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The butler was quick, and the ale he did tap,
The maidens did make the chamber full gay;
And I did carry't away, away.
The smith of the town bis liquor so look,
That he was persuaded that the ground look'd blew ;
Such smiths as he there's but a few.
A posset was made, and the women did sip,
And simpering said, they could eat no more;
I'll say no more, but give o'er, (give o'er).
But what our fair readers will chiefly regret, is the loss of three declarations of love; the first by St. Clere to Matilda; which, with the lady's answer, occupies fifteen closely written pages of manuscript. That of Fitzosborne to Emma is not much shorter ; but the amours of Fitzallen and Eleanor, being of a less romantic scast, are closed in three pages only. The three noble couples were married in Queenhoo-Hall upon the same day, being the twentieth Sunday after Easter. There is a prolix account of the marriage-feast, of which we can pick out the names of a few dishes, such as peterel, crane, sturgeon, swan, etc., etc., with a profusion of wild-fowl and venison. We also see, that a suitable song was produced by Peretto on the occasion; and that the bishop, who blessed the bridal beds which received the happy couples, was no niggard of his holy water, bestowing half a gallon upon cach of the couches. We regret we cannot give these curiosities to the reader in detail, but we hope to expose the manuscript to abler antiquaries, so soon as it shall be framed and glazed by the ingenious artist who rendered that service to Mr. Ireland's Shakspeare MSS. And so, (being unable to lay aside the style to which our pen is habituated,) gentle reader, we bid thee heartily farewell. ]
ANECDOTE OF SCHOOL DAYS,
UPON WHICH MR. THOMAS SCOTT PROPOSED TO FOUND A TALE
It is well known in the South that there is little or no boxing at the Scottish schools. About forty or fifty years ago, bowever, a far more dangerous mode of fighting, in parties or factions, was permitted in the streets of Edinburgh, to the great disgrace of the police, and danger of the parties concerned. These parties were generally formed from the quarters of the town in which the combatants resided, those of a particular square or district lighting against those of an adjoining one. Hence it happened that the children of the higher classes were often pitted against those of the lower, each taking their side according to the residence of their friends. So far as I recollect, however, it was unmingled either with feelings of democracy or aristocracy, or indeed with malice or ill-will of any kind towards the opposite party. In fact, it was only a rough mode of play. Such contests were, however, maintained with great vigour, with stones, and sticks, and fisticuffs, when one party dared to charge, and the other stood their ground. Of course mischief sometimes happened, boys are said to have been killed at these Bickers, as they were called, and serious accidents certainly took place, as many contemporaries can bear witness.
The author's father, residing in George-square, in the southern side of Edinburgh, the boys belonging to that family, with others in the square, were arranged into a sort of company, to which a lady of distinction presented a handsome set of colours. Now this company or regiment, as a matter of course, was engaged in weekly warfare with the boys inhabiting the Crosscauseway, Bristo-street, the Potter row.--in short, the neighbouring suburbs. These last were chiefly of the lower rank, but hardy loons, who threw stones to a hair' readth, and were very rugged antagonists at close quarters. The skirmish sometimes lasted for a whole evening, until one party or the other was victorious, when, if ours were successful, we drove the enemy to their quarters, and were usually chased back by the reinforcement of bigger lads who came to their assistance. If, on the contrary, we were pursued, as was often the case, into the precincts of our square, we were in our turn supported by our elder brothers, domestic servants, and similar auxiliaries.
It followed, from our frequent opposition to each other, that though not knowing the names of our enemies, we were yet well acquainted with their appearance, and had nicknames for the most remarkable of them. One very active and spirited boy might be considered as the principal leader in the cohort of the suburbs. He was, I suppose, thirteen or fourteen years old, finely made, tall, blue eyed, with long fair hair, the very picture of a youthful Goth. This lad was always first in the charge, and last in the retreat-the Achilles, at once, and Ajax, of the Crosscauseway. He was too formidable to us not to have a cognomen, and, like that of a knight of old, it was taken from the most remarkable part of his dress, being a pair of old green livery breeches, which was the principal part of his clothing; for, like Pentapolin, according to Don Quixote's account, Green-Breeks, as we called him, always entered the battle with bare arms, legs, and feet.
It sell that once upon a time, when the combat was at the thickest, this plebeian champion headed a sudden charge, so rapid and furious, that all fled before him. He was several paces before his comrades, and had actually laid bis hands on the patrician standard, when one of our party, whom some misjudging friend had intrusted with a couteau de chasse, or hanger, inspired with a zeal for the honour of the corps, worthy of Major Sturgeon bimself, struck poor Green-Breeks over the head, with strength sufficient to cut him down. When this was seen, the casualty was so far beyond what had ever taken place hefore, that both parties fled different ways, leaving poor Green-Breeks with his bright hair plentifully dabbled in blood, to the care of the watchman, who (honest man) took care not to know who had done the mischief. The bloody hanger was flung into one of the Meadow ditches, and solemn secrecy was sworn on all hands; but the remorse and terror of the actor were beyond all bounds, and his apprehensions of the most dreadful character. The wounded hero was for a few days in the Infirmary, the case being only a trilling one. But though inquiry was strongly pressed on him, no argument could make him indicate the person from whom he had received the wound, though he must have been perfectly well known to him. When he recovered, and was dismissed, the author and his brothers opened a comunication with him, through the medium of a popular gingerbread baker, of whom both parties were customers, in order to tender a subsidy in name of smart-money. The sum would excite ridicule were i to name it; but sure I am, that the pockets of the noted Green-Breeks never held as much money of his own. He declined the remittance, saying that he would not sell his blood; but at the same time reprobated the idea of being an informer, which he said was clam, i. e. base or mean. With much urgency he accepted a
APPENDIX TO GENERAL PREFACE.
pound of snuff for the use of some old woman,-aunt, grandmother, or the like,-with whom he lived. We did not become friends, for the bickers were more agreeable lo both parties than any more pacific amusement; but we conducted them ever after under mutual assurances of the highest consideration for each other.
Such was the hero whom Mr. Thomas Scott proposed to carry to Canada, and involve in adventures with the natives and colonists of that country. Perhaps the youthful generosity of the lad will not seem so great in the eyes of others, as to those whom it was the means of screening from severe rebuke and punishment. But it seemed, to those concerned, to argue a nobleness of sentiment far beyond the pitch of most minds; and however obscurely the lad, who showed such a frame of noble spirit, may have lived or died, I cannot help being of opinion, that if fortune had placed bim in circumstances calling for gallantry or generosity, the man would have fulfilled the promises of the boy. Long afterwards, when the story was told to my father, he censured us severely for not telling the truth at the time, that he might have attempted to be of use to the young man in entering on life. But our alarms for the consequences of the drawn sword, and the wound inflicted with such a weapon, were far too predominant at the time for such a pitch of generosity.
Perhaps I ought not to have inserted this schoolboy tale; but, besides the strong impression made by the incident at the time, the whole accompaniments of the story are matters to me of solemn and sad recollection. Of all the little band who were concerned in those juvenile sports or brawls, I can scarce recollect a single survivor. Some left the ranks of mimic war to die in the active service of their country. Many sought distant lands, to return no more. Others, dispersed in different paths of life, “my dim eyes now seek for in vain.” Or five brothers, all healthy and promising, in a degree far beyond one whose infancy was visited by personal infirmity, and whose health after this period seemed long very precarious, I am, nevertheless, the only survivor. The best loved, and the best deserving to be loved, who had destined this incident to be the foundation of literary composition, died“ before day,” in a distant and foreign land; and trifles assume an importance not their own, when connected with those who have been loved and lost.