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Wi’ a shivering groan the pedler came on,
For the moon shone through his thin bodye. The ducks they whackit, the dogs they howl'd,
The herons they shriekit most piteouslie: The horses they snorkit for miles around,
While the priest an' the pedler together might be.
Wi' a positive look he open'd his book,
An' charged him by a' the sacred Three, To tell why that horrible figure he took,
To terrify a' the hale countrie ?
“My body was butcher'd within that mill,
My banes lie under the inner mill-wheel; An' here my spirit maun wander, until
Some crimes an' villanies I can reveal:
“I robb'd my niece of three hundred pounds,
Which providence suffered me ne'er to enjoy ; For the sake of that money I gat my death's
wounds; The miller me kend, but he miss'd his ploy. • The money lies buried on Balderstone hill,
Beneath the mid bourack o' three times three. O gi'e't to the owners, kind sir, an' it will
Bring wonderful comfort an' rest unto me.
"'Tis drawing to day, nae mair can I say :
My messige I trusi, good faiher, with thee. If the black cock should
while I am awa, O weary, and weary, what wad come o' me!
Wi' a sound like a horn, away he was borne; The grass was decay'd where the spirit had
been: An' certain is, from that day to this,
The ghost of the pedler was never mair seen.
The mill was repaired, and, low in the yird,
The banes lay under the inner mill-wheel The box an' the ellwand beside him war hid,
An' mony a thimble, an' mony a seal.
Must the scene of iniquity cursed remain ?
Can this bear the stamp of the heavenly seal ? Yet, certain it is, from that day to this, The millers of Thirlestane ne'er ha'e done
But there was an auld mason wha wrought at the
mill, In rules o' providence skilfu' was he; He keepit a bane o' the pedler's heel,
An' a queerer wee bane you never did see.
The miller had fled to the forest o' Jed;
But time had now grizzled his haffets wi' snaw;
He was crookit an' auld, an' his head was turned
bald, Yet his joke he cou'd brik wi’ the best o'
Away to the border the mason he ran,
To try wi' the bane if the miller was fey; An' into a smiddie, wi’ mony a man,
He fand him a gaffin fu' gaily that day.
The mason he crackit, the mason he taukit,
Of a' curiosities mighty an' mean; Then pu'd out the bane, an' declared there were
nane, Who in Britain had ever the marrow o't seen.
When ilka ane took it, an' ilka ane lookit,
An' ilka ane ca'd it a comical bane; To the miller it goes, wha, wi' spects on his nose
To ha'e an' to view it was wonderous fain.
But what was his horror, as leaning he stood,
An' what the surprise o' the people around, When the little wee bane fell a streamin wi' blood,
Which died a' his fingers, an' ran to the ground!
They charged him wi' murder, an' a' the hale
Declared, ere they partit, the hale they wad
A red goad o' ern fra the fire they drew,
" O hald," said the mason, “' for how can it be?
You'll find you are out when the truth I reveal ; At fair Thirlestane I gat the wee bane,
Deep buried anunder the inner mill-wheel.'
"O God," said the wretch, wi' the tear in his ee,
“O pity a creature lang doom'd to despair ; A silly auld pedler, wha begged of me
For mercy, I murdered, an' buried him there !"
To Jeddart they haul'd the auld miller wi' speed,
An' they hangit him dead on a high gallow tree; An' afterwards they in full council agreed,
That Rob Riddle he richly deserved to dee.
The thief may escape the lash an' the rape,
The liar and swearer their leather may save, The wrecker of unity pass with impunity, But when gat the murd'rer in peace to the
Ca't net superstition; wi' reason you'll find it,
Nor laugh at a story attestit sae weel; For lang ha'e the facts in the forest been niindit
O’ the ghaist an' the bane o' the pedler's heel.
NOTES OF THE PEDLER.
When the lady o' Thirlestane rose in her sleep.
P. 17, v. 3. The lady here alluded to was the second wife of Sir Robert Scott, the last knight of Thirlestane.
NOTE II. 0, lady, 'tis dark, and I heard the dead bell! An' I darna gae yonder for goud nor fee.
P. 18, v. 6. By the dead bell is meant a tinkling in the ears, which our peasantry in the country regard as a secret intelligence of some friend's decease. Thus this natural occurrence strikes many with a superstitious awe. This reminds me of a trifling anecdote, which I will here relate as an instance. Our two servant girls agreed to go an errand of their own, one night after supper, to a considerable distance, from which I strove to dissuade them, but could not prevail. So, after going to the apartment where I slept, I took a drinking glass, and, coming close to the back of the door, made two or three sweeps round the lips of the glass with my finger, which caused a loud shrill sound. I then over heard the following dialogue.B. Ah, mercy! the dead bell went through my head