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my foot touched one of the wires lowed by two more of the tribe, now which those wary nocturnal visitants came up; and the old man, throwing had placed in the path, and connected himself between us, said to my ad verwith a cracked bell behind the seat of sary in red and keen wrath, Curse their leader. I felt the touch, and yere madness-ye wad breed discord heard a kind of riven clang ; when out atween twa bosom banes--ye aye gang started to the door the hoary leader of atween the sappy bark and the sweet the horde himself, even as a spider tree-if ye gang on i thae reckless runs forth when a fly touches the ex- gates, there'll no be a blade o' grass tremest thread of her mesh. I longed for our beasts, or a gray stone to lay to fly, but I knew flight was vain, and our ain heads on, i' the wide world certainly dangerous; and so I stood Clod down yere knife, or I'll burn unconcerned, and still gazing on the powder under yere nose.' With a tree-tops and the unfinished tower, growling voice and a stormy brow, the like any youth smitten with the de- young desperado disposed of his knife. sire of verse-making. The ancient The patriarch, looking on me for a mogypsey looked forth on me in silence, ment, took me kindly by the hand, and with caution ; several round bullet and said, 'I vow by the banes o' my heads, covered with a profusion of forefathers—by a' my sowdering irons sooty and curled locks, soon came as and ram-horn spoons, no forgetting auxiliaries in the scrutiny, and I had twelve as good asses as ever pu'd grass, hopes they would let me depart in that this stripling is nae scent-the-sod, peace, for I heard something like a nae track-the-dewand thread-the-wood suppressed voice of command and ad- to that auld donard justice, Cursan monition,—but I was soon undeceiv- Collieson—but a sonsie and sure aced. In a moment a young powerful quaintance, even young Mark Macman freed himself from the grasp of the rabin, turned out o' haddin and hame patriarch, and came darting forward on for singing the sweet tune oʻStroudme, making bounds something like the water — Lord, lad, ye may sing what springs of a wild cat. I saw the gleam ye like for me I'm no religious." of a dagger or a knife under the long With this comforting assurance he led loose sleeve of his coat. He accosted me, silent and loath, to the door of his me in a harsh rough voice. Rab tenement, followed by his comrades, Spoolpin, deevil are ye doing here, sae murmuring a kind of hoarse welcome far frae yere heddles ;' mistaking me to their new associate. for the son of a Cameronian weaver, “ Alarmed and sorrowful as I was, who volunteered his gift of prayer to I could not avoid remarking the care sick and despairing maidens, and often and circumspection with which this es was seen by the gypsies returning tablishment was guarded against surfrom these nocturnal visits of consola- prise, and prepared for resistance or tion. Out came the gypsey's dagger retreat. Not only were wires, connectas he spoke, and I lifted my staff and ing themselves with a small bell in the fronted him firmly. 'God, sir, cast house, placed double across the aveaway your kibling, or may I be whup- nue, but on the other side of the hilpet 'through the burning pit wi' the lock an opening was made in the ramgray tail of my auld ass, if I disnae part of thick holly, large enough to gie'ye red sowen for yere wab, and allow a loaded ass to march through, that frae ’neath yere fifth rib.' I as- and the boughs were tied back with sured him I came for no harm; that I small cords, so that, by cutting the had lost my way, and was sorry for bands, the hedge assumed in a modisturbing him. His wrath abaterlment its natural and impenetrable apnothing. Cast down yere rung,' said pearance. This verdant archway openhe, in a voice choking with fury, 'or ed into the thickest and most inaccessby the stars I'se shaw ye what kind o ible part of the forest, and in a minscarlet yere best bleede's of.' I still ute all commodities likely to be reheld my staff; and he made a spring claimed by their late owners, namely, at me with his naked dagger. Though the produce of the fold, the furrow, or I was but seventeen I was both stout the henroost, could be removed into and stubborn. I presented the long the wood, together with two or three and sharp iron socket of my oak staff of the most warlike of the tribe, reagainst my assailant's naked bosom, ducing the roving camp to a domestic and kept him off. The patriarch, fol- look--from the hostile aspect of war,
to the harmless posture of a peace es- and smoky personages sat beside a tablishment. The asses, too, lay all reeking cauldron of water, pursuing ready, with panniers bound on their the art and calling of manufacturing backs, ready to receive the domestic ram-horn spoons. Nor did they conwealth of the tribe, should hasty mea- fine their labours to the wrinkled and sures be necessary.
crooked horns of the ram ; the green “ The patriarch conducted me into and transparent horns of the heifer, the very middle of his establishment; and the huge and darker daggers of the and there I beheld a scene of a new bull, alike demanded the application of and a singular kind. A large fire their craft. Nor were their producflamed and glowed in the bottom of a tions confined to the tables of the farturret destined to contain the future mer and the peasant, they appeared in stair, and though the hour was late, their most laboured and delicate shapes Food had been heaped on with unspara on the sideboards of country lairds, ing hand. The skin of a sheep, lately and even barons. Others of the tribe separated from the fat carcase, and polished and ornamented the shafts which bore the mark and birn of Cur- and the mouths of the spoons, but the sin Collieson fair and legibly upon it, chieftain himself was the only person was hung on the wall; the skins of se- present who could inlay them with Feral hares were hung beside it; nor silver ornaments, make a clear toned did I fail to observe a brace of fat whistle in the shaft of a punch ladle, turkeys, and half-a-dozen plump pul- or fashion a horn into a harvest bugle. lets, which but the evening before Indeed my appearance had interrupted graced the innumerable roosts of the his labours at a long and very beautifaird of Caponcrapia, a neighbouring ful horn which he was preparing as a gentleman, eminently skilled in the present to the daughter of a neighwhole domestic mystery of hatching, bouring laird ; it was to have a band feeding, fattening, strangling, dress and a mouth-piece of silver, and the ing and finally devouring, all denomi- name of the rural heroine was pronations of carcasses that carried feath- mised in addition to these embellishers, with the exception, I have heard, ments. This was no common hornof the raven and the owl. On the it was shed from the head of a living floor, elevated by layers of boughs and bull-no ordinary occurrence (and it sheaves of straw, out of which the is currently credited, that a living cow's barnman's flail had not removed the horn can cure sundry diseases); I have com, for they were abstracted from a since heard the damsel wind it long and new-shorn field, were made six or loudly myself ; with the same horn she eight beds, plentifully heaped with cracked the collar-bone of a lad when he blankets, and covered with those first made love to her, and said, “ Him thick and ample wool quilts, for that marries me shall blaw o his which the moorland looms of the horn”-and what woman prophecies Sanquhar were once so celebrated. of that kind, she commonly brings to From beneath these peeped out a va- pass. On the other side of the fire, riety of heads, large and little, and appeared others of the fraternity, purtheir thick masses of sooty and cur- suing a more noisy occupation-repairling locks were not incommoded by ing fractured kettles, and copper sauce caps or any kind of restraint. The pans, and cementing and clasping glass shining and swarthy glances, and the and china. Nor did they lack tools tawned looks, told of an uncorrupted for defence, as well as for trade. race of gypsies ; a laugh at my con- Against the wall lay several long and sternation circulated speedily from lair rusty swords, five or six dirks or knives, to lair, the lesser heads all ducking and a couple of good firelocks. Gins, below the covers, or peeping
out, as and traps, nets, and fish-spears, were the mirth rose or subsided. The rest in abundance. Each man was armed of the establishment presented no ob- with a long cut and thrust knife, jects of repose, and it appeared to me sheathed in his coat sleeves when he that the portion of the tribe who de- went abroad. A dagger of this dedicated their labours to sunshine were scription, with a brace of old fashionnow in their places of slumber, while ed silver mounted pistols, depended the minions of the moon were exerci- from the girdle of the chieftain. They sing their calling under the beams of amounted to fifteen in all-seven men, their patron planets. Two brawny three women, and five children. VOL. VII.
With a face of mustered courage altercation, a ripe and handsome young and resignation I sat down on an ass's woman, the grand-daughterofthechiefold pannier beside the chieftain, and tain, made her appearance from the submitted with silence and fear to the remotest end of the hall. She drew a sharp scrutiny of many members of sanquhar mantle, or rather, a counterthe tribe, and which continued for se- pane, from her shoulders, as she ad. veral minutes. One fellow, with a vanced, leaving her person arrayed in sinister cast of face, affected to mea- the extreme simplicity of her tribe. sure me over with the scrupulous at- Hooly, hooly,” said the damsel, tention of a hunter after the bumps stepping between the contending deand knobs which men have discovered pendants of her tribe, holding the indicative of an evil genius. “ I'll haud mantle in her hand, ready to cast upon a horn spoon,” said he, “ to a hand- the daggers, which were expected to ful of meal,” uniting in his wager his be drawn. Her stature was rather past and present professions, for he above the middle size—her whole perhad begged meal down the water of son shaped like the most perfect proKinnel, and baked bread up the water duction of a statuary-firm, full, and of Scaur, “that this younker comes like elegant and her carriage erect, wild, a hoodie craw before a flock of ravens and unconstrained. Her locks, long he'll lilt up a psalm, and a dozen of and curling, flowed freely on her gullies will come and sneg our thrap- shoulders and her large dark eyes ples.”—“ L'ye thinksae, Sandy sat shining under a close mass of raven Macfen,” said the brawny despera- curls, with which nature had striven do, who had drawn his knife on me to conceal a high and polished forebefore" Dash it, dy'e think sae head. “ Hooly, hooly, said the fearby a' the bells o' Gotterbeg, and there less damsel—fólly has been and will were ance seventeen o' them, I'll slit be the downfall of our race. The hard his weazon, if he sings a sang or a hand othe law, with a halter in't, psalm here or opens a lip, save for a cares for neither yere red anger, nor horn spoon-dom me if I disnae"- yere sharp dirks-drap yere wrathand he half unsheathed his knife, to will ye be fierce with ane anither, and show his sincerity. “ Hoot, hoot, fear'd for a' beside yere just like twa Jamie,” said a gypsie, whose dialect corbies, pyking out ane anither's een announced a stark Galwegian, laying o'er a dead lamb, when the gun o' the aside, at the same time, a most in- shepherd's cocked at their crapins.tractable ram-horn he was straight- Weel may I say, the days o' our might ening—"od yere aye sae fear'd-faith are gane--and Kate Marshall maun ye'll quarrel with the very mools, be- be wife to some soulless coof, wha cause mools makes graves, and may wants the courage to cock, a pistol, and make yours, if ye dinnaglower through sense to haud his hands from folk's hemp, and gang for dissection-od hen bawks-she'll be brided in a ye'll die ere yere day comes through mortelaith sooner.” nought but fear."-Gypsie Jamie, who All applauded this speech of the was a fiery man of Annandale, and long young heroine, and their wrath had a a companion in the famous horde of brief truce. The Annandale desperthe Kennedies of the Hightae, stared ado named “ Jamie o' the dub o' on the Galwegian at this sally, the Dryfe,” threw his knife at his feet, redness of wrath rising triumphant and cried aloud, -" Weel said, ye o'er his dusky complexion. The Gal. bonny chicken o' the bauld blue hen. wegian, however, bearing the name, By the best haft to a steel blade, and and boasting of a share in the blood that's a strang shackle-bane-and by of the potent, and ancient family of the best sheath for a sharp gully, and the Macgrabs, returned the stare of that's an enemy's wame, ye're a bauld the borderer, nothing daunted—and lass, and a bonny-dome me, if thou said—“Let me tell ye, man, I've sauld isnae. By a' the tup horns o' Dryfe, mony a spoon, and got mony a bite I wish auld Daddie Clinkkettle would and soup frae the name of Macrabin- sowder us together, and cry, The Briand by the dunnerin Troughs • dal's done-bairns to bed.” The Tongland, if ye touch this bairn wi' fierce dignity with which the offended a harmfu' hand, I'll make a cart-road heroine greeted this audacious profor the worms through amang yere posal from a dependant, might have beribs.” In the midst of this unexpected come a queen of the Amazons. Shedrew herself back, adding, by the movement, at this aggression, addressed to the a nail on my auld elwand to her na- hand from which the harın proceeded, tural height, and shook back the pro- a deep and dolorous bray--& moving fusion of raven curls from her brow. cry of the most pathetic expostulation; Her swarthy eyes glimmered fearful- and, snapping its halter in two, camé ly bright, and words to give utterance rushing between the gypsey combato all this visible scorn and wrath tants, effectually shielding them from were ready to pass her lips, when the the mortal thrusts which, with bared interposition of a hitherto unheeded swords, they were aiming at each and silent dependant took all attention other. away from meaner things. Ere the During this period of controversy bero of the Dub o' Dryfe had conclud- and aggression, the chieftain sat on the ed his address, a young and powerful old pannier with most perfect comman, who sat cementing china in the posure and unconcern; he heard all, corner, and who had regarded all that but heeded none; and seemed, by his had hitherto happened as common oc- silence, to decide that the death of one currences, began to shew the deep in- or two of the most ferocious and turterest he took in this unexpected pro- bulent of his gang would be an acceptposal. He started up, muttering, as able event. He even applied himself he rose, some of the readiest words in with more than common diligence to which fury manifests herself—the the construction of a silver mouthforerunners of the fiercest language piece for the living cow's horn, and I and the most desperate deeds, and the cannot say that his skill in this elechina he was repairing was crushed to gant craft was abated by the mortal dust against the distant walls of the conclusion to which his dependants room.“ By the cravat of your Grand- seemed hastening; nay, he even gave father," said he to the man of Dryfe, one“ tout” on the instrument, for the " and that was a hempen one--and apparent purpose of proving the merit by the hand that fitted it on, and that of his labour; but as it was uttered at was the hangman's, I shall save the the moment the dirks were drawn, I collar that's destined to grace the suspect he internally considered it as ersigs of your kindred all future a bugle note to battle. But this comtrouble, if ye dare but to touch the posure was soon to be shaken. The hand of my cousin, bonny Kate Mar- moment he perceived what had be. shall." To this speech, in which, per- fallen his ancient and favourite ass, haps, the jealousy of rivalry embitter- he started from his seat with unexed the cup of offence that had been pected agility, and pulling a silver proffered to the lips of his kindred, the mounted pistol from his girdle, cockman of Drysdale replied with a loud ed it, and unbuckled the panniers of and discordant laugh, something like the animal. The ashen hue of his the shrieking scream of the owl when, cheek waxed of a kindlier colour when, with expanded wings, it comes pounce on removing the caparisons, he dison its prey. His face grew black as covered that the missile had drawn death, and even dilated with the in- blood, but only penetrated skin deep. fernal smile which curled his lips, It had been thrown from a hand so and his whole frame quivered with desperate and so powerful, that it nge-it was only for a moment. He forced its way through among two seized the mortal weapon, which lay bunches of horn spoons, and the lid of at his feet, by the point, and launched
a brass sauce-pan.
The old man unit with amazing force at the head of cocked his pistol, replaced it in his the cousin of Kate Marshall. But he belt, and, stroking the neck of the old had to combat with a man far more and conscious animal, said, with a cool, and equally desperate as himself. visible and tender kindness, “ Thou He ducked his head as a water-hen auld sonsie beast-thou best piece of does when the fowler's gun flashes; ass's flesh that ever cropped cornthe dangerous missile grazed his hair thou that hast balanced spoons on thy as he sunk, and flying far beyond, back to Mall Marshall and her sevensunk deep into the pannier of an old teen lad weans, and seen them all laid ass, the property of the Patriarch him- under the green turf, waes me! The self, which, covered with a worn living hand that harms thy life shall mantle, and caparisons of untanned soon belong to a dead man, else let leather, stood ruminating over a sheaf never man trust a spark wi' powder of fresh com in the corner. The ass, mair.” So saying, he led the aged animal back to its stance, adding a ful”—and so she proceeded to prepare piece of wheat bread to its pittance of supper, glad to be the means of placcorn, and then slowly returned and ing horns reeking with delicious soup resumed his seat. Al this passed in in her companion's hands, instead of a few moment's space. I had seen cold and merciless steel. Two loaded blood heated, and blood spilt at fairs, panniers were placed on the floor, a at trystes, and even at hill preachings, cloth was spread over them—of its but I had never witnessed mortal whiteness I have little to say—and a weapons drawn in mortal wrath before; sheaf of horn spoons was thrown down and I began to look around for some loose on this simple supper board. edge tool to defend myself during the The clatter of these instruments of general strife which I saw approach- good cheer was the signal for supper, ing. But the moment the chieftain and instantly from all parts of the cocked his pistol, a signal, I under- house came man and woman, and stood afterwards, that he was deeply squatted down as they arrived around incensed, and resolved to punish, the the table. From a cauldron that had men who fronted each other in des- sometime simmered on the fire, the perate and deadly opposition, and all damsel came charged, in succession, those who were preparing to second with two capacious basins turned out them, recoiled and dropt their wean of the solid bole of a plane tree, and pons, and stood silent and dark, wait- hooped with bands of copper-she ing to see on whom the storm would placed them on the board, and the saburst. The old man, however, sing-voury steam of hares, and hens, and led out no one for punishment either onions, ascended thick and luscious, by eye or by word, but, seated in his and eddyed round our heads. A cake pannier, resumed his labour at the of meal, brown and thick, and bearing harvest-horn, with an unruffled come the knuckle marks of the maiden who posure worthy of a saint. All the brought it, was placed beside each perothers, weary of the monotony of op- son, the spoons were snatched up, and position and strife, resumed their em- all seemed to await the signal to comployments
the chieftain began to mencem-grace, I dare not presume to croon, or sing in an under tone, a gyp- call it—from the lips of the chieftain sey ballad of ancient adventure-the-whatever the old man's wishes were Galwegian tinker, imitating the ex- -he was forestalled by the impatient ample of the chief, ranted out some Galwegean of the lineage of the Macstray verses, which required the puri- grabs, who, plunging his spoon into fying pen of those who make family one of the basins, sang out, “ Ram Fieldings, and family Shakspeares, and horns a piece and hae done we't,” and the hammer of the hero of the Dub o instantly the spoons passed from the Dryfe produced, from the bottom of an dish to the lip, and from the lip to the old cauldron, a corresponding clamour, dish, with a rapidity I had never seen for he was much too angry for song, equalled. The soup, thick and brown,
Peace having resumed her reign and delicious, and thickened with once more in the unfinished mansion fowls both wild and tame and other of the Laird of Collieson, the gypsie choice things, began to vanish before damsel, Katherine Marshall, walked the application of the guests. The slowly away to her place of repose, damsel, who had seated herself beside shrouding her beauties as she went in me, and furnished my hand with a the Sanquhar mantle. “ Damsel," said good implement of green horn, invited the chieftain, stopping her, “hast thou me, by many a kind look, to prove the ought on spit, in cauldron, in bottle merits of her cookery. This I peror in basket, to comfort this cannie formed with a good will, and a celeriyouth with—he has heen leaping on ty almost rivalling the proverbial the top of the Lagg hill for three lang prowess of Hughie Hiddlestane, who nights and a day, holding his two supped the parridge of three mowers, hands to the cauld moon, with deel to show he had no ill will to the soupit atween his lips, save the fiz- house. My ability at the spoon was zenless verse of a sang.” Willingly, welcomed in the kindest manner, and and with a smile that came direct from the chieftain said, in his softest tone, the heart, the maiden turned back, “Fair fall ye, lad-ye're a red-handed and said " It is nigh the supper chield-slow to meat and slow to hour, and the strange lad will like wark-ye'll either make a good spoon company-a single spoon is aye laithu, or spill a fair hora."