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"Come, come," he said, "I'll send down Shavings the carpenter to mend the boat,
and he may put the day's work into my account.'

EDINBURGH

ADAM AND CHARLES BLACK

1867

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THE

Antiquary.

I knew Anselmo. He was shrewd and prudent,
Wisdom and cunning had their shares of him;
But he was shrewish as a wayward child,
And pleased again by toys which childhood please;
As-book of fables, graced with print of wood,
Or else the jingling of a rusty medal,

Or the rare melody of some old ditty,

That first was sung to please King Pepin's cradle.

ADVERTISEMENT-(1829.)

THE present Work completes a series of fictitious narratives, intended to illustrate the manners of Scotland at three different periods. WAVERLEY embraced the age of our fathers, GUY MANNERING that of our own youth, and the ANTIQUARY refers to the last ten years of the eighteenth century. I have, in the two last narratives especially, sought my principal personages in the class of society who are the last to feel the influence of that general polish which assimilates to each other the manners of different nations. Among the same class I have placed some of the scenes, in which I have endeavoured to illustrate the operation of the higher and more violent passions; both because the lower orders are less restrained by the habit of suppressing their feelings, and because I agree with my friend Wordsworth, that they seldom fail to express them in the strongest and most powerful language. This is, I think, peculiarly the case with the peasantry of my own country, a class with whom I have long been familiar. The antique force and simplicity of their language, often tinctured with the Oriental eloquence of Scripture, in the mouths of those of an elevated understanding, give pathos to their grief, and dignity to their resentment.

I have been more solicitous to describe manners minutely, than to arrange in any case an artificial and combined narrative, and have but to regret that I felt myself unable to unite these two requisites of a good Novel.

The knavery of the Adept in the following sheets may appear forced and improbable; but we have had very late instances of the force of superstitious credulity to a much greater extent, and the reader may be assured, that this part of the narrative is founded on a fact of actual occurrence.

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I have now only to express my gratitude to the public, for the distinguished reception which they have given to works, that have little more than some truth of colouring to recommend them, and to take my respectful leave, as one who is not likely again to solicit their favour.

To the above advertisement, which was prefixed to the first edition of the Antiquary, it is necessary in the present edition to add a few words, transferred from the Introduction to the Chronicles of the Canongate, respecting the character of Jonathan Oldbuck.

"I may here state generally, that although I have deemed historical personages free subjects of delineation, I have never on any occasion violated the respect due to private life. It was indeed impossible that traits proper to persons, both living and dead, with whom I have had intercourse in society, should not have risen to my pen in such works as Waverley, and those which followed it. But I have always studied to generalize the portraits, so that they should still seem, on the whole, the productions of fancy, though possessing some resemblance to real individuals. Yet I must own my attempts have not in this last particular been uniformly successful. There are men whose characters are so peculiarly marked, that the deli. neation of some leading and principal feature, inevitably places the whole person before you in his individuality. Thus, the character of Jonathan Oldbuck, in the Antiquary, was partly founded on that of an old friend of my youth, to whom I am indebted for introducing me to Shakspeare, and other invaluable favours; but I thought I had so completely disguised the likeness, that it could not be recognised by any one now alive. I was mistaken, however, and indeed had endangered what

22

I desired should be considered as a secret; for I afterwards learned that a highly respectable gentleman, one of the few surviving friends of my father, and an acute critic, had said, upon the appearance of the work, that he was now convinced who was the author of it, as he recognised, in the Antiquary, traces of the character of a very intimate friend of my father's family."

beyond an exposition of his distresses. He was often a talkative, facetious fellow, prompt at repartee, and not withheld from exercising his powers that way by any respect of persons, his patched cloak giving him the privilege of the ancient jester. To be a gude crack, that is, to possess talents for conversation, was essential to the trade of a " puir body" of the more esteemed class; and Burns, who delighted in the amusement their discourse afforded, seems to have looked forward with gloomy firmness to the possibility of himself becoming one day or other a member of their itinerant society. In his poetical works, it is alluded to so often, as perhaps to indicate that he considered the consummation as not utterly impossible. Thus, in the fine dedication of his works to Gavin Hamilton, he says,

I have only farther to request the reader not to suppose that my late respected friend resembled Mr Oldbuck, either in his pedigree, or the history imputed to the ideal personage. There is not a single incident in the Novel which is borrowed from his real circumstances, excepting the fact that he resided in an old house near a flourishing, seaport, and that the author chanced to witness a scene betwixt him and the female proprietor of a stagecoach, very similar to that which commences the history of the Antiquary. An excellent temper, with a slight degree of subacid humour; learning, wit, and drollery, the more poignant that they were a little marked by the peculiarities of an old bachelor; a soundness of thought, rendered more forcible by an occasional quaintness of expression, And after having remarked, that were, the author conceives, the only qualities in which the creature of his imagination resembled his benevolent and excellent old friend.

The prominent part performed by the Beggar in the following narrative, induces the author to prefix a few remarks on that character, as it formerly existed in Scotland, though it is now scarcely to be traced.

Many of the old Scottish mendicants were by no means to be confounded with the utterly degraded class of beings who now practise that wandering trade.

Such of them as were in the habit of travelling through a particular district, were usually well received both in the farmer's ha', and in the kitchens of the country gentlemen. Martin, author of the Reliquia Divi Sancti Andrea, written in 1683, gives the following account of one class of this order of men in the seventeenth century, in terms which would induce an antiquary like Mr Oldbuck to regret its extinction. He conceives them to be descended from the ancient bards, and proceeds:— "They are called by others, and by themselves, Jockies, who go about begging; and use still to recite the Sloggorne (gathering-words or war-cries) of most of the true ancient surnames of Scotland, from old experience and observation. Some of them I have discoursed, and found to have reason and discretion. One of them told me there were not now above twelve of them in the whole isle; but he remembered when they abounded, so as at one time he was one of five that usually met at St An

drews." Board

The race of Jockies (of the above description) has, I suppose, been long extinct in Scotland; but the old remembered beggar, even in my own time, like the Baccoch, or travelling cripple of Ireland, was expected to merit his quarters by something

"And when I downa yoke a naig,

Then, Lord be thankit, I can beg." Again, in his Epistle to Davie, a brother Poet, he states, that in their closing career"The last o't, the warst o't,

Is only just to beg."

"To lie in kilns and barns at e'en,

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When banes are crazed and blude is thin, Is doubtless great distress;" the bard reckons up, with true poetical spirit, the free enjoyment of the beauties of nature, which might counterbalance the hardship and uncertainty of the life even of a mendicant. In one of his prose letters, to which I have lost the reference, he details this idea yet more seriously, and dwells upon it, as not ill adapted to his habits and powers.

As the life of a Scottish mendicant of the eighteenth century seems to have been contemplated without much horror by Robert Burns, the author can hardly have erred in giving to Edie Ochiltree something of poetical character and personal dignity, above the more abject of his miserable calling. The class had, in fact, some privileges. A lodging, such as it was, was readily granted to them in some of the out-houses, and the usual awmous (alms) of a handful of meal (called a goupen) was scarce denied by the poorest cottager. The mendicant disposed these, according to their different quality, in various bags around his person, and thus carried about with him the principal part of his sustenance, which he literally received for the asking. At the houses of the gentry, his cheer was mended by scraps of broken meat, and perhaps a Scottish "twalpenny," or English penny, which was expended in snuff or whisky. In fact, these indolent peripatetics suffered much less real hardship and want of food, than the poor peasants from whom they received alms.

If, in addition to his personal qualifications, the mendicant chanced to be a King's Bedesman, or Blue-Gown, he belonged, in virtue thereof, to the aristocracy of his order, and was esteemed a person of great importance.

These Bedesmen are an order of paupers to whom the Kings of Scotland were in the custom of distributing a certain alms, in conformity with the ordinances of the Catholic Church, and who were expected in return to pray for the royal welfare and that of the state. This order is still kept up. Their number is equal to the number of years which his Majesty has lived; and one Blue-Gown additional is put on the roll for every returning royal birth-day. On the same auspicious era, each Bedesman receives a new cloak, or gown of coarse cloth, the colour light blue, with a pewter badge, which confers on them the general privilege of asking alms through all Scotland,-all laws against sorning, masterful beggary, and every other species of mendicity, being suspended in favour of this privileged class. With his cloak, each receives a leathern purse, containing as many shillings Scots (videlicet, pennies sterling) as the sovereign is years old; the zeal of their intercession for the king's long life receiving, it is to be supposed, a great stimulus from their own present and increasing interest in the object of their prayers. On the same occasion one of the Royal Chaplains preaches a sermon to the Bedesmen, who (as one of the reverend gentlemen expressed himself) are the most impatient and inattentive audience in the world. Something of this may arise from a feeling on the part of the Bedesmen, that they are paid for their own devotions, not for listening to those of others. Or, more probably, it arises from impatience, natural, though indecorous in men bearing so venerable a character, to arrive at the conclusion of the ceremonial of the royal birth-day, which, so far as they are concerned, ends in a lusty breakfast of bread and ale; the whole moral and religious exhibition terminating in the advice of Johnson's "Hermit hoar" to his proselyte,

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66 Junij 1590.

Item, to Mr Peter Young, Elimosinar, twentie four gownis of blew clayth, to be gevin to xxiiij and men, according to the yeiris of his hienes age, extending to viij xxviij elnis clayth; price of the elne xxiiij s. Inde, ijoj li. xij 8. "Item, for sextene elnis bukrum to the saidis gownis, price of the elne x s. Inde, viij li. "Item, twentie four pursis, and in ilk purse twentie four schilling, Inde. xxviij li. xvj.

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Inde, vj c xiij li.

Item, to workmen for careing the blewis to James Aikman, tailyeour, his hous, xiij s. iiij d. "Item, for sex elnis and ane half of harden to the saidis gownis, at vj s. viij d. the elne,

Inde, xliij s. iiij d. "Item, to the said workmen for careing of the gownis fra the said James Aikman's hous to the palace of Halyrudehous, xviijs. "Item, for making the saidis fyftie ane gownis, at xij s. the peice, Inde, xxx li. xij s.

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"Item, for fyftie ane pursis to the said puire men, lj s. "Item, to Sir Peter Young, ljs. to be put in everie ane of the saidis lj pursis to the said poore men, jo xxx lj js. "Item, to the said Sir Peter, to buy breid and drink to the said puir men, vj li. xiij s iiij d. "Item, to the said Sir Peter, to be delt amang uther puire folk, je lj.

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"Item, upoun the last day of Junij to Doctor Young, Deane of Winchester, Elimozinar Deput to his Majestie, twentie fyve pund sterling, to be gevin to the puir be the way in his Majesteis progress, Inde, ij c li."

I have only to add, that although the institution of King's Bedesmen still subsists, they are now seldom to be seen on the streets of Edinburgh, of which their peculiar dross made them rather a characteristic feature.

Having thus given an account of the genus and species to which Edie Ochiltree appertains, the author may add, that the individual he had in his eye was Andrew Gemmells, an old mendicant of the character described, who was many years since

well known, and must still be remembered, in the vales of Gala, Tweed, Ettrick, Yarrow, and the adjoining country.

The author has in his youth repeatedly seen and conversed with Andrew, but cannot recollect whether he held the rank of Blue-Gown. He was a remarkably fine old figure, very tall, and maintaining a soldierlike, or military manner and address. His features were intelligent, with a powerful expression of sarcasm. His motions were always so graceful, that he might almost have been suspected of having studied them; for he might, on

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