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The Deart of Fetid: Lothian.
Hear, Land o' Cakes and hrither Scots,
I rede ye tent it;
An' faith he prent it!-BURNS.
my kitchen and parlour were not very far dis
tant, I one day went in to purchase some chickens The author has stated, in the preface to the fron a person I heard offering them for sale. It Chronicles of tire Canongate, 1827, that he received was a little, rather stout-looking woman, who from an anonymous correspondent an account of seeined to be between seventy and eighty years of tä incident upon which the following story is | age; she was almost covered with a tartan plaid, anded. He is now at liberty to say, that the in- and her cap had over it a black silk hood, tied forisatira xas conveyed to him by a late amiable under the chin, a piece of dress still much in use aad ingenious lady, whose wit and power of re- among elderly women of that rank of life in Scotmarking and judging of charac'er still survive in land; her eyes were dark, and remarkalıly lively the memory of her friends. Her maiden name and intelligent; I entered into conversation with *as Diss Helen Lawson, of Girthhead, and shie her, and began by asking how she maintained lier725 wife of Thomas Goldie, Esq. of Craigmuie, self, &c. Commissary of Dumfries.
“ She said that in winter she footed stockings, Her communication was in these words :
that is, knit feet to country-people's stockings, which * I had taken for summer lodgings a cottage near
bears about the same relation to stocking-knitting the old Abbey of Lincluden. It had formerly been that cobbling does to shoe-making, and is of course inhabited by a lady who had pleasure in embellish- both less profitable and less dignified; she likewise
ng cottages, which she found perhaps homely and taught a few children to read, and in summer even poor enough ; mine, therefore, possessed many
she whiles reared a few chickens. marks of taste and elegance unusual in this species “I said I could venture to guess from lier face cá habitation in Scotland, where a cottage is literally she had never been married. She laughed heartily what its name declares.
at this, and said, “I maun hae the queerest face * From my cottage door I had a partial view of that ever was seen, that ye could guess that. Now, the old Abbey before mentioned ; some of the do tell me, madam, how ye cam to think sae!' 1 highest arches were seen over, and some through, told her it was from her cheerful disengaged the trees scattered along a lane which led down countenance. She said, Mem, have ye na far 5 the ruin, and the strange fantastic shapes of mair reason to be happy than me, wi' a gude liusalmost all those old ashes accorded wonderfully band and a fine family o’ bairns, and plenty o' well with the building they at once shaded and every thing for me, I'm the puirest ' a' puir tamented.
bodies, and can hardly contrive to keep mysell * The Abbey itself from my door was almost on alive in a' the wee bits o' ways I hae tell't ye. a level with the cottage ; but on coming to the end After some more conversation, during which ! of the lane, it was discovered to be situated on a was more and more pleased with the old womar's High perpendicular bank, at the foot of which run sensible conversation, and the naïreté of her ro. the clear waters of the Cluden, where they hasten marks, she rose to go away, when I asked her to join the sweeping Nith,
Her countenance suddenly clouded, and i slie said gravely, rather colouring, My name is
. Whose distant roariny emells and fans
llelen Walker; but your husband kens weel about “SIR, — The occurrence just related happened mie,
to me twenty-six years ago. Helen Walker lieu “ In the evening I related how much I had been buried in the churchyard of Irongray, about six pleased, and inquired what was extraordinary in miles from Dumfries. I once proposed that a the history of the poor woman. Mr — said, small monument should have been erected to there were perhaps few more remarkable people commemorate so remarkable a character, but I than Helen Walker. She had been left an orphan, now prefer leaving it to you to perpetuate her with the charge of a sister considerably younger memory in a more durable manner.” than herself, and who was educated and maintained by her exertions. Attached to lier by so many The reader is now able to judge how far the ties, therefore, it will not be easy to conceive her author has improved upon, or fallen short of, tho feelings, when she found that this only sister must pleasing and interesting sketch of high principle be tried by the laws of her country for child-mur- and steady affection displayed by Helen Walker, der, and upon being called as principal witness the prototype of the fictitious Jeanie Deans. against her. The counsel for the prisoner told Mrs Goldie was unfortunately dead before the Helen, that if she could declare that her sister author had given liis name to these volumes, so had made any preparations, however slight, or he lost all opportunity of thanking that lady for her had given her any intimation on the subject, that highly valuable communication. But her daughter, such a statement would save her sister's life, ils Miss Goldie, obliged him with the following addi. she was the principal witness against her. Helen tional information. said, “ It is impossible for me to swear to a falsehood; and, whatever may be the consequence, 1 “ Mrs Goldie endeavoured to collect further will give my oath according to my conscience.' particulars of Helen Walker, particularly con
“ The triai came on, and the sister was found | cerning her journey to London, but found this guilty and condemned; but, in Scotland, six weeks nearly impossible; as the natural dignity of her must elapse between the sentence and the execu- character, and a high sense of family respectability, tion, and Helen Walker availed herself of it. The made her so indissolubly connect her sister's disvery day of lier sister's condemnation, she got a grace with her own exertions, that none of her petition drawn, stating the peculiar circumstances neighbours durst ever question her upon the subof the case, and that very night set out on foot ject. One old woman, a distant relation of Helen's, to London.
and who is still living, says she worked an harvest “ Without introduction or recommendation, with with her, but that she never ventured to ask her her simple (perhaps ill-expressed) petition, drawn about her sister's trial, or her journey to London; up by some inferior clerk of the court, she pre- | Helen,' she added, “was a lofty body, and used sented herself, in her tartan plaid and country a high style o' language.' The same old woman attire, to the late Duke of Argyle, who imme- says, that every year Helen received a cheese diately procured the pardon she petitioned for, and from her sister, who lived at Whitehaven, and Helen returned with it on foot, just in time to save that she always sent a liberal portion of it to lierher sister.
self, or to her father's family. This fact, though “ I was so strongly interested by this narrative, trivial in itself, strongly marks the affection subthat I determined immediately to prosecute my sisting between the two sisters, and the completo acquaintance with Helen Walker ; but as I was conviction on the mind of the criminal, that her to leave the country next day, I was obliged to sister had acted solely from high principle, not defer it till my return in spring, when the first from any want of feeling, which another small but walk I took was to Helen Walker's cottage. characteristic trait will further illustrate. A gen.
“She had died a short time before. My regret tleman, a relation of Mrs Goldie’s, who happened was extreme, and I endeavoured to obtain some to be travelling in the North of England, on account of Helen from an old woman who inhabited coming to a small inn, was shewn into the parthe other end of her cottage. I inquired if Helen lour by female servant, who, after cautiously ever spoke of her past history, her journey to shutting the door, said, “Sir, I'm Nelly Walker's London, &c. "Na,' the old woman said, “ Helen sister.' Thus practically shewing that she consiwas a wily body, and whene’er ony o' the neebors dered her sister as better known by her high asked any thing about it, she aye turned the con conduct, than even herself by a different kind of versation.'
celebrity. “ In short, every answer I received only tended “ Mrs Goldie was extremely anxious to have a to increase my regret, and raise my opinion of tombstone and an inscription upon it, erected in Helen Walker, who could unite so much pru. Trongray churchyard; and if Sir Walter Scott dence with so much heroic virtue,"
will condescend to write the last, a little sub
scription could be easily raised in the immediate This narrative was enclosed in the following neighbourhood, and Mrs Goldie's wish be thus letter to the author, without date or signature :- fu!Silled,"