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written, opened the brilliant career which awaited him. We need not follow him. John Armor was one of the first to discover and to acknowledge the change I
We omit, for fear of taxing the patience of the reader, the remaining anecdotes of our bard, contained in ' My Wife's Book.' We cannot resist the temptation, however, of subjoining a single specimen of the mischievous waggery of those times, illustrated in the instance of one of Burns's mad-cap associates. The poem will readily be called to mind, commencing:
<O rough, rude, ready-witted R***»«*,
Your dreamt and tricks
Straught to auld Nick's.'
This anonymous hero was John Rainkin, of Eddymil-hill,* a decayed Highland gentleman. The ' dream' alludes to the following circumstance. Rainkin, and a neighbour of his, the Rev. Mr. Shaw, were in the habit of occasionally dining with each other. This gave great scandal to a portion of the reverend gentleman's parishioners, and in an especial manner to John Hogg, a presiding elder, who clamored so loudly on the subject, that it caused Mr. Shaw considerable annoyance, and at length reached the ears of Rainkin himself. This latter 'was a chiel wha ne'er forgot a day ow'd in hairst.' It so happened, soon after the occurrences of which we have spoken, that Elder Hogg being on his way to a session of the Presbytery, passed Rainkin's door near the hour of noon. The latter, accosting him with great urbanity, invited him to dismount and dine with him. The day was 'raw and gusty' — the condescension highly flattering — and altogether the temptation was too strong to be resisted. Hogg was treated with much ceremony during dinner, and after the cloth was removed, and a foaming tankard of hot punch placed before him, as well as his host, the poor man could not find it in his heart to say no. He attempted to silence his scruples, however, or rather to weaken them, by weakening his punch. This contingency had been provided for by his mischievous entertainer, and the smoking urn discharged into his goblet — not water, certainly—but an additional supply of the stimulating beverage. The fraud was effectually concealed by a plentiful admixture of sugar, administered by the officious hand of Rainkin. The parties rapidly became jocund, and our hero, like him of Kirk Alloway memory, soon grew
O'er a' the ills o' life victorious!'
The goblets were replenished — and an hour found poor John Hogg in a truly swinish plight, stretched under the table. Rainkin then ordered his servants to place him on a wheel-barrow, and to deliver their burthen to the Rev. Mr. Shaw,' as a present of pork from their mas * Familiar with some of these names orally alone, we shall doubtless fall into some orthographical errors.
ter.' Rainkin made the affair the subject of some burlesque verses, where he dreamed the facts we have narrated. 'Maister Hogg gave na ane ony trouble after that,' laconically remarked our informant, as he finished his narration of the occurrence. H. S. R,
Cortlaxd nilogt, (ff. K,) February, 1836.
TRIUMPH OF SONG.
'I WASintbelmllof thccHstte, disguised as a harper, from the wild shores of Skianach. My purpoae was to have plunged my dirk in the body of IheM'Auley with the bloody hand, before whom our race trembles: but I saw Annot Lyle, even when my hand was on the hilt of my dagger. She touched her clairshach to a song of the Children of the Mist. The woods in which we had dwelt pleasantly rustled their green leaves in the song, and our streams were there with the sound of all their waters. The fountains of mine eyes were opened, and the hour of revenge passed away.1
Legend Of Montrosk.
I Stood, harper-clad, in the proud castle hall,
The scourge of my people, the Red-Hand, was near,
'Shall terror the veins of the fatherless freeze
'No, no!—by the bones of our slain I have sworn
Toward the weaponless slayer I made but one stride,
At length my glance rested on Annot the fair,
I saw our own streams glide in beauty along,
My hand the dark hilt of my weapon forsook,
AN EXECUTION AT SEA.
1A man may smiley ami smile — and be a villain still.'
We sometimes meet, in the ordinary walks of life, with those who' either from envy or malice, secretly endeavor to injure others, on whom they bestow personally all the attention and kindness that friendship could expect or receive. Such characters are contemptible enough; yet such there are — and compared to them, the highway-robber is generous and noble. But I did not intend to speak of these craven creatures, when I made the foregoing quotation. I was thinking of one who proved at last a murderer, without any previous phrenological signs — who was of fair proportions, and possessed neither a bad countenance, nor a surly disposition.
In the year 18 —, the good United States' Frigate B left
Payta, the port of Puira, for Callao. For several days, we were employed beating up along the land, against a head wind and current. From the snow-capt Andes the fresh breeze swept down across the valley and over the sea, cold and bitter. We made but little progress on our voyage, and the commodore concluded to adopt the usual method of vessels bound to windward, along the Western coast of South America; that is, to stand to the Southward and Westward, until you reach the variables, or make the latitude of your destined port. We had reached the variables — we had run our latitude: the wind being favorable, we tacked ship, and were standing in for land and 'Old Callao' — elated with the idea of visiting even that miserable place once more: not that we anticipated any enjoyment ashore, but letters from our far distant homes must certainly have arrived during our late absence on a cruise to leeward.
The sun had passed meridian, and the fine breeze of the morning was fast dying away. Hour after hour of the afternoon seemed to hang heavy on us — for the smile of hope which brightened the countenance of each while the breeze lasted, was gone. At last the sun went down, in clouded but glorious majesty, and was lost in the embrace of ocean. The breeze left us with the sun — our ship was rolling uneasily in a sea-way — her sails hanging idly from the yards, and flapping mournfully against her masts. She seemed a croaking bird of ill omen on the wide waste of waters. Darkness prevailed — cloud after cloud was gathering above — no breeze came to gladden us — no moon to cheer: all was thick and quiet gloom. It was midnight — the watch had been relieved and mustered—junior officers were pacing the deck — men sitting in groups at their stations — the lieutenant of the deck on the arm-chest feeling for a breeze — and the old quarter-master at the conn occasionally hinting, as he turned his quid — looking around, and glancing at the binnacle — that a breeze from the South'ard and West'ard would spring up before morning. Jacko (the monkey) had found a safe retreat, and the poultry were undisturbed. All save the tigress seemed inclined to repose. She (the varmint!) was taking her usual excursion among the after-guard. Now and then you might hear the exclamation, 'Here comes the bloody tiger-cat!' Thus
vol. vii. 37
we lay, languidly rolling on the lazy swells, in a calm — a dead calm. Better that the winds were piping loud, than one of those dull, heavy calms.
'Is there then no hope of a breeze 1 I would rather be reefing topsails every half hour,' said an old reefer, 'than lying on a breathless ocean in this way.'
'Hark!' he was answered. 'Heard you not a noise? — a noise below?'
'No,1 was the quick reply — that 's nothing. Some poor fellow has been let down by the head by a mischievous shipmate; or perhaps a shot has got adrift, or one of the gallapagos slipped from his pen.'
'Hark again! Did no one hear a groan? Young gentlemen, one of you step below,' (said the officer of the deck,) and let me know what is the matter."
'Ay, ay, Sir.1
'Birth-deck there! Master-at-arms, what noise is that upon the birth-deck? Get a light — quick! — bring it forward. Secure that shot, there, rolling about on the deck. It will trip some of you up. Ha! What bloody business is this? Is he dead!'
There lay old G .senseless on the deck — his head upon
the combings of the fore-hatch — his skull fractured.
'Call the surgeon!' was the word: quick — quick!' Report was immediately made to the officer of the deck, then to the first lieutenant, who proceeded to examine some of the crew, against whom momentary suspicions were awakened. But one, whose watch it was below, was not to be found in his hammock, nor on the main or birth-deck: search was made for him on the spar-deck, where he was at length found, apparently asleep, in the lee-gangway, between two carronades. (A breeze sprang up in the mean time, as we were now on the starboard tack.) He was rigidly questioned, but as there was not sufficient evidence against him, he was liberated; and two other suspected fellows were confined. Thus rested the affair for the night, and the vessel pursued her course.
'By to-morrow's sun the breeze will freshen,' said the old quartermaster: and so it did. After breakfast, another inquiry was held: all hands were called, and from the evidence collected, suspicion fell strongly upon the individual found in the lee-gangway, while the two previously put in the brig were set at liberty. The prisoner was put in
irons, and committed to solitary confinement. G died, and was
buried. His bed was his coffin, and his grave the gardens of coral, where the sea star' lights up his tomb.' In a day or two, far above the low and sleeping clouds, we saw the glistening heights of the Cordilleras — then the barren isle of San Lorenzo — until rounding the point, and standing toward the Castle, we reached our anchorage.
After the arrival of other vessels of the squadron, a court-martial was called and held for the trial of the prisoner. Counsel was given him, and the evidence brought forward. After a fair and patient hearing, the court, which had been sitting for several days, adjourned. The jack was no longer seen at the fore, nor the signal-gun for the meeting of the court heard. At nine in the morning, the verdict was sent in to the commodore, and early on the following day, all hands being called, the prisoner was brought upon deck, and placed at the fife-rail of the mainmast, facing the crew. The sentence was read to him by the judge advocate. He stood firm — not a muscle moved, till he heard the words — ' hung at the fore yard-arm of the United Stated Frigate B till you are dead — dead f — then you could see a slight
twitch or two in the muscles of his neck, but no sign of fear. With a firm step, he returned to his place of confinement. Every comfort was allowed him, both of body and mind. One who was religiously inclined, read to him daily from the Bible, and exhorted him to prepare for his exit — to become humble and penitent for his sins. 'May God be merciful!' he replied: 'my heart is hard; I have tried, but cannot change it. My doom is just. I did the deed.' He stated that he had let fall from the main-deck, at the fore-hatch, a thirty-two pound shot upon the head of the deceased, (but not with intention to kill him,) under the suspicion that he had reported him for improper conduct.
Day after day and week after week passed away; and at length the morning of the day appointed for his execution arrived. No preparations were made for getting under way, and nothing was known of the commodore's intentions. He was a man just and firm in his decisions, intelligent and discreet in all his actions. 'Will he pardon him?' says one: 'Can't we run over to some uninhabited island, and hang him there?' says another; 'the ship will never be lucky again, if he is hung on board; some misfortune will happen to us; the men will not lay out on the fore-yard at night to reef or furl the fore-sail.' Many were the conjectures thus made by the crew, during the morning.
'Well, Mr. A ,' (observed the commodore, in his usual mild
tone, as he came upon deck, about eleven o'clock, A. M.,) 'the breeze
has fairly set in, and this is the day for the execution of L .
Get the ship under way, Sir, and stand out of the harbor.'
'Ay, ay, Sir. All hands up anchor I1
The vessel was got under way in a few minutes, and so silently, that scarcely a voice was heard, except the first lieutenant's. All was still and quiet as a funeral. Save the dashing of the waves against our bows, not a sound was heard. When outside of the harbor, the foretop-sail was laid to the mast, and all hands were called to witness the execution. A line was rove through a tail block on the starboard foreyard-arm, thence into the quarter of the yard through another, down on deck through a leading block, aft to the taffrail, through a snatchblock, and forward on the larboard side. In order to prevent any quarrels hereafter, every man as well as boy on board (except the officers) was ordered to take hold of it. A stage was rigged on the hammock-rails, under the fore-yard, and the prisoner ordered on deck. Up he came, accompanied by the master-at-arms and one of the captains of the forecastle. A hangman's noose was around his neck, and he was very pale; but his step was firm and steady — his eye unflinching. No remorse, no sorrow, no regrets, had he. Calm and collected, he mounted the scaffold. His hands were tied behind him, and two thirty-two pound shot were secured to his feet. The ship rolled heavily on the heaving sea, but it moved him not. A black handkerchief was tied round his face; and at the discharge of one of our gangway