Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

The Private Memoirs and Confessions of A Justified Sinner

Part 4 out of 5

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.5 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

lamentations of the dame became so overpowering that they put
an end to all further colloquy; but Lawyer Linkum followed me,
and stated his great outlay, and the important services he had
rendered me, until I was obliged to subscribe an order to him for
L100 on my banker.

I was now glad to retire with my friend, and ask seriously for
some explanation of all this. It was in the highest degree
unsatisfactory. He confirmed all that had been stated to me;
assuring me that I had not only been assiduous in my endeavours
to seduce a young lady of great beauty, which it seemed I had
effected, but that I had taken counsel, and got this supposed, old,
false, and forged grant raked up and now signed, to ruin the
young lady's family quite, so as to throw her entirely on myself
for protection, and be wholly at my will.

This was to me wholly incomprehensible. I could have freely
made oath to the contrary of every particular. Yet the evidences
were against me, and of a nature not to be denied. Here I must
confess that, highly as I disapproved of the love of women, and
all intimacies and connections with the sex, I felt a sort of
indefinite pleasure, an ungracious delight in having a beautiful
woman solely at my disposal. But I thought of her spiritual good
in the meantime. My friend spoke of my backslidings with
concern; requesting me to make sure of my forgiveness, and to
forsake them; and then he added some words of sweet comfort.
But from this time forth I began to be sick at times of my
existence. I had heart-burnings, longings, and, yearnings that
would not be satisfied; and I seemed hardly to be an accountable
creature; being thus in the habit of executing transactions of the
utmost moment without being sensible that I did them. I was a
being incomprehensible to myself. Either I had a second self, who
transacted business in my likeness, or else my body was at times
possessed by a spirit over which it had no control, and of whose
actions my own soul was wholly unconscious. This was an
anomaly not to be accounted for by any philosophy of mine, and I
was many times, in contemplating it, excited to terrors and mental
torments hardly describable. To be in a state of consciousness and
unconsciousness, at the same time, in the same body and same
spirit, was impossible. I was under the greatest anxiety, dreading
some change would take place momently in my nature; for of
dates I could make nothing: one-half, or two-thirds of my time,
seemed to me totally lost. I often, about this time, prayed with
great fervour, and lamented my hopeless condition, especially in
being liable to the commission of crimes which I was not sensible
of and could not eschew. And I confess, notwithstanding the
promises on which I had been taught to rely, I began to have
secret terrors that the great enemy of man's salvation was
exercising powers over me that might eventually lead to my ruin.
These were but temporary and sinful fears, but they added greatly
to my unhappiness.

The worst thing of all was what hitherto I had never felt, and, as
yet, durst not confess to myself, that the presence of my
illustrious and devoted friend was becoming irksome to me.
When I was by myself, I breathed freer, and my step was lighter;
but, when he approached, a pang went to my heart, and, in his
company, I moved and acted as if under a load that I could hardly
endure. What a state to be in! And yet to shake him off was
impossible--we were incorporated together--identified with one
another, as it were, and the power was not in me to separate
myself from him. I still knew nothing who he was, further than
that he was a potentate of some foreign land, bent on establishing
some pure and genuine doctrines of Christianity, hitherto only
half understood, and less than half exercised. Of this I could have
no doubts after all that he had said, done and suffered in the
cause. But, alongst with this, I was also certain that he was
possessed of some supernatural power, of the source of which I
was wholly ignorant. That a man could be a Christian and at the
same time a powerful necromancer, appeared inconsistent, and
adverse to every principle taught in our Church and from this I
was led to believe that he inherited his powers from on high, for I
could not doubt either of the soundness of his principles or that he
accomplished things impossible to account for. Thus was I
sojourning in the midst of a chaos of confusion. I looked back on
my by-past life with pain, as one looks back on a perilous
journey, in which he has attained his end, without gaining any
advantage either to himself or others; and I looked forward, as on
a darksome waste, full of repulsive and terrific shapes, pitfalls,
and precipices, to which there was no definite bourn, and from
which I turned with disgust. With my riches, my unhappiness was
increased tenfold; and here, with another great acquisition of
property, for which I had pleaed, and which I had gained in a
dream, my miseries and difficulties were increasing. My principal
feeling, about this time, was an insatiable longing for something
that I cannot describe or denominate properly, unless I say it was
for utter oblivion that I longed. I desired to sleep; but it was for a
deeper and longer sleep than that in which the senses were
nightly steeped. I longed to be at rest and quiet, and close my
eyes on the past and the future alike, as far as this frail life was
concerned. But what had been formerly and finally settled in the
councils above, I presumed not to call in question.

In this state of irritation and misery was I dragging on an
existence, disgusted with all around me, and in particular with my
mother, who, with all her love and anxiety, had such an
insufferable mode of manifesting them that she had by this time
rendered herself exceedingly obnoxious to me. The very sound of
her voice at a distance went to my heart like an arrow, and made
all my nerves to shrink; and, as for the beautiful young lady for
whom they told me I had been so much enamoured, I shunned all
intercourse with her or hers, as I would have done with the Devil.
I read some of their letters and burnt them, but refused to see
either the young lady or her mother on any account.

About this time it was that my worthy and reverend parent
came with one of his elders to see my mother and myself. His
presence always brought joy with it into our family, for my
mother was uplifted, and I had so few who cared for me, or for
whom I cared, that I felt rather gratified at seeing him. My
illustrious friend was also much more attached to him than any
other person (except myself) for their religious principles tallied
in every point, and their conversation was interesting, serious,
and sublime. Being anxious to entertain well and highly the
man to whom I had been so much indebted, and knowing that,
with all his integrity and righteousness, he disdained not the good
things of this life, I brought from the late laird's well-stored
cellars various fragrant and salubrious wines, and we drank, and
became merry, and I found that my miseries and overpowering
calamities passed away over my head like a shower that is driven
by the wind. I became elevated and happy, and welcomed my
guests an hundred times; and then I joined them in religious
conversation, with a zeal and enthusiasm which I had not often
experienced, and which made all their hearts rejoice, so that I said
to myself. "Surely every gift of God is a blessing, and ought to be
used with liberality and thankfulness."

The next day I waked from a profound and feverish sleep, and
called for something to drink. There was a servant answered
whom I had never seen before, and he was clad in my servant's
clothes and livery. I asked for Andrew Handyside, the servant
who had waited at table the night before; but the man answered
with a stare and a smile:

"What do you mean, sirrah," said I. "Pray what do you here? Or
what are you pleased to laugh at? I desire you to go about your
business, and send me up Handyside. I want him to bring me
something to drink."

"Ye sanna want a drink, maister," said the fellow. "Tak a hearty
ane, and see if it will wauken ye up something, sae that ye dinna
ca' for ghaists through your sleep. Surely ye haena forgotten that
Andrew Handyside has been in his grave these six months?"

This was a stunning blow to me. I could not answer further, but
sunk back on my pillow as if I had been a lump of lead, refusing
to take a drink or anything else at the fellow's hand, who seemed
thus mocking me with so grave a face. The man seemed sorry,
and grieved at my being offended, but I ordered him away, and
continued sullen and thoughtful. Could I have again been for a
season in utter oblivion to myself. and transacting business which
I neither approved of nor had any connection with! I tried to
recollect something in which I might have been engaged, but
nothing was portrayed on my mind subsequent to the parting with
my friends at a late hour the evening before. The evening before
it certainly was: but, if so, how came it that Andrew Handyside,
who served at table that evening, should have been in his grave
six months! This was a circumstance somewhat equivocal;
therefore, being afraid to arise lest accusations of I know not what
might come against me, I was obliged to call once more in order
to come at what intelligence I could. The same fellow appeared to
receive my orders as before, and I set about examining him with
regard to particulars. He told me his name was Scrape; that I
hired him myself; of whom I hired him; and at whose
recommendation I smiled, and nodded so as to let the knave see I
understood he was telling me a chain of falsehoods, but did not
choose to begin with any violent asseverations to the contrary.

"And where is my noble friend and companion?" said I. "How
has he been engaged in the interim?"

"I dinna ken him, sir," said Scrape, "but have heard it said that the
strange mysterious person that attended you, him that the maist
part of folks countit uncanny, had gane awa wi' a Mr. Ringan o'
Glasko last year, and had never returned."

I thanked the Lord in my heart for this intelligence, hoping that
the illustrious stranger had returned to his own land and people,
and that I should thenceforth be rid of his controlling and
appalling presence. "And where is my mother?" said, I. The man's
breath cut short, and he looked at me without returning any
answer.--"I ask you where my mother is?" said I.

"God only knows, and not I, where she is," returned he. "He
knows where her soul is, and, as for her body, if you dinna ken
something o' it, I suppose nae man alive does."

"What do you mean, you knave?" said I. "What dark hints are
these you are throwing out? Tell me precisely and distinctly what
you know of my mother?"

"It is unco queer o' ye to forget, or pretend to forget everything
that gate the day, sir," said he. 'I'm sure you heard enough about it
yestreen; an' I can tell you there are some gayan ill-faurd stories
gaun about that business. But, as the thing is to be tried afore the
circuit lords, it wad be far wrang to say either this or that to
influence the public mind; it is best just to let justice tak its swee.
I hae naething to say, sir. Ye hae been a good enough maister to
me, and paid my wages regularly, but ye hae muckle need to be
innocent, for there are some heavy accusations rising against

"I fear no accusations of man," said I, "as long as I can justify my
cause in the sight of Heaven; and that I can do this I am well
aware. Go you and bring me some wine and water, and some
other clothes than these gaudy and glaring ones."

I took a cup of wine and water; put on my black clothes and
walked out. For all the perplexity that surrounded me, I felt my
spirits considerably buoyant. It appeared that I was rid of the two
greatest bars to my happiness, by what agency I knew not. My
mother, it seemed, was gone, who had become a grievous thorn in
my side of late; and my great companion and counsellor, who
tyrannized over every spontaneous movement of my heart, had
likewise taken himself off. This last was an unspeakable relief;
for I found that for a long season I had only been able to act by
the motions of his mysterious mind and spirit. I therefore thanked
God for my deliverance, and strode through my woods with a
daring and heroic step; with independence in my eye, and
freedom swinging in my right hand.

At the extremity of the Colwan wood, I perceived a figure
approaching me with slow and dignified motion. The moment
that I beheld it, my whole frame received a shock as if the ground
on which I walked had sunk suddenly below me. Yet, at that
moment, I knew not who it was; it was the air and motion of
someone that I dreaded, and from whom I would gladly have
escaped; but this I even had not power to attempt. It came slowly
onward, and I advanced as slowly to meet it; yet, when we came
within speech, I still knew not who it was. It bore the figure, air,
and features of my late brother, I thought, exactly; yet in all these
there were traits so forbidding, so mixed with an appearance of
misery, chagrin and despair, that I still shrunk from the view, not
knowing in whose face I looked. But, when the being spoke, both
my mental and bodily frame received another shock more terrible
than the first, for it was the voice of the great personage I had so
long denominated my friend, of whom I had deemed myself for
ever freed, and whose presence and counsels I now dreaded more
than Hell. It was his voice, but so altered--I shall never forget it
till my dying day. Nay, I can scarce conceive it possible that any
earthly sounds could be so discordant, so repulsive to every
feeling of a human soul, as the tones of the voice that grated on
my ear at that moment. They were the sounds of the pit, wheezed
through a grated cranny, or seemed so to my distempered

"So! Thou shudderest at my approach now, dost thou?" said he.
"Is this all the gratitude that you deign for an attachment of which
the annals of the world furnish no parallel? An attachment which
has caused me to forego power and dominion, might, homage,
conquest and adulation: all that I might gain one highly valued
and sanctified spirit to my great and true, principles of
reformation among mankind. Wherein have I offended? What
have I done for evil, or what have I not done for your good; that
you would thus shun my presence?"

"Great and magnificent prince," said I humbly; "let me request of
you to abandon a poor worthless wight to his own wayward
fortune, and return to the dominion of your people. I am
unworthy of the sacrifices you have made for my sake; and, after
all your efforts, I do not feel that you have rendered either more
virtuous or more happy. For the sake of that which is estimable
in human nature, depart from me to your own home, before you
render me a being either altogether above or below the rest of my
fellow creatures. Let me plod on towards Heaven and happiness
in my own way, like those that have gone before me, and I
promise to stick fast by the great principles which you have so
strenuously inculcated, on condition that you depart and leave me
for ever."

"Sooner shall you make the mother abandon the child of her
bosom; nay, sooner cause the shadow to relinquish the substance,
than separate me from your side. Our beings are amalgamated, as
it were, and consociated in one, and never shall I depart from this
country until I can carry you in triumph with me."

I can in nowise describe the effect this appalling speech had on
me. It was like the announcement of death to one who had of late
deemed himself free, if not of something worse than death, and of
longer continuance. There was I doomed to remain in misery,
subjugated, soul and body, to one whose presence was become
more intolerable to me than aught on earth could compensate.
And at that moment, when he beheld the anguish of my soul, he
could not conceal that he enjoyed it. I was troubled for an answer,
for which he was waiting: it became incumbent on me to say
something after such a protestation of attachment; and, in some
degree to shake the validity of it, I asked, with great simplicity,
where he had been all this while?

"Your crimes and your extravagances forced me from your side
for a season," said he, "but now that I hope the day of grace is
returned, I am again drawn towards you by an affection that has
neither bounds nor interest; an affection for which I receive not
even the poor return of gratitude, and which seems to have its
radical sources in fascination. I have been far, far abroad, and
have seen much, and transacted much, since I last spoke with
you. During that space, I grievously suspect that you have been
guilty of great crimes and misdemeanours, crimes that would
have sunk an unregenerated person to perdition; but as I knew it
to be only a temporary falling off, a specimen of that liberty by
which the chosen and elected ones are made free, I closed my
eyes on the wilful debasement of our principles, knowing that the
transgressions could never be accounted to your charge, and that
in good time you would come to your senses, and throw the
whole weight of your crimes on the shoulders that had voluntarily
stooped to receive the load."

"Certainly I will," said I, "as I and all the justified have a good
right to do. But what crimes? What misdemeanours and
transgressions do you talk about? For my part, I am conscious of
none, and am utterly amazed at insinuations which I do not

"You have certainly been left to yourself for a season," returned
he, "having gone on rather like a person in a delirium than a
Christian in his sober sense. You are accused of having made
away with your mother privately; as also of the death of a
beautiful young lady, whose affections you had seduced."

"It is an intolerable and monstrous falsehood!" cried I,
interrupting, him. "I never laid a hand on a woman to take away
her life, and have even shunned their society from my childhood.
I know nothing of my mother's exit; nor of that young lady's
whom you mention. Nothing whatever."

"I hope it is so," said he. "But it seems there are some strong
presumptuous proofs against you, and I came to warn you this
day that a precognition is in progress, and that unless you are
perfectly convinced, not only of your innocence but of your
ability to prove it, it will be the safest course for you to abscond,
and let the trial go on without you."

"Never shall it be said that I shrunk from such a trial as this," said
I. "It would give grounds for suspicions of guilt that never had
existence, even in thought. I will go and show myself in every
public place, that no slanderous tongue may wag against me. I
have shed the blood of sinners, but of these deaths I am guiltless;
therefore I will face every tribunal, and put all my accusers

"Asseveration will avail you but little," answered he,
composedly. "It is, however, justifiable in its place, although to
me it signifies nothing, who know too well that you did commit
both crimes, in your own person, and with your own hands. Far
be it from me to betray you; indeed, I would rather endeavour to
palliate the offences; for, though adverse to nature, I can prove
them not to be so to the cause of pure Christianity, by the mode
of which we have approved of it, and which we wish to

"If this that you tell me be true," said I, "then is it as true that I
have two souls, which take possession of my bodily frame by
turns, the one being all unconscious of what the other performs;
for as sure as I have at this moment a spirit within me, fashioned
and destined to eternal felicity, as sure am I utterly ignorant of the
crimes you now lay to my charge."

"Your supposition may be true in effect," said he. "We are all
subjected to two distinct natures in the same person. I myself
have suffered grievously in that way. The spirit that now directs
my energies is not that with which I was endowed at my creation.
It is changed within me, and so is my whole nature. My former
days were those of grandeur and felicity. But, would you believe
it? I was not then a Christian. Now I am. I have been converted to
its truths by passing through the fire, and, since my final
conversion, my misery has been extreme. You complain that I
have not been able to render you more happy than you were.
Alas! do you expect it in the difficult and exterminating career
which you have begun? I, however, promise you this--a portion
of the only happiness which I enjoy, sublime in its motions, and
splendid in its attainments--I will place you on the right hand of
my throne, and show you the grandeur of my domains, and the
felicity of my millions of true professors."

I was once more humbled before this mighty potentate, and
promised to be ruled wholly by his directions, although at that
moment my nature shrunk from the concessions, and my soul
longed rather to be inclosed in the deeps of the sea, or involved
once more in utter oblivion. I was like Daniel in the den of lions,
without his faith in Divine support, and wholly at their mercy. I
felt as one round whose body a deadly snake is twisted, which
continues to hold him in its fangs, without injuring him, further
than in moving its scaly infernal folds with exulting delight, to let
its victim feel to whose power he has subjected himself; and thus
did I for a space drag an existence from day to day, in utter
weariness and helplessness; at one time worshipping with great
fervour of spirit, and at other times so wholly left to myself as to
work all manner of vices and follies with greediness. In these my
enlightened friend never accompanied me, but I always observed
that he was the first to lead me to every one of them, and then
leave me in the lurch. The next day, after these my fallings off, he
never failed to reprove me gently, blaming me for my venial
transgressions; but then he had the art of reconciling all, by
reverting to my justified and infallible state, which I found to
prove a delightful healing salve for every sore.

But, of all my troubles, this was the chief. I was every day and
every hour assailed with accusations of deeds of which I was
wholly ignorant; of acts of cruelty, injustice, defamation, and
deceit; of pieces of business which I could not be made to
comprehend; with lawsuits, details, arrestments of judgment, and
a thousand interminable quibbles from the mouth of my
loquacious and conceited attorney. So miserable was my life
rendered by these continued attacks that I was often obliged to
lock myself up for days together, never seeing any person save
my man Samuel Scrape, who was a very honest blunt fellow, a
staunch Cameronian, but withal very little conversant in religious
matters. He said he came from a place called Penpunt, which I
thought a name so ludicrous that I called him by the name of his
native village, an appellation of which he was very proud, and
answered everything with more civility and perspicuity when I
denominated him Penpunt, than Samuel, his own Christian name.
Of this peasant was I obliged to make a companion on sundry
occasions, and strange indeed were the details which he gave me
concerning myself, and the ideas of the country people
concerning me. I took down a few of these in writing, to put off
the time, and here leave them on record to show how the best and
greatest actions are misconstrued among sinful and ignorant men:

"You say, Samuel, that I hired you myself--that I have been a
good enough master to you, and have paid you your weekly
wages punctually. Now, how is it that you say this, knowing, as
you do, that I never hired you, and never paid you a sixpence of
wages in the whole course of my life, excepting this last month?"

"Ye may as weel say, master, that water's no water, or that, stanes
are no stanes. But that's just your gate, an' it's a great pity, aye to
do a thing an profess the clean contrair. Weel then, since you
havena paid me ony wages, an' I can prove day and date when I
was hired, an' came hame to your service, will you be sae kind as
to pay me now? That's the best way o' curing a man o' the mortal
disease o' leasing-making that I ken o'."

"I should think that Penpunt and Cameronian principles would
not admit of a man taking twice payment for the same article."

"In sic a case as this, sir, it disna hinge upon principles, but a
piece o' good manners; an' I can tell you that, at sic a crisis, a
Cameronian is a gay-an weel-bred man. He's driven to this, and
he maun either make a breach in his friend's good name, or in his
purse; an' oh, sir, whilk o' thae, think you, is the most precious?
For instance, an a Galloway drover had comed to the town o'
Penpunt, an' said to a Cameronian (the folk's a' Cameronians
there), 'Sir, I want to buy your cow,' 'Vera weel,' says the
Cameronian, 'I just want to sell the cow, sae gie me twanty punds
Scots, an' take her w' ye.' It's a bargain. The drover takes away the
cow, an' gies the Cameronian his twanty pund Scots. But after
that, he meets him again on the white sands, amang a' the drovers
an' dealers o' the land, an' the Gallowayman, he says to the
Cameronian, afore a' thae witnesses, 'Come, Master Whiggam, I
hae never paid you for yon bit useless cow that I bought. I'll pay
her the day, but you maun mind the luck-penny; there's muckle
need for 't'--or something to that purpose. The Cameronian then
turns out to be a civil man, an' canna bide to make the man baith
a feele an' liar at the same time, afore a' his associates; an'
therefore he pits his principles aff at the side, to be kind o'
sleepin' partner, as it war, an' brings up his good breeding to stand
at the counter: he pockets the money, gies the Galloway drover
time o' day, an' comes his way. An' wha's to blame? Man mind
yoursel is the first commandment. A Cameronian's principles
never came atween him an' his purse, nor sanna in the present
case; for, as I canna bide to make you out a leear, I'll thank you
for my wages."

"Well, you shall have them, Samuel, if you declare to me that I
hired you myself in this same person, and bargained with you
with this same tongue and voice with which I speak to you just

"That I do declare, unless ye hae twa persons o' the same
appearance, and twa tongues to the same voice. But, 'od saif us,
sir, do you ken what the auld wives o' the clachan say about

"How should I, when no one repeats it to me?"

"Oo, I trow it's a' stuff--folk shouldna heed what's said by auld
crazy kimmers. But there are some o' them weel kend for witches,
too; an' they say, 'Lord have a care o' us!' They say the deil's often
seen gaun sidie for sidie w' ye, whiles in ae shape, an' whiles in
another. An' they say that he whiles takes your ain shape, or else
enters into you, and then you turn a deil yoursel."

I was so astounded at this terrible idea that had gone abroad,
regarding my fellowship with the Prince of Darkness, that I could
make no answer to the fellow's information, but sat like one in a
stupor; and if it had not been for my well-founded faith, and
conviction that I was a chosen and elected one before the world
was made, I should at that moment have given in to the popular
belief, and fallen into the sin of despondency; but I was preserved
from such a fatal error by an inward and unseen supporter. Still
the insinuation was so like what I felt myself that I was greatly
awed and confounded.

The poor fellow observed this, and tried to do away the
impression by some further sage remarks of his own.

"Hout, dear sir, it is balderdash, there's nae doubt o't. It is the
crownhead o' absurdity to tak in the havers o' auld wives for
gospel. I told them that my master was a peeous man, an' a
sensible man; an', for praying, that he could ding auld Macmillan
himsel. 'Sae could the deil,' they said, 'when he liket, either at
preaching or praying, if these war to answer his ain ends.' 'Na,
na,' says I, 'but he's a strick believer in a' the truths o' Christianity,
my master.' They said, sae was Satan, for that he was the firmest
believer in a' the truths of Christianity that was out o' Heaven; an'
that, sin' the Revolution that the Gospel had turned sae rife, he
had been often driven to the shift o' preaching it himsel, for the
purpose o' getting some wrang tenets introduced into it, and
thereby turning it into blasphemy and ridicule."

I confess, to my shame, that I was so overcome by this jumble of
nonsense that a chillness came over me, and, in spite of all my
efforts to shake off the impression it had made, I fell into a faint.
Samuel soon brought me to myself, and, after a deep draught of
wine and water, I was greatly revived, and felt my spirit rise
above the sphere of vulgar conceptions and the restrained views
of unregenerate men. The shrewd but loquacious fellow,
perceiving this, tried to make some amends for the pain he had
occasioned to me by the following story, which I noted down,
and which was brought on by a conversation to the following

"Now, Penpunt, you may tell me all that passed between you and
the wives of the clachan. I am better of that stomach qualm, with
which I am sometimes seized, and shall be much amused by
hearing the sentiments of noted witches regarding myself and my

"Weel, you see, sir, I says to them, 'It will be lang afore the deil
intermeddle wi' as serious a professor, and as fervent a prayer as
my master, for, gin he gets the upper hand o' sickan men, wha's to
be safe?' An', what think ye they said, sir? There was ane Lucky
Shaw set up her lang lantern chafts, an' answered me, an' a' the
rest shanned and noddit in assent an' approbation: 'Ye silly,
sauchless, Cameronian cuif!' quo she, 'is that a' that ye ken about
the wiles and doings o' the Prince o' the Air, that rules an' works
in the bairns of disobedience? Gin ever he observes a proud
professor, wha has mae than ordinary pretensions to a divine
calling, and that reards and prays till the very howlets learn his
preambles, that's the man Auld Simmie fixes on to mak a
dishclout o'. He canna get rest in Hell, if he sees a man, or a set of
men o' this stamp, an, when he sets fairly to work, it is seldom
that he disna bring them round till his ain measures by hook or by
crook. Then, Oh! it is a grand prize for him, an' a proud Deil he
is, when he gangs hame to his ain ha', wi' a batch o' the souls o'
sic strenuous professors on his back. Aye, I trow, auld Ingleby,
the Liverpool packman, never came up Glasco street wi' prouder
pomp when he had ten horse-laids afore him o' Flanders lace, an'
Hollin lawn, an' silks an' satins frae the eastern Indians, than
Satan wad strodge into Hell with a packlaid o' the souls o' proud
professors on his braid shoulders. Ha, ha, ha! I think I see how
the auld thief wad be gaun through his gizened dominions, crying
his wares, in derision, "Wha will buy a fresh, cauler divine, a
bouzy bishop, a fasting zealot, or a piping priest?" For a' their
prayers an' their praises, their aumuses, an' their penances, their
whinings, their howlings, their rantings, an' their ravings, here
they come at last! Behold the end! Here go the rare and precious
wares! A fat professor for a bodle, an' a lean ane for half a merk!'
I declare I trembled at the auld hag's ravings, but the lave o' the
kimmers applauded the sayings as sacred truths. An' then Lucky
went on: 'There are many wolves in sheep's claithing, among us,
my man; mony deils aneath the masks o' zealous professors,
roaming about in kirks and meetinghouses o' the land. It was but
the year afore the last that the people o' the town o'
Auchtermuchty grew so rigidly righteous that the meanest hind
among them became a shining light in ither towns an' parishes.
There was naught to be heard, neither night nor day, but
preaching, praying, argumentation, an' catechising in a' the
famous town o' Auchtermuchty. The young men wooed their
sweethearts out o' the Song o' Solomon, an' the girls returned
answers in strings o' verses out o' the Psalms. At the lint-swinglings,
they said questions round; and read chapters, and sang hymns at
bridals; auld and young prayed in their dreams, an' prophesied in
their sleep, till the deils in the farrest nooks o' Hell were alarmed,
and moved to commotion. Gin it hadna been an auld carl, Robin
Ruthven, Auchtermuchty wad at that time hae been ruined and
lost for ever. But Robin was a cunning man, an' had rather mae
wits than his ain, for he had been in the hands o' the fairies when
he was young, an' a' kinds o' spirits were visible to his een, an'
their language as familiar to him as his ain mother tongue. Robin
was sitting on the side o' the West Lowmond, ae still gloomy
night in September, when he saw a bridal o' corbie craws coming
east the lift, just on the edge o' the gloaming. The moment that
Robin saw them, he kenned, by their movements, that they were
craws o' some ither warld than this; so he signed himself, and
crap into the middle o' his bourock. The corbie craws came a' an'
sat down round about him, an' they poukit their black sooty
wings, an' spread them out to the breeze to cool; and Robin heard
ae corbie speaking, an' another answering him; and the tane said
to the tither: "Where will the ravens find a prey the night?" "On
the lean crazy souls o' Auchtermuchty," quo the tither. "I fear
they will be o'er weel wrappit up in the warm flannens o' faith, an
clouted wi' the dirty duds o' repentance, for us to mak a meal o',"
quo the first. "Whaten vile sounds are these that I hear coming
bumming up the hill?" "Oh, these are the hymns and praises o' the
auld wives and creeshy louns o' Auchtermuchty, wha are gaun
crooning their way to Heaven; an', gin it warna for the shame o'
being beat, we might let our great enemy tak them. For sic a prize
as he will hae! Heaven, forsooth! What shall we think o' Heaven,
if it is to be filled wi' vermin like thae, amang whom there is mair
poverty and pollution than I can name." "No matter for that," said
the first, "we cannot have our power set at defiance; though we
should put them on the thief's hole, we must catch them, and
catch them with their own bait, too. Come all to church to-
morrow, and I'll let you hear how I'll gull the saints of
Auchtermuchty. in the meantime, there is a feast on the Sidlaw
hills tonight, below the hill of Macbeth--Mount, Diabolus, and
fly." Then, with loud croaking and crowing, the bridal of corbies
again scaled the dusky air, and left Robin Ruthven in the middle
of his cairn.

"'The next day the congregation met in the kirk of
Auchtermuchty, but the minister made not his appearance. The
elder ran out and in making inquiries; but they could learn
nothing, save that the minister was missing. They ordered the
clerk to sing a part of the 119th Psalm, until they saw if the
minister would cast up. The clerk did as he was ordered, and, by
the time he reached the 77th verse, a strange divine entered the
church, by the western door, and advanced solemnly up to the
pulpit. The eyes of all the congregation were riveted on the
sublime stranger, who was clothed in a robe of black sackcloth,
that flowed all around him, and trailed far behind, and they
weened him an angel, come to exhort them, in disguise. He read
out his text from the Prophecies of Ezekiel, which consisted of
these singular words: "I will overturn, overturn, overturn it; and it
shall be no more, until he come, whose right it is, and I will give
it him."

"'From these words he preached such a sermon as never was
heard by human ears, at least never by ears of Auchtermuchty. It
was a true, sterling, gospel sermon--it was striking, sublime, and
awful in the extreme. He finally made out the IT, mentioned in
the text, to mean, properly and positively, the notable town of
Auchtermuchty. He proved all the people in it, to their perfect
satisfaction, to be in the gall of bitterness and bond of iniquity,
and he assured them that God would overturn them, their
principles, and professions; and that they should be no more, until
the Devil, the town's greatest enemy, came, and then it should be
given unto him for a prey, for it was his right, and to him it
belonged, if there was not forthwith a radical change made in all
their opinions and modes of worship.

"'The inhabitants of Auchtermuchty were electrified--they were
charmed; they were actually raving mad about the grand and
sublime truths delivered to them by this eloquent and impressive
preacher of Christianity. "He is a prophet of the Lord," said one,
"sent to warn us, as Jonah was sent to the Ninevites." "Oh, he is
an angel sent from Heaven, to instruct this great city," said
another, "for no man ever uttered truths so sublime before." The
good people of Auchtermuchty were in perfect raptures with the
preacher, who had thus sent them to Hell by the slump, tag-rag,
and bobtail! Nothing in the world delights a truly religious people
so much as consigning them to eternal damnation. They
wandered after the preacher--they crowded together, and spoke of
his sermon with admiration, and still, as they conversed, the
wonder and the admiration increased; so that honest Robin
Ruthven's words would not be listened to. It was in vain that he
told them he heard a raven speaking, and another raven
answering him: the people laughed him to scorn, and kicked him
out of their assemblies, as a one who spoke evil of dignities; and
they called him a warlock, an' a daft body, to think to mak
language out o' the crouping o' craws.

"'The sublime preacher could not be heard of, although all the
country was sought for him, even to the minutest corner of St.
Johnston and Dundee; but as he had announced another sermon
on the same text, on a certain day, all the inhabitants of that
populous country, far and near, flocked to Auchtermuchty. Cupar,
Newburgh, and Strathmiglo, turned out men, women and
children. Perth and Dundee gave their thousands; and, from the
East Nook of Fife to the foot of the Grampian hills, there was
nothing but running and riding that morning to Auchtermuchty.
The kirk would not hold the thousandth part of them. A splendid
tent was erected on the brae north of the town, and round that the
countless congregation assembled. When they were all waiting
anxiously for the great preacher, behold, Robin Ruthven set up
his head in the tent, and warned his countrymen to beware of the
doctrines they were about to hear, for he could prove, to their
satisfaction, that they were all false, and tended to their

"'The whole multitude raised a cry of indignation against Robin,
and dragged him from the tent, the elders rebuking him, and the
multitude threatening to resort to stronger measures; and, though
he told them a plain and unsophisticated tale of the black corbies,
he was only derided. The great preacher appeared once more, and
went through his two discourses with increased energy and
approbation. All who heard him were amazed, and many of them
went into fits, writhing and foaming in a state of the most horrid
agitation. Robin Ruthven sat on the outskirts of the great
assembly, listening with the rest, and perceived what they, in the
height of their enthusiasm, perceived not the ruinous tendency of
the tenets so sublimely inculcated. Robin kenned the voice of his
friend the corby-craw again, and was sure he could not be wrong:
sae, when public worship was finished, a' the elders an' a' the
gentry flocked about the great preacher, as he stood on the green
brae in the sight of the hale congregation, an' a' war alike anxious
to pay him some mark o' respect. Robin Ruthven came in amang
the thrang, to try to effect what he had promised; and, with the
greatest readiness and simplicity, just took baud o' the side o' the
wide gown, and, in sight of a' present, held it aside as high as the
preacher's knee, and, behold, there was a pair o' cloven feet! The
auld thief was fairly catched in the very height o' his proud
conquest, an' put down by an auld carl. He could feign nae mair,
but, gnashing on Robin wi' his teeth, he dartit into the air like a
fiery dragon, an' keust a reid rainbow o'er the taps o' the

"'A' the auld wives an weavers o' Auchtermuchty fell down flat
wi' affright, an' betook them to their prayers aince again, for they
saw the dreadfu' danger they had escapit, an' frae that day to this
it is a hard matter to gar an Auchtermuchty man listen to a
sermon at a', an' a harder ane still to gar him applaud ane, for he
thinks aye that he sees the cloven foot peeping out frae aneath
ilka sentence.

"'Now, this is a true story, my man,' quo the auld wife, 'an',
whenever you are doubtfu' of a man, take auld Robin Ruthven's
plan, an' look for the cloven foot, for it's a thing that winna weel
hide; an' it appears whiles where ane wadna think o't. It will keek
out frae aneath the parson's gown, the lawyer's wig, and the
Cameronian's blue bannet; but still there is a gouden rule
whereby to detect it, an' that never, never fails.' The auld witch
didna gie me the rule, an' though I hae heard tell o't often an'
often, shame fa' me an I ken what it is! But ye will ken it well, an'
it wad be nae the waur of a trial on some o' your friends, maybe;
for they say there's a certain gentleman seen walking wi' you
whiles, that, wherever he sets his foot, the grass withers as gin it
war scoudered wi' a het ern. His presence be about us! What's the
matter wi' you, master. Are ye gaun to take the calm o' the
stamock again?"

The truth is, that the clown's absurd story, with the still more
ridiculous application, made me sick at heart a second time. It
was not because I thought my illustrious friend was the Devil, or
that I took a fool's idle tale as a counterbalance to Divine
revelation that had assured me of my justification in the sight of
God before the existence of time. But, in short, it gave me a view
of my own state, at which I shuddered, as indeed I now always
did when the image of my devoted friend and ruler presented
itself to my mind. I often communed, with my heart on this, and
wondered how a connection, that had the well-being of mankind
solely in view, could be productive of fruits so bitter. I then went
to try my works by the Saviour's golden rule, as my servant had
put it into my head to do; and, behold, not one of them could
stand the test. I had shed blood on a ground on which I could not
admit that any man had a right to shed mine; and I began to doubt
the motives of my adviser once more, not that they were
intentionally bad, but that his was some great mind led astray by
enthusiasm or some overpowering passion.

He seemed to comprehend every one of these motions of my
heart, for his manner towards me altered every day. It first
became anything but agreeable, then supercilious, and, finally,
intolerable; so that I resolved to shake him off, cost what it
would, even though I should be reduced to beg my bread in a
foreign land. To do it at home was impossible, as he held my life
in his hands, to sell it whenever he had a mind; and, besides, his
ascendancy over me was as complete as that of a huntsman over
his dogs: I was even so weak as, the next time I met with him, to
look steadfastly at his foot, to see if it was not cloven into two
hoofs. It was the foot of a gentleman in every respect, so far as
appearances went, but the form of his counsels was somewhat
equivocal, and, if not double, they were amazingly crooked.

But, if I had taken my measures to abscond and fly from my
native place, in order to free myself of this tormenting, intolerant,
and bloody reformer, he had likewise taken his to expel me, or
throw me into the hands of justice. It seems that, about this time, I
was haunted by some spies connected with my late father and
brother, of whom the mistress of the former was one. My
brother's death had been witnessed by two individuals; indeed, I
always had an impression that it was witnessed by more than one,
having some faint recollection of hearing voices and challenges
close beside me; and this woman had searched about until she
found these people; but, as I shrewdly suspected, not without the
assistance of the only person in my secret--my own warm and
devoted friend. I say this, because I found that he had them
concealed in the neighbourhood, and then took me again and
again where I was fully exposed to their view, without being
aware. One time in particular, on pretence of gratifying my
revenge on that base woman, he knew so well where she lay
concealed that he led me to her, and left me to the mercy of two
viragos who had very nigh taken my life. My time of residence at
Dalcastle was wearing to a crisis. I could no longer live with my
tyrant, who haunted me like my shadow; and, besides, it seems
there were proofs of murder leading against me from all quarters.
Of part of these I deemed myself quite free, but the world deemed
otherwise; and how the matter would have gone God only knows,
for, the case never having undergone a judicial trial, I do not. It
perhaps, however, behoves me here to relate all that I know of it,
and it is simply this:

On the first of June,1712 (well may I remember the day), I was
sitting locked in my secret chamber, in a state of the utmost
despondency, revolving in my mind what I ought to do to be free
of my persecutors, and wishing myself a worm, or a moth, that I
might be crushed and at rest, when behold Samuel entered, with
eyes like to start out of his head, exclaiming: "For God's sake,
master, fly and hide yourself, for your mother's found, an' as sure
as you're a living soul, the blame is gaun to fa' on you!"

"My mother found!" said I. "And, pray, where has she been all
this while?" In the meantime, I was terribly discomposed at the
thoughts of her return.

"Been, sir! Been? Why, she has been where ye pat her, it seems--
lying buried in the sands o' the linn. I can tell you, ye will see her
a frightsome figure, sic as I never wish to see again. An' the
young lady is found too, sir: an' it is said the Devil--I beg pardon,
sir, your friend, I mean--it is said your friend has made the
discovery, an' the folk are away to raise officers, an' they will be
here in an hour or two at the farthest, sir; an' sae you hae not a
minute to lose, for there's proof, sir, strong proof, an' sworn
proof, that ye were last seen wi' them baith; sae, unless ye can gie
a' the better an account o' baith yoursel an' them either hide or
flee for your bare life."

"I will neither hide nor fly," said I, "for I am as guiltless of the
blood of these women as the child unborn."

"The country disna think sae, master; an' I can assure you that,
should evidence fail, you run a risk o' being torn limb frae limb.
They are bringing the corpse here, to gar ye touch them baith
afore witnesses, an' plenty o' witnesses there will be!"

"They shall not bring them here," cried I, shocked beyond
measure at the experiment about to be made. "Go, instantly and
debar them from entering my gate with their bloated and mangled

"The body of your own mother, sir!" said the fellow
emphatically. I was in terrible agitation; and, being driven to my
wits' end, I got up and strode furiously round and round the room.
Samuel wist not what to do, but I saw by his staring he deemed
me doubly guilty. A tap came to the chamber door: we both
started like guilty creatures; and as for Samuel, his hairs stood all
on end with alarm, so that, when I motioned to him, he could
scarcely advance to open the door. He did so at length, and who
should enter but my illustrious friend, manifestly in the utmost
state of alarm. The moment that Samuel admitted him, the former
made his escape by the prince's side as he entered, seemingly in a
state of distraction. I was little better, when I saw this dreaded
personage enter my chamber, which he had never before
attempted; and. being unable to ask his errand, I suppose I stood
and gazed on him like a statue.

"I come with sad and tormenting tidings to you, my beloved and
ungrateful friend," said he, "but, having only a minute left to save
your life, I have come to attempt it. There is a mob coming
towards you with two dead bodies, which will place you in
circumstances disagreeable enough: but that is not the worst, for
of that you may be able to clear yourself. At this moment there is
a party of officers, with a justiciary warrant from Edinburgh,
surrounding the house, and about to begin the search of it for you.
If you fall into their hands, you are inevitably lost; for I have been
making earnest inquiries, and find that everything is in train for
your ruin."

"Aye, and who has been the cause of all this?" said I, with great
bitterness. But he stopped me short, adding, "There is no time for
such reflections at present; I gave my word of honour, that your
life should be safe from the hand of man. So it shall, if the power
remain with me to save it. I am come to redeem my pledge, and
to save your life by the sacrifice of my own. Here--not one word
of expostulation, change habits with me, and you may then pass
by the officers, and guards, and even through the approaching
mob, with the most perfect temerity. There is a virtue in this garb,
and, instead of offering to detain you, they shall pay you
obeisance. Make haste, and leave this place for the present, flying
where you best may, and, if I escape from these dangers that
surround me, I will endeavour to find you out, and bring you
what intelligence I am able."

I put on his green frock coat, buff belt, and a sort of a turban that
he always wore on his head, somewhat resembling a bishop's
mitre: he drew his hand thrice across my face, and I withdrew as
he continued to urge me. My hall door and postern gate were both
strongly guarded, and there were sundry armed people within,
searching the closets; but all of them made way for me, and lifted
their caps as I passed by them. Only one superior officer accosted
me, asking if I had seen the culprit. I knew not what answer to
make, but chanced to say, with great truth and propriety: "He is
safe enough." The man beckoned with a smile, as much as to say:
"Thank you, sir, that is quite sufficient," and I walked
deliberately away.

I had not well left the gate till, hearing a great noise coming from
the deep glen towards the east, I turned that way, deeming myself
quite secure in this my new disguise, to see what it was, and if
matters were as had been described to me. There I met a great
mob, sure enough, coming with two dead bodies stretched on
boards, and decently covered with white sheets. I would fain have
examined their appearance, had I not perceived the apparent fury
in the looks of the men, and judged from that how much more
safe it was for me not to intermeddle in the affray. I cannot tell
how it was, but I felt a strange and unwonted delight in viewing
this scene, and a certain pride of heart in being supposed the
perpetrator of the unnatural crimes laid to my charge. This was a
feeling quite new to me; and if there were virtues in the robes of
the illustrious foreigner, who had without all dispute preserved
my life at this time: I say, if there was any inherent virtue in these
robes of his, as he had suggested, this was one of their effects'
that they turned my heart towards that which was evil, horrible,
and disgustful.

I mixed with the mob to hear what they were saying. Every
tongue was engaged in loading me with the most opprobrious
epithets! One called me a monster of nature; another an incarnate
devil; and another a creature made to be cursed in time and
eternity. I retired from them and, winded my way southwards,
comforting myself with the assurance that so mankind had used
and persecuted the greatest fathers and apostles of the Christian
Church, and that their vile opprobrium could not alter the
counsels of Heaven concerning me.

On going over that rising ground called Dorington Moor, I could
not help turning round and taking a look of Dalcastle. I had little
doubt that it would be my last look, and nearly as little ambition
that it should not. I thought how high my hopes of happiness and
advancement had been on entering that mansion, and taking
possession of its rich and extensive domains, and how miserably
I had been disappointed. On the contrary, I had experienced
nothing but chagrin, disgust, and terror; and I now consoled
myself with the hope that I should henceforth shake myself free
of the chains of my great tormentor, and for that privilege was I
willing to encounter any earthly distress. I could not help
perceiving that I was now on a path which was likely to lead me
into a species of distress hitherto unknown, and hardly dreamed
of by me, and that was total destitution. For all the riches I had
been possessed of a few hours previous to this, I found that here I
was turned out of my lordly possessions without a single merk, or
the power of lifting and commanding the smallest sum, without
being thereby discovered and seized. Had it been possible for me
to have escaped in my own clothes, I had a considerable sum
secreted in these, but, by the sudden change, I was left without a
coin for present necessity. But I had hope in Heaven, knowing
that the just man would not be left destitute and that, though
many troubles surrounded him, he would at last be set free from
them all. I was possessed of strong and brilliant parts, and a
liberal education; and, though I had somehow unaccountably
suffered my theological qualifications to fall into desuetude, since
my acquaintance with the ablest and most rigid of all theologians,
I had nevertheless hopes that, by preaching up redemption by
grace, preordination, and eternal purpose, I should yet be enabled
to benefit mankind in some country, and rise to high distinction.

These were some of the thoughts by which I consoled myself as I
posted on my way southwards, avoiding the towns and villages,
and falling into the cross ways that led from each of the great
roads passing east and west to another. I lodged the first night in
the house of a country weaver, into which I stepped at a late hour,
quite overcome with hunger and fatigue, having travelled not less
than thirty miles from my late home. The man received me
ungraciously, telling me of a gentleman's house at no great
distance, and of an inn a little farther away; but I said I delighted
more in the society of a man like him than that of any gentleman
of the land, for my concerns were with the poor of this world, it
being easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for
a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven.

The weaver's wife, who sat with a child on her knee, and had not
hitherto opened her mouth, hearing me speak in that serious and
religious style, stirred up the fire with her one hand; then,
drawing a chair near it, she said: "Come awa, honest lad, in by
here; sin' it be sae that you belang to Him wha gies us a' that we
hae, it is but right that you should share a part. You are a stranger,
it is true, but them that winna entertain a stranger will never
entertain an angel unawares."

I never was apt to be taken with the simplicity of nature; in
general I despised it; but, owing to my circumstances at the time,
I was deeply affected by the manner of this poor woman's
welcome. The weaver continued in a churlish mood throughout
the evening, apparently dissatisfied with what his wife had done
in entertaining me, and spoke to her in a manner so crusty that I
thought proper to rebuke him, for the woman was comely in her
person, and virtuous in her conversation; but the weaver, her
husband, was large of make, ill-favoured, and pestilent; therefore
did I take him severely to task for the tenor of his conduct; but the
man was froward, and answered me rudely with sneering and
derision and, in the height of his caprice, he said to his wife:
"Whan focks are sae keen of a chance o' entertaining angels,
gude-wife, it wad maybe be worth their while to tak tent what
kind o' angels they are. It wadna wonder me vera muckle an ye
had entertained your friend the Deil the night, for aw thought aw
fand a saur o' reek an' brimstane about him. He's nane o' the best
o' angels, an focks winna hae muckle credit by entertaining him."

Certainly, in the assured state I was in, I had as little reason to be
alarmed at mention being made of the Devil as any person on
earth: of late, however, I felt that the reverse was the case, and
that any allusion to my great enemy moved me exceedingly. The
weaver's speech had such an effect on me that both he and his
wife were alarmed at my looks. The latter thought I was angry,
and chided her husband gently for his rudeness; but the weaver
himself rather seemed to be confirmed in his opinion that I was
the Devil, for he looked round like a startled roe-buck, and
immediately betook him to the family Bible.

I know not whether it was on purpose to prove my identity or not,
but I think he was going to desire me either to read a certain
portion of Scripture that he had sought out, or to make family
worship, had not the conversation at that instant taken another
turn; for the weaver, not knowing how to address me, abruptly
asked my name, as he was about to put the Bible into my hands.
Never having considered myself in the light of a male-factor, but
rather as a champion in the cause of truth, and finding myself
perfectly safe under my disguise, I had never once thought of the
utility of changing my name, and, when the man asked me, I
hesitated; but, being compelled to say something, I said my name
was Cowan. The man stared at me, and then at his wife, with a
look that spoke a knowledge of something alarming or

"Ha! Cowan?" said he. "That's most extraordinar! Not Colwan, I

"No: Cowan is my sirname," said I. "But why not Colwan, there
being so little difference in the sound?"

"I was feared ye might be that waratch that the Deil has taen the
possession o', an' eggit him on to kill baith his father an' his
mother, his only brother, an' his sweetheart," said he; "an', to say
the truth, I'm no that sure about you yet, for I see you're gaun wi'
arms on ye."

"Not I, honest man," said I. "I carry no arms; a man conscious of
his innocence and uprightness of heart needs not to carry arms in
his defence now."

"Aye, aye, maister," said he; "an' pray what div ye ca' this bit
windlestrae that's appearing here?" With that he pointed to
something on the inside of the breast of my frock-coat. I looked
at it, and there certainly was the gilded haft of a poniard, the same
weapon I had seen and handled before, and which I knew my
illustrious companion carried about with him; but till that
moment I knew not that I was in possession of it. I drew it out: a
more dangerous or insidious-looking weapon could not be
conceived. The weaver and his wife were both frightened, the
latter in particular; and she being my friend, and I dependent on
their hospitality for that night, I said: "I declare I knew not that I
carried this small rapier, which has been in my coat by chance,
and not by any design of mine. But, lest you should think that I
meditate any mischief to any under this roof I give it into your
hands, requesting of you to lock it by till tomorrow, or when I
shall next want it."

The woman seemed rather glad to get hold of it; and taking it
from me, she went into a kind of pantry out of my sight, and
locked the weapon up; and then the discourse went on.

"There cannot be such a thing in reality," said I, "as the story you
were mentioning just now, of a man whose name resembles

"It's likely that you ken a wee better about the story than I do,
maister," said he, "suppose you do leave the L out of your name.
An' yet I think sic a waratch, an' a murderer, wad hae taen a name
wi' some gritter difference in the sound. But the story is just that
true that there were twa o' the Queen's officers here nae mair than
an hour ago, in pursuit o' the vagabond, for they gat some
intelligence that he had fled this gate; yet they said he had been
last seen wi' black claes on, an' they supposed he was clad in
black. His ain servant is wi' them, for the purpose o' kennin the
scoundrel, an' they're galloping through the country like madmen.
I hope in God they'll get him, an' rack his neck for him!"

I could not say Amen to the weaver's prayer, and therefore tried
to compose myself as well as I could, and made some religious
comment on the causes of the nation's depravity. But suspecting
that my potent friend had betrayed my flight and disguise, to save
his life, I was very uneasy, and gave myself up for lost. I said
prayers in the family, with the tenor of which the wife was
delighted, but the weaver still dissatisfied; and, after a supper of
the most homely fare, he tried to start an argument with me,
proving that everything for which I had interceded in my prayer
was irrelevant to man's present state. But I, being weary and
distressed in mind, shunned the contest, and requested a couch
whereon to repose.

I was conducted into the other end of the house, among looms,
treadles, pirns, and confusion without end; and there, in a sort of
box, was I shut up for my night's repose, for the weaver, as he left
me, cautiously turned the key of my apartment, and left me to
shift for myself among the looms, determined that I should
escape from the house with nothing. After he and his wife and
children were crowded into their den, I heard the two mates
contending furiously about me in suppressed voices, the one
maintaining the probability that I was the murderer, and the other
proving the impossibility of it. The husband, however, said as
much as let me understand that he had locked me up on purpose
to bring the military, or officers of justice, to seize me. I was in
the utmost perplexity, yet for all that, and the imminent danger I
was in, I fell asleep, and a more troubled and tormenting sleep
never enchained a mortal frame. I had such dreams that they will
not bear repetition, and early in the morning I awaked, feverish,
and parched with thirst.

I went to call mine host, that he might let me out to the open air,
but, before doing so, I thought it necessary to put on some
clothes. In attempting to do this, a circumstance arrested my
attention (for which I could in nowise account, which to this day I
cannot unriddle, nor shall I ever be able to comprehend it while I
live): the frock and turban, which had furnished my disguise on
the preceding day, were both removed, and my own black coat
and cocked hat laid down in their place. At first I thought I was in
a dream, and felt the weaver's beam, web, and treadle-strings with
my hands, to convince myself that I was awake. I was certainly
awake; and there was the door locked firm and fast as it was the
evening before. I carried my own black coat to the small window
and examined it. It was my own in verity; and the sums of money
that I had concealed in case of any emergency, remained
untouched. I trembled with astonishment; and on my return from
the small window went doiting in amongst the weaver's looms,
till I entangled myself, and could not get out again without
working great deray amongst the coarse linen threads that stood
in warp from one end of the apartment unto the other. I had no knife
whereby to cut the cords of this wicked man, and therefore was
obliged to call out lustily for assistance. The weaver came half
naked, unlocked the door, and, setting in his head and long neck,
accosted me thus:

"What now, Mr. Satan? What for art ye roaring that gate? Are
you fawn inna little hell, instead o' the big muckil ane? Deil be in
your reistit trams! What for have ye abscondit yoursel into ma
leddy's wab for?"

"Friend, I beg your pardon," said I. "I wanted to be at the light,
and have somehow unfortunately involved myself in the
intricacies of your web, from which I cannot get dear without
doing you a great injury. Pray do lend your experienced hand to
extricate me."

"May aw the pearls o' damnation light on your silly snout, an I
dinna estricat ye weel enough! Ye ditit donnart, deil's burd that ye
be! What made ye gang howkin in there to be a poor man's ruin?
Come out, ye vile rag-of-a-muffin, or I gar ye come out wi' mair
shame and disgrace, an' fewer haill banes in your body."

My feet had slipped down through the double warpings of a web,
and not being able to reach the ground with them (there being a
small pit below) I rode upon a number of yielding threads, and,
there being nothing else that I could reach, to extricate myself
was impossible. I was utterly powerless; and, besides, the yarn
and cords hurt me very much. For all that, the destructive weaver
seized a loom-spoke, and began a-beating me most unmercifully,
while, entangled as I was, I could do nothing but shout aloud for
mercy, or assistance, whichever chanced to be within hearing.
The latter at length made its appearance in the form of the
weaver's wife, in the same state of dishabille with himself, who
instantly interfered, and that most strenuously, on my behalf.
Before her arrival, however, I had made a desperate effort to
throw myself out of the entanglement I was in; for the weaver
continued repeating his blows and cursing me so that I
determined to get out of his meshes at any risk. The effect made
my case worse; for, my feet being wrapt among the nether
threads, as I threw myself from my saddle on the upper ones, my
feet brought the others up through these, and I hung with my head
down and my feet as firm as they had been in a vice. The
predicament of the web being thereby increased, the weaver's
wrath was doubled in proportion, and he laid on without mercy.

At this critical juncture the wife arrived, and without hesitation
rushed before her offended lord, withholding his hand from
injuring me further, although then it was uplifted along with the
loom-spoke in overbearing ire. "Dear Johnny! I think ye be gaen
dementit this morning. Be quiet, my dear, an' dinna begin a
Boddel Brigg business in your ain house. What for ir ye
persecutin' a servant o' the Lord's that gate, an' pitting the life out
o' him wi' his head down an' his heels up?"

"Had ye said a servant o' the Deil's, Nans, ye wad hae been nearer
the nail, for gin he binna the Auld Ane himsel, he's gayan sib till
him. There, didna I lock him in on purpose to bring the military
on him; an' in the place o' that, hasna he keepit me in a sleep a'
this while as deep as death? An' here do I find him abscondit like
a speeder i' the mids o' my leddy's wab, an' me dreamin' a' the
night that I had the Deil i' my house, an' that he was clapper-
clawin me ayont the loom. Have at you, ye brunstane thief!" and,
in spite of the good woman's struggles, he lent me another severe

"Now, Johnny Dods, my man! oh, Johnny Dods, think if that be
like a Christian, and ane o' the heroes o' Boddel Brigg, to
entertain a stranger, an' then bind him in a web wi' his head down,
an' mell him to death! oh, Johnny Dods, think what you are
about! Slack a pin, an' let the good honest religious lad out."

The weaver was rather overcome, but still stood to his point that I
was the Deil, though in better temper; and, as he slackened the
web to release me, he remarked, half laughing: "Wha wad hae
thought that John Dods should hae escapit a' the snares an'
dangers that circumfauldit him, an' at last should hae weaved a
net to catch the Deil."

The wife released me soon, and carefully whispered me, at the
same time, that it would be as well for me to dress and be going. I
was not long in obeying, and dressed myself in my black clothes,
hardly knowing what I did, what to think, or whither to betake
myself. I was sore hurt by the blows of the desperate ruffian; and,
what was worse, my ankle was so much strained that I could
hardly set my foot to the ground. I was obliged to apply to the
weaver once more, to see if I could learn anything about my
clothes, or how the change was effected. "Sir," said I, "how comes
it that you have robbed me of my clothes, and put these down in
their place over night?"

"Ha! thae claes? Me pit down the claes!" said he, gaping with
astonishment, and touching the clothes with the point of his
forefinger. "I never saw them afore, as I have death to meet wi',
so help me God!"

He strode into the work-house where I slept, to satisfy himself
that my clothes were not there, and returned perfectly aghast with
consternation. "The doors were baith fast lockit," said he. "I could
hae defied a rat either to hae gotten out or in. My dream has been
true! My dream has been true! The Lord judge between thee and
me; but in His name, I charge you to depart out o' this house; an',
gin it be your will, dinna tak the braidside o't w'ye, but gang
quietly out at the door wi' your face foremost. Wife, let naught o'
this enchanter's remain i' the house, to be a curse, an' a snare to
us; gang an' bring him his gildit weapon, an' may the Lord protect
a' his ain against its hellish an' deadly point!"

The wife went to seek my poniard, trembling so excessively that
she could hardly walk, and, shortly after, we heard a feeble
scream from the pantry. The weapon had disappeared with the
clothes, though under double lock and key; and, the terror of the
good people having now reached a disgusting extremity, I
thought proper to make a sudden retreat, followed by the weaver's

My state both of body and mind was now truly deplorable. I was
hungry, wounded, and lame, an outcast and a vagabond in
society; my life sought after with avidity, and all for doing that to
which I was predestined by Him who fore-ordains whatever
comes to pass. I knew not whither to betake me. I had purposed
going into England and there making some use of the classical
education I had received, but my lameness rendered this
impracticable for the present. I was therefore obliged to turn my
face towards Edinburgh, where I was little known--where
concealment was more practicable than by skulking in the
country, and where I might turn my mind to something that was
great and good. I had a little money, both Scotch and English,
now in my possession, but not one friend in the whole world on
whom I could rely. One devoted friend, it is true, I had, but he
was become my greatest terror. To escape from him, I now felt
that I would willingly travel to the farthest corners of the world,
and be subjected to every deprivation; but after the certainty of
what had taken place last night, after I had travelled thirty miles
by secret and by-ways, I saw not how escape from him was

Miserable, forlorn, and dreading every person that I saw, either
behind or before me, I hasted on towards Edinburgh, taking all
the by and unfrequented paths; and, the third night after I left the
weaver's house, I reached the West Port, without meeting with
anything remarkable. Being exceedingly fatigued and lame, I
took lodgings in the first house I entered, and for these I was to
pay two groats a week, and to board and sleep with a young man
who wanted a companion to make his rent easier. I liked this;
having found from experience that the great personage who had
attached himself to me, and was now become my greatest terror
among many surrounding evils, generally haunted me when I was
alone keeping aloof from all other society.

My fellow lodger came home in the evening, and was glad at my
coming. His name was Linton, and I changed mine to Elliot. He
was a flippant unstable being, one on whom nothing appeared a
difficulty, in his own estimation, but who could effect very little
after all. He was what is called by some a compositor, in the
Queen's printing house, then conducted by a Mr. James Watson.
In the course of our conversation that night, I told him I was a
first-rate classical scholar, and would gladly turn my attention to
some business wherein my education might avail me something;
and that there was nothing would delight me so much as an
engagement in the Queen's printing office. Linton made no
difficulty in bringing about that arrangement. His answer was:
"Oo, gud sir, you are the very man we want. Gud bless your
breast and your buttons, sir! Aye, that's neither here nor there.
That's all very well. Ha, ha, ha. A by-word in the house, sir. But,
as I was saying, you are the very man we want. You will get any
money you like to ask, sir. Any money you like, sir. God bless
your buttons!--That's settled--All done--Settled, setded--I'll do it,
I'll do it--No more about it; no more about it. Settled, settled."

The next day I went with him to the office, and he presented me
to Mr. Watson as the most wonderful genius and scholar ever
known. His recommendation had little sway with Mr. Watson,
who only smiled at Linton's extravagances, as one does at the
prattle of an infant. I sauntered about the printing office for the
space of two or three hours, during which time Watson bustled
about with green spectacles on his nose, and took no heed of me.
But, seeing that I still lingered, he addressed me at length, in a
civil gentlemanly way, and inquired concerning my views. I
satisfied him with all my answers, in particular those to his
questions about the Latin and Greek languages; but when he
came to ask testimonials of my character and acquirements, and
found that I could produce none, he viewed me with a jealous
eye, and said he dreaded I was some n'er-do-weel, run from my
parents or guardians, and he did not choose to employ any such. I
said my parents were both dead; and that, being thereby deprived
of the means of following out my education, it behoved me to
apply to some business in which my education might be of some
use to me. He said he would take me into the office, and pay me
according to the business I performed and the manner in which I
deported myself; but he could take no man into Her Majesty's
printing office upon a regular engagement who could not produce
the most respectable references with regard to morals.

I could not but despise the man in my heart who laid such a stress
upon morals, leaving grace out of the question; and viewed it as a
deplorable instance of human depravity and self-conceit; but, for
all that, I was obliged to accept of his terms, for I had an inward
thirst and longing to distinguish myself in the great cause of
religion, and I thought, if once I could print my own works, how I
would astonish mankind, and confound their self-wisdom and
their esteemed morality--blow up the idea of any dependence on
good works, and morality, forsooth! And I weened that I might
thus get me a name even higher than if I had been made a general
of the Czar Peter's troops against the infidels.

I attended the office some hours every day, but got not much
encouragement, though I was eager to learn everything, and could
soon have set types considerably well. It was here that I first
conceived the idea of writing this journal, and having it printed,
and applied to Mr. Watson to print it for me, telling him it was a
religious parable such as the Pilgrim's Progress. He advised me to
print it close, and make it a pamphlet, and then, if it did not sell, it
would not cost me much; but that religious pamphlets, especially
if they had a shade of allegory in them, were the very rage of the
day. I put my work to the press, and wrote early and late; and
encouraging my companion to work at odd hours and on
Sundays, before the press-work of the second sheet was begun,
we had the work all in types, corrected, and a clean copy thrown
off for further revisal. The first sheet was wrought off; and I
never shall forget how my heart exulted when at the printing
house this day I saw what numbers of my works were to go
abroad among mankind, and I determined with myself that I
would not put the Border name of Elliot, which I had assumed, to
the work.

Thus far have my History and Confessions been carried.

I must now furnish my Christian readers with a key to the
process, management, and winding up of the whole matter; which
I propose, by the assistance of God, to limit to a very few pages.

Chesters, July 27, 1712.--My hopes and prospects are a wreck.
My precious journal is lost! consigned to the flames! My enemy
hath found me out, and there is no hope of peace or rest for me on
this side the grave.

In the beginning of last week, my fellow lodger came home,
running in a great panic, and told me a story of the Devil having
appeared twice in the printing house, assisting the workmen at the
printing of my book, and that some of them had been frightened
out of their wits. That the story was told to Mr. Watson, who till
that time had never paid any attention to the treatise, but who, out
of curiosity, began and read a part of it, and thereupon flew into a
great rage, called my work a medley of lies and blasphemy, and
ordered the whole to be consigned to the flames, blaming his
foreman, and all connected with the press, for letting a work go
so far that was enough to bring down the vengeance of Heaven on
the concern.

If ever I shed tears through perfect bitterness of spirit it was at
that time, but I hope it was more for the ignorance and folly of
my countrymen than the overthrow of my own hopes. But my
attention was suddenly aroused to other matters, by Linton
mentioning that it was said by some in the office the Devil had
inquired for me.

"Surely you are not such a fool," said I, "as to believe that the
Devil really was in the printing office?"

"Oo, Gud bless you, sir! Saw him myself, gave him a nod, and
good-day. Rather a gentlemanly personage--Green Circassian
hunting coat and turban--Like a foreigner--Has the power of
vanishing in one moment though--Rather a suspicious
circumstance that. Otherwise, his appearance not much against

If the former intelligence thrilled me with grief, this did so with
terror. I perceived who the personage was that had visited the
printing house in order to further the progress of my work; and, at
the approach of every person to our lodgings, I from that instant
trembled every bone, lest it should be my elevated and dreaded
friend. I could not say I had ever received an office at his hand
that was not friendly, yet these offices had been of a strange
tendency; and the horror with which I now regarded him was
unaccountable to myself. It was beyond description, conception,
or the soul of man to bear. I took my printed sheets, the only copy
of my unfinished work existing; and, on pretence of going
straight to Mr. Watson's office, decamped from my lodgings at
Portsburgh a little before the fall of evening, and took the road
towards England.

As soon as I got clear of the city, I ran with a velocity I knew not
before I had been capable of. I flew out the way towards Dalkeith
so swiftly that I often lost sight of the ground, and I said to
myself, "Oh, that I had the wings of a dove, that I might fly to the
farthest corners of the earth, to hide me from those against whom
I have no power to stand!"

I travelled all that night and the next morning, exerting myself
beyond my power; and about noon the following day I went into
a yeoman's house, the name of which was Ellanshaws, and
requested of the people a couch of any sort to lie down on, for I
was ill, and could not proceed on my journey. They showed me to
a stable-loft where there were two beds, on one of which I laid
me down; and, falling into a sound sleep, I did not awake till the
evening, that other three men came from the fields to sleep in the
same place, one of whom lay down beside me, at which I was
exceedingly glad. They fell all sound asleep, and I was terribly
alarmed at a conversation I overheard somewhere outside the
stable. I could not make out a sentence, but trembled to think I
knew one of the voices at least, and, rather than not be mistaken, I
would that any man had run me through with a sword. I fell into a
cold sweat, and once thought of instantly putting hand to my own
life, as my only means of relief (may the rash and sinful thought
be in mercy forgiven!) when I heard as it were two persons at the
door, contending, as I thought, about their right and interest in
me. That the one was forcibly preventing the admission of the
other, I could hear distinctly, and their language was mixed with
something dreadful and mysterious. In an agony of terror, I
awakened my snoring companion with great difficulty, and asked
him, in a low whisper, who these were at the door. The man lay
silent and listening till fairly awake, and then asked if I heard
anything. I said I had heard strange voices contending at the door.

"Then I can tell you, lad, it has been something neither good nor
canny," said he. "It's no for naething that our horses are snorking
that gate."

For the first time, I remarked that the animals were snorting and
rearing as if they wished to break through the house. The man
called to them by their names, and ordered them to be quiet; but
they raged still the more furiously. He then roused his drowsy
companions, who were alike alarmed at the panic of the horses,
all of them declaring that they had never seen either Mause or
jolly start in their lives before. My bed-fellow and another then
ventured down the ladder, and I heard one of them then saying:
"Lord be wi' us! What can be i' the house? The sweat's rinning off
the poor beasts like water."

They agreed to sally out together, and if possible to reach the
kitchen and bring a light. I was glad at this, but not so much so
when I heard the one man saying to the other, in a whisper: "I
wish that stranger man may be canny enough."

"God kens!" said the other. "It does nae look unco weel."

The lad in the other bed, hearing this, set up his head in manifest
affright as the other two departed for the kitchen; and, I believed
he would have been glad to have been in their company. This lad
was next the ladder, at which I was extremely glad, for, had he
not been there, the world should not have induced me to wait the
return of these two men. They were not well gone before I heard
another distinctly enter the stable, and come towards the ladder.
The lad who was sitting up in his bed, intent on the watch, called
out: "Wha's that there? Walker, is that you? Purdie, I say is it

The darkling intruder paused for a few moments, and then came
towards the foot of the ladder. The horses broke loose, and,
snorting and neighing for terror, raged through the house. In all
my life I never heard so frightful a commotion. The being that
occasioned it all now began to mount the ladder towards our loft,
on which the lad in the bed next the ladder sprung from his
couch, crying out: "The L--d A--y preserve us! What can it be?"
With that he sped across the loft and by my bed, praying lustily
all the way; and, throwing himself from the other end of the loft
into a manger, he darted, naked as he was, through among the
furious horses, and, making the door that stood open, in a
moment he vanished and left me in the lurch. Powerless with
terror, and calling out fearfully, I tried to follow his example; but,
not knowing the situation of the places with regard to one
another, I missed the manger, and fell on the pavement in one of
the stalls. I was both stunned and lamed on the knee; but, terror
prevailing, I got up and tried to escape. It was out of my power;
for there were divisions and cross divisions in the house, and mad
horses smashing everything before them, so that I knew not so
much as on what side of the house the door was. Two or three
times was I knocked down by the animals. but all the while I
never stinted crying out with all my power. At length, I was
seized by the throat and hair of the head, and dragged away, I
wist not whither. My voice was now laid, and all my powers,
both mental and bodily, totally overcome; and I remember no
more till I found myself lying naked on the kitchen table of the
farm-house, and something like a horse's rug thrown over me.
The only hint that I got from the people of the house on coming
to myself was that my absence would be good company; and that
they had got me in a woeful state, one which they did not choose
to describe, or hear described.

As soon as day-light appeared, I was packed about my business,
with the hisses and execrations of the yeoman's family, who
viewed me as a being to be shunned, ascribing to me the
visitations of that unholy night. Again was I on my way
southwards, as lonely, hopeless, and degraded a being as was to
be found on life's weary round. As I limped out the way, I wept,
thinking of what I might have been, and what I really had
become: of my high and flourishing hopes when I set out as the
avenger of God on the sinful children of men; of all that I had
dared for the exaltation and progress of the truth; and it was with
great difficulty that my faith remained unshaken, yet was I
preserved from that sin, and comforted myself with the certainty
that the believer's progress through life is one of warfare and

My case was indeed a pitiable one. I was lame, hungry, fatigued,
and my resources on the very eve of being exhausted. Yet these
were but secondary miseries, and hardly worthy of a thought
compared with those I suffered inwardly. I not only looked
around me with terror at every one that approached, but I was
become a terror to myself, or, rather, my body and soul were
become terrors to each other; and, had it been possible, I felt as if
they would have gone to war. I dared not look at my face in a
glass, for I shuddered at my own image and likeness. I dreaded
the dawning, and trembled at the approach of night, nor was there
one thing in nature that afforded me the least delight.

In this deplorable state of body and mind, was I jogging on
towards the Tweed, by the side of the small river called Ellan,
when, just at the narrowest part of the glen, whom should I meet
full in the face but the very being in all the universe of God
would the most gladly have shunned. I had no power to fly fro
him, neither durst I, for the spirit within me, accuse him of
falsehood and renounce his fellowship. I stood before him like a
condemned criminal, staring him in the face, ready to be winded,
twisted, and tormented as he pleased. He regarded me with a sad
and solemn look. How changed was now that majestic
countenance to one of haggard despair--changed in all save the
extraordinary likeness to my late brother, a resemblance which
misfortune and despair tended only to heighten. There were no
kind greetings passed between us at meeting, like those which
pass between the men of the world; he looked on me with eyes
that froze the currents of my blood, but spoke not till I assumed
as much courage as to articulate: "You here! I hope you have
brought me tidings of comfort?"

"Tidings of despair!" said he. "But such tidings as the timid and
the ungrateful deserve, and have reason to expect. You are an
outlaw, and a vagabond in your country, and a high reward is
offered for your apprehension. The enraged populace have burnt
your house, and all that is within it; and the farmers on the land
bless themselves at being rid of you. So fare it with everyone who
puts his hand to the great work of man's restoration to freedom,
and draweth back, contemning the light that is within him! Your
enormities caused me to leave you to yourself for a season, and
you see what the issue has been. You have given some evil ones
power over you, who long to devour you, both soul and body, and
it has required all my power and influence to save you. Had it not
been for my hand, you had been torn in pieces last night; but for
once I prevailed. We must leave this land forthwith, for here there
is neither peace, safety, nor comfort for us. Do you now and here
pledge yourself to one who has so often saved your life and has
put his own at stake to do so? Do you pledge yourself that you
will henceforth be guided by my counsel, and follow me
whithersoever I choose to lead?"

"I have always been swayed by your counsel," said I, "and for
your sake, principally, am I sorry that all our measures have
proved abortive. But I hope still to be useful in my native isle,
therefore let me plead that your highness will abandon a poor
despised and outcast wretch to his fate, and betake you to your
realms, where your presence cannot but be greatly wanted."

"Would that I could do so!" said he woefully. "But to talk of that
is to talk of an impossibility. I am wedded to you so closely that I
feel as if I were the same person. Our essences are one, our
bodies and spirits being united, so that I am drawn towards you as
by magnetism, and. wherever you are, there must my presence be
with you."

Perceiving how this assurance affected me, he began to chide me
most bitterly for my ingratitude; and then he assumed such looks
that it was impossible for me longer to bear them; therefore I
staggered out of the way, begging and beseeching of him to give
me up to my fate, and hardly knowing what I said; for it struck
me that, with all his assumed appearance of misery and
wretchedness, there were traits of exultation in his hideous
countenance, manifesting a secret and inward joy at my utter

It was long before I durst look over my shoulder, but, when I did
so, I perceived this ruined and debased potentate coming slowly
on the same path, and I prayed that the Lord would hide me in the
bowels of the earth or depths of the sea. When I crossed the
Tweed, I perceived him still a little behind me; and, my despair
being then at its height, I cursed the time I first met with such a
tormentor; though on a little recollection it occurred that it was at
that blessed time when I was solemnly dedicated to the Lord, and
assured of my final election, and confirmation, by an eternal
decree never to be annulled. This being my sole and only
comfort, I recalled my curse upon the time, and repented me o my

After crossing the Tweed, I saw no more of my persecutor that
day, and had hopes that he had left me for a season; but, alas,
what hope was there of my relief after the declaration I had so
lately heard! I took up my lodgings that night in a small miserable
inn in the village of Ancrum, of which the people seemed alike
poor and ignorant. Before going to bed, I asked if it was
customary with them to have family worship of evenings. The
man answered that they were so hard set with the world they
often could not get time, but if I would be so kind as to officiate
they would be much obliged to me. I accepted the invitation,
being afraid to go to rest lest the commotions of the foregoing
night might be renewed, and continued the worship as long as in
decency I could. The poor people thanked me, hoped my prayers
would be heard both on their account and my own, seemed much
taken with my abilities, and wondered how a man of my powerful
eloquence chanced to be wandering about in a condition so
forlorn. I said I was a poor student of theology, on my way to
Oxford. They stared at one another with expressions of wonder,
disappointment, and fear. I afterwards came to learn that the term
theology was by them quite misunderstood, and that they had
some crude conceptions that nothing was taught at Oxford but the
black arts, which ridiculous idea prevailed over all the south of
Scotland. For the present I could not understand what the people
meant, and less so when the man asked me, with deep concern:
"If I was serious in my intentions of going to Oxford? He hoped
not, and that I would be better guided."

I said my education wanted finishing; but he remarked that the
Oxford arts were a bad finish for a religious man's education.
Finally, I requested him to sleep with me, or in my room all the
night, as I wanted some serious and religious conversation with
him, and likewise to convince him that the study of the fine arts,
though not absolutely necessary, were not incompatible with the
character of a Christian divine. He shook his head, and wondered
how I could call them fine arts--hoped I did not mean to convince
him by any ocular demonstration, and at length reluctantly
condescended to sleep with me, and let the lass and wife sleep
together for one night. I believe he would have declined it had it
not been some hints from his wife, stating that it was a good
arrangement, by which I understood there were only two beds in
the house, and that when I was preferred to the lass's bed, she had
one to shift for.

The landlord and I accordingly retired to our homely bed, and
conversed for some time about indifferent matters, till he fell
sound asleep. Not so with me: I had that within which would not
suffer me to close my eyes; and, about the dead of night, I again
heard the same noises and contention begin outside the house as I
had heard the night before; and again I heard it was about a
sovereign and peculiar right in me. At one time the noise was on
the top of the house, straight above our bed, as if the one party
were breaking through the roof, and the other forcibly preventing
it; at another it was at the door, and at a third time at the window;
but still mine host lay sound by my side, and did not waken. I
was seized with terrors indefinable, and prayed fervently, but did
not attempt rousing my sleeping companion until I saw if no
better could be done. The women, however, were alarmed, and,
rushing into our apartment, exclaimed that all the devils in hell
were besieging the house. Then, indeed, the landlord awoke, and
it was time for him, for the tumult had increased to such a degree
that it shook the house to its foundations, being louder and more
furious than I could have conceived the heat of battle to be when
the volleys of artillery are mixed with groans, shouts, and
blasphemous cursing. It thundered and lightened; and there were
screams, groans, laughter. and execrations, all intermingled.

I lay trembling and bathed in a cold perspiration, but was soon
obliged to bestir myself, the inmates attacking me one after the

"Oh, Tam Douglas! Tam Douglas! haste ye an' rise out frayont
that incarnal devil!" cried the wife. "Ye are in ayont the auld ane
himsel, for our lass Tibbie saw his cloven cloots last night."

"Lord forbid!" roared Tam Douglas, and darted over the bed like
a flying fish. Then, hearing the unearthly tumult with which he
was surrounded, he turned to the side of the bed, and addressed
me thus, with long and fearful intervals:

"If ye be the Deil, rise up, an' depart in peace out o' this house--
afore the bedstrae take kindling about ye, an' than it'll maybe be
the waur for ye. Get up--an' gang awa out amang your cronies,
like a good lad. There's nae body here wishes you ony ill. D'ye
hear me?"

"Friend," said I, "no Christian would turn out a fellow creature on
such a night as this and in the midst of such a commotion of the

"Na, if ye be a mortal man," said he, "which I rather think, from
the use you made of the holy book. Nane o' your practical jokes
on strangers an' honest foks. These are some o' your Oxford
tricks, an' I'll thank you to be ower wi' them. Gracious heaven,
they are brikkin through the house at a' the four corners at the
same time!"

The lass Tibby, seeing the innkeeper was not going to prevail
with me to rise, flew towards the bed in desperation, and, seizing
me by the waist, soon landed me on the floor, saying: "Be ye deil,
be ye chiel, ye's no lie there till baith the house an' us be
swallowed up!"

Her master and mistress applauding the deed, I was obliged to
attempt dressing myself, a task to which my powers were quite
inadequate in the state I was in, but I was readily assisted by
every one of the three; and, as soon as they got my clothes thrust
on in a loose way, they shut their eyes lest they should see what
might drive them distracted, and thrust me out to the street,
cursing me, and calling on the fiends to take their prey and be

The scene that ensued is neither to be described nor believed if it
were. I was momently surrounded by a number of hideous fiends,
who gnashed on me with their teeth, and clenched their crimson
paws in my face; and at the same instant I was seized by the
collar of my coat behind, by my dreaded and devoted friend, who
pushed me on and, with his gilded rapier waving and brandishing
around me, defended me against all their united attacks. Horrible
as my assailants were in appearance (and they all had monstrous
shapes) I felt that I would rather have fallen into their hands than
be thus led away captive by my defender at his will and pleasure
without having the right or power to say my life, or any part of
my will, was my own. I could not even thank him for his potent
guardianship, but hung down my head, and moved on I knew not
whither, like a criminal led to execution and still the infernal
combat continued till about the dawning, at which time I looked
up, and all the fiends were expelled but one, who kept at a
distance; and still my persecutor and defender pushed me by the
neck before him.

At length he desired me to sit down and take some rest, with
which I complied, for I had great need of it, and wanted the
power to withstand what he desired. There, for a whole morning
did he detain me, tormenting me with reflections on the past, and
pointing out the horrors of the future, until a thousand times I
wished myself non-existent. "I have attached myself to your
wayward fortune," said he, "and it has been my ruin as well as
thine. Ungrateful as you are, I cannot give you up to be devoured;
but this is a life that it is impossible to brook longer. Since our
hopes are blasted in this world, and all our schemes of grandeur
overthrown; and since our everlasting destiny is settled by a
decree which no act of ours can invalidate, let us fall by our own
hands, or by the hands of each other; die like heroes; and,
throwing off this frame of dross and corruption, mingle with the
pure ethereal essence of existence, from which we derived our

I shuddered at a view of the dreadful alternative, yet was obliged
to confess that in my present circumstances existence was not to
be borne. It was in vain that I reasoned on the sinfulness of the
deed, and on its damning nature; he made me condemn myself
out of my own mouth, by allowing the absolute nature of
justifying grace and the impossibility of the elect ever falling
from the faith, or the glorious end to which they were called; and
then he said, this granted, self-destruction was the act of a hero,
and none but a coward would shrink from it, to suffer a hundred
times more every day and night that passed over his head.

I said I was still contented to be that coward; and all that I
begged of him was to leave me to my fortune for a season, and to
the just judgement of my Creator; but he said his word and
honour were engaged on my behalf, and these, in such a case,
were not to be violated. "If you will not pity yourself, have
pity onme," added he. "Turn your eyes on me, and behold to
what I am reduced."

Involuntarily did I turn at the request, and caught a half glance of
his features. May no eye destined to reflect the beauties of the
New Jerusalem inward upon the beatific soul behold such a sight
as mine then beheld! My immortal spirit, blood and bones, were
all withered at the blasting sight; and I arose and withdrew, with
groanings which the pangs of death shall never wring from me.

Not daring to look behind me, I crept on my way, and that night
reached this hamlet on the Scottish border; and being grown
reckless of danger, and hardened to scenes of horror, I took up
my lodging with a poor hind, who is a widower, and who could
only accommodate me with a bed of rushes at his fireside. At
midnight I heard some strange sounds, too much resembling
those to which I had of late been inured; but they kept at a
distance, and I was soon persuaded that there was a power
protected that house superior to those that contended for or had
the mastery over me. Overjoyed at finding such an asylum, I
remained in the humble cot. This is the third day I have lived
under the roof, freed of my hellish assailants, spending my time
in prayer, and writing out this my journal, which I have fashioned
to stick in with my printed work, and to which I intend to add
portions while I remain in this pilgrimage state, which, I find too
well, cannot be long.

August 3, 1712.--This morning the hind has brought me word
from Redesdale, whither he had been for coals, that a stranger
gentleman had been traversing that country, making the most
earnest inquiries after me, or one of the same appearance; and,
from the description that he brought of this stranger, I could
easily perceive who it was. Rejoicing that my tormentor has lost
traces of me for once, I am making haste to leave my asylum, on
pretence of following this stranger, but in reality to conceal
myself still more completely from his search. Perhaps this may be
the last sentence ever I am destined to write. If so, farewell,
Christian reader! May God grant to thee a happier destiny than
has been allotted to me here on earth, and the same assurance of
acceptance above! Amen.

Ault-Righ, August 24, 1712.--Here am I, set down on the open
moor to add one sentence more to my woeful journal; and, then,
farewell, all beneath the sun!

On leaving the hind's cottage on the Border, I hasted to the north-
west, because in that quarter I perceived the highest and wildest
hills before me. As I crossed the mountains above Hawick, I
exchanged clothes with a poor homely shepherd, whom I found
lying on a hill-side, singing to himself some woeful love ditty. He
was glad of the change, and proud of his saintly apparel; and I
was no less delighted with mine, by which I now supposed
myself completely disguised; and I found moreover that in this
garb of a common shepherd I was made welcome in every house.
I slept the first night in a farm-house nigh to the church of
Roberton, without hearing or seeing aught extraordinary; yet I
observed next morning that all the servants kept aloof from me,
and regarded me with looks of aversion. The next night I came to
this house, where the farmer engaged me as a shepherd; and,
finding him a kind, worthy, and religious man, I accepted of his
terms with great gladness. I had not, however, gone many times
to the sheep, before all the rest of the shepherds told my master
that I knew nothing about herding, and begged of him to dismiss
me. He perceived too well the truth of their intelligence; but,
being much taken with my learning and religious conversation, he
would not put me away, but set me to herd his cattle.

It was lucky for me that before I came here a report had
prevailed, perhaps for an age, that this farm-house was haunted at
certain seasons by a ghost. I say it was lucky for me for I had not
been in it many days before the same appalling noises began to
prevail around me about midnight, often continuing till near the
dawning. Still they kept aloof, and without doors; for this
gentleman's house, like the cottage I was in formerly, seemed to
be a sanctuary from all demoniacal power. He appears to be a
good man and a just, and mocks at the idea of supernatural
agency, and he either does not hear these persecuting spirits or
will not acknowledge it, though of late he appears much

The consternation of the menials has been extreme. They ascribe
all to the ghost, and tell frightful stories of murders having been
committed there long ago. Of late, however, they are beginning to
suspect that it is I that am haunted; and, as I have never given
them any satisfactory account of myself, they are whispering that
I am a murderer, and haunted by the spirits of those I have slain.

August 30.--This day I have been informed that I am to he
banished the dwelling-house by night, and to sleep in an outhouse
by myself, to try if the family can get any rest when freed of my
presence. I have peremptorily refused acquiescence, on which my
master's brother struck me, and kicked me with his foot. My body
being quite exhausted by suffering, I am grown weak and feeble
both in mind and bodily frame, and actually unable to resent any
insult or injury. I am the child of earthly misery and despair, if
ever there was one existent. My master is still my friend; but
there are so many masters here, and everyone of them alike harsh
to me, that I wish myself in my grave every hour of the day. If I
am driven from the family sanctuary by night, I know I shall be
torn in pieces before morning; and then who will deign or dare to
gather up my mangled limbs, and give me honoured burial?

My last hour is arrived: I see my tormentor once more
approaching me in this wild. Oh, that the earth would swallow me
up, or the hill fall and cover me! Farewell for ever!

September 7, 1712.--My devoted, princely, but sanguine friend
has been with me again and again. My time is expired and I find a
relief beyond measure, for he has fully convinced me that no act
of mine can mar the eternal counsel, or in the smallest degree
alter or extenuate one event which was decreed before the
foundations of the world were laid. He said he had watched over
me with the greatest anxiety, but, perceiving my rooted aversion
towards him, he had forborne troubling me with his presence. But
now, seeing that I was certainly to be driven from my sanctuary
that night, and that there would be a number of infernals watching
to make a prey of my body, he came to caution me not to despair,
for that he would protect me at all risks, if the power remained
with him. He then repeated an ejaculatory prayer, which I was to
pronounce, if in great extremity. I objected to the words as
equivocal, and susceptible of being rendered in a meaning
perfectly dreadful; but he reasoned against this, and all reasoning
with him is to no purpose. He said he did not ask me to repeat the
words unless greatly straitened; and that I saw his strength and
power giving way, and when perhaps nothing else could save me.

The dreaded hour of night arrived; and, as he said, I was expelled
from the family residence, and ordered to a byre, or cow-house,
that stood parallel with the dwelling-house behind, where, on a
divot loft, my humble bedstead stood, and the cattle grunted and
puffed below me. How unlike the splendid halls of Dalcastle!
And to what I am now reduced, let the reflecting reader judge.
Lord, thou knowest all that I have done for Thy cause on earth!
Why then art Thou laying Thy hand so sore upon me? Why hast
Thou set me as a butt of Thy malice? But Thy will must be done!
Thou wilt repay me in a better world. Amen.

September 8.--My first night of trial in this place is overpast!
Would that it were the last that I should ever see in this detested
world! If the horrors of hell are equal to those I have suffered,
eternity will be of short duration there, for no created energy can
support them for one single month, or week. I have been buffeted
as never living creature was. My vitals have all been torn, and
every faculty and feeling of my soul racked, and tormented into
callous insensibility. I was even hung by the locks over a
yawning chasm, to which I could perceive no bottom, and then--not
till then, did I repeat the tremendous prayer!--I was instantly at
liberty; and what I now am, the Almighty knows! Amen.

September 18, 1712.--Still am I living, though liker to a vision
than a human being; but this is my last day of mortal existence.
Unable to resist any longer, I pledged myself to my devoted
friend that on this day we should die together, and trust to the
charity of the children of men for a grave. I am solemnly pledged;
and, though I dared to repent, I am aware he will not be gainsaid,
for he is raging with despair at his fallen and decayed majesty,
and there is some miserable comfort in the idea that my tormentor
shall fall with me. Farewell, world, with all thy miseries; for
comforts or enjoyments hast thou none! Farewell, woman, whom
I have despised and shunned; and man, whom I have hated;
whom, nevertheless, I desire to leave in charity! And thou, sun,
bright emblem of a far brighter effulgence, I bid farewell to thee
also! I do not now take my last look of thee, for to thy glorious
orb shall a poor suicide's last earthly look be raised. But, ah! who
is yon that I see approaching furiously, his stern face blackened
with horrid despair! My hour is at hand. Almighty God, what is
this that I am about to do! The hour of repentance is past, and
now my fate is inevitable. Amen, for ever! I will now seal up my
little book, and conceal it; and cursed be he who trieth to alter or


WHAT can this work be? Sure, you will say, it must be an
allegory; or (as the writer calls it) a religious PARABLE,
showing the dreadful danger of self-righteousness? I cannot tell.
Attend to the sequel: which is a thing so extraordinary, so
unprecedented, and so far out of the common course of human
events that, if there were not hundreds of living witnesses to attest
the truth of it, I would not bid any rational being believe it.

In the first place, take the following extract from an authentic
letter, published in Blackwood's Magazine for August, 1823.

"On the top of a wild height called Cowan's-Croft, where the
lands of three proprietors meet all at one point, there has been for
long and many years the grave of a suicide marked out by a stone
standing at the head and another at the feet. Often have I stood
musing over it myself, when a shepherd on one of the farms, of
which it formed the extreme boundary, and thinking what could
induce a young man, who had scarcely reached the prime of life,
to brave his Maker, and rush into His presence by an act of his
own erring hand, and one so unnatural and preposterous. But it
never once occurred to me, as an object of curiosity, to dig up the
mouldering bones of the Culprit, which I considered as the most
revolting of all objects. The thing was, however, done last month,
and a discovery made of one of the greatest natural phenomena
that I have heard of in this country.

"The little traditionary history that remains of this unfortunate
youth is altogether a singular one. He was not a native of the
place, nor would he ever tell from what place he came; but he
was remarkable for a deep, thoughtful, and sullen disposition.
There was nothing against his character that anybody knew of
here, and he had been a considerable time in the place. The last
service he was in was with a Mr. Anderson, of Eltrive (Ault-Righ,
the King's Burn), who died about 100 years ago, and who had
hired him during the summer to herd a stock of young cattle in
Eltrive Hope. It happened one day in the month of September that
James Anderson, his master's son, went with this young man to
the Hope to divert himself. The herd had his dinner along with
him, and about one o'clock, when the boy proposed going home,
the former pressed him very hard to stay and take share of his
dinner; but the boy refused for fear his parents might be alarmed
about him, and said he would go home: on which the herd said to
him, 'Then, if ye winna stay with me, James, ye may depend on't
I'll cut my throat afore ye come back again.'

"I have heard it likewise reported, but only by one person, that
there had been some things stolen out of his master's house a
good while before, and that the boy had discovered a silver knife
and fork that was a part of the stolen property, in the herd's
possession that day, and that it was this discovery that drove him
to despair.

"The boy did not return to the Hope that afternoon; and, before
evening, a man coming in at the pass called The Hart Loup, with
a drove of lambs, on the way for Edinburgh, perceived something
like a man standing in a strange frightful position at the side of
one of Eldinhope hay-ricks. The driver's attention was riveted on
this strange uncouth figure, and, as the drove-road passed at no

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest