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NOTES TO THE ANTIQUARY

Note A, p. <#>.---Mottoes.

[``It was in correcting the proof-sheets of this novel that Scott first took to equipping his chapters with mottoes of his own fabrication. On one occasion he happened to ask John Ballantyne, who was sitting by him, to hunt for a particular passage in Beaumont and Fletcher. John did as he was bid, but did not succeed in discovering the lines. ``Hang it, Johnnie,'' cried Scott, ``I believe I can make a motto sooner than you will find one.'' He did so accordingly; and from that hour, whenever memory failed to suggest an appropriate epigraph, he had recourse to the inexhaustible mines of ``old play'' or ``old ballad,'' to which we owe some of the most exquisite verses that ever flowed from his pen.''---_J. G. Lockhart._

See also the Introduction to ``Chronicles of the Canongate,'' vol. xix.]

Note B, p. <#>.---Sandy Gordon's Itinerarium.

[This well-known work, the ``Itinerarium Septentrionale, or a Journey thro' most of the Counties of Scotland, and those in the North of England,'' was published at London in 1727, folio. The author states, that in prosecuting his work he ``made a pretty laborious progress through almost every part of Scotland for three years successively.'' Gordon was a native of Aberdeenshire, and had previously spent some years in travelling abroad, probably as a tutor. He became Secretary to the London Society of Antiquaries in 1736. This office be resigned in 1741, and soon after went out to South Carolina with Governor Glen, where he obtained a considerable grant of land. On his death, about the year 1753, he is said to have left ``a handsome estate to his family.''---See _Literary Anecdotes of Bowyer,_ by John Nichols, vol. v., p. 329, etc.]

Note C, p. <#>.---Prtorium.

It may be worth while to mention that the incident of the supposed Prtorium actually happened to an antiquary of great learning and acuteness, Sir John Clerk of Penicuik, one of the Barons of the Scottish Court of Exchequer, and a parliamentary commissioner for arrangement of the Union between England and Scotland. As many of his writings show, Sir John was much attached to the study of Scottish antiquities. He had a small property in Dumfriesshire, near the Roman station on the hill called Burrenswark. Here he received the distinguished English antiquarian Roger Gale, and of course conducted him to see this remarkable spot, where the lords of the world have left such decisive marks of their martial labours.

An aged shepherd whom they had used as a guide, or who had approached them from curiosity, listened with mouth agape to the dissertations on foss and vellum, ports _dextra, sinistra,_ and _decumana,_ which Sir John Clerk delivered _ex cathedra,_ and his learned visitor listened with the deference to the dignity of a connoisseur on his own ground. But when the cicerone proceeded to point out a small hillock near the centre of the enclosure as the Prtorium, Corydon's patience could hold no longer, and, like Edie Ochiltree, he forgot all reverence, and broke in with nearly the same words---``Prtorium here, Prtorium there, I made the bourock mysell with a flaughter-spade.'' The effect of this undeniable evidence on the two lettered sages may be left to the reader's imagination.

The late excellent and venerable John Clerk of Eldin, the celebrated author of _Naval Tactics,_ used to tell this story with glee, and being a younger son of Sir John's was perhaps present on the occasion.

Note D, p. <#>.---Mr. Rutherfurd's Dream

The legend of Mrs. Grizel Oldbuck was partly taken from an extraordinary story which happened about seventy years since, in the South of Scotland, so peculiar in its circumstances that it merits being mentioned in this place. Mr. Rutherfurd of Bowland, a gentleman of landed property in the vale of Gala, was prosecuted for a very considerable sum, the accumulated arrears of teind (or tithe) for which he was said to be indebted to a noble family, the titulars (lay impropriators of the tithes). Mr. Rutherfurd was strongly impressed with the belief that his father had, by a form of process peculiar to the law of Scotland, purchased these lands from the titular, and therefore that the present prosecution was groundless. But, after an industrious search among his father's papers, an investigation of the public records, and a careful inquiry among all persons who had transacted law business for his father, no evidence could be recovered to support his defence. The period was now near at hand when he conceived the loss of his lawsuit to be inevitable, and he had formed his determination to ride to Edinburgh next day, and make the best bargain he could in the way of compromise. He went to bed with this resolution and, with all the circumstances of the case floating upon his mind, had a dream to the following purpose:---His father, who had been many years dead, appeared to him, he thought, and asked him why he was disturbed in his mind. In dreams men are not surprised at such apparitions. Mr. Rutherfurd thought that he informed his father of the cause of his distress, adding that the payment of a considerable sum of money was the more unpleasant to him, because he had a strong consciousness that it was not due, though he was unable to recover any evidence in support of his belief, ``You are right, my son,'' replied the paternal shade; ``I did acquire right to these teinds, for payment of which you are now prosecuted. The papers relating to the transaction are in the hands of Mr. ------, a writer (or attorney), who is now retired from professional business, and resides at Inveresk, near Edinburgh. He was a person whom I employed on that occasion for a particular reason, but who never on any other occasion transacted business on my account. It is very possible,'' pursued the vision, ``that Mr. ------ may have forgotten a matter which is now of a very old date; but you may call it to his recollection by this token, that when I came to pay his account, there was difficulty in getting change for a Portugal piece of gold, and that we were forced to drink out the balance at a tavern.''

Mr. Rutherfurd awakened in the morning with all the words of the vision imprinted on his mind, and thought it worth while to ride across the country to Inveresk, instead of going straight to Edinburgh. When he came there he waited on the gentleman mentioned in the dream, a very old man; without saying anything of the vision, he inquired whether he remembered having conducted such a matter for his deceased father. The old gentleman could not at first bring the circumstance to his recollection, but on mention of the Portugal piece of gold, the whole returned upon his memory; he made an immediate search for the papers, and recovered them,---so that Mr. Rutherfurd carried to Edinburgh the documents necessary to gain the cause which he was on the verge of losing.

The author has often heard this story told by persons who had the best access to know the facts, who were not likely themselves to be deceived, and were certainly incapable of deception. He cannot therefore refuse to give it credit, however extraordinary the circumstances may appear. The circumstantial character of the information given in the dream, takes it out of the general class of impressions of the kind which are occasioned by the fortuitous coincidence of actual events with our sleeping thoughts. On the other hand, few will suppose that the laws of nature were suspended, and a special communication from the dead to the living permitted, for the purpose of saving Mr. Rutherfurd a certain number of hundred pounds. The author's theory is, that the dream was only the recapitulation of information which Mr. Rutherfurd had really received from his father while in life, but which at first he merely recalled as a general impression that the claim was settled. It is not uncommon for persons to recover, during sleep, the thread of ideas which they have lost during their waking hours.

It may be added, that this remarkable circumstance was attended with bad consequences to Mr. Rutherfurd ; whose health and spirits were afterwards impaired by the attention which he thought himself obliged to pay to the visions of the night.

Note E, p. <#>.---Nick-sticks.

A sort of tally generally used by bakers of the olden time in settling with their customers. Each family had its own nick-stick, and for each loaf as delivered a notch was made on the stick. Accounts in Exchequer, kept by the same kind of check, may have occasioned the Antiquary's partiality. In Prior's time the English bakers had the same sort of reckoning.

Have you not seen a baker's maid, Between two equal panniers sway'd? Her tallies useless lie and idle, If placed exactly in the middle.

Note F, p. <#>.---Witchcraft.

A great deal of stuff to the same purpose with that placed in the mouth of the German adept, may be found in Reginald Scott's _Discovery of Witchcraft,_ Third Edition, folio, London, 1665. The Appendix is entitled, ``An Excellent Discourse of the Nature and Substances of Devils and Spirits, in two Books ; the first by the aforesaid author (Reginald Scott), the Second now added in this Third Edition as succedaneous to the former, and conducing to the completing of the whole work.'' This Second Book, though stated as succedaneous to the first, is, in fact, entirely at variance with it; for the work of Reginald Scott is a compilation of the absurd and superstitious ideas concerning witches so generally entertained at the time, and the pretended conclusion is a serious treatise on the various means of conjuring astral spirits.

[Scott's _Discovery of Witchcraft_ was first published in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, London, 1584.]

Note G, p. <#>.---Gyneocracy.

In the fishing villages on the Firths of Forth and Tay, as well as elsewhere in Scotland, the government is gyneocracy, as described in the text. In the course of the late war, and during the alarm of invasion, a fleet of transports entered the Firth of Forth under the convoy of some ships of war, which would reply to no signals. A general alarm was excited, in consequence of which, all the fishers, who were enrolled as sea-fencibles, got on board the gun-boats which they were to man as occasion should require, and sailed to oppose the supposed enemy. The foreigners proved to be Russians, with whom we were then at peace. The county gentlemen of Mid-Lothian, pleased with the zeal displayed by the sea-fencibles at a critical moment, passed a vote for presenting the community of fishers with a silver punch-bowl, to be used on occasions of festivity. But the fisher-women, on hearing what was intended, put in their claim to have some separate share in the intended honorary reward. The men, they said, were their husbands; it was they who would have been sufferers if their husbands had been killed, and it was by their permission and injunctions that they embarked on board the gun-boats for the public service. They therefore claimed to share the reward in some manner which should distinguish the female patriotism which they had shown on the occasion. The gentlemen of the county willingly admitted the claim; and without diminishing the value of their compliment to the men, they made the females a present of a valuable broach, to fasten the plaid of the queen of the fisher-women for the time.

It may be further remarked, that these Nereids are punctilious among themselves, and observe different ranks according to the commodities they deal in. One experienced dame was heard to characterise a younger damsel as ``a puir silly thing, who had no ambition, and would never,'' she prophesied, ``rise above the _mussel-line_ of business.''

Note H, p. <#>.---Battle of Harlaw.

The great battle of Harlaw, here and formerly referred to, might be said to determine whether the Gaelic or the Saxon race should be predominant in Scotland. Donald, Lord of the Isles, who had at that period the power of an independent sovereign, laid claim to the Earldom of Ross during the Regency of Robert, Duke of Albany. To enforce his supposed right, he ravaged the north with a large army of Highlanders and Islesmen. He was encountered at Harlaw, in the Garioch, by Alexander, Earl of Mar, at the head of the northern nobility and gentry of Saxon and Norman descent. The battle was bloody and indecisive; but the invader was obliged to retire in consequence of the loss he sustained, and afterwards was compelled to make submission to the Regent, and renounce his pretensions to Ross; so that all the advantages of the field were gained by the Saxons. The battle of Harlaw was fought 24th July 1411.

Note I, p. <#>.---Elspeth's death.

The concluding circumstance of Elspeth's death is taken from an incident said to have happened at the funeral of John, Duke of Roxburghe. All who were acquainted with that accomplished nobleman must remember that he was not more remarkable for creating and possessing a most curious and splendid library, than for his acquaintance with the literary treasures it contained. In arranging his books, fetching and replacing the volumes which he wanted, and carrying on all the necessary intercourse which a man of letters holds with his library, it was the Duke's custom to employ, not a secretary or librarian, but a livery servant, called Archie, whom habit had made so perfectly acquainted with the library, that he knew every book, as a shepherd does the individuals of his flock, by what is called head-mark, and could bring his master whatever volume he wanted, and afford all the mechanical aid the Duke required in his literary researches. To secure the attendance of Archie, there was a bell hung in his room, which was used on no occasion except to call him individually to the Duke's study.

His Grace died in Saint James's Square, London, in the year 1804; the body was to be conveyed to Scotland, to lie in state at his mansion of Fleurs, and to be removed from thence to the family burial-place at Bowden.

At this time, Archie, who had been long attacked by a liver-complaint, was in the very last stage of that disease. Yet he prepared himself to accompany the body of the master whom he had so long and so faithfully waited upon. The medical persons assured him he could not survive the journey. It signified nothing, he said, whether he died in England or Scotland; he was resolved to assist in rendering the last honours to the kind master from whom he had been inseparable for so many years, even if he should expire in the attempt. The poor invalid was permitted to attend the Duke's body to Scotland; but when they reached Fleurs he was totally exhausted, and obliged to keep his bed, in a sort of stupor which announced speedy dissolution. On the morning of the day fixed for removing the dead body of the Duke to the place of burial, the private bell by which he was wont to summon his attendant to his study was rung violently. This might easily happen in the confusion of such a scene, although the people of the neighbourhood prefer believing that the bell sounded of its own accord. Ring, however, it did ; and Archie, roused by the well-known summons, rose up in his bed, and faltered, in broken accents, ``Yes, my Lord Duke---yes---I will wait on your Grace instantly;'' and with these words on his lips he is said to have fallen back and expired.

Note J, p. <#>.---Alarm of invasion.

The story of the false alarm at Fairport, and the consequences, are taken from a real incident. Those who witnessed the state of Britain, and of Scotland in particular, from the period that succeeded the war which commenced in 1803 to the battle of Trafalgar, must recollect those times with feelings which we can hardly hope to make the rising generation comprehend. Almost every individual was enrolled either in a military or civil capacity, for the purpose of contributing to resist the long-suspended threats of invasion, which were echoed from every quarter. Beacons were erected along the coast, and all through the country, to give the signal for every one to repair to the post where his peculiar duty called him, and men of every description fit to serve held themselves in readiness on the shortest summons. During this agitating period, and on the evening of the 2d February 1804, the person who kept watch on the commanding station of Home Castle, being deceived by some accidental fire in the county of Northumberland, which he took for the corresponding signal-light in that county with which his orders were to communicate, lighted up his own beacon. The signal was immediately repeated through all the valleys on the English Border. If the beacon at Saint Abb's Head had been fired, the alarm would have run northward, and roused all Scotland. But the watch at this important point judiciously considered, that if there had been an actual or threatened descent on our eastern sea-coast, the alarm would have come along the coast and not from the interior of the country.

Through the Border counties the alarm spread with rapidity, and on no occasion when that country was the scene of perpetual and unceasing war, was the summons to arms more readily obeyed. In Berwickshire, Roxburghshire, and Selkirkshire, the volunteers and militia got under arms with a degree of rapidity and alacrity which, considering the distance individuals lived from each other, had something in it very surprising---they poured to the alarm-posts on the sea-coast in a state so well armed and so completely appointed, with baggage, provisions, etc., as was accounted by the best military judges to render them fit for instant and effectual service.

There were some particulars in the general alarm which are curious and interesting. The men of Liddesdale, the most remote point to the westward which the alarm reached, were so much afraid of being late in the field, that they put in requisition all the horses they could find, and when they had thus made a forced march out of their own country, they turned their borrowed steeds loose to find their way back through the hills, and they all got back safe to their own stables. Another remarkable circumstance was, the general cry of the inhabitants of the smaller towns for arms, that they might go along with their companions. The Selkirkshire Yeomanry made a remarkable march, for although some of the individuals lived at twenty and thirty miles' distance from the place where they mustered, they were nevertheless embodied and in order in so short a period, that they were at Dalkeith, which was their alarm-post, about one o'clock on the day succeeding the first signal, with men and horses in good order, though the roads were in a bad state, and many of the troopers must have ridden forty or fifty miles without drawing bridle. Two members of the corps chanced to be absent from their homes, and in Edinburgh on private business. The lately married wife of one of these gentlemen, and the widowed mother of the other, sent the arms, uniforms, and chargers of the two troopers, that they might join their companions at Dalkeith. The author was very much struck by the answer made to him by the last-mentioned lady, when he paid her some compliment on the readiness which she showed in equipping her son with the means of meeting danger, when she might have left him a fair excuse for remaining absent. ``Sir,'' she replied, with the spirit of a Roman matron, ``none can know better than you that my son is the only prop by which, since his father's death, our family is supported. But I would rather see him dead on that hearth, than hear that he had been a horse's length behind his companions in the defence of his king and country.'' The author mentions what was immediately under his own eye, and within his own knowledge; but the spirit was universal, wherever the alarm reached, both in Scotland and England.

The account of the ready patriotism displayed by the country on this occasion, warmed the hearts of Scottishmen in every corner of the world. It reached the ears of the well-known Dr. Leyden, whose enthusiastic love of Scotland, and of his own district of Teviotdale, formed a distinguished part of his character. The account which was read to him when on a sick-bed, stated (very truly) that the different corps, on arriving at their alarm-posts, announced themselves by their music playing the tunes peculiar to their own districts, many of which have been gathering-signals for centuries. It was particularly remembered, that the Liddesdale men, before mentioned, entered Kelso playing the lively tune---

O wha dare meddle wi' me, And wha dare meddle wi' me! My name it is little Jock Elliot, And wha dare meddle wi' me!

The patient was so delighted with this display of ancient Border spirit, that he sprung up in his bed, and began to sing the old song with such vehemence of action and voice, that his attendants, ignorant of the cause of excitation, concluded that the fever had taken possession of his brain; and it was only the entry of another Borderer, Sir John Malcolm, and the explanation which he was well qualified to give, that prevented them from resorting to means of medical coercion.

The circumstances of this false alarm and its consequences may be now held of too little importance even for a note upon a work of fiction; but, at the period when it happened, it was hailed by the country as a propitious omen, that the national force, to which much must naturally have been trusted, had the spirit to look in the face the danger which they had taken arms to repel; and every one was convinced, that on whichever side God might bestow the victory, the invaders would meet with the most determined opposition from the children of the soil.


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