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The Antiquary, Complete by Sir Walter Scott

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believe, will be at the service of any one who chooses to make them
public without risk or expense to THE ANTIQUARY.


Note A, p. #.--Mottoes.

["It was in correcting the proof-sheets of this novel that Scott first
took to equipping his chapters with mottoes of his own fabrication. On
one occasion he happened to ask John Ballantyne, who was sitting by him,
to hunt for a particular passage in Beaumont and Fletcher. John did as he
was bid, but did not succeed in discovering the lines. 'Hang it,
Johnnie,' cried Scott, 'I believe I can make a motto sooner than you will
find one.' He did so accordingly; and from that hour, whenever memory
failed to suggest an appropriate epigraph, he had recourse to the
inexhaustible mines of "old play" or "old ballad," to which we owe some
of the most exquisite verses that ever flowed from his pen."--_J. G.

See also the Introduction to "Chronicles of the Canongate," vol. xix.]

Note B, p. #.--Sandy Gordon's Itinerarium.

[This well-known work, the "Itinerarium Septentrionale, or a Journey
thro' most of the Counties of Scotland, and those in the North of
England," was published at London in 1727, folio. The author states, that
in prosecuting his work he "made a pretty laborious progress through
almost every part of Scotland for three years successively." Gordon was
a native of Aberdeenshire, and had previously spent some years in
travelling abroad, probably as a tutor. He became Secretary to the London
Society of Antiquaries in 1736. This office be resigned in 1741, and soon
after went out to South Carolina with Governor Glen, where he obtained a
considerable grant of land. On his death, about the year 1753, he is said
to have left "a handsome estate to his family."--See _Literary Anecdotes
of Bowyer,_ by John Nichols, vol. v., p. 329, etc.]

Note C, p. #.--Praetorium.

It may be worth while to mention that the incident of the supposed
Praetorium actually happened to an antiquary of great learning and
acuteness, Sir John Clerk of Penicuik, one of the Barons of the Scottish
Court of Exchequer, and a parliamentary commissioner for arrangement of
the Union between England and Scotland. As many of his writings show, Sir
John was much attached to the study of Scottish antiquities. He had a
small property in Dumfriesshire, near the Roman station on the hill
called Burrenswark. Here he received the distinguished English
antiquarian Roger Gale, and of course conducted him to see this
remarkable spot, where the lords of the world have left such decisive
marks of their martial labours.

An aged shepherd whom they had used as a guide, or who had approached
them from curiosity, listened with mouth agape to the dissertations on
foss and vellum, ports _dextra, sinistra,_ and _decumana,_ which Sir John
Clerk delivered _ex cathedra,_ and his learned visitor listened with the
deference to the dignity of a connoisseur on his own ground. But when the
cicerone proceeded to point out a small hillock near the centre of the
enclosure as the Praetorium, Corydon's patience could hold no longer,
and, like Edie Ochiltree, he forgot all reverence, and broke in with
nearly the same words--"Praetorium here, Praetorium there, I made the
bourock mysell with a flaughter-spade." The effect of this undeniable
evidence on the two lettered sages may be left to the reader's

The late excellent and venerable John Clerk of Eldin, the celebrated
author of _Naval Tactics,_ used to tell this story with glee, and being a
younger son of Sir John's was perhaps present on the occasion.

Note D, p. #.--Mr. Rutherfurd's Dream

The legend of Mrs. Grizel Oldbuck was partly taken from an extraordinary
story which happened about seventy years since, in the South of Scotland,
so peculiar in its circumstances that it merits being mentioned in this
place. Mr. Rutherfurd of Bowland, a gentleman of landed property in the
vale of Gala, was prosecuted for a very considerable sum, the accumulated
arrears of teind (or tithe) for which he was said to be indebted to a
noble family, the titulars (lay impropriators of the tithes). Mr.
Rutherfurd was strongly impressed with the belief that his father had, by
a form of process peculiar to the law of Scotland, purchased these lands
from the titular, and therefore that the present prosecution was
groundless. But, after an industrious search among his father's papers,
an investigation of the public records, and a careful inquiry among all
persons who had transacted law business for his father, no evidence could
be recovered to support his defence. The period was now near at hand when
he conceived the loss of his lawsuit to be inevitable, and he had formed
his determination to ride to Edinburgh next day, and make the best
bargain he could in the way of compromise. He went to bed with this
resolution and, with all the circumstances of the case floating upon his
mind, had a dream to the following purpose:--His father, who had been
many years dead, appeared to him, he thought, and asked him why he was
disturbed in his mind. In dreams men are not surprised at such
apparitions. Mr. Rutherfurd thought that he informed his father of the
cause of his distress, adding that the payment of a considerable sum of
money was the more unpleasant to him, because he had a strong
consciousness that it was not due, though he was unable to recover any
evidence in support of his belief, "You are right, my son," replied the
paternal shade; "I did acquire right to these teinds, for payment of
which you are now prosecuted. The papers relating to the transaction are
in the hands of Mr.--, a writer (or attorney), who is now retired from
professional business, and resides at Inveresk, near Edinburgh. He was a
person whom I employed on that occasion for a particular reason, but who
never on any other occasion transacted business on my account. It is very
possible," pursued the vision, "that Mr.--may have forgotten a matter
which is now of a very old date; but you may call it to his recollection
by this token, that when I came to pay his account, there was difficulty
in getting change for a Portugal piece of gold, and that we were forced
to drink out the balance at a tavern."

Mr. Rutherfurd awakened in the morning with all the words of the vision
imprinted on his mind, and thought it worth while to ride across the
country to Inveresk, instead of going straight to Edinburgh. When he came
there he waited on the gentleman mentioned in the dream, a very old man;
without saying anything of the vision, he inquired whether he remembered
having conducted such a matter for his deceased father. The old gentleman
could not at first bring the circumstance to his recollection, but on
mention of the Portugal piece of gold, the whole returned upon his
memory; he made an immediate search for the papers, and recovered them,--
so that Mr. Rutherfurd carried to Edinburgh the documents necessary to
gain the cause which he was on the verge of losing.

The author has often heard this story told by persons who had the best
access to know the facts, who were not likely themselves to be deceived,
and were certainly incapable of deception. He cannot therefore refuse to
give it credit, however extraordinary the circumstances may appear. The
circumstantial character of the information given in the dream, takes it
out of the general class of impressions of the kind which are occasioned
by the fortuitous coincidence of actual events with our sleeping
thoughts. On the other hand, few will suppose that the laws of nature
were suspended, and a special communication from the dead to the living
permitted, for the purpose of saving Mr. Rutherfurd a certain number of
hundred pounds. The author's theory is, that the dream was only the
recapitulation of information which Mr. Rutherfurd had really received
from his father while in life, but which at first he merely recalled as a
general impression that the claim was settled. It is not uncommon for
persons to recover, during sleep, the thread of ideas which they have
lost during their waking hours.

It may be added, that this remarkable circumstance was attended with bad
consequences to Mr. Rutherfurd; whose health and spirits were afterwards
impaired by the attention which he thought himself obliged to pay to the
visions of the night.

Note E, p. #.--Nick-sticks.

A sort of tally generally used by bakers of the olden time in settling
with their customers. Each family had its own nick-stick, and for each
loaf as delivered a notch was made on the stick. Accounts in Exchequer,
kept by the same kind of check, may have occasioned the Antiquary's
partiality. In Prior's time the English bakers had the same sort of

Have you not seen a baker's maid,
Between two equal panniers sway'd?
Her tallies useless lie and idle,
If placed exactly in the middle.

Note F, p. #.--Witchcraft.

A great deal of stuff to the same purpose with that placed in the mouth
of the German adept, may be found in Reginald Scott's _Discovery of
Witchcraft,_ Third Edition, folio, London, 1665. The Appendix is
entitled, "An Excellent Discourse of the Nature and Substances of Devils
and Spirits, in two Books; the first by the aforesaid author (Reginald
Scott), the Second now added in this Third Edition as succedaneous to the
former, and conducing to the completing of the whole work." This Second
Book, though stated as succedaneous to the first, is, in fact, entirely
at variance with it; for the work of Reginald Scott is a compilation of
the absurd and superstitious ideas concerning witches so generally
entertained at the time, and the pretended conclusion is a serious
treatise on the various means of conjuring astral spirits.

[Scott's _Discovery of Witchcraft_ was first published in the reign of
Queen Elizabeth, London, 1584.]

Note G, p. #.--Gyneocracy.

In the fishing villages on the Firths of Forth and Tay, as well as
elsewhere in Scotland, the government is gyneocracy, as described in the
text. In the course of the late war, and during the alarm of invasion, a
fleet of transports entered the Firth of Forth under the convoy of some
ships of war, which would reply to no signals. A general alarm was
excited, in consequence of which, all the fishers, who were enrolled as
sea-fencibles, got on board the gun-boats which they were to man as
occasion should require, and sailed to oppose the supposed enemy. The
foreigners proved to be Russians, with whom we were then at peace. The
county gentlemen of Mid-Lothian, pleased with the zeal displayed by the
sea-fencibles at a critical moment, passed a vote for presenting the
community of fishers with a silver punch-bowl, to be used on occasions of
festivity. But the fisher-women, on hearing what was intended, put in
their claim to have some separate share in the intended honorary reward.
The men, they said, were their husbands; it was they who would have been
sufferers if their husbands had been killed, and it was by their
permission and injunctions that they embarked on board the gun-boats for
the public service. They therefore claimed to share the reward in some
manner which should distinguish the female patriotism which they had
shown on the occasion. The gentlemen of the county willingly admitted the
claim; and without diminishing the value of their compliment to the men,
they made the females a present of a valuable broach, to fasten the plaid
of the queen of the fisher-women for the time.

It may be further remarked, that these Nereids are punctilious among
themselves, and observe different ranks according to the commodities they
deal in. One experienced dame was heard to characterise a younger damsel
as "a puir silly thing, who had no ambition, and would never," she
prophesied, "rise above the _mussel-line_ of business."

Note H, p. #.--Battle of Harlaw.

The great battle of Harlaw, here and formerly referred to, might be said
to determine whether the Gaelic or the Saxon race should be predominant
in Scotland. Donald, Lord of the Isles, who had at that period the power
of an independent sovereign, laid claim to the Earldom of Ross during the
Regency of Robert, Duke of Albany. To enforce his supposed right, he
ravaged the north with a large army of Highlanders and Islesmen. He was
encountered at Harlaw, in the Garioch, by Alexander, Earl of Mar, at the
head of the northern nobility and gentry of Saxon and Norman descent. The
battle was bloody and indecisive; but the invader was obliged to retire
in consequence of the loss he sustained, and afterwards was compelled to
make submission to the Regent, and renounce his pretensions to Ross; so
that all the advantages of the field were gained by the Saxons. The
battle of Harlaw was fought 24th July 1411.

Note I, p. #.--Elspeth's death.

The concluding circumstance of Elspeth's death is taken from an incident
said to have happened at the funeral of John, Duke of Roxburghe. All who
were acquainted with that accomplished nobleman must remember that he was
not more remarkable for creating and possessing a most curious and
splendid library, than for his acquaintance with the literary treasures
it contained. In arranging his books, fetching and replacing the volumes
which he wanted, and carrying on all the necessary intercourse which a
man of letters holds with his library, it was the Duke's custom to
employ, not a secretary or librarian, but a livery servant, called
Archie, whom habit had made so perfectly acquainted with the library,
that he knew every book, as a shepherd does the individuals of his flock,
by what is called head-mark, and could bring his master whatever volume
he wanted, and afford all the mechanical aid the Duke required in his
literary researches. To secure the attendance of Archie, there was a bell
hung in his room, which was used on no occasion except to call him
individually to the Duke's study.

His Grace died in Saint James's Square, London, in the year 1804; the
body was to be conveyed to Scotland, to lie in state at his mansion of
Fleurs, and to be removed from thence to the family burial-place at

At this time, Archie, who had been long attacked by a liver-complaint,
was in the very last stage of that disease. Yet he prepared himself to
accompany the body of the master whom he had so long and so faithfully
waited upon. The medical persons assured him he could not survive the
journey. It signified nothing, he said, whether he died in England or
Scotland; he was resolved to assist in rendering the last honours to the
kind master from whom he had been inseparable for so many years, even if
he should expire in the attempt. The poor invalid was permitted to attend
the Duke's body to Scotland; but when they reached Fleurs he was totally
exhausted, and obliged to keep his bed, in a sort of stupor which
announced speedy dissolution. On the morning of the day fixed for
removing the dead body of the Duke to the place of burial, the private
bell by which he was wont to summon his attendant to his study was rung
violently. This might easily happen in the confusion of such a scene,
although the people of the neighbourhood prefer believing that the bell
sounded of its own accord. Ring, however, it did; and Archie, roused by
the well-known summons, rose up in his bed, and faltered, in broken
accents, "Yes, my Lord Duke--yes--I will wait on your Grace instantly;"
and with these words on his lips he is said to have fallen back and

Note J, p. #.--Alarm of invasion.

The story of the false alarm at Fairport, and the consequences, are taken
from a real incident. Those who witnessed the state of Britain, and of
Scotland in particular, from the period that succeeded the war which
commenced in 1803 to the battle of Trafalgar, must recollect those times
with feelings which we can hardly hope to make the rising generation
comprehend. Almost every individual was enrolled either in a military or
civil capacity, for the purpose of contributing to resist the
long-suspended threats of invasion, which were echoed from every quarter.
Beacons were erected along the coast, and all through the country, to
give the signal for every one to repair to the post where his peculiar
duty called him, and men of every description fit to serve held
themselves in readiness on the shortest summons. During this agitating
period, and on the evening of the 2d February 1804, the person who kept
watch on the commanding station of Home Castle, being deceived by some
accidental fire in the county of Northumberland, which he took for the
corresponding signal-light in that county with which his orders were to
communicate, lighted up his own beacon. The signal was immediately
repeated through all the valleys on the English Border. If the beacon at
Saint Abb's Head had been fired, the alarm would have run northward, and
roused all Scotland. But the watch at this important point judiciously
considered, that if there had been an actual or threatened descent on our
eastern sea-coast, the alarm would have come along the coast and not from
the interior of the country.

Through the Border counties the alarm spread with rapidity, and on no
occasion when that country was the scene of perpetual and unceasing war,
was the summons to arms more readily obeyed. In Berwickshire,
Roxburghshire, and Selkirkshire, the volunteers and militia got under
arms with a degree of rapidity and alacrity which, considering the
distance individuals lived from each other, had something in it very
surprising--they poured to the alarm-posts on the sea-coast in a state so
well armed and so completely appointed, with baggage, provisions, etc.,
as was accounted by the best military judges to render them fit for
instant and effectual service.

There were some particulars in the general alarm which are curious and
interesting. The men of Liddesdale, the most remote point to the westward
which the alarm reached, were so much afraid of being late in the field,
that they put in requisition all the horses they could find, and when
they had thus made a forced march out of their own country, they turned
their borrowed steeds loose to find their way back through the hills, and
they all got back safe to their own stables. Another remarkable
circumstance was, the general cry of the inhabitants of the smaller towns
for arms, that they might go along with their companions. The
Selkirkshire Yeomanry made a remarkable march, for although some of the
individuals lived at twenty and thirty miles' distance from the place
where they mustered, they were nevertheless embodied and in order in so
short a period, that they were at Dalkeith, which was their alarm-post,
about one o'clock on the day succeeding the first signal, with men and
horses in good order, though the roads were in a bad state, and many of
the troopers must have ridden forty or fifty miles without drawing
bridle. Two members of the corps chanced to be absent from their homes,
and in Edinburgh on private business. The lately married wife of one of
these gentlemen, and the widowed mother of the other, sent the arms,
uniforms, and chargers of the two troopers, that they might join their
companions at Dalkeith. The author was very much struck by the answer
made to him by the last-mentioned lady, when he paid her some compliment
on the readiness which she showed in equipping her son with the means of
meeting danger, when she might have left him a fair excuse for remaining
absent. "Sir," she replied, with the spirit of a Roman matron, "none can
know better than you that my son is the only prop by which, since his
father's death, our family is supported. But I would rather see him dead
on that hearth, than hear that he had been a horse's length behind his
companions in the defence of his king and country." The author mentions
what was immediately under his own eye, and within his own knowledge; but
the spirit was universal, wherever the alarm reached, both in Scotland
and England.

The account of the ready patriotism displayed by the country on this
occasion, warmed the hearts of Scottishmen in every corner of the world.
It reached the ears of the well-known Dr. Leyden, whose enthusiastic love
of Scotland, and of his own district of Teviotdale, formed a
distinguished part of his character. The account which was read to him
when on a sick-bed, stated (very truly) that the different corps, on
arriving at their alarm-posts, announced themselves by their music
playing the tunes peculiar to their own districts, many of which have
been gathering-signals for centuries. It was particularly remembered,
that the Liddesdale men, before mentioned, entered Kelso playing the
lively tune--

O wha dare meddle wi' me,
And wha dare meddle wi' me!
My name it is little Jock Elliot,
And wha dare meddle wi' me!

The patient was so delighted with this display of ancient Border spirit,
that he sprung up in his bed, and began to sing the old song with such
vehemence of action and voice, that his attendants, ignorant of the cause
of excitation, concluded that the fever had taken possession of his
brain; and it was only the entry of another Borderer, Sir John Malcolm,
and the explanation which he was well qualified to give, that prevented
them from resorting to means of medical coercion.

The circumstances of this false alarm and its consequences may be now
held of too little importance even for a note upon a work of fiction;
but, at the period when it happened, it was hailed by the country as a
propitious omen, that the national force, to which much must naturally
have been trusted, had the spirit to look in the face the danger which
they had taken arms to repel; and every one was convinced, that on
whichever side God might bestow the victory, the invaders would meet with
the most determined opposition from the children of the soil.

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