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tha, the mother of the former, and his way north, a servant, who had been who was also mother-in-law to the despatched in quest of the depredator, latter, was apprehended on the spot, overtook him as he was stepping into in the act of stealing a pair of double the boat. An altercation immediately sheets. They were in all probability commenced--the servant said he could intended for the winding-sheets of her swear to the ox in his possession, were unfortunate sons who were just suffer- it not for its long tail ; and was acing in her presence. This woman's cordingly proceeding to examine it looks and visage were horrible in the narrowly, to satisfy himself in this para extreme. One of her daughters, the ticular, when the ready-witted gypsey, wife of Jamie Robison, who once lived ever fertile in expedients to extricate at Menstry, was sentenced to be trans- himself from difficulty, took his knife ported to Botany Bay; but she was so out of his pocket, and, in view of all far advanced in years, that it was not present, cut the false tail from the anithought worth while to be at the ex- mal, taking in part of the real tail pence and trouble of carrying her over along with it, which drew blood inseas, and she was accordingly set at stantly. He threw this false tail into liberty. Her grandson, Joyce Ro- the sea, and, with some warmth, callbison, another thorough bred thief, ed out to his pursuer, “ Swear to the would also have been hanged or ban- ox now, and be damn'd t ye.” The ished, but by the assistance of some of servant, quite confounded, said not his clan he was rescued from Stirling another word on the subject; and, jail, where he was confined. He was being thus imposed upon by this bold so cool and deliberate in his operations stroke of Brown, he returned home to in breaking the prison, that he took his master, and the unconscionable time to carry along with him a fa- tinkler prosecuted his journey with vourite bird in a cage, with which he his prize. He was, however, not alhad amused himself during his solitary ways so fortunate. Being once appreconfinement in jail. He happened, hended near Dumblane, it was the inhowever, to scatter the contents of his tention of the messengers carry
their oatmeal bag in the streets, as he pro- prisoner direct to Perth, but they were ceeded through the town, being anxi- under the necessity of lodging him ous to take his victuals also along with in the nearest prison for the night. him. Brown's widow, another daugh- Brown was no sooner in custody than ter of Martha's, was married to a na- he began to meditate his escape. He retive of this country, of the name of quested it as a favour, that they would Fisher. The gypsies having com- sit up all night with him in a public mitted some depredations in which he house instead of a prison, promising was implicated, and being a mere no- them as much meat and drink for their vice in the trade carried on by the sa- indulgence and trouble as they should vage society in which he was initiated, desire. His request was granted, and he was with ease apprehended, and four or five officers were accordingly was tried, condemned, and executed placed in and about the room in which at Perth, while all the other members he was confined, as a guard upon his of the band at that time escaped from person, being aware of the desperate justice, owing to their superior dexte- character they had to deal with. He rity in their dreadful calling.
took care to ply them well with the Sandie Brown, before mentioned, on bottle; and, early next morning beone occasion happened to be in need fore setting out, he desired one of the of butcher meat for his tribe. He had officers to put up the window a little observed, grazing in a field in the to cool their apartment, as it was then county of Linlithgow, a bullock which very warm weather, being in the had at one period, by some accident, middle of summer. After having lost about three-fourths of its tail. He walked several times across the room, purchased from a tanner the tail of a the gypsey, all at once, threw himself skin of the same colour of this bullock, out at the open window, which was a and, in an ingenious manner, made it considerable height from the ground. fast to the remaining part of the tail The hue and cry was at his heels in of the living animal, by sewing them no time, and as some of the officers together. Disguised in this way he were gaining ground upon him in his drove off his booty; and as he was flight, he boldly faced about upon shipping the beast at Queensferry, in them, drew forth from below his coat a dagger which he brandished in the similar garb, and both rode the best air, and threatened instant death to horses in the country. Having the the first who should approach him. appearance of gentlemen in their haHe was at this time suffered to make bit, and assuming the manners of such, his escape, as none had the courage to which they imitated to a wonderful advance upon him. He was, however, degree, few persons took these men for at a subsequent period, taken in a gypsies. wood in Rannoch, being surprised and Several individuals represent Brown overpowered by a party of Highland- and Wilson to me as very handsome ers, raised for the purpose of appre- men, tall and stout made, with agreehending himself and dispersing his able and manly countenances; and band, who lay in the wood in which he among the numberless thefts and robwas taken. He thought to evade their beries which they had committed in vigilance and pursuit by clapping close their day, they were never known to to the ground like a wild beast. Upon have taken a sixpence from persons of his being seized, a furious scuffle en- an inferior class, but, on the contrary, sued ; and, during the violent tossing rather assisted the poorer classes in and struggling which took place while their pecuniary matters, with a genthey were securing this sturdy wan- erous liberality not at all to be looked derer, he, with his teeth, took hold for from men of their habits and manof the bare thigh of one of the High- ner of life. landers, beneath his kilt, and bit it Charlie, by some called William, most cruelly.
another brother of Sandie Brown's, Your readers may take the follow- was run down by a party of military ing as a specimen of the favourite and and messengers near Dundee. He complete costume worn by young chiefs was carried to Perth, where he was or captains of the tribe, about half a tried, condemned, and hanged, to at one century ago, in Scotland. When I for the numerous crimes of which he speak of gypsey captains, I do not gen- was guilty. He was a man of great erally mean those old patriarchal chiefs personal strength, and, after he was of large hordes. These old sagacious hand-cuffed, regretting having allowed persons kept themselves clear of all himself to be so easily taken, he in dangerous scrapes, professing to the wrath drove the messengers before him public great innocence, honesty, and with his feet as if they had been mere justice, while their sons, or other prin- children. He was conveyed to Perth cipal members of their families, were by water, in consequence of it being employed in active service at the head reported, that the gypsies of Fife, with of gangs, plundering for the subsist- the Grahams and Ogilvies at their ence of their aged parents.
head, were in motion to rescue him Brown, before mentioned, when in from the clutches of the officers of the full dress, wore a hat richly ornament- law. ed and trimmed with beautiful gold While he was in that apartment in lace, which, I believe, was then fa- the prison called the Cage, or rather shionable among the first ranks in the condemned cell, he, by a strataScotland, particularly among the offi- gem, freed himself from his heavy cers of the army; and now, perhaps, irons, and broke his manacles to pieces. with some variation, worn by valets By some unknown means, he set fire and other menial servants. His coat to the damp straw on which he lay, was made of superfine cloth, of a light within his cell, with a design, as it green colour, long in the tails, and was supposed, to make his escape in having one row of buttons at the the confusion which might take place breast. His shirt, of the finest qua- in consequence of the prison being on lity, was ruffled at the breast and fire. Surprised at the house being in hands, with a stock and buckle round flames, and suspecting that Brown had his neck. He also wore a pair of been the cause of it, and that he was handsome boots, with silver plated free from his chains, ramping like a spurs, all in the fashion of the day. lion within his den, no person in the Below his garments he carried a large hurry could be found who had resoluknife, and in the shaft or butt-end of tion enough to venture into him, till his huge whip a small spear or dagger a brawney broad-shouldered serjeant was concealed. His brother-in-law, of the 42d regiment courageously voWilson, was frequently dressed in a lunteered his services. However, be
fore he would face the determined the country of more than one of those tinkler, he requested authority from pugilists. the magistrate to defend himself with Old Jamie Robison, brother-in-law his broad sword, should he be attack- to Wilson before mentioned, was an ed; and in case the prisoner became excellent musician, and was in great desperate, to cut him down. This request at fairs and country weddings. permission being obtained, he drew his He, sometimes with his wife and nusword, and, as stated to me, he, with merous sisters, danced in a particular the assistance of the jailor's daughter, fashion, changing and regulating the unbarred the doors, till he came to the figures of the dance by means of a cage, where the fire was kindled, and bonnet. When his wife and sisters from whence the prison was filled with got themselves intoxicated, which was clouds of smoke. The serjeant, as he often the case, and himself more than advanced to the door, with a loud voice half seas over, it was a wild and extraasked, “who is there ?” “The devil,” vagant scene to see these light-footed vociferated the gypsey through fire damsels, with loose and flowing hair, and smoke. “I am also a devil, and dancing with great vigour on the grass of the Black Watch," thundered back in an open field, while Jamie was, the intrepid Highlander, the Black with all his might and main, like the Watch being the ancient name of his devil playing to the witches in " Tam gallant regiment. This resolute reply o Shanter,” keeping these bacchanaof the soldier was like death to the lians in fierce and animating music. artful tinkler--he knew his man-it When James was like to flag in his daunted him completely; and after exertions to please them, they have some threats from the serjeant, he been heard calling loudly to him, like quietly allowed himself to be again Maggy Lauder to Rob the Ranter, the loaded with irons, and thoroughly se- piper, “play up, Jamie Robison, if cured in his cell, from whence he did ever we do weel it will be a wonder," not stir till the day of his execution. being totally regardless of all sense of
George Brown, another member of decency, and decorum whatever. the clan Brown in the north, resided But notwithstanding all this dissofor sometime at Lynn Rigis in Eng- luteness of manners, and professed land, where his children followed the roguery, this man Robison, when trusttrade of tinkers. He had been in the ed, was strictly honest. A decent man army in his youth, and is described to in his neighbourhood, of the name of me by a gentleman who had seen him Robert Gray, many a time lent him in the south, as a man possessed of sums of money to purchase large ox prodigious personal strength and prow- horns, and other articles, in the east of
He was often encountered by Fife. He always paid him on the very professed bullies and scientific pugi- day he promised, with the greatest lists in the sister kingdom. He was punctuality and civility. The followof a mild temper and inoffensive man- ing anecdote will show the zeal which ners, when not roused by provocation. he once displayed in resenting an inHe had a peculiar mode of his own in sult which he conceived to be offered treating these boxers.
He did not to his friend Mr Gray. waste time for the purpose of amusing In one of his excursions through the amateurs of this entertainment, Fife, he happened to be lying on the by throwing out artful guards, par- ground, basking himself in the sun, rying off well aimed blows, or put- and baiting his ass on the road-side, ting in ingenious hits. He instant- when a countryman, who was an enly closed with his antagonist, and, tire stranger to him, came past, singgrappling with him, clapped his ing to himself, in lightness of heart, clinched fist like an iron bolt to his a Scottish song, which, unfortunately stomach, and, by pressing forward with for the man, Jamie had never heard all his might, without allowing his op- before; and on the unconscious stranponent time to recover himself, he, as ger coming to the words in the ditty, it were, squeezed the breath of life out “ Auld Robin Gray was a kind man of his body, something like the way to me,” the hot-blooded gypsey startin which I have seen a boy with both ed to his feet, and, with his bludgeon, hands crack the wind out of an inflat- accompanied with a volley of oaths, ed bladder. It was understood that brought the poor fellow to the ground, he had, in this expeditious manner, rid repeating his blows in a violent man
ner, telling him in his passion, that marriages, when some account of the “ Auld Robin Gray was a kind man priest, if I may so call him, and the to him indeed, but it was not enough parties concerned, will be necessary, for him to make a song on Robin for in explaining the ceremonies observed that.” He had nearly put this inno- on these occasions.
W.S, cent traveller to death in the heat of 12th June 1818. his indignation, thinking that he was satirizing his friend in a scurrilous song
It was an invariable custom with Robison, that whenever he pass- BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES OF ed Robert Gray's house, although it WILLIAM RUSSELL, LL. D. should have been at the dead hour of night, he always drew out his “ bread 'Αλλ' ύστερον μεν ήλθον, εν καιρώ δ' όμως. winner,” and serenaded him with a few of his best airs, in gratitude for WILLIAM RUSSELL, the eldest son of his kindness.
Alexander Russell and Christian Bale I find, amongst a good deal of other lantyne, was born in the year 1741 at information which has come into my Windydoors, a farm-house in the hands on this subject, that English county of Selkirk. At a proper age gypsies entered Scotland disguised like he was sent to the neighbouring school gentlemen, in the same manner as we of Inverleithen, where he acquired a find Sandie Brown, whom I spoke of slender knowledge of the Greek and before, had been traversing England. Latin languages; but private study Graham of Lochgellie once in parti- afterwards enabled him to supply many cular recognised, by signal, one of these of the deficiencies of his early educa scouts, or ambassadors, perambulating tion. the county of Fife, well mounted in In 1756 he was removed to Edinall respects on horseback. Graham burgh, in order to be instructed in had never seen him before. He called writing and arithmetic; and after hav
traveller,” and they were ex. ing attended to these branches for aceedingly happy at meeting with one bout ten months, he was bound an another. This stranger and travelling apprentice to the bookselling and brother was taken to Lochgellie, and printing business for the term of five there feasted and entertained with all years. While engaged in this occuthe hospitality and kindness peculiar pation, he discovered the utmost arto the tribe. Female gypsies from dour in literary pursuits ; nor was his England have also been seen in this situation altogether unfavourable to county. About thirty years since, the acquisition of knowledge. one of these females was observed tell- After the completion of his apprening fortunes here. She had an asto- ticeship, he published a select collecnishing knowledge of towns in differ- tion of modern poems, which was faent parts of the world. Her stature vourably received. The first edition was very tall, with a strong robust per- I have never seen : the second bears
Her eye-brows had the appear- the following title. - The Select ance of being very much arched, in Poems of our most celebrated contemconsequence of the hair, with part of porary British Poets : viz. Dr Akenthe skin of the brow, being painted or side, Mr Gray, Mr Mason, W. Shenstained, after the manner of the Ara- stone, Esq. Mr W. Collins, Lord bians and Persians, with a brown co- Lyttleton, Mess. Wartons, Mr Blacklour, made of juice extracted from lock, Mr Beattie, Mr Ogilvie, etc. certain herbs. She was dressed in an Vol. I. second edition, with additions." uncommon manner; her clothes were Edinb. 1764, 12mo.--He afterwards in good condition.; and her petticoats congratulated himself on having condid not reach below the calves of her tributed to extend the popularity of legs. She spoke in a commanding tone; Gray and Shenstone in the northern had altogether a very imposing aspect; part of the island. It may, I think, and was attended by a party of our be mentioned as a proof of his classiown Scottish vagrants.
cal taste, that at this early period of I have now given you some notion his life he entertained the highest adof the gypsies of Fife, and will ere
miration for the sublime odes of Gray; long detail to you the extraordinary which he was accustomed to recite in proceedings which take place at their a wild and enthusiastic manner.
In the year 1763, while employed himself as a corrector to the press of as a journeyman-printer, he became a William Strahan, afterwards printer member of a literary association deno- to his majesty. To find himself thus minated the Miscellaneous Society, placed in a situation so inadequate to which was composed of students and his expectations, and so unworthy of other young men engaged in the pur- his abilities, must have cast a temposuit of knowledge. This juvenile so- rary gloom over his mind; but the ciety included several other individuals freshness of youth, added to the natwho afterwards acquired distinction; ural vivacity of his mind, would have and among these were the Right Hon. enabled him to support even greater Sir Robert Liston, and Mr Andrew disappointments. In some brief noDalzel, the late professor of Greek. tices found
after his About this period he made an at- decease, he mentions ħis expectations tempt to adapt Crebillon's Rhada- of preferment through the interest of misthe et Zenobie to the English stage. these individuals; but he does not The manuscript was submitted to the aver that his expectations were foundinspection of Mr Liston and Mr Dal- ed on their promises. The disappointzel; who, after a very careful perusal, ments of human life may very frestated several objections to particular quently be referred to the unreasonpassages. This tragedy was at length ableness of our anticipations. rejected by Mr Garrick, the manager In the year 1769 he quitted Mr of Drury-lane. Murphy's Zenobia was Strahan's, and was employed as overat that time in rehearsal; and if the seer of the printing-office of Brown merit of Russell's play had been high- and Adlard. During the same year ly conspicuous, it probably would not he published an Ode to Fortitude ; then have been accepted.
which was immediately reprinted at In 1764 he issued proposals for pub- Edinburgh by his former masters, lishing a second volume of his collec- Martin and Wotherspoon. tion of poems, which however never His Sentimental Tales appeared in made its appearance. He retired to 1770; and from this time he wrote the country in order to arrange the many essays in prose and verse for the materials; and about this period he periodical publications. In 1772 he maintained an epistolary correspon- published a collection of Fables, Moral dence with Lord Elibank, Dr Ogilvie, and Sentimental, and “ An Essay on and Mr Dalzel; to whose friend the Character, Manners, and Genius ship his youthful ingenuity had re- of Women ; from the French of M. commended him. In the course of Thomas.” In 1774 appeared his Jum the ensuing year, Lord Elibank, who lia, a Poetical Romance. Of this latter was himself a man of literature, invit- work, which is founded on the Noua ed him to his seat in the county of velle Heloise of Rousseau, neither the Haddington, where he spent the great- plan nor the execution can be comer part of the autumn, and had an op- mended. portunity of conversing with many In the estimate of his literary chaeminent men. To this nobleman he racter, Russell dissented from the pubseems to have looked for favour and lic opinion: his historical works, which protection: the hope of obtaining pre- have met with a very favourable rea ferment through his influence, had ception, he considered as greatly infeinduced him to relinquish the drudgery rior to his poetical works, which have of his original employment; and in been totally neglected. But his friends the mean time he continued to prose- certainly had no reason to regret that cute his studies, particularly in the the collective edition of his poems, departments of history and polite li- which he long meditated, never made terature.
its appearance. In the following sarHaving resided with his father till castic verses of his ingenious countrythe month of May 1767, he set out man Mickle, his elegy on the death of for London, probably with high hopes Hume is not mentioned with much of future success. But his hopes were
commendation. soon blasted: after having in vain waited for promotion through the in
Silence, ye noisy wolves and bears, fluence of Mr Hume, Lord Elibank, Hark, how upon the muse's hill
And hear the song of Russell; General Murray, and Governor John- This bard kicks up a bustle ! stone, he was under the necessity of He calls the muses lying jades, contracting his views, and engaging A pack of venal strumpets ; VOL. III.