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

Guy Mannering, or The Astrologer, Complete, Illustrated by Sir Walter Scott

Part 10 out of 10

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 1.2 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.

came prepared with a small dark lantern. He said softly to Glossin, 'Slip
your shoes off and follow me.' When Glossin was out of the door,
Mac-Guffog, as if in the execution of his ordinary duty, and speaking to
a prisoner within, called aloud, 'Good-night to you, sir,' and locked the
door, clattering the bolts with much ostentatious noise. He then guided
Glossin up a steep and narrow stair, at the top of which was the door of
the condemned ward; he unbarred and unlocked it, and, giving Glossin the
lantern, made a sign to him to enter, and locked the door behind him with
the same affected accuracy.

In the large dark cell into which he was thus introduced Glossin's feeble
light for some time enabled him to discover nothing. At length he could
dimly distinguish the pallet-bed stretched on the floor beside the great
iron bar which traversed the room, and on that pallet reposed the figure
of a man. Glossin approached him. 'Dirk Hatteraick!'

'Donner and hagel! it is his voice,' said the prisoner, sitting up and
clashing his fetters as he rose; 'then my dream is true! Begone, and
leave me to myself; it will be your best.'

'What! my good friend,' said Glossin, 'will you allow the prospect of a
few weeks' confinement to depress your spirit?'

'Yes,' answered the ruffian, sullenly, 'when I am only to be released by
a halter! Let me alone; go about your business, and turn the lamp from my

'Psha! my dear Dirk, don't be afraid,' said Glossin; 'I have a glorious
plan to make all right.'

'To the bottomless pit with your plans!' replied his accomplice; 'you
have planned me out of ship, cargo, and life; and I dreamt this moment
that Meg Merrilies dragged you here by the hair and gave me the long
clasped knife she used to wear; you don't know what she said.
Sturmwetter! it will be your wisdom not to tempt me!'

'But, Hatteraick, my good friend, do but rise and speak to me,' said

'I will not!' answered the savage, doggedly. 'You have caused all the
mischief; you would not let Meg keep the boy; she would have returned him
after he had forgot all.'

'Why, Hatteraick, you are turned driveller!'

'Wetter! will you deny that all that cursed attempt at Portanferry, which
lost both sloop and crew, was your device for your own job?'

'But the goods, you know--'

'Curse the goods!' said the smuggler, 'we could have got plenty more;
but, der deyvil! to lose the ship and the fine fellows, and my own life,
for a cursed coward villain, that always works his own mischief with
other people's hands! Speak to me no more; I'm dangerous.'

'But, Dirk--but, Hatteraick, hear me only a few words.'

'Hagel! nein.'

'Only one sentence.'

'Tousand curses! nein.'

'At least get up, for an obstinate Dutch brute!' said Glossin, losing his
temper and pushing Hatteraick with his foot.

'Donner and blitzen!' said Hatteraick, springing up and grappling with
him; 'you WILL have it then?'

Glossin struggled and resisted; but, owing to his surprise at the fury of
the assault, so ineffectually that he fell under Hatteraick, the back
part of his neck coming full upon the iron bar with stunning violence.
The death-grapple continued. The room immediately below the condemned
ward, being that of Glossin, was, of course, empty; but the inmates of
the second apartment beneath felt the shock of Glossin's heavy fall, and
heard a noise as of struggling and of groans. But all sounds of horror
were too congenial to this place to excite much curiosity or interest.

In the morning, faithful to his promise, Mac-Guffog came. 'Mr. Glossin,'
said he, in a whispering voice.

'Call louder,' answered Dirk Hatteraick.

'Mr. Glossin, for God's sake come away!'

'He'll hardly do that without help,' said Hatteraick.

'What are you chattering there for, Mac-Guffog?' called out the captain
from below.

'Come away, for God's sake, Mr. Glossin!' repeated the turnkey.

At this moment the jailor made his appearance with a light. Great was his
surprise, and even horror, to observe Glossin's body lying doubled across
the iron bar, in a posture that excluded all idea of his being alive.
Hatteraick was quietly stretched upon his pallet within a yard of his
victim. On lifting Glossin it was found he had been dead for some hours.
His body bore uncommon marks of violence. The spine where it joins the
skull had received severe injury by his first fall. There were distinct
marks of strangulation about the throat, which corresponded with the
blackened state of his face. The head was turned backward over the
shoulder, as if the neck had been wrung round with desperate violence. So
that it would seem that his inveterate antagonist had fixed a fatal gripe
upon the wretch's throat, and never quitted it while life lasted. The
lantern, crushed and broken to pieces, lay beneath the body.

Mac-Morlan was in the town, and came instantly to examine the corpse.
'What brought Glossin here?' he said to Hatteraick.

'The devil!' answered the ruffian.

'And what did you do to him?'

'Sent him to hell before me!' replied the miscreant.

'Wretch,' said Mac-Morlan, 'you have crowned a life spent without a
single virtue with the murder of your own miserable accomplice!'

'Virtue?' exclaimed the prisoner. 'Donner! I was always faithful to my
shipowners--always accounted for cargo to the last stiver. Hark ye! let
me have pen and ink and I'll write an account of the whole to our house,
and leave me alone a couple of hours, will ye; and let them take away
that piece of carrion, donnerwetter!'

Mac-Morlan deemed it the best way to humour the savage; he was furnished
with writing materials and left alone. When they again opened the door it
was found that this determined villain had anticipated justice. He had
adjusted a cord taken from the truckle-bed, and attached it to a bone,
the relic of his yesterday's dinner, which he had contrived to drive into
a crevice between two stones in the wall at a height as great as he could
reach, standing upon the bar. Having fastened the noose, he had the
resolution to drop his body as if to fall on his knees, and to retain
that posture until resolution was no longer necessary. The letter he had
written to his owners, though chiefly upon the business of their trade,
contained many allusions to the younker of Ellangowan, as he called him,
and afforded absolute confirmation of all Meg Merrilies and her nephew
had told.

To dismiss the catastrophe of these two wretched men, I shall only add,
that Mac-Guffog was turned out of office, notwithstanding his declaration
(which he offered to attest by oath), that he had locked Glossin safely
in his own room upon the night preceding his being found dead in Dirk
Hatteraick's cell. His story, however, found faith with the worthy Mr.
Skriegh and other lovers of the marvellous, who still hold that the Enemy
of Mankind brought these two wretches together upon that night by
supernatural interference, that they might fill up the cup of their guilt
and receive its meed by murder and suicide.

To sum the whole--the close of all.


As Glossin died without heirs, and without payment of the price, the
estate of Ellangowan was again thrown upon the hands of Mr. Godfrey
Bertram's creditors, the right of most of whom was, however, defeasible
in case Henry Bertram should establish his character of heir of entail.
This young gentleman put his affairs into the hands of Mr. Pleydell and
Mr. Mac-Morlan, with one single proviso, that, though he himself should
be obliged again to go to India, every debt justly and honourably due by
his father should be made good to the claimant. Mannering, who heard this
declaration, grasped him kindly by the hand, and from that moment might
be dated a thorough understanding between them.

The hoards of Miss Margaret Bertram, and the liberal assistance of the
Colonel, easily enabled the heir to make provision for payment of the
just creditors of his father, while the ingenuity and research of his law
friends detected, especially in the accounts of Glossin, so many
overcharges as greatly diminished the total amount. In these
circumstances the creditors did not hesitate to recognise Bertram's
right, and to surrender to him the house and property of his ancestors.
All the party repaired from Woodbourne to take possession, amid the
shouts of the tenantry and the neighbourhood; and so eager was Colonel
Mannering to superintend certain improvements which he had recommended to
Bertram, that he removed with his family from Woodbourne to Ellangowan,
although at present containing much less and much inferior accommodation.

The poor Dominie's brain was almost turned with joy on returning to his
old habitation. He posted upstairs, taking three steps at once, to a
little shabby attic, his cell and dormitory in former days, and which the
possession of his much superior apartment at Woodbourne had never
banished from his memory. Here one sad thought suddenly struck the honest
man--the books! no three rooms in Ellangowan were capable to contain
them. While this qualifying reflection was passing through his mind, he
was suddenly summoned by Mannering to assist in calculating some
proportions relating to a large and splendid house which was to be built
on the site of the New Place of Ellangowan, in a style corresponding to
the magnificence of the ruins in its vicinity. Among the various rooms in
the plan, the Dominie observed that one of the largest was entitled THE
LIBRARY; and close beside was a snug, well-proportioned chamber, entitled
Mr. SAMPSON'S APARTMENT. 'Prodigious, prodigious, pro-di-gi-ous!' shouted
the enraptured Dominie.

Mr. Pleydell had left the party for some time; but he returned, according
to promise, during the Christmas recess of the courts. He drove up to
Ellangowan when all the family were abroad but the Colonel, who was busy
with plans of buildings and pleasure-grounds, in which he was well
skilled, and took great delight.

'Ah ha!' said the Counsellor, 'so here you are! Where are the ladies?
where is the fair Julia?'

'Walking out with young Hazlewood, Bertram, and Captain Delaserre, a
friend of his, who is with us just now. They are gone to plan out a
cottage at Derncleugh. Well, have you carried through your law business?'

'With a wet finger,' answered the lawyer; 'got our youngster's special
service retoured into Chancery. We had him served heir before the

'Macers? who are they?'

'Why, it is a kind of judicial Saturnalia. You must know, that one of the
requisites to be a macer, or officer in attendance upon our supreme
court, is, that they shall be men of no knowledge.'

'Very well!'

'Now, our Scottish legislature, for the joke's sake I suppose, have
constituted those men of no knowledge into a peculiar court for trying
questions of relationship and descent, such as this business of Bertram,
which often involve the most nice and complicated questions of evidence.'

'The devil they have! I should think that rather inconvenient,' said

'O, we have a practical remedy for the theoretical absurdity. One or two
of the judges act upon such occasions as prompters and assessors to their
own doorkeepers. But you know what Cujacius says, "Multa sunt in moribus
dissentanea, multa sine ratione." [Footnote: The singular inconsistency
hinted at is now, in a great degree, removed.] However, this Saturnalian
court has done our business; and a glorious batch of claret we had
afterwards at Walker's. Mac-Morlan will stare when he sees the bill.'

'Never fear,' said the Colonel, 'we'll face the shock, and entertain the
county at my friend Mrs. Mac-Candlish's to boot.'

'And choose Jock Jabos for your master of horse?' replied the lawyer.

'Perhaps I may.'

'And where is Dandie, the redoubted Lord of Liddesdale?' demanded the

'Returned to his mountains; but he has promised Julia to make a descent
in summer, with the goodwife, as he calls her, and I don't know how many

'O, the curly-headed varlets! I must come to play at Blind Harry and Hy
Spy with them. But what is all this?' added Pleydell, taking up the
plans. 'Tower in the centre to be an imitation of the Eagle Tower at
Caernarvon--corps de logis--the devil! Wings--wings! Why, the house will
take the estate of Ellangowan on its back and fly away with it!'

'Why, then, we must ballast it with a few bags of sicca rupees,' replied
the Colonel.

'Aha! sits the wind there? Then I suppose the young dog carries off my
mistress Julia?'

'Even so, Counsellor.'

'These rascals, the post-nati, get the better of us of the old school at
every turn,' said Mr. Pleydell. 'But she must convey and make over her
interest in me to Lucy.'

'To tell you the truth, I am afraid your flank will be turned there too,'
replied the Colonel.


'Here has been Sir Robert Hazlewood,' said Mannering, 'upon a visit to
Bertram, thinking and deeming and opining--'

'O Lord! pray spare me the worthy Baronet's triads!'

'Well, sir,' continued Mannering, 'to make short, he conceived that, as
the property of Singleside lay like a wedge between two farms of his, and
was four or five miles separated from Ellangowan, something like a sale
or exchange or arrangement might take place, to the mutual convenience of
both parties.'

'Well, and Bertram--'

'Why, Bertram replied, that he considered the original settlement of Mrs.
Margaret Bertram as the arrangement most proper in the circumstances of
the family, and that therefore the estate of Singleside was the property
of his sister.'

'The rascal!' said Pleydell, wiping his spectacles. 'He'll steal my heart
as well as my mistress. Et puis?'

'And then Sir Robert retired, after many gracious speeches; but last week
he again took the field in force, with his coach and six horses, his
laced scarlet waistcoat, and best bob-wig--all very grand, as the
good-boy books say.'

'Ay! and what was his overture?'

'Why, he talked with great form of an attachment on the part of Charles
Hazlewood to Miss Bertram.'

'Ay, ay; he respected the little god Cupid when he saw him perched on the
Dun of Singleside. And is poor Lucy to keep house with that old fool and
his wife, who is just the knight himself in petticoats?'

'No; we parried that. Singleside House is to be repaired for the young
people, and to be called hereafter Mount Hazlewood.'

'And do you yourself, Colonel, propose to continue at Woodbourne?'

'Only till we carry these plans into effect. See, here's the plan of my
bungalow, with all convenience for being separate and sulky when I

'And, being situated, as I see, next door to the old castle, you may
repair Donagild's tower for the nocturnal contemplation of the celestial
bodies? Bravo, Colonel!'

'No, no, my dear Counsellor! Here ends THE ASTROLOGER.'



NOTE 1, p. 25

The groaning malt mentioned in the text was the ale brewed for the
purpose of being drunk after the lady or goodwife's safe delivery. The
ken-no has a more ancient source, and perhaps the custom may be derived
from the secret rites of the Bona Dea. A large and rich cheese was made
by the women of the family, with great affectation of secrecy, for the
refreshment of the gossips who were to attend at the 'canny' minute. This
was the ken-no, so called because its existence was secret (that is,
presumed to be so) from all the males of the family, but especially from
the husband and master. He was accordingly expected to conduct himself as
if he knew of no such preparation, to act as if desirous to press the
female guests to refreshments, and to seem surprised at their obstinate
refusal. But the instant his back was turned the ken-no was produced; and
after all had eaten their fill, with a proper accompaniment of the
groaning malt, the remainder was divided among the gossips, each carrying
a large portion home with the same affectation of great secrecy.

NOTE 2, p. 198

It is fitting to explain to the reader the locality described in chapter
xxii. There is, or rather I should say there WAS, a little inn called
Mumps's Hall, that is, being interpreted, Beggar's Hotel, near to
Gilsland, which had not then attained its present fame as a Spa. It was a
hedge alehouse, where the Border farmers of either country often stopped
to refresh themselves and their nags, in their way to and from the fairs
and trysts in Cumberland, and especially those who came from or went to
Scotland, through a barren and lonely district, without either road or
pathway, emphatically called the Waste of Bewcastle. At the period when
the adventures described in the novel are supposed to have taken place,
there were many instances of attacks by freebooters on those who
travelled through this wild district, and Mumps's Ha' had a bad
reputation for harbouring the banditti who committed such depredations.

An old and sturdy yeoman belonging to the Scottish side, by surname an
Armstrong or Elliot, but well known by his soubriquet of Fighting Charlie
of Liddesdale, and still remembered for the courage he displayed in the
frequent frays which took place on the Border fifty or sixty years since,
had the following adventure in the Waste, which suggested the idea of the
scene in the text:--

Charlie had been at Stagshawbank Fair, had sold his sheep or cattle, or
whatever he had brought to market, and was on his return to Liddesdale.
There were then no country banks where cash could be deposited and bills
received instead, which greatly encouraged robbery in that wild country,
as the objects of plunder were usually fraught with gold. The robbers had
spies in the fair, by means of whom they generally knew whose purse was
best stocked, and who took a lonely and desolate road homeward,--those,
in short, who were best worth robbing and likely to be most easily

All this Charlie knew full well; but he had a pair of excellent pistols
and a dauntless heart. He stopped at Mumps's Ha', notwithstanding the
evil character of the place. His horse was accommodated where it might
have the necessary rest and feed of corn; and Charlie himself, a dashing
fellow, grew gracious with the landlady, a buxom quean, who used all the
influence in her power to induce him to stop all night. The landlord was
from home, she said, and it was ill passing the Waste, as twilight must
needs descend on him before he gained the Scottish side, which was
reckoned the safest. But Fighting Charlie, though he suffered himself to
be detained later than was prudent, did not account Mumps's Ha' a safe
place to quarter in during the night. He tore himself away, therefore,
from Meg's good fare and kind words, and mounted his nag, having first
examined his pistols, and tried by the ramrod whether the charge remained
in them.

He proceeded a mile or two at a round trot, when, as the Waste stretched
black before him, apprehensions began to awaken in his mind, partly
arising out of Meg's unusual kindness, which he could not help thinking
had rather a suspicious appearance. He therefore resolved to reload his
pistols, lest the powder had become damp; but what was his surprise, when
he drew the charge, to find neither powder nor ball, while each barrel
had been carefully filled with TOW, up to the space which the loading had
occupied! and, the priming of the weapons being left untouched, nothing
but actually drawing and examining the charge could have discovered the
inefficiency of his arms till the fatal minute arrived when their
services were required. Charlie bestowed a hearty Liddesdale curse on his
landlady, and reloaded his pistols with care and accuracy, having now no
doubt that he was to be waylaid and assaulted. He was not far engaged in
the Waste, which was then, and is now, traversed only by such routes as
are described in the text, when two or three fellows, disguised and
variously armed, started from a moss-hag, while by a glance behind him
(for, marching, as the Spaniard says, with his beard on his shoulder, he
reconnoitred in every direction) Charlie instantly saw retreat was
impossible, as other two stout men appeared behind him at some distance.
The Borderer lost not a moment in taking his resolution, and boldly
trotted against his enemies in front, who called loudly on him to stand
and deliver; Charlie spurred on, and presented his pistol. 'D--n your
pistol,' said the foremost robber, whom Charlie to his dying day
protested he believed to have been the landlord of Mumps's Ha','d--n your
pistol! I care not a curse for it.' 'Ay, lad,' said the deep voice of
Fighting Charlie, 'but the TOW'S out now.' He had no occasion to utter
another word; the rogues, surprised at finding a man of redoubted courage
well armed, instead of being defenceless, took to the moss in every
direction, and he passed on his way without farther molestation.

The author has heard this story told by persons who received it from
Fighting Charlie himself; he has also heard that Mumps's Ha' was
afterwards the scene of some other atrocious villainy, for which the
people of the house suffered. But these are all tales of at least half a
century old, and the Waste has been for many years as safe as any place
in the kingdom.

NOTE 3, p. 213

The author may here remark that the character of Dandie Dinmont was drawn
from no individual. A dozen, at least, of stout Liddesdale yeomen with
whom he has been acquainted, and whose hospitality he has shared in his
rambles through that wild country, at a time when it was totally
inaccessible save in the manner described in the text, might lay claim to
be the prototype of the rough, but faithful, hospitable, and generous
farmer. But one circumstance occasioned the name to be fixed upon a most
respectable individual of this class, now no more. Mr. James Davidson of
Hindlee, a tenant of Lord Douglas, besides the points of blunt honesty,
personal strength, and hardihood designed to be expressed in the
character of Dandie Dinmont, had the humour of naming a celebrated race
of terriers which he possessed by the generic names of Mustard and Pepper
(according as their colour was yellow or greyish-black), without any
other individual distinction except as according to the nomenclature in
the text. Mr. Davidson resided at Hindlee, a wild farm on the very edge
of the Teviotdale mountains, and bordering close on Liddesdale, where the
rivers and brooks divide as they take their course to the Eastern and
Western seas. His passion for the chase in all its forms, but especially
for fox-hunting, as followed in the fashion described in chapter xxv, in
conducting which he was skilful beyond most men in the South Highlands,
was the distinguishing point in his character.

When the tale on which these comments are written became rather popular,
the name of Dandie Dinmont was generally given to him, which Mr. Davidson
received with great good-humour, only saying, while he distinguished the
author by the name applied to him in the country, where his own is so
common--'that the Sheriff had not written about him mair than about other
folk, but only about his dogs.' An English lady of high rank and fashion,
being desirous to possess a brace of the celebrated Mustard and Pepper
terriers, expressed her wishes in a letter which was literally addressed
to Dandie Dinmont, under which very general direction it reached Mr.
Davidson, who was justly proud of the application, and failed not to
comply with a request which did him and his favourite attendants so much

I trust I shall not be considered as offending the memory of a kind and
worthy man, if I mention a little trait of character which occurred in
Mr. Davidson's last illness. I use the words of the excellent clergyman
who attended him, who gave the account to a reverend gentleman of the
same persuasion:--

'I read to Mr. Davidson the very suitable and interesting truths you
addressed to him. He listened to them with great seriousness, and has
uniformly displayed a deep concern about his soul's salvation. He died on
the first Sabbath of the year (1820); an apoplectic stroke deprived him
in an instant of all sensation, but happily his brother was at his
bedside, for he had detained him from the meeting-house that day to be
near him, although he felt himself not much worse than usual. So you have
got the last little Mustard that the hand of Dandie Dinmont bestowed.

'His ruling passion was strong even on the eve of death. Mr. Baillie's
fox-hounds had started a fox opposite to his window a few weeks ago, and
as soon as he heard the sound of the dogs his eyes glistened; he insisted
on getting out of bed, and with much difficulty got to the window and
there enjoyed the fun, as he called it. When I came down to ask for him,
he said, "he had seen Reynard, but had not seen his death. If it had been
the will of Providence," he added, "I would have liked to have been after
him; but I am glad that I got to the window, and am thankful for what I
saw, for it has done me a great deal of good." Notwithstanding these
eccentricities (adds the sensible and liberal clergyman), I sincerely
hope and believe he has gone to a better world, and better company and

If some part of this little narrative may excite a smile, it is one which
is consistent with the most perfect respect for the simple-minded invalid
and his kind and judicious religious instructor, who, we hope, will not
be displeased with our giving, we trust, a correct edition of an anecdote
which has been pretty generally circulated. The race of Pepper and
Mustard are in the highest estimation at this day, not only for
vermin-killing, but for intelligence and fidelity. Those who, like the
author, possess a brace of them, consider them as very desirable

NOTE 4, p. 232

The cleek here intimated is the iron hook, or hooks, depending from the
chimney of a Scottish cottage, on which the pot is suspended when
boiling. The same appendage is often called the crook. The salmon is
usually dried by hanging it up, after being split and rubbed with salt,
in the smoke of the turf fire above the cleeks, where it is said to
'reist,' that preparation being so termed. The salmon thus preserved is
eaten as a delicacy, under the name of kipper, a luxury to which Dr.
Redgill has given his sanction as an ingredient of the Scottish
breakfast.--See the excellent novel entitled MARRIAGE.

NOTE 5, p. 234

The distinction of individuals by nicknames when they possess no property
is still common on the Border, and indeed necessary, from the number of
persons having the same name. In the small village of Lustruther, in
Roxburghshire, there dwelt, in the memory of man, four inhabitants called
Andrew, or Dandie, Oliver. They were distinguished as Dandie Eassil-gate,
Dandie Wassilgate, Dandie Thumbie, and Dandie Dumbie. The two first had
their names from living eastward and westward in the street of the
village; the third from something peculiar in the conformation of his
thumb; the fourth from his taciturn habits.

It is told as a well-known jest, that a beggar woman, repulsed from door
to door as she solicited quarters through a village of Annandale, asked,
in her despair, if there were no Christians in the place. To which the
hearers, concluding that she inquired for some persons so surnamed,
answered, 'Na, na, there are nae Christians here; we are a' Johnstones
and Jardines.'

NOTE 6, p. 244

The mysterious rites in which Meg Merrilies is described as engaging
belong to her character as a queen of her race. All know that gipsies in
every country claim acquaintance with the gift of fortune-telling; but,
as is often the case, they are liable to the superstitions of which they
avail themselves in others. The correspondent of Blackwood, quoted in the
Introduction to this Tale, gives us some information on the subject of
their credulity.

'I have ever understood,' he says, speaking of the Yetholm gipsies,' that
they are extremely superstitious, carefully noticing the formation of the
clouds, the flight of particular birds, and the soughing of the winds,
before attempting any enterprise. They have been known for several
successive days to turn back with their loaded carts, asses, and
children, upon meeting with persons whom they considered of unlucky
aspect; nor do they ever proceed on their summer peregrinations without
some propitious omen of their fortunate return. They also burn the
clothes of their dead, not so much from any apprehension of infection
being communicated by them, as the conviction that the very circumstance
of wearing them would shorten the days of their living. They likewise
carefully watch the corpse by night and day till the time of interment,
and conceive that "the deil tinkles at the lyke-wake" of those who felt
in their dead-thraw the agonies and terrors of remorse.'

These notions are not peculiar to the gipsies; but, having been once
generally entertained among the Scottish common people, are now only
found among those who are the most rude in their habits and most devoid
of instruction. The popular idea, that the protracted struggle between
life and death is painfully prolonged by keeping the door of the
apartment shut, was received as certain by the superstitious eld of
Scotland. But neither was it to be thrown wide open. To leave the door
ajar was the plan adopted by the old crones who understood the mysteries
of deathbeds and lykewakes. In that case there was room for the
imprisoned spirit to escape; and yet an obstacle, we have been assured,
was offered to the entrance of any frightful form which might otherwise
intrude itself. The threshold of a habitation was in some sort a sacred
limit, and the subject of much superstition. A bride, even to this day,
is always lifted over it, a rule derived apparently from the Romans.


NOTE 1, p. 93

The roads of Liddesdale, in Dandie Dinmont's days, could not be said to
exist, and the district was only accessible through a succession of
tremendous morasses. About thirty years ago the author himself was the
first person who ever drove a little open carriage into these wilds, the
excellent roads by which they are now traversed being then in some
progress. The people stared with no small wonder at a sight which many of
them had never witnessed in their lives before.

NOTE 2, p. 102

The Tappit Hen contained three quarts of claret--
Weel she loed a Hawick gill,
And leugh to see a tappit hen.
I have seen one of these formidable stoups at Provost Haswell's, at
Jedburgh, in the days of yore It was a pewter measure, the claret being
in ancient days served from the tap, and had the figure of a hen upon the
lid. In later times the name was given to a glass bottle of the same
dimensions. These are rare apparitions among the degenerate topers of
modern days.

NOTE 3, p. 102

The account given by Mr. Pleydell of his sitting down in the midst of a
revel to draw an appeal case was taken from a story told me by an aged
gentleman of the elder President Dundas of Amiston (father of the younger
President and of Lord Melville). It had been thought very desirable,
while that distinguished lawyer was king's counsel, that his assistance
should be obtained in drawing an appeal case, which, as occasion for such
writings then rarely occurred, was held to be matter of great nicety. The
solicitor employed for the appellant, attended by my informant acting as
his clerk, went to the Lord Advocate's chambers in the Fishmarket Close,
as I think. It was Saturday at noon, the Court was just dismissed, the
Lord Advocate had changed his dress and booted himself, and his servant
and horses were at the foot of the close to carry him to Arniston. It was
scarcely possible to get him to listen to a word respecting business. The
wily agent, however, on pretence of asking one or two questions, which
would not detain him half an hour, drew his Lordship, who was no less an
eminent ban vivant than a lawyer of unequalled talent, to take a whet at
a celebrated tavern, when the learned counsel became gradually involved
in a spirited discussion of the law points of the case. At length it
occurred to him that he might as well ride to Arniston in the cool of the
evening. The horses were directed to be put in the stable, but not to be
unsaddled. Dinner was ordered, the law was laid aside for a time, and the
bottle circulated very freely. At nine o'clock at night, after he had
been honouring Bacchus for so many hours, the Lord Advocate ordered his
horses to be unsaddled; paper, pen, and ink were brought; he began to
dictate the appeal case, and continued at his task till four o'clock the
next morning. By next day's post the solicitor sent the case to London, a
chef-d'oeuvre of its kind; and in which, my informant assured me, it was
not necessary on revisal to correct five words. I am not, therefore,
conscious of having overstepped accuracy in describing the manner in
which Scottish lawyers of the old time occasionally united the worship of
Bacchus with that of Themis. My informant was Alexander Keith, Esq.,
grandfather to my friend, the present Sir Alexander Keith of Ravelstone,
and apprentice at the time to the writer who conducted the cause.

NOTE 4, p. 180

We must again have recourse to the contribution to Blackwood's Magazine,
April 1817:--

'To the admirers of good eating, gipsy cookery seems to have little to
recommend it. I can assure you, however, that the cook of a nobleman of
high distinction, a person who never reads even a novel without an eye to
the enlargement of the culinary science, has added to the "Almanach des
Gourmands" a certain Potage a la Meg Merrilies de Derndeugh, consisting
of game and poultry of all kinds, stewed with vegetables into a soup,
which rivals in savour and richness the gallant messes of Camacho's
wedding; and which the Baron of Bradwardine would certainly have reckoned
among the epulae lautiores.'

The artist alluded to in this passage is Mons. Florence, cook to Henry
and Charles, late Dukes of Buccleuch, and of high distinction in his

NOTE 5, p. 212

The Burnet whose taste for the evening meal of the ancients is quoted by
Mr. Pleydellwas the celebrated metaphysician and excellent man, Lord
Monboddo, whose coenae will not be soon forgotten by those who have
shared his classic hospitality. As a Scottish judge he took the
designation of his family estate. His philosophy, as is well known, was
of a fanciful and somewhat fantastic character; but his learning was
deep, and he was possessed of a singular power of eloquence, which
reminded the hearer of the os rotundum of the Grove or Academe.
Enthusiastically partial to classical habits, his entertainments were
always given in the evening, when there was a circulation of excellent
Bourdeaux, in flasks garlanded with roses, which were also strewed on the
table after the manner of Horace. The best society, whether in respect of
rank or literary distinction, was always to be found in St. John's
Street, Canongate. The conversation of the excellent old man, his high,
gentleman-like, chivalrous spirit, the learning and wit with which he
defended his fanciful paradoxes, the kind and liberal spirit of his
hospitality, must render these noctes coenaeque dear to all who, like the
author (though then young), had the honour of sitting at his board.

NOTE 6, p. 215

It is probably true, as observed by Counsellor Pleydell, that a lawyer's
anxiety about his case, supposing him to have been some time in practice,
will seldom disturb his rest or digestion. Clients will, however,
sometimes fondly entertain a different opinion. I was told by an
excellent judge, now no more, of a country gentleman who, addressing his
leading counsel, my informer, then an advocate in great practice, on the
morning of the day on which the case was to be pleaded, said, with
singular bonhomie, 'Weel, my Lord (the counsel was Lord Advocate), the
awful day is come at last. I have nae been able to sleep a wink for
thinking of it; nor, I daresay, your Lordship either.'

NOTE 7, p. 235

Whistling, among the tenantry of a large estate, is when an individual
gives such information to the proprietor or his managers as to occasion
the rent of his neighbour's farms being raised, which, for obvious
reasons, is held a very unpopular practice.

NOTE 8, p. 286

This hard word is placed in the mouth of one of the aged tenants. In the
old feudal tenures the herezeld constituted the best horse or other
animal on the vassals' lands, become the right of the superior. The only
remnant of this custom is what is called the sasine, or a fee of certain
estimated value, paid to the sheriff of the county, who gives possession
to the vassals of the crown.

NOTE 9, p. 301

This mode of securing prisoners was universally practised in Scotland
after condemnation. When a man received sentence of death he was put upon
THE GAD, as it was called, that is, secured to the bar of iron in the
manner mentioned in the text. The practice subsisted in Edinburgh till
the old jail was taken down some years since, and perhaps may be still in


'A, he, I.
a', all.
abide, endure.
ablins, aiblins, perhaps.
abune, above.
ae, one.
aff, off.
afore, before.
a-guisarding, masquerading.
ahint, behind.
aik, an oak.
ails, hinders, prevents.
ain, own.
amang, among.
an, if.
ance, once.
ane, one.
anent, about.
aneuch, enough.
auld, old.
auld threep, a superstitious notion.
avise, advise, deliberate.
awa', away.
aweel, well.
awfu', awful.
awmous, alms.
aye, ever. bairn, a child.
baith, both.
ballant, a ballad.
banes, bones.
bannock, a flat round or oval cake.
barken, stiffen, dry to a crust.
barrow-trams, the shafts of a hand barrow.
baulks, ridges.
berling, a galley.
bield, a shelter, a house.
biggit, built.
billie, a brother, a companion.
bing out and tour, go out and watch.
binna, be not.
birk, a birch tree.
bit, a little.
bittle, beat with a bat.
bittock, a little bit.
Black Peter, a portmanteau.
blate, shy, bashful.
blawn, blown.
blear, obscure.
blude, bluid, blood.
blunker, a cloth printer.
blythe, glad.
boddle, a copper coin worth one third of a penny.
bogle, a goblin, a spectre.
bonnet, a cap.
bonnie, bonny, pretty, fine.
bonspiel, a match game at curling.
bottle-head, beetle-head, stupid fellow.
bow, a boll.
bowster, a bolster.
braw, fine.
brigg, a bridge.
brock, a badger, a dirty fellow.
brod, a church collection plate.
buckkar, a smuggling lugger.
bully-huff, a bully, a braggart.
burn, a brook.
bye, besides. ca', call.
cake-house, a house of entertainment.
callant, a stripling.
cam, came.
canny, lucky, cautious.
cantle, a fragment.
canty, cheerful.
capons, castrated cocks.
carle, a churl, an old man.
cast, lot, fate.
chapping-stick, a stick to strike with.
cheerer, spirits and hot water.
chield, a young man.
chumlay, a chimney.
clanjamfray, rabble.
clashes, lies, scandal.
claught, clutched, caught.
clecking, hatching.
clodded, threw heavily.
close, a lane, a narrow passage.
clour, a heavy blow.
cloyed a dud, stolen a rag.
collieshangie, an uproar.
come o' will, a child of love.
cottar, cottage.
cramp-ring, shackles, fetters.
cranking, creaking.
craw, crow.
creel, a basket.
cuddy, an ass.
cusp, an entrance to a house.
cusser, a courser, a stallion. daft, mad, foolish.
darkmans, night.
daurna, dare not.
day-dawing, dawn.
dead-thraw, death-agony.
death-ruckle, death-rattle.
deil-be-lickit, nothing, naught.
dike, a wall, a ditch.
dinging, slamming.
dingle, a dell, a hollow.
dizzen, a dozen.
doo, a dove.
dooket, dukit, a dovecot.
doun, down.
douse the glim, put out the light.
dow, list, wish.
drap, a drop.
drumming, driving.
dub, a puddle.
duds, clothes. eassel, provincial for eastward.
een, eyes.
endlang, along.
eneugh, enough.
evening, putting on the same level. faem, foam.
fair-strae, natural.
fambles, hands.
fash, trouble.
fauld, a fold.
fause, false.
feared, afraid.
fearsome, frightful.
feck, a quantity.
feckless, feeble.
fell, a skin.
fernseed, gather the, make invisible.
fie, mad, foredoomed.
fient a bit, never a bit
fient a haet, not the least.
fire-raising, setting fire.
firlot, a quarter of a boll.
fit, a foot.
flesh, fleesh, a fleece.
flick, cut.
flit, remove.
fond, glad to.
forbears, ancestors.
forbye, besides.
foumart, a polecat.
fowk, people.
frae, from.
frummagem'd, throttled, hanged.
fu', full.
fule-body, a foolish person. gae, go.
gaed, went.
gane, gone.
gang, go.
gang-there-out, wandering.
gangrel, vagrant.
gar, make.
gate, gait, way.
gaun, going.
gay, gey, very.
gelding, a castrated horse.
gentle or semple, high born or common people.
gie, give.
gliffing, a surprise, an instant.
glower, glare.
gowan, a field daisy.
gowd, gold.
gowpen, a double handful.
greet, weep.
grieve, an overseer.
grippet, grasped, caught.
grunds, grounds.
gude, guid, good.
gudeman, master of a house.
gyre-carlings, witches. ha', hall.
hadden, held, gone.
hae, have.
hafflin, half grown.
haick, hack.
haill, whole.
hallan, a partition.
hame, home.
hank, a skein of yarn.
hansel, a present.
hantle, a quantity.
haud, hauld, hold.
hauden, held.
heezie, a lift.
herds, herders.
heuch, a crag, a steep bank.
hinging, hanging.
hinney, honey.
hirsel, a flock.
hizzie, a housewife, a hussy.
hog, a young sheep.
horning, a warrant for a debtor.
houdie, a midwife.
howm, flat low ground.
humble-cow, a cow without horns.
hunds, hounds. ilka, every.
ingans, onions.
ingleside, fireside.
I'se, I'll.
ither, other. jaw-hole, a sink.
Jethart, Jedburgh.
jo, a sweetheart. kahn, a skiff.
kaim, a low ridge, a comb.
kain, part of a farm-rent paid in fowls.
keep, a stronghold.
keepit, kept, attended.
ken, know.
kenna, do not know.
kibe, an ulcerated chilblain, a chapped heel.
killogie, the open space before a kiln fire.
kilt, upset.
kilting, girding or tucking up.
kimmer, a female gossip.
kinder, children.
kipper, cured salmon.
kirk, church.
kist, a chest, a coffin.
kitchen-mort, kinchen-mort, a girl.
kittle, tickle, ticklish.
kitt, a number, the whole.
knave, a boy.
knevell, knead, beat severely.
kobold, a hobgoblin. laird, lord of the manor.
lampit, a limpet.
landloupers, persons of wandering tendencies.
lang, long.
lang or, long before.
lang-lugged, long-eared.
langsyne, long ago.
lap and paunel, liquor and food.
lassie, a young girl.
latch, mire.
leddy, a lady.
lee, pasture land.
leg bail, to give, to run away.
letter-gae, the precentor is called by Allan Ramsay
'the letter-gae of haly rhyme.'
leugh, laughed.
levin, lightning, scorn.
licks, blows.
lift, the sky.
like, as it were.
limmer, a jade, a hussy.
links, the windings of a river.
lippen, trust.
loan, an open place, a lane.
loaning, a milking place.
long bowls, ninepins.
looby, a booby, a lout.
loon, a clown, a rogue.
loup, leap, start.
low, blaze, flame.
luckie, an old woman.
lugs, ears.
lunt, blaze, torch.
lykewake, a watch at night over a dead body. mair, more.
mair by token, especially.
maist, most.
maun, must.
meddling and making, interfering.
messan, a little dog.
milling in the darkmans, murder by night.
mind, remember.
minded, looked after.
mirk, dark; pit mirk, pitch dark.
moaned, mourned.
Monanday, Monday.
mony, many.
moonshie, a secretary.
morn, tomorrow.
moss, a morass.
moss-hag, a pit, a slough.
muckle, great, much.
muir, a moor, a heath.
muscavado, unrefined sugar.
mutchkin, a measure equal to an English pint. na, nae, no.
nane, none.
nathless, nevertheless.
needna, need not.
nice, simple.
now, the, at once. odd-come-shortly, chance time not far in the future.
ony, any.
or, ere.
orra, odd, occasional.
orra time, occasionally.
o't, of it.
out, out in rebellion.
out of house and hauld, destitute.
outcast, a falling out, a quarrel.
ower, over.
owt, the exterior, out. paiks, punishment.
parritch, oatmeal porridge.
peat-hag, a bog.
penny-stane, a stone quoit.
periapts, amulets.
pike, pick.
pinners, a headdress.
pirn, a reel.
pit, put.
plash, splash.
plough-gate of land, land that can be tilled with one plough.
pock, a pouch, a bag.
poinded, impounded.
poschay, a post-chaise.
pouches, pockets.
pow, the head.
powny, a pony.
preceese, exact.
precentor, a leader of congregational singing.
prin, a pin.
puir, poor. quean, a young woman, a wench. rade, rode.
ramble, a spree.
rampauging, raging.
randle-tree, a horizontal bar across a chimney, on which
pot-hooks are hung; sometimes used as an opprobrious epithet.
randy, wild.
ranging and riping, scouring and searching.
rape, rope.
rasp-house, a custom-house.
red cock craw, kindle a fire.
redding-straik, a blow received when trying to separate
reek, smoke.
reif and wear, robbery and injury.
reise, a bough.
reist, smoke.
reiver, a robber.
retour, return of a writ.
rin, run.
ripe, search.
rive, rend, rob.
rotten, rottan, a rat.
roup, an auction.
roupit, sold at auction.
routing, snoring, bellowing.
rubbit, robbed.
rump and dozen, meat and drink, a good dinner.
run goods, smuggled goods. sack, sackcloth.
sae, so.
saft, soft.
sain, bless.
sair, sore.
sail, shall.
samyn, the same.
sang, song.
sark, a shirt.
saugh, a willow tree.
saul, soul.
saut, salt.
sax, six.
scaff-raff, riff raff.
scart, scratched, written on.
schnaps, a dram of liquor.
scones, flat round cakes.
scouring the cramp-ring, said metaphorically for being
thrown into fetters or, generally, into prison.
screed o' drink, a drinking bout.
sell'd, sold.
semple, simple, poor people.
shake-rag, a tatterdemalion.
shanks, legs.
shealing, sheiling, a shed, a hut.
shear, cut.
sherra, a sheriff.
shoeing-horn, something that leads to more drinking.
shoon, shoes.
shouther, a shoulder.
sic, so, such.
siclike, such.
siller, money.
sinsyne, since.
skeel, a bucket, a tub.
slack, a hollow, a morass.
slap, a breach.
sleepery, sleepy.
slow-hund, a sleuth hound.
sma', small.
smack, smaik, a rogue, a low wretch.
snaw, snow.
soup o' drink, a spoonful.
souple, a cudgel.
spae, foretell.
speir, ask.
sprug, a sparrow.
spunk, a spark.
start, betray.
stell, a stall, a covert.
stickit, stopped, hindered.
stir your gear, disturb your goods.
stark, a heifer, a bullock.
stiver, a small Dutch coin.
stoppit, stopped.
stoup, a drinking vessel, a wooden pitcher.
stown, stolen.
strae, straw.
strammel, straw.
streik, stretch.
suld, should.
sune, soon.
sunkets, delicacies, provisions of any kind.
sunkie, a low stool.
swear, difficult.
swure, swore.
syne, since. ta'en, taken.
tait, a tuft.
tak, take.
tap, the top.
tass, a cup.
tat, that.
tell'd, told.
tent, care.
thack, thatch.
thae, those.
thegither, together.
thereawa', thence, thereabout.
thrapple, the windpipe, the throat.
thristle, a thistle.
till, to.
tippenny, ale at twopence a bottle.
tod, a fox.
tolbooth, a jail.
toom, empty.
tow, a rope.
trine to the cheat, get hanged.
troking, intercourse, trafficking.
trow, trust.
tulzie, tuilzie, a scuffle, a brawl.
twa, two.
tweel, a web.
tyke, a cur. umwhile, formerly, late.
uncanny, weird, unlucky.
unco, strange, very.
uphaud, uphold.
upright man, the leader (and greatest rogue) of the gang. wa', wall.
wad, would.
wadded, wedded.
wae, woe.
waefu', woeful.
wale, choice.
ware, spend.
wark, work.
warld, the world.
warlock, a wizard.
waster, a long spear.
waur, worse.
wean, a young child.
wear, war.
weary fa', curse.
wedder, a wether.
wee, small.
weel, well.
weel-faured, well-favored, prepossessing.
weize, direct, incline.
wessel, westward.
wha, who.
whaap, the (or the Hope), is the sheltered part or hollow of the
hill. Hoff, howff, haaf, and haven are all modifications of
the same word.
wheen, a few.
whigging, jogging.
whiles, sometimes.
whilk, which.
whin, a few.
whinger, a kind of knife, a hanger.
whistle, give information against one.
whittret, a weasel.
wi', with.
win, get.
witters, the barbs of the spear.
woo', wool.
woodie, wuddie, a rope, a halter, the gallows.
worricow, a hobgoblin.
wots na, does not know.
wrang, wrong.
wrang side of the blanket, illegitimate.
writer, an attorney.
wuddie, a rope, the gallows.
wuss, wish. yaffing, chattering, barking.
yet, yere, your.
yont, beyond.

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest