Obrazy na stronie

dividually, and with the utmost nice vidual alluded to, which bear the ty and exactness. The whole arc Reviewer's story out, as far as facts from Formentera to the Orkneys will go, and correct it where exaggeration contain nearly 229 of the earth's me seems to have led astray-I here proridian ; and thence the quadrantal pose to lay them before your readers, are of the whole meridian, extending whom they may perhaps serve to infrom the equator to the pole, being terest or amuse. ascertained, will afford the best of David Ritchie, for such was the all possible standards of length and name of this real dwarf, lived for capacity, whenever it shall be deter- many years in a small cottage on the mined by the Legislatures of both farm of Woodhouse, parish of Mannor, countries to equalize their weights and Peeblesshire, and was very generally measures by the same common stand- known in that part of the country, by ard. The great arc deduced from the name of a Bowed Davie o' the these operations will be found to pass Wuduse," a name given to him from Over a part of Spain, all France and his remarkable personal deformity, Great Britain ; Belgium has already his stature being short his body thick followed the example of France, and and his legs awkwardly bent-and alhas taken the standard from the same though not altogether possessed of that natural source; thus, if by this parti- spheroidal form which is given to the cipation, the three nations, from their Black Dwarf, yet evidently affording us, united meridian, should agree to take in his personal appearance, an imperfect the same standard derived from it, there prototype of that mysterious personseems little reason to doubt, the rest age. He also resembled Elshie in his of the world, without loss of time or temper, which was quite sour and difficulty, would follow their example. misanthropical. This was particu

M. Biot and myself beg to return larly displayed in his conduct to a thanks to Mr Bain for his book on sister of his own, who resided many the variation of the compass, and with years in a neighbouring cottage, but his compliments to yourself, I have from whom he was completely estrange the honour to remain, sir, your most ed. This cottage was erected for him obedient humble servant,

by Sir James Nasmyth, and was given

W. MUDGE. to him rent-free. 'It was remarkable Wm Blackwood, Esq.

for the lowness of the door, which was made proportionate to the size of the inhabitant. The cottage was surround

ed by a garden, which was cultivated SOME ACCOUNT OF BOWED DAVIE,

by Davie himself, and was long the THE SUPPOSED ORIGINAL OF THE

admiration of every passenger who BLACK DWARF.'

came through the sequestered vale in MR EDITOR,

which it lay. It was, in fact, the richThere is an evident propensity in est garden for verdure and beauty man, to confer the stamp of reality or which the surrounding country could past existence on even the most imam display ; its wall was nearly seven feet ginary characters that come before him, high-(a height uncommon in that whether from the pen of the dramatist, part of the country and included novelist, or incidental story-teller. Ac- some very large stones, which the cordingly, in conformity with this dwarf himself was said to have lifted, principle, I find the Quarterly Review. The late Dr Adam Ferguson, who reers, in an article just published, on sided in the neighbouring 'mansion of the « Tales of my Landlord,” point- Hallyards, used sometimes to visit ing out an individual as the probable Davie, as an amusement, in this retired prototype and original of the Black spot; but I never heard that any thing Dwarf-or - Cannie Elshie,' of the remarkable occurred on those occasions. ingenious and far-famed novelist. Mr Walter Scott was also a frequent Now, sir, with a laudable regard to visitor of Davie's, and was said to have facts, the Reviewer has referred us held long communings with him. So to the actual spot where this sup- far the Reviewer's account of Bowed posed original is said to have resid- Davie' 'is consistent with facts ; but ed." He has thus rendered inquiry I believe it may be affirmed, that he practicable, and as I happen to know was never much remarked for his in some particulars regarding the indit tellectual superiority, and that the

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history of his mysterious appearance, clene wy! his shelle, and gave yt back; and hasty rearing of the cottage, rests but noo al is changytt forr ye waur ; on no better grounds than the mere and a ye platters was sylver of wate, exaggerations of vulgar report. He and a ye quaigs was glashes. Ye wull lived to the advanced age of 76 years, here newes orr lang bee. I luk forr and, rendered more dwarf-like by in- no goot of yis changys. I hav sent ye firmity, died 6th December 1811,-ut- a stott *p! my lad Donill going southe, terly unconscious, I dare say, that his and houp al is wel wt y? ladie and ye name and story would ever come be- barns.-Y! trystie friend, fore the public. He was interred in

LOCHIEL. the parish church-yard-although he (Address.) himself had expressed a wish that he To my worthie and honourab! freend, might be interred on a particular hil- Mister James Campbell, advocat, lock in the neighbourhood of his cot own brother to ye Laird off Arkintage. The following not inappropriate less, at his lodgin in Edin?, wy! epitaph was proposed by some pseudo ane black beest by Donill M‘Pherpoet, to mark his remains :

“ Here lies D. Ritchie's singular banes,
Stretched on the light red gravel stanes.

In yon queer cave on Woodhouse croft,
A little garden he had wrought,

MR EDITOR, "Twas there, through life, his way he You have already furnished your fought."

readers with two learned dissertations June 6, 1817.

J. A. on the expression of “ Sitting below

the Salt," and it seems we are to be

favoured with more of them. WithEPISTLE OF A HIGHLAND CHIEF.

out wishing to divert them from this [The following article, purporting to be

inquiry, or to prevent an answer to the “ Copy of a letter of Sir Ewan Cameron of Lochiel,” was given to us for insertion

the very edifying questions of P. F.in our • Antiquarian Repertory,' by a very

may I request, from some of your anworthy gentleman, who had allowed him

tiquarian correspondents, information self to be bronzed by a facetious correspon. on an ancient practice, which bears dent. We insert it, however, as a curiosity some affinity to that which has enin its kind.]

gaged their attention. In the Records (Probable date about 1702.”)

of the Presbytery of Edinburgh, Sept.

20, 1586, the following account is DEAR JAMES, Yt is a grete losse

given of an oath required from Scots that ye plee is takin this turne, forr

merchants trading to the Baltic, when ye Min? * c gang of certy his alone,

they passed the Sound :but I wull se mysell richtit iff ye wull

« Certan merchantis passing to Dan. not, on that poore sillie callont, which

skerne, and cuming neir elsinnure, chuskens not his bettirs. What forr wull

sing out ane quhen they accompted for the ye nivir com doon in the vacins tull se payment of the toill of the goods, And that us a butt ye heelans is sore changitt be depositioun of ane othe in forme followsyn ye sa yem. Yt is amashing hoo ing, viz. Thei present and offer breid and ye are changyt forr ye warse. I was salt to the deponer of the othe, whereon be at dener on Satirday at ye Duke's, and layis his hand, and deponis his conscience; yt is a sore changet hous. I mynd in and sweiris.” my you! whan I was a younge litil I shall be glad to learn the origin callont, I dynit on a day at ye Duke's and precise meaning of this rite, and wy! meny nobilities, and ithers of a the extent to which it prevailed. Prodegris ; and behynt ilk chaire or stul, vided I obtain satisfaction on these as we hadde yem, was a rid-leggit heads, I am not very anxious to know loone, wy! a clapadhut shell ; and all whether the bread was presented on a ye dyshes was timmer ; and whan I platter, and the salt in a vat ; and if was dune I pitet my dysh our my so, of what materials these were comshouther to the ladie, and he scartet yt posed, &c. &c. ;-but your corres

pondents, notwithstanding, may com• Sir Ewan seems to have been engaged

a municate their own information in in some lawsuit, wherein the law of death their own way.--I am, yours, &c. bed was concerned. The letter is to his

Y. Z. counsel.

+ I believe this is the large rock-nlussel. Query_Was this Mr Campbell's fee?

REMARKS ON THE HUMOUR OF OUR is still more striking ;* in particular, ANCIENT SONGS,

the serio-comic way that prevails in MR EDITOR,

both, of relating the most extravagant I was pleased to see in your first incidents, which, above all other things, Number, an old ballad introduced has the effect of heightening the huwhich was always my greatest favour- mour. In short, sir, if either you or ite " The Wyfe of Auchtermuch any of your correspondents can adduce tie.”. It is singular that this song, or farther proof that this ballad was ina rather poem, should have been so often deed written by the redoubted “Gudeoverlooked by our late collectors of man of Ballangeich," I will account ballads, though, in many instances, myself much beholden to you; and they have raked them up to the very though my evidence may appear frail, lees. I wish you could have afforded us still I will hang by the tradition; and some key to the author, either drawn unless some of my opponents can ad. from record or probability, for I have vance something more conclusive on heard some violent disputes about this the other side, I will retain my ina since it appeared. I cannot now tell tegrity, and refuse to pay the dinner how it is, but ever since I remember, I and drink that I betted on the issue of have been impressed with the belief the research. that it was the production of king I cannot help remarking here, while James V.; that I have heard this as- I am on this subject, how wonderful serted a hundred times I know, but it is that no regular collection has been yet I can scarcely believe that it was made of our humorous songs by themfrom tradition alone that I at first had selves. If these were well selected, arthis intimation. So thoroughly was I ranged, and set to their own old rantconvinced of the truth of it, that I had ing tunes, they could not fail of being nearly quarrelled outright with a very highly acceptable to the lovers of inintimate friend, for saying that there nocent frolic and social glee. The was no proof nor insinuation in any best of our old songs are those of huwork extant that warranted such a be- mour. That class, at the head of lief; and after a good deal of research, which we may place “ The Wyfe to my great disappointment, I confess of Auchtermuchtie,” “ Fy let us a' that I can discover none, excepting the to the Bridal,” “ Rob's Jock," and resemblance between this ballad and “Muirland Willie," are greatly supethose that are usually supposed to have rior to the Damons and Phillises of been written by that prince. This the same age. Our forefathers had likeness may be chimerical, for fancy one peculiarity in song-writing, which is powerful in modelling images that their children seem to have lost, it she believes or wishes to exist, but to was the art of picking up an occurrence, me it seems fully apparent. The same of all possible ones the most unfeasidisposition to depict the manners of ble, whereon to found a song. This low life, and of the country people, adds greatly to the comic effect. The with their blunders and perplexities, following song, entitled, “ Simon predominates in them all. As one Brodie," as it is short, and rarely to be instance it may be noted, that the in- met with, may be given as an instance, surrountable difficulties of the Gude- Och! mine honest Simon Brodie, man of Auchtermuchtie,--the per

chtermuchtie,-the per- Stupit, auld, doitit bodie! plexity of the Gudewife in the ballad I'll awa to the north coontrye of “ The Gaberlunzie-man,” when she And see mine honest Simon Brodie. found that her daughter had eloped, Simon Brodie had ane wyfe,

and the utter despair of the lass in And wow but she was braw and bonny! .. “TheJolly Beggar,” when she discover. He teuk the dish-elout aff the bink, ed that she had lain beside " the puir And preen'd it till her cockernonnya auld bodie," bear all strong evidences Och! mine honest Simon Brodie, &c. of the same mind and the same mode Simon Brodie had ane cow, of thinking. Poets have generally but The cow was tint, he couldna find her! a few situations in which they nat. Quhen he had done what man could dow, urally incline to place their principal The cow cam hame wi' her tail behind her. characters. The favonrite one of James

Och! mine honest Simon Brodie, &c. was that of a ludicrous perplexity. . ~ Christ's Kirk on the Green" is com

The resemblance between this bal- monly, and we believe justly, ascribed to lad and “Christ's Kirk on the Green," King James I.


2 H

And here our song ends we have were three Scotch noblemen present, no more. Perhaps an acute observer who were quite convulsed with laughmight infer from this, that in some er, and the rest perceiving that there northern county, no body knows was something extremely droll in it where, there lived in some age or ge- which they could but very imperfectneration a good-natured extremely ly comprehend, requested the author stupid fellow, called Simon Brodie, to sing it again. This he positively and this is all ; still the shrewd idea declined. Some persons of very high of pretending to define a character rank were present, who appearing from two such bald and weather- much disappointed by this refusal, a beaten incidents has something in it few noblemen, valuing themselves OR extremely droll. I may mention ano- their knowledge of Scotsmen's prother of the same cast—"A mile aboon pensities, went up to this northern laird, Dundee.”

and offered him a piece of plate of an

hundred guineas value, if he would The auld man's mare's dead;

sing the song over again ; but he, senThe poor body's mare's dead; The auld man's mare's dead,

sible that his song would not bear the A mile aboon Dundee.

most minute investigation by the com

pany in which he then was, persisted There was hay to ca', an' lint to lead,

in his refusal, putting them off with An hunder hotts o' muck to spread, An' peats and tur's an'a' to lead ;

an old proverb, which cannot be inWhat mean'd the beast to dee?

serted here. He seems to have been The auld man's mare's dead, &c.

precisely of the same opinion with an

author of our own day, between whom She had the cauld, but an' the cruik, and his friend the following dialogue The wheezloch an' the wanton yeuk;

took place in a bookseller's shop in this On ilka knee she had a breuk;

town, to the no small amusement of An' yet the jade to dee! The auld man's mare's dead, &c.

the bystanders:

“ Let me entreat you, for God's She was lang-toothed, an' blench-lippit,

sake, to make the language of this balHaem-houghed, an' haggis-fittit,

lad so as that we can understand it." Lang-neckit, chaunler-chaftit, An' yet the jade to dee !

“I carena whether ye understand The auld man's mare's dead, &c.

it or no, min; I dinna aye understand

it very weel mysel'.” No poet now alive would ever think “ It is not for what you, or I, or of writing a ditty on such an old any Scotsmen may understand; but miserable jade as this that died above remember thiş must be a sealed book Dundee, far less of holding it out as to the English.” so wonderful that she should have died, “O it's a' the better for thatthae while, in the mean time, every line English folk like aye best what they shows that it was impossible the beast dinna understand.” could live. Haply these songs may I know that many old songs of much exist in some collection, but as I never genuine humour still survive in the saw them in any, and write them down country, which have never been colfrom recollection, as I heard them sung, lected into any reputable work, merely I cannot assert that they are given in because they contain some expressions full.

that were inadmissable. A difficult The confusion of characters and question arises here. Whether is it dishes that are all blent together in better to lose these brilliant effusions “ Fy let us a' to the Bridal," is a mas- altogether, or to soften down and moterpiece of drollery. It is a pity that dify such expressions so as to suit the there should be one or two expressions taste of an age so notorious for its in it that are rather too coarse to be scrupulous and superficial delicacy? I sung in every company ; for wherever certainly would give my vote for the it is sung with any degree of spirit, it latter. It is delicate ground; for it never misses the effect of affording high would scarcely be possible to do always amusement. The first man whom I just enough and not too much. But heard sing this song, accompanied it though I would not recommend the always with an anecdote of the author garbling of original songs as Allan (who was a Scotch laird, whose name I Ramsay did, so as quite to change have forgot) singing it once in a large their character, nor the forging a new private assembly at London. There volume of old songs off at the ground as Cromek did, with the help of his the cause of song in general. If simfriend Alan Cunningham, having no- plicity be the last refinement, and the thing but a few ancient chorusses or highest excellence to which a poet can couplets, familiar among the peasantry, reach, then these lyrical effusions of to bear them through ; yet I certainly our ancestors possess it in a very high would like to see a saving hand stretch- degree-true, it is not always elegant ed out to rescue these relics of broad simplicity, but it is better than pomand simple humour; and, rather than pous affectation. Every thing in the they should perish, or give offence to universe moves in a circle till the two modesty and good breeding, venture extremes meet; thus the highest reto use the pruning knife a little. Are finement returns again to where it set we to lose such productions as “ The out—the walks of simple nature. Wyfe of Auchtermuchtie," because, May 27, 1817. forsooth, there may be two words in it that one would not choose to read aloud in a mixed company?

EXPERIMENT, BY MR LAUDER DICK, Ritson has done a good deal for the

YOUNGER OF FOUNTAINHALL, REpreservation of our lyrical lore; John

LATIVE TO THE PRESERVATION OF son has done more ; and as both their

THE VEGETATIVE POWER IN THE works are wearing scarce, it would

SEEDS OF PLANTS. surely be a good speculation to republish them together, with such omis MR EDITOR, sions or additions as a man of judg- The following is an extract of a letment might see meet. I look upon ter from my friend, Mr Lauder Dick, Johnson's Museum as the most valua- dated Relugas, near Forres, 6th May ble collection of that nature that ever 1817. It contains a short notice of an was made in our country--not so much experiment, which, taken in connexion on account of the songs, (for many of with some others of a similar nature, them are now to be found in other colalready familiar to the vegetable phylections) as for the great mine of ori

siologist, may perhaps appear of conginal music which it contains. Many siderable interest to some of your readof these tunes, it is true, have been since ers. I am, sir, your most obedient modernised, and certainly are improve servant,

G. ed by the symphonies, graces, and accompaniments, that have been added; « A friend of mine possesses an esstil the preservation of them in their tate in this county, a great part of simple and original state is a laudable which lying along the Moray Frith, and desirable object; and there is no was, at some period not very well asdoubt but an enlarged edition of that certained, but certainly not less than work, wherein elegance and utility sixty years ago, covered with sand, might be conjoined, is a desideratum which had been blown from the westin the vocal and musical miscellanies ward, and overwhelmed the cultivated of the day.

fields, so that the agriculturist was Observing that you had set out on forced to abandon them altogether. your miscellaneous career, with the My friend, soon after his purchase of resuscitation of some valuable old po- the estate, began the arduous but juetic lore, I have thrown these few cur- dicious operation of trenching down sory remarks together, in hopes they the sand, and bringing to the surface may be instrumental in bringing to the original black mould. These ope- light some more relies of the pastoral, rations of improvement were so proromantic, and rustic poetry of former ductive, as to induce the very intelliages, which you will do well to pre- gent and enterprising proprietor to unserve, and of which the collectors of dertake, lately, a still more laborious songs and music may afterwards avail task ; viz. to trench down the super

thernselves to their own advantage, and incumbent sand, on a part of the proer . We have inserted our correspondent's

I perty where it was no less than eight § feet deep.

feet deen . remarks as they came to hand, though we ** - profess ourselves ignorant with regard to the

Conceiving this to be a favourable ground of the charge that he makes against opportunity, for trying some experiCromek. We trust he can make good his ments relative to the length of time assertion. It would be a curious instance which seeds preserve their power of of literary fraud,

EDITOR. vegetation, even when immersed in

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