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made a powerful agent in fictitious narrative. He, accordingly, sketched that of Elshie of the MucklestaneMoor. The story was intended to be longer, and the catastrophe more artificially brought out; but a friendly critic, to whose opinion I subjected the work in its progress, was of opinion, that the idea of the Solitary was of a kind too revolting, and more likely to disgust than to interest the reader. As I had good right to consider my adviser as an excellent judge of public opinion, 1 got off my subject by hastening the story to an end, as last as it was possible; and, by huddling into one volume, a tale which was designed to occupy two, have perhaps produced a narrative as much disproportioned and distorted, as the Black Dwarf, who is its subject.
Hast any philosophy in thee, Shepherd 1
As You Liki it.
It was a fine April morning (excepting that it had snowed hard the night before, and the ground remained covered with a dazzling mantle of six inches in depth) when two horsemen rode up to the Wallace Inn. The first was a strong, tall, powerful man, in a grey ridingcoat, having a hat covered with wax-cloth, a huge silvermounted horsewhip, boots, and dreadnought overalls. He was mounted on a large strong brown mare, rough in coat, but well in condition, with a saddle of the yeomanry cut, and a double-bitted military bridle. The man who accompanied him was apparently his servant; he rode a shaggy little grey pony, had a blue bonnet on his head, and a large check napkin folded about his neck, wore a pair of long blue worsted hose, instead of boots, had his gloveless hands much stained with tar, and observed an air of deference and respect towards his companion, but without any of those indications of precedence and punctilio which are preserved between the gentry and their domestics. On the contrary, the two travellers entered the court-yard abreast, and the concluding sentence of the conversation which had been carrying on betwixt them, was a joint ejaculation, "Lord guide us, an' this weather last, what will come o' the lambs!" The hint was sufficient for my landlord, who, advancing to take the horse of the principal person, and holding him by the reins as he dismounted, while his ostler rendered the same service to the attendant, welcomed the stronger to Gandercleugh, and, in the same breath, inquired, what news from the south hielands 1 "News?" said the farmer, " bad eneugh news, 1 think;— an we can carry through the yowes it will be a' we can do; we maun e'en leave the lambs to the Black Dwarf's care."
"Ay, ay," subjoined the old shepherd, (for such he was,) shaking his head, "he'll be unco busy amang tbe morts this season."
"The Black Dwarf!" said my learned friend and patron,* Mr. Jedediah Cleishbotham, "and what sort of a personage may he be?"
"Hout awa, man," answered the farmer, "ye'll hae heard o' canny Elshie the Black Dwarf, or I am muckle mistaen—A' the warld tells tales about him, but it's but daft nonsense after a'—I dinna believe a word o't frae beginning to end."
"Your father believed it unco stievely, though," said the old man, to whom the scepticism of his master gavu obvious displeasure.
"Ay, very true, Bauldie, but that was in the time o' the blackfaces—they believed a hantle queer things in thae days, that naebody heeds since the lang sheep cam in."
"The mair's the pity, the mair's the pity," said the old man. "Your father, and sae I have aften tell'd ye, maister, wad hae been sair vexed to hae seen the auld peel-house wa's pu'd down to make park dykes; and the bonny broomy knowe, where he liked sae weel to sit at e'en, wi' his plaid about him, and look at the kye as they cam down the loaning, ill wad he hae liked to hae seen that braw sunny knowe a' riven out wi' the pleugh in the fashion it is at this day."
* We have in this, and other instances, printed in italics some few words which the worthy editor, Mr. Jedediah Cleishbotham, seems to have interpolated upon the text of his deceased friend, Mr. Pattieson. We must observe, once for all, that such liberties seem only to have been taken by the learned gentleman where his own character and conduct are concerned; and surely he must be the best jud^e of the style in which his own character and conduct shnuM be treated of
"Hout, Bauldie," replied the principal, "tak ye that dram the landlord's offering ye, and never fash your head about the changes o' the warld, sae lang as ye're blithe and bien yoursell."
"Wussing your health, sirs," said the shepherd; and, having taken off his glass, and observed the whiskey was the right thing, he continued, "It's no for the like o' us to be judging, to be sure; but it was a bonnv knowe that broomy knowe, and an unco braw shelter for the lambs in a severe morning like this."
"Ay," said his patron, "but ye ken we maun hae turnips for the lang sheep, billie, and muckle hard wark to get them, baith wi' the pleugh and the howe; and that wad sort ill wi' sitting on the broomy knowe, and cracking about Black Dwarfs, and siccan clavers, as was the gate lang syrie, when the short sheep were in the fashion."
"Aweel, aweel, maister," said the attendant, "short sheep had short rents, I'm thinking."
Here my worthy and learned patron again interposed, and observed, "that he could never perceive any material difference, in point of longitude, between one sheep and another."
This occasioned a loud hoarse laugh on the part of the farmer, and an astonished stare on the part of the shepherd. "It's the woo', man,—it's the woo', and no the beasts themsells, that makes them be ca'd lang or short. I believe if ye were to measure their backs, the short sheep wad be rather the langer-bodied o' the twa; but it's the woo' that pays the rent in thae days, and it had muclcle need."
"Odd, Bauldie says very true,"—short sheep did make short rents—my father paid for our steeding just threescore pounds, and it stands me in three hundred, plack and bawbee.—And that's very true—Ihae nae time to be standing here clavering—Landlord, get us our breakfast, and see an' get the yauds fed—I am for down to Christy Wilson's, to see if him and me can gree about the luckpenny I am to gie him for his year-aulds. We had drank sax mutchkins to the making the bargain at St. Boswell's fair, and some gate we canna gree upon the particulars preceesely, for as muckle time as we took about it—I doubt we draw to a plea.—But hear ye, neighbour," addressing my worthy and learned patron, "if ye want to hear onything about lang or short sheep, I will be back here to my kail against ane o'clock; or, if ye want ony auld-warld stories about the Black Dwarf, and sic-like, if ye'll ware a half mutchkin upon Bauldie there, he'll crack t'ye like a pen-gun. And I'se gie ye a mutchkin mysell, man, if I can settle weel wi' Christy Wilson."
2 vOL. I.
The farmer returned at the hour appointed, and with him came Christy Wilson, their difference having been fortunately settled without an appeal to the gentlemen of the long robe. My learned and worthy patron failed not to attend, both on account of the refreshment promised to the mind and to the body, although he is known to partake of the latter in a very moderate degree; and the party with which my landlord was associated, continued to sit late in the evening, seasoning their liquor with many choice tales and songs. The last incident which I recollect, was my learned and worthy patron falling from his chair, just as he concluded a long lecture upon temperance, by reciting, from the Gentle Shepherd, a couplet, which he right happily transferred from the vice ot avarice to that of ebriety:
He that has just eneugh may soundly sleep,
In the course of the evening the Black Dwarf' had not been forgotten, and the old shepherd, Bauldie, told so many stories of him, that they excited a good deal of interest. It also appeared, thowgh not till the third punch