The Antiquary, Volume 2
Sir Walter Scott
Part 5 out of 5
You talked of the raven that scented out the slaughter from afar; but
here's a blue pigeon (somewhat of the oldest and toughest, I grant) who
smelled the good news six or seven miles off, flew thither in the
taxed-cart, and returned with the olive branch."
"Ye owe it o' to puir Robie that drave me;--puir fallow," said the
beggar, "he doubts he's in disgrace wi' my leddy and Sir Arthur."
Robert's repentant and bashful face was seen over the mendicant's
"In disgrace with me?" said Sir Arthur--"how so?"--for the irritation
into which he had worked himself on occasion of the toast had been long
forgotten. "O, I recollect--Robert, I was angry, and you were wrong;--go
about your work, and never answer a master that speaks to you in a
"Nor any one else," said the Antiquary; "for a soft answer turneth away
"And tell your mother, who is so ill with the rheumatism, to come down to
the housekeeper to-morrow," said Miss Wardour, "and we will see what can
be of service to her."
"God bless your leddyship," said poor Robert, "and his honour Sir Arthur,
and the young laird, and the house of Knockwinnock in a' its branches,
far and near!--it's been a kind and gude house to the puir this mony
"There"--said the Antiquary to Sir Arthur--"we won't dispute--but there
you see the gratitude of the poor people naturally turns to the civil
virtues of your family. You don't hear them talk of Redhand, or
Hell-in-Harness. For me, I must say, _Odi accipitrem qui semper vivit in
armis_--so let us eat and drink in peace, and be joyful, Sir Knight."
A table was quickly covered in the parlour, where the party sat joyously
down to some refreshment. At the request of Oldbuck, Edie Ochiltree was
permitted to sit by the sideboard in a great leathern chair, which was
placed in some measure behind a screen.
"I accede to this the more readily," said Sir Arthur, "because I remember
in my fathers days that chair was occupied by Ailshie Gourlay, who, for
aught I know, was the last privileged fool, or jester, maintained by any
family of distinction in Scotland."
"Aweel, Sir Arthur," replied the beggar, who never hesitated an instant
between his friend and his jest, "mony a wise man sits in a fule's seat,
and mony a fule in a wise man's, especially in families o' distinction."
Miss Wardour, fearing the effect of this speech (however worthy of
Ailsbie Gourlay, or any other privileged jester) upon the nerves of her
father, hastened to inquire whether ale and beef should not be
distributed to the servants and people whom the news had assembled round
"Surely, my love," said her father; "when was it ever otherwise in our
families when a siege had been raised?"
"Ay, a siege laid by Saunders Sweepclean the bailiff, and raised by Edie
Ochiltree the gaberlunzie, _par nobile fratrum,_" said Oldbuck, "and well
pitted against each other in respectability. But never mind, Sir Arthur--
these are such sieges and such reliefs as our time of day admits of--and
our escape is not less worth commemorating in a glass of this excellent
wine--Upon my credit, it is Burgundy, I think."
"Were there anything better in the cellar," said Miss Wardour, "it would
be all too little to regale you after your friendly exertions."
"Say you so?" said the Antiquary: "why, then, a cup of thanks to you, my
fair enemy, and soon may you be besieged as ladies love best to be, and
sign terms of capitulation in the chapel of Saint Winnox!"
Miss Wardour blushed--Hector coloured, and then grew pale.
Sir Arthur answered, "My daughter is much obliged to you, Monkbarns; but
unless you'll accept of her yourself, I really do not know where a poor
knight's daughter is to seek for an alliance in these mercenary times."
"Me, mean ye, Sir Arthur? No, not I! I will claim privilege of the
duello, and, as being unable to encounter my fair enemy myself, I will
appear by my champion--But of this matter hereafter. What do you find in
the papers there, Hector, that you hold your head down over them as if
your nose were bleeding?"
"Nothing particular, sir; but only that, as my arm is now almost quite
well, I think I shall relieve you of my company in a day or two, and go
to Edinburgh. I see Major Neville is arrived there. I should like to see
"Major whom?" said his uncle.
"Major Neville, sir," answered the young soldier.
"And who the devil is Major Neville?" demanded the Antiquary.
"O, Mr. Oldbuck," said Sir Arthur, "you must remember his name frequently
in the newspapers--a very distinguished young officer indeed. But I am
happy to say that Mr. M'Intyre need not leave Monkbarns to see him, for
my son writes that the Major is to come with him to Knockwinnock, and I
need not say how happy I shall be to make the young gentlemen
acquainted,--unless, indeed, they are known to each other already."
"No, not personally," answered Hector, "but I have had occasion to hear a
good deal of him, and we have several mutual friends--your son being one
of them. But I must go to Edinburgh; for I see my uncle is beginning to
grow tired of me, and I am afraid"--
"That you will grow tired of him?" interrupted Oldbuck,--"I fear that's
past praying for. But you have forgotten that the ecstatic twelfth of
August approaches, and that you are engaged to meet one of Lord
Glenallan's gamekeepers, God knows where, to persecute the peaceful
"True, true, uncle--I had forgot that," exclaimed the volatile Hector;
"but you said something just now that put everything out of my head."
"An it like your honours," said old Edie, thrusting his white bead from
behind the screen, where he had been plentifully regaling himself with
ale and cold meat--"an it like your honours, I can tell ye something that
will keep the Captain wi' us amaist as weel as the pouting--Hear ye na
the French are coming?"
"The French, you blockhead?" answered Oldbuck--"Bah!"
"I have not had time," said Sir Arthur Wardour, "to look over my
lieutenancy correspondence for the week--indeed, I generally make a rule
to read it only on Wednesdays, except in pressing cases,--for I do
everything by method; but from the glance I took of my letters, I
observed some alarm was entertained."
"Alarm?" said Edie, "troth there's alarm, for the provost's gar'd the
beacon light on the Halket-head be sorted up (that suld hae been sorted
half a year syne) in an unco hurry, and the council hae named nae less a
man than auld Caxon himsell to watch the light. Some say it was out o'
compliment to Lieutenant Taffril,--for it's neist to certain that he'll
marry Jenny Caxon,--some say it's to please your honour and Monkbarns
that wear wigs--and some say there's some auld story about a periwig that
ane o' the bailies got and neer paid for--Onyway, there he is, sitting
cockit up like a skart upon the tap o' the craig, to skirl when foul
"On mine honour, a pretty warder," said Monkbarns; "and what's my wig to
do all the while?"
"I asked Caxon that very question," answered Ochiltree, "and he said he
could look in ilka morning, and gie't a touch afore he gaed to his bed,
for there's another man to watch in the day-time, and Caxon says he'll
friz your honour's wig as weel sleeping as wauking."
This news gave a different turn to the conversation, which ran upon
national defence, and the duty of fighting for the land we live in, until
it was time to part. The Antiquary and his nephew resumed their walk
homeward, after parting from Knockwinnock with the warmest expressions of
mutual regard, and an agreement to meet again as soon as possible.
Nay, if she love me not, I care not for her:
Shall I look pale because the maiden blooms
Or sigh because she smiles, and smiles on others
Not I, by Heaven!--I hold my peace too dear,
To let it, like the plume upon her cap,
Shake at each nod that her caprice shall dictate.
"Hector," said his uncle to Captain M'Intyre, in the course of their walk
homeward, "I am sometimes inclined to suspect that, in one respect, you
are a fool."
"If you only think me so in _one_ respect, sir, I am sure you do me more
grace than I expected or deserve."
"I mean in one particular _par excellence,_" answered the Antiquary. "I
have sometimes thought that you have cast your eyes upon Miss Wardour."
"Well, sir," said M'Intyre, with much composure.
"Well, sir," echoed his uncle--"Deuce take the fellow! he answers me as
if it were the most reasonable thing in the world, that he, a captain in
the array, and nothing at all besides, should marry the daughter of a
"I presume to think, sir," said the young Highlander, "there would be no
degradation on Miss Wardour's part in point of family."
"O, Heaven forbid we should come on that topic!--No, no, equal both--both
on the table-land of gentility, and qualified to look down on every
_roturier_ in Scotland."
"And in point of fortune we are pretty even, since neither of us have got
any," continued Hector. "There may be an error, but I cannot plead guilty
"But here lies the error, then, if you call it so," replied his uncle:
"she won't have you, Hector."
"It is very sure, Hector; and to make it double sure, I must inform you
that she likes another man. She misunderstood some words I once said to
her, and I have since been able to guess at the interpretation she put on
them. At the time I was unable to account for her hesitation and
blushing; but, my poor Hector, I now understand them as a death-signal to
your hopes and pretensions. So I advise you to beat your retreat and draw
off your forces as well as you can, for the fort is too well garrisoned
for you to storm it."
"I have no occasion to beat any retreat, uncle," said Hector, holding
himself very upright, and marching with a sort of dogged and offended
solemnity; "no man needs to retreat that has never advanced. There are
women in Scotland besides Miss Wardour, of as good family"--
"And better taste," said his uncle; "doubtless there are, Hector; and
though I cannot say but that she is one of the most accomplished as well
as sensible girls I have seen, yet I doubt, much of her merit would be
cast away on you. A showy figure, now, with two cross feathers above her
noddle--one green, one blue; who would wear a riding-habit of the
regimental complexion, drive a gig one day, and the next review the
regiment on the grey trotting pony which dragged that vehicle, _hoc erat
in votis;_--these are the qualities that would subdue you, especially if
she had a taste for natural history, and loved a specimen of a _phoca._"
"It's a little hard, sir," said Hector, "I must have that cursed seal
thrown into my face on all occasions--but I care little about it--and I
shall not break my heart for Miss Wardour. She is free to choose for
herself, and I wish her all happiness."
"Magnanimously resolved, thou prop of Troy! Why, Hector, I was afraid of
a scene. Your sister told me you were desperately in love with Miss
"Sir," answered the young man, "you would not have me desperately in love
with a woman that does not care about me?"
"Well, nephew," said the Antiquary, more seriously, "there is doubtless
much sense in what you say; yet I would have given a great deal, some
twenty or twenty-five years since, to have been able to think as you do."
"Anybody, I suppose, may think as they please on such subjects," said
"Not according to the old school," said Oldbuck; "but, as I said before,
the practice of the modern seems in this case the most prudential,
though, I think, scarcely the most interesting. But tell me your ideas
now on this prevailing subject of an invasion. The cry is still, They
Hector, swallowing his mortification, which he was peculiarly anxious to
conceal from his uncle's satirical observation, readily entered into a
conversation which was to turn the Antiquary's thoughts from Miss Wardour
and the seal. When they reached Monkbarns, the communicating to the
ladies the events which had taken place at the castle, with the
counter-information of how long dinner had waited before the womankind
had ventured to eat it in the Antiquary's absence, averted these delicate
topics of discussion.
The next morning the Antiquary arose early, and, as Caxon had not yet
made his appearance, he began mentally to feel the absence of the petty
news and small talk of which the ex-peruquier was a faithful reporter,
and which habit had made as necessary to the Antiquary as his occasional
pinch of snuff, although he held, or affected to hold, both to be of the
same intrinsic value. The feeling of vacuity peculiar to such a
deprivation, was alleviated by the appearance of old Ochiltree,
sauntering beside the clipped yew and holly hedges, with the air of a
person quite at home. Indeed, so familiar had he been of late, that even
Juno did not bark at him, but contented herself with watching him with a
close and vigilant eye. Our Antiquary stepped out in his night-gown, and
instantly received and returned his greeting.
"They are coming now, in good earnest, Monkbarns. I just cam frae
Fairport to bring ye the news, and then I'll step away back again. The
Search has just come into the bay, and they say she's been chased by a
"The Search?" said Oldbuck, reflecting a moment. "Oho!"
"Ay, ay, Captain Taffril's gun-brig, the Search."
"What? any relation to _Search, No. II.?_" said Oldbuck, catching at the
light which the name of the vessel seemed to throw on the mysterious
chest of treasure.
The mendicant, like a man detected in a frolic, put his bonnet before his
face, yet could not help laughing heartily.--"The deil's in you,
Monkbarns, for garring odds and evens meet. Wha thought ye wad hae laid
that and that thegither? Od, I am clean catch'd now."
"I see it all," said Oldbuck, "as plain as the legend on a medal of high
preservation--the box in which the' bullion was found belonged to the
gun-brig, and the treasure to my phoenix?"--(Edie nodded assent),--"and
was buried there that Sir Arthur might receive relief in his
"By me," said Edie, "and twa o' the brig's men--but they didna ken its
contents, and thought it some bit smuggling concern o' the Captain's. I
watched day and night till I saw it in the right hand; and then, when
that German deevil was glowering at the lid o' the kist (they liked
mutton weel that licked where the yowe lay), I think some Scottish deevil
put it into my head to play him yon ither cantrip. Now, ye see, if I had
said mair or less to Bailie Littlejohn, I behoved till hae come out wi'
a' this story; and vexed would Mr. Lovel hae been to have it brought to
light--sae I thought I would stand to onything rather than that."
"I must say he has chosen his confidant well," said Oldbuck, "though
"I'll say this for mysell, Monkbarns," answered the mendicant, "that I am
the fittest man in the haill country to trust wi' siller, for I neither
want it, nor wish for it, nor could use it if I had it. But the lad hadna
muckle choice in the matter, for he thought he was leaving the country
for ever (I trust he's mistaen in that though); and the night was set in
when we learned, by a strange chance, Sir Arthur's sair distress, and
Lovel was obliged to be on board as the day dawned. But five nights
afterwards the brig stood into the bay, and I met the boat by
appointment, and we buried the treasure where ye fand it."
"This was a very romantic, foolish exploit," said Oldbuck: "why not trust
me, or any other friend?"
"The blood o' your sister's son," replied Edie, "was on his hands, and
him maybe dead outright--what time had he to take counsel?--or how could
he ask it of you, by onybody?"
"You are right. But what if Dousterswivel had come before you?"
"There was little fear o' his coming there without Sir Arthur: he had
gotten a sair gliff the night afore, and never intended to look near the
place again, unless he had been brought there sting and ling. He ken'd
weel the first pose was o' his ain hiding, and how could he expect a
second? He just havered on about it to make the mair o' Sir Arthur."
"Then how," said Oldbuck, "should Sir Arthur have come there unless the
German had brought him?"
"Umph!" answered Edie drily. "I had a story about Misticot wad hae
brought him forty miles, or you either. Besides, it was to be thought he
would be for visiting the place he fand the first siller in--he ken'd na
the secret o' that job. In short, the siller being in this shape, Sir
Arthur in utter difficulties, and Lovel determined he should never ken
the hand that helped him,--for that was what he insisted maist upon,--we
couldna think o' a better way to fling the gear in his gate, though we
simmered it and wintered it e'er sae lang. And if by ony queer mischance
Doustercivil had got his claws on't, I was instantly to hae informed you
or the Sheriff o' the haill story."
"Well, notwithstanding all these wise precautions, I think your
contrivance succeeded better than such a clumsy one deserved, Edie. But
how the deuce came Lovel by such a mass of silver ingots?"
"That's just what I canna tell ye--But they were put on board wi' his
things at Fairport, it's like, and we stowed them into ane o' the
ammunition-boxes o' the brig, baith for concealment and convenience of
"Lord!" said Oldbuck, his recollection recurring to the earlier part of
his acquaintance with Lovel; "and this young fellow, who was putting
hundreds on so strange a hazard, I must be recommending a subscription to
him, and paying his bill at the Ferry! I never will pay any person's bill
again, that's certain.--And you kept up a constant correspondence with
Lovel, I suppose?"
"I just gat ae bit scrape o' a pen frae him, to say there wad, as
yesterday fell, be a packet at Tannonburgh, wi' letters o' great
consequence to the Knockwinnock folk; for they jaloused the opening of
our letters at Fairport--And that's a's true; I hear Mrs. Mailsetter is
to lose her office for looking after other folk's business and neglecting
"And what do you expect now, Edie, for being the adviser, and messenger,
and guard, and confidential person in all these matters?"
"Deil haet do I expect--excepting that a' the gentles will come to the
gaberlunzie's burial; and maybe ye'll carry the head yoursell, as ye did
puir Steenie Mucklebackit's.--What trouble was't to me? I was ganging
about at ony rate--Oh, but I was blythe when I got out of Prison, though;
for I thought, what if that weary letter should come when I am closed up
here like an oyster, and a' should gang wrang for want o't? and whiles I
thought I maun mak a clean breast and tell you a' about it; but then I
couldna weel do that without contravening Mr. Lovel's positive orders;
and I reckon he had to see somebody at Edinburgh afore he could do what
he wussed to do for Sir Arthur and his family."
"Well, and to your public news, Edie--So they are still coming are they?"
"Troth they say sae, sir; and there's come down strict orders for the
forces and volunteers to be alert; and there's a clever young officer to
come here forthwith, to look at our means o' defence--I saw the Bailies
lass cleaning his belts and white breeks--I gae her a hand, for ye maun
think she wasna ower clever at it, and sae I gat a' the news for my
"And what think you, as an old soldier?"
"Troth I kenna--an they come so mony as they speak o', they'll be odds
against us. But there's mony yauld chields amang thae volunteers; and I
mauna say muckle about them that's no weel and no very able, because I am
something that gate mysell--But we'se do our best."
"What! so your martial spirit is rising again, Edie?
Even in our ashes glow their wonted fires!
I would not have thought you, Edie, had so much to fight for?"
"_Me_ no muckle to fight for, sir?--isna there the country to fight for,
and the burnsides that I gang daundering beside, and the hearths o'the
gudewives that gie me my bit bread, and the bits o' weans that come
toddling to play wi' me when I come about a landward town?--Deil!" he
continued, grasping his pike-staff with great emphasis, "an I had as gude
pith as I hae gude-will, and a gude cause, I should gie some o' them a
"Bravo, bravo, Edie! The country's in little ultimate danger, when the
beggar's as ready to fight for his dish as the laird for his land."
Their further conversation reverted to the particulars of the night
passed by the mendicant and Lovel in the ruins of St. Ruth; by the
details of which the Antiquary was highly amused.
"I would have given a guinea," he said, "to have seen the scoundrelly
German under the agonies of those terrors, which it is part of his own
quackery to inspire into others; and trembling alternately for the fury
of his patron, and the apparition of some hobgoblin."
"Troth," said the beggar, "there was time for him to be cowed; for ye wad
hae thought the very spirit of Hell-in-Harness had taken possession o'
the body o' Sir Arthur. But what will come o' the land-louper?"
"I have had a letter this morning, from which I understand he has
acquitted you of the charge he brought against you, and offers to make
such discoveries as will render the settlement of Sir Arthur's affairs a
more easy task than we apprehended--So writes the Sheriff; and adds, that
he has given some private information of importance to Government, in
consideration of which, I understand he will be sent back to play the
knave in his own country."
"And a' the bonny engines, and wheels, and the coves, and sheughs, doun
at Glenwithershins yonder, what's to come o' them?" said Edie.
"I hope the men, before they are dispersed, will make a bonfire of their
gimcracks, as an army destroy their artillery when forced to raise a
siege. And as for the holes, Edie, I abandon them as rat-traps, for the
benefit of the next wise men who may choose to drop the substance to
snatch at a shadow."
"Hech, sirs! guide us a'! to burn the engines? that's a great waste--Had
ye na better try to get back part o' your hundred pounds wi' the sale o'
the materials?" he continued, with a tone of affected condolence.
"Not a farthing," said the Antiquary, peevishly, taking a turn from him,
and making a step or two away. Then returning, half-smiling at his own
pettishness, he said, "Get thee into the house, Edie, and remember my
counsel, never speak to me about a mine, nor to my nephew Hector about a
_phoca,_ that is a sealgh, as you call it."
"I maun be ganging my ways back to Fairport," said the wanderer; "I want
to see what they're saying there about the invasion;--but I'll mind what
your honour says, no to speak to you about a sealgh, or to the Captain
about the hundred pounds that you gied to Douster"--
"Confound thee!--I desired thee not to mention that to me."
"Dear me!" said Edie, with affected surprise; "weel, I thought there was
naething but what your honour could hae studden in the way o' agreeable
conversation, unless it was about the Praetorian yonder, or the bodle
that the packman sauld to ye for an auld coin."
"Pshaw! pshaw!" said the Antiquary, turning from him hastily, and
retreating into the house.
The mendicant looked after him a moment, and with a chuckling laugh, such
as that with which a magpie or parrot applauds a successful exploit of
mischief, he resumed once more the road to Fairport. His habits had given
him a sort of restlessness, much increased by the pleasure he took in
gathering news; and in a short time he had regained the town which he
left in the morning, for no reason that he knew himself, unless just to
"hae a bit crack wi' Monkbarns."
Red glared the beacon on Pownell
On Skiddaw there were three;
The bugle horn on moor and fell
Was heard continually.
The watch who kept his watch on the hill, and looked towards Birnam,
probably conceived himself dreaming when he first beheld the fated grove
put itself into motion for its march to Dunsinane. Even so old Caxon, as
perched in his hut, he qualified his thoughts upon the approaching
marriage of his daughter, and the dignity of being father-in-law to
Lieutenant Taffril, with an occasional peep towards the signal-post with
which his own corresponded, was not a little surprised by observing a
light in that direction. He rubbed his eyes, looked again, adjusting his
observation by a cross-staff which had been placed so as to bear upon the
point. And behold, the light increased, like a comet to the eye of the
astronomer, "with fear of change perplexing nations."
"The Lord preserve us!" said Caxon, "what's to be done now? But there
will be wiser heads than mine to look to that, sae I'se e'en fire the
And he lighted the beacon accordingly, which threw up to the sky a long
wavering train of light, startling the sea-fowl from their nests, and
reflected far beneath by the reddening billows of the sea. The brother
warders of Caxon being equally diligent, caught, and repeated his signal.
The lights glanced on headlands and capes and inland hills, and the whole
district was alarmed by the signal of invasion. *
* Note J. Alarms of Invasion.
Our Antiquary, his head wrapped warm in two double night-caps, was
quietly enjoying his repose, when it was suddenly broken by the screams
of his sister, his niece, and two maid-servants.
"What the devil is the matter?" said he, starting up in his bed--
"womankind in my room at this hour of night!--are ye all mad?"
"The beacon, uncle!" said Miss M'Intyre.
"The French coming to murder us!" screamed Miss Griselda.
"The beacon! the beacon!--the French! the French!--murder! murder! and
waur than murder!"--cried the two handmaidens, like the chorus of an
"The French?" said Oldbuck, starting up--"get out of the room, womankind
that you are, till I get my things on--And hark ye, bring me my sword."
"Whilk o' them, Monkbarns?" cried his sister, offering a Roman falchion
of brass with the one hand, and with the other an Andrea Ferrara without
"The langest, the langest," cried Jenny Rintherout, dragging in a
two-handed sword of the twelfth century.
"Womankind," said Oldbuck in great agitation, "be composed, and do not
give way to vain terror--Are you sure they are come?"
"Sure, sure!" exclaimed Jenny--"ower sure!--a' the sea fencibles, and the
land fencibles, and the volunteers and yeomanry, are on fit, and driving
to Fairport as hard as horse and man can gang--and auld Mucklebackit's
gane wi' the lave--muckle gude he'll do!--Hech, sirs!--_he'll_ be missed
the morn wha wad hae served king and country weel!"
"Give me," said Oldbuck, "the sword which my father wore in the year
forty-five--it hath no belt or baldrick--but we'll make shift."
So saying he thrust the weapon through the cover of his breeches pocket.
At this moment Hector entered, who had been to a neighbouring height to
ascertain whether the alarm was actual.
"Where are your arms, nephew?" exclaimed Oldbuck--"where is your
double-barrelled gun, that was never out of your hand when there was no
occasion for such vanities?"
"Pooh! pooh! sir," said Hector, "who ever took a fowling-piece on action?
I have got my uniform on, you see--I hope I shall be of more use if they
will give me a command than I could be with ten double-barrels. And you,
sir, must get to Fairport, to give directions for quartering and
maintaining the men and horses, and preventing confusion."
"You are right, Hector,--l believe I shall do as much with my head as my
hand too. But here comes Sir Arthur Wardour, who, between ourselves, is
not fit to accomplish much either one way or the other."
Sir Arthur was probably of a different opinion; for, dressed in his
lieutenancy uniform, he was also on the road to Fairport, and called in
his way to take Mr. Oldbuck with him, having had his original opinion of
his sagacity much confirmed by late events. And in spite of all the
entreaties of the womankind that the Antiquary would stay to garrison
Monkbarns, Mr. Oldbuck, with his nephew, instantly accepted Sir Arthur's
Those who have witnessed such a scene can alone conceive the state of
bustle in Fairport. The windows were glancing with a hundred lights,
which, appearing and disappearing rapidly, indicated the confusion within
doors. The women of lower rank assembled and clamoured in the
market-place. The yeomanry, pouring from their different glens, galloped
through the streets, some individually, some in parties of five or six,
as they had met on the road. The drums and fifes of the volunteers
beating to arms, were blended with the voice of the officers, the sound
of the bugles, and the tolling of the bells from the steeple. The ships
in the harbour were lit up, and boats from the armed vessels added to the
bustle, by landing men and guns destined to assist in the defence of the
place. This part of the preparations was superintended by Taffril with
much activity. Two or three light vessels had already slipped their
cables and stood out to sea, in order to discover the supposed enemy.
Such was the scene of general confusion, when Sir Arthur Wardour,
Oldbuck, and Hector, made their way with difficulty into the principal
square, where the town-house is situated. It was lighted up, and the
magistracy, with many of the neighbouring gentlemen, were assembled. And
here, as upon other occasions of the like kind in Scotland, it was
remarkable how the good sense and firmness of the people supplied almost
all the deficiencies of inexperience.
The magistrates were beset by the quarter-masters of the different corps
for billets for men and horses. "Let us," said Bailie Littlejohn, "take
the horses into our warehouses, and the men into our parlours--share our
supper with the one, and our forage with the other. We have made
ourselves wealthy under a free and paternal government, and now is the
time to show we know its value."
A loud and cheerful acquiescence was given by all present, and the
substance of the wealthy, with the persons of those of all ranks, were
unanimously devoted to the defence of the country.
Captain M'Intyre acted on this occasion as military adviser and
aide-de-camp to the principal magistrate, and displayed a degree of
presence of mind, and knowledge of his profession, totally unexpected by
his uncle, who, recollecting his usual _insouciance_ and impetuosity,
gazed at him with astonishment from time to time, as he remarked the calm
and steady manner in which he explained the various measures of
precaution that his experience suggested, and gave directions for
executing them. He found the different corps in good order, considering
the irregular materials of which they were composed, in great force of
numbers and high confidence and spirits. And so much did military
experience at that moment overbalance all other claims to consequence,
that even old Edie, instead of being left, like Diogenes at Sinope, to
roll his tub when all around were preparing for defence, had the duty
assigned him of superintending the serving out of the ammunition, which
he executed with much discretion.
Two things were still anxiously expected--the presence of the Glenallan
volunteers, who, in consideration of the importance of that family, had
been formed into a separate corps, and the arrival of the officer before
announced, to whom the measures of defence on that coast had been
committed by the commander-in-chief, and whose commission would entitle
him to take upon himself the full disposal of the military force.
At length the bugles of the Glenallan yeomanry were heard, and the Earl
himself, to the surprise of all who knew his habits and state of health,
appeared at their head in uniform. They formed a very handsome and
well-mounted squadron, formed entirely out of the Earl's Lowland tenants,
and were followed by a regiment of five hundred men, completely equipped
in the Highland dress, whom he had brought down from the upland glens,
with their pipes playing in the van. The clean and serviceable appearance
of this band of feudal dependants called forth the admiration of Captain
M'Intyre; but his uncle was still more struck by the manner in which,
upon this crisis, the ancient military spirit of his house seemed to
animate and invigorate the decayed frame of the Earl, their leader. He
claimed, and obtained for himself and his followers, the post most likely
to be that of danger, displayed great alacrity in making the necessary
dispositions, and showed equal acuteness in discussing their propriety.
Morning broke in upon the military councils of Fairport, while all
concerned were still eagerly engaged in taking precautions for their
At length a cry among the people announced, "There's the brave Major
Neville come at last, with another officer;" and their post-chaise and
four drove into the square, amidst the huzzas of the volunteers and
inhabitants. The magistrates, with their assessors of the lieutenancy,
hastened to the door of their town-house to receive him; but what was the
surprise of all present, but most especially that of the Antiquary, when
they became aware, that the handsome uniform and military cap disclosed
the person and features of the pacific Lovel! A warm embrace, and a
hearty shake of the hand, were necessary to assure him that his eyes were
doing him justice. Sir Arthur was no less surprised to recognise his son,
Captain Wardour, in Lovel's, or rather Major Neville's company. The first
words of the young officers were a positive assurance to all present,
that the courage and zeal which they had displayed were entirely thrown
away, unless in so far as they afforded an acceptable proof of their
spirit and promptitude.
"The watchman at Halket-head," said Major Neville, "as we discovered by
an investigation which we made in our route hither, was most naturally
misled by a bonfire which some idle people had made on the hill above
Glenwithershins, just in the line of the beacon with which his
Oldbuck gave a conscious look to Sir Arthur, who returned it with one
equally sheepish, and a shrug of the shoulders,
"It must have been the machinery which we condemned to the flames in our
wrath," said the Antiquary, plucking up heart, though not a little
ashamed of having been the cause of so much disturbance--"The devil take
Dousterswivel with all my heart!--I think he has bequeathed us a legacy
of blunders and mischief, as if he had lighted some train of fireworks at
his departure. I wonder what cracker will go off next among our shins.
But yonder comes the prudent Caxon.--Hold up your head, you ass--your
betters must bear the blame for you--And here, take this what-d'ye-call
it"--(giving him his sword)--"I wonder what I would have said yesterday
to any man that would have told me I was to stick such an appendage to my
Here he found his arm gently pressed by Lord Glenallan, who dragged him
into a separate apartment. "For God's sake, who is that young gentleman
who is so strikingly like"--
"Like the unfortunate Eveline," interrupted Oldbuck. "I felt my heart
warm to him from the first, and your lordship has suggested the very
"But who--who is he?" continued Lord Glenallan, holding the Antiquary
with a convulsive grasp.
"Formerly I would have called him Lovel, but now he turns out to be Major
"Whom my brother brought up as his natural son--whom he made his heir--
Gracious Heaven! the child of my Eveline!"
"Hold, my lord--hold!" said Oldbuck, "do not give too hasty way to such a
presumption;--what probability is there?"
"Probability? none! There is certainty! absolute certainty! The agent I
mentioned to you wrote me the whole story--I received it yesterday, not
sooner. Bring him, for God's sake, that a father's eyes may bless him
before he departs."
"I will; but for your own sake and his, give him a few moments for
And, determined to make still farther investigation before yielding his
entire conviction to so strange a tale, he sought out Major Neville, and
found him expediting the necessary measures for dispersing the force
which had been assembled.
"Pray, Major Neville, leave this business for a moment to Captain Wardour
and to Hector, with whom, I hope, you are thoroughly reconciled" (Neville
laughed, and shook hands with Hector across the table), "and grant me a
"You have a claim on me, Mr. Oldbuck, were my business more urgent," said
Neville, "for having passed myself upon you under a false name, and
rewarding your hospitality by injuring your nephew."
"You served him as he deserved," said Oldbuck--"though, by the way, he
showed as much good sense as spirit to-day--Egad! if he would rub up his
learning, and read Caesar and Polybus, and the _Stratagemata Polyaeni,_ I
think he would rise in the army--and I will certainly lend him a lift."
"He is heartily deserving of it," said Neville; "and I am glad you excuse
me, which you may do the more frankly, when you know that I am so
unfortunate as to have no better right to the name of Neville, by which I
have been generally distinguished, than to that of Lovel, under which you
"Indeed! then, I trust, we shall find out one for you to which you shall
have a firm and legal title."
"Sir!--I trust you do not think the misfortune of my birth a fit
"By no means, young man," answered the Antiquary, interrupting him;--"I
believe I know more of your birth than you do yourself--and, to convince
you of it, you were educated and known as a natural son of Geraldin
Neville of Neville's-Burgh, in Yorkshire, and I presume, as his destined
"Pardon me--no such views were held out to me. I was liberally educated,
and pushed forward in the army by money and interest; but I believe my
supposed father long entertained some ideas of marriage, though he never
carried them into effect."
"You say your _supposed_ father?--What leads you to suppose Mr. Geraldin
Neville was not your real father?"
"I know, Mr. Oldbuck, that you would not ask these questions on a point
of such delicacy for the gratification of idle curiosity. I will
therefore tell you candidly, that last year, while we occupied a small
town in French Flanders, I found in a convent, near which I was
quartered, a woman who spoke remarkably good English--She was a Spaniard
--her name Teresa D'Acunha. In the process of our acquaintance, she
discovered who I was, and made herself known to me as the person who had
charge of my infancy. She dropped more than one hint of rank to which I
was entitled, and of injustice done to me, promising a more full
disclosure in case of the death of a lady in Scotland, during whose
lifetime she was determined to keep the secret. She also intimated that
Mr. Geraldin Neville was not my father. We were attacked by the enemy,
and driven from the town, which was pillaged with savage ferocity by the
republicans. The religious orders were the particular objects of their
hate and cruelty. The convent was burned, and several nuns perished--
among others Teresa; and with her all chance of knowing the story of my
birth: tragic by all accounts it must have been."
"_Raro antecedentem scelestum,_ or, as I may here say, _scelestam,_" said
Oldbuck, "_deseruit poena_--even Epicureans admitted that. And what did
you do upon this?"
"I remonstrated with Mr. Neville by letter, and to no purpose. I then
obtained leave of absence, and threw myself at his feet, conjuring him to
complete the disclosure which Teresa had begun. He refused, and, on my
importunity, indignantly upbraided me with the favours he had already
conferred. I thought he abused the power of a benefactor, as he was
compelled to admit he had no title to that of a father, and we parted in
mutual displeasure. I renounced the name of Neville, and assumed that
under which you knew me. It was at this time, when residing with a friend
in the north of England who favoured my disguise, that I became
acquainted with Miss Wardour, and was romantic enough to follow her to
Scotland. My mind wavered on various plans of life, when I resolved to
apply once more to Mr. Neville for an explanation of the mystery of my
birth. It was long ere I received an answer; you were present when it was
put into my hands. He informed me of his bad state of health, and
conjured me, for my own sake, to inquire no farther into the nature of
his connection with me, but to rest satisfied with his declaring it to be
such and so intimate, that he designed to constitute me his heir. When I
was preparing to leave Fairport to join him, a second express brought me
word that he was no more. The possession of great wealth was unable to
suppress the remorseful feelings with which I now regarded my conduct to
my benefactor, and some hints in his letter appearing to intimate there
was on my birth a deeper stain than that of ordinary illegitimacy, I
remembered certain prejudices of Sir Arthur."
"And you brooded over these melancholy ideas until you were ill, instead
of coming to me for advice, and telling me the whole story?" said
"Exactly; then came my quarrel with Captain M'Intyre, and my compelled
departure from Fairport and its vicinity."
"From love and from poetry--Miss Wardour and the Caledoniad?"
"And since that time you have been occupied, I suppose, with plans for
Sir Arthur's relief?"
"Yes, sir; with the assistance of Captain Wardour at Edinburgh."
"And Edie Ochiltree here--you see I know the whole story. But how came
you by the treasure?"
"It was a quantity of plate which had belonged to my uncle, and was left
in the custody of a person at Fairport. Some time before his death he had
sent orders that it should be melted down. He perhaps did not wish me to
see the Glenallan arms upon it."
"Well, Major Neville--or let me say, Lovel, being the name in which I
rather delight--you must, I believe, exchange both of your _alias's_ for
the style and title of the Honourable William Geraldin, commonly called
The Antiquary then went through the strange and melancholy circumstances
concerning his mother's death.
"I have no doubt," he said, "that your uncle wished the report to be
believed, that the child of this unhappy marriage was no more--perhaps he
might himself have an eye to the inheritance of his brother--he was then
a gay wild young man--But of all intentions against your person, however
much the evil conscience of Elspeth might lead her to inspect him from
the agitation in which he appeared, Teresa's story and your own fully
acquit him. And now, my dear sir, let me have the pleasure of introducing
a son to a father."
We will not attempt to describe such a meeting. The proofs on all sides
were found to be complete, for Mr. Neville had left a distinct account of
the whole transaction with his confidential steward in a sealed packet,
which was not to be opened until the death of the old Countess; his
motive for preserving secrecy so long appearing to have been an
apprehension of the effect which the discovery, fraught with so much
disgrace, must necessarily produce upon her haughty and violent temper.
In the evening of that day, the yeomanry and volunteers of Glenallan
drank prosperity to their young master. In a month afterwards Lord
Geraldin was married to Miss Wardour, the Antiquary making the lady a
present of the wedding ring--a massy circle of antique chasing, bearing
the motto of Aldobrand Oldenbuck, _Kunst macht gunst._
Old Edie, the most important man that ever wore a blue gown, bowls away
easily from one friend's house to another, and boasts that he never
travels unless on a sunny day. Latterly, indeed, he has given some
symptoms of becoming stationary, being frequently found in the corner of
a snug cottage between Monkbarns and Knockwinnock, to which Caxon
retreated upon his daughter's marriage, in order to be in the
neighbourhood of the three parochial wigs, which he continues to keep in
repair, though only for amusement. Edie has been heard to say, "This is a
gey bein place, and it's a comfort to hae sic a corner to sit in in a bad
day." It is thought, as he grows stiffer in the joints, he will finally
The bounty of such wealthy patrons as Lord and Lady Geraldin flowed
copiously upon Mrs. Hadoway and upon the Mucklebackits. By the former it
was well employed, by the latter wasted. They continue, however, to
receive it, but under the administration of Edie Ochiltree; and they do
not accept it without grumbling at the channel through which it is
Hector is rising rapidly in the army, and has been more than once
mentioned in the Gazette, and rises proportionally high in his uncle's
favour; and what scarcely pleases the young soldier less, he has also
shot two seals, and thus put an end to the Antiquary's perpetual harping
upon the story of the _phoca._People talk of a marriage between Miss
M'Intyre and Captain Wardour; but this wants confirmation.
The Antiquary is a frequent visitor at Knockwinnock and Glenallan House,
ostensibly for the sake of completing two essays, one on the mail-shirt
of the Great Earl, and the other on the left-hand gauntlet of
Hell-in-Harness. He regularly inquires whether Lord Geraldin has
commenced the Caledoniad, and shakes his head at the answers he
receives._En attendant,_ however, he has completed his notes, which, we
believe, will be at the service of any one who chooses to make them
public without risk or expense to THE ANTIQUARY.
NOTES TO THE ANTIQUARY.
Note A, p. #.--Mottoes.
["It was in correcting the proof-sheets of this novel that Scott first
took to equipping his chapters with mottoes of his own fabrication. On
one occasion he happened to ask John Ballantyne, who was sitting by him,
to hunt for a particular passage in Beaumont and Fletcher. John did as he
was bid, but did not succeed in discovering the lines. 'Hang it,
Johnnie,' cried Scott, 'I believe I can make a motto sooner than you will
find one.' He did so accordingly; and from that hour, whenever memory
failed to suggest an appropriate epigraph, he had recourse to the
inexhaustible mines of "old play" or "old ballad," to which we owe some
of the most exquisite verses that ever flowed from his pen."--_J. G.
See also the Introduction to "Chronicles of the Canongate," vol. xix.]
Note B, p. #.--Sandy Gordon's Itinerarium.
[This well-known work, the "Itinerarium Septentrionale, or a Journey
thro' most of the Counties of Scotland, and those in the North of
England," was published at London in 1727, folio. The author states, that
in prosecuting his work he "made a pretty laborious progress through
almost every part of Scotland for three years successively." Gordon was
a native of Aberdeenshire, and had previously spent some years in
travelling abroad, probably as a tutor. He became Secretary to the London
Society of Antiquaries in 1736. This office he resigned in 1741, and soon
after went out to South Carolina with Governor Glen, where he obtained a
considerable grant of land. On his death, about the year 1753, he is said
to have left "a handsome estate to his family."--See _Literary Anecdotes
of Bowyer,_ by John Nichols, vol. v., p. 329, etc.]
Note C, p. #.--Praetorium.
It may be worth while to mention that the incident of the supposed
Praetorium actually happened to an antiquary of great learning and
acuteness, Sir John Clerk of Penicuik, one of the Barons of the Scottish
Court of Exchequer, and a parliamentary commissioner for arrangement of
the Union between England and Scotland. As many of his writings show, Sir
John was much attached to the study of Scottish antiquities. He had a
small property in Dumfriesshire, near the Roman station on the hill
called Burrenswark. Here he received the distinguished English
antiquarian Roger Gale, and of course conducted him to see this
remarkable spot, where the lords of the world have left such decisive
marks of their martial labours.
An aged shepherd whom they had used as a guide, or who had approached
them from curiosity, listened with mouth agape to the dissertations on
foss and vellum, ports _dextra, sinistra,_ and _decumana,_ which Sir John
Clerk delivered _ex cathedra,_ and his learned visitor listened with the
deference to the dignity of a connoisseur on his own ground. But when the
cicerone proceeded to point out a small hillock near the centre of the
enclosure as the Praetorium, Corydon's patience could hold no longer,
and, like Edie Ochiltree, he forgot all reverence, and broke in with
nearly the same words--"Praetorium here, Praetorium there, I made the
bourock mysell with a flaughter-spade." The effect of this undeniable
evidence on the two lettered sages may be left to the reader's
The late excellent and venerable John Clerk of Eldin, the celebrated
author of _Naval Tactics,_ used to tell this story with glee, and being a
younger son of Sir John's was perhaps present on the occasion.
Note D, p. #.--Mr. Rutherfurd's Dream
The legend of Mrs. Grizel Oldbuck was partly taken from an extraordinary
story which happened about seventy years since, in the South of Scotland,
so peculiar in its circumstances that it merits being mentioned in this
place. Mr. Rutherfurd of Bowland, a gentleman of landed property in the
vale of Gala, was prosecuted for a very considerable sum, the accumulated
arrears of teind (or tithe) for which he was said to be indebted to a
noble family, the titulars (lay impropriators of the tithes). Mr.
Rutherfurd was strongly impressed with the belief that his father had, by
a form of process peculiar to the law of Scotland, purchased these lands
from the titular, and therefore that the present prosecution was
groundless. But, after an industrious search among his father's papers,
an investigation of the public records, and a careful inquiry among all
persons who had transacted law business for his father, no evidence could
be recovered to support his defence. The period was now near at hand when
he conceived the loss of his lawsuit to be inevitable, and he had formed
his determination to ride to Edinburgh next day, and make the best
bargain he could in the way of compromise. He went to bed with this
resolution and, with all the circumstances of the case floating upon his
mind, had a dream to the following purpose:--His father, who had been
many years dead, appeared to him, he thought, and asked him why he was
disturbed in his mind. In dreams men are not surprised at such
apparitions. Mr. Rutherfurd thought that he informed his father of the
cause of his distress, adding that the payment of a considerable sum of
money was the more unpleasant to him, because he had a strong
consciousness that it was not due, though he was unable to recover any
evidence in support of his belief, "You are right, my son," replied the
paternal shade; "I did acquire right to these teinds, for payment of
which you are now prosecuted. The papers relating to the transaction are
in the hands of Mr.--, a writer (or attorney), who is now retired from
professional business, and resides at Inveresk, near Edinburgh. He was a
person whom I employed on that occasion for a particular reason, but who
never on any other occasion transacted business on my account. It is very
possible," pursued the vision, "that Mr.--may have forgotten a matter
which is now of a very old date; but you may call it to his recollection
by this token, that when I came to pay his account, there was difficulty
in getting change for a Portugal piece of gold, and that we were forced
to drink out the balance at a tavern."
Mr. Rutherfurd awakened in the morning with all the words of the vision
imprinted on his mind, and thought it worth while to ride across the
country to Inveresk, instead of going straight to Edinburgh. When he came
there he waited on the gentleman mentioned in the dream, a very old man;
without saying anything of the vision, he inquired whether he remembered
having conducted such a matter for his deceased father. The old gentleman
could not at first bring the circumstance to his recollection, but on
mention of the Portugal piece of gold, the whole returned upon his
memory; he made an immediate search for the papers, and recovered them,--
so that Mr. Rutherfurd carried to Edinburgh the documents necessary to
gain the cause which he was on the verge of losing.
The author has often heard this story told by persons who had the best
access to know the facts, who were not likely themselves to be deceived,
and were certainly incapable of deception. He cannot therefore refuse to
give it credit, however extraordinary the circumstances may appear. The
circumstantial character of the information given in the dream, takes it
out of the general class of impressions of the kind which are occasioned
by the fortuitous coincidence of actual events with our sleeping
thoughts. On the other hand, few will suppose that the laws of nature
were suspended, and a special communication from the dead to the living
permitted, for the purpose of saving Mr. Rutherfurd a certain number of
hundred pounds. The author's theory is, that the dream was only the
recapitulation of information which Mr. Rutherfurd had really received
from his father while in life, but which at first he merely recalled as a
general impression that the claim was settled. It is not uncommon for
persons to recover, during sleep, the thread of ideas which they have
lost during their waking hours.
It may be added, that this remarkable circumstance was attended with bad
consequences to Mr. Rutherfurd; whose health and spirits were afterwards
impaired by the attention which he thought himself obliged to pay to the
visions of the night.
Note E, p. #.--Nick-sticks.
A sort of tally generally used by bakers of the olden time in settling
with their customers. Each family had its own nick-stick, and for each
loaf as delivered a notch was made on the stick. Accounts in Exchequer,
kept by the same kind of check, may have occasioned the Antiquary's
partiality. In Prior's time the English bakers had the same sort of
Have you not seen a baker's maid,
Between two equal panniers sway'd?
Her tallies useless lie and idle,
If placed exactly in the middle.
Note F, p. #.--Witchcraft.
A great deal of stuff to the same purpose with that placed in the mouth
of the German adept, may be found in Reginald Scott's _Discovery of
Witchcraft,_ Third Edition, folio, London, 1665. The Appendix is
entitled, "An Excellent Discourse of the Nature and Substances of Devils
and Spirits, in two Books; the first by the aforesaid author (Reginald
Scott), the Second now added in this Third Edition as succedaneous to the
former, and conducing to the completing of the whole work." This Second
Book, though stated as succedaneous to the first, is, in fact, entirely
at variance with it; for the work of Reginald Scott is a compilation of
the absurd and superstitious ideas concerning witches so generally
entertained at the time, and the pretended conclusion is a serious
treatise on the various means of conjuring astral spirits.
[Scott's _Discovery of Witchcraft_ was first published in the reign of
Queen Elizabeth, London, 1584.]
Note G, p. #.--Gyneocracy.
In the fishing villages on the Firths of Forth and Tay, as well as
elsewhere in Scotland, the government is gyneocracy, as described in the
text. In the course of the late war, and during the alarm of invasion, a
fleet of transports entered the Firth of Forth under the convoy of some
ships of war, which would reply to no signals. A general alarm was
excited, in consequence of which, all the fishers, who were enrolled as
sea-fencibles, got on board the gun-boats which they were to man as
occasion should require, and sailed to oppose the supposed enemy. The
foreigners proved to be Russians, with whom we were then at peace. The
county gentlemen of Mid-Lothian, pleased with the zeal displayed by the
sea-fencibles at a critical moment, passed a vote for presenting the
community of fishers with a silver punch-bowl, to be used on occasions of
festivity. But the fisher-women, on hearing what was intended, put in
their claim to have some separate share in the intended honorary reward.
The men, they said, were their husbands; it was they who would have been
sufferers if their husbands had been killed, and it was by their
permission and injunctions that they embarked on board the gun-boats for
the public service. They therefore claimed to share the reward in some
manner which should distinguish the female patriotism which they had
shown on the occasion. The gentlemen of the county willingly admitted the
claim; and without diminishing the value of their compliment to the men,
they made the females a present of a valuable broach, to fasten the plaid
of the queen of the fisher-women for the time.
It may be further remarked, that these Nereids are punctilious among
themselves, and observe different ranks according to the commodities they
deal in. One experienced dame was heard to characterise a younger damsel
as "a puir silly thing, who had no ambition, and would never," she
prophesied, "rise above the _mussel-line_ of business."
Note H, p. #.--Battle of Harlaw.
The great battle of Harlaw, here and formerly referred to, might be said
to determine whether the Gaelic or the Saxon race should be predominant
in Scotland. Donald, Lord of the Isles, who had at that period the power
of an independent sovereign, laid claim to the Earldom of Ross during the
Regency of Robert, Duke of Albany. To enforce his supposed right, he
ravaged the north with a large army of Highlanders and Islesmen. He was
encountered at Harlaw, in the Garioch, by Alexander, Earl of Mar, at the
head of the northern nobility and gentry of Saxon and Norman descent. The
battle was bloody and indecisive; but the invader was obliged to retire
in consequence of the loss he sustained, and afterwards was compelled to
make submission to the Regent, and renounce his pretensions to Ross; so
that all the advantages of the field were gained by the Saxons. The
battle of Harlaw was fought 24th July 1411.
Note I, p. #.--Elspeth's death.
The concluding circumstance of Elspeth's death is taken from an incident
said to have happened at the funeral of John, Duke of Roxburghe. All who
were acquainted with that accomplished nobleman must remember that he was
not more remarkable for creating and possessing a most curious and
splendid library, than for his acquaintance with the literary treasures
it contained. In arranging his books, fetching and replacing the volumes
which he wanted, and carrying on all the necessary intercourse which a
man of letters holds with his library, it was the Duke's custom to
employ, not a secretary or librarian, but a livery servant, called
Archie, whom habit had made so perfectly acquainted with the library,
that he knew every book, as a shepherd does the individuals of his flock,
by what is called head-mark, and could bring his master whatever volume
he wanted, and afford all the mechanical aid the Duke required in his
literary researches. To secure the attendance of Archie, there was a bell
hung in his room, which was used on no occasion except to call him
individually to the Duke's study.
His Grace died in Saint James's Square, London, in the year 1804; the
body was to be conveyed to Scotland, to lie in state at his mansion of
Fleurs, and to be removed from thence to the family burial-place at
At this time, Archie, who had been long attacked by a liver-complaint,
was in the very last stage of that disease. Yet he prepared himself to
accompany the body of the master whom he had so long and so faithfully
waited upon. The medical persons assured him he could not survive the
journey. It signified nothing, he said, whether he died in England or
Scotland; he was resolved to assist in rendering the last honours to the
kind master from whom he had been inseparable for so many years, even if
he should expire in the attempt. The poor invalid was permitted to attend
the Duke's body to Scotland; but when they reached Fleurs he was totally
exhausted, and obliged to keep his bed, in a sort of stupor which
announced speedy dissolution. On the morning of the day fixed for
removing the dead body of the Duke to the place of burial, the private
bell by which he was wont to summon his attendant to his study was rung
violently. This might easily happen in the confusion of such a scene,
although the people of the neighbourhood prefer believing that the bell
sounded of its own accord. Ring, however, it did; and Archie, roused by
the well-known summons, rose up in his bed, and faltered, in broken
accents, "Yes, my Lord Duke--yes--I will wait on your Grace instantly;"
and with these words on his lips he is said to have fallen back and
Note J, p. #.--Alarm of invasion.
The story of the false alarm at Fairport, and the consequences, are taken
from a real incident. Those who witnessed the state of Britain, and of
Scotland in particular, from the period that succeeded the war which
commenced in 1803 to the battle of Trafalgar, must recollect those times
with feelings which we can hardly hope to make the rising generation
comprehend. Almost every individual was enrolled either in a military or
civil capacity, for the purpose of contributing to resist the
long-suspended threats of invasion, which were echoed from every quarter.
Beacons were erected along the coast, and all through the country, to
give the signal for every one to repair to the post where his peculiar
duty called him, and men of every description fit to serve held
themselves in readiness on the shortest summons. During this agitating
period, and on the evening of the 2d February 1804, the person who kept
watch on the commanding station of Home Castle, being deceived by some
accidental fire in the county of Northumberland, which he took for the
corresponding signal-light in that county with which his orders were to
communicate, lighted up his own beacon. The signal was immediately
repeated through all the valleys on the English Border. If the beacon at
Saint Abb's Head had been fired, the alarm would have run northward, and
roused all Scotland. But the watch at this important point judiciously
considered, that if there had been an actual or threatened descent on our
eastern sea-coast, the alarm would have come along the coast and not from
the interior of the country.
Through the Border counties the alarm spread with rapidity, and on no
occasion when that country was the scene of perpetual and unceasing war,
was the summons to arms more readily obeyed. In Berwickshire,
Roxburghshire, and Selkirkshire, the volunteers and militia got under
arms with a degree of rapidity and alacrity which, considering the
distance individuals lived from each other, had something in it very
surprising--they poured to the alarm-posts on the sea-coast in a state so
well armed and so completely appointed, with baggage, provisions, etc.,
as was accounted by the best military judges to render them fit for
instant and effectual service.
There were some particulars in the general alarm which are curious and
interesting. The men of Liddesdale, the most remote point to the westward
which the alarm reached, were so much afraid of being late in the field,
that they put in requisition all the horses they could find, and when
they had thus made a forced march out of their own country, they turned
their borrowed steeds loose to find their way back through the hills, and
they all got back safe to their own stables. Another remarkable
circumstance was, the general cry of the inhabitants of the smaller towns
for arms, that they might go along with their companions. The
Selkirkshire Yeomanry made a remarkable march, for although some of the
individuals lived at twenty and thirty miles' distance from the place
where they mustered, they were nevertheless embodied and in order in so
short a period, that they were at Dalkeith, which was their alarm-post,
about one o'clock on the day succeeding the first signal, with men and
horses in good order, though the roads were in a bad state, and many of
the troopers must have ridden forty or fifty miles without drawing
bridle. Two members of the corps chanced to be absent from their homes,
and in Edinburgh on private business. The lately married wife of one of
these gentlemen, and the widowed mother of the other, sent the arms,
uniforms, and chargers of the two troopers, that they might join their
companions at Dalkeith. The author was very much struck by the answer
made to him by the last-mentioned lady, when he paid her some compliment
on the readiness which she showed in equipping her son with the means of
meeting danger, when she might have left him a fair excuse for remaining
absent. "Sir," she replied, with the spirit of a Roman matron, "none can
know better than you that my son is the only prop by which, since his
father's death, our family is supported. But I would rather see him dead
on that hearth, than hear that he had been a horse's length behind his
companions in the defence of his king and country." The author mentions
what was immediately under his own eye, and within his own knowledge; but
the spirit was universal, wherever the alarm reached, both in Scotland
The account of the ready patriotism displayed by the country on this
occasion, warmed the hearts of Scottishmen in every corner of the world.
It reached the ears of the well-known Dr. Leyden, whose enthusiastic love
of Scotland, and of his own district of Teviotdale, formed a
distinguished part of his character. The account which was read to him
when on a sick-bed, stated (very truly) that the different corps, on
arriving at their alarm-posts, announced themselves by their music
playing the tunes peculiar to their own districts, many of which have
been gathering-signals for centuries. It was particularly remembered,
that the Liddesdale men, before mentioned, entered Kelso playing the
O wha dare meddle wi' me,
And wha dare meddle wi' me!
My name it is little Jock Elliot,
And wha dare meddle wi' me!
The patient was so delighted with this display of ancient Border spirit,
that he sprung up in his bed, and began to sing the old song with such
vehemence of action and voice, that his attendants, ignorant of the cause
of excitation, concluded that the fever had taken possession of his
brain; and it was only the entry of another Borderer, Sir John Malcolm,
and the explanation which he was well qualified to give, that prevented
them from resorting to means of medical coercion.
The circumstances of this false alarm and its consequences may be now
held of too little importance even for a note upon a work of fiction;
but, at the period when it happened, it was hailed by the country as a
propitious omen, that the national force, to which much must naturally
have been trusted, had the spirit to look in the face the danger which
they had taken arms to repel; and every one was convinced, that on
whichever side God might bestow the victory, the invaders would meet with
the most determined opposition from the children of the soil.
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