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The Antiquary, Volume 1 by Sir Walter Scott

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I knew Anselmo. He was shrewd and prudent,
Wisdom and cunning had their shares of him;
But he was shrewish as a wayward child,
And pleased again by toys which childhood please;
As---book of fables, graced with print of wood,
Or else the jingling of a rusty medal,
Or the rare melody of some old ditty,
That first was sung to please King Pepin's cradle


The present work completes a series of fictitious narratives, intended to
illustrate the manners of Scotland at three different periods. _Waverley_
embraced the age of our fathers, _Guy Mannering_ that of our own youth,
and the _Antiquary_ refers to the last ten years of the eighteenth
century. I have, in the two last narratives especially, sought my
principal personages in the class of society who are the last to feel the
influence of that general polish which assimilates to each other the
manners of different nations. Among the same class I have placed some of
the scenes in which I have endeavoured to illustrate the operation of the
higher and more violent passions; both because the lower orders are less
restrained by the habit of suppressing their feelings, and because I
agree, with my friend Wordsworth, that they seldom fail to express them
in the strongest and most powerful language. This is, I think, peculiarly
the case with the peasantry of my own country, a class with whom I have
long been familiar. The antique force and simplicity of their language,
often tinctured with the Oriental eloquence of Scripture, in the mouths
of those of an elevated understanding, give pathos to their grief, and
dignity to their resentment.

I have been more solicitous to describe manners minutely than to arrange
in any case an artificial and combined narrative, and have but to regret
that I felt myself unable to unite these two requisites of a good Novel.

The knavery of the adept in the following sheets may appear forced and
improbable; but we have had very late instances of the force of
superstitious credulity to a much greater extent, and the reader may be
assured, that this part of the narrative is founded on a fact of actual

I have now only to express my gratitude to the Public for the
distinguished reception which, they have given to works, that have little
more than some truth of colouring to recommend them, and to take my
respectful leave, as one who is not likely again to solicit their favour.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

To the above advertisement, which was prefixed to the first edition of
the Antiquary, it is necessary in the present edition to add a few words,
transferred from the Introduction to the Chronicles of the Canongate,
respecting the character of Jonathan Oldbuck.

"I may here state generally, that although I have deemed historical
personages free subjects of delineation, I have never on any occasion
violated the respect due to private life. It was indeed impossible that
traits proper to persons, both living and dead, with whom I have had
intercourse in society, should not have risen to my pen in such works as
Waverley, and those which, followed it. But I have always studied to
generalise the portraits, so that they should still seem, on the whole,
the productions of fancy, though possessing some resemblance to real
individuals. Yet I must own my attempts have not in this last particular
been uniformly successful. There are men whose characters are so
peculiarly marked, that the delineation of some leading and principal
feature, inevitably places the whole person before you in his
individuality. Thus the character of Jonathan Oldbuck in the Antiquary,
was partly founded on that of an old friend of my youth, to whom I am
indebted for introducing me to Shakspeare, and other invaluable favours;
but I thought I had so completely disguised the likeness, that it could
not be recognised by any one now alive. I was mistaken, however, and
indeed had endangered what I desired should be considered as a secret;
for I afterwards learned that a highly respectable gentleman, one of the
few surviving friends of my father, and an acute critic, had said, upon
the appearance of the work, that he was now convinced who was the author
of it, as he recognised, in the Antiquary, traces of the character of a
very intimate friend* of my father's family."

* [The late George Constable of Wallace Craigie, near Dundee.]

I have only farther to request the reader not to suppose that my late
respected friend resembled Mr. Oldbuck, either in his pedigree, or the
history imputed to the ideal personage. There is not a single incident in
the Novel which is borrowed from his real circumstances, excepting the
fact that he resided in an old house near a flourishing seaport, and that
the author chanced to witness a scene betwixt him and the female
proprietor of a stage-coach, very similar to that which commences the
history of the Antiquary. An excellent temper, with a slight degree of
subacid humour; learning, wit, and drollery, the more poignant that they
were a little marked by the peculiarities of an old bachelor; a soundness
of thought, rendered more forcible by an occasional quaintness of
expression, were, the author conceives, the only qualities in which the
creature of his imagination resembled his benevolent and excellent old

The prominent part performed by the Beggar in the following narrative,
induces the author to prefix a few remarks of that character, as it
formerly existed in Scotland, though it is now scarcely to be traced.

Many of the old Scottish mendicants were by no means to be confounded
with the utterly degraded class of beings who now practise that wandering
trade. Such of them as were in the habit of travelling through a
particular district, were usually well received both in the farmer's ha',
and in the kitchens of the country gentlemen. Martin, author of the
_Reliquiae Divi Sancti Andreae,_ written in 1683, gives the following
account of one class of this order of men in the seventeenth century, in
terms which would induce an antiquary like Mr. Oldbuck to regret its
extinction. He conceives them to be descended from the ancient bards, and
proceeds:---"They are called by others, and by themselves, Jockies, who
go about begging; and use still to recite the Sloggorne (gathering-words
or war-cries) of most of the true ancient surnames of Scotland, from old
experience and observation. Some of them I have discoursed, and found to
have reason and discretion. One of then told me there were not now above
twelve of them in the whole isle; but he remembered when they abounded,
so as at one time he was one of five that usually met at St. Andrews."

The race of Jockies (of the above description) has, I suppose, been long
extinct in Scotland; but the old remembered beggar, even in my own time,
like the Baccoch, or travelling cripple of Ireland, was expected to merit
his quarters by something beyond an exposition of his distresses. He was
often a talkative, facetious fellow, prompt at repartee, and not withheld
from exercising his powers that way by any respect of persons, his
patched cloak giving him the privilege of the ancient jester. To be a
_gude crack,_ that is, to possess talents for conversation, was essential
to the trade of a "puir body" of the more esteemed class; and Burns, who
delighted in the amusement their discourse afforded, seems to have looked
forward with gloomy firmness to the possibility of himself becoming one
day or other a member of their itinerant society. In his poetical works,
it is alluded to so often, as perhaps to indicate that he considered the
consummation as not utterly impossible. Thus in the fine dedication of
his works to Gavin Hamilton, he says,--

And when I downa yoke a naig,
Then, Lord be thankit, I can beg.

Again, in his Epistle to Davie, a brother Poet, he states, that in their
closing career--

The last o't, the warst o't,
Is only just to beg.

And after having remarked, that

To lie in kilns and barns at e'en,
When banes are crazed and blude is thin,

Is doubtless great distress; the bard reckons up, with true poetical
spirit, the free enjoyment of the beauties of nature, which might
counterbalance the hardship and uncertainty of the life, even of a
mendicant. In one of his prose letters, to which I have lost the
reference, he details this idea yet more seriously, and dwells upon it,
as not ill adapted to his habits and powers.

As the life of a Scottish mendicant of the eighteenth century seems to
have been contemplated without much horror by Robert Burns, the author
can hardly have erred in giving to Edie Ochiltree something of poetical
character and personal dignity, above the more abject of his miserable
calling. The class had, intact, some privileges. A lodging, such as it
was, was readily granted to them in some of the out-houses, and the usual
_awmous_ (alms) of a handful of meal (called a _gowpen_) was scarce
denied by the poorest cottager. The mendicant disposed these, according
to their different quality, in various bags around his person, and thus
carried about with him the principal part of his sustenance, which he
literally received for the asking. At the houses of the gentry, his cheer
was mended by scraps of broken meat, and perhaps a Scottish "twalpenny,"
or English penny, which was expended in snuff or whiskey. In fact, these
indolent peripatetics suffered much less real hardship and want of food,
than the poor peasants from whom they received alms.

If, in addition to his personal qualifications, the mendicant chanced to
be a King's Bedesman, or Blue-Gown, he belonged, in virtue thereof, to
the aristocracy of his order, and was esteemed a parson of great

These Bedesmen are an order of paupers to whom the Kings of Scotland were
in the custom of distributing a certain alms, in conformity with the
ordinances of the Catholic Church, and who where expected in return to
pray for the royal welfare and that of the state. This order is still
kept up. Their number is equal to the number of years which his Majesty
has lived; and one Blue-Gown additional is put on the roll for every
returning royal birth-day. On the same auspicious era, each Bedesman
receives a new cloak, or gown of coarse cloth, the colour light blue,
with a pewter badge, which confers on them the general privilege of
asking alms through all Scotland,--all laws against sorning, masterful
beggary, and every other species of mendicity, being suspended in favour
of this privileged class. With his cloak, each receives a leathern purse,
containing as many shillings Scots (videlicet, pennies sterling) as the
sovereign is years old; the zeal of their intercession for the king's
long life receiving, it is to be supposed, a great stimulus from their
own present and increasing interest in the object of their prayers. On
the same occasion one of the Royal Chaplains preaches a sermon to the
Bedesmen, who (as one of the reverend gentlemen expressed himself) are
the most impatient and inattentive audience in the world. Something of
this may arise from a feeling on the part of the Bedesmen, that they are
paid for their own devotions, not for listening to those of others. Or,
more probably, it arises from impatience, natural, though indecorous in
men bearing so venerable a character, to arrive at the conclusion of the
ceremonial of the royal birth-day, which, so far as they are concerned,
ends in a lusty breakfast of bread and ale; the whole moral and religious
exhibition terminating in the advice of Johnson's "Hermit hoar" to his

Come, my lad, and drink some beer.

Of the charity bestowed on these aged Bedesmen in money and clothing,
there are many records in the Treasurer's accompts. The following
extract, kindly supplied by Mr. Macdonald of the Register House, may
interest those whose taste is akin to that of Jonathan Oldbuck of


In the Account of Sir Robert Melvill of Murdocarney,
Treasurer-Depute of King James IV., there are the following Payments:--

"Junij 1590.

"Item, to Mr. Peter Young, Elimosinar, twentie four gownis of blew
clayth, to be gevin to xxiiij auld men, according to the yeiris of his
hienes age, extending to viii xx viii elnis clayth; price of the elne
xxiiij _s. _ Inde, ij _c_j _li. _xij _s. _

"Item, for sextene elnis bukrum to the saidis gownis, price of the elne x
_s. _ Inde,viij _li. _

"Item, twentie four pursis, and in ilk purse twentie four schelling
Inde, xxciij _li. _ xvj _s. _

"Item, the price of ilk purse iiij _d. _ Inde, viij _s. _

"Item, for making of the saidis gownis viij _li. _"

In the Account of John, Earl of Mar, Great Treasurer of Scotland, and of
Sir Gideon Murray of Enbank, Treasurer-Depute, the Blue-Gowns also appear

"Junij 1617.

"Item, to James Murray, merchant, for fyftene scoir sex elnis and aine
half elne of blew claith to be gownis to fyftie ane aigeit men, according
to the yeiris of his Majesteis age, at xl _s. _ the elne
Inde,vj _c_ xiij _li. _

"Item, to workmen for careing the blewis to James Aikman, tailyeour, his
hous xiij _s. _ iiij _d. _

"Item, for sex elnis and ane half of harden to the saidis gownis, at vj
_s. _ viij _d. _ the elne Inde,xliij _s. _iiij _d. _

"Item, to the said workmen for careing of the gownis fra the said James
Aikman's hous to the palace of Halyrudehous xviij _s. _

"Item, for making the saidis fyftie ane gownis, at xij _s. _ the peice
Inde,xxx _li. _xij _s. _

"Item, for fyftie ane pursis to the said puire menlj _s. _

"Item, to Sir Peter Young,li _s. _ to be put in everie ane of the saidis
ljpursis to the said poore men j _c_xxxl jj _s. _

"Item, to the said Sir Peter, to buy breid and drink to the said puir men
vj _li. _xiij _s. _iiij _d. _

"Item, to the said Sir Peter, to be delt amang uther puire folk j _c_li.

"Item, upoun the last day of Junii to Doctor Young, Deane of Winchester,
Elimozinar Deput to his Majestic, twentie fyve pund sterling, to be gevin
to the puir be the way in his Majesteis progress Inde,iij _c li. _"

I have only to add, that although the institution of King's Bedesmen
still subsists, they are now seldom to be seen on the streets of
Edinburgh, of which their peculiar dress made them rather a
characteristic feature.

Having thus given an account of the genus and species to which Edie
Ochiltree appertains, the author may add, that the individual he had in
his eye was Andrew Gemmells, an old mendicant of the character described,
who was many years since well known, and must still be remembered, in the
vales of Gala, Tweed, Ettrick, Yarrow, and the adjoining country.

The author has in his youth repeatedly seen and conversed with Andrew,
but cannot recollect whether he held the rank of Blue-Gown. He was a
remarkably fine old figure, very tall, and maintaining a soldierlike or
military manner and address. His features were intelligent, with a
powerful expression of sarcasm. His motions were always so graceful, that
he might almost have been suspected of having studied them; for he might,
on any occasion, have, served as a model for an artist, so remarkably
striking were his ordinary attitudes. Andrew Gemmells had little of the
cant of his calling; his wants were food and shelter, or a trifle of
money, which he always claimed, and seemed to receive as his due. He,
sung a good song, told a good story, and could crack a severe jest with
all the acumen of Shakespeare's jesters, though without using, like them,
the cloak of insanity. It was some fear of Andrew's satire, as much as a
feeling of kindness or charity, which secured him the general good
reception which he enjoyed everywhere. In fact, a jest of Andrew
Gemmells, especially at the expense of a person of consequence, flew
round the circle which he frequented, as surely as the bon-mot of a man
of established character for wit glides through the fashionable world,
Many of his good things are held in remembrance, but are generally too
local and personal to be introduced here.

Andrew had a character peculiar to himself among his tribe for aught I
ever heard. He was ready and willing to play at cards or dice with any
one who desired such amusement. This was more in the character of the
Irish itinerant gambler, called in that country a "carrow," than of the
Scottish beggar. But the late Reverend Doctor Robert Douglas, minister of
Galashiels, assured the author, that the last time he saw Andrew
Gemmells, he was engaged in a game at brag with a gentleman of fortune,
distinction, and birth. To preserve the due gradations of rank, the party
was made at an open window of the chateau, the laird sitting on his chair
in the inside, the beggar on a stool in the yard; and they played on the
window-sill. The stake was a considerable parcel of silver. The author
expressing some surprise, Dr. Douglas observed, that the laird was no
doubt a humourist or original; but that many decent persons in those
times would, like him, have thought there was nothing extraordinary in
passing an hour, either in card-playing or conversation, with Andrew

This singular mendicant had generally, or was supposed to have, much
money about his person, as would have been thought the value of his life
among modern foot-pads. On one occasion, a country gentleman, generally
esteemed a very narrow man, happening to meet Andrew, expressed great
regret that he had no silver in his pocket, or he would have given him
sixpence. --"I can give you change for a note, laird," replied Andrew.

Like most who have arisen to the head of their profession, the modern
degradation which mendicity has undergone was often the subject of
Andrew's lamentations. As a trade, he said, it was forty pounds a-year
worse since he had first practised it. On another occasion he observed,
begging was in modern times scarcely the profession of a gentleman; and
that, if he had twenty sons, he would not easily be induced to breed one
of them up in his own line. When or where this _laudator temporis acti_
closed his wanderings, the author never heard with certainty; but most
probably, as Burns says,

--he died a cadger-powny's death,
At some dike side.

The author may add another picture of the same kind as Edie Ochiltree and
Andrew Gemmells; considering these illustrations as a sort of gallery,
open to the reception of anything which may elucidate former manners, or
amuse the reader.

The author's contemporaries at the university of Edinburgh will probably
remember the thin, wasted form of a venerable old Bedesman, who stood by
the Potterrow-Port, now demolished, and, without speaking a syllable,
gently inclined his head, and offered his hat, but with the least
possible degree of urgency, towards each individual who passed. This man
gained, by silence and the extenuated and wasted appearance of a palmer
from a remote country, the same tribute which was yielded to Andrew
Gemmells' sarcastic humour and stately deportment. He was understood to
be able to maintain a son a student in the theological classes of the
University, at the gate of which the father was a mendicant. The young
man was modest and inclined to learning, so that a student of the same
age, and whose parents where rather of the lower order, moved by seeing
him excluded from the society of other scholars when the secret of his
birth was suspected, endeavoured to console him by offering him some
occasional civilities. The old mendicant was grateful for this attention
to his son, and one day, as the friendly student passed, he stooped
forward more than usual, as if to intercept his passage. The scholar drew
out a halfpenny, which he concluded was the beggar's object, when he was
surprised to receive his thanks for the kindness he had shown to Jemmie,
and at the same time a cordial invitation to dine with them next
Saturday, "on a shoulder of mutton and potatoes," adding, "ye'll put on
your clean sark, as I have company." The student was strongly tempted to
accept this hospitable proposal, as many in his place would probably have
done; but, as the motive might have been capable of misrepresentation, he
thought it most prudent, considering the character and circumstances of
the old man, to decline the invitation.

Such are a few traits of Scottish mendicity, designed to throw light on a
Novel in which a character of that description plays a prominent part. We
conclude, that we have vindicated Edie Ochiltree's right to the
importance assigned him; and have shown, that we have known one beggar
take a hand at cards with a person of distinction, and another give
dinner parties.

I know not if it be worth while to observe, that the Antiquary,* was not
so well received on its first appearance as either of its predecessors,
though in course of time it rose to equal, and, with some readers,
superior popularity.

* Note A. Mottoes.




"THE ANTIQUARY" was begun in 1815; the bargain for its publication by
Constable was made in the October of that year. On December 22 Scott
wrote to Morritt: "I shall set myself seriously to 'The Antiquary,' of
which I have only a very general sketch at present; but when once I get
my pen to the paper it will walk fast enough. I am sometimes tempted to
leave it alone, and try whether it will not write as well without the
assistance of my head as with it,--a hopeful prospect for the reader!'"
It is amazing enough that he even constructed "a general sketch," for to
such sketches he confesses that he never could keep constant. "I have
generally written to the middle of one of these novels without having the
least idea how it was to end,--in short, in the _hab nab at a venture
style_ of composition" (Journal, Feb. 24, 1828). Yet it is almost
impossible but that the plot of "The Antiquary" should have been duly
considered. Scott must have known from the first who Lovel was to turn
out to be, and must have recognised in the hapless bride of Lord
Glenallan the object of the Antiquary's solitary and unfortunate passion.
To introduce another Wandering Heir immediately after the Harry Bertram
of "Guy Mannering" was rather audacious. But that old favourite, the Lost
Heir, is nearly certain to be popular. For the Antiquary's immortal
sorrow Scott had a model in his own experience. "What a romance to tell!
--and told, I fear, it will one day be. And then my three years of
dreaming and my two years of wakening will be chronicled doubtless. But
the dead will feel no pain." The dead, as Aristotle says, if they care
for such things at all, care no more than we do for what has passed in a

The general sketch probably began to take full shape about the last day
of 1815. On December 29 Scott wrote to Ballantyne:--


I've done, thank'God, with the long yarns
Of the most prosy of Apostles--Paul,1
And now advance, sweet heathen of Monkbarns,
Step out, old quizz, as fast as I can scrawl.

In "The Antiquary" Scott had a subject thoroughly to his mind. He had
been an antiquary from his childhood. His earliest pence had been devoted
to that collection of printed ballads which is still at Abbotsford. These
he mentions in the unfinished fragment of his "Reliquiae Trotcosienses,"
in much the same words as in his manuscript note on one of the seven

"This little collection of Stall tracts and ballads was formed by me,
when a boy, from the baskets of the travelling pedlars. Until put into
its present decent binding it had such charms for the servants that it
was repeatedly, and with difficulty, recovered from their clutches. It
contains most of the pieces that were popular about thirty years since,
and, I dare say, many that could not now be procured for any price

Nor did he collect only--

"The rare melody of some old ditties
That first were sung to please King Pepin's cradle.

"Walter had soon begun to gather out-of-the-way things of all sorts. He
had more books than shelves [sic]; a small painted cabinet with Scotch
and Roman coins in it, and so forth. A claymore and Lochaber axe, given
him by old Invernahyle, mounted guard on a little print of Prince
Charlie; and Broughton's Saucer was hooked up on the wall below it."
He had entered literature through the ruined gateway of archleology, in
the "Border Minstrelsy," and his last project was an edition of
Perrault's "Contes de Ma Mere l'Oie." As pleasant to him as the purchase
of new lands like Turn Again, bought dearly, as in Monkbarns's case, from
"bonnet lauds," was a fresh acquisition of an old book or of old armour.
Yet, with all his enthusiasm, he did not please the antiquaries of his
own day. George Chalmers, in Constable's "Life and Correspondence"
(i. 431), sneers at his want of learning. "His notes are loose and
unlearned, as they generally are." Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe, his
friend in life, disported himself in jealous and ribald mockery of
Scott's archaeological knowledge, when Scott was dead. In a letter of
the enigmatic Thomas Allen, or James Stuart Hay, father of John Sobieski
and Charles Edward Stuart, this mysterious person avers that he never
knew Scott's opinion to be held as of any value by antiquaries (1829).
They probably missed in him "a sort of pettifogging intimacy with dates,
names, and trifling matters of fact,--a tiresome and frivolous accuracy
of memory" which Sir Arthur Wardour reproves in Monkbarns. Scott, in
brief, was not as Dry-as-dust; all the dead bones that he touches come
to life. He was as great an archeologist as a poet can be, and, with
Virgil, was the greatest antiquary among poets. Like Monkbarns, he was
not incapable of being beguiled. As Oldbuck bought the bodle from the
pedlar at the price of a rare coin, so Scott took Surtees's "Barthram's
Dirge," and his Latin legend of the tourney with the spectre knight, for
genuine antiquities. No Edie Ochiltree ever revealed to him the truth
about these forgeries, and the spectre knight, with the ballad of
"Anthony Featherstonhaugh," hold their own in "Marmion," to assure the
world that this antiquary was gullible when the sleight was practised by
a friend. "Non est tanti," he would have said, had he learned the truth;
for he was ever conscious of the humorous side of the study of the
mouldering past. "I do not know anything which relieves the mind so much
from the sullens as a trifling discourse about antiquarian oldwomanries.
It is like knitting a stocking,--diverting the mind without occupying
it." ("Journal," March 9, 1828).

Begun about Jan. 1, 1816, "The Antiquary" was published before May 16,
1816, when Scott writes to say that he has sent Mr. Morritt the novel
"some time since." "It is not so interesting as its predecessors; the
period does not admit of so much romantic situation. But it has been
more fortunate than any of them in the sale, for six thousand went off
in the first six days, and it is now at press again." The Preface of the
first edition ends with the melancholy statement that the author "takes
his respectful leave, as one who is not likely again to solicit favour."
Apparently Scott had already determined not to announce his next novels
("The Black Dwarf" and "Old Mortality") as "by the Author of Waverley."
Mr. Constable, in the biography of his father, says (iii. 84): "Even
before the publication of 'The Antiquary,' John Ballantyne had been
impowered by the Author to negotiate with Mr. Murray and Mr. Blackwood
for the first series of the 'Tales of my Landlord.'" The note of
withdrawal from the stage, in the first edition of "The Antiquary," was
probably only a part of another experiment on public sagacity. As
Lockhart says, Mr. Murray and Mr. Blackwood thought that the consequent
absence of the Author of "Waverley's" name from the "Tales of my
Landlord" would "check very much the first success of the book;" but
they risked this, "to disturb Constable's tenure."

Scott's temporary desertion of Constable in the "Tales of my Landlord"
may have had various motives. There was a slight grudge against
Constable, born of some complications of the Ballantynes' affairs.
Perhaps the mere amusement of the experiment on public sagacity was one
of the more powerful reasons for the change. In our day Lord Lytton and
Mr. Trollope made similar trials of their popularity when anonymous, the
former author with the greater success. The idea of these masquerades and
veils of the incognito appears to have bewitched Constable. William
Godwin was writing for him his novel "Mandeville," and Godwin had
obviously been counselled to try a disguise. He says (Jan. 30, 1816) "I
have amused my imagination a thousand times since last we parted with the
masquerade you devised for me. The world is full of wonder. An old
favourite is always reviewed with coldness. . . . 'Pooh,' they say;
'Godwin has worn his pen to the stump!' . . . But let me once be equipped
with a significant mask and an unknown character from your masquerade
shop, and admitted to figure in with the 'Last Minstrel,' the 'Lady of
the Lake,' and 'Guy Mannering' in the Scottish carnival, Gods! how the
boys and girls will admire me! 'Here is a new wonder!' they will say.
'Ah, this is something like! Here is Godwin beaten on his own ground. . .
Here is for once a Scottish writer that they cannot say has anything of
the Scotchman about him.'"

However, Mr. Godwin did not don the mask and domino. "Mandeville" came
out about the same time as "Rob Roy;" but the "craziness of the public"
for the Author of "Waverley" was not changed into a passion for the
father-in-law of Shelley.

"'The Antiquary,' after a little pause of hesitation, attained popularity
not inferior to 'Guy Mannering,' and though the author appears for a
moment to have shared the doubts which he read in the countenance of
James Ballantyne, it certainly was, in the sequel, his chief favourite
among all his novels.'"

As Scott said to Terry, "If a man will paint from nature, he will be
likely to amuse those who are daily looking at it." The years which saw
the first appearance of "Guy Mannering" also witnessed that of "Emma." By
the singular chance, or law, which links great authors closely in time,
giving us novelists in pairs, Miss Austen was "drawing from nature" at
the very moment when Scott was wedding nature with romance. How
generously and wisely he admired her is familiar, and it may, to some,
seem curious that he never deliberately set himself to a picture of
ordinary life, free from the intrusion of the unusual, of the heroic.
Once, looking down at the village which lies on the Tweed, opposite
Melrose, he remarked that under its roofs tragedies and tales were
doubtless being lived. 'I undertake to say there is some real romance at
this moment going on down there, that, if it could have justice done to
it, would be well worth all the fiction that was ever spun out of human
brains.' But the example he gave was terrible,--"anything more dreadful
was never conceived by Crabbe;" yet, adds Lockhart, "it would never have
entered into his head to elaborate such a tale." He could not dwell in
the unbroken gloom dear to some modern malingerers. But he could easily
have made a tale of common Scotch life, dark with the sorrow of
Mucklebackit, and bright with the mirth of Cuddie Headrigg. There was,
however, this difficulty,--that Scott cared not to write a story of a
single class. "From the peer to the ploughman," all society mingles in
each of his novels. A fiction of middle-class life did not allure him,
and he was not at the best, but at his worst, as Sydney Smith observed,
in the light talk of society. He could admire Miss Austen, and read her
novels again and again; but had he attempted to follow her, by way of
variety, then inevitably wild as well as disciplined humour would have
kept breaking in, and his fancy would have wandered like the old knights
of Arthur's Court, "at adventure." "St. Ronan's Well" proved the truth of
all this. Thus it happens that, in "The Antiquary," with all his sympathy
for the people, with all his knowledge of them, he does not confine
himself to their cottages. As Lockhart says, in his admirable piece of
criticism, he preferred to choose topics in which he could display "his
highest art, that of skilful contrast."

Even the tragic romance of "Waverley" does not set off its Macwheebles
and Callum Begs better than the oddities of Jonathan Oldbuck and his
circle are relieved, on the one hand by the stately gloom of the
Glenallans, on the other by the stern affliction of the poor fisherman,
who, when discovered repairing "the auld black bitch of a boat," in which
his boy had been lost, and congratulated by his visitors on being capable
of the exertion, makes answer, "And what would you have me to do, unless
I wanted to see four children starve, because one is drowned? It 's weel
with you gentles, that can sit in the house with handkerchers at your
een, when ye lose a friend; but the like o' us maun to our work again,
if our hearts were beating as hard as ony hammer." And to his work again
Scott had to go when he lost the partner of his life.

The simple unsought charm which Lockhart notes in "The Antiquary" may
have passed away in later works, when what had been the amusement of
happy days became the task of sadness. But this magic "The Antiquary"
keeps perhaps beyond all its companions,--the magic of pleasant memories
and friendly associations. The sketches of the epoch of expected
invasion, with its patriotic musters and volunteer drillings, are
pictures out of that part in the author's life which, with his early
Highland wanderings ("Waverley") and his Liddesdale raids ("Guy
Mannering"), was most dear to him. In "Redgauntlet," again, he makes, as
Alan Fairford, a return on his youth and his home, and in "Rob Roy" he
revives his Highland recollections, his Highland lairds of "the blawing,
bleezing stories." None of the rest of the tales are so intimate in their
connection with Scott's own personal history. "The Antiquary" has always,
therefore, been held in the very first rank of his novels.

As far as plot goes, though Godwin denied that it had any story, "The
Antiquary" may be placed among the most careful. The underplot of the
Glenallans, gloomy almost beyond endurance, is very ingeniously made to
unravel the mystery of Lovel. The other side-narrative, that of
Dousterswivel, is the weak point of the whole; but this Scott justifies
by "very late instances of the force of superstitious credulity, to a
much greater extent." Some occurrence of the hour may have suggested the
knavish adept with his divining-rod. But facts are never a real excuse
for the morally incredible, or all but incredible, in fiction. On the
wealth and vraisemblance and variety of character it were superfluous to
dilate. As in Shakspeare, there is not even a minor person but lives and
is of flesh and blood, if we except, perhaps, Dousterswivel and Sir
Arthur Wardour. Sir Arthur is only Sir Robert Hazlewood over again, with
a slightly different folly and a somewhat more amiable nature. Lovel's
place, as usual, is among the shades of heroes, and his love-affair is
far less moving, far more summarily treated, than that of Jenny Caxon.
The skilful contrasts are perhaps most remarkable when we compare Elspeth
of the Burnfoot with the gossiping old women in the post-office at
Fairport,--a town studied perhaps from Arbroath. It was the opinion of
Sydney Smith that every one of the novels, before "The Fortunes of
Nigel," contained a Meg Merrilies and a Dominie Sampson. He may have
recognized a male Meg in Edie Ochiltree,--the invaluable character who is
always behind a wall, always overhears everything, and holds the threads
of the plot. Or he may have been hypercritical enough to think that
Elspeth of the Burnfoot is the Meg of the romance. Few will agree with
him that Meg Merrilies, in either of these cases, is "good, but good too

The supposed "originals" of certain persons in the tale have been topics
of discussion. The character of Oldbuck, like most characters in fiction,
is a combination of traits observed in various persons. Scott says, in a
note to the Ashiestiel fragment of Autobiography, that Mr. George
Constable, an old friend of his father's, "had many of those
peculiarities of character which long afterwards I tried to develop in
the character of Jonathan Oldbuck." Sir Walter, when a child, made Mr.
Constable's acquaintance at Prestonpans in 1777, where he explored the
battle-field "under the learned guidance of Dalgetty." Mr. Constable
first introduced him to Shakspeare's plays, and gave him his first German
dictionary. Other traits may have been suggested by John Clerk of Eldin,
whose grandfather was the hero of the story "Praetorian here, Praetorian
there, I made it wi' a flaughter spade." Lockhart is no doubt right in
thinking that Oldbuck is partly a caricature of Oldbuck's creator,--Sir
Walter indeed frankly accepted the kinship; and the book which he began
on his own collection he proposed to style "Reliquim Trotcosienses; or,
the Gabions of Jonathan Oldbuck."

Another person who added a few points to Oldbuck was "Sandy Gordon,"
author of the "Itinerarium Septentrionale" (1726), the very folio which
Monkbarns carried in the dilatory coach to Queensferry. Gordon had been
a student in the University of Aberdeen; he was an amateur in many arts,
but antiquarianism was his favourite hobby. He was an acquaintance of Sir
John Clerk of Eldin, the hero of the Praetorium. The words of Gordon in
his "Itinerarium," where he describes the battle of the Grampians, have
supplied, or suggested, the speech of Monkbarns at the Kaim of Kinprunes.
The great question was, Where is the Mons Grampius of Tacitus? Dismissing
Camden's Grantsbain, because he does not know where it is, Gordon says,
"As for our Scotch Antiquaries, they are so divided that some will have
it to be in the shire of Angus, or in the Mearns, some at the Blair of
Athol in Perthshire, or Ardoch in Strathallan, and others at
Inverpeffery." Gordon votes for Strathern, "half a mile short of the Kirk
of Comrie." This spot is both at the foot of the Montes Grampii, "and
boasts a Roman camp capable of holding an army fit to encounter so
formidable a number as thirty thousand Caledonians. . . . Here is the
Porta Decumana, opposite the Prcetoria, together with the dextra and
sinistra gates," all discovered by Sandy Gordon. "Moreover, the situation
of the ground is so very exact with the description given by Tacitus,
that in all my travels through Britain I never beheld anything with more
pleasure. . . . Nor is it difficult, in viewing this ground, to say where
the Covinarii, or Charioteers, stood. In fine, to an Antiquary, this is a
ravishing scene." He adds the argument "that Galgacus's name still
remains on this ground, for the moor on which the camp stood is called to
this day Galdachan, or Galgachan Rosmoor." All this lore Gordon
illustrates by an immense chart of a camp, and a picture of very small
Montes Grampii, about the size and shape of buns. The plate is dedicated
to his excellency General Wade.

In another point Monkbapns borrows from Gordon. Sandy has a plate (page
20) of "The Roman Sacellum of Mars Signifer, vulgarly called 'Arthur's
Oon.' With regard to its shape, it is not unlike the famous Pantheon at
Rome before the noble Portico was added to it by Marcus Agrippa." Gordon
agrees with Stukeley in attributing Arthur's Oon to Agricola, and here
Monkbarns and Lovel adopt almost his words. "Time has left Julius
Agricola's very name on the place; . . . and if ever those initial
letters J. A. M. P. M. P. T., mentioned by Sir Robert Sibbald, were
engraven on a stone in this building, it may not be reckoned altogether
absurd that they should bear this reading, JULIUS AGRICOLA MAGNUS
either accept or reject as he pleases. However, I think it may be as
probably received as that inscription on Caligula's Pharos in Holland,
which having these following letters, C. C. P. F., is read Caius Caligula
Pharum Fecit." "This," Monkbarns adds, "has ever been recorded as a sound

The character of Edie Ochiltree, Scott himself avers to have been
suggested by Andrew Gemmells, pleasantly described in the Introduction.
Mr. Chambers, in "Illustrations of the Author of 'Waverley," clears up a
point doubtful in Scott's memory, by saying that Geimells really was a
Blue-Gown. He rode a horse of his own, and at races was a bookmaker. He
once dropped at Rutherford, in Teviotdale, a clue of yarn containing
twenty guineas. Like Edie Ochiltree, he had served at Fontenoy. He died
at Roxburgh Newton in 1793, at the age of one hundred and five, according
to his own reckoning. "His wealth was the means of enriching a nephew in
Ayrshire, who is now (1825) a considerable landholder there, and belongs
to a respectable class of society."

An old Irus of similar character patrolled Teviotdale, while Andrew
Gemmells was attached to Ettrick and Yarrow. This was Blind Willie Craw.
Willie was the Society Journal of Hawick, and levied blackmail on the
inhabitants. He is thus described by Mr. Grieve, in the Diary already
quoted: "He lived at Branxholme Town, in a free house set apart for the
gamekeeper, and for many a year carried all the bread from Hawick used in
my father's family. He came in that way at breakfast-time, and got a
wallet which he put it in, and returned at dinner-time with the 'bawbee
rows' and two loaves. He laid the town of Hawick under contribution for
bawbees, and he knew the history of every individual, and went rhyming
through the town from door to door; and as he knew something against
every one which they would rather wish should not be rehearsed, a bawbee
put a stop to the paragraph which they wished suppressed. Willie Craw was
the son of a gamekeeper of the duke's, and enjoyed a free house at
Branxholme Town as long as he lived."

Had Burns ever betaken himself to the gaberlunzie's life, which he speaks
of in one of his poems as "the last o't, the worst o't," he would have
proved a much more formidable satirist than poor Willie Craw, the last of
the "blind crowders." Burns wrote, of course, in a spirit of reckless
humour; but he could not, even in sport, have alluded to the life as
"suited to his habits and powers," had gaberlunzies been mere mendicants.
In Herd's collection of Ballads is one on the ancient Scottish beggar:--

In Scotland there lived a humble beggar,
He had nor house, nor hald, nor hame;
But he was well liked by ilk a body,
And they gave him sunkets to rax his wame.

A sieve fu' o' meal, a handfu' o' groats,
A dad o' a bannock, or pudding bree,
Cauld porridge, or the lickings o' plates,
Wad make him as blythe as a body could be.

The dress and trade of the beggar are said to have been adopted by James
V. in his adventures, and tradition attributes to him a song, "The
Gaberlunzie Man."

One of Edie's most charming traits is his readiness to "fight for his
dish, like the laird for his land," when a French invasion was expected.
Scott places the date of "The False Alarm," when he himself rode a
hundred miles to join his regiment, on Feb. 2, 1804.

Lockhart gives it as an event of 1805 (vol. ii. p. 275). The occasion
gave great pleasure to Scott, on account of the patriotism and courage
displayed by all classes. "Me no muckle to fight for?" says Edie. "Isna
there the country to fight for, and the burns I gang dandering beside,
and the hearths o' the gudewives that gie me my bit bread, and the bits
o' weans that come toddling to play wi' me when I come about a landward
town?" Edie had fought at Fontenoy, and was of the old school. Scott
would have been less pleased with a recruit from St. Boswells, on the
Tweed. This man was a shoemaker, John Younger, a very intelligent and
worthy person, famous as an angler and writer on angling, who has left an
account of the "False Alarm" in his memoirs. His view was that the
people, unlike Edie, had nothing to fight for, that only the rich had any
reason to be patriotic, that the French had no quarrel with the poor. In
fact, Mr. Younger was a cosmopolitan democrat, and sneered at the old
Border glories of the warlike days. Probably, however, he would have done
his duty, had the enemy landed, and, like Edie, might have remembered the
"burns he dandered beside," always with a fishingrod in his hand.

The Editor cannot resist the temptation to add that the patriotic
lady mentioned in Scott's note, who "would rather have seen her son
dead on that hearth than hear that he had been a horse's length
behind his companions," was his paternal great-grandmother, Mrs.
John Lang. Her husband, who died shortly afterwards, so that she was
a widow when Scott conversed with her, chanced to be chief
magistrate of Selkirk. His family was aroused late one night by the
sound of a carriage hurrying down the steep and narrow street. Lord
Napier was bringing, probably from Hawick, the tidings that the
beacons were ablaze. The town-bell was instantly rung, the
inhabitants met in the marketplace, where Scott's statue now stands,
and the whole force, with one solitary exception, armed and marched
to Dalkeith. According to the gentleman whose horse and arms were
sent on to meet him, it was intended, if the French proved
victorious, that the population of the Border towns should abandon
their homes and retire to the hills.

No characters in the "Antiquary," except Monkbarns and Edie Ochiltree,
seem to have been borrowed from notable originals. The frauds of
Dousterswivel, Scott says, are rendered plausible by "very late instances
of the force of superstitious credulity to a much greater extent." He can
hardly be referring to the career of Cagliostro, but he may have had in
his memory some unsuccessful mining speculations by Charles Earl of
Traquair, who sought for lead and found little or none in Traquair hills.
The old "Statistical Account of Scotland" (vol. xii. p. 370) says nothing
about imposture, and merely remarks that "the noble family of Traquair
have made several attempts to discover lead mines, and have found
quantities of the ore of that metal, though not adequate to indemnify the
expenses of working, and have therefore given up the attempt." This was
published in 1794, so twenty years had passed when "The Antiquary" was
written. If there was here an "instance of superstitious credulity," it
was not "a very late instance." The divining, or "dowsing," rod of
Dousterswivel still keeps its place in mining superstition and in the
search for wells.

With "The Antiquary" most contemporary reviews of the novels lose their
interest. Their author had firmly established his position, at least till
"The Monastery" caused some murmurings. Even the "Quarterly Review" was
infinitely more genial in its reception of "The Antiquary" than of "Guy
Mannering." The critic only grumbled at Lovel's feverish dreams, which,
he thought, showed an intention to introduce the marvellous. He
complained of "the dark dialect of Anglified Erse," but found comfort in
the glossary appended. The "Edinburgh Review" pronounced the chapter on
the escape from the tide to be "I the very best description we have ever
met, inverse or in prose, in ancient or in modern writing." No reviewer
seems to have noticed that the sun is made to set in the sea, on the east
coast of Scotland. The "Edinburgh," however, declared that the Antiquary,
"at least in so far as he is an Antiquary," was the chief blemish on the
book. The "sweet heathen of Monkbarns" has not suffered from this
disparagement. The "British Critic" pledged its reputation that Scott was
the author. If an argument were wanted, "it would be that which has been
applied to prove the authenticity of the last book of the Iliad,--that
Homer must have written it, because no one else could." Alas! that
argument does not convince German critics.


Go call a coach, and let a coach be called,
And let the man who calleth be the caller;
And in his calling let him nothing call,
But Coach! Coach! Coach! O for a coach, ye gods!

It was early on a fine summer's day, near the end of the eighteenth
century, when a young man, of genteel appearance, journeying towards the
north-east of Scotland, provided himself with a ticket in one of those
public carriages which travel between Edinburgh and the Queensferry, at
which place, as the name implies, and as is well known to all my northern
readers, there is a passage-boat for crossing the Firth of Forth. The
coach was calculated to carry six regular passengers, besides such
interlopers as the coachman could pick up by the way, and intrude upon
those who were legally in possession. The tickets, which conferred right
to a seat in this vehicle, of little ease, were dispensed by a
sharp-looking old dame, with a pair of spectacles on a very thin nose,
who inhabited a "laigh shop," _anglice,_ a cellar, opening to the High
Street by a straight and steep stair, at the bottom of which she sold
tape, thread, needles, skeins of worsted, coarse linen cloth, and such
feminine gear, to those who had the courage and skill to descend to the
profundity of her dwelling, without falling headlong themselves, or
throwing down any of the numerous articles which, piled on each side of
the descent, indicated the profession of the trader below.

The written hand-bill, which, pasted on a projecting board, announced
that the Queensferry Diligence, or Hawes Fly, departed precisely at
twelve o'clock on Tuesday, the fifteenth July 17--, in order to secure
for travellers the opportunity of passing the Firth with the flood-tide,
lied on the present occasion like a bulletin; for although that hour was
pealed from Saint Giles's steeple, and repeated by the Tron, no coach
appeared upon the appointed stand. It is true, only two tickets had been
taken out, and possibly the lady of the subterranean mansion might have
an understanding with her Automedon, that, in such cases, a little space
was to be allowed for the chance of filling up the vacant places--or the
said Automedon might have been attending a funeral, and be delayed by the
necessity of stripping his vehicle of its lugubrious trappings--or he
might have staid to take a half-mutchkin extraordinary with his crony the
hostler--or--in short, he did not make his appearance.

The young gentleman, who began to grow somewhat impatient, was now joined
by a companion in this petty misery of human life--the person who had
taken out the other place. He who is bent upon a journey is usually
easily to be distinguished from his fellow-citizens. The boots, the
great-coat, the umbrella, the little bundle in his hand, the hat pulled
over his resolved brows, the determined importance of his pace, his brief
answers to the salutations of lounging acquaintances, are all marks by
which the experienced traveller in mail-coach or diligence can
distinguish, at a distance, the companion of his future journey, as he
pushes onward to the place of rendezvous. It is then that, with worldly
wisdom, the first comer hastens to secure the best berth in the coach for
himself, and to make the most convenient arrangement for his baggage
before the arrival of his competitors. Our youth, who was gifted with
little prudence, of any sort, and who was, moreover, by the absence of
the coach, deprived of the power of availing himself of his priority of
choice, amused himself, instead, by speculating upon the occupation and
character of the personage who was now come to the coach office.

He was a good-looking man of the age of sixty, perhaps older,--but his
hale complexion and firm step announced that years had not impaired his
strength or health. His countenance was of the true Scottish cast,
strongly marked, and rather harsh in features, with a shrewd and
penetrating eye, and a countenance in which habitual gravity was
enlivened by a cast of ironical humour. His dress was uniform, and of a
colour becoming his age and gravity; a wig, well dressed and powdered,
surmounted by a slouched hat, had something of a professional air. He
might be a clergyman, yet his appearance was more that of a man of the
world than usually belongs to the kirk of Scotland, and his first
ejaculation put the matter beyond question.

He arrived with a hurried pace, and, casting an alarmed glance towards
the dial-plate of the church, then looking at the place where the coach
should have been, exclaimed, "Deil's in it--I am too late after all!"

The young man relieved his anxiety, by telling him the coach had not yet
appeared. The old gentleman, apparently conscious of his own want of
punctuality, did not at first feel courageous enough to censure that of
the coachman. He took a parcel, containing apparently a large folio, from
a little boy who followed him, and, patting him on the head, bid him go
back and tell Mr. B----, that if he had known he was to have had so much
time, he would have put another word or two to their bargain,--then told
the boy to mind his business, and he would be as thriving a lad as ever
dusted a duodecimo. The boy lingered, perhaps in hopes of a penny to buy
marbles; but none was forthcoming. Our senior leaned his little bundle
upon one of the posts at the head of the staircase, and, facing the
traveller who had first arrived, waited in silence for about five minutes
the arrival of the expected diligence.

At length, after one or two impatient glances at the progress of the
minute-hand of the clock, having compared it with his own watch, a huge
and antique gold repeater, and having twitched about his features to give
due emphasis to one or two peevish pshaws, he hailed the old lady of the

"Good woman,--what the d--l is her name?--Mrs. Macleuchar!"

Mrs. Macleuchar, aware that she had a defensive part to sustain in the
encounter which was to follow, was in no hurry to hasten the discussion
by returning a ready answer.

"Mrs. Macleuchar,--Good woman" (with an elevated voice)--then apart, "Old
doited hag, she's as deaf as a post--I say, Mrs. Macleuchar!"

"I am just serving a customer.--Indeed, hinny, it will no be a bodle
cheaper than I tell ye."

"Woman," reiterated the traveller, "do you think we can stand here all
day till you have cheated that poor servant wench out of her half-year's
fee and bountith?"

"Cheated!" retorted Mrs. Macleuchar, eager to take up the quarrel upon a
defensible ground; "I scorn your words, sir: you are an uncivil person,
and I desire you will not stand there, to slander me at my ain

"The woman," said the senior, looking with an arch glance at his destined
travelling companion, "does not understand the words of action.--Woman,"
again turning to the vault, "I arraign not thy character, but I desire to
know what is become of thy coach?"

"What's your wull?" answered Mrs. Macleuchar, relapsing into deafness.

"We have taken places, ma'am," said the younger stranger, "in your
diligence for Queensferry"----"Which should have been half-way on the
road before now," continued the elder and more impatient traveller,
rising in wrath as he spoke: "and now in all likelihood we shall miss the
tide, and I have business of importance on the other side--and your
cursed coach"--

"The coach?--Gude guide us, gentlemen, is it no on the stand yet?"
answered the old lady, her shrill tone of expostulation sinking into a
kind of apologetic whine. "Is it the coach ye hae been waiting for?"

"What else could have kept us broiling in the sun by the side of the
gutter here, you--you faithless woman, eh?"

Mrs. Macleuchar now ascended her trap stair (for such it might be called,
though constructed of stone), until her nose came upon a level with the
pavement; then, after wiping her spectacles to look for that which she
well knew was not to be found, she exclaimed, with well-feigned
astonishment, "Gude guide us--saw ever onybody the like o' that?"

"Yes, you abominable woman," vociferated the traveller, "many have seen
the like of it, and all will see the like of it that have anything to do
with your trolloping sex;" then pacing with great indignation before the
door of the shop, still as he passed and repassed, like a vessel who
gives her broadside as she comes abreast of a hostile fortress, he shot
down complaints, threats, and reproaches, on the embarrassed Mrs.
Macleuchar. He would take a post-chaise--he would call a hackney coach
--he would take four horses--he must--he would be on the north side,
to-day--and all the expense of his journey, besides damages, direct and
consequential, arising from delay, should be accumulated on the devoted
head of Mrs. Macleuchar.

There, was something so comic in his pettish resentment, that the younger
traveller, who was in no such pressing hurry to depart, could not help
being amused with it, especially as it was obvious, that every now and
then the old gentleman, though very angry, could not help laughing at his
own vehemence. But when Mrs. Macleuchar began also to join in the
laughter, he quickly put a stop to her ill-timed merriment.

"Woman," said he, "is that advertisement thine?" showing a bit of
crumpled printed paper: "Does it not set forth, that, God willing, as you
hypocritically express it, the Hawes Fly, or Queensferry Diligence, would
set forth to-day at twelve o'clock; and is it not, thou falsest of
creatures, now a quarter past twelve, and no such fly or diligence to be
seen?--Dost thou know the consequence of seducing the lieges by false
reports?--dost thou know it might be brought under the statute of
leasing-making? Answer--and for once in thy long, useless, and evil life,
let it be in the words of truth and sincerity,--hast thou such a coach?
--is it _in rerum natura?_--or is this base annunciation a mere swindle on
the incautious to beguile them of their time, their patience, and three
shillings of sterling money of this realm?--Hast thou, I say, such a
coach? ay or no?"

"O dear, yes, sir; the neighbours ken the diligence weel, green picked
oat wi' red--three yellow wheels and a black ane."

"Woman, thy special description will not serve--it may be only a lie with
a circumstance."

"O, man, man!" said the overwhelmed Mrs. Macleuchar, totally exhausted at
having been so long the butt of his rhetoric, "take back your three
shillings, and make me quit o' ye."

"Not so fast, not so fast, woman--Will three shillings transport me to
Queensferry, agreeably to thy treacherous program?--or will it requite
the damage I may sustain by leaving my business undone, or repay the
expenses which I must disburse if I am obliged to tarry a day at the
South Ferry for lack of tide?--Will it hire, I say, a pinnace, for which
alone the regular price is five shillings?"

Here his argument was cut short by a lumbering noise, which proved to be
the advance of the expected vehicle, pressing forward with all the
dispatch to which the broken-winded jades that drew it could possibly be
urged. With ineffable pleasure, Mrs. Macleuchar saw her tormentor
deposited in the leathern convenience; but still, as it was driving off,
his head thrust out of the window reminded her, in words drowned amid the
rumbling of the wheels, that, if the diligence did not attain the Ferry
in time to save the flood-tide, she, Mrs. Macleuchar, should be held
responsible for all the consequences that might ensue.

The coach had continued in motion for a mile or two before the stranger
had completely repossessed himself of his equanimity, as was manifested
by the doleful ejaculations, which he made from time to time, on the too
great probability, or even certainty, of their missing the flood-tide. By
degrees, however, his wrath subsided; he wiped his brows, relaxed his
frown, and, undoing the parcel in his hand, produced his folio, on which
he gazed from time to time with the knowing look of an amateur, admiring
its height and condition, and ascertaining, by a minute and individual
inspection of each leaf, that the, volume was uninjured and entire from
title-page to colophon. His fellow-traveller took the liberty of
inquiring the subject of his studies. He lifted up his eyes with
something of a sarcastic glance, as if he supposed the young querist
would not relish, or perhaps understand, his answer, and pronounced the
book to be Sandy Gordon's _Itinerarium Septentrionale,_* a book
illustrative of the Roman remains in Scotland.

* Note B. Sandy Gordon's _Itinerarium._

The querist, unappalled by this learned title, proceeded to put several
questions, which indicated that he had made good use of a good education,
and, although not possessed of minute information on the subject of
antiquities, had yet acquaintance enough with the classics to render him
an interested and intelligent auditor when they were enlarged upon. The
elder traveller, observing with pleasure the capacity of his temporary
companion to understand and answer him, plunged, nothing loath, into a
sea of discussion concerning urns, vases, votive, altars, Roman camps,
and the rules of castrametation.

The pleasure of this discourse had such a dulcifying tendency, that,
although two causes of delay occurred, each of much more serious duration
than that which had drawn down his wrath upon the unlucky Mrs.
Macleuchar, our =Antiquary= only bestowed on the delay the honour of a
few episodical poohs and pshaws, which rather seemed to regard the
interruption of his disquisition than the retardation of his journey.

The first of these stops was occasioned by the breaking of a spring,
which half an hour's labour hardly repaired. To the second, the Antiquary
was himself accessory, if not the principal cause of it; for, observing
that one of the horses had cast a fore-foot shoe, he apprized the
coachman of this important deficiency. "It's Jamie Martingale that
furnishes the naigs on contract, and uphauds them," answered John, "and I
am not entitled to make any stop, or to suffer prejudice by the like of
these accidents."

"And when you go to--I mean to the place you deserve to go to, you
scoundrel,--who do you think will uphold _you_ on contract? If you don't
stop directly and carry the poor brute, to the next smithy, I'll have you
punished, if there's a justice of peace in Mid-Lothian;" and, opening the
coach-door, out he jumped, while the coachman obeyed his orders,
muttering, that "if the gentlemen lost the tide now, they could not say
but it was their ain fault, since he was willing to get on."

I like so little to analyze the complication of the causes which
influence actions, that I will not venture to ascertain whether our
Antiquary's humanity to the poor horse was not in some degree aided by
his desire of showing his companion a Pict's camp, or Round-about, a
subject which he had been elaborately discussing, and of which a
specimen, "very curious and perfect indeed," happened to exist about a
hundred yards distant from the spot where this interruption took place.
But were I compelled to decompose the motives of my worthy friend (for
such was the gentleman in the sober suit, with powdered wig and slouched
hat), I should say, that, although he certainly would not in any case
have suffered the coachman to proceed while the horse was unfit for
service, and likely to suffer by being urged forward, yet the man of
whipcord escaped some severe abuse and reproach by the agreeable mode
which the traveller found out to pass the interval of delay.

So much time was consumed by these interruptions of their journey, that
when they descended the hill above the Hawes (for so the inn on the
southern side of the Queensferry is denominated), the experienced eye of
the Antiquary at once discerned, from the extent of wet sand, and the
number of black stones and rocks, covered with sea-weed, which were
visible along the skirts of the shore, that the hour of tide was past.
The young traveller expected a burst of indignation; but whether, as
Croaker says in "The Good-natured Man," our hero had exhausted himself in
fretting away his misfortunes beforehand, so that he did not feel them
when they actually arrived, or whether he found the company in which he
was placed too congenial to lead him to repine at anything which delayed
his journey, it is certain that he submitted to his lot with much

"The d--l's in the diligence and the old hag, it belongs to!--Diligence,
quoth I? Thou shouldst have called it the Sloth--Fly, quoth she? why, it
moves like a fly through a glue-pot, as the Irishman says. But, however,
time and tide tarry for no man, and so, my young friend, we'll have a
snack here at the Hawes, which is a very decent sort of a place, and I'll
be very happy to finish the account I was giving you of the difference
between the mode of entrenching _castra stativa_ and _castra costiva,_
things confounded by too many of our historians. Lack-a-day, if they had
ta'en the pains to satisfy their own eyes, instead of following each
other's blind guidance!--Well! we shall be pretty comfortable at the
Hawes; and besides, after all, we must have dined somewhere, and it will
be pleasanter sailing with the tide of ebb and the evening breeze."

In this Christian temper of making the best of all occurrences, our
travellers alighted at the Hawes.


Sir, they do scandal me upon the road here!
A poor quotidian rack of mutton roasted
Dry to be grated! and that driven down
With beer and butter-milk, mingled together.
It is against my freehold, my inheritance.
Wine is the word that glads the heart of man,
And mine's the house of wine. _Sack,_ says my bush,
_Be merry and drink Sherry,_ that's my posie.
Ben Jonson's _New Inn._

As the senior traveller descended the crazy steps of the diligence at the
inn, he was greeted by the fat, gouty, pursy landlord, with that mixture
of familiarity and respect which the Scotch innkeepers of the old school
used to assume towards their more valued customers.

"Have a care o' us, Monkbarns (distinguishing him by his territorial
epithet, always most agreeable to the ear of a Scottish proprietor), is
this you? I little thought to have seen your honour here till the summer
session was ower."

"Ye donnard auld deevil," answered his guest, his Scottish accent
predominating when in anger though otherwise not particularly
remarkable,--"ye donnard auld crippled idiot, what have I to do with the
session, or the geese that flock to it, or the hawks that pick their
pinions for them?"

"Troth, and that's true," said mine host, who, in fact, only spoke upon a
very general recollection of the stranger's original education, yet would
have been sorry not to have been supposed accurate as to the station and
profession of him, or any other occasional guest--"That's very true,--but
I thought ye had some law affair of your ain to look after--I have ane
mysell--a ganging plea that my father left me, and his father afore left
to him. It's about our back-yard--ye'll maybe hae heard of it in the
Parliament-house, Hutchison against Mackitchinson--it's a weel-kenn'd
plea--its been four times in afore the fifteen, and deil ony thing the
wisest o' them could make o't, but just to send it out again to the
outer-house.--O it's a beautiful thing to see how lang and how carefully
justice is considered in this country!"

"Hold your tongue, you fool," said the traveller, but in great
good-humour, "and tell us what you can give this young gentleman and me
for dinner."

"Ou, there's fish, nae doubt,--that's sea-trout and caller haddocks,"
said Mackitchinson, twisting his napkin; "and ye'll be for a mutton-chop,
and there's cranberry tarts, very weel preserved, and--and there's just
ony thing else ye like."

"Which is to say, there is nothing else whatever? Well, well, the fish
and the chop, and the tarts, will do very well. But don't imitate the
cautious delay that you praise in the courts of justice. Let there be no
remits from the inner to the outer house, hear ye me?"

"Na, na," said Mackitchinson, whose long and heedful perusal of volumes
of printed session papers had made him acquainted with some law phrases
--"the denner shall be served _quam primum_ and that _peremptorie._" And
with the flattering laugh of a promising host, he left them in his sanded
parlour, hung with prints of the Four Seasons.

As, notwithstanding his pledge to the contrary, the glorious delays of
the law were not without their parallel in the kitchen of the inn, our
younger traveller had an opportunity to step out and make some inquiry of
the people of the house concerning the rank and station of his companion.
The information which he received was of a general and less authentic
nature, but quite sufficient to make him acquainted with the name,
history, and circumstances of the gentleman, whom we shall endeavour, in
a few words, to introduce more accurately to our readers.

Jonathan Oldenbuck, or Oldinbuck, by popular contraction Oldbuck, of
Monkbarns, was the second son of a gentleman possessed of a small
property in the neighbourhood of a thriving seaport town on the
north-eastern coast of Scotland, which, for various reasons, we shall
denominate Fairport. They had been established for several generations,
as landowners in the county, and in most shires of England would have
been accounted a family of some standing But the shire of----was filled
with gentlemen of more ancient descent and larger fortune. In the last
generation, also, the neighbouring gentry had been almost uniformly
Jacobites, while the proprietors of Monkbarns, like the burghers of the
town near which they were settled, were steady assertors of the
Protestant succession. The latter had, however, a pedigree of their own,
on which they prided themselves as much as those who despised them valued
their respective Saxon, Norman, or Celtic genealogies. The first
Oldenbuck, who had settled in their family mansion shortly after the
Reformation, was, they asserted, descended from one of the original
printers of Germany, and had left his country in consequence of the
persecutions directed against the professors of the Reformed religion. He
had found a refuge in the town near which his posterity dwelt, the more
readily that he was a sufferer in the Protestant cause, and certainly not
the less so, that he brought with him money enough to purchase the small
estate of Monkbarns, then sold by a dissipated laird, to whose father it
had been gifted, with other church lands, on the dissolution of the great
and wealthy monastery to which it had belonged. The Oldenbucks were
therefore, loyal subjects on all occasions of insurrection; and, as they
kept up a good intelligence with the borough, it chanced that the Laird
of Monkbarns, who flourished in 1745, was provost of the town during that
ill-fated year, and had exerted himself with much spirit in favour of
King George, and even been put to expenses on that score, which,
according to the liberal conduct of the existing government towards their
friends, had never been repaid him. By dint of solicitation, however, and
borough interest, he contrived to gain a place in the customs, and, being
a frugal, careful man, had found himself enabled to add considerably to
his paternal fortune. He had only two sons, of whom, as we have hinted,
the present laird was the younger, and two daughters, one of whom still
flourished in single blessedness, and the other, who was greatly more
juvenile, made a love-match with a captain in the _Forty-twa,_ who had no
other fortune but his commission and a Highland pedigree. Poverty
disturbed a union which love would otherwise have made happy, and Captain
M'Intyre, in justice to his wife and two children, a boy and girl, had
found himself obliged to seek his fortune in the East Indies. Being
ordered upon an expedition against Hyder Ally, the detachment to which he
belonged was cut off, and no news ever reached his unfortunate wife,
whether he fell in battle, or was murdered in prison, or survived in what
the habits of the Indian tyrant rendered a hopeless captivity. She sunk
under the accumulated load of grief and uncertainty, and left a son and
daughter to the charge of her brother, the existing Laird of Monkbarns.

The history of that proprietor himself is soon told. Being, as we have
said, a second son, his father destined him to a share in a substantial
mercantile concern, carried on by some of his maternal relations. From
this Jonathan's mind revolted in the most irreconcilable manner. He was
then put apprentice to the profession of a writer, or attorney, in which
he profited so far, that he made himself master of the whole forms of
feudal investitures, and showed such pleasure in reconciling their
incongruities, and tracing their origin, that his master had great hope
he would one day be an able conveyancer. But he halted upon the
threshold, and, though he acquired some knowledge of the origin and
system of the law of his country, he could never be persuaded to apply it
to lucrative and practical purposes. It was not from any inconsiderate
neglect of the advantages attending the possession of money that he thus
deceived the hopes of his master. "Were he thoughtless or light-headed, or
_rei suae prodigus,_" said his instructor, "I would know what to make of
him. But he never pays away a shilling without looking anxiously after
the change, makes his sixpence go farther than another lad's half-crown,
and wilt ponder over an old black-letter copy of the acts of parliament
for days, rather than go to the golf or the change-house; and yet he will
not bestow one of these days on a little business of routine, that would
put twenty shillings in his pocket--a strange mixture of frugality and
industry, and negligent indolence--I don't know what to make of him."

But in process of time his pupil gained the means of making what he
pleased of himself; for his father having died, was not long survived by
his eldest son, an arrant fisher and fowler, who departed this life, in
consequence of a cold caught in his vocation, while shooting ducks in the
swamp called Kittlefittingmoss, notwithstanding his having drunk a bottle
of brandy that very night to keep the cold out of his stomach. Jonathan,
therefore, succeeded to the estate, and with it to the means of
subsisting without the hated drudgery of the law. His wishes were very
moderate; and as the rent of his small property rose with the improvement
of the country, it soon greatly exceeded his wants and expenditure; and
though too indolent to make money, he was by no means insensible to the
pleasure of beholding it accumulate. The burghers of the town near which
he lived regarded him with a sort of envy, as one who affected to divide
himself from their rank in society, and whose studies and pleasures
seemed to them alike incomprehensible. Still, however, a sort of
hereditary respect for the Laird of Monkbarns, augmented by the knowledge
of his being a ready-money man, kept up his consequence with this class
of his neighbours. The country gentlemen were generally above him in
fortune, and beneath him in intellect, and, excepting one with whom he
lived in habits of intimacy, had little intercourse with Mr. Oldbuck of
Monkbarns. He, had, however, the usual resources, the company of the
clergyman, and of the doctor, when he chose to request it, and also his
own pursuits and pleasures, being in correspondence with most of the
virtuosi of his time, who, like himself, measured decayed entrenchments,
made plans of ruined castles, read illegible inscriptions, and wrote
essays on medals in the proportion of twelve pages to each letter of the
legend. Some habits of hasty irritation he had contracted, partly, it was
said in the borough of Fairport, from an early disappointment in love in
virtue of which he had commenced misogynist, as he called it, but yet
more by the obsequious attention paid to him by his maiden sister and his
orphan niece, whom he had trained to consider him as the greatest man
upon earth, and whom he used to boast of as the only women he had ever
seen who were well broke in and bitted to obedience; though, it must be
owned, Miss Grizzy Oldbuck was sometimes apt to _jibb_ when he pulled the
reins too tight. The rest of his character must be gathered from the
story, and we dismiss with pleasure the tiresome task of recapitulation.

During the time of dinner, Mr. Oldbuck, actuated by the same curiosity
which his fellow-traveller had entertained on his account, made some
advances, which his aye and station entitled him to do in a more direct
manner, towards ascertaining the name, destination, and quality of his
young companion.

His name, the young gentleman said, was Lovel.

"What! the cat, the rat, and Lovel our dog? Was he descended from King
Richard's favourite?"

"He had no pretensions," he said, "to call himself a whelp of that
litter; his father was a north-of-England gentleman. He was at present
travelling to Fairport (the town near to which Monkbarns was situated),
and, if he found the place agreeable, might perhaps remain there for some

"Was Mr. Lovel's excursion solely for pleasure?"

"Not entirely."

"Perhaps on business with some of the commercial people of Fairport?"

"It was partly on business, but had no reference to commerce."

Here he paused; and Mr. Oldbuck, having pushed his inquiries as far as
good manners permitted, was obliged to change the conversation. The
Antiquary, though by no means an enemy to good cheer, was a determined
foe to all unnecessary expense on a journey; and upon his companion
giving a hint concerning a bottle of port wine, he drew a direful picture
of the mixture, which, he said, was usually sold under that denomination,
and affirming that a little punch was more genuine and better suited for
the season, he laid his hand upon the bell to order the materials. But
Mackitchinson had, in his own mind, settled their beverage otherwise, and
appeared bearing in his hand an immense double quart bottle, or magnum,
as it is called in Scotland, covered with saw-dust and cobwebs, the
warrants of its antiquity.

"Punch!" said he, catching that generous sound as he entered the parlour,
"the deil a drap punch ye'se get here the day, Monkbarns, and that ye may
lay your account wi'."

"What do you mean, you impudent rascal?"

"Ay, ay, it's nae matter for that--but do you mind the trick ye served me
the last time ye were here!"

"I trick you!"

"Ay, just yoursell, Monkbarns. The Laird o' Tamlowrie and Sir Gilbert
Grizzlecleuch, and Auld Rossballoh, and the Bailie, were just setting in
to make an afternoon o't, and you, wi' some o' your auld-warld stories,
that the mind o' man canna resist, whirl'd them to the back o' beyont to
look at the auld Roman camp--Ah, sir!" turning to Lovel, "he wad wile the
bird aff the tree wi' the tales he tells about folk lang syne--and did
not I lose the drinking o' sax pints o' gude claret, for the deil ane wad
hae stirred till he had seen that out at the least?"

"D'ye hear the impudent scoundrel!" said Monkbarns, but laughing at the
same time; for the worthy landlord, as he used to boast, know the measure
of a guest's foot as well as e'er a souter on this side Solway; "well,
well, you may send us in a bottle of port."

"Port! na, na! ye maun leave port and punch to the like o' us, it's
claret that's fit for you lairds; and, I dare say, nane of the folk ye
speak so much o' ever drank either of the twa."

"Do you hear how absolute the knave is? Well, my young friend, we must
for once prefer the _Falernian_ to the _vile Sabinum._"

The ready landlord had the cork instantly extracted, decanted the wine
into a vessel of suitable capaciousness, and, declaring it _parfumed_ the
very room, left his guests to make the most of it.

Mackitchinson's wine was really good, and had its effect upon the spirits
of the elder guest, who told some good stories, cut some sly jokes, and
at length entered into a learned discussion concerning the ancient
dramatists; a ground on which he found his new acquaintance so strong,
that at length he began to suspect he had made them his professional
study. "A traveller partly for business and partly for pleasure?--why,
the stage partakes of both; it is a labour to the performers, and
affords, or is meant to afford, pleasure to the spectators. He seems, in
manner and rank, above the class of young men who take that turn; but I
remember hearing them say, that the little theatre at Fairport was to
open with the performance of a young gentleman, being his first
appearance on any stage.--If this should be thee, Lovel!--Lovel? yes,
Lovel or Belville are just the names which youngsters are apt to assume
on such occasions--on my life, I am sorry for the lad."

Mr. Oldbuck was habitually parsimonious, but in no respects mean; his
first thought was to save his fellow-traveller any part of the expense of
the entertainment, which he supposed must be in his situation more or
less inconvenient. He therefore took an opportunity of settling privately
with Mr. Mackitchinson. The young traveller remonstrated against his
liberality, and only acquiesced in deference to his years and

The mutual satisfaction which they found in each other's society induced
Mr. Oldbuck to propose, and Lovel willingly to accept, a scheme for
travelling together to the end of their journey. Mr. Oldbuck intimated a
wish to pay two-thirds of the hire of a post-chaise, saying, that a
proportional quantity of room was necessary to his accommodation; but
this Mr. Lovel resolutely declined. Their expense then was mutual, unless
when Lovel occasionally slipt a shilling into the hand of a growling
postilion; for Oldbuck, tenacious of ancient customs, never extended his
guerdon beyond eighteen-pence a stage. In this manner they travelled,
until they arrived at Fairport* about two o'clock on the following day.

* [The "Fairport" of this novel is supposed to refer to the town of *
Arbroath, in Forfarshire, and "Musselcrag," _post,_ to the fishing
village of * Auchmithie, in the same county.]

Lovel probably expected that his travelling companion would have invited
him to dinner on his arrival; but his consciousness of a want of ready
preparation for unexpected guests, and perhaps some other reasons,
prevented Oldbuck from paying him that attention. He only begged to see
him as early as he could make it convenient to call in a forenoon,
recommended him to a widow who had apartments to let, and to a person who
kept a decent ordinary; cautioning both of them apart, that he only knew
Mr. Lovel as a pleasant companion in a post-chaise, and did not mean to
guarantee any bills which he might contract while residing at Fairport.
The young gentleman's figure and manners; not to mention a well-furnished
trunk, which soon arrived by sea, to his address at Fairport, probably
went as far in his favour as the limited recommendation of his


He had a routh o' auld nick-nackets,
Rusty airn caps, and jinglin-jackets,
Would held the Loudons three in tackets,
A towmond gude;
And parritch-pats, and auld sayt-backets,
Afore the flude.

After he had settled himself in his new apartments at Fairport, Mr. Lovel
bethought him of paying the requested visit to his fellow-traveller. He
did not make it earlier, because, with all the old gentleman's
good-humour and information, there had sometimes glanced forth in his
language and manner towards him an air of superiority, which his
companion considered as being fully beyond what the difference of age
warranted. He therefore waited the arrival of his baggage from Edinburgh,
that he might arrange his dress according to the fashion of the day, and
make his exterior corresponding to the rank in society which he supposed
or felt himself entitled to hold.

It was the fifth day after his arrival, that, having made the necessary
inquiries concerning the road, he went forth to pay his respects at
Monkbarns. A footpath leading over a heathy hill, and through two or
three meadows, conducted him to this mansion, which stood on the opposite
side of the hill aforesaid, and commanded a fine prospect of the bay and
shipping. Secluded from the town by the rising ground, which also
screened it from the north-west wind, the house had a solitary, and
sheltered appearance. The exterior had little to recommend it. It was an
irregular old-fashioned building, some part of which had belonged to a
grange, or solitary farm-house, inhabited by the bailiff, or steward, of
the monastery, when the place was in possession of the monks. It was here
that the community stored up the grain, which they received as
ground-rent from their vassals; for, with the prudence belonging to their
order, all their conventional revenues were made payable in kind, and
hence, as the present proprietor loved to tell, came the name of
Monkbarns. To the remains of the bailiff's house, the succeeding lay
inhabitants had made various additions in proportion to the accommodation
required by their families; and, as this was done with an equal contempt
of convenience within and architectural regularity without, the whole
bore the appearance of a hamlet which had suddenly stood still when in
the act of leading down one of Amphion's, or Orpheus's, country dances.
It was surrounded by tall clipped hedges of yew and holly, some of which
still exhibited the skill of the _topiarian_ artist,* and presented
curious arm-chairs, towers, and the figures of Saint George and the

* _Ars Topiaria,_ the art of clipping yew-hedges into fantastic figures.
A Latin poem, entitled _Ars Topiaria,_ contains a curious account of the

The taste of Mr. Oldbuck did not disturb these monuments of an art now
unknown, and he was the less tempted so to do, as it must necessarily
have broken the heart of the old gardener. One tall embowering holly was,
however, sacred from the shears; and, on a garden seat beneath its shade,
Lovel beheld his old friend with spectacles on nose, and pouch on side,
busily employed in perusing the London Chronicle, soothed by the summer
breeze through the rustling leaves, and the distant dash of the waves as
they rippled upon the sand.

Mr. Oldbuck immediately rose, and advanced to greet his travelling
acquaintance with a hearty shake of the hand. "By my faith," said he, "I
began to think you had changed your mind, and found the stupid people of
Fairport so tiresome, that you judged them unworthy of your talents, and
had taken French leave, as my old friend and brother-antiquary Mac-Cribb
did, when he went off with one of my Syrian medals."

"I hope, my good sir, I should have fallen under no such imputation."

"Quite as bad, let me tell you, if you had stolen yourself away without
giving me the pleasure of seeing you again. I had rather you had taken my
copper Otho himself.--But come, let me show you the way into my _sanctum
sanctorum_--my cell I may call it, for, except two idle hussies of
womankind," (by this contemptuous phrase, borrowed from his
brother-antiquary, the cynic Anthony a-Wood, Mr. Oldbuck was used to
denote the fair sex in general, and his sister and niece in particular),
"that, on some idle pretext of relationship, have established themselves
in my premises, I live here as much a Coenobite as my predecessor, John
o' the Girnell, whose grave I will show you by and by."

Thus speaking the old gentleman led the way through a low door; but
before entrance, suddenly stopped short to point out some vestiges of
what he called an inscription, and, shaking his head as he pronounced it
totally illegible, "Ah! if you but knew, Mr. Lovel, the time and trouble
that these mouldering traces of letters have cost me! No mother ever
travailed so for a child--and all to no purpose--although I am almost
positive that these two last marks imply the figures, or letters, LV, and
may give us a good guess at the real date of the building, since we know,
_aliunde,_ that it was founded by Abbot Waldimir about the middle of the
fourteenth century--and, I profess, I think that centre ornament might be
made out by better eyes than mine."

"I think," answered Lovel, willing to humour the old man, "it has
something the appearance of a mitre."

"I protest you are right! you are right! it never struck me before--see
what it is to have younger eyes--A mitre--a mitre--it corresponds in
every respect."

The resemblance was not much nearer than that of Polonius's cloud to a
whale, or an owzel; it was sufficient, however, to set the Antiquary's
brains to work. "A mitre, my dear sir," continued he, as he led the way
through a labyrinth of inconvenient and dark passages, and accompanied
his disquisition with certain necessary cautions to his guest--"A mitre,
my dear sir, will suit our abbot as well as a bishop--he was a mitred
abbot, and at the very top of the roll--take care of these three steps--I
know Mac-Cribb denies this, but it is as certain as that he took away my
Antigonus, no leave asked--you'll see the name of the Abbot of Trotcosey,
_Abbas Trottocosiensis,_ at the head of the rolls of parliament in the
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries--there is very little light here, and
these cursed womankind always leave their tubs in the passage--now take,
care of the corner--ascend twelve steps, and ye are safe!"

Mr. Oldbuck had by this time attained the top of the winding stair which
led to his own apartment, and opening a door, and pushing aside a piece
of tapestry with which it was covered, his first exclamation was, "What
are you about here, you sluts?" A dirty barefooted chambermaid threw down
her duster, detected in the heinous fact of arranging the _sanctum
sanctorum,_ and fled out of an opposite door from the face of her
incensed master. A genteel-looking young woman, who was superintending
the operation, stood her ground, but with some timidity.

"Indeed, uncle, your room was not fit to be seen, and I just came to see
that Jenny laid everything down where she took it up."

"And how dare you, or Jenny either, presume to meddle with my private
matters?" (Mr. Oldbuck hated _puttting to rights_ as much as Dr.
Orkborne, or any other professed student.) "Go, sew your sampler, you
monkey, and do not let me find you here again, as you value your ears.--I
assure you, Mr. Lovel, that the last inroad of these pretended friends to
cleanliness was almost as fatal to my collection as Hudibras's visit to
that of Sidrophel; and I have ever since missed

My copperplate, with almanacks
Engraved upon't and other knacks
My moon-dial, with Napier's bones,
And several constellation Stones;
My flea, my morpeon, and punaise,
I purchased for my proper ease.

And so forth, as old Butler has it."

The young lady, after courtesying to Lovel, had taken the opportunity to
make her escape during this enumeration of losses. "You'll be poisoned
here with the volumes of dust they have raised," continued the Antiquary;
"but I assure you the dust was very ancient, peaceful, quiet dust, about
an hour ago, and would have remained so for a hundred years, had not
these gipsies disturbed it, as they do everything else in the world."

It was indeed some time before Lovel could, through the thick atmosphere,
perceive in what sort of den his friend had constructed his retreat. It
was a lofty room of middling size, obscurely lighted by high narrow
latticed windows. One end was entirely occupied by book-shelves, greatly
too limited in space for the number of volumes placed upon them, which
were, therefore, drawn up in ranks of two or three files deep, while
numberless others littered the floor and the tables, amid a chaos of
maps, engraving, scraps of parchment, bundles of papers, pieces of old
armour, swords, dirks, helmets, and Highland targets. Behind Mr.
Oldbuck's seat (which was an ancient leathern-covered easy-chair, worn
smooth by constant use) was a huge oaken cabinet, decorated at each
corner with Dutch cherubs, having their little duck-wings displayed, and
great jolter-headed visages placed between them. The top of this cabinet
was covered with busts, and Roman lamps and paterae, intermingled with
one or two bronze figures. The walls of the apartment were partly clothed
with grim old tapestry, representing the memorable story of Sir Gawaine's
wedding, in which full justice was done to the ugliness of the Lothely
Lady; although, to judge from his own looks, the gentle knight had less
reason to be disgusted with the match on account of disparity of outward
favour, than the romancer has given us to understand. The rest of the
room was panelled, or wainscotted, with black oak, against which hung two
or three portraits in armour, being characters in Scottish history,
favourites of Mr. Oldbuck, and as many in tie-wigs and laced coats,
staring representatives of his own ancestors. A large old-fashioned oaken
table was covered with a profusion of papers, parchments, books, and
nondescript trinkets and gewgaws, which seemed to have little to
recommend them, besides rust and the antiquity which it indicates. In the
midst of this wreck of ancient books and utensils, with a gravity equal
to Marius among the ruins of Carthage, sat a large black cat, which, to a
superstitious eye, might have presented the _genius loci,_ the tutelar
demon of the apartment. The floor, as well as the table and chairs, was
overflowed by the same _mare magnum_ of miscellaneous trumpery, where it
would have been as impossible to find any individual article wanted, as
to put it to any use when discovered.

Amid this medley, it was no easy matter to find one's way to a chair,
without stumbling over a prostrate folio, or the still more awkward
mischance of overturning some piece of Roman or ancient British pottery.
And, when the chair was attained, it had to be disencumbered, with a
careful hand, of engravings which might have received damage, and of
antique spurs and buckles, which would certainly have occasioned it to
any sudden occupant. Of this the Antiquary made Lovel particularly aware,
adding, that his friend, the Rev. Doctor Heavysterne from the Low
Countries, had sustained much injury by sitting down suddenly and
incautiously on three ancient calthrops, or _craw-taes,_ which had been
lately dug up in the bog near Bannockburn, and which, dispersed by Robert
Bruce to lacerate the feet of the English chargers, came thus in process
of time to endamage the sitting part of a learned professor of Utrecht.

Having at length fairly settled himself, and being nothing loath to make
inquiry concerning the strange objects around him, which his host was
equally ready, as far as possible, to explain, Lovel was introduced to a
large club, or bludgeon, with an iron spike at the end of it, which, it
seems, had been lately found in a field on the Monkbarns property,
adjacent to an old burying-ground. It had mightily the air of such a
stick as the Highland reapers use to walk with on their annual
peregrinations from their mountains; but Mr. Oldbuck was strongly tempted
to believe, that, as its shape was singular, it might have been one of
the clubs with which the monks armed their peasants in lieu of more
martial weapons,--whence, he observed, the villains were called
_Colve-carles,_ or _Kolb-kerls,_ that is, _Clavigeri,_ or club-bearers.
For the truth of this custom, he quoted the chronicle of Antwerp and that
of St. Martin; against which authorities Lovel had nothing to oppose,
having never heard of them till that moment.

Mr. Oldbuck next exhibited thumb-screws, which had given the Covenanters
of former days the cramp in their joints, and a collar with the name of a
fellow convicted of theft, whose services, as the inscription bore, had
been adjudged to a neighbouring baron, in lieu of the modern Scottish
punishment, which, as Oldbuck said, sends such culprits to enrich England
by their labour, and themselves by their dexterity. Many and various were
the other curiosities which he showed;--but it was chiefly upon his books
that he prided himself, repeating, with a complacent air, as he led the
way to the crowded and dusty shelves, the verses of old Chaucer--

For he would rather have, at his bed-head,
A twenty books, clothed in black or red,
Of Aristotle, or his philosophy,
Than robes rich, rebeck, or saltery.

This pithy motto he delivered, shaking his head, and giving each guttural
the true Anglo-Saxon enunciation, which is now forgotten in the southern
parts of this realm.

The collection was indeed a curious one, and might well be envied by an
amateur. Yet it was not collected at the enormous prices of modern times,
which are sufficient to have appalled the most determined as well as
earliest bibliomaniac upon record, whom we take to have been none else
than the renowned Don Quixote de la Mancha, as, among other slight
indications of an infirm understanding, he is stated, by his veracious
historian, Cid Hamet Benengeli, to have exchanged fields and farms for
folios and quartos of chivalry. In this species of exploit, the good
knight-errant has been imitated by lords, knights, and squires of our own
day, though we have not yet heard of any that has mistaken an inn for a
castle, or laid his lance in rest against a windmill. Mr. Oldbuck did not
follow these collectors in such excess of expenditure; but, taking a
pleasure in the personal labour of forming his library, saved his purse
at the expense of his time and toil, He was no encourager of that
ingenious race of peripatetic middle-men, who, trafficking between the
obscure keeper of a stall and the eager amateur, make their profit at
once of the ignorance of the former, and the dear-bought skill and taste
of the latter. When such were mentioned in his hearing, he seldom failed
to point out how necessary it was to arrest the object of your curiosity
in its first transit, and to tell his favourite story of Snuffy Davie and
Caxton's Game at Chess.--"Davy Wilson," he said, "commonly called Snuffy
Davy, from his inveterate addiction to black rappee, was the very prince
of scouts for searching blind alleys, cellars, and stalls for rare
volumes. He had the scent of a slow-hound, sir, and the snap of a
bull-dog. He would detect you an old black-letter ballad among the leaves
of a law-paper, and find an _editio princeps_ under the mask of a school
Corderius. Snuffy Davy bought the Game of Chess, 1474, the first book
ever printed in England, from a stall in Holland, for about two groschen,
or twopence of our money. He sold it to Osborne for twenty pounds, and as
many books as came to twenty pounds more. Osborne resold this inimitable
windfall to Dr. Askew for sixty guineas. At Dr. Askew's sale," continued
the old gentleman, kindling as he spoke, "this inestimable treasure
blazed forth in its full value, and was purchased by Royalty itself for
one hundred and seventy pounds!--Could a copy now occur, Lord only
knows," he ejaculated, with a deep sigh and lifted-up hands--"Lord only
knows what would be its ransom; and yet it was originally secured, by
skill and research, for the easy equivalent of two-pence sterling. *
Happy, thrice happy, Snuffy Davie!--and blessed were the times when thy
industry could be so rewarded!

* This bibliomaniacal anecdote is literally true; and David Wilson, the
author need not tell his brethren of the Roxburghe and Bannatyne Clubs,
was a real personage.

"Even I, sir," he went on, "though far inferior in industry and
discernment and presence of mind, to that great man, can show you a few
--a very few things, which I have collected, not by force of money, as any
wealthy man might,--although, as my friend Lucian says, he might chance
to throw away his coin only to illustrate his ignorance,--but gained in a
manner that shows I know something of the matter. See this bundle of
ballads, not one of them later than 1700, and some of them an hundred
years older. I wheedled an old woman out of these, who loved them better
than her psalm-book. Tobacco, sir, snuff, and the Complete Syren, were
the equivalent! For that, mutilated copy of the Complaynt of Scotland, I
sat out the drinking of two dozen bottles of strong ale with the late
learned proprietor, who, in gratitude, bequeathed it to me by his last
will. These little Elzevirs are the memoranda and trophies of many a walk
by night and morning through the Cowgate, the Canongate, the Bow, St.
Mary's Wynd,--wherever, in fine, there were to be found brokers and
trokers, those miscellaneous dealers in things rare and curious. How
often have I stood haggling on a halfpenny, lest, by a too ready
acquiescence in the dealer's first price, he should be led to suspect the
value I set upon the article!--how have I trembled, lest some passing
stranger should chop in between me and the prize, and regarded each poor
student of divinity that stopped to turn over the books at the stall, as
a rival amateur, or prowling bookseller in disguise!--And then, Mr.
Lovel, the sly satisfaction with which one pays the consideration, and
pockets the article, affecting a cold indifference, while the hand is
trembling with pleasure!--Then to dazzle the eyes of our wealthier and
emulous rivals by showing them such a treasure as this" (displaying a
little black smoked book about the size of a primer); "to enjoy their
surprise and envy, shrouding meanwhile, under a veil of mysterious
consciousness, our own superior knowledge and dexterity these, my young
friend, these are the white moments of life, that repay the toil, and
pains, and sedulous attention, which our profession, above all others, so
peculiarly demands!"

Lovel was not a little amused at hearing the old gentleman run on in this
manner, and, however incapable of entering into the full merits of what
he beheld, he admired, as much as could have been expected, the various
treasures which Oldbuck exhibited. Here were editions esteemed as being
the first, and there stood those scarcely less regarded as being the last
and best; here was a book valued because it had the author's final
improvements, and there another which (strange to tell!) was in request
because it had them not. One was precious because it was a folio, another
because it was a duodecimo; some because they were tall, some because
they were short; the merit of this lay in the title-page--of that in the
arrangement of the letters in the word Finis. There was, it seemed, no
peculiar distinction, however trifling or minute, which might not give
value to a volume, providing the indispensable quality of scarcity, or
rare occurrence, was attached to it.

Not the least fascinating was the original broadside,--the Dying Speech,
Bloody Murder, or Wonderful Wonder of Wonders,--in its primary tattered
guise, as it was hawked through the streets, and sold for the cheap and
easy price of one penny, though now worth the weight of that penny in
gold. On these the Antiquary dilated with transport, and read, with a
rapturous voice, the elaborate titles, which bore the same proportion to
the contents that the painted signs without a showman's booth do to the
animals within. Mr. Oldbuck, for example, piqued himself especially in
possessing an _unique_ broadside, entitled and called "Strange and
Wonderful News from Chipping-Norton, in the County of Oxon, of certain
dreadful Apparitions which were seen in the Air on the 26th of July 1610,
at Half an Hour after Nine o'Clock at Noon, and continued till Eleven, in
which Time was seen Appearances of several flaming Swords, strange
Motions of the superior Orbs; with the unusual Sparkling of the Stars,
with their dreadful Continuations; With the Account of the Opening of the
Heavens, and strange Appearances therein disclosing themselves, with
several other prodigious Circumstances not heard of in any Age, to the
great Amazement of the Beholders, as it was communicated in a Letter to
one Mr. Colley, living in West Smithfield, and attested by Thomas Brown,
Elizabeth Greenaway, and Anne Gutheridge, who were Spectators of the
dreadful Apparitions: And if any one would be further satisfied of the
Truth of this Relation, let them repair to Mr. Nightingale's at the Bear
Inn, in West Smithfield, and they may be satisfied."*

* Of this thrice and four times rare broadside, the author possesses an

"You laugh at this," said the proprietor of the collection, "and I
forgive you. I do acknowledge that the charms on which we doat are not so
obvious to the eyes of youth as those of a fair lady; but you will grow
wiser, and see more justly, when you come to wear spectacles.--Yet stay,
I have one piece of antiquity, which you, perhaps, will prize more

So saying, Mr. Oldbuck unlocked a drawer, and took out a bundle of keys,
then pulled aside a piece of the tapestry which concealed the door of a
small closet, into which he descended by four stone steps, and, after
some tinkling among bottles and cans, produced two long-stalked
wine-glasses with bell mouths, such as are seen in Teniers' pieces, and a
small bottle of what he called rich racy canary, with a little bit of
diet cake, on a small silver server of exquisite old workmanship. "I will
say nothing of the server," he remarked, "though it is said to have been
wrought by the old mad Florentine, Benvenuto Cellini. But, Mr. Lovel, our
ancestors drank sack--you, who admire the drama, know where that's to be
found.--Here's success to your exertions at Fairport, sir!"

"And to you, sir, and an ample increase to your treasure, with no more
trouble on your part than is just necessary to make the acquisitions

After a libation so suitable to the amusement in which they had been
engaged, Lovel rose to take his leave, and Mr. Oldbuck prepared to give
him his company a part of the way, and show him something worthy of his
curiosity on his return to Fairport.


The pawkie auld carle cam ower the lea,
Wi' mony good-e'ens and good-morrows to me,
Saying, Kind Sir, for your courtesy,
Will ye lodge a silly puir man?
The Gaberlunzie Man.

Our two friends moved through a little orchard, where the aged
apple-trees, well loaded with fruit, showed, as is usual in the
neighbourhood of monastic buildings, that the days of the monks had not
always been spent in indolence, but often dedicated to horticulture and
gardening. Mr. Oldbuck failed not to make Lovel remark, that the planters
of those days were possessed of the modern secret of preventing the roots
of the fruit-trees from penetrating the till, and compelling them to
spread in a lateral direction, by placing paving-stones beneath the trees
when first planted, so as to interpose between their fibres and the
subsoil. "This old fellow," he said, "which was blown down last summer,
and still, though half reclined on the ground, is covered with fruit, has
been, as you may see, accommodated with such a barrier between his roots
and the unkindly till. That other tree has a story:--the fruit is called
the Abbot's Apple; the lady of a neighbouring baron was so fond of it,
that she would often pay a visit to Monkbarns, to have the pleasure of
gathering it from the tree. The husband, a jealous man, belike, suspected
that a taste so nearly resembling that of Mother Eve prognosticated a
similar fall. As the honour of a noble family is concerned, I will say no
more on the subject, only that the lands of Lochard and Cringlecut still
pay a fine of six bolls of barley annually, to atone the guilt of their
audacious owner, who intruded himself and his worldly suspicions upon the
seclusion of the Abbot and his penitent.--Admire the little belfry rising
above the ivy-mantled porch--there was here a _hospitium, hospitals,_ or
_hospitamentum_ (for it is written all these various ways in the old
writings and evidents), in which the monks received pilgrims. I know our
minister has said, in the Statistical Account, that the _hospitium_ was
situated either in the lands of Haltweary or upon those of Half-starvet;
but he is incorrect, Mr. Lovel--that is the gate called still the
Palmer's Port, and my gardener found many hewn stones, when he was
trenching the ground for winter celery, several of which I have sent as
specimens to my learned friends, and to the various antiquarian societies
of which I am an unworthy member. But I will say no more at present; I
reserve something for another visit, and we have an object of real
curiosity before us."

While he was thus speaking, he led the way briskly through one or two
rich pasture-meadows, to an open heath or common, and so to the top of a
gentle eminence. "Here," he said, "Mr. Lovel, is a truly remarkable

"It commands a fine view," said his companion, looking around him.

"True: but it is not for the prospect I brought you hither; do you see
nothing else remarkable?--nothing on the surface of the ground?"

"Why, yes; I do see something like a ditch, indistinctly marked."

"Indistinctly!--pardon me, sir, but the indistinctness must be in your
powers of vision. Nothing can be more plainly traced--a proper _agger_ or
_vallum,_ with its corresponding ditch or _fossa._ Indistinctly! why,
Heaven help you, the lassie, my niece, as light-headed a goose as
womankind affords, saw the traces of the ditch at once. Indistinct!--why,
the great station at Ardoch, or that at Burnswark in Annandale, may be
clearer, doubtless, because they are stative forts, whereas this was only
an occasional encampment. Indistinct!--why, you must suppose that fools,
boors, and idiots, have ploughed up the land, and, like beasts and
ignorant savages, have thereby obliterated two sides of the square, and
greatly injured the third; but you see, yourself, the fourth side is
quite entire!"

Lovel endeavoured to apologize, and to explain away his ill-timed phrase,
and pleaded his inexperience. But he was not at once quite successful.
His first expression had come too frankly and naturally not to alarm the
Antiquary, and he could not easily get over the shock it had given him.

"My dear sir," continued the senior, "your eyes are not inexperienced:
you know a ditch from level ground, I presume, when you see them?
Indistinct! why, the very common people, the very least boy that can herd
a cow, calls it the Kaim of Kinprunes; and if that does not imply an
ancient camp, I am ignorant what does."

Lovel having again acquiesced, and at length lulled to sleep the
irritated and suspicious vanity of the Antiquary, he proceeded in his
task of cicerone. "You must know," he said, "our Scottish antiquaries
have been greatly divided about the local situation of the final conflict
between Agricola and the Caledonians; some contend for Ardoch in
Strathallan, some for Innerpeffry, some for the Raedykes in the Mearns,
and some are for carrying the scene of action as far north as Blair in
Athole. Now, after all this discussion," continued the old gentleman,
with one of his slyest and most complacent looks, "what would you think,
Mr. Lovel,--I say, what would you think,--if the memorable scene of
conflict should happen to be on the very spot called the Kaim of
Kinprunes, the property of the obscure and humble individual who now
speaks to you?" Then, having paused a little, to suffer his guest to
digest a communication so important, he resumed his disquisition in a
higher tone. "Yes, my good friend, I am indeed greatly deceived if this
place does not correspond with all the marks of that celebrated place of
action. It was near to the Grampian mountains--lo! yonder they are,
mixing and contending with the sky on the skirts of the horizon! It was
_in conspectu classis_--in sight of the Roman fleet; and would any
admiral, Roman or British, wish a fairer bay to ride in than that on your
right hand? It is astonishing how blind we professed antiquaries
sometimes are! Sir Robert Sibbald, Saunders Gordon, General Roy, Dr.
Stokely,--why, it escaped all of them. I was unwilling to say a word
about it till I had secured the ground, for it belonged to auld Johnnie
Howie, a bonnet-laird* hard by, and many a communing we had before he and
I could agree.

* A bonnet-laird signifies a petty proprietor, wearing the dress, along
with the habits of a yeoman.

At length--I am almost ashamed to say it--but I even brought my mind to
give acre for acre of my good corn-land for this barren spot. But then it
was a national concern; and when the scene of so celebrated an event
became my own, I was overpaid.--Whose patriotism would not grow warmer,
as old Johnson says, on the plains of Marathon? I began to trench the
ground, to see what might be discovered; and the third day, sir, we found
a stone, which I have transported to Monkbarns, in order to have the
sculpture taken off with plaster of Paris; it bears a sacrificing vessel,
and the letters A. D. L. L. which may stand, without much violence, for
_Agricola Dicavit Libens Lubens._"

"Certainly, sir; for the Dutch Antiquaries claim Caligula as the founder
of a light-house, on the sole authority of the letters C. C. P. F., which
they interpret _Caius Caligula Pharum Fecit._"

"True, and it has ever been recorded as a sound exposition. I see we
shall make something of you even before you wear spectacles,
notwithstanding you thought the traces of this beautiful camp indistinct
when you first observed them."

"In time, sir, and by good instruction"--

"--You will become more apt--I doubt it not. You shall peruse, upon your
next visit to Monkbarns, my trivial Essay upon Castrametation, with some
particular Remarks upon the Vestiges of Ancient Fortifications lately
discovered by the Author at the Kaim of Kinprunes. I think I have pointed
out the infallible touchstone of supposed antiquity. I premise a few
general rules on that point, on the nature, namely, of the evidence to be
received in such cases. Meanwhile be pleased to observe, for example,
that I could press into my service Claudian's famous line,

Ille Caledoniis posuit qui castra pruinis.

For _pruinis,_ though interpreted to mean _hoar frosts,_ to which I own

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