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ent on his own pilotage for a safe voyage to the Isle of Man; or conceive a juvenile Telemachus, without a Mentor, brought suddenly into the perilous neighborhood of Calypso and her enchantments. It will hardly be expected, that from some halfdozen of young bachelors, there came forth any solemn voice didactically warning me in the strain of the sage Imlac to the Prince of Abyssinia. In fact, I recollect receiving but one solitary serious admonition, and that was from a she cousin of ten years old, that the Spectator I was reading on a Sunday morning, was not the Bible.” For there was still much of this pious rigor extant in Scotland, though a gentleman was no longer committed to Tolboothia Infelix, for an unseasonable promenade during church time. It was once, however, my fortune to witness a sample of the ancien régime at an evening party composed chiefly of young and rather fashionable persons, when lo! like an Anachronism confounding times past with times present, there came out of some corner an antique figure, with quaintly cut blue suit and three-cornered hat, not unlike a very old Greenwich Pensioner, who taking his stand in front of the circle, deliberately asked a blessing of formidable length on the thin bread and butter, the short cake, the marmalade, and the Pekoe tea. And here, en passant, it may be worth while to remark, for the benefit of our Agnews and Plumtres, as illustrating the intrinsic value of such sanctimonious pretension, that the elder Scotland, so renowned for armlong graces, and redundant preachments, and abundant psalm-singing, has yet bequeathed to posterity a singularly liberal collection of songs, the reverse of Divine and Moral, such as can only be sung when the punch-bowl has done its work and the wild wit is set
To return to my boarding house, which, with all its chairs, had none appropriated to a Professor of Moral Philosophy. In the absence of such a monitor, nature, fortunately for myself, had gifted me with a taste for reading, which the languor of illhealth, inclining me to sedentary habits, helped materially to encourage. Whatever books, good, bad, or indifferent, happen
* A. Cunningham.
ed to come within my reach, were perused with the greatest avidity, and however indiscriminate the course, the balance of the impressions thence derived was decidedly in favor of the allegorical lady, so wisely preferred by Hercules when he had to make his election between Virtue and Vice. Of the mate. rial that ministered to this appetite, I shall always regret that I did not secure, as a literary curiosity-a collection of halfpenny Ballads, the property of a Grocer's apprentice, and which contained, amongst other matters, a new version of Chevy Chase, wherein the victory was transferred to the Scots. In the mean time, this bookishness acquired for me a sort of reputation for scholarship amongst my comrades, and in consequence my pen was sometimes called into requisition, in divers and sometimes delicate cases. Thus for one party, whom the Gods had not made poetical, I composed a love-letter in verse ; for another, whose education had been neglected, I carried on a correspondence with reference to a tobacco manufactory in which he was a sleeping-partner; whilst, on a graver occasion, the hand now peacefully setting down these reminiscences, was employed in denning a most horrible peremptory invitation to pistols and twelve paces, till one was nicked. The facts were briefly these. A spicy-tempered captain of Artillery, in a dispute with a superior officer, had rashly cashiered himself by either throwing up or tearing up his commission. In this dilemma he arrived at Dundee, to assume a post in the Customs, which had been procured for him by the interest of his friends. To his infinite in. dignation, however, he found that instead of a lucrative survey. orship, he had been appointed a simple tide-waiter! and magni. ficent was the rage with which he tore, trampled, and danced on the little official paper book wherein he had been set to tick off, bale by bale, a cargo of “infernal hemp.” Unluckily, on the very day of this revelation, a forgery was perpetrated on the local Bank, and those sapient Dogberries, the town officers, saw fit to take up our persecuted ex-captain, on the simple ground that he was the last stranger who had entered the town. Ren. dered almost frantic by this second insult, nothing would serve him in his paroxysm but calling somebody out, and he pitched at once on the cashier of the defrauded Bank. As the state of
his nerves would not permit him to write, he entreated me earn. estly to draw up a defiance, which I performed, at the expense of an agony of suppressed laughter, merely to imagine the effect of such a missive on the man of business-a respectable powdered, bald, pudgy, pacific little body, with no more idea of “ going out” than a cow in a field of olover. I forget the precise result—but certainly there was no duel.
To do justice to the climate of“ stout and original Scotland,” it promised to act kindly by the constitution committed to its care. The air evidently agreed with the natives; and auld Robin Grays and John Andersons were plenty as blackberries, and Auld Lang Syne himself seemed to walk bonneted amongst these patriarchal figures in the likeness of an old man covered with a mantle. The effect on myself was rather curious—for I seemed to have come amongst a generation that scarcely belonged to my era ; mature spinsters, waning bachelors, very motherly matrons, and experienced fathers, that I should have set down as uncles and aunts, called themselves my cousins; reverend personages, apparently grandfathers and grandmothers, were simply great uncles and aunts: and finally I enjoyed an interview with a relative oftener heard of traditionally, than encoun. tered in the body—a great-great-grandmother-still a tall woman and a tolerable pedestrian, going indeed down the hill, but with the wheel well locked. It was like coming amongst the Struldbrugs; and truly, for any knowledge to the contrary, many of these Old Mortalities are still living, enjoying their sneeshing, their toddy, their cracks, and particular reminiscen
The very phrase of being “ Scotch'd, but not killed," seems to refer to this Caledonian tenacity of life, of which the wellknown Walking Stewart was an example: he was an annuitant in the County-office, and as the actuaries would say, died very hard. It must be difficult for the teatotallers to reconcile this longevity with the imputed enormous consumption of ardent spirits beyond the Tweed. Scotia, according to the evidence of
Mr. Buckingham's committee, is an especially drouthie bodie, who drinks whiskey at christenings, and at buryings, and on all possible occasions besides. Her sons drink not by the hour or by the day, but by the week,—witness Souter Johnny :
“ Tam lo’ed him like a vera brither,
They had been fou for weeks thegither.”
Swallowing no thin washy potation, but a strong overproof spirit, with a smack of smoke-and " where there is smoke there is fire,” yet without flashing off, according to temperance theories, by spontaneous combustion.
On the contrary, the canny northerns are noted for soundness of constitution and clearness of head, with such a strong principle of vitality as to justify the poetical prediction of C***, that the world's longest liver, or Last Man, will be a Scotchman.
All these favorable signs I duly noted ; and prophetically refrained from delivering the letter of introduction to Doctor C-, which was to place me under his medical care. As the sick man said, when he went into the gin-shop instead of the hospital, “ I trusted to natur.” Whenever the weather permitted, therefore, which was generally when there were no new books to the fore, I haunted the banks and braes, or paid flying visits to the burns, with a rod intended to punish that rising generation amongst fishes called trout. But I whipped in vain. Trout there were in plenty, but like obstinate double teeth, with a bad operator, they would neither be pulled out nor come out of themselves. Still the sport, if so it might be called, had its own attractions, as, the catching excepted, the whole of the Waltonish enjoyments were at my command, the contemplative quiet, the sweet wholesome country air, and the picturesque scenerynot to forget the relishing the homely repast at the shealing or the mill ; sometimes I went alone, but often we were a company, and then we had for our attendant a journeyman tobacco-spinner, an original, and literary withal, for he had a reel in his head, whence ever and anon he unwound a line of Allan Ramsay, or Beattie, or Burns. Methinks I still listen, trudging homeward in the gloaming, to the recitation of that appropriate stanza, beginning