression,
"We are bits o' Glasgow bodies."

An admirable Scotch expression I recollect from one of the Montrose
ladies before referred to. Her niece was asking a great many questions
on some point concerning which her aunt had been giving her
information, and coming over and over the ground, demanding an
explanation how this had happened, and why something else was so and so.
The old lady lost her patience, and at last burst forth: "I winna be
_back-speired_ noo, Pally Fullerton." Back-speired! how much more pithy
and expressive than cross-examined! "He's not a man to ride the water
on," expresses your want of confidence and of trust in the character
referred to. Another capital expression to mark that a person has stated
a point rather under than over the truth, is, "The less I lee," as in
Guy Mannering, where the precentor exclaims to Mrs. MacCandlish, "Aweel,
gudewife, then the less I lee." We have found it a very amusing task
collecting together a number of these phrases, and forming them into a
connected epistolary composition. We may imagine the sort of puzzle it
would be to a young person of the present day--one of what we may call
the new school. We will suppose an English young lady, or an English
educated young lady, lately married, receiving such a letter as the
following from the Scottish aunt of her husband. We may suppose it to be
written by a very old lady, who, for the last fifty years has not moved
from home, and has changed nothing of her early days. I can safely
affirm that every word of it I have either seen written in a letter, or
have heard in ordinary conversation:--

     "_Montrose_, 1858[69].

     "My Dear Niece--I am real glad to find my _nevy_ has made so
     good a choice as to have secured you for his wife; and I am
     sure this step will add much to his comfort, and we _behove_
     to rejoice at it. He will now look forward to his evening at
     home, and you will be happy when you find you never _want_
     him. It will be a great pleasure when you hear him in the
     _trance_, and wipe his feet upon the _bass_. But Willy is not
     strong, and you must look well after him. I hope you do not
     let him _snuff_ so much as he did. He had a sister, poor
     thing, who died early. She was remarkably clever, and well
     read, and most intelligent, but was always uncommonly
     _silly_[70] In the autumn of '40 she had a _sair host_, and
     was aye _speaking through a cold_, and at dinner never did
     more than to _sup a few family broth_. I am afraid she did
     not _change her feet_ when she came in from the wet one
     evening. I never _let on_ that I observed anything to be
     wrong; but I remember asking her to come and _sit upon_ the
     fire. But she went out, and did not _take_ the door with her.
     She lingered till next spring, when she had a great
     _income_[71], and her parents were then too poor to take her
     south, and she died. I hope you will like the lassie Eppie we
     have sent you. She is a _discreet_ girl, and comes of a
     decent family. She has a sister _married upon_ a Seceding
     minister at Kirkcaldy. But I hear he expects to be
     _transported_ soon. She was brought up in one of the
     _hospitals_ here. Her father had been a _souter_ and a _pawky
     chiel_ enough, but was _doited_ for many years, and her
     mother was _sair dottled_. We have been greatly interested in
     the hospital where Eppie was _educate_, and intended getting
     up a bazaar for it, and would have asked you to help us, as
     we were most anxious to raise some additional funds, when one
     of the Bailies died and left it _feuing-stances_ to the
     amount of 5000 pounds, which was really a great
     _mortification_. I am not a good _hand of write_, and
     therefore shall stop. I am very tired, and have been
     _gantin_[72] for this half-hour, and even in correspondence
     gantin' may be _smittin'_[73]. The _kitchen_[74] is just
     coming in, and I _feel_ a _smell of tea_, so when I get my
     _four hours,_ that will refresh me and set me up again.--I
     am, your affectionate aunt, ISABEL DINGWALL."

This letter, then, we suppose written by a very old Forfarshire lady to
her niece in England, and perhaps the young lady who received it might
answer it in a style as strange to her aunt as her aunt's is to her,
especially if she belonged to that lively class of our young female
friends who indulge a little in phraseology which they have imbibed from
their brothers, or male cousins, who have, perhaps for their amusement,
encouraged them in its use. The answer, then, might be something like
this; and without meaning to be severe or satirical upon our young lady
friends, I may truly say that, though I never heard from one young lady
_all_ these fast terms, I have heard the most of them separately
from many:--

     "My Dear Aunty--Many thanks for your kind letter and its
     enclosure. From my not knowing Scotch, I am not quite up to
     the mark, and some of the expressions I don't _twig_ at all.
     Willie is absent for a few days, but when he returns home he
     will explain it; he is quite _awake_ on all such things. I am
     glad you are pleased that Willie and I are now _spliced_. I
     am well aware that you will hear me spoken of in some
     quarters as a _fast_ young lady. A man here had the impudence
     to say that when he visited my husband's friends he would
     tell them so. I quietly and civilly replied, 'You be blowed!'
     So don't believe him. We get on famously at present. Willie
     comes home from the office every afternoon at five. We
     generally take a walk before dinner, and read and work if we
     don't go out; and I assure you we are very _jolly_. We don't
     know many people here yet. It is rather a _swell_
     neighbourhood; and if we can't get in with the _nobs_, depend
     upon it we will never take up with any society that is
     decidedly _snobby. I_ daresay the girl you are sending will
     be very useful to us; our present one is an awful _slow
     coach_. In fact, the sending her to us was a regular _do_.
     But we hope some day to sport _buttons_. My father and mother
     paid us a visit last week. The _governor_ is well, and,
     notwithstanding years and infirmities, comes out quite a
     _jolly old cove_. He is, indeed, if you will pardon the
     partiality of a daughter, a regular _brick_. He says he will
     help us if we can't get on, and I make no doubt will in due
     time _fork out the tin_. I am busy working a cap for you,
     dear aunty; it is from a pretty German pattern, and I think
     when finished will be quite a _stunner_. There is a shop in
     Regent Street where I hire patterns, and can get six of them
     for five _bob_. I then return them without buying them, which
     I think a capital _dodge_. I hope you will sport it for my
     sake at your first _tea and turn out_.

     "I have nothing more to say particular, but am always

     "Your affectionate niece,


     "_P.S._--I am trying to break Willie off his horrid habit of
     taking snuff. I had rather see him take his cigar when we are
     walking. You will be told, I daresay, that I sometimes take a
     _weed_ myself. It is not true, dear aunty."

Before leaving the question of change in Scottish expressions, it may
be proper to add a few words on the subject of Scottish
_dialects_--_i.e._, on the differences which exist in different counties
or localities in the Scottish tongue itself. These differences used to
be as marked as different languages; of course they still exist amongst
the peasantry as before. The change consists in their gradual vanishing
from the conversation of the educated and refined. The dialects with
which I am most conversant are the two which present the greatest
contrast, viz. the Angus and the Aberdeen, or the slow and broad
Scotch--the quick and sharp Scotch. Whilst the one talks of "Buuts and
shoon," the other calls the same articles "beets and sheen." With the
Aberdonian "what" is always "fat" or "fatten;" "music" is "meesic;"
"brutes" are "breets;" "What are ye duin'?" of southern Scotch, in
Aberdeen would be "Fat are ye deein'?" Fergusson, nearly a century ago,
noted this peculiarity of dialect in his poem of The Leith Races:--

     "The Buchan bodies through the beach,
        Their bunch of Findrams cry;
      And skirl out bauld in Norland speech,
        Gude speldans _fa_ will buy?"

"Findon," or "Finnan haddies," are split, smoked, and partially dried
haddocks. Fergusson, in using the word "_Findrams"_, which is not found
in our glossaries, has been thought to be in error, but his accuracy has
been verified singularly enough, within the last few days, by a worthy
octogenarian Newhaven fisherman, bearing the characteristic name of
Flucker, who remarked "that it was a word commonly used in his youth;
and, above all," he added, "when Leith Races were held on the sands, he
was like to be deeved wi' the lang-tongued hizzies skirling out, '_Aell
a Findram Speldrains_,' and they jist ca'ed it that to get a better grip
o't wi' their tongues."

In Galloway, in 1684, Symson, afterwards an ousted Episcopalian minister
(of Kirkinner), notes some peculiarities in the speech of the people in
that district. "Some of the countrey people, especially those of the
elder sort, do very often omit the letter 'h' after 't' as ting for
thing; tree for three; tatch for thatch; wit for with; fait for faith;
mout for mouth, etc.; and also, contrary to some north countrey people,
they oftentimes pronounce 'w' for 'v,' as serwant for servant; and so
they call the months of February, March, and April, the _ware_ quarter,
from _ver_[75]. Hence their common proverb, speaking of the storms in
February, '_winter never comes till ware comes_.'" These peculiarities
of language have almost disappeared--the immense influx of Irish
emigrants during late years has exercised a perceptible influence over
the dialect of Wigtonshire.

When a southerner mentioned the death of a friend to a lady of the
granite city, she asked, "Fat dee'd he o'?" which being utterly
incomprehensible to the person asked, another Aberdonian lady kindly
explained the question, and put it into language which she supposed
_could_ not be mistaken, as thus, "Fat did he dee o'?" If there was this
difference between the Aberdeen and the Forfar dialect, how much greater
must be that difference when contrasted with the _ore rotundo_ language
of an English southern dignitary. Such a one being present at a school
examination in Aberdeen wished to put some questions on Scripture
history himself, and asked an intelligent boy, "What was the ultimate
fate of Pharaoh?" This the boy not understanding, the master put the
same question Aberdonicé, "Jemmy, fat was the hinner end o' Pharaoh?"
which called forth the ready reply, "He was drouned i' the Red Sea." A
Forfarshire parent, dissatisfied with his son's English pronunciation,
remonstrated with him, "What for div' ye say _why_? why canna ye say
'what for'?"

The power of Scottish phraseology, or rather of Scottish _language_,
could not be better displayed than in the following Aberdonian
description of London theatricals:--Mr. Taylor, at one time well known
in London as having the management of the opera-house, had his father up
from Aberdeen to visit him and see the wonders of the capital. When the
old man returned home, his friends, anxious to know the impressions
produced on his mind by scenes and characters so different from what he
had been accustomed to at home, inquired what sort of business his son
carried on? "Ou," said he (in reference to the operatic singers and the
corps de ballet), "he just keeps a curn[76] o' quainies[77] and a wheen
widdyfous[78], and gars them fissle[79], and loup, and mak murgeons[80],
to please the great fowk."

Another ludicrous interrogatory occurred regarding the death of a Mr.
Thomas Thomson. It appeared there were two cousins of this name, both
corpulent men. When it was announced that Mr. Thomas Thomson was dead,
an Aberdeen friend of the family asked, "Fatten Thamas Thamson?" He was
informed that it was a fat Thamas Thamson, upon which the Aberdeen query
naturally arose, "Ay, but fatten fat Thamas Thamson?" Another
illustration of the Aberdeen dialect is thus given:--"The Pope o' Rome
requires a bull to do his wark, but the Emperor o' France made a coo
dee't a'"--a cow do it all--a pun on _coup d'état_. A young lady from
Aberdeen had been on a visit to Montrose, and was disappointed at
finding there a great lack of beaux, and balls, and concerts. This lack
was not made up to her by the invitations which she had received to
dinner parties. And she thus expressed her feelings on the subject in
her native dialect, when asked how she liked Montrose: "Indeed there's
neither men nor meesic, and fat care I for meat?" There is no male
society and no concerts, and what do I care for dinners? The dialect and
the local feelings of Aberdeen were said to have produced some amusement
in London, as displayed by the lady of the Provost of Aberdeen when
accompanying her husband going up officially to the capital. Some
persons to whom she had been introduced recommended her going to the
opera as one of the sights worthy the attention of a stranger. The good
lady, full of the greatness of her situation as wife of the provost, and
knowing the sensation her appearance in public occasioned when in her
own city, and supposing that a little excitement would accompany her
with the London public, rather declined, under the modest plea, "Fat for
should I gang to the opera, just to creat a confeesion?" An aunt of
mine, who knew Aberdeen well, used to tell a traditionary story of two
Aberdonian ladies, who by their insinuations against each other, finely
illustrated the force of the dialect then in common use. They had both
of them been very attentive to a sick lady in declining health, and on
her death each had felt a distrust of the perfect disinterestedness of
the other's attention. This created more than a coolness between them,
and the bad feeling came out on their passing in the street. The one
insinuated her suspicions of unfair dealing with the property of the
deceased by ejaculating, as the other passed her, "Henny pig[81] and
green tea," to which the other retorted, in the same spirit, "Silk coat
and negligee[82]." Aberdonian pronunciation produced on one occasion a
curious equivoque between the minister and a mother of a family with
whom he was conversing in a pastoral way. The minister had said, "Weel,
Margaret, I hope you're thoroughly ashamed of your _sins_" Now, in
Aberdeenshire _sons_ are pronounced sins; accordingly, to the minister's
surprise, Margaret burst forth, "Ashamed o' ma sins! na, na, I'm proud
o' ma sins. Indeed, gin it werena for thae cutties o' dauchters, I
should be _ower_ proud o' ma sins."

Any of my readers who are not much conversant with Aberdeen dialect will
find the following a good specimen:--A lady who resided in Aberdeen,
being on a visit to some friends in the country, joined an excursion on
horseback. Not being much of an equestrian, she was mounted upon a
Highland pony as being the _canniest baste_. He, however, had a trick of
standing still in crossing a stream. A burn had to be crossed--the rest
of the party passed on, while "Paddy" remained, pretending to drink.
Miss More, in great desperation, called out to one of her
friends--"Bell, 'oman, turn back an gie me your bit fuppie, for the
breet's stannin' i' the peel wi' ma."

A rich specimen of Aberdeen dialect, under peculiar circumstances, was
supplied by an Aberdonian lady who had risen in the world from selling
fruit at a stall to be the wife of the Lord Provost. Driving along in
her own carriage, she ordered it to stop, and called to her a poor
woman whom she saw following her old occupation. After some colloquy,
she dismissed her very coolly, remarking, "'Deed, freet's dear sin' I
sauld freet in streets o' Aberdeen." This anecdote of reference to a
good lady's more humble occupation than riding in her carriage may
introduce a somewhat analogous anecdote, in which a more distinguished
personage than the wife of the Provost of Aberdeen takes a prominent
part. The present Archbishop of Canterbury tells the story himself, with
that admixture of humour and of true dignity by which his Grace's manner
is so happily distinguished. The Archbishop's father in early life lived
much at Dollar, where, I believe, he had some legal and official
appointment. His sons, the Archbishop and his brother, attended the
grammar school, rather celebrated in the country; they ran about and
played like other lads, and were known as schoolboys to the peasantry.
In after days, when the Archbishop had arrived at his present place of
dignity as Primate of all England, he was attending a great confirmation
service at Croydon--the churchwardens, clergy, mayors, etc., of the
place in attendance upon the Archbishop, and a great congregation of
spectators. On going up the centre of the church, a Dollar man, who had
got into the crowd in a side aisle, said, loud enough for the Archbishop
to hear, "There wasna muckle o' this at Dollar, my Lord."

I have not had leisure to pursue, as I had intended, a further
consideration of SCOTTISH DIALECT, and their differences from each other
in the north, south, east, and west of Scotland. I merely remark now,
that the dialect of one district is considered quite barbarous, and
laughed at by the inhabitants of another district where a different form
of language is adopted. I have spoken of the essential difference
between Aberdeen and Southern Scotch. An English gentleman had been
visiting the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, and accompanied him to Aberdeen.
His lordship of Edinburgh introduced his English friend to the Provost
of Aberdeen, and they both attended a great dinner given by the latter.
After grace had been said, the Provost kindly and hospitably addressed
the company, Aberdonice--"Now, gentlemen, fah tee, fah tee." The
Englishman whispered to his friend, and asked what was meant by "fah
tee, fah tee;" to which his lordship replied--"Hout, he canna speak; he
means fau too, fau too." Thus one Scotticism was held in terror by those
who used a different Scotticism: as at Inverary, the wife of the chief
writer of the place, seeking to secure her guest from the taint of
inferior society, intimated to him, but somewhat confidentially, that
Mrs. W. (the rival writer's wife) was quite a vulgar body, so much so as
to ask any one leaving the room to "_snib_ the door," instead of bidding
them, as she triumphantly observed, "_sneck_ the door."

Now, to every one who follows these anecdotes of a past time, it must be
obvious how much peculiarities of Scottish wit and humour depend upon
the language in which they are clothed. As I have before remarked, much
of the point depends upon the _broad Scotch_ with which they are
accompanied. As a type and representative of that phraseology, we would
specially recommend a study of our Scottish proverbs. In fact, in
Scottish proverbs will be found an epitome of the Scottish phraseology,
which is peculiar and characteristic. I think it quite clear that there
are proverbs exclusively Scottish, and as we find embodied in them
traits of Scottish character, and many peculiar forms of Scottish
thought and Scottish language, sayings of this kind, once so familiar,
should have a place in our Scottish Reminiscences. Proverbs are
literally, in many instances, becoming _reminiscences_. They now seem to
belong to that older generation whom we recollect, and who used them in
conversation freely and constantly. To strengthen an argument or
illustrate a remark by a proverb was then a common practice in
conversation. Their use, however, is now considered vulgar, and their
formal application is almost prohibited by the rules of polite society.
Lord Chesterfield denounced the practice of quoting proverbs as a
palpable violation of all polite refinement in conversation.
Notwithstanding all this, we acknowledge having much pleasure in
recalling our national proverbial expressions. They are full of
character, and we find amongst them important truths, expressed
forcibly, wisely, and gracefully. The expression of Bacon has often been
quoted--"The genius, wit, and wisdom of a nation, are discovered by
their proverbs."

All nations have their proverbs, and a vast number of books have been
written on the subject. We find, accordingly, that collections have been
made of proverbs considered as belonging peculiarly to Scotland. The
collections to which I have had access are the following:--

1. The fifth edition, by Balfour, of "Ray's Complete Collection of
English Proverbs," in which is a separate collection of those which are
considered Scottish Proverbs--1813. Ray professes to have taken these
from Fergusson's work mentioned below.

2. A Complete Collection of Scottish Proverbs, explained and made
intelligible to the English reader, by James Kelly, M.A., published in
London 1721.

3. Scottish Proverbs gathered together by David Fergusson, sometime
minister at Dunfermline, and put _ordine alphabetico_ when he departed
this life anno 1598. Edinburgh, 1641.

4. A collection of Scots Proverbs, dedicated to the Tenantry of
Scotland, by Allan Ramsay. This collection is found in the edition of
his Poetical Works, 3 vols. post 8vo, Edin. 1818, but is not in the
handsome edition of 1800. London, 2 vols. 8vo.

5. Scottish Proverbs, collected and arranged by Andrew Henderson, with
an introductory Essay by W. Motherwell. Edin. 1832.

6. The Proverbial Philosophy of Scotland, an address to the School of
Arts, by William Stirling of Keir, M.P. Stirling and Edin. 1855.

The collection of Ray, the great English naturalist, is well known. The
first two editions, published at Cambridge in 1670 and 1678, were by the
author; subsequent editions were by other editors.

The work by James Kelly professes to collect Scottish proverbs only. It
is a volume of nearly 400 pages, and contains a short explanation or
commentary attached to each, and often parallel sayings from other
languages[83]. Mr. Kelly bears ample testimony to the extraordinary free
use made of proverbs in his time by his countrymen and by himself. He
says that "there were current in society upwards of 3000 proverbs,
exclusively Scottish." He adds, "The Scots are wonderfully given to this
way of speaking, and, as the consequence of that, abound with proverbs,
many of which are very expressive, quick, and home to the purpose; and,
indeed, this humour prevails universally over the whole nation,
especially among the better sort of the commonalty, none of whom will
discourse with you any considerable time but he will affirm every
assertion and observation with a Scottish proverb. To that nation I owe
my birth and education; and to that manner of speaking I was used from
my infancy, to such a degree that I became in some measure remarkable
for it." This was written in 1721, and we may see from Mr. Kelly's
account what a change has taken place in society as regards this mode of
intercourse. Our author states that he has "omitted in his collection
many popular proverbs which are very pat and expressive," and adds as
his reason, that "since it does not become a man of manners to use them,
it does not become a man of my age and profession to write them." What
was Mr. Kelly's profession or what his age does not appear from any
statements in this volume; but, judging by many proverbs which he has
_retained_, those which consideration of years and of profession induced
him to omit must have been bad indeed, and unbecoming for _any_ age or
_any_ profession[84]. The third collection by Mr. Fergusson is mentioned
by Kelly as the only one which had been made before his time, and that
he had not met with it till he had made considerable progress in his own
collection. The book is now extremely rare, and fetches a high price. By
the great kindness of the learned librarian, I have been permitted to
see the copy belonging to the library of the Writers to the Signet. It
is the first edition, and very rare. A quaint little thin volume, such
as delights the eyes of true bibliomaniacs, unpaged, and published at
Edinburgh 1641--although on the title-page the proverbs are said to have
been collected at Mr. Fergusson's death, 1598[85]. There is no preface
or notice by the author, but an address from the printer, "to the
merrie, judicious, and discreet reader."

The proverbs, amounting to 945, are given without any comment or
explanation. Many of them are of a very antique cast of language; indeed
some would be to most persons quite unintelligible without a lexicon.

The printer, in his address "to the merrie, judicious, and discreet
reader," refers in the following quaint expressions to the
author:--"Therefore manie in this realme that hath hard of David
Fergusson, sometime minister at Dunfermline, and of his quick answers
and speeches, both to great persons and others inferiours, and hath hard
of his proverbs which hee gathered together in his time, and now we put
downe according to the order of the alphabet; and manie, of all ranks of
persons, being verie desirous to have the said proverbs, I have thought
good to put them to the presse for thy better satisfaction.... I know
that there may be some that will say and marvell that a minister should
have taken pains to gather such proverbs together; but they that knew
his forme of powerfull preaching the word, and his ordinar talking, ever
almost using proverbiall speeches, will not finde fault with this that
he hath done. And whereas there are some old Scottish words not in use
now, bear with that, because if ye alter those words, the proverb will
have no grace; and so, recommending these proverbs to thy good use, I
bid thee farewell."

I now subjoin a few of Fergusson's Proverbs, verbatim, which are of a
more obsolete character, and have appended explanations, of the
correctness of which, however, I am not quite confident:--

_A year a nurish[86], seven year a da[87]_. Refers, I presume, to
fulfilling the maternal office.

_Anes payit never cravit_. Debts once paid give no more trouble.

_All wald[88] have all, all wald forgie[89]_. Those who exact much
should be ready to concede.

_A gangang[90] fit[91] is aye[92] gettin (gin[93] it were but a thorn),_
or, as it sometimes runs, _gin it were but a broken tae, i.e. toe_. A
man of industry will certainly get a living; though the proverb is often
applied to those who went abroad and got a mischief when they might
safely have stayed at home--(Kelly).

_All crakes[94], all bears[95]_. Spoken against bullies who kept a great
hectoring, and yet, when put to it, tamely pocket an affront--(Kelly).

_Bourd[96] not wi' bawtie[97] (lest he bite you_). Do not jest too
familiarly with your superiors (Kelly), or with dangerous characters.

_Bread's house skailed never[98]_ While people have bread they need not
give up housekeeping. Spoken when one has bread and wishes something

_Crabbit[99] was and cause had_. Spoken ironically of persons put out of
temper without adequate cause.

_Dame, deem[100] warily, (ye watna[101] wha wytes[102]
yersell_).--Spoken to remind those who pass hard censures on others
that they may themselves be censured.

_Efter lang mint[103] never dint[104]_. Spoken of long and painful
labour producing little effect. Kelly's reading is "_Lang mint little
dint_." Spoken when men threaten much and dare not execute--(Kelly).

_Fill fou[105] and hand[106] fou maks a stark[107] man_. In Border
language a _stark_ man was one who takes and keeps boldly.

_He that crabbs[108] without cause should mease[109] without
mends[110]_. Spoken to remind those who are angry without cause, that
they should not be particular in requiring apologies from others.

_He is worth na weill that may not bide na wae_. He deserves not the
sweet that will not taste the sour. He does not deserve prosperity who
cannot meet adversity.

_Kame[111] sindle[112] kame sair_[113]. Applied to those who forbear for
a while, but when once roused can act with severity.

_Kamesters[114] are aye creeshie[115]_. It is usual for men to look like
their trade.

_Let alane maks mony lurden_[116]. Want of correction makes many a bad

_Mony tynes[117] the half-mark[118] whinger[119] (for the halfe pennie
whang_)[120]. Another version of penny wise and pound foolish.

_Na plie[121] is best_.

_Reavers[122] should not be rewers_[123]. Those who are so fond of a
thing as to snap at it, should not repent when they have got

_Sok and seill is best_. The interpretation of this proverb is not
obvious, and later writers do not appear to have adopted it from
Fergusson. It is quite clear that sok or sock is the ploughshare. Seil
is happiness, as in Kelly. "Seil comes not till sorrow be o'er;" and in
Aberdeen they say, "Seil o' your face," to express a blessing. My
reading is "the plough and happiness the best lot." The happiest life is
the healthy country one. See Robert Burns' spirited song with
the chorus:

     "Up wi' my ploughman lad,
       And hey my merry ploughman;
     Of a' the trades that I do ken,
       Commend me to the ploughman."

A somewhat different reading of this very obscure and now indeed
obsolete proverb has been suggested by an esteemed and learned
friend:--"I should say rather it meant that the ploughshare, or country
life, accompanied with good luck or fortune was best; _i.e.,_ that
industry coupled with good fortune (good seasons and the like) was the
combination that was most to be desired. _Soel_, in Anglo-Saxon, as a
noun, means _opportunity_, and then good luck, happiness, etc."

_There's mae[124] madines[125] nor makines_[126]. Girls are more
plentiful in the world than hares.

_Ye bried[127] of the gouk[128], ye have not a rhyme[129] but ane_.
Applied to persons who tire everybody by constantly harping on
one subject.

The collection by Allan Ramsay is very good, and professes to correct
the errors of former collectors. I have now before me the _first
edition_, Edinburgh, 1737, with the appropriate motto on the title-page,
"That maun be true that a' men say." This edition contains proverbs
only, the number being 2464. Some proverbs in this collection I do not
find in others, and one quality it possesses in a remarkable degree--it
is very Scotch. The language of the proverbial wisdom has the true
Scottish flavour; not only is this the case with the proverbs
themselves, but the dedication to the tenantry of Scotland, prefixed to
the collection, is written in pure Scottish dialect. From this
dedication I make an extract, which falls in with our plan of recording
Scotch reminiscences, as Allan Ramsay there states the great value set
upon proverbs in his day, and the great importance which he attaches to
them as teachers of moral wisdom, and as combining amusement with
instruction. The prose of Allan Ramsay has, too, a spice of his poetry
in its composition. His dedication is, To the tenantry of Scotland,
farmers of the dales, and storemasters of the hills--

"Worthy friends--The following hoard of wise sayings and observations of
our forefathers, which have been gathering through mony bygane ages, I
have collected with great care, and restored to their proper sense....

"As naething helps our happiness mair than to have the mind made up wi'
right principles, I desire you, for the thriving and pleasure of you and
yours, to use your een and lend your lugs to these guid _auld saws_,
that shine wi' wail'd sense, and will as lang as the world wags. Gar
your bairns get them by heart; let them have a place among your
family-books, and may never a window-sole through the country be without
them. On a spare hour, when the day is clear, behind a ruck, or on the
green howm, draw the treasure frae your pouch, an' enjoy the pleasant
companion. Ye happy herds, while your hirdsell are feeding on the
flowery braes, you may eithly make yoursells master of the haleware. How
usefou' will it prove to you (wha hae sae few opportunities of common
clattering) when ye forgather wi' your friends at kirk or market,
banquet or bridal! By your proficiency you'll be able, in the proverbial
way, to keep up the saul of a conversation that is baith blyth
an usefou'."

Mr. Henderson's work is a compilation from those already mentioned. It
is very copious, and the introductory essay contains some excellent
remarks upon the wisdom and wit of Scottish proverbial sayings.

Mr. Stirling's (now Sir W. Stirling-Maxwell's) address, like everything
he writes, indicates a minute and profound knowledge of his subject, and
is full of picturesque and just views of human nature. He attaches much
importance to the teaching conveyed in proverbial expressions, and
recommends his readers even still to collect such proverbial expressions
as may yet linger in conversation, because, as he observes, "If it is
not yet registered, it is possible that it might have died with the
tongue from which you took it, and so have been lost for ever." "I
believe," he adds, "the number of good old saws still floating as waifs
and strays on the tide of popular talk to be much greater than might at
first appear."

One remark is applicable to all these collections--viz., that out of so
large a number there are many of them on which we have little grounds
for deciding that they are _exclusively_ Scottish. In fact, some are
mere translations of proverbs adopted by many nations; some of universal
adoption. Thus we have--

     _A burnt bairn fire dreads.
     Ae swallow makes nae simmer.
     Faint heart ne'er wan fair lady.
     Ill weeds wax weel.
     Mony sma's mak a muckle.
     O' twa ills chuse the least.
     Set a knave to grip a knave.
     Twa wits are better than ane.
     There's nae fule like an auld fule.
     Ye canna mak a silk purse o' a sow's lug.
     Ae bird i' the hand is worth twa fleeing.
     Mony cooks ne'er made gude kail_.

Of numerous proverbs such as these, some may or may not be original in
the Scottish. Sir William remarks that many of the best and oldest
proverbs may be common to all people--may have occurred to all. In our
national collections, therefore, some of the proverbs recorded may be
simply translations into Scotch of what have been long considered the
property of other nations. Still, I hope it is not a mere national
partiality to say that many of the common proverbs _gain_ much by such
translation from other tongues. All that I would attempt now is, to
select some of our more popular proverbial sayings, which many of us can
remember as current amongst us, and were much used by the late
generation in society, and to add a few from the collections I have
named, which bear a very decided Scottish stamp either in turn of
thought or in turn of language.

I remember being much struck the first time I heard the application of
that pretty Scottish saying regarding a fair bride. I was walking in
Montrose, a day or two before her marriage, with a young lady, a
connection of mine, who merited this description, when she was kindly
accosted by an old friend, an honest fish-wife of the town, "Weel, Miss
Elizabeth, hae ye gotten a' yer claes ready?" to which the young lady
modestly answered, "Oh, Janet, my claes are soon got ready;" and Janet
replied, in the old Scotch proverb, "Ay, weel, _a bonnie bride's sune
buskit_[130]." In the old collection, an addition less sentimental is
made to this proverb, _A short horse is sune wispit_[131].

To encourage strenuous exertions to meet difficult circumstances, is
well expressed by _Setting a stout heart to a stey brae_.

The mode of expressing that the worth of a handsome woman outweighs even
her beauty, has a very Scottish character--_She's better than she's
bonnie_. The opposite of this was expressed by a Highlander of his own
wife, when he somewhat ungrammatically said of her, "_She's bonnier than
she's better_."

The frequent evil to harvest operations from autumnal rains and fogs in
Scotland is well told in the saying, _A dry summer ne'er made a
dear peck_.

There can be no question as to country in the following, which seems to
express generally that persons may have the name and appearance of
greatness without the reality--_A' Stuarts are na sib[132] to the king_.

There is an excellent Scottish version of the common proverb, "He that's
born to be hanged will never be drowned."--_The water will never
warr[133], the widdie, i.e._ never cheat the gallows. This saying
received a very naive practical application during the anxiety and
alarm of a storm. One of the passengers, a good simple-minded minister,
was sharing the alarm that was felt around him, until spying one of his
parishioners, of whose ignominious end he had long felt persuaded, he
exclaimed to himself, "Oh, we are all safe now," and accordingly
accosted the poor man with strong assurances of the great pleasure he
had in seeing him on board.

_It's ill getting the breeks aff the Highlandman_ is a proverb that
savours very strong of a Lowland Scotch origin. Having suffered loss at
the hands of their neighbours from the hills, this was a mode of
expressing the painful truth that there was little hope of obtaining
redress from those who had no _means_ at their disposal.

Proverbs connected with the bagpipes I set down as legitimate Scotch, as
thus--_Ye are as lang in tuning your pipes as anither wad play a
spring_[134]. You are as long of setting about a thing as another would
be in doing it.

There is a set of Scottish proverbs which we may group together as
containing one quality in common, and that in reference to the Evil
Spirit, and to his agency in the world. This is a reference often, I
fear, too lightly made; but I am not conscious of anything deliberately
profane or irreverent in the following:--

_The deil's nae sae ill as he's caa'd_. The most of people may be found
to have some redeeming good point: applied in _Guy Mannering_ by the
Deacon to Gilbert Glossin, upon his intimating his intention to come to
his shop soon for the purpose of laying in his winter stock of

To the same effect, _It's a sin to lee on the deil_. Even of the worst
people, _truth_ at least should be spoken.

_He should hae a lang-shafted spune that sups kail wi' the deil._ He
should be well guarded and well protected that has to do with cunning
and unprincipled men.

_Lang ere the deil dee by the dyke-side._ Spoken when the improbable
death of some powerful and ill-disposed person is talked of.

_Let ae deil ding anither_. Spoken when too bad persons are at variance
over some evil work.

_The deil's bairns hae deil's luck_. Spoken enviously when ill people

_The deil's a busy bishop in his ain diocie_. Bad men are sure to be
active in promoting their own bad ends. A quaint proverb of this class I
have been told of as coming from the reminiscences of an old lady of
quality, to recommend a courteous manner to every one: _It's aye gude to
be ceevil, as the auld wife said when she beckit[135] to the deevil_.

_Raise nae mair deils than ye are able to lay_. Provoke no strifes which
ye may be unable to appease.

_The deil's aye gude to his ain_. A malicious proverb, spoken as if
those whom we disparage were deriving their success from bad causes.

_Ye wad do little for God an the deevil was dead_. A sarcastic mode of
telling a person that fear, rather than love or principle, is the motive
to his good conduct.

In the old collection already referred to is a proverb which, although
somewhat _personal_, is too good to omit. It is doubtful how it took its
origin, whether as a satire against the decanal order in general, or
against some obnoxious dean in particular. These are the terms of it:
_The deil an' the dean begin wi' ae letter. When the deil has the dean
the kirk will be the better._

_The deil's gane ower Jock Wabster_ is a saying which I have been
accustomed to in my part of the country from early years. It expresses
generally misfortune or confusion, but I am not quite sure of the
_exact_ meaning, or who is represented by "Jock Wabster." It was a great
favourite with Sir Walter Scott, who quotes it twice in _Rob Roy_. Allan
Ramsay introduces it in the _Gentle Shepherd_ to express the misery of
married life when the first dream of love has passed away:--

     "The 'Deil gaes ower Jock Wabster,' hame grows hell,
     When Pate misca's ye waur than tongue can tell."

There are two very pithy Scottish proverbial expressions for describing
the case of young women losing their chance of good marriages by setting
their aims too high. Thus an old lady, speaking of her granddaughter
having made what she considered a poor match, described her as having
"_lookit at the moon, and lichtit[136] in the midden_."

It is recorded again of a celebrated beauty, Becky Monteith, that being
asked how she had not made a good marriage, she replied, "_Ye see, I
wadna hae the walkers, and the riders gaed by._"

_It's ill to wauken sleeping dogs._ It is a bad policy to rouse
dangerous and mischievous people, who are for the present quiet.

_It is nae mair ferly[137] to see a woman greit than to see a goose go
barefit._ A harsh and ungallant reference to the facility with which the
softer sex can avail themselves of tears to carry a point.

_A Scots mist will weet an Englishman to the skin._ A proverb,
evidently of Caledonian origin, arising from the frequent complaints
made by English visitors of the heavy mists which hang about our hills,
and which are found to annoy the southern traveller as it were
downright rain.

_Keep your ain fish-guts to your ain sea-maws._ This was a favourite
proverb with Sir Walter Scott, when he meant to express the policy of
first considering the interests that are nearest home. The saying
savours of the fishing population of the east cost.

_A Yule feast may be done at Pasch_. Festivities, although usually
practised at Christmas, need not, on suitable occasions, be confined to
any season.

_It's better to sup wi' a cutty than want a spune._ Cutty means anything
short, stumpy, and not of full growth; frequently applied to a
short-handled horn spoon. As Meg Merrilies says to the bewildered
Dominie, "If ye dinna eat instantly, by the bread and salt, I'll put it
down your throat wi' the _cutty spune_."

"_Fules mak feasts and wise men eat 'em,_ my Lord." This was said to a
Scottish nobleman on his giving a great entertainment, and who readily
answered, "Ay, and _Wise men make proverbs and fools repeat 'em._"

_A green Yule[138] and a white Pays[139] mak a fat kirk-yard._ A very
coarse proverb, but may express a general truth as regards the effects
of season on the human frame. Another of a similar character is, _An
air[140] winter maks a sair[141] winter_.

_Wha will bell the cat?_ The proverb is used in reference to a proposal
for accomplishing a difficult or dangerous task, and alludes to the
fable of the poor mice proposing to put a bell about the cat's neck,
that they might be apprised of his coming. The historical application is
well known. When the nobles of Scotland proposed to go in a body to
Stirling to take Cochrane, the favourite of James the Third, and hang
him, the Lord Gray asked, "It is well said, but wha will bell the cat?"
The Earl of Angus accepted the challenge, and effected the object. To
his dying day he was called Archibald Bell-the-Cat.

_Ye hae tint the tongue o' the trump._ "Trump" is a Jew's harp. To lose
the tongue of it is to lose what is essential to its sound.

_Meat and mass hinders nae man._ Needful food, and suitable religious
exercises, should not be spared under greatest haste.

_Ye fand it whar the Highlandman fand the tangs_ (i.e. at the fireside).
A hit at our mountain neighbours, who occasionally took from the
Lowlands--as having found--something that was never lost.

_His head will ne'er rive_ (i.e. tear) _his father's bonnet_. A
picturesque way of expressing that the son will never equal the
influence and ability of his sire.

_His bark is waur nor his bite._ A good-natured apology for one who is
good-hearted and rough in speech.

_Do as the cow of Forfar did, tak a standing drink_. This proverb
relates to an occurrence which gave rise to a lawsuit and a whimsical
legal decision. A woman in Forfar, who was brewing, set out her tub of
beer to cool. A cow came by and drank it up. The owner of the cow was
sued for compensation, but the bailies of Forfar, who tried the case,
acquitted the owner of the cow, on the ground that the farewell drink,
called in the Highlands the _dochan doris_[142], or stirrup-cup, taken
by the guest standing by the door, was never charged; and as the cow
had taken but a standing drink outside, it could not, according to the
Scottish usage, be chargeable. Sir Walter Scott has humorously alluded
to this circumstance in the notes to _Waverley_, but has not mentioned
it as the subject of an old Scotch proverb.

_Bannocks are better nor nae kind o' bread._ Evidently Scottish. Better
have oatmeal cakes to eat than be in want of wheaten loaves.

_Folly is a bonny dog._ Meaning, I suppose, that many are imposed upon
by the false appearances and attractions of vicious pleasures.

_The e'ening brings a' hame_ is an interesting saying, meaning, that the
evening of life, or the approach of death, softens many of our political
and religious differences. I do not find this proverb in the older
collections, but Sir William Maxwell justly calls it "a beautiful
proverb, which, lending itself to various uses, may be taken as an
expression of faith in the gradual growth and spread of large-hearted
Christian charity, the noblest result of our happy freedom of thought
and discussion." The literal idea of the "e'ening bringing a' hame," has
a high and illustrious antiquity, as in the fragment of Sappho, [Greek:
'Espere, panta phereis--phereis oin (or oinon) phereis aiga, phereis
maeteri paida]--which is thus paraphrased by Lord Byron in Don Juan,
iii. 107:--

     "O Hesperus, thou bringest all good things--
       Home to the weary, to the hungry cheer;
     To the young birds the parent's brooding wings,
       The welcome stall to the o'erlaboured steer, etc.
     Thou bring'st the child, too, to the mother's breast."

A similar graceful and moral saying inculcates an acknowledgment of
gratitude for the past favours which we have enjoyed when we come to
the close of the day or the close of life--

     _Ruse[143] the fair day at e'en._

But a very learned and esteemed friend has suggested another reading of
this proverb, in accordance with the celebrated saying of Solon (Arist.
Eth. N.I. 10): [Greek: Kata Solona chreon telos hozan]--Do not praise
the fairness of the day _till_ evening; do not call the life happy
_till_ you have seen the close; or, in other matters, do not boast that
all is well till you have conducted your undertaking to a
prosperous end.

_Let him tak a spring on his ain fiddle._ Spoken of a foolish and
unreasonable person; as if to say, "We will for the present allow him to
have his own way." Bailie Nicol Jarvie quotes the proverb with great
bitterness, when he warns his opponent that _his_ time for triumph will
come ere long,--"Aweel, aweel, sir, you're welcome to a tune on your ain
fiddle; but see if I dinna gar ye dance till't afore it's dune."

_The kirk is meikle, but ye may say mass in ae end o't;_ or, as I have
received it in another form, "If we canna preach in the kirk, we can
sing mass in the quire." This intimates, where something is alleged to
be too much, that you need take no more than what you have need for. I
heard the proverb used in this sense by Sir Walter Scott at his own
table. His son had complained of some quaighs which Sir Walter had
produced for a dram after dinner, that they were too large. His answer
was, "Well, Walter, as my good mother used to say, if the kirk is ower
big, just sing mass in the quire." Here is another reference to kirk and
quire--_He rives[144] the kirk to theik[145] the quire_. Spoken of
unprofitable persons, who in the English proverb, "rob Peter to
pay Paul."

_The king's errand may come the cadger's gate yet._ A great man may need
the service of a very mean one.

_The maut is aboon the meal._ His liquor has done more for him than his
meat. The man is drunk.

_Mak a kirk and a mill o't._ Turn a thing to any purpose you like; or
rather, spoken sarcastically, Take it, and make the best of it.

_Like a sow playing on a trump._ No image could be well more incongruous
than a pig performing on a Jew's harp.

_Mair by luck than gude guiding._ His success is due to his fortunate
circumstances, rather than to his own discretion.

_He's not a man to ride the water wi'._ A common Scottish saying to
express you cannot trust such an one in trying times. May have arisen
from the districts where fords abounded, and the crossing them was

_He rides on the riggin o' the kirk._ The rigging being the top of the
roof, the proverb used to be applied to those who carried their zeal for
church matters to the extreme point.

_Leal heart never lee'd,_ well expresses that an honest loyal
disposition will scorn, under all circumstances, to tell a falsehood.

A common Scottish proverb, _Let that flee stick to the wa'_, has an
obvious meaning,--"Say nothing more on that subject." But the derivation
is not obvious[146]. In like manner, the meaning of _He that will to
Cupar maun to Cupar_, is clearly that if a man is obstinate, and bent
upon his own dangerous course, he must take it. But why Cupar? and
whether is it the Cupar of Angus or the Cupar of Fife?

_Kindness creeps where it canna gang_ prettily expresses that where love
can do little, it will do that little, though it cannot do more.

In my part of the country a ridiculous addition used to be made to the
common Scottish saying. _Mony a thing's made for the pennie_, i.e. Many
contrivances are thought of to get money. The addition is, "As the old
woman said when she saw a black man," taking it for granted that he was
an ingenious and curious piece of mechanism made for profit.

_Bluid is thicker than water_ is a proverb which has a marked Scottish
aspect, as meant to vindicate those family predilections to which, as a
nation, we are supposed to be rather strongly inclined.

_There's aye water where the stirkie[147] drouns._ Where certain effects
are produced, there must be some causes at work--a proverb used to show
that a universal popular suspicion as to an obvious effect must be
laid in truth.

_Better a finger aff than aye waggin_'. This proverb I remember as a
great favourite with many Scotch people. Better experience the worst,
than have an evil always pending.

_Cadgers are aye cracking o' crook saddles_[148] has a very Scottish
aspect, and signifies that professional men are very apt to talk too
much of their profession.

The following is purely Scotch, for in no country but Scotland are
singed sheep heads to be met with: _He's like a sheep head in a pair
o' tangs._

_As sure's deeth_. A common Scottish proverbial expression to signify
either the truth or certainty of a fact, or to pledge the speaker to a
performance of his promise. In the latter sense an amusing illustration
of faith in the superior obligation of this asseveration to any other,
is recorded in the _Eglinton Papers_[149]. The Earl one day found a boy
climbing up a tree, and called him to come down. The boy declined,
because, he said, the Earl would thrash him. His Lordship pledged his
honour that he would not do so. The boy replied, "I dinna ken onything
about your honour, but if you say as sure's deeth I'll come doun."

Proverbs are sometimes local in their application.

_The men o' the Mearns canna do mair than they may._ Even the men of
Kincardineshire can only do their utmost--a proverb intended to be
highly complimentary to the powers of the men of that county.

_I'll mak Cathkin's covenant wi' you, Let abee for let abee._ This is a
local saying quoted often in Hamilton. The laird of that property
had--very unlike the excellent family who have now possessed it for more
than a century--been addicted to intemperance. One of his neighbours, in
order to frighten him on his way home from his evening potations,
disguised himself, on a very wet night, and, personating the devil,
claimed a title to carry him off as his rightful property. Contrary to
all expectation, however, the laird showed fight, and was about to
commence the onslaught, when a parley was proposed, and the issue was,
"Cathkin's covenant, Let abee for let abee."

_When the castle of Stirling gets a hat, the Carse of Corntown pays for
that._ This is a local proverbial saying; the meaning is, that when the
clouds descend so low as to envelope Stirling Castle, a deluge of rain
may be expected in the adjacent country.

I will conclude this notice of our proverbial reminiscences, by adding a
cluster of Scottish proverbs, selected from an excellent article on the
general subject in the _North British Review_ of February 1858. The
reviewer designates these as "broader in their mirth, and more caustic
in their tone," than the moral proverbial expressions of the Spanish and

     _A blate[150] cat maks a proud mouse.
     Better a toom[151] house than an ill tenant.
     Jouk[152] and let the jaw[153] gang by.
     Mony ane speirs the gate[154] he kens fu' weel.
     The tod[155] ne'er sped better than when he gaed his ain errand.
     A wilfu' man should be unco wise.
     He that has a meikle nose thinks ilka ane speaks o't.
     He that teaches himsell has a fule for his maister.
     It's an ill cause that the lawyer thinks shame o'.
     Lippen[156] to me, but look to yoursell.
     Mair whistle than woo, as the souter said when shearing the soo.
     Ye gae far about seeking the nearest.
     Ye'll no sell your hen on a rainy day.
     Ye'll mend when ye grow better.
     Ye're nae chicken for a' your cheepin'_[157].

I have now adduced quite sufficient specimens to convince those who may
not have given attention to the subject, how much of wisdom, knowledge
of life, and good feeling, are contained in these aphorisms which
compose the mass of our Scottish proverbial sayings. No doubt, to many
of my younger readers proverbs are little known, and to all they are
becoming more and more matters of reminiscence. I am quite convinced
that much of the old quaint and characteristic Scottish talk which we
are now endeavouring to recall depended on a happy use of those
abstracts of moral sentiment. And this feeling will be confirmed when we
call to mind how often those of the old Scottish school of character,
whose conversation we have ourselves admired, had most largely availed
themselves of the use of its _proverbial_ philosophy.

I have already spoken of (p. 16) a Scottish peculiarity--viz. that of
naming individuals from lands which have been possessed long by the
family, or frequently from the landed estates which they acquire. The
use of this mode of discriminating individuals in the Highland districts
is sufficiently obvious. Where the inhabitants of a whole country-side
are Campbells, or Frasers, or Gordons, nothing could be more convenient
than addressing the individuals of each clan by the name of his estate.
Indeed, some years ago, any other designation, as Mr. Campbell, Mr.
Fraser, would have been resented as an indignity. Their consequence
sprang from their possession[158]. But all this is fast wearing away.
The estates of old families have often changed hands, and Highlanders
are most unwilling to give the names of old properties to new
proprietors. The custom, however, lingers amongst us, in the northern
districts especially. Farms also used to give their names to the
tenants[159]. I can recall an amusing instance of this practice
belonging to my early days. The oldest recollections I have are
connected with the name, the figure, the sayings and doings, of the old
cow-herd at Fasque in my father's time; his name was Boggy, _i.e._ his
ordinary appellation; his true name was Sandy Anderson. But he was
called Boggy from the circumstance of having once held a wretched farm
on Deeside named Boggendreep. He had long left it, and been unfortunate
in it, but the name never left him,--he was Boggy to his grave. The
territorial appellation used to be reckoned complimentary, and more
respectful than Mr. or any higher title to which the individual might be
entitled. I recollect, in my brother's time, at Fasque, his showing off
some of his home stock to Mr. Williamson, the Aberdeen butcher. They
came to a fine stot, and Sir Alexander said, with some appearance of
boast, "I was offered twenty guineas for that ox." "Indeed, Fasque,"
said Williamson, "ye should hae steekit your neive upo' that."

Sir Walter Scott had marked in his diary a territorial greeting of two
proprietors which had amused him much. The laird of Kilspindie had met
the laird of Tannachy-Tulloch, and the following compliments passed
between them:--"Yer maist obedient hummil servant, Tannachy-Tulloch." To
which the reply was, "Yer nain man, Kilspindie."

In proportion as we advance towards the Highland district this custom of
distinguishing clans or races, and marking them out according to the
district they occupied, became more apparent. There was the Glengarry
country, the Fraser country, the Gordon country, etc. etc. These names
carried also with them certain moral features as characteristic of each
division. Hence the following anecdote:--The morning litany of an old
laird of Cultoquhey, when he took his morning draught at the cauld well,
was in these terms:--"Frae the ire o' the Drummonds, the pride o' the
Græmes, the greed o' the Campbells, and the wind o' the Murrays, guid
Lord deliver us."

The Duke of Athole, having learned that Cultoquhey was in the habit of
mentioning his Grace's family in such uncomplimentary terms, invited the
humorist to Dunkeld, for the purpose of giving him a hint to desist from
the reference. After dinner, the Duke asked his guest what were the
precise terms in which he was in the habit of alluding to his powerful
neighbours. Cultoquhey repeated his liturgy without a moment's
hesitation. "I recommend you," said his Grace, looking very angry, "in
future to omit my name from your morning devotions." All he got from
Cultoquhey was, "Thank ye, my Lord Duke," taking off his glass with the
utmost sangfroid.


[49] Stoor is, Scotticé, dust in motion, and has no English synonym; oor
is hour. Sir Walter Scott is said to have advised an artist, in painting
a battle, not to deal with details, but to get up a good _stoor_: then
put in an arm and a sword here and there, and leave all the rest to the
imagination of the spectator.

[50] Reach me a leg of that turkey.

[51] Clearing ashes out of the bars of the grate.

[52] Mentally confused. Muddy when applied to water.

[53] Preface to 4th edition of _Mystifications_, by Dr. John Brown.

[54] Worse.

[55] Where.

[56] Lord Cockburn's _Memorials_, p. 58.

[57] Frogs.

[58] Killed.

[59] Miss Jenny Methven.

[60] "Civil," "obliging."--Jamieson.

[61] _Dam_, the game of draughts.

[62] _Brod_, the board.

[63] Measles.

[64] Nettle-rash.

[65] The itch.

[66] Whooping-cough.

[67] Mumps.

[68] Toothache.

[69] The Scotticisms are printed in italics.

[70] Delicate in health.

[71] Ailment.

[72] Yawning.

[73] Catching.

[74] Tea-urn

[75] _Ver_, the spring months.--_e.g._ "This was in _ver_ quhen wynter

[76] A number.

[77] Young girls.

[78] Gallows birds.

[79] whistling noises.

[80] Distorted gestures.

[81] Honey jar.

[82] A kind of loose gown formerly worn.

[83] Amongst many acts of kindness and essential assistance which I have
received and am constantly receiving from my friend Mr. Hugh James
Rollo, I owe my introduction to this interesting Scottish volume, now, I
believe, rather scarce.

[84] Kelly's book is constantly quoted by Jamieson, and is, indeed, an
excellent work for the study of good old Scotch.

[85] This probably throws back the collection to about the middle of the

[86] Nurse.

[87] Daw, a slut.

[88] Would.

[89] Forgive.

[90] Going or moving.

[91] Foot.

[92] Always.

[93] If.

[94] Boasters.

[95] Used as cowards(?)

[96] Jest.

[97] A dog's name.

[98] To skail house, to disfurnish.

[99] Being angry or cross.

[100] Judge.

[101] Know not.

[102] Blames.

[103] To aim at.

[104] A stroke.

[105] Full.

[106] Hold.

[107] Potent or strong.

[108] Is angry.

[109] Settle.

[110] Amends.

[111] Comb.

[112] Seldom.

[113] Painfully.

[114] Wool-combers.

[115] Greasy.

[116] Worthless fellow.

[117] Loses.

[118] Sixpenny.

[119] A sort of dagger or hanger which seems to have been used both at
meals as a knife and in broils--

     "And _whingers_ now in friendship bare,
      The social meal to part and share,
      Had found a bloody sheath."

--_Lay of the Last Minstrel_.

[120] Thong.

[121] No lawsuit.

[122] Robbers.

[123] Rue, to repent.

[124] More.

[125] Maidens.

[126] Hares.

[127] Take after.

[128] Cuckoo.

[129] Note.

[130] Attired.

[131] Curried.

[132] Related.

[133] Outrun.

[134] Tune.

[135] Curtsied.

[136] Fallen.

[137] Surprise.

[138] Christmas.

[139] Pasch or Easter.

[140] Early.

[141] Severe.

[142] The proper orthography of this expression is deoch-an-doruis (or
dorais). _Deoch_, a drink; _an_, of the; _doruis_ or _dorais_,
possessive case of dorus or doras a door.

[143] Praise.

[144] Tears.

[145] Thatch.

[146] It has been suggested, and with much reason, that the reference is
to a fly sticking on a wet or a newly painted wall; this is corroborated
by the addition in Rob Roy, "When the dirt's dry, it will rub out,"
which seems to point out the meaning and derivation of the proverb.

[147] A young bullock.

[148] Saddle for supporting panniers.

[149] Vol. i. p. 134.

[150] Shy.

[151] Empty.

[152] Stoop down.

[153] Wave.

[154] The way.

[155] Fox.

[156] Trust to.

[157] Chirping.

[158] Even in Forfarshire, where Carnegies abound, we had Craigo,
Balnamoon, Pitarrow, etc.

[159] This custom is still in use in Galloway; and "Challoch,"
"Eschonchan," "Tonderghie," "Balsalloch," and "Drummorral," etc. etc.,
appear regularly at kirk and market.



The portion of our subject which we proposed under the head of
"Reminiscences of Scottish Stories of Wit or Humour," yet remains to be
considered. This is closely connected with the question of Scottish
dialect and expressions; indeed, on some points hardly separable, as the
wit, to a great extent, proceeds from the quaint and picturesque modes
of expressing it. But here we are met by a difficulty. On high authority
it has been declared that no such thing as wit exists amongst us. What
has no existence can have no change. We cannot be said to have lost a
quality which we never possessed. Many of my readers are no doubt
familiar with what Sydney Smith declared on this point, and certainly on
the question of wit he must be considered an authority. He used to say
(I am almost ashamed to repeat it), "It requires a surgical operation to
get a joke well into a Scotch understanding. Their only idea of wit,
which prevails occasionally in the north, and which, under the name of
WUT, is so infinitely distressing to people of good taste, is laughing
immoderately at stated intervals." Strange language to use of a country
which has produced Smollett, Burns, Scott, Galt, and Wilson--all
remarkable for the humour diffused through their writings! Indeed, we
may fairly ask, have they equals in this respect amongst English
writers? Charles Lamb had the same notion, or, I should rather say, the
same prejudice, about Scottish people not being accessible to wit; and
he tells a story of what happened to himself, in corroboration of the
opinion. He had been asked to a party, and one object of the invitation
had been to meet a son of Burns. When he arrived, Mr. Burns had not made
his appearance, and in the course of conversation regarding the family
of the poet, Lamb, in his lack-a-daisical kind of manner, said, "I wish
it had been the father instead of the son;" upon which four Scotsmen
present with one voice exclaimed, "That's impossible, for _he's
dead_[160]." Now, there will be dull men and matter-of-fact men
everywhere, who do not take a joke, or enter into a jocular allusion;
but surely, as a general remark, this is far from being a natural
quality of our country. Sydney Smith and Charles Lamb say so. But, at
the risk of being considered presumptuous, I will say I think them
entirely mistaken. I should say that there was, on the contrary, a
strong _connection_ between the Scottish temperament and, call it if you
like, humour, if it is not wit. And what is the difference? My readers
need not be afraid that they are to be led through a labyrinth of
metaphysical distinctions between wit and humour. I have read Dr.
Campbell's dissertation on the difference, in his Philosophy of
Rhetoric; I have read Sydney Smith's own two lectures; but I confess I
am not much the wiser. Professors of rhetoric, no doubt, must have such
discussions; but when you wish to be amused by the thing itself, it is
somewhat disappointing to be presented with metaphysical analysis. It is
like instituting an examination of the glass and cork of a champagne
bottle, and a chemical testing of the wine. In the very process the
volatile and sparkling draught which was to delight the palate has
become like ditch water, vapid and dead. What I mean is, that, call it
wit or humour, or what you please, there is a school of Scottish
pleasantry, amusing and characteristic beyond all other. Don't think of
_analysing_ its nature, or the qualities of which it is composed; enjoy
its quaint and amusing flow of oddity and fun; as we may, for instance,
suppose it to have flowed on that eventful night so joyously described
by Burns:--

     "The souter tauld his queerest stories,
     The landlord's laugh was ready chorus."

Or we may think of the delight it gave the good Mr. Balwhidder, when he
tells, in his Annals of the Parish, of some such story, that it was a
"jocosity that was just a kittle to hear." When I speak of changes in
such Scottish humour which have taken place, I refer to a particular
sort of humour, and I speak of the sort of feeling that belongs to
Scottish pleasantry,--which is sly, and cheery, and pawky. It is
undoubtedly a humour that depends a good deal upon the vehicle in which
the story is conveyed. If, as we have said, our quaint dialect is
passing away, and our national eccentric points of character, we must
expect to find much of the peculiar humour allied with them to have
passed away also. In other departments of wit and repartee, and acute
hits at men and things, Scotsmen (whatever Sydney Smith may have said to
the contrary) are equal to their neighbours, and, so far as I know, may
have gained rather than lost. But this peculiar humour of which I now
speak has not, in our day, the scope and development which were
permitted to it by the former generation. Where the tendency exists, the
exercise of it is kept down by the usages and feelings of society. For
examples of it (in its full force at any rate) we must go back to a race
who are departed. One remark, however, has occurred to me in regard to
the specimens we have of this kind of humour--viz. that they do not
always proceed from the personal wit or cleverness of any of the
individuals concerned in them. The amusement comes from the
circumstances, from the concurrence or combination of the ideas, and in
many cases from the mere expressions which describe the facts. The
humour of the narrative is unquestionable, and yet no one has tried to
be humorous. In short, it is the _Scottishness_ that gives the zest. The
same ideas differently expounded might have no point at all. There is,
for example, something highly original in the notions of celestial
mechanics entertained by an honest Scottish Fife lass regarding the
theory of comets. Having occasion to go out after dark, and having
observed the brilliant comet then visible (1858), she ran in with
breathless haste to the house, calling on her fellow-servants to "Come
oot and see a new star that hasna got its tail cuttit aff yet!"
Exquisite astronomical speculation! Stars, like puppies, are born with
tails, and in due time have them docked. Take an example of a story
where there is no display of any one's wit or humour, and yet it is a
good story, and one can't exactly say why:--An English traveller had
gone on a fine Highland road so long, without having seen an indication
of fellow-travellers, that he became astonished at the solitude of the
country; and no doubt before the Highlands were so much frequented as
they are in our time, the roads sometimes bore a very striking aspect of
solitariness. Our traveller, at last coming up to an old man breaking
stones, asked him if there was _any_ traffic on this road--was it at
_all_ frequented? "Ay," he said, coolly, "it's no ill at that; there was
a cadger body yestreen, and there's yoursell the day." No English
version of the story could have half such amusement, or have so quaint a
character. An answer even still more characteristic is recorded to have
been given by a countryman to a traveller. Being doubtful of his way, he
inquired if he were on the right road to Dunkeld. With some of his
national inquisitiveness about strangers, the countryman asked his
inquirer where he came from. Offended at the liberty, as he considered
it, he sharply reminded the man that where he came from was nothing to
him; but all the answer he got was the quiet rejoinder, "Indeed, it's
just as little to me whar ye're gaen." A friend has told me of an answer
highly characteristic of this dry and unconcerned quality which he heard
given to a fellow-traveller. A gentleman sitting opposite to him in the
stage-coach at Berwick complained bitterly that the cushion on which he
sat was quite wet. On looking up to the roof he saw a hole through which
the rain descended copiously, and at once accounted for the mischief. He
called for the coachman, and in great wrath reproached him with the evil
under which he suffered, and pointed to the hole which was the cause of
it. All the satisfaction, however, that he got was the quiet unmoved
reply, "Ay, mony a ane has complained o' _that_ hole." Another anecdote
I heard from a gentleman who vouched for the truth, which is just a case
where the narrative has its humour not from the wit which is displayed
but from that dry matter-of-fact view of things peculiar to some of our
countrymen. The friend of my informant was walking in a street of Perth,
when, to his horror, he saw a workman fall from a roof where he was
mending slates, right upon the pavement. By extraordinary good fortune
he was not killed, and on the gentleman going up to his assistance, and
exclaiming, with much excitement, "God bless me, are you much hurt?" all
the answer he got was the cool rejoinder, "On the contrary, sir." A
similar matter-of fact answer was made by one of the old race of
Montrose humorists. He was coming out of church, and in the press of the
kirk _skailing_, a young man thoughtlessly trod on the old gentleman's
toe, which was tender with corns. He hastened to apologise, saying, "I
am very sorry, sir; I beg your pardon." The only acknowledgment of which
was the dry answer, "And ye've as muckle need, sir." An old man marrying
a very young wife, his friends rallied him on the inequality of their
ages. "She will be near me," he replied, "to close my een." "Weel,"
remarked another of the party, "I've had twa wives, and they _opened
my een_."

One of the best specimens of cool Scottish matter-of-fact view of things
has been supplied by a kind correspondent, who narrates it from his own
personal recollection.

The back windows of the house where he was brought up looked upon the
Greyfriars Church that was burnt down. On the Sunday morning in which
that event took place, as they were all preparing to go to church, the
flames began to burst forth; the young people screamed from the back
part of the house, "A fire! A fire!" and all was in a state of confusion
and alarm. The housemaid was not at home, it being her turn for the
Sunday "out." Kitty, the cook, was taking her place, and performing her
duties. The old woman was always very particular on the subject of her
responsibility on such occasions, and came panting and hobbling up
stairs from the lower regions, and exclaimed, "Oh, what is't, what
is't?" "O Kitty, look here, the Greyfriars Church is on fire!" "Is that
a', Miss? What a fricht ye geed me! I thought ye said the parlour
fire was out."

In connection with the subject of Scottish _toasts_ I am supplied by a
first-rate Highland authority of one of the most graceful and crushing
replies of a lady to what was intended as a sarcastic compliment and
smart saying at her expense.

About the beginning of the present century the then Campbell of Combie,
on Loch Awe side, in Argyleshire, was a man of extraordinary character,
and of great physical strength, and such swiftness of foot that it is
said he could "catch the best _tup_ on the hill." He also looked upon
himself as a "pretty man," though in this he was singular; also, it was
more than whispered that the laird was not remarkable for his principles
of honesty. There also lived in the same district a Miss MacNabb of
Bar-a'-Chaistril, a lady who, before she had passed the zenith of life,
had never been remarkable for her beauty--the contrary even had passed
into a proverb, while she was in her teens; but, to counterbalance this
defect in external qualities, nature had endowed her with great
benevolence, while she was renowned for her probity. One day the Laird
of Combie, who piqued himself on his _bon-mots,_ was, as frequently
happened, a guest of Miss MacNabb's, and after dinner several toasts had
gone round as usual, Combie rose with great solemnity and addressing the
lady of the house requested an especial bumper, insisting on all the
guests to fill to the brim. He then rose and said, addressing himself to
Miss MacNabb, "I propose the old Scottish toast of 'Honest men and
_bonnie_ lassies,'" and bowing to the hostess, he resumed his seat. The
lady returned his bow with her usual amiable smile, and taking up her
glass, replied, "Weel, Combie, I am sure _we_ may drink that, for it
will neither apply to _you_ nor _me_."

An amusing example of a quiet cool view of a pecuniary transaction
happened to my father whilst doing the business of the rent-day. He was
receiving sums of money from the tenants in succession. After looking
over a bundle of notes which he had just received from one of them, a
well-known character, he said in banter, "James, the notes are not
correct." To which the farmer, who was much of a humorist, drily
answered, "I dinna ken what they may be _noo_; but they were a' richt
afore ye had your fingers in amang 'em." An English farmer would hardly
have spoken thus to his landlord. The Duke of Buccleuch told me an
answer very quaintly Scotch, given to his grandmother by a farmer of the
old school. A dinner was given to some tenantry of the vast estates of
the family, in the time of Duke Henry. His Duchess (the last descendant
of the Dukes of Montague) always appeared at table on such occasions,
and did the honours with that mixture of dignity and of affable kindness
for which she was so remarkable. Abundant hospitality was shown to all
the guests. The Duchess, having observed one of the tenants supplied
with boiled beef from a noble round, proposed that he should add a
supply of cabbage: on his declining, the Duchess good-humouredly
remarked, "Why, boiled beef and 'greens' seem so naturally to go
together, I wonder you don't take it." To which the honest farmer
objected, "Ah, but your Grace maun alloo it's a vary _windy_ vegetable,"
in delicate allusion to the flatulent quality of the esculent. Similar
to this was the naïve answer of a farmer on the occasion of a rent-day.
The lady of the house asked him if he would take some "rhubarb-tart," to
which he innocently answered, "Thank ye, mem, I dinna _need_ it."

A Highland minister, dining with the patroness of his parish, ventured
to say, "I'll thank your leddyship for a little more of that
apple-tart;" "It's not apple-tart, it's rhubarb," replied the lady.
"Rhubarb!" repeated the other, with a look of surprise and alarm, and
immediately called out to the attendant, "Freend, I'll thank you for
a dram."

A characteristic _table_ anecdote I can recall amongst Deeside
reminiscences. My aunt, Mrs. Forbes, had entertained an honest Scotch
farmer at Banchory Lodge; a draught of ale had been offered to him,
which he had quickly despatched. My aunt observing that the glass had no
head or effervescence, observed, that she feared it had not been a good
bottle, "Oh, vera gude, maam, it's just some strong o' the aaple," an
expression which indicates the beer to be somewhat sharp or pungent. It
turned out to have been a bottle of _vinegar_ decanted by mistake.

An amusing instance of an old Scottish farmer being unacquainted with
table refinements occurred at a tenant's dinner in the north. The
servant had put down beside him a dessert spoon when he had been helped
to pudding. This seemed quite superfluous to the honest man, who
exclaimed, "Tak' it awa, my man; my mou's as big for puddin' as it is
for kail."

Amongst the lower orders in Scotland humour is found, occasionally,
very rich in mere children, and I recollect a remarkable illustration of
this early native humour occurring in a family in Forfarshire, where I
used in former days to be very intimate. A wretched woman, who used to
traverse the country as a beggar or tramp, left a poor, half-starved
little girl by the road-side, near the house of my friends. Always ready
to assist the unfortunate, they took charge of the child, and as she
grew a little older they began to give her some education, and taught
her to read. She soon made some progress in reading the Bible, and the
native odd humour of which we speak began soon to show itself. On
reading the passage, which began, "Then David rose," etc., the child
stopped, and looked up knowingly, to say, "I ken wha that was," and on
being asked what she could mean, she confidently said, "That's David
Rowse the pleuchman." And again, reading the passage where the words
occur, "He took Paul's girdle," the child said, with much confidence, "I
ken what he took that for," and on being asked to explain, replied at
once, "To bake 's bannocks on;" "girdle" being in the north the name for
the iron plate hung over the fire for baking oat cakes or bannocks.

To a distinguished member of the Church of Scotland I am indebted for an
excellent story of quaint child humour, which he had from the lips of an
old woman who related the story of herself:--When a girl of eight years
of age she was taken by her grandmother to church. The parish minister
was not only a long preacher, but, as the custom was, delivered two
sermons on the Sabbath day without any interval, and thus saved the
parishioners the two journeys to church. Elizabeth was sufficiently
wearied before the close of the first discourse; but when, after singing
and prayer, the good minister opened the Bible, read a second text, and
prepared to give a second sermon, the young girl, being both tired and
hungry, lost all patience, and cried out to her grandmother, to the no
small amusement of those who were so near as to hear her, "Come awa,
granny, and gang hame; this is a lang grace, and nae meat."

A most amusing account of child humour used to be narrated by an old Mr.
Campbell of Jura, who told the story of his own son. It seems the boy
was much spoilt by indulgence. In fact, the parents were scarce able to
refuse him anything he demanded. He was in the drawing-room on one
occasion when dinner was announced, and on being ordered up to the
nursery he insisted on going down to dinner with the company. His mother
was for refusal, but the child persevered, and kept saying, "If I dinna
gang, I'll tell thon." His father then, for peace sake, let him go. So
he went and sat at table by his mother. When he found every one getting
soup and himself omitted, he demanded soup, and repeated, "If I dinna
get it, I'll tell thon." Well, soup was given, and various other things
yielded to his importunities, to which he always added the usual threat
of "telling thon." At last, when it came to wine, his mother stood firm,
and positively refused, as "a bad thing for little boys," and so on. He
then became more vociferous than ever about "telling thon;" and as still
he was refused, he declared, "Now, I will tell thon," and at last roared
out, "_Ma new breeks were made oot o' the auld curtains_!"

The Rev. Mr. Agnew has kindly sent me an anecdote which supplies an
example of cleverness in a Scottish boy, and which rivals, as he
observes, the smartness of the London boy, termed by _Punch_ the "Street
boy." It has also a touch of quiet, sly Scottish _humour_. A gentleman,
editor of a Glasgow paper, well known as a bon-vivant and epicure, and
by no means a popular character, was returning one day from his office,
and met near his own house a boy carrying a splendid salmon. The
gentleman looked at it with longing eyes, and addressed the boy--"Where
are you taking that salmon, my boy?" Boy--"Do you ken gin ae Mr. ----
(giving the gentleman's name) lives hereabout?" Mr. ---- "Yes, oh yes;
his house is here just by." Boy (looking sly)--"Weel, it's no for him."
Of this same Scottish _boy cleverness_, the Rev. Mr. M'Lure of Marykirk
kindly supplies a capital specimen, in an instance which occurred at
what is called the market, at Fettercairn, where there is always a
hiring of servants. A boy was asked by a farmer if he wished to be
engaged. "Ou ay," said the youth. "Wha was your last maister?" was the
next question. "Oh, yonder him," said the boy; and then agreeing to wait
where he was standing with some other servants till the inquirer should
return from examination of the boy's late employer. The farmer returned
and accosted the boy, "Weel, lathie, I've been speerin' about ye, an'
I'm tae tak ye." "Ou ay," was the prompt reply, "an' I've been speerin'
about _ye tae_, an' I'm nae gaen."

We could not have had a better specimen of the cool self-sufficiency of
these young domestics of the Scottish type than the following:--I heard
of a boy making a very cool and determined exit from the house into
which he had very lately been introduced. He had been told that he
should be dismissed if he broke any of the china that was under his
charge. On the morning of a great dinner-party he was entrusted (rather
rashly) with a great load of plates, which he was to carry up-stairs
from the kitchen to the dining-room, and which were piled up, and
rested upon his two hands. In going up-stairs his foot slipped, and the
plates were broken to atoms. He at once went up to the drawing-room, put
his head in at the door, and shouted: "The plates are a' smashed,
and I'm awa."

A facetious and acute friend, who rather leans to the Sydney Smith view
of Scottish wit, declares that all our humorous stories are about
lairds, and lairds that are drunk. Of such stories there are certainly
not a few. The following is one of the best belonging to my part of the
country, and to many persons I should perhaps apologise for introducing
it at all. The story has been told of various parties and localities,
but no doubt the genuine laird was a laird of Balnamoon (pronounced in
the country Bonnymoon), and that the locality was a wild tract of land,
not far from his place, called Munrimmon Moor. Balnamoon had been dining
out in the neighbourhood, where, by mistake, they had put down to him
after dinner cherry brandy, instead of port wine, his usual beverage.
The rich flavour and strength so pleased him that, having tasted it, he
would have nothing else. On rising from table, therefore, the laird
would be more affected by his drink than if he had taken his ordinary
allowance of port. His servant Harry or Hairy was to drive him home in a
gig, or whisky as it was called, the usual open carriage of the time. On
crossing the moor, however, whether from greater exposure to the blast,
or from the laird's unsteadiness of head, his hat and wig came off and
fell upon the ground. Harry got out to pick them up and restore them to
his master. The laird was satisfied with the hat, but demurred at the
wig. "It's no my wig, Hairy, lad; it's no my wig," and refused to have
anything to do with it. Hairy lost his patience, and, anxious to get
home, remonstrated with his master, "Ye'd better tak it, sir, for
there's nae _waile_[161] o' wigs on Munrimmon Moor." The humour of the
argument is exquisite, putting to the laird in his unreasonable
objection the sly insinuation that in such a locality, if he did not
take _this_ wig, he was not likely to find another. Then, what a rich
expression, "waile o' wigs." In English what is it? "A choice of
perukes;" which is nothing comparable to the "waile o' wigs." I ought to
mention also an amusing sequel to the story, viz. in what happened after
the affair of the wig had been settled, and the laird had consented to
return home. When the whisky drove up to the door, Hairy, sitting in
front, told the servant who came "to tak out the laird." No laird was to
be seen; and it appeared that he had fallen out on the moor without
Hairy observing it. Of course, they went back, and, picking him up,
brought him safe home. A neighbouring laird having called a few days
after, and having referred to the accident, Balnamoon quietly added,
"Indeed, I maun hae a lume[162] that'll _haud in_."

The laird of Balnamoon was a truly eccentric character. He joined with
his drinking propensities a great zeal for the Episcopal church, the
service of which he read to his own family with much solemnity and
earnestness of manner. Two gentlemen, one of them a stranger to the
country, having called pretty early one Sunday morning, Balnamoon
invited them to dinner, and as they accepted the invitation, they
remained and joined in the forenoon devotional exercises conducted by
Balnamoon himself. The stranger was much impressed with the laird's
performance of the service, and during a walk which they took before
dinner, mentioned to his friend how highly he esteemed the religious
deportment of their host. The gentleman said nothing, but smiled to
himself at the scene which he anticipated was to follow. After dinner,
Balnamoon set himself, according to the custom of old hospitable
Scottish hosts, to make his guests as drunk as possible. The result was,
that the party spent the evening in a riotous debauch, and were carried
to bed by the servants at a late hour. Next day, when they had taken
leave and left the house, the gentleman who had introduced his friend
asked him what he thought of their entertainer--"Why, really," he
replied, with evident astonishment, "sic a speat o' praying, and sic a
speat o' drinking, I never knew in the whole course o' my life."

Lady Dalhousie, mother, I mean, of the late distinguished Marquis of
Dalhousie, used to tell a characteristic anecdote of her day. But here,
on mention of the name Christian, Countess of Dalhousie, may I pause a
moment to recall the memory of one who was a very remarkable person. She
was for many years, to me and mine, a sincere, and true and valuable
friend. By an awful dispensation of God's providence her death happened
_instantaneously_ under my roof in 1839. Lady Dalhousie was eminently
distinguished for a fund of the most varied knowledge, for a clear and
powerful judgment, for acute observation, a kind heart, a brilliant wit.
Her story was thus:--A Scottish judge, somewhat in the predicament of
the Laird of Balnamoon, had dined at Coalstoun with her father Charles
Brown, an advocate, and son of George Brown, who sat in the Supreme
Court as a judge with the title of Lord Coalstoun. The party had been
convivial, as we know parties of the highest legal characters often
were in those days. When breaking up and going to the drawing-room, one
of them, not seeing his way very clearly, stepped out of the dining-room
window, which was open to the summer air. The ground at Coalstoun
sloping off from the house behind, the worthy judge got a great fall,
and rolled down the bank. He contrived, however, as tipsy men generally
do, to regain his legs, and was able to reach the drawing-room. The
first remark he made was an innocent remonstrance with his friend the
host, "Od, Charlie Brown, what gars ye hae sic lang steps to your
_front_ door?"

On Deeside, where many original stories had their origin, I recollect
hearing several of an excellent and worthy, but very simple-minded man,
the Laird of Craigmyle. On one occasion, when the beautiful and clever
Jane, Duchess of Gordon, was scouring through the country, intent upon
some of those electioneering schemes which often occupied her fertile
imagination and active energies, she came to call at Craigmyle, and
having heard that the laird was making bricks on the property, for the
purpose of building a new garden wall, with her usual tact she opened
the subject, and kindly asked, "Well, Mr. Gordon, and how do your bricks
come on?" Good Craigmyle's thoughts were much occupied with a new
leather portion of his dress, which had been lately constructed, so,
looking down on his nether garments, he said in pure Aberdeen dialect,
"Muckle obleeged to yer Grace, the breeks war sum ticht at first, but
they are deeing weel eneuch noo."

The last Laird of Macnab, before the clan finally broke up and emigrated
to Canada, was a well-known character in the country, and being poor,
used to ride about on a most wretched horse, which gave occasion to
many jibes at his expense. The laird was in the constant habit of riding
up from the country to attend the Musselburgh races. A young wit, by way
of playing him off on the race-course, asked him, in a contemptuous
tone, "Is that the same horse you had last year, laird?" "Na," said the
laird, brandishing his whip in the interrogator's face in so emphatic a
manner as to preclude further questioning, "na; but it's the same
_whup_." In those days, as might be expected, people were not nice in
expressions of their dislike of persons and measures. If there be not
more charity in society than of old, there is certainly more courtesy. I
have, from a friend, an anecdote illustrative of this remark, in regard
to feelings exercised towards an unpopular laird. In the neighbourhood
of Banff, in Forfarshire, the seat of a very ancient branch of the
Ramsays, lived a proprietor who bore the appellation of Corb, from the
name of his estate. This family has passed away, and its property merged
in Banff. The laird was intensely disliked in the neighbourhood. Sir
George Ramsay was, on the other hand, universally popular and respected.
On one occasion, Sir George, in passing a morass in his own
neighbourhood, had missed the road and fallen into a bog to an alarming
depth. To his great relief, he saw a passenger coming along the path,
which was at no great distance. He called loudly for his help, but the
man took no notice. Poor Sir George felt himself sinking, and redoubled
his cries for assistance; all at once the passenger rushed forward,
carefully extricated him from his perilous position, and politely
apologised for his first neglect of his appeal, adding, as his reason,
"Indeed, Sir George, I thought it was Corb!" evidently meaning that
_had_ it been Corb, he must have taken his chance for him.

In Lanarkshire there lived a sma' sma' laird named Hamilton, who was
noted for his eccentricity. On one occasion, a neighbour waited on him,
and requested his name as an accommodation to a "bit bill" for twenty
pounds at three months' date, which led to the following characteristic
and truly Scottish colloquy:--"Na, na, I canna do that." "What for no,
laird? ye hae dune the same thing for ithers." "Ay, ay, Tammas, but
there's wheels within wheels ye ken naething about; I canna do't." "It's
a sma' affair to refuse me, laird." "Weel, ye see, Tammas, if I was to
pit my name till't, ye wad get the siller frae the bank, and when the
time came round, ye wadna be ready, and I wad hae to pay't; sae then you
and me wad quarrel; sae we may just as weel quarrel _the noo_, as lang's
the siller's in ma pouch." On one occasion, Hamilton having business
with the late Duke of Hamilton at Hamilton Palace, the Duke politely
asked him to lunch. A liveried servant waited upon them, and was most
assiduous in his attentions to the Duke and his guest. At last our
eccentric friend lost patience, and looking at the servant, addressed
him thus, "What the deil for are ye dance, dancing, about the room that
gait? can ye no draw in your chair and sit down? I'm sure there's
_plenty on the table for three_."

As a specimen of the old-fashioned Laird, now become a Reminiscence, who
adhered pertinaciously to old Scottish usages, and to the old Scottish
dialect, I cannot, I am sure, adduce a better specimen than Mr.
Fergusson of Pitfour, to whose servant I have already referred. He was
always called Pitfour, from the name of his property in Aberdeenshire.
He must have died fifty years ago. He was for many years M.P. for the
county of Aberdeen, and I have reason to believe that he made the
enlightened parliamentary declaration which has been given to others: He
said "he had often heard speeches in the _House_, which had changed his
opinion, but none that had ever changed his vote." I recollect hearing
of his dining in London sixty years ago, at the house of a Scottish
friend, where there was a swell party, and Pitfour was introduced as a
great northern proprietor, and county M.P. A fashionable lady patronised
him graciously, and took great charge of him, and asked him about his
estates. Pitfour was very dry and sparing in his communications, as for
example, "What does your home farm chiefly produce, Mr. Fergusson?"
Answer, "Girss." "I beg your pardon, Mr. Fergusson, what does your home
farm produce?" All she could extract was, "Girss."

Of another laird, whom I heard often spoken of in old times, an anecdote
was told strongly Scottish. Our friend had much difficulty (as many
worthy lairds have had) in meeting the claims of those two woeful
periods of the year called with us in Scotland the "tarmes." He had been
employing for some time as workman a stranger from the south on some
house repairs, of the not uncommon name in England of Christmas. His
servant early one morning called out at the laird's door in great
excitement that "Christmas had run away, and nobody knew where he had
gone." He coolly turned in his bed with the ejaculation, "I only wish he
had taken Whitsunday and Martinmas along with him." I do not know a
better illustration of quiet, shrewd, and acute Scottish humour than the
following little story, which an esteemed correspondent mentions having
heard from his father when a boy, relating to a former Duke of Athole,
who had _no family of his own_, and whom he mentions as having
remembered very well:--He met, one morning, one of his cottars or
gardeners, whose wife he knew to be in the _hopeful way_. Asking him
"how Marget was the day," the man replied that she had that morning
given him twins. Upon which the Duke said,--"Weel, Donald; ye ken the
Almighty never sends bairns without the meat." "That may be, your
Grace," said Donald; "but whiles I think that Providence maks a mistak
in thae matters, and sends the bairns to ae hoose and the meat to
anither!" The Duke took the hint, and sent him a cow with calf the
following morning.

I have heard of an amusing scene between a laird, noted for his
meanness, and a wandering sort of Edie Ochiltree, a well-known itinerant
who lived by his wits and what he could pick up in his rounds amongst
the houses through the country. The laird, having seen the beggar sit
down near his gate to examine the contents of his pock or wallet,
conjectured that he had come from his house, and so drew near to see
what he had carried off. As the laird was keenly investigating the
mendicant's spoils, his quick eye detected some bones on which there
remained more meat than should have been allowed to leave his kitchen.
Accordingly he pounced upon the bones, declaring he had been robbed, and
insisted on the beggar returning to the house and giving back the spoil.
He was, however, prepared for the attack, and sturdily defended his
property, boldly asserting, "Na, na, laird, thae are no Tod-brae banes;
they are Inch-byre banes, and nane o' your honour's"--meaning that he
had received these bones at the house of a neighbour of a more liberal
character. The beggar's professional discrimination between the merits
of the bones of the two mansions, and his pertinacious defence of his
own property, would have been most amusing to a bystander.

I have, however, a reverse story, in which the beggar is quietly
silenced by the proprietor. A noble lord, some generations back, well
known for his frugal habits, had just picked up a small copper coin in
his own avenue, and had been observed by one of the itinerating
mendicant race, who, grudging the transfer of the piece into the peer's
pocket, exclaimed, "O, gie't to me, my lord;" to which the quiet answer
was, "Na, na; fin' a fardin' for yersell, puir body."

There are always pointed anecdotes against houses wanting in a liberal
and hospitable expenditure in Scotland. Thus, we have heard of a master
leaving such a mansion, and taxing his servant with being drunk, which
he had too often been after other country visits. On this occasion,
however, he was innocent of the charge, for he had not the _opportunity_
to transgress. So, when his master asserted, "Jemmy, you are drunk!"
Jemmy very quietly answered, "Indeed, sir, I wish I wur." At another
mansion, notorious for scanty fare, a gentleman was inquiring of the
gardener about a dog which some time ago he had given to the laird. The
gardener showed him a lank greyhound, on which the gentleman said, "No,
no; the dog I gave your master was a mastiff, not a greyhound;" to which
the gardener quietly answered, "Indeed, ony dog micht sune become a
greyhound by stopping here."

From a friend and relative, a minister of the Established Church of
Scotland, I used to hear many characteristic stories. He had a curious
vein of this sort of humour in himself, besides what he brought out from
others. One of his peculiarities was a mortal antipathy to the whole
French nation, whom he frequently abused in no measured terms. At the
same time he had great relish of a glass of claret, which he considered
the prince of all social beverages. So he usually finished off his
antigallican tirades, with the reservation, "But the bodies brew the
braw drink." He lived amongst his own people, and knew well the habits
and peculiarities of a race gone by. He had many stories connected with
the pastoral relation between minister and people, and all such stories
are curious, not merely for their amusement, but from the illustration
they afford us of that peculiar Scottish humour which we are now
describing. He had himself, when a very young boy, before he came up to
the Edinburgh High School, been at the parochial school where he
resided, and which, like many others, at that period, had a considerable
reputation for the skill and scholarship of the master. He used to
describe school scenes rather different, I suspect, from school scenes
in our day. One boy, on coming late, explained that the cause had been a
regular pitched battle between his parents, with the details of which he
amused his school-fellows; and he described the battle in vivid and
Scottish Homeric terms: "And eh, as they faucht, and they faucht,"
adding, however, with much complacency, "but my minnie dang, she
did tho'."

There was a style of conversation and quaint modes of expression between
ministers and their people at that time, which, I suppose, would seem
strange to the present generation; as, for example, I recollect a
conversation between this relative and one of his parishioners of this
description.--It had been a very wet and unpromising autumn. The
minister met a certain Janet of his flock, and accosted her very kindly.
He remarked, "Bad prospect for the har'st (harvest), Janet, this wet."
_Janet_--"Indeed, sir, I've seen as muckle as that there'll be nae
har'st the year." _Minister_--"Na, Janet, deil as muckle as that't
ever you saw."

As I have said, he was a clergyman of the Established Church, and had
many stories about ministers and people, arising out of his own pastoral
experience, or the experience of friends and neighbours. He was much
delighted with the not very refined rebuke which one of his own farmers
had given to a young minister who had for some Sundays occupied his
pulpit. The young man had dined with the farmer in the afternoon when
services were over, and his appetite was so sharp, that he thought it
necessary to apologise to his host for eating so substantial a
dinner.--"You see," he said, "I am always very hungry after preaching."
The old gentleman, not much admiring the youth's pulpit ministrations,
having heard this apology two or three times, at last replied
sarcastically, "Indeed, sir, I'm no surprised at it, considering the
_trash_ that comes aff your stamach in the morning."

What I wish to keep in view is, to distinguish anecdotes which are
amusing on account merely of the expressions used, from those which have
real wit and humour _combined_, with the purely Scottish vehicle in
which they are conveyed.

Of this class I could not have a better specimen to commence with than
the defence of the liturgy of his church, by John Skinner of Langside,
of whom previous mention has been made. It is witty and clever.

Being present at a party (I think at Lord Forbes's), where were also
several ministers of the Establishment, the conversation over their wine
turned, among other things, on the Prayer Book. Skinner took no part in
it, till one minister remarked to him, "The great faut I hae to your
prayer-book is that ye use the Lord's Prayer sae aften,--ye juist mak a
dishclout o't." Skinner's rejoinder was, "Verra true! Ay, man, we mak a
dishclout o't, an' we wring't, an' we wring't, an' we wring't, an' the
bree[163] o't washes a' the lave o' our prayers."

No one, I think, could deny the wit of the two following rejoinders.

A ruling elder of a country parish in the west of Scotland was well
known in the district as a shrewd and ready-witted man. He received many
a visit from persons who liked a banter, or to hear a good joke. Three
young students gave him a call in order to have a little amusement at
the elder's expense. On approaching him, one of them saluted him, "Well,
Father Abraham, how are you to-day?" "You are wrong," said the other,
"this is old Father Isaac." "Tuts," said the third, "you are both
mistaken; this is old Father Jacob." David looked at the young men, and
in his own way replied, "I am neither old Father Abraham, nor old Father
Isaac, nor old Father Jacob; but I am Saul the son of Kish, seeking his
father's asses, and lo! I've found three o' them."

For many years the Baptist community of Dunfermline was presided over by
brothers David Dewar and James Inglis, the latter of whom has just
recently gone to his reward. Brother David was a plain, honest,
straightforward man, who never hesitated to express his convictions,
however unpalatable they might be to others. Being elected a member of
the Prison Board, he was called upon to give his vote in the choice of a
chaplain from the licentiates of the Established Kirk. The party who had
gained the confidence of the Board had proved rather an indifferent
preacher in a charge to which he had previously been appointed; and on
David being asked to signify his assent to the choice of the Board, he
said, "Weel, I've no objections to the man, for I understand he has
preached a kirk toom (empty) already, and if he be as successful in the
jail, he'll maybe preach it vawcant as weel."

From Mr. Inglis, clerk of the Court of Session, I have the following
Scottish rejoinder:--

"I recollect my father relating a conversation between a Perthshire
laird and one of his tenants. The laird's eldest son was rather a
simpleton. Laird says, 'I am going to send the young laird abroad,'
'What for?' asks the tenant; answered, 'To see the world;' tenant
replies, 'But, lord-sake, laird, will no the world see _him_?'"

An admirably humorous reply is recorded of a Scotch officer, well known
and esteemed in his day for mirth and humour. Captain Innes of the
Guards (usually called Jock Innes by his contemporaries) was with others
getting ready for Flushing or some of those expeditions of the beginning
of the great war. His commanding officer (Lord Huntly, my correspondent
thinks) remonstrated about the badness of his hat, and recommended a new
one--"Na, na! bide a wee," said Jock; "where we're gain' faith there'll
soon be mair hats nor _heads_."

I recollect being much amused with a Scottish reference of this kind in
the heart of London. Many years ago a Scotch party had dined at
Simpson's famous beef-steak house in the Strand. On coming away some of
the party could not find their hats, and my uncle was jocularly asking
the waiter, whom he knew to be a _Deeside_ man, "Whar are our bonnets,
Jeems?" To which he replied, "'Deed, I mind the day when I had neither
hat nor bonnet."

There is an odd and original way of putting a matter sometimes in Scotch
people, which is irresistibly comic, although by the persons nothing
comic is intended; as for example, when in 1786 Edinburgh was
illuminated on account of the recovery of George III. from severe
illness. In a house where great preparation was going on for the
occasion, by getting the candles fixed in tin sconces, an old nurse of
the family, looking on, exclaimed, "Ay, it's a braw time for the
cannel-makers when the king is sick, honest man!"

Scottish farmers of the old school were a shrewd and humorous race,
sometimes not indisposed to look with a little jealousy upon their
younger brethren, who, on their part, perhaps, showed their contempt for
the old-fashioned ways. I take the following example from the columns of
the _Peterhead Sentinel_, just as it appeared--June 14, 1861:--

"AN ANECDOTE FOR DEAN EAMSAY.--The following characteristic and amusing
anecdote was communicated to us the other day by a gentleman who
happened to be a party to the conversation detailed below. This
gentleman was passing along a road not a hundred miles from Peterhead
one day this week. Two different farms skirt the separate sides of the
turnpike, one of which is rented by a farmer who cultivates his land
according to the most advanced system of agriculture, and the other of
which is farmed by a gentleman of the old school. Our informant met the
latter worthy at the side of the turnpike opposite his neighbour's farm,
and seeing a fine crop of wheat upon what appeared to be [and really
was] very thin and poor land, asked, 'When was that wheat sown?' 'O I
dinna ken,' replied the gentleman of the old school, with a sort of
half-indifference, half-contempt. 'But isn't it strange that such a fine
crop should be reared on such bad land?' asked our informant. 'O,
na--nae at a'--deevil thank it; a gravesteen wad gie guid bree[164] gin
ye gied it plenty o' butter!'"

But perhaps the best anecdote illustrative of the keen shrewdness of the
Scottish farmer is related by Mr. Boyd[165] in one of his charming
series of papers, reprinted from _Fraser's Magazine_. "A friend of mine,
a country parson, on first going to his parish, resolved to farm his
glebe for himself. A neighbouring farmer kindly offered the parson to
plough one of his fields. The farmer said that he would send his man
John with a plough and a pair of horses on a certain day. 'If ye're
goin' about,' said the farmer to the clergyman, 'John will be unco weel
pleased if you speak to him, and say it's a fine day, or the like o'
that; but dinna,' said the farmer, with much solemnity, 'dinna say
onything to him about ploughin' and sawin'; for John,' he added, 'is a
stupid body, but he has been ploughin' and sawin' a' his life, and he'll
see in a minute that _ye_ ken naething aboot ploughin' and sawin'. And
then,' said the sagacious old farmer, with much earnestness, 'if he
comes to think that ye ken naething aboot ploughin' and sawin', he'll
think that ye ken naething aboot onything!'"

The following is rather an original commentary, by a layman, upon
clerical incomes:--A relative of mine going to church with a Forfarshire
farmer, one of the old school, asked him the amount of the minister's
stipend. He said, "Od, it's a gude ane--the maist part of £300 a year."
"Well," said my relative, "many of these Scotch ministers are but poorly
off." "They've eneuch, sir, they've eneuch; if they'd mair, it would
want a' their time to the spendin' o't."

Scotch gamekeepers had often much dry quiet humour. I was much amused by
the answer of one of those under the following circumstances:--An
Ayrshire gentleman, who was from the first a very bad shot, or rather no
shot at all, when out on 1st of September, having failed, time after
time, in bringing down a single bird, had at last pointed out to him by
his attendant bag-carrier a large covey, thick and close on the
stubbles. "Noo, Mr. Jeems, let drive at them, just as they are!" Mr.
Jeems did let drive, as advised, but not a feather remained to testify
the shot. All flew off, safe and sound--"Hech, sir (remarks his friend),
but ye've made thae yins _shift their quarters_."

The two following anecdotes of rejoinders from Scottish guidwives, and
for which I am indebted, as for many other kind communications, to the
Rev. Mr. Blair of Dunblane, appear to me as good examples of the
peculiar Scottish pithy phraseology which we refer to, as any that I
have met with.

An old lady from whom the "Great Unknown" had derived many an ancient
tale, was waited upon one day by the author of "Waverley." On his
endeavouring to give the authorship the go-by, the old dame protested,
"D'ye think, sir, I dinna ken my ain groats in ither folk's kail[166]?"

A conceited packman called at a farm-house in the west of Scotland, in
order to dispose of some of his wares. The goodwife was offended by his
southern accent, and his high talk about York, London, and other big
places. "An' whaur come ye frae yersell?" was the question of the
guidwife. "Ou, I am from the Border." "The Border--oh! I thocht that;
for we aye think the _selvidge_ is the wakest bit o' the wab!"

The following is a good specimen of ready Scotch humorous reply, by a
master to his discontented workman, and in which he turned the tables
upon him, in his reference to Scripture. In a town of one of the central
counties a Mr. J---- carried on, about a century ago, a very extensive
business in the linen manufacture. Although _strikes_ were then unknown
among the labouring classes, the spirit from which these take their rise
has no doubt at all times existed. Among Mr. J----'s many workmen, one
had given him constant annoyance for years, from his discontented and
argumentative spirit. Insisting one day on getting something or other
which his master thought most unreasonable, and refused to give in to,
he at last submitted, with a bad grace, saying, "You're nae better than
_Pharaoh_, sir, forcin' puir folk to mak' bricks without straw." "Well,
Saunders," quietly rejoined his master, "if I'm nae better than Pharaoh
in one respect, I'll be better in another, for _I'll no hinder ye going
to the wilderness whenever you choose_."

Persons who are curious in Scottish stories of wit and humour speak much
of the sayings of a certain "Laird of Logan," who was a well-known
character in the West of Scotland. This same Laird of Logan was at a
meeting of the heritors of Cumnock, where a proposal was made to erect a
new churchyard wall. He met the proposition with the dry remark, "I
never big dykes till the _tenants_ complain." Calling one day for a gill
of whisky in a public-house, the Laird was asked if he would take any
water with the spirit. "Na, na," replied he, "I would rather ye would
tak the water out o't."

The laird sold a horse to an Englishman, saying, "You buy him as you
see him; but he's an _honest_ beast." The purchaser took him home. In a
few days he stumbled and fell, to the damage of his own knees and his
rider's head. On this the angry purchaser remonstrated with the laird,
whose reply was, "Well, sir, I told ye he was an honest beast; many a
time has he threatened to come down with me, and I kenned he would keep
his word some day."

At the time of the threatened invasion, the laird had been taunted at a
meeting at Ayr with want of loyal spirit at Cumnock, as at that place no
volunteer corps had been raised to meet the coming danger; Cumnock, it
should be recollected, being on a high situation, and ten or twelve
miles from the coast. "What sort of people are you up at Cumnock?" said
an Ayr gentleman; "you have not a single volunteer!" "Never you heed,"
says Logan, very quietly; "if the French land at Ayr, there will soon be
plenty of volunteers up at Cumnock."

A pendant to the story of candid admission on the part of the minister,
that the people might be _weary_ after his sermon, has been given on the
authority of the narrator, a Fife gentleman, ninety years of age when he
told it. He had been to church at Elie, and listening to a young and
perhaps bombastic preacher, who happened to be officiating for the Rev.
Dr. Milligan, who was in church. After service, meeting the Doctor in
the passage, he introduced the young clergyman, who, on being asked by
the old man how he did, elevated his shirt collar, and complained of
fatigue, and being very much "_tired_." "Tired, did ye say, my man?"
said the old satirist, who was slightly deaf; "Lord, man! if you're
_half_ as tired as I am, I pity ye!"

I have been much pleased with an offering from Carluke, containing two
very pithy anecdotes. Mr. Rankin very kindly writes:--"Your
'Reminiscences' are most refreshing. I am very little of a
story-collector, but I have recorded some of an old schoolmaster, who
was a story-teller. As a sort of payment for the amusement I have
derived from your book, I shall give one or two."

He sends the two following:--

"Shortly after Mr. Kay had been inducted schoolmaster of Carluke (1790),
the bederal called at the school, verbally announcing,
proclamation-ways, that Mrs. So-and-So's funeral would be on Fuirsday.
'At what hour?' asked the dominie. 'Ou, ony time atween ten and twa.' At
two o'clock of the day fixed, Mr. Kay--quite a stranger to the customs
of the district--arrived at the place, and was astonished to find a
crowd of men and lads, standing here and there, some smoking, and all
_arglebargling_[167] as if at the end of a fair. He was instantly, but
mysteriously, approached, and touched on the arm by a red-faced
bareheaded man, who seemed to be in authority, and was beckoned to
follow. On entering the barn, which was seated all round, he found
numbers sitting, each with the head bent down, and each with his hat
between his knees--all gravity and silence. Anon a voice was heard
issuing from the far end, and a long prayer was uttered. They had worked
at this--what was called '_a service_'--during three previous hours, one
party succeeding another, and many taking advantage of every service,
which consisted of a prayer by way of grace, a glass of _white_ wine, a
glass of _red_ wine, a glass of _rum_, and a prayer by way of
thanksgiving. After the long invocation, bread and wine passed round.
Silence prevailed. Most partook of both _rounds_ of wine, but when the
rum came, many nodded refusal, and by and by the nodding seemed to be
universal, and the trays passed on so much the more quickly. A sumphish
weather-beaten man, with a large flat blue bonnet on his knee, who had
nodded unwittingly, and was about to lose the last chance of a glass of
rum, raised his head, saying, amid the deep silence, 'Od, I daursay I
_wull_ tak anither glass,' and in a sort of vengeful, yet apologetic
tone, added, 'The auld jaud yince cheated me wi' a cauve' (calf)."

At a farmer's funeral in the country, an undertaker was in charge of the
ceremonial, and directing how it was to proceed, when he noticed a
little man giving orders, and, as he thought, rather encroaching upon
the duties and privileges of his own office. He asked him, "And wha are
ye, mi' man, that tak sae muckle on ye?" "Oh, dinna ye ken?" said the
man, under a strong sense of his own importance, "I'm the corp's

Curious scenes took place at funerals where there was, in times gone by,
an unfortunate tendency to join with such solemnities more attention to
festal entertainment than was becoming. A farmer, at the interment of
his second wife, exercised a liberal hospitality to his friends at the
inn near the church. On looking over the bill, the master defended the
charge as moderate. But he reminded him, "Ye forget, man, that it's no
ilka ane that brings a _second_ funeral to your house."

"Dr. Scott, minister of Carluke (1770), was a fine graceful kindly man,
always stepping about in his bag-wig and cane in hand, with a kind and
ready word to every one. He was officiating at a bridal in his parish,
where there was a goodly company, had partaken of the good cheer, and
waited till the young people were fairly warmed in the dance. A
dissenting body had sprung up in the parish, which he tried to think was
beneath him even to notice, when he could help it, yet never seemed to
feel at all keenly when the dissenters were alluded to. One of the chief
leaders of this body was at the bridal, and felt it to be his bounden
duty to call upon the minister for his reasons for sanctioning by his
presence so sinful an enjoyment. 'Weel, minister, what think ye o' this
dancin'?' 'Why, John,' said the minister, blithely, 'I think it an
excellent exercise for young people, and, I dare say, so do you.' 'Ah,
sir, I'm no sure about it; I see nae authority for't in the Scriptures.'
'Umph, indeed, John; you cannot forget David.' 'Ah, sir, Dauvid; gif
they were a' to dance as Dauvid did, it would be a different thing
a'thegither.' 'Hoot-o-fie, hoot-o-fie, John; would you have the young
folk strip to the sark?'"

Reference has been made to the eccentric laird of Balnamoon, his wig,
and his "speats o' drinking and praying." A story of this laird is
recorded, which I do think is well named, by a correspondent who
communicates it, as a "quintessential phasis of dry Scotch humour," and
the explanation of which would perhaps be thrown away upon any one who
_needed_ the explanation. The story is this:--The laird riding past a
high steep bank, stopped opposite a hole in it, and said, "Hairy, I saw
a brock gang in there." "Did ye?" said Hairy; "wull ye hand my horse,
sir?" "Certainly," said the laird, and away rushed Hairy for a spade.
After digging for half-an-hour, he came back, quite done, to the laird,
who had regarded him musingly. "I canna find him, sir," said Hairy.
"'Deed," said the laird, very coolly, "I wad ha' wondered if ye had, for
it's ten years sin' I saw him gang in there."

Amongst many humorous colloquies between Balnamoon and his servant, the
following must have been very racy and very original. The laird,
accompanied by Hairy, after a dinner party, was riding on his way home,
through a ford, when he fell off into the water. "Whae's that faun?" he
inquired. "'Deed," quoth Hairy, "I witna an it be na your honour."

There is a peculiarity connected with what we have considered Scotch
humour. It is more common for Scotsmen to associate their own feelings
with _national_ events and national history than for Englishmen. Take as
illustrations the following, as being perhaps as good as any:--The Rev.
Robert Scott, a Scotsman who forgets not Scotland in his southern
vicarage, and whom I have named before as having sent me some good
reminiscences, tells me that, at Inverary, some thirty years ago, he
could not help overhearing the conversation of some Lowland
cattle-dealers in the public room in which he was. The subject of the
bravery of our navy being started, one of the interlocutors expressed
his surprise that Nelson should have issued his signal at Trafalgar in
the terms, "_England expects_," etc. He was met with the answer (which
seemed highly satisfactory to the rest), "Ah, Nelson only said
'_expects_' of the English; he said naething of Scotland, for he _kent_
the _Scotch_ would do theirs."

I am assured the following manifestation of national feeling against the
memory of a Scottish character actually took place within a few
years:--Williamson (the Duke of Buccleuch's huntsman) was one afternoon
riding home from hunting through Haddington; and as he passed the old
Abbey, he saw an ancient woman looking through the iron grating in front
of the burial-place of the Lauderdale family, holding by the bars, and
grinning and dancing with rage. "Eh, gudewife," said Williamson, "what
ails ye?" "It's the Duke o' Lauderdale," cried she. "Eh, if I could win
at him, I wud rax the banes o' him."

To this class belongs the following complacent Scottish remark upon
Bannockburn. A splenetic Englishman said to a Scottish countryman,
something of a wag, that no man of taste would think of remaining any
time in such a country as Scotland. To which the canny Scot replied,
"Tastes differ; I'se tak ye to a place no far frae Stirling, whaur
thretty thousand o' your countrymen ha' been for five hunder years, and
they've nae thocht o' leavin' yet."

In a similar spirit, an honest Scotch farmer, who had sent some sheep to
compete at a great English agricultural cattle-show, and was much
disgusted at not getting a prize, consoled himself for the
disappointment, by insinuating that the judges could hardly act quite
impartially by a Scottish competitor, complacently remarking, "It's aye
been the same since Bannockburn."

Then, again, take the story told in Lockhart's Life of Sir Walter Scott,
of the blacksmith whom Sir Walter had formerly known as a horse-doctor,
and whom he found at a small country town south of the Border,
practising medicine with a reckless use of "laudamy and calomy[169],"
apologising at the same time for the mischief he might do, by the
assurance that it "_would be lang before it made up for Flodden_." How
graphically it describes the interest felt by Scotchmen of his rank in
the incidents of their national history. A similar example has been
recorded in connection with Bannockburn. Two Englishmen visited the
field of that great battle, and a country blacksmith pointed out the
positions of the two armies, the stone on which was fixed the Bruce's
standard, etc. The gentlemen, pleased with the intelligence of their
guide, on leaving pressed his acceptance of a crown-piece. "Na, na,"
replied the Scotsman, with much pride, "it has cost ye eneuch already."
Such an example of self-denial on the part of a Scottish cicerone is, we
fear, now rather a "reminiscence."

A north country drover had, however, a more _tangible_ opportunity of
gratifying his national animosity against the Southron, and of which he
availed himself. Returning homewards, after a somewhat unsuccessful
journey, and not in very good humour with the Englishers, when passing
through Carlisle he saw a notice stuck up, offering a reward of £50 for
any one who would do a piece of service to the community, by officiating
as executioner of the law on a noted criminal then under sentence of
death. Seeing a chance to make up for his bad market, and comforted with
the assurance that he was unknown there, he undertook the office,
executed the condemned, and got the fee. When moving off with the money,
he was twitted at as a "mean beggarly Scot," doing for money what no
_Englishman_ would. With a grin and quiet glee, he only replied, "I'll
hang ye a' at the price."

Some Scotsmen, no doubt, have a very complacent feeling regarding the
superiority of their countrymen, and make no hesitation in proclaiming
their opinion. I have always admired the quaint expression of such
belief in a case which has recently been reported to me. A young
Englishman had taken a Scottish shooting-ground, and enjoyed his
mountain sport so much as to imbibe a strong partiality for his northern
residence and all its accompaniments. At a German watering-place he
encountered, next year, an original character, a Scotsman of the old
school, very national, and somewhat bigoted in his nationality: he
determined to pass himself off to him as a genuine Scottish native; and,
accordingly, he talked of Scotland and haggis, and sheep's head, and
whisky; he boasted of Bannockburn, and admired Queen Mary; looked upon
Scott and Burns as superior to all English writers; and staggered,
although he did not convince, the old gentleman. On going away he took
leave of his Scottish friend, and said, "Well, sir, next time we meet, I
hope you will receive me as a real countryman." "Weel," he said, "I'm
jest thinkin', my lad, ye're nae Scotsman; but I'll tell ye what ye
are--ye're juist an _impruived_ Englishman."

I am afraid we must allow that Scottish people have a _leetle_ national
vanity, and may be too ready sometimes to press the claim of their
country to an extravagantly assumed pre-eminence in the annals of genius
and celebrities. An extreme case of such pretension I heard of lately,
which is amusing. A Scotsman, in reference to the distinction awarded to
Sir Walter Scott, on occasion of his centenary, had roundly asserted,
"But _all_ who have been eminent men were Scotsmen." An Englishman,
offended at such assumption of national pre-eminence, asked indignantly,
"What do you say to Shakspeare?" To which the other quietly replied,
"Weel, his tawlent wad justifee the inference." This is rich, as an
example of an _à priori_ argument in favour of a man being a Scotsman.

We find in the conversation of old people frequent mention of a class
of beings well known in country parishes, now either become commonplace,
like the rest of the world, or removed altogether, and shut up in
poorhouses or madhouses--I mean the individuals frequently called
parochial _idiots_; but who were rather of the order of naturals. They
were eccentric, or somewhat crazy, useless, idle creatures, who used to
wander about from house to house, and sometimes made very shrewd
sarcastic remarks upon what was going on in the parish. I heard such a
person once described as one who was "wanting in twopence of change for
a shilling." They used to take great liberty of speech regarding the
conduct and disposition of those with whom they came in contact, and
many odd sayings which emanated from them were traditionary in country
localities. I have a kindly feeling towards these imperfectly
intelligent, but often perfectly cunning beings; partly, I believe, from
recollections of early associations in boyish days with some of those
Davy Gellatleys. I have therefore preserved several anecdotes with which
I have been favoured, where their odd sayings and indications of a
degree of mental activity have been recorded. These persons seem to have
had a partiality for getting near the pulpit in church, and their
presence there was accordingly sometimes annoying to the preacher and
the congregation; as at Maybole, when Dr. Paul, now of St. Cuthbert's,
was minister in 1823, John M'Lymont, an individual of this class, had
been in the habit of standing so close to the pulpit door as to overlook
the Bible and pulpit board. When required, however, by the clergyman to
keep at a greater distance, and not _look in upon the minister_, he got
intensely angry and violent. He threatened the minister,--"Sir, bæby
(maybe) I'll come farther;" meaning to intimate that perhaps he would,
if much provoked, come into the pulpit altogether. This, indeed,
actually took place on another occasion, and the tenure of the
ministerial position was justified by an argument of a most amusing
nature. The circumstance, I am assured, happened in a parish in the
north. The clergyman, on coming into church, found the pulpit occupied
by the parish natural. The authorities had been unable to remove him
without more violence than was seemly, and therefore waited for the
minister to dispossess Tam of the place he had assumed. "Come down, sir,
immediately!" was the peremptory and indignant call; and on Tam being
unmoved, it was repeated with still greater energy. Tam, however,
replied, looking down confidentially from his elevation, "Na, na,
minister! juist ye come up wi' me. This is a perverse generation, and
faith they need us baith." It is curious to mark the sort of glimmering
of sense, and even of discriminating thought, displayed by persons of
this class. As an example, take a conversation held by this same John
M'Lymont, with Dr. Paul, whom he met some time after. He seemed to have
recovered his good humour, as he stopped him and said, "Sir, I would
like to speer a question at ye on a subject that's troubling me." "Well,
Johnnie, what is the question?" To which he replied, "Sir, is it lawful
at ony time to tell a lee?" The minister desired to know what Johnnie
himself thought upon the point. "Weel, sir," said he, "I'll no say but
in every case it's wrang to tell a lee; but," added he, looking archly
and giving a knowing wink, "I think there are _waur lees than ithers_"
"How, Johnnie?" and then he instantly replied, with all the simplicity
of a fool, "_To keep down a din, for instance_. I'll no say but a man
does wrang in telling a lee to keep down a din, but I'm sure he does not
do half sae muckle wrang as a man who tells a lee to kick up a
deevilment o' a din." This opened a question not likely to occur to such
a mind. Mr. Asher, minister of Inveraven, in Morayshire, narrated to Dr.
Paul a curious example of want of intelligence combined with a power of
cunning to redress a fancied wrong, shown by a poor natural of the
parish, who had been seized with a violent inflammatory attack, and was
in great danger. The medical attendant saw it necessary to bleed him,
but he resisted, and would not submit to it. At last the case became so
hopeless that they were obliged to use force, and, holding his hands and
feet, the doctor opened a vein and drew blood, upon which the poor
creature, struggling violently, bawled out, "O doctor, doctor! you'll
kill me! you'll kill me! and depend upon it the first thing I'll do when
I get to the other world will be to _report you to the board of
Supervision there, and get you dismissed_." A most extraordinary
sensation was once produced on a congregation by Rab Hamilton, a
well-remembered crazy creature of the west country, on the occasion of
his attendance at the parish kirk of "Auld Ayr, wham ne'er a toun
surpasses," the minister of which, in the opinion of Rab's own minister,
Mr. Peebles, had a tendency to Socinian doctrines. Miss Kirkwood,
Bothwell, relates the story from the recollection of her aunt, who was
present. Rab had put his head between some iron rails, the first
intimation of which to the congregation was a stentorian voice crying
out, "Murder! my heed'll hae to be cuttit aff! Holy minister!
congregation! Oh, my heed maun be cuttit aff. It's a judgment for
leaving my godlie Mr. Peebles at the Newton." After he had been
extricated and quieted, when asked why he put his head there, he said,
"It was juist to look on[170] wi' _anither woman_."

The following anecdote of this same Rab Hamilton from a kind
correspondent at Ayr sanctions the opinion that he must have
occasionally said such clever things as made some think him more rogue
than fool. Dr. Auld often showed him kindness, but being once addressed
by him when in a hurry and out of humour, he said, "Get away, Rab; I
have nothing for you to day." "Whaw, whew," cried Rab, in a half howl,
half whining tone, "I dinna want onything the day, Maister Auld; I
wanted to tell you an awsome dream I hae had. I dreamt I was deed."
"Weel, what then?" said Dr. Auld. "Ou, I was carried far, far, and up,
up, up, till I cam to heeven's yett, where I chappit, and chappit, and
chappit, till at last an angel keekit out, and said 'Wha are ye?' 'A'm
puir Rab Hamilton.' 'Whaur are ye frae?' 'Frae the wicked toun o' Ayr.'
'I dinna ken ony sic place,' said the angel. 'Oh, but A'm juist frae
there,' Weel, the angel sends for the Apostle Peter, and Peter comes wi'
his key and opens the yett, and says to me, 'Honest man, do you come
frae the auld toun o' Ayr?' 'Deed do I,' says I. 'Weel,' says Peter, 'I
ken the place, but naebody's cam frae the toun o' Ayr, no since the
year'" so and so--mentioning the year when Dr. Auld was inducted into
the parish. Dr. Auld could not resist giving him his answer, and telling
him to go about his business.

The pathetic complaint of one of this class, residing at a farm-house,
has often been narrated, and forms a good illustration of idiot life and
feelings. He was living in the greatest comfort, and every want
provided. But, like the rest of mankind, he had his own trials, and his
own cause for anxiety and annoyance. In this poor fellow's case it was
the _great turkey-cock_ at the farm, of which he stood so terribly in
awe that he was afraid to come within a great distance of his enemy.
Some of his friends, coming to visit him, reminded him how comfortable
he was, and how grateful he ought to be for the great care taken of him.
He admitted the truth of the remark generally, but still, like others,
he had his unknown grief which sorely beset his path in life. There was
a secret grievance which embittered his lot; and to his friend he thus
opened his heart:--"Ae, ae, but oh, I'm sair hadden doun wi' the bubbly

I have received two anecdotes illustrative both of the occasional
acutenesss of mind, and of the sensitiveness of feeling occasionally
indicated by persons thus situated. A well-known idiot, Jamie Fraser,
belonging to the parish of Lunan, in Forfarshire, quite surprised people
sometimes by his replies. The congregation of his parish church had for
some time distressed the minister by their habit of sleeping in church.
He had often endeavoured to impress them with a sense of the impropriety
of such conduct, and one day Jamie was sitting in the front gallery,
wide awake, when many were slumbering round him. The clergyman
endeavoured to draw the attention of his hearers to his discourse by
stating the fact, saying, "You see even Jamie Fraser, the idiot, does
not fall asleep, as so many of you are doing." Jamie, not liking,
perhaps, to be thus designated, coolly replied, "An I hadna been an
idiot, I micht ha' been sleepin' too." Another of these imbeciles,
belonging to Peebles, had been sitting at church for some time listening
attentively to a strong representation from the pulpit of the guilt of
deceit and falsehood in Christian characters. He was observed to turn
red, and grow very uneasy, until at last, as if wincing under the
supposed attack upon himself personally, he roared out, "Indeed,
minister, there's mair leears in Peebles than me." As examples of this
class of persons possessing much of the dry humour of their more sane
countrymen, and of their facility to utter sly and ready-witted sayings,
I have received the two following from Mr. W. Chambers:--Daft Jock Gray,
the supposed original of David Gellatley, was one day assailed by the
minister of a south-country parish on the subject of his idleness.
"John," said the minister, rather pompously, "you are a very idle
fellow; you might surely herd a few cows." "Me hird!" replied Jock; "I
dinna ken corn frae gerss."

"There was a carrier named Davie Loch who was reputed to be rather light
of wits, but at the same time not without a sense of his worldly
interests. His mother, finding her end approaching, addressed her son in
the presence of a number of the neighbours. 'The house will be Davie's
and the furniture too.' 'Eh, hear her,' quoth Davie; 'sensible to the
last, sensible to the last.' 'The lyin' siller'--'Eh yes; how clear she
is about everything!' 'The lyin' siller is to be divided between my twa
dauchters.' 'Steek the bed doors, steek the bed doors[172],' interposed
Davie; 'she's ravin' now;' and the old dying woman was shut up

In the _Memorials of the Montgomeries_, Earls of Eglinton, vol. i. p.
134, occurs an anecdote illustrative of the peculiar acuteness and
quaint humour which occasionally mark the sayings of persons considered
as imbeciles. There was a certain "Daft Will Speir," who was a
privileged haunter of Eglinton Castle and grounds. He was discovered by
the Earl one day taking a near cut, and crossing a fence in the demesne.
The Earl called out, "Come back, sir, that's not the road." "Do you
ken," said Will, "whaur I'm gaun?" "No," replied his lordship. "Weel,
hoo the deil do ye ken whether this be the road or no?"

This same "Daft Will Speir" was passing the minister's glebe, where
haymaking was in progress. The minister asked Will if he thought the
weather would keep up, as it looked rather like rain. "Weel," said Will,
"I canna be very sure, but I'll be passin' this way the nicht, an' I'll
ca' in and tell ye." "Well, Will," said his master one day to him,
seeing that he had just finished his dinner, "have you had a good dinner
to day?" (Will had been grumbling some time before.) "Ou, vera gude,"
answered Will; "but gin onybody asks if I got a dram after't, what will
I say?" This poor creature had a high sense of duty. It appears he had
been given the charge of the coal-stores at the Earl of Eglinton's.
Having on one occasion been reprimanded for allowing the supplies to run
out before further supplies were ordered, he was ever afterwards most
careful to fulfil his duty. In course of time poor Will became "sick
unto death," and the minister came to see him. Thinking him in really a
good frame of mind, the minister asked him, in presence of the laird and
others, if there were not one _great_ thought which was ever to him the
highest consolation in his hour of trouble. "Ou ay," gasped the
sufferer, "Lord be thankit, a' the bunkers are fu'!"

The following anecdote is told regarding the late Lord Dundrennan:--A
half silly basket-woman passing down his avenue at Compstone one day,
he met her, and said, "My good woman, there's no road this way." "Na,
sir," she said, "I think ye're wrang there; I think it's a most
beautifu' road."

These poor creatures have invariably a great delight in attending
funerals. In many country places hardly a funeral ever took place
without the attendance of the parochial idiot. It seemed almost a
necessary association; and such attendance seemed to constitute the
great delight of those creatures. I have myself witnessed again and
again the sort of funeral scene portrayed by Sir Walter Scott, who no
doubt took his description from what was common in his day:--"The
funeral pomp set forth--saulies with their batons and gumphions of
tarnished white crape. Six starved horses, themselves the very emblems
of mortality, well cloaked and plumed, lugging along the hearse with its
dismal emblazonry, crept in slow pace towards the place of interment,
preceded by Jamie Duff, an idiot, who, with weepers and cravat made of
white paper, _attended on every funeral_, and followed by six mourning
coaches filled with the company."--_Guy Mannering_.

The following anecdote, supplied by Mr. Blair, is an amusing
illustration both of the funeral propensity, and of the working of a
defective brain, in a half-witted carle, who used to range the province
of Galloway armed with a huge pike-staff, and who one day met a funeral
procession a few miles from Wigtown. A long train of carriages, and
farmers riding on horse-back, suggested the propriety of his bestriding
his staff, and following after the funeral. The procession marched at a
brisk pace, and on reaching the kirk-yard style, as each rider
dismounted, "Daft Jock" descended from his wooden steed, besmeared with
mire and perspiration, exclaiming, "Hech, sirs, had it no been for the
fashion o' the thing, I micht as weel hae been on my ain feet."

The withdrawal of these characters from public view, and the loss of
importance which they once enjoyed in Scottish society, seem to me
inexplicable. Have they ceased to exist, or are they removed from our
sight to different scenes? The fool was, in early times, a very
important personage in most Scottish households of any distinction.
Indeed this had been so common as to be a public nuisance.

It seemed that persons _assumed_ the character, for we find a Scottish
Act of Parliament, dated 19th January 1449, with this title:--"Act for
the way-putting of _Fenyent_ Fules," etc. (Thomson's Acts of Parliament
of Scotland, vol. i.); and it enacts very stringent measures against
such persons. They seem to have formed a link between the helpless idiot
and the boisterous madman, sharing the eccentricity of the latter and
the stupidity of the former, generally adding, however, a good deal of
the sharp-wittedness of the _knave_. Up to the middle of the eighteenth
century this appears to have been still an appendage to some families. I
have before me a little publication with the title, "The Life and Death
of Jamie Fleeman, the Laird of Udny's Fool. Tenth edition. Aberdeen,
1810." With portrait. Also twenty-sixth edition, of 1829. I should
suppose this account of a family fool was a fair representation of a
good specimen of the class. He was evidently of defective intellect, but
at times showed the odd humour and quick conclusion which so often mark
the disordered brain. I can only now give two examples taken from his
history:--Having found a horse-shoe on the road, he met Mr. Craigie, the
minister of St. Fergus, and showed it to him, asking, in pretended
ignorance, what it was. "Why, Jamie," said Mr. Craigie, good
humouredly, "anybody that was not a fool would know that it is a
horse-shoe." "Ah!" said Jamie, with affected simplicity, "what it is to
be wise--to ken it's no a meer's shoe!"

On another occasion, when all the country-side were hastening to the
Perth races, Jamie had cut across the fields and reached a bridge near
the town, and sat down upon the parapet. He commenced munching away at a
large portion of a leg of mutton which he had somehow become possessed
of, and of which he was amazingly proud. The laird came riding past, and
seeing Jamie sitting on the bridge, accosted him:--"Ay, Fleeman, are ye
here already?" "Ou ay," quoth Fleeman, with an air of assumed dignity
and archness not easy to describe, while his eye glanced significantly
towards the mutton, "Ou ay, ye ken a body when he _has anything_."

Of witty retorts by half-witted creatures of this class, I do not know
of one more pointed than what is recorded of such a character who used
to hang about the residence of a late Lord Fife. It would appear that
some parts of his lordship's estates, were barren, and in a very
unproductive condition. Under the improved system of agriculture and of
draining, great preparations had been made for securing a good crop in a
certain field, where Lord Fife, his factor, and others interested in the
subject, were collected together. There was much discussion, and some
difference of opinion, as to the crop with which the field had best be
sown. The idiot retainer, who had been listening unnoticed to all that
was said, at last cried out, "Saw't wi' factors, ma lord; they are sure
to thrive everywhere."

There was an idiot who lived long in Lauder, and seems to have had a
great resemblance to the jester of old times. He was a staunch
supporter of the Established Church. One day some one gave him a bad
shilling. On Sunday he went to the Seceders' meeting-house, and when the
ladle was taken round he put in his bad shilling and took out
elevenpence halfpenny. Afterwards he went in high glee to the late Lord
Lauderdale, calling out, "I've cheated the Seceders the day, my lord;
I've cheated the Seceders."

Jemmy had long harboured a dislike to the steward on the property, which
he made manifest in the following manner:--Lord Lauderdale and Sir
Anthony Maitland used to take him out shooting; and one day Lord
Maitland (he was then), on having to cross the Leader, said, "Now,
Jemmy, you shall carry me through the water," which Jemmy duly did. The
steward, who was shooting with them, expected the same service, and
accordingly said, "Now, Jemmy, you must carry _me_ over." "Vera weel,"
said Jemmy. He took the steward on his back, and when he had carefully
carried him half-way across the river he paid off his grudge by dropping
him quietly into the water.

A daft individual used to frequent the same district, about whom a
variety of opinions were entertained,--some people thinking him not so
foolish as he sometimes seemed. On one occasion a person, wishing to
test whether he knew the value of money, held out a sixpence and a
penny, and offered him his choice. "I'll tak the wee ane," he said,
giving as his modest reason, "I'se no be greedy." At another time, a
miller laughing at him for his witlessness, he said, "Some things I ken,
and some I dinna ken." On being asked what he knew, he said, "I ken a
miller has aye a gey fat sou." "An' what d'ye no ken?" said the miller.
"Ou," he returned, "I dinna ken wha's expense she's fed at."

A very amusing collision of one of those penurious lairds, already
referred to, a certain Mr. Gordon of Rothie, with a half-daft beggar
wanderer of the name of Jock Muilton, has been recorded. The laird was
very shabby, as usual, and, meeting Jock, began to banter him on the
subject of his dress:--"Ye're very grand, Jock. Thae's fine claes ye hae
gotten; whaur did ye get that coat?" Jock told him who had given him his
coat, and then, looking slily at the laird, he inquired, as with great
simplicity, "And whaur did ye get _yours_, laird?"

For another admirable story of a rencontre between a penurious laird and
the parish natural I am indebted to the _Scotsman_, June 16, 1871. Once
on a time there was a Highland laird renowned for his caution in money
matters, and his precise keeping of books. His charities were there; but
that department of his bookkeeping was not believed to be heavy. On
examination, a sum of half-a-crown was unexpectedly discovered in it;
but this was accounted for in a manner creditable to his intentions, if
not to his success in executing them. It had been given in mistake
instead of a coin of a different denomination, to "the natural" of the
parish for holding his shelty while he transacted business at the bank.
A gleam in the boy's eye drew his attention to a gleam of white as the
metal dropped into his pocket. In vain the laird assured him it was not
a good bawbee--if he would give it up he would get another--it was "guid
eneuch" for the like of him. And when the laird in his extremity swore a
great oath that unless it was given up he would never give another
halfpenny, the answer was--"Ech, laird, it wad be lang or ye gied
me saxty."

Another example of shrewd and ready humour in one of that class is the
following:--In this case the idiot was musical, and earned a few stray
pence by playing Scottish airs on a flute. He resided at Stirling, and
used to hang about the door of the inn to watch the arrival and
departure of travellers. A lady, who used to give him something
occasionally, was just starting, and said to Jamie that she had only a
fourpenny piece, and that he must be content with that, for she could
not stay to get more. Jamie was not satisfied, and as the lady drove
out, he expressed his feelings by playing with all his might, "O wearie
o' the _toom pouch_[173]."

The spirit in Jamie Fraser before mentioned, and which had kept him
awake, shows itself in idiots occasionally by making them restless and
troublesome. One of this character had annoyed the clergyman where he
attended church by fidgeting, and by uncouth sounds which he uttered
during divine service. Accordingly, one day before church began, he was
cautioned against moving, or "making a whisht," under the penalty of
being turned out. The poor creature sat quite still and silent, till, in
a very important part of the sermon, he felt an inclination to cough. So
he shouted out, "Minister, may a puir body like me noo gie a

I have two anecdotes of two peers, who might be said to come under the
description of half-witted. In their case the same sort of dry Scotch
humour came out under the cloak of mental disease. The first is of a
Scottish nobleman of the last century who had been a soldier the greater
part of his life, but was obliged to come home on account of aberration
of mind, superinduced by hereditary propensity. Desirous of putting him
under due restraint, and at the same time of engaging his mind in his
favourite pursuit, his friends secured a Sergeant Briggs to be his
companion, and, in fact, keeper. To render the sergeant acceptable as a
companion they introduced him to the old earl as _Colonel_ Briggs. Being
asked how he liked "the colonel," the earl showed how acute he still was
by his answer, "Oh, very well; he is a sensible man, and a good soldier,
but he _smells damnably of the halbert_."

The second anecdote relates also to a Scottish nobleman labouring under
aberration of mind, and is, I believe, a traditionary one. In Scotland,
some hundred years ago, madhouses did not exist, or were on a very
limited scale; and there was often great difficulty in procuring
suitable accommodation for patients who required special treatment and
seclusion from the world. The gentleman in question had been consigned
to the Canongate prison, and his position there was far from
comfortable. An old friend called to see him, and asked how it had
happened that he was placed in so unpleasant a situation. His reply was,
"Sir, it was more the kind interest and patronage of my friends than my
own merits that have placed me here." "But have you not remonstrated or
complained?" asked his visitor. "I told them" said his lordship, "that
they were a pack of infernal villains." "Did you?" said his friend;
"that was bold language; and what did they say to that?" "Oh," said the
peer, "I took care not to tell them till they were fairly out of the
place, and weel up the Canongate."

In Peebles there was a crazy being of this kind called "Daft Yedie." On
one occasion he saw a gentleman, a stranger in the town, who had a club
foot. Yedie contemplated this phenomenon with some interest, and,
addressing the gentleman, said compassionately, "It's a great pity--its
spoils the boot." There is a story of one of those half-witted creatures
of a different character from the humorous ones already recorded; I
think it is exceedingly affecting. The story is traditionary in a
country district, and I am not aware of its being ever printed.

A poor boy, of this class, who had evidently manifested a tendency
towards religious and devotional feelings, asked permission from the
clergyman to attend the Lord's Table and partake of the holy communion
with the other members of the congregation (whether Episcopalian or
Presbyterian I do not know). The clergyman demurred for some time, under
the impression of his mind being incapable of a right and due
understanding of the sacred ordinance. But observing the extreme
earnestness of the poor boy, he at last gave consent, and he was allowed
to come. He was much affected, and all the way home was heard to
exclaim, "Oh! I hae seen the pretty man." This referred to his seeing
the Lord Jesus whom he had approached in the sacrament. He kept
repeating the words, and went with them on his lips to rest for the
night. Not appearing at the usual hour for breakfast, when they went to
his bedside they found him dead! The excitement had been too much--mind
and body had given way--and the half-idiot of earth awoke to the glories
and the bliss of his Redeemer's presence.

Analogous with the language of the _defective_ intellect is the language
of the imperfectly formed intellect, and I have often thought there was
something very touching and very fresh in the expression of feelings and
notions by children. I have given examples before, but the following is,
to my taste, a charming specimen:--A little boy had lived for some time
with a very penurious uncle, who took good care that the child's health
should not be injured by over-feeding. The uncle was one day walking
out, the child at his side, when a friend accosted him, accompanied by a
greyhound. While the elders were talking, the little fellow, never
having seen a dog so slim and slight of form, clasped the creature round
the neck with the impassioned cry, "Oh, doggie, doggie, and div ye live
wi' your uncle tae, that ye are so thin?"

In connection with funerals, I am indebted to the kindness of Lord
Kinloch for a characteristic anecdote of cautious Scottish character in
the west country. It was the old fashion, still practised in some
districts, to carry the coffin to the grave on long poles, or "spokes,"
as they were commonly termed. There were usually two bearers abreast on
each side. On a certain occasion one of the two said to his companion,
"I'm awfu' tired wi' carryin'." "Do you _carry_?" was the interrogatory
in reply. "Yes; what do you do?" "Oh," said the other, "I aye _lean_."
His friend's fatigue was at once accounted for.

I am strongly tempted to give an account of a parish functionary in the
words of a kind correspondent from Kilmarnock, although communicated in
the following very flattering terms:--"In common with every Scottish man
worthy of the name, I have been delighted with your book, and have the
ambition to add a pebble to the cairn, and accordingly send you a
_bellman story_; it has, at least, the merit of being unprinted and

The incumbent of Craigie parish, in this district of Ayrshire, had asked
a Mr. Wood, tutor in the Cairnhill family, to officiate for him on a
particular Sunday. Mr. Wood, however, between the time of being asked
and the appointed day, got intimation of the dangerous illness of his
father; in the hurry of setting out to see him, he forgot to arrange for
the pulpit being filled. The bellman of Craigie parish, by name Matthew
Dinning, and at this time about eighty years of age, was a very little
"crined[175]" old man, and always wore a broad Scottish blue bonnet,
with a red "bob" on the top. The parish is a small rural one, so that
Matthew knew every inhabitant in it, and had seen most of them grow up.
On this particular day, after the congregation had waited for some time,
Matthew was seen to walk very slowly up the middle of the church, with
the large Bible and psalm-book under his arm, to mount the pulpit stair;
and after taking his bonnet off, and smoothing down his forehead with
his "loof," thus addressed the audience:--

"My freens, there was ane Wuds tae hae preached here the day, but he has
nayther comed himsell, nor had the ceevility tae sen' us the scart o' a
pen. Ye'll bide here for ten meenonts, and gin naebody comes forrit in
that time, ye can gang awa' hame. Some say his feyther's dead; as for
that I kenna."

The following is another illustration of the character of the old
Scottish betheral. One of those worthies, who was parochial
grave-digger, had been missing for two days or so, and the minister had
in vain sent to discover him at most likely places. He bethought, at
last, to make inquiry at a "public" at some distance from the village,
and on entering the door he met his man in the trance, quite fou,
staggering out, supporting himself with a hand on each wa'. To the
minister's sharp rebuke and rising wrath for his indecent and shameful
behaviour, John, a wag in his way, and emboldened by liquor, made
answer, "'Deed, sir, sin' I ca'd at the manse, I hae buried an auld
wife, and I've just drucken her, hough an' horn." Such was his candid
admission of the manner in which he had disposed of the church fees paid
for the interment.

An encounter of wits between a laird and an elder:--A certain laird in
Fife, well known for his parsimonious habits, and who, although his
substance largely increased, did not increase his liberality in his
weekly contribution to the church collection, which never exceeded the
sum of one penny, one day by mistake dropped into the plate at the door
half-a-crown; but discovering his error before he was seated in his pew,
he hurried back, and was about to replace the coin by his customary
penny, when the elder in attendance cried out, "Stop, laird; ye may put
_in_ what ye like, but ye maun tak naething _oot_!" The laird, finding
his explanations went for nothing, at last said, "Aweel, I suppose I'll
get credit for it in heaven." "Na, na, laird," said the elder,
sarcastically; "ye'll only get credit for the _penny_."

The following is not a bad specimen of sly _piper_ wit:--

The Rev. Mr. Johnstone of Monquhitter, a very grandiloquent pulpit
orator in his day, accosting a travelling piper, well known in the
district, with the question, "Well, John, how does the wind pay?"
received from John, with a low bow, the answer, "Your Reverence has the
advantage of me."

Apropos to stories connected with ministers and pipers, there cannot be
a better specimen than the famous one preserved by Sir Walter Scott, in
his notes to _Waverley_, which I am tempted to reproduce, as possibly
some of my readers may have forgotten it. The gudewife of the inn at
Greenlaw had received four clerical guests into her house, a father and
three sons. The father took an early opportunity of calling the
attention of the landlady to the subject of his visit, and, introducing
himself, commenced in rather a pompous manner--"Now, confess, Luckie
Buchan, you never remember having such a party in your house before.
Here am I, a placed minister, with my three sons, who are themselves
_all_ placed ministers." The landlady, accustomed to a good deal of
deference and attention from the county families, not quite liking the
high tone assumed by the minister on the occasion, and being well aware
that all the four were reckoned very poor and uninteresting preachers,
answered rather drily, "'Deed, minister, I canna just say that I ever
had sic a party before in the hoose, except it were in the '45, when I
had a piper and his three sons--_a_' pipers. But" (she added quietly, as
if aside), "deil a spring could they play amang them."

I have received from Rev. William Blair, A.M., U.P. minister at
Dunblane, many kind communications. I have made a selection, which I now
group together, and they have this character in common, that they are
all anecdotes of ministers:--

Rev. Walter Dunlop of Dumfries was well known for pithy and facetious
replies; he was kindly known under the appellation of our "Watty
Dunlop." On one occasion two irreverent young fellows determined, as
they said, to "taigle[176]" the minister. Coming up to him in the High
Street of Dumfries, they accosted him with much solemnity--"Maister
Dunlop, dae ye hear the news?" "What news?" "Oh, the deil's deed." "Is
he?" said Mr. Dunlop, "then I maun pray for twa faitherless bairns." On
another occasion Mr. Dunlop met, with characteristic humour, an attempt
to play off a trick against him. It was known that he was to dine with a
minister whose house was close to the church, so that his return back
must be through the churchyard. Accordingly some idle and mischievous
youths waited for him in the dark night, and one of them came up to him,
dressed as a ghost, in hopes of putting him in a fright. Watty's cool
accost speedily upset the plan:--"Weel, Maister Ghaist, is this a
general rising, or are ye juist takin' a daunder frae yer grave by
yersell?" I have received from a correspondent another specimen of
Watty's acute rejoinders. Some years ago the celebrated Edward Irving
had been lecturing at Dumfries, and a man who passed as a wag in that
locality had been to hear him. He met Watty Dunlop the following day,
who said, "Weel, Willie, man, an' what do ye think of Mr. Irving?" "Oh,"
said Willie, contemptuously, "the man's crack't." Dunlop patted him on
the shoulder, with a quiet remark, "Willie, ye'll aften see a light
peeping through a crack!"

He was accompanying a funeral one day, when he met a man driving a flock
of geese. The wayward disposition of the bipeds at the moment was too
much for the driver's temper, and he indignantly cried out, "Deevil
choke them!" Mr. Dunlop walked a little farther on, and passed a
farm-stead, where a servant was driving out a number of swine, and
banning them with "Deevil tak them!" Upon which, Mr. Dunlop stepped up
to him, and said, "Ay, ay, my man; your gentleman'll be wi' ye i' the
noo: he's juist back the road there a bit, choking some geese till
a man."

Shortly after the Disruption, Dr. Cook of St. Andrews was introduced to
Mr. Dunlop, upon which occasion Mr. Dunlop said, "Weel, sir, ye've been
lang Cook, Cooking them, but ye've dished them at last."

Mr. Clark of Dalreoch, whose head was vastly disproportioned to his
body, met Mr. Dunlop one day. "Weel, Mr. Clark, that's a great head o'
yours." "Indeed it is, Mr. Dunlop; I could contain yours inside of my
own." "Juist sae," quietly replied Mr. Dunlop; "I was e'en thinkin' it
was geyan _toom_[177]."

Mr. Dunlop happened one day to be present in a church court of a
neighbouring presbytery. A Rev. Doctor was asked to pray, and declined.
On the meeting adjourning, Mr. Dunlop stepped up to the Doctor, and
asked how he did. The Doctor, never having been introduced, did not
reply. Mr. Dunlop withdrew, and said to his friend, "Eh! but isna he a
queer man, that Doctor, he'll neither speak to God nor man."

The Rev. John Brown of Whitburn was riding out one day on an old pony,
when he was accosted by a rude youth: "I say, Mr. Broon, what gars your
horse's tail wag that way?" "Oo, juist what gars your tongue wag; it's
fashed wi' a _wakeness_."

About sixty years ago there were two ministers in Sanquhar of the name
of Thomson, one of whom was father of the late Dr. Andrew Thomson of
Edinburgh, the other was father of Dr. Thomson of Balfron. The domestic
in the family of the latter was rather obtrusive with her secret
devotions, sometimes kneeling on the stairs at night, and talking loud
enough to be heard. On a communion season she was praying devoutly and
exclusively for her minister: "Remember Mr. Tamson, no him at the Green,
but oor ain Mr. Tamson."

Rev. Mr. Leslie of Morayshire combined the duties of justice of peace
with those of parochial clergyman. One day he was taken into confidence
by a culprit who had been caught in the act of smuggling, and was
threatened with a heavy fine. The culprit was a staunch Seceder, and
owned a small farm. Mr. Leslie, with an old-fashioned zeal for the
Established Church, said to him, "The king will come in the cadger's
road some day. Ye wadna come to the parish kirk, though it were to save
your life, wad ye? Come noo, an' I'se mak ye a' richt!" Next Sabbath the
seceding smuggler appeared in the parish kirk, and as the paupers were
receiving parochial allowance, Mr. Leslie slipped a shilling into the
smuggler's hand. When the J.P. Court was held, Mr. Leslie was present,
when a fine was proposed to be exacted from the smuggler. "Fine!" said
Mr. Leslie; "he's mair need o' something to get duds to his back. He's
are o' my _poor roll_; I gie'd him a shilling just last Sabbath."

A worthy old Seceder used to ride from Gargunnock to Bucklyvie every
Sabbath to attend the Burgher kirk. One day as he rode past the parish
kirk of Kippen, the elder at the plate accosted him, "I'm sure, John,
it's no like the thing to see you ridin' in sic a doon-pour o' rain sae
far by to thae Seceders. Ye ken the mercifu' man is mercifu' to his
beast. Could ye no step in by?" "Weel," said John, "I wadna care sae
muckle about stablin' my beast inside, but it's anither thing mysel'
gain' in."

The Rev. Dr. George Lawson of Selkirk acted for many years as
theological tutor to the Secession Church. One day, on entering the
Divinity Hall, he overheard a student remark that the professor's wig
was uncombed. That same student, on that very day, had occasion to
preach a sermon before the Doctor, for which he received a bit of severe
criticism, the sting of which was in its tail: "You said my wig wasna
kaimed this mornin', my lad, but I think I've redd your head to you."

The Rev. John Heugh of Stirling was one day admonishing one of his
people of the sin of intemperance: "Man, John, you should never drink
except when you're dry." "Weel, sir," quoth John, "that's what I'm aye
doin', for I am never slocken'd."

The Rev. Mr. M---- of Bathgate came up to a street-paviour one day, and
addressed him, "Eh, John, what's this you're at?" "Oh! I'm mending the
ways o' Bathgate!" "Ah, John, I've long been trying to mend the ways o'
Bathgate, an' they're no weel yet." "Weel, Mr. M., if you had tried my
plan, and come doon to your _knees_, ye wad maybe hae come mair speed!"

There once lived in Cupar a merchant whose store contained supplies of
every character and description, so that he was commonly known by the
sobriquet of Robbie A'Thing. One day a minister, who was well known for
a servile use of MS. in the pulpit, called at the store, asking for a
rope and pin to tether a young calf in the glebe. Robbie at once
informed him that he could not furnish such articles to him. But the
minister, being somewhat importunate, said, "Oh! I thought you were
named Robbie A'Thing from the fact of your keeping all kinds of goods."
"Weel a weel," said Robbie, "I keep a'thing in my shop but calf's
tether-pins and paper sermons for ministers to read."

It was a somewhat whimsical advice, supported by whimsical argument,
which used to be given by an old Scottish minister to young preachers,
when they visited from home, to "sup well at the kail, for if they were
good they were worth the supping, and if not they might be sure there
was not much worth coming _after_ them."

A good many families in and around Dunblane rejoice in the patronymic of
Dochart. This name, which sounds somewhat Irish, is derived from Loch
Dochart, in Perthshire. The M'Gregors having been proscribed, were
subjected to severe penalties, and a group of the clan having been
hunted by their superiors, swam the stream which issues from Loch
Dochart, and in gratitude to the river they afterwards assumed the
family name of Dochart. A young lad of this name, on being sent to
Glasgow College, presented a letter from his minister to Rev. Dr. Heugh
of Glasgow. He gave his name as Dochart, and the name in the letter was
M'Gregor. "Oh," said the Doctor, "I fear there is some mistake about
your identity, the names don't agree." "Weel, sir, that's the way they
spell the name in our country."

The relative whom I have mentioned as supplying so many Scottish
anecdotes had many stories of a parochial functionary whose
eccentricities have, in a great measure, given way before the
assimilating spirit of the times. I mean the old SCOTTISH BEADLE, or
betheral, as he used to be called. Some classes of men are found to have
that nameless but distinguishing characteristic of figure and aspect
which marks out particular occupations and professions of mankind. This
was so much the case in the betheral class, that an old lady, observing
a well-known judge and advocate walking together in the street, remarked
to a friend as they passed by, "Dear me, Lucy, wha are thae twa
_beddle-looking_ bodies?" They were often great originals, and, I
suspect, must have been in past times somewhat given to convivial
habits, from a remark I recollect of the late Baron Clerk Rattray, viz.
that in his younger days he had hardly ever known a perfectly sober
betheral. However this may have been, they were, as a class, remarkable
for quaint humour, and for being shrewd observers of what was going on.
I have heard of an occasion where the betheral made his wit furnish an
apology for his want of sobriety. He had been sent round the parish by
the minister to deliver notices at all the houses, of the catechising
which was to precede the preparation for receiving the communion. On his
return it was quite evident that he had partaken too largely of
refreshment since he had been on his expedition. The minister reproached
him for this improper conduct. The betheral pleaded the pressing
_hospitality_ of the parishioners. The clergyman did not admit the plea,
and added, "Now, John, I go through the parish, and you don't see me
return fou, as you have done." "Ay, minister," rejoined the betheral,
with much complacency, "but then aiblins ye're no sae popular i' the
parish as me."

My relative used to tell of one of these officials receiving, with much
ceremony, a brother betheral, from a neighbouring parish, who had come
with the minister thereof for the purpose of preaching on some special
occasion. After service, the betheral of the stranger clergyman felt
proud of the performance of the appointed duty, and said in a triumphant
tone to his friend, "I think oor minister did weel; ay, he gars the
stour flee oot o' the cushion." To which the other rejoined, with a calm
feeling of superiority, "Stour oot o' the cushion! hout, our minister,
sin' he cam wi' us, has dung the guts oot o' twa Bibles." Another
description I have heard of an energetic preacher more forcible than
delicate--"Eh, oor minister had a great power o' watter, for he grat,
and spat, and swat like mischeef." An obliging anonymous correspondent
has sent me a story of a functionary of this class whose pride was
centred not so much in the performance of the minister as of the
precentor. He states that he remembers an old beadle of the church which
was called "Haddo's Hole," and sometimes the "Little Kirk," in
Edinburgh, whose son occasionally officiated as precentor. He was not
very well qualified for the duty, but the father had a high opinion of
his son's vocal powers. In those days there was always service in the
church on the Tuesday evenings; and when the father was asked on such
occasions, "Who's to preach to-night?" his self-complacent reply used to
be, "I divna ken wha's till preach, but my son's for till precent." The
following is a more correct version of a betheral story than one which
occupied this page in the last edition. The beadle had been asked to
recommend a person for the same office, and his answer was, "If ye had
wanted twa or three bits o' elder bodies, I cud hae gotten them for ye
as easily as penny baps oot of Mr. Rowan's shop," pointing to a baker's
shop opposite to where the colloquy took place; "or even if ye had
wanted a minister, I might hae helpit ye to get ane; but as for a gude
_beadle_, that's about the maist difficult thing I ken o' just now."

Perhaps the following may seem to illustrate the self-importance of the
betheral tribe. The Rev. Dr. Hugh Blair was one Sunday absent from his
pulpit, and next morning meeting his beadle in the street he inquired
how matters went in the High Church on Sabbath. "'Deed, I dare say no
very weel," was the answer; "I wasna there ony mair than yoursell."

Mr. Turnbull of Dundee kindly sends me an excellent anecdote of the
"Betheral" type, which illustrates the _esprit de corps_ of the
betherelian mind. The late Dr. Robertson of Glasgow had, while in the
parish of Mains, a quaint old church attendant of the name of Walter
Nicoll, commonly called "Watty Nuckle," whom he invited to come and
visit him after he had been removed to Glasgow. Watty accordingly
ventured on the (to him) terrible journey, and was received by the
Doctor with great kindness. The Doctor, amongst other sights, took him
to see the Cathedral church, and showed him all through it, and after
they were coming away the Doctor asked Watty what he thought of it, and
if it was not better than the Mains church. Watty shook his head, and
said, "Aweel, sir, you see she's bigger; but she has nae laft, and she's
sair fashed wi' thae pillars."

On the same subject of beadle peculiarities, I have received from Mrs.
Mearns of Kineff Manse an exquisitely characteristic illustration of
beadle _professional_ habits being made to bear upon the tender
passion:--A certain beadle had fancied the manse housemaid, but at a
loss for an opportunity to declare himself, one day--a Sunday--when his
duties were ended, he looked sheepish, and said, "Mary, wad _ye_ tak a
turn, Mary?" He led her to the churchyard, and pointing with his finger,
got out, "My fowk lie there, Mary; wad ye like to lie there?" The
_grave_ hint was taken, and she became his wife, but does not yet
lie _there_.

Here is another good example of betheral refinement or philosophy.--He
was carefully dressing up a grave, and adjusting the turf upon it. The
clergyman, passing through the churchyard, observed, "That's beautiful
sod, Jeems." "Indeed is't, minister, and I grudge it upon the grave o'
sic a scamp."

This class of functionaries were very free in their remarks upon the
preaching of strangers, who used occasionally to occupy the pulpit of
their church--the city betherals speaking sometimes in a most
condescending manner of clergy from the provincial parishes. As, for
example, a betheral of one of the large churches in Glasgow, criticising
the sermon of a minister from the country who had been preaching in the
city church, characterised it as "gude coorse country wark." A betheral
of one of the churches of St. Giles, Edinburgh, used to call on the
family of Mr. Robert Stevenson, engineer, who was one of the elders. On
one occasion they asked him what had been the text on such a night, when
none of the family had been present. The man of office, confused at the
question, and unwilling to show anything like ignorance, poured forth,
"Weel, ye see, the text last day was just entirely, sirs--yes--the text,
sirs--what was it again?--ou ay, just entirely, ye see it was, 'What
profiteth a man if he lose the world, and gain his own soul?'" Most of
such stories are usually of an old standing. A more recent one has been
told me of a betheral of a royal burgh much decayed from former
importance, and governed by a feeble municipality of old men, who
continued in office, and in fact constituted rather the shadow than the
substance of a corporation. A clergyman from a distance having come to
officiate in the parish church, the betheral, knowing the terms on which
it was usual for the minister officiating to pray for the efficiency of
the local magistracy, quietly cautioned the clergyman before service
that, in regard to the town-council there, it would be quite out of
place for him to pray that they should be a "terror to evil-doers,"
because, as he said, "the puir auld bodies could be nae terror to
onybody." A minister of Easter Anstruther, during the last century, used
to say of the magistrates of Wester Anstruther, that "instead of being a
terror to evil-doers, evil-doers were a terror to them."

The "minister's man" was a functionary well known in many parishes, and
who often evinced much Scottish humour and original character. These men
were (like the betheral) great critics of sermons, and often severe upon
strangers, sometimes with a sly hit at their own minister. One of these,
David, a well-known character, complimenting a young minister who had
preached, told him, "Your introduction, sir, is aye grand; its worth a'
the rest o' the sermon--could ye no mak it a' introduction?"

David's criticisms of his master's sermons were sometimes sharp enough
and shrewd. On one occasion, driving the minister home from a
neighbouring church where he had been preaching, and who, as he thought,
had acquitted himself pretty well, inquired of David what _he_ thought
of it. The subject of discourse had been the escape of the Israelites
from Egypt. So David opened his criticism--"Thocht o't, sir? deed I
thocht nocht o't ava. It was a vara imperfect discourse in ma opinion;
ye did weel eneuch till ye took them through, but where did ye leave
them? just daunerin' o' the sea-shore without a place to gang till. Had
it no been for Pharaoh they had been better on the other side, where
they were comfortably encampit, than daunerin' where ye left them. It's
painful to hear a sermon stoppit afore it's richt ended, just as it is
to hear ane streekit out lang after it's dune. That's ma opinion o' the
sermon ye gied us to-day." "Very freely given, David, very freely given;
drive on a little faster, for I think ye're daunerin' noo yersell."

To another who had gone through a long course of parish official life a
gentleman one day remarked--"John, ye hae been sae lang about the
minister's hand that I dare say ye could preach a sermon yersell now."
To which John modestly replied, "O na, sir, I couldna preach a sermon,
but maybe I could draw an inference." "Well, John," said the gentleman,
humouring the quiet vanity of the beadle, "what inference could ye draw
frae this text, 'A wild ass snuffeth up the wind at her pleasure?'"
(Jer. ii. 24). "Weel, sir, I wad draw this inference, he would snuff a
lang time afore he would fatten upon't." I had an anecdote from a
friend, of a reply from a betheral to the minister _in_ church, which
was quaint and amusing from the shrewd self-importance it indicated in
his own acuteness. The clergyman had been annoyed during the course of
his sermon by the restlessness and occasional whining of a dog, which at
last began to bark outright. He looked out for the beadle, and directed
him very peremptorily, "John, carry that dog out." John, looked up to
the pulpit, and with a very knowing expression, said, "Na, na, sir; I'se
just mak him gae out on his ain four legs." I have another story of
canine misbehaviour in church. A dog was present during the service, and
in the sermon the worthy minister was in the habit of speaking very
loud, and, in fact, when he got warmed with his subject, of shouting
almost at the top of his voice. The dog, who, in the early part, had
been very quiet, became quite excited, as is not uncommon with some dogs
when hearing a noise, and from whinging and whining, as the speaker's
voice rose loud and strong, at last began to bark and howl. The
minister, naturally much annoyed at the interruption, called upon the
betheral to put out the dog, who at once expressed his readiness to obey
the order, but could not resist the temptation to look up to the pulpit,
and to say very significantly, "Ay, ay, sir; but indeed it was yersell
began it." There is a dog story connected with Reminiscences of Glasgow
(see _Chambers's Journal_, March 1855), which is full of meaning. The
bowls of rum-punch which so remarkably characterised the Glasgow dinners
of last century and the early part of the present, it is to be feared
made some of the congregation given to somnolency on the Sundays
following. The members of the town-council often adopted Saturday for
such meetings; accordingly, the Rev. Mr. Thorn, an excellent
clergyman[178], took occasion to mark this propensity with some
acerbity. A dog had been very troublesome, and disturbed the
congregation for some time, when the minister at last gave orders to the
beadle, "Take out that dog; he'd wauken a Glasgow magistrate."

The parochial gravediggers had sometimes a very familiar professional
style of dealing with the solemn subjects connected with their office.
Thus I have heard of a grave-digger pointing out a large human bone to a
lady who was looking at his work, of digging a grave, and asking
her--"D'ye ken wha's bane that is, mem?--that's Jenny Fraser's
hench-bane;" adding with a serious aspect--"a weel-baned family
thae Frasers."

It would be impossible in these Reminiscences to omit the well-known and
often repeated anecdote connected with an eminent divine of our own
country, whose works take a high place in our theological literature.
The story to which I allude was rendered popular throughout the kingdom
some years ago, by the inimitable mode in which it was told, or rather
acted, by the late Charles Matthews. But Matthews was wrong in the
person of whom he related the humorous address. I have assurance of the
parties from a friend, whose father, a distinguished clergyman in the
Scottish Church at the time, had accurate knowledge of the whole
circumstances. The late celebrated Dr. Macknight, a learned and profound
scholar and commentator, was nevertheless, as a preacher, to a great
degree heavy, unrelieved by fancy or imagination; an able writer, but a
dull speaker. His colleague, Dr. Henry, well known as the author of a
History of England, was, on the other hand, a man of great humour, and
could not resist a joke when the temptation came upon him. On one
occasion when coming to church, Dr. Macknight had been caught in a
shower of rain, and entered the vestry soaked with wet. Every means were
used to relieve him from his discomfort; but as the time drew on for
divine service he became much distressed, and ejaculated over and over,
"Oh, I wush that I was dry; do you think I'm dry? do you think I'm dry
eneuch noo?" His jocose colleague could resist no longer, but, patting
him on the shoulder, comforted him with the sly assurance, "Bide a wee,
Doctor, and ye'se be _dry eneuch_ when ye get into the pu'pit."

Another quaint remark of the facetious doctor to his more formal
colleague has been preserved by friends of the family. Dr. Henry, who
with all his pleasantry and abilities, had himself as little popularity
in the pulpit as his coadjutor, had been remarking to Dr. Macknight what
a blessing it was that they were two colleagues in one charge, and
continued dwelling on the subject so long, that Dr. Macknight, not quite
pleased at the frequent reiteration of the remark, said that it
certainly was a great pleasure to himself, but he did not see what great
benefit it might be to the world. "Ah," said Dr. Henry, "an it hadna
been for that, there wad hae been _twa_ toom[179] kirks this day." Lord
Cockburn tells a characteristic anecdote of Dr. Henry's behaviour the
last day of his life. I am indebted to a gentleman, himself also a
distinguished member of the Scottish Church, for an authentic anecdote
of this learned divine, and which occurred whilst Dr. Macknight was the
minister of Maybole. One of his parishioners, a well-known humorous
blacksmith of the parish, who, no doubt, thought that the Doctor's
learned books were rather a waste of time and labour for a country
pastor, was asked if his minister was at home. The Doctor was then busy
bringing out his laborious and valuable work, his _Harmony of the Four
Gospels_. "Na, he's gane to Edinburgh on a verra useless job." On being
asked what this useless work might be which engaged his pastor's time
and attention, he answered, "He's gane to mak four men agree wha ne'er
cast oot." The good-humoured and candid answer of a learned and rather
long-winded preacher of the old school always appeared to me quite
charming. The good man was far from being a popular preacher, and yet he
could not reduce his discourses below the hour and a half. On being
asked, as a gentle hint of their possibly needless length, if he did not
feel _tired_ after preaching so long, he replied, "Na, na, I'm no
tired;" adding, however, with much naïveté, "But, Lord, how tired the
fowk whiles are."

The late good kind-hearted Dr. David Dickson was fond of telling a story
of a Scottish termagant of the days before kirk-session discipline had
passed away. A couple were brought before the court, and Janet, the
wife, was charged with violent and undutiful conduct, and with wounding
her husband by throwing a three-legged stool at his head. The minister
rebuked her conduct, and pointed out its grievous character, by
explaining that just as Christ was head of his Church, so the husband
was head of the wife; and therefore in assaulting _him_, she had in fact
injured her own body. "Weel," she replied, "it's come to a fine pass gin
a wife canna kame her ain head;" "Ay, but, Janet," rejoined the
minister, "a three-legged stool is a thief-like bane-kame to scart yer
ain head wi'!"

The following is a dry Scottish case, of a minister's wife quietly
"kaming her husband's head." Mr. Mair, a Scotch minister, was rather
short-tempered, and had a wife named Rebecca, whom for brevity's sake he
addressed as "Becky." He kept a diary, and among other entries, this one
was very frequent--"Becky and I had a rippet, for which I desire to be
humble." A gentleman who had been on a visit to the minister went to
Edinburgh, and told the story to a minister and his wife there; when the
lady replied "Weel, he must have been an excellent man, Mr. Mair. My
husband and I sometimes too have 'rippets,' but catch him if he's
ever humble."

Our object in bringing up and recording anecdotes of this kind is to
elucidate the sort of humour we refer to, and to show it as a humour of
_past_ times. A modern clergyman could hardly adopt the tone and manner
of the older class of ministers--men not less useful and beloved, on
account of their odd Scottish humour, which indeed suited their time.
Could a clergyman, for instance, now come off from the trying position
in which we have heard of a northern minister being placed, and by the
same way through which he extricated himself with much good nature and
quiet sarcasm? A young man, sitting opposite to him in the front of the
gallery, had been up late on the previous night, and had stuffed the
cards with which he had been occupied into his coat pocket. Forgetting
the circumstance, he pulled out his handkerchief, and the cards all flew
about. The minister simply looked at him, and remarked, "Eh, man, your
psalm-buik has been ill bund."

An admirable story of a quiet pulpit rebuke is traditionary in Fife, and
is told of Mr. Shirra, a Seceding minister of Kirkcaldy, a man still
well remembered by some of the older generation for many excellent and
some eccentric qualities. A young officer of a volunteer corps on duty
in the place, very proud of his fresh uniform, had come to Mr. Shirra's
church, and walked about as if looking for a seat, but in fact to show
off his dress, which he saw was attracting attention from some of the
less grave members of the congregation. He came to his place, however,
rather quickly, on Mr. Shirra quietly remonstrating, "O man, will ye sit
doun, and we'll see your new breeks when the kirk's dune." This same Mr.
Shirra was well known from his quaint, and, as it were, parenthetical
comments which he introduced in his reading of Scripture; as, for
example, on reading from the 116th Psalm, "I said in my haste all men
are liars," he quietly observed, "Indeed, Dauvid, my man, an' ye had
been i' this parish ye might hae said it at your leisure."

There was something even still more pungent in the incidental remark of
a good man, in the course of his sermon, who had in a country place
taken to preaching out of doors in the summer afternoons. He used to
collect the people as they were taking air by the side of a stream
outside the village. On one occasion he had unfortunately taken his
place on a bank, and fixed himself on an _ants' nest_. The active habits
of those little creatures soon made the position of the intruder upon
their domain very uncomfortable; and, afraid that his audience might
observe something of this discomfort in his manner, he apologised by the
remark--"Brethren, though I hope I have the word of God in my mouth, I
think the deil himself has gotten into my breeks."

There was often no doubt a sharp conflict of wits when some of these
humorist ministers came into collision with members of their flocks who
were _also_ humorists. Of this nature is the following anecdote, which I
am assured is genuine:--A minister in the north was taking to task one
of his hearers who was a frequent defaulter, and was reproaching him as
a habitual absentee from public worship. The accused vindicated himself
on the plea of a dislike to long sermons. "'Deed, man," said the
reverend monitor, a little nettled at the insinuation thrown out against
himself, "if ye dinna mend, ye may land yersell where ye'll no be
troubled wi' mony sermons either lang or short." "Weel, aiblins sae,"
retorted John, "but _that_ mayna be for want o' ministers."

An answer to another clergyman, Mr. Shireff, parochial minister of St.
Ninian's, is indicative of Scottish and really clever wit. One of the
members of his church was John Henderson or Anderson--a very decent
douce shoemaker--and who left the church and joined the Independents,
who had a meeting in Stirling. Some time afterwards, when Mr. Shireff
met John on the road, he said, "And so, John, I understand you have
become an Independent?" "'Deed, sir," replied John, "that's true." "Oh,
John," said the minister, "I'm sure you ken that a rowin' (rolling)
stane gathers nae fog" (moss). "Ay," said John, "that's true too; but
can ye tell me what guid the fog does to the stane?" Mr. Shireff himself
afterwards became a Baptist. The wit, however, was all in favour of the
minister in the following:--

Dr. Gilchrist, formerly of the East Parish of Greenock, and who died
minister of the Canongate, Edinburgh, received an intimation of one of
his hearers who had been exceedingly irregular in his attendance that he
had taken seats in an Episcopal chapel. One day soon after, he met his
former parishioner, who told him candidly that he had "changed his
religion." "Indeed," said the Doctor quietly; "how's that? I ne'er heard
ye had ony." It was this same Dr. Gilchrist who gave the well-known
quiet but forcible rebuke to a young minister whom he considered rather
conceited and fond of putting forward his own doings, and who was to
officiate in the Doctor's church. He explained to him the mode in which
he usually conducted the service, and stated that he always finished the
prayer before the sermon with the Lord's Prayer. The young minister
demurred at this, and asked if he "might not introduce any other short
prayer?" "Ou ay," was the Doctor's quiet reply, "gif ye can gie us
onything _better_."

There is a story current of a sharp hit at the pretensions of a minister
who required a little set down. The scene was on a Monday by a burn near
Inverness. A stranger is fishing by a burn-side one Monday morning, when
the parish minister accosts him from the other side of the stream
thus:--"Good sport?" "Not very." "I am also an angler," but, pompously,
"I am a _fisher of men_." "Are you always successful?" "Not very." "So I
guessed, as I keeked into your creel[180] yesterday."

At Banchory, on Deeside, some of the criticisms and remarks on sermons
were very quaint and characteristic. My cousin had asked the Leys grieve
what he thought of a young man's preaching, who had been more successful
in appropriating the words than the ideas of Dr. Chalmers. He drily
answered, "Ou, Sir Thomas, just a floorish o' the surface." But the same
hearer bore this unequivocal testimony to another preacher whom he
really admired. He was asked if he did not think the sermon long: "Na, I
should nae hae thocht it lang an' I'd been sitting on thorns."

I think the following is about as good a sample of what we call Scotch
"pawky" as any I know:--A countryman had lost his wife and a favourite
cow on the same day. His friends consoled him for the loss of the wife;
and being highly respectable, several hints and offers were made
towards getting another for him. "Ou ay," he at length replied; "you're
a' keen aneuch to get me anither wife, but no yin o' ye offers to gie me
anither coo."

The following anecdotes, collected from different contributors, are fair
samples of the quaint and original character of Scottish ways and
expressions, now becoming more and more matters of reminiscence:--A poor
man came to his minister for the purpose of intimating his intention of
being married. As he expressed, however, some doubts on the subject, and
seemed to hesitate, the minister asked him if there were any doubts
about his being accepted. No, that was not the difficulty; but he
expressed a fear that it might not be altogether suitable, and he asked
whether, if he were once married, he could not (in case of unsuitability
and unhappiness) get _un_married. The clergyman assured him that it was
impossible; if he married, it must be for better and worse; that he
could not go back upon the step. So thus instructed he went away. After
a time he returned, and said he had made up his mind to try the
experiment, and he came and was married. Ere long he came back very
disconsolate, and declared it would not do at all; that he was quite
miserable, and begged to be unmarried. The minister assured him that was
out of the question, and urged him to put away the notion of anything so
absurd. The man insisted that the marriage could not hold good, for the
wife was "waur than the deevil." The minister demurred, saying that it
was quite impossible. "'Deed, sir," said the poor man, "the Bible tells
ye that if ye resist the deil he flees frae ye, but if ye resist her she
flees _at_ ye."

A faithful minister of the gospel, being one day engaged in visiting
some members of his flock, came to the door of a house where his gentle
tapping could not be heard for the noise of contention within. After
waiting a little he opened the door, and walked in, saying, with an
authoritative voice, "I should like to know who is the head of this
house." "Weel, sir," said the husband and father, "if ye sit doun a wee,
we'll maybe be able to tell ye, for we're just trying to settle
that point."

I have received from my kind correspondent, Rev. Mr. Hogg of Kirkmahoe,
the following most amusing account of a passage-at-arms between a
minister and "minister's man," both of them of the old school. The
minister of a parish in Dumfriesshire had a man who had long and
faithfully served at the manse. During the minister's absence, a
ploughing match came off in the district, and the man, feeling the old
spirit return with the force of former days, wished to enter the lists,
and go in for a prize, which he did, and gained the _fifth_ prize. The
minister, on his return home, and glancing at the local newspaper, saw
the report of the match, and the name of his own man in the prize-list.
Being of a crusty temper, he rang the bell in fury, and summoned John,
when the following colloquy took place:--"John, how is this? who gave
you leave to go to the ploughing-match?" "You were not at hame, sir."
"Well, you should have written to me." "I didn't think it was worth
while, sir, as we had our ain ploughing _forrit_[181]." "That may be;
but why were you not higher in the prize-list? I'm ashamed of you, and
you ought to be ashamed of yourself for being so far behind." John's
patience had given way, and, in his haste he burst forth, "Indeed, I'm
thinking, sir, that if ye were at a _preaching_ match, and
five-and-thirty in the field, ye wadna come in for _onything_, let a-be
for a fift'."

Stories of humorous encounters between ministers and their hearers are
numerous, and though often seasoned with dry and caustic humour, they
never indicate appearance of bitterness or ill-feeling between the
parties. As an example, a clergyman thought his people were making
rather an unconscionable objection to his using a MS. in delivering his
sermon. They urged, "What gars ye tak up your bit papers to the pu'pit?"
He replied that it was best, for really he could not remember his
sermon, and must have his papers. "Weel, weel, minister, then dinna
expect that _we_ can remember them."

Some of these encounters arise out of the old question of sleeping in
church. For example--"I see, James, that you tak a bit nap in the kirk,"
said a minister to one of his people; "can ye no tak a mull with you?
and when you become heavy an extra pinch would keep you up." "Maybe it
wad," said James, "but pit you the sneeshin intil your sermon, minister,
and maybe that'll serve the same purpose." As a specimen of the
matter-of-fact view of religious questions frequently recorded of older
ministers, let me adduce a well-authenticated account of a minister in a
far up-hill parish in Deeside. Returning thanks one Sabbath for the
excellent harvest, he began as usual, "O Lord, we thank thee," etc., and
went on to mention its abundance, and its safe ingathering; but, feeling
anxious to be quite candid and scrupulously truthful, added, "all except
a few sma' bitties at Birse no worth o' mentioning."

A Scotch preacher, a man of large stature, being sent to officiate one
Sunday at a country parish, was accommodated at night, in the manse, in
a very diminutive closet--the usual best bedroom, appropriated to
strangers, being otherwise occupied. "Is this the bedroom?" he said,
starting back in amazement. "'Deed ay, sir, this is the prophets'
chalmer." "It maun be for the _minor_ prophets, then," was the
quiet reply.

Elders of the kirk, no doubt, frequently partook of the original and
humorous character of ministers and others, their contemporaries; and
amusing scenes must have passed, and good Scotch sayings been said,
where they were concerned. Dr. Chalmers used to repeat one of these
sayings of an elder with great delight. The Doctor associated with the
anecdote the name of Lady Glenorchy and the church which she endowed;
but I am assured that the person was Lady Elizabeth Cunninghame, sister
of Archibald, eleventh Earl of Eglinton, and wife of Sir John
Cunninghame, Bart., of Caprington, near Kilmarnock. It seems her
ladyship had, for some reason, taken offence at the proceedings of the
Caprington parochial authorities, and a result of which was that she
ceased putting her usual liberal offering into the plate at the door.
This had gone on for some time, till one of the elders, of less
forbearing character than the others, took his turn at the plate. Lady
Elizabeth as usual passed by without a contribution, but made a formal
courtsey to the elder at the plate, and sailed up the aisle. The good
man was determined not to let her pass so easily, so he quickly followed
her, and urged the remonstrance: "Gie us mair o' your siller and less o'
your mainners, my lady Betty." My kind correspondent, Rev. Mr. Agnew,
supplies me with an amusing pendant to this anecdote:--At a great church
meeting, Dr. Chalmers had told this story with much effect when Lord
Galloway was in the chair. After the meeting, Dr. Chalmers, and many
who had been present, dined at his lordship's hospitable table. After
dinner, when the morning meeting was discussed, Lord Galloway addressed
Dr. Chalmers on the subject of this story and, as if not quite pleased
at its being introduced, said, "Do you know, Doctor, the lady of whom
you told the story of the elder is a near relation of mine?" Dr.
Chalmers, with real or seeming simplicity, answered, "No, my Lord, I did
not; but next time I tell the story I can mention the fact." As a
pendant to the elder's disclaimer of "mainners" on the part of a lady of
rank, I may add an authentic anecdote of a very blunt and unpolished
Kincardineshire laird, expressing the same disclaimer of mainners on the
part of a servant, but in a far rougher form of speech. He had been
talking with a man who came to offer for his service as a butler. But
the laird soon found he was far too grand a gentleman for his service,
and became chafed with his requiring so many things as conditions of
coming; till, on his dismissal, when the man was bowing and scraping to
show how genteel he could be, he lost all patience, and roared out, "Get
out, ye fule; gie us nane o' your mainners here."

Of an eccentric and eloquent professor and divine of a northern Scottish
university, there are numerous and extraordinary traditionary anecdotes.
I have received an account of some of these anecdotes from the kind
communication of an eminent Scottish clergyman, who was himself in early
days his frequent hearer. The stories told of the strange observations
and allusions which he introduced into his pulpit discourses almost
surpass belief. For many reasons, they are not suitable to the nature of
this publication, still less could they be tolerated in any pulpit
administration now, although familiar with his contemporaries. The
remarkable circumstance, however, connected with these eccentricities
was, that he introduced them with the utmost gravity, and oftentimes,
after he had delivered them, pursued his subject with great earnestness
and eloquence, as if he had said nothing uncommon. One saying of the
professor, however, _out_ of the pulpit, is too good to be omitted, and
may be recorded without violation of propriety. He happened to meet at
the house of a lawyer, whom he considered rather a man of _sharp_
practice, and for whom he had no great favour, two of his own
parishioners. The lawyer jocularly and ungraciously put the question;
"Doctor, these are members of your flock; may I ask, do you look upon
them as white sheep or as black sheep?" "I don't know," answered the
professor drily, "whether they are black or white sheep, but I know that
if they are long here they are pretty sure to be fleeced."

It was a pungent answer given by a Free Kirk member who had deserted his
colours and returned to the old faith. A short time after the
Disruption, the Free Church minister chanced to meet him who had then
left him and returned to the Established Church. The minister bluntly
accosted him--"Ay, man, John, an' ye've left us; what micht be your
reason for that? Did ye think it wasna a guid road we was gaun?" "Ou, I
daursay it was a guid eneuch road and a braw road; but, O minister, the
tolls were unco high."

The following story I received from a member of the Penicuik
family:--Dr. Ritchie, who died minister of St. Andrews, Edinburgh, was,
when a young man, tutor to Sir G. Clerk and his brothers. Whilst with
them, the clergyman of the parish became unable, from infirmity and
illness, to do his duty, and Mr. Ritchie was appointed interim
assistant. He was an active young man, and during his residence in the
country had become fond of fishing, and was a good shot. When the
grouse-shooting came round, his pupils happened to be laid up with a
fever, so Mr. Ritchie had all the shooting to himself. One day he walked
over the moor so far that he became quite weary and footsore. On
returning home he went into a cottage, where the good woman received him
kindly, gave him water for his feet, and refreshment. In the course of
conversation, he told her he was acting as assistant minister of the
parish, and he explained how far he had travelled in pursuit of game,
how weary he was, and how completely knocked up he was. "Weel, sir, I
dinna doubt ye maun be sair travelled and tired wi' your walk." And then
she added, with sly reference to his profession, "'Deed, sir, I'm
thinkin' ye micht hae travelled frae Genesis to Revelation and no been
sae forfauchten[182]."

Scotch people in general are, like this old woman, very jealous, as
might be expected, of ministers joining the sportsman to their pastoral
character. A proposal for the appointment of a minister to a particular
parish, who was known in the country as a capital shot, called forth a
rather neat Scottish _pun_, from an old woman of the parish, who
significantly observed, "'Deed, _Kilpaatrick_ would hae been a mair
appropriate place for him." _Paatrick_ is Scotch for partridge.

I cannot do better in regard to the three following anecdotes of the
late Professor Gillespie of St. Andrews, than give them to my readers in
the words with which Dr. Lindsay Alexander kindly communicated them
to me.

"In the _Cornhill Magazine_ for March 1860, in an article on Student
Life in Scotland, there is an anecdote of the late Professor Gillespie
of St. Andrews, which is told in such a way as to miss the point and
humour of the story. The correct version, as I have heard it from the
professor himself, is this: Having employed the village carpenter to put
a frame round a dial at the manse of Cults, where he was a minister, he
received from the man a bill to the following effect:--'To fencing the
_deil_, 5s. 6d.' 'When I paid him,' said the professor, 'I could not
help saying, John, this is rather more than I counted on; but I haven't
a word to say. I get somewhere about two hundred a year for fencing the
_deil_, and I'm afraid I don't do it half so effectually as
you've done.'"

"Whilst I am writing, another of the many stories of the learned and
facetious professor rises in my mind. There was a worthy old woman at
Cults whose place in church was what is commonly called the Lateran; a
kind of small gallery at the top of the pulpit steps. She was a most
regular attender, but as regularly fell asleep during sermon, of which
fault the preacher had sometimes audible intimation. It was observed,
however, that though Janet always slept during her own pastor's
discourse, she could be attentive enough when she pleased, and
especially was she alert when some young preacher occupied the pulpit. A
little piqued, perhaps, at this, Mr. Gillespie said to her one day,
'Janet, I think you hardly behave very respectfully to your own minister
in one respect.' 'Me, sir!' exclaimed Janet, 'I wad like to see ony man,
no tae say woman, by yoursell, say that o' me! what can you mean, sir?'
'Weel, Janet, ye ken when I preach you're almost always fast asleep
before I've well given out my text; but when any of these young men from
St. Andrews preach for me, I see you never sleep a wink. Now, that's
what I call no using me as you should do.' 'Hoot, sir,' was the reply,
'is that a'? I'll sune tell you the reason o' that. When you preach, we
a' ken the word o' God's safe in your hands; but when thae young birkies
tak it in haun, my certie, but it taks us a' to look after them[183].'

"I am tempted to subjoin another. In the Humanity Class, one day, a
youth who was rather fond of showing off his powers of language,
translated Hor. Od. iii., 3, 61, 62, somewhat thus:--'The fortunes of
Troy renascent under sorrowful omen shall be repeated with sad
catastrophe.' 'Catastrophe!' cried the professor. 'Catastrophe, Mr.
----, that's Greek. Give us it in plain English, if you please.' Thus
suddenly pulled down from his high horse, the student effected his
retreat with a rather lame and impotent version. 'Now,' said the
professor, his little sharp eyes twinkling with fun, 'that brings to my
recollection what once happened to a friend of mine, a minister in the
country. Being a scholarly man he was sometimes betrayed into the use of
words in the pulpit which the people were not likely to understand; but
being very conscientious, he never detected himself in this, without
pausing to give the meaning of the word he had used, and sometimes his
extempore explanations of very fine words were a little like what we
have just had from Mr. ----, rather too flat and commonplace. On one
occasion he allowed this very word 'catastrophe' to drop from him, on
which he immediately added, 'that, you know, my friends, means the _end_
of a thing.' Next day, as he was riding through his parish, some
mischievous youth succeeded in fastening a bunch of furze to his
horse's tail--a trick which, had the animal been skittish, might have
exposed the worthy pastor's horsemanship to too severe a trial, but
which happily had no effect whatever on the sober-minded and respectable
quadruped which he bestrode. On, therefore, he quietly jogged, utterly
unconscious of the addition that had been made to his horse's caudal
region, until, as he was passing some cottages, he was arrested by the
shrill voice of an old woman exclaiming, 'Heh, sir! Heh, sir! there's a
whun-buss at your horse's catawstrophe!'"

I have several times adverted to the subject of epigrams. A clever
impromptu of this class has been recorded as given by a judge's lady in
reply to one made by the witty Henry Erskine at a dinner party at Lord
Armadale's. When a bottle of claret was called for, port was brought in
by mistake. A second time claret was sent for, and a second time the
same mistake occurred. Henry Erskine addressed the host in an impromptu,
which was meant as a parody on the well-known Scottish song, "My
Jo, Janet"--

     "Kind sir, it's for your courtesie
       When I come here to dine, sir,
     For the love ye bear to me,
       Gie me the claret wine, sir."

To which Mrs. Honeyman retorted--

     "Drink the port, the claret's dear,
       Erskine, Erskine;
     Yell get fou on't, never fear,
       My jo, Erskine."

Some of my younger readers may not be familiar with the epigram of John
Home, author of the tragedy of "Douglas." The lines were great
favourites with Sir Walter Scott, who delighted in repeating them. Home
was very partial to claret, and could not bear port. He was exceedingly
indignant when the Government laid a tax upon claret, having previously
long connived at its introduction into Scotland under very mitigated
duties. He embodied his anger in the following epigram:--

     "Firm and erect the Caledonian stood,
     Old was his mutton, and his claret good;
     'Let him drink port,' an English statesman cried--
     He drank the poison, and his spirit died."

There is a curious story traditionary in some families connected with
the nobleman who is the subject of it, which, I am assured, is true, and
further, that it has never yet appeared in print. The story is,
therefore, a "Scottish reminiscence," and, as such, deserves a place
here. The Earl of Lauderdale was so ill as to cause great alarm to his
friends, and perplexity to his physicians. One distressing symptom was a
total absence of sleep, and the medical men declared their opinion, that
without sleep being induced he could not recover. His son, a queer
eccentric-looking boy, who was considered not entirely right in his mind
but somewhat "_daft_" and who accordingly had had little attention paid
to his education, was sitting under the table, and cried out, "Sen' for
that preachin' man frae Livingstone, for faither aye sleeps in the
kirk." One of the doctors thought this hint worth attending to. The
experiment of "getting a minister till him" succeeded, and, sleep coming
on, he recovered. The Earl, out of gratitude for this benefit, took more
notice of his son, paid attention to his education, and that boy became
the Duke of Lauderdale, afterwards so famous or infamous in his
country's history.

The following very amusing anecdote, although it belongs more properly
to the division on peculiarities of Scottish phraseology, I give in the
words of a correspondent who received it from the parties with whom it
originated. About twenty years ago, he was paying a visit to a cousin,
married to a Liverpool merchant of some standing. The husband had lately
had a visit from his aged father, who formerly followed the occupation
of farming in Stirlingshire, and who had probably never been out of
Scotland before in his life. The son, finding his father rather _de
trop_ in his office, one day persuaded him to cross the ferry over the
Mersey, and inspect the harvesting, then in full operation, on the
Cheshire side. On landing, he approached a young woman reaping with the
sickle in a field of oats, when the following dialogue ensued:--

_Farmer_.--Lassie, are yer aits muckle bookit[184] th' year?

_Reaper_.--What say'n yo?

_Farmer_.--I was speiring gif yer aits are muckle bookit th' year!

_Reaper_ (in amazement).--I dunnot know what yo' say'n.

_Farmer_ (in equal astonishment).--Gude--safe--us,--do ye no understaan
gude plain English?--are--yer--aits--muckle--bookit?

Reaper decamps to her nearest companion, saying that was a madman, while
he shouted in great wrath, "They were naething else than a set o'
ignorant pock-puddings."

An English tourist visited Arran, and being a keen disciple of Izaak
Walton, was arranging to have a day's good sport. Being told that the
cleg, or horse-fly, would suit his purpose admirably for lure, he
addressed himself to Christy, the Highland servant-girl:--"I say, my
girl, can you get me some horse-flies?" Christy looked stupid, and he
repeated his question. Finding that she did not yet comprehend him, he
exclaimed, "Why, girl, did you never see a horse-fly?" "Naa, sir," said
the girl, "but A wance saw a coo jump ower a preshipice."

The following anecdote is highly illustrative of the thoroughly attached
old family serving-man. A correspondent sends it as told to him by an
old schoolfellow of Sir Walter Scott's at Fraser and Adam's class,
High School:--

One of the lairds of Abercairnie proposed _to go out_, on the occasion
of one of the risings for the Stuarts, in the '15 or '45--but this was
not with the will of his old serving-man, who, when Abercairnie was
pulling on his boots, preparing to go, overturned a kettle of boiling
water upon his legs, so as to disable him from joining his
friends--saying, "Tak that--let them fecht wha like; stay ye at hame and
be laird o' Abercairnie."

A story illustrative of a union of polite courtesy with rough and
violent ebullition of temper common in the old Scottish character, is
well known in the Lothian family. William Henry, fourth Marquis of
Lothian, had for his guest at dinner an old countess to whom he wished
to show particular respect and attention[185]. After a very
complimentary reception, he put on his white gloves to hand her down
stairs, led her up to the upper end of the table, bowed, and retired to
his own place. This I am assured was the usual custom with the chief
lady guest by persons who themselves remember it. After all were seated,
the Marquis addressed the lady, "Madam, may I have the honour and
happiness of helping your ladyship to some fish?" But he got no answer,
for the poor woman was deaf as a post, and did not hear him. After a
pause, but still in the most courteous accents, "Madam, have I your
ladyship's permission to send you some fish?" Then a little quicker, "Is
your Ladyship inclined to take fish?" Very quick, and rather peremptory,
"Madam, do ye choice fish?" At last the thunder burst, to everybody's
consternation, with a loud thump on the table and stamp on the floor:
"Con--found ye, will ye have any fish?" I am afraid the exclamation
might have been even of a more pungent character.

A correspondent has kindly enabled me to add a reminiscence and anecdote
of a type of Scottish character now nearly extinct.--I mean the old
Scottish _military_ officer of the wars of Holland and the Low
Countries. I give them in his own words:--"My father, the late Rev. Dr.
Bethune, minister of Dornoch, was on friendly terms with a fine old
soldier, the late Colonel Alexander Sutherland of Calmaly and Braegrudy,
in Sutherlandshire, who was lieutenant-colonel of the 'Local Militia,'
and who used occasionally, in his word of command, to break out with a
Gaelic phrase to the men, much to the amusement of bystanders. He called
his charger, a high-boned not overfed animal, Cadaver--a play upon
accents, for he was a good classical scholar, and fond of quoting the
Latin poets. But he had no relish nor respect for the 'Modern
languages,' particularly for that of our French neighbours, whom he
looked upon as 'hereditary' enemies! My father and the colonel were both
politicians, as well as scholars. Reading a newspaper article in his
presence one day, my father stopped short, handing the paper to him, and
said, 'Colonel, here is a _French_ quotation, which you can translate
better than I can,' 'No, sir!' said the colonel, 'I never learnt the
language of the scoundrels!!!' The colonel was known as 'Col. Sandy
Sutherland,' and the men always called him _Colonel Sandy_. He was a
splendid specimen of the hale veteran, with a stentorian voice, and the
last queue I remember to have seen."

A correspondent kindly sends me from Aberdeenshire a humorous story,
very much of the same sort as that of Colonel Erskine's servant, who
considerately suggested to his master that "maybe an aith might relieve
him[186]." My correspondent heard the story from the late
Bishop Skinner.

It was among the experiences of his father, Bishop _John_ Skinner. While
making some pastoral visits in the neighbourhood of the town (Aberdeen),
the Bishop took occasion to step into the cottage of two humble
parishioners, a man and his wife, who cultivated a little croft. No one
was within; but as the door was only on the latch, the Bishop knew that
the worthy couple could not be far distant. He therefore stepped in the
direction of the outhouses, and found them both in the barn winnowing
corn, in the primitive way, with "riddles," betwixt two open doors. On
the Bishop making his appearance, the honest man ceased his winnowing
operations, and in the gladness of his heart stepped briskly forward to
welcome his pastor; but in his haste he trod upon the rim of the riddle,
which rebounded with great force against one of his shins. The accident
made him suddenly pull up; and, instead of completing the reception, he
stood vigorously rubbing the injured limb; and, not daring in such a
venerable presence to give vent to the customary strong ejaculations,
kept twisting his face into all sorts of grimaces. As was natural, the
Bishop went forward, uttering the usual formulas of condolence and
sympathy, the patient, meanwhile, continuing his rubbings and his silent
but expressive contortions. At last Janet came to the rescue; and,
clapping the Bishop coaxingly on the back, said, "Noo, Bishop, jist gang
ye yir waas into the hoose, an' we'll follow fan he's had time to curse
a fyllie, an' I'se warran' he'll seen be weel eneuch!"

The following might have been added as examples of the dry humorous
manner in which our countrymen and countrywomen sometimes treat matters
with which they have to deal, even when serious ones:--

An itinerant vendor of wood in Aberdeen having been asked how his wife
was, replied, "Oh, she's fine; I hae taen her tae Banchory;" and on it
being innocently remarked that the change of air would do her good, he
looked up, and, with a half smile, said, "Hoot, she's i' the kirk-yard."

The well-known aversion of the Scotch to hearing _read_ sermons has
often led to amusing occurrences. One pastor, in a country district, who
was much respected by his people, but who, nevertheless, were never
quite reconciled to his _paper_ in the pulpit, found himself on one
occasion in an awkward predicament, from this same paper question. One
Sabbath afternoon, having exhausted both firstly and secondly, he came
to the termination of his discourse; but, unfortunately, the manuscript
was wanting. In vain efforts to seek the missing paper, he repeated
"thirdly and lastly" _ad nauseam_ to his hearers. At last one, cooler
than the others, rose, and nodding to the minister, observed, "'Deed,
sir, If I'm no mista'en, I saw 'thirdly and lastly' fa' ower the poopit
stairs;" evidently enjoying the disappearance of so important a part of
the obnoxious document.

This prejudice was indeed some years since in Scotland quite inveterate.
The following anecdote has been kindly sent to me from _Memoirs of
Charles Young,_ lately published by his son:--

"I have a distinct recollection, one Sunday when I was living at Cults,
and when a stranger was officiating for Dr. Gillespie, observing that he
had not proceeded five minutes with his 'discourse,' before there was a
general commotion and stampedo. The exodus at last became so serious,
that, conceiving something to be wrong, probably a fire in the manse, I
caught the infection, and eagerly inquired of the first person I
encountered in the churchyard what was the matter, and was told, with an
expression of sovereign scorn and disgust--'Losh keep ye, young man! Hae
ye eyes, and see not? Hae ye ears, and hear not? _The man reads!_"

On one occasion, however, even this prejudice gave way before the power
of the most eloquent preacher that Scotland ever heard, or perhaps that
the world ever heard. A shrewd old Fife hearer of sermons had been
objecting, in the usual exaggerated language, against reading sermons in
the pulpit. A gentleman urged the case of Dr. Chalmers, in defence of
the practice. He used his paper in preaching rigidly, and yet with what
an effect he read! All the objector could reply to this was, "Ah, but
it's _fell_[187] reading yon."

The two following are from a correspondent who heard them told by the
late Dr. Barclay the anatomist, well known for his own dry
Scottish humour.

A country laird, at his death, left his property in equal shares to his
two sons, who continued to live very amicably together for many years.
At length one said to the other, "Tam, we're gettin' auld now, you'll
tak a wife, and when I dee you'll get my share o' the grund." "Na, John,
you're the youngest and maist active, you'll tak a wife, and when I dee
you'll get my share." "Od," says John, "Tam, that's jist the way wi' you
when there's ony _fash or trouble_. The deevil a thing you'll do at a'."

A country clergyman, who was not on the most friendly terms with one of
his heritors who resided in Stirling, and who had annoyed the minister
by delay in paying him his teinds (or tithe), found it necessary to make
the laird understand that his proportion of stipend must be paid so soon
as it became due. The payment came next term punctual to the time. When
the messenger was introduced to the minister, he asked who he was,
remarking that he thought he had seen him before. "I am the hangman of
Stirling, sir." "Oh, just so, take a seat till I write you a receipt."
It was evident that the laird had chosen this medium of communication
with the minister as an affront, and to show his spite. The minister,
however, turned the tables upon him, sending back an acknowledgment for
the payment in these terms:--"Received from Mr. ----, by the hands of
the hangman of Stirling, _his doer_[188], the sum of," etc. etc.

The following story of pulpit criticism by a beadle used to be told, I
am assured, by the late Rev. Dr. Andrew Thomson:--

A clergyman in the country had a stranger preaching for him one day, and
meeting his beadle, he said to him, "Well, Saunders, how did you like
the sermon to-day?" "I watna, sir; it was rather ower plain and simple
for me. I like thae sermons best that jumbles the joodgment and
confoonds the sense. Od, sir, I never saw ane that could come up to
yoursell at that."

The epithet "canny" has frequently been applied to our countrymen, not
in a severe or invidious spirit, but as indicating a due regard to
personal interest and safety. In the larger edition of Jamieson (see
edition of 1840) I find there are no fewer than eighteen meanings given
of this word. The following extract from a provincial paper, which has
been sent me, will furnish a good illustration. It is headed, the
"PROPERTY QUALIFICATION," and goes on--"Give a chartist a large estate,
and a copious supply of ready money, and you make a Conservative of him.
He can then see the other side of the moon, which he could never see
before. Once, a determined Radical in Scotland, named Davy Armstrong,
left his native village; and many years afterwards, an old fellow
grumbler met him, and commenced the old song. Davy shook his head. His
friend was astonished, and soon perceived that Davy was no longer a
grumbler, but a rank Tory. Wondering at the change, he was desirous of
knowing the reason. Davy quietly and laconically replied--'I've a coo
(cow) noo.'"

But even still more "canny" was the eye to the main chance in an
Aberdonian fellow-countryman, communicated in the following pleasant
terms from a Nairn correspondent:--"I have just been reading your
delightful 'Reminiscences,' which has brought to my recollection a story
I used to hear my father tell. It was thus:--A countryman in a remote
part of Aberdeenshire having got a newly-coined sovereign in the days
when such a thing was seldom seen in his part of the country, went about
showing it to his friends and neighbours for the charge of one penny
each sight. Evil days, however, unfortunately overtook him, and he was
obliged to part with his loved coin. Soon after, a neighbour called on
him, and asked a sight of his sovereign, at the same time tendering a
penny. 'Ah, man,' says he, 'it's gane; but I'll lat ye see _the cloutie
it was rowt in_ for a bawbee.'"

There was something very simple-minded in the manner in which a
parishioner announced his canny care for his supposed interests when he
became an elder of the kirk. The story is told of a man who had got
himself installed in the eldership, and, in consequence, had for some
time carried round the ladle for the collections. He had accepted the
office of elder because some wag had made him believe that the
remuneration was sixpence each Sunday, with a boll of meal at New Year's
Day. When the time arrived he claimed his meal, but was told he had been
hoaxed. "It may be sae wi' the meal," he said coolly, "but I took care
o' the saxpence mysell."

There was a good deal both of the _pawky_ and the _canny_ in the
following anecdote, which I have from an honoured lady of the south of
Scotland:--"There was an old man who always rode a donkey to his work,
and tethered him while he worked on the roads, or whatever else it might
be. It was suggested to him by my grandfather that he was suspected of
putting it in to feed in the fields at other people's expense. 'Eh,
laird, I could never be tempted to do that, for my cuddy winna eat
onything but nettles and thristles.' One day my grandfather was riding
along the road, when he saw Andrew Leslie at work, and his donkey up to
the knees in one of his clover fields, feeding luxuriously. 'Hollo,
Andrew,' said he; 'I thought you told me your cuddy would eat nothing
but nettles and thistles.' 'Ay,' said he, 'but he misbehaved the day; he
nearly kicket me ower his head, sae I pat him in there just to
_punish_ him.'"

There is a good deal of the same sort of simple character brought out in
the two following. They were sent to me from Golspie, and are original,
as they occurred in my correspondent's own experience. The one is a
capital illustration of thrift, the other of kind feeling for the
friendless, in the Highland character. I give the anecdotes in my
correspondent's own words:--A little boy, some twelve years of age, came
to me one day with the following message: "My mother wants a vomit from
you, sir, and she bade me say if it will not be strong enough, she will
send it back." "Oh, Mr. Begg," said a woman to me, for whom I was
weighing two grains of calomel for a child, "dinna be so mean wi' it; it
is for a poor faitherless bairn."

The following, from a provincial paper, contains a very amusing
recognition of a return which one of the itinerant race considered
himself conscientiously bound to make to his clerical patron for an
alms: "A beggar, while on his rounds one day this week, called on a
clergyman (within two and a half miles of the Cross of Kilmarnock), who,
obeying the biblical injunction of clothing the naked, offered the
beggar an old top-coat. It was immediately rolled up, and the beggar, in
going away with it under his arm, thoughtfully (!) remarked, 'I'll hae
tae gie ye a day's _hearin_' for this na.'"

The natural and self-complacent manner in which the following anecdote
brings out in the Highlander an innate sense of the superiority of
Celtic blood is highly characteristic:--A few years ago, when an English
family were visiting in the Highlands, their attention was directed to a
child crying; on their observing to the mother it was _cross_, she
exclaimed--"Na, na, it's nae cross, for we're baith true Hieland."

The late Mr. Grahame of Garsock, in Strathearn, whose grandson now "is
laird himsel," used to tell, with great _unction_, some thirty years
ago, a story of a neighbour of his own of a still earlier generation,
Drummond of Keltie, who, as it seems, had employed an itinerant tailor
instead of a metropolitan artist. On one occasion a new pair of
inexpressibles had been made for the laird; they were so tight that,
after waxing hot and red in the attempt to try them on, he _let out_
rather savagely at the tailor, who calmly assured him, "It's the fash'n;
it's jist the fash'n." "Eh, ye haveril, is it the fashion for them _no
to go on_?"

An English gentleman writes to me--"We have all heard much of Scotch
caution, and I met once with an instance of it which I think is worth
recording, and which I tell as strictly original. About 1827, I fell
into conversation, on board of a Stirling steamer, with a well-dressed
middle-aged man, who told me he was a soldier of the 42d, going on
leave. He began to relate the campaigns he had gone through, and
mentioned having been at the siege of St. Sebastian.--'Ah! under Sir
Thomas Graham?' 'Yes, sir; he commanded there.' 'Well,' I said, merely
by way of carrying on the _crack_, 'and what do you think of _him_?'
Instead of answering, he scanned me several times from head to foot,
and from foot to head, and then said, in a tone of the most diplomatic
caution, 'Ye'll perhaps be of the name of Grah'm yersel, sir?' There
could hardly be a better example, either of the circumspection of a real
canny Scot, or of the lingering influence of the old patriarchal
feeling, by which 'A name, a word, makes clansmen vassals to
their lord.'"

Now when we linger over these old stories, we seem to live at another
period, and in such reminiscences we converse with a generation
different from our own. Changes are still going on around us. They have
been going on for some time past. The changes are less striking as
society advances, and we find fewer alterations for us to notice.
Probably each generation will have less change to record than the
generation that preceded; still every one who is tolerably advanced in
life must feel that, comparing its beginning and its close, he has
witnessed two epochs, and that in advanced life he looks on a different
world from one which he can remember. To elucidate this fact has been my
present object, and in attempting this task I cannot but feel how
trifling and unsatisfactory my remarks must seem to many who have a more
enlarged and minute acquaintance with Scottish life and manners than I
have. But I shall be encouraged to hope for a favourable, or at least an
indulgent, sentence upon these Reminiscences, if to any of my readers I
shall have opened a fresh insight into the subject of social changes
amongst us. Many causes have their effect upon the habits and customs of
mankind, and of late years such causes have been greatly multiplied in
number and activity. In many persons, and in some who have not
altogether lost their national partialities, there is a general
tendency to merge Scottish usages and Scottish expressions into the
English forms, as being more correct and genteel. The facilities for
moving, not merely from place to place in our own country, but from one
country to another; the spread of knowledge and information by means of
periodical publications and newspapers; and the incredibly low prices at
which literary works are produced, must have great effects. Then there
is the improved taste in art, which, together with literature, has been
taken up by young men who, fifty, sixty, seventy years ago, or more,
would have known no such sources of interest, or indeed who would have
looked upon them as unmanly and effeminate. When first these pursuits
were taken up by our Scottish young men, they excited in the north much
amazement, and, I fear, contempt, as was evinced by a laird of the old
school, who, the first time he saw a young man at the pianoforte, asked,
with evident disgust, "Can the creature _sew_ ony?" evidently putting
the accomplishment of playing the pianoforte and the accomplishment of
the needle in the same category.

The greater facility of producing books, prints, and other articles
which tend to the comfort and embellishment of domestic life, must have
considerable influence upon the habits and tastes of a people. I have
often thought how much effect might be traced to the single circumstance
of the cheap production of pianofortes. An increased facility of
procuring the means of acquaintance with good works of art and
literature acts both as cause and effect. A growing and improved taste
tends to stimulate the _production_ of the best works of art. These, in
return, foster and advance the power of forming a due _estimate_ of art.
In the higher department of music, for example, the cheap rate not only
of _hearing_ compositions of the first class, but of _possessing_ the
works of the most eminent composers, must have had influence upon
thousands. The principal oratorios of Handel may be purchased for as
many shillings each as they cost pounds years ago. Indeed, at that time
the very names of those immortal works were known only to a few who were
skilled to appreciate their high beauties. Now associations are formed
for practising and studying the choral works of the great masters.

We might indeed adduce many more causes which seem to produce changes of
habits, tastes, and associations, amongst our people. For example,
families do not vegetate for years in one retired spot as they used to
do; young men are encouraged to attain accomplishments, and to have
other sources of interest than the field or the bottle. Every one knows,
or may know, everything that is going on through the whole world. There
is a tendency in mankind to lose all that is peculiar, and in nations to
part with all that distinguishes them from each other. We hear of
wonderful changes in habits and customs where change seemed impossible.
In India and Turkey even, peculiarities and prejudices are fading away
under the influence of time. Amongst ourselves, no doubt, one
circumstance tended greatly to call forth, and, as we may say, to
_develop_, the peculiar Scotch humour of which we speak--and that was
the familiarity of intercourse which took place between persons in
different positions of life. This extended even to an occasional
interchange of words between the minister and the members of his flock
during time of service. I have two anecdotes in illustration of this
fact, which I have reason to believe are quite authentic. In the church
of Banchory on Deeside, to which I have referred, a former minister
always preached without book, and being of an absent disposition, he
sometimes forgot the head of discourse on which he was engaged, and got
involved in confusion. On one occasion, being desirous of recalling to
his memory the division of his subject, he called out to one of his
elders, a farmer on the estate of Ley, "Bush (the name of his farm),
Bush, ye're sleeping." "Na, sir, I'm no sleeping--I'm listening." "Weel,
then, what had I begun to say?" "Oh, ye were saying so and so." This was
enough, and supplied the minister with the thread of his discourse; and
he went on. The other anecdote related to the parish of Cumbernauld, the
minister of which was at the time referred to noted for a very
disjointed and rambling style of preaching, without method or
connection. His principal heritor was the Lord Elphinstone of the time,
and unfortunately the minister and the peer were not on good terms, and
always ready to annoy each other by sharp sayings or otherwise. The
minister on one occasion had somewhat in this spirit called upon the
beadle to "wauken my Lord Elphinstone," upon which Lord Elphinstone
said, "I'm no sleeping, minister." "Indeed you were, my lord." He again
disclaimed the sleeping. So as a test the preacher asked him, "What I
had been saying last then?" "Oh, juist wauken Lord Elphinstone." "Ay,
but what did I say before that?" "Indeed," retorted Lord Elphinstone,
"I'll gie ye a guinea if ye'll tell that yersell, minister." We can
hardly imagine the _possibility_ of such scenes now taking place amongst
us in church. It seems as if all men were gradually approximating to a
common type or form in their manners and views of life; oddities are
sunk, prominences are rounded off, sharp features are polished, and all
things are becoming smooth and conventional. The remark, like the
effect, is general, and extends to other countries as well as to our
own. But as we have more recently parted with our peculiarities of
dialect, oddity, and eccentricity, it becomes the more amusing to mark
_our_ participation in this change, because a period of fifty years
shows here a greater contrast than the same period would show in many
other localities.

I have already referred to a custom which prevailed in all the rural
parish churches, and which I remember in my early days at Fettercairn;
the custom I mean, now quite obsolete, of the minister, after
pronouncing the blessing, turning to the heritors, who always occupied
the front seats of the gallery, and making low bows to each family.
Another custom I recollect:--When the text had been given out, it was
usual for the elder branches of the congregation to hand about their
Bibles amongst the younger members, marking the place, and calling their
attention to the passage. During service another handing about was
frequent among the seniors, and that was a circulation of the
sneeshin-mull or snuff-box. Indeed, I have heard of the same practice in
an Episcopal church, and particularly in one case of an ordination,
where the bishop took his pinch of snuff, and handed the mull to go
round amongst the clergy assembled for the solemn occasion within the

Amongst Scottish reminiscences which do not extend beyond our own
recollections we may mention the disappearance of Trinity Church in
Edinburgh, which has taken place within the last quarter of a century.
It was founded by Mary of Gueldres, queen of James II. of Scotland, in
1446, and liberally endowed for a provost, prebendaries, choristers,
etc. It was never completed, but the portions built--viz., choir,
transept, and central tower--were amongst the finest specimens of later
Gothic work in Scotland. The pious founder had placed it at the east end
of what was then the North Loch. She chose her own church for the
resting-place of her remains as a sanctuary of safety and repose. A
railway parliamentary bill, however, overrides founder's intentions and
Episcopal consecrations. Where once stood the beautiful church of the
Holy Trinity, where once the "pealing organ" and the "full-voiced choir"
were daily heard "in service high and anthems clear"--where for 400
years slept the ashes of a Scottish Queen--now resound the noise and
turmoil of a railway station.

But we have another example of the uncertainty of all earthly concerns,
and one which supplies a Scottish reminiscence belonging to the last
seventy years. Wilhelmina, Viscountess Glenorchy, during her lifetime,
built and endowed a church for two ministers, who were provided with
very handsome incomes. She died 17th July 1786, and was buried on the
24th July, aged 44. Her interment took place, by her own direction, in
the church she had founded, immediately in front of the pulpit; and she
fixed upon that spot as a place of security and safety, where her mortal
remains might rest in peace till the morning of the resurrection. But
alas for the uncertainty of all earthly plans and projects for the
future!--the iron road came on its reckless course and swept the church
away. The site was required for the North British Railway, which passed
directly over the spot where Lady Glenorchy had been buried. Her remains
were accordingly disinterred 24th December 1844; and the trustees of the
church, not having yet erected a new one, deposited the body of their
foundress in the vaults beneath St. John's Episcopal Church, and after
resting there for fifteen years, they were, in 1859, removed to the
building which is now Lady Glenorchy's Church.

In our reminiscences of many _changes_ which have taken place during
fifty years in Scottish manners, it might form an interesting section to
record some peculiarities which _remain_. I mean such peculiarities as
yet linger amongst us, and still mark a difference in some of our social
habits from those of England. Some Scottish usages die hard, and are
found still to supply amusement for southern visitors. To give a few
examples, persons still persist among us in calling the head of a
family, or the host, the _landlord_, although he never charged his
guests a halfpenny for the hospitality he exercises. In games, golf and
curling still continue to mark the national character--cricket was long
an exotic amongst us. In many of our educational institutions, however,
it seems now fairly to have taken root. We continue to call our
reception rooms "_public_ rooms," although never used for any but
domestic purposes. Military rank is attached to ladies, as we speak of
Mrs. Lieutenant Fraser, Mrs. Captain Scott, Mrs. Major Smith, Mrs.
Colonel Campbell. On the occasion of a death, we persist in sending
circular notices to all the relatives, whether they know of it or not--a
custom which, together with men wearing weepers at funeral solemnities,
is unknown in England[189]. Announcing a married lady's death under her
maiden name must seem strange to English ears--as, for example, we read
of the demise of Mrs. Jane Dickson, spouse of Thomas Morison. Scottish
cookery retains its ground, and hotch-potch, minced collops, sheep's
head singed, and occasionally haggis, are still marked peculiarities of
the Scottish table. These social differences linger amongst us. But
stronger points are worn away; eccentricities and oddities such as
existed once will not do now. One does not see why eccentricity should
be more developed in one age than in another, but we cannot avoid the
conclusion that the day for real oddities is no more. Professors of
colleges are those in whom one least expects oddity--grave and learned
characters; and yet such _have_ been in former times. We can scarcely
now imagine such professors as we read of in a past generation. Take the
case of no less distinguished a person than Adam Smith, author of the
_Wealth of Nations,_ who went about the streets talking and laughing to
himself in such a manner as to make the market women think he was
deranged; and he told of one himself who ejaculated, as he passed,
"Hech, sirs, and he is weel pat on, too!" expressing surprise that a
decided lunatic, who from his dress appeared to be a gentleman, should
be permitted to walk abroad unattended. Professors still have their
crotchets like other people; but we can scarcely conceive a professor of
our day coming out like Adam Smith, and making fishwives to pass such
observations on his demeanour.

Peculiarities in a people's phraseology may prove more than we are aware
of, and may tend to illustrate circumstances of national _history_. Thus
many words which would be included by Englishmen under the general term
of Scotticisms, bear directly upon the question of a past intercourse
with France, and prove how close at one time must have been the
influence exercised upon general habits in Scotland by that intercourse.
Scoto-Gallic words were quite differently situated from French words and
phrases adopted in England. With us they proceeded from a real
admixture of the two _peoples_. With us they form the ordinary common
language of the country, and that was from a distant period moulded by
French. In England, the educated and upper classes of late years
_adopted_ French words and phrases. With us, some of our French
derivatives are growing obsolete as vulgar, and nearly all are passing
from fashionable society. In England, we find the French-adopted words
rather receiving accessions than going out of use.

Examples of words such as we have referred to, as showing a French
influence and admixture, are familiar to many of my readers. I recollect
some of them in constant use amongst old-fashioned Scottish people, and
those terms, let it be remembered, are unknown in England.

A leg of mutton was always, with old-fashioned Scotch people, a gigot
(Fr. gigot).

The crystal jug or decanter in which water is placed upon the table, was
a caraff (Fr. carafe).

Gooseberries were groserts, or grossarts (Fr. groseille).

Partridges were pertricks,--a word much more formed upon the French
perdrix than the English partridge.

The plate on which a joint or side-dish was placed upon the table was an
ashet (Fr. assiette).

In the old streets of Edinburgh, where the houses are very high, and
where the inhabitants all live in flats, before the introduction of
soil-pipes there was no method of disposing of the foul water of the
household, except by throwing it out of the window into the street. This
operation, dangerous to those outside, was limited to certain hours, and
the well-known cry, which preceded the missile and warned the
passenger, was gardeloo! or, as Smollett writes it, gardy loo (Fr. garge
de l'eau).

Anything troublesome or irksome used to be called, Scotticè, fashions
(Fr. facheux, facheuse); to fash one's-self (Fr. se facher).

The small cherry, both black and red, common in gardens, is in Scotland,
never in England, termed gean (Fr. guigne), from Guigne, in Picardy.

The term _dambrod_, which has already supplied materials for a good
story, arises from adopting French terms into Scottish language, as dams
were the pieces with which the game of draughts was played (Fr. dammes).
Brod is board.

A bedgown, or loose female upper garment, is still in many parts of
Scotland termed a jupe (Fr. jupe).

In Kincardineshire the ashes of a blacksmith's furnace had the peculiar
name of smiddy-coom (Fr. écume, i.e. dross).

Oil, in common Scotch, used always to be ule,--as the uley pot, or uley
cruse (Fr. huile).

Many of my readers are no doubt familiar with the notice taken of these
words by Lord Cockburn, and with the account which he gives of these
Scottish words derived from the French, probably during the time of
Queen Mary's minority, when French troops were quartered in Scotland. I
subjoin a more full list, for which I am indebted to a correspondent,
because the words still lingering amongst us are in themselves the best
REMINISCENCES of former days.

 Scotch.           English.                  French.
Serviter           Napkin                  From Serviette.
Gigot (of mutton)      ...                   "  Gigot.
Reeforts           Radishes                  "  Raiforts.
Grosserts          Gooseberries              "  Groseilles.
Gardyveen          Case for holding wine     "  Garde-vin.
Jupe             Part of a woman's dress     "  Jupe.
Bonnaille        A parting glass with a      "  Bon aller.
                   friend going on a journey
Gysard           Person in a fancy dress     "  Guise.
Dambrod          Draught-board               "  Dammes.
Pantufles        Slippers                    "  Pantoufles.
Haggis           Hashed meat                 "  Hachis.
Gou              Taste, smell                "  Gout.
Hogue            Tainted                     "  Haut gout.
Grange           Granary                     "  Grange.
Mouter           Miller's perquisite         "  Mouture.
Dour             Obstinate                   "  Dur.
Douce            Mild                        "  Doux.
Dorty            Sulky                       "  Dureté.
Braw             Fine                        "  Brave.
Kimmer           Gossip                      "  Commère.
Jalouse          Suspect                     "  Jalouser.
Vizzy            To aim at, to examine       "  Viser.
Ruckle           Heap (of stones)            "  Recueil.
Gardy-loo        (Notice well known in       "  Gardez-l'eau.
Dementit         Out of patience, deranged   "  Dementir.
On my verity     Assertion of truth          "  Verité.
By my certy      Assertion of truth          "  Certes.
Aumrie           Cupboard                    "  Almoire, in old
Walise           Portmanteau                 "  Valise.
Sucker           Sugar                       "  Sucre

_Edinburgh Street Cry:_--"Neeps like sucker. Whae'll buy neeps?"

Petticoat-tails    Cakes of triangular shapes   " Petits gatelles
Ashet              Meat-dish                    " Assiette.
Fashious           Troublesome                  " Facheux.
Prush, Madame[190] Call to a cow to come        " Approchez,
                     forward                        Madame

I dwell the more minutely on this question of Scottish words, from the
conviction of their being so characteristic of Scottish humour, and
being so distinctive a feature of the older Scottish race. Take away our
Scottish phraseology, and we lose what is our specific distinction from
England. In these expressions, too, there is often a tenderness and
beauty as remarkable as the wit and humour. I have already spoken of the
phrase "Auld-lang-syne," and of other expressions of sentiment, which
may be compared in their Anglican and Scotch form.


[160] After all, the remark may not have been so absurd then as it
appears now. Burns had not been long dead, nor was he then so noted a
character as he is now. The Scotsmen might really have supposed a
Southerner unacquainted with the _fact_ of the poet's death.

[161] Choice.

[162] A vessel.

[163] Juice.

[164] Broth.

[165] Rev. A.K.H. Boyd.

[166] I believe the lady was Mrs. Murray Keith of Ravelston, with whom
Sir Walter had in early life much intercourse.

[167] Disputing or bandying words backwards and forwards.

[168] In Scotland the remains of the deceased person is called the

[169] Laudanum and calomel.

[170] Read from the same book.

[171] Sorely kept under by the turkey-cock.

[172] Close the doors. The old woman was lying in a "box-bed." See _Life
of Robert Chambers_, p. 12.

[173] Empty pocket.

[174] A cough.

[175] Shrivelled.

[176] Confound.

[177] Empty.

[178] It was of this minister, Mr. Thom of Govan, that Sir Walter Scott
remarked "that he had demolished all his own chances of a Glasgow
benefice, by preaching before the town council from a text in Hosea,
'Ephraim's drink is sour.'"

[179] Empty.

[180] Basket for fish.

[181] Well advanced.

[182] Wearied.

[183] I have abundant evidence to prove that a similar answer to that
which Dr. Alexander records to have been made to Mr. Gillespie has been
given on similar occasions by others.

[184] Oats heavy in bulk.

[185] This Marquis of Lothian was aide-de-camp to the Duke of Cumberland
at the battle of Culloden, who sullied his character as a soldier and a
nobleman by the cruelties which he exercised on the vanquished.

[186] Sir H. Moncreiff's _Life of Dr. J. Erskine_.

[187] Extraordinary.

[188] In Scotland it is usual to term the law-agent or man of business
of any person his "doer."

[189] And yet, even as we write, weepers seem to be passing into

[190] This expression was adopted apparently in ridicule of the French
applying the word "Madame" to a cow.


I am very anxious to bear in mind throughout these Reminiscences, and to
keep in view the same feeling for my readers--viz. that such details
regarding the changes which many living have themselves noticed as
taking place in our customs and habits of society in Scotland, should
always suggest the question to the thoughtful and serious mind, Are the
changes which have been observed for _good_? Is the world a better world
than that which we can remember? On some important points changes have
been noticed in the upper classes of Scottish society, which
unquestionably _are_ improvements. For example, the greater attention
paid to observance of Sunday, and to attendance upon public
worship,--the partial disappearance of profane swearing and of excess in
drinking. But then the painful questions arise, Are such beneficial
changes _general_ through the whole body of our countrymen? may not the
vices and follies of one grade of society have found a refuge in those
that are of a lower class? may not new faults have taken their place
where older faults have been abandoned? Of this we are quite sure--no
lover of his country can fail to entertain the anxious wish, that the
change we noticed in regard to drinking and swearing were universal, and
that we had some evidence of its being extended through all classes of
society. We ought certainly to feel grateful when we reflect that, in
many instances which we have noticed, the ways and customs of society
are much improved in common sense, in decency, in delicacy, and
refinement. There are certain modes of life, certain expressions,
eccentricity of conduct, coarseness of speech, books, and plays, which
were in vogue amongst us, even fifty or sixty years ago, which would not
be tolerated in society at the present time. We cannot illustrate this
in a more satisfactory manner than by reference to the acknowledgment of
a very interesting and charming old lady, who died so lately as 1823. In
1821, Mrs. Keith of Ravelstone, grandaunt of Sir Walter Scott, thus
writes in returning to him the work of a female novelist which she had
borrowed from him out of curiosity, and to remind her of "auld lang
syne:"--"Is it not a very odd thing that I, an old woman of eighty and
upwards, sitting alone, feel myself ashamed to read a book which, sixty
years ago, I have heard read aloud for the amusement of large circles,
consisting of the first and most creditable society in London?" There
can be no doubt that at the time referred to by Mrs. Keith, Tristram
Shandy[191], Tom Jones, Humphrey Clinker, etc., were on the drawing-room
tables of ladies whose grandchildren or great-grandchildren never saw
them, or would not acknowledge it if they _had_ seen them. But authors
not inferior to Sterne, Fielding, or Smollett, are now popular, who,
with Charles Dickens, can describe scenes of human life with as much
force and humour, and yet in whose pages nothing will be found which
need offend the taste of the most refined, or shock the feelings of the
most pure. This is a change where there is also great improvement. It
indicates not merely a better moral perception in authors themselves,
but it is itself a homage to the improved spirit of the age. We will
hope that, with an improved exterior, there is improvement in society
_within_. If the feelings shrink from what is coarse in expression, we
may hope that vice has, in some sort, lost attraction. At any rate, from
what we discern around us we hope favourably for the general improvement
of mankind, and of our own beloved country in particular. If Scotland,
in parting with her rich and racy dialect, her odd and eccentric
characters, is to lose something in quaint humour and good stories, we
will hope she may grow and strengthen in _better_ things--good as those
are which she loses. However this may be, I feel quite assured that the
examples which I have now given, of Scottish expressions, Scottish modes
and habits of life, and Scottish anecdotes, which belong in a great
measure to the past, and yet which are remembered as having a place in
the present century, must carry conviction that great changes have taken
place in the Scottish social circle. There were some things belonging to
our country which we must all have desired should be changed. There were
others which we could only see changed with regret and sorrow. The hardy
and simple habits of Scotsmen of many past generations; their industry,
economy, and integrity, which made them take so high a place in the
estimation and the confidence of the people amongst whom they dwelt in
all countries of the world; the intelligence and superior education of
her mechanics and her peasantry, combined with a strict moral and
religious demeanour, fully justified the praise of Burns when he
described the humble though sublime piety of the "Cottar's Saturday
Night," and we can well appreciate the testimony which he bore to the
hallowed power and sacred influences of the devotional exercises of his
boyhood's home, when he penned the immortal words:--

     "From scenes like these old Scotia's grandeur springs,
     That makes her loved at home, revered abroad."

On comparing Scotland past with Scotland present, we cannot evade the
question, Are "scenes like these"--devotional domestic scenes like
these--become less frequent than they were? Do they still hold their
place by the cottar's fireside, or are they becoming only a reminiscence
of what was _once_ a national distinction? Whatever be our religious
opinions, or whatever be our views on questions of ecclesiastical polity
and church order, no Scotsman who desires the happiness and honour of
his country could avoid a deep regret at the very idea of Burns'
"Cottar's Saturday Night" having become a thing of the past; and yet we
must not shrink from inquiry into the true state of the case. I have
asked the opinions of friends both of the Established and the Free
Church, who have met my inquiries in a fair and candid spirit, and, from
the answers I have received, have come to something like the following
conclusion:--I believe such scenes as Burns' "Cottar's Saturday Night"
are still to be met with in all their freshness and all their fervour in
the dwellings of a good religious peasantry; but in some places the
cottar population _itself_ has undergone a great change. Two causes have
combined to produce this effect:--An extensive system of emigration has
thinned the older families of the soil, whilst the practice of bringing
in mere labourers has in many districts made the old family domestic
firesides less numerous. Then, alas! alas! we fear cottar MORALITY has
not been such as to keep up the practice. Reports made to both the
General Assemblies of 1871 on this question were far from being
satisfactory. Dr. Begg, too, in his striking and able pamphlet on the
"Ecclesiastical and Social Evils of Scotland," refers to "symptoms of a
nation's degeneracy which seem multiplying in Scotland;" also to a
"growing amount of heathenism and drunkenness."

With such representations before us regarding a decline of domestic
morality, we cannot expect to see much increase of domestic piety.
Burns, after he had become lowered in moral feelings by those licentious
habits and scenes into which he unfortunately fell after he had left his
father's house, was not hypocrite enough to profess the same love and
interest for the scenes of his innocent and early days. The country
clergy of Scotland have their many difficulties against which they are
to contend; and many obstacles which they have to meet. But let not the
domestic piety of the lowest cottages of the land be lost sight of. The
results of such worship are so blessed upon the inmates, that the
practice should everywhere be urged upon their flocks by the clergy, and
encouraged by all means in their power; and in that view it would, I
think, be desirable to circulate short forms of prayer for family use.
Many such have lately been published; and, whatever difference of
opinion may be entertained as to the comparative merits of extempore or
liturgical prayer for the public worship of the church, there can be no
question that in many instances a form must be very useful, and often
essential at the commencement, at least, of cottage worship. I have
known cases where it has been declined on the plea of inability to
conduct the service.

There are numerous indications that, _on the whole_, a regard for
religion and religious ordinances is not losing ground in Scotland. The
great number of churches--and of handsome churches--that are springing
up, indicate, by their attendance, how much hold the subject has upon
the people. The ample funds raised for charitable and for missionary
objects give good testimony in the cause; and, in regard to the
immediate question before us, one favourable result may be reported on
this subject--the practice and feelings of domestic piety and family
worship have, at any rate, extended in Scotland in an _upward_ direction
of its social life. Beyond all doubt, we may say family worship is more
frequent, as a general practice, in houses of the rich, and also in the
houses of farmers and of superior operatives, than it was some years
ago. The Montrose anecdote about family prayers, told at page 64, could
hardly have place now, and indeed many persons could not understand
the point.

I hope I am not blinded to the defects of my own countrymen, nor am I
determined to resist evidence of any deterioration which may be proved.
But I feel confident that Scotland still stands pre-eminent amongst the
nations for moral and religious qualities. The nucleus of her character
will bear comparison with any. We will cherish hope for the mental tone
of our countrymen being still in the ascendant, and still imbued with
those qualities that make a moral and religious people. We have reason
to know that in many departments of business, Scottish intelligence,
Scottish character, and Scottish services, are still decidedly at a
premium in the market.

But now, before concluding, I am desirous of recording some
Reminiscences upon a phase of Scottish RELIGIOUS history which involves
very important consequences, and which I would not attempt to discuss
without serious consideration. Indeed I have sometimes shrunk from the
discussion at all, as leading to questions of so delicate a nature, and
as involving matters on which there are so many differences of opinion.
I refer to the state of our divisions and alienations of spirit _on
account_ of religion.

The great Disruption, which nearly equally divided the National Church,
and which took place in 1843, is now become a matter of _reminiscence_.
Of those nearly connected with that movement, some were relatives of my
own, and many were friends. Unlike similar religious revolutions, that
which caused the Free Church of Scotland did not turn upon any
difference of opinion on matters either of doctrine or of ecclesiastical
polity. It arose entirely from differences regarding the relation
subsisting between the Church and the State, by which the Church was
established and endowed. The great evil of all such divisions, and the
real cause for regret, lie in the injury they inflict on the cause of
Christian unity and Christian love, and the separation they too often
make between those who ought to be united in spirit, and who have
hitherto been not unfrequently actually joined for years as companions
and friends. The tone which is adopted by publications, which are the
organs of various party opinions amongst us, show how keenly disputants,
once excited, will deal with each other. The differences consequent upon
the Disruption in the Scottish Church called forth great bitterness of
spirit and much mutual recrimination at the time. But it seems to me
that there are indications of a better spirit, and that there is more
tolerance and more forbearance on religious differences amongst Scottish
people generally. I cannot help thinking, however, that at no period of
our ecclesiastical annals was such language made use of, and even
against those of the highest place and authority in the Church, as we
have lately met with in the organs of the extreme Anglican Church party.
It is much to be regretted that earnest and zealous men should have
adopted such a style of discussing religious differences. I cannot help
thinking it is injurious to Christian feelings of love and Christian
kindness. It is really sometimes quite appalling. From the same quarter
I must expect myself severe handling for some of these pages, should
they fall into their way. We cannot but lament, however, when we find
such language used towards each other by those who are believers in a
common Bible, and who are followers and disciples of the same lowly
Saviour, and indeed frequently members of the same Church. Bigotry and
intolerance are not confined to one side or another. They break out
often where least expected. Differences, no doubt, will always exist on
many contested subjects, but I would earnestly pray that all SUCH
differences, amongst ourselves at least, as those which injure the
forbearance and gentleness of the Christian character, should become
"Scottish Reminiscences," whether they are called forth by the
opposition subsisting between Presbyterianism and Episcopacy, or whether
they arise amongst Presbyterians or amongst Episcopalians themselves.

To my apprehension Scotland has recently seen a most painful indication
of the absence of that charity which, according to St. Paul, should
"never fail" amongst a Christian people. The act of two English
Prelates officiating in one of the Established churches has called forth
a storm of indignation as loud and vehement as if in a heathen land they
had fallen down before the image of a heathen deity, and worshipped in a
heathen temple. Then the explanation which has been given by apologists
for these services is not the least remarkable feature of the
transaction. These ministrations have been called "Mission Services,"
and, in so far as I enter into the meaning of the phrase, I would
solemnly and seriously protest against its being made use of in such a
case. "_Mission service_" can only be applied to the case of a
missionary raising his voice "_in partibus infidelium_" or, to say the
least of it, in a land where no Christian church was already planted.
When I think of the piety, the Christian worth, and high character of so
many friends in the Established and other Presbyterian churches in
Scotland, I would again repeat my solemn protestation against such
religious intolerance, and again declare my conviction, that Englishmen
and Scotsmen, so far from looking out for points of difference and
grounds for separation on account of the principles on which their
Churches are established, should endeavour to make the bonds of
religious union as _close_ as possible. I can scarcely express the
gratification I felt on learning from the _Scotsman_, November 20, that
such were the sentiments called forth by this event in the mind of one
of the ablest and most distinguished Prelates of our day. In reference
to the Glengarry services, the Bishop of St. Andrews (Wordsworth) has
declared his opinion, that the "subsequent explanations of those
services seemed to mar the good work by introducing questions of
etiquette, where nothing should have been thought of but the simple
performance of Christian duty by Christian ministers for the benefit of
Christian people[192]."

Such is the judgment expressed by the honoured and learned Bishop of St.
Andrews, whose noble and patriotic exertions to draw the Episcopalians
and the Presbyterians of Scotland closer together in bonds of religious
feelings and religious worship have been spoken of in such terms, and
such words have been applied to his labours in that cause, and to the
administration generally of his own diocese, by one of the very high
English Church papers, as have been to me a cause of deep sorrow and
poignant regret.

As a Scotsman by descent from Presbyterians of high moral and religious
character, and as an Episcopalian by conscientious preference, I would
fain see more of harmony and of confidence between all Scotsmen, not
only as fellow-countrymen, but as fellow-Christians. When I first joined
the Episcopal Church the Edinburgh Episcopal clergy were on most
friendly terms with the leading clergy of the Established Church. Every
consideration was shown to them by such men as Bishop Sandford, Dr.
Morehead, Rev. Archibald Alison, Rev. Mr. Shannon, and others. There was
always service in the Episcopal chapels on the National Church communion
fast-days. No opposition or dislike to Episcopalian clergymen occupying
Presbyterian pulpits was ever avowed as a great principle. Charles
Simeon of Cambridge, and others of the Churches of England and Ireland,
frequently so officiated, and it was considered as natural and suitable.
The learning and high qualities of the Church of England's hierarchy,
were, with few exceptions, held in profound respect. Indeed, during the
last hundred years, and since the days when Episcopacy was attacked
under the term of "black prelacy," I can truly say, the Episcopal order
has received far more severe handling in Episcopal England than it has
received in Presbyterian Scotland. I must think, that in the case of two
churches where the grounds of _resemblance_ are on points of spiritual
importance affecting great truths and doctrines of salvation, and where
the points of _difference_ affect questions more of government and
external order than of salvation, there ought to be on both parts the
desire at least to draw as closely as they can the bonds of Christian
charity and mutual confidence.

I believe it to be very painful to Scotsmen generally, whether of the
Established or the Episcopal Church, that the Presbyterian Church of
Scotland should be spoken of in such terms as have lately been made use
of. Scotsmen feel towards it as to the Church of the country established
by law, just as the Anglican Church is established in England. They feel
towards it as the Church whose ministrations are attended by our
gracious Sovereign when she resides in the northern portion of her
dominions, and in which public thanksgiving was offered to God in the
royal presence for her Majesty's recovery. But more important still,
they feel towards it as a church of which the members are behind no
other communion in the tone and standard of their moral principle and
integrity of conduct. They feel towards it as a church which has nobly
retained her adherence to the principles of the Reformation, and which
has been spared the humiliation of exhibiting any of her clergy
nominally members of a reformed church, and, at the same time, virtually
and at heart adherents to the opinions and practices of the Church of
Rome. English people, in speaking of the Established Church of
Scotland, seem to forget how much Episcopalians are mixed up with their
Presbyterian fellow-countrymen in promoting common charitable and
religious objects. For example, take my own experience: the
administration of a very valuable charitable institution called the
Paterson and Pape Fund, is vested jointly in the incumbent of St.
John's, Edinburgh (Episcopalian), and the two clergymen of St.
Cuthbert's (Established) Church. Even in matters affecting the interests
of our own Church we may find ourselves closely connected. Take the
administration of the late Miss Walker's will, and the carrying out her
munificent bequest to our Church, of which I am a trustee. Of the nine
trustees, two are Episcopalians residing in Scotland, one an
Episcopalian residing in England, and six are Presbyterians residing in
Scotland. The primary object of Miss Walker's settlement is to build and
endow, for divine service, a cathedral church in Edinburgh; the edifice
to cost not less than £40,000. The income arising from the remainder of
her property to be expended for the benefit of the Scottish Episcopal
Church generally. A meeting of trustees was held, November 25, 1871, and
one of the first steps unanimously agreed upon was to appoint the
Bishop-Coadjutor of Edinburgh, who is a trustee, to be chairman of the
meeting. There is no doubt or question of mutual good feeling in the
work, and that our Church feels full and entire confidence in the fair,
honourable, candid, and courteous conduct of the trustees to whom in
this case will be committed weighty matters connected with her

At one of the congresses of the English Church it has been said, and
well said, by Mr. B. Hope, that he and his friends of the High Church
party would join as closely as they could with the members of the
Romish Church who have taken common cause with Dr. Dollinger, "looking
more to points where they agree, and not to points where they differ."
Why should not the same rule be adopted towards brethren who differ from
ourselves so little on points that are vital and eternal? The principle
which I would apply to the circumstances, I think, may be thus stated: I
would join with fellow-Christians in any good works or offices, either
of charity or religion, where I could do so without compromise of my own
principles. On such ground I do not see why we should not realise the
idea already suggested,--viz. that of having an interchange between our
pulpits and the pulpits of the Established and other Presbyterian or
Independent Churches. Such ministerial interchange need not affect the
question of _orders_, nor need it, in fact, touch many other questions
on which differences are concerned.

Of course this should be arranged under due regulation, and with full
precaution taken that the questions discussed shall be confined to
points where there is agreement, and that points of difference should be
left quite in abeyance. Why should we, under proper arrangements, fail
to realise so graceful an exercise of Christian charity? Why should we
lose the many benefits favourable to the advancement of Christian unity
amongst us? An opportunity for practically putting this idea into a
tangible form has occurred from the circumstance of the new chapel in
the University of Glasgow being opened for service, to be conducted by
clergymen of various churches. I gladly avail myself of the opportunity
of testifying my grateful acknowledgments for the courteous and generous
conduct of Dr. Caird, in his efforts to put forward members of our
Church to conduct the services of the College chapel, and also of
expressing my admiration of the power and beauty of his remarks on
Christian unity and on brotherly love[193].

This is with me no new idea; no crude experiment proposed for the
occasion. I have before me a paper which I wrote some years since, and
which I had put into the shape of "An Address to the Bishops," to
sanction such exchange of pulpits, hoping to get some of my clerical
brethren to join in the object of the address. I feel assured much good
would, under God, be the result of such spiritual union. If
congregations would only unite in exchange of such friendly offices of
religious instruction with each other, how often would persons, now
strangers, become better acquainted! I wish the experiment could be
tried, were it only to show how prejudices would be removed; how
misunderstandings would be cleared away; how many better and kinder
feelings would grow out of the closer union on religious questions! Nay,
I would go farther, and express my full conviction, that my own Church
would _gain_ rather than lose in her interests under such a system. Men
would be more disposed to listen with attention, and examine with
candour the arguments we make use of in favour of our Church views. We
should gain more of the sympathy of our countrymen who differ from us,
by a calm expostulation than by bitter invective. Beautifully and wisely
was it written by a sacred pen nearly three thousand years ago, "A soft
answer turneth away wrath."

I have such confidence in the excellence of my own Church, that I
believe to bring persons into closer and kinder connection with our
system would be the more likely way to gain their approval and their
favourable judgment. In nothing do we lose more of the confidence and
estimation of our fellow-countrymen than in the feeling of our being
intolerant and exclusive in our religious opinions. It is curious people
should not see that the arguments addressed in a friendly spirit must
tell more powerfully than the arguments of one who shows his
hostile feeling.

With these feelings on the subject, it may be easily understood with
what pleasure I read, in the _Edinburgh Courant_ of November 10th, a
report of what our Primus (Bishop Eden) said, at the entertainment which
was given on the occasion of the consecration of St. Mary's Church,
Glasgow. In speaking on the question of Union, the Primus said--

     "I think I may speak for my Episcopal brethren, when I say
     that if the heads, especially of the Established Church of
     Scotland--for that is the body that has most power and
     influence--if a proposal were made by the leading men in that
     Church, in concurrence with those who hold views similar to
     themselves--a conference of the representative men of the
     different Churches--to consider in a Christian spirit what
     our differences are, and what are the points on which we are
     agreed, we would be most happy to take part in it. Such a
     conference might, in the providence of God, lead to our being
     drawn nearer to each other. I believe that then the prayer
     which the Bishop of St. Andrews offered up would he the
     earlier accomplished, namely, that the Episcopal Churches
     might become Reformed, and the Reformed Churches become
     Episcopal. If any proposal of this kind could be made, I
     believe we would be most ready to accept any invitation to
     consider whether the various Churches might not be drawn
     nearer to each other." (Great applause.)

The Coadjutor Bishop of Edinburgh in his address, after briefly
referring to some proposals that had been made for union among the
churches in South Africa, went on to say--

     "I do say, as one of the Bishops of the Scottish Episcopal
     Church now, and in reference to what fell from the Primus,
     that I most heartily concur in what he said, and I cannot but
     feel that, without the slightest breach of the great
     fundamental principles of the Church of Christ, there are
     many points on which we may be at one with Christians who are
     not part of our organic body.

     "I believe the proposal made by the Primus would have the
     effect of drawing them nearer to us, and be a step forward to
     that consummation which we all desire, and which our blessed
     Lord prayed--with his last breath--'That we may all be one.'"
     (Great applause.)

That two honoured Fathers of our Church, our Primus and my own Bishop,
should have made use of such terms, and that their views should have
been received by _such_ an audience with so much applause, I could have
offered a grateful acknowledgment upon my knees.

But after all, perhaps, it may be said this is an utopian idea, which,
in the present state of religious feelings and ecclesiastical
differences, never can be realised. It were a sufficient answer to the
charge of _utopianism_ brought against such a proposal, to plead that it
was no more than what was sanctioned by the teaching of God's word. In
this case it does not seem to go beyond the requirements of holy
Scripture as set forth in St. Paul's description of charity, and in
other passages which clearly enjoin Christians to act towards each other
in love, and to cultivate, so far as they can, a spirit of mutual
forbearance and of joint action in the sacred cause of preaching the
truth as it is in Jesus. I cannot believe that, were St. Paul on earth,
he would sanction the present state of jealous separation amongst
Christians. Take such separation in connection with the beautiful
sentiment, which we read in Phil. i. 18:--"What then? notwithstanding
every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I
therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice."

The determination to exclude preaching that is not strictly according to
our own forms seems to me quite inconsistent with the general teaching
of Scripture, more particularly with this apostolic declaration. But I
would bring this question to a practical issue, and we shall find enough
in our own experience to confirm the view I have taken, and to sanction
the arrangement I propose. To bring forward co-operation in the great
and vitally important work of preaching God's word, which has been
already effected between persons holding on some points opinions
different from each other, take first the case of revision of the
English translation of the Old and New Testament Scriptures, as it has
been resolved upon by the authorities of the great Anglican Communion.
They have had no difficulty in finding Nonconformist scholars and
divines whose fitness to be associated with Anglican Churchmen in the
great work of arranging and correcting an authorised version has been
admitted by all. Thus we have Nonconformists and English and Scottish
Episcopalians united in adjusting the terms of the sacred text;--the
text from which all preaching in the English tongue shall in future
derive its authority, and by which all its teaching shall in future be
guided and directed. There is _already_, however, a closer and a more
practical blending of minds on great religious questions much differing
from each other on lesser points. In the field of religious and
devotional literature, many of our church differences are lost sight of.
Episcopalian congregations are constantly in the habit of joining with
much cordiality and earnestness in singing hymns composed by authors
nonconformists with our Church--in fact, of adopting them into their
church service. These compositions form a portion of their worship, and
are employed to illustrate and enforce their own most earnest doctrinal
views and opinions themselves. How entirely are such compositions as the
sacramental hymn, "My God, and is thy table spread," by Doddridge; the
hymn, "When I behold the wondrous cross," by Isaac Watts, associated
with our Church services! Nor are such feelings of adoption confined to
poetical compositions. How many prose productions by non-Episcopalian
authors might be introduced for the delight and benefit of Christian
congregations! How eagerly many such compositions are read by members of
our Church! With what delight would many discourses of this class have
been listened to had they been delivered to Episcopalian congregations!
Where such hymns and such discourses are admissible, the _authors_ of
them might take a part in conducting psalmody and in occupying the
pulpit for preaching to a congregation. If the spirits of such writers
as Doddridge, Watts, and Hall, have been felt to permeate and to
influence the hearts of others who have heard or read their words of
holiness and peace, we may well suppose that God would sanction their
making like impressions, in his own house, upon the hearts of those whom
they meet there face to face. Might they not communicate personally what
they communicate through the press? For example, why should not Robert
Hall have preached his sermons on Infidelity and on the Death of the
Princess of Wales, perhaps the two most magnificent discourses in the
language, in an English Cathedral? Why should not the beautiful
astronomical discourses of Thomas Chalmers have been delivered in St.
Paul's or in St. John's, Edinburgh? For many years, in want of better
materials, the sermons of Dr. Blair were more used in the Church of
England, and more read in private, than any similar compositions. It has
been for years a growing persuasion in my own mind that principles of
Christian love and mutual harmony are too often sacrificed to the desire
of preserving the exact and formal marks of church order, as the Bishop
of St. Andrews so happily expressed it to preserve _etiquette_. Surely
the great law of Christian love would suggest and enforce a union at
least of spirit amongst Christian believers, who cannot join in the
unity of the same organisation. Inability to join in the same form of
church polity and church order need not shut the door to religious
sympathies and religious communion, where there are so many points of
agreement and of mutual interest. The experience of the past will tend
to produce the conviction that there has too often been in our religious
disputes a strong tendency in all Christian denominations to make the
great principle of love, which is a principle to rule in Heaven and for
eternity, actually subservient and subordinate to a system of
ecclesiastical order, which, important as it is for its own purposes and
objects, never can be more than a guide to the ministration of the
Church on earth, and an organisation which must be in its nature
confined to time.

Wherever or whenever this feeling may be called forth, it is a grievous
error--it is a very serious subject for our reflection, how far such
want of sympathy and of union with those who do not belong immediately
to our own church, must generate a feeling hostile to a due reception of
an important article of our faith, termed in the Apostles' Creed the
COMMUNION OF SAINTS. According to the description given by the judicious
and learned Bishop Pearson, this communion or spiritual union belongs to
all who are in New Testament language denominated SAINTS; by which he
means all who, having been baptized in the faith, have this name by
being called and baptized. Then he states all Christian believers to
have communion and fellowship with these, whether living or dead. We
should feel towards such persons (evidently, as the good Bishop implies,
without reference to any particular church order) all sympathy and
kindness as members of the same great spiritual family on earth,
expectants of meeting in heaven in the presence of God and of the Lamb,
and of joining in the worship of saints and angels round the throne. I
have no hesitation in declaring my full conviction that such
expectations of future communion should supply a very powerful and
sacred motive for our cultivating all spiritual union in our power with
all fellow-Christians, all for whom Christ died. It becomes a very
serious subject for examination of our own hearts, how, by _refusing_
any spiritual intercourse with Christians who are not strictly members
of our own Church, we may contravene this noble doctrine of the
Communion of Saints; for does not the bitterness with which sometimes we
find all union with certain fellow-Christians in the Church on earth
chill or check the feeling of a desire for union with the same in the
Church above? Nay, is there not matter for men's earnest thought, how
far the violent animosity displayed against the smallest approach to
anything like spiritual communion with all Christians of a different
Church from their own may chill the DESIRE itself for "meeting in the
Church above?" Can hatred to meeting on earth be in any sense a right
preliminary or preparation for desire to meet in Heaven? Nay, more,
should we not carefully guard lest the bitter displays we see of
religious hostility may even tend to bring men's minds towards a
_disinclination_ to meet in Heaven, of which the most terrible condition
was thus expressed by Southey:--"Earth could not hold us both, nor can
one heaven[194]."

One mark of any particular Church being a portion of Christ's Church on
earth seems to be overlooked by some of our English friends, and that is
a mark pointed out by our Lord himself, when he said, "By their FRUITS
ye shall know them." By this announcement I would understand that
besides and beyond a profession of the great articles of the Christian
faith, I would, as a further criterion of a Christian church, inquire if
there were many of its members who have been distinguished for their
Christian piety, Christian learning, and Christian benevolence. Is all
external communion to be interdicted with a church which has produced
such men as we might name amongst the children of our Established and
other Churches in Scotland? Look back upon half-a-century, and ask if a
similar act with that of the Archbishop of York and Bishop of Winchester
would then have created a like feeling. I can remember well the interest
and admiration called forth by the eloquence, the philanthropy, and the
moral fervour of Dr. Chalmers, amongst the High Church school of the day
too--the good Archbiship Howley, Bishop Blomfield, Rev. Mr. Norris of
Hackney, Mr. Joshua Watson, etc. I remember, too, the perfect ovation he
received in the attendance of Archbishops, Bishops, Clergy, Peers,
Princes, etc., of the great London world, at his lectures on
Establishments. We can hardly imagine any one saying then, "This is all
very well, but the Church that produced this man is no part of the true
Church of Christ, and no English prelate or clergyman could possibly
take service in it."

No one, I believe, who is acquainted with my own views and opinions on
religious subjects would say that I look with indifference on those
points wherein we differ from the great body of our fellow-countrymen. I
am confident that I should not gain in the estimation of Presbyterians
themselves by showing a cold indifference, or a lukewarm attachment, to
the principles and practice of my own Church. They would see that my own
convictions in favour of Episcopal government in the Church, and of
liturgical services in her worship, were quite compatible with the
fullest exercise of candour and forbearance towards the opinions of
others--I mean on questions not essential to salvation.

I believe that there are persons amongst us coming round to this
opinion, and who are ready to believe that it is quite possible for
Christians to exercise very friendly mutual relations in spiritual
matters which constitute the essential articles of a common faith,
whilst they are in practice separated on points of ecclesiastical order
and of church government. I am old, and shall not see it; but I venture
to hope that, under the Divine blessing, the day will come when to
Scotsmen it will be a matter of reminiscence that Episcopalians, or that
Presbyterians of any denomination, should set the interests of their own
communion above the exercise of that charity that for a brother's faith
"hopeth all things and believeth all things." Zeal in promoting our own
Church views, and a determination to advance her interests and
efficiency, need be no impediment to cultivating the most friendly
feelings towards those who agree with us in matters which are essential
to salvation and who, in their differences from us, are, I am bound to
believe, as conscientious as myself. Such days will come.

But now, to close my remarks on national peculiarities, with what I may
term a _practical_ and _personal_ application. We have in our later
pages adopted a more solemn and serious view of past reminiscences as
they bear upon questions connected with a profession of religion. It is
quite suitable then to recall the fact which applies individually to all
our readers. We shall ourselves each of us one day become subject to a
"reminiscence" of others. Indeed, the whole question at issue throughout
the work takes for granted what we must all have observed to be a very
favourite object with survivors--viz. that the characters of various
persons, as they pass away, will be always spoken of, and freely
discussed, by those who survive them. We recall the eccentric, and we
are amused with a remembrance of their eccentricities. We admire the
wise and dignified of the past. There are some who are recollected only
to be detested for their vices--some to be pitied for their weaknesses
and follies--some to be scorned for mean and selfish conduct. But there
are others whose memory is embalmed in tears of grateful recollection.
There are those whose generosity and whose kindness, whose winning
sympathy and noble disinterested virtues are never thought upon or ever
spoken of without calling forth a blessing. Might it not, therefore, be
good for us often to ask ourselves how _we_ are likely to be spoken of
when the grave has closed upon the intercourse between us and the
friends whom we leave behind? The thought might, at any rate, be useful
as an additional motive for kind and generous conduct to each other. And
then the inquiry would come home to each one in some such form as
this--"Within the circle of my family and friends--within the hearts of
those who have known me, and were connected with me in various social
relations--what will be the estimate formed of me when I am gone? What
will be the spontaneous impression produced by looking back on bygone
intercourses in life? Will past thought of me furnish the memory of
those who survive me with recollections that will be fond and pleasing?"
In one word, let each one ask himself (I speak to countrymen and
countrywomen), "Will _my_ name be associated with gentle and happy


[191] Sterne, in one of his letters, describes his reading Tristram
Shandy to his wife and daughter--his daughter copying from his
dictation, and Mrs. Sterne sitting by and listening whilst she worked.
In the life of Sterne, it is recorded that he used to carry about in his
pocket a volume of this same work, and read it aloud when he went into
company. Admirable reading for the church dignitary, the prebendary of
York! How well adapted to the hours of social intercourse with friends!
How fitted for domestic seclusion with his family!

[192] _Scottish Guardian_, vol. ii. No. ix. p. 305.

[193] "What is Religion?" a sermon by Rev. John Caird, D.D., Professor
of Divinity in the University of Glasgow, and one of Her Majesty's
Chaplains for Scotland. See especially concluding remarks.

[194] See Southey's _Roderick_, book xxi.


'Aaple,' bottle of beer strong o'.
Abercairney, Laird of, prevented from _going out_ in '15.
Aberdeen dialect, perfect specimens of.
Aberdeen elders, opinion of.
Aberdeen provost, wife of, at the opera.
Aberdeen, two ladies of, mutual recrimination.
'A bonnie bride's sune buskit.'
Accommodation, grand, for snuff.
'Acts o' Parliament lose their breath
    before they get to Aberdeenshire.'
Adam, Dr., Latin translation of Scottish expressions.
Advice to a minister in talking to a ploughman.
'A gravesteen wad gie guid bree gin ye gied it plenty o' butter.'
'A hantle o' miscellawneous eating about a pig.'
Airth, housekeeper at, on king of France.
Alexander, Dr. W. Lindsay.
'And what the devil is it to you whether I have a liver or not?'
Anecdotes of quaint Scottish character.
Angel-worship is not allowed in the Church of Scotland.
Angler and the horse-fly.
'Anither gude Sunday! I dinna ken
    whan I'll get thae drawers redd up.'
'Anither het day, Cornal.'
'An inch at the tap is worth twa at the boddam.'
'An I hadna been an idiot I micht hae been sleepin' too.'
Annals of the parish, extracts from.
Answer to stranger asking the way.
Answers, dry, specimens of.
'A peer o' anither tree.'
Appetite, farmer's reason for minister's good appetite.
Asher, minister of Inveraven, anecdote of.
Athole, Duke of, and Cultoquhey.
Athole, Duke of, answer of his cottar.
Auction, anecdote of spoon missing.
Auld lang syne, beauty of the expression.
Auld, Rev. Dr., of Ayr, and Rab Hamilton.
Authors, older ones indecent.
'Ay, ir ye a' up an' awa?'
'Ay, she may prosper, for she has baith the prayers of the good and
     of the bad.'

Baby, a laddie or a lassie.
Baird, Mrs., of Newbyth, remark of, as to her son in India.
Balnamoon, laird of, carriage to _haud in_.
Balnamoon, laird of, great drinker.
Balnamoon, laird of, joke with his servant.
Balnamoon, laird of, refuses his wig.
Balnamoon, praying and drinking at.
Banes, distinction of, by a beggar.
Banes, Frasers weel-baned.
Bannockburn, guide to, refusing an Englishman's five shillings.
Bannockburn, Scottish remark upon.
Baptism, minister and member of his flock.
Barclay of Ury, M. P., walk to London
Bathgate, mending the ways of
Beadle, equivocal compliment to minister's sermons
Beadle or Betheral, character of
Beast, a stumbling, at least honest
'Becky and I had a rippit, for which I desire to be humble'
Begg, Dr., on Scottish morality of the present day
Beggar, expressing his thanks to a clerical patron
Bellman of Craigie, notice from
Bestial, curious use of word
Betheral, a conceited one
Betheral criticising a clergyman
Betheral, criticism on a text
Betheral, evidence of, regarding drinking
Betheral, making love professionally
Betheral, on a dog that was noisy
Betheral, on the town bailies
Betheral, Scottish, answer to minister on being drunk
Betheral stories
Betheral taking a dog out of church
Betheral's answer to minister
Betherals, conversation of two, regarding their ministers
Blair, Rev. Dr. Hugh, and his beadle
Blessing by Scottish Bishops, form of, become a reminiscence
Boatie, character on Deeside
Boatie of Deeside, and Providence
Books, older ones indecent
Border, _selvidge_, weakest bit of the wab
Bowing to heritors
Boy, anecdote of
Braxfield, Lord, a man of wit
Braxfield, Lord, character of, as a judge
Braxfield, Lord, conducting the trial of Muir, Palmer, and Skirving, etc.
Braxfield, Lord, delighted with reply of Scotch minister
Braxfield, Lord, spoke the broadest Scotch
Briggs, the sergeant, dry description of, by Scottish nobleman
Brougham, Lord, on Scottish dialect
Brown, Rev. John, and the auld wifie
Brown, Rev. John of Whitburn, answer to rude youth
Bruce, Mr., of Kinnaird, and Louis XVI. of France
Buccleuch, Duchess of, asking farmer to take cabbage
Bull, specimen of Scottish confusion of ideas
'Bulls of Bashan' applied by a lady to herself
Burnett, Dr. Gilbert, Bishop of Salisbury
Burnett, Sir Thomas, of Leys, and his tenant Drummy
Burnett, Lady, of Leys
Burns, a son of, and Charles Lamb
Burns conducted family worship
Burying-place, choice of
Bush, conversation with minister in church
Butler and Kincardineshire laird
'But my minnie dang, she did though'
'But oh, I'm sair hadden doun wi' the bubbly jock'
'But the bodies brew the braw drink'

CAMPBELL of Combie and Miss M'Nabb, anecdote of
Campbell, Rev. Duncan, on Highland honours
Camstraddale, the Dumbartonshire laird
Canny, illustration of one of its meanings
Canterbury, Archbishop of, and the Dollar man
Carlyle, Dr., account of minister's drinking in last century
Carlyle, Dr., prosecuted by General Assembly for attending theatre
Carnegie, Miss Helen, of Craigo, anecdotes of
Carnegie, Miss, of Craigo, and James III. and VIII.
Carrier, a country, description of his journeys
Catastrophe, whimsical application of the word
'Cauld kail het again'
'Ceevil,' in courtship, may be carried too far
Cemeteries, treatment of, much changed
Chalmers, Dr., poor woman's reason for hearing
Chambers, Robert, _Domestic Annals of Scotland_.
Change of national language involves change of national character.
Changes, are they for the good of the whole community?
Changes, example of, in an old Laird seeing a man at the pianoforte.
Changes fast going on around us.
Changes in Scottish manners and dialect.
Changes, interesting to mark.
Changes taking place, here noticed.
Changes taking place in religious feeling.
Changes, various causes for.
Chaplain of a jail, humorous reasons for his appointment.
Children, curious answers of.
Children, very poor, examples of acuteness.
Children's diseases.
Church discipline in the Presbytery of Lanark.
Churches, a coachman's reason for their increase.
Churches, architect's idea of difference between two.
Churches, handsome structure of, more common.
Church discipline, old fashioned.
Church-going of late neglected in towns.
Church-going, Scotchmen not famous for, fifty years ago.
Churchyard, drunken weaver in.
Circuit, a drunken one.
Circuit, one described by Lord Cockburn.
Clergy, Gaelic, not judged severely on account of drinking.
Clergyman footsore in grouse-shooting.
Clergyman publicly rebuking his wife.
Clerk, John, address to presiding judge.
Clerk, John, answer to Lord Chancellor.
Clerk, John, apology for friend in Court of Session.
Cockburn, Lord, and the Bonaly shepherd.
Cockburn, Lord, on Scottish changes.
Cockburn's _Memorials_, extracts from.
Collie dogs, sagacity of.
'Come awa, Jeanie; here's a man swearin' awfully.'
'Come awa, granny, and gang hame;
   this is a lang grace and nae meat.'
'Come oot and see a new star that
   hasna got its tail cuttit aff yet.'
Confession of faith.
Confirmation, anecdotes concerning.
Constable, Thomas, anecdote of spare lady.
Conviviality, old Scottish, and forced.
Conviviality, Scotch, complaint of, by a London merchant.
Corb, and Sir George Ramsay.
Corehouse, Lord, prediction of not rising at the bar, by a Selkirk
'Corp's brither' at a funeral.
Cottar's Saturday night, fine picture.
Country minister and his wife, large bed.
Craigie, Rev. Mr., and Jamie Fleeman.
Craigmyle, Laird of, and Duchess of Gordon.
Cranstoun, George, Lord Corehouse.
Cream, Billy, landlord of inn at Laurencekirk, and Lord Dunmore.
Cross, curious meaning attached to.
'Cry a'thegither, that's the way to be served.'
Cumming, Dr. Patrick, convivial clergyman.
Cumming, Miss, of Altyre, and Donald MacQueen.
Cumnock, volunteers of.
Cultoquhey, old Laird of, morning litany.
Cutty-stool, former use of.

Daft person, his choice of money.
Dale, David, anecdotes of his servant.
Dalhousie, Lady.
Dam-brod pattern table-cloth.
Dancing, seceder's opinion of.
Darkness, what is it?
Davie, chiel that's chained to.
Davy Gellatleys, many in the country.
Death, circumstances of, coolly treated.
Death of a sister described by old lady.
Decrees of God, answer of old woman.
Degrees sold at northern universities.
Delicacy of recent authors compared with older.
Dewar, David, Baptist minister at Dunfermline.
Dialects, distinctions on Scottish.
Dialect, Scottish, real examples of.
Dialects, provosts, Aberdeen and Edinburgh.
Diamond Beetle case.
Difference between an Episcopalian and a Presbyterian minister.
Diminutives, terms of endearment.
Discreet, curious use of word.
Diseases of children, odd names for.
'Div ye no ken there's aye maist sawn o' the best crap?'
Dochart, same as Macgregor.
Dog story.
'Doggie, doggie,' address of idiot to a greyhound.
Dogs in church, anecdotes of.
Donald, Highland servant.
Donkey, apology of his master for putting him into a field.
Downie, minister of Banchory, and son's marriage.
Drams in Highlands, anecdotes of.
Dream of idiot in town of Ayr, and apostle Peter.
Drinking, apology for.
Drinking at Balnamoon.
Drinking at Castle Grant.
Drinking, challenge against, by Mr. Boswell of Balmuto.
Drinking parties of Saturday sometimes took in Sunday.
Drinking party, 'lad employed to lowse the neckcloths.'
Drinking party, quantity consumed by.
Drinking reckoned an accomplishment.
Drinking, supposed manliness attached to.
Drovers drinking in Highlands.
Drumly, happy explanation of.
Drummond of Keltie, answer to itinerant tailor.
Dunbar, Sir Archibald, account of a servant.
Dundas, Henry, and Mr. Pitt.
Dundrennan, Lord, anecdote of a silly basket-woman.
Dunlop, Rev. Walter, address to Dr. Cook of St. Andrews.
Dunlop, Rev. Walter, and Mr. Clarke's big head.
Dunlop, Rev. Walter, man of racy humour.
Dunlop, Rev. Walter, meeting flock of geese.
Dunlop, Rev. Walter, on a taciturn brother.
Dunlop, Rev. Walter, and mischievous youths in kirk-yard.
Dunlop, Rev. Walter, answer to two young men.
Dunlop, Rev. Walter, opinion of Edward Irving.
Dunmore, Lord, and Billy Cream.
'D'ye think I dinna ken my ain groats in ither folk's kail?'

East Lothian minister and his betheral taking degrees at a northern
Economy, specimen of Scottish.
Edinburgh and Aberdeen provosts.
'E'ening brings a' hame,' expressed by Lord Byron.
Eglinton, Earl of, and little boy.
'Eh, man, your Psalm buik has been ill bund.'
'Eh, Miss Jeany! ye have been lang spared.'
Eldin, Lord (John Clerk), anecdotes of.
Election, answer of minister to question.
Elphinstone, Lord, and minister of Cumbernauld.
Endearment, Scottish terms of.
Englishman, an _impruived_.
Enterteening, curious use of word.
Episcopalian chapels, anecdote of Sir W. Forbes.
Erskine, Colonel, servant proposes an aith for his relief.
Erskine, Hon. Henry, dinner party at Lord Armadale's.
Erskine, Mr., of Dun, and his old servant.
Erskine of Dun, Miss.
Estate giving the name to proprietor.
Examinations of communicants
Expressions, old Scottish, and modern slang contrasted
Expressions, specimens of Scottish

Factors, proposal to sow field with
'Fah tee, fah tee'
Fail, curious use of word
Family worship now more common
Family worship, remark upon
Farmer and servant boy
Farmer, answer of, when asked to take rhubarb tart
Farmer, cool answer regarding notes
Farmer on Deeside and bottle of vinegar
Farmer refusing a dessert spoon
Farmer, Scottish, conversation with English girl
Farms, giving names to the tenants
Fash as to taking a wife
Fast-day, national, strictness in observing
'Fat for should I gang to the opera just to creat a confeesion?'
Fencing tables, by an old minister
Fencing the _deil_
Fergusson of Pitfour and London lady
Fettercairn, custom of bowing to heritors
Fife elder and penurious laird
Fife, Lord, proposal to, by an idiot
'Fin' a fardin' for yersell, puir body'
Finzean, Laird of, swearing
Fisher of men
Fit raiment, explanation of, by child
Fleeman, Jamie, anecdote of
Fleeman, Jamie, the Laird of Udny's fool, life of, published
'Floorish o' the surface,' to describe a preacher
Forbes, Mrs., of Medwyn, fond of tea
Forbes's banking-house, anecdotes of
'Formerly robbers, now thieves'
Frail, curious use of word
Fraser, Jamie, address to minister in kirk
Fraser, Jamie, idiot of Lunan
Free Church, road of, 'tolls unco high'
'Freet's dear! sin' I sauld freet in streets o' Aberdeen'
French people, a clause in their favour, by a Scottish minister
Fruit, abstinence from, by minister
Fullerton, Miss Nelly, anecdote of
Funeral, anecdote of, in Strathspey
Funeral, carrying at, or leaning
Funeral, extraordinary account of a Scottish, at Carluke
Funeral of a laird of Dundonald
Funeral, reason for a farmer taking another glass at
Funeral, reason for a person being officious at
Funeral, taking orders for, on deathbed
Funeral, the coffin forgotten at

Galloway Lady declining drink
Gardenstone, Lord, and his book at the inn
Gardenstone, Lord, and his pet pig
Gardenstone, Lord, exertions of, for Laurencekirk
Gardenstone, Lord, keeping snuff in his waistcoat pocket
Gardenstone, Lord, personal reminiscences of
Garskadden, Laird of, 'steppit awa' at table
General Assembly, minister's prayer for
George III., sickness of, advantageous to candlemakers
Ghost appearing to Watty Dunlop
Gilchrist, Dr., answer to young minister on Lord's Prayer
Gilchrist, Dr., answer to one of his hearers, who had changed his
Gillespie, Professor, and village carpenter
Gillespie, Rev. Mr., and old woman sleeping when he preached
Glasgow Cathedral, betheral's opinion of
Glasgow lady and carpenter
Glasgow, toast after dinner, hint to the ladies
Glenorchy, Lady, and the elder at the plate at Caprington
Glenorchy, Lady, removal of her remains on account of railroad
Gordon, Duchess of
Gordon, Duchess of, and the laird of Craigmyle
Gordon, Lady Susan, and David Tulloch
Graham, Miss Clementina Stirling, _Mystifications_ by
Grave, making love at
Gregory, Dr., story of Highland chief
Grieve in Aberdeenshire, opinion of own wife
Grieve, on Deeside, opinion of young man's preaching
'Gude coorse country work'
Gudewife on Deeside
Guthrie, Helen, and her husband
Guy Mannering, extract from

HADDOCK, curious use of word
'Halbert, smells damnably of the'
Hamilton, Laird, at the palace asking the servant to sit down
Hamilton, Laird, noted for eccentricity
Hamilton, Laird, reasons for not signing a bill
Hamilton Rab, an idiot at Ayr
Hamilton, Rab, idiot, anecdotes of
Hangman, Scotch drover acting as
Harvest, returning thanks for good
Hatter at Laurencekirk
Heaven, little boy's refusal of
Heaven, old woman's idea of
'He bud tae big's dyke wi' the feal at fit o't'
He is awfu' 'supperstitious'
'He turned Seceder afore he dee'd, and I buried him like a beast'
'Hech, sirs, and he's weel pat on, too'
'Henny pig and green tea'
Heritor sending the hangman of Stirling to pay the minister
Heritors, bowing to
Hermand, Lord, great drinker, but first-rate lawyer
Hermand, Lord, jokes with young advocate
Hermand, Lord, opinion of drinking
Highland chairman
Highland chief, story of
Highland gentleman, first time in London
Highland honours
Highland inquisitiveness
Highlands kept up the custom of clans or races
Hill, Dr., Latin translation of Scottish expressions
His girn's waur than his bite
Holy communion, several anecdotes concerning
Home, John, author of Douglas, lines on port wine
Home, John, remark of, to David Hume
'Honest men and bonnie lassies'
'Honest woman, what garr'd ye steal your neighbour's tub?'
Honesty declared the best policy, why?
Honeyman's, Mrs., answer to Henry Erskine's impromptu lines
'Hoot! jabbering bodies, wha could understan' them?'
'Horse the length of Highgate'
Hospitals, changes in
Hot day, cool remark on
'Hout, that is a kind o' a feel'
Hume, David, refused assistance except on conditions
Hume, Mrs., 'Too poor'
Humour of Scotch language
Humour, Scottish, described in _Annals of the Parish_
Humour, Scottish, description of
Hymns ancient and modern

'I DIDNA ken ye were i' the toun'
Idiot boy and penurious uncle
Idiot boy, pathetic story of one receiving communion
Idiot in Lauder, cheating the seceders
Idiot in Peebles church
Idiot, musical one at Stirling, appropriate tune
Idiot of Lauder, and Lord Lauderdale's steward
Idiot, pathetic complaint of, regarding bubbly jock
Idiot, why not asleep in church
Idiots, Act of Parliament concerning
Idiots, fondness for attending funerals
Idiots, parish, often very shrewd
'I druve ye to your marriage, and I shall stay to drive ye to your burial'
'If there's an ill text in a' the Bible,
   that creetur's aye sure to tak it.'
'If you dinna ken whan ye've a gude
   servant, I ken whan I've a gude place.'
'I hae cuist'n my coat and waistcoat,
   and faith I dinna ken how lang I
   can thole my breeks.'
'I just fan' a doo in the _redd_ o' my plate.'
'I'll hang ye a' at the price.'
'I maun hae a lume that'll haud in.'
'I'm unco yuckie to hear a blaud o' your gab.'
Inch-byre banes.
'Indeed, sir, I wish I wur.'
India, St. Andrew's day kept in, by Scotchmen.
'I never big dykes till the tenants complain.'
Innes, Jock, remark upon hats and heads.
Innkeeper's bill, reason for being moderate.
Interchange of words between minister and flock in church.
Intercourse between classes changed.
'I soopit the pu'pit.'
'It's a peety but ye had been in Paradise,
   and there micht na hae been ony faa'.'
'It's no the day to be speerin sic things.'
'I've a coo noo.'
'I was just stan'ing till the kirk had skailed.'
'I was not juist sae sune doited as some o' your Lordships.'
'I wouldna gie my single life for a'
   the double anes I ever saw.'

Jacobite feeling.
Jacobite lady, reason for not rising from her chair.
Jacobite toasts.
Jacobite's prayer for the _King_.
Jamie Layal, old servant, anecdotes of.
Jeems Robson, ye are sleepin'.
'Jemmy, you are drunk.'
Jock, daft, attending funeral at Wigtown.
Jock Grey, supposed original of David Gellatley.
Jock Wabster, 'deil gaes ower,' a proverb.
John Brown, burgher minister, and an 'auld wifie.'
John, eccentric servant, anecdotes of.
Johnstone, Miss, of Westerhall, specimen of fine old Scotch lady.
Johnstone, Rev. Dr., of Leith, and old woman, on the decrees of God.
Johnstone, Rev. Mr., of Monquhitter, and travelling piper.
Judges, Scottish, former peculiarities as a type.
Judges, Scottish, in Kay's Portraits.

Kail, curious use of word.
Kames, Lord, a keen agriculturist.
Kames, Lord, his joke with Lord Monboddo.
'Kaming her husband's head.'
Kay's Portraits.
Keith, Mrs., of Ravelston, her remark to Sir W. Scott on old books.
Kilspindie, Laird of, and Tannachy Tulloch.
Kindly feelings between minister and people.
Kirkyard crack.
Kirkyard crack superseded by newspapers.

Ladies of Montrose, anecdotes of.
Ladies, old, of Montrose.
Lady, old maiden, of Montrose, reason
   for not subscribing to volunteer fund.
Lady, old, of Montrose, objections to
   steam vessels, and gas, and water-carts.
Lady, old Scotch, remark on loss of her box.
Lady, Scottish, Lord Cockburn's account of.
Lady's, old, answer to her doctor.
Laird, parsimonious, and fool.
Laird, parsimonious, and plate at church-door.
Laird, reason against taking his son into the world.
Laird reproaches his brother for not taking a wife.
Laird, saving, picking up a farthing.
Laird, Scottish, delighted that Christmas had run away.
Lamb, Charles, saw no wit in Scotch people.
Land, differences of, in produce.
'Lass wi' the braw plaid, mind the puir.'
Laudamy and calomy'
Lauderdale, Duke of, and Williamson
  the huntsman
Lauderdale, Earl of, recipe of his daft
  son to make him sleep
Laurencekirk, change in
Laurencekirk described in style of
  Thomas the Rhymer
Lawson, Rev. Dr. George, of Selkirk,
  and the student
Leein' Gibbie
Leslie, Rev. Mr., and the smuggler
'Let her down Donald, man, for she's
'Let the little ane gang to pray, but
  first the big ane maun tak' an oar'
'Linties' and Scottish settler in
Linty offered as fee for baptism
Liston, Sir Robert, and Scotchmen
  at Constantinople
Loch, Davie, the carrier, at his
  mother's deathbed
Lockhart, Dr., of Glasgow, and his son
Logan, Laird of, speech at meeting of
'Lord be thankit, a' the bunkers are
'Lord pity the chiel that's chained to
  our Davie'
Lord's prayer, John Skinner's reason
  for its repetition
Lothian, Lord, in India, St. Andrew's
Lothian, Marquis of, and old countess
  at table
Lothian, Marquis of, and workmen

M'Cubbin, Scotch minister, witty
  answer to Lord Braxfield
M'Knight, Dr., 'dry eneuch in the
M'Knight, Dr., folk tired of his sermon
M'Knight and Henry, twa toom kirks
M'Knight, Dr., remark on his harmony
  of the four gospels
Macleod, Rev. Dr. Norman, and Highland
Macleod, Rev. Dr. Norman, and revivals
Macleod, Rev. Dr. Norman, anecdote
  of an Australian told by
M'Lymont, John, the idiot, anecdotes
Macnab, Laird of, his horse and whip
MacNabb, Miss, and Campbell of Combie
M'Pherson, Joe, and his wife.
Magistrates of Wester Anstruther,
  and evil-doers
'Mair o' your siller and less o' your
  mainners, my Lady Betty'
'Ma new breeks were made oot o' the
  auld curtains'
'Man, ye're skailing a' the water'
'Marriage is a blessing to a few, a
  curse to many, and a great uncertainty
  to all'
Marriage, old minister's address on
Mary of Gueldres, burying-place now
  a railway
Mastiff, where turned into a greyhound
Maul, Mr., and the Laird of Skene
'May a puir body like me noo gie a
'Me, and Pitt, and Pitfour'
Mearns, Rev. W. of Kinneff
'Mem, winna ye tak the clock wi' ye?'
'Mending the ways o' Bathgate'
Mice consumed minister's sermon
Middens, example of attachment to
Military rank attached to ladies
Miligan, Dr., answer to a tired clergyman
Milton quoted
Minister and rhubarb tart
Minister, anecdote of little boy at
Minister asking who was head of the
Minister called to a new living
Minister, conversation with Janet his
Minister in the north on long sermons
Minister on a dog barking in church
Minister preaching on the water-side
  attacked by ants
Minister publicly censuring his
Minister reading his sermon
Minister returning thanks for good
Minister, Scottish, advice to young
Minister, Scottish, remark to a young
  man, who pulled cards out of his
  pocket in church
Minister, stupid, education and placing,
Minister, with 'great power of watter,'
Minister, young, apology for good appetite after preaching,
Minister's man, account of,
Minister's man, criticisms of his master's sermon,
Ministers, Scottish, a type of Scottish character,
Minister sending for his sermon in pulpit,
Minstrelsy of Scottish Border, Sir Walter Scott just in time to save,
Miss Miller (Countess of Mar) and Scottish Minister,
'Miss S----'s compliments, and she dee'd last nicht at aicht o'clock,'
Monboddo, Lord, anecdote in Court of King's Bench,
Monboddo, Lord, theory of primitive men having tails,
Monboddo, Lord, though a judge, did not sit on the bench,
Monboddo, Lord, visit at Oxford,
Money, love of, discussion on,
Montrose bailie's _eldest_ son,
Montrose, description of, by an Aberdeen lady,
Montrose lady's idea of man,
Montrose old ladies,
Montrose, provost of, conversation with an old maid,
'Mony a ane has complained o' _that_ hole,'
Muilton, Jock, idiot, and a penurious Laird,
Munrimmon Moor, no choice of wigs on,
Murray, Mrs., and the salt spoon,
'My mou's as big for puddin as it is for kail,'
_Mystifications_, by Miss Clementina Stirling Graham,

Na, different modifications of the word,
'Na, na, he's no just deep, but he's drumly,'
'Na, na, ye'll aiblins bite me,'
'Neebour, wad ye sit a bit _wast?_'
Nelson, Lord, explanation of his order,
Nichol, an old servant of Forfarshire,
'No anither drap, neither het nor cauld,
Nobleman, half-witted, in Canongate jail,
Nobleman, mad Scottish, cautious answer of,
'Noo, Major, ye may tak our lives, but ye'll no tak our middens,'
Nuckle, Watty, betheral, opinion,

'Od, Charlie Brown, what gars ye hae sic lang steps to your _front_ door?'
'Od, freend, ye hae had a lang spell on't sin' I left,'
'Od, ye're a lang lad; God gie ye grace,'
Old lady speaking of her own death,
Old sermons, preaching of,
Old woman, remarks of, on the usefulness of money,
'On the contrary, sir,'
'Ony dog micht soon become a greyhound by stopping here,'
'Oor Jean thinks a man perfect salvation,'
'Oor John swears awfu','
Organ, mark of distinction,
Organs becoming more common,
'Ou, there's jist me and _anither_ lass,'

Papers in pulpit,
Paradise and Wesleyan minister,
Parishioner, coolness of, when made an elder of the kirk,
Paul, Dr., his anecdotes of idiots,
Paul, Saunders, of Banchory, famous for drinking,
Perth, Lady, remark to a Frenchman on French cookery,
Penurious laird and Fife elder,
Pestilence that walketh in darkness--What is it?
Phraseology, Scottish, an example of pure,
Phraseology, Scottish, force of,
Pig, great broon,
Pig, Scotch minister's account of eating one,
Pinkieburn, faithful servant at,
Piper and the elder,
Piper and the wolves,
Plugging, an odious practice,
Poetry, Scottish, becoming less popular,
Poetry in Scottish dialect, list of,
Polkemmet, Lord, account of his judicial preparations,
Polkemmet, Lord, his account of killing a calf,
Pompous minister and the angler,
Pony of Free Kirk minister running off to glebe,
Poole, Dr., his patient's death announced,
'Powny, grippit a chiel for,'
Prayers before battle,
Preacher, a bombastic, reproved satirically,
Preacher, Scottish, and his small bedroom at manse where he visited,
Preacher, testimony to a good,
Preaching old sermons,
Precentor reading single line of psalm,
Predestination, answer of minister about,
Priest Gordon, genuine Aberdonian specimen of,
Priest Matheson,
Professor, a reverend, his answer to a lawyer,
Pronunciation, Scottish, varieties of, make four different meanings,
Property qualification,
Prophets' chalmer (the minor),
Proprietors, two, meeting of, described by Sir Walter Scott,
Proverbial expressions, examples of some very pithy,
Proverbial Philosophy of Scotland, by William Stirling of Keir, M.P.,
Proverb, Scottish, application of, by a minister in a storm,
Proverb, Scottish, expressed by Lord Byron,
Proverbs becoming _reminiscences_,
Proverbs, immense collection of, by Fergusson,
Proverbs, Scotch, some specially applicable to the Deil,
Proverbs, Scotland famous for,
Proverbs, Scottish, Allan Ramsay's dedication of,
Proverbs, Scottish, Andrew Henderson,
Proverbs, Scottish, collections of,
Proverbs, Scottish, collection of, by Allan Ramsay,
Proverbs, Scottish, Kelly's collection,
Proverbs, Scottish, much used in former times,
Proverbs, Scottish, pretty application of,
Proverbs, Scottish, specimens of, in language almost obsolete,
Providence, mistake of, in regard to bairns,
Provost of Edinburgh in the House of Lords in 1736,
Psalmody, Scottish,
Psalmody, Scottish, improvement of,
Pure language of Scotland not to be regarded as a provincial dialect,

'Raiment fit,'
Ramsay, Allan, dedication of his proverbs in prose,
Ramsay, Sir George, of Banff, and the Laird of Corb,
Ramsay, two Misses, of Balmain, anecdotes of,
'Rax me a spaul o' that bubbly jock,
Reason given by an old man for marrying a young woman,
Recess Studies,
Redd, pigeon found among,
Religion, two great changes in ideas of,
Religious feelings and religious observances,
'Remember Mr. Tamson; no him at the Green, but oor ain Mr. Tamson,
'Reminiscences' capable of a practical application,
'Reminiscences' have called forth communications from others,
'Reminiscences' includes stories of wit or humour,
'Reminiscences,' object and purpose of,
'Reminiscences,' recall pleasant associations,
'Ripin' the ribs,'
Road, Highland, humorously described,
Robbie A'Thing,
Robby, a young dandy, and his old aunt,
Robertson, Principal, advice to, by Scotch minister,
Robison, Mrs., answer to gentleman coming to dinner,
Rockville, Lord, character of, as a judge,
Rockville, Lord, description of street, when tipsy,
Ruling elder's answer to jokes of three young men,
Rutherfurd, Lord, and the Bonaly shepherd,

Sabbath-day, and redding up drawers.
Sabbath-day, eggs ought not to be laid on.
Sabbath-day known by a hare.
Sabbath day, where children go who play marbles on.
Sabbath desecration, geologist in the Highlands.
Sabbath desecration, stopping the jack for.
Sandy, fine specimen of old servant.
'Sayawa', sir; we're a' sittin' to cheat the dowgs.'
Scotchman, notion of things in London.
Scotchman of the old school, judgment of, upon an Englishman.
Scotchman on losing his wife and cow.
Scotch minister and his diary regarding quarrels with wife.
Scott, Dr., minister of Carluke.
Scott, Dr., on his parishioners dancing.
Scott, Rev. Robert, his idea of Nelson's order.
Scott, Rev. R., of Cranwell, anecdote of young carpenter.
Scott, Sir Walter, and the blacksmith on the battle of Flodden.
Scott, Sir Walter, did not write poetry in Scottish dialect.
Scott, Sir Walter, his story of sale of antiques.
Scott, Sir Walter, his story of two relatives who joined the Pretender.
Scott, Sir Walter, just in time to save Minstrelsy of the Border.
Scotland, past and present.
Scotticisms, expressive, pointed, and pithy.
Scotticisms, remarks on, by Sir John Sinclair and Dr. Beattie.
Scottish architect on English leases.
Scottish boy cleverness.
Scottish conviviality, old.
Scottish cookery.
Scottish dialect, difference between Aberdeen and Southern Scotch.
Scottish dialect, reference of, to English.
Scottish dialect, specimens of.
Scottish economy, specimen of, in London.
Scottish elders and ministers, anecdotes of.
Scottish expressions, examples of peculiar applications.
Scottish expressions, illustrated by a letter to a young married lady
  from an old aunt.
Scottish gentleman in London.
Scottish humour and Scottish wit.
Scottish humour, specimen of, in a Fife lass.
Scottish minstrelsy.
Scottish music, charm of.
Scottish peasantry, character of.
Scottish peasantry, religious feelings of.
Scottish peasantry, religious feelings of, changed.
Scottish phraseology, articles on, in _Blackwood_.
Scottish psalm-tunes, some written by operatives.
Scottish shepherd and Lord Cockburn.
Scottish shepherd and Lord Rutherford.
Scottish songs, collections of.
Scottish stories of wit and humour.
Scottish verses, charm of.
Scottish words of French derivation.
_Scottishness_ of the national humour.
Seceder, an old, would not enter parish church.
Secession Church, professor in, to a young student.
Sedan chairs.
Sermon consumed by mice.
Sermons, change of character of.
Servant and dog Pickle at Yester.
Servant, answer of, to his irascible master.
Servant, answer of, when told to go.
Servant and Lord Lothian.
Servant, Mrs. Murray, and the spoon.
Servant of Mrs. Ferguson of Pitfour.
Servant of Mrs. Fullerton of Montrose.
Servant, old, reason for doing as he liked.
Servant praying for her minister.
Servant taxed with being drunk, his answer.
Servants, domestic Scottish.
'She juist felled hersel at Graigo wi' straeberries and 'ream.'
'She's bonnier than she's better.'
'She will be near me to close my een.'
Shireff, Rev. Mr., and member of his church who had left him.
Shirra, Rev. Mr., on David saying 'All men are liars.'
Shot, a bad one, complimented on success.
Siddons, Mrs., respected by Edinburgh clergy.
Silly, curious use of the word.
Singing birds, absence of, in America.
Sins, Aberdeen mother proud of.
'_Sir, baby_ I'll come farther.'
'Sit in a box drawn by brutes.'
Skinner, Bishop, and Aberdeen old couple.
Skinner, John, Jacobitism of.
Skinner, John, of Langside, his defence of prayer-book.
Skinner, Rev. John, author of several Scottish songs.
Skinner, Rev. John, lines on his grandson leaving Montrose.
Skinner, Rev. John, passing an Anti-burgher chapel.
Sleeping in church.
Sleeping in church, and snuffing.
Slockin'd, never, apology for drinking.
Smith, Adam, marked as most eccentric.
Smith, Sydney, opinion of Scottish wit.
Smuggler, case of one in church.
'Sneck the door.'
Snuff-box handed round in churches.
Snuff, grand _accommodation_ for.
Snuff, pu'pit soopit for.
Snuff put into the sermon.
Soldier, an old, of the 42d, cautious about the name of Graham.
'Some fowk like parritch, and some like paddocks.'
'Some strong o' the aaple.'
Songs, drinking.
Sovereign, when new, a curiosity.
Speat o' praying and speat o' drinking.
Speir, daft Will, and Earl of Eglinton.
Speir, daft Will, answer to master about his dinner.
Spinster, elderly, arch reply to, by a younger member.
Stipend, minister's, reasons against its being large.
Stirling of Keir, evidence in favour of, by the miller of Keir.
Stirling of Keir, lecture on proverbs.
Stra'von, wife's desire to be buried in.
Strikes, answer upon, by a master.
Stewart, Rev. Patrick, sermon consumed by mice.
Stone removed out of the way.
Stool, a three-legged, thrown at husband by wife.
Stout lady, remark of.
Stranraer, old ladies on the British victories over the French.
Sunday sometimes included in Saturday's drinking party.
Suppers once prevalent in Scotland.
Sutherland, Colonel Sandy, his dislike to the French.
Swearing by Laird of Finzean.
Swearing by Perth writer.
Swearing common in Scotland formerly.
Swine, dislike of, in Scotland.
Swinophobia, reasons for.
Smith, Sydney, remarks of, on _men_ not at church.

Tailor, apology for his clothes not fitting.
'Take out that dog; he'd wauken a Glasgow magistrate.'
Taylor, Mr., of London, description of his theatre by his father from
Term-time offensive to Scottish lairds.
Texts, remarks upon.
'That's a lee, Jemmie.'
Theatre, clergy used to attend, in 1784.
Theatre, clerical non-attendance.
'The breet's stannin' i' the peel wi ma.'
'The deil a ane shall pray for _them_ on _my_ plaid.'
The fool and the miller.
'The man reads.'
'Them 'at drink by themsells may just fish by themsells.'
'There'll be a walth o' images there.'
'There's Kinnaird greetin' as if there was nae a saunt on earth but
  himself and the King o' France.
'There's nae _wail_ o' wigs on Munrimmon Moor,'
'There's neither men nor meesie, and fat care I for meat?'
'They may pray the kenees aff their breeks afore I join in that prayer,'
'They neither said ba nor bum,'
'Thirdly and lastly' fell over the pulpit stairs,
Thomson, Thomas, described in Aberdeen dialect,
Thomson, two of the name prayed for,
Thrift, examples of, in medicine,
Tibbie, eccentric servant, anecdote of,
Tiger and 'skate, stories of,
Toasts after dinner,
Toasts, collection of, in the book 'The Gentleman's New Bottle Companion,'
Toasts or sentiments, specimens of,
Tourist, English, asking Scottish girl for horse-flies,
Town-Council, 'profit but not honour,'
Tractarianism, idea of, by an old Presbyterian,
'Travel from Genesis to Revelation, and not footsore,'
Traveller's story, treatment of,
'Troth, mem, they're just the gudeman's _deed_ claes,'
Tulloch, David, Jacobite anecdote of, at prayers,
Turkey leg, devilled, and servant,
Tweeddale, Lord, and dog Pickle,

Unbeliever described by Scotch lady,

View of things, Scottish matter of fact,
Vomit, if not strong enough, to be returned,

Washing dishes on the Sabbath day,
Waverley, old lady discovering the author of,
Waverley quoted,
Webster, Rev. Dr., a five-bottle man,
'Weel then, neist time they sail get _nane ava_,'
'We'll stop now, bairns; I'm no enterteened,'
'We never absolve _till after three several appearances_,'
West, going, ridiculous application of
'Wha' are thae twa _beddle-looking_ bodies?'
'What a nicht for me to be fleein through the air,'
'What ails ye at her wi' the green gown?'
'What gars the laird of Garskadden look sae gash?'
'What is the chief end of man?'
'When ye get cheenge for a saxpence here, it's soon slippit awa,'
Whisky, limited blame of,
'Whited sepulchres,' applied to clergy in surplices, Inverness,
Wife, cool opinion of, by husband,
Wife, rebuke of, by minister,
Wife taken by her husband to Banchory,
Wig of professor in Secession Church,
Williamson the huntsman and Duke of Lauderdale,
'Will ye tak your haddock wi' us the day?'
Wilson, Scottish vocalist, modesty of,
Wind, Scotch minister's prayer for,
Wolves and the piper,
Wool, modifications of,

'Ye a' speak sae _genteel_ now that I dinna ken wha's Scotch,'
Yeddie, daft, remark on a club-foot,
'Ye should hae steekit your neive upo' that,'
'Ye've been lang Cook, Cooking them, but ye've dished them at last,'
Young man and cards in church,
'Your hospitality borders upon brutality,'

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Reminiscences of Scottish Life and Character" ***

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