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would become of the Doctor's theory, if he had ever sleepit a' nicht, three in a bed, wi' twa ghosts, as I hae done? They were baith o' them a confunded deal mair vivid than ony bygone actual impressions, or sensations, or ideas, or ony ither words of that outlandish lingua. Can an idea nip a man's thees black and blue, and rug out a handfu' o' hair out o' the head o' him? Neither Dr Brown nor Dr Hibbert will gar' me believe onything sae unwiselike.
North. The last object, James, of the Doctor's ingenious dissertation was to have established this : That all the subordinate incidents connected with phantoms, might be explained on the following general principle; that in every undue excitement of our feelings (as, for instance, when ideas become more vivid than actual impression), the operations of the intellectual faculty of the mind sustain corresponding modifications, by which the efforts of the judgment are rendered proportionably incorrect.
Shepherd. And does Dr Hibbert make that weel out ?
North. No. He very truly and prudently observes, that an object of this nature cannot be attempted but in connection with almost all the phenomena of the human mind. To pursue the inquiry, therefore, any farther, would be to make a dissertation on apparitions the absurd vehicle of a regular system of metaphysics.
Shepherd. That would be maist ridiculous, indeed. Neither could the Doctor, honest man, hope to accomplish such a task before he was an apparition himself. But the beuk must be a curious ane indeed, and you must gie me a reading o't.
North. I will. The second edition, I hear, is printing by Oliver and Boyd, with a somewhat new and much improved arrangement of the metaphysical matter.
Shepherd. Sir, I wish there was ony waukening o' Mr Tickler. It's no like him to fa' asleep. Whisht! whisht ! Hear till him! hear till him!
North. Somnium Scipionis !
Tickler (asleep). It was creditable to a British public. Poor, dear little soul, she has been cruelly treated altogether. My sweet Miss Lætitia Foote, although I am now rather
Shepherd. Isna the wicked auld deevil dreamin' o' that play-actress ! i Gar-make.
2 Afterwards the Countess of Harrington.
North. Why, our excellent Tickler is still the same perfect gentleman even in his dreams. Did you ever hear, James, of such unnatural wickedness as that of the parents of this beautiful sinner? Her own father made her own mother play Romeo to her Juliet, when she was a girl just entered into her teens !
Shepherd. Mercy me! I wonder the roof o' the barn did not fall and smother them: and can you believe what the newspapers said, that the parents conneeved at her being Cornel Barclay's' miss ? If so, I hope there's naething heterodox in conjecturing that their names are baith down, in round text, in the deevil's doomsday-beuk. But there's the mair excuse and pity for the puir lassie. What paper was't that said she was ruined past a' redemption ?
North. The Times. But the mean eunuch lied. There is redemption both here and hereafter for a child betrayed by her parents into the embraces of an artful and accomplished seducer. Miss Foote loved him—was faithful to him—was never extravagant,-in her worse than orphan condition was eontented to be recognised as his mistress—did what she could to support her parents by her talents on the stage,-and finally cooled in her affection towards her seducer, to whom she had always been true, only when she discovered that his whole conduct was one continued deception, and that the best years of her life were wearing hopelessly away in anxiety, , difficulties, and evils, enough to sicken the strongest, and freeze the warmest heart.
Shepherd. These are just my sentiments. As for Barclay and Hayne, wha cares about them ? The Cornel is a man of the world, and there may be some excuse for him, perhaps, if the truth were all known. Mr Hayne seems a sumph. Miss Fit is weel rid o' them baith.
North. My Pea-green Friend," who is apparently a goodhearted fellow, and supposed himself in love, would have tired of his wife in a fortnight, and taken again to the training of White-headed Bob. Miss Foote has been deservedly pardoned by the public voice,-and, suppose we drink her health, poor soul. Miss Foote!
i Colonel Berkeley, afterwards Earl Fitzhardinge.
9 Pea-groen Hayne, an exquisite of that period --so called from the verdure of his character and attire.
THE SHEPHERD ON PASTORAL PLAYS.
Tickler (dormiens). Three times three.—Hurra! hurra! hurra!
Shepherd. That's fearsome, Only think how his mind corresponds wi' his friends, even in a dwam o' drink,--for I never saw him sae fou since the King's visit! I'll just pu' the nose o' him, or kittle it wi' the neb o' my keelivine pen.' (Sic facit).
Tickler (awaking). The cases are totally different. But, Hogg, what are you staring at? Why, you have been sleeping since twelve o'clock.
Shepherd. I hae some thocht o' writing a play-a Pastoral Drama.
North. What, James ! after Allan Ramsay-after the Gentle Shepherd ?
Shepherd. What for no? That's a stupid apothegm, though you said it. I wad hae mair variety o' characters, and inceedents, and passions o' the human mind in my dramamair fun, and frolic, and daffin-in short, mair o' what you, and the like o'you, ca' coorseness ;--no sae muckle see-sawing between ony twa individual hizzies, as in Allan ;-and, aboon a' things, a mair natural and wiselike catastrophe. My peasant or shepherd lads should be sae in richt earnest, and no turn out Sirs and Lords upon you at the hinder-end o' the drama. No but that I wad aiblins introduce the
ranks intil the wark; but they should stand abeigh frae* the lave o' the characters,-by way o' contrast, or by way o' "similitude in dissimilitude," as that haverer5 Wordsworth is sae fond o' talking and writing about. Aboon a' things, I wuss to draw the pictur o' a perfect and polished Scotch gentleman o' the auld schule.
Shepherd. Him, the lang-legged sinner!-Na, na ;-—I'll immortalise baith him and yoursel in my “Ain Life," --in my yawtobeeograffy. I'll pay aff a' auld scores there, I'se warrant you.
Deevil tak me, gino I haena a great mind(a pause,-jug)—to hawn' you down to the latest posterity as a couple o'
North. James !-James !-James ! Shepherd. Confound thae grey glittering eyne o' yours, 1 Keelivine-chalk pencil.
2 Dafinhumorsome nonsense. 3 Wiselike—judicious.
4 Abeigh fraemaloof from. 5 Haverer-proser.
6 Gin-if. 7 Hawn-hand.
you warlock that you are !—I maun like you, and respeck you, and admire you too, Mr North; but och, sirs ! do you ken, that whiles I just girn, out-by yonner, wi' perfect wudness' when I think o' you, and your chiels about you, lauchin at, and rinnin down me, and ither men o' genius
North. James !—James !-James !
Shepherd. No half sae bad as yoursel, Mr Tickler. He's serious sometimes, and ane kens when he is serious. for you,
there's no a grain o' sincerity in a' your composition. You wadna shed a tear gin your Shepherd, as you ca’ him, were dead, and in the moulds.
Tickler (evidently much affected). Have I not left you my fiddle in my will. When I am gone, Jamie, use her carefully -keep her in good strings—and, whenever you screw her up, think of Timothy Tickler-and- (His utterance is choked).
North. James ! James ! James ! Timothy! Timothy! Timothy !-Something too much of this. Reach me over that pamphlet; I wish to light my cigar. The last speech and dying words of the Rev. William Lisle Bowles !
Shepherd. What! a new poem? I houp it is. Lisle Bolls is a poet o' real genius. I never could thole a sonnet till I read his. Is the pamphlet a poem ?
North. No, Shepherd. It is prose ;-being a farther portion of Botheration about Pope.?
Shepherd. I care little about Pop-except his Louisa and Abelard. That's a grand elegy ; but for coorseness it beats me hollow. The subject is coorse. "A helpless lover bound and bleeding lies,”—that is a line, which, if I had written it in the Spy, i would hae lost me five hundred subscribers.
North. Mr Bowles, in his edition of Pope, committed himself, I think, on one point of essential importance. He did not do justice to Pope's character as a man.
My friend Bowles (for I love and admire him), has therefore proved somewhat restive and obstinate when taxed with this misdeed. He will not eat in a single word, — no, not even a
2 The “botheration about Pope” refers to a protracted controversy originating in a dispute between Bowles and Campbell, as to whether nature or art supplied the better materials for poetry. Most of the leading literary men of the day had been drawn into the discussion.
3 A weekly paper published by Hogg in 1810.
syllable, --not so much as the least letter in the alphabet; and, being a most able and accomplished man, he comes forth a controversialist, and lays about him with a vigour and skill highly conciliatory and commendable. But he was originally in the wrong respecting Pope's personal character; and in the wrong will he be until doomsday.
Tickler. Most assuredly. Who cares a single curse about this, that, or t’other trifle ? Can a man of surpassing intellect and genius not indulge himself in a little peevishness or variableness of humour, without being taxed with hypocrisy, insincerity, and other base and odious qualities or affections ? How the devil came it about, that a true poet, like Bowles, should have scrutinised and judged the character of such a man as Pope in that cold, calculating, prying, and unindulgent spirit, which might have been expected from some brainless and heartless proser ?
North. Not knowing, can't say.
Tickler. Pope was one of the most amiable men that ever lived. Fine and delicate as were the temper and temperament of his genius, he had a heart capable of the warmest human affection. He was indeed a loving creature !
North. Come, come, Timothy, you know you were sorely cut an hour or two ago—so do not attempt Characteristics. But, after all, Bowles does not say that Pope was unamiable.
Tickler. Yes, he does—that is to say, no man can read, even now,
all that he has written about Pope, without thinking, on the whole, somewhat indifferently of the man Pope. It is for this I abuse our friend Bowles.
Shepherd. Ay, ay—I recollect now some havers o' Bolls's about the Blounts,-Martha and Theresa, I think, you call them. Puir wee bit hunched-backed, windle-strae-legged, gleg-eed, clever, acute, ingenious, sateerical, weel-informed, warm-hearted, real philosophical, and maist poetical creature, wi' his sounding translation o' a' Homer's works, that reads just like an original War-Yepic,--His Yessay on Man, that, in spite o' what a set o' ignoramuses o' theological critics say about Bolingbroke and Crousass, and heterodoxy and atheism, and like havers, is just ane o' the best moral discourses that ever I heard in or out o' the poupit,--His Yepistles about the Passions, and sic like, in the whilk he goes baith deep and