Imagens das páginas

if Ann had been conscious that her for him in the market, who were go“ laudies” had committed no crime ing out and coming in to him conwhatever in robbing this man, and stantly. that they had been merely exercising About sixty years since, one of these their ordinary vocation.

gillies stole a black colt in the east of The following particulars, derived Fife, and carried it direct to a fair in from the same source, will shew the Perth, where heexchanged it for a white nature of the business which a gyp- horse, with money to boot, belonging sey captain has on his hands at a gen- to a Highlandman dressed in a green eral plunder at a fair.

kilt. The Highlander, however, had One Campbell, a farmer, while he not long put his fine colt into a stable, was on his way to a fair in Perth, fell when word was brought him that it was in with M‘Donald, of whom I made gone. Suspecting the gypsey for the mention before. Being unacquainted theft, and having received positive inwith the character of his fellow tra- formation of the fact, the sturdy Gael, veller, the simple farmer, during his in great wrath, pursued him like a conversation, told him, that he had staunch hound on the warm foot of just as much money in his pocket as reynard, till he overtook him at a would purchase one horse for his four- house on the north side of Kinross. horse plough, having other three at The thief was taking some refreshhome. M Donald heard all this with ment, when the Highlandman, in a patience, till he came to a solitary part storm of broken English, burst into of the road, when he demanded the the apartment upon him. The polishcash from the astonished farmer. The ed gypsey instantly sprang to his feet, poor simple man had no alternative, threw his arms about the foaming and immediately produced his purse Celt, embraced and hugged him in the to this shark of a gypsey. However, eastern manner, overpowering him before parting with him, he desired with expressions of feigned joy at seethe farmer to call to-morrow, the fair ing him again. This subtile and cunday, at a certain house in Perth, where ning behaviour quite exasperated the he would find a person who might be fiery mountaineer. Now almost sufof service to him.

focated with wrath, he shook the gypCampbell promised to do this, and sey from his person with contempt accordingly called at the time appoint, and disdain, exclaiming, pheugh! ed, when he was, to his surprise, ushered cot tamn her kisses; where pe ta into a room, where M‘Donald was sit- cowt?”—This Celt, with the green ting with a large bowlof smoking toddy philabeg, was not to be imposed upon on the table before him. The farmer by deceitful embraces, nor mollified was invited, in a frank and hearty in his resentment by forced entreaties. manner, to sit down and partake of He had messengers at his back, and the toddy. He had scarcely got time, the gypsey's feet were accordingly laid however, to swallow one glass, when in Cupar prison for his audacity.* He he was relieved from his suspense, would in all probability expiate his and agreeably surprised, by the gyp- crime on the scaffold. sey returnin

to him every farthing All these young vagrants were reof the money he had taken from him gularly trained to theft and robbery the day before. Being well pleased from their infancy. This is part of at recovering his cash, and the gypsy the gypsey education. I have heard pressing him to drink, his spirits be- that this systematic training existed, came a little elevated, and now hav- not only among these strangers in gening some confidence in M‘Donald, he eral, but in particular bands, nay, was in no hurry to be gone. During even taught by certain old chief fethe short time he remained with him, males, ever since I recollect of hearhe observed as good as four or five ing any thing of these people. Severpurses and pocket-books brought into al individuals have informed me, that the room by gypsey boys. After deliver- the Lochgellie gypsies were exercised ing their respective booty to their chief, in the art of thieving, under the most they returned immediately to the street rigid discipline. They have various to commit fresh depredations on the multitude in the fair. The chief was

* The old man, before alluded to, was in fact a man of considerable business, sitting in the apartment when he saw the having a number of youths ferretting gypsey embrace the Highlandman. VOL. III.



ways in making themselves expert the first qualification among the males thieves. They frequently practise in the state. They are, in fact, not themselves by picking the pockets of thought fit to enter into the matrione another.

Sometimes a pair of monial state, until they are thoroughly breeches were made fast to the end of master of the art of thieving. W. S. a string, suspended from a high part of the tent, kiln, or out-house, in which they happened to be encamped. The children were set to work to try REMARKABLE INSTANCE OF SECOND if they could, by slight of hand, abstract money from the pockets of the breeches, hanging in this position, [The following interesting little Narrative without moving them. It is stated to

was communicated to us by a gentleman me, that the Lochgellie horde used (to whom we are under various obligations), bells in this nefarious discipline, in the

who says, in his private letter, “ Were I. same way as

we are informed the permitted to bring it forward, supported by sharpers teach themselves to pick pock- truth, it could be established as the best

all the evidences who could speak to its ets in London. The children who authenticated of any of those instances which were most expert in abstracting the have been given of the seer's prophetic cash in this manner, were rewarded sight.' But delicacy forbids me to corrobowith presents and applause ; while, rate its truth by names, many connexions on the other hand, those who were

of the personages to whom the story relates awkward, and committed blunders being yet alive, who must still cherish a by ringing the bell, or moving the painful recollection of the fatal catastrophe." breeches, were severely chastised by

EDITOR.] the superintendent of this gypsey It is now, I believe, about eighty school.

years ago, since a festive party of After these youths were considered ladies were assembled in the great perfect in this slight of hand branch hall of the baronial castle of of their trade, a purse or other small which is grandly situated in an unobject was laid down in an exposed frequented part of the country, in the part of the tent or camp, in view of northern extremity of the kingdom. all the horde. While the ordinary It had then been for some time the business of the gypsies was going for- scene of Highland hospitality and joy ; ward, the children again commenced for Sir Charles and Lady Dtheir operations, by exerting their in- young lovers lately made happy in the genuity, and exercising their patience, possession of each other, had come in trying to carry off the purse with- from the neighbourhood of the Scottish out being perceived by any one of the border, to spend some delightful weeks family. If they were deiected, they as the guests of Lord R the were again dreadfully beaten ; but brother, or uncle of the lady, for I when they succeeded unnoticed, they forget in which of these degrees of were caressed and liberally rewarded. relationship that nobleman stood to

As far as my information goes, this wards her. The evening had closed, systematic training of the gypsey and the shrill sound of the bagpipe youth, was the duty of the chief fe- had already died away around the males of the bands. These wanderers outer walls of the castle, having told seem to have had great authority over

to the clansmen that the feast was betheir children. Ann Brown of the gun. Mirth held his jocund reign, Lochgellie tribe, could, by a single and joyous smiles played on every stamp with her foot, cause the child- youthful countenance that brightened ren crouch to the ground, like trem- the circle of the huge oaken table; bling dogs under the rod of their an- whilst the heaped up faggots crackled gry master.

in the ample grate, shooting a cheerIn some of these particular traits ful glare amidst the groupe. Care and practices, the gypsies resemble the and anxiety were alike banished, exancient Spartans under the govern- cepting from the thoughts of the lovement of Lycurgus, the celebrated law- ly Ladly D, who, though she giver ; and we find, that in some of could not but participate in the generthe mountainous districts in India, a al gladness her presence had created, dexterous thief, at this day, is con- yet felt even the temporary absence of sidered by the natives a character of all she now held dearest on earth. Sir

", two

Charles had accompanied Lord R- thoughts. At last her very presence on the preceding day, to visit the dis- seemed to be almost forgotten, or, if tant mansion of a neighbouring chief- observed at all, she was noticed with tain, for the limits of neighbourhood no other interest than were the stiff are extended farther in regions where and smoke-discoloured portraits of faevery thing seems to participate in the mily ancestry, that stared in sullen greatness of the scale on which nature and silent majesty from the deep carv, is herself displayed. Although the ed pannels of the ancient apartment other fernales were well aware of the where the party was seated. numerous chances which the warmth The good-humoured jest, and the of Highland kindness afforded to pre- merry tale went round, and the laugh vent the departure of a guest on the of youthful joy was at its highest, appointed day, yet the restless emo- when a piercing shriek produced a tions which Lady D-felt were sudden and death-like sílence, and excited in her own bosom by her directed every head towards the Lady husband's absence ; she guessed, and Assynt, who seemed for a moment to guessed rightly, that no temptation, be violently convulsed. The effect of however powerful, could operate to such an unlooked for interruption to delay his return, when its object was the general gayety may be easily conto regain the enjoyment of her society. ceived. The ladies arose in confu, She therefore continued still to expect sion; every assistance was proffered ; him, after every one else had aban- and numerous inquiries were made. doned all expectation of his appear- But seeming to endeavour by a des ance. She started at every sound, perate effort, to summon up resoluand glanced her fine eyes hastily to tion to overcome the sudden nervous the door at every footstep, nor could malady which apparently affected her, the assurances of her companions per- she put back both the kind and the suade her to dismiss her hopes, or curious with a wave of her hand, and convince her that it was not now at haughtily resumed her usual dignifiall probable that the gentlemen would ed and freezing deportment, without arrive that night, late as it then was; deigning to give any explanation. but that it was more likely they had It was some time before the combeen prevailed on to remain, to par- pany was restored to its composure, ticipate in some hunting expedition, and hilarity had hardly begun again projected for the amusement of the to enliven it, when a louder and yet southeru stranger.

more unearthly shriek again roused There sat another personage at that their alarm, and raised them from festive board, on whom mirth seemed their seats in the utmost consternato have little effect; its beams, which tion. The Lady Assynt now presents shot in every direction from the eyes ed a spectacle that chilled every one. of the young and the gay around her, The same convulsion seemed to have fell on her high and marble features, recurred with redoubled violence. and raven eye, like those of the sun She started up in its paroxysm; and on the dark cavern of some cheerless her uncommonly tall figure was raisand sea-beaten crag, engulfing, rather ed to its full height, and set rigidly than reflecting, its light. This was against the high back of the gothic the Lady Assynt, who, to do honour chair in which she had been seated, to Sir Charles and his young bride, as if from anxiety to retreat as far as had been invited to the castle. But its confined space would allow, from little had she added to the general some horrible spectacle that appalled mirth, for ever since her arrival, she her. Her arms were thrown up in a had sat in the midst of hilarity, like line with her person ; each particular the lonely cormorant on its rock, un, bony finger was widely separated from moved and regardless of the playful its fellow; and her stretched eyeballs waves that murmured around her. were fixed in glassy and motionless Few attempts were made to bring her unconsciousness. She seemed for a into the play of conversation, and even time to lose all sense of existence, and, those few were soon silenced by chill. though in an upright posture, to have ing monosyllabic replies, delivered in been suddenly struck into a stiffened a lofty and repulsive manner. She corse. By degrees she began to writhe, had been therefore left undisturbed to as if enduring extreme agony: her the full possession of her own gloomy livid lips moved rapidly, without the


[ocr errors]

utterance of sound; until finally over- that

my husband was saved !"-" His come by her sufferings, she sank within body’-replied the Lady Assynt, in a the depth of the antique chair, and re- lower and more melancholy voicemained for some minutes in a languid His body was driven by the merciand abstracted reverie. The mingled less waves upon the yellow beach ; anxiety and curiosity of the company the moonbeam fell upon his face, but was unbounded; numerous and loud the spark of life was quenched.” Lady were the inquiries; and of the in- D's death-like grasp was relaxed, quirers, Lady D- who seemed and she swooned away in the arms of instinctively to apprehend something those who surrounded her. The Lady dreadful connected with her own fate, Assynt regarded her not: somewhat was the most earnestly solicitous of all. of her former convulsion again came The Lady Assynt heeded not the upon her; and starting up in a frenswarm of interrogatories which buzzed zied manner, she exclaimed, in a around her. She looked at first as if piercing voice, scarcely distinguishable she heard them not; then raising her- from a scream, “And now, they bear self solemnly, and somewhat austerely, him hither !—See how pale and cold from the reclining position into which he looks—how his long hair dripsshe had dropped, she spread her hands how ghastly are his unclosed eyesbefore her, and sweeping them slowly how blanched those lips where lately backwards to right and left, she di- sat the warm smile of love !" Then vided the ring of females who sur- sinking again, after a short interval, rounded her, and brought Lady D- she continued, in a more subdued tone, full within the range of her vision. At “He is gone for ever! No more shall first she started involuntarily at sight he revisit his own fair halls and fertile of her ; but melancholy and pity min- fields. Yet is not all hope lost with gling themselves amidst the sternness him ; for his son shall live after him, of features to which such tender emo- and bring back anew the image of his tions seemed to have been long stran- father.” gers, in a deep and articulate voice, The ladies were now busied about and with a solemn and sibylline air, Lady DM, who lay in a deep faint. slie slowly addressed Lady D, All seemed to be as much interested whilst profound silence sat upon every in her, as if the events described in other lip. “Let the voice of gladness the waking visions of the Lady Assynt yield to that of mourning ! Cruel is had already actually happened. Yet the blow that hangs over thee, poor every one affected to treat her words innocent dove! and sad is it for me to as the idle dreams of a distempered tell thee what thou art but too anxious brain ; although, in the very looks of to know. A vision crossed my sight, the different speakers, there was a and I saw a little boat, in which were fear betrayed, that ill accorded with thy lord and Lord R--: it was

their words, manifesting the general tossed by a sudden and tempestuous apprehension that something tragical gust, that swept the dark surface of was to be dreaded, At last a confused the loch in a whitening line. I saw noise seemed to arise from the under the waves dashing over the frail bark; apartments of the castle ; mutterings, and sorely did the two Highlanders and broken sentences, and half-supwho rowed them contend with their pressed exclamations, were heard on oars against the outrageous whirlwind. the great stairs and in the passages. I hoped, yet shuddered, from fear of The name of Sir Charles was frethe event.

-Again the spirit of vision quently repeated by different voices. opened my unwilling eyes, and com- The more anxious of the party tried peiled me to beheld that last wave, to gain information by running to the which whelmed them beneath the windows. The flaring lights of torches burst of its tremendous swell. The were seen to hurry across the courtland was near. Stoutly the crowning yard, where all seemed to be bustle wretches struggled with their fate. I and dismay. And then it was that saw Lord R---- and his sturdy ser- the doleful sound of the bagpipe, playvants, one by one, reach the shore; ing a sad and wailing lament, came but

İly husband !" shrieked upon the ear from without the castieLady D

in anguish, as she grasped gate. A slow, heavy, and measureri the arm of the seer, “Oh! tell me

tramp of many feet upon the draw.

[ocr errors]

bridge, told that a party of men were persons whose feelings are still in their bearing some heavy weight across it. native condition, that is to say, whose Unable longer to submit to the sus, feelings had never been excited, expense in which they were held, the cept by the real events of life, and greater part of the females now rushed who, consequently, had formed no asfrom the hall. A cry of horror was sociations or opinions concerning the heard ; and the mysterious anticipa- literary means employed in producing tions of the gifted Lady Assynt were mental excitement. To these unrefound to be, in truth, too dreadfully flecting auditors the means were inrealized.

visible, and they experienced only the Lord R- in the deepest afflic- result. On the other hand, authors tion, told the sad tale, with all its cir- of a later period have to address themcumstances. Though much pressed selves, not to human nature in the to remain, Sir Charles had resisted all abstract, but to human nature with a the kind importunity of their host. very intricate system of literary assoTheir homeward way lay across the ciations and opinions superinduced ferry of

The sudden squalls upon it. Unfortunately, too, the naaffecting such inward arms of the sea ture of these associations depends, not are too well known: one of these had merely upon established models of assailed them in the middle of the fine writing, but also upon the daily loch, and had been productive of the abortions and failures of literature. melancholy catastrophe. Nor was the Certain materials, from being too prophetic conclusion of the seer's vi- easily come at, are habitually preyed sion left unaccomplished. There was upon and deteriorated by bad authors, no suspicion of Lady D- -'s preg- so that they become as it were pronancy at the time; but such proved scribed. Add to this the perversity to be the case, and, according to the of theorists and babblers, who will prediction, the child was a son, who not sit with patience and attention tiil lived, the sole hope of an old and re- a book has time to work its proper spectable family.

T. L. D. effect, and to transmit the impressions

meant by the author, but who must stop to speculate in their own way,

end of every paragraph ; and who, in the course of the perusal, so

intermingle the doings of their own Supposed to be written by minds with those of the author, that MR WILLIAM COBBETT.

the ultimate impression derived from the book depends as much upon what

has been thrown in by the reader, as In analyzing literary compositions, we upon what was originally furnished ought always to attend to the differ- by the writer. ence which subsists between that spe- Literary compositions ought cercies of merit founded on the direct in- tainly not to be adapted to the habits terest and attraction of the ideas which of literary men, but to the habits of are employed, and that other sort of the public at large; otherwise they will merit founded on the skill and dexte- prove but feeble and short-lived. Lita rity with which materials are com- erary men are not the best persons to bined, and the justness of the rela- appreciate the real interest and attractions which we are able to trace among tion which conceptions will possess for parts. It is evident that the former people engaged in the business of the species of merit is the one to be met world, whose understandings have with among the early, original, and been turned to serious concerns, and patriarchal writers of all countries; whose energies are kept in a state of and that the latter kind of merit is habitual tension. It is not writings the one most frequently exemplified which are merely ingenious, graceful, in the subsequent ages, when the and finely managed, that will do for rules of composition have begun to be every-day folks. They must have canvassed and understood, and when something broad, vigorous, and rousmen have begun to pry into the means ing, although it should not always be by which their feelings are acted upon. conducted with fine taste, which, after The primitive writers had to address all, is but a morbid state of our per






[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »