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below with her creel on her back, fortunately for John, broke his fall, and he alighted safely in the said creel. The woman, whom the addition of a hundred-weight in that situation would not have very much incommoded, turn ed round at the shock of John's fall, and, under the idea that some mischievous person had hurled a large stone into her basket, out of mere waggery, cried out, looking up to the multitude on the top of the tent, "Wha's that clodding stanes intil ma creel?-ye had as gude gie ower, or de'il be on me but I'se gie ye something ye'll no soon forget!" A loud laugh and a huzza was returned from all sides, to the good woman's serious amazement. "That pits me in mind o' Geordy Cranstoun," said an elderly gentleman; "he was aye ta'en hame in a creel." cr Do ye sell men, woman?" said a second."Godsake! see till Tibby Podleyson wi' her joe on her back!" roared out a third, who also was =a dealer in dulse and tangles.
Tibby had not time to make any answer before John, to support himself erect in his uncommon situation, and to aid his descent, clapped his hands round the Amazon's forehead. Nane o' your skits now!" cried Tibby, who supposed it to be some friend attempting the vulgar joke of shutting her eyes; nane o' your skits! -I ken wha ye are ;-haud aff your hands aff ma een!" and she raised her arms to remove the impediment. "Let me down, for gudesake, honest woman -I'll do ye nae ill;" and he raised one leg from the intanglements of the creel, and was sounding for the ground with it. Tibby's eyes being now relieved, and seeing a leg with a blue stocking and red garter projected from her side, instantly became alarmed, and pushing the belt which supported the creel from her forehead, down rolled John on the sands, creel and all." What's this, ye blackguard, ye hae been about?" said Tibby, as she saw the strange incumbrance rising from the sandy beach ;was ye gaun to rob me on the public sands?-or did ye mean waur-Od I'se gie ye something for loupin on an
honest woman's back, ye little worth chield that ye are!" and she seized her empty skull,* and beat it unmercifully about the head and shoulders of poor John.-" I'll let ye ken am nane o your limmers!" said she, repeating her blows; "if it war nae the like o' you, there wad na be sae mony ill folk!but ye'se no get aff wi' baith ease and honour!" John was altogether too much taken at unawares to be able to speak for a moment, and had too much masculine honour to return the blows of a woman." Ca' canny! ca' canny, gudewife!-I did na mean you wrang I was driven aff the theeking o' the tent; and there's ane standing afore ye will tell how it happened." Sandy by this time had descended from the scaffolding to interfere for the protection of his friend, and the matter was soon explained, apparently to mutual satisfaction.-"If I hae wrang'd your basket, gudewife," said John," unreasonable; and if I hae hurt you by what could na be helpit, I'm sure I'm sorry mysel for't."- "Hurt me!" answered the virago, in a contemptuous tone; na, na, its no come to that yet; I can tak care o' mysel; and it wad be time for me to gie ower gaun to the market, gif I could na carry you, if ye war my ain man, and ye war fou, sax mile of gate on the tap o' my fish!".
I dinna think ony o' ye will be the waur of a dram, after this tuilzie," said Sandy; "come in, honest woman, intil this tent till the crowd gang awa, and I'll treat ye wi' half a mutchkin.' The fish-woman at once consented to this proposal, with "Fair fa' ye, ma bonny man! that's a gude motion-ye dinna want sense, for as young as ye
e." Into the tent they went-the crowd dispersed, and Tibby's companion in trade likewise went away, muttering in soliloquy, "Od, Tibby's never aff her road! I'll gang lang about afore a man draps into ma creel frae the lift, or get a dram without paying for't!"
My friends sat so long in the tent, that I grew tired of waiting for them, and walked away to attend the running of the second heat, the drum for the starting of which had now beat. The same
It is necessary to mention here that fishwomen have two skulls !-Gape with wonder, ye craniologists, at this!-but one of them is merely a light basket so named. I the more particularly notice this, as the French translator of the Magazine, from ignorance of the circumstance, has, in the Number before the last, made me say the fisherwomen of Edinburgh butted like rams :-" Ils se doguent comme les beliers."
horse which had gained the first also gained this, and the race was of course over. The Town-guard marched off, the carriages and horsemen rapidly disappeared from the sands, and the pedestrians, now that there was nothing more to be seen, adjourned to the tents, for rest, conversation, or refreshment. The scene at this time along the line of tents was very striking. Every one was full of inmates, engaged in the consumption of" porter, ale, and British spirits," and the recruiting parties were mixed with the throng, either marching along, or engaged in the tents, on the alert to pick up any straggler, whom inclination, liquor, or misfortunes, induced to become a soldier. Often, on these occasions, have I seen a country lad, with the cap or hat of a serjeant, marching in front of the party brandishing a sword, full of the idea of his own importance, and of the future prospects of one who had enlisted to be an officer. Men were then in much demand for the supply of the different corps, and many arts were employed by the recruiting serjeants to inveigle them into the service.
While I was musing on the scene before me, and thinking whether or not I should now retire, the noise of a fight, and the cry, "A ring! Mak a ring! Gie them room!" attracted my attention. Every lover of the science, as it is emphatically called, feels himself drawn involuntarily towards any thing like an exhibition of strength or skill, and I hastened to the spot. The combatants were a corporal of a recruiting party and a Gilmerton coalcarter, and the cause of quarrel an attempt, on the part of the former, to place a shilling, in the king's name, in the hand of the latter, for the purpose of having a legal claim to his services as a soldier, or to the guinea of smartmoney, which, on these occasions, was paid by the unfortunate victim of crimping. The coalman, however, had suspected the intention of the corporal, and repulsed his proffered hand as if he had shook a reptile from his touch. “Na, na, Billy, nae sae fast wi' me! Dod, if ye come within ma reach again, I'll try whether my whup-shaft or your head's hardest.' The coalman had some companions with him, and he felt, of course, his bravery augmented so far as repeatedly to insult the military man before his fellow-soldiers and recruits. "For a' your red jac
ket," said he, " I dinna believe you would like to meet me yoursel on the Gilmerton road. Gae, you trepannin’ scoundrel!" Touch a military man on the head of cowardice, and he has no choice; he must fight; the honour of the cloth imperiously requires it; and it was particularly necessary in the present case, as the example might be fatal to the after steadiness of the young recruits. "Dem you," said the corporal, "if you speak another word, fellow, I shall give you a caning.""Keh," replied the coalman, in a lengthened tone," lay awa your bag. net, man, and I'll lik ye for a bottle o' yill." The corporal instantly threw off his belt, the crowd formed a ring, and the coalman, calling to a companion to" haud his whup," prepared for instant battle. The contest was, however, but short. Except an inefficient stroke at the commencement, the coalman never got a blow at his opponent. The cry of " Weel done, Tam! Stick till him, stick till him!" was of no avail; for, in a close, the corporal got him round the neck with one hand, and fibbed him in the face with the other till he called for quarter. "He's ruggin' ma hair!" cried Tam, while this was transacting; "ruggin hair's no fair play." The corporal left him with a contusion on his eye, and his nose bleeding; and, as he did not seem to wish to renew the engagement, asked him if he wanted another touch."" No, no!" said Tam's companions, "we'll no let him fight ony mair; it's no fair play haddin arms and ruggin' hair." The corporal moved off in triumph with his party; while Tam, to the condolence which he received from the bystanders on account of his defeat, said, as he wiped the blood from his face," De'il thank him! it's his trade; but, go, I'll ca' a cart wi him ony day he likes."
I now left the scene, and my country friends, not expecting ever to see them again, and went to dine with a friend in Leith. After dinner, how ever, I was prevailed upon to go and see a play performed by a company of strollers, who kept the inhabitants of Portobello, Musselburgh, and Leith, in theatrical amusements; and I was the more inclined to this, from the dramatis persone in the bill seeming to be chiefly composed of individual of the same name, and said to be o the same family. Two fiddles and
bass formed the orchestra; but the apartment was not large, and the music was enough for the size of the room. I do not now recollect the play, but a circumstance occurred towards the conclusion of the first act, which will long imprint the idea of the Leith theatre on my memory, There were, however, a lover and a lady, and the lady liked one person, and her father wished her to marry another, as happens in all plays. After a dialogue, in which the lady and her lover had exchanged Vows of eternal attachment and invio lable secrecy, and had arranged matters so as they were to live and die for one another, the parties were alarmed by a third person's entering. This was the father of the lady. The lover of course made his exit; and the old gentleman took his daughter roundly to task for keeping up a correspondence with the offensive lover. The change of scene in a play often stands to the spectator for an interval of months or years in the story, and the young lady denied she had lately seen or spoken to the prohibited personage. "Ah, you lien little cutty," roared out a voice from the third row of seats, "how can ye stand up there and tell your father sic a downright falsehood? Dinna believe her, honest gentleman; dinna believe ae word she says, for it's no a minute since the fallow left her:-I saw him mysel he just gaed out at the tae side as you cam in at the tither."
This strange interruption to the performance made the actors look confounded; and the audience testified their approbation by clapping and huzzas. All eyes were now turned to my friend John, (for it was actually he,) who stood up in triumph, as the expressions, "Well done!-capital!" struck his ears from all sides. The disturbance, however, subsided, and the dialogue began as before. John had no patience, when he heard asseverations so contrary to fact again repeated. "I tell ye, man, ye're dochter's no speakin' true:-It's a falsehood every word o't; I'm a father mysel, and I winna see you imposed on. Just gang till the other side o' the screen gif ye winna believe me, and ye'll catch the fallow; he canna be far awa." The laughing and applause redoubled at this ebullition; and the manager, seeing no likelihood of getting on smoothly, came forward and
said, " Ladies and gentlemen, it is scarcely necessary for me to say, that we cannot get on with the business of the evening, if these interruptions are to be continued. If the gentleman be not satisfied with our exertions, the door-keeper will return his money; for we cannot at this time alter the play."-" Aweel, aweel, it's a bargain. I'll gang out wi' a' my heart. I never was in a playhouse before, and if it's a' lies ye gang on wi' here, the sooner I'm out o' your place the better.Ye'se ne'er get my siller again for sic a purpose; nor sall a bawbee o' mine e'er gang to the support of the Father of Lies. Ye're far waur than the tumblers and fools; they risk the body, but you ruin the soul." So saying, John and Sandy, who seemed confounded at his friend's conduct, took their leave; and, as I had seen enough of Leith Theatre for one night, I followed their example.
When the two friends got to the street, Sandy attacked his companion for his unruly behaviour in interrupting the performance. Lordsake, John, man, what for did ye cry out in yon fashion? Do ye no ken that it's a' representation and similitude thegither? The folk ye saw yonder are no gentles, but just players, dressed up like lords and ladies; and a play is just a novell, spoken by folk in the dresses o' what ye would suppose real in life; and there's aye some good moral lesson to be learned at the end."
I ken naething about your plays, and as little about your novells, as ye ca' them; and learned folk may draw good out o' them, as bumbees suck honey out o' nettles, but sic as you and me are mair ready to get our hands stinged."-"Hoots, John, ye're rinnin' awa wi the tether a'thegither! There's mony o' thae play-books have things in them just like a minister's sermon, as gude every bit."—" It may be sae," replied John, " but am feart it's an unco round about way o seeking good to look for it in sic books. We hae the written word, and mony a volumeo' godly sermons, where we hae our duty set down at ance, and havena the trouble o' looking for't like a needle in a bottle o' strae.". ye're wrang," said Sandy; "for they say the minister himsel' reads Shakespeare's play-books, and the Tales o my Landlord, and other novells; and ye ken he wadna for the world do it
if it wasna allowable."-" I ken naething about your Shakespeare, I tell you; but to ca' the true tales about the Covenanters a novell, ye may as weel' ca' the Solemn League and Covenant a ballant, and say at ance that Mr Peden's prophecies are no true. My grandfather, and my wife's grandfather, and auld uncle Thamas, that's buried in the neuk o' the kirkyard, was among these persecuted people; and mony a tale did they tell my father o' that Satan's limb Claver'se, and the bloody Dalyell. I've often heard the haill story, and muckle mair; and if the schoolmaster that put out the book had come to me, I aiblins wad hae tell'd him something anent thae bloody persecutors, that would hae
gart him think mair unfavourably of their conduct. Na, na, Sandy, that's nae novell. I'll answer for every word o't; ay, and the story o' Jock Porteous to the bargain. Od, man, our auld laird has tell'd my ain father, that that night he had on his leddy's claes, and keepit sentry at the Wast Port yett a' the time."
I had now reached the bottom of Leith-Walk, listening to the preceding dialogue, when it came on to rain violently; and not thinking the conversation, (which I perceived verging to a point upon which a Scottish peasant can speak for ever,) worthy of be ing ducked to the skin for, I passed on before, and was soon at home.
THE belief in a future state, and of the existence of disembodied spirits, is one of the most universally received articles of faith among the human race. No nation, however civilized,-scarcely any tribe, however savage, but has its joys or its fears increased by the contemplation of the life to come, when, after the frail tenement is laid in its earthy bed, the immaterial and immortal part begins a new stage of existence, either inconceivably happy, or beyond conception miserable, ac-cording as, in their state of probation, their lives have been virtuous, or the reverse. With this belief, and these ideas, which mingle in every view we take of futurity; and with that knowledge of the uncertainty of life which daily experience is calculated to demonstrate, it is not wonderful that every fancied appearance of a being from the world of spirits should strike with alarm, and inspire with undisguisable terror. It is possible that the greater part of these appearances may be merely the delusions of the senses, or unreal images, conjured up by an excited imagination; but the sceptical assertion of the non-existence and non
appearance of the spirits of the departed, is not confirmed by human experience, or by human history. Though unwilling to believe in the majority of instances of apparitions which have been related; yet as the thing is quite possible, by the permission of that Great Being, whom we are taught to consider as the "Father of our Spirits," as well as the "Former of our Bodies," I think it neither unchristian nor unphilosophical, to entertain a qualified belief in the occasional appearance of beings from the invisible world. "Millions of spiritual creatures walk the
dance by moonlight on the haunted knoll;-and the unsophisticated savage, and unlearned peasant, will still recognize in the appearances of nature, the agency of a Being inconceivably powerful and infinitely good.
But even allowing the existence and appearance of ghosts, spirits, and fairies of every description to be questionable, their use in Poetry and Romance, and their higher moral purpose in deterring from crime those who are not to be restrained by other considerations, render a belief in their agency a desirable part of the code of faith among civilized nations. Many a one to whom legal and corporal punishment has no terrors, have, there is no doubt, been prevented from adding murder to robbery, by the apprehension of a bleeding spectre disturbing their midnight and solitary hours with the horrors of crimes displayed, and of a world to come; and although the belief in an All-seeing Being, to whom our every action is exposed, even in its naked motives, should have the same effect, yet I know not how it is, but thousands who disregard the one, would shrink at the most distant idea of the appearance of the other ;-and those who daily brave the threatenings of the Most High, would be thawed to imbecility, by the apparition of an injured fellow creature from the world of spirits,
"And each particular hair would stand on end,
Like quills upon the fretful porcupine.". There is another consideration which may be mentioned as an analogical argument for the existence of classes of intellectual beings different from man, which may have some weight with those to whom the Scriptures are no authority; and that is, that in Nature there are no breaks, no saltus, no leaps from extreme to extreme,-but all is connected by the most wonderful and insensible gradations. Stones are found verging to the forms and qualities of plants -some vegetables appear to possess habits almost animal;-and, among the brute creation,. Instinct often reaches to the intelligence of Reason. May not there, then, be existences superior to man; classes of beings which unite him with intelligences free from the stains of moral error, and connect him more near
ly (though at distance indescribable) with the "wonder-working Lord of All." Whether, therefore, "Margaret's grimly ghost," (the most interesting female spirit with which I am acquainted,) appears to her lover with countenance
"like an April morn Clad in a wintry cloud;"whether the spirit of the waters howls the approaching storm; or the ghost of the murdered signs the murderer to the bar of retribution ;-whether the wraiths of acquaintance glide past in immaterial shadow before my eyes, or my dreams are haunted by appearances of friends long since departed,-I rejoice in the connexion between this world and another, which is thus kept up, and endeavour to act as becomes a being who, when "all this fair creation" sinks to insignificance, shall rise "Unhurt amidst the war of elements, The wreck of matter, and the crash of
But I forget that I am yet a traveller on the earth's surface, and that my kind friends are all this while waiting for the continuance of my adventures.
Well, then, as I was sitting in my little parlour one evening, the children all to bed, and the house perfectly quiet, I heard a bell ring, and Betty appeared immediately after, and opened the door, saying, "Sir! was you ringing?"-" No, Betty, I was not ringing now; perhaps it was the doorbell." Betty asserted it was not the door-bell, "for she had been ower lang in the house no to ken a' the bells in't." However, it was possible it might be the door-bell, and she accordingly went to see if any person was there: There was nobody." There's naebody at the door, sir! I was sure it wasna the door-bell, for I looked up when it rang, and saw the parlourbell wagging."-"I assure you, Betty, that I did not ring," replied I; "but you have been sleeping, and dreamt of bells, of it may have been from some of the rooms up stairs."-" I was as waking as I am just now, but I'll gang and see," said Betty; and up she went. In a few moments she returned with the intelligence that all the family, ourselves excepted, were asleep. is very strange," said I, "for I heard the ringing myself; and it must either be some person in the house, or a